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Dream A Little Dream

Posted on: Jan 2, 2009

by Kyle Brazzel Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Dec. 30, 2008 Eclectic Band Takes Under Its Wing A Battered Dance Hall With A Glorious Past Onzell Wright has a keen nostalgia for Little Rock's Ninth Street, similar to the feeling some people have about Main Street. In both cases of these intersecting corridors, this is mostly nostalgia for one's youth and for crowds. But the way Wright tells it, his particular strain sounds like an anomalous wistfulness for one-stop shopping. Ninth Street, by Wright's careful enumerations, was once a place where you could get your clothes dry-cleaned and study to be a beautician. You could buy a life insurance policy and a chili dog. He makes the type of businessmen who tack their business cards to laundromat bulletin boards sound like old friends.

eclipseglassess.jpgIn a way, it's loneliness talking. Wright graduated from high school in 1962 and proceeded almost directly to The Line, in those days the nickname for Ninth Street. "That's when I was really partying," he says with the hint of a grin. In those days Ninth Street was the center of commercial and cultural life for Little Rock's black population, and it was also the place to party. But when Wright returned in the 1970s to open wright's Shine parlor near Ninth and Arch streets, the vitality was fading. Now its history is a museum exhibit, literally, at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which opened in the fall. As someone who came to Ninth street first to play and later to work, Wright is an exception. But it's not only neighbors whose absence he feels "There was a lot of neon lights down here, just about as many as there was on Main Street," Wright recalls. And there was sound, plenty of it, spilling out onto the sidewalks. wright has always situated himself near music, whether at work or not: When he operated a shoeshine stand in Little Rock's erstwhile Sheraton Inn, he could hear Gennifer Flowers' night club act from inside the Pebbles Lounge. Up and down the Ninth street of his youth," you could hear the blues, you could hear rock'n'roll, you could hear band music," Wright says. Bass guitar hung in the air, but so, he remembers, did the bright tones of saxophone and clarinet. These days, it can be difficult to hear Wright speak over the whir of a shoe polisher and the somber chords that announce that The People's Court, broadcast over a television set so blurry the picture is practically scrambled, is in session. But one the right night on the Ninth Street, music- even the brassy sounds from Wright's most distant memories- still carries over to a marginally more bustling Broadway. One can hear guitar and drums, tambourine and even trumpet and euphonium spill from the former Doc's Pool Hall on the ground floor of the Arkansas Flag and Banner building when a band is playing, the beer keg is flowing and the door to the garage bay is thrown open. These jam-filled parties, of which there have been a small handful, would earn Wright's approval for more reasons than their role in bringing a groove back to Ninth Street nights. They are also pushing toward a resurrection that would provide an even more direct link between Wright's boy hood in the area and his advanced adulthood. The music, under a street-fair-style string of lights and within a circle of ecstatic dancers, has largely been the instrumental sound of the newish Little Rock band Eclipse Glasses, and outfit whose official motif, according to its promotional materials, is a stew of "funk, soul, electro Afrobeat, reggae and weirdo disco." The quintet is playing in the former Doc's tucked underneath the red-brick structure constructed in 1846 as the temple of the Pulaski County chapter of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor because they can't yet play on the top floor. Jazz Age Gem

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But the band hope that the proceeds from the concerts will help boost Kerry Mccoy, owner of the Flag and Banner building, closer to her goal of restoring the former Dreamland Ballroom. The ballroom, later known less memorably as the Morocco Club, occupies the uppermost story of the building McCoy took over in 1991. Obscured by peeling plaster and ribs of exposed beams it retains only a glimmer of its sequins-and-spats shine from days when it hosted Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and the proms of Dunbar High School and Arkansas Baptist and Philander Smith colleges. "Being an admirer of all those people who played there before, I would love to be able to play there too," says Lorenza Harrington, who supplies the horn sounds for Eclipse Glasses and methodically sets up photo collages showing Dreamland's promise b3fore each fund raising show. "It's a beautiful venue. The old '30s and '40s architecture is all around you." Indeed, it's still there, although evidence is strong of the weather beating it took before McCoy's extensive refurbishing. A scrapbook of the buildings' evolution contains photos in which the diamond-patterned panels edging the balconies sit underneath such gaping holes in the roof that what were then downtown Little Rocks' First Commercial Bank and TCBY towers loom int he open air. A patina the color of dried mustard has settled on the rosettes ornamenting the band-stand, lending the room a garish quality of glory gone shabby, like a once-grand dame whose hair rinse is beginning to yellow and whose lipstick applications stray off the mark. In fact, knowing what to keep and what damaged flourishes to cut have proven so tricky that MCCoy has already fired two architects whose conceptions woud have, she felt, takent the Dreamland too far from its original design. "The sstinking historical people that do the tax credits- they told me I had to take all the plaster out fo the way and spray it with clear shellac," reports McCoy, who originally bought the building for $20,000 from restaurateur Mark Abernathy, who had bought the property at auction on the Pulaski County Courthouse steps. "I said, 'You're missing the whole deal!' I'm not going to loose my peachy-pink color just so I can get those tax credits." In some ways - coinciding, as it does, with a mini-Ninth Street revival as well as the movement to rebrand South Main Street as SOMA - the Dreamland may be the right project at the wrong time. McCoy was prepared to go before loan officers with her revised business plan for Dreamland's eventual profit ability as a for-rent event center and concert venue the week of the initial bank-industry financial crisis. McCoy says she is grateful for the money that goes into Dreamland restoration coffers after Eclipse Glasses organizes a charity concert. "They get me a couple thousand dollars," she says. "But I need a million-two." Members of Eclipse Glasses understand that they aren't going to move the mountain of big-ticket financing with proceeds from the occasional late-night get-down. "just having music there at all brings about an awareness of that place," Harrington says. (The next fundraising concert is not yet on the calendar, but progress on the restoration effort can be followed at the ballroom's Web Site, www.dreamlandballroom.com.) Trumpeting the Cause And the devotion to the Dreamland held by Eclipse Glasses, as well as other bands of their ilk, casts them as much Generation O as the successors to the bluesmen and rock'n'rolers who lugged their instruments cases through stage doors in Ninth Street's heyday. Generation O is the nickname that has been applied to people college age on through their early 30s who helped president-elect Barack Obama reach unprecedented levels of campaign fundraising, one relatively minute, Internet deposited contribution at a time. The tag also signifies a new order of social consciousness, and members of Eclipse Glasses - Harrington, Zach Reeves, Kyle Carpenter, Andrew Morgan and Collin Miles - in addition to playing in other bands also volunteer for causes like the Arkansas Sustainability Network and the No New Coal Environmental movement.countbasies.jpg

Harrington, 26, learned to play on a trumpet given to him by his grandfather when his parents couldn't afford the drum set he requested as a teenager. A leader of kung-fu-centered after-school tutorials for the Little Rock School District, Harrington is cautious about appearing opportunistic in his Dreamland Boosterism. "I don't want it to seem like I'm just playing there so whenever it does get remodeled I'll have my food in the door," he says. "Before it's established as a legitimate music venue, people should be aware of its history and not just use it as a place to make money, or boost their own popularity." McCoy, for her part, understands the ballroom's appeal to emerging young musicians. "It's part of the music heritage of Arkansas - that same bond that ties musicians together generation after generation," says McCoy, who adds that she bought the property primarily because of the ballroom. (At one time, her goal was to have Dreamland restored by 2000.) "I want to move forward while they've still got time on their hands and don't have families yet," she says of the current youthful gravitation toward the Dreamland. "But even if they get off of it, there'll be somebody else that falls in love with it. It's just that kind of place - as long as I don't mess it up. I don't want to sell ownership of it," she continues" but it may have to someday be Coca-Cola's Dreamland Ballroom. But I'd like to see it before I'm 80!" But even if she doesn't, as Onzell Wright might tell her, it's never too late to recapture reveries gone by. Wright's wife maintains a collection of 45s that preserve the type of tunes that once provided the Ninth Street soundtrack. "I'm in church now," wright says. "I'm a deacon. But every now and then, we spin some old records at the house and dance."

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New Flag for a New Era - Just in Time for the Inauguration

Posted on: Jan 14, 2009

Little Rock, Arkansas Kerry McCoy, owner of Flag and Banner (http://www.FlagandBanner.com) announced today that the "Yes WE Can" flag associated with President-Elect Obama's campaign for the White House is rapidly becoming the most popular flag associated with a president since George Washington. According to McCoy, the flag commemorates history being made in the United States. The flag, which is still available for shipment in time for the Presidential Inauguration, may be seen at: ../../fab/productpage.asp?id=DFLAG1682.

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Presidential Inauguration Day

is January 20, the day on which the President of the United States is sworn in and takes office. At exactly noon, the President takes the oath of office, traditionally administered by the Chief Justice of the United States using the form mandated in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. President's Day - More to Celebrate! Whether you are celebrating the Inauguration or President's Day on February 16th, Flag and Banner has patriotic decorations perfect for any celebration including a wide selection of fun and unusual products such as American flag jackets, American flag jewelry and more! (See ../../holiday/viewholiday.asp?hid=142) Sign up for Flag Alerts Flag and Banner offers a free Half Staff Flag Alert e-mail notification service to anyone who wishes to be notified when the President calls for the flag to be lowered to half mast. To register to receive alerts go to ../../mlsubscription.asp.

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Dreamland Ballroom featured in Inviting Arkansas

Posted on: February 7, 2009

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Photograph by Nancy Nolan January 2009
Inviting Arkansas features the Dreamland Ballroom in a photograph for an interview with Chip Murphy. Chip Murphy is the co-producer for Saints & Sinners at the Arkansas Repertory Theater. Saints & Sinners is the Arkansas Repertory Theater's annual fund raiser. To find out more about the annual fund raiser or for what is showing visit :The Rep. To read the article in full visit Inviting Arkansas' On line magazine, January 2009 edition. The article and full image is featured on page 12 & 13. Support your local arts.

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Dreamland Ballroom Fundraiser and Party

Posted on: March 3, 2009

Come see two local bands at the coolest place in Little Rock and support a great cause The Dreamland Ballroom. Friday night March 13th, Eclipse Glasses and Velvet Kente will perform in formerly Doc's Pool Hall, on the first floor of Arkansas Flag and Banner building, 9th and State Streets (entrance on State). Show at 9:00, $5 admission. What is Dreamland? The Dreamland Ballroom is on the third floor of the Arkansas Flag and Banner building. It was built in 1916 by a New Orleans, black business fraternity, Knights and Daughter of Tabor. Their mission was to provide burial insurance and care for widows and orphans.

The Dreamland was used as a meeting hall for this organization but it also lays claim to some of the best touring acts in America during the 1920's - 40's. The Dreamland was the smallest theater on the Chitlin Circuit. The Chitlin Circuit refers to the route driven by the black bands while touring. They usually drove from New Orleans to Little Rock, Memphis, St Louis, and Chicago playing in each city.

Some of the acts that performed at the Dreamland are Count Bassie, Cab Callaway, BB King, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Red Fox, Earl Hines, Jackie Gleason, Ray Charles just to name a few. See more about the Dreamland on it's website http://www.dreamlandballroom.com/ and read articles that have been published about the Dreamland here

This benefit is to raise awareness and bring dollars towards its restoration. Dreamland Ballroom is a gem in our City's crown. Unable to attend but would like to contribute? Then, become a Friend of Dreamland make checks payable to Dreamland Ballroom and mail to Arkansas Flag and Banner, 800 West Ninth, Little Rock, AR 72201.

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Leadership

Posted on: March 28, 2009

President: Kerry McCoy

Kerry McCoy founded FlagAndBanner.com with only $400 when she was just 20 years old. Her success is a shining example of what can be accomplished when we leave our comfort zone and make decisions through action instead of fear. To learn more about Kerry's story see a Recent Speech she delivered for a high school commencement ceremony.

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Save the Dreamland

Posted on: April 8, 2009

Arkansas Democrat Gazette Editorials January 8, 2009 If Ninth Street could talk.....

Walk into the Dreamland ballroom, or what's left of it, and you understand wny it's called dreamland. Ther's just enough left of the elegant ballroom to let your imagination fill in the blanks. The once vibrant night life of Little Rock's Ninth Street lives again, if only in your thoughts.

Standing on the ballroom's crumbling state, you catch a glimpse of another and now long-lost world. You see the dancers twirling on the ballroom floor, and can almost hear Duke Ellington's orchestra swing through "take the A Train," "Muy Satin Doll," "Mood Indigo"......

The Dreamland is on the top floor of a building that's now home to Arkansas Flag and Banner. Not too long ago, the old brick structure was being auctioned off on the courthouse steps. Drivers on Interstate 630 surely know the building. They must have spotted it time and again, but that's about as close as most of us get. It's just an old building on an old street where the sidewalks end and driveways lead to building that disappeared long ago.

That's how Ninth Street is these days- lopped off at Izard Street by the interstate. In plain view but overlooked all the same.

Yes, Little Rock's lost far more than Ninth Street over the years. The city seems to shed its skin every generation or so, giving up some priceless bit of its past for a newer, brighter, shinier face.

Not e the ongoing debat/debacle over Ray Winder Field, the old ball park that was once a gem in the city's crown and now is just a dust-covered bit of paste. The Travelers left years ago but, after mindless dithering by the city's would-be-leaders, the old ball field's future-if-any is still being debated. The options: Sell the park to the University of Arkansas' medical center to be converted into a parking lot or a future expansion, or transfer it to the city zoo for an elephant grounds. Or just keep it the same, a ball park.

None of these alternatives are particularly appealing. The vision of War Memorial Park as a real showplace, Little Rock's answer to New York's Central park, complete with beautiful gardens, has never caught on, more's the pity. Little Rock would rather dither.

But at least folks want to do something with Ray Winder. There's concern for the ballpark, interest in the property, and, even better, real money on the table, to wit" a 1.1-million bid for it from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. As far as we know, the weedy lots on Ninth Street haven't attracted any big-money offers from outside investors. Instead its fate being debated, the street seems to have been given up for lost.

Thank goodness not everybody's hurrying to the old strip. Some folks still see something worth saving. According to a a story in last Tuesday's paper, the people at Arkansas Flag and Banner art trying to save the old Dreamland ballroom.

They're getting help from a few musicians who'd like to do a show someday where Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and so many others once played.

Who can blame them? It'd be like shooting hoops ona court where Wilt Chamberlain once dribbled, a chance to relive the glorious past. Think of Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Why can't Little Rock do much the same? doesn't Arkansas' capital city have lot of superannuated musicians- and young ones, too- who'd love to dream a little dream? Oh, we'd want to be there when those saints go marching in.

Driving through the pre-fab expanse of the city's newest neighborhoods, where real architecture sticks out among the boxes, and one giant parking lot blends into another, you can't help but feel grateful for the dreams that remain. Oh, if only we were willing to stop for a moment and commune with the ghosts. They have a lot to say- if you're listening. Ninth Street may be gone, but a priceless bit of it still remains, a dreamland waiting to be revived.

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Gadsden Flags Flying Off the Shelves in Support of the Tea Party Tax Protest

Posted on: April 17, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, AR (Marketwire-April 16, 2009)

Waving signs with anti-tax slogans and carrying American flags, crowds gathered in support of less government spending and lower taxes in numerous cities yesterday. The "tea party" element of the gatherings was meant to reference the Boston Tea Party, a pre-Revolutionary War event in which colonists dumped tea in the Boston Harbor to protest the British king's tax on what was a colonial staple. Many of the flags flown yesterday were historical and reminiscent of the American Revolution.

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"Tea Parties" Increase Sales for Flags

One of the flags seen in abundance at these "Tea Parties" is the Gadsden flag, an historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend "DON'T TREAD ON ME" [sic]. The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by The United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.

For many the "Tea Parties" are very political, for others the events are purely business -- and really good business. Flag companies and other retailers carrying patriotic items have seen these flags fly off the shelves. According to Kerry McCoy, owner of FlagandBanner.com in Little Rock, Arkansas, "I wish I would have thought of it sooner and bought all the Gadsden Flags on the planet. This week Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com along with every other flag dealer in America has sold out of Gadsden flags and First Navy Jack flags in protest of potential tax increases." McCoy further stated, "If the flag had a snake or cannon on it, we sold out."

According to McCoy, "There is no reason to despair if you haven't already purchased your flags, as more are on their way. In fact Flag and Banner is taking advance orders today."

naval-jacksnake.jpgMore Gadsden Flags and First Navy Jack Flags are Available at FlagandBanner.com. For more information on flags or to purchase patriotic items, visit FlagandBanner.com.

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Project Runway Designer holds Photo Shoot at the Dreamland Ballroom

Posted on: May 1, 2009

modelstairss.jpgWhile the Dreamland Ballroom is not quite ready to book events, she (I think "Dreamland" is a girl) has been garnering quite a lot of attention. Word of Dreamland's enchanting aura has spread among photographers and she has been getting a lot of press. I have always felt that I could feel the ghosts of Duke Ellington and other great musicians that once played within her walls, but apparently the custom woodwork, faded and chipped plaster, and abundant windows make for a fantastic photo shoot.

When Photographer Jason Masters called requesting a photo shoot, we were more than happy to oblige. Dreamland is a national treasure and such treasures should be shared. And when we learned that the photo shoot was for Little Rock's own designer, Korto Momolu from Season 5 of Project Runway, we were ecstatic. We had a little photo shoot of our own to record the event. Take a look. I think this proves that while it's true that "One day you are in, the next you are out," it is also true that beauty endures. And as sure as Dreamland was once magnificent, even in decay she is still beautiful. Soon she will be restored to her former grandeur and get a second chance at fame. We took a few pictures to show you how cool it was.

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Decorating Your Ship with International Code Signal Flags

Posted on: May 1, 2009

nauticalpennantsboats.jpgOn national holidays, at regattas, and on other special occasions, yachts often "dress ship" with International Code of Signal flags. International code flags are used to signal messages between two ships or between ship and shore. Also called signaling flags, they are a set of flags of different colors, shapes and markings which used singly or in combination have different meanings. The flags include 26 square flags which depict the letters of the alphabet, ten numeral pendants, one answering pendant, and three substituters or repeaters. Only a few colors can be readily distinguished at sea. These are: red, blue, yellow, black, and white; and these cannot be mixed indiscriminately. You will notice, for clarity, the flags shown are either red and white, yellow and blue, blue and white, or black and white; besides plain red, white, and blue.

When dressing a ship with International Code flags, The ship is dressed at 8 a.m., and remains dressed until evening hours. A ship is dressed while at anchor only, except for a vessel's maiden (first) and final voyages, and participation in a marine parade or other unique situation.

In dressing ship, the national ensign is also hoisted at the stern staff (and the Union Jack may be displayed at the bow staff on government vessels). The rainbow of flags of the International Code is arranged, reaching from the water line forward to the water line aft, by way of the bowsprit end (or stem if there's no bowsprit) and the masthead(s). Flags and pennants are bent on alternately, rather than in any indiscriminate manner. Since there are twice as many letter flags as numeral pennants, it is good practice, as in the Navy, to follow a sequence of two flags, one pennant, two flags, one pennant, throughout. The sequence recommended here provides a harmonious color pattern throughout:

Starting from forward: AB2, UJ1, KE3, GH6, IV5, FL4, DM7, PO Third Repeater, RN First Repeater, ST Zero, CX9, WQ8, ZY Second Repeater.

You can purchase International Code of Signal flags ready to dress your ship at FlagandBanner.com today! Feel free to call us at 1-800-445-0653 to answer other nautical questions, or find more supplies of what you need to dress your ship, or even have personal ensign made. We're more than just a flag store, we are Flag Experts!

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Living the dream

Posted on: June 1, 2009

Renovating former ballroom a lesson in patience. By Melissa Tucker Photo by Shannon Sturgis As Published in Sync Weekly, Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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LITTLE ROCK ” By her own standards, Kerry McCoy could call herself a Big Dreamer. The owner of Arkansas Flag and Banner and its upstairs venue, the Dreamland Ballroom, is still chasing her vision of re-opening the forgotten music hall. The stage that once held B.B. King, Etta James, Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald is now covered in dust and bits of fallen ceiling. Back in the early 90s, McCoy bought the building for $20,000, but in the years since, has spent $300,000 on necessary repairs. I bought it in 1991 with a big hole in the roof and everyone said, 'You've lost your shirt. Don't do it. Don't do it.' I can't tell you how many people told me not to [buy this building], she said. After spending enough to make the building safe and secure, McCoy started her plans to revitalize the old Dreamland Ballroom, but right away, discovered the project was bigger than she expected. Every time I go to renovate it, it's just not quite there, she said.

 

balcony1.jpgFirst it was going to be $400,000 and I didn't have enough money, so I got enough money for $400,000 and it moved to $600,000 she said. It's like a moving target. Now that construction costs are rising, the project has jumped to $1 million, and McCoy said the credit crisis in the financial markets has stymied her plans to get a loan. Right after I spent all the money doing the architect's plans and the engineering plans and got it approved with the city, we went to the bank the very week the banks folded, she said. She finally decided the Dreamland Ballroom should get nonprofit status. It's got a lot of angles to ask for grants, she said. It's got the music angle, the black history angle, a woman-owned angle and just plain old, historical. There ought to be something in there somewhere. Now she just needs to raise $200,000 to take a 20 percent deposit to the bank before getting her loan. She hopes the nonprofit status will help her raise more money and acquire corporate sponsorships. She's started the application process with the help of a volunteer at the Arkansas Sustainability Network and expects to have it approved in the next three months. She plans to do as little as possible to the Dreamland Ballroom to preserve its rundown beauty. I'm not gonna touch it. It's going to look just like this with wood floors, chipping plaster, she said. Don't you think it's charming, just like it is? She plans to add a few more stairway exits and an elevator. Visitors will be able to smoke on the third-floor landing outside. When completed, she'll rent out the venue for events from weddings to concerts to conferences. She regularly gets requests to reserve the venue. Every week someone e-mails me and asks if they can rent it or asks 'When is it going to be open? she said. Because last October I thought it would be open by now. Now, McCoy is in full fundraiser mode. She's already considering categories for donors. Those that give a lot would be called Big Dreamers, and smaller donors would be Little Dreamers. Then, we're thinking about dream catchers and dream weavers, she said. There's a lot of play on words for dreamers.

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Patriotic Flag Season Is Here... Out Comes the Red, White, and Blue

Posted on: June 15, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, AR--(Marketwire - June 11, 2009) - With Memorial Day behind us and two other patriotic "flag" holidays on the horizon, the flag season has officially started. Already red, white and blue decorations can be seen up and down the main streets of America.

countryliving2.jpgAmerican Flag Day (June 14th) will be the next patriotic holiday... followed by July 4th, our nation's Independence Day. Kerry McCoy, owner of Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com, says, "This time of year brings out the flag etiquette questions. 'How do I display my flag?'" Do you know the proper way to display an American flag off your porch? The US flag always goes to the right. This concept can be tricky. When looking at your home or business from the street, the flag will look to be on the left because it is the flag's right. So pretend you are the flag on your porch looking out at the street, now put the flag on your right. That is its proper place. Kerry says, "Many times I go to a school, church or a patriotic event and gaze upon the stage only to find the event planner has placed the American flag on the audience's right, when it should be on the audience's left. If the flags are your responsibility, take a moment to educate yourself on their proper display" For more flag etiquette and tips log on to FlagandBanner.com. Or, sign up for Flag Alerts from FlagandBanner.com, timely emails that keep you up to date with current flag events, such as when to fly the flag at half-staff and other flag tips. For information: http://www.flagandbanner.com or Contact: kerry@flagandbanner.com Phone: 1-800-445-0653

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Kerry visits the Bob Robbins show on KSSN

Posted on: June 15, 2009

Kerry McCoy, owner of Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com was a guest on the Bob Robbins radio show on KSSN 96FM last Friday morning (June 12th). They spent the morning handing out free Stick Flags and discussing the meaning of Flag Day... among other things! Below are some photos of the event - Enjoy. FYI - President Obama issued a presidential proclamation recognizing... "the week beginning June 14, 2009, as National Flag Week.". So be sure to proudly fly your flag all week in honor of National Flag Week!

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Friends of Dreamland Ballroom hold first boardmeeting

Posted on: July 17, 2009

ettajames.JPGThe Friends of Dreamland Ballroom had our first board meeting, Wednesday, July 15. It was a great meeting. Present: Kerry McCoy, Ann McCoy, Katy Elliot, Nathaniel Wills, Stephen Koch, Jeff Roper, Brian Shaddock, Debbie Murphy, Berna Love, Lili Hicks Absent: Kathleen King, Dlorah DeVore, Constance Sarto, Eyona Scott-Mitchell We elected officers, Kerry McCoy- Chair, Ann McCoy- Co Chair, Brian Shaddock- Treasurer, Lili Hicks- Secretary. We, mostly, adopted by-laws and reviewed article of incorporation. Fundraising ideas were very briefly discussed. Katy Elliot suggested continuing grassroots fund raising such as the Doc's Pool Hall Parties. Debbie Murphy suggested putting on a show that recreates the acts of Dreamland Ballroom's past performers. Tickets will be $100 and Doc's will be used for drinks and fellowship. Jeff Roper suggested possible corporate sponsorship and naming opportunities for donors such as new addition, foyer, elevators, stage, and balcony. Next Meeting: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 12 p.m. at Taborian Hall.

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An American Idol

Posted on: August 20, 2009

Chris AllenThis year Chris Allen is Arkansas' favorite son. And I am happy to say Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com got to have a small part in all the hoopla. We did the banners for his concert in downtown Little Rock and more recently we provided the big US flag that was showcased in his family photo shoot for the magazine - Inviting Arkansas. It is exciting to see all the places our products show up, movie sets, magazines, news conferences, just to name a few. This week look for our products in AY magazine!

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Friends of Dreamland Ballroom Receives Non-profit Status

Posted on: August 31, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Ever hear of the Dreamland Ballroom in Little Rock, Arkansas? If you haven't... you should, especially if you love old buildings, old music and like to party. Located on the top floor of the Taborian Hall, home of Arkansas Flag and Banner, the Dreamland Ballroom is currently in disrepair but there is a push to restore the historic landmark and now there is a non-profit group focused on this mission.

Led by Kerry McCoy, owner of Arkansas Flag and Banner, the Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is a non-profit committed to bringing back the music, the history, and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom. Kerry McCoy Said We are committed to restoring the Dreamland Ballroom. It is a gem that this city cant afford to lose to time and decay. Our plans are to restore the ballroom upstairs, then open it to the public for use as an event center and museum. Now that we have the non-profit status the fundraising begins. Donations to the Dreamland Ballroom project are tax deductible Says McCoy.

Mrs. McCoy is no stranger to bringing back old buildings. When she purchased the property back in 1991 to use as the new home for her business, the roof had fallen in and much of the inside had been destroyed by fire and water damage. The first two floors now house Arkansas Flag and Banner.

Stately Taborian Hall, located on the corner of Ninth and State streets, is the only remaining historic building on West Ninth, a testimony to the streets former vibrancy and glory days as Little Rocks Little Harlem. Once known as Taborian Temple, it was built for the African American fraternal insurance organization, the Knights and Daughters of the Tabor. Construction began on the Classical building in 1916 by local black contractor, Simeon Johnson, and was completed in 1918. Over 1,500 fraternal members attended the dedication of Taborian Temple in that year. Additionally, in August, 1918, a Negro Soldiers Club opened informally on the ground floor, providing a recreational center for African American soldiers stationed at nearby Camp Pike. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Taborian Temple housed many commercial endeavors including professional offices for Dr. J. V. Jordan, dentist, and Dr. W. B. Black, physician, the Gem Pharmacy, the Ritz Beer Garden, and the Dreamland Grill.

By 1937, the Dreamland Ballroom was firmly established on Taborians third floor. The popular dancehall with its famous swing floor was a hotbed for big bands, jazz, and blues, and the scene for dances, socials, and basketball games. It was a regular stop for the Chittlin Circuit, a national touring company of professional black entertainers, revues, and stage shows. With the advent of World War II, the United Service Club, USO, bought the building and turned the first to the third floors into a club that served thousands of black soldiers from Camp Robinson (formerly Camp Pike) and the Stuttgart Air Base. The Dreamland ripped and rollicked during those war years and beyond with legendary musical artists including Fatha Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald, and comedians Redd Foxx and Sammie Davis. Local stars cut their musical teeth in the Dreamland too including Blind Al Hibbler, Louis Jordan, the Yellowjackets, and Lloyd Armon and his Orchestra. In 1954, the Temple became known as Taborian Hall, and housed three nightclubs: Twin City Club was in the basement; the Waiters Club was located on the second floor; and the Dreamland had morphed into Club Morocco, with an emphasis on rock. During the 1950s, The Blues Boy B.B. King brought his Three OClock Blues to the premier night spot along with Famous Blind Singing Star Ray Charles who sang Little Rockers into hysterics with Midnight Hour, and Roll With My Baby. Throughout the early 1960s, Taborian Halls musical legacy remained strong, but by 1970 had ended.

For information: http://www.dreamlandballroom.com

Contact: friends@dreamlandballroom.com

Phone: 1-501-255-5700

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Dreamland Ballroom on Today's THV news

Posted on: September 8, 2009

So Sunday morning I am sitting at home sipping coffee, when the phone rings. It is Today's THV reporter, Faith Abubey, she says, "Is this Kerry McCoy owner of Arkansas Flag and Banner?" Faith had seen Dreamland Ballroom's press release about our new nonprofit status and wanted to do a story on the place. Faith and I laughed about it must be a slow news day for her to be calling me at home and that I didn't need a shower because it wasn't smell-a-vision. So a time was set for us to meet in the Ballroom for the interview. She is a great women. She works alone with a camera and a mike. She records, writes, edits and narrates her own stories, all while wearing heels and makeup. What a girl! The story aired Sunday at 5, 10 and 6 the next morning. I think she did a really good job but you be the judge... here it is... Dreamland Ballroom on Today's THV

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Kerry visits The Zone on 103.7 The Buzz

Posted on: September 9, 2009

Kerry McCoy, owner of Arkansas FlagandBanner.com was a guest on The Zone radio show on 103.7 the Buzz last week (Aug 26th). They spent the noon hour discussing the upcoming Razorback season opener and all the Razorback gear available at www.FlagandBanner.com! Below are some photos of the event - Enjoy.

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Look to FlagandBanner.com for Flag History

Posted on: September 21, 2009

In commemoration of a new year, FlagandBanner.com would like you to know that there is a fun additive to shopping for flags on our website: History and fun facts. When shopping for a flag on our website, we note the history of a flag, and flag symbolism. We also offer a resource for flag etiquette, how to hang a flag, flag terms, and more.

See our Native American, state, and historical flags.

We recently started listing state birthdays on our Calendar of Events and Holidays. Here you can find items offered for your state's color, bird, animal, insect, flag, and more.

Soon to come is our world flag information. There are hundreds of countries in the world, and each flag has its' own meaning, and symbolism.

We try to make it fun for our customers to fly their flags with pride.

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Friends of Dreamland Ballroom Holds First Open-House

Posted on: September 28, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, AR Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, the non-profit group formed to support the restoration of the historic Dreamland Ballroom, on the top floor of the Taborian Hall will hold its first open house Thursday, October 1st, 2009. Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is a non-profit committed to bringing back the music, the history, and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom. This open house is an opportunity for us to share our mission and vision with the public says Kerry McCoy, Chairman of the Friends of Dreamland. We will serve wine and cheese, give a short presentation, and then tours of the building says Kerry. If you would like to attend the event just send an email to friends@dreamlandballroom.com or call 501-255-5700.

donation_card1.jpgFor information: http://www.dreamlandballroom.com

Contact: friends@dreamlandballroom.com

Phone: 1-501-255-5700

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Group wants to restore historical ballroom in Little Rock

Posted on: October 8, 2009

dreamland6-highres.jpgReported by: Sandra Kirk, Fox 16, KLRT Email: skirk@fox16.com October 7, 2009 Fox 16 - Click here for the full story and VIDEO! LITTLE ROCK, AR - A group wants to bring back the history and the party in downtown Little Rock. Friends of the Dreamland Ballroom are gathering support to restore the third floor of the flag and banner building. Sounds of the past fill Eugene Porter’s memories. "Cab Calloway, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, all played on this stage. We were here, we were listening to the music, some of the best that we had in relation to jazz, blues, and it was really tremendous," Porter said. "The favorite ones that I saw were Ray Charles, and B.B. King, those were the traditional ones." And tradition is what the group, Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, wants to restore. "Committed to bringing back the history, the music, and the party to Dreamland Ballroom," Chairman Kerry McCoy said. The ballroom is located on the third floor of the now Flag and Banner building in downtown Little Rock. The vision is to make it a hot spot for events including weddings, parties and also a museum to share the buildings history. "It was the key to society as far as Little Rock was concerned. This was our street," McCoy said. "It needs to tell the story of 9th Street which was Little Rock's Little Harlem. This is the last building left from that era. This is all the original moldings, the orange and turquoise moldings went around the stage," he said. Now the group needs money to restore the space. "You know this place has great bones." "To be a part of restoring this back to its proper place, to the culture and social scene in Little Rock how could you say no," McCoy said. Porter hopes he'll get a chance to see more greats perform on this stage. "This is wonderful. The city needs this, the city of Little Rock needs this." Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is a non profit organization. The group held its first open house and fundraiser September 28th. Click here for more information about Dreamland Ballroom. Copyright 2009 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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AFB participates in the '09 Race For The Cure!

Posted on: October 26, 2009

The 2009 "Race For The Cure" was a huge success! Take a look at some of the photos of the event.

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Friends of Dreamland Ballroom to Host Monthly Brown Bag Lunches

Posted on: November 3, 2009

dreamimage.jpgLittle Rock, AR - If you haven't gotten a chance to see the Dreamland Ballroom, then this is your chance. Starting this Thursday, November 5,2009 the Friends of Dreamland launch their "First Thursday, Brown Bag Lunch" from 12-1 pm. Bring your lunch and come dine in the once famous "Doc's Pool Hall" located on the first floor of the Arkansas Flag and Banner building (enter from State Street). There will be a 7 minute, historical, informative, inspirational and funny presentation and then tours to the third floor where Dreamland Ballroom is located. Kerry McCoy will be doing the presenting and she promises to entertain. So grab a brown bag lunch and come spend it with us! If you miss this one, no worries we plan to do it again on the First Thursday of every month. Hope to see you then.

More about the Dreamland and its Friends:

Go back to the heyday of Little Rock's Ninth Street district known as Little Harlem. It's 1937. A well-established local dancehall called The Dreamland Ballroom is famous for its swing floor and is a hotbed of big bands, jazz, and blues. It's the scene for dances, socials, and basketball games. The Chittlin Circuit, the national touring company of professional black entertainers, revues, and stage shows keeps entertainment fresh and exciting with legendary musical artists like Fath Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald, and comedians Redd Foxx and Sammie Davis. Local stars cut their musical teeth in the Dreamland, too, including Al Hibbler, Louis Jordan, the Yellowjackets, and Lloyd Armon and his Orchestra.

Located on the third and top floor of Taborian Hall, at 800 Ninth St in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Dreamland Ballroom was abandoned long ago. The roof had fallen in and much of the inside had been destroyed by fire and water damage. But now there is a push to restore the historic landmark and the Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is focused on this mission.

The Friends of Dreamland Ballroom is a 501(c)3 committed to bringing back the music, the history, and the party of the Dreamland Ballroom.

For information: http://www.dreamlandballroom.com
Press Center: http://presscenter.flagandbanner.com/category/dreamland-ballroom/
Contact: friends@dreamlandballroom.com
Contact Person: Brian Shaddock
Phone: 501-255-5700 

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Veteran's Day Open House

Posted on: November 12, 2009

veterans_soreya.jpgLittle Rock, AR - On Veteran's Day, November 11th Arkansas Flag and Banner held an open house and free chicken dinner (lunch) for veterans. We served fried chicken, potato salad, rolls, and apple pie We had a great turn out with veterans representing every service and several campaigns. We want to thank you again for your service to this great country we call home! AFB Staff

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Friends of Dreamland Overview

Posted on: November 17, 2009

The Friends of Dreamland, is a newly formed non-profit group dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the historic landmark, Taborian Hall and its famous Dreamland Ballroom located at 800 West Ninth Street in Little Rock, Arkansas. Concurrent goals include the collection, conservation, and celebration of Taborian's unique history relating to Arkansas African American heritage.

To date the Friends of Dreamland organization has raised $4,000 towards renovation efforts through community fundraising events and has developed a website www.dreamlandballroom.com. Kerry McCoy, owner of the Taborian Hall building, has invested over $100,000 in architectural and engineering fees to create plans for Taborian Hall and Dreamland Ballroom Renovation, as well as towards the website, non-profit consultation, and creation of a book about the building and it's role in the history of downtown Little Rock.

Friends of Dreamland incorporated in the State of Arkansas July 31, 2009. We plan to do most of our fundraising in 2010, and begin renovations 2011, our projected Grand Opening 2012. The proposed timeline of activities is detailed below.

In 2009 we formed our Board of Directors, elected committees and are planning our first Orientation Party, October 1, 2009. For the remainder of the year we will hold board meetings bi-weekly and continue to plan and organize our fundraising.

In 2010, we plan to divide our fundraising into these types of solicitations, 1.) grants, 2.) foundations, 3.) private sector, 4.) fundraising/parties, and 5.) sale of merchandise. We plan to develop a tiered system of naming, honoring and thanking our Friends of Dreamland sponsors and donors. An initial brainstorming list is attached.

In 2011, with the money raised, we will begin construction and museum set-up. Our money will be allocated according to its designated use from donor, either...


-- Building Fund - renovation of the building
-- Educational Fund - tours and learning history through educational panels and possibly multimedia


showcases that expland the hisroty and thell the sotries of those who have visited the building in
the past.


-- Museum Fund - For years we have been collecting oral and written history of events and people for our book and our Museum. These historic item and stories will be illustrate along with the
legacy of the building.
-- General Operating Fund.

We plan to open in 2012. After the building is renovated and open, the museum portion of the building will be publicized through the Little Rock and Arkansas tourism departments and we hope to attract numerous visitors and educators throughout the year. The building will be utilized as a venue for community and private events, such as banquets, weddings, concerts, conferences, and more. We know this will be successful because of the interest already shown in the building. The Taborian Hall is a regular stop on Little Rocks Tours and the Dreamland Ballroom receives approximately one call a week requesting it use for either touring, renting or photo shoots.

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FlagandBanner.com on Facebook!

Posted on: December 7, 2009

Take a look at our new Facebook page! We will be using it to communicate last minute specials as well as keeping you abreast of all the flag stuff you need to know about. Click on the image below...

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Arkansas' FlagandBanner.com on Today's THV

Posted on: December 22, 2009

genthumb.jpgThe folks over at Today's THV did a story on the health care bill currently making its way through the legislative process and came by to ask us our opinion. The focus of the story was how health care reform will affect small business. Go here to read the article and view the video - AFB ON TODAY'S THV! NOTE: The video is on the right!

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