Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


JAZZKAPELLE jazzes up the Arkansas Arts Center

Tonight, March roars out like a Lion (instead of the proverbial docile lamb) at the Arkansas Arts Center.  Studio Party: Jazzkapelle is the Arkansas Arts Center’s premiere fundraising event for 2012. Following the overwhelming success of Studio Party after Tabriz in 2011, Studio Party has evolved to its own event. Designed as an exciting prohibition-themed party that supports the Arkansas Arts Center, the Studio Party theme is inspired the 1921 Max Beckmann drawing from the AAC collection titled Jazzkapelle, which is German for jazz band.

At Studio Party, guests are invited into the Deco-drenched cabaret experience of the early 20th century, just as in the drawing.

“One of the benefits of having a world class collection of art at your fingertips is that it offers an almost endless supply of themes and subjects to spark the imagination,” says Todd Herman, Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center. “I love the idea that we are using a German drawing from the 1920s as our inspiration this year for Studio Party. The noise and energy that are so apparent in the drawing by Beckmann will be translated into a high-energy party at the Arts Center!”

Party goers will dance the night away in a club setting to Liquid Pleasure from Atlanta, GA, who in their 29th year have firmly established themselves as the South’s premiere show and dance band.

Tickets to the Studio Party are $100 party tickets and $250 VIP tickets. VIP tickets put AAC Patrons one step closer to the dance floor. While sipping sloe gin fizzes and classic champagne cocktails in a speakeasy lounge atmosphere, pre-party goers will enjoy the Roaring 20’s tastiest treats, live jazz and the antics of a Cabaret clad wait staff.

Windstream Corporation is the Studio Party presenting sponsor. Event sponsors are East-Harding, Central/Moon Distributors, Inc., Noble Strategies, CWP Productions and Stone Ward. Patron sponsor is First Security Bank.

Tickets will be available at the door.

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Frank Thurmond at WordsWorth this Saturday

Little Rock native Frank Thurmond, an instructor at UALR as well as an author and musician will have a book signing and reading at WordsWorth Books tomorrow (Saturday, March 31) at 1pm.

Thurmond’s book, Before I Sleep: A Memoir of Travel and Reconciliation was published by Et Alia press.  Here is how they describe it:

Before I Sleep begins with a telephone call: Absent for three decades, Thurmond’s birth father phones from his death bed, offering his son a chance for reconciliation. During those decades of absence, the son has passed through childhood in the rural South to fulfill his dream of studying abroad at Oxford University. Along the way, his travels take him from Dallas to Madrid to Soviet Moscow. The people he meets are larger-than-life, including Allen Ginsberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Queen Elizabeth II. Recounting life-shaping events and the insights they yield, Before I Sleep brings Thurmond’s physical, intellectual, and spiritual journeying vividly to life. Readers will find this an engaging and deeply inspiring memoir.

Thurmond will also be featured at the Arkansas Literary Festival in April.


Deadline Approaching for Arkansas Arts Summit Registration

The Arkansas Arts Council is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2012 Arkansas Arts Summit April 17-18 at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. This intensive, two-day event will provide practical training for board members and arts administrators to help build and maintain art organizations and programs.

The conference will also offer performances, social events and networking opportunities. Registration is $95 and deadline to register is April 1. Click here to download a registration form, which includes a conference agenda and hotel information.

The Summit is presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center.

Led by Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser, the conference will equip participants to:

    • Recruit and manage board members
    • Achieve fundraising success
    • Create institutional image with impact
    • Improve strategic financial planning
    • Develop and support effective marketing campaigns

Sponsors include the Arkansas Arts Council, the William J. Clinton Foundation, Donna and Mack McLarty, Kaki Hockersmith, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Windgate Foundation, Stella Boyle Smith Trust, the City of Little Rock and the City of North Little Rock.


UALR Music offers Opera A La Carte Thursday evening

The UALR Opera Theatre will present “Opera à la Carte” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in the Great Hall of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Proceeds from this dinner will benefit the opera endowment fund.

Throughout the evening, guests will be treated to performances by UALR vocal music students. Cocktails will be served before dinner, and guests will be able to stroll the mansion gardens where student vocalists will perform.

“During each of the three dinner courses, delightful musical selections will be served to accompany the meal,” said Diane Kesling, assistant professor of music.

The evening also will include a silent auction featuring three specialty-designed hats from last season’s production of “Four Saints in Three Acts” by Virgil Thomson.

The UALR Opera Endowment Fund supports all aspects of opera production, such as purchase of music, scenery, orchestration, and costumes.


Museum of Discovery: Science After Dark on Wednesday evening (3/28)

The Museum of Discovery’s new monthly program series designed for persons ages 21 and older, titled “Science After Dark,” will occur Wednesday, March 28, 2012 6-8 pm. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about science in a unique, fun setting.

This month’s theme is polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as vinyl. People will be entertained when learning what vinyl is, how it is made and what its uses are.

“Many people will remember when vinyl was used for music records. Of course, some may not! They were around long before cds and dvds. We’ve partnered with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) staff, and they will be bringing some of their stored records. We plan to have a record sale. It will be fun to browse through some fun classics,” said Joel Gordon, the Museum’s visitor experience manager.

Since re-opening in January, the new Museum of Discovery has developed programming for multiple audiences. Its mission is to “ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment” – at any age.

“The Museum of Discovery has many educational offerings. We’re here to serve as a science resource for the whole state. For years, we’ve been a favorite with families and educators. Today, this new facility is a quality attraction for all ages,” said Nan Selz, Executive Director of the Museum.

“We began hosting Science After Dark in January as a way to engage adults by presenting the world of science in an entertaining way,” she added.

Science After Dark is held the fourth Wednesday of each month. Museum educators pick a different topic, and develop an event around it. In addition to this month’s old-school record sale, activities will include tinkering with records and a record-spinning disc jockey. The event is for ages 21 and older, admission is $10 per person and a cash bar will be available. Museum members will be admitted for free.

For more information on Science After Dark or the Museum of Discovery, visit www.museumofdiscovery.org, follow us on www.facebook.com/museumofdiscovery and www.twitter.com/arkmod, or call (501) 396-7050.


Another elite architectural award for a Little Rock firm and building

Polk Stanley Wilcox of Little Rock was awarded the American Architecture Award for its design of the Heifer International Murphy Keller Education Center in Little Rock.

In the last five years, PSW has won this award for both the Acxiom Data Center and the Heifer International Headquarters.

The Murphy Keller Eduction Center provides a place for visitors, staff, volunteers and the international development community to come together to learn about world hunger and poverty and current solutions to these problems.

It features an interactive learning center that includes exhibit space, a conference hall, a fair trade gift market and food service area.

“This recognition is proof that good design matters, and can contribute to getting an organization like Heifer’s message out into the public eye, which is critical for their humanitarian efforts,” Reese Rowland, the project’s principal architect, said. “We are also excited to bring more national exposure to downtown Little Rock as well.”

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design & Urban Studies and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd., selected the Polk Stanley Wilcox design for the award, one of 46 given this year.

The American Architecture Award aims to celebrate the “most outstanding new architecture” designed and built in the United States by American and international architects.

About 1,000 projects from around the world were considered for the award.


Sculpture Vulture: St. Vincent

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This week’s Sculpture Vulture features sculptures on the campus of the St. Vincent Medical Center. On either side of the main entrance to the hospital are marble sculptures. One is of the hospital’s namesake St. Vincent de Paul and the other is of Jesus Christ.

The statue of St. Vincent depicts him with two children. In his left arm, he holds a small boy and is looking down at a young girl with outstretched arms. The statue was given in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Young.

Opposite the statue of St. Vincent is a statue of Jesus Christ. It depicts him standing with arms raised.

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