Little Rock Look Back: Michael Jackson in town

August 29, 2018, would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th Birthday.

On December 2, 1972, he and his brothers performed in concert at Barton Coliseum. But earlier in the day, they were the grand marshals for the second annual Little Rock Christmas Parade.

They were featured in a full page ad for M. M. Cohn advertising the parade (and of course encouraging persons to stop by the store while they were downtown).

The Jackson 5 sang and waved from the upper level of a London style double decker bus. About fifty kids followed behind the bus yelling their appreciation and singing along.

Writing for the Arkansas Gazette, Bill Lewis notes that the biggest cheers at the parade, however, went to Gary Weir as KATV’s Bozo (even louder than the one’s for Santa).

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Holiday Fun at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center this afternoon from 2 until 5

MTCCSayJoin the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center for a festive and fun day full of holiday cheer! The fun runs from 2pm util 5pm.

This year’s event will feature the 5th annual “Say It Ain’t Say’s” sweet potato pie contest, in honor of Little Rock’s black Santa, Robert “Say” McIntosh.  They will live entertainment, fun activities for kids and the opportunity to browse our current exhibits.

You and our panel of celebrity judges will determine who has the best sweet potato pie in Central Arkansas.

Tthe Holiday Open House will feature performances by comedian Nate Williams, Tania and Tamia Kelley, Mablevale Elementary Drumline, Gloryland Pastor’s Choir, Mablevale Magnet Middle School Dance Team, Horace Mann Magnet Middle School Dance Ensemble, Latavia Franklin and Shereece Manuel aka Shades of Diamondz.

This year, a trolley will be available to take guests to two other Department of Arkansas Heritage Museums located in downtown Little Rock: Old State House Museum and Historic Arkansas Museum. The trolley route will also include the Governor’s Mansion Open House.

For more information call 501-683-3620.

Celebrate Christmas at Old State House Museum’s Holiday Open House today from 1pm to 4:30pm

OSH logoToday is the day for the Department of Arkansas Heritage museums in Little Rock to celebrate the holidays.

This afternoon from 1pm until 4:30pm, the Old State House Museum will be hosting a Holiday Open House.

The traditions of joyous family holiday celebrations past can be relived at Holiday Open House. Visitors will find the Old State House colorfully decorated for the season. Fun, hands-on activities will be available to children; they can create unique holiday cards and more.

Delightful carols will be performed by local music groups. Visitors will also enjoy delicious cookies and punch.

Call (501) 324-9685 for more information. Admission is free

The 49th Annual Historic Arkansas Museum Christmas Frolic today from 1 to 4

ham-frolicWhen the Culture Vulture was just a Culture Chick, his parents took him to then-Arkansas Territorial Restoration Christmas Open House.

Thankfully, this event continues and celebrates Christmas as it was in the 1800s with living history, carols, reenactments, live music, dancing and more. Visitors come from across the state every year for our famous hot cider and ginger cake, as well as Arkansas-made holiday shopping in the Museum Store.

Celebrate Christmas as it was in the 1800s with living history, carols, reenactments, live music, dancing and more plus:

  • Live music by the Arkansas Country Dance Band, Lark in the Morning, Sugar on the Floor, fiddler Ricky Russell and friends and the Aeolus Recorder Konsort.
  • Meet Linda Palmer Williams, author and artist of Champion Trees of Arkansas
  • Visit with Susan Williamson on her line of Plant Me Seed Cards
  • Take a holiday picture by the reconstructed 1830s Pleasure Wagon!

The fun continues from 1pm until 4pm today.  Watch for HAM director Bill Worthen to dance the Virginia Reel, which members of his family have been dancing in Arkansas since the 1820s.

This weekend – ELF the Musical at Robinson Center

Broadway returns to Robinson Center with Elf, The Musical today, December 3, and tomorrow, December 4.  There will be four performances of this Sparklejollytwinklejingley musical!

ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF.

Produced by NETworks Presentations, LLC and WarnerBros. Theatre Ventures, Elf features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone).  The production features direction by Sam Scalamoni and choreography by Connor Gallagher.

The New York Times says that ELF is “SPLASHY, PEPPY, SUGAR-SPRINKLED HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT!” USA Today calls ELF, “ENDEARINGLY GOOFY!” Variety proclaims, “ELF is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults!”

Performances are at 3pm and 8pm today and at 2pm and 7pm tomorrow.  ELF is brought to Little Rock by Celebrity Attractions.

The Elves and the Shoemaker up next at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

The Elves and the ShoemakerThe Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will bring the spirit of the holiday season to the stage in The Elves and the Shoemaker, a musical adapted from the folktales of the Brothers Grimm. The show will run December 2 through December 18.

The holiday reimagining of the Grimm’s folktale tells the story of a poor cobbler with a good heart and a grateful spirit. Jack Shoemaker and his family have fallen on hard times. Jack’s debts are coming due with the new year, and his family’s chances of a happy Christmas are looking bleak. But just when he seems to be losing all hope, he receives a strange visit in the night. Elves grant a magical gift that reminds him what is truly important in life: family. And when that family gratefully returns the elves’ kind gesture, they are doubly blessed with the happiest, most love-filled Christmas ever. This traditional family favorite is ideal for the holiday season of giving.

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre performance of The Elves and the Shoemaker is directed by Keith Smith. Bradley D. Anderson is the artistic director. The sets are designed by Miranda Young, costumes are designed by Nikki Webster, technical direction by Drew Posey, lighting design by Mike Stacks, choreography by Erin Fowler and musical direction by Lori Isner. Rivka Kuperman is the stage manager.

The cast includes:

  • Aleigha Morton as Herself
  • Jeremy Matthey as Himself
  • Barlow Brenner as Slumber
  • Connor Hadden as Chimney
  • Brady Chandler as Pantry
  • Collete Crochet  as Emily
  • Katie Campbell as Anna
  • John Isner as Jack
  • Mark Hansen as Man
  • Simon Gess  as Boy

Tickets can always be purchased in person, online or by phone.  Prices are $10 for AAC members; $12.50 for non-members.

A CHRISTMAS STORY opens tonight at Arkansas Rep.

All Ralphie Parker wants for Christmas is an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time. All his parents can say in response? “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Based upon the memoirs of Jean Shepherd, the 1983 film A Christmas Story has become a modern holiday classic. This winter, relive your favorite moments from the movie as they come to life onstage at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  The play was adapted by Philip Grecian.  The play opens tonight and runs through December 25.

Enjoy Ralphie’s hilarious misadventures as his family struggles to enjoy an All-American Christmas on the brink of World War II. Armed with an overactive imagination and the wide-eyed optimism of childhood, he creates fantastic schemes to guarantee that he will find a BB gun under the tree, which backfire with hysterical results.

Bullies, his salty Old Man, even a store Santa, all conspire to prevent Ralphie from attaining his heart’s desire in this bittersweet, quirky slice of life from a more innocent time. In the end, nothing can defeat the spirit of Christmas when you are surrounded by a family who loves you, warts and all.

“We’ve got a wonderful present to wrap up and put under the tree this year at The Rep,” said Director Mark Shanahan. “Audiences will be delighted as this classic Christmas tale comes to life in a uniquely theatrical way. A Christmas Story transports us to the bygone era of the 1940s and the recollections of a family Christmas like no other. Full of wit, imagination and heartfelt nostalgia, A Christmas Story is a holiday gift you’ll remember all year-round.”

The Rep triple-dog dares you to keep a straight face at A Christmas Story. This raucous, heartwarming yuletide favorite will have the whole family rolling in the aisles. It is not for the fra-gee-lay of heart!