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UNLOCK GOVERNMENT A case for Arkansas to embrace the open data movement. BY LINDSEY MILLAR

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Party ’til 5 I never write to the editor, but I had to respond to the article about 5 a.m. clubs. I had to laugh as I felt outrage reading Joan Adcock say clubs staying open ’til 5 a.m. cut into “family time.” Lady, the people staying out until 5 a.m. are probably not getting up and around at 8 a.m. to have this “desperately” needed family time. And it’s none of your damn business! Even though I am past my time of staying out ’til 5 a.m. I sincerely hope this ordinance does not pass! Party on if you’re young enough to stay up that late! Libra Snyder Maumelle

Some gays anti-abortion I was chagrined and disappointed to see that Central Arkansas Pride was a sponsor of the pro-abortion rally at the State Capitol on Jan. 18. Not only is the issue of legal abortion utterly irrelevant to a gay pride organization (after all, unintended pregnancy isn’t exactly epidemic among gay and lesbian folk), but this unholy alliance reads out of CAP’s ranks those gay and lesbian Arkansans who are also pro-life, of which there are many. More fundamentally, an organization that purports to fight for human rights squanders its legitimacy when it fails to stand for the most fundamental right of all — the right to life. Perhaps the only thing more inexplicable than CAP’s endorsement of the pro-abortion rally was a similarly bizarre endorsement from the Sierra Club. But that’s a letter for a different day. Rich Shumate Little Rock

important thing is to replace him with a better person … a much better person! But I worry that Fox News will elect his replacement because really … the majority of Arkansas voters spend more time cleaning gunk from under their toenails than they do thinking about politics and government. They know the names of the Duck brothers but have no idea who their reps to Congress are. Roger Ailes knows this and Fox News has brilliantly captured the small minds, keeping them mad enough to actually get up and go vote on elec-

tion day. Which gives us our current government filled with either miniChris Christies or total idiots with a few good old fashioned crooks thrown in the mix. Far too often I think our government mirrors us perfectly. How many mean people do you personally know? How many crooks do you do business with every day? Not a lot of honest people around … because money is our only god … just ask Missy Irvin or Mark Darr or Martha Shoffner or Mike Huckabee. DeathbyInches

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From the web In response to a blog item on Congressman Tim Griffin’s “exit interview” in Politico: Griffin was a sleeper cell sent by Karl Rove to accomplish the goal of stopping government any way he could. Republicans love that the last Congress was the least productive of any we’ve had since George Washington spent his off time polishing his wooden teeth. Gridlock is the desired goal of Republicans. Doing nothing serves the 1 percent better than anything else. … No use wasting our beautiful minds on a bad guy like Griffin. The 4

JANUARY 23, 2014


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I will comment again that I do not recall anytime in my adult life when the Arkansas congressional delegation was as pitiful as it is now. Cato


STEAL THIS GUN Cabot’s Cody Wilson headed a team that created the first firing 3D-printed pistol. At the collision of 21st century tech and 20th century gun regulation with a young rebel from Arkansas. BY DAVID KOON

In response to the Jan. 9 cover story on Cody Wilson, promoter of 3D-printed guns: I don’t really care for guns, so I’m not particularly impressed with Cody Wilson as a Second Amendment champion. But I am impressed with him as a First Amendment champion. Freedom of information and the right to distribute data are the underlying issues here. radical centrist In response to the Jan. 16 Arts and Entertainment cover story on the new Ron Robinson Theater in the River Market district: Ah. The days of the Sun. nite films in the 1970s, at the Ark Arts Center. An intergenerational event — my peers and my mom and dad’s friends, and older, and inbetween. My first Truffaut, Bogart, Wertmuller, Goddard, Ken Russell, and so on. Great lively discussions among friends and strangers before and after. A/C cranked down to 60, in the summer. For those w/ no A/C at home, an oasis. Toasty warm in winter, when the rent house floor furnace could not keep up. No concessions, just fun. (And oddly, on occasion, a smell of burning rope in the parking lot.) Cable TV killed it deader than a door-nail almost overnite. Diogenes

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is Please include name and hometown.


Of against “Of those boards, there are 23 male members and one female … That is a disgrace. But the discrimination of women goes much deeper than lack of representation on boards.” We’ve talked before about there being no formal rules for choosing the correct preposition. Mostly, one learns through usage, by paying attention to what people say and write. Some dictionaries provide helpful lists of which preposition goes with which word. In this case, the writer’s use of the wrong preposition changes what he intended to say. He meant that women are the victims of bias; he should have written “discrimination against women.” The of suggests he’s talking about the discrimination that women possess. Having discrimination (“the power of making fine distinctions”) is a good thing. It’s why, as the author says elsewhere in his column, that women on the state Board of Environmental Quality would not have approved a hog farm adjacent to the Buffalo River watershed. The headline on that column was “In praise of women.” “In praise from women” or “in praise with women” just wouldn’t work.

Where’s her proof? “Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren said that given DOUG her love of pudSMITH ding of all kinds, she’s thrilled to be named woman of the year by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding theatricals. … ‘As someone who adores pudding in all its manifestations … suet, Christmas, treacle, bread and butter, Yorkshire, plum, figgy, etc., I am so looking forward to the famous Hasty Pudding.’ ” Evidently, the British cover more ground with the word pudding than Americans do. And Miss Mirren didn’t even mention blood pudding, another that’s popular in her home country. I hope that while she’s here, someone introduces her to the Prince of Puddings — banana — but I’m not sure we can count on the Harvards for that. I’ve never been clear on what Harvard’s favorite pudding — hasty — is exactly. Random House says that in New England, Harvard territory, cornmeal mush is called “hasty pudding.”


It was a good week for… VACATIONS IN THE BIG APPLE. The Clinton National Airport announced that starting in April, there will be a direct American Airlines flight from Little Rock to New York’s LaGuardia Airport. PERSONAL PORK BARRELING. Republican state Rep. Mark Biviano of Searcy was one of only two applicants — and the only one from Arkansas — for a job worth as much as $119,000 a year to head an agency planning for a possible state health insurance exchange. Biviano sponsored the legislation that created the Health Insurance Marketplace Board. His seeking a job he created is a fitting act for a fellow we affectionately know as Bourbon and Bacon Biviano. That’s after the name of the Capital Hotel fete Biviano attended shortly before an alleged hit-and-run incident.

It was a bad week for…

TOM COTTON. Another week, more wacko extremism from the Club for Growth’s Manchurian candidate. Despite overwhelming bipartisan approval,

Cotton pulled the NO lever on a federal spending bill this week, voting against millions of dollars for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and tens of millions more for a long list of people and programs in Arkansas, from needy families (we know how Cotton feels about them) to ostensible pet interests (military spending, farm aid). ANDI DAVIS. The Hot Springs lawyer — who figured in the governor’s race when Attorney General Dustin McDaniel dropped out early last year after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with her — was arrested by the Garland County Sheriff’s Office on a felony theft of property charge. The charge concerns a $1,500 trailer reportedly found at her house. The sale of items missing along with the trailer on Craigslist led police to the residence. ARKANSAS DEMOCRATS. Republican extremist John Cooper trounced Democrat Steve Rockwell by more than 1,000 votes in District 21 in Northeast Arkansas in a special election to replace Sen. Paul Bookout, who resigned in the wake of an ethics scandal. The big win in a once-blue district (despite big spending and ads featuring the ever-popular Gov. Mike Beebe) is the latest sign that Arkansas is heading dead red. Special-election results should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s a bad omen for state Democrats heading into the 2014 election cycle.


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sually in election years, well-meaning Arkansans are on the defensive, trying to resist the latest prejudicial proposals from Jerry Cox and his Family Council. This year, for a change, there may be issues on the ballot that Arkansans of good will can vote for. A group called Give Arkansas a Raise Now is gathering signatures for a proposed initiated act that would raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $7.25. The group’s members include the president of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, the president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, and the chief executive officer of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. A bill to raise the Arkansas minimum wage to $8.25 an hour failed in the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives last year. Opponents of the proposal will argue once again that raising the minimum wage will raise unemployment. They will say that people who don’t know this are ignorant of economics. The proper reply to this argument is that the people who make it don’t know history. The record shows repeatedly that unemployment does not go up when the minimum wage goes up. The record also shows that Arkansas’s commitment to a low-wage policy has kept the state and its residents pinned near the bottom economically. We deserve a chance to improve. 6

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om Cotton values unborn children more than the other kind. They’re less trouble, he explains. Those children that have already been born, or their caregivers, tiresomely seek food, shelter, education and other benefits, even when the little boogers can’t pay for those things. It’s as if they think America should nurture its young. If not for the vigilance of the congressman from Dardanelle, and a few others like him, the kids would sneak their hands into the government’s pocket, grabbing dollars that could be used for altruistic purposes, like drones and pipelines. Cotton says it’s never too early for these little hustlers to learn there’s no free lunch, not unless you’re a congressman being entertained by a lobbyist. The unborn child, on the other hand, tends to lie quietly, not bothering his congressman. In gratitude, Cotton attended and spoke at an anti-abortion rally Sunday at the Capitol. Judging from news accounts, his remarks were unmemorable. Cotton is nasty, but he’s not eloquent. His gubernatorial candidacy is sponsored by the Club for Growth. Even among the radical right-wing lobby groups in Washington, the Club for Growth is distinguished for coldheartedness. The Club for Growth is too mean for John Boehner. Even while laboring to keep food stamps from poor children, to deny government assistance to the mentally ill and health care to veterans, Cotton found time to fight for fetuses at an anti-abortion rally. The unborn have a right to be born, he believes. The already born have used up all their rights.

WINTER SEEDS: A crepe myrtle branch is illuminated in fog by a street light.

Charter ‘choice’: creationism


ne of the maddening aspects of the push to destroy conventional school districts with charter schools is the underlying theme that all conventional public schools are failing and if you slap the word “charter” on a school it must be good. One of the Walton-financed professors up at the University of Arkansas’s charter school marketing department even wrote the other day that it was fair to judge public schools by standardized test scores, but not what he calls “choice” schools. I guess not. Because on study after study, charter schools don’t outperform. A national study by a Stanford University-based group found that one charter school management company, Responsive Education Solutions of Lewisville, Texas, did a particularly poor job with at-risk students. Responsive Ed operates Premier High School in Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville and Quest middle school in Pine Bluff. It just won approval for a Quest middle and high school in Chenal Valley, where it will skim upper income, predominantly white families anxious to avoid Little Rock public schools. It also has won state Education Department approval to consult and provide curriculum for three school districts converting conventional schools to charters — in Pea Ridge, Fountain Lake and West Memphis, where the whole high school will be shaped by Responsive Ed. Responsive Ed’s growth in Arkansas came just as Slate was about to publish explosive reporting by Zack Kopplin, a young political activist. Kopplin detailed the influence of creationism (religion) in the science courses taught in Responsive Ed’s Texas schools. Though the schools run on public money and have a secular “veneer,” the organization has many ties to the creationist movement and figures who have pushed for more religion in public life, the article reported. Kopplin also quoted dubious material in history courses, from roots of war to jabs at feminism and John Kerry’s war record. Neither Responsive Ed nor Gary Newton, the Wal-

ton-financed Arkansas charter school lobbyist who’s led the Quest school establishment in Chenal Valley, wanted to talk about the Slate article with me. But Chuck Cook, CEO of Responsive Ed, did post a MAX prepared statement on the ArkanBRANTLEY sas Blog. He said Responsive Ed complies with the law in Texas on science teaching and, as for historical challenges, said the school complies with all regulations. He addressed no specific citations of error. His response was telling about his beliefs: “In recent years, these two schools of thought — creationism and evolution — have been at conflict in schools, universities, and scientific circles,” he wrote. “Some scientists and educators have attempted to bridge them through ideas such as intelligent design and theistic evolution. However, none of these theories is accepted by every scientist, natural philosopher, or educator. In this Unit, you will be able to review the evidence for the theory of evolution and decide on your own position. You will want to analyze and evaluate the evidence and every statement made in the discussion.” Cook accused Kopplin of guilt by association. He portrayed himself as being persecuted because he’s “ a professed Christian, attend church each week, have a degree in religion, have worked at a Christian rescue mission, and have worked at Accelerated Christian Education.” Religious dog whistle aside, I’d already decided, based on its jargon-filled application, that Responsive Ed offered little more for West Little Rock than, as state Board of Education member Sam Ledbetter observed, its existence. It will be a haven for a certain type of student from another type of student. I’d be inclined to take my chances at one of those “failing” Little Rock schools, such as Central High, which produced the state’s only Intel Science Talent Search semi-finalist this year. I know they teach science.


Past time to put death penalty down


t has been 43 years since Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller commuted the death sentences of all 15 men on Arkansas’s death row and expressed the naive hope that other governors would follow his example and remove the stain on the national character that he thought executions to be. Thirty-three years would pass before another governor and another Republican, George Ryan Sr. of Illinois, embraced Rockefeller’s cause. Ryan commuted the sentences of 167 men. That was the sum of Rockefeller’s legacy, although other governors found ways to avoid carrying out executions. But Arkansas, which has put 27 men to death since Rockefeller’s great act of conscience, may not see another execution, and the rest of the nation, at least outside Texas and Oklahoma, may not see many. The nation’s legal system has inched slowly but inevitably toward the conviction that state executions violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Popular attitudes about the death penalty have evolved but, even now, it is hard to escape the politics ERNEST of capital punishDUMAS ment and abolition. Rockefeller and Ryan demonstrated their fearlessness only as they were leaving office. Rockefeller’s mass commutations were neither sudden nor surprising. He had warned before he ran for office the first time, in 1964, that he opposed the death penalty and would never carry out a single execution if people elected him. The man who defeated and succeeded him, Dale Bumpers, said he owed Rockefeller many things but none greater than emptying the death cells, which meant that he never had to set an execution date or act on a clemency petition. Rockefeller’s statement on the morning of Dec. 19, 1970, announcing the commutations was eloquent in its simplicity: “What

earthly mortal has the omnipotence to say who among us shall live and who shall die? I do not. Moreover, in that the law grants me the authority to set aside the death penalty, I cannot and will not turn my back on lifelong Christian teachings and beliefs, merely to let history run its course on a fallible and failing theory of punitive justice.” As Rockefeller predicted, history has about run its course on the “fallible and failing theory” of justice. Eighteen states have abolished the death penalty and another 25 have not executed anyone in the past five years, evidence of both the growing opposition to it and the increasing difficulty of finding ways to kill people that courts may conclude are “humane.” Moreover, 142 innocent people have been freed from death rows, owing largely to the improving science for evaluating evidence. Like other states, the Arkansas legislature has cast about for a killing drug that won’t make the condemned suffer too much. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who prosecutes the death penalty, told legislators last year that it looked pretty hopeless. Governor Beebe said that if the legislature passed a bill abolishing capital punishment and requiring life sentences he would sign it. Neither this legislature nor the one that

succeeds it next year is apt to be the one that abolishes the death penalty. A higher power, perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court, will do that, although the Arkansas Supreme Court has shown growing reluctance to go along with capital prosecutions or legislative remedies for cruel punishment. Thirteen months ago, it declared the Arkansas execution scheme unconstitutional and told the legislature the state could kill no one else until the lawmakers had prescribed both the specific drugs and the dosage that would kill people humanely, which is an oxymoron everywhere but in the rarified quarters of the judicial system. Oklahoma and Ohio experimented the last two weeks with new untested drugs to kill a couple of murderers. Both executions turned into extraordinary ordeals with one of the men screaming that he was burning and the other writhing in agony for 25 minutes. The debate over whether the men really suffered very much continued. The men actually died peacefully, one defender said, explaining that the contortions were manifestations only of the body and not of the mind. The argument illustrates the historical absurdity of the debate. It is not the pain that is the punishment but the ending of life.

Stirring the pot

killing — or so you might think for the two with the approval of the Snowden-Glenn enraged seconds it takes to destroy his life Greenwald axis. They are not of this world. “The objective of the NSA and the U.S. and yours. • So how can it be a bad thing that Iran government,” Greenwald has written, “is ecent weeks have seen a decline in always involves a has shut down its uranium-enriching cen- nothing less than destroying all remnants of the kinds of abusive reader emails shakedown. If anythat keep a columnist feeling feisty. body solves the puztrifuges while it negotiates with the U.S. and privacy. They want to make sure that every It’s a long time since anybody informed me zle, it’ll probably be allies? Here’s syndicated columnist Paul single time human beings interact with one that I’m a cowardly elitist doomed to spend Steve Kornacki, an Greenberg agreeing with a reader that nego- another, things that we say to one another, eternity in hell watching NBA games with excellent reporter tiating with Iran is worse than handing over things we do with one another, places we GENE go, the behavior in which we engage, that Barack Obama. who knows the terCzechoslovakia to the Nazis. LYONS So to stir the pot here’s a brief selection ritory even if he does Unlike Britain and France in 1938, see, they know about it.” of heterodox opinions: work for MSNBC. “the United States and its allies are fully capaHistorian Sean Wilentz has aptly dubbed •As a New Jersey expatriate — my sons The novel version is Robert Penn War- ble of exerting the necessary military power this style of thinking “paranoid libertarianused to call “All in the Family” “The Man ren’s classic “All the King’s Men,” even to preserve the peace… . Iran, like North ism.” Even so, I was astonished to find Digby Like Grandpa Show” — people keep asking though it’s set in Louisiana in the 1930s. Korea, is the international equivalent of a Parton, normally one of the most incisive •Speaking of Louisiana, I wrote a while little bully whom the big boys ought to be online political writers, praising the brilme what the George Washington Bridge brouhaha says about Gov. Chris Christie’s back that an ill-advised publicity stunt by able to dispatch with ease — and the very liance of the blogger Emptywheel’s analysis presidential hopes. What hopes? Christie “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson would fact that they are not willing to do so sig- of President Obama’s speech. Martin Luther King, see, once warned never had a realistic shot at the GOP nomi- probably backfire. Condemning gays to nals a supine posture even worse than that nation anyway. He’s merely a noisier ver- hell won him short-term notoriety. of Munich in 1938, and therefore a much that American arrogance might cause God to “break the backbone” of our power. sion of “America’s Mayor,” Rudy Giuliani. “Longer term,” I wrote “unapologetic more craven act of appeasement.” Christie’s whole act, pointing at people bigots always fade into obscurity, basically Or to summarize in strictly Orwellian Emptywheel explodes the metaphor: and yelling — not to mention cozying up because they embarrass people.” terms: War is Peace (“exerting the necessary “Not only does it [arrogance] threaten to to Barack Obama — won’t play with GOP Sooner rather than later it turns out: Rat- military power to preserve the peace.”). Also, break the ideological backbone of our hegeprimary voters south and west of Trenton. ings for the show’s season five premiere Strength is Weakness. Precisely because mony — replacing our liberties with our For the longest, it was impossible to take were down 28 percent from last year. Iran poses no serious threat, failing to attack policing — but it quite literally threatens to the bridge thing seriously because nobody •As a recovering testosterone addict, I shows cowardice. balkanize the communication backbone Its proponents call this style of thinking we’ve exploited to become that policeman.” could possibly be that petty and stupid. Now was struck by Frederic Poag’s Daily Banter that we’ve seen the incriminating emails and article “The Myth of the Good Guy with a “neoconservatism.” Read that again. Read it six times. How heard Christie’s alibi that he was betrayed Gun: How I was Almost Curtis Reeves” as •Meanwhile, the anti-gravity left has gone is it possible to literally “balkanize” anything, by disloyal staffers, all that’s lacking is what being exactly right. Curtis Reeves is the over the edge regarding Edward Snowden’s much less a metaphorical backbone that’s thriller writers call “the McGuffin” — the Florida ex-cop who shot somebody to death NSA revelations. There was zero chance also a policeman? When intelligent people emit sheer gibultimate prize these jokers were chasing. for texting in a movie theater. You pack heat, that President Obama’s recent proposals to Ultimately, Jersey political intrigue you’re apt to run into some jerk that needs safeguard Americans’ privacy would meet berish, it’s a good sign nobody’s thinking.


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Mike Anderson isn’t working out


here I was, feeling like such a heel. Mere hours after penning arguably the most heavyhanded criticism of Arkansas basketball since this meager little column was birthed, I watched those damned Hogs go out on the Bud Walton Arena court Tuesday night and play with ferocity and desperation. Not only did they beat Kentucky, they did it in a fashion that pretty much belied Hog sports of late. The Michael Qualls putback dunk at the buzzer was equal parts acrobatic and poetic, a prideswelling, capture-the-public-conscience sort of thing. Social media blew up. ESPN anointed it with the Play of the Day and even days beyond. This was it, right? That signature singular flashpoint that just alters the landscape, finally and fully, for this woebegotten program. Ha. Or LMAO. Or whatever you kids say. With that self-made swagger barreling their chests, Arkansas set out on another jaunt to one of the SEC’s many cesspool outposts, slept seemingly 30 minutes past tipoff on Saturday, and got taken down by a flaccid Georgia team that tried for a good 40 minutes to allow the Hogs an exorcism of their road demons before finally tiring of the charade and winning overtime convincingly. Seriously, at a certain point about midway through the second half, as the Razorbacks kept heaving awful shots and fumbling away possessions with a modest lead, I was of the belief that Mark Fox’s Bulldogs simply wanted to absorb a loss just to get off the court and reconnoiter. Yet, Arkansas simply refused to let Georgia lose. How inane does that sentence read?! This was “it” for Pearls, I’m sorry to say. Long the champion of Michael Anderson, Sr., and that helter-skelter brand he has long studied and employed, the columnist wears the tarnished crown no longer. This isn’t outright advocacy for another coaching change, mind you, but a concession that this experiment has faltered even with all the sentiment and logic that accompanied it. Stan Heath and John Pelphrey had their best moments in Fayetteville, too, mind you, but got chewed up just about everywhere else. Anderson was supposed to preserve the long-held homecourt dominance while radically evolving the style of play to the

point that it would make the team the intimidating party on the road rather than the pushover. It has not BEAU worked. The old WILCOX personnel and chemistry issues are threadbare excuses now, and scheduling is utterly favorable. Realistically, College Station, Texas, and Athens, Ga. don’t fall within the Top 75 or 100 most daunting college basketball environs in the country, and these Hogs were flat-out spooked in both locales. On Saturday, Arkansas slowly opened up a seven-point second-half lead and seemed to display a flicker of well-purposed frustration at its own woes. Fred Gulley, of all people, had a fine little outburst of eight straight points to carry the team to that 41-34 lead and at that moment, you got the sense that Georgia was teetering. Fox’s brave little squad of no-names was, in fact, playing horrible basketball. Yet somehow, Arkansas managed to treat the opponent’s ineptitude as a twisted challenge to their status as the reigning kings of roundball self-immolation. The Hogs proceeded to score 20 points over the next 25 minutes of game action, and most irritating of all, with the score tied at the end of regulation they did not bother to run any sort of set play out of a timeout. Rashad Madden hoisted another long three attempt after dribbling around for a bit. It was a brick, and Qualls wasn’t in position for an encore rescue flush this time. Phenom Bobby Portis didn’t touch the ball on that possession, incidentally, and he’s getting squeezed out of the gameplan despite being the obvious premier talent on the floor. Arkansas now has one of those weeks where you just notch the wall schedule accordingly. Trip to Tennessee on Wednesday? Obvious loss. Home tilt against hapless Auburn on Saturday? We’ll call it a win. Blah blah blah. There’s nothing enlivening about those results, and let’s just postulate that even if the Hogs beat a very average Tennessee team in Knoxville, they’re still sitting at 3-3 in a 14-team league where only the top four are likely to be NCAA tournamentbound. When the enthusiasm is gone before February, it’s unlikely to appear again, and I don’t mean this season.

7th & thayer, Lr

(501) 375-8400


The barrel AT HOME IN THE OBSERVER’S BOOKSHELF is a little wooden barrel: a bow-sided keg with brass rings around the top and bottom — maybe six inches high, dark with age. It was made by my great grandfather, who worked a good bit of his life at a stave mill. When he was too old and feeble to work, he carried on his vocation by carving staves with a jackknife, fitting them together with homemade rings into miniature barrels for friends and family. My father got his from a cousin some 20 years back. When my father died in 2001, it passed to me. I’ve got a photo of that little barrel on my Facebook page, where I’ve written about it before. On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday just passed, I looked at that photo a lot. When the workday was through — too busy at a newspaper to take off for most gubmint holidays, even the holiday honoring a personal hero — I went home and turned the barrel in my hands, feeling its terrible weight. There’s a story behind it, you see. My father’s story about my greatgrandfather, always told with a kind of horrified awe, was that he once fell into a rage over a supposed slight and killed a black man at the stave mill where he worked with a double-bit axe. This was in the teens or ’20s. This was Arkansas. There was no arrest, no trial, no conviction. The murdered man’s family simply came and collected the body, someone washed the blood down the drain, and that was that. Was it rumor? Overheard halfheards that my dad stitched together as a boy and then carried next to his heart like a stone? I hope so, because blood like that is a heavy thing. But I fear it’s all true. By the time I was born, the story had become a dark page of my father’s lore. And so, on Monday, on the day dedicated to the man who helped end a world where that kind of terror could go unpunished, I thought a lot about

that little barrel, and my son, and myself. One of the great fallacies of life is the belief that if you or I lived in times of institutionalized injustice — Nazi Germany, America during the time of slavery, the American South during Jim Crow, South Africa during Apartheid — we would be among the brave few who rose up to help stamp out that injustice. You tell yourself: I would be different. You tell yourself: I would crawl through the sewers with a knife in my teeth, dynamite supply lines or march in the streets until it was changed. The truth, however, is that those places were full of people just like you and me: people who loved their children, laughed with their friends, went to work, went to church, and stood by while horrors were committed in their names. Some of those same people even participated, and then went home and slept the deep sleep of the Just. But the place you come from — where and when you grew up and the attitudes there — shaped the person you are. The truth is: If you and I had been born white in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1930, there’s a chance you or I might have wound up one of those snarling buzzcuts in the old pictures, staring down Dr. King and Rosa Parks and the Little Rock Nine. You tell yourself it isn’t true. That it isn’t in your heart to hate anyone. That it could never happen. But context is everything, and I am not even exempting myself from this.  And so on Monday, I turned that barrel in my hands and I thanked Dr. King and all the rest who stood with him. Not only because they were brave enough to do what a lot of us wouldn’t, but because they created an America where trying to subjugate someone because of their race is not only seen as abnormal, but immoral. That’s the world I was born into — a place where I can be better than my blood. That’s the world my son has grown up in, with a love for all of mankind in his heart.

Thursday, January 23

Let It Bleed: Benefitting KABF 88.3 FM

Friday, January 24

The Funkanites

Monday, January 27

Destruction Unit with R.I.O.T.S

Thursday, January 30

Swampbird w/ The Kid Carsons & W.B. Givens

Check out additional shows at

Do Latinos have equaL access to justice?

Michel Leidermann Moderator

Thursday, January 24 aT 10:30 PM

In Spanish with English subtitles

JANUARY 23, 2014


Arkansas Reporter



Conflict of interest When the state Board of Education voted last week to approve the application of a Quest charter school for middle and high school grades on Rahling Road in western Little Rock, Board member Diane Zook’s vote with the majority in 6-2 approval wasn’t a surprise. Zook’s name had appeared on the list of early financial supporters of the Quest startup, which is targeting predominantly white middle and upper-income West Little Rock residents who fear the available Little Rock and Pulaski County public schools in the area. Gary Newton, who led the organizing, is also paid, largely by Walton money, to head Arkansas Learns and Arkansas for Education Reform, both groups that lobby for charter school and other so-called “reform” initiatives. After the Walton Family Foundation, the biggest contributor to Arkansas Learns are the two business lobbying organizations headed by Zook’s husband, Randy, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas. But though Zook voted for the Quest school, which Newton advocated before the board as a choice for parents desperate to avoid failing, crime-ridden Little Rock schools, she didn’t disclose a relationship with Newton. She confirmed to the Times afterward that Newton is her nephew, son of her sister. She declined to discuss the matter of voting on an issue in which a relative is a key participant by email, but said she would do so in person. As yet, no person-to-person meeting has been arranged.

Money talks The tide is turning in Arkansas in favor of charter-school advocates, powered by the Walton family’s significant money contributions, beginning with contributions to campaigns of friendly legislators. The Waltons have managed to get the charter schools’ foot in the state door for facility funding, something that has been lacking to date. Gov. Mike Beebe announced this week that he wanted to direct $10 million in state surplus money — in a year when the budget is expected to be tight and perhaps cratered by legislative refusal to re-approve its privateoption Obamacare plan — to a short-term loan fund for charter school facilities. The money would cover leases, construction and renovation. Beebe said the Walton Family Foundation also would contribute $10 million, and with



JANUARY 23, 2014


So a saber is found What else might have been? BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


he news that a 19th century — maybe even 18th century — saber was uncovered on a construction site downtown made TV and print news last week. The saber, found near the site of the Chester Ashley mansion, whose remains lie under the Heritage Building West at Markham and Scott streets, could be Ashley’s, Historic Arkansas Museum Deputy Director and Chief Curator Swannee Bennett said. What does the saber tell us about Arkansas’s territorial history? Nothing that we don’t already know, other than the fact that perhaps Ashley owned such a saber, since the written record tells us he was a colonel in the Arkansas militia. But what if the saber, at the time of its discovery, had been allowed to stay in the ground, and archeologists allowed a short time to record its exact location and take photographs of it where it lay and the features of architecture — such as the brick walls also exposed by digging at the site — or artifacts associated with it? In the 1990s, the city had a historic preservation officer, a position held by Anne Guthrie. It might again. “We actually had a conversation with the State recently about funding a similar position in the future,” City Manager Bruce Moore said in an email to the Times. “Every hole dug along the riverfront is likely to hit undisturbed 200-year-old deposits, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to record what is there,” State Archeologist Ann Early, of the Arkansas Archeological Survey of the University

of Arkansas, said last week. “I would have wished that when this sword was first found someone would have asked any archeologist if the place where it was found was any interest to us or could tell us something about early Arkansas,” Early said. “Because we don’t know the circumstances of its discovery, we can’t really understand why it came to be there.” The saber might not have been recovered at all if not for the sharp eye and good will of the excavator — Casey Findley, working for Gary Carpenter construction — and the fact that Bennett had asked the crew to let him know if anything important was uncovered. Bennett said he has been going by the site often, looking at pottery he believes dated to the Ashley Mansion’s 1900s incarnation as a hotel. He did not ask to study the site where the sword came from, he said; he said the museum has enough on its plate preserving the recorded history of the state. Bennett noted that HAM once owned the property — now being developed into a parking garage — and co-sponsored a dig in the 1980s with the Archeological Survey in the eastern part of the mansion basement, the western part having been blown away by construction of the warehouse that is now Heritage West. The work turned up huge sections of the mansion’s columns, a basement fireplace and artifacts likely from the house’s hotel days. Developers (Allison Moses and Redden, now AMR) and Rob-

ert East Construction Co. provided site security and other assistance to the dig. Owners of private property are not required to give access to archeologists or others interested in history. Federal property is a different story; archeological assessments of work there is required. In a “discovery situation,” state Department of Arkansas Heritage spokesman Mark Christ noted, only federal entities are required to notify the State Historic Preservation Officer. The owners of the parking lot consented to turning the saber over to HAM. Findley was operating a trackhoe on the southwest corner of the site when he came across what appeared to be old railroad rail. A cross-tie was under the rail, and the saber under the crosstie. It is a place, apparently, where many eras collide; the city dug a sewer line parallel to the track, and excavators guess the sewer line work removed one of the rails. Findley said he’s worked on several downtown sites before, and found bottles and such — but never a 19th century saber. He put it in the superintendent’s office. Kyle Carpenter, Gary Carpenter’s son, took the saber to Bennett, who said it appears to have been made by the first American swordmaker, Nathan Starr. Starr started making sabers and cutlasses in the late 18th century. If it did belong to Ashley, it would have been lost after 1820 when he came to Arkansas. The saber now lies in distilled water at HAM, which will handle its conservation in-house. “I’m very appreciative of Kyle Carpenter … for thinking of us,” Bennett said. “We’re happy to have the sword. Out of context it may be but we’re tickled to death to have it.” Bennett said he hoped HAM’s excitement about the object will show people that such things are worthy of care and conservation. Ashley looms large in Arkansas history, being one of the first lawyers in Little Rock, which, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, was the site of just a few log houses when he arrived. He was the lawyer for the losing side in a dispute over land claims to the city (the parties later split the claims), practiced law with Robert Crittenden, secretary and acting governor of the Arkansas territory, and went on to be a U.S. senator.


Tune in to the Times’ “Week In Review” podcast each Friday. Available on iTunes &




Health THE


of E HISTory aS a narraTIv In arkanS d dISEaSE HEaLTH an t, M.D. TaggAr by Sam , M.D.

H. Bates by Joseph Preface

HEALTH HISTORY On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the state Health Department comes Dr. Sam Taggart’s book, “The Public’s Health: A Narrative History of Health and Disease in Arkansas,” published by the Arkansas Times. Taggart will sign books at 3 p.m. Jan. 25 at WordsWorth and from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Dizzy’s. The book brings to light not just the battle against disease in Arkansas, but battles between monied interests and the common good when it came to health, a parallel in part to today’s situation. In 1879, the Arkansas Medical Society tried to get the legislature to create a State Board of Health, but was unsuccessful. The governor, who declined to recognize an unofficial board created by the medical society, changed his mind after an outbreak of yellow fever in Memphis. Still, he made no dollars available. One of the reasons the legislature and the governor resisted the idea of a board of health was suspicion of “university-trained doctors,” Taggart writes. It was not until 1881 that the legislature saw the wisdom of creating a state board to monitor disease, sanitary conditions and gather vital statistics. There’s nothing so persuasive as actual experience. Sen. Kie Oldham of Pulaski County, who was suffering from tuberculosis, was the father of the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium, which opened in Booneville in 1910 and operated for 62 years. In the first 40 years of operation, there was always a waiting list. Oldham died of TB in 1911. Arkansas’s black population had no sanatorium until 1931; it was Dr. George Ish, the prominent Little Rock black physician, who “almost singlehandedly lobbied” to get the state to create the McRae TB Sanatorium in Alexander. In the early years of the 20th century, one in five people in Arkansas suffered from hookworm, thanks to going barefoot and the lack of outhouses to contain waste. The John D. Rockefeller Foundation had money to give to eradicate hookworm, but didn’t want to dole it out to a state board that was unfunded. Oddly, it was doctors who fought efforts to fund the state board because, as Taggart writes, “A common refrain on the part of the

medical community was that the prevention of disease reduced the patient load of the physician.” The book details Arkansas’s struggles with smallpox and diphtheria, citing the work of Ruby Odenbaugh Kinard, who traveled by buggy and horseback through Stone County to spread the word that folks should get immunized to smallpox and typhus. “She decided early on the only liquid she could drink in the homes was coffee because it was boiled and did not provide a typhoid risk.” Dr. J.T. Herron, doing induction physicals in Helena at the beginning of World War II, discovered syphilis in 52 percent of the men who wanted to be soldiers. Herron went on to administer the federally-funded Emergency Maternal and Infant Care program in Little Rock. Again, there were Arkansas doctors more concerned with money than patients: Taggart writes, “The notes of the Board of Health meetings and the various reports of the more conservative members of the Arkansas Medical Society indicate that the doctors had concerns that this attempt to provide services for the poor [pregnant women] would broaden and interfere with their practice of medicine — taking away potentially paying patients. Infant mortality in Arkansas was high, especially among black babies — which was one reason the medical society ignored the problem, Taggart reports. In the late 1930s, state board pediatrician Dr. Francis Rothert named a black Tuskegee-trained nurse, Mamie Hale, to work with black midwives on sterile methods (Rothert said that one country doctor told her that he always washed his hands after delivery). Mortality was reduced, but by 1954, black mothers and children were still three times more likely than whites to have complications. Taggart’s 21st century reflections address the continuing struggles of the Arkansas Health Department to provide health care to rural areas. He believes the department will, with its upgraded trauma system, community health centers, telemedicine and the like, improve health in areas with scant access to medical care. “It is also highly probable,” he writes, “before they have time to congratulate themselves another equally dreadful and dramatic problem will present itself.”

the help of the state’s Arkansas Development Finance Authority, create a bond-backed fund of up to $50 million for charter school use. Though charter schools have not received state facility money, they get a significant benefit in the state school-funding formula. State minimum foundation aid to regular school districts is computed after subtracting the per pupil value of 25 mills of local property tax revenue. In Little Rock, for example, that means state aid is about $3,700 per student because of what local property taxes produce. But the state pays $6,300 for every student in a charter school.

Main Street redevelopment buzz Doug Meyer tells the Times his Terraforma LLC real estate development company is converting 823 Main St., the former Peerless Engraving building, into Downtown Storage. It will be a climate-controlled facility for document storage and, particularly, extra closet space for the hoped-for rising tide of apartment and condo dwellers in the buildings being redeveloped downtown. Speaking of Doug Meyer: He figures prominently in one of the hottest rumors of the moment, that a redevelopment is planned of the Fulk Building at Third and Main, occupied by Bennett’s Military Supplies, a 146-year Little Rock fixture owned by Meyer’s wife, Sheree. One rumor has it that Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, the ad/PR firm, is looking at leasing the building as a new home. The firm, currently leasing on Capitol Avenue, is reportedly attracted to the developing “vibe” on Main Street — tech park, creative corridor, arts institutions and so forth. Here’s what CJRW said, in a statement from CEO Wayne Woods: “For several months, we have been taking a close look at what we will need in terms of facilities as the agency continues to develop in terms of services, technologies and professional staff. That assessment has included our current location in downtown Little Rock, as well as other options that there may be. The process is ongoing and there is no particular timetable for a final decision. Any decision will be based on what is in the best interest of our clients, our company and the community moving forward.” Meyer said he was bound by confidentiality. But he acknowledged being at work on a potential tenant for the Fulk Building and also for the building his Crystal LLC recently acquired across the street at 301 Main, where Mr. Cool has been a tenant. Whatever happens, he said be sure to mention that Bennett’s Military was going to stay in Little Rock, preferably on Main Street.

JANUARY 23, 2014



➥ BARBARA GRAVES has 60 percent off on their great collection of robes, sleepwear and casual wear. Get ’em while they last! ➥ INDIGO, one of Little Rock’s longtime women’s clothing boutiques, has moved to The Promenade at Chenal, and is now open offering a newly expanded collection of women’s clothing, outerwear, swimwear, accessories, handbags and designer denim for women of all ages. The new store will feature many new brands as well as current lines such as Citizens of Humanity, Marc Jacobs, BCBGeneration, House of Harlow, Splendid, Free People and more. Indigo is located between White House | Black Market and Warren’s Shoes along the Promenade main street. ➥ Monica Verma, MD, has joined EYE CARE ARKANSAS at the Baptist Health Eye Center. She is a native of North Little Rock and the only private practice ophthalmologist in the state of Arkansas specializing in the ophthalmic care of children. She received her medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and completed fellowships in pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at the Baylor College of Medicine and cornea and external disease at the University of Missouri. She is board certified in ophthalmology. Call 501-225-4488 to schedule an appointment. ➥ KREBS BROTHERS RESTAURANT STORE has some cool items coming in, including copper Moscow Mule mugs for $14.99 each. Just as a real mint julep has to be served in a silver cup, a Moscow mule (vodka, lime juice and ginger beer) has to have one of these mugs. Also new in stock are two new colors for their recycled paper cutting boards. Made in the USA, these boards are good for your knives and the planet. ➥ BEYOND COTTON has added new items to their 75 percent off sale. Visit them at PLEASANT RIDGE TOWN CENTER. ➥ There will be a private reception and tour of “Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade” from 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at the ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER for members of the Contemporaries auxiliary group. Admission is free for Contemporaries members. To join, call Bret Graves at 501-396-0337 or purchase a membership at the door. 12

JANUARY 23, 2014




Start-up challenge to Central Arkansas Sabin to lead ARK Challenge in Little Rock. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


arwick Sabin, the director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in Argenta, will be in charge of Central Arkansas’s first ARK Challenge, the tech business accelerator program of Winrock International and startup promoter Innovate Arkansas. Tom Dalton, Innovate Arkansas director and an ARK Challenge mentor, expects the 14-week Central Arkansas “bootcamp” will start in either August or September. Little Rock Tech Park Authority board member Jay Chesshir has been negotiating a lease for a 4,000-square-foot co-working space at 117 Main St., next to the Orbea bicycle headquarters at 119 Main St., to accommodate the accelerator. Chesshir, who is president of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, has worked with Dalton for some time to bring the ARK Challenge to Little Rock. Sabin will continue to direct the Hub, a multi-faceted accelerator, maker space and technology education collaboration that is in the works. One part of the Hub, the Art Connection,

is already up and running. “The work that I’ll already be doing at the Hub and connections and relationships that I already have really corresponds perfectly to the goals and programming of the ARK Challenge,” Sabin said. Sabin will start work in February on defining the type of companies the accelerator wants to attract, recruiting and running the program in fall on a “day to day basis,” Dalton said. The first two ARK Challenge competitions were in 2012 and 2013 in Northwest Arkansas, where the program is directed by Jeannette Balleza. A third challenge is expected to begin in Northwest in May. Here’s how the ARK Challenge works: Its leadership recruits nationally and internationally for startups to apply to be challenge clients. In 2012, 15 teams were selected from nearly 100 applications from U.S. and international applicants; 10 were selected for the 2013 challenge. The finalists each receive $20,000 for living expenses, workspace to create a prototype of their product and mentoring by per-

sons with special expertise to help the teams commercialize their product. In exchange, the investors who have provided the $20,000 receive 6 percent of the startup’s worth. A demonstration follows the bootcamp and two winners are selected. They are each provided $150,000; winners and investors who provide the $150,000 negotiate on equity percentages. In a surprise move, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission awarded another $150,000 to a third client in 2012 and repeated that in 2013. The Northwest Arkansas challenge focuses on commercialization of products having to do with the region’s industry: retailing, transportation and the food industry. One of Sabin’s roles here will be to work with Innovate Arkansas to identify the business interests in Central Arkansas, which could include health care, banking and data analytics. The Northwest Arkansas challenges were part of a pilot program funded by the federal Department of Commerce’s Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge; operating costs were about $500,000. Those dollars have dried up, so for this year’s two accelerators — one in Northwest and the one in Little Rock — the state will provide $300,000 in operating funds for each rather than making an award to a winning company, and Innovate Arkansas will seek $800,000 in private investment from existing angel funds. The Northwest challenge will be slightly different this year, Dalton said, recruiting businesses that are farther along in their development for five to seven spots. He said Little Rock’s challenge will involve 10 clients. The Tech Park Authority has taken on the job of creating accelerator space now while it figures out where to build its park, Chesshir said after a recent meeting, because the startups created there could feed into the park. Dalton said he believed initially that he would be leasing through the Chamber of Commerce. Where the authority will get the money to the lease the space for the accelerator has been a subject of discussion at the last two meetings of the tech-park board. Park sponsors the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the city of Little Rock have each committed $125,000 toward park startup costs, and it is expected that those dollars could be spent to get the accelerator space up and running. The ARK Challenge will lease from the park.


We’ll take them all!

Bras are the only type of undergarment that can be donated in clean, gently worn condition. The goal is to meet the needs of central Arkansas’s unsheltered women and offer them even a small piece of dignity.



201 E. Markham Street, Suite 200 ~ In the River Market above The Hop and Iriana’s Pizza Accepting Donations Through March 31

West Little Rock Breckenridge Village

REAL WORLD. REAL PEOPLE. The Van is a 501c3 organization whose mission is simply to locate and love our unsheltered homeless neighbors.

The open data revolution is coming Arkansas should embrace it for the sake of democracy, improving government services and sparking economic development. BY LINDSEY MILLAR


rkansas has one of the country’s strongest Freedom of Information laws. It gives all Arkansans the right to access to public records and meetings. Our city boards and commissions can’t meet in secret. The police must create a public record when someone is arrested. Records generated by agencies supported in full or in part by tax dollars can be inspected. The information — from reports of deaths of children from abuse to how much the city is spending on street paving to the health concerns of elephants at the zoo — is publicly owned. Without the law, crucial business of the state would be held in private and dozens of unethical or corrupt public officials would suck from the public teat (hey there, Mark Darr). But the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has its hurdles. It requires government agencies to turn over records right away when requested, unless the records are in “active” use or in storage, in which case the agency has three days. But there are exemptions, which officials occasionally interpret broadly. The only way to force compliance when that happens is by filing a lawsuit, which many ordinary citizens (and weekly newspapers) can’t afford. Even when the system works as the law intends, making sense of public documents — typically delivered as photocopies or non-searchable electronic files — can be incredibly laborious. It’s no coincidence that journalists and legal experts, with time and expertise on their side, are responsible for the most prominent examples of exposing government impropriety through FOIA. The way the FOIA works is reactive. Arkansans can’t access a public record without asking the custodian of the record for it. That was a sensible system in 1967, when Arkansas’s FOIA law was passed and when most requests were fulfilled by pulling documents from file cabinets. But we live in wholly different era today, where most government actions or interactions — from a 311 call to fix a pothole to a campaign-finance disclosure — are (or should be) stored digitally in


JANUARY 23, 2014


a database. That puts us in position to move from a reactive system to a proactive one. “The intent of the Arkansas FOIA is to provide access to information in an open and public government, one of the hallmarks of a democratic society,” Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has written. State leaders should honor that intent and adjust policies to reflect today’s technological landscape, where cheap data storage and vast computational power make providing open access to government data not just possible, but practical. The state of Arkansas and our biggest municipalities should build on the state’s FOIA law and adopt comprehensive open data policies. All public records, save those that would violate privacy laws or undermine security, should be proactively made available to the public for free on the Internet in a structured, sortable, downloadable format. The move wouldn’t only be a boon to transparency and government accountability. It would improve governmental efficiency, lead to better public services and provide a potentially enormous economic stimulus. There’s treasure locked away in government that belongs to the public. It’s time to free it.  Arkansas isn’t entirely devoid of transparency initiatives. Last year, went live, thanks to Act 303 of the 2011 General Assembly. The website details state expenditures, revenues and bonded indebtedness. All told, it included $1.9 billion in state contract spending and $7 billion in other spending during the 2013 fiscal year. The information is searchable, downloadable and machine-readable (i.e. a computer program can search and sort the data). The legislature earned an “A” from the Sunlight Foundation, the leading advocacy group for open data and transparency, in its Open Legislative Data Report Card, for posting online information on bills, committees, legislators and votes in a timely manner and keeping the information from past sessions archived online. The state House streams video of meetings of the full body and committees on the Internet. The

upcoming fiscal session will mark the debut of a new platform that allows users to see live footage on their smartphones. The state Supreme Court began streaming its proceedings in 2010, and several cities, including Little Rock and Fayetteville, livestream their city council meetings. Picking out where the state falls short is an easier task (see sidebar). In some cases, there are signs of effort, but no follow through. The city of Little Rock hosts an archive of city board meetings that go back to 1914, but no minutes from 2013 are available. Asked generally about the city’s open data initiatives, Information Technology Department Director Randy Foshee said, “We have a policy of trying to be as open as we possibly can and present [information] to the public in a way that they can retrieve it and use it.” As an example of transparency, Foshee pointed to a PDF copy of the city budget — a document that’s “won awards.” The city is considering different products to help it provide citizens more information, but “those products are generally pretty pricy,” Foshee said. “If you get something that’s an open source product [freely available software, usually supported by a community of developers], then it takes a tremendous amount of time internally to maintain it, and we don’t have a lot of extra time.” Foshee’s position was common. Nearly every state or local official the Arkansas Times talked to in reporting this story cited cost as a reason for not moving forward with an open data plan immediately. Of course they’re correct that the expense won’t be insignificant. It could include the cost of digitizing existing records, the cost of server space to store the records, the cost of building or acquiring a platform to make the records useful to the public and the cost of training staffers to store new records digitally. But these are hardly out of reach. The state transparency website, by far the biggest open government undertaking in the state thus far, was joined with the state accounting system and created for about $569,000 — including the cost for consultants and two employees to maintain the massive database. Annual operating cost is


LIVE FROM THE ARKANSAS HOUSE: Inside the live streaming control room.


$250,000. Those figures represent real money to be sure, but only a drop in the bucket in a state budget of $4.7 billion. Moreover, those expenses are far more than most open government initiatives would cost. Dollars are saved as well in terms of manpower; government employees no longer have to process requests, find documents, which may mean searching through storage, and transmit them or copy them if the agency does not want to make them available digitally.  Transparency, on its face, is a democratic necessity. But it’s the intersection between public services and job creation that could truly propel the open data movement. Last May, President Barack Obama released an executive order making “open and machine readable” the default in releasing federal government information. In remarks on the new policy, Obama said, “It’s going to help launch more businesses. ... It’s going to help more entrepreneurs come up with products and services that we haven’t even imagined yet. This kind of innovation and ingenuity has the potential to transform the way we do almost everything.” Obama has evidence to support his prediction. Consider two of the earliest government data sets made available to the public and leveraged by the private sector. In the 1970s, the federal government began distributing weather data collected by the National Atmospheric Association. It’s now used by everyone from your local weatherman, to, to farmers looking to manage crops and risk. (Last year, Climate Corp., a startup that uses soil, weather and crop-yield government data to price crop insurance, was purchased for nearly $1 billion.) Under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, U.S. global positioning system (GPS) data was made available to the public, a move that’s spawned an entire new and still growing industry familiar to anyone who owns a smartphone or has used Google Maps. It’s estimated that NOAA data and GPS data represent $31.5 billion and $90 billion, respectively, in annual economic value. A McKinsey study from last year put the annual global value of open data (including free information from non-governmental sources) at $3 trillion.  In 1998, Los Angeles County began requiring restaurants to post the hygiene scores the health department had awarded them near their front entrances. Clean restaurants that kept rats and roaches out and stored their food properly got to proudly display their A’s. Those who didn’t had to do the same with their C’s. The program made an impact. One year after it was implemented hospitalization for foodborne illness dropped 13 percent, according to a study published by the National Environmental Health Association. The transparency also served as a powerful incentive for reform. By 2003, 83 percent of restaurants received an A grade, a 40 percent increase from when the program began. (A 1977

OPEN DATA CHAMPIONS: White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park with President Obama.

Arkansas law prohibits the Arkansas Department of Health from attaching letter grades to restaurant health inspections. Earlier law required it.) This is not a small issue. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people, or one in six Americans, suffer from foodborne disease every year. Last year, civic and tech organizations teamed to replicate and extend the sort of success seen in LA County. Their model for success was the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), the common standard for public transportation schedules that Google engineers developed in cooperation with city officials in Portland in 2005. Since then, hundreds of municipal transportation organizations, including Central Arkansas Transit, have adopted the standard, which is why you’re able

to travel to cities around the world and see public transportation options on your favorite online map provider. Much like in the development of the transit specification, the online recommendation site Yelp, the nonprofit Code for America and the technology departments of the cities of New York and San Francisco worked together to create a standard format for restaurant inspection scores that allows Yelp or any other website that displays restaurant listings to easily put the scores in front of their users. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Louisville and Wake County, N.C., have all adopted the standard. New York policymakers and tech officers haven’t yet gotten on the same page, but Luther Lowe, a Fayetteville native who CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

JANUARY 23, 2014


An open government to-do list Wonky suggestions for Arkansas. needs an update. In July 2012, Arkansas joined a majority of states in providing checkbook-level details of state expenditures and revenues. It’s a powerful resource, but it needs to be made significantly more user friendly. For example, visitors can’t search the data with a single query. Payments to vendors are included; but to search for actual contracts, you have to go to another state site that’s not linked from the transparency site. As much as it might pain them, state officials should look to Texas’ transparency portal for inspiration. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave Texas’ site a 96, the highest score in its report “Following the Money 2013: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.” Arkansas received a 69. The state needs one data portal. “To me, everybody just thinks of government as government and they really don’t differentiate between city, county, state and federal,” Arkansas Chief Technology Officer Claire Bailey told the Times. “So we’ve got to work together, those of us in public service, to make it as easy as possible for people to find information.” Hear, hear. should be the place Arkansans go to learn about how their state operates and where developers go to get datasets and APIs. As more local data become available, it and relevant federal data should be included. The state should consolidate its information technology infrastructure.

now serves as director of public policy for Yelp, said he expects it’s only a matter of time before New York, the United Kingdom and a slew of smaller cities in the United States (like Boulder and Albuquerque) adopt the standard. Code for America, the nonprofit partner in the creation of the restaurant inspection open data standard, could be the WPA of building out the open data landscape in government. Founded in 2009, Code for America connects local governments with web developers and designers to tackle problems and show what’s possible with technology. “Peace Corps for geeks” is how interim CoExecutive Director Abhi Nemani described the yearlong fellowship that cities apply to participate in. The goal is to catch government up to the rest of the world. “As we’ve seen within tech industry over last 16

JANUARY 23, 2014



Arkansas needs an open data plan. The Arkansas General Assembly and city and county governments across the state should introduce comprehensive legislation covering what data should be made public, how it will be delivered and how it will become interwoven with existing policy. The Sunlight Foundation offers 32 suggestions for drafting open data policy. One of Sunlight’s suggestions — creating an inventory of all information holdings — would make a good starting place. Government tech officers, or newly created transparency advisory committees, should identify what’s easily available and what’s high value and work until they meet in the middle.


Arkansas is one of the few states in the country without one IT department providing support for all state agencies, according to Bailey, who also serves as director of the state Department of Information Systems (DIS). Bailey understands where government needs to move on the web. The state portal,, employs responsive design (i.e. it’s mobile friendly) and geo-locating features. It’s undoubtedly the most user-friendly website in Arkansas government. She also gets the value of open data. “Big data and transparency not only generates introspection into government, it also provides a catalyst for emerging enterprises that can look and think differently about data and put that to use for economic development,” she told the Times. As CTO, her job is to consider state tech policy from a macro level and suggest ways to improve. But that’s a tall order when many state agencies have their own IT groups and visions. A consolidated system would allow for easier and quicker implementation of open data policy. The state Senate should livestream its proceedings. Legislative watchers know well the Senate’s pitiful reluctance to embrace transparency. In 2011, the House began broadcasting live on the Internet from its chamber and four committee rooms. A big chunk of its initial $400,000 setup fee went to build a sophisticated control room. House spokespeople are too decorous

decade, the Internet and tech more broadly are changing the way we do business. It’s letting us create web platforms that change the way we collaborate, connect to each other and get work done,” said Nemani. “That disruption is largely happening away from government. If you can build the web as a platform, you can build government as a platform.” Code for America has done work on making city websites more intuitive. (“Governments are pretty terrible at building beautiful web applications and websites,” Yelp’s Lowe said.) One site, called Honolulu Answers, and later redeployed as Oakland Answers, gets rid of departmental level organization in favor of a simple search box. “Citizens don’t think it’s the Department of Public Works that they should talk to about potholes,” Nemani said. “They just think that they should talk to someone about potholes.”

Too, if an agency can sort its high-value data in a particular way and make it available in a CSV or Excel file, the data can be accessed on popular, nongovernmental websites, such as popular online consumer guides or local media outlets. “It’s government saying, ‘We have these services, we have these opportunities, this information and we want to get it in your hands in the easiest, most human, most natural way possible,’ ” Nemani said. “A fun game to do — everything that you interact with your government about, think of a third party you could interact with instead,” said Nemani. Maybe Yelp for food stamps, he suggested. Or Trulia or Zillow for building code enforcement data. Meanwhile, Nemani said Code for America is working to scale its impact through additional programs.

to say so, but the current control room would almost certainly support livestreaming the Senate with minimal upgrades. The cost to outfit House committee rooms ran $65,000 a pop. So cost isn’t a reason for the Senate not to join their colleagues. An even worse excuse? Grandstanding. Current Senate leader Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville) has often said he doesn’t support the move because he’s afraid his colleagues will suddenly start preening for the camera. Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy), who’s in line to take Lamoureux’s place, made a similarly lame argument in an interview with the Times. “There’s a lot of tradition and some apprehension [cameras] would change it. There’s a lot of camaraderie. ... There’s not a lot of grandstanding in the Senate. There’s not a lot of political posturing on the bills. It’s more about the facts surrounding the bills.” Those of us who are able to show up at the Capitol know that lawmakers do not need cameras in the room to grandstand. Dismang added that he’d never gotten a request from a constituent. That misses the point: Most people won’t watch gavel-togavel coverage, of course, but if a few motivated citizens have access, they can spread the word, leading to a more informed and engaged citizenry. It’s 2014. Access to the government of the people should not be limited to Arkansans able to go to the Capitol in Little Rock in the middle of the working day. The General Assembly should pass a law mandating online filing of all financial disclosure reports. Lobbyists are already required to do so, thanks to a law passed in 2011. But PACs and candidates at the state and district level have the option of filing online or on a physical form. The Secretary of State’s office scans forms and includes them as PDF documents in its Financial Disclosure database, but they’re incredibly laborious to sort through. The advanced Disclosure search, which only includes those candidates, officials and PACs who file online, is organized in a searchable, sortable, downloadable database. The difference between the two methods is like going to the library to learn the definition of “efficiency” versus using Thanks to yeoman’s work exposing improprieties in disclosures from Blue Hog Report’s Matt Campbell and others, there’s enough political pressure that this seems likely to happen during the next general session, in 2015. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State should work to improve the functionality of its database, something spokesman Alex Reed said has been discussed with an eye towards 2015. The Bureau of Legislative research should make it easier to track legislation. RSS feeds would enable visitors to the Arkansas General Assembly

“We think that a big problem in the market is that companies like CGI [the primary contractor of] get trusted with major contracts for the government because there’s no one else responding to the bid … . There’s a lack of modern government technology. We want to change that … . We’re supporting civic start-ups — modern, open, lean, efficient tech companies that can really work with government to provide the services that we expect in the 21st century.”  When Lowe was frantically searching for a partner to join San Francisco in the restaurant inspection standard project in advance of a presentation before a mayoral conference, he turned to the technology office of the White House. Their recommendation? Louisville. “I thought, ‘No way,’ ” Lowe said. But in less

website to follow the progress of bills. Arkansas courts should expand public access. The state court system is currently amidst a massive, multi-year effort to digitize all of its paper records. Individual courts choose whether to participate. If they do participate, they have the further option of enabling a public-facing interface, CourtConnect. Once a court’s records have been digitized, making them available to the public is as easy as “flipping a switch,” according to Stephanie Harris, communications counsel with the state Supreme Court. So far the Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; nearly two dozen county circuit courts, including the Pulaski County Circuit, and district courts in Faulkner and Hot Spring counties are fully online. The goal is to get 80 percent of the caseloads from courts around the state digitized by 2016, according to Tim Holthoff, information systems director in the Administrative Office of the Courts. Harris said she expects a number of courts to hold out. To keep growing the number of digitized courts, “it’ll take demand from the public and demand from attorneys, and it’ll also take demand from younger judges who’re used to using [the online system],” Harris said. More cameras in state courts. Without cameras recording the 1993 trials of the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols would be a dead man (or still rotting away on death row). That should be all the evidence courts need to join the growing, national cameras in court movement that the state Supreme Court embraced in 2010. The Arkansas Health Department should post restaurant inspection scores online and conform to the open data standard. Currently, to find out how area restaurants rated on their latest restaurant health inspection — i.e. whether they were storing food properly, had vermin infestation, etc. — you have to visit the health department unit in the county where the restaurant operates and request to see the paper file. That’s unacceptable for information so critical to public health. Robert Brech, Health Department CFO, said the department hopes to unveil an online search this spring. Department spokesman Ed Barham expressed skepticism of the fairness of employing a grading scale that would meet the open data standard. “I don’t know how you could come up with a 1 to 100 scale and compare a hot dog stand to Red Lobster,” he said. But, of course, the same argument could be made about any grading in just about any context — say 8th grade math and English. It’s just a useful shorthand that, in the case of restaurant inspections, would help the public make informed decisions.

than a week, Louisville had agreed to embrace the data standard. A little more than a month later, Louisville’s restaurant inspection scores were live on Yelp. Under the leadership of Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville has become one of the country’s leaders in open data. Last October, Fischer issued an executive order that made his city the first to treat all of its data as “open by default.” It’s one of around 25 open data policies in U.S. cities; five state legislatures are currently considering open data legislation. Fischer’s order builds on the Kentucky Open Records Act. Acting on the order is still a work in progress three months later, but as the Sunlight Foundation explained, “This combination [of an open data order with the Open Records Act] implies that all information that is legally accessible now will be proactively disclosed online via

Louisville’s open data portal (or future successor site).” In his speech announcing the policy, Fischer said he wanted his city government to have a “culture of weakness orientation.” “I want to know what’s not working. All organizations have lots of problems. Strong ones got them out in the open. They’re prioritized; they’re working on them. Weak ones have them hidden away in a drawer. When you open that drawer, boy is it stinking. ... “When you think about innovation, it is disruptive. It often creates a mess. You fail forward. You fail fast. And that’s a good thing.” As an Arkansan who avidly follows Arkansas politics, Lowe wondered in a speech in September at the Arkansas Times’ Festival of Ideas, “If a city like Louisville can be this pioneer… for open data initiatives, why can’t Arkansas?”

JANUARY 23, 2014


Arts Entertainment AND


‘Clybourne Park’ at the Rep shows you can laugh about race in America. BY DAVID KOON


JANUARY 23, 2014




here’s a black president in the White House and a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall, but anybody who tells you we’re living in a post-racial society is kidding themselves. Don’t believe it? Just bring up the issue of race in a racially mixed crowd and watch everybody squirm through uncomfortable silences. While there are arguments that still need to be made about race in America today so we can hold the ground that’s been gained, very few will risk kicking the hornet’s nest and being labeled a bigot — or at least naive and clueless about a topic that continues to shape our life and times. “Clybourne Park,” opening Jan. 24 at the Arkansas Repertory Theater, serves as a reminder that we can all still have a conversation — and yes, laugh — about race in America. The director and actors behind Rep staging hope that in addition to a good time at the theater, the comedy can provide a stealth wake-up call for those who harbor the most insidious brand of prejudice: the kind you don’t even know you have. “Clybourne Park,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2011, was written by playwright Bruce Norris as a companion piece to Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 drama “A Raisin in the Sun.” While “Raisin” is about as serious as you can get on stage, Norris’ play is a dark comedy, getting some of its biggest laughs from the nervous crabshuffle most people, and especially liberally minded people, tend to do when the topic of race comes up. The first act is set in 1959 as a white couple, Bev and Russ, prepare to sell their home in Chicago’s all-white Clybourne Park neighborhood to a black family (the Younger family from the Hansberry play) following the death of their son. The second act is set 50 years later, as a black couple representing the neighborhood association butts heads with a white couple who hope to buy the same house, now run down, in the predominantly black but quicklygentrifying neighborhood. The same set

‘CLYBOURNE PARK’: LeeAnne Hutchison, Lawrence Evans, Shaleah Adkisson and Jason O’Connell star in The Rep’s production.

of actors play different characters in each act. Even the set gets the ol’ switcheroo: a stagecraft quick-change during intermission that transforms the house at the center of the story from a tidy bungalow to a forlorn wreck. The Rep’s production of “Clybourne Park” is directed by Cliff Fannin Baker, who was the founding artistic director of the Arkansas Repertory Theater before stepping down in 1999. Baker said that though the Hansberry play “feeds” “Clybourne Park,” knowing “Raisin” isn’t crucial to be able to understand it. Baker said that for him, “Clybourne Park” is about the human connection that transcends race. It’s also about the way the racial issues that haunt America tend to percolate through from the past to the present. “Fifty years go by,” Baker said, “and a marginalized black couple in the ’50s is now a successful, achieving couple in 2009, and yet the same issues still exist for black and white characters: where you’re going to live, what’s going to happen to property values. It has that underpinning of a deeper issue that America has always fostered and been a part of, which is the changing complexion of neighborhoods.” Baker said that one of the reasons he believes the play struck a nerve with audiences in 2011 was that the country was going through financial upheaval fostered by real estate, after “the whole banking system had sort of collapsed under the

weight of corrupt real estate investments.” While that might sound like more spinach than cotton candy, the play turns out to be very funny, often inducing those delicious cringe-laughs of guilty recognition while tackling the topics of race and gentrification head on. Shaleah Adkisson plays Francine, a black maid, in act one, and Lena, who represents the neighborhood association, in act two. Coming at race as a serious topic, she said she didn’t realize the play was supposed to be performed for laughs until after she’d signed up for the Rep production. “Personally, I didn’t know this show was a comedy until I had booked the show and read the play twice,” she said. “I went on the show’s website to see if there was anything up about it, and it said, ‘A black and white comedy.’ I was like, ‘Wait ...’ Then I watched clips of it and I saw, ‘Oh, it IS funny.’ “ Adkisson believes the comedy in the play makes the heavy ideas contained within it more palatable to modern audiences. “We need the ability to laugh at the absurd,” she said. “Yes, these issues still exist and they can be very tense and very stressful and very polarizing. But if you can’t laugh at it, you’re going to be miserable. It’s like that with any serious issue.” Robert Ierardi, who plays the characters of Russ and Dan, agrees with Adkisson’s take on the power of laugher when dealing with serious topics. “It drives the

point home,” he said. “It’s like [The Daily Show with] Jon Stewart. In the ’50s, everything was very serious to drive the point home. Now, if it’s funny, people remember it ... . The good thing for the audience is that they’re as uncomfortable as we are onstage, so they’re not alone. They can laugh with us.” “We define ourselves sometimes,” said actor Jason O’Connell, who plays Kurt in act one and Russ in act two. “We say, ‘I’m liberal,’ or ‘I’m more conservative.’ Sometimes we — especially liberals — think that absolves us. I think what I’d like people to come away with is the same thing that I come away from reading and working with [“Clybourne Park”], which is: facing your own prejudices, whether you think you have them or not ... . You might be the most quote-unquote liberal person in the world, but you may have some prejudices.” While Baker always aims to give audiences its money’s worth, in the case of “Clybourne Park,” he hopes the play will stay with audience members long after the curtain is drawn, hopefully fostering some difficult self-reflection. “I hope that an audience [member] walks out thinking, ‘Oh my God ... . I didn’t have any idea that I was that kind of person,’ ” Baker said. “I think the power of theater is that it changes a person — you walk in one way, you walk out differently. I don’t care if a racist storms out. I hope they do! That doesn’t matter to me. As long as the experience of going to the theater made a difference in the way somebody will be thinking in the future, however small that is, then I think we’ve succeeded.”

“Clybourne Park” opens formally Jan. 24 with a post-show reception and runs through Feb. 9. Tickets are $25 to $40. The Rep is hosting a number of events in conjunction with the production, including a panel discussion with the cast at the Clinton School of Public Service at noon on Thursday, Jan. 23, and a panel discussion at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4. Both panel discussions are free and open to the public. Prior to the Jan. 22 and Jan. 23 performances, there will also be a panel discussion about the changing face of Little Rock neighborhoods, featuring Director Cliff Baker and Jess Porter and John Kirk from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock History Department. The neighborhoods panel begins at 6:15 p.m. on those nights, and curtain is at 7 p.m.

ROCK CANDY Check out the Times’ A&E blog



FOR ONLY $12.50

A&E NEWS THE 2014 ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE has finalized its schedule of musicians who will compete over the course of five Thursdays, beginning Jan. 30 at Stickyz, 107 River Market Ave. Each semifinal week, four bands will play 30-minute sets of original material for five judges, who will assess each act’s musicianship, originality, songwriting and showmanship. There will also be points awarded from the audience, so bands, make sure to bring lots of your friends with you, and fans make sure you circle the date of your favorites below. Each semifinal round will begin at 9 p.m. The final round will be held at Revolution on March 7. Here’s the schedule:

for for

Salut Bistro (new menu!), Far East Restaurant, Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Some, and Dugan’s Bar C CO OU UR RT TE ES SY Y O OF F

Inaugural MeetIng

Tuesday, Jan. 28 • 5:45 pm Fribourgh Room • Main Library Downtown little rock Central AR MVFR will meet on the 4th Tuesday each month, except April & December when meetings will be on the 3rd Tuesday.

Jan. 30 9 p.m. Secondhand Cannons 10 p.m. Basement Brew 11 p.m. Peckerwolf 12 a.m. People’s Republic of Casio Tones Feb. 6 9 p.m. Fox Blossom Venture 10 p.m. John Willis 11 p.m. Deadend Drive 12 a.m. Bombay Harambee Feb. 13 9 p.m. Chris Alan Craig 10 p.m. Flight Machine 11 p.m. Mad Nomad 12 a.m. Flameing Daeth Fearies Feb. 20 9 p.m. The Talking Liberties 10 p.m. Crash Meadows 11 p.m. The Machete with Love 12 a.m. Duckstronaut Feb. 27 9 p.m. My Brother My Friend 10 p.m. Shawn James & the Shapeshifters 11 p.m. John Neal Rock’n’Roll 12 a.m. The Vail TWO OF LITTLE ROCK’S FINEST AND MOST ECCENTRIC RAPPERS quietly dropped a collaborative EP last week on Bandcamp (via Pepperboy, the South’s only delegate to the Bay Area-based Green Ova Underground, and 607, who released his 39th album last year and calls himself “Tupac + Fiona Apple.” Pepperboy’s mellow, blissed-out whine is a welcome compliment to 607’s more aggressive style, and it’s nice to see the two of them working together. As they put it, “THIS IS HISTORY For The State Of Arkansas!!!!!” The highlight here is probably the opener, “Mr. Fist,” for its sinister, Dracula-invoking organ riff and general intensity, but the whole thing is well worth a listen as the first good local rap tape of the year.

JANUARY 23, 2014







Various times. Ron Robinson Theater.

The Central Arkansas Library System’s newly opened Ron Robinson Theater caps off a streak of great and diverse opening-week programming this weekend, beginning Thursday at noon with a lecture on the Arcade Building from a “Graphic Designer’s Perspective,” courtesy of UALR Art Department Chair Tom Clifton, archivist Shannon Lausch and Joe Swaty. Then, at 5:30 p.m., there’s a dance performance by Emily Karnes and Anthony Bryant, with choreography by aptly-named UALR Artist-in-Residence Rhythm McCarthy. Finally, at 7:30 p.m., screenwriter and former Times columnist Graham Gordy will be on hand for a screening of Ray McKinnon’s Sundance Channel series “Rectify.” Gordy served on the writing staff of the show and will talk about it and “Quarry,” a TV series he co-created for Cinemax. Come back on Saturday for a screening of the John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix firefighter epic “Ladder 49,” presented by director Jay Russell, a Little Rock native who also helmed movies like “My Dog Skip” and the 1987 cult film “End of the Line” (featuring Kevin Bacon and Levon Helm). WS

AT LONG LAST: Amasa Hines celebrates the release of its debut album at White Water Friday and Saturday.



10 p.m., White Water Tavern.



9 p.m., White Water. Minimum donation $5.

“Let it Bleed” was the last Rolling Stones album of the 1960s, released the day before their infamous concert at the Altamont Speedway and featuring the final contributions of Brian Jones, who managed an autoharp part and some back-up congas before being dropped from the band for a drug problem (no small feat in this crowd) and dying a few weeks later. Bookended by perennial Baby Boomer nostalgia-anthems “Gimme Shelter” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” it seems like the kind of inarguably “classic” rock album that couldn’t possibly fail as tribute concert material. Participating artists include Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Greg Spradlin, Big Silver, and many others. All proceeds go to the local community radio station KABF 88.3 FM, the self-proclaimed but unchallenged “Voice of the People.” WS 20

JANUARY 23, 2014


This is a long time coming. Velvet Kente came out of nowhere in 2009 to become Little Rock’s favorite band. Then a year or so later, lead singer/ guitarist Joshua — the owner of one of the most powerful and dexterous voices heard in Arkansas in years — joined with another group of veteran musicians to form Amasa Hines, and whichever of the two was playing next became Little Rock’s favorite band.

All along there’s been talk of recording, with only one single from Amasa Hines finding its way to the public. Two years later, Amasa Hines’ nine-song debut album, “All The World There Is,” is here. Whatever the band’s been up to in the studio all these years, it shows. The album is gorgeous, a tour de force of contemplative, Ethio-jazzflecked, soul-shouting, space rock. Or something like that. Most songs feel like anthems, but controlled — nearly all the tracks clock in around 4 minutes. Joshua, singing earnestly of faith, love and identity, sounds as dynamic

as he can live. Norman Williamson’s beautiful sax work puts a dreamy haze on everything. The guitar interplay between Joshua and local ace Judson Spillyards is seductively understated. In sum, it’s a damn fine record that’s bound to get attention beyond Arkansas. Even if you’ve sworn off buying CDs like me, this is one you’ll want to pick up at one of the band’s two nights of celebrating its album release. Or hold out for the vinyl, coming in the near future. Either way, consider this a must-do/must-buy. Isaac Alexander and Adam Faucett open the Friday night show. LM

in 2010, and it’s hard to imagine a better way to sum up their sound, which is all mind-bending dirges and gothic, blood-and-thunder theatrics. Their last full-length was 2011’s wellreceived “Rest,” though last year saw the release of their concert movie head-trip, “A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door” (a name they nabbed from Thomas Wolfe, also probably while on drugs). Their music mostly

pulverizes; it hurts, though “Rest” is punctuated by moments of menacing serenity and subtlety. It’s a brand of bleak, Deep South masochism that you either intuitively understand or you don’t. Those of you that do should come to Revolution Friday night, where Rwake will headline alongside a solid collection of local thrash and stoner metal acts, including Sumokem and Enchiridion. WS



8 p.m., Revolution. $8.

North Little Rock doom metal stalwarts Rwake got their band name when frontman Chris Terry tried pronouncing the word “wake” (their former name, back in their late-’90s early days) on drugs. “It was like primordial man,” as Terry told the Times of the renaming back


THURSDAY 1/23 Epitaph Records’ The Menzingers bring their anthemic pop-punk to Stickyz with Off With Their Heads opening, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 d.o.s. Piano-pop champ John Willis shares the bill at The Joint with country-rock songstress Mandy McBryde, 9 p.m. Each have new backing bands filled with local vets. Willis is now playing with vets Jack Lloyd (bass), Sarah Stricklin (percussion), Sydney Hunsicker (accordion/harmonic) and Mike Motley (drums). Meanwhile, McBryde has recruited Philip Rex Huddleston (bass) and Tyler Nance (drums) for support. Cajun’s hosts Memphis-based classic rock cover act Adrenaline, 9 p.m., $5, and Chris DeClerk during happy hour, 5:30 p.m., free. The three-day Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest kicks off at noon at The Aud with a varied lineup of narrative and documentary films, including a screening of “The Big Shootout” with director Mike Looney in attendance, $10-$25.



6:30 p.m., Verizon Arena. $20 adults, $5 kids.

Maybe you’re the type of reader who isn’t looking for live music or lectures or film screenings. Maybe you think these things are dull, disappointing, even lightweight entertainment-wise. Maybe you’re right. The Verizon Arena hasn’t forgotten you, fortunately. Here, for two consecutive nights this weekend, you will find ramps, giant trophies, gratuitous pyrotechnics, and all of your favorite monster trucks: Hotsy, Rap Attack, XXX, Robo Machine, Incinerator, and, of course, Fatal Attraction. I have seen pictures of these trucks. They are very big. The sport — which I have now learned evolved out of the late 1960s mud-bogging and tractor-pulling subcultures, came of age in the 1980s, and

FATAL ATTRACTION: It’ll be crushing things at Monster Jam at Verizon Friday and Saturday.

achieved transcendence with the iconic Grave Digger truck (conceived by one Dennis “The Man” Anderson) — offers

vigorous, next-level entertainment. Rest assured, there will be an autograph signing after the show. WS




9 p.m., Town Pump. $3.


in addition to the videos, collaborated on the 2013 album “Existing Musical Beings.” This Saturday, they’ll share a bill at Revolution with Yip Deceiver, the dance-pop side hustle of Davey Pierce and Nicolas Dobbratz (of Of Montreal out of Athens, Ga.), which sounds like Of Montreal minus the goofy prog surrealism. WS

When we last saw Michael Chavez, he was playing last year’s Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase under the name Miles Rattz. Since then, he’s changed his name to Mildriot and finished an album, “Fought Songs,” which is due for release in February via Sister 9 Recordings, which is apparently somewhere in the UK (their website hypes him as their “first US-based artist”). The songs are endearingly unpolished and dizzy and simple — home recordings that seem rooted in the hushed and insular late ’90s and early-aughts indie rock of bands like Grandaddy and the Unicorns. WS

of mystery. I pictured robed, nomadic tribesmen wielding Stratocasters, like those Tuareg rebels who play droning electric blues atop sand dunes in the Sahara. This is pretty far from the truth, but also basically faithful to the spirit of the endeavor: They are steeped in the myth-making aspects of the space-rock tradition, with enigmatic album covers

and walls of whirring feedback. This is altered-states garage rock, with song titles like “Druglore,” “Smoke Dreams,” and “The World on Drugs.” Their recordings are loud and messy, and their live shows have a reputation for being much louder and messier than their recordings. They’ll be at White Water on Monday with R.I.O.T.S. WS

9 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv.

Turquoise Jeep Records is the YouTube-famous novelty hip-hop collective known for absurdist club rap anthems like “Lemme Smang It,” “Taste You Like Yogurt,” and “Naughty Farmer.” Their videos, handmade and ambitiously out-there in a “Tim & Eric” sort of way (think twodimensional, pastel-colored underwater and outer-space scenes), are either hideous or hilarious depending on how funny you find the idea of song called “Naughty Farmer.” The stable includes rappers Flynt Flossy, Yung Humma, Whatchyamcallit, Pretty Raheem, and a few others, who,

JOKE RAP: Turquoise Jeep Records comes to Revolution on Saturday.



9 p.m., White Water.

Led by Ryan Rousseau, a former bandmate of the late Jay Reatard’s, Destruction Unit is a low-end-heavy psychedelic rock band that claims to be from the Sonoran Desert, which probably means Phoenix, Arizona, but either way sounds impressively rustic and full

FRIDAY 1/24 A handful of the state’s finest rootstinged acts will play at the Ozark Mountain Music Festival, held in Eureka Springs’ Basin Park Hotel, Friday through Sunday. The standouts include Tyrannosaurus Chicken, 3 Penny Acre, Pearl Brick, Ben Miller Band and Handmade Moments. Room and festival all-access passes begin at $275. Festival passes run $45. The Good Time Ramblers play their good-time brand of country-tinged rock ’n’ roll at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7.

SATURDAY 1/25 The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents “Bohemian Rhapsody” at Robinson Center Music Hall, 8 p.m., $14$53, with performances of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and Scherzo Capriccioso and Brahms Concerto No. 2. Acclaimed pianist Norman Krieger joins the ASO for the Brahms concerto. The ASO reprises its performance on Sunday, 3 p.m., same price and place. Beloved local rockers The Dangerous Idiots come to the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. It’s all trap and dubsteb at Discovery with Big Brown, Lawler, Kichen, Brandon Peck and Dominque & The Disco Dolls, late night.

SUNDAY 1/26 Fresh off a “Jam” cruise, New Orleans Bonerama comes to South on Main, 7 p.m., $17. The nine-piece proves that more is better with three trombonists, three drummers, two bassists (and a guitarist). Look for the Big Easy favorite to get the South on Main crowd good and sweaty on a Sunday.

JANUARY 23, 2014


AFTER DARK All events are in the Greater Little Rock area unless otherwise noted. To place an event in the Arkansas Times calendar, please email the listing and all pertinent information, including date, time, location, price and contact information, to



John Evans. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m, $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Compagnie Kafig. Walton Arts Center, 8 p.m., $10-$25. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479443-5600. “Undercurrents.” With UALR’s Emily Karnes and Anthony Bryant. Ron Robinson Theater, 5:30 p.m. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx.


“Clybourne Park” panel discussion. With actors, director of The Rep production. Clinton School of Public Service, noon, free, donations accepted. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-68322

JANUARY 23, 2014




Adrenaline (headliner), Chris DeClerk (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. “Inferno.” DJs play pop, electro, house and more, plus drink specials and $1 cover before 11 p.m. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. John Willis. The Joint. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Kentucky Knife Fight, Fitra. Maxine’s. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. www.maxinespub. com. Krush Thursdays with DJ Kavaleer. Club Climax, free before 11 p.m. 824 W. Capitol. 501-554-3437. Let It Bleed: A Benefit for KABF 88.3 FM. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-3758400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. The Menzingers, Off With Their Heads. All ages. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-3727707. Michael Eubanks. Newk’s Express Cafe, 6:30 p.m. 4317 Warden Road, NLR. 501-753-8559. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Open Turntables. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. www. Smokey Emerson. The Tavern Sports Grill, 7:30 p.m. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. www. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.

HEAD TO THE HILLS: The Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs hosts the Ozark Mountain Music Festival Friday through Sunday with Tyrannosaurus Chicken (above), 3 Penny Acre, Pearl Brick, Ben Miller Band, Handmade Moments and more. Room and festival allaccess passes begin at $275. Festival passes run $45. 5239.


Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest. The festival will conclude with the Indie Awards Show Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. The Auditorium, $10 single day, $25 three-day pass. 36 Main St., Eureka Springs. 479-363-8185. “Rectify.” With Q&A with screenwriter Graham Gordy after the screening. Ron Robinson Theater, 7:30 p.m. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703.


“Emerging Processes in History Design: The Arcade Building from a Graphic Designer’s Perspective.” With UALR’s Tom Clifton, Shannon Lausch and Joe Swaty. Ron Robinson Theater, noon. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.


Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411. UALR Men’s Trojans vs. Texas State. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 7 p.m., $5-$38. 2801 S. University Ave.



Amasa Hines Record Release Weekend. White Water Tavern, Jan. 24-25, 9:30 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Ben Byers. The Tavern Sports Grill, 7:30 p.m. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu, until 2 a.m. 1620 Savoy, 10 p.m. 1620 Market St. 501-2211620. DJ Skywalker. Deep Ultra Lounge. 322 President Clinton Ave. Donna Massey and Blue Eyed Soul (headliner), Richie Johnson (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351.

The Floozies. George’s Majestic Lounge, Jan. 24-25, 9 p.m., $12. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. The Good Time Ramblers. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501663-1196. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Midas Coven. Prost. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Ozark Mountain Music Festival. With 3 Penny Acre, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Ben Miller Band, Handmade Moments and more. The 1905 Basin Park Hotel, Jan. 24, 8 p.m.; Jan. 25, noon; Jan. 26, noon, $45. 12 Spring St., Eureka Springs. 479-253-7837. Rwake, Sumokem, Broken by the Burden, Enchiridion, Severe Headwound. All-ages. Revolution, 8 p.m., $8. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Space Mother, Stella Bizarre, No Commercials. Vino’s. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. The Steepwater Band, American Lions. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-3727707. Stephen Compton and the GDC. Dugan’s Pub, 9 p.m., free. 401 E. 3rd St. 501-244-0542. www. Taylor Made. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501224-7665. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www. Thomas East. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, Jan. 24-25, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501324-2999. Thread. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189.


John Evans. The Loony Bin, 7:30 and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555. “Winter Sucks.” Original sketch comedy by The Main Thing. Call to make reservations. The Joint, 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205.


Ballroom Dancing. Free lessons begin at 7 p.m. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 8-11 p.m., $7-$13. 12th & Cleveland streets. 501-221-7568. Salsa Night. Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


4th Annual Date & Silent Auction. Benefits Global Kids Arkansas. Cellar 220, 9 p.m., $5. 220 W. 6th St. 501-374-5100. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14 to 23. For more information, call 244-9690 or search “DYSC” on Facebook. 800 Scott St., 6:30 p.m. Monster Jam. Verizon Arena, Jan. 24-25, 7:30 p.m., $5-$22. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-9759001.

If you’re not HERE, we’re having more fun than you are!


Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest. See Jan. 23.


Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411.



501 (five-o-one). Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., free. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Amasa Hines Record Release Weekend. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501375-8400. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: Bohemian Rhapsody. With special guest Norman Krieger on piano. Robinson Center Music Hall, Jan. 25, 8 p.m.; Jan. 26, 3 p.m., $14-$53. Markham and Broadway. Ben Coulter. The Tavern Sports Grill, 8 p.m. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See Jan. 24. The Dangerous Idiots. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. DJ B-Box. Deep Ultra Lounge. 322 President Clinton Ave. The Floozies. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $12. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Hot Springs Village Big Band. Annual membership meeting and party for Hot Springs Jazz Society. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 3 p.m., $25 (for non-members). 228 Spring St., Hot Springs. Indie Music Night. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $10. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Casa Mexicana, 7 p.m. 6929 JFK Blvd., NLR. 501-835-7876. Karaoke with Kevin & Cara. All-ages, on the restaurant side. Revolution, 9 p.m.-12:45 a.m., free. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Mildriot. Town Pump, 9 p.m., $3. 1321 Rebsamen Park Road. 501-663-9802. Ozark Mountain Music Festival. See Jan. 24. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. RK Ellis. Prost. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501244-9550. “Run The Trap.” With Lawler, Big Brown, Kichen, Brandon Peck, Dominique & The Disco Dolls. Discovery Nightclub, 9 p.m.-5 a.m. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. Rustenhaven (headliner), Gregg Madden (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. Shari Bales Band. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-

7665. Singer/Songwriters Showcase. Parrot Beach Cafe, 2-7 p.m., free. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Thomas East. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Turquoise Jeep Records, Yip Deceiver. 18-andolder. Revolution, 9 p.m., $12 adv., $15 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090.


John Evans. The Loony Bin, 7:30 and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555. “Winter Sucks.” See Jan. 24.


Little Rock West Coast Dance Club. Dance lessons. Singles welcome. Ernie Biggs, 7 p.m., $2. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-247-5240. www.


Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. Historic Neighborhoods Tour. Bike tour of historic neighborhoods includes bike, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 9 a.m., $8-$28. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001. Made from Scratch with Chef Rob Nelson. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 10 a.m. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501-727-5435. Monster Jam. Verizon Arena, 7:30 p.m., $5-$22. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001. Pork & Bourbon Tour. Bike tour includes bicycle, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 11:30 a.m., $35-$45. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001.


Eureka Springs Indie Film Fest. See Jan. 23. “Ladder 49” with director Jay Russell. Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., free. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703.


Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: Bohemian Rhapsody. With special guest Norman Krieger on piano. Robinson Center Music Hall, 3 p.m., $14-$53. Markham and Broadway. Bonerama. South on Main, 7 p.m., $17. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. https://www.facebook. com/SouthonMainLR. Heatbox, The Phonies, Stepchild, Mr. Napalm. 18-and-older. Revolution, 8 p.m., $6 adv., $10 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090.

Karaoke with DJ Sara. Hardrider Bar & Grill, 7 p.m., free. 6613 John Harden Drive, Cabot. 501-982-1939 . Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Ozark Mountain Music Festival. See Jan. 24.

There’s still time, GET HERE!


“Live from the Back Room.” Spoken word event. Vino’s, 7 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www.


Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411.



Destruction Unit. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Monday Night Jazz: That Arkansas Weather. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Jo Comerford. The executive director of the National Priorities Project presents “The People’s Guide to the Federal Budget.” Clinton School of Public Service, noon, free. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5239. www.clintonschool.



Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Hibernia Irish Tavern, 7-9 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Music Jam. Hosted by Elliott Griffen and Joseph Fuller. The Joint, 8-11 p.m., free. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. ASO River Rhapsodies Chamber Series: Dvorak’s Piano Trio. Clinton Presidential Center, 7 p.m., $10-$23. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 370-8000. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


“Latin Night.” Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501823-0090. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

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“Starchitects, Prizes and the Changing Face of Architecture.” With Martha Thorne, Executive Director, Pritzker Architectural Prize, Associate Dean for External Relations, IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid. Arkansas Arts Center, 6 p.m., free. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; schedule available on website. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Call for reservations. Starving Artist Cafe, 5 p.m. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. www.


Argenta Film Series: “Blackfish.” RSVP at LRFF. Argenta Community Theater, 7 p.m., free. 405 Main St., NLR. 501-353-1443.


Science Cafe: “The Ethical Dilemma.” A public forum on biomedical, leadership and personal ethics. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 7 p.m. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Downtown Tip Off Club: Danny Manning. North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, 11:15 a.m.-1 p.m., $15-$20. 100 Main St., NLR. 501-




Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Basic Training: Cooking Sauces. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 10 a.m., $15. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501-727-5435. Brian and Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. England in 1819, The Dangerous Idiots, Adam Faucett. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.

Jason Burnett. The Tavern Sports Grill, 7 p.m. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Local Live: Big Piph & Friends. South on Main, 7:30 p.m., free. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. Jose Sarduy, John Stites. The Loony Bin, Jan. 29-30, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 7:30 and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Little Rock Bop Club. Beginning dance lessons for ages 10 and older. Singles welcome. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 7 p.m., $4 for members, $7 for guests. 12th & Cleveland streets. 501-350-4712. www.littlerockbopclub.


2014 Arkansas Heroes Luncheon. The American Red Cross, Arkansas Region will honor Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford as the 2014 Clara Barton Distinguished Humanitarian of the Year. Doubletree Hotel, 11:30 a.m. 424 W. Markham. 501-372-4371. Brown Bag Lunch Lecture: “The 1864 Constitution and Reconstruction.” Old State House Museum, noon, free. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685. Political Animals Club: Gov. Mike Beebe. Governor’s Mansion, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., $20 (includes lunch). 1800 Center St. 501-377-1121.


Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. html.


UALR Women’s Trojans vs. Louisiana. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 7 p.m., $5-$38. 2801 S. University Ave.


“Blu.” Virginia Grise’s play explores the lives of a queer Chicana family in the aftermath of losing a family member in the Iraq war. The Weekend Theater, through Jan. 25: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. www. “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.” Arkansas Arts Center, through Feb. 9: Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., Sun., 2 p.m., $13. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. “Clybourne Park.” The winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, “Clybourne Park” examines the intersection of race and real estate with biting humor and sharp social commentary. Contains adult language. Arkansas 24

JANUARY 23, 2014


AFTER DARK, CONT. Repertory Theatre, through Feb. 9: Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., Thu., Sun., 7 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “Mama Won’t Fly.” Comedy in which a woman must transport her mother from Alabama to California in time for her brother’s wedding, but her mother refuses to fly. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through Feb. 2: Tue.-Sat., 6 p.m.; Wed., 11 a.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m., $15-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131.



ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “Feed Your Mind Friday: Gallery Talk with Brad Cushman,” curator of “Face to Face: Artists’ Self-Portraits from the Collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch Jr., noon Jan. 24; Art of Architecture lecture “Starchitects, Prizes and the Changing Face of Architecture,” lecture by Martha Thorne, executive director of the Pritzer Prize, reception 5:30, talk 6 p.m. Jan. 28. 372-4000. BOSWELL-MOUROT FINE ART, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Art and Soles,” sale of Munro Icon graffiti shoes, wall art by Woozel, ceramics by Beth Lambert decorated by Woozel, fund-raiser for the Friends of Contemporary Craft, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Jan. 30. 664-0030. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “Say It With Snap! Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-29,” historic posters, Jan. 28-March 16, reception 5-7 p.m. Jan. 31; “Conundrum,” recent work by David Clemons, multimedia work, through Feb. 26, Gallery II; “Co-opt,” work created in class experiment by Taimur Cleary, Mesilla Camille Smith and Jennifer Perren, Gallery III, through Jan. 29. 569-3182. FAYETTEVILLE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK: “Wisdom of the Ages Athenaeum,” rare books from Remnant Trust, including a cuneiform tablet (2200 B.C.) to the first printing of the Emancipation Proclamation (1862), Mullins Library, through May 12. 479-575-4104.


ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “Face to Face: Artists’ Self-Portraits from the Collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch Jr.,” through Feb. 9; “Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade,” Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery, show through Feb. 9; “Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge,” Jeannette Rockefeller Gallery, through Feb. 9; “The People There: Paintings by Emily Moll Wood,” through Feb. 23. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. ART GROUP GALLERY, Pleasant Ridge Town Center: work by Ron Almond, Matt Coburn, Louise Harris, Ned Perme, Ann Presley, Vickie Hendrix-Siebenmorgen and Holly Tilley. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-6 p.m. Sun. 690-2193. BOSWELL-MOUROT, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Dennis McCann, sculpture by Michael Warrick, gouache by Astrid Sohn, oils by Ron McGehee. 664-0030. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Unusual Portraits: New Works by Michael Warrick and David O’Brien,” through March 22; “Reflections in Pastel,” through Feb. 22, main gallery; “Native Arkansas,” early Arkansas through the writings of early explorers and Native American artifacts, including

Mississippian period, Caddoan and Carden Bottoms objects, Concordia Hall, through Feb. 22. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5790. CANTRELL GALLERY, 8206 Cantrell Road: “Music, Myth & The Hard Travelin’ Man,” linoleum cut prints by Neal Harrington, through March 1. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 224-1335. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: Work by Scotty Shively, Herb and Patty Monoson, Glenda Josephson, Dr. L.P. Fraiser, Dee Schulten, Judy Johnson, Susie Henley and Maka Parnell, through March. CHROMA GALLERY, 5707 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Work by Robert Reep and other Arkansas artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0880. THE EDGE, 301B President Clinton Ave.: Paintings by Avila (Fernando Gomez), Eric Freeman, James Hayes, Jerry Colburn, St. Joseph Thomason and Stephen Drive. 9921099. ELLEN GOLDEN ANTIQUES, 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Barry Thomas and Arden Boyce. 664-7746. GALLERY 221 & ART STUDIOS 221, Pyramid Place: Artists cooperative. 801-0211. GALLERY 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Finishing Touches,” recent works by Erin Lorenzen, through March 8. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 664-8996. GINO HOLLANDER GALLERY, 2nd and Center: Paintings and works on paper by Gino Hollander. 801-0211. GOOD WEATHER GALLERY, 4400 Edgemere, NLR: Photographs by Trisha Holt. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: Work by Southern artists. 664-2787. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “Evolu- tion,” exhibit celebrating the gallery’s 25th anniversary, with work by Lawrence Finney, Mario Robinson, Kevin Cole, Adger Cowans, Samella Lewis, Paul Goodnight and others, through Feb. 2. 372-6822. L&L BECK ART GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Landscapes,” work by Louis Beck, through January. 660-4006. MUGS CAFE, 515 Main St., NLR: Buddhist paintings by Ruth Pasquine. BENTON DIANNE ROBERTS ART STUDIO AND GALLERY, 110 N. Market St.: Work by Chad Oppenhuizen, Dan McRaven, Gretchen Hendricks, Rachel Carroccio, Kenny Roberts, Taylor Bellott, Jim Cooper and Sue Moore. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. 860-7467. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “At First Sight,” watercolors from the personal collection of museum founder Alice Walton, through April 21; “Edward Hopper: Journey to Blackwell’s Island,” preliminary sketches on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the finished painting and other watercolors by Hopper, through April 21; “The Artists’ Eye,” Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz collection, including works by O’Keeffe, Stieglitz, Arthur Dove, John Marin and others, shared collection with Fisk University, through Feb. 3; permanent collection of American masterworks spanning four centuries. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Thu.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed., Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.Sun. 479-418-5700. CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

JANUARY 23, 2014



Cloak, dull dagger ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ is skippable. BY SAM EIFLING


he evening after I watched it, someone asked what my favorite part of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” was. Upon reflection, I realized there’s no such thing. The latest espionage flick featuring America’s stodgy answer to James Bond, “Shadow Recruit” takes Jack Ryan out of the Tom Clancy canon (the late author receives only a “characters based on” credit here) and plops him into a nouveau Cold War cloak/dagger pickle. What follows are car chases, a woman in peril, high-stakes computer hacking, handto-hand grappling and a race against the clock to defeat an imminent terrorist act. What does not follow are many memorable lines, any immortal characters or even so much as a really filthy double-crossing. It’s a pot-boiler that produces a good number of bubbles without really cooking much. Going where Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have gone before is Chris Pine (you know him as the new Capt. Kirk) playing the rebooted Ryan. We open with him dreamily loitering at the London School of Economics,

care-free until he sees the World Trade Center burning on television. Cut to Afghanistan; Ryan has enlisted, then suffers grave injuries. Cut to rehab; he meets a beautiful doctor-to-be whose name might as well be Future Mrs. Ryan because she’s played by Keira Knightley, with a convincing dollop of medical-student awkwardness. Ryan is approached by a C.I.A. spook (Kevin Costner, suppressing all but the faintest wisps of charisma) who wants him to put his econ Ph.D. to work ferreting out terrorism finances, undercover on Wall Street. Here, then, is your international spy hero, although “Jack Ryan: Compliance Officer” admittedly lacks a certain something. Great, so now we’ve got this earnest war hero and spreadsheet nerd who’s going to stop the bad guys! Except now we’ve burned up a good half hour, so we’ve got to make the interesting parts fit into, like, 75 minutes. Thank goodness a geopolitical fracas over petroleum pipelines arrives to inflame tensions between the United States and Russia. Ryan notices some mon-

‘JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT’: Chris Pine stars.

keyshines in a gargantuan currency account that leads him to believe the Russians — represented ably by a sinister financier played cold by Kenneth Branagh, who also directs — are planning a catastrophic economic strike. The phrase “Second Great Depression” in 2014 offers the same plot propulsion as “thermonuclear war” might have a generation ago. Used to be, these spy games kept us all from getting microwaved. Now, still recession-weary, we just don’t want to see unemployment triple. It’s all strong enough stuff, if a bit rushed. Pine’s fine, easy to root for as the apple-cheeked Eagle Scout thrown into the deep end. The Ryan character

endures because even with the nuclear threat subdued, we as Americans enjoy imagining the dark forces aligning against us, and like the thought of a brilliant and brave individual whose wit and heroism (instead of, say, vast military and tech superiority) keep us safe. What we miss in this Jack Ryan is any of the high-concept camp that keeps other spy franchises (cf. Bond) nimble, or the intricate plotting (cf. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) that risks losing part of the audience along the way. “Shadow Recruit” promises not to go over your head, and whether that’s a feature or a bug, it delivers. If it seems you’ve seen this story before, fret not — you won’t need to watch it a second time.

AFTER DARK, CONT. CONWAY UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS: “Deb Schwedhelm: Whispers from the Sea,” black and white photographs; “Kristen Kindler: Cut Paper Sculpture”; “Drawing Blood and Guts: The Best of Contemporary Medical Illustration,” top U.S. medical illustrators selected by Alexandra Baker; “A Place for All Bad Memories,” interactive art installation inspired by Miranda July’s website “Learning to Love You More,” Baum Gallery, all through Feb. 20. FAYETTEVILLE BOTTLE ROCKET GALLERY, 1495 Finger Road: “Makeshift Theatre,” photographs by Logan Rollins. 479-466-7406. WALTON ARTS CENTER, 495 W. Dickson St.: “Linking the Past to the Present: Recent Works by Anita Fields and Tony Tiger,” textiles and paintings by Oklahoma artists, through Jan. 25, Joy Pratt Markham Gallery, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat. 479-443-5600. HOT SPRINGS ARTISTS’ WORKSHOP GALLERY, 610a Central Ave.: Watercolors by Terry O’Dell, paintings by Christine Lippert. 501-623-6401. BLUE MOON GALLERY, 718 Central Ave.: Work by Suzi Dennis , Caren Garner, Randall M. Good and Thad Flenniken. 501-318-2787. FINE ARTS CENTER OF HOT SPRINGS, 26

JANUARY 23, 2014


626 Central Ave.: “2013 National Diamond Art Competition,” juror Katherine Strause, through Feb. 1. 501-624-0489. GALLERY CENTRAL, 800 Central Ave.: Glass by James Hayes. JUSTUS FINE ART, 827 Central Ave.: Work by Dolores Justus, Kari Albright, Steve Griffith, Robyn Horn, V. Noe, Rebecca Thompson, Dan Thornhill and others. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. 501-321-2335. PINE BLUFF ARTS AND SCIENCE CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS, 701 Main St.: 2014 “Small Works on Paper,” through Jan. 30; “Glazed with Fire,” ceramics by Joe Bruhin, through Feb. 24. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat. 870-536-3375.


CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM VISITOR CENTER, Bates and Park: Exhibits on the 1957 desegregation of Central and the civil rights movement. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. 374-1957. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” from the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., through April 27; permanent exhibits on the Clinton administration. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $7

adults; $5 college students, seniors, retired military; $3 ages 6-17. 370-8000. ESSE, 1510 S. Main St.: “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Handbags (19001999),” purses from the collection of Anita Davis, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun., $10-$8. 9169022. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: “Chasing the Light,” photography of Brian Chilson, through March 10; “A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America,” through June 22; “Dream and Imagery Entailed: Kerrick Hartman and LaToya Hobbs,” sculpture and printmaking, through Feb. 9; “Arkansas Made,” ongoing. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS M I L I TA RY H I S T O RY , MacArthur Park: “American Posters of World War I”; permanent exhibits. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY, 500 President Clinton Ave.: “Robots and Us,” interactive exhibit on robotics, through Jan. 26; “Wiggle Worms,” science program for pre-K children 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. every Tue., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 1-12, free to members and children under 1. 396-7050. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”,

the state’s ties to Hollywood, including costumes, scripts, film footage, photographs and more, through March 1, 2015; “Things You Need to Hear: Memories of Growing up in Arkansas from 1890 to 1980,” oral histories about community, family, work, school and leisure, through March 2014. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, Riverfront Park: Exhibits on wildlife and the state Game and Fish Commission. FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM, 1601 Rogers Ave.: “Valentines: The Art of Romance,” 100 cards, postcards and foldouts from the early 19th century to 1930s, through April; “RE: History,” 25 two- and three-dimensional works by James Volkert, through Feb. 16. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 479784-2787. JACKSONVILLE JACKSONVILLE MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY, 100 Veterans Circle: Exhibits on D-Day; F-105, Vietnam era plane (“The Thud”); the Civil War Battle of Reed’s Bridge, Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) and other military history. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $3 adults; $2 seniors, military; $1 students. 501-241-1943.


MUSICIANS SHOWC A SE 5 Rounds · 20 Competing Bands · 1 Winner

! A Showcase first! Artists are competing for cash

Jan 30 - Round 1 9pm - Secondhand Cannons 10pm - Basement Brew 11pm - Peckerwolf 12am - People's Republic of Casio Tones

Round 1 JANUARY 30

(and other prizes) in 2014!

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Feb 6 - Round 2 9pm - Fox Blossom Venture 10pm - John Willis 11pm - Deadend Drive 12am - Bombay Harambee

Make Plans Now to attend the 2014 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Show your support for some of the state’s finest original bands.

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Visit showcase

for T-shirts,

Feb 27 - Round 5 9pm - My Brother My Friend 10pm - Shawn James & the Shapeshifters 11pm - John Neal Rock'n'Roll 12am - The Vail

Finals Friday March 7 at The Rev Room


Feb 13 - Round 3 9pm - Chris Alan Craig 10pm - Flight Machine 11pm - Mad Nomad 12am - Flameing Daeth Fearies Feb 20 - Round 4 9pm - The Talking Liberties 10pm - Crash Meadows 11pm - The Machete with Love 12am - Duckstronaut

Every Thursday starting January 30 at 9 p.m. at Stickyz


Crowd response is part of the judging for the semi-final rounds. Fans be sure to come out and support each band.

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Showcase News, Photos, Video, & Artist Info!











Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5


All ages welcome $5 over 21, $7 under 21

Watch this page For weekly ResultS or Visit


Dining THE TEAM BEHIND Big Orange, Local Lime and ZaZa is expanding into the beer business. Partners John Beachboard, Scott McGehee and Russ McDonough have leased 19,000 square feet in the former headquarters of Candy Bouquet in the warehouse district east of I-30 for a production brewery they’re calling Lost 40 Brewing Co. They’ll start with a 30-barrel brewhouse, three 30-barrel fermenters and one 60-barrel fermenter, all of which will allow them to produce 3,000 barrels a year at capacity, according to Beachboard. A barrel represents about two kegs of beer. Beachboard estimated that the brewery will be online in six to eight months. Omar Castrellon, who Beachboard said has 25 years of “professional grade” experience, will serve as master brewer. He’s held the same position at the Thr3e Wise Men Brewery in Indianapolis since 2010. Years ago, Castrellon was brewmaster at River Rock, a Little Rock brewpub in the space Boscos now occupies. John the Beer Snob, the dean of Little Rock beer culture, said on Facebook that Castrellon “cranked out some amazing beers there.” Beachboard said Castrellon came highly recommended from Bill Riffle, longtime head brewer at Vino’s who opened a new brewery, Gravity BrewWorks, in Big Flat last November. After drinking an imperial stout Castrellon brought along with him to his interview in Little Rock, Beachboard said he just about hired him on the spot. Within the first six months of operation, Beachboard said Lost 40 would likely purchase a bottling or canning line. Initially, it’ll brew largely for kegs and occasionally for limited release 22 oz. bottles. Beachboard said he and his partners don’t have distribution aspirations beyond “playing a part in bringing really great craft beer to the community.” The name Lost 40 comes from the Lost 40, a 40-acre forest in Calhoun County where virgin hardwood and pine trees still grow. Beachboard said his grandfather was a timberman with the Potlatch Corp. According to legend, Potlatch would send its men out to harvest trees in what became known as the Lost 40, but they’d drink beer instead, returning to say they couldn’t find the forest. In 1996, the Potlatch Corp. and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission entered into a 40-year cooperative management agreement to conserve the Lost 40. Beachboard said his brewery hopes to work with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission to help protect the Lost 40 and on other efforts. He said talks with the commission were in early stages, but he envisioned hosting events and fundraisers. 28

JANUARY 23, 2014




GREAT GYOZA: From Big on Tokyo in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall.

Two decades later A survey of the River Market hall.


early 20 years after it opened to the public, Ottenheimer Hall in the River Market has seen many different restaurants come and go from its main food court area. The hall is a cornerstone of Little Rock’s revitalized downtown, boasting high vaulted ceilings and a mix between old and new architecture that symbolizes the city’s desire to move into the future without losing sight of its collective past. For our money, there isn’t a much better way to contemplate all that than sitting at one of the hall’s wooden tables with a cup of coffee and a hodge-podge of ethnic cuisines from all around the world. After grabbing a cup of Boulevard Bread Co.’s famous coffee from its anchor store on the east end of the hall recently, we moved into the food court area to see what we wanted to try next — and to engage in a little people watching. The Coast Cantina was the first to catch our eye, and we made our way over to sample one of its Chicago-style hot dogs ($4.52). The dog itself is a Nathan’s Famous, which usually signifies a superior frankfurter. Unfortunately, the finished product from Coast Cantina was

Ottenheimer Hall

301 President Clinton Ave. Little Rock 375-2552

QUICK BITE In addition to the food court, Ottenheimer hall also houses vendors selling local crafts, t-shirts, and other Arkansas-related memorabilia. HOURS 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. OTHER INFO All major CC, beer and wine.

only so-so — the dog wasn’t nearly warm enough, the bun was rather stale, and the tomatoes topping it were mushy and flavorless. We can forgive the winter tomatoes, but there’s no reason a hot dog shouldn’t actually be hot. We had better luck from Big on Tokyo, next door to Coast Cantina. We ordered a Spicy Tuna Roll ($5.99) from the sushi menu and some gyoza ($2.99) from the hot food menu. The sushi was good, although bland, but the gyoza,

which were fresh out of the fryer and piping hot, were fantastic. Big on Tokyo also impressed us with its speed — our food was made fresh in front of us and took less than five minutes to complete. Moving down to the west end of the hall, we moved toward two items of “street food” that are among our favorites: pizza and gyros. The beef and lamb gyro ($6) served up by the Middle Eastern Cuisine and International Pantry booth was tasty, with an ample portion of shaved gyro meat resting atop a soft pita with the traditional onions, lettuce, tomato and tzatziki sauce. Our only small complaint with this sandwich was that the gyro meat had been presliced and held in a pan over a steam table, something that made the texture of the meat a little soft and spongy for our taste. Still, the flavor was as good as any gyro we’ve had in Little Rock. Moving on to pizza, we met the friendliest bunch of cooks that day at the Jay’s Pizza booth. Two slices of pepperoni hit our plates for only $3.75, and it was just the sort of pizza we want from a food court booth: thin crispy crust, gooey cheese, and just the right amount of sauce. We were particularly fond of Jay’s crust, which had a crispy, crackery texture to it without being dry. Pizza by the slice can be a tricky game to play due to freshness concerns, but we didn’t see any of those issues plaguing Jay’s. Finally, for dessert, we had only one option that would do: a cannoli from Mason’s Deli. These little pastries are a bit pricy ($3.99), but when you take the first bite of pastry-wrapped mascarpone cheese, you won’t have a second thought about buying another (and possibly another). Several different flavors are available, as well as the ability to add chocolate chips. We recommend trying one of each. The River Market remains a vital part of our city’s landscape, and while the food served up at its main food court might not be the most gourmet in town, it serves a great purpose: It’s cheap, it’s served up quick, and it’s the sort of food a person can eat on the go. There’s also variety in Ottenheimer Hall to suit many tastes — from vegetarian Thai fare at Bangkok Thai to home cookin’ at Sweet Soul Southern Cuisine to cheap and tasty Mexican food from Casa Manana Taqueria.

Information in our restaurant capsules reflects the opinions of the newspaper staff and its reviewers. The newspaper accepts no advertising or other considerations in exchange for reviews, which are conducted anonymously. We invite the opinions of readers who think we are in error.

B Breakfast L Lunch D Dinner $ Inexpensive (under $8/person) $$ Moderate ($8-$20/person) $$$ Expensive (over $20/person) CC Accepts credit cards

BELLY UP Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas




1620 SAVOY Fine dining in a swank space. The scallops are especially nice. 1620 Market St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-1620. D Mon.-Sat. ALL ABOARD RESTAURANT & GRILL Burgers, catfish, chicken tenders and such in this trainthemed restaurant, where an elaborately engineered mini-locomotive delivers patrons meals. 6813 Cantrell Road. No alcohol. 501-975-7401. LD daily. ALLEY OOPS The restaurant at Creekwood Plaza (near the Kanis-Bowman intersection) is a neighborhood feedbag for major medical institutions with the likes of plate lunches, burgers and homemade desserts. Remarkable chess pie. 11900 Kanis Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9400. LD Mon.-Sat. ASHER DAIRY BAR An old-line dairy bar that serves up made-to-order burgers, foot-long “Royal” hot dogs and old-fashioned shakes and malts. 7105 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC, CC. $-$$. 501-562-1085. BLD Mon.-Sat., D Fri.-Sat. B-SIDE The little breakfast place in the former party room of Lilly’s DimSum Then Some turns tradition on its ear, offering French toast wrapped in bacon on a stick, a must-have dish called “biscuit mountain” and beignets with lemon curd. 11121 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-716-2700. B-BR Sat.-Sun. BIG WHISKEY’S AMERICAN BAR AND GRILL A modern grill pub in the River Market with all the bells and whistles — 30 flat screen TVs, whiskey on tap, plus boneless wings, burgers, steaks, soups and salads. 225 E Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-324-2449. LD daily. BOBBY’S COUNTRY COOKIN’ One of the better plate lunch spots in the area, with some of the best fried chicken and pot roast around, a changing daily casserole and wonderful homemade pies. 301 N. Shackleford Road, Suite E1. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-9500. L Mon.-Fri. BOOKENDS CAFE A great spot to enjoy lunch with friends or a casual cup of coffee and a favorite book. Serving coffee and pastries early and sandwiches, soups and salads available after 11 a.m. Cox Creative Center. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501- 918-3091. BL Mon.-Sat. THE BOX Cheeseburgers and french fries are greasy and wonderful and not like their fastfood cousins. 1023 W. Seventh St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-8735. L Mon.-Fri. BUFFALO GRILL A great crispy-off-the-griddle cheeseburger and hand-cut fries star at this family-friendly stop. 1611 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, CC. $$. 501-296-9535. LD daily. CAFE 5501 New American cuisine in sleek setting. 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-603-0080. LD Mon.-Sat., B Sat.-Sun. CATFISH CITY AND BBQ GRILL Basic fried fish and sides, including green tomato pickles, and now with tasty ribs and sandwiches in beef, pork and sausage. 1817 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-7224. LD Tue.-Sat. CHEERS Good burgers and sandwiches, vege-

tarian offerings and salads at lunch and fish specials, and good steaks in the evening. 2010 N. Van Buren. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6635937. LD Mon.-Sat. 1901 Club Manor Drive. Maumelle. Full bar, All CC. 501-851-6200. LD daily, BR Sun. CHICKEN KING Arguably Central Arkansas’s best wings. 5213 W 65th St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-5573. LD Mon.-Sat. CHICKEN WANG & CAFE Regular, barbecue, spicy, lemon, garlic pepper, honey mustard and Buffalo wings. Open late. 8320 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-1303. LD Mon.-Sat. DAVE AND RAY’S DOWNTOWN DINER Breakfast buffet daily featuring biscuits and gravy, home fries, sausage and made-to-order omelets. Lunch buffet with four choices of meats and eight veggies. 824 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. $. 501-372-8816. BL Mon.-Fri. DAVID’S BURGERS Serious hamburgers, steak salads, homemade custard. 101 S. Bowman Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-8333. LD Mon.-Sat. 1100 Highway 65 N. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. (501) 327-3333 4000 McCain Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-353-0387. LD Mon.-Sat. E’S BISTRO Despite the name, think tearoom rather than bistro — there’s no wine, for one thing, and there is tea. But there’s nothing tearoomy about the portions here. Try the heaping grilled salmon BLT on a buttery croissant. 3812 JFK Boulevard. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-771-6900. L Tue.-Sun., D Thu.-Sat. FLIGHT DECK A not-your-typical daily lunch special highlights this spot, which also features inventive sandwiches, salads and a popular burger. Central Flying Service at Adams Field. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-975-9315. BL Mon.-Sat. HILLCREST ARTISAN MEATS A fancy charcuterie and butcher shop with excellent daily soup and sandwich specials. Limited seating is available. 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. Suite B. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-671-6328. L Mon.-Sat. THE HOP DINER The downtown incarnation of the old dairy bar, with excellent burgers, onion rings, shakes, daily specials and breakfast. 201 E. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2440975. KITCHEN EXPRESS Delicious “meat and three” restaurant offering big servings of homemade soul food. Maybe Little Rock’s best fried chicken. 4600 Asher Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-3500. BLD Mon.-Sat., LD Sun. LASSIS INN One of the state’s oldest restaurants still in the same location and one of the best for catfish and buffalo fish. 518 E 27th St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-372-8714. LD Tue.-Sat. MADDIE’S PLACE If you like your catfish breaded Cajun-style, your grits rich with garlic and cream and your oysters fried up in perfect puffs, this Cajun eatery on Rebsamen Park Road is the place for you. 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4040. LD Tue.-Sat. MARIE’S MILFORD TRACK II Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill, featuring hot

entrees, soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. 9813 W Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-225-4500. BL Mon.-Sat. MASON’S DELI AND GRILL Heaven for those who believe everything is better with sauerkraut on top. The Bavarian Reuben, a traditional Reuben made with Boar’s Head corned beef, spicy mustard, sauerkraut, Muenster cheese and marble rye, is among the best we’ve had in town. 400 Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-376-3354. LD Mon.-Sat. PACKET HOUSE GRILL Owner/chef Wes Ellis delivers the goods with an up-to-date take on sophisticated Southern cuisine served up in a stunning environment that dresses up the historic house with a modern, comfortable feel. 1406 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1578. D Tue.-Sat. SIMPLY NAJIYYAH’S FISHBOAT & MORE Good catfish and corn fritters. 1717 Wright Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-3474. LD Tue.-Sat. SLICK’S SANDWICH SHOP & DELI Meatand-two plate lunches in state office building. 101 E. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. 501-375-3420. BL Mon.-Fri. SPECTATORS GRILL AND PUB Burgers, soups, salads and other beer food, plus live music on weekends. 1012 W. 34th St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-791-0990. LD Mon.-Sat. SPORTS PAGE One of the largest, juiciest, most flavorful burgers in town. Grilled turkey and hot cheese on sourdough gets praise, too. Now with lunch specials. 414 Louisiana St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-9316. LD Mon.-Fri. STARVING ARTIST CAFE All kinds of crepes, served as entrees or as dessert, in this cozy multidimensional eatery with art-packed walls and live demonstrations by artists during meals. The Black Forest ham sandwich is a perennial favorite with the lunch crowd. Dinner menu changes daily, good wine list. “Tales from the South” dinner and readings at on Tuesdays; live music precedes the show. 411 N. Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-7976. L Tue.-Sat., D Tue., Fri.-Sat. SUFFICIENT GROUNDS Great coffee, good bagels and pastries, and a limited lunch menu. 124 W. Capitol. No alcohol, CC. $. 501-372-1009. BL Mon.-Fri. 425 W. Capitol. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-4594. BL Mon.-Fri. SUGIE’S Catfish and all the trimmings. 4729 Baseline Road. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-5700414. LD daily. THE TAVERN SPORTS GRILL Burgers, barbecue and more. 17815 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-830-2100. LD daily. VICTORIAN GARDEN We’ve found the fare quite tasty and somewhat daring and different with its healthy, balanced entrees and crepes. 4801 North Hills Blvd. NLR. $-$$. 501-758-4299. L Mon.-Sat. WHITE WATER TAVERN Excellent, locallysourced bar food. 2500 W. 7th St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-8400. D Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat.


BENIHANA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE Enjoy the cooking show, make sure you get a little

filet with your meal, and do plenty of dunking in that fabulous ginger sauce. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-8081. LD Sun.-Fri., D Sat. CHI’S DIMSUM & BISTRO A huge menu spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings, plus there’s authentic Hong Kong dim sum available. 6 Shackleford Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-7737. LD daily. 17200 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-8000. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. 3421 Old Cantrell Road. 501-916-9973. FAR EAST ASIAN CUISINE Old favorites such as orange beef or chicken and Hunan green beans are still prepared with care at what used to be Hunan out west. 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-219-9399. LD daily. FORBIDDEN GARDEN Classic, American-ized Chinese food in a modern setting. Try the Basil Chicken. 14810 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-8149. LD daily. FU LIN Quality in the made-to-order entrees is high, as is the quantity. 200 N. Bowman Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-225-8989. LD daily, BR Sun. IGIBON JAPANESE RESTAURANT It’s a complex place, where the food is almost always good and the ambiance and service never fail to please. The Bento box with tempura shrimp and California rolls and other delights stand out. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-217-8888. LD Mon.-Sat. KIYEN’S SEAFOOD STEAK AND SUSHI Sushi, steak and other Japanese fare. 17200 Chenal Pkwy, Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-7272. LD daily. KOBE JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI Though answering the need for more hibachis in Little Rock, Kobe stands taller in its sushi offerings than at the grill. 11401 Financial Centre Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-225-5999. L Mon.-Sat. D daily. NEW FUN REE Reliable staples, plenty of hot and spicy options and dependable delivery. 418 W. 7th St. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-6646657. LD Mon.-Sat. THE SOUTHERN GOURMASIAN Delicious Southern-Asian fusion. We crave the pork buns constantly. Various. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-954-0888. L Mon.-Fri. VAN LANG CUISINE Terrific Vietnamese cuisine, particularly the way the pork dishes and the assortment of rolls are presented. Great prices, too. Massive menu, but it’s user-friendly for locals with full English descriptions and numbers for easy ordering. 3600 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-570-7700. LD daily.


CAPITOL SMOKEHOUSE AND GRILL Beef, pork and chicken, all smoked to melting tenderness and doused with a choice of sauces. The crusty but tender backribs star. Side dishes are top quality. A plate lunch special is now available. 915 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-4227. L Mon.-Fri. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

JANUARY 23, 2014


DINING CAPSULES, CONT. FATBOY’S KILLER BAR-B-Q This Landmark neighborhood strip center restaurant in the far southern reaches of Pulaski County features tender ribs and pork by a contest pitmaster. Skip the regular sauce and risk the hot variety, it’s far better. 14611 Arch Street. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-888-4998. L Mon.-Wed. and Fri.; L Thu. HB’S BBQ Great slabs of meat with fiery barbecue sauce, but ribs are served on Tuesday only. Other days, try the tasty pork sandwich on an onion roll. 6010 Lancaster. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-565-1930. LD Mon.-Fri. SIMS BAR-B-QUE Great spare ribs, sandwiches, beef, half and whole chicken and an addictive vinegar-mustard-brown sugar sauce unique for this part of the country. 2415 Broadway. Beer, CC. $-$$. 501-372-6868. LD Mon.-Sat. 1307 John Barrow Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-2242057. LD Mon.-Sat. 7601 Geyer Springs Road. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-562-8844. LD Mon.-Sat.


BANANA LEAF INDIAN FOOD TRUCK Tasty Indian street food. 201 A St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-227-0860. L Mon.-Fri. KHALIL’S PUB Widely varied menu with European, Mexican and American influences. Go for the Bierocks, rolls filled with onions and

Little Rock, 1104 B W. 29th St 2BR/1BA Single Family Fixer Upper • Lease or Cash $250 DN, $91/mo 855-664-8357

beef. 110 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-0224. LD daily. BR Sun. THE PANTRY The menu stays relatively true to the owner’s Czechoslovakian roots, but there’s plenty of choices to suit all tastes. 11401 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-3531875. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. STAR OF INDIA The best Indian restaurant in the region, with a unique buffet at lunch and some fabulous dishes at night (spicy curried dishes, tandoori chicken, lamb and veal, vegetarian). 301 N. Shackleford. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-227-9900. LD daily.


DAMGOODE PIES A somewhat different Italian/pizza place, largely because of a spicy garlic white sauce that’s offered as an alternative to the traditional red sauce. Good bread, too. 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 6706 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 10720 Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 37 East Center St. Fayetteville. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 479-444-7437. LD daily. GUSANO’S They make the tomatoey Chicagostyle deep-dish pizza the way it’s done in the Windy City. It takes a little longer to come out

of the oven, but it’s worth the wait. 313 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1441. LD daily. 2915 Dave Ward Drive. Conway. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-329-1100. LD daily. VESUVIO Arguably Little Rock’s best Italian restaurant. 1315 Breckenridge Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-246-5422. D daily.


CASA MANANA Great guacamole and garlic beans, superlative chips and salsa (red and green) and a broad selection of fresh seafood. 6820 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-280-9888. LD daily 18321 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-8822. LD daily 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. BL Mon.-Sat. ELIELLA You’ll find perhaps the widest variety of street style tacos in Central Arkansas here — everything from cabeza (steamed beef head) to lengua (beef tongue) to suadero (thin-sliced beef brisket). The menu is in Spanish, but the waitstaff is accomodating to gringos. 7700 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $. 501-539-5355. L Mon.-Sat. THE FOLD BOTANAS BAR Gourmet tacos and botanas, or small plates. Try the cholula pescada taco. 3501 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-916-9706. LD daily.

ARKANSAS TIMES MARKETPLACE Join Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for

LA VAQUERA The tacos at this truck are more expensive than most, but they’re still cheap eats. One of the few trucks where you can order a combination plate that comes with rice, beans and lettuce. 4731 Baseline Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-565-3108. LD Mon.-Sat. MARISCOS EL JAROCHO Try the Camarones a la Diabla (grilled shrimp in a smoky pepper sauce) or the Cocktail de Campechana (shrimp, octopus and oyster in a cilantro and onion-laced tomato sauce). 7319 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-3535. Serving BLD Fri.-Wed. MERCADO SAN JOSE From the outside, it appears to just be another Mexican grocery store. Inside, you’ll find one of Little Rock’s best Mexican bakeries and a restaurant in back serving tortas and tacos for lunch. 7411 Geyer Springs Road. Beer, CC. $. 501-5654246. BLD daily. ROCK ’N TACOS California-style cuisine that’s noticeably better than others in its class. Fish tacos are treated with the respect they deserve, served fresh and hot. Tamales are a house specialty and are worth sampling as well; both pork and beef warrant attention. 11121 North Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-812-3461. LD Mon.-Sat.

Refractory workers and brick masons needed for shutdown job in Malvern, AR. MUST HAVE VERIFIABLE EXPERIENCE. Please call Michael 318-417-4377.

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Toolpushers Supply Co. is seeking an ambitious and self-motivated individual to fill the position of Store Manager in Shreveport, LA. Toolpushers Supply product lines include casing, tubing, drill pipe, pumping units, valves and wellheads, sucker rods, tanks, fiberglass and poly pipe as well as all the other parts and miscellaneous items required for energy exploration and production. This position requires an extensive background in OCTG including Smls and ERW products, API and Premium. Inventory control experience, basic accounting skills, proficient with Microsoft office, Excel, Outlook, and Power Point. Responsible for reporting to management and provide business forecast, market conditions and expectations. Must have strong negotiation skills, basic understanding of supply chain, exploration and production. Responsible for supervising office administration. Must have at least 5 years of strong sales experience within the industry and proven sales record. Bachelor’s degree and/or combination of education plus experience required. We offer a base salary, commensurate with experience, plus commissions and a full benefits package, including 401(k) and 100% employer contributed Profit Sharing Plan. Mail résumé and salary requirements to

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JANUARY 23, 2014


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Arkansas Times - January 23, 2014  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics

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