ANTIQUITIES plays Riverdale 10 Cinema January 25 to 31

One of the hits at the Arkansas Cinema Society’s August 2018 Filmland event was Arkansas made film Antiquities.

It has been picked up for distribution and will screen at the Riverdale 10 Cinema from January 25 to 31. Tickets can be purchased here.

After the first screening during Filmland sold out quickly, a second screening was added.  But there are many people who did not get to see it, or want to see it again.  Now is that chance!

After his father’s death, a young man – WALT (Andrew J. West) – moves to his dad’s hometown in order to learn more about who his father was. Walt decides to stay with his awkward aunt and her family, whose denial makes his search nearly impossible. He accepts a job in a local antique mall where his boss quickly offers him the possibility of a management position; however, a mean-spirited co-worker isn’t pleased by his new competition and proceeds to sabotage any chance Walt has. Walt then meets ELLIE (Ashley Greene), an eccentric and crude free spirit who still manages to be irresistibly charming. He finds himself completely enamored, though both are hesitant to pursue a relationship. Walt ends up not only finding out who his father really was, but learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

The cast includes many Arkansas actors such as Mary Steenburgen, Graham Gordy, Jason Thompson, Alanna Hamill Newton, Jeff Bailey, Damon McKinnis, Joanne Riddick, the late Fran Austin, and a brief cameo by David Bazzel as well as Rett Tucker as a bingo caller.

Filmed in and around Arkansas, the movie was directed by Daniel Campbell from a screenplay by Campbell and Gordy.  Cinematography was by Gabe Mayhan.  The film was produced by Campbell, Gordy, David Jennis, Jayme Lemons, Gary Newton, Angela Prosser, and Kathryn Tucker.

14ish Cultural Highlights of 2014

2014 was a busy year.  Here are 14 cultural highlights. In no particular order. Except maybe once in while.

The Rep's Bob Hupp and Catherine Hughes flank NEA Chair Jane Chu

The Rep’s Bob Hupp and Catherine Hughes flank NEA Chair Jane Chu

Dr. Jane Chu visits Arkansas. Former Arkadelphia resident Dr. Jane Chu was appointed as the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. In October, she paid a visit to Little Rock and northwest Arkansas. While in the Rock, she participated in a discussion at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and toured the new Creative Corridor spaces under construction for the Rep, Ballet Arkansas and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Chu was also the guest of honor at a reception hosted by the Arkansas Arts Council. While here, she had the chance to renew old friendships as well as make new ones.

Carroll Cloar exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center. The Arkansas Arts Center featured the works of Arkansas native Carroll Cloar. Much as the Biblical prophet who is ignored in his homeland, Cloar has long been better recognized outside of his native state.  The Cloar exhibit (which included a painting of future Little Rock mayor J. V. Satterfield playing football, a personal favorite of the LRCV) and the outreach by the AAC staff made great strides towards raising Arkansas’ consciousness about the works by the American treasure.

DSCF0011Robinson Center Music Hall closes for renovation. Opening in February 1940 as the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium, the City’s prime venue for performances and civic gatherings needed an external and internal facelift at 74. The building closed in July 2014 for a two year renovation which will see the reconfiguration of the performance and audience space in the music hall, the creation of a new special events venue overlooking the Arkansas River, and the restoration of this historic main lobby and front façade to 1940 appearance. During this closure tenants such as Ballet Arkansas, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Celebrity Attractions have temporarily relocated to other venues including the Pulaski Academy Connor Performing Arts Center and the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.

Ron Robinson Theater opens. Shortly before one Robinson closed, another opened.  The Central Arkansas Library System’s new Ron Robinson Theater opened. This multi-purpose venue has quickly become home to lectures (by the library, the Clinton School and others), films (in partnership with Arkansas Times, Little Rock Film Festival and others) and music (including the Arkansas Sounds series).  Named for famed Little Rock adman Ron Robinson, the public spaces pay tribute to his love of movies and music about Arkansas.

Music Music Music

  • As noted above, Arkansas Sounds has switched from a concentrated music festival to instead offering a variety of music styles and genres throughout the year at the new Ron Robinson Theatre. The music has ranged from Big Band to Klezmer to Country to Rock to Rap.  This is only one of the new music offerings in Little Rock.
  • South on Main completed its first full year of the weekly Local Live free music series sponsored by the Oxford American and Landers Fiat. South on Main also started a Jazz on Main series as well as increased their bookings of other musicians ranging from Rodney Block to Rodney Crowell.
  • Meanwhile, The Undercroft completed its first full year of (mainly) acoustic music offerings at the corner of Capitol and Scott Streets.

New Works of Art.

  • New sculptures were added to the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden and Riverfront Park as well as the Bernice Gardens.
  • In what may be the first for any symphony in the US, the musicians of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new piece in honor of the ASO board of directors. The work, composed by Christopher Theofanidis, was entitled The Wind and Petit Jean.  It was well-received by audience and musicians alike.
  • Ballet Arkansas sponsored a choreography competition “Visions” which featured five choreographers competing to be selected for a full-scale commission.  The winner was Hilary Wolfley whose work will be seen at the spring Ballet Arkansas presentation.
  • Finally, in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of Christ Episcopal Church (the oldest church in Little Rock to be at its original location), a new choral piece was commissioned. Daniel E. Gawthrop’s “Haste the Day” premiered on December 7.

mod delaneyThe Tonight Show with Kevin Delaney. Because Jimmy Fallon is really just a big kid at heart, he wanted to include periodic “cool” science experiments when he took over the “Tonight Show.”  After being contacted by a producer of Fallon’s show and an audition process, the Museum of Discovery’s Kevin Delaney was booked to appear.  He debuted on May 5 performing experiment with Fallon and returned on November 7. When not a guest of NBC, Delaney performs the same types of “Awesome Science” experiments for tens of thousands of children and adults at the Museum of Discovery.

New Festival of Arts. Acansa, a new multi-discplinary, multi-venue arts festival, debuted this year in September.  Over a five day period, ACANSA Arts Festival brought together audiences and cultural resources to present unique and exciting visual and performing works which celebrate the unique influence of the south and champion excellence and innovation in artistry.  There was theatre, dance, instrumental music, choral music, puppetry and visual art.

14 14 4Gridiron Returns. The talk of the return of the Star Wars movie franchise was not the only welcome news of returns. Gridiron, the biennial attorney fundraiser which spoofs politics, current events, sports and everything that is “sacred” to the general populace, returned after a hiatus.  Once again this effort was under the watchful eye of producer Judge Mary McGowan, the creative leadership of Jana Beard, and the writing prowess of the anonymous committee.  As has been the case in the past, many of the targets of the show good-naturedly showed up and laughed along in the audience.

Sculptures Returned.  Gridiron was not the only welcome return. Earlier this year several sculptures were stolen from the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park. After a media blitz about the theft, some people strolling through the park stumbled across a bag containing the missing sculptures. The pieces are in the process of being restored and will be reinstalled soon.

14 14 3Clinton Center turned 10.  Proving that you can come home again, quite a few of the people who were present for the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in 2004 showed up again in 2014 to take part in celebratory festivities.  Among events included several lectures; a day of service benefiting the Arkansas Food Bank; a barbecue picnic; and a concert featuring Nick Jonas, Kool & the Gang and others which was hosted by Kevin Spacey.  The Clinton School also celebrated 10 years of lectures and innovative programs.

Preservation Concentration – The Quapaw Quarter Association marked the 50th Spring Tour this year. The event was co-chaired by First Lady Ginger Beebe and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith.  Later in the year, the QQA hosted its first Mid-Century architecture tour highlighting some of Little Rock’s buildings from this style. They ended the year with the news that they had purchased the William E. Woodruff House in east Little Rock. One of Little Rock’s oldest houses, it was built by the founder of the Arkansas Gazette.  They will shore up the building to try to ensure no further decay as the building is readied for its next phase.

Huzzahs

  • 14 14 2Reese Rowland, architect and principal at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects of Little Rock, was named a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, awarded to fewer than 4 percent of AIA members.
  • Little Rock native Will Trice earned his third Tony Award in three years, this time for producing All The Way, the Best Play of 2014. His previous Tonys were for Porgy and Bess (Musical Revival-2012) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Play Revival-2013).
  • Arkansas native and frequent Little Rock performer Al Green was one of the 2014 Kennedy Center Honorees.
  • Little Rock’s Creative Corridor continued to rack up honors. The UA’s Community Design Center, which includes faculty and staff members from the school, won a 2014 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for its work on the Creative Corridor, on which it collaborated with Marlon Blackwell Architect of Fayetteville. The project also received the American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award for Analysis and Planning.

Transitions.

  • 14 14Sharon Priest, a longtime cultural advocate as a City Beautiful Commission member, Little Rock City Director, Little Rock Mayor and Arkansas Secretary of State announced her retirement after 12 years as Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.  Over the past dozen years, she has continued her cultural advocacy.
  • One of Priest’s successors as a member of the Little Rock City Board, Stacy Hurst, was named by Gov.-Elect Asa Hutchinson to be his choice to lead the Department of Arkansas Heritage. She will oversee seven agencies including three Little Rock museums: Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Old State House Museum and Historic Arkansas Museum.
  • Following the closure of Starving Artists Cafe, the weekly Tales from the South program (which originated from there) had to scramble to find a place.  After several weeks of a completely nomadic existence, it is now settling into a rotating list of locations. The Arkansas Arts Center’s Best Impressions restaurant has been designated a “permanent” site for the first Tuesday of each month.
  • The free outdoor Movies in the Park celebrated its 10th season this year. Founders Blake Rutherford, Heather Allmendinger and Ben Beaumont were honored at the start of the season.  A few weeks into the season, the series screened the film Frozen and set a new record for attendance by logging over 7,000 attendees.
  • After the closure of the Riverdale cinema in 2013, the space sat vacant.  In June 2014, Matt Smith moved the Market Street Cinema operations into the Riverdale space. He upgraded the equipment at Riverdale (which was also a vast improvement over the equipment at Market Street).  The new Riverdale 10 shows a mix of first-run blockbusters as well as the independent films for which Market Street had been beloved.
  • The Studio Theatre was launched adjacent to the new Lobby Bar in downtown Little Rock.  In addition to producing its own performances, it is also the new home of the Community Theatre of Little Rock and Precipice Theatre.
  • Weekend Theatre founder Ralph Hyman retired as the Artistic Director of that group. He will continue to direct productions from time to time.

 

2014 Reel Civil Rights Film Festival continues with films, discussions today

lrff_film-projects_civil-rightsLittle Rock Central High School National Historic Site commemorates the 57th anniversary of the desegregation crisis in September with the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival featuring special guests, panel discussions, and a special commemoration to honor local educators and civil rights activists. All events at local venues are FREE and open to the public; reservations are required for the September 20th evening program and may only be secured by logging on to http://www.eventbrite.com and searching “Little Rock Film Festival” or “A Night with Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick.”

Saturday, September 20, 12:00 p.m. – Riverdale 10 Movies (2600 Cantrell Road)
Been Rich All My Life

(Director: Heather MacDonald) –Been Rich All My Life follows the most unlikely troupe of tap dancers – the “Silver Belles,” five women aged 84 to 96. In their heyday they worked at some of Harlem’s most prestigious haunts, performing with legendary band leaders like Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford and Duke Ellington. They met in the 1930’s as chorus dancers at the Apollo and the Cotton Club. When the big band era ended, and with it the need for show dancers, they all went into other work. They regrouped in 1985, put their shoes back on and —sassy as they ever were —are still performing regularly. They may not kick as high, but they are hip-swaying and show-biz savvy. These women will disrupt any notions you have of old age.

The film will be followed by a moderated discussion with Chief of Interpretation and Education Enimini Ekong and Lasker Bell.

 

Saturday, September 20, 2:30 p.m. – Riverdale 10 Movies (2600 Cantrell Rd)
Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Project

Motivational Educational Entertainment (MEE) was hired by the civil rights advocacy group, The Advancement Project, to conduct qualitative, focus group research over a two-month period, with African American and Caucasian parents and African American, Latino and Caucasian teachers for the Advancement Project’s Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Project. Fourteen focus groups were conducted in Philadelphia, PA; Jefferson County, CO; Jackson, MS; Houston, TX; and Miami, FL. The overall purpose of the research was to identify messages and strategies that can be used to motivate parents and teachers to advocate for changes in school disciplinary policies. The findings from this research were used to inform The Advancement Project and its community partners as they prepared a strategic communications plan to launch local advocacy campaigns designed to bolster existing efforts related to the Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Project.

The film will be followed by a moderated discussion and workshop with Dr. Joseph Jones, Founding Director of the Social Justice Initiative at Philander Smith College, and Ivan Juzang, Founder and President of MEE.

 

oliver_stoneSaturday, September 20, 6:00 p.m. –Little Rock Central High School (1500 S. Park Street)
A Night with Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick
The ’50s: Eisenhower, The Bomb & The Third World

(Director: Oliver Stone;Series Writers: Oliver Stone, Matt Graham, Peter Kuznick) – There is a classified America we were never meant to see. From Academy Award®-winning writer/director Oliver Stone, The Untold History of the United States looks back at human events that at the time went under reported, but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history over the 20th century. This 60 minute episode examines: United States – Soviet relations post-World War II;Communism;nuclear rearmament;the Korean War;governmental policies toward the Third World;and the role played by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, including his orders to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, to enforce the Brown v. Board decision and prevent interference with court orders of integration.

The film will be followed by a moderated discussion between director Oliver Stone;Professor of History/Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University and film/book co-writer Peter Kuznick;and Little Rock Film Festival executive director Craig Renaud. Dr. Eric Singer, Untold History’s principal researcher and coordinator of the Untold History Education Project, will also be in attendance.

Presenting Sponsor –Little Rock Film Festival

Premier Sponsor –Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Supporting Sponsors: arfilm|Arkansas Production Alliance, Central High Museum Inc., City of Little Rock, Conyers Institute of Public Policy, Jefferson National Parks Association, Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Little Rock School District, Marriott Little Rock, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Moses Tucker Real Estate, Riverdale 10 Movies, National Park Service, Sue Smith Vacations/Vacation Valet, North Point Toyota, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Philander Smith College, Whole Hog Cafe –North Little Rock, Arkansas Education Television Network, and Arkansas Motion Picture Institute

2014 Reel Civil Rights Film Festival starts with Student Films

lrff_film-projects_civil-rightsThough the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival commemorates a historic event, this year’s programming starts with an emphasis on the future.  The program starts at 6pm at the Riverdale 10 movie theatre.

The Youth Leadership Academy at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is designed to develop young leaders with a focus on social justice, youth empowerment, volunteerism and stewardship for the National Park Service; Little Rock Central High School’s Civil Rights Memory Project immerses students in the oral history of civil rights and human rights through hands-on, intergenerational learning, requiring students to analyze causes and effects of historical events and also the resulting impact on both individuals in their families and institutions in our communities.

Films will be screened from collaborative work with the National Park Service; Arkansas Education Television Network; the Young Historians, Living History collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Center for Asian American Media and Smithsonian Affiliations.

The films will be followed by a performance of the Memory Project’s Readers Theater and a moderated discussion with student filmmakers and Casey Sanders, Arkansas Education Television Network producer.

Presenting Sponsor –Little Rock Film Festival

Premier Sponsor –Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Supporting Sponsors: arfilm|Arkansas Production Alliance, Central High Museum Inc., City of Little Rock, Conyers Institute of Public Policy, Jefferson National Parks Association, Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Little Rock School District, Marriott Little Rock, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Moses Tucker Real Estate, Riverdale 10 Movies, National Park Service, Sue Smith Vacations/Vacation Valet, North Point Toyota, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Philander Smith College, Whole Hog Cafe –North Little Rock, Arkansas Education Television Network, and Arkansas Motion Picture Institute