Tag Archives: Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

Little Rock Look Back: Robinson Center closes in preparation for Second Act

On July 1, 2014, Robinson Center Music Hall closed so that renovations could commence.  Instead of having a groundbreaking ceremony, Gretchen Hall and LRCVB arranged for a “stage breaking.”  Slats from the stage flooring were pried up with crowbars.

Twenty-eight months later, Robinson Center reopened on-time and on-budget.

(As a side note:  the Culture Vulture announced the countdown before Governor Mike Beebe and various Little Rock leaders used their crowbars for the first breaking of the stage flooring.)

Here are some photos from that ceremony.

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SIXTEEN CANDLES tonight at Movies in the Park

The 2018 season of Movies in the Park continues with SIXTEEN CANDLES.  The 1984 film starts tonight at sundown at the First Security Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.

In this seminal movie from John Hughes, a girl’s “sweet” sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. The film stars Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling, Haviland Morris, Gedde Watanabe, Paul Dooley, Carlin Glynn, Edward Andrews, Billie Bird, Carole Cook, Max Showalter, and John Cusack.

Little Rock’s Movies in the Park is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock.  Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit http://moviesintheparklr.net.

SCHOOL OF ROCK in the Rock tonight with Movies in the Park

The 2018 season of Movies in the Park continues with SCHOOL OF ROCK.  The 2003 film starts tonight at sundown at the First Security Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.  (It will be shown adjacent to the Little Rock from which the City takes its name.)

After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of a strict elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band. The film stars Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Sarah Silverman, Joan Cusack and Miranda Cosgrove.

Little Rock’s Movies in the Park is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock.  Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit http://moviesintheparklr.net.

Movies in the Park continues tonight with ZOOTOPIA

The 2018 season of Movies in the Park continues with ZOOTOPIA.  The 2016 film, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, starts tonight at sundown at the First Security Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy. The film features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Batema, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Shakira

Little Rock’s Movies in the Park is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock.  Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit http://moviesintheparklr.net.

Little Rock Look Back: The Rices and Little Rock auditoriums

On June 7, 1920, the Little Rock City Council finally authorized the demolition of Little Rock’s 1906 temporary auditorium.  The structure had originally been built as a skating rink which, when chairs were added, could be used for public meetings.  Since the mid 1910’s, the City Council had discussed tearing it down over safety concerns.  But since Little Rock had no other structure as a substitute, the Council kept delaying the decision.

J Rice 1920In 1920, though there was not alternative space available, the Council decided that the structure had to come down.  So City Engineer James H. Rice was authorized to have the building removed.

JimRice RobinsonToday, Rice’s grandson, Jim Rice, is the COO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In that capacity he  oversaw the renovation of Little Rock’s 1940 municipal auditorium – Robinson Center Performance Hall.

2018 Movies in the Park starts with WONDER WOMAN

The 2018 season of Movies in the Park starts with WONDER WOMAN.  The 2017 film starts tonight at sundown at the First Security Amphitheatre in Riverfront Park. Tonight’s sponsor is the Clinton School of Public Service.

Little Rock’s own Movies in the Park, brought to you by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Little Rock.  Movies are shown every Wednesday during the season and begin at sundown.

Based on the comic book, Wonder Woman was directed by Patty Jenkins.  Gal Gadot plays the title character.  Others in the cast include Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis and Saïd Taghmaoui.

Families, picnics and pets are invited to the park to enjoy movies under the stars, no glass containers please. A parent or adult guardian must accompany all children and youth under the age of 18 and an ID is required. The amphitheater will open an hour before film showings and movies will start at sundown each week. For more information please visit http://moviesintheparklr.net.

Little Rock Look Back: Farewell to the Hotel Marion and the Grady Manning Hotel

Manning Implosion.JPGOn February 17, 1980, a cold and clear Sunday morning, over seven decades of Arkansas history came tumbling down as the Hotel Marion and Grady Manning Hotel were imploded.  Thousands of people watched from places in downtown Little Rock and along the Arkansas River.  Many more were able to watch from live coverage carried on KATV, KARK and KTHV.  Those that missed it were able to see the replays multiple times on the news.

It was the first large-scale implosion in Little Rock’s history.  (It was likely the first implosion, but there could have been a small one that is not known.)  The two hotels were torn down to make way for the construction of the Excelsior Hotel and the Statehouse Convention Center.

The Hotel Marion, named after the builder Herman Kahn for his wife, opened in 1907. For four years it was Arkansas’ tallest structure.  It was the largest and grandest hotel in the City. For decades it would be the host to many dignitaries, conventions, and gala celebrations.

The Grady Manning Hotel was originally known as the Hotel Ben McGhee when it opened in 1930.   Manning was the head of the company which owned both the Marion and Ben McGhee properties.  Upon his untimely death by drowning in September 1939, the property was subsequently renamed in his memory.

The Manning Hotel, though taller, was never as grand a hotel as the Marion.  It was more of a mid-range property in pricing.

By the 1970s, both hotels were suffering from neglect and disinterest.  Changes in the lodging industry combined with a decline in downtown Little Rock had left both facilities with little business.

When Little Rock civic and government leaders decided to construct a larger convention center downtown with an adjacent hotel, it was decided that neither of these facilities could be properly renovated to be part of the project.  Instead, the land on which they stood (and the space in between) would be prime for the new hotel and center.

So, on the cold Sunday morning, the explosives were detonated, and the buildings came down.   Sunday morning was chosen because it would have the least impact on traffic flows since it would cause numerous streets to be closed for safety reasons.  The blast was delayed due to a rumor that someone might be in one of the buildings.  After checking both sites and finding them empty, the charges were set off.

And the Marion and Grady Manning became as much a memory as the long gone people who had once populated them.

The University of Arkansas’ Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History has a video of the implosion.