Billy Bob Thornton to narrate Hot Springs baseball documentary
By David Koon
on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 11:33 AM
It was announced today that Billy Bob Thornton, the famous Arkansas actor and director who was born in Hot Springs, will narrate a new documentary about the role of Hot Springs in the development of baseball's spring training.
The film, to be called "The First Boys of Spring," will see its debut in Hot Springs on October 10 on the opening night of the 2015 Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Emmy winner and UA journalism professor Larry Foley will direct, with actor Peter Coyote and Arkansas Razorback basketball coach Mike Anderson providing voiceovers. Previous documentaries by Foley include "The Architecture of Fay Jones," "Hell on the Border," and "When Lightning Struck: Saga of an American War Plane."
Hot Springs was instrumental in the early days of baseball, especially when it came to establishing the need for spring training. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, The Chicago White Stockings (later the Chicago Cubs) first came to Hot Springs in March 1886, a move that allowed the team to train rigorously prior to the start of the season. Seeing the positive results of training in a warmer climate after a long winter off the field, other ball clubs soon followed suit and started spring training in Hot Springs, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Boston Red Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Highlanders, which later became the Yankees. That brought many giants of the sport to town for business and pleasure, including Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Al Simmons, and Babe Ruth.
Oaklawn is not only Arkansas's only Thoroughbred racing venue, it holds title as one of the top tracks in the nation. The venue, which is located at 2705 Central Avenue, is open year-round for simulcasting and electronic gaming operations and features live racing from January through mid-April. The 57-day live racing season began on January 13 this year. /more/
North American distribution rights to Arkansas filmmaker Amman Abbasi's debut feature "Dayveon" have sold to distribution company FilmRise after a Jan. 19 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, according to the Hollywood Reporter. /more/
Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids. /more/
"Dayveon," the Arkansas-set debut feature film from Little Rock's Amman Abbasi, has been selected to premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19-29 in Utah. Joining it is the latest documentary from North Little Rock High school graduate Adam Sobel, "The Workers Cup." /more/
Little Rock native Jeff Nichols brought his new acclaimed film "Loving" to the Ron Robinson Theater last night ahead of the movie's wide release on Friday. The ticketed event raised $10,000 for the Tiger Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits Central High School, Nichols' alma mater. /more/
Break out your neon spandex and elbow pads! On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Downtown Partnership will be hosting a full afternoon of events centered around the 30th anniversary of the 1986 BMX bike racing epic "RAD," followed by a screening of the film with star Bill Allen in attendance. /more/
In a press conference on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol this morning, representatives of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ARTEC), ACLU of Arkansas and a transgender pioneer spoke out against a number of anti-trans and anti-LGBT bills working their way through the state legislature. Citing the economic and political fallout for North Carolina over their "bathroom bill," the groups say the bills will harm the Arkansas economy.
The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
by Will Stephenson, Bryan Moats, Kaya Herron and Lindsey Millar
World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.