Creative Class of 2015: Mark Binns

mark binnsComposer, arranger, vocal coach, musical director, pianist, teacher, performer.  Mark Binns is all of these things.

He has been involved with Arkansas Repertory Theatre for six seasons now as a keyboardist, musical director and composer. Mark has been the Rep’s musical director for White Christmas, Les Miz, Memphis, and Elf. He has is currently at work on their upcoming The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  For the Rep, he has also worked on their Summer Musical Theatre Intensive for several years.

In addition to the Rep, he often works with the Studio Theatre and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.  Other regional Musical Director credits include Hairspray, Oliver!, Cinderella, Pippin, The Last Five Years and Fiddler on the Roof. He has composed original music for the University of Central Arkansas’ production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle and served as Vocal Director/Arranger for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Fantasy.

When not working on a show, he can often be found performing at the Lobby Bar, the Afterthought or any number of other venues in Little Rock.

Final day for Kaleidoscope Film Festival first year

FSLR Kaleidoscope 2015This is the final day of Kaleidoscope, but there is still plenty to see.

At 12:15 at The Studio Theatre, the film Androids Dream (Suenan los Andoides) will be presented by Fantastic Cinema.  A lo-fi spin on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” famously adapted by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner.  It is the year 2052, on Earth, in Spain, and the final days of almost everything. The city is a string of abandoned construction sites. Everyday there are fewer people and not all of them are human. A sheep costs four and a half million pesetas and you have to spend a lot of bullets to pay for one.

At 1:30 in The Lobby Bar, the “Time Change: Narrative Shorts” block will be shown.  Included are “Lady of the Night,” “My Personal Art History,” “Nothing,” “You.Me.Bathroom.Sex.Now,” “The Last Girl,” “Intrinsic Moral Evil,” “Life in Colors,” and “Devin.”

The film Driving Not Knowing will be shown at The Studio Theatre at 1:30.  Lee, a drug-addled yet sensitive musician, is in love with Will, an ambitious poet. Volatile and intense, Will is hesitant to make himself vulnerable to Lee’s affection. After a year apart, the two reunite for a weekend at Lee’s home in the country. Not knowing how to be free and connected at the same time, the men struggle to find what they are driving towards.

At 3:45pm at The Studio Theatre, the Center for Artistic Revolution/ Final Draft Student Short Film Prize block will be presented. Included in this are “Some Rainbows Never Gery,” “Water,” “Border Woods,” “Plunge,” “Falling Angels,” “A Kiss From Your Lips,” and “Southern Pride.”

The final film is S&M Sally which will be preceded by the short “Bad at Dancing.” These will be shown at the Studio Theatre at 6pm.  When Jamie finds out her girlfriend Jill has spent time exploring BDSM, her insecurities about falling behind in the bedroom push her to propose that they start going to underground clubs. Identifying as the butch one in a traditional butch/femme couple, Jamie assumes she will take the dominant role in their escapades, with Jill as her submissive, but Jill has ideas of her own. A provocative and hilarious ride, S&M Sally details the unexpected journey that happens when your insecurities push you outside of your comfort zone.

At 8pm, there will be a final party with a champagne toast in the Lobby Bar.

Day 3 of Kaleidoscope Film Festival

sacred heartsFeatures, shorts and parties make up day 3 of Kaleidscope.

At 12:30 the feature film Naz & Maalik plays at The Studio Theatre.  Next door at the Lobby Bar, also at 12:30, there will be a block of short-films.  Altered Realities: Narrative Shorts 1 will include “Zac and Luc,” “Camouflage,” “Warpaint,” “Midnight,” “Brace,” “Good Morning,” and “Waiting Room.”

At 2:15 at The Studio Theatre, another block of shorts will be shown.  Love/Lust: Narrative Shorts 4 includes “Pretty Boy” and “Perpetual.”

At 3:15 at The Lobby Bar, the Adventurous Natures: Narrative Shorts 2 block will be shown.  It includes “hopefulROMANTIC,” “Caged,” “Dos Almas,” “Tomorrow,” ‘A Little Bit Country,” and “Carpe Jugular.”

At 3:30pm in The Studio Theatre, Director Mark Thiedeman discusses making LGBT movies in the South.  UCA Professor Bruce Hutchinson moderates the discussion as the audience watches clips of Thiedeman’s work over the last several years. Including the full 40 min award winning short film SACRED HEARTS, HOLY SOULS.  At the 2014 Little Rock Film Festival the film won the Charles B. Pierce Best Film Made in Arkansas and was nominated for Best Director and Best Actor (Quinn Gassaway).

At 5:30pm Club Sway will be the site for the screening of Club King. DOCUMENTARY – For the past 20 years, Mario Diaz has crafted his own iconic image as the premier LGBT nightlife king, throwing some of the sexiest and wildest parties from New York to LA, including the insanely appealing Hot Dog, BFD and Full Frontal Disco.  Must be at least 18 to attend.

The Studio Theatre will show Reel in the Closet at 5:30.  Prior to the start of the film, the short “The Damn Deal” will be shown.

Reel In The Closet is a feature-length documentary that transports us into LGBT life of the past through rare home movies of the people who lived it. Many of the moving images in this film are shown for the first time. Many more wait to be discovered in people’s closets but are being thrown out- sometimes on purpose.

At 6pm, there will be a free screening of “Not Safe to be Me” in the Lobby Bar. A bird’s eye view of the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from the early 20th century to the present. Director Laura D’Antoni examines bullying, coming out, history, religion and suicide through a series of interviews of LGBT people sharing their own experiences. Paralleling the stories is the biography of Miami-Dade educator Robert Loupo, whose own experiences with suicide and assault led him to create the “Safe Schools South Florida” to train teachers to recognize and intervene in anti-gay bullying.

From 8pm to 9:30 in the Lobby Bar, “Reel Journeys: Documentary Shorts” block will be shown.  Included are “A Mississippi Love Story,” “And Counting,” Purpose in the Pulpit,” “Born Wrong,” “First Clue,” and “Stella Walsh.”

The World premiere of the film Chasing Pavement will be at 8pm in the Studio Theatre.  Chasing Pavement stars Remy Mars as Elijah Young, an ‘urban’ porn star who is preparing to leave the adult entertainment industry and start a new career as a chef. His new roommate, Takeshi, played by Tokio Sasaki, is a Japanese immigrant who is looking for a new start in the information technology field. Takeshi, who feels completely invisible in the United States, becomes obsessed with his extremely visible flatmate. Takeshi’s obsession culminates in a violation of boundaries that brings the two together for a moment of intimacy that neither will soon forget. The movie also stars Antonio Biaggi as Bryson Colon, a man with a troubled past who frequently hires Elijah as an escort, but wants much more.

Starting at 10pm, House of Avalon Hosts the Official Kaleidoscope After Party at Club Sway.

Day Two of Kaleidoscope Film Festival

THOSE PEOPLE

THOSE PEOPLE

Kaleidoscope continues today with films at two different venues.

At 5pm, the film Those People will be shown at The Studio Theatre.

On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young painter, CHARLIE (Jonathan Gordon), finds the man of his dreams in an older pianist from across the globe, TIM (Haaz Sleiman). If only Charlie weren’t secretly in love with his own manipulative best friend, SEBASTIAN (Jason Ralph), who is embroiled in a financial scandal. In the wake of Sebastian’s notoriety, their tight-knit group of friends must confront the new realities of adulthood.

At 6pm at Club Sway Peter de Rome will be screened.
DOCUMENTARY – Pioneering erotic filmmaker Peter de Rome tells his astonishing life story with humour and charm in this surprising and heart-warming documentary – the feature debut of director Ethan Reid.  Spanning more than eight decades of gay experience in Britain and the US, the film charts its subject’s journey from cinematic outlaw to celebrated film icon with contributions from friends and collaborators.  Must be over 18 to attend this screening.

At 7pm, back at The Studio Theatre, the HRC Arkansas Spotlight Feature Game Face will be shown.
The award winning documentary GAME FACE tells the parallel story of Fallon Fox, MMAs first transgender pro fighter, and Terrence Clemens, a young, ambitious and talented college basketball player in Oklahoma, who happens to be gay. Both realize that coming out will be necessary for their own sense of integrity and peace of mind, but the lack of a clear roadmap and the unpredictable consequences instill understandable anxiety and caution. NBA player Jason Collins, NFL player Wade Davis, NCAA Division 1 basketball player Kye Allums and triathlete Chris Mosier also appear in the film.

From 9pm to 10:30pm, the HRC Arkansas Friday Night Party will take place at The Lobby Bar.

At 10:30pm at The Studio Theatre, The night ends with the camp-horror movie You’re Killing Me, which is presented by Fantastic Cinema.

Indiewire called it “a gay horror camp classic in the making.” An intriguing mix of horror, camp and romantic comedy, YOU’RE KILLING ME demonstrates what happens when narcissistic, wannabe Internet star George meets Joe, a monotone serial killer.

First Kaleidoscope Film Festival starts tonight with HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

FSLR Kaleidoscope 2015The Film Society of Little Rock is happy to announce the inaugural year of Kaleidoscope,​ Arkansas’s first LGBT film festival to be held July 30 through August 2, 2015 in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.

Kaleidoscope celebrates the diversity of the LGBT community and filmmakers by presenting poignant and thought­-provoking films documenting LGBT lives truthfully and with respect. Kaleidoscope focuses on the power of film to transform lives and opinions of those both inside and outside the LGBT community through the universal medium of the cinema.

The festival starts tonight at 7pm with Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party.

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY spans the 24 hours containing the birthday pool party of 17-year-old preacher’s kid Henry Gamble.

The night before the party, Henry and his friend Gabe, have a sleepover. Typical teenage boy chat quickly turns sexual, and it’s silently implied that Henry, on a search for identity, has a crush on Gabe.

As dawn arrives on the day of the party, Henry’s mom Kat wakes in a state of limbo, middle-aged, with a secret. A little while later, Pastor Bob is making breakfast, and they are joined by Henry’s 19-year-old sister Autumn, home from college for the party. Later that afternoon, guests begin to arrive – the assistant pastor, youth minister, husbands and wives; sons and daughters trapped between youth and adulthood, as well as Henry’s own teenaged church and “secular” friends, including the closeted young Logan, who has eyes for Henry.

As day turns to night and clothes come off, Henry & Co. carefully navigate the religious strictures and sexual secrets held within the community, all struggling to tread the public and private, and their longing, despite themselves and their faith, for earthly love.

Following the film (and a discussion moderated by Lindsey Millar of the Arkansas Times) at the Studio Theatre, there will be an opening night party next door at the Lobby Bar.

The Studio Theatre will serve as the home of Kaleidoscope screening 10 features and more than 30 short films dealing with subject matter reflecting the many issues surrounding the LGBT community. Kaleidoscope will also feature panels with filmmakers and several social events where the community can interact with filmmakers and other film fans.

Official sponsors of Kaleidoscope include The Arkansas Times, Out In Arkansas, Lost 40 Brewery, Local Lime, Big Orange and Heights Taco & Tamale.

The Film Society of Little Rock is a grassroots, non-­profit organization focused on the expansion of the creative community in Arkansas by providing year round opportunities to educate, entertain, and exhibit local, national, and international filmmakers and their works.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS for 5 performances only at the Studio Theatre

last-five-years-musical-54There are always at least two sides to every story.  In Jason Robert Brown’s musical The Last Five Years, the audience get the “his” and “her” perspectives of a relationship. But there is a twist. One is told forwards, while one is told backwards with the characters meeting in the middle.  It is a funny, charming, heartwarming, heartbreaking look at life, love and loss.  Jamie is a rising novelist and Cathy is a struggling actress.  The challenges of their two careers add a layer to the complexities of their relationship.

The Studio Theatre is presenting this two character musical January 16, 17, 23, 24 & 25.  The Friday and Saturday performances are at 7pm and the Sunday performance starts at 2pm.

Ryan Whitfield directed Jeremy Hall and Erin Martinez in the production. Mark Binns in the musical director.

The Studio Theatre is connected to the Lobby Bar which provides opportunities for libations (beer, wine and non-alocholic) before the show, at intermission and after the show.