Monthly Archives: January 2014

5 Ways to get geared up for Valentine’s Day

We’re two weeks out from the Hallmark lovers’ holiday, Valentine’s Day. Here are five upcoming Valentine’s Day-themed activities and events for you to share with your loved one, your BFF or your kids.

Find Your Heart in Hillcrest: Scavenger hunt // Now through Feb. 12

Organized by the Hillcrest Merchants Association, this scavenger hunt began on Jan. 28 and will continue for the next couple of weeks, ending on Feb. 12. Twenty-two Hillcrest merchants have hidden hearts in their businesses; you must find 10 and drop a filled out card at a box located at each of those 10 locations to be eligible to win the Heart of Hillcrest prize of over $2,000 in gift cards, services and goods.

Included in the prize package is $50 to Full Moon, $50 to Box Turtle, two massage gift certificates to Advanced Health Spa, lunch for two at Canon Grill, a heart-shaped pizza for two with drinks at Damgoode Pies and more. The winner will be drawn Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m. at Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church.… Read more >

Conversation with the cast of Clybourne Park

Lawrence Evans and  Jason O'Connell. Photo by John David Pittman.

Lawrence Evans and Jason O’Connell. Photo by John David Pittman.

Want to know a little more about The Rep‘s Clybourne Park before you go see it? Here’s what director Cliff Fannin Baker and four members of the cast had to say about the play in a pre-opening night interview a couple of weeks ago. 

On playing two completely different characters in Act One and Act Two:

It’s fun for me, because in the first act my character is just so intense. With the weight of the world on him, and with a series of events that just make his life terrible. In the second act, I play a construction worker, who’s just kind of a fun guy. So there is no weight of the world, and his life is kind of  fun and grand, and he’s a funny character. — Robert Ierardi, Russ/Dan

On the differences between playing a black man in 1959 and a black man in 2009:

There are certain things, when you’re dealing with 1959 sensibilities and all that, that Albert wouldn’t say. You would hear a lot of things in the Stoller household, but there were certain things you just wouldn’t say in front

Read more >

Little Rock Film Festival presents free screening of Blackfish

Tilikum in a scene from Blackfish. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Tilikum in a scene from Blackfish. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

As part of its Argenta Film Series, Little Rock Film Festival presents a screening of Blackfish tonight (Jan. 28) at Argenta Community Theater.

The documentary is directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, who set out to make the film after the 2010 death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. Brancheau and two others (one trainer, one visitor) have been killed by Tilikum, the largest orca held in capitivity. The film exposes the consequences of keeping animals like orcas in captivity and calls into question the claims that SeaWorld makes about the lifespans and habits of orcas in the wild versus those in captivity.

The 7 p.m. screening is free and open to the public, but seats are limited, so reserve a seat on the screening’s eventbrite page.… Read more >

Enter CALS contest: New Year, New Reads


For the second year, Central Arkansas Library System is giving away a Kindle Fire to the winner of its New Year, New Reads contest.

The contest requires participants to read or listen to a book (any book) and submit a 14-word review. (Last year, reviews had to be contained to 140 characters.) The most creative 14-word book review submitted between Jan. 6 and Feb. 16 will win the Kindle Fire.

Entries can be submitted three ways: tweet it to @calibrarysystem using the hashtag #NYNR14; email; or in person at your local branch. Entries submitted in person may be eligible for alternate prizes.… Read more >

All in the neighborhood: Clybourne Park opens at The Rep

This Scene was originally published in the Jan. 22, 2014, issue of Sync.

“Did I just laugh at that?”

That’s what the cast and crew hope audience members ask themselves during Clybourne Park at Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The Pulitzer- and Tony award-winning comedy-drama opens Wednesday with the founder of The Rep, Cliff Fannin Baker, directing.

The two acts of Clybourne Park serve as bookends to another Tony-nominated play, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Clybourne Park opens in 1959 in a subdivision in Chicago. A black family has just bought a house in an otherwise all-white area, ruffling feathers in the whole neighborhood. When the curtain comes up on the second act, it’s 2009, and the neighborhood is all black and facing the gentrification of their community as properties are sold.… Read more >

Special events leading up to grand opening of Rob Robinson Theater

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/MELISSA SUE GERRITS

The Little Rock Film Festival and Central Arkansas Library System celebrate the opening on the festival’s new home base this weekend and next with a series of events at Ron Robinson Theater, located in newly opened Arcade Building in downtown Little Rock.

The single-screen theater includes stadium-style seating for 315 and state-of-the-art projection, lighting and sound systems. In addition to Little Rock Film Festival screenings, the theater will be used by CALS, the Clinton School of Public Service and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Opening events get kicked of Friday (Jan. 17) with Jacob Hatley’s Ain’t in It for My Health, a documentary about musician and Arkansas native Levon Helm, at 7 p.m. A Q&A with Helm’s daughter, Amy Helm, follows at 8:30. Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers perform at 9 p.m.… Read more >

Local bands compete for spot at Wakarusa

NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS Jake Cinninger, a guitarist in the Chicago-based jam band Umphrey's McGee, playing at Wakarusa 2013. Umphrey's McGee is on lineup for Wakarusa again in 2014.

Jake Cinninger, a guitarist in the Chicago-based jam band Umphrey’s McGee, playing at Wakarusa 2013. Umphrey’s McGee is on the lineup for Wakarusa again in 2014.

This Scene was originally published in the Jan. 15, 2014, issue of Sync.

You might discover your new favorite band Saturday night at Stickyz during Waka Winter Classic. If nothing else, you’ll get a say in which of five regional bands is awarded stage time at Wakarusa Music Festival this June.

Waka Winter Classic travels to 16 cities through Feb. 1 in search of a local or regional band (or musician) from each tour stop that will join the festival’s lineup. The showcase has been held at Stickyz since 2012.… Read more >

Downtown designer: Q&A with Isaac Alexander

This Q&A was originally published in the Jan. 8, 2013, issue of Sync

Isaac Alexander

Photo by Arshia Khan

Isaac Alexander knew what he wanted to do in the seventh grade: own his own marketing and advertising firm. That’s every artist’s dream, right? Well, maybe not, but for an artist to be able to use his talents while making a living, that’s a dream come true. Alexander’s firm, Eric Rob & Isaac, serves clients like the Heifer Foundation, Riverfest and Yarnell’s, and is also responsible for the new logo adorning the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. In addition to his advertising firm, Alexander is active in central Arkansas’ music scene, performing original music from his albums See Thru Me and Antivenin Suite. And on top of that, he puts his design skills to work on concert posters and album art for local bands and venues. If you’ve ever walked into White Water Tavern or bought an album from Max Recordings, chances are you’ve seen Alexander’s handiwork. What’s he doing when he’s not busy creating, writing and designing? Hanging out with his wife and two daughters at their house in Stifft Station.

Q: How and when did you and the Read more >

5 more days to vote for Tales from the South

Paula Morell of Tales from the South. Arkansas Democrat Gazette/CARY JENKINS

Paula Morell of Tales from the South. Arkansas Democrat Gazette/CARY JENKINS

Late in December, Tales from the South announced it had made the final top five programs in the storytelling category of Internet radio service Stitcher Radio’s annual awards for radio and podcast programs. Tales from the South is up against This American Life, Snap Judgement, RISK!, The Moth and StoryCorp for recognition as Best Storytelling program.

You can vote for Tales from the South — in addition to programs in various other categories, including Most Original Show, Best Interview of the Year, Best Investigative Reporting and more — on Voting is allowed once a day and continues through Jan. 13.… Read more >

Clinton School announces January public programs

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service has announced its January lineup of speakers and programs. The programs are free, but reservations are recommended and can be made by emailing or calling (501) 683-5239.

Below is a list of programs and descriptions from the school’s press release. All events listed here take place in the Clinton School’s Sturgis Hall.

Ying Ma, author of Chinese Girl in the GhettoJan. 21 (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. (book signing to follow)

Ying Ma writes regularly about China, international affairs, the free market and conservatism, and much of her research explores the nexus between political and economic freedom with respect to China’s rising influence on the global stage. She is the author of Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, a memoir about getting to know freedom from post-Mao China to inner-city Oakland, Cal. She is also a policy advisor at the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market think tank.

Paul Schmitz, author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up: Jan. 22 (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. (book signing to follow)

Paul Schmitz is the CEO of Public Allies, which has advanced the leadership of over 5,000 diverse young adults … Read more >

Moxy on Main: Vintage-inspired shop to open in SoMa

Photo by Arshia Khan

Photo by Arshia Khan

This Scoop was originally published in the Jan. 8, 2014, issue of Sync.

The Southside Main Street district of downtown Little Rock continues its steady growth as another shop prepares to open on the 1400 block of Main Street.

If you’ve passed down Main Street lately, you might have noticed a window tiled with colorful logos and the promise “coming soon” between The Green Corner Store and Boulevard Bread Co. The space is going to be home to Moxy Modern Mercantile, a shop offering a mixture of authentic vintage furniture, retro home accessories, modern gifts and gourmet foods.… Read more >

The Secret’s out: Two nights of Secret Sisters at White Water

This Scene originally appeared in the Jan. 1 issue of Sync

The harmonies of Alabama sisters Lydia and Laura Rogers fill White Water Tavern when the duo, performing old-fashioned country folk as The Secret Sisters, take the stage for two nights of music.

The Sisters released their self-titled debut album with Universal Republic in 2010 under executive producer T Bone Burnett, a producer known for his work with artists such as Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello and Natalie Merchant. The duo’s second album, Put Your Needle Down, is due this spring and will be “more of a pop effort” rather than traditional country folk, says the band’s keyboardist, Brooks Tipton.… Read more >

Syd Hayman is a beauty, entertainment and pop culture fanatic who enjoys trying different metro restaurants that satisfy picky eaters. Tweet her at @TheSydRichi.