Thursday, March 30, 2017

Potter Larry Witherspoon

     Unique, beautiful and functional.
     Larry Witherspoon, owner of El Dubya Pottery, makes pieces that look like museum art, but function like your everyday dishes.  This stoneware is microwavable, food safe and dishwasher safe.
     His work sells in The Museum Store at the Arkansas Arts Center and at The Freckled Frog downtown. 
      “I just went in and showed Sadie my stuff,” Mr. Witherspoon said of Sadie Nuffer, owner of The Frecked Frog.  “She said, ‘I need some rice bowls and some upside-down handle cups.’  And she started selling my pottery.”
    The Museum Store recently featured some of Larry’s pottery on the cover of its promotional magazine. His signature colanders, upside-down handle cups, rice bowls with chop sticks in them, and bowls with figures of koi have sold quite well. 
    “So I am really thankful and blessed.”
     But wait.  Upside-down handle cups?
     Well, you might say, when life gives you dyslexia, make art.
      Larry tells the story about throwing some odd shaped coffee cups at the Arts Center one time and bringing them home to show his wife, Desiree.  Desiree’s interest in pottery had helped get him back into it after years of absence from his “hobby.”  By trade, he is a barber.
     “I said, ‘I am really proud of them,’ and she said, ‘Your handles are upside down.’”
     Dismayed, he returned to the studio and made more cups and put the handles on “correctly.”  They didn’t work.  It turns out Larry’s dyslexia helped him create the perfect style to begin with.
     “The upside-down handles work better.  It balances better,” he said.
     Turns out people love them. 
      Larry had his first experience with making pottery when he was a youngster.  Not only did he have dyslexia, but he was hyper, and learning to create pieces on a pottery wheel helped him cope. 
     “When I was 10 or 11 years old, my mom got me involved in a little potter’s studio on Highway 10.”
      Larry said the highway was paved, but the area was pretty rustic.  He cannot remember the name of his first teacher, but he is thankful for the experience with her. 
     “She taught me how to throw on the wheel. I’d  
go twice a week after school. I was hyper and dyslexic.  As long as I was working with my hands, I seemed to calm down.”
     When Larry was an adult, he had several instances where he was able to work on a pottery wheel, but life and work (he’s been a barber for 34 years) always seemed to interfere with his hobby. Then he met Desiree at the Arkansas Arts Center.
     “She was at the Arts Center doing some pottery classes, independent study with Kelly Edwards.  I was visiting.  I threw a pot.  And then I enrolled in a class.”
        It was there that he made his first colander. 
        “I still have it.  We use it.”
     Now, Larry is known for his colanders. In fact, one of them was what got him his “in” at The Museum Store.  He gave one to a friend who was working in Canvas, the museum restaurant, and it ended up by the register as a candy bowl.  And that’s where the then manager of The Museum Store saw it and was quite impressed.
     “She said make two or three.  We can sell them. Then she bought rice bowls and coffee cups.  They sold so quick, I had to make a bunch more.”
       Nowadays, Larry spends part of his Fridays in independent study with Ms. Edwards at the Art Center. And he plans to stick with his education and his hobby.
     “The Arts Center is great. I’ve been selling my pottery at the gift shop.  I am able to pay for most of my hobby.  I am still surprised at this. 
      “I am very thankful.  There are a lot of pot-ters at the Arkansas Arts Center.  And they are kind enough to rank me up with them.”
     Larry likes to experiment with different gla-zes. His work gravitates toward light silvers and silvery gray mattes. He’ll make pottery on commission, but he warns that it’s not cookie cutter.  Each piece is one of a kind.  
       “When I can do something freely, it seems to me nice.  I play and experiment.  I am just having fun.  I want to have fun with them - and sell them.” 

     In addition to the Arts Center and The Freckled Frog, you may find Larry’s pottery at Stifft Station Gifts and Sundries and South Main Creative. You may contact him at 681-1097. This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt. You may contact her at 221-7467.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Events in Little Rock March and April 2017

Pirates of Penzance 
     Pirates of Penzance will be performed 7:30 p.m. March 31 and 3 p.m. April 1 at Wildwood Park for the Arts.  This Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera has been a staple for audiences for decades, and it's just as funny today as it was at its debut in 1879.  For information, call Leslie Golden at 821-7275.

Jar the Floor
  Jar the Floor will be performed March 29 to April 16 at The Rep downtown.
       The ticket price is $30 to $65.  
    Four generations of black women gather to celebrate their beloved, outrageous matriarch’s 90th birthday. The trouble is, recently widowed MaDear would rather watch her soap operas and read her Bible than blow out the candles on her cake.

        Tempers flare and secrets are revealed, yet rollicking humor bites its way through the cycles of guilt and blame passed on from mothers to daughters. Fierce and funny, Jar the Floor is a heartfelt comedy that proves the ghosts of the past should not rob us of the moments we have together in the here and now.

    Springfest will be held 8:30 a.m. a.m. - 6 p.m. April 1 at Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in the River Market. This free festival includes activities for children, food trucks, a dog parade, races for short-legged dogs, special performances and fun with popular emcees Craig O’Neal and Roger Scott.
     This year’s theme for the Ruff on the River Pooch Parade is Saturday Night Fever with pups dressed in disco themes. There will be prizes for best costume, best stroller and best wagon. For $5, you can enter your pet into the fun. The Weenie Dog Derby will include races of  three size pooches - Beenie Weenies, Hot Dogs and Summer Sausage. 
     For more information, call Ashley Parker at 225-3378 or visit

Gladys Knight
      The Empress of Soul and seven-time Grammy Award winner will dazzle Little Rock 8 p.m. April 3 at Robinson Performance Hall. 
      Tickets are $43, $58 and $68.  Come and hear some of the songs that made the 1960s and ‘70s a great time for music lovers: Every Beat Of My Heart, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Midnight Train to Georgia, and more.

Curbside Couture 
     The sixth annual Curbside Couture, a delightful "green" fashion show, will be held 7 - 9 p.m.
April 2 at the Clinton Presidential Center.  It features wearable designs made of recycled materials
by youngsters grades 3 through 12.
     Before the event, students will have had the opportunity to attend mentoring sessions with
acclaimed fashion designers - including Little Rock fashion maven Connie Fails - and receive
feedback about their creations.  Cash awards will be given for the best designs in elementary,
middle and high school levels.  For more information, call Ms. Fails at 748-0405 or write her at

Jazz in the Park
         From 6 - 8 p.m. each Wednesday in April, music lovers can come together to enjoy live jazz and support Little Rock’s own musicians during Jazz in the Park in Riverfront Park. 
      For four years this free event has been held in the History Pavilion at the park. It is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.
       This year, the event will continue its partnership with Art Porter Music Education, Inc., which offers scholarships to talented Arkansas music students who wish to further their education while promoting community service and volunteering.  
         This is the lineup:
         April 5 - The Funkanites (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 12 - Ramona (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 19 - Tonya Leeks & Co.
         April 26 - Sounds So Good                    

       Coolers are not allowed at Jazz in the Park, but beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Art Porter Music Education’s scholarship fund. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.  In case of rain, the West Pavilion will be the alternate location.


Youth Home’s Eggshibition celebrates its 26th year April 7 at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Come on out and support the kids while enjoying live and silent auctions, original egg art, glass from James Hayes, live music by The Rodney Block Collective and delicious food and libations. 

     David Bazzel and Chris Kane are hosting, and Craig O’Neill is this year’s auctioneer. General admission is $50.  Patron access is $75.  Doors open for general admission at 7 p.m. A special VIP reception for patrons begins at p.m. For more information, visit

 Dead Poets Society

      Dead Poets Society will be shown 1 - 3 p.m.  April 8 at The Ron Robinson Theater downtown.  Admission is $5. Come enjoy the full movie theater experience complete with comfortable seating, wonderful picture and sound, and concessions, including wine and beer. For information, call Moriah Pedro at 320-5715.

Beethoven and Blue Jeans
   The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans will be held 7:30 p.m. April 8 and 3 p.m. April 9 at Robinson Center downtown.
   It will include Beethoven's Consecration of the House Overture, Sibelius's Symphony No. 2, and Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring Andrew Irvin on violin. Philip Mann will conduct. For more information, visit

Downtown Dash 
     The Junior League of Little Rock’s Downtown Dash will be held 8:30 a.m. - noon April 8 starting at the Junior League Building, 401 Scott Street.  It will include a 10k, a 5k and a special 1k for kids that will begin at 8 a.m. The cost is $10 - $40. 

   The race will feature Downtown Little Rock landmarks, such as the River Market, the Clinton Library and the Arkansas Arts Center. The race is also handicap and stroller accessible. For more information visit

An Evening with David Sedaris
   An Evening with David Sedaris promises to be filled with his wickedly witty observations 8 p.m. April 21 at Robinson Center Performance Hall.
    Mr. Sedaris made his comic debut recounting his charmingly quirky experiences of being a Macy's elf, reading his "Santaland Diaries" on National Public Radio's Morning Edition in 1992. His sardonic humor and incisive social critique have made him one of NPR's most popular and humorous commentators. 

    In 2001, he was named Humorist of the Year by Time magazine and received the Thurber Prize for American Humor.  His new Theft By Finding will be released May 30. Tickets are $25, $33, $38, $43 and $50.   ticketmastercom.

Jewish Food Festival 
     The Jewish Food and Cultural Festival will be held 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. April 30 at War Memorial Stadium.  Admission and parking are free.
    The festival features traditional Jewish foods, booths on Jewish and Israeli culture, Judaica, jewelry and other gift items for sale, Jewish music, and kids activities. It will include traditional Jewish foods: corned beef sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, cabbage rolls, blintzes, kugel and more, as well as homemade Jewish treats including rugelach, babka, challah, and chocolate-covered matzo. Israeli dishes, such as falafel, hummus, and Israeli salad, will be available, too. 

      The  festival will also feature booths on Jewish and Israeli culture. At the ever-popular Ask-the-Rabbi booth, visitors can learn about Judaism itself, from Jewish holidays to life-cycle customs. For more information, call Marianne Tettlebaum at 663-3571 or visit 

       IndiaFest 2017 will be held 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. April 30 at the River Market Pavilion.

    Admission is free. IndiaFest attempts to bridge cultures, generations and communities through a one-day of togetherness. The event promises an environment that salutes history, embraces globalization and celebrates communities. There will be cultural activities, entertainment, merchandise for sale, and, of course, authentic Indian food.

Pioneer Day Camp 2017: Settling Arkansas
       Each summer, pioneer day campers have fun as they explore what life was like in Arkansas more than 150 years ago. This year campers will take on the role of being new settlers in Arkansas. They will learn the fascinating steps involved in setting up home, including haggling over the price of land with the owner of a local land agency and surveying their newly-purchased land. They'll visit the blacksmith in his shop and see him make the nails and hardware for building a house. And they'll have the opportunity to “build a house” and then cook on the open hearth in a pioneer kitchen.
     The campers will enjoy crafts, pioneer games, and dancing. On the last day of camp, parents will be invited to watch the children dance the Virginia Reel in celebration of building a house.
     The dates are: June 12–16 for rising 3rd and 4th graders; and June 19–23 for rising 5th and 6th graders. The hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The cost is $85 per camper ($65 for museum members).  You may register online now to reserve your spot. Join the museum now to get discounted tuition. For more information, visit