As the Thanksgiving weekend approaches and people travel the highways and byways Arkansas and the South, it is a good time to think about the Oxford American magazine.

The Oxford American celebrates great writing, great food, great music and the great people of the South.  With a broad definition of “great” it takes time to highlight not only the renowned but also the hidden treasures. By focusing on the South, the Oxford American shines the spotlight on things that unique to the South, but also shows that there is much that is universal.

Founded in 1992 by Marc Smirnoff in Oxford, Mississippi, the Oxford American has been located in Conway, Arkansas, on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas since 2004.  The magazine is led by Smirnoff and publisher Warwick Sabin.

The magazine has won many awards and received much recognition.  The music issue will be released in December and is the most popular issue each year.  It will be discussed in a future entry here.  The current issue focuses on education.

If you are a passenger on a road trip this weekend, the Oxford American is a great way to spend the time. Or if you are having a family and turkey overload — it makes a great getaway.

UALR Music shines spotlight on JOHN Q. WILLIS

John Q. Willis, who has been entertaining audiences at various venues throughout Central Arkansas for the past several years, is the featured songwriter at the UALR Music Department’s Songwriter Showcase.  As a performer and writer, Willis is firmly planted in the tradition of the great singer-songwriters from the era of standards, pop music, jazz, folk, and gospel. He draws on many musical genres for inspiration, but also presents his own personal stamp.

Willis will perform songs from his upcoming release, The Other World, as well as selections from a larger work called Salvation Songs. The first part of the programme will feature works by students of the UALR songwriting program.

The concert will be tonight, Tuesday November 22 at 7:30pm at Stella Boyle Smith recital hall and is presented by the office of Campus Life and the UALR Department of Music. Admission is free.

QQA Preservation Conversations Continue Tonight

The Quapaw Quarter Association continues its monthly education series this year entitled “Preservation Conversations.” They take place the third Monday of each month at historic Curran Hall, which serves as the QQA headquarters in addition to being the Mayor’s Official Reception Hall.

Tonight is the November conversation – “Period Furnishings and Colors.” It will be presented by Becky Witsell.  For 30 years, Witsell has combined her love of art, architecture and history in the field of preservation restoration.  Among the many, many projects with which she has been associated are the State Capitol, the Little Rock Zoo carousel horses, the Old State House, St. Edward Catholic Church, The Cathedral of St. Andrew, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, First United Methodist Church and countless homes.

Beginning at 5:00, Curran Hall will be open for patrons to enjoy a glass of wine, programs start at 5:30 p.m. and last for one hour.  After the official program concludes, all are invited to keep the conversation going and enjoy a discounted dinner at nearby Copper Grill, 300 East Third Street.

The Quapaw Quarter Association is a non-profit historic preservation advocacy organization whose mission is to promote the preservation of the historic buildings and neighborhoods of Greater Little Rock. Rhea Roberts is the Executive Director.

Sculpture Sunday: Forever a Rose

Today’s public art is Denny Haskew’s Forever a Rose which was installed in Riverfront Park in 2009.  Sited on a promontory next to the Arkansas River and surrounded by roses, it almost immediately became a favorite spot for engagement and bridal photos. 

Forever a Rose was donated by brothers Dean and Drew Kumpuris, both promoters of public art in Little Rock.  Haskew, a member of the National Sculptors Guild, has several other placements in Little Rock.








IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE for the Community Theatre of Little Rock

Little Rock’s oldest theatre organization The Community Theatre of Little Rock presents It’s a Wonderful Life.  The show opened on Thursday, November 17 and runs through Sunday, November 27.

The cast includes Harold Dean, Jerry Woods, Jim Troillet, Mary Ann Hansen, Terry Harrison, Brian Polansky, Jeffrey Lewellen, Kathy Bartholmey, John Thomas Nicolai, Katie McManners, Danny Troillett, Brandy Allen, and Ginny Greer.  Troillett and Andrews serve as co-directors of this play adapted for the stage by James W. Rodgers.

Performances are at the Public Theatre, located at 616 Center Street in downtown. Reservations can be made by calling 410-ACT3 or (410-2283).

Arkansas Arts Center Museum School Sale

The Arkansas Arts Center Museum School Sale will be held Saturday, November 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clear Channel Metroplex (I-430 and Col. Glenn exit).

Museum School teachers and students sell their original artwork including drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, pottery, woodwork, prints, jewelry and glass objects. Artists accept cash and checks. The public is invited to attend. Parking and admission are free.

Museum School Sale Member Night
For the first time, there is a special Members-only preview.  It will be on November 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. Arkansas Arts Center Members will be able to view and purchase items before the Sale opens to the public. Memberships can be purchased at the door.

Finland at Forty-Two

Finland! Finland!

Explore the world, but leave your passport at home!  Forty-Two, the restaurant at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, continues Around the World Thursdays this month with a visit to the land of the midnight sun, a thousand lakes and mires.

Three courses for only $27.95 provide the opportunity to sample unique flavors in a beautiful setting.   Seating is limited, and reservations are required.  Due to extreme popularity of the events, advanced reservations are strongly recommended. Chef Stephen Burrow was recently crowned the Arkansas Hospitality Association Iron Chef 2011.

This is a great way to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center, which opened in November 2004.