Arkansas Entertainment

David Monteith / KUAR News

Most movie theaters in Arkansas closed in mid-March, around the time the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced in the state. The state, despite never meeting the re-opening criteria suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began Phase One reopening in early May by proclamation of Governor Asa Hutchinson. According to the governor's guidelines, indoor movie theaters were allowed to resume operations on May 18.

The Arkansas-made independent film Antiquities will launch the Arkansas Cinema Society's Movies on Main Street Program.
Arkansas Cinema Society

The Arkansas Cinema Society’s new series Movies on Main Street will screen independent films at downtown main street theaters throughout Arkansas, bringing such films to areas where screenings are rare. The ACS has partnered with inVeritas, Landmark, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts and state arts agencies to fund the program.

KATV, Channel 7

Final attendance numbers are in and this year's Arkansas State Fair had the second-highest attendance in its 80-year history.

Doug White, in his first year as president and general manager of Arkansas State Fairgrounds, said the lack of rain was one reason for the success of this year's event.

"Having nine days of sunshine, having our only rain-day be on a Tuesday, which is typically a slow day anyway, we couldn't have scripted it any better. My first fair, obviously I’m elated," White said.

Oaklawn Racing & Gaming

Arkansas is one of just seven states that does not spend money to support gambling addiction treatment.

Robinson Center
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Beginning this weekend all people attending live, ticketed performances at venues owned by the city of Little Rock will have to go through metal detectors. Those venues include Robinson Center Music Hall, First Security Amphitheater and the Statehouse Convention Center.

Efforts to improve safety at large gatherings like concerts were stepped up after October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman firing down from a hotel room at a country music festival killed 58 people and injured more than 800.

Arkansas State fair
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas State Fair kicks off next month on October 12 and this year will be using a new carnival company to manage the rides.

"It’s a company called North American Midway Entertainment," says Ralph Shoptaw, general manager for the Arkansas State Fair. "They’re big; all of their equipment is big. Most of the rides that come in with this carnival are what we call two-trailer rides."

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The Jewish Food and Cultural Festival, held annually in Little Rock, is taking a year off. The Jewish Federation of Arkansas voted to take time to review the festival and bring it back in two years, on April 14, 2019. JFA Director Marianne Tettlebaum made the announcement on Monday afternoon.

AETN / AETN

Trailer for the film:

KUAR’s David Monteith interviewed Tanisha Conway, producer of the film “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street.”

DAVID MONTEITH: Give us a preview of the documentary. What is it about West 9th Street that made you want to make a movie about it?

The state is poised to hand over control of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame to the city of Pine Bluff. A bill passed in the Arkansas House on Friday would transfer the operation from the state Department of Parks and Tourism to the city’s Advertising and Tourist Promotion Commission.

Update: The Department of Parks and Tourism provided KUAR with attendance figures for the Hall of Fame. It reveals a dramatic decline in recent years.

2017 – To date 2,675

2016 – 5,793

2015 – 7,125

2014 – 16,932

2013 – 21,102

cherokee.org

A group hoping to put a casino legalization measure on the Arkansas ballot this fall says it has signed an agreement with Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate one of the casinos.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 announced Thursday the agreement with the Cherokee Nation group to operate a casino proposed in Washington County in northwest Arkansas. The tribe's gaming and hospitality company owns and operates nine casino properties in Oklahoma.

Craig Strickland Backroad Anthem
KATV, Channel 7 News

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the body of a missing country singer from Arkansas who disappeared during a severe storm has been recovered from an Oklahoma lake.

The patrol says its Marine Enforcement Division recovered the body of 29-year-old Craig M. Strickland Monday morning in Kaw Lake, located 8 miles east of Ponca City just south of the Oklahoma-Kansas state line.

Robinson Center Music Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

While the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra prepares to hold its annual Opus Ball this weekend at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, plans were announced Thursday for next year’s fundraiser. It will be the inaugural event for a new ballroom that’s part of a nearly $70 million renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall.

Chip and Cindy Murphy were named as chairs of the 2016 Opus Ball. Standing where the ballroom is being constructed on top of the original building, Cindy Murphy said it will be a monumental event.

Arkansas State fair
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Attendance at the 2015 Arkansas State Fair has broken a five-year-old record by just more than 900.

Fair officials said Monday that 43,206 people attended Sunday's final day of the fair in Little Rock to bring total attendance for the 10-days to 473,106.

Arkansas state fair
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

More than 160,000 people visited the Arkansas State Fair during its opening weekend. 

General Manager Ralph Shoptaw says the fair saw 162,796 visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That's nearly double last year's attendance during the same period, when rainy weather hit the Little Rock area.

The attendance totals include 53,891 patrons on Sunday. Shoptaw says that's the best first Sunday total in four years for the fair.

The Arkansas State Fair continues through Sunday, Oct. 18.

Arkansas Entertainers Hall Of Fame Honors ‘True Blood’ Author

Sep 8, 2015
Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame
Arkansas.com

Tickets are on sale now for the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The Class of 2015 will be honored September 29 at Noah’s Event Center in Little Rock. The Hall honors individuals with Arkansas connections who have made significant contributions to the entertainment arts. The exhibits commemorating the members are permanently housed on display in the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

This year’s inductees include:

The 48 Hour Film Project

This weekend Arkansas filmmakers will once again step into the international spotlight as part of the annual 48-hour Film Project. Area film professionals and hobbyists will compete against teams as far away as Amsterdam and Shanghai to create the best short movie. Teams have 48 hours to write, film, edit, and score their entries. Those that meet the deadline are screened and judged locally and the Best Picture from each city continues on to be judged against other cities.

Gamers Can Go Back In Time At Sherwood Retro Arcade

Apr 28, 2015

“Pac-Man,” “Donkey Kong,” “Frogger” – if you miss taking a stack of quarters to the arcade to play those games, you might want to check out Z82 Retrocade in Sherwood. You won’t even need the quarters.

Owner Daniel Solis offers 70 of those old-school games, with more in a warehouse waiting to be restored. Visitors pay a $7.50 entrance fee plus tax to get in the door, and then it’s all-you-can-play.

“We’re selling time, transporting yourself through time to a time when people actually cared about these games,” he said.

Former Arkansas Traveler broadcaster Phil Elson with his daughter under the last piece of Ray Winder Field still standing.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A fixture of the Arkansas baseball world, Bill Valentine, passed away Sunday at the age of 82. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman reports from the now-demolished Ray Winder Field.

The Arkansas Senate has approved a bill that could help lure a restaurant chain to the state.

Senators voted 33-0 Monday to change the way Arkansas governs coin-operated games. Arkansas currently restricts the value of prizes in single-play games to $5 or less. In games where players can accumulate multiple winning tickets, the prize value is restricted to $12.50.

The Dave & Buster's restaurant can have prizes valued in the $500 range.

Arkansas State Fair
Mark Wagner / InArkansas.com

Officials with the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock say attendance during the final six days of the fair rebounded with improved weather - but fell short of 2013 numbers.

The fair announced Monday that the crowd for Sunday's final day of the fair totaled 50,595 to bring total attendance for the 10-day fair to 407,363. Total attendance fell by 8.6 percent from last year's 445,314.

Fair General Manager Ralph Shoptaw says he's pleased that attendance finished strong - noting that the first four days were hampered by rain, thunderstorms and strong winds.

The late-night fate of a handful of Little Rock bars and clubs will be considered at Tuesday's city board meeting.

Two city director’s recommendation to limit the hours of clubs closing at 5 a.m.—such as MidTown Billiards, Club Elevations, Discovery and Electric Cowboy—has made its way into a proposal now up for vote.

A group advocating alcohol sales in dry Arkansas counties says it hasn't gathered sufficient support in Faulkner and Craighead counties but has enough signatures in Saline County to be placed on the November ballot.

The group Our Community Our Dollars needed to collect signatures from 38 percent of voters in each county.

A separate group named Let Arkansas Decide still seeks a statewide ballot measure to allow alcohol sales in every county. Last month the group met an initial signature count and is working to collect additional signatures this month.

Nearly 4,000 square dancers and participants are converging on Little Rock for the 63rd National Square Dance Convention.  Some are traveling from as far away as Germany, Japan, Sweden, Great Britton, the Netherlands, Australia and the Philippians.

The opening ceremony is set for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center.  Events will then take place there, at the Little Rock Marriott and Robinson Center through Saturday evening.

Robinson Center Music Hall Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall will soon be closing its doors to begin two years of renovations to modernize the facility.

Arkansas Sounds logo
Arkansas Sounds Music Festival

Organizers are making plans for this year’s Arkansas Sounds Music Festival. The performances will be at the Main Library in Little Rock, the First Security Amphitheater, and various River Market Pavilions on September 27th and 28th.

Susan Gele is a spokeswoman for the Central Arkansas Library System. She says the festival includes some of last year’s performers, as well as many new acts.

Oaklawn, Planning Commission Work On Expansion

Jun 16, 2013

City planners in Hot Springs have imposed a set of conditions on Oaklawn Park's planned expansion of its casino-style gambling operation.

The thoroughbred race track wants to expand its number of tables and machines by about 50 percent.

The city's Planning Commission has stipulated that all changes to vehicular and pedestrian traffic have to be approved by the state highway department. Those permits have to be in place before work starts.

In South Arkansas, the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival will indeed take place this weekend.

The festival honors the pink tomato, Arkansas’s official fruit and vegetable, in a week long celebration complete with live music, games, and contests.

Arkansas tomato fans had a scare when the tomatoes were said to be in short supply just weeks before the festival.

Low temperatures in April stunted the progress of the tomatoes.

John David Pittman / Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Comedy is often the vehicle that inspires people to have crucial conversations about important issues.

Through the month of June, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is relying on the humor and outspokenness of foul-mouthed puppets to bolster dialogue about racism, sexuality, and almost every aspect of the human experience.

"Jazz In The Park" Begins This Week

Jun 4, 2013
River Market Info

Jazz enthusiasts, and people just looking for something to do, can check out the new “Jazz in the Park” series starting this Wednesday at 5:30 in the evening.

The weekly music event will take place at the History Pavilion in Riverfront Park. Dianna Long, Director of River Market Operations, says many different types of jazz will be featured.

"It is a really good opportunity for somebody that thinks they might like jazz...and its for jazz lovers too, we encourage everybody to come and try it," said Long. 

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