"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
By Lindsey Millar
and John Tarpley
The Central High National Historic Site and Power 92 join together to present the first of several Juneteenth events on Thursday. The celebration, as African-American history students should know, harkens back to 1865, when Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with word that the war was over and those enslaved could go free. Fittingly, the event on Thursday promises to trace the African-American struggle to gain freedom and respect. The centerpiece of the program, a dance piece called "Invisible Chains" by choreographer Aeren J. Bates, traces the "lineage of the African Diaspora." Other featured performers include poets A.P.O.L.L.O. and Krysis, actor Sean Freeman, and musicians Q Note & Griff and Authur C. Smith Jr. On Saturday, the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP offers its own Juneteenth celebration, from noon until 10 p.m., with music —gospel, jazz, hip-hop, blues and R&B are all promised — a fashion show, food booths, speakers and kids' activities. Ninth Street, west of Broadway, will be blocked off for the event. Meanwhile, also on Saturday, in the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, there'll be music and film workshops, from 10 a.m. to noon, and a screening of the great Stax-in-LA-concert-documentary "Wattstax" and other films from noon to 5 p.m. Following the screening of "Wattstax," Arkansas native and former Stax Records head Al Bell, who organized the legendary concert, will discuss "the power of music as a unifier of all people." LM.
Now going into its 60th (!) season, Opera in the Ozarks is back again to fill the hills and cobblestones of Eureka Springs with soaring, gymnastic vocals from up-and-coming singers from around the country. Described as an "opera boot camp," the performers undergo six weeks of intensive rehearsal before performing three operas over the course of a month. This year, the nationally renowned program presents three familiar pieces in Bizet's "Carmen," the staple that legitimized comic operas; Mozart's "Don Giovanni," long considered one of the greatest pieces of music ever, period, and Puccini's "Tosca," a musical account of Napoleon's invasion of Italy and the sociopolitical changes that followed. It's a great opportunity to get off the beaten path and visit one of Arkansas's most proudly quirked-out towns. The series runs through June 16, with an anniversary gala at the historic Eureka Springs Auditorium on June 17. JT.
A polycultural mish-mash of Latin and Caribbean instrumentation and New Orleans soul and R&B, The Iguanas are a decades-old NOLA staple and one heck of an odd party band. They integrate zydeco accordion into '60s soul-garage covers, James Brown brass into washboard porch stompers and Austin roots-rock into a traditional Spanish palette for a seamless sonic potpourri perfect for the ol' drink and shimmy. And with multiple members sporting histories with Alex Chilton as well as Panther Burns, they bring along a fair bit of Arkansas cred to Little Rock. Also in the cred department, David Simon and Eric Overmyer count themselves as fans of the band, squeezing "Boom Boom Boom," their signature song, into an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and "Flame On" into the pilot of "Treme." JT.
Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!