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River Market theater plans seat-warming party

By Cheree Franco

This article was published January 16, 2014 at 3:05 a.m.


Sleepy LaBeef

The Little Rock Film Festival will debut new digs this spring when it moves into the Central Arkansas Library System’s 315-seat Ron Robinson Theater (named for the former chief executive officer of the advertising firm Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, who donated his extensive collection of Arkansas music and film memorabilia to CALS).

But the festival is months away, and the River Market theater is ready now, so CALS and LRFF programmers are throwing a seat-warming party, with free movies and music all week long at the Ron Robinson Theater, in the Arcade Building, at the intersection of President Clinton and River Market avenues.

Things kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with Ain’t in It for My Health, a documentary about the late Levon Helm, beloved Arkansan and drummer and vocalist for The Band. Afterward, the musician’s daughter, Amy Helm, will showcase her rootsy band, The Handsome Strangers.

Saturday’s events begin at 3 p.m., with the best shorts from the LRFF’s 48-hour film project, followed by the documentary Sleepy LaBeef Rides Again, about a 76-year-old, 6-foot-7 rockabilly legend from Smackover. Then Sleepy La-Beef will team up with Nashville, Tenn.’s, Dave Pomeroy for a lively two-man show.

Monday through Thursday there will be a documentary about the ground-breaking comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley, selections from former film festivals (Little Rock and the Horror Picture Show) and an episode of the Sundance series Rectify, written by Little Rock’s Graham Gordy. Gordy will stick around for audience questions.

On Jan. 25, the theater’s official grand opening event will feature North Little Rock director Jay Russell screening his 2004 film Ladder 49, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta. Post-film, there will be a 21-and-up party with music, food and drink in the theater lobby.

Admission is free. Call (501) 320-5703 or visit

Weekend, Pages 37 on 01/16/2014

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