Local Interview: Geena Davis on the Bentonville Film Festival

Geena Davis and Courtney Lawless

Guest post by Courtney Velasquez Lawless

Celebrity sightings happen on a regular basis in New York and Los Angeles.

bffIn Arkansas, they happen much less often and everyone takes notice.  This week, I got to meet Geena Davis when she came to town to announce the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival.

We talked about the Festival, but also about being a mom, raising a daughter, and the overall topic of  diversity in media.

Geena, stunning in person, looked great in the cutest white dress with huge pink watercolor flowers on it. She spoke with such eloquence and grace.

She’s a smart lady! Years ago while watching children’s programs with her young daughter, Davis noticed a disproportionately large ratio of male characters to female characters. As an actor in Hollywood, she knew fewer quality roles for women existed than for men, but watching shows with her daughter helped her realize the scale of the diversity problem.

“I started watching things specifically made for kids with her and decided I had to do something about it,” said Davis. “I didn’t realize that kids’ media was so bereft of female presence.”

After doing some basic research on her own, she sponsored a formal inquiry into the topic of gender diversity in media, eventually founding the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2007. In studies that cover 20 years worth of programming, the research discovered that nearly 3 male characters existed for every 1 female character in film and TV. Crowd scenes contained 83% men and only 17% women.

After 9 years of advocating for diversity, Davis knows she has made an impact on the industry. The Institute sent a follow-up survey to everyone in the film and television industry who has heard her presentations on gender diversity and found that 63% of respondents said it impacted 2 or more of their projects. Forty-one percent said it affected 4 or more of their projects.

She encourages her peers to advocate for change during their productions when the opportunity presents itself. They can have a tremendous impact by making simple suggestions that don’t have to offend anyone or ruffle any feathers.

“They can say, ‘I’m the star of this movie. When I give that speech tomorrow, can we make sure the crowd is half female? Or I’m the President, can half of my cabinet be female? What do you think if my landlord or my boss or best friend was a women instead of a man or a person of color? Nine times out of ten they’ll say ‘Why not? That’s a great idea.’ We have a lot of power that we don’t wield.”

The Bentonville Film Festival plays a key role in Davis’ work to create opportunities for women and minorities, not only in film but to empower people to become whatever they want in life.

“I have been an advocate for women for most of my adult life,” she said. “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is dedicated to improving the representation in gender and diversity of talent, filmmakers, and business leaders by growing awareness through research, education and advocacy. The Bentonville Film Festival is a critical component of how we can directly impact the quantity and quality of females and minorities on screen and behind-the scenes.”

The 2016 Bentonville Film Festival will be held May 5 – 9 in Bentonville, Arkansas. You can keep up with the all the latest Festival news on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Courtney Velasquez Lawless works at Collective Bias and blogs at DetroitMommies.com and DiscoveringArkansas.com. She is an avid cyclist, philanthropist and lover of the art and culture in her home town of Bentonville, AR.

Giveaway: Tickets to see Bryan Adams and dinner at ROMA

Ladies, this giveaway is going to ROCK — (and we mean that literally.)

We’re sending one very lucky local mama to the Bryan Adams concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion (AMP) on September 19th. With two free tickets, this will make an AWESOME date night or a Girls’ Night Out. For a preview of just how amazing this concert is going to be, play the video above to get a quick sampling of some of Bryan’s most-loved songs over the years.

roma italian photoWe’re pairing the two concert tickets with a gift certificate to the newly opened Roma restaurant in Rogers, which is within walking distance of the AMP. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is fun and not stuffy. Perfect for a fun night on the town.

For many of us who were tweens and teens when Bryan Adams’ music was on the radio ALL the time, this concert is like a trip back to some of the most exciting moments of our lives — first dates, high school dances, summer nights, first kisses, first cars, Walkmans, and those awesome “jam boxes” we all just had to have.

For the younger mamas, you have no doubt heard plenty of Bryan Adams’ greatest hits because they have quickly become “classic rock” anthems that stand the test of time with lyrics like “I need somebody. Somebody like you. Everybody needs somebody.” (And we’re not even sure it’s possible to sit still when you hear “Summer of ’69“. That song makes us want to dance!)

HOW TO ENTER: To enter, just click on the words “leave a comment” at the bottom of this post and tell us what kind of memories are associated with Bryan Adams’ music in your mind. For example, does the song “Heaven” remind you of your first boyfriend? Does “Run to You” remind you of slumber parties with your best friend in middle school? OR… just tell us why you’d love a date night or girls’ night out right now.

You can also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. Click here to sign up.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

We’ll choose a winner on Friday afternoon, mamas! Good luck!

bryan adams concert2

Giveaway: Tickets to TWO upcoming Artosphere shows!

artosphere orchestra

Photo Credit: Stephen Ironside

If you didn’t win show tickets last week, don’t despair! We’ve got two giveaways starting today for Artosphere Festival Orchestra tickets plus gift cards to Panera Bread!

  • One mama will win a pair of tickets to the June 19th AFO “Earth Sounding” concert
  • One mama will win a pair of tickets to the June 27th AFO “Bold Spirit” concert (this is the festival finale concert!)

Plus each winner will receive a gift card to eat at Panera Bread in Fayetteville before or after the show!

ABOUT THE SHOW: The Artosphere Festival Orchestra is made up of more than 80 premier musicians from around the world come together musicians from around the world come together for a series of truly inspired orchestral performances. The music director for both AFO shows is Corrado Rovaris.

Here’s more about each concert:

Earth Sounding

Featuring symphonic works by Scandinavian composers Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen, alongside the natural soundscapes of Bernie Krause and Richard Blackford. 

Friday, June 19, 7:30pm (plus post-show performance)

Baum Walker Hall, Walton Arts Center

*You’ll want to stick around after the show for a post-show party to see The Fruits’ breathtaking outdoor performance. This world-renowned performing arts company fuses theater, dance and circus on 14-foot-tall flexible poles. They’ll be joining NWA for a night under the stars on Dickson Street to perform “Spheres,” a cosmic and awe-inspiring performance that takes an imaginative look at the laws of physics. Performances begin at 9:30 & 11:30pm on Tyson Plaza.

Tickets are $10

The Fruits

The Fruits

Bold Spirit: The Best of Beethoven

The orchestra closes out the 6th Annual Artosphere Festival, performing Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony and his Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring renowned Italian pianist Pietro De Maria.

Saturday, June 27, 8pm (this is the Artosphere Festival finale concert, so there will be a post-show party)

Baum Walker Hall, Walton Arts Center

Tickets: $10

panera bread logoABOUT THE FOOD: When we’re craving a great soup and sandwich, or a bagel with cream cheese, or a salad,, or … well, we can’t think of anything we DON’T love at Panera Bread.

My picky daughter adores their broccoli soup. Veggies! YES!

And, as we mentioned in last week’s giveaway, we also love that by the end of 2016, they’re removing all artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners and flavors from their food. Cool, huh?

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win these orchestra tickets plus dinner at Panera Bread, throw your name in the online hat, mamas!

Just click on the words “leave a comment” at the bottom of this post and tell us about one of your favorite sounds (since these tickets are to win tickets to hear beautiful orchestra music!). A certain type of music? Crickets at dusk? The sound of your kids laughing in the summertime?

You can also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. Click here to sign up.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

CLICK HERE to read more about “Earth Sounding” and to buy tickets. CLICK HERE to read more about  Bold Spirit and to buy tickets.

Tickets are only $10 for these shows!

We’ll choose the winners a little earlier this time (our giveaways typically run Monday to Friday), so heads-up! We’ll choose two winners on Wednesday, June 17, at 5 p.m.

Artosphere events for the family!

artosphere iconArtosphere, Arkansas’ Arts and Nature Festival, has returned and starting June 16, we’ll get to enjoy two weeks packed full of exciting events, art exhibitions and performances.

Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts and Nature Festival is presented by Walton Arts Center and celebrates artists influenced by nature, who inspire us to live more sustainable lives.

The festival will be kicked off on June 16th with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet show, which we mentioned on Monday, since we’re giving away two tickets! If you haven’t had a chance to throw your name in the hat, click here to comment on the post. The winner will receive two tickets to the ballet show and a gift card to eat at Panera Bread!

Here’s are some of the highlight events that kids and families will enjoy:

I Think I Can (visual arts exhibition)

Walton Arts Center’s Joy Pratt Markham Gallery

June 16-27 | Free to public

Join the city! I Think I Can is an interactive installation by Terrapin Theater of Australia that will place a model railway layout in Joy Pratt Markham Gallery. The exhibit unites model trains, intricate puppetry, live video and audience participation to create an innovative public artwork that invites participants to become temporary residents in the form of tiny puppets. Each participant plays a role in creating a community story that evolves throughout the project and is accessible to all through an online newspaper.

Installation Hours:

· June 17-18, 22-26 | 12:30-2:30pm, 4-7pm

· June 20 | 4-7pm

· At least one hour prior to and after all Artosphere performances in Baum Walker Hall

i-think-i-can-2015-event-image

I Think I Can exhibit

Chapel Music Series:
Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs
Thursday, June 18, 7pm | Tickets are $10

For fifteen years, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem have been brewing their own blend of American roots music. Their shows sparkle with songs and stories that celebrate and tackle the human condition. From an early 1900s farmers’ lament to a swing tune penned for Arbo’s elderly neighbor, the band’s repertoire is crafted to build bridges between musicians and listeners and between performance and life. The quartet’s energy and warmth pull audiences in, enthrall them, and return them home with opened hearts. Musically, the band is a melting pot of American folk melody and style, “a mini music festival of different styles filtered through the vibrant interaction of all four players.” (Dirty Linen) Gleefully drawing from a variety of traditions, they hang a Georgia Sea Islands song on a New Orleans groove and sneak an Afro-Cuban cajón groove under an Irish fiddle tune. Their signature four-part harmonies can shake the rafters or hush the room. Audiences will be transported as they listen to exquisite music played in this architectural marvel.

See them again at Trail Mix on June 20 & June 21.

artosphere

Food & Music Night

Downtown Square in Bentonville
Thursday, June 18, 6pm | Free to public

Grab your favorite beverage, some food and settle in to hear Artosphere Festival Orchestra ensembles perform “tiny concerts” in your favorite local restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and other gathering places around downtown Bentonville.

Trail Mix

Frisco Trail in Fayetteville

Saturday, June 20, 6pm | Free to public

&

Crystal Bridges Trails in Bentonville

Sunday, June 21, noon | Free to public

Capturing the essence of Artosphere, Trail Mix is a time for families and community members to explore our trail systems. Creating one-of-a-kind musical and outdoor experience, audiences can visit artists and musicians set up in various locations along the one-mile stretch of the Frisco trail to enjoy music from bands across the country.

Trail Mix continues on the Crystal Bridges Trails in Bentonville on Sunday, June 21.

Trail Mix and Family Sunday

Crystal Bridges Trails in Bentonville

Sunday, June 21, noon | Free to public

Artosphere Festival’s signature event, Trail Mix gives families the opportunity to walk on the museum trails while enjoying local and international bands playing a variety of musical genres. This year, Australia’s new circus daredevils, The Fruits will present their original, groundbreaking performance that tells a spectacular story of love, loss, joy and freedom on high. Performances begin at 1 and 2:30 on the South Lawn.

Food & Music Night

Dickson Street & Downtown Square in Fayetteville
Thursday, June 25, 7pm | Free to public

Artosphere Festival Orchestra ensembles will be performing “tiny concerts” in your favorite local restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and other gathering places around downtown Fayetteville.

You won’t want to miss AFO’s final performance on Friday, June 27 at Walton Arts Center.

artosphere, dickson

Look for “tiny concerts” like this one around downtown Fayetteville starting at 7 p.m., June 25th

Artosphere Festival Orchestra

Walton Arts Center’s Baum Walker Hall
Saturday, June 27, 8pm |  Tickets are $10

In its fifth year, the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, comprised of more than 80 musicians from prestigious ensembles, orchestras and music programs around the world, will once again gather in the Ozarks for professional a music-making experience unique to Artosphere. Under the baton of acclaimed Music Director Corrado Rovaris, the orchestra will close out the Artosphere festival with their third performance which will consist of two works by Ludwig van Beethoven, featuring Pietro de Maria on piano

Visit artospherefestival.org to see a full listing of events!

Giveaway: Tickets to see Alonzo King LINES Ballet!

artosphere

What an amazing night it will be when Alonzo King LINES Ballet performs at Walton Arts Center on June 16th!

And we’ve got two tickets to  give away to one lucky mama and her date PLUS a gift card to eat at Panera Bread in Fayetteville before or after the show! It’s this celebrated contemporary dance company’s first visit to Walton Arts Center with a new program that’s just perfect for Artosphere, the Arts + Nature Festival!

During their debut appearance, they will be performing Biophony, which combines ballet and the {real, recorded} sounds of nature.

alonzoABOUT THE SHOW: The ballet company collaborated with natural soundscape artist Bernie Krause and composer Richard Blackford. For more than forty years, Krause has traveled the globe with microphones tuned to the earth and its creatures. His vast archive catalogs the collective sound of entire ecosystems – what Krause terms biophony.

The sounds of crickets, elephants, whales, birds, thunderstorms and more set the backdrop for this exciting performance featuring the soundscapes of bioacoustician Bernie Krause and composer Richard Blackford.

Krause has spent more than 40 years traveling the globe with microphones tuned to the earth and its creatures, and his recordings of more than 15,000 species immortalize entire ecosystems.

The dancers’ senses are heightened amid calls of killer whales and tree frogs; their sweat seems to mingle with the mud, salt, and dust of their new sonic environments.

SPECIAL EVENTS BEFORE & AFTER THE SHOW: Prior to the performance, guests are invited to join Alonzo King for a Creative Conversation at 6 p.m. Then, following the show, guests can help kick off Artosphere with a roar at a post-show party!

The day after the show, there will be four Alonzo King LINES Ballet dance workshops for different ages — and skill levels. What a unique opportunity!

There will be master classes in beginning and intermediate ballet for youth and adults, on Wednesday, June 17 at Walton Arts Center.

All workshops are $10:

• 1pm – Beginning Ballet for Youth with Michael Montgomery

• 1pm – Intermediate Ballet for Youth with Meredith Webster

• 3pm – Beginning Ballet 14yrs – Adult with Michael Montgomery

• 3pm – Intermediate-Advanced Ballet 14 yrs – Adult with Meredith Webster

Click here to find out more about these special classes.

panera bread logoABOUT THE FOOD: We love Panera Bread’s …. well, everything! The salads, the soups, the bread, the sweet treats. Panera is always a happening place and always lots of fun to visit — or enjoy a date.

And we love that by the end of 2016, they’re removing all artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners and flavors from their food. :)

HOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win these show tickets plus dinner at Panera Bread, throw your name in the online hat, mamas!

Just click on the words “leave a comment” at the bottom of this post and tell us about your favorite place in Northwest Arkansas to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Do you love Devil’s Den or an out-of-the-way place that you could introduce the rest of us to? Maybe it’s your own backyard!

You can also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

INCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family alonzo balletabout the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

(You can also earn an extra chance to win by signing up to receive the free email newsletter we send once a week. Click here to sign up.)

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Pinterest. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets if you don’t want to take a chance! They’re only $10 and this is going to be an amazing performance :)