Tonight – second annual Ballet Arkansas “Splash” Winter Wine Taste

No photo description available.The wildly popular Ballet Arkansas’ Winter Wine Taste is back for a second year, and this year it is bigger and better than ever!

Held in the beautiful ballroom of the Little Rock Marriott, SPLASH brings the best of live music, live dance performance, world cuisine, and fine wine together in one place.

  • Four Wines curated and presented by Colonial Wines and Spirits, from growing regions across the world.
  • Live music by musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
  • Live dance performance by Ballet Arkansas, featuring the work of two up and coming choreographers (Deanna Stanton and Paul Tillman) and excerpts from Fire & Rain, held on Valentine’s Weekend!
  • Cuisine provided by executive chef David Utley and sous chef Evan Davis of the Little Rock Marriott.

Presented by Season Sponsor Colonial Wine & Spirits
Sponsored by Little Rock Marriott

$50 tickets at balltarkansas.org
$60 at the door
Tickets include wine tasting, cuisine, live music and dance performances, and dancing.

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STAR WARS Science today at the Museum of Discovery

The Force will be strong today (Saturday, January 19) in the River Market district as the Museum of Discovery presents Star Wars Science.  It is from 10am to 3pm.

Bring your little Jedi for a day of Star Wars Science and

  • Meet Star Wars characters (501st Legion)
  • Use “The Force” to move objects
  • Be amazed in the Star Wars Science shows at 10:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Witness Sith Lightning Tesla Shows at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Learn coding, but not just any form of coding – Star Wars coding!
  • See how George Lucas created some Star Wars scenes by using stop motion animation and make your own movie magic
  • Build LEGO dioramas
  • Make Sith lightning
  • Guide your BB-8 through a magnetic maze
  • Make dry ice cryo hovercrafts
  • Get down with droid disco dancing
  • Explore the Glow Lab
  • Play with shadow and light to make moving works of art

Star Wars Science is included in regular museum admission or free for museum members.  For non-members, tickets can be purchased here.

Mulehead tonight at the Undercroft

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing and textTonight at 8pm, Mulehead performs in The Undercroft.

Band mates Kevin Kerby, Geoff Curran, David Raymond, and Brent LaBeau are promising a “chill set” for their next concert underneath the church. Are they telling the truth? Come see—and enjoy a “Capitol” night with homemade Undercroft Brew and soda for a donation.

$10 at the door.

The Undercroft is located at 509 Scott Street.

Run Forrest Run – CALS Ron Robinson screens FORREST GUMP tonight

Forrest Gump PosterNo word on whether there will be boxes of chocolates available at the concessions stand, but the CALS Ron Robinson Theater will be showing Oscar winner FORREST GUMP tonight.

The story follows the life of low I.Q. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and his meeting with the love of his life Jenny. The film chronicles his Zelig-like experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950s through the 1970s including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, fighting in Vietnam, etc. The problem is, he doesn’t realize the significance of his actions. Forrest comes to embody a generation.

Others in the cast include Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinese, and Mykelti Williamson.  The movie was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won six including Best Picture, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Director (Robert Zemeckis), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Roth).

The showing starts at 6:30pm. The cost is $5.00.

Little Rock Look Back: HAIR brings Age of Aquarius to Robinson Center

Ad for the original production of HAIR in Little Rock. Note the ticket prices. And that they could be purchased at Moses Music Shops.

Forty-seven years ago today, on January 18, 1972, the musical Hair settled in for a week-long run at Robinson Auditorium.  The saga to bring the national tour to Little Rock had actually begun eleven months earlier.

In February 1971, a young Little Rock attorney named Phil Kaplan petitioned the Little Rock Board of Censors to see if it would allow a production of Hair to play in the city. He was asking on behalf of a client who was interested in bringing a national tour to Arkansas’ capital city. The show, which had opened on Broadway to great acclaim in April 1968 after an Off Broadway run in 1967, was known for containing a nude scene as well for a script which was fairly liberally sprinkled with four-letter words. The Censors stated they could not offer an opinion without having seen a production.

By July 1971, Kaplan and his client (who by then had been identified as Southwest Productions) were seeking permission for a January 1972 booking of Hair from the City’s Auditorium Commission which was charged with overseeing operations at Robinson Auditorium. At its July meeting, the Commissioners voted against allowing Hair because of its “brief nude scene” and “bawdy language.”

Kaplan decried the decision. He stated that the body couldn’t “sit in censorship of legitimate theatrical productions.” He noted courts had held that Hair  could be produced and that the Auditorium Commission, as an agent for the State, “clearly can’t exercise prior censorship.” He proffered that if the production was obscene it would be a matter for law enforcement not the Auditorium Commission.

The Commission countered that they had an opinion from City Attorney Joseph Kemp stating they had the authority. One of the Commissioners, Mrs. Grady Miller (sister-in-law of the building’s namesake the late Senator Robinson, she had served on the Commission since 1940), expressed her concern that allowing Hair would open the door to other productions such as Oh! Calcutta!

On July 26, 1971, Southwest Productions filed suit against the Auditorium Commission. Four days later there was a hearing before federal Judge G. Thomas Eisele. Judge Eisele offered a ruling on August 11 which compelled the Auditorium Commission to allow Hair to be performed. Prior to the ruling, some of the Auditorium Commissioners had publicly stated that if they had to allow Hair, they would close it after the first performance on the grounds of obscenity. To combat this, Judge Eisele stated that the Commission had to allow Hair to perform the entire six day engagement it sought.

Upon hearing of the Judge’s ruling, Commissioner Emily Miller offered a succinct, two word response. “Oh, Dear!”

In the end, the production of Hair at Robinson would not be the first performance in the state.  The tour came through Fayetteville for two performances in October 1971 at Barnhill Arena.

On January 18, 1972, Hair played the first of its 8 performances over 6 days at Robinson Auditorium.  In his review the next day, the Arkansas Gazette’s Bill Lewis noted that Hair “threw out all it had to offer” and that Little Rock had survived.

The ads promoting the production carried the tagline “Arkansas will never be the same.”  Tickets (from $2 all the way up to $8.50–the equivalent of $12 to $51 in 2019 dollars) could be purchased at Moses Melody Shops both downtown and in “The Mall” (meaning Park Plaza). That business is gone from downtown, but the scion of that family, Jimmy Moses, is actively involved in building downtown through countless projects. His sons are carrying on the family tradition too.

Little Rock was by no means unique in trying to stop productions of Hair.  St. Louis, Birmingham, Los Angeles, Tallahassee, Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte NC, West Palm Beach, Oklahoma City, Mobile and Chattanooga all tried unsuccessfully to stop performances in their public auditoriums.  Despite Judge Eisele’s ruling against the City of Little Rock, members of the Fort Smith City Council also tried to stop a production later in 1972 in that city. This was despite warnings from City staff that there was not legal standing.

Within a few years, the Board of Censors of the City of Little Rock would be dissolved (as similar bodies also were disappearing across the US). Likewise, the Auditorium Commission was discontinued before Hair even opened with its duties being taken over by the Advertising and Promotion Commission and the Convention & Visitors Bureau staff.  This was not connected to the Hair decision; it was, instead, related to expanding convention facilities in Robinson and the new adjacent hotel.  Regardless of the reasons for their demise, both bygone bodies were vestiges of earlier, simpler and differently focused days in Little Rock.

Film Screeners Wanted for 2019 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

The 2019 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is open for submissions and the films are rolling in! Persons who don’t want to wait until October to enjoy a bounty of documentaries can sign up to join the screening committee and play a vital role in the 2019 programming!Want to sign up? Here’s how!

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of work to prepare for those 9 days in October, and the process begins with the Screening Committee.  It gets to work as soon as the HSDFF is open for entries, and works through Mid-July. Here are the basic details:

The screening committee is an advisory group that serves the festival programmers. Each year, HSDFF receives over 1,000 entries, and the Screening Committee reviews them and pre-qualifies them to help the programmers make informed decisions. The Committee does not make final programming decisions, but they do make sure that each submission gets multiple viewings and ratings to expedite the programming process.

What is required? Watching films online, and writing detailed reviews on FilmFreeway.com. You’ll be provided a login when we get started up, and the site is very easy to use.

Do I have to attend meetings? There are monthly Screening Committee meetings held, mostly in in Hot Springs. Attendance at these meetings isn’t mandatory, but all are welcome to attend and spend time with their fellow screeners to discuss their favorite films.

HSDFF requests that screeners commit to viewing at least 50 films over a 5 month period, in exchange for a Film Buff pass, which will get you into all screenings. Screeners that watch 150 films or more will receive an All-Access pass that will grant you access to all the afterparties and the VIP lounge.

Training materials will be provided to all new screeners. You don’t have to write a professional quality review, but HSDFF does ask that you’re sufficiently thorough with your responses in addressing each entry’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall festival-worthiness.

Follow this link to complete your online application. It will only take a few minutes, and your contact information will never be posted publicly or be shared with anyone.

Little Rock Look Back: 57th Mayor Martin Borchert

On January 16, 1916, future Little Rock Mayor Martin Borchert was born in Stuttgart.  After graduating high school he moved to Little Rock.  During World War II, he served as a bomber.  He started work at ACME Brick and spent 21 years there before engaging in other business interests.  Among these businesses were Martin Borchert Co., ASCO Hardware, Detection Systems Inc. and Component Systems Inc.  In 2005 he was inducted into the Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame.

Mayor Borchert was elected to the Little Rock City Board of Directors in 1964 and served from January 1965 through December 1968. He chose not to seek a second term.  In 1967 and 1968 he served as Mayor of Little Rock. During this time, he laid out the vision for what has become Riverfront Park along the Arkansas River.

Other civic achievements included being a member of the Board of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, being on the Governor’s Citizens Advisory Committee, a member of the Pulaski County Quorum Court, vice chairman of the Arkansas Planning Commission, and being on the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council. In 1967 he served on the President’s National Advisory Council to the Small Business Administration.

Mayor Borchert served on the Little Rock Water Commission, including a tenure as chairman. In 1985, he was chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Policy Board and as chairman oversaw the transfer of the Central Arkansas Transit system to the Central Arkansas Transit Authority. One of the achievements of which he was very proud of was that he was one of the very first in Arkansas to receive an Adopt the Highway road.

Mayor Borchert was married for 57 years to Rosemary “Biddy” Branch Borchert.  They had two children, a son, John “Topper” Borchert and a daughter, Leslie Borchert Wilson.  He died on May 11, 2007.