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Little Rock Native Olivia Wyatt Premieres Film at SXSW


Filmmaker and Little Rock native Olivia Wyatt recently premiered her documentary “Sailing A Sinking Sea” at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. 

The film is an immersive look at the culture of the Moken people of Myanmar and Thailand. After learning about the people’s intrinsic relationship with the sea, including their ability to predict the 2004 tsunami, Wyatt was hooked. When she found out their population was in decline, she knew she had to capture their way of life on camera. 

Wyatt has always been drawn to anthropologic films, and this was right up her alley. She created “Sailing a Sinking Sea” as a completely enveloping experience, different from the talking heads and structure of other films.

"I want people to feel like they took a plane to Thailand and Myanmar and are visiting the Moken for themselves, I want them to feel like they're diving in the water and sailing on the sea," said Wyatt.

Fast forward about two years and she submitted it to premiere at SXSW. The music, film and interactive festival gladly accepted her film, where it was screened at three different times in the “Visions” category, followed by Q&A sessions with Wyatt.

So far, “Sailing a Sinking Sea” has received lots of positive reviews and plenty of attention, a pretty cool factor considering Wyatt has only a few of her film team with her at the festival, no press or sales agents to draw in attention.

“The whole experience has been eye opening and rewarding,” said Wyatt. “I had no idea it would get accepted into such an incredible festival, or that people would be so open to how I share and tell a story. I’m just very grateful for everyone throughout the whole process.”

You can find out more about “Sailing a Sinking Sea” on Wyatt’s site or on the film’s SXSW page, as well as this filmmaker Q&A with Wyatt. She was also featured on Good Day Austin, which you can watch here.



Innovation Hub's Maker Faire Coming to Argenta in May



Argenta is getting cooler by the minute.

As part of the fourth annual Argenta Arts Festival on May 2, the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is hosting the North Little Rock Mini Maker Faire. A conglomerate of art, science, technology and all things “made,” think of the Maker Faire as a TEDx event. 

This event takes its cue from the 2013 flagship event in San Mateo, California, which inspired a wave of “mini” faires nationwide, and will hit the Launch Pad maker space at the Hub in full force.

"Maker Faire has ballooned into a world phenomenon," head maker and director Joel Gordon told our sister publication Arkansas Business. "It's a collaborative event that brings together artists, welders, makers, engineers. Maker Faire is a festival of festivals. If you have anything you make or produce, you have to be a part of Maker Faire.”

According to AB, the event will include rockets, robots, bicycles, power tool drag racing, DIY science and technology projects, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, music, local food and more.

Find out just what makes the Maker Faire tick and click here for the full story.

Ballet Arkansas Brings 'Who Cares?' to The Rep


“Who Cares?”

It may sound like the name of a millennial’s art installment, but it’s actually a ballet created by the co-founder and founding choreographer of New York City Ballet, George Balanchine, and Ballet Arkansas is bringing it to life on The Rep's stage.

Set to the music of George Gershwin, the performance is full of well-known classics like “I Got Rhythym,” “Strike Up the Band” and “Clap Yo’ Hands.” As you might have guessed, this is not your average ballet.

“It’s not your stereotypical ballerina in a tutu doing ‘Swan Lake’ with people looking at their watches, wondering when she’s going to die,” Ballet Arkansas artistic director Michael Bearden said. “It’s about carefree dancing.”

The most exciting part? Dance companies have to be okayed by the George Balanchine Trust in New York City in order to perform his works, and Ballet Arkansas is the first in the state to get the approval. Basically, it’s a huge deal. 

You can witness this milestone for yourself by purchasing tickets to “Who Cares?” April 17-19 at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. For tickets and showtime information, click here.

To learn more about Ballet Arkansas, visit their website

Instagram Friday: This Week in Pictures


Gorgeous spaces, great eats and coffee, of course - it's all here. Check out the behind-the-scenes world of Soirée as seen through the filters of Instagram. Then make sure you give us a follow and use #HeySoiree to show us what you're up to in the city.


Great news, downtowners. Not only is @thecornerlr open, but they have a soft spot for good coffee. Funny. So do we.

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


Gettin' irrational with Pi Day specials at the River Market @damgoode_pies's grand opening. #mathjokes #nommm

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


A quick pop into @lepopsgourmetlollies for a tasty treat before heading home. had me at salted caramel. #heysoiree #nomnom

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


We woke up to the absolute best news today: Mylo is downtown! #yay #coffeeisourlovelanguage #mylo #littlerock #heysoiree

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


Trying to brighten up our cloudy, Wednesday morning over here in Soiree land. #freshflowers

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


Current crush: This kitchen by Inside Effects of North Little Rock. Have you seen our 2015 Design Guide yet? #drool

A photo posted by littlerocksoiree (@littlerocksoiree) on


4 Ways to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21

Image by Shutterstock

This Saturday, March 21 is the 10th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day! To celebrate, families are invited to attend several events in central Arkansas to promote awareness and share how family and friends with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives. Here are four local events you can attend!

1. Balloon Release at Big Dam Bridge: The bridge will light up in blue and yellow all weekend (March 20–March 22) in honor of Down syndrome awareness. On Saturday, from 5-7 p.m., Buddy Talk will host a balloon release and take donations of books, toys and money in honor of Arabella Mash, who passed away last year at 9 months of age. All donations will go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where Arabella received exceptional care.

2. Donations at Mooyah: From 4-8 p.m. March 21, a portion of sales at Mooyah (14810 Cantrell Road) will be donated to the Arkansas Down Syndrome Association. At the Hot Springs location (3954 Central Ave.), a portion of sales will be donated from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

3. I Love LK 5K at Lake Catherine State Park: Attend this active fundraising event to memorialize Lila Kate McAlister who lived a remarkable 4.5 years with Down syndrome and passed away this last year. 8-10 a.m. March 21.

4. Barbeque Fundraiser in Manila: Head to the Manila Junior High School Gym to take park in a cake walk, raffle and barbeque fundraiser. All proceeds will go to ADSA. Admission is $5, children ages 6-13 $3, children under 6 free. 2-4 p.m. March 21.

Other ways to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day!

• The colors for Down syndrome awareness are blue and yellow, so you can show your support by wearing these colors.

• Wear crazy socks—stripes, polka dots, one short and one long, one yellow and one get the idea! Down Syndrome International promotes a “Lots of Socks” campaign for Down syndrome awareness. While the official socks are already sold out, you can still show your support by wearing your own crazy socks and telling people about World Down Syndrome Day!

For more info, visit

5 Events for Weekend Fun: Easter Bunny, Kites and More

Image by Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

The Toltec Mounds of Scott.

Hippity hoppity, Easter is on its way! Though Easter Sunday won't arrive until April 5, the Easter Bunny hops into central Arkansas this weekend. Plus, springtime makes an appearance at Historic Washington State Park and Toltec Mounds! Read on for five family events in Little Rock and beyond this weekend, March 20-22.

Easter Bunny Arrival at Park Plaza and McCain Malls: The Easter Bunny hops into central Arkansas this weekend! You’ll find him at both Park Plaza Mall and McCain Mall starting Saturday and throughout the month. Plus, at McCain Mall at 9 a.m. March 21, families can have breakfast with the guest of honor and make arts and crafts. At both malls, visits with the Easter Bunny are free, and photo packages are available for purchase. For info and hours: and FREE!

47th Annual Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park: This three-day festival heralds the arrival of spring in southwest Arkansas! Thousands of jonquils will be blooming, and the historic town will be filled with craftspeople, entertainers, and delicious foods. Tours of the park, historic homes and museums are available at regular price. Festival hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 20-21; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 22. Entry is free; parking is $5; full tours are $8, children 6-12 $4. For info:

Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament in Russellville: You’ll want to visit Russellville this weekend to cheer on your favorite Special Olympics teams! Watch athletes compete at multiple locations, including the Russellville High School and Junior High. March 20-21. For info and hours: FREE!

Spring Equinox Celebration at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park: Welcome spring and learn about Arkansas history this weekend. You can learn about and even use Native American tools and weapons similar to the ones used at Toltec so long ago. At 5 p.m., the station archeologist will make a presentation on how the mounds are arranged to coincide with solar events. Following the presentation, park interpreters will give a guided tour of the mound site to observe the sunset over Mound A. 4-7:30 p.m. March 21. For info: FREE!

Kite-Flying Competition at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Spend your Sunday Funday flying a kite at Pinnacle Mountain! Bring your kite to the overflow parking lot to participate in a high-flying competition. 1-3 p.m. March 22. For info: FREE!

For more central Arkansas events, browse our full online calendar here.

20 Easter Activities for the Family in Central Arkansas

Image by Shutterstock

Start your Easter a little early! Though Easter Sunday won't officially arrive until April 5, the bunny- and egg-themed events are already hopping into the metro area. Here are a few egg-ceptional Easter egg hunts and other events in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Hot Springs.

Easter Bunny Photos

Easter Bunny at McCain Mall: Visit with the Easter Bunny and tell him your spring dreams! Visiting hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. & noon-6 p.m. Sun. March 21-April 4. Free; photo packages available for purchase. For info: (501) 758-6317, FREE!

Easter Bunny at Park Plaza Mall: Hop by to see the Easter Bunny! He will await your Easter cuties on the second floor near Dillard's East. The visits are free, and photo packages are available. Bunny visiting hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. with carrot breaks between 1-2 p.m. & 5-6 p.m.; noon-6 p.m. Sun. with a carrot break from 3-4 p.m. March 21-April 4. For info: (501) 664-4956, FREE!

Easter Bunny Photos & Easter Events at Bass Pro Shops: Snap a photo with the Easter Bunny at Bass Pro; you'll receive a free 4x6 photo! Plus, kids ages 2-10 will have a blast searching for eggs in the old-fashioned Easter egg hunt on Saturdays and Sundays March 28-29 & April 4-5. Kids can register starting at 1:30 p.m. at the main entrance, and the hunt starts at 2 p.m. Kids who find five eggs will receive candy! Little ones can also participate in crafts--they'll either color an Easter basket magnet, wooden bunny or wooden chick, depending on the day (check website for exact schedule). Photo times are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 28-29, April 4-5; 6-8 p.m. March 30-April 2; 2-8 p.m. April 3. For info: (501) 954-4500, FREE!

Easter Egg Hunts and Special Activities

Fourth Annual Egg Drop at Two Locations in Cabot & Sherwood: The fields at each event location are divided into sections for specific age groups, including a section just for children with special needs. The stadiums fill up fast, so early arrival is suggested. The pre-drop events keeps families entertained while waiting for the arrival of the Egg Drop helicopter that will shower the field with candy-filled Easter eggs. Sylvan Hills Football Field 11:30 a.m.; Cabot High School Football Field Noon. April 4. For info: (501) 833-4673, FREE!

10th Annual Easter Family Festival and Egg Hunt at Clinton Presidential Center: This giant egg hunt features thousands of eco-friendly eggs hidden on the lawn of the Presidential Park. Children can also win prizes, and participate in games and activities. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 4. (Rain date: 1-4 p.m. April 5) For info: (501) 374-4242, FREE!

15,000 Egg Hunt at Wakefield Park behind Southwest Community Church: Egg hunters ages 1-11 are invited to scout out over 15,000 eggs at this egg hunt hosted by Southwest Community Church. Kiddos can also enjoy a ride on a trackless train, have their faces painted and enter to win prizes. The event will be held at Wakefield Park (7401 Woodson Road, Little Rock). Registration begins 10 a.m. April 4. For info: FREE!

Burns Park Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Pavillion 10: Kids ages 1-9 are divided into three age groups, with only 25 children seeking out Easter eggs at any given time. When they aren't on the hunt, children can participate in various games and holiday activities, enter to win prizes and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. Arrive at 8:30 a.m. for registration. 9-11 a.m. April 4. For info: (501) 791-8541, FREE!

Children’s Program: “Eggs!” at Garvan Woodland Gardens: Just in time for Easter, kids have fun with veteran teacher Ellie Elsenheimer, learning about color in nature and how to create naturally-dyed eggs. Advance registration is required. 9:30-11 a.m. March 19. $10; member children are $5. For info: (501) 262-9606,

Community Egg Hunt at MacArthur Park: Bring your basket to MacArthur Park front field for a community egg hunt sponsored by Second Baptist Church downtown. The morning will be filled with games, crafts, inflatables and an egg hunt for all children under 12. 10 a.m.-noon April 4. For info: (501) 374-9284, FREE!

Easter Bunny Arrival & Breakfast at McCain Mall: Hop by Center Court for a light breakfast and to see the Easter Bunny make his first appearance at McCain Mall! The fun continues with arts and crafts and photo packages available for purchase. 9 a.m. March 21. For info: (501) 758-6317, FREE!

Easter Egg Hunt & Family Fun Day at Excell Park in Jacksonville: Bring your basket to Jacksonville’s largest Easter egg hunt! Children who are walking through age 10 participate in this holiday tradition in a fun and safe environment. All participants must arrive at Excell Park by 10 a.m. The Easter bunny will make a special appearance, too! After the egg hunt, stay for Family Fun Day with free food and admission. In case of rain, meet at the Jacksonville Community Center at 10 a.m. March 28. For info: (501) 982-4171, FREE!

Easter Egg Hunt at Lake Catherine State Park: Join the fun as youngsters and the young-at-heart participate in this event. Meet at the Picnic Hill area of the state park; the action begins promptly at 2 p.m. April 5. For info: (501) 844-4176, FREE!

Easter Egg Hunt at St. James United Methodist Church: Bring your little egg hunters to this community-wide event. Children ages 2 years through third grade are invited to participate. Events include a visit from the Easter Bunny, hot dogs, games, prizes and inflatables. 10 a.m. April 4. For info: (501) 217-6700, FREE!

Easter Skate and Egg Hunt at Arkansas Skatium: Children 8 years and younger are invited to this eggstra special party. Bring along riding toys, scooters, anything with wheels, except bikes. Roller skates are included in the admission fee. Easter baskets will be given away—one for a girl and one for a boy! Egg hunt begins at 9:45 a.m. 8:30-10:30 a.m. April 4. $5; kids 2 and under are free. For info: (501) 227-4333,

Great Escape Weekend and Easter Egg Hunt at Petit Jean State Park: Celebrate spring and the great outdoors at Petit Jean. Take part in free nature-related and family-oriented activities. The event finale is an Easter egg scramble for about 2,000 eggs! Contact the park for a schedule. April 3-5. For info: (501) 727-5441, FREE!

Underwater Easter Egg Hunt at Jacksonville Community Center: Dive into spring with the Jacksonville Boys & Girls Club to help raise money for programs and activities. Children ages 3-12 are invited to the community center pool to take the plunge for a chance to win toys, Splash Zone passes and more. 6-8:30 p.m. March 30. $5. For info: (501) 982-4171,

Underwater Easter Egg Hunt at Jim Dailey Fitness & Aquatic Center: Swim and search for Easter Eggs, win prizes and meet the Easter Bunny. 1 p.m. March 28. Free for members; Non-members pay daily fee: $5, children under 16 $2. For info: (501) 664-6976,

Workshop: “Eggscellent Easter!” at Garvan Woodland Gardens: Pysanky, or Ukrainian, eggs are created through a simple batik process using wax and dyes, and the results can be stunning. All supplies provided; children 6 and older are welcome; parental supervision required. 1:30-4 p.m. March 29. $25; members are $10. For info: (501) 262-9300,

Special Sunday Services

27th Annual Community Easter Sunrise Service at First Security Amphitheater: Celebrate Easter in downtown Little Rock, as thousands gather on the banks of the Arkansas River for an all-ages, non-denominational service with music, scripture and fellowship. Music will be offered by the combined choirs of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, Philander Smith College, Arkansas Youth Chorale and First Baptist Church. Special entertainment will be provided by soloist Christine Donahue Mayo, New Creation Dance and Ozark Point Brass. The 2015 sunrise offering will support Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. The dress is casual and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Leashed dogs are welcome. 7 a.m. April 5. For info: (501) 664-3600, FREE!

Community Easter Sunrise Service at Lakewood Village Pavilion in North Little Rock: Join North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith and members of the NLR High School band to greet the dawn on this holy day with a community celebration service. The event is sponsored by Lakewood United Methodist Church. 6:30-7:30 a.m. April 5. For info: (501) 753-6186, FREE!

For more central Arkansas events, browse our full online calendar here.

Weekend To-Do List: 7 Artistic To-Do's


If you’re a lover of the arts, this weekend is full of can’t-miss events just for you. From art walks and exhibit openings, to ballet performances and film screenings, there’s an arts event this weekend to satisfy everyone’s cultural cravings. Also on this weekend’s roster: a cooking class for couples, great shopping opportunities and a two-day pioneering workshop complete with a whiskey dinner. Yep, this is gonna be a good one.


Friday (March 20)

Argenta Art Walk, North Little Rock: The Third Friday Argenta Art Walk features nine walkable venues with amazing art, live music and more from 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 20. During the walk, Argenta Gallery will host an opening reception for Carole Katchen’s “Art Then and Now;” Greg Thompson Fine Art will showcase “Southern Landscapes Exhibition,” featuring works by Southern regional artists Walter Anderson, Carroll Cloar, William Dunlap and more; and Art Connection will display new paintings, prints, mixed media and jewelry created by teen artists. Six more venues will have art on display as well. Find out more here.


Court 13 & Q&A with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Producers, Ron Robinson Theater, Little Rock: Calling all film and music buffs! At 7 p.m. this Friday, the Little Rock Film Festival, in partnership with the Arkansas Times Film Series, will present short films and music videos from the New Orleans film collective, Court 13, at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater. Following the shorts, guests may stay for a Q&A with “Beasts of the Southern Wild” producers Casey Coleman and Nathan Harrison. Admission is $5 and you can learn more here.  


Table for Two: Roasted Lobster Tails with Ginger Sauce, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, Morrilton: Need a new date-night idea? Sign up for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s upcoming Table for Two cooking class and learn how to make roasted lobster tails with ginger sauce. Executive Chef Robert Hall will demonstrate how to cook the entree while you and your significant other enjoy a freshly prepared appetizer. After the demo, you and your sweetheart will step up to the stove and practice your new cooking skills. Afterward, you’ll dine by candlelight and enjoy a decadent dessert. The class begins at 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, and includes overnight lodging on the mountain and continental breakfast. Tickets are a mere $125 per person. To register, click here.


“Arkansas, As Is” Opening Reception at Cantrell Gallery, Little Rock: Cantrell Gallery will host an opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 20, for Daniel Coston’s newest exhibit “Arkansas, As Is.” Refreshments will be served and the artist will be present. The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit will hang from March 20-May 9 and will showcase Coston’s recent acrylic paintings. For more info, click here.


Turning Pointe Gala for Ballet Arkansas, Albert Pike Memorial Temple, Little Rock: Get ready for the sautés, jetés, cabrioles, etc. Ballet Arkansas’ signature annual fundraiser, Turning Pointe, is taking the stage this Friday, March 20, at the Albert Pike Memorial Temple. The evening will kick off with a cocktail hour, buffet dining and a silent auction, followed by entertainment by Ballet Arkansas company members. The evening will conclude with dessert, coffee and dancing to the music of Dizzy 7. Learn more and purchase tickets here.


Friday-Saturday (March 20-21)

“I Love You, But You’re Sitting On My Cat” at The Joint, North Little Rock: Presented by The Main Thing, “I Love You, But You’re Sitting on My Cat” is an original comedy featuring the Fertle Family from Dumpster, Arkansas. The fictional family has fallen on hard times and comes up with a surefire method to win money gambling. They all take a bus trip to the “glittering casinos of Oklahoma,” and chaos ensues. Theatre-goers can enjoy cocktails, craft beers, wines, European-style coffees and more while watching the show, which begins at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday night. Admission is $22 per person. For reservations, call 372-0205, or click here.


Saturday-Sunday (March 21-22)

Georgia Pellegrini Pioneering Weekend, South on Main, Little Rock: If you haven’t heard of Georgia Pellegrini, listen up. This Southern lady gardens, harvests, travels and more. She is the author of three bestselling books and has been featured in numerous publications and on TV shows like "The Today Show" and "Iron Chef America.” She calls her way of life "modern pioneering" and she’s bringing it to Little Rock this weekend. Hosted by South on Main, this four-part event/pop-up shop includes a lunch on Saturday with workshops like homemade mason jar butter with flavorings and homemade mason jar scented candles. There’s a VIP whiskey dinner Saturday night at 7 p.m. Yes, a whiskey dinner. With three courses. Sunday holds a gospel brunch and book signing. Make your reservations by clicking here. But don't wait, spots are limited and they’re going fast. Read more about her weekend lineup here.

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About The Author
What’s new in shopping, the arts, music, travel, fun parties and delicious food in Arkansas? Let Lauren James of be your guide. An avid shopper, traveler and lover of everything-arts-related, she will show you the best of what Arkansas has to offer. Make your go-to spot every day to learn the latest in entertainment, dining, attractions, activities and more.
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Instead of simply showcasing the editorial team's favorite bridal portraits and couple shots, we added décor, ideas and more into this mix. We hope these inspire you to create something fresh, unique or simply gorgeous for your weddings.

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