Culturalist: Fall 2019

Where to be and what to do this season

Ballet Arkansas seems to know the way to our hearts—or seems to know Halloween is our favorite holiday, at least. We made a staff trip to see the ballet company’s performance of Dracula last year, and this October, it looks like we’ll be marking our calendars once again—this time, to visit the spooky burg of Sleepy Hollow. Ghost stories, a love triangle and a headless horseman, all expressed through breathtaking choreography? It’s pretty difficult to contain our excitement, but we’ll do our best not to lose our heads. (

The dimensions for Yayoi Kusama’s aptly named Infinity Mirrored Room are given as followed: 119 5/8 by 245 1/8 by 245 1/8 inches. But as anyone who’s seen, or rather, experienced, the legendary Japanese artist’s work, listing the dimensions or materials isn’t enough—because communicating what it’s like to stand in the space requires more hyperbolic language, grand flourishes, all of which will invariably come up short in conveying what it’s like to stand fully immersed in a neon-orbed kaleidoscope. Suffice it to say, the new permanent exhibition might measure just over 20 feet, but it feels like eternity. (

(Editor’s note: While you’re there, don’t miss the other must-see exhibitions this fall: Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today, (opening 10.12); and Portraits of Courage: An Exhibit of Portraits of Veterans Painted by President George W. Bush, (opening 12.21). And don’t forget to Meet the Momentary in Bentonville on 10.5.)

If you take a strictly by-the-numbers approach, the Little Rock Pride Fest doesn’t seem all so different from other festivals staged in Little Rock. Eighty vendors. Seven food trucks. Upward of 10,000 people expected to attend. But … that doesn’t really capture it. Because while there are plenty of draws, what matters is the space, one that’s inclusive, one that allows people to be comfortable in their own skin, one that seems to be getting broader and more inclusive all the time. As Australian musician—and this year’s headlining act—Betty Who sings in the Queer Eye theme song: “Things keep getting better.” (Bonus: Local musicians Bijoux, and Dazz and Bree will also be performing. Double Bonus: The Kaleidoscope LGBTQ Film Festival is now under the Pride umbrella. Changing the Game and To the Stars are not to be missed.)

The poster for the band’s anniversary concert bills them as “The Legendary Cate Bros.,” and considering that the musicians have been performing together for the past 50 years, the description is fitting. The legend of the Cate Brothers is rooted in Northwest Arkansas, where identical twins Earl and Ernie Cate were born and started playing music from a young age. It’s where they got their start performing at rockabilly hero Ronnie Hawkins’ Rockwood Club (see page 82). It’s where the brothers forged a longtime friendship with Levon Helm. But even after scoring a Top 40 hit with their song “Union Man,” after opening for Queen, after performing with The Band during their reunion tour—Northwest Arkansas has always remained their home. So what better place to celebrate half a century of rock and soul? (Search for “Celebrating 50 Years of The Cate Brothers at George’s” on Facebook.)

There are inside performances, and there are outside performances, but they’re not indoors and outdoors, though. Instead, these staged readings—which have been performed around the state and region since October 2012—are drawn from stories of men and women who are incarcerated, and then performed first for inmates and later the broader public. Since August, the Prison Story Project staff has worked with nine women at the Northwest Arkansas Community Correction Center in Fayetteville to tell their stories—who they are, where they’ve come from, what it is like to be them. Although dates and venues are still being hammered out, those stories will be performed in staged readings this coming November, first inside, then outside. (

This season’s spoken words to live by


Jose Antonio Vargas, Crystal Bridges Distinguished Speaker Series


Angela Davis, JusticeCon ’19


Sarah Broom, Oxford American Presents South Words


Ken Jeong and Joel McHale at UCA


Marina Abramovic, Crystal Bridges Distinguished Speaker Series


David Sedaris at Walton Arts Center


Mark Barr, Argenta Reading Series


Van Jansen & Nate Powell, Oxford American Presents South Words


Update: The performance date has been moved to March 8, 2020

The Temptations and the Four Tops at Robinson Performance Hall in Little Rock


The Unexpected art festival in Fort Smith


The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival in Dyess


The annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival


The Arkansas Cornbread Festival in Little Rock


The Hot Springs Renaissance Faire

11.3 – 12.29 

It’s a Wonderful Life at The Arkansas Repertory Theatre

11.17 – 12.31 

Holiday Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs

11.21 – 1.25.20 

Refugia: Photos by Ian Campbell at Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff

11.29 – 12.22 

Caroling in the Caverns at Blanchard Springs Caverns (weekends only)


The Little Craft Show Little Rock at Lost 40 Brewing


The King Cotton Classic at Pine Bluff Convention Center