Welcome Mat

Your monthly “ What to” list

Hear This

No Tears Suite presented by the Oxford American magazine and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

A year and a half back, on a warm September evening, a stage was erected in front of the old Magnolia Mobil Service Station, and music came: soul-jarring, sometimes dissonant, sometimes big-bandish, a 60-minute sonic build inspired by Melba Pattillo Beals’ memoir on the Central High integration. This month, Little Rock gets a two-performance reprisal of the No Tears Suite—albeit in a slightly expanded form: Joining the five-musician ensemble for a new symphonic arrangement will be 15 members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. (oxfordamerican.org/events)

Friday, March 1: Panel discussion, noon at the Central High School National Historic Site

Saturday, March 2: No Tears Suite performance, 8 p.m. at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Sunday, March 3: No Tears Suite performance, 3 p.m. at the Central High School Auditorium


Celebrate This

15 Years of Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival

Back in 2005, a couple of Chicago transplants in Hot Springs took note of a massive musical migration: Up-and-coming bands were flocking to and from Austin for SXSW. Why not get them to play Spa City? Fifteen years later, and the Valley of the Vapors has solidified itself as one of The Natural State’s marquee events. In addition to pulling in amazing talent from across the country, the VOV continues to feature stellar acts from The Natural State, like this year’s guests, Dazz & Brie, Big Piph and Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo. (valleyofthevapors.com)

March 15-18: Valley of the Vapors Music Festival in Hot Springs, (see website for tickets and schedule)


See This

Sticks and Stones by Donna Pinckley

Through her photography, Donna Pinckley has always aimed to depict her subjects as they see themselves, not as society does. The same is true of this series, a collection of portraits depicting interracial couples of all ages. But more than just simple portraits, they’re beautiful depictions of these couples’ refusal to let others define their stories. (Fun fact: That image above? It’s Donna Pinckley’s—but you won’t see it in the show. Taken in 1988, that photograph is what catalyzed her Sticks and Stones series.) (ualr.edu/art/event)

March 18 – April 26: Sticks and Stones on display at the Windgate Center for Art and Design in Little Rock


Watch This

Arkansas New Play Festival

Be one of the first audiences to experience a lineup of brand-new plays through a series of staged readings and workshops at the Arkansas New Play Festival. After enjoying works ranging from a free-wheeling family drama to a heartfelt exploration of what it means to be a woman, you’ll even get to visit with the playwrights and casts to help mold the pieces into their final form. (arkansasnewplayfest.com)

March 29-30: ANFP at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville

April 5-6: ANFP at Theatresquared in Fayetteville (see website for tickets and schedule)


Read This

The Literature of the Ozarks: An Anthology by Phillip Douglas Howerton

Lest you think a dive through the Ozarks’ literary history might come up shallow, consider this: With 41 works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama cherry-picked by “sixth-generation Ozarker” Phillip Douglas Howerton, this anthology covers nearly 200 years of literary history, drawing from familiar names such as Miller Williams and Donald Harington to far deeper cuts, all of it documenting the rise and deconstruction of the regional sense of self and image. (uapress.com)

March 6: Author Talk: Phillip Douglas Howerton, 6 p.m. at Fayetteville Public Library


Photo courtesy of beams; Capture arkansas | Becky foster; Detroit Publishing Co, P. Detroit, Mich., Lyceum Theatre, Thompson drop curtain. Detroit Detroit. Michigan United States, None. [Between 1900 and 1910] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2016795718/.