31 Days of Arkansas Rep: OVATION! in 1999

Upon his retirement (the first time) from Arkansas Rep, founder and artistic director Cliff Fannin Baker was feted with a special performance celebrating his career with the Rep.  The entire evening was called “Ovation!” and included a pre-performance reception, a special revue celebrating Cliff’s career, and a performance of As Bees in Honey Drown, which Cliff directed.

Ruth Shepherd and Helen Buchanan co-chaired the evening, which took place on September 21, 1999.  Jana Beard was involved in the conception and direction of the performance.

The program started with a welcome from Mimi Dortch, the first Rep Board chair; Bill Rector, a former Rep Board chair who had been instrumental in the move to the Rep’s Main Street location; and Carol Corley, who was the 1999-2000 Rep Board chair.

The performers included Michael Davis, Don Bolinger, Shannon Farmer, Vivian Morrison Norman, Candyce Hinkle, Debbie Rawn, Jana Beard, Debbie Weber, Mary Twedt Cantrell, Mark Johnson, Judy Blue., Jean Lind, and Phyllis Blumenfeld.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a videotaped message that was played and followed by a video which highlighted Cliff’s career.  Lt. Governor Winthrop Rockefeller presented Cliff with the 1999 Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Also that evening, longtime Rep staffers Lynn Frazier and Guy Couch were presented with Cliff Fanning Baker Awards for extraordinary service to the Rep.

After a brief intermission, the evening continued with As Bees in Honey Drown. The show was directed by Cliff and was the final show of the Cliff Fannin Baker era (Part I).

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Final ARKANSAS COOKS airs today on KUAR

arkansas-cooks_1Like a delicious meal which cannot continue forever or a sparkling party, the KUAR program “Arkansas Cooks” airs its final episode today.  Tune in at 12 noon for this fond farewell.

Host Mary Twedt began the show in October 2002. Since then, she has produced more than 400 episodes as she has visited restaurants, hotels, food festivals, streetfairs, well – just about any where that good cooks are doing exciting things with food.  With her engaging style, she has enjoyed conversations with the well-trained and the self-taught.  She doesn’t interview her guests, she visits with them and invites the listeners to eavesdrop.

A cooking show on the radio? That is not an easy thing to imagine. And she will be the first to say she was inspired by a radio program she heard in another state. It took her some time to convince KUAR to buy-in to the project. But they eventually were won over – as was her audience.

She ends the radio show the way she started it, by chatting with Evette Brady.  In 2002, she was the owner and original chef at 1620. Now, she is retired, but still has an engaging personality and her finger on the pulse of the cooking scene.

While “Arkansas Cooks” may be ending as a radio show, Twedt will still continue to tweet (a Twedt tweet?) @arkansascooks, be on Facebook, and update the website.