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2014 Music Issue

2014 Music Issue

August 7, 2014

Vol 22 • No 24

Read the print version

Matt White's 'Portraits in a bar'

Candid shots from White Water Tavern.

Where were you on Pharoah Sanders Day?

The early years of a Little Rock legend.

Arkansas Music Issue 2014

Pharoah Sanders life in Little Rock, Chris Denny's comeback, Matt White's White Water Tavern portraits and Little Rock concert memories.


The Observer, Arkansas Times shutterbug extraordinare Brian Chilson and newsroom FNG Benjamin Hardy slunk from our bedchambers over the weekend to hit the late-night bars like Midtown Billiards, Discovery and Electric Cowboy for an upcoming cover story in advance of a City Board vote on whether to shutter the Class B permitted clubs at 2 a.m. instead of 5. Mr. Hardy and The Observer's sometime frienemy David Koon will be making the case that the 5 a.m. clubs are actually a good thing for Little Rock.

BJ's pub grub stands out

It's a chain worth trying.

Big River's John Correnti up for Hypocrite of the Year

In an interview with Arkansas Business, John Correnti, the chief executive of Big River Steel and other ventures, said that, despite the massive amount of welfare the state is providing Big River in Mississippi County, the government should stay out of the private sector.

Republicans: the scaredy-cat party

The agenda of the rising Republican Party reflects the close of Carl Sandburg's poem about exceptionalism (and ignores the hubris). We are "the greatest nation. Nothing like us ever was." But if we are so great, why are they so scared?

Favorite Little Rock concert memories

With G-Force, 607, Big John Miller and more.

Big bucks, evil ads for Pryor-Cotton race

Given much of a chance to know them personally, any Arkansas voter would almost certainly like both Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton well enough to vote for them, although perhaps not with a lot of excitement.

The Joint hosts Danny Dozier, Steve Davison and Micky Rigby

James Bridges' 1977 film "September 30, 1955" screens at the Old State House Museum.

'Guardians of the Galaxy' outdoes competition with superheroes no one has ever heard of

Chris Pratt stars, winningly.

Razorback football preview, part one

In what is becoming a Pearls preseason rite of summer, we're going back to a full-tilt weekly dissection of all things porcine up in the Ozarks, and that starts with breaking down the 2014 football schedule into three parts.


On the Broadway Bridge, scheduled for replacement next year. Photo by Paul Barrows. From the Eye On Arkansas Flickr page.

Divining Professor Obama

Judging by the way he holds his cards so close to his vest, President Obama must be an awfully good poker player. Here we are halfway through his second term, and few observers can claim to know with any precision exactly what he thinks about critical matters of war and peace.

James Taylor at Verizon

Also, Shakespeare at the Shelter at Our House, Stooges Brass Band at Stickyz, Bonnie Montgomery at White Water Tavern, Potlikker Film Festival in Bentonville and a double feature at Riverdale 10.

Deseg lawsuit money lifts Pulaski County Special School District students out of remedial college courses

At at Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy.

In defense of Joan Adcock

In regards to Max Brantley's editorial on the issue of after-hours clubs ("LR's nannies target clubbing," July 31), I would like to defend Mrs. Joan Adcock as one of the hardest working public servants I have ever met.

The return of Christopher Denny

After years of struggles and addiction, the North Little Rock singer-songwriter is back with his first album in seven years.

How about we only allow breeders to receive marriage benefits?

Opponents of same-sex marriage get desperate in reaching for justification of continued discrimination against gay couples. One example: Can't procreate? No benefits for you.

Pulaski deputies suspended for use of force in arrest

Mara Leveritt reports on her website that two Pulaski deputies received suspensions — two days in one case, five in another — for rough handling of an alleged drug suspect outside a convenience store May 14. Store security video helped in the investigation.

Factcheck faults another Tom Cotton ad

An independent fact-checking organization says the Tom Cotton campaign has baldly misrepresented Mark Pryor's position on border security and immigration

The fearful exceptionalists: Does biology pull the voting lever?

If this is such a great and mighty place, what is it that makes the conservatives so afraid of everything? Is there a biological explanation for their fear?

Mike Ross talks straight on health insurance; Asa won't

Mike Ross has announced a plan for seniors that begins with preservation of the private option health insurance coverage. Asa Hutchinson is too cowardly or dishonest to make the same pledge, though he intends to do the same.

'Cheer Perfection' mom gets 10 years on plea in sexual assault of 13-year-old

KARK's Greg Yarbrough reports that Andrea Clevenger, once one of the moms who appeared in the TLC "Cheer Perfection" reality show about a cheerleader team, has pleaded guilty to sexual assault and received a 10-year sentence.

Equal rights: It's always about the bathroom

It's always about the bathroom when the so-called Christians fight equal rights — whether for women or gay people. No, it's not about getting men in the women's locker room.

Mayor's race develops in Bryant

Bryant Alderman Adrian Henley announced today that he'd be a candidate for Bryant mayor against incumbent Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs.

See McAllister, Fanning after hours at Gallery 26

It's First Thursday Shop 'n' Sip in the Heights, which means Gallery 26 will be open late and you can see work by Marcus McAllister and Laura Fanning.

Arkansas rapped for revenue forecasting practices

Calling Richard Weiss. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Arkansas alone among the states has in place zero of its five "best practices" for revenue forecasting.

The goog-goog-googly open line; plus a new lottery security director; Donald Trump errs in Cotton plug

The open line includes the day's video highlights and the wreck of a Google mapping car.

French Hill drags out Old Blue; Huffington Post drags out the rest of the fleet

Republican congressional candidate French Hill rolls out his ol' blue Volvo commercial to emphasize his common touch. He doesn't mention the BMW, the Benz, the Ford, the Heights House, the country club membership or the kids' summer jaunts to one of the most exclusive camps in Texas.

Could Colette Honorable be heading to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission?

John Norris has announced his resignation as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and this has renewed talk about the possibility that Colette Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, could be appointed by President Obama to replace Norris.

Walmart's push into medical care

Walmart, hoping to benefit from Obamacare's increase in medical spending, is moving to become a one-stop shopping place for primary medical care.

Following the criminals, by ZIP code

Time to kil: Here's an interactive map in which you can track prison admission and release and probationers and parolees down to the ZIP code level.

One Eleven at the Capital (formerly Ashley's) opens today

One Eleven at the Capital opens August 8 for dinner service, with regular hours beginning August 9.

You can take the boys out of Arkansas ..... Dallas Cowboys edition

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys provide TMZ with lots of hot party action to follow and a hot NFL ethical issue as well.

Nearly 200,000 Arkansans have gained health insurance coverage via the private option for Medicaid expansion

According to the latest information released by the Department of Human Services today, 192,210 Arkansans have gained coverage via the private option, the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income Arkansans. DHS also released the latest demographic information on beneficiaries.

A Q&A with the creators of 'Choice: Texas,' a video game about reproductive justice

While the recently released PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles dominate video game news coverage, one of the most groundbreaking games of the year is a free-to-play browser game: "Choice: Texas." The game is a choose your own adventure story following five women handling unexpected pregnancies in Texas, the developers’ home state and a “Grade: F” state for women seeking access to abortion.

Google car crash in Little Rock goes national; lawsuit contemplated

A motorist involved in a crash in Little Rock yesterday with a Google camera car is talking lawsuit. Complains of whiplash.

8th Circuit declares Blytheville school transfer case moot

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today ruled moot a preliminary injunction request challenging the Blytheville School District's decision to opt out of the 2013 Arkansas school transfer law because of its past desegregation litigation.

The Poor Folks Vs. Rich Folks, White Folks Vs. Black Folks Edition

The latest in challenges to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the end of Mike Maggio as a judge, a new poll that puts Arkansas ahead of all other states, the governor’s race and the environment and the latest controversy surrounding the Little Rock City Board — all covered on this week's early edition of the Week in Review podcast.

2nd Friday alert: Quilts, QQA and more

2nd Friday Art Night is upon us, starting at 5 p.m., and tonight's event will feature quilts, Quapaw Quarter blueprints, a three-man show, live music, an auction and the film "September 30, 1955" starring richard Thonas and Lisa Blount.

Stone's Throw Brewing, George Melies films, Outkast nostalgia and James Brown drummers

I hate craft beer. Well hate is too strong a word. But I'd rather drink Busch. Esoteric hops, crazy yeasts and brewing alchemy mean little to me. Give me a lager. Cheap is good. Cold is good.

Stop the presses: Tom Cotton admits Obamacare might have helped some people

Tom Cotton said something nice about Obamacare the other day. And Sen. Mark Pryor took some credit for its benefits. Is the political earth moving in Arkansas?

The Friday open line

The day's open line and daily video news roundup.

Sweet Baby James Taylor at Verizon Arena

James Taylor played Verizon Arena last night. It reminds me of first-heard song memories.

Nolan Richardson a hit at Hall of Fame

VIDEO: Nolan Richardson's induction speech at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Private clubs and Uber-Lyft hit LR City Board agenda

Late-night private clubs and the Uber/Lyft ride sharing serves are scheduled for discussion on a new Little Rock City Board agenda released this evening.

Lawsuit challenges petitions for alcohol sales in Saline County

Three people have sued to challenge the certification of a retail alcohol sales question for the November ballot in Saline County.

Huckabee works Iowa; gigs Rand Paul; sidesteps Obama impeachment remark

Mike Huckabee is working Religious Right roots in Iowa with an eye on 2016. He worked in a dig at Rand Paul's recent repositioning on Republican campaign issues. He also did some Huckstering on his remarks about Obama impeachment.

Y'all have at it; and where were you when Tricky departed?

The Saturday open line commences.

Appoint Arkansas judges? Nothing to see here

A remark by lame-duck Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on his belief that judges should be appointed rather than elected prompted articles on the issue today in both the Democrat-Gazette and at Stephens Media. Bottom line: Ain't going to happen.

Deion Sanders' football and basketball charter school: Failing grade

Eye-opening story of the day: The New York Times reports on the academic and management disaster that is Deion Sanders' Prime Prep Academy, a publicly financed charter school in Dallas, Texas.

Arkansas: Best state in America ….

Here's another article, from the Washington Post, lauding Arkansas for its smart adoption of the Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare.

Sunday scribbles

Here's the open line.

Think early closing for private clubs would depress crime? Try this

Competing statistics don't get to the real point about the push by Little Rock directors to require an early closing hour for private clubs.

Hillary breaks with Obama on foreign policy

Hillary Clinton, sounding more and more like a candidate, takes exception to the Obama administration's hands-off approach on foreign policy.

Sebastian County deputy kills Oklahoma man in armed confrontation

A 23-year-old Oklahoma man was killed by an off-duty Sebastian County deputy Saturday afternoon in Fort Smith.

Live Review: James Taylor at Verizon Arena

Looking around Verizon Arena ten minutes before James Taylor took the stage on Friday night, this writer, 19 himself, noted fans young and old alike — white-haired women in flashing red glasses scooting past a gaggle of teenagers, a wide-eyed boy of about seven clutching his father’s hand in a stairwell, and senior lawyers and businessmen sipping beer in a booth. When asked Taylor’s age, my own 14-year-old sister answered correctly. He’s 66.

Who you callin' Dogtown? North Little Rock named most liberal in Arkansas

Survey says North Little Rock is the most liberal place in Arkansas and Marshall the most conservative.

AARP Poll: Older Arkansas voters favor Mark Pryor over Tom Cotton

New AARP polling shows Sen. Mark Pryor with a lead over Tom Cotton among Arkansans 50 and older, a critical voter segment in this election.

American Bar Association warns about 'Stand Your Ground' laws

An American Bar Association task force has issued a preliminary report on so-called Stand Your Ground laws that should discourage them in states like Arkansas without them and encourage repeal in those that do.

Stream the new Pallbearer album, 'Foundations of Burden'

Little Rock's Pallbearer, "doom's next big thing" according to Decibel magazine, who featured them on the cover of their latest issue looking real intimidating and wielding a gas lantern, has a new record on the way, the follow-up to their ecstatically well-reviewed 2012 release "Sorrow and Extinction."

David Gordon Green to direct `80s tennis comedy, 'Red Oaks,' for Amazon

Little Rock native David Gordon Green, best known either for art-house dramas like "George Washington" or for stoner comedies like "Pineapple Express" or "Eastbound and Down," (depending on your age, predilections and drug habits), has signed on to direct a new TV show produced by Steven Soderbergh for Amazon Studios.

Arguments filed to invalidate Arkansas Voter ID law

Plaintiffs today asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling that invalidated the 2013 voter ID law. They want a stay lifted so the law cannot be enforced for the November general election.

Fair Park neighborhood presses LR board to rescind gas station vote

The Fair Park residents association is urging its members to press members of the Little Rock City Board to rescind their vote last week to approve a Murphy Oil gas station at 12th and University over the objection of neighborhood groups and the city planning staff.

Beebe touts another broadband study

Gov. Mike Beebe touts a new study of school broadband. He says Arkansas could use existing expenditures and federal money to create nation-leading high-speed Internet for school kids.

The Monday open line; plus intrigue in sports memorabilia dealer case; city board filings

Open line and Aug. 4 video roundup. Plus, sports memorabilia dealer John Rogers of North Little Rock plays a role in a fraud investigation of another dealer. And candidates file for Little Rock City Board.

Coming Sept. 13: Latino Food and Music Festival

The 2nd annual Latino Food and Music Festival is just a month off, Sept. 13 at the Argenta Farmer's Market. Grab El Salvadorean cuisine and dance to the music of Calle Soul.

Bill Clinton to headline Arkansas Democratic Party fund-raiser Friday

Former President Bill Clinton will join Mike Beebe and others at a fund-raiser at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Capital Hotel for the Arkansas Democratic Party. The $250 tickets must be bought in advance.

Can the Republican Party really expect to recruit black people?

Can the Republican Party successfully recruit black people to its ranks. Not, a college professor writes, until it recognizes why it lost black voters in the first place — by appealing to racism.

The gubernatorial recipe showdown

Our two candidates for governor, Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross, share their favorite recipes with Eat Arkansas — and we can't decide which sounds tastier!

Obamacare: Good for Arkansans, hundreds of thousands of them

It's a secret politicians of both major parties seem reluctant to share: Obamacare, yes Obamacare, has been a huge success and provided tremendous benefits to hundreds of thousands of Arkansans.

Troubles in the Tea Party: Memo from former Arkansas AFP director raises question about movement

Mother Jones obtains memo from former Tea Party organization leader in Arkansas that suggests problems in the movement and also reveals squabbling in the ranks. Memo drops names of the likes of Phyllis Bell, wife of Rep. Nate Bell.

Alcohol sales vote petitions should be held valid, lawyer argues

David Couch, attorney for Let Arkansas Decide, which is attempting to put a statewide retail alcohol amendment on the November ballot, has responded to a letter from foes of the amendment attempting to invalidate the petitions.

Let the sun shine on Little Rock crime

A Facebook page has begun to pick up the slack on awareness of Little Rock crime created by the Little Rock Police Department's decision to encrypt radio broadcasts and thus prevent the public from hearing them.

Asa plays the veteran card UPDATE

Asa Hutchinson, the Republican candidate for governor, said he'd push for special benefits for veterans to get more of them to live in Arkansas after retirement.

Nucor sues to stop Big River Steel plant in Mississippi County

Nucor Steel Arkansas and Nucor Yamato Steel, which operate steel mills near Blytheville, have filed suit in federal district court in Jonesboro to stop construction of the Big River Steel mill, an operation heavily subsidized by state and local tax money that's a venture by Nucor's former boss, John Correnti.

Mayor Stodola: Tear down that convenience store

It's not too late for the City Board to rescind its approval of a Murphy Oil gas station at 12th and University. But that would mean ending long political favoritism for the Murphy fortune, so it probably isn't going to happen. Also: A word about my own connections to a coming state House race.

Explosive fire in North Little Rock

Josh Berry of KARK/Fox 16 reports that no one was hurt when fire heavily damaged this home on Kierre Loop in North Little Rock. Berry also reports that ammo was heard going off inside as the house burned.

Ken Richardson files for re-election UPDATE

City Director Ken Richardson filed for re-election to the Little Rock City Board today. Pam Adcock, a former state representative, filed earlier for the seat to represent Ward 2, which includes a big section in central Little Rock and a chunk of changing Southwest Little Rock.

Legislative committee passes resolution against EPA carbon rule

Arkansas lawmakers want state agency heads reject the nation's best shot at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Tuesday open line and broadband discussion

Here's the open line with today's video news roundup. Also, the legislature hears about improving school broadband.

Class action certified in Exxon Mobil pipeline suit

Federal Judge Biran Miller has agreed that a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil over the Mayflower pipeline oil break can be tried as a class action, though he limited the class somewhat from the original group sought.

Private club update: Cazort floats his 3 a.m. closing 'compromise'

Little Rock City Director Brad Cazort tonight told the board he hopes to have a vote by Sept. 16 on a proposal to require late-night clubs, now allowed to operate until 5 a.m., to close at 2 a.m., but an extra hour on weekends.

Little Rock Board may vote on 5 a.m. club ordinances next week

A proposal to enforce an earlier closing time for late-night clubs encounters surprising opposition at the City Board. With two competing ordinances on the Board's agenda for next week, Little Rock's early morning nightlife might survive after all.

Arkansas Supreme Court: Another sign of fracturing

The Arkansas Supreme Court was unusually split on recent adoption of rules for civil lawsuits. Is it a sign of a fractured court?

UA creates 'Razorback Rooftop" for students at Fayetteville games

The Razorback Athletic Department announced yesterday a new premium seating area for students — the Razorback Rooftop on top of the deck of the south end zone.

Democrats rally around a living wage

The Arkansas Democratic Party is seeking volunteers for the fall campaign based on appeals to raising the wages of working poor. Good idea. But is it a vote getter?

Death be not proud: Robin Williams and media overreach

Commentary on Robin Williams' suicide has ranged widely, with political commentators grinding their favorite axes, no matter how far afield the subjects might be from the late comedian. Maureen Dowd takes the cake.

'The War Game' Edition, with Fresco Grey and Radradriot

Here's your reminder to check out the Peter Watkins double feature Splice Microcinema is screening tonight. I don't know Watkins' films, but he's apparently the man who single-handedly convinced John Lennon and Yoko Ono to hold their Bed-in peace protest in 1969, which is some kind of accomplishment.

Hotel at 12th and University faces mayor's opposition

Mayor Mark Stodola says he'll veto a motel proposed for a University Avenue parcel adjacent to land where a controversial Murphy Oil gas station is planned.

No time for Uber talk last night at City Board

The Little Rock City Board did NOT have a scheduled discussion on Uber/Lyft, the car services that are using cell phone apps to compete with taxis around the country.

A cautionary word to Arkansas travelers about Ebola

UALR — and others — are following cautionary guidance from the Arkansas Health Department and urging people who've traveled recently to several African countries to check in with health offices as a precaution on account of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

U.S. appeals court won't stay marriage equality ruling in Virginia

A panel of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has refused to stay its ruling that invalidated Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage while state officials attempt to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Age limit hits Louisiana elected officials. How old is too old to serve?

A new law in Louisiana setting an age limit of 70 for certain public officials prompts the question: How old is too old for public service.

Arkansas state Senate candidate gets celebrity endorsement

Tyler Pearson, the Democratic challenger to Republican extremist Sen. Jason Rapert, will get a celebrity endorsement Saturday from the governor of Maryland.

Footnotes: Pharoah Sanders

For this year's Music Issue, I wrote a story about Pharoah Sanders and his relationship to Little Rock, a relationship that has sometimes been fraught. A number of people helped out who didn't appear in the piece, among them Sal Bonner, Thomas East, Alita Mantels and Sylvia "Sy" Smith.

The midweek open line

The line is open, beginning with today's video headline roundup.

And then I ... read about a tour of sculpture installations by Barbara Satterfield

Ceramicist Barbara Satterfield, one of the Arkansas Times' "Visionaries" in 2013, has announced the creation of a touring, interactive sculpture exhibit that will be installed in public places in Helena, Heber Springs, Dardanelle and Warren before the final exhibition at the Cox Creative Center.