A Night of Trap Jazz and Slam Poetry at the Clinton Presidential Center

Join the Clinton Presidential Center for a performance by Philli Moo, Qnote, and the Trap Jazz Giants. The program will begin at 6pm tonight (February 16).

Trap Jazz is a new genre of music birthed out of the original art forms of contemporary and Jazz standards with a baseline and core of traditional Hip-Hop, created by Phillip “Philli Moo” Mouton and Quincy “Qnote” Watson.

The program will also feature an appearance by Crystal C. Mercer, and will open with the Writeous Poets, a group of Little Rock teens who perform slam poetry. The Writeous Poets were established in 2002 under the sponsorship and guidance of Leron and Stacey McAdoo. Mrs. McAdoo was named the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year and is a teacher at Little Rock Central High School.

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Little Rock Look Back: Opening of Robinson Center Performance Hall

On February 16, 1940, after three years of planning and construction including several delays due to lack of funding, the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium officially opened. It was a cold, rainy night, but those in attendance did not care.  (The concept of a municipal auditorium for Little Rock had first been raised in 1904, so this evening was truly a long time in the works.)

Searchlights painting arcs in the sky greeted attendees. They were borrowed from the Arkansas National Guard. Newspaper accounts noted that only a few of the men who attended were in tuxedos, most were simply in suits. The work to get the building opened had been so harried, that it was discovered there was not an Arkansas flag to fly in front of the building. Mayor Satterfield found one at the last minute courtesy of the Arkansas Department of the Spanish War Veterans.

The weather delayed arrivals, so the program started fifteen minutes late. Following a performance of Sibelius’ Finlandia by the fledgling Arkansas State Symphony Orchestra, Mayor J. V. Satterfield, Ewilda Robinson (the Senator’s widow), Emily Miller (the Senator’s sister-in-law and a member of the Auditorium Commission) and D. Hodson Lewis of the Chamber of Commerce participated in a brief ribbon cutting ceremony. Mrs Robinson cut the ribbon on her second attempt (once again proving that nothing connected with getting the building open was easy).

The ceremony was originally set to be outside of the building but was moved indoors due to the inclement weather. The ribbon cutting took place on the stage with the ribbon stretched out in front of the curtain. The opening remarks were broadcast on radio station KGHI.

Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Miller and Mayor Satterfield look on as Mrs. Robinson cuts the ribbon

Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Miller and Mayor Satterfield look on as Mrs. Robinson cuts the ribbon

Tickets for the event, advertised as being tax exempt, were at four different pricing levels: $2.50, $2.00, $1.50 and $1.00.

The estimated attendance was 1700. Following the ribbon cutting, the main performance took place. The headliner for the grand opening was the San Francisco Opera Ballet accompanied by the new Arkansas State Symphony Orchestra (not related to the current Arkansas Symphony Orchestra). The featured soloist with the ballet was Zoe Dell Lantis who was billed as “The Most Photographed Miss at the San Francisco World’s Fair.”

Auditorium Commission chairman E. E. Beaumont, a local banker, noted that while event planners knew the evening of ballet and classical music would not appeal to everyone, it was intended to show the wide range of offerings that would be suitable in the new space.  Earlier in the week, children’s theatre performances had been offered to school groups through the auspices of the Junior League of Little Rock.

At the same time that the gala was going on upstairs in the music hall, a high school basketball double-header was taking place in the downstairs convention hall. North Little Rock lost to Beebe in the first game, while the Little Rock High School Tigers upset Pine Bluff in the marquee game.

Little Rock Look Back: John Wassell

Future Little Rock Mayor John Wassell was born on February 15, 1813 in Kidderminster, England.

In 1829, he came to the United States.  He learned carpentry and construction in Ohio and ended up in Little Rock.  One of his jobs was as the finishing contractor on the State Capitol building, now known as the Old State House.

He later gave up carpentry and became an attorney.  (It is said that he did so after becoming embroiled in a legal dispute arising from one of his construction jobs.) Wassell also served as a judge.

In 1868, he was appointed Mayor of Little Rock by President Andrew Johnson.  He is Little Rock’s only Mayor to have served through a military appointment.  Mayor Wassell died in January 1881 and is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery along with his wife and other family members.  One of his grandsons, Samuel M. Wassell also served as Mayor of Little Rock. Another one, Dr. Corydon Wassell, was the subject of the Hollywood film The Story of Dr. Wassell.

Rock the Oscars 2019: Sam Waterston

On February 15, 2008, Oscar nominated actor Sam Waterston appeared at the Clinton Presidential Center in a Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series program sponsored by the Clinton School for Public Service and the Clinton Foundation.

Waterston was joined by the nation’s leading authority on Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer in presenting “Lincoln Seen and Heard,” featuring excerpts from Lincoln’s speeches, photographs of the late president and historical commentary.

He received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for 1984’s The Killing Fields.  He has also appeared in the Oscar winning The Great Gatsby and the Oscar nominated Heaven’s Gate, Interiors, Crimes & Misdemeanors, and Nixon.  On stage, Waterston was nominated for a Tony Award and received the Drama League Award for his performance in a revival of Abe Lincoln in Illinois.

Little Rock Look Back: Public facilities in Little Rock ordered to be integrated

Following the March 1962 lawsuit by twenty-two (22) African Americans seeking the integration of public facilities in Little Rock, Federal Judge J. Smith Henley issued a order on February 15, 1963.  Judge Henley ordered the end to segregation in City parks, playgrounds, golf courses, tennis facilities, community centers, and Robinson Auditorium.

Regarding the auditorium, the order allowed for single event, short-term leasing of wholly private meetings for membership and immediate friends of members.  But it did stress that there could be no racial discrimination in the selection of or terms of leases.

The judge’s order did not cover “other facilities not identified in the record.”  Which meant, the order did not apply to swimming pools.  At the time, War Memorial pool was operated for whites and Gillam Park pool was operated for African Americans.   The judge wrote that he saw no reason to extend it to facilities not mentioned, but did not rule out the ability for future lawsuits.  In asking for a summary judgement in January 1963, the defendants had listed many types of facilities but not swimming pools.

Judge Henley’s decision did not mean that a municipality was required to integrate.  It just could not enforce segregation.  As with many other court decisions at the time, it was narrow in scope.

The end result was that Little Rock facilities were now integrated.  Except for the swimming pools.  Those would have their own story.  It would take the 1964 Civil Rights act and more legal actions for that to happen.

LANTERNS! 2019 this weekend at Wildwood Park

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Wildwood’s annual deep-winter festival celebrates the first full moon of the lunar new year. Held over three magical evenings, guests are transported to far away lands and times as they stroll through the beautifully lit pathways of Wildwood’s gardens. Cultural vistas feature live entertainment, food, drink, games and more throughout the Park’s Butler Arboretum and inside the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre.

This year’s vistas include Germany, Mexico, China, Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom. Our American vista is Prohibition Chicago. As always, a trip to the Moon is a must, but this year be sure to stop by Area 51 as you just might find some aliens at our Moon vista.

Once you’re inside the gate, purchase your WildBucks at any of four locations and enjoy food and beverages at every vista. Prices range from $1 to $8. (ATM available inside the Park.) All proceeds support Wildwood Park for the Arts’ programs, gardens and operations.

TICKETS:

Tickets to the event are available online: $10 for adults, $5 for children age 6 – 12, Admission to LANTERNS! is FREE for children 5 and younger. At noon on each day of the festival, admission for that evening will increase to $12 for adults and $7 for children. Tickets at the gate are $12 for adults and $7 for children. Admission to LANTERNS! for children 5 and younger is FREE.

If you choose to purchase your ticket at the gate, we recommend bringing cash to avoid credit card fees and ticket lines!

Shuttles will run between The Promenade at Chenal and Wildwood Park beginning at 6 pm nightly until 30 minutes past the Festival’s closing. The festival closes at 10 pm on Friday & Saturday, 9 pm on Sunday. Arkansas Destinations shuttles will pick up passengers in the mall’s Courtyard located on the west side of the mall. Parking is ample. 

Off-street parking is also available along Denny Road in front of Wildwood Park. Guests enter the park on foot through two gates; no festival patron automobiles are allowed inside the park.

Bromance and Besties on a double bill at CALS Ron Robinson Theater tonight

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a double feature of two classic friendship movies, picked by our followers on Facebook and Instagram: Wayne’s World (1992, PG-13) and Clueless (1995, PG-13). Doors open at 6:00 p.m., Wayne’s World begins at 7:00 p.m., and Clueless begins at 9:00 p.m.

Beer, wine, and concessions will be available.

Originally a skit on Saturday Night Live during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Wayne’s World is about two teenage dudes who host a public access TV show, which is mainly about rock, babes and people who live in the area.

Clueless, director Amy Heckerling’s fresh adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma follows the misadventures of meddlesome Beverly Hills high schooler Cher, who gets more than she bargained for when she gives a fashion-challenged student a makeover.