Artober – On My Bookshelf – Cultural Policy, Fiction about the South, Family Heirlooms

October is Arts and Humanities Month nationally and in Little Rock. Americans for the Arts has identified a different arts topic to be posted for each day in the month. Today’s topic is “On My Bookshelf.”

I love books.  I have thousands. I have not read them all, but I’ve read most of them.

These are from my grandfather Alvin Moses Carter’s set of encyclopedias. They were in his house for decades. Now they are in my office at work, where they sit near his steamer trunk. He died three years before I was born, but I feel connected to him when I see these items every day.

Also in my office are some books on cultural policy and history.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet Frohnmayer, Alexander,and Florida and discuss their books with them.

At home, I have books everywhere. I once tried to group them by subject and put in alphabetical order, but there were just too many, and they have to fit in a variety of spaces. These paper backs are on shelves that were built in my apartment when a doorway was filled in. Two of these books served as inspiration for Broadway musicals in 1949, each with heroines from Little Rock.

These two books face forward on one of my bookshelves (hiding some reference books).  Little Rock native Ben Piazza’s book is a fictionalized account of his childhood. He wrote it while appearing in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway. The other book is an oral history of Angels in America and is one of the best books I have read about theatre and history in a long time.

ROCKing the TONYS – Helen Hayes

Rock the TonysHelenHelen Hayes

Little Rock connection: Appeared at Robinson Auditorium in 1942.

Tony Awards connection: Received a Tony in 1947 (first ceremony) for her performance in Anita Loos’ Happy Birthday. In 1958, won the Actress in a Play Tony for Time Remembered.  Served as a host/presenter of the ceremonies in 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956.  Presented awards at ceremonies in 1957, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1978, 1981 and 1986.  In 1987, she made a special Tony appearance as part of a tribute to George Abbott on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Her final appearance on the Tony Awards was at age 89 at the 1990 ceremony.