Rock the Oscars 2019: James Earl Jones

Actor James Earl Jones has made several appearances in Central Arkansas over the years.  He has appeared at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On February 12, 1999, he narrated Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and Alexander Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring” with the Symphony in a concert at Robinson Center.  (It was the 190th birthday for Lincoln.)

Born in Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan.  After service in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to New York to study theatre.  In the late 1950s he started alternating between Broadway (where he often played a servant) and Off Broadway (where he played leading roles).  His first film appearance was in Dr. Strangelove….  From the 1960s onward he has alternated between stage, film and TV.  In the 1980s, he added voice work to his repertoire.

In 1969 and in 1987, he won Tony Awards for Actor in a Play (The Great White Hope and Fences, respectively).  His other Tony nominations have been for revivals of On Golden Pond and The Best Man.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for reprising The Great White Hope on film.  He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 – the only actor to ever win two in the same year.

In 2008, he won the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he was given an Honorary Oscar.  In 2002, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

He is probably best loved for his work as the voice of Darth Vader in many of the Star Wars films as well as his voicework in The Lion King.

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2019 Museum of Discovery Science After Dark starts with Troopers vs. Trekkies

It’s a new year and the Museum of Discovery is stirring the pot by hosting an event that addresses one of the greatest arguments of all time – an argument that has allies in every corner of the galaxy.

On Thursday, January 31 from 6pm to 9pm, come to the Museum of Discovery for their first Science After Dark of 2019 and take part in “Troopers vs. Trekkies”

Whether you’re boldly going where no man has gone before or you’re already in a galaxy far, far away, you’ve probably heard the age-old debate about which of science fiction’s two biggest franchises is better.

Is it Star Wars?

Is it Star Trek?

Is the Museum crazy for doing this?

Science After Dark is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $10 or free for members.

The 2019 presenting sponsor is Fassler Hall.  Sponsors are Stone’s Throw Brewing and Rock Town Distillery.

Who says the Museum of Discovery is only for kids?!? Not the hundreds of 21-and-older science-and-fun lovers who attend Science After Dark each month. Because, science is fun … at any age! Science After Dark provides visitors the opportunity to have fun and learn about science in a unique setting. Museum educators pick a science-related topic and build an entertaining, interactive evening around it. You never know what will sprout, pop, fizzle, or glow. We invite you to discover the science of having fun. Museum partners are there to serve pizza, and a full bar from craft beer to wine to cocktails is available. And beyond the themed activities each month, Science After Dark admission ($10, free for members) includes access to all museum galleries and our 90-plus hands-on, interactive exhibits.

STAR WARS Science today at the Museum of Discovery

The Force will be strong today (Saturday, January 19) in the River Market district as the Museum of Discovery presents Star Wars Science.  It is from 10am to 3pm.

Bring your little Jedi for a day of Star Wars Science and

  • Meet Star Wars characters (501st Legion)
  • Use “The Force” to move objects
  • Be amazed in the Star Wars Science shows at 10:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Witness Sith Lightning Tesla Shows at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Learn coding, but not just any form of coding – Star Wars coding!
  • See how George Lucas created some Star Wars scenes by using stop motion animation and make your own movie magic
  • Build LEGO dioramas
  • Make Sith lightning
  • Guide your BB-8 through a magnetic maze
  • Make dry ice cryo hovercrafts
  • Get down with droid disco dancing
  • Explore the Glow Lab
  • Play with shadow and light to make moving works of art

Star Wars Science is included in regular museum admission or free for museum members.  For non-members, tickets can be purchased here.

The Force is with the ASO

StarWars_Showpage-91d5a5a9f8The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, took advantage of Star Wars Day to announce a presentation of The Music of Star Wars, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 20th and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, October 21st at the Robinson Center.

The concert will feature music selected from the entire series of 10 feature films, an animated film, three TV films, and six animated series spanning more than 40 years. The celebrated film composer John Williams (Star WarsJawsIndiana JonesHarry Potter), composed all music from the eight saga films (Williams is also slated to score the ninth and final film), with award-winners Michael Giacchino and John Powell composing the music for the spin-off films.

ASO NewThe program will feature costumes, trivia, and decoration of the Robinson Center to create a multi-sensory experience. Audiences are invited attend this family-friendly event in costume as their favorite character.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on September 4th; ASO donors can begin purchasing tickets on May 14th during a special pre-sale event. To become an ASO donor, visit www.ArkansasSymphony.org/support or call Cambria at 501-666-1761, ext. 112..; prices are $16, $36, $57, and $68; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org/starwars; at the Robinson Center street-level box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1.

All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at http://www.arkansassymphony.org/freekids.

STAR WARS DAY Strikes Back

Today, May the 4th, is Star Wars Day.

This year marks 41 years since the first (fourth?/fifth?/soon to be sixth?) movie first opened!

The classic film first opened in May 1977 (though after May 4).  It did not reach Little Rock until June 24, 1977.

Given its status as a sleeper hit, it is no surprise that it came into Little Rock largely unnoticed.  In that day, major films opening on a Friday would be heralded the previous Sunday with a substantial advertisement.  The first Star Wars ad ran on Thursday, June 23, 1977, the day before it opened.  By contrast, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, which would play at the same theatre, had a large ad on Sunday, June 19.

The day it opened, there was a fairly large ad which incorporated the familiar beefcake Luke, Leia in flowing gowns, and Darth Vader mask.  On the Sunday after it opened, there was a slightly smaller ad with the same artwork.  McCain Mall also ran a small add for both Star Wars and Herbie. It noted that Star Wars was a film that management “does not recommend for children.”

Three years later, The Empire Strikes Back opened nationwide on May 21, 1980. Opening a film on the same date was a newer phenomenon, due in part to the success of Star Wars.  For the opening weeks, The Empire Strikes Back played an exclusive showing at the UA Cinema 150.  It would eventually play at other theatres in Little Rock.

On the day The Empire Strikes Back opened, the Arkansas Gazette had four different stories about the movie in that day’s edition.  While the Arkansas Democrat did not have any stories that day (though they would in subsequent days), they did carry a story on David Letterman preparing to start his (what would turn out to be short-lived) morning TV show.

On May 25, 1983, The Return of the Jedi opened.  The cost to see The Return of the Jedi in Little Rock in 1983 was $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children.  (That would be the equivalent of $12.37 today for an adult ticket.)

Rock the Oscars: James Earl Jones

Actor James Earl Jones has made several appearances in Central Arkansas over the years.  He has appeared at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  On February 12, 1999, he narrated Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” and Alexander Miller’s “Let Freedom Ring” with the Symphony in a concert at Robinson Center.  (It was the 190th birthday for Lincoln.)

Born in Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan.  After service in the Army during the Korean War, he moved to New York to study theatre.  In the late 1950s he started alternating between Broadway (where he often played a servant) and Off Broadway (where he played leading roles).  His first film appearance was in Dr. Strangelove….  From the 1960s onward he has alternated between stage, film and TV.  In the 1980s, he added voice work to his repertoire.

In 1969 and in 1987, he won Tony Awards for Actor in a Play (The Great White Hope and Fences, respectively).  His other Tony nominations have been for revivals of On Golden Pond and The Best Man.  He was nominated for an Oscar in 1970 for reprising The Great White Hope on film.  He received two Emmy Awards in 1991 – the only actor to ever win two in the same year.

In 2008, he won the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011 he was given an Honorary Oscar.  In 2002, he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.

He is probably best loved for his work as the voice of Darth Vader in many of the Star Wars films as well as his voicework in The Lion King.

Little Rock Look Back: STAR WARS opens in Little Rock

As a third grade boy, I remember devouring the novelized version of Star Wars in 1977. I read everything I could about the movie. I owned the two disc London Symphony Orchestra soundtrack on LP.

I was a few months late to Star Wars figures, but Christmas of 1977 and birthday of 1978 did feature them as gifts. (I promptly lost my Sandcrawler weapon at my grandparents’ house on Christmas day.)

In those early days, I was excited by the idea of NINE Star Wars movies. Then, I gave up hope when George Lucas abandoned them after Return of the Jedi. When the prequels were announced during my adulthood, I was excited. Only to be disappointed by the actual movies (though admittedly they did get better by episode 3).

Then in 2015, the day my eighth grade self dreamed of, is here! What happens AFTER Return of the Jedi.  I saw The Force Awakens and flashed back to those early days. (Cynics might say it was because so much of Episode 7 was a retread of Episode 4.)  And today (after sneak peaks last night), The Last Jedi opens.

In honor of Star Wars: The Last Jedi opening day, here is a flash back to the Arkansas Gazette ad in June 1977 when the first film hit Little Rock (a full month after it first opened in New York).

It did not reach Little Rock until June 24, 1977. Given its status as a sleeper hit, it is no surprise that it came into Little Rock largely unnoticed.

In that day, major films opening on a Friday would be heralded the previous Sunday with a substantial advertisement. The first Star Wars ad ran on Thursday, June 23, 1977, the day before it opened. By contrast, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, which would play at the same theatre, had a large ad on Sunday, June 19.

While Star Wars would seem like the perfect movie for the great UA Cinema 150, it did not play there. The film playing at the 150 was A Bridge Too Far, which was, at least an action movie. Star Wars did not even open at a UA theatre. It opened at the ABC Cinema 1 & 2 (located at Markham and John Barrow) and at the McCain Mall Cinema. (The ABC Cinema location is now home to discount cellphone and discount clothing businesses; a cinema has returned to McCain Mall but in a different location.)

The day it opened, there was a fairly large ad which incorporated the familiar beefcake Luke, Leia in flowing gowns, and Darth Vader mask. On the Sunday after it opened, there was a slightly smaller ad with the same artwork. McCain Mall also ran a small add for both Star Wars and Herbie. It noted that Star Wars was a film that management “does not recommend for children.”