Live it, with "Les Mis," "The Wizard of Oz" and more.
Spring ArtsMarch 13, 2014
Vol 22 • No 3
Cinema blooms in the spring, including Horror Show, LR Film Festival, Foothills and the Ron Robinson Theater.
Books, music, theater, film and more.
A preview of the season's music, film and theater offerings.
And Cher, Salty Dogs, Salt-N-Pepa and more.
James Taylor, 51, of Cabot, was killed about 9:40 a.m. today in what Little Rock police are calling an industrial accident at 1900 W. 65th Street.
Another venue for Argenta ArtWalk
Build something practical with this DIY Scrimshaw Knife Kit. The kit includes everything you need to create a one-of-a-kind pocket knife. It's a perfect starter introduction for scrimshaw. Add a family name, original design or an organization’s symbols to the classic trapper-style pocket knife. Made by the knife expert in Fayetteville.
Jack Gillean, former University of Central Arkansas chief of staff, has been convicted by a jury in Clinton of six burglary charges in supplying a student with a master key to gain access to professors' offices to obtain copies of tests.
The open line: Preparing for a new speaker; tracking more nursing home contributions to a judicial candidate; voter ID lawsuit
The open line. News roundup includes a look ahead to election of a new speaker of the Arkansas House; the sighting of more nursing home money in the race for another judgeship in Conway; lawsuit filed over state Voter ID law.
The coming teachers' insurance funding crisis, a punt on NSLA funds and more updates on K-12 education policy in Arkansas
With the endless debate on the private option Medicaid expansion eclipsing most other issues this fiscal session, it’s been easy to forget that Arkansas’s spending on health care remains far outweighed by the largest component of the budget — schools. Education remains at the center of state public policy, and although the legislature did not make any sweeping changes to the school system within the limited confines of the fiscal session, there’s plenty on the horizon. Expect every measure that failed in 2014 to re-emerge in 2015, if not sooner.
In our new series, Arkansans tell their life story in their own words. We begin with Gaylord Hunter, a Little Rock native with a front-row seat to music history.
Also, Valley of the Vapors in Hot Springs, 'A Face in the Crowd' at the Old State House, Bolly Holi Day at Ron Robinson, Kenneth Johnson Seminar at St. James United Methodist Church, King Buzzo at Stickyz and "The Raid 2" at Ron Robinson.
On paper, S.L. is an afterthought; in practice, it's long been a powerful tool for experienced legislators to shape policy.
The trial of former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner had few surprises.
Among the things Winston Churchill knew that I don't (a rather lengthy list, incidentally): "There are learned men who do not know that byss is the opposite of abyss.
Happy days are indeed here again, as they were in that time of peace and prosperity we remember as the Clinton administration. But we cannot say with equal conviction that It's a Grand Old Flag (again). It kind of depends on which side you're looking at.
Of the 2014 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.
What else can you say and/or write about this Arkansas Razorback basketball team? Senior Night cuts both ways, boys. Enjoy your own all you must, but be mindful of those vibes the last home game gives the host, lest you be bullied by a far inferior team.
Unfortunately, the images I see today in east Little Rock are exactly what I saw several years ago: the same potholed streets, the same cracked and uneven sidewalks, the same vacant lots, and the same distressed housing
It was also a good week for a name change and Timothy Brooks. It was a bad week for Asa Hutchinson and Circuit Judge Mike Maggio.
A friend of The Observer who works at the Arkansas Studies Institute just down the street from the Fortress of Employment sent us a link the other day to what we believe to be some of the most moving home video footage ever shot in the state: a soundless, 2-minute, 42-second clip that has been buried in its archives for a while now.
Soulwise, these are trying times for Razorback sports fans, about as bad as we can remember.
I read the recent article ("The brutal randomness ... ," Feb. 27) about Samantha Olson's apparently random shooting in North Little Rock.
When Senator Rand Paul owns the most sensible voice on a foreign crisis and still captures the blessings of the far right, you know things have gotten overheated.
A must-see for musical theater fans.
Also, Jeff Bridges at the Clinton School.
Carroll Cloar exhibition one of Arts Center's best.
Helicopter parents, start your engines. They're revising the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) again, and you know what that means. More weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. More complaints about the unfairness of life and of American society. More free-floating status anxiety projected onto adolescent children already uneasy about leaving the parental nest. Or eager to escape it.
'300: Rise of an Empire' doesn't rise to the occasion.
A sampling from our food and drinks blog, Eat Arkansas.
Daryl Minefee, 60, has been playing the saxophone since he was 8. Minefee now plays for fun outside for people whenever there's a nice day.
Did the Arkansas legislature really intend to allow open carry of guns in addressing a technical issue of what constitutes a 'journey' under the old law on carrying a firearm? No, says a new legal analysis.
Leaders of the University Arkansas campus in Fayetteville "retreated" to Petit Jean this week. It took a bus to accommodate the crowd.
The Arkansas legislature just passed a piece of unconstitutional legislation sponsored by Sen. Jonathan Dismang to cut an energy company's cost of business in Arkansas by $4 million by relabeling the sand injected underground for fracking as tax-exempt "equipment." It's symbolic of the shafting written much larger in shale gas plays around the country, led by the likes of Chesapeake Energy.
Freddie Hinton, 26, was fatally shot about 7 p.m. Wednesday at his home at 1622 Battery Street. Another man who lives at the address has been arrested.
Three-week installation in September.
The husband and wife team of Wellsmade have combined their crafts to offer this authentic artisan side table. Aaron, a skilled fabricator, and his artist wife, Sarah, collaborated to bring this beautiful distressed wood top with an industrial metal base. The wood, full of surprising rich tone and imperfections, gives each piece individual character. These rustic modern tables and chairs are made to order to fit in any size home or patio.
The newspaper headline says Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson confronted "knotty state issues" during a recent appearance in Norfork? Confronted, maybe. Answered? No.
The Michael Morton-financed pipeline of nursing home money to judicial candidates in Faulkner County just doesn't quit.
Gov. Mike Beebe has signed all the legislation from the fiscal session except HB 1048, which contains the almost certainly unconstitutional tax break for fracking sand added to the bill by fracking industry ally Sen. Jonathan Dismang. Could that mean a line-item veto is possible? Will the special interests stand for it?
Stu Soffer of White Hall, a member of the state Board of Election Commissioners, is not happy that the Pulaski County Election Commission has sued over the commission's attempt to correct a clear screwup in the Voter ID law passed by Republicans in the 2013 legislature.
Women Lead Arkansas will have a reception from 5-7 p.m. Saturday at Philander Smith to recognize female politicians, past and present. The drive to encourage more female political candidates has a way to go. Fewer than 30 percent of this year's candidates are women.
The Arkansas legislature passed the private option version of Medicaid expansion this year only after adopting an amendment to prevent the state from advertising it. This built on earlier efforts by the legislature to stomp out education campaigns in media by killing ad contracts. As expected, other sources of information will fill the void.
Republican governor’s candidate Asa Hutchinson said today he believes “it is time for a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system,” at both the state and federal levels. This was in support of remarks in Little Rock by a former Maryland governor who favors a "more innovative approach" to executive clemency.
In our new series, "Speak, Arkansas," everyday Arkansans tell their life story in their own words. We begin with Gaylord Hunter, a Little Rock native with a front-row seat to music history.
The open line begins with an NCAA tourney-season feature on former Razorback coach Nolan Richardson.
Southern Salt is doing a fine job for being such a young truck. They’re producing an imaginative and well-executed menu and it’s clear that these are folks experienced in the kitchen. They keep the menu small, but expect a rotating selection of unique dishes—they’re definitely making a name for themselves among our already strong fleet of food trucks.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today reported on the coincidence of timing of an extraordinary ruling in a nursing home case by Circuit Judge Mike Maggio and the establishment of PACs for contributions to Maggio by the owner of that nursing home. The article did not mention that Blue Hog Report broke this story, a significant omission.
Couch by Couchwest (CXCW) sounds necessary to me, an annual online music festival for those of us "too broke to go to Austin," in which artists record and send in performances from their own "living rooms, kitchens, porches, bathrooms, you name it." Yesterday they featured Little Rock's own Adam Faucett, who gives a gorgeous and eerie take on "Poet Song," a track from his excellent new album "Blind Water Finds Blind Water."
Duck Ham Hillcrest Artisan Meats offers locally-sourced, natural and organic meats along with charcuterie products — a fancy French way of saying curing, salting, and smoking meat.
The Log Cabin Democrat, which has also been breaking news about local Judge Mike Maggio's misdeeds and financial funny business, has a story today that notes the heavy influence of nursing home money, particularly from Michael Morton of Fort Smith, on judicial races, particularly in Faulkner County. The article gives reason to doubt the credibility of Judge Rhonda Wood, who drew no opposition to her candidacy for a seat next year on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
A sleuthing friend finds in a search of campaign finance reports that one of the seven PACs created this year with initial funding from nursing home owner Michael Morton of Fort Smith has also sent some money to a legislative candidate.
Anthony L. Moss, a.k.a. Mossberg, grew up in Little Rock and made a nearly perfect Southern rap album, "Ashes II Ashes, Dus 2 Dus," in 1995. The album came out on Scoop Records, which used to be on Asher Ave. and now appears to be a Shipley Do-Nuts. Among others, in the liner notes, he gives thanks to "Allah tha merciful and forgiving" and to "my Grandmother and my favorite Aunt Pam and all my Homies and Brotha's in Tha Mountain — Granite Mountain!"
The Marriott in downtown Little Rock plans $16 milliion in renovations, which will include changes to some public rooms such as the lobby bar, the former cigar lounge and restaurant.
The Student Press Law Center reports that Sheridan High School administration ordered the school yearbook to scrap six planned student profiles rather than include one on a gay student who talked about his experience.
Reporters are again poring over a Clinton White House document release today at the Clinton Library.
UAMS seeking an overall budget reduction of 3 percent in 2015, but hopes to save $22 million without layoffs.
Nursing home owner Michael Morton and his campaign contributions, Sheridan High School’s move to suppress a gay high school student from writing about his experience in a yearbook, the future of a tax break on fracking sand, the trials of former UCA official Jack Gillean and former treasurer Martha Shoffner and the Pulaski Tech millage vote — all covered on this week's show.
It'The 2nd annual "Arkansas Printmakers Membership Exhibition” has opened in the Butler Center atrium Gallery in the Arkansas Studies Institute
Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright today completed the job she'd started with an earlier injunction: She struck down the 2013 law that prohibited most abortions beginning with the 12th week of pregnancy.
The Friday night line is open. Closing words on Asa Hutchinson. Some laws of the land he'll obey. Others handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court he wants to fight.
Alright, now it’s time to FEEDBACK, y’all. Tell us what you’re luvin’ right now.
A Hindu observance, a Bollywood film festival and a disagreement on religious matters at a Christian university in Arkansas figure in a post on topics related to India.
The line is open. Another solid waste disposal facility turned into a shooting range. And another dumb remark by a Republican candidate for statewide office.
The Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission will hold its annual youth summit, "Life After Hate," April 2 in Harrison, a city roiled historically and recently by racial controversy The news has to be thrilling to Thom Robb, the KKK leader who lives nearby and uses Harrison as a mailing address.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton announced his marriage this weekend by Twitter. He included an Instagram photo and said his bride's name was Anna, but other details have not yet been forthcoming.
No Arkansas angle here — yet — but this headline jumped out on a review of news this otherwise slow, frosty morning: The Defense Department announced that a team of Navy SEALs had taken control of of an oil tanker seized earlier this month by armed Libyans
New York Times opinion writers have appointed things to say about Republican opposition to welfare handouts: 1) Depends on who's getting the handouts and 2) when they say it's not about race, it's about race. The Arkansas legislature evidences the same mindset.
Award-winning chef James Hale of Acadia Restaurant in the Heights shares his take on roasted duck breast. Why is this a St. Patrick's day dish? Because it's got a healthy addition of classic Irish stout Guinness in the sauce to add richness, flair — and that ain't no blarney.
A new Democratic Party days reminds voters when Asa Hutchinson cashed in on his Bush administration ties to become an instant D.C. lobbyist. He capitalized on a penny stock deal, then, too.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences physicians are now seeing patients and performing vascular and endovascular surgery at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock.
The unemployment rate in Arkansas in January was 7.3 percent, down from 7.4 percent the month before. The labor force grew by about 700.
Though founder and sometimes front man Harold Melvin died in 1997, his group the Blue Notes are still very much around and will headline this year's Blues on the River, brought to us by KOKY and set to be held at the First Security Amphitheater on May 3. The group launched Teddy Pendergrass' career, were crucial to the development of Philly Soul and disco, sued Neil Young for stealing their name in the late `80s and reunited for last year's Soul Train cruise.
Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-organization that is continuing a desperate battle against Obamacare, has spent more than $1 million on advertising to defeat U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. But a new $700,000 buy in Arkansas is the latest to fail a fact check.
Gov. Mike Beebe today exercised a line-item veto of a $5 million tax break grafted onto an appropriation bill. The next question is whether the legislature will attempt an override when it meets to adjourn Wednesday.
Gov. Mike Beebe today appointed his chief of staff and longtime buddy Morril Harriman to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
Another day and another illustration of how the nursing home lobby builds the sort of influence in the legislature that helps it win better reimbursement rules and increased profitability. Today, it's a Republican House candidate with a significant chunk of campaign contrbutions from that industry.
The Searcy Daily Citizen reports that a roadside tamale stand busted for selling tamales made with deer meat has reopened after passing a health inspection.
Despite repeated requests, no further details have emerged about Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton's marriage over the weekend. His office hasn't responded to requests for basic info — time, place, bride's full name and biographical information. One other question arises: Did he retain a former appreciation for "covenant marriage"?
Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin reports a $200,000 haul in his first campaign finance report as a candidate for lieutenant governor. Who'd want to pour money into an office that is so pointless that it is, by bipartisan agreement, not even being filled in calendar 2014?
Academy Award winning Actor Jeff Bridges — maybe best known for his roles as Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski from "The Big Lebowski," Rooster Cogburn from the Coen Brothers' 2010 remake of Charles Portis' "True Grit," and his Oscar-winning turn in 2009's "Crazy Heart" — was at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock at noon today, using his star power to help push for student breakfast program to help fight child hunger.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality today fired Gary Meador, a 34-year-veteran landfill inspector in Baxter County, because he'd placed an RV for hunting on a landfill he inspected
The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission acknowledged today that it is reviewing circumstances of campaign contributions made to Circuit Judge Mike Maggio's aborted race for Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Open line: Business groups back immigration reform; ASU med school advances; suit filed against NCAA; counting money in Ross-Hutchinson battle
News roundup: Business groups push for immigration reform; osteopathic med school plan advances at Arkansas State University; Hutchinson-Ross money race narrows.
Game and Fish Commission disagrees with Exxon’s conclusion that 'there are no unacceptable ecological risks' in cove of Lake Conway due to Mayflower oil spill
It’s been almost a year since the Pegasus pipeline spilled an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in Mayflower. After months of back-and-forth, a final environmental report from ExxonMobil to state regulators appears to be complete. But though the science behind the report is sound, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Deputy Director Ricky Chastain said its overarching conclusions about ongoing ecological risk are flawed.
Republicans seem dead-set on overriding Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of transparently unconstitutional legislation to guarantee a tax break on tracking sand, a $5 million hit on the treasury through the subterfuge of declaring sand "equipment." If the law meant anything, they wouldn't.
Talking Points Memo reports that Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-backed political organization that has been a driving financial and lobbying force in the rising Republican majority in Arkansas, has put out new versions of ads attacking Democratic senators on Obamacare after fact-checking of earlier versions revealed them as fiction.
Ernie Dumas writes this week about the accurate predictions of people such as former Supreme Court Justice Robert Brown and Judge David Stewart on the perils of electing judges. Special interest money and conflict of interest come with elections, as recent events show.
Tonight at 6:30 p.m., AETN and KUAR will host a free preview screening of the new documentary "The Trials of Muhammad Ali," at the William F. Laman Public Library. From the producers of "Hoop Dreams," and the Academy Award nominated director Bill Siegel ("The Weather Underground," "The Road to 9/11"), the film focuses on Ali's conversion to Islam and the controversy and legal troubles surrounding his refusal to serve in Vietnam.
The Capitol Zoning District Commission is to consider a proposal Thursday for a food truck court across West Third Street from the state Capitol. Proposed demolition of some Quapaw Quarter structures also has spurred debate.
An article in Newsday reports on a New York institution's first out-of-state expansion, to open an osteopathic medical school at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. It says tuition will be $52,000. And the backers contend a shortage of residencies can be overcome.
What will Mike Huckabee say? Will Republicans now have a new obligatory foodstuff for tailgate parties? Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, prompted in part by a talk with a gay friend and also by business realities, now indicates he made a mistake in getting involved in the same-sex marriage debate.
Gov. Mike Beebe yesterday appointed Chris Palmer of Little Rock to complete the term of Jay Moody, a circuit judge recently confirmed to a seat on the federal district court bench.
Smart money says the Republican majority will override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of a tax break on sand used in fracking for gas and oil. It's clearly an unconstitutional measure because it didn't get the two-thirds vote necessary to consider non-fiscal items in a budget session. But it's also bad policy and a sweetheart deal.
Growing national attention to censorship of the Sheridan High School yearbook has prompted Brenda Haynes, the district superintendent, to issue a statement about the decisIon to withhold a series of student profiles rather than publish one about Taylor Ellis and his decision to come out as gay. It was short, defiant and lacking in specifics:
A $3 million lottery winner and a highway funding shortfall are in the news as the world waits for a $400 million drawing tonight.
Human Rights Campaign director Chad Griffin spoke on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol today in support of Taylor Ellis, the 17-year-old Sheridan High School junior who recently had his coming-out story censored from inclusion in the Sheridan High School yearbook. Griffin was joined by Ellis, Ellis' parents and around a dozen students from Sheridan High School.
After years of wrangling, the Central Arkansas Transit Authority yesterday made a decision to invest in natural gas-powered buses.
The New York Times writes about the Moral Monday movement, liberal activism in North Carolina and Georgia responding to such events as state government failure to adopt M
University of Arkansas faculty members have begun receiving word of System President Donald Bobbitt's intention to present an expansive on-line university proposal to the UA Board of Trustees Thursday in Fort Smith. It's no less than he's been talking about since his arrival, but it has many faculty members apprehensive.
Bennett's Military, a downtown Little Rock mainstay since 1870, has found a new home at 608 Main Street, the former site of Phillips Men's Store. Bennett's owner, Sheree Meyer, who inherited the business from her father in 2003, signed the lease this week.
With a name like Legends of Arkansas, you're putting a fair amount of pressure on your music festival to deliver a memorable lineup. Cleverly, the Legends of Arkansas folks have decided to outsource the programming decisions to you, the audience. Through April 20, you can vote, from a pre-selected list, for your picks, and the three bands with the most votes will headline the festival, which will be held May 31 at Riverfront Park.
Fish and seafood have never been fresher than at Mr. Chen's Oriental Supermarket. Crab, shrimp, shellfish, and other seafood are processed fresh daily to insure maximum flavor and freshness.
Study finds limiting non-emergency transportation in private option could hurt most vulnerable patients
Republican backers of the private option pushed for an amendment so that the state will no longer be required to provide non-emergency transportation. A new study finds that could hurt the most vulnerable low-income patients.
This Arkansas artist has work currently on exhibit in Little Rock.
The annual art auction fund-raiser for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre will feature works by more than 90 Arkansas artists.