“The Comedy of Errors for Dummies” is special program tonight at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Two sets of twins, a shipwreck, unrequited love, and much more!  Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors has twists, turns, humor and romance.

AST Executive Director Mary Ruth Marotte will discuss The Comedy of Errors’ plot and themes in a user-friendly way to enhance your viewing pleasure of AST’s outdoor production this summer.

It will take place in McAlister Hall’s Mirror Room, UCA. The program starts at 5pm.

Advertisements

Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation annual event tonight at Atlas Bar

Image may contain: textThe Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation (the all-volunteer nonprofit which maintains and sponsors the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame established in 1994) will hold its 2019 annual event (an intimate jazz concert with special sit-ins) on Monday, 17 June (8 to 11 p.m.) at the Atlas Bar (1224 South Main Street).

This annual fundraiser is adults-only (21+) and open to the public; cost of admission is $20, payable at the door by cash/check (payable to the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation).  Larger donations are encouraged, and the Foundation recognizes patrons donating at least $50/$100/$500/$1000;

Proceeds from this event (along with annual dues and donations from individuals) fund the Foundation’s ongoing educational activities and upcoming Hall of Fame inductions (held in even-numbered years).

Doors open at 7:45 p.m.

Food and beverage service will be available during the event.  Admission fee is waived for current AJHF members submitting 2019-2020 dues (payable 1 July 2019) by 1 June 2019; a new membership application (available on Foundation’s website and Facebook page) must be submitted with dues from any member who has not done so in the past three years.

Headlining the event is Grammy-nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro (1998 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, roseannavitro.com); the anchoring quartet features Joe Vick (upright bass, 2014 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame), Ted Ludwig (guitar, 2016 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, tedludwig.com), Brian Brown (drums, 2018 Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame), and Sam Carroll (keys).  There will be special sit-ins by various distinguished jazz artists, including other Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame inductees.

1945 Commissioning of USS Little Rock

Following the 1944 launch of the USS Little Rock, there were still several months before the ship was ready to officially join the US Navy fleet.

On June 17, 1945, the USS Little Rock was officially commissioned and joined the fleet.  While Europe had surrendered by this time, the war in the Pacific continued.

The commissioning took place at the US Naval Yard in Philadelphia.  At the start of the ceremony, an invocation was given by the Ship’s Chaplain, Lt. C. L. Dickey.  Then Rear Admiral Draemel, the Commandant of the Fourth Naval District gave an address.

The simultaneous raising  the ensign, jack and commissioning pennant were accompanied by the National Anthem.  This marked the actual moment the ship joined the fleet.  Captain W. E. Miller, then ceremonially reported to the Commandant that the ship had been placed into commission.  He was then formally placed in command of the USS Little Rock.

The First Watch was set, followed by an introduction of Little Rock Mayor Dan T. Sprick.  Captain Miller then made an address, and Chaplain Dickey provided a benediction. The crew of the USS Little Rock was dismissed, followed by “Retreat” on the bugle. The program ended with tea being served to the crew in the respect messes.

Any member of the original crew  during the ceremony was issued a card indicating he was a Plank owner.  This entitled him to ownership of one of the planks on the weather deck of the ship.

Remembering LR Mayor John Widgery

On June 17, 1802, future Little Rock Mayor John Widgery was born in Portland ME to Mr. and Mrs. William Widgery.  His father died in 1804.  At the age of 11, John Widgery entered Bowdoin College.  He was the youngest student admitted to the college.

Widgery studied law with his uncle, Nathan Kinsman.  He married Ann L. Woodward, who was from Boston MA.  According to Bowdoin College records, he later “wandered away into the Southwest” spending time “in the Cherokee country.”

Widgery spent most of his adult life in the south. For a time Widgery was clerk of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He then moved to Little Rock prior to 1840.  By 1840, he was Recorder for the City of Little Rock.

According to media reports at the time, several tradesman groups encouraged Widgery to run for Mayor in January 1841.  He did run but lost to Rev. Samuel H. Webb.  The next year, Widgery ran again and this time was elected Mayor.  He took office in January 1842.  On May 24, 1842 he resigned from office.  He later served as Secretary of the Arkansas Senate (where he made $8 a day when the Senate was in session).

Widgery eventually settled in St. Louis.  He later returned up north.  He died on August 2, 1873 in Portland ME and is buried there.  He and his wife did not have any children.

No known painting or photograph of Mayor Widgery exists.

Happy Father’s Day (with a sculptural flair)

Today is Father’s Day.   Little Rock has at least five sculptures which reflect the theme of the day.

In Riverfront Park, Jane DeDecker’s THE TIES THAT BIND shows a father helping his son tie his shoes.  It was installed in tribute to longtime Little Rock KATV executive Dale Nicholson.  He had been an active supporter of Sculpture at the River Market.  It is placed near another sculpture by Jane DeDecker, which Nicholson had selected as a memorial to his wife.

Not far from THE TIES THAT BIND is Kevin Kresse’s BREAKING THE CYCLE.  Installed in 2013, it shows a son pushing his father in a wheelbarrow.  At the time of the dedication, Kresse commented the piece is meant to show a father and son who have decided to “switch things up” for a new perspective on life.  Kresse and his son were the models for the piece.

One of the first sculptures placed in Riverfront Park in 2004 was DeDecker’s ANGLERS. It shows a grandfather and granddaughter going off to fish.  This sculpture is located near the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center.

The sculpture was dedicated in November 2004 a few days before the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.  it was selected, in part, because it paid tribute to the natural habitat of the area.  Since the sculpture was installed, not only has the Nature Center opened, but the Bill Clark Presidential Park Wetlands were created.

Near the Marriott Hotel, in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, is C. T. Whitehouse’s HUDSON’S VOYAGE.  This sculpture is a tribute to his father.

Located near the Arkansas River, it reflects not only the boats and barges which travel by it daily, but is also symbolic of Whitehouse’s father’s service in the Navy and the possibilities that opened up for him.

Lastly, Tim Cherry’s RABBIT REACH is located near the Museum of Discovery.  The sculpture is a gift from Whitlow Wyatt and the Carey Cox Wyatt Charitable Foundation. It was given in memory of George Wyatt and Frank Kumpuris.  Those two gentlemen were the fathers of Whitlow Wyatt and Dean & Drew Kumpuris.

GUYS AND DOLLS rolls in to Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre this summer

Logo.jpgGuys and Dolls is the musical in the 2019 season of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

This self-described “Musical Fable of Broadway” is based on Damon Runyon’s stories. With a score by Frank Loesser, it has a book by Abe Burrows. (Contractual obligations required that Jo Swerling get credit as a co-author, though none of his original draft ended up in the final product.)

Telling the story of a pair of gamblers and their romantic entanglements, it features memorable characters who frequent nightclubs, a storefront mission, Cuba, and a floating crap game in a sewer.  The original production won the 1951 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Performances started last night (June 15) and continue today, June 16 (2:00pm), June 23 (2:00pm), June 25 (7:30pm), June 28 (7:30pm), June 30 (2:00pm AND 7:30pm), July 2 (7:30pm), July 4 (2:00pm), and July 6 (2:00pm AND 7:30pm). The musical is performed on the stage of the Reynolds Performance Hall.

The cast includes Chad Bradford, Emily Wold, Benjamin Reed, Chris Fritzges, Rebecca Brudner, Nick Narcisi, Patrice Phillips, Ben Grimes, Will Stotts, Barry Clifton, Cody Walls, Augustine Nguyen, Braxton Johnson, Kevin Alan Brown, Maureen Toomey, Mikala Hicks, Regean Allen, Stephanie Craven, Dylan Blackwood, Ashley Mahan, Anthony Bryant, Brian Earles, and Moriah Patterson.

The production is directed by Jenna Elser.  A native of Searcy, she is the Artistic Director of Glow Lyric Theatre in South Carolina. She also is Director of Converse Opera Theatre at Converse College.

Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director and Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director.

Tonight on CALS Ron Robinson Theater stage – Phil Plait lecture – Strange New Worlds: Is Earth Special?

Phil Plait lecturing

The Central Arkansas Library System and Central Arkansas Astronomical Society present an evening with Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait.  The program is at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater at 7pm.

Our search for exoplanets, planets outside our own solar system, has so far yielded thousands of strange new worlds but, none of them appear to be anything like our blue-green Earth. Is our world truly special? Or, maybe, the question should be: how Earth-like does a planet need to be in order to be like Earth?

Come join us for an evening with Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait, author of the Bad Astronomy blog and the books, Bad Astronomy and Death From The Skies.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

For as long as he can remember, Dr. Phil Plait has been in love with science.

“When I was maybe four or five years old, my dad brought home a cheapo department store telescope. He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked,” he says.

After earning his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Virginia, he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope as a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy website and blog, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book Bad Astronomywas released in 2002, followed in 2008 by Death From The Skies! He can most recently be seen in Crash Course Astronomy, a 46-part educational web series he wrote and hosted that has over 20 million views. He hosted the TV show Phil Plait’s Bad Universe on the Discovery Channel in 2010 and was the head science writer for Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix, due out in 2017. Dr. Plait’s blog has been hosted by Discover Magazine and Slate, and is now on Syfy Wire.

Dr. Plait has given talks about science and pseudoscience across the US and internationally. He uses images, audio, and video clips in entertaining and informative multimedia presentations packed with humor and backed by solid science.

He has spoken at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute (home of Hubble), the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and many other world-class museums and planetaria, conferences, astronomy clubs, colleges and universities, and community groups. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Pax TV, Tech TV, Syfy, Radio BBC, Air America, NPR, and many other television and internet venues. His writing has appeared in DiscoverSky and TelescopeAstronomyNight Sky, Space.com, and more.

This event brought to you by the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society and the Central Arkansas Library System and made possible by funding provided by the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.