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Argenta exhibits, events to mark Beatles invasion

By Linda Haymes

This article was published April 10, 2014 at 2:53 a.m.


Jeff Baskin, executive director of the William F. Laman Public Library System in North Little Rock, climbs through a banner of The Beatles during an earlier news conference announcing “The British Invasion: 50 Years Later,” a photographic exhibit on Fab Four opening Saturday and continuing daily Monday-April 19 at several businesses and public locales in and around the downtown Argenta Historic District.

Following the popularity of last spring’s “JFK 50 Years Later” archival photo exhibit, held in a variety of locations in downtown North Little Rock’s Argenta Historic District, organizers wanted to follow up on the event’s success.

“Last year, we had the exhibit in observance of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and it was so well attended, there was so much interest in it, we wanted to continue with these types of events,” explains Jeff Baskin, executive director of the William F. Laman Public Library System in North Little Rock.

So the exhibit’s organizers wondered, what monumental event took place in 1964? The answer was obvious - it was when The Beatles, a quartet of mop-topped lads from Liverpool, England, took America by storm following their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. Their appearance on the show, watched by 73 million viewers, paved the way for what became known as the British Invasion of musical rock groups from England into the United States in the 1960s.

“Two-fifths of the total American population was watching that night,” Baskin says. “And it made their career.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!

“The British Invasion: 50 Years Later,” an archival photo exhibition, opens Saturday and continues daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-April 19 in the historic district. The exhibition, which includes some never-before-seen photos, focuses on both the public and private lives of the Fab Four, one of the world’s most beloved bands.

The exhibit, displayed to the public for free for a week at seven locations, is being presented by the nonprofit Argenta Arts Foundation, which works to promote arts in the community, and North Little Rock-based Retro Images Archive (formerly known as Rogers Photo Archives).

The nearly 200 photographs, provided by Retro, will cover the nearly a decade The Beatles were together, ranging from early images of the fresh-faced 20-somethings in their collarless, tailored gray suits and black Cuban boots to ones of them sporting much longer hair, beards and mustaches from the late 1960s.

The images will be displayed at Greg Thompson Fine Art, 429 Main St.;

Pennington Studios, 417 Main St.; The Joint, 301 Main St., #102; Thea Foundation, 401 Main St., #100; Art Connection, 204 E. Fourth St.; the Laman library system’s Argenta Branch, 420 Main St.; and and Mugs Cafe, 515 Main St.

During the exhibit, a North Little Rock Visitors’ Bureau information booth will assist attendees.

At noon on Saturday at the Inland Maritime Museum on the Arkansas River, the U.S.S. Razorback becomes a “Yellow Submarine” when its mast is painted with yellow primer and a walking tour begins at 2 p.m. at the Thea Foundation.

Saturday night, The Joint will put on a performance of Ripped and Wrinkled by owners Vicki and Steve Farrell.The 8 p.m. show is an original rock musical commissioned as part of the exhibit. It revolves around The Dogs, a fictitious world-famous band from North Little Rock, whose members disappear a la Rip Van Winkle, returning decades later to the modern era, confused and confounded by all the changes that have occurred. Tickets are $20.

A Beatles-related film festival runs Monday through Thursday at The Joint.

On Monday at 4 p.m. Help! will be shown, followed by an after party at Crush Wine Bar, 318 Main St., and an outdoor concert is set for 6 p.m. at the Argenta library branch.

On Tuesday, a 5:30 p.m. taping of the nationally syndicated radio show Tales of the South is set for Starving Artist Cafe, 411 Main St., featuring stories of 1960s adventures. Tickets are $7.50 plus the cost of dinner. At 8 p.m., Yellow Submarine will be screened at The Joint, with an after party at Reno’s Argenta Cafe, 312 Main St.

On Wednesday, following a 6 p.m. film screening of A Hard Day’s Night at The Joint, the venue will host an 8 p.m. British Invasion comedy night with the improvisation troupe The Joint Venture followed by an after party at Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 301 Main St.

On April 17, a 7 p.m. screening of Good Ol’ Freda (a documentary about The Beatles’ longtime fan club president) will be held at The Joint, with an after party at all bars.

On April 18, a $50-per-ticket event at Argenta Community Theater, 405 Main St., will feature music by the Libras and guest artists Bonnie Montgomery, John Willis, Indy Grotto (Boondogs), Isaac Alexander, and Greg Spradlin performing an all-Beatles tribute.

The exhibit concludes April 19 with a car show by the British Motoring Club of Arkansas on Main Street next to the new Argenta library from noon to 3 p.m., followed at 3-6 p.m. by a $25-per-ticket Beatles Karaoke and BBQ at the Yellow Submarine at the maritime museum. The exhibit concludes with the Argenta Arts Foundation Awards gala at 7 p.m. at the Argenta Community Theater. The $100-per-ticket party includes an art auction, the presentation of the foundation’s Friends of the Arts Award, and music by Steve Bates and Midas Coven.

Proceeds from the events requiring tickets benefit the foundation. For more information, visit

Weekend, Pages 37 on 04/10/2014

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