Pulitzer plays Little Rock – YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU at LR Central High

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s screwball You Can’t Take It with You is one of the rare comedies to with the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  This long-running play from the 1930s almost immediately became popular for stock, community, college and high school theatrical troupes.

In April 1980, Little Rock Central High School presented You Can’t Take It With You in one of many times the play has been performed in Little Rock.

Directed by Cheryl Shull with assistance from student director Kim Magee, the cast of nineteen included Mike Breedlove, Teri Thomas, Elizabeth Cobb, Jimmy Jarratt, Murry Newbern, Scott Thomas, Tammy Sellers, Susan Russell, Kevin Baer, Achim Gullatz, and Arnel Joiner.

Roosevelt Thompson as the eccentric Mr. Dipinna in the 1980 Central High production of YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU

Also of note in the cast was Roosevelt Thompson, after whom the Central High School auditorium is now named.  (It was also sadly the site of his all-too-soon memorial service in 1984.)

 

CALS Branch Up for Best Public Library

Hillary Clinton Children’ s Library and Learning Center (photo courtesy of Polk Stanley Wilcox)

And then there were 32!

The Central Arkansas Library System’s Hillary Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center is advancing in a national competition for the Best Public Library.  The search is sponsored by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL).

The competition started with 116 libraries spread throughout all 50 states.  CALS was the only library system with three nominees. They were the Main Branch, the Roosevelt Thompson Branch, and the Hillary Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center.  After over 11,000 votes were cast, the top 32 were announced on Saturday.

The next round features 32 libraries from 25 states.  You can vote for Little Rock, here!  Voting runs through February 2!  You can only vote once, so encourage others to do so, too!

The award is named for fictional city government employee extraordinaire Leslie Knope.

Little Rock Look Back: Roosevelt Thompson

thompson-rooseveltThis evening, Calhoun College of Yale University will have a special ceremony to officially dedicate the dining hall in memory of Roosevelt Thompson.

Thompson, who had been named a Rhodes Scholar, was killed in a traffic accident in March 1984 during his senior year.  He was returning from a visit to his hometown in Little Rock.

An undergraduate prize for public service is named in his memory. Recipients of the Roosevelt L. Thompson Prize are Yale College seniors judged to be outstanding for dedication to public service–service to “the team, the college, the community” and exemplify great human warmth, commitment to fairness, compassion for all people, and the promise of moral leadership in the public sphere.

Yale has produced a video about Thompson, which can be seen here.

Thompson was an outstanding student while at Little Rock Central High School.  His funeral was held in the auditorium there, which has since been named in his memory.  Among those who attended his funeral were Governor and First Lady Clinton.  Gene Lyon wrote an obituary for him which appeared in an April 1984 issue of Newsweek.  In addition to the Central High auditorium, a west Little Rock CALS library branch is also named in his memory.

Born on January 28, 1962, to the Reverend C. R. and Dorothy L. Thompson, he was active in school plays, the school newspaper, and various academic groups, and he was named the All-Star player on the football team in his senior year, during which he also served as student-body president. He went on to become a National Merit Scholar.  The 1980 Pix yearbook is filled with images of him.

He continued to make a lasting impact at Yale.  In 2015, a movement started to rename Calhoun College in his honor. The feeling was that John C. Calhoun, as a slaveholder, was not a worthy eponym for the college.  While the university trustees opted to not rename the college, the head of the college used her prerogative to name the dining hall in his memory.  As a student of Calhoun College, Thompson spent much time in this selfsame dining hall.

15 Highlights of 2015 – 86% of voters approve new CALS projects

Cals ELection

For the final fifteen days of 2015, a look back at some of the cultural highlights of 2015.

Up next –

In July 86.10% of those voting approved the Central Arkansas Library System bond refinancing.

The refinancing will allow CALS to:

  • Expand the Thompson, Fletcher, and Dee Brown libraries and reconfigure their children’s areas
  • Limited remodel in the Main Library and refurbish the Williams Library
  • Expand and upgrade the digital/Internet network
  • Purchase thousands of books, eBooks, DVDs, & CDs

Because of the restructuring of the debt, it will actually lower taxes by about $2 per year on a $100,000 home and extend the bond payments by approximately five years.

The final numbers were 3,834 FOR, 619 AGAINST.  Two ballots were cast which were overvotes (voters filled in both bubbles) and five ballots were cast which were undervotes (they were blank). 4400 votes in a special election in July is a fairly decent turnout. It was 3.51% turnout.  When one considers how anemic voter turnout is for presidential elections, this should be viewed as fairly strong.

Looking at the precinct reports, it shows a deep level of support from all areas of the city.  It passed overwhelmingly in every precinct.  The most votes garnered against it in a precinct were 291 at one of the two Pulaski Heights Presbyterian precincts in Hillcrest.  But as that precinct had over 3,000 voters, it was still only 9% of the voters at that ballot box.

The Central Arkansas Library System is in the process of hiring a replacement for retiring director Dr. Bobby Robert

CALS Election Today – Vote Yes!

Cals ELectionVoters in Little Rock need to go to the polls today! (July 14, 2015)

It is your chance to take an already outstanding library system and make it even stronger!

The Central Arkansas Library System is asking Little Rock voters to approve a bond refinance that will generate about $15,000,000 and reduce property tax rates from one mill to 0.9 mill.

Vote YES!
What will CALS do for Little Rock Voters?

  • Expand the Thompson, Fletcher, and Dee Brown libraries and reconfigure their children’s areas
  • Limited remodel in the Main Library and refurbish the Williams Library
  • Expand and upgrade the digital/Internet network
  • Purchase thousands of books, eBooks, DVDs, & CDs

How does it affect the Little Rock taxpayer?

It will lower taxes by about $2 per year on a $100,000 home and extend the bond payments by approximately five years.

Lower property taxes and higher quality libraries!

(This is only the second time the Culture Vulture has gotten political. The other concerned the vote to renovate Robinson Center Music Hall.  In both instances, the financial impact per citizen was negligible, but the cultural impact was phenomenal.  The Culture Vulture will never endorse candidates.)