LR Film Fest Reel Civil Rights Film Fest continues with MEDGAR EVERS: AN UNSUNG HERO

medgar-eversFifty years ago this past June, Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in front of his house in Mississippi.  Earlier this week, his widow (Myrlie Evers-Williams) and daughter (Reena Denise Evers-Everette) were honored in Little Rock for their work on behalf of the Civil Rights movement.

The Little Rock Film Festival’s Reel Civil Rights Film Fest continues today with the showing of Medgar Evers: An Unsung Hero.  This 2010 documentary explores the life and legacy of Mr. Evers.  It was produced by some of the creative team behind the AMC hit series Mad Men.  Directed by Michael Cory Davis. This two part film documentary on Medgar Evers provides extensive interviews with Myrlie Evers-Williams (widow), Charles Evers (brother), Reena Evers-Everette (daughter), Kestin Boyce, Derrick Johnson, and more.

The Reel Civil Rights Festival is sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival in partnership with the National Park Service trough its Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.  It was founded by Spirit Trickey.

The film will be shown at 6pm in the auditorium at Historic Arkansas Museum.

Following the film, Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter from The Clarion-Ledger will lead a talkback.

LR Film Fest Presents Reel Civil Rights Film Festival – Gideon’s Army

gideons_slab_540As a part of its year round programming schedule, The Little Rock Film Festival is proud to announce the 2013 Reel Civil Rights Film Festival – in proud partnership with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

The festival was originally founded by Spirit Trickey, daughter of one of the Little Rock Nine. The dates of the festival are centered around the anniversary of the desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High that took place on September 25th, 1997.

Little Rock’s importance in American civil rights history makes our city the perfect place to hold the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival,” says LRFF Executive Director Craig Renaud. “The Little Rock Film Festival is proud to help grow the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival into one more reason why Little Rock is becoming the next great Southern City.”

The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival runs from September 26 through September 28.  All films are screened at Historic Arkansas Museum.

Tonight’s film is Gideon’s Army.  It starts at 6pm.  It is a documentary which follows three young, committed Public Defenders who are dedicated to working for the people society would rather forget. Long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads are so common that even the most committed often give up.

In 1961 Clarence Earl Gideon was arrested for stealing soda and a few dollars from a pool hall.  He could not afford an attorney and was convicted after representing himself at trial.  Gideon appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, which, in a unanimous decision, ruled that the right to counsel in a criminal case is fundamental to the American system of justice. 

More than 12 million people are arrested in the United States each year.  Fifty years after the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright case, most of them will be represented by one of the United States’ 15,000 public defenders.

An official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, GIDEON’S ARMY follows a group of idealistic young public defenders in the Deep South, where lawyers face particularly difficult challenges due to high bonds, minimum mandatory sentencing and a culture that is traditionally “tough on crime.”  Directed by fellow attorney Dawn Porter, GIDEON’S ARMY follows two young lawyers as they prepare their cases for trial.

The film premiered on HBO in July.  It has previously been featured at many prestigious film festivals including Sundanace and Tribeca.

“Popular” WICKED back in the Rock for 2 weeks

wickedOz returns to the Rock as the Tony winning musical Wicked returns to Robinson Center Music Hall from September 25 through October 6. When Wicked was here in 2010, it set box office records.  It also sold out in a record time.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked, has won a Grammy and three Tony Awards.  Wicked features songs by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, and Working) and a book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”).  It tales the untold story of the witches of Oz.  The musical is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out; Assassins; The Receptionist).

Two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  “Wicked” tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

Presented by Celebrity Attractions, the production takes center stage at Robinson Center Music Hall for a limited two-week engagement.

The performance schedule is as follows:

  • 7:30 p.m Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday
  • 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 (special matinee)

Prices start at $43.

Tickets can be purchased here, or by calling (501) 244-8800 or stopping by the Celebrity Attractions Box Office at 300 S. Spring, Little Rock.

For more information about the performances, click here.

Central High Integration 56th Anniversary Event This Evening

centralentranceIt was 56 years ago today that the Little Rock Nine entered Little Rock Central High School and finally started their school year.  Each year this date is commemorated both at Little Rock Central High as well as by the National Park Service through its Little Rock Central High National Historic Site.

In keeping with the anniversary day of the 1957 Little Rock Central High School crisis, the National Park Service will be honoring Little Rock’s own Annie Abrams (who also celebrates a birthday today), a nationally recognized civil rights activist.  She will be lauded for her service to Little Rock and for her dedication to movements around the United States of America.

In the spirit of the work done by activists worldwide fighting for freedom and putting their lives on the line, the Park Service is presenting keynote speaker, Myrlie Evers-Williams. She is the widow of civil rights activist Medgar Evers who was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Mississippi 50 years ago. Evers-Williams will address the accomplishments of her late husband and the work she continues as an agent for social justice.

Tonight at the Kendall Center on the campus of Philander Smith College, Annie Abrams, Reena Denise Evers-Everette (daughter of Medger and Myrlie Evers), and Myrlie Evers-Williams will receive the Soul of Humanity Award, given in recognition of outstanding commitment and service to social justice and lifelong action in the struggle for civil rights.

The program is free and open to the public.  It will take place at 6pm at the Kendall Center on the campus of Philander Smith College.

Mac Park Music Concludes 2013 with Beers and Brats

Beer Brats 2013 MacFrom the late 1920s through the mid 1950s, Little Rock’s MacArthur Park was a centerpiece of live music.  The Foster Bandshell, named in memory of Mrs. H. H. Foster, stood in the park near 10th and Commerce.  The structure was torn down in the early 1960s.  A portion of the Arkansas Arts Center sits on the site of the old Foster Bandshell.

In 2002, the lakeside pavilion in MacArthur Park was renamed the Foster Pavilion to pay tribute to the memory of Mrs. Foster and the bandshell.

The Foster Pavilion will be the site of a new music series taking place on Wednesday nights in September.  MAC PARK MUSIC! wraps up its inaugural series tonight from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

Tonight is the annual Beer and Brats fundraiser.  The lineup features the Steve Giles Jam Band. Brats will be grilled by Mac Park supporter Bryan Barnhouse.  The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for students aged 13-20, $7 for kids aged 6 to 12.  It is free for those aged 5 and under.  Proceeds go to benefit improvements in MacArthur Park.

ASO Chamber Series Kicks Off Tonight with Brahms the Romantic

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra kicks off the 2013-2014 Parker Lexus River Rhapsodies Chamber Music series tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center.

The program will feature Mozart’s “String Quintet No. 3 in C major, K.515;” Takemitsu’s “Rain Tree;” and Brahms “Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115.”

Mozart’s piece was completed in 1787.  Like all of Mozart’s string quintets, it is a viola quintet.  That means, it is scored for an extra viola: two violins, two violas and one cello.  Takemitsu’s selection was composed in 1982.  At that point in time, many of his compositions have references to water in the title.  Brahms composed his clarinet quintet in the summer of 1891.  The piece is known for its autumnal feeling (appropriate to be performed on one of the first full days after the autumnal equinox).  The selection is written for a clarinet in A and a string quartet.

Six Pioneers, Other Leaders honored by National Park Service Tonight

NPSLRCHTomorrow, September 25, marks the 56th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.  Each year the school and the National Park Service schedule a series of events to commemorate this.

This year, commemoration activities start this evening.  At 6pm at Philander Smith College, there will be a panel to discuss the Six Pioneers. These were the first six African-American students to desegregate the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (U of A) School of Law.  The descendants of the Six Pioneers will discuss the role of moral courage and the change that occurred in the hills of northern Arkansas over 65 years ago.  George Haley, the sole living pioneer will give remarks as well.

Their footsteps on the foothills of conviction cleared a path for the desegregation of Hoxie Elementary in 1955 and Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The U of A School of Law was the first southern white university to accept African-American students since Reconstruction.

The Six Pioneers, The Honorable Rodney Slater, Attorney John W. Walker, Sr., Judge Wiley A. Branton, Jr., Sanford Tollette IV, Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton and Robin Woods Loucks will all be recipients of the Soul of Humanity Award given in recognition of outstanding commitment and service to social justice and lifelong action in the struggle for civil rights.

The evening will close with remarks from Reena Denise Evers-Everette, daughter of civil rights activist and martyr Medgar Evers.

The event will take place at the Kendall Science and Health Mission Center on the Philander Smith College campus.