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DARK INTERSECTION Someone shot Samantha Olson in traffic at one of the busiest crossroads in North Little Rock. Six months later, her killer is still at large. BY DAVID KOON


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VOLUME 40, NUMBER 26 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $78 for two years. Subscriptions outside Arkansas are $49 for one year, $88 for two years. Foreign (including Canadian) subscriptions are $168 a year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.


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Move to Pakistan, Nugent I have been in the music business since 1967. During this time I’ve represented artists including Black Oak Arkansas and Krokus. As a concert promoter I also had Ted Nugent perform at Riverfest Amphitheatre when I was active in that business. Ted Nugent’s latest rant, in which he called the president of the United States a subhuman mongrel, has no place in the political debate raging in this country. I have watched Ted Nugent descend into a sick twisted hatred of African Americans and think it’s time people like him to go back into the pit from which they came. Ted Nugent hasn’t had a hit record in decades. He is a non-entity in the music business and should be treated as such in the political world as well. There is no place in America for bigotry, racism and hate. The Constitution of the United States is under attack by religious fanatics to whom facts based on science and true religion seems to mean nothing. We are seeing states attempt to pass laws legalizing discrimination against gay people. These so-called religious people are quick to quote the Old Testament, while completely ignoring the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Judge not unless you be judged. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you do it unto the least of my brother you do it unto me. These are the teachings of the son of God. Jesus never condemned anyone, not even the men who drove the nails into his hands and feet. The Constitution of the United States says that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights, which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The separation of Church and State is essential to the freedom of the people of any country. Just look at the other countries on this planet that are controlled by a single religion such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Do we really want America to become like these countries, where civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, do not exist? I am a Christian and I believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he came to this Earth to teach us how we should live our lives. Jesus would never have discriminated against any child of God because of his sexual preference, color of his skin, or political beliefs. If America continues to go down a road that sanctions discrimination, bigotry and hatred, this country will not stand. Even my religion, Christianity, 4

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


consists of churches that have many different beliefs. Which churches’ beliefs are to be accepted as the basis for laws in this country? How do you decide that issue? The Founding Fathers came to this country to escape religious bigotry and hatred. They had a great idea when they insisted on the separation of church and state. Perhaps it is time for Nugent and the other people who think like him move to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, where their beliefs are accepted as law. Butch Stone Maumelle

Ozark review mean-spirited Was surprised and somewhat chagrined to read your recent review on our own Ozark Mountain restaurant. Where did you find the hateful person that penned that food-rage diatribe? Think he must have awakened on that day totally impacted, so much so that he had to uncontrollably spew that meanspirited, supercilious, venomous little exercise (of about Creative Writing 101 quality). Out the wrong end. He was unreasonably unkind. And somewhat

inaccurate. For a short minute, could have sworn I was reading a treatise of one of our esteemed editors named Paul or something like that ... think he hangs out at the Democrat or somewhere. I have been to OM many times for a late breakfast, and for the most part have departed reasonably satiated and satisfied. They do drop the ball now and then, but not consistently. As that writer indicated, he was in a greasy spoon establishment. However, methinks your amateurish critic is not too well versed in the art of “greasy spooning.” For starters, greasy spooners invariably have enough gustatory acumen to never order a croissant-type item in such a joint, much less pumpkin pancakes. Pumpkin pancakes! Really, I’m overwhelmed. Just wanted to punch on this guy’s balloon a bit, and to recommend you guys do a more sharper-edged editing of your articles. Or, make sure he stays on his medication as ordered. Whatever shuts him up ... or better yet, out. I respect honest reviews. And frankly, most local restaurants, even pricey ones, dish out frequent disasters. Just be kind. Joseph Brogdon Little Rock

From the web In response to last week’s cover story, “A new day at the Little Rock School District” If history is any guide, those six administrators won’t really be fired — they will slide into other administrative jobs. Concerning Reading Recovery: As a retired LRSD teacher I have seen first hand the amazing changes RR has made in the academic performance of students who go through the program. Not to mention the budding and blossoming of confidence born of achievement in children who entered the program in a pitiful academic shape. The program works, and yes, it’s expensive. So are prisons. Many (not all, as shown by your example of Cooper) of these children had little to no exposure to books in their first five years of life and little of the essential vocabulary-building real conversations with adults. It takes oneon-one work and lots of it to make up for the ravages of poverty and unstable home lives. This has been an ongoing problem in LRSD — repeatedly taking on unproven or poorly vetted instructional programs, and in this case discarding one that works for children in greatest need. The administration did this a few years ago with math instruction — tossed out math notions like learning the multiplication tables. Teachers were expressly forbidden to use textbooks, and were told to use manipulatives (little objects) for just about everything. The problem was that the district had implemented only part of a “packaged” math program. Surprise, surprise, it was pretty much a disaster. Each new superintendent comes barreling into town and acts as if no one has even tried to teach before he got here. Plus, they come armed with “solutions” that are to be implemented whether appropriate or proven effective or not. Now it’s back to reading and math specialists teaching “small” groups, a practice that goes back many years. Just as your doctor doesn’t see patients in groups but one by one, children who are so very far behind need individual attention. This has been proven to work. Why reinvent the wheel? Whew! Being retired has made me bold to speak. Kate

Submit letters to the Editor via e-mail. The address is Please include name and hometown.


Local fatigue Has there been a word or phrase so commonly used in political discourse recently, and so little understood, as “private option”? Every time I pick up the paper — and yes, I still pick up the paper, the old-fashioned kind — somebody is going on about the “private option,” for or against. I wish they’d get it settled before I come down with private option fatigue. I’m probably one of a few people who remember the “useful tool” of the Rockefeller years. It had to do with school busing for racial purposes. Busing was a huge deal in those days. People wrote songs about it. Unflattering songs, in these parts. Private option fatigue is still new but what later became known as “combat fatigue’” was born in World War I as “shell shock.” This is from Paul Dickson’s “War Slang”: “It was immediately thought that these conditions were the result of violent concussions occurring in the vicinity, and the striking but misleading term of ‘shell shock’ came into being. The name was applied to all queer and nervous mental symptoms, and these patients suddenly

acquired considerable notoriety … The nervous symptoms included under the misleading DOUG and forbidden SMITH term ‘shell shock’ are not called war neuroses, or simply nervousness. They are known to be similar to peacetime neuroses, and they are peacetime neuroses with a war-time coloring.” — Frederick W. Parsons, Atlantic Monthly (March 1919). “When famed British war poet Siegfried Sassoon died in 1967 at age 81, obituaries noted that he had been honored for his bravery in combat but — after throwing his Military Cross into a river — had been sent to a sanatorium for victims of shell shock.” There was an aggressive Arkansas politician in World War II who was exposed as having been diagnosed with combat fatigue before he’d ever been in combat. He’d have been embarrassed if he were capable of embarrassment, which he wasn’t.


It was a good week for… JUDGE JAY MOODY. The U.S. Senate, after months of delay, finally took up the confirmation of the Pulaski County circuit judge for a federal district court judgeship. Moody was approved 95-4. SEN. MARK PRYOR. He lent his support to Give Arkansas a Raise, the grassroots group hoping to raise the state minimum wage by an initiated act from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour. CLEARING DEAD WOOD. The four people who make up the staff for a non-existent lieutenant governor announced that they would resign effective June 30. NOT TAKING A POSITION. Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson continued to dodge stating a preference for easily the most significant policy question facing the state — whether to continue the private option expansion of Medicaid, which at press time remained stuck in limbo in the Arkansas House.

It was a bad week for… LEGISLATIVE ETHICS. Sen. Johnny Key said he was seeking a lobbyist position at the University of Arkansas in

Fayetteville that pays $200,000, despite currently serving as the chair of the Senate Education Committee and on the Arkansas Legislative Council Higher Education Subcommittee, key positions for influencing legislation and budgetary decisions that affect the UA. State law prohibits sitting legislators from taking another state job. They’d have to resign first. State law also prohibits legislators from moving from the legislature to a lobbying job for a year after they leave office. But that law exempted current members of the legislature when it was passed in 2011, which Key was. AN ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIER. The Arkansas National Guard announced that a member of the Arkansas Guard had been suspended for taking part in a joke photograph featuring an empty flag-draped casket. The photo, posted on social media, was taken at a training course at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. Citing an ongoing investigation and concern for the safety of the soldier, the Guard member’s name wasn’t released. PHILANDER SMITH COLLEGE. The historically black institution announced the abrupt resignation of President Johnny Moore to pursue “other personal and professional opportunities.” Moore had been president only since July 2012.

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FEBRUARY 27, 2014



Flying on right wing

t’s become accepted — because it’s been repeated by corporate media so often — that PBS and NPR and their local affiliates are left-leaning. It may be true of some of the local affiliates, though demonstrated in ways so small as to be irrelevant. It is not true of NPR and PBS, so fearful that the Right Wing will slash their funding that they cower before it. A recent case: After corporate pundits concluded that the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act called into question the Liberal Democratic philosophy that an activist government can solve big, complex social problems, PBS decided to have a discussion of the matter. Featuring experts from all sides, of course, the PBS way. The media review Extra! described the PBS arrangement. Representative of the left was Wall Street Democrat Steven Rattner, who’s worked for major banks and currently runs his own investment firm. He noted the “need to address the issue of spending on Medicare and Social Security.” “From the right, viewers got Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former McCain economics adviser who is currently helping corporations lobby against tax hikes. But someone at PBS thought viewers needed one more voice from the right, so they added Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation. So the spectrum of debate was right, righter and Wall Street.” The New York Times, no left-wing organ itself, was moved to note that public television “was created to expand the parameters of public discussion.” It’s not doing a good job. Count how many times Sen. Ted Cruz (Tea Party, Texas) appears on the public television and radio networks. Count how many times Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind., Vermont) does.

Five of a kind


t’s not often we have a chance to praise five members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation for their votes on one bill. (In Vic Snyder’s day, it was more often the other way around — one right, five wrong.) But five members voted correctly for the federal Farm Bill and sent it on to President Obama — Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro, Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock, Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers, Sen. John Bozeman of Rogers and Sen. Mark Pryor of Little Rock. Among other things, the bill helps feed low-income Arkansans. Only Rep. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle thought the price too high. One cannot serve God and Mammon both. Cotton has made his bed with Mammon, and the Koch brothers.


FEBRUARY 27, 2014





MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Republican Asa Hutchinson announced his candidacy for governor Monday at the Capitol.

He got his


he enlistment of roughly half the Republican legislative delegation in implementation of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is remarkable. Republicans tend to fall by faith in opposition to bigger government investments in the well-being of poor people. But some of the faithful hold firm. I was drawn to Rep. Josh Miller, a Republican legislator from Heber Springs, who orated against the private option Medicaid expansion last week. He invoked FDR’s New Deal — a “hand up,” he said, not a “handout.” Miller is of interest because he’s a well-known beneficiary of federal government support himself. Miller, 33, was on an alcohol-fueled drive with a friend about 11 years ago (he can’t remember who was driving) when their pickup plunged off a ravine near Choctaw. He was rescued, but suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. Miller was uninsured. What young, fit man needs health insurance, he thought then. (He had some reason to know better. Not long before, he’d broken his hand in a fight and had to refuse the recommended surgery to fix the injuries properly because he was uninsured.) Months of hospitalization and rehabilitation followed, including a long stretch in intensive care at St. Vincent Infirmary. There was a $1 million bill. Medicaid paid most of it. Miller was placed on disability and checks began. In time, between Medicaid and Medicare, all his health costs were covered by the federal government. For that reason, he need not be among the 82 Arkansas legislators (61 percent of the body) who enjoy heavily subsidized and comprehensive state employee health insurance. Health insurance isn’t Miller’s only government benefit. Another federal Medicaid program for which he qualifies provides daily personal care assistance. Between the government-paid trauma care, ongoing Medicare and Medicaid coverage, government-provided personal assistant and his own grit, Miller has made a full life. He manages a rental property business (some government-subsidized renters are among his tenants)

and serves as a legislator. My question: How could someone who’s received — and continues to receive — significant public assistance oppose health insurance for the working poor? Isn’t MAX Miller himself a shining examBRANTLEY ple of how government help can encourage productive citizens? Miller sees it differently. He said some who qualify for the private option aren’t working hard enough. He claims many want health insurance just so they can get prescription drugs to abuse. He draws distinctions with government help for catastrophic occurrences such as he suffered. He falls back, too, on a developing defense from private option holdouts that they prefer an alternative that wouldn’t end coverage for the 100,000 people currently signed up, at least until next year. This is disingenuous. He and other opponents have made clear that they want to strip Obamacare from government root and branch. Here’s how Miller boiled his opposition down: “My problem is two things,” Miller said. “One, we are giving it to able-bodied folks who can work … and two, how do we pay for it?” Lucky for Josh Miller, such thinking didn’t prevail when Congress — over Republican opposition — created the programs that sustain him. A coldly rational person might say a cook in a fastfood restaurant, working long hours at low pay to feed a family, looks more deserving than an uninsured person injured on a drunken joy ride. I would not. No one should be pre-judged on a subjective merit test for health care. We are all God’s children — all residents of a country Republicans like to call exceptional, despite its lack of universal health care. Apart from the core philosophical difference — Miller opposes an expansion of government expenditures; I don’t — Miller’s position seems to boil down to the belief that some needy people are more deserving than others. Some judge.


Arkansans agree: It’s time to raise minimum wage


he idea of raising the minimum wage gets traction, critics like to say, only in election years. So, because it is a vote-getter, President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing a wage bill this year, that is doomed to failure in a Congress controlled by Republicans. An Arkansas group led by a Methodist minister is trying to get an initiative on the ballot to raise the state minimum wage in annual steps to $8.50 an hour, eight years after driving the state’s political leaders, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, to raise it to $6.25 an hour. So Arkansas politicians facing the electorate this year are running to endorse it (Democrats) or running for cover (Republicans typically). So is the minimum-wage debate just more cynical politics, Democrats trying to collect the votes of the 4 percent of the U.S. workforce that earns below the proposed new federal wage floor? If so, it’s wasted, minimalist strategy. That quotient of the workforce, unless they are minorities, tends not to vote at all or to base its votes on anything but self-interest: guns, gays, race — well, you know the list. But the politics of minimum wage is transparent, even if it does not track the

paranoia of the right, that it’s all about getting votes for politicians. Here is the real politics. The miniERNEST mum wage is uniDUMAS versally popular in America, even far outside the disciples of organized labor. More than Europe or the rest of the developed world, the United States is a nation of workers, where toil is revered as the first value of citizenship. Whatever the chamber of commerce says or conservative economists aver, the vast majority of people believe that honest toil, no matter how menial or unskilled, is honorable and should be respected and rewarded with pay that will afford them a decent life. The spiritually inclined take their guidance on the matter from Jesus: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Most minimum-wage workers, by the way, are women. So when Rev. Steve Copley’s outfit ran a poll in 2006 about raising the minimum wage and linking it permanently to the costof-living index, 73 percent of people in this

A duty to defend?


arly this week, U.S. Attorney Gen- “exceptional circumeral Eric Holder had a message stances,” Holder for folks in Dustin McDaniel’s said in a speech to position. Holder called on the nation’s the National Assostate attorneys general to consider tak- ciation of Attorneys ing up the cause of marriage equality by General. JAY Indeed, the decirefusing to defend their states’ laws that BARTH block same-sex couples from access to sion by the Holdermarriage. Contending that the fight for led Justice Department to switch sides in marriage equality is a continuation of the the Defense of Marriage Act cases, includcivil rights struggle begun on race in the ing the Windsor case that overturned a key 1950s, Holder argued that he would have provision of DOMA, provided important made a different decision than those in momentum in the pro-equality direction in the office of state attorney general at that those proceedings. So, when Holder makes time. “If I were attorney general in Kan- the case to state-level attorneys general that sas in 1953, I would not have defended a it’s appropriate for them to take such a step, Kansas statute that put in place separate- he speaks from the perspective of someone but-equal facilities,” Holder said. who’s grappled with the competing ideals Holder suggested that while attorneys of a duty to defend the laws of the nation general typically have a duty to defend and equality in the eyes of the Constitution. In recent years, a half dozen state AGs state law, the rules of the game are altered when a law defies the U.S. Constitution’s have taken just the step Holder advocates on equal protection clause. When a minority marriage. For instance, new Virginia Attorgroup has been picked on by the majority ney General Mark Herring has refused to because of a single inherent trait, all involved defend his state’s constitutional amendment in the legal process have a responsibility barring the recognition of same-sex marto step up to protect them. Despite their riage in Virginia as the case proceeds to the unique role in the process, attorneys general Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, appropriately take that same step in such more states’ AGs disagree with what they

conservative state said yes. He was starting a petition drive to get it on the ballot as an initiated act. No one doubted the poll so the business community ran to their antilabor Republican governor, Mike Huckabee, and begged him to summon the legislature to Little Rock and enact a wage raise, something a little less than the modest increase Copley was proposing and without indexing to the cost of living. Huckabee happily obliged and the legislature enacted the wage hike. In the regular legislative session a year earlier, Huckabee had opposed a modest increase in the minimum wage and, knowing that most people were paying no attention, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike squashed the bill. They are apt to approve it this year, if Copley’s group can overcome the campaign to stifle the signature gathering and get it on the ballot. Unlike Huckabee, Gov. Beebe won’t summon the legislature to a special session to pass a weaker bill because Republicans control the legislature and Republicans nowadays march to a different drummer than the people, mainly to Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth. It bears repeating here that a Republican governor enabled the Arkansas minimum-wage law. Winthrop Rockefeller, facing a conservative legislature made up of 132 Democrats and three Republicans, called a special session in the summer of 1968, before the

election, and proposed a state wage floor. Shamed like their ally, the Arkansas State AFL-CIO, which had opposed Rockefeller, Democratic legislators meekly passed it. These minimum-wage battles are always fought with battalions of economists — those on one side whose theories and studies suggest that many employers would cut their workforce and those on the other side who say the reduction would be small if any and the economic stimulus enormous. But the pronouncements of academics and business economists don’t weigh an ounce with that 73 percent, or whatever percentage that favors it this year. They know the drudges who do this toil and know that it will improve their lives and that their spending will recirculate in the community and redound to nearly everyone’s benefit. Copley’s act will directly raise the pay of perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 Arkansans when its last stage kicks in, but opponents will cite business economists’ projections that many others will be lopped off the payroll at a time when we are struggling with unemployment. Forget the projections and go with history. From 1938 forward, minimum-wage increases have been followed by good jobgrowth years. President Clinton’s wage increase in 1996 was followed by some of the biggest job years in history.

see as a call for a dereliction of their duty as their states’ attorney. As the president of the National Association of Attorneys General, J.B. Van Hollen of Wisconsin, responded to Holder’s remarks, “It really isn’t [Holder’s] job to give us advice on defending our constitutions any more than it’s our role to give him advice on how to do his job. We are the ultimate defenders of our state constitutions.” Arkansas law places clear responsibility with the attorney general to defend the state’s laws. As the Arkansas Code states, the attorney general “shall be the legal representative … in all litigation where the interests of the state are involved.” Moreover, like all recent Arkansas attorneys general, McDaniel operates under the cloud of Steve Clark, who as AG was harangued for what was seen by advocates as a weak defense of Arkansas’s blatantly unconstitutional creation science bill in the early 1980s. Televangelist Pat Robertson went so far as to say that Clark was purposefully losing the case. The pushback that Clark received served as a warning to future AGs on the potential cost of not defending measures popular with a group of engaged voters (the state’s marriage ban clearly falls in that category). Of course, Arkansas’s AG takes an oath of loyalty to the U.S. Constitution as well. Thus,

McDaniel — like his colleagues around the country defending their own states’ bans on same-sex marriage — is caught in a moment when the U.S. Supreme Court is on the cusp of saying the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to be married. McDaniel’s office is currently defending the state marriage ban and it would be awkward for the state to switch positions in the midst of that case. Whatever the outcome of the case now in Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s court, however, a new opportunity for the state to reconsider its position will arise as the case works its way up on appeal. Holder’s highprofile statements on the issue are meant to nudge McDaniel and others to rethink the side they’ve come down on. McDaniel is unquestionably “doing his job” by defending the state’s marriage ban. However, moving toward a hiatus from electoral politics, having voiced the need for civil unions for same-sex couples since 2006 (which are also prohibited by Arkansas’s expansive constitutional amendment), and knowing the clear direction of constitutional law and public opinion on the issue, McDaniel would be even more right to take an “exceedingly rare” step (in Holder’s words) of refusing to defend the state’s unconstitutional ban as the proceedings move forward.

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y the time you burden yourself with these fresh Pearls, you’ll likely be all frothy with anticipation of the singular basketball stanza that will pretty much dictate how the postscript for 201314 is written. The Arkansas Razorbacks have scraped it together in February for a change, winning five of six to actually nudge upward in a jumbled SEC, and have therefore reignited a postseason flame that had all but been extinguished by a slew of seemingly fatal defeats early on. What’s been even more bizarre is how the rest of the conference has shown itself to be thoroughly unwilling to take a firm grip on that third or fourth potential NCAA tournament berth. Florida and Kentucky are the lone firm entries in the field at this point, with the Gators likely claiming the top overall seed if they keep up their flawless run through the league slate. Missouri has been every bit the source of headscratching as Arkansas has, and the thirdplace Georgia Bulldogs were so flaccid in nonconference play that they’ve made their surprising success to date largely irrelevant from the perspective of those who have received advanced degrees in accredited Bracketology programs across the continental U.S. or in Vanuatu and Guam. Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU and others have taken turns slipping on the ice. The Hogs have managed to mesh a little bit and thrown together this spurt despite having made only mildly discernible oncourt progress. The surge has undoubtedly been by way of soft scheduling: Arkansas has notched two road wins by all of six combined points, and should’ve frankly destroyed feeble Mississippi State last Saturday in a game that was played in some sort of barren Magnolia State trucking distribution center. Once again, this team proves that no opponent’s lead is too large to be tested, and that its own wide margins of victory can be pared down in a laughably predictable bit of late-game neural misfiring. They’ve slogged through home wins against the absolute worst teams in the field (Alabama and South Carolina). It hasn’t been high artistry, but it’s been enough to get the Hogs back to .500 in SEC play and have them feeling reasonably comfortable about the forthcoming end run. Going on the road to Rupp Arena is the first and by far most imposing test, but the Wildcats aren’t coalescing quite as nicely as their record might suggest. They escaped LSU at home in overtime on a game-winning bucket by the supremely skilled Julius Randle and were substantially outclassed by Florida a week earlier, punctuating a month of fairly uneven play.

Arkansas’s overall record is all of three games worse than Kentucky’s, and if the Hogs could execute a season BEAU sweep it should WILCOX change the tenor of the discussion about the team’s NCAA chances. There are three imminently winnable games behind that one, too, and even losing at Kentucky wouldn’t forestall the Razorbacks’ reaching 20 wins for the first time in six seasons. They sit at 18-9 as it stands, and with home games against fading Ole Miss and Georgia and a swing down to Bama at the tail end, here’s your utterly obvious, possibly throwaway comment of all-time: They could end up 22-9 and 11-7, scratching loudly at the tourney door, or fizzle so badly that another drab 18-13 or 19-12 finish is in the offing. Projection has never been this columnist’s forte, but that’s never been a real impediment before. Therefore: Arkansas flatlines at Rupp Thursday night, losing by double figures. It’s a listless, discouraging performance, but it’s also the Hogs’ last loss of the regular season. They clean things up and beat Georgia and Ole Miss rather handily to reach the 20-win mark, then put together their best road effort of the season in punishing hapless Alabama. The sum total of it is a solidly third-place finish in the 14-team standings, but moreover, there’s a surge of teamwide unity built on the foundation of getting off the mat and closing strong for a change. And as a result, they enter the SEC Tournament feeling like there is something attainable in their midst. I’ll confess to being utterly dismissive of the team a few weeks ago and recent events do not ameliorate any overriding concerns about the team. This squad still doesn’t rebound with great tenacity, shoots erratically from 17 feet outward, and has issues identifying its true go-to guy, particularly in moments where the opponent catches a spirited run. But sometimes the whole truly ends up being greater than the sum of the parts. If Arkansas can position itself well for the conference tournament first, then the percentage indices will improve commensurately and the overall mentality of a youth-laden team changes for the better. And sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same: As it has been for two decades-plus in the Southeastern Conference, Arkansas has to prove itself against the bluebloods in the Bluegrass State first before it can even think about where spring break will be spent.


See that mountain over there? LOOKING OUT OF OUR OFFICE WINDOW, The Observer can see the Historic Arkansas Museum’s 1850s homestead and log cabin preserved amidst the urban jungle of Little Rock’s downtown. It’s what used to be called a dogtrot house, with a breezeway that cuts right through the middle, so that you can see clear from one side to the other. It’s beautifully incongruous, encircled by a jutting wooden fence, but also looks fit to be lived in. Once, during the recent snow, The Observer could swear we saw smoke rising from the chimney. As such things often do — as, in fact, they are specifically engineered to do — the cabin lends itself to nostalgic brooding. Growing up, The Observer frequently spent time on an uncle’s farm in Pelham, Ga., sleeping in a cabin of comparable design. This cabin did have electricity, as well as an occasionally functional water heater and an air hockey table, but it was the real thing. Many afternoons were spent there mowing grass, feeding catfish and swatting carpenter bees with a ping-pong paddle. On the wall inside the living room, someone had carved a message in the chinking before it dried: “See that mountain over there?” It was a joke, because there were no mountains. It was also a reference to the Southern rock band Alabama, whose song “Mountain Music,” opens with the same question. The phrase has embedded itself in this Observer’s memory, in any case, detached from its original significance. It has become something like a Zen koan: See that mountain over there? Once, a cousin wrestled an alligator out of the pond onto the cabin’s dock, ran inside for his gun and came back to shoot the thing in the head. At the time, we were awed by this act of dumb heroism and savagery. Seeking to emulate or even top the act, we — a brother and myself — would float around the pond in a canoe looking for alligators to hunt. Sometimes we would come close, hovering barely over the waterline right beside one, but we were always too stunned to act and so would just look away and pretend not to notice. Later, when we were in high school, we would bring friends to the cabin. We would have bonfires and fish poorly and listen to Outkast and disco-era Rolling Stones. We watched the movie “Signs” there once, the Mel Gibson one about aliens. The plot

seems too distant to recall, but we remember walking out onto the dock afterwards and feeling a profound calm. Absent the city’s light pollution, one could really see constellations from that dock, and though we could not name them, we were glad to see they were there. We thought of carpenter bees and intelligent life on other planets. Here in Little Rock, walking past the downtown cabin or noticing it from the Times office window, we can’t help but remember “Signs” as well as that earlier ritual of fake alligator hunting. Why even bother, in hindsight? For that matter, we haven’t spoken to our brother in a couple of weeks. Maybe we should call him. Who used to live in that cabin? Why did they call it a dogtrot? Will anyone ever live there again? See that mountain over there? MEANWHILE, DOWN THE STREET, The Observer’s honey works a day job that brings her frequently to the Pulaski County Courthouse, that stately old pile at Spring and West Second streets. She spends a lot of time in courtrooms, sitting on hard pews, avoiding the ones with cracks that can give you a smart pinch on the beehind if you scooch just right, learning the 10,000 reasons why a television courtroom drama that captured the reality of courtroom drama would be the equivalent of NyQuil: Spanish Influenza Strength. The Observer is proud of her. She’s one of the good guys, just like every person who goes to the courthouse every day and works in the employ of Lady Justice: Judges, clerks, lawyers for and against, everybody else. You’ll never hear The Observer make a lawyer joke. We told our last one some years back to a wily old attorney. His cheerful response: “Call a plumber when you get arrested, and see how that works out for you.” Touche, Mr. Barrister. As an added bonus, Spouse brings home delicious tales of the circus that is an average morning at the courthouse, so full of characters and questionable hair and wardrobe choices. Her most recent one: Sitting in court, watching a woman’s trial on a felony charge. Only when the woman went up to the stand to testify on her own behalf could the gallery see that printed on the back of her T-shirt, in black “Frankie Says Relax”sized block letters, was the phrase “DRUNK AS SHIT.”

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News and Photos!


FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Arkansas Reporter



The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette quoted Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux on Tuesday as saying there’d be no severance package for the four staffers of the lieutenant governor’s office, who have decided to resign effective June 30. No severance package? Six months of pay, health insurance, accrual of retirement benefits for little to no work is a severance package millions of America’s underemployed and unemployed would find attractive. It’s been apparent since the start of January 2014 that former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr would be heading for the door on account of misspending of state and campaign money (misspending facilitated by expense voucher submissions by one of the four, chief of staff Bruce Campbell). The already light work of the office had become lighter with Darr’s disappearance after the scandal broke. He resigned Feb. 1, when any real work for the office ended. Lamoureux told the Times on Monday that the staff’s decision to resign was strictly its own. He said he did not think the issue had become a political liability for Republicans. He also said none of the four as yet have jobs, state or otherwise, lined up.

Health care for lawmakers The state auditor’s office provided the Times with details on participation by Arkansas legislators in the state’s generous employee health insurance program in response to a Freedom of Information request. The count: 59 House members and 23 senators are covered by the state of Arkansas, or 82 of 135 members. The office said federal privacy law prohibited it from identifying the members. Naturally, we’d like to know how many of those are among the 34-35 holdouts to approving the private option version of Medicaid expansion, which would provide some health insurance coverage to working poor people in Arkansas. Or, as one of the Republican opponents put it, a “handout.” Under the plan, a legislator can cover him/herself and family under the Cadillac gold plan for $423 a month, with the state and plan surplus contributing $928 a month. There are zero deductibles for the gold plan, which pays 100 percent after co-insurance requirements. Physician co-pay is $35 and specialist co-pay is $70. A legislator can choose the bronze plan for the legislator only and it’s free. Ask your lawmaker, if he or she is among the opponents of Medicaid for working poor, which plan they are on. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 10

FEBRUARY 27, 2014



No severance?

ROCKEFELLER: Campaigning in 1966.

Rockefeller and death row Governor commuted death sentences in 1970. BY ANDREA RINGER


n Dec. 29, 1970, Arkansas’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction, Winthrop Rockefeller, announced that he would commute the sentences of all of Arkansas’s prisoners on death row. “My position on capital punishment has been clear since long before I became governor,” Rockefeller wrote in a statement. “I am unalterably opposed to it and will remain so as long as I live. 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 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 out its course on a fallible and failing theory of punitive justice. “By authority vested in me as the 37th elected Governor of Arkansas I am today commuting to life imprisonment the death sentences of the fifteen prisoners now on death row at Tucker Prison Farm. “The records, individually and collectively, of the fifteen condemned prisoners bear no relevance to my decision. It is purely personal and philosophical. I yearn to see other chief executives throughout the nation follow suit, so that as a people

we may hasten the elimination of barbarism as a tool of American justice. “The records of the men on death row, along with the findings and recommendations of an outstanding committee I have empanelled, will now be presented to members of the State Parole Board for their own consideration. I am aware that there will be reaction to my decision. “However, failing to take this action while it is within my power, I could not live with myself.” With these words Rockefeller emptied death row in Arkansas. His actions were widely felt in prison reform and capital punishment in the state, throughout the country and around the world. Arkansas would not see any further state executions for another 20 years. From the outset of his time in office Rockefeller had firmly opposed capital punishment, telling the press, “We ourselves admit to failure when the only way we can cope with the problem is taking another man’s life.” In 1967, Rockefeller ordered the electric chair dismantled, and it was placed in storage. In a 1968 meeting with local leaders, he announced that all inmates on death row in Arkansas would be granted a stay of execution until the U.S.

Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of capital punishment. Rockefeller’s decision to commute the sentences provoked a wide range of responses, including 397 letters and telegrams sent to the governor’s office. Rockefeller’s personal papers at the Center for Arkansas History and Culture at the Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock contain all of the correspondence within the first month after the commutations. Of these, 324 items out of 397 were supportive. International letters of support were sent from as far afield as Kenya, England, Germany, France and Canada. While events unfolded in Arkansas, similar issues were being addressed in Spain and Russia. After clemency pleas from Queen Elizabeth and Pope Paul VI, among others, General Francisco Franco commuted the death sentences of six Basques. Shortly after, two Jewish Russian citizens convicted of a skyjacking conspiracy also received commuted sentences. A telegram from Little Rock businessman and philanthropist Raymond Rebsamen sincerely thanked Rockefeller for setting a fine example for Franco and the Russians. An editorial published in the Arkansas Democrat proclaimed: “We hope it is significant that this and the commutation of the death sentences of the two Jews in Russia and the six Basques in Spain all have occurred just before the beginning of the New Year. Maybe it is a sign that 1971 will be the year of a changed attitude about death, even that killing on the battlefield will lose its popularity.” But not everyone was pleased. A letter from a Paragould geography teacher asked, “Are you an American, Mr. Rockefeller? Or, are you a believer in Marxism? No American would condone these activities.” Arkansas resident Billy Earl Ramsey castigated Rockefeller by saying, “You are not a good Republican — you are not even an American.” Many of the negative letters had religious undertones that expressed anger about Rockefeller’s official statement citing his religious beliefs as a motivator. One letter referred to Rockefeller as a “professing Christian” who was unaware of God’s laws, while others accused him of attempting to change them. Another letter, in a reference to Rockefeller’s alleged fondness for alcohol, read, “Have you ever heard of the word of God [?] ... it will do you more good than a bottle of whiskey.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 32





Pick your hirsute horsey, race fans! It’s time for the second annual Arkansas Times/Root Cafe Beard Growing Contest. Seen below are the 20 jaw bush cultivators who showed up for our official “Shave-In” on Feb. 11, having their fresh-shorn cheeks photographed as proof of a fair start. Between now and noon Saturday, March 1, the day of the official judging at Main Street’s Bernice Gardens in Little Rock, these 20 will grow their face hair to maximum length and beauty for cash and prizes. Categories include Fullest Beard, Most Original Beard and Best ’Burns and ‘Stache Combo. Judges will be KATV movie critic Renee Shapiro, green thumb guru P. Allen Smith and photographer Arshia Khan. There’ll also be prizes awarded for those who register at the event in “lifetime achievement categories,” Longest Beard, Best Santa Claus Beard, Best 35 and Under, and Best Aging Hipster Beard. Currently, this writer’s money is riding on the imposing monobrow of Ian Mensik, who apparently grew some stubble while waiting in line for the camera. Clearly a promising young Grolympian.





















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


Rumors flying on private option holdouts Rumors flew this week as backers of the private option expansion turned to previous aye votes who’ve been voting no this goround, with the legislation two votes short of passage. Attention fell particularly on two Benton County legislators — Reps. Mary Lou Slinkard and Les Carnine, moderates by Republican standards. Attention particularly fell on Slinkard. She’s chair of Secretary of State Mark Martin’s campaign. He’s a staunch opponent of private option. She’s term-limited. Rumors flew that she might seek a job on Martin’s staff, and that he’d said there’d be no job if she voted for the private option. A spokesman for Secretary of State Mark Martin said there flatly had been no such quid pro quo. But has she talked to Martin about a job. Additional years in state employment, particularly at higher pay, would be valuable in addition to her past work as a county employee in the state retirement system. Martin’s spokesman, Mark Myers, said he knew of no such job offer, but would have to check to see if anything had been discussed. Slinkard didn’t respond to questions. Carnine’s comment was limited to this: “There will always be rumors without substance.” His movement to solid opposition particularly surprised private option supporters. He’s been a critic of House Speaker Davy Carter’s strategy for passing the legislation and was a supporter of Rep. Terry Rice, defeated for House speaker by Carter. Carnine is also term-limited. There’s some speculation he’s interested in another political race, perhaps for the state Senate seat in his district, depending on future developments, all in the realm of speculation for 2016 depending on congressional and U.S. Senate openings. But about future political plans, he said: “At my age ... I have much more important things on the agenda ... like grandchildren, etc.”

On the hunt Among the applicants of a University of Arkansas lobbying job for which state Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home) is thought to be the favorite (more on page 5) is someone who needs a job, former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr. Darr’s record as a money manager might work slightly against him in the post-Advancement Division debacle era at UA. Darr’s references are House Speaker Davy Carter, Associate Justice Courtney Goodson and former Hog football coach Ken Hatfield.

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


THE BRUTAL RANDOM In August 2013, Samantha Olson was shot to death at the intersection of JFK and McCain in North Little Rock. As the investigation drags on with few solid leads, the apparent pointlessness of the crime has left Olson’s family asking why. BY DAVID KOON


FEBRUARY 27, 2014





t was the seeming randomness of Samantha Olson’s death that shocked people when they turned on the news or picked up a paper the morning after she was killed: A mother with her child in the car, traveling through one of the busiest intersections in North Little Rock. A few shots, reportedly from a pickup truck heading down McCain Boulevard in the opposite direction. And, just like that, a young woman’s life was ended and a family was changed forever. Even a cursory interest in the stories behind murders in any city in America shows just how rare the truly random homicide really is. It’s almost always personal: an argument taken too far, a drug deal gone bad, a fight in a club that progressed beyond fists. But who would kill Samantha Olson, 31, wife, friend of everyone, mother, lover of life? And who, especially, would kill her in such a way? If someone did have a reason to target Olson, who could or would have planned to do it there, in that way? Two cars, meeting for a half-second in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in town, broad daylight, surrounded by witnesses, on a road five lanes wide? Nobody would, of course, which points to the even more frightening possibility: that there just was no motive, other than that the shooter saw an opportunity to kill one person in the countless thousands he saw that day, and took it. It’s what makes the case hard to solve, and even harder to understand for those Samantha Olson left behind. With anything else, there are dots to connect, suppositions to be chased to bedrock fact, or — almost as important — dead ends, which allow investigators to rule out and rule out until all that’s left is the truth. Not here, though. Here, there’s just a blurry video of a maroon pickup that seems to have disappeared like a bad dream after gliding through the frame of a surveillance camera on Camp Robinson Road six months ago. Here, just a widower husband who will have to go on without the woman he still calls the love of his life. Here, just a mother and father who will grow old without their daughter. Here, just a little girl who will grow up never having known her mother. While police and Olson’s family still hope the truck will turn up, or that time will loosen the killer’s tongue, the fire under the case is six months old now, and flickering low. They pray something will happen, sooner or later. But for now, they’re all still at the mercy of the random.

LEFT BEHIND: Eric Olson and daughter Linnea (top), wedding day and Olson with her parents at graduation.


t’s hard to imagine a worse place to kill someone than the intersection of JFK and McCain boulevards. It was just after 7 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2013. Being late summertime, the sun wouldn’t set for nearly an hour. Though it was a Wednesday, a run of mild temperatures and beautiful weather that week had drawn people out from under the air conditioning. By the time Samantha Olson topped the hill heading east on McCain toward JFK, only a CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

FEBRUARY 27, 2014



SEARCHING: A still from footage of the truck (top), Sgt. Brian Dedrick of NLRPD (bottom left) and a 2012 Mazda 3 similar to Olson’s.

few blocks from the home she shared with her family on West M Street, heading into the last moment of her life, the intersection was surely full of cars, five lanes east and west, five lanes north and south. Nobody really knows where Olson was going that evening, with her 11-month-old daughter, Linnea, strapped into a rear-facing car seat in the back of Olson’s dark blue 2012 Mazda 3 hatchback. Her mother, Phyllis Lyles-Vontungeln, suggests she might have been headed to get a birthday present for a child’s party she and Linnea were supposed to attend in her hometown of Pine Bluff that weekend. 14

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


But the truth is, we’ll probably never know. Aug. 14 had been, Samantha’s husband Eric Olson said, a perfectly normal day. He was at Little Rock’s Copper Grill that moment, waiting tables at the restaurant where he and Samantha both worked — he as a bar manager, she as a server, though she’d also been working part time for the past year as an accountant after getting her degree from UALR. They’d met at Little Rock’s Cajun’s Wharf in the summer of 2008, both starting on the same day, and almost instantly hit it off as friends. After they both moved from Cajun’s to sister restaurant Copper near the River Market, their friendship grew into a romance and eventually a proposal of marriage. Samantha became pregnant with Linnea in 2011. She’d struggled with pregnancies in the past, having several miscarriages — so many, in fact, that when she learned she was pregnant, she’d told her mother she wasn’t getting her hopes up again — but Linnea

turned out to be, as Lyles-Vontungeln described her, Samantha’s miracle. She was born healthy on Sept. 16, 2012. Eric and Samantha were married about two months later. Videos posted to Facebook in the weeks before Samantha’s death show her and Eric kneeling on the carpet of their home, encouraging their daughter to take her first, tentative steps. So normal, so happy. Heading east on McCain, what was Samantha Olson thinking in that moment, with the sun at her back? She had the driver’s side window cracked six inches, less than the width of a sheet of notebook paper. Ten seconds away. Five. The light was green. Samantha Olson entered the intersection. Approaching in the inside lane from the other direction, headed west on McCain, was what North Little Rock detectives have since identified as a maroon 2008 Ford F-150 pickup. Though some witnesses at the scene would later insist that the truck had a large orange toolbox in the bed — a kind of steel crate with forklift rungs, favored by those employed in construction trades — others insisted the toolbox was silver. Witnesses said the driver was male but disagreed on his race. As Olson and the truck passed one another, witnesses told police, they saw a gun emerge from the pickup’s window, firing somewhere between three and six shots. Police will not say where on her body Olson was hit, but it incapacitated her almost instantly. With Linnea unharmed in her child safety seat, the car coasted to a stop in front of the Starbucks at JFK and McCain. Amazingly, the bullet that killed Samantha Olson passed through the six-inch gap between the top of the driver’s doorframe and the top edge of Olson’s partially rolled down window, leaving the glass unshattered. Though investigators would later use a metal detector on the dirt berms surrounding the intersection, searching for the slugs or bullet fragments, a spokesman said they found nothing. Likewise no shell casings were recovered at the scene. Police won’t say what caliber of gun was used, or whether they recovered bullets from Olson’s body or the car. Meanwhile, the maroon Ford pickup continued on at a steady speed through the intersection, with witnesses telling police that the driver didn’t race away or even try to get off the street. From there, the truck apparently motored sedately west on the same road for almost a mile, through the spot where McCain becomes West 47th Street and into Levy, where a surveillance camera caught a glimpse as it passed, just before the driver turned left on Camp Robinson Road. The last image investigators have of the pickup was taken as it passed a surveillance camera in the 3500 block of Camp Robinson. None of the video images could provide a tag number for the truck, and none of the witnesses was able to provide a better description than that it was a Ford F-150, the most common truck in the North America. As far as anyone knows, the pickup hasn’t been seen since. Sgt. Brian Dedrick is the spokesman for the North Little Rock Police Department. He said that CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

while leads on Olson’s murder still come in, calls to the NLRPD hotline (501-680-8439) for the case have “slowed significantly” since the crime was fresh in peoples’ minds. “Last week, we got three or four calls on it,” he said. “We’re actively investigating each call that we get, but ... the calls we’re getting, a lot of them are focused on: ‘I saw a truck.’ We follow up on all of those, but it’s very time-consuming. We really need someone with knowledge to come forward.” Dedrick said that, given the circumstances of the case, it’s surprising the investigation hasn’t produced more leads, either from eyewitnesses at the scene, motorists along McCain when Olson was killed, or people coming forward with information in the six months since the crime. He said there is currently a total of $14,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Samantha Olson’s killer. With most homicides, there is a connection between the perpetrator and the victim. In this case, however, everything points to Olson’s simply having been at the wrong place at the wrong time. He illustrated his point by detailing a recent North Little Rock homicide in which a man was charged with killing his roommate, with at least two eyewitnesses coming forward. “When you have something like that, we took that person into custody the same night,” he said. “There’s a direct relationship to that person already when you arrive at the scene. This [the

Olson murder] is not like a domestic. Everybody we’ve talked to said she didn’t have any enemies. ... With one car going east, one car going west, the chances of somebody targeting her would seem slim. We’re not ruling anything out, but it does appear to be a random act.” Though the video images of the maroon Ford pickup gave investigators hope of finding the killer in the early days of the investigation — and Dedrick said they’re “very confident” the shots did, in fact, come from that truck, based on information from multiple witnesses — six months in, Dedrick suggests that the truck may not be out there to find, at least not locally. “Now, that truck could be a different color,” he said. “It could be sold, it could be in a different state.” Though investigators still follow up on every tip, he said what it will probably take to find a suspect is someone with a direct relationship with the killer to come forward and talk. To that end, they have run announcements on televisions at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center about the crime and worked to get the word out to the media. Dedrick said any homicide is a tragedy, but the circumstances of the Olson case have been particularly troubling for investigators. “What bothers me is that there’s a family out there that hasn’t found any closure,” he said. “There’s a baby involved that was in the vehicle when this happened. We’ve worked a lot of homicides, and they all bother you anytime we have loss of life. But

when you have an infant involved, and a homicide for no apparently reason, you take it home with you.”



tan Doucet, Samantha’s father, was the first in the family to learn that his daughter had been injured. Someone from the UAMS emergency room called him around 9 p.m. on Aug. 14, told him his daughter’s name, told him to get there, but wouldn’t say why. An overnight stocker at a local discount store, he was getting ready to go to work when the call came. A few minutes before, he’d been watching KLRT, Fox 16, as he did every night at 9, when he saw footage from a shooting at JFK and McCain — few details, more to come. On the way to the hospital he called Eric and never allowed himself to imagine that she was dead. A car accident, he thought. “Samantha had a tendency to drive hard,” Doucet said. “She’d had a couple of accidents before, and on the way to the hospital, I was thinking, ‘I’m going to have to chastise this girl pretty harshly about her driving.’ But then they came in and were speaking to us — there was like, five or six people in there, the medical team that had worked on her — and when one of them said she had been shot, my reaction was, ‘SHOT?’ I’m thinking, ‘How did she CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

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FEBRUARY 27, 2014


get shot?’... Then when they said she didn’t make it, I just kind of lost it.” Telling Samantha’s mother fell to Doucet. Phyllis Lyles-Vontungeln lives in Pine Bluff, where Samantha was raised from the age of 2. No night owl, Lyles-Vontungeln said she goes to bed just after the KLRT news at 9 p.m. She’d seen the same footage from JFK and McCain as her ex-husband had. “Just for a brief second,” she said, “it crossed my mind: Samantha goes there all the time. That’s over where she lives. Then it left my mind, because I thought, she isn’t out at night. It never occurred to me that might have happened earlier in the evening.” Lyles-Vontungeln went on to bed and was asleep when the phone rang around 10:30 p.m. She knew it was bad when she heard Stan’s voice. “I started walking to go outside because I knew something had to be wrong for him to be calling me at that time of the night,” she said. “Then he told me, ‘Phyllis, Samantha’s dead.’ And I said, ‘No!’ I just collapsed. I was screaming and crying, because that’s my baby. Why would something like that happen to my baby? She was good. She didn’t have nobody mad at her. She didn’t know bad people. She didn’t acquaint herself with people who would be that way. I couldn’t understand, and I still don’t understand.” Stan Doucet said that Linnea was Samantha’s everything — that she went from “60 watts to 100 watts” when it became apparent she’d carry the child to term after years of frustration and heartache. He laughed while talking about how Samantha

bought clothes for her “six months in advance,” Samantha, Lyles-Vontungeln said, was an all-around good person, a friend to everyone, filling a closet with things, planning what the girl would be wearing. independent, kind, a woman who had made her “She was always planning,” he said. “Even before own way and asked for nothing. She said her the baby was born, she was buying clothes. It was daughter called her every day, usually on the way to an amazing thing that a person can go from no work, just to chit-chat. When Lyles-Vontungeln was child to being the perfect mother. That’s what she treated for lung cancer in 2009 and 2010, Samantha was to me.” drove down from Little Rock to sit with her for the His daughter was friendly with everyone, half-day-long treatments. Doucet said, which makes the idea that she would “I’d tell her, ‘Baby, you don’t have to come down meet a violent end all the more confusing. Doucet here every time momma has chemo,’ ” she said. said that the fact that his daughter’s killer is still at “ ‘You don’t have to make this trip. You have other large is just beyond his comprehension. things to do. You have a life now.’ And she’d say, “It’s just not right that my daughter is dead and ‘Momma, it’s OK. I brought a book with me to read.’ this person is still out there,” he said. “It just doesn’t She loved to read.” Lyles-Vontungeln said that one of the saddest balance out. I don’t know what else they can do. With the cameras they had, they followed this truck things is that when Samantha died, her life had supposedly — videoed this truck — all the way down finally come together the way she had always to Camp Robinson into Levy, and it just seems wanted: husband, child, degree, blossoming career impossible that they don’t have a license number as an accountant. “She had reached her happiness on this vehicle.” in life,” she said. “She had accomplished her dreams, Though losing his daughter wounded him and she was about to go back to college and work for terribly, knowing that Linnea will grow up without her master’s. She was happy. But I just tell myself her mother is a pain that grinds at Doucet. “She that it was God’s will. I don’t know why, and I won’t have the privilege of knowing that her mother can’t answer them questions. But there had to be a purpose.” was a good person. She won’t have the privilege of knowing that her mother was loved by other people. For her part of that purpose, Lyles-Vontungeln She won’t have the privilege of that mother being intends to tell Linnea about her mother someday, there when she’s sick or when her heart aches, or how Samantha loved her, how proud Samantha during her problems in life. Her mother’s not going would have been of her. She hopes she lives long CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 to be there to tell her it’s all right.”

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n a small house, with a small yard, with a small living room cluttered with toys and the noise of a bubbling fish tank, on a quiet street less than a quarter of a mile from where his wife was shot, Eric Olson and his daughter carry on as best they can without her. Eric and Samantha had planned on trying for another child in the next few years — on getting the house tidied up and on the market so they could buy something with room for a growing family. “And then, in one fell swoop, all that got erased,” he said. “It’s tough for me, because I think, ‘Man, there for a minute, I had it.’ I had what I really wanted in life. Outside of a great career and all that, I had what really mattered.” He is not one to cry about his troubles, but it’s easy to cry for him. On Nov. 11, 2013, the day that would have been his first anniversary, he posted a picture on Facebook: His pale left hand framed against the leg of his blue jeans, a black and silver wedding band on his finger. “I’ve been wearing this ring for a year now,” he wrote. “I imagined today being a lot different then.” He’s only 34, but he can’t imagine being with anyone else. Knowing that he has to keep going for his daughter keeps him focused. He’s glad for that. A lot of Samantha’s favorite TV shows were police dramas. He doesn’t watch them anymore, but they used to watch them together all the time. “It just seems strange, especially now that time has gone by,” he said, “to think about that experience, and to think about a lot of the shows we used to watch. You’re watching these stories, and you can only really imagine how the characters react to things and how they feel about it. But then to be part of it — to have something like that actually happen to you — it’s mind blowing.” These days, he said, the routine helps: taking care of his daughter, pulling her in the big red wagon that takes up a sizeable chunk of their living room, driving Linnea to his mother’s so she can watch her while he goes to work, caring for the only part of Samantha he has left. “It all kind of cruises

along,” he said. “But there are times during the day, pretty much every day — and sometimes it’s a little more intense than some, especially when it’s quiet — that I think about it more. Later in the evening, trying to fall asleep, especially when I’ve got Linnea there, laying in bed, I’m really aware of the person that’s missing. That whole atmosphere has changed. I’m not aware of how long it’ll take before I don’t notice that, or if I ever will stop noticing that. It’s kind of crazy.” At stoplights, he said, he tries to keep his eyes open. He used to write down license plate numbers when he saw maroon trucks so he could pass them on to the detectives, but he doesn’t anymore. He admits he thinks about the random a lot. He thinks about how, the night of the murder, a coworker scrolling through her Facebook page saw a blurb about


March 11 and Two 3– ShowsSeptember On The 12th OctOber 5

enough to do that, Lyles-Vontungeln said. Since her daughter’s death, she admits, time seems to run differently. “My birthday’s in October,” she said. “Matter of fact, my birthday is five days before Samantha’s birthday. But I just kind of bypassed my birthday this past year. It’s almost like life just stops and stands still. We’re not supposed to have to bury our children.”


a shooting at JFK and McCain, and mentioned it, and how he thought it must have happened at one of the gas stations. He thinks about how — 30 seconds sooner or later — it could have been anybody, but instead it turned out to be her. He thinks about how lucky he was that they weren’t both killed. He thinks about how it just seems tremendously unfair for Samantha to have been snatched out of life at the moment of her greatest happiness, after years of miscarriage and frustration, one month shy of a year of motherhood. He thinks about how unfair it is for Linnea to have lost her. He thinks about hope: how his mother watches true crime shows, and how sometimes on those shows, a killer will get brave and brag of a murder months or years after the fact, and somebody will drop a dime. He thinks about his growing sense of

outrage as the depression and grief has receded like a cold tide, of asking his wife’s killer, “What the hell? What gives you the right to do this? To do such a thing? I’m pretty sure, as human beings, we’ve got an agreement that we’re not going to do this.” But usually, in the dark before sleep, he doesn’t think about Fords or anger or shots or fate or randomness. He just misses her. He misses his wife. “I miss her presence,” he said. “Everything about her, her physical presence, her personality, all those things that made her who she was and made our relationship what it was. Any time I talk about the case in particular, it’s those other things I think about: how it happened, all the different scenarios that it could possibly be.” There will come a time, he said, when he’ll have to tell Linnea about what happened to her mother. She just turned 17 months old, and she’s starting to talk, saying words, connecting words to objects. “Every once in awhile, she’ll say ‘mommy,’ ” he said, “which kind of surprises me. She wasn’t saying any words at all at 11 months, so I don’t know what she connects with ‘mommy.’ ” He figures she’ll be old enough to notice that other children have mommies when she’s around 3. Then she’ll ask. And he will do his best. It seems too young to explain such a thing, he said. But he will try. He worries about what he’ll tell her later on about the way her mother died, especially if the killer is never caught. Down the short hall from the living room where Eric Olson sat asking questions with no good answers, there was a slight noise, a heartbeat of a sound. In that moment, the gloom of dredging it all up evaporated from his face and you could see, once again, the man who loved and laughed with and married a woman named Samantha Olson. “Here she comes!” he said, and beamed. After a few seconds, a cherubic little girl, hair tousled from her nap, edged into the room. Her mother’s friendly, careful eyes took in the new visitors. And in the time it took Eric Olson to bend down and scoop his daughter up into his arms, all thoughts of the random — of pain, and faith, and doubt, and the future — were momentarily forgotten.

Anyone with information about the killing of Samantha Olson should call the North Little Rock Police Department’s hotline for the case at 501-680-8439. All calls will be kept confidential. There is currently a $14,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the case.





FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Arts Entertainment AND

out into the great unknown.” The great unknown, or as I like to call it: Conway.


Shawn James and the Shapeshifters




ound 4 of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase opened with The Talking Liberties, by which I mean singer, guitarist and keyboard-wrangler Wes Acklin, a drummer in a Superman T-shirt and two backup dancers wearing full-body silver jumpsuits and goggles. Acklin leapt and emoted to the point of near-exhaustion while the dancers shimmied and chatted quietly with their arms folded in between songs. Judge Stephen Neeper awarded high marks for Acklin’s “enthusiasm” as well his “multi-tasking,” and after the set, the dancers gave our photographer their business card. Next up was Crash Meadows from Hot Springs, a blues-rock band who upset judge Stacie Mack by wearing socks with their sandals (“NO,” she wrote, underlining the word twice). Meanwhile, guest judge Shawn Brown, 22

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


who once opened for Run D.M.C., called their set a “soundtrack to scenic Arkansas,” and Neeper complimented the singer’s “huge lungs.” The Machete With Love’s frontman calls himself Paperking, and he led off their sound check by rapping, “If it wasn’t for a mic check, I wouldn’t have a check at all.” Neeper wrote that their set was like the Beastie Boys and early Red Hot Chili Peppers “had a child,” and Brown wrote “Look out Kid Rock.” During a particularly energetic moment in one of their songs, Paperking whipped out a harmonica and ripped a quick solo before collapsing in a tired heap at the front of the stage. The night, though, ultimately belonged to the last band of the round: Duckstronaut. Imagine a man in a purple Mohawk sitting at a desk with a washboard in his lap. In front of him is

a black laptop and a set of guitar pedals. Standing next to him is a bald and heavily bearded guitarist who just gets madder as he sings, except when he’s busy playing the electric dulcimer. Also there is slap bass: That’s Duckstronaut. Judge Bryan Frazier noted their “masterful use of instruments and household objects”; he also wrote the phrase “eloquent earthquakes.” Neeper wrote, “In the midst of all this weirdness, there are some really great songs,” which is probably as close as anyone has gotten so far to summing up the whole showcase. The final semifinal round is at 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at Stickyz. Remember to also mark your calendar for Friday, March 7, when we’ll host the finals at Revolution. Here’s the last semifinal lineup:

My Brother / My Friend Last time I wrote something about Conway I got hate mail, but I will say this about that backwards town: There are real bands there, and My Brother / My Friend is one of them. Their songs are drenched in echo, reverb and smooth, post-rock ambience, and singer Joshua Stewart’s voice floats above it all with strain and subtlety. “Our interest is life,” they say in their bio online. “Living it with those we love, a family we have chosen, and sending beautiful music

Fayetteville’s Shawn James and the Shapeshifters have spent the last year working on what they call “an ambitious trilogy of connected concept EPs,” consisting of “The Wolf,” “The Bear” and “The Hawk,” all of which are available for free at ShawnJamesSoul.Bandcamp. com. It’s an accomplished and strange series of releases, each with distinct stories and sounds, mostly hovering around a kind of cabaret-tinged apocalypticfolk with pagan undertones. James has said that the stories here are inspired by “Native American myths.” The first is about a boy raised by wolves, the second a “big, ferocious bear as he awakes from hibernation consumed by hunger and heads south to hunt,” and, well, he hasn’t explained the third one yet, but I’m sure it’s something intense. There’s slide guitar and gloomy violin accompaniment and even the occasional Tom Waits growl.

John Neal Rock ’N’ Roll John Neal claims he’s “big in Mexico City,” and I have no reason to doubt this, but he’s first and foremost a Little Rock native: “Win, lose or draw, I’m for Arkansas,” as he puts it. That’s on a song called “Win, Lose or Draw,” on which he also calls himself a “poor man’s Black Keys” and says he’s “just trying to get my songs a little play on TV.” His words, not mine — I actually think he’s being a little hard on himself. “Rock ‘N’ Roll” is his last name after all, and he earns it song for song. Plus he sells customized beer koozies.

The Vail The Vail makes gothic rock outfitted with static and sadness, they have a song called “Nightmares” (“the dying sun destroys the moon” rhymes with “all our nightmares coming true”) and they’ve opened for Rob Zombie. One of the guys in Evanescence wrote a blurb for their debut online and recommended it “for fans of ’90s era industrial rock.” This might seem backhanded considering The Vail didn’t exist in the ’90s, but I think it was meant in good faith and it’s hard to disagree.



Check out the Times’ A&E blog


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A&E NEWS THE PORTER FUND, founded by Little Rock novelists Jack Butler and Phillip McMath in 1984, gives a Lifetime Achievement Award to an Arkansas author every five years, and this year’s honoree will be Charles Portis, author of “Norwood” and “True Grit” and “Gringos” among others. Portis, notably uncomfortable with attention or public spectacle of any sort, will be celebrated with a $200-per-ticket gala at the Governor’s Mansion, but will not attend. The night will feature readings by Jay Jennings, writer and editor of “Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany”; Roy Reed, the great journalist and nonfiction writer (and former Porter winner), and Roy Blount, Jr., who once said that Portis “could be Cormac McCarthy if he wanted to, but he’d rather be funny.”

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THE LITTLE ROCK HORROR PICTURE SHOW continues to leak details about its 2014 festival, which will be held March 20-23 at the Ron Robinson Theater. The latest additions: Ti West’s “The Sacrament” and Jesse T. Cook’s “Septic Man.” West is the filmmaker behind “Cabin Fever 2” and 2009’s great “The House of the Devil,” and Cook was a producer on “Exit Humanity,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the first Horror Picture Show. SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS, the independent publishing house based out of Alexander, Arkansas home to Assaracus, the “world’s only print journal of gay male poetry” (named “Best New Magazine” by Library Journal in 2012), has announced its Spring 2014 lineup, which will go on sale on March 14. The offerings, which can be purchased individually or via a group ‘subscription’ (for a discounted price of $40), includes Valerie Wetlaufer’s “Mysterious Acts by My People,” Brock Guthrie’s “Contemplative Man,” Megan Volpert’s “Only Ride,” and Wendy Chin-Tanner’s “Turn.” THE LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL has announced that the 2014 festival will include a new category devoted to “Cinematic Nonfiction,” to be programmed by the filmmaker and writer Robert Greene, who will also present an award for “Extraordinary Achievement in Non-Fiction Cinema.” As the Festival’s announcement noted, “The old dogmas of documentary film are being gleefully disregarded,” citing recent filmmakers who have worked toward this end by “blurring the lines between fact and fiction all together, scripting lines for documentary stars, or even creating elaborate choreographed sequences reminiscent of a Hollywood movie set.”

FEBRUARY 27, 2014







7:30 p.m. Reynolds Performance Hall. Sold out.

Neil deGrasse Tyson grew up in the Bronx, where as a high schooler he was captain of the wrestling team and also occasionally gave widely attended lectures on astronomy. Dr. Tyson is a prize-winning ballroom dancer, and was instrumental in downgrading the classification of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet. A former columnist for Natural History magazine, he also saw his wine collection highlighted in the

THURSDAY 2/27 May 2000 issue of Wine Spectator. He idolized Carl Sagan as a kid, even frequently corresponded with him — Sagan lobbied to have Tyson study with him at Cornell. Fittingly, he was also recently tapped to succeed Sagan as host of a rebooted “Cosmos,” to pilot what Sagan famously called the “Spaceship of the Imagination.” Before he sets out for the “edge of the known universe,” however, he will stop in Conway. Unless you’re a super fan or can talk a super fan out of his ticket, you’re out of luck; Tyson’s appearance sold out in 45 minutes.


10 p.m. Juanita’s. $20.

DJ Paul is a founding member of Three 6 Mafia, an Academy Award winner and, more recently, the entrepreneur behind a very well-regarded line of BBQ seasoning. His earliest releases were great and unsettling, built from horror movie tropes and paranoia. I once interviewed Juicy J, who started Three Six with Paul, and he said of their early output, “Memphis is such a dark city, the music just came out dark.” Later they helped

kick-start the crunk era and made a handful of chart-impacting hits. After a detour in Hollywood that included a reality show (sample plotline: Ashton Kutcher sets Juicy up on a date with one of the stars of “Laguna Beach,” who appears disoriented), they returned to Memphis, where Paul now makes dark and energetic underground rap tapes again. Not long ago, I read he was arrested for carrying a Taser and claimed, “I honestly didn’t know it was illegal,” which seems plausible.


‘SLOW SOUTHERN STEEL’ 7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. Free.

ROUGH SOUTH: Jimbo Mathus will be at White Water Tavern Friday night.



10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

Have you ever wondered who will sop your gravy when you’re dead? This is the sort of questions that trouble Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus, who grew up in Mississippi, makes rowdy Delta 24

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


swamp rock and will be playing an album release show this Friday with his band, The Tri-State Coalition. Mathus is a real homegrown eccentric, with scruffy long hair and a hound dog named Virgil Brown. He has a loud drawl and intense, bugged-out eyes, kind of like Captain Beefheart in his trailerin-the-desert period. There’s a sense of old-

fashioned showmanship to what he does that’s easy to admire, and he has an obvious respect for his own culture to go with his natural songwriting ability. The late producer Jim Dickinson apparently once said he had “the singing voice of Huck Finn,” which is an unusual, beautiful compliment, and appropriate.

It’s tempting to get romantic and attribute the dizzy, Deep South sludge metal sound to all the usual regional qualities — the humidity and the swamps and the poison ivy and the drugs and the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” hoodoo mysticism. It’s also probably true. How else do you explain the strain of metal that one person in Rwake singer Chris Terry’s documentary “Slow Southern Steel” describes as “like Slayer dipped in syrup”? The film delves deeps into the phenomenon, featuring interviews shot, as the film claims, “in back alleys, parking lots, and the seedy green rooms of the dirtiest clubs that the Bible Belt failed to snuff out,” starring sludge metal icons from Eyehategod to Dark Castle, and with narration by Weedeater frontman “Dixie” Dave Collins. The Ron Robinson Theater’s free showing kicks off a monthly series of music films. Saturday’s screening will be followed by an acoustic set by Jeremiah James Baker.



Paleface, a onetime understudy of Daniel Johnston’s and a roommate of Beck’s during New York’s anti-folk ’90s heyday, will be at White Water Tavern Thursday, 9:30 p.m., with Sea Nanners. Club Elevations will host Dallas rapper Lil Ronny MothaF, $10. Folk-rock duo Trout Fishing in America, who record both children’s and adult songs, will perform at Juanita’s at 7:30 p.m., $12. Gathr Films continues its Thursday night screenings at the Ron Robinson Theater with “The Forgotten Kingdom,” 7 p.m., $10.



9 p.m. Doubletree Hotel. $25 adv., $35 day of.

Broadway Joe, host of Power 92’s 24-years-and-counting “Broadway Joe Morning Show,” will emcee an event this weekend to benefit Little Rock charity basketball team the Jammers, at which, incredibly, the disco and R&B legend Evelyn “Champagne” King will be headlining. If you don’t know her, take a few moments and listen to “Shame” (the long version) or “Love Come Down” or, better yet, watch the video for “I’m In Love,” which looks like an outtake from “Tron.” King was initially discovered cleaning bathrooms at Philadelphia International in the mid-’70s — someone overheard her singing and offered her a record deal on the spot. She is an icon and Little Rock is lucky to host her. Also


POST DISCO: Evelyn “Champagne” King will perform at the Doubletree Hotel Saturday night.

performing will be R.L. (formerly of ’90s R&B group Next) and Willie P. Doors open at 8 and advance tickets

are available at Ugly Mike’s Records, Uncle T’s Food Mart and Record Rack (in Pine Bluff).

punk bands. The best known of these have been the Compulsive Gamblers and the Oblivians, both also featuring Greg Cartwright (the latter also with Goner Records founder Eric Friedl). The Oblivians released a new record last year after a length hiatus, and it served to emphasize how many younger Memphis bands have

followed in precisely their same, firstthought-best-thought, lo-fi-drunkenKinks tradition. These days he performs solo and with a group called the Tennessee Tearjerkers, often featuring last week’s To-Do Lister John Paul Keith. Also on the bill are Memphis band The Sheiks and Little Rock’s own Trophy Boyfriends.

happening on Sunday —runners and walkers alike of the marathon, the halfmarathon, the 10K and the 5K will be taking over the streets. They’ll start at Sherman and President Clinton Avenue downtown before taking a wildly con-

voluted route that will go as far south as 18th Street, traverse West Markham, Kavanaugh, Lookout and Cantrell, and venture into North Little Rock for several blocks. Don’t even think about driving to the river.

umphs, his greatest obstacle has always been the IRS. They’ve taken recording studios, his family ranch, most of his latterday royalties and career memorabilia. In 1990, the IRS raided his home and took everything he owned but his guitar. He even released an album called “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories?” which

at the time could be purchased by dialing 1-800-IRS-TAPE. As he once put it, “I’ve been broke before, and will be again.” Think about that, and pay attention to your taxes, because this stuff is serious. And go see Willie Nelson on Tuesday if you can manage to talk someone out of her ticket; the show’s sold out.

Dr. Allan Ward, professor emeritus in the UALR Department of Communications, will moderate a panel discussion at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock titled “Past, Present, Future: Race Relations,” to be followed by a Q&A, 7 p.m. Verizon Arena will host Winter Jam 2014, Christian music’s largest annual tour, featuring Newsboys, lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb and others, 7 p.m., $10. The Ben Miller Band and Trampled Under Foot will be at Stickyz, 8:30 p.m., $15. At Club Sway, as featured in enigmatic flyers all over downtown, House of Avalon’s 3rd annual Madonnarama party.



10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.

Jack “Oblivian” Yarber played in a high school punk band with fellow To-Do List contender Jimbo Mathus, though their sounds have diverged since then, with Yarber doing stints in a string of rambling and distinctly Memphian garage-




8 a.m. Downtown Little Rock.

Whether you’re running in the Little Rock Marathon, want to root on someone who is, or avoid it at all costs, it’s important to be aware that this is



7 p.m. Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. Sold out.

It’s tax season, a time of year in which it’s especially important to keep Willie Nelson and his contributions to this country in mind. Because throughout all of Nelson’s personal, legal and cultural tri-

The 2014 Little Rockers Kids Marathon will begin at noon at the River Market the day before its adult counterpart. Also at noon, the second annual Beard-Growing Contest, sponsored by Arkansas Times and Root Cafe, gets underway at The Bernice Garden (more on page 11). The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will present the fifth installment in its 2013-2014 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Verdi’s “Requiem,” at Robinson Center Music Hall, 8 p.m. (3 p.m. the following day) $14-$53. Revolution will host Monsters of Todd: A Tribute to Todd Mills, featuring Daisy Chain, The Gettys, Tragikly White Band, Third Degree, The Revolutioners, Mr. Happy, Never Train, Mayday by Midnight and others, 9 p.m., $20. Charlie Virgo and the Damn Choir will be at Stickyz with Archie Powell and the Exports, 9 p.m., $6, and Mother Hubbard and the Regulators will be at West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5.


At Vino’s, Carnifex, Betraying the Martyrs, I Declare War, Here Comes the Kraken and Assassins will play beginning at 7:30 p.m., $15. The Versace Kid, Mr. Deuces (a.k.a. 2C), MC Uriah, D-Note, Jay Kay and Mike Rich will be at Juanita’s as part of its “Mic Feelz” showcase, 8 p.m., $10.

FEBRUARY 27, 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 e-mail the listing and all pertinent information, including date, time, location, price and contact information, to



DJ Paul. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $20. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Hands Face Feet. Smoke and Barrel Tavern. 324 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-521-6880. “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. 7 p.m. every Tue., Wed. and Thu. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Krush Thursdays with DJ Kavaleer. Club Climax, free before 11 p.m. 824 W. Capitol. 501-554-3437. Lil Ronny MothaF. Dallas rapper. Club Elevations, 8 p.m., $10. 7200 Colonel Glenn Road. 501-5623317. “Celebrating 20 Years!.” Little Rock Wind Symphony. Second Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m., $10. 600 Pleasant Valley Drive. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. 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. Paleface. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $6. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Trout Fishing in America, Airloom. Juanita’s, 7:30 p.m., $12. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-3721228. Uncle Lucius. George’s Majestic Lounge, 8 p.m., $10. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4424226.


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


“The Forgotten Kingdom.” Gathr Film Series screening. Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., $10. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx.


David Orentlicher, “Two Presidents Are Better Than One.” Orentlicher, a scholar of constitutional law and a former state representative, has taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago Law School and earned degrees in law and medicine at Harvard. Sturgis Hall, 6 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Reynolds Performance Hall, University of Central Arkansas, 7:30 p.m. 201 26

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


ANTI FOLK: Paleface will be at White Water Tavern Thursday night. 10 p.m., $6. Donaghey Ave., Conway.


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


Remington College: 3 Lives blood drive. Remington College-Little Rock, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 19 Remington Drive. 501-312-0007. www.



Basement Brew. Smoke and Barrel Tavern. 324 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-521-6880. Ben Miller Band, Trampled Under Foot. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $10 adv., $15 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Cadillac Jackson, The Eoff Brothers, RJ Mischo. George’s Majestic Lounge, 6 p.m. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. 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. 501-221-1620. Crash Meadows. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-2247665. DJ King. Deep Ultra Lounge. 322 President Clinton Ave. House of Avalon’s 3rd Annual Madonnarama. Part of Club Sway’s #glitterrock party series. Sway. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. JD & Dan Wagner. Prost. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Jimbo Mathus record release. Album release show for former Squirrel Nut Zippers frontman’s new group, The Tri-State Coalition. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $10. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. 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. www. Winter Jam 2014. Christian music’s largest annual tour, featuring Newsboys, lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, and many

more. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $10. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001.


Mike Speenberg. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. “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. 501-3720205.


Ballroom Dancing. Free lessons begin at 7 p.m. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 8-11 p.m., $7-$13. 12th & Cleveland Streets. 501-2217568. “Salsa Night.” Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


Hot Springs Boat, Tackle and RV Show. Hot Springs Convention Center, Feb. 28-March 2, 10 a.m., $5. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027. 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.


“Past, Present, Future: Race Relations.” A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Allan Ward, professor emeritus in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, followed by a Q&A. Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock, 7 p.m. 1818 Reservoir Road.


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



Ben Miller Band, Trampled Under Foot. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $10. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Charlie Virgo and the Damn Choir, Archie Powell and the Exports. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $6. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.

Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See Feb. 28. Eric Sommer. Midtown Billiards, 12:30 a.m., $5. 1316 Main St. 501-372-9990. Evelyn “Champagne” King, R.L., Willie P.. Broadway Joe’s Charity Weekend celebration. Proceeds benefit Jammers Charity Basketball. Doubletree Hotel, 9 p.m., $25 adv., $30 day of. 424 W. Markham. 501-372-4371. Jack Oblivion, The Sheiks, Trophy Boyfriends. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Jam Rock Saturday. Twelve Modern Lounge, first Saturday of every month, 9 p.m. 1900 W. Third St. 501-301-1200. Joel Allenbaugh, Brian “Dub” Hill, Sleepy Genius, DJ Playboy Steve. Discovery Nightclub. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. 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. Monsters of Todd: A Tribute to Todd Mills. Featuring Daisy Chain, The Gettys, Tragikly White Band, Third Degree, The Revolutioners, Mr. Happy, Never Train, Mayday by Midnight, and more. Revolution, 9 p.m., $20. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Mother Hubbard & The Regulators. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. New Era Saturdays. 21-and-older. Twelve Modern Lounge, first Saturday of every month, 9 p.m., $5 cover until 11 p.m. 1900 W. Third St. 501-301-1200. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. 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. UCA Percussion Festival. Hosted by the UCA Percussion Club and Dr. Blake Tyson, associate professor of percussion. University of Central Arkansas, Snow Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, 11:30 a.m. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. Verdi’s “Requiem.” The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents the fifth installment in its 2013-2014 Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Verdi’s “Requiem.” Robinson Center Music Hall, March 1, 8 p.m.; March 2, 3 p.m., $14-$53. Markham and Broadway. www.littlerockmeetings. com/conv-centers/robinson.


Mike Speenberg. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. “Winter Sucks.” See Feb. 28.


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


10th Annual King-Kennedy Dinner. The Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus presents speaker Roland Martin and singer Tawanna Campbell.

The Bigg Fat Tuesday Party Is Coming Back! Clear Channel Metroplex, 7 p.m., $100. 10800 Colonel Glenn Road. 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. Hot Springs Boat, Tackle and RV Show. Hot Springs Convention Center, through March 2, 10 a.m., $5. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027. Insure Affordable Care. Get free help enrolling in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace. Laman Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., free. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720. 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. Second Annual Beard-Growing Contest. Sponsored by The Root and Arkansas Times, the contest will include categories such as “Fullest Beard,” “Most Original Beard” and “Best ‘Burns and ’Stache Combo.” Lifetime Achievement awards will also be given, as will an overall Grand Prize. Guest judges are P. Allen Smith, Renee Shapiro and Arshia Khan. Bernice Garden, noon. 1401 S. Main St.


2014 Little Rockers Kids Marathon. 11th annual kids marathon. River Market, noon. 400 President Clinton Ave. Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411. www.



Carnifex, Betraying the Martyrs, I Declare War, Here Comes the Kraken, Assassins. Vino’s, 7:30 p.m., $15. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Irish Traditional Music Session. Hibernia Irish Tavern, first and third Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501246-4340. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Mic Feelz. Featuring The Versace Kid, Mr. Deuces (a.k.a. 2C), MC Uriah, D-Note, Jay Kay and Mike Rich. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Verdi’s “Requiem.” See Mar. 1.


Hot Springs Boat, Tackle and RV Show. Hot Springs Convention Center, 10 a.m., $5. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027. “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. Little Rock Marathon. Register online. Early start

time is 6 a.m. Marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K races included. Downtown Little Rock, 8 a.m. Papadosio. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $10. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226.



The Haifa Symphony Orchestra. The program will include the “Overture to Euryanthe” by Carl Maria von Weber, Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40 in G-minor” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4.” Reynolds Performance Hall, University of Central Arkansas, 7:30 p.m., $30-$40. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


Sam Taggart, “The Public’s Health: A Narrative History of Health and Disease in Arkansas.” Lecture and book signing. Sturgis Hall, 12 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.



American Aquarium. Revolution, 9 p.m., $10. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. 120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. 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. www.copelandsrestaurantlittlerock. com. 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. Orbweaver, Shroudeater, Sumokem, Crankbait. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $6. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Isayah’s AllStars. George’s Majestic Lounge. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Willie Nelson and Family. Walton Arts Center, 7 p.m. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4435600.


“Latin Night.” Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-8230090.


Tales from the South: Stephen Cefalo. Painter Cefalo is the featured storyteller. 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. stores/littlerock.

Make plans now to join us March 4 at the best Fat Tuesday spot in the Rock! Contests, Giveaways, Specials, Good Times and More!


“The Trials of Muhammad Ali.” Free screening hosted by Central Arkansas Community Cinema. Laman Library, 6 p.m. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501758-1720.


Ken Stern, “With Charity for All: Why Charities are Failing and A Better Way to Give.” Lecture and book signing. Sturgis Hall, 6 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.



Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Big Gigantic. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $23. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4424226. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. 120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Local Live: Julia Buckingham Group. 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.

A Chicago style Speakeasy & Dueling Piano Bar. This is THE premier place to party in Little Rock. “Dueling Pianos” runs seven days a week. Dance & Club music upstairs on Wed, Fri & Sat. Drink specials and more! Do it BIGG! Open 7 Days A Week • 8pm-2am Shows Start at 8:30pm

Located in the Heart of the River Market District 307 President Clinton Avenue 501.372.4782


Book Our Party Room Today!


Jim Short. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www. The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205.


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.

All American Food & Great Place to Watch Your Favorite Event


Oxford American Spring issue release party. Oxford American, 5:30 p.m. 1300 Main St.


Condoleezza Rice. The former U.S. secretary of state will give a free public lecture as part of the University of Arkansas’s Distinguished Lecture Series. Barnhill Arena, University of Arkansas, 7 p.m. 131 Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville.


Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. html. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

Rockin’ Mondays! $2 Off all Rock Town products after 6pm

ROck TOwn whiskey Now oN Tap! OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK | 11AM - LATE 225 E MARKHAM • LITTLE ROCK, AR

(501) 324-2449

FEBRUARY 27, 2014



SHOP ‘N’ SIP SPRING! We’re Ready for

First thursday each month

Shop ’til 8pm and enjoy dining in one of the many area restaurants.

hiLLcrest shoPPinG & dininG

All the things you need for Spring! 4523 WoodlaWn (Historic Hillcrest) 501.666.3600

Lots of New Everything!

2616 Kavanaugh • 661-1167 M-F 10-6, SAT 10-5

Spring Is In The Air! RHEA DRUG

2801 KAVANAUGH • LITTLE ROCK • 663-4131

Calling all Dawgs for the 5th Annual Argenta Krewe of Barkus Parade & Block Party! ~ARGE NTA A RTS D KREW ISTR E OF ICT~ 5TH A BARK US DOG P NNUAL M A ARAD RDI G E&B LOCK RAS PART Y

One Float – Dozens of Decked Out Dogs – Bunches of Beads – FurrrrTastic Fun For All! Les Bon Temps Roule Mon Cheri!

Aaaaaaa EEEeeeee! Dress Yourself and Your Furry Friends

Sunday, March 2nd at 3pm

400 Block of Maple st. at city grove townhomes, Argenta Arts District, Downtown North Little Rock


FEBRUARY 27, 2014



“Baby.” Musical by Sybille Pearson, David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr. Bring a pair of gently used running shoes and receive $1 off your admission. The Public Theatre — CTLR, Fri., Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., March 2, 2 p.m., $8-$18. 616 Center St. 501-410-2283. “Good People.” Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire’s dramedy about a South Boston woman. Walton Arts Center, through March 9: Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 7 p.m., $10-$32. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Les Miserables.” The Rep presents an allnew production of Alain Boublil and ClaudeMichel Schönberg’s “Les Miserables.” Arkansas Repertory Theatre, through April 6: Wed., Thu., Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m., $50$55. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405.


New exhibits, events ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South,” 70 paintings by the late Arkansas native, curated by Memphis’ Brooks Museum, Feb. 28-June 1; “Ties that Bind: Southern Art from the Collection,” atrium, through April 27; “Earthly Delights: Modern and Contemporary Highlights from the Collection,” through April 20, Strauss and Smith galleries. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “From a Whisper … to a Conversation … to a Shout,” work by Lawrence Finney, Feb. 25-April 22, receptions 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. April 11, gallery talk by the artist 2 p.m. April 12. 372-6822. L&L BECK ART GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Potpourri,” paintings by Louis Beck, through March; drawing for free giclee 7 p.m. March 17. 660-4006. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “The ERUDITE,” metalworks by non-traditional students in applied arts, March 2-17, Gallery II, gallery reception 5-7 p.m. March 17; “Primary Clay,” Gallery III, through March 27; “Say It With Snap! Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-29,” historic posters, through March 16. 569-3182. FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM, 1601 Rogers Ave.: “Coin,” installation by Dayton Castleman, opens with reception 5-7 p.m. March 6, show through May 25; “Valentines: The Art of Romance,” 100 cards, postcards and foldouts from the early 19th century to 1930s, through April. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 479-784-2787.


The Arkansas Arts Council is taking applications for $4,000 artist fellowships in short story writing, theater directing and artworks on paper. Deadline to apply is April 18. Fellowships are awarded based on artistic ability and to encourage development of the fellows. For more information, call the Arts Council at 324-9766 or email The Arkansas Arts Center is taking entries now through April 17 for its 56th annual Delta Exhibition, open to artists in Arkansas and contiguous states. Show dates are June 27-Sept. 28. Juror will be Brian Rutenberg. Prizes include the $2,500 Grand Award, two $750 Delta Awards and a $250 Contemporaries Delta Award. Artists may register and upload images at Plein Air on the White River 2014, to be held April 30-May 3, is accepting entries from art-

ists to show work at the Vada Sheid Community Center at Mountain Home and to compete in the Quick Draw competition at the “Art, Music and Barbecue” in Cotter dinner May 2. Landscape artist Bruce Peil will be judge. Artists registration will be April 30 thru May 2. Pre-registration of artists is encouraged. For more information go to White River Artists on Facebook, email or call 870-424-1051.


ART GROUP, Pleasant Ridge Town Center, suite 910: Work by Ron Almond, Loren Bartnicke, Matt Coburn, Louise Harris, Debby Hinson, Marsha Hinson, Mickie Jackson, Sheree King, Jeff McKay, Michelle Moore, Ned Perme, Ann Presley, Diana Shearon, Bob Snider, Holly Tilley and Marie Weaver, 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. 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. 992-1099. ELLEN GOLDEN ANTIQUES, 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Barry Thomas and Arden Boyce. 664-7746. GALLERY 221 & ART STUDIOS 221, Pyramid Place: Artists’ collective. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 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. GALLERY 360, 900 S. Rodney Parham Road: “Fascination,” paintings, sketches, multi-media work and jewelry by Kelley Naylor Wise and Anna Tanner, through April 5. 993-0012. GINO HOLLANDER GALLERY, 2nd and Center: Paintings and works on paper by Gino Hollander. 801-0211. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Carroll Cloar: A Road Less Traveled,” 23 paintings and drawings, through April 12. 664-2787. MUGS CAFE, 515 Main St., NLR: Buddhist paintings by Ruth Pasquine. STEPHANO’S, 1813 N. Grant St.: Opening reception for exhibition of paintings by Mike Gaines and Morgan Coven, through March 7. 563-4218. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “Born of Fire: Ceramic Art in Regional Collections,” works on loan from the Arkansas Arts Center, the Springfield Art Museum and the Sequoyah National Research Center, through March 2; “At First Sight,” watercolors from the personal collection of museum founder Alice Walton, through April 21; “Edward CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

March 1 Music @ 8pm 923 W. 7th Street @ Vino’s Featuring the music of John Cross, Austin Jewell, John Willis, People’s Republic Of Casio Tones, and Peckerwolf Tents, Tarps, T.P., Socks, Bottled Water, Dishes, Batteries, Fuel Cards, Deoderant, Bras & Such, Children’s Toys, or Purchase Something From “The Van House 1” Target Wishlist Admission: $10 at the door $5 w/donation of any listed items


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

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Jan 30 - Round 1 Peckerwolf W I N N ER

Artists are

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

Feb 6 - Round 2 John Willis W I N N ER

competing for cash (and other prizes) in 2014!

Feb 13 - Round 3 Mad Nomad W I N N ER

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Round 5


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



Feb 20 - Round 4 Duckstronaut W I N N ER

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

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

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Finals Friday March 7 at The Rev Room

Photos, Video, & Artist Info! 11p m




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Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

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‘HOSTILE BUTTERFLIES’: One of Cloar’s works comes home.

In pursuit of Cloar Find him at the Arkansas Arts Center. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


hildren Pursued by Hostile Butterflies,” painted in 1965, is possibly Carroll Cloar’s masterpiece. Reproductions of Cloar’s tempera on Masonite in books, newspapers and digitally don’t do it justice. Thanks to an alliance of the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis and the Arkansas Arts Center, and its loan to them by owners

Dr. Deborah and Scott Ferguson, visitors to “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South” will be able to see the tempera painting in the flesh starting Feb. 28 at the Arts Center. Carroll Cloar was born outside Earle (Crittenden County) 101 years ago and “Crossroads,” which opened at the Brooks last summer, was orga-

nized to celebrate the centennial. Thanks to his trademark flat, pointillist scenes of an Arkansas Delta where children are baptized in the creek (“The Baptising of Charlie Mae (1978)” rivals “Hostile Butterflies”), families wait at train stations, girls are moonstruck and ghosts appear by their tombstones, Arkansans think of Cloar as their own, though he moved to Memphis as a teenager and lived, with the exception of forays to the Arts Student League in New York and other travels, the rest of his life. The exhibit at the Arts Center pulls together 70 paintings, some rarely exhibited, from 47 public and private collections, including those of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art as well as the Arts Center. Stanton Thomas, curator of European and decorative art at the Brooks, curated the exhibition. Also among the works are the painting used in the Clinton inaugural posters, “Faculty and Honor Students Lewis School House (1966),” in which two women in white hold the American flag backward. Because they were painted from photographs, Cloar’s subjects are stiff but his stylization makes them marvelous. Thomas will give a talk about the exhibition at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27; the lecture is sold out. As a companion show, the Arts Center is exhibiting works by Southern artists and photographers that create a context for Cloar’s work, “Ties that Bind: Southern Art from the Collection.” Included in that show are

paintings by Louis Freund, Henry Linton, Virginia Purvis and Al Allen and photographs by Louis Guida, Cheryl Cohen, Paul DeRigne and Mike Disfarmer. Greg Thompson Fine Art is also paying homage to Cloar with its show, “Carroll Cloar: A Road Less Traveled,” featuring 23 paintings and drawings, some for sale. Charlie Mae appears at Greg Thompson as well in “Charlie Mae as a Baby (1973).” Thompson will give a talk about the show at 1 p.m. March 15; cost is $10. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 WRIGHT AVE., OPENS an exhibition of work by Chicago artist Lawrence Finney, “From a Whisper to a Conversation to a Shout,” on Friday, Feb. 25. The works, both two and three-dimensional, in charcoal, wood assemblage and oil, are Bible-inspired. Finney studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he was born, and the School of the Visual Arts in New York. The work is a move away from the social realist work of the 1990s and early 21st century; in an artist’s statement, Finney says, “My present world is more focused on spiritual meaning centered on my Christian faith. I am utilizing a style more reflective of the observed natural world, light still an important element in the work, my goal being to reflect God’s presence in the ordinary and everyday things of the natural world.” The show runs through April 25. There will be 2nd Friday Art Night receptions at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. April 11, and a talk by the artist at 2 p.m. April 12.

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FEBRUARY 27, 2014



It blows But ‘Pompeii’ has its moments. BY SAM EIFLING


ot since “Melancholia” obliterated the entire Earth in its opening stanza has a film been so upfront about its designs on extermination as “Pompeii.” Every school kid knows the Italian coastal burg that Vesuvius croaked under 20 feet of hot ash almost 2,000 years ago. It may be the most famous ghost town in the world, mass-murdered in a hot minute by a volcano that apparently didn’t give proper warning of its intentions. For all the permeating lameness of “Pompeii,” at least it excludes that old natural-disaster movie stock character, the ignored doomsaying scientist. If only we’d listened to the astronomer/seismologist/ climatologist! We wouldn’t be caught so unawares by this asteroid/freak earthquake/gradual melting of the ice caps! No Cassandra PhD’s here in “Pompeii.” Practically everyone is going about the business of the Roman Empire, shrugging off Vesuvius’s sudden venting and rumbling as so much Olympian indigestion, until, Wham!, pyroclastic hellfire everywhere. Then, it’s all futile attempts at scramming. We focus on Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow in “Game of Thrones”) as a slave

‘POMPEII’: Kit Harington stars.

called the Celt. His formative years are spent watching his clan slaughtered by Romans. He plays dead in a pile of corpses, survives and grows into a serious badass. He’s dragged to Pompeii to participate in gladiatorial contests, making no friends but for a champion named Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, televised in “Oz” and “Lost”). The catch is, they’re scheduled to fight to the death. Except the Celt gets entangled with a princess-type (Emily Browning) who needs his help fending off creepo-Senator Kiefer Sutherland … who just happens to have slit the Celt’s mother’s throat in front of him years back. Oh! And there’s a volcano that’s going to wipe them all out no matter what they do. So, try to focus on the niggling nattering details of love, courage and revenge. As in real life,

AFTER DARK, CONT. we all wind up dead at the end. Director Paul W.S. Anderson, known mostly for his video game adaptations (“Mortal Kombat,” “Resident Evil”), turns in a movie here that plays like a dress rehearsal for an Xbox version, with many flaming chunks of digital debris crashing against flocks of panicked extras. (The credits list them as stunt performers; you’ll see them as expendable yellers.) People accustomed to blowing up digital villages via handheld controllers will dig on “Pompeii.” Also, people who enjoy the sight of grimy, chiseled man-abs and pretty horses will enjoy fleeting moments. It may in fact be the perfect date movie for couples who met in third period or at the orthodontist. It also verges on the humorless, with nary a memorable quip or cheeseball punchline to leaven the lurching plot, so dry at times you’d swear George Lucas wrote and directed. We’ve seen this old story before. (Boy sees parents killed. Boy meets girl. Volcano incinerates girl’s town.) And yet, against all odds, “Pompeii” squeezes some charm out of its $100 million budget. The action sequences are gritty and fun. The Romans are so vile it’s rewarding to watch the movie snuff them out one by one, as if smashing fleas between its nails. The good guys are good, the bad guys are Kiefer Sutherland-grade bad, and the volcano takes no prisoners. This melodrama demands a nod of respect, at the very least, for its shameless scorchedearth approach.

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; 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.


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 (1900-1999),” purses from the collection of Anita Davis, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun., $10-$8. 916-9022. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: Mid-Southern Watercolorists “44th Annual Juried Exhibition,” through April 6; “Chasing the Light,” photography of Brian Chilson, through March 10; “A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America,” through June 22; “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 R Y H I S T O R Y , M a c A r t h u r Park: “American Posters of World War I”; permanent exhibits. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, 501 W. 9th St.: “Repurposed Wonders: The Sculpture of Danny Campbell,” permanent and changing exhibits on black entrepreneurship in Arkansas. 683-3593.

ROCKEFELLER AND DEATH ROW, CONT. Continued from page 10 Representing a disproportionate number, 11 of the 15 inmates who had their sentences commuted were African American. Rockefeller was well aware of the racial disparities in death sentencing. In a later interview, he said, “Knowing that I was going out of office in less than two weeks, and knowing that many — particularly in the black community — felt that their hopes lay in my attitudes and philosophies, I didn’t want to fade out of office and give them the feeling that I had forgotten them or that which I had stood for.” Rockefeller received positive responses for the commutations because he explicitly tackled the thorny issue of race and criminal justice. For example, a reverend from an unidentified church in Clarksville wrote: “And when I found out that nine of the fifteen were black my gratitude for the governor’s action was greatly increased and my faith in the fairness of my state’s people and judicial system suffered a serious blow.” 32

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Civil rights leaders in Arkansas uniformly congratulated Rockefeller on his decision. Howard Love, executive director of the Little Rock Urban League, predicted that Rockefeller’s decision itself would be rehabilitative for the commuted men, calling it “an act of wisdom and great moral courage.” Elijah Coleman, executive director of the Arkansas Council on Human Relations (ACHR), an organization formed to promote civil rights and equality between the races, praised Rockefeller’s action an act of humanitarianism. Coleman took it as evidence that, “a man’s race, wealth, and national origin has nothing to do with his concern with human problems and human life.” Some praised Rockefeller’s public request that other governors follow his lead and commute death row prison sentences in their states. An editorial from the Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine commended Rockefeller, saying, “Governor Rockefeller has set a good example for other governors in this noteworthy action.” The Marked Tree Tribune also congratu-

lated him: “Governor Rockefeller did what he thought Arkansas and the nation would remember him best by — that of bringing a new point of preparation for the 20th century growth into the subject of capital punishment ... his programs have been urged to be followed by other state governors.” Gov. Dale Bumpers later admitted that Rockefeller’s decision to commute sentences had saved him from having to make some potentially very difficult decisions when he succeeded him in office: “[He] saved me from some traumatic decisions ... I was worried when I was campaigning that if I won, I might have to sign off on an execution. [But] I didn’t have to.” There were other legal and political legacies to Rockefeller’s actions. Most notably, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun made mention of Rockefeller’s decision in his 1972 opinion in Furman v. Georgia. The case ruled on the constitutionality of capital punishment in relation to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” and led to a national moratorium in carrying

out death sentences until 1976. Blackmun said in his dissenting opinion, “And were I the chief executive of a sovereign State, I would be sorely tempted to exercise executive clemency as Governor Rockefeller of Arkansas did recently just before he departed from office.” What happened to those 15 men whose sentences Rockefeller commuted back in 1970? A Dallas Morning News article in 2003 provided a status update: two of the prisoners had died in jail; four remained imprisoned; nine had been paroled; and some had been discharged after their parole ended. Only one paroled prisoner, Daniel Montgomery, was again convicted and sent back to prison.

Andrea Ringer is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Public History master’s program and completed her thesis on Winthrop Rockefeller and the death penalty. She is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Memphis.

Hey, do this!

m a r c hFUN!

Food, Music, Entertainment and everything else that’s MARCH 1


She needs no introduction. It’s Cher. The worldwide superstar will perform at Verizon Arena on her Dressed to Kill Tour with special guests Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo. Tickets are $36.50-$127 and available online at www.


Let the good times roll at SoMa’s annual Mardi Gras parade. Several local events tie into the festivities, including the Little Rock Tweed Ride at 11 a.m. The parade starts at noon. Meanwhile at Bernice Garden, judging will begin the 2nd Annual Little Rock Beard Growing Contest sponsored by the Root Café. Multiple awards will be bestowed on the hairiest dudes in the capital city in categories like Best ‘Burns and ‘Stache Combo and Best Aging Hipster.

MARCH 11-12

Nashville’s Billy

Currington makes a stop on

his We Are Tonight Tour at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Tickets are $45 and $49. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Special guests Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice will open. Tickets are available at


Robinson Center Music Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $14-$53 and available online at www.

The Van-Dells, the nation’s #1 rock revue. Hear all the hits from the ’50s and ‘60s in a mix of music and comedy. For show times and tickets, visit www.

The Argenta Krewe of Barkus Parade takes place at

5th and Maple at 3 p.m. Bring your dogs, and wear your most festive Mardi Gras attire.


The finals of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase take place at Rev Room at 9 p.m. The emcee for the evening will be Cher impersonator, Ambrosia Bordeaux, who will also give away a pair of tickets to the upcoming Cher, Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo concert at Verizon Arena on March 28. And the winners of the Wakarusa and Bonnaroo ticket contest will be announced that night. You must be present to win. For details, including a list of bands in the finals, visit

Known as the world’s best young Elvis, Travis



Tickets are on sale now for Merle Haggard live at Robinson Center Music Hall at 7 p.m. Presented by Celebrity Attractions, this is a rare show by the legendary troubadour who has penned dozens of songs about hard living and loving. Tickets are $50.50-$77.50. Call the Celebrity Attractions box office at 501-244-8800 for more info.


MARCH 13-15

Murry’s Dinner Playhouse presents

Jeremy Luke Roberts

biggest nights for local designers. The event will take place at the Clear Channel Metroplex at 7 p.m. and showcase the collections of rising talents in the industry.

Verdi’s Requiem at

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce the return of Douglas Webster to MainStage as Jean Valjean in the unforgettable classic, Les Misérables, the world’s longestrunning musical. Seen by over 60 million people in 42 countries, the captivating classic that depicts passion and destruction in 19th century France went on to become an Academy Award-winning motion picture. But there is no substitute for the emotional connection of experiencing Les Mis onstage. The production runs through April 6. For tickets and show times, visit


The Designer’s Choice Fashion Preview is one of the

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performs


Tulips in the Heights will be having A Matilda Jane Trunk show. Doors open at 12 pm and the show ends at 5pm. For more information you can check them out on Facebook at “Tulips in Little Rock” or visit the shop at 5817 Kavanaugh Blvd, Little Rock AR 72207 (501)614-7343



captures the sound, spirit, look of the late Elvis Aaron Presley. He and his impressive threepiece band have wowed audiences worldwide. Don’t miss dinner and a show at Murry’s Dinner Playhouse. For tickets and show times, visit www.

The 10th Annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival Hot Springs, Arkansas • March 14 – 18, 2014


The VOV is a small venue festival featuring music, workshops and visual art of today’s artistic innovators. All events are all ages, smoke free, and handicap accessible. This year’s line up includes, Oberhofer, Fenster, My Gold Mask and many more talented performers... For information about The VOV, please visit february 27, 2014


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ THE NEW LOCATION OF ROCKET 21 celebrated its grand opening last weekend at 2 Riverfront Place in North Little Rock’s Wyndham Hotel. The previous incarnation of the restaurant, at 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. in Little Rock, closed in early January. General manager Donnie Rieathbaum said diners have been pleased with the new digs so far. The new location has been holding soft opening previews since Valentine’s Day, and Rieathbaum — who also manages Riverfront Steakhouse for Rocket 21 owner Frank Fletcher — said the staff recently finished hanging Rocket 21’s collection of “Blue Dog” paintings by the late South Louisiana artist George Rodrigue. The goal with the North Little Rock space, Rieathbaum said, was to keep the food and service offered at the Kavanaugh restaurant while taking the decor and furnishings to a new level. “We’ve built a huge private dining room,” Rieathbaum said. “We’ve put in new flooring, new carpeting, new wine cabinets. We’ve still got lighting coming. The food is the same. We brought the chefs over from 21 and the serving staff... We’re going to try to keep it as similar as possible to what it was over there.” As for the old location on Kavanaugh, a letter on the Rocket 21 website ( by owner Frank Fletcher promises “a new concept and exciting new business” in the works. SHOWING UP ON THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD’S listings this week is a permit filed by the latest tenant in a cluster of restaurants at Markham and University: A new location of the Newk’s Eatery chain. The new restaurant will reportedly be located in The Park Avenue Shops at 314 S. University, Suite 180. The fast/casual sandwich, soup, pizza and salad chain, with franchises all over the South, has a very popular location at 4317 Warden Road, near McCain Mall in North Little Rock.




ACADIA A jewel of a restaurant in Hillcrest. Unbelievable fixed-price, three-course dinners on Mondays and Tuesday, but food is certainly worth full price. 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-603-9630. D Mon.-Sat. BIG ORANGE: BURGERS SALADS SHAKES Gourmet burgers manufactured according to exacting specs (humanely raised beef!) and 34

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Jones Bar-B-Q Diner 219 W. Louisiana St. Marianna 870-295-3802

QUICK BITE Here’s our best tip: Plan to get there early. Jones’ closes whenever they run out of meat, which on a busy weekend day is often by 10:30 a.m. In fact, many customers start to show up at 7 a.m. to ensure they’ll get their barbecue for the day. Often bought by the pound, the pork flies out the door on the busiest days. Don’t forget to ask for the short tour around back in order to get a look at their cinderblock smoking pits.

RENOWN: Jones Bar-B-Q’s chopped pork sandwich.

An Arkansas classic Jones Bar-B-Q is worth a visit to Marianna.


n the early part of 2012, Jones Bar-BQ in Marianna became the first and only restaurant in Arkansas to receive a prestigious James Beard Award. Jones, which has been in business in Marianna in some fashion since the 1910s, was honored by the Beard Foundation as one of its “American Classics,” and praised for its commitment to quality and respect for its heritage. In a statement announcing the prize, the Beard Foundation praised Jones as a “beacon of community pride and continuity.” Your humble reviewer is relatively new to Arkansas, after spending years enjoying barbecue in Texas. So far, we’re sorry to say, we’ve been underwhelmed by the barbecue we’ve sampled in Central Arkansas. There’s some decent meat to be had, even some good options in these parts, but we’ve yet to find any offering smoked meat that could really put Arkansas on the map where barbecue is concerned. Why expect anything less? Arkansas sits at the crossroads of some of the celebrated barbecue trails in America — Memphis, Texas and Kansas City. Where is Arkansas’s version of Franklin Barbecue? Where is our Oklahoma Joe’s? Sadly, we’ve yet to find it. Because of the Beard award, we decided

WORTHY OF THE PRIZE: Jones’ James Beard Award.

it was obligatory to make the nearly twohour journey from Little Rock to Marianna to determine if Jones is truly a beacon of hope for the Arkansas barbecue foodscape. Walking into Jones, one is immediately immersed in a tiny, antique world of cinderblock, dust and smoke. On the walls, you’ll spot ancient photos and newspaper clippings. The shiny silver medallion awarded by the Beard Foundation hangs clumsily on one wall in a small square shadow box. Customers are herded into a small, oneroom dining area holding two small tables and a few wooden chairs. You walk up to the order window, place your order, and within minutes your food is brought to the table. The menu is about as simple as it comes — it’s just pork. Chopped pork by

HOURS 7 a.m. until they run out of meat (usually 1 p.m.) OTHER INFO Cash only.

the pound ($6 per) or on a sandwich ($3) with or without slaw. We settled down, plates teeming with pork, and got right down to business. The sandwich was good. The pork itself was finely chopped, tender and flavorful. It comes with a touch of slightly sweet and tangy vinegar-based red sauce, which gives the meat a wetter texture than other smoked pork shoulder we’ve eaten. The slaw was the perfect accompaniment, too. This was not the sloppy, mayonnaise-laden version more commonly seen on other such sandwiches. Instead it was a lighter, mustard-based mixture that added a slightly crunchy element to the mix. Our only criticism would be their use of flimsy Wonder bread. It’s fine bread, and does not distract from the otherwise exceptional flavor, but it quickly becomes soaked with sauce and could easily turn soggy if the sandwich is not consumed quickly. Does Jones really deserve a James Beard award? As far as this reviewer and party were concerned, the answer is a resounding yes. Jones deserves to be recognized as an American classic. Jones’ may never become the sort of place people fly from New York City to visit, but I’m not sure that’s all that important to the Jones family. From our extraordinarily friendly hosts (Mrs. Jones actually gave each of us a hug on our way out the door), to the hallowed cinderblock pits around the back of the diner that have been in place longer than most Marianna residents can remember — this was an experience to remember.

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

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FAST LUNCH TURNAROUND! properly fried Kennebec potatoes are the big draws, but you can get a veggie burger as well as fried chicken, curried falafel and blackened tilapia sandwiches, plus creative meal-sized salads. Shakes and floats are indulgences for all ages. 17809 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-1515. LD daily. 207 N. University Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-379-8715. LD daily. BLACK ANGUS CAFE Charcoal-grilled burgers, hamburger steaks and steaks proper are the big draws at this local institution. 10907 N. Rodney Parham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-228-7800. LD Mon.-Sat. BOBBY’S CAFE Delicious, humungo burgers and tasty homemade desserts at this Levy diner. 12230 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-851-7888. BL Tue.-Fri., D Fri. BOSCOS RESTAURANT & BREWERY CO. This River Market brewery does food well, too. Along with the tried and true, like sandwiches, burgers, steaks and big salads, they have entrees like black bean and goat cheese tamales, open hearth pizza ovens and muffalettas. 500 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-907-1881. LD daily. BOUDREAUX’S GRILL & BAR A homey, seatyourself Cajun joint in Maumelle that serves up all sorts of variations of shrimp and catfish. With particularly tasty red beans and rice, jambalaya and bread pudding. 9811 Maumelle Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-753-6860. L Sat., D Mon.-Sat. BOULEVARD BREAD CO. Fresh bread, fresh pastries, wide selection of cheeses, meats, side dishes; all superb. Good coffee, too. 1920 N. Grant St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-6635951. BLD Mon.-Sat. 400 President Clinton Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1232. BL Mon.-Sat. 4301 W. Markham St. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-526-6661. BL Mon.-Fri. 1417 Main St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-5100. BL Mon.-Sat. BREWSTERS 2 CAFE & LOUNGE Down-home done right. Check out the yams, mac-andcheese, greens, purple-hull peas, cornbread, wings, catfish and all the rest. 2725 S. Arch St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-301-7728. LD Mon.-Sat. BUTCHER SHOP The cook-your-own-steak option has been downplayed, and several menu additions complement the calling card: large, fabulous cuts of prime beef, cooked to perfection. 10825 Hermitage Road. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-312-2748. D daily. CAJUN’S WHARF The venerable seafood restaurant serves up great gumbo and oysters Bienville, and options such as fine steaks for the non-seafood eater. In the citified bar, you’ll find nightly entertainment, too. 2400 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-5351. D Mon.-Sat. CAPERS It’s never been better, with as good a wine list as any in the area, and a menu that covers a lot of ground — seafood, steaks, pasta — and does it all well. 14502 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-868-7600. LD Mon.-Sat. COMMUNITY BAKERY This sunny downtown bakery is the place to linger over a latte, bagels and the New York Times. But a lunchtime dash for sandwiches is OK, too, though it’s often packed. 1200 S. Main St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$.

501-375-7105. BLD daily. 270 S. Shackleford. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-1656. BLD Mon.-Sat. BL Sun. COPPER GRILL Comfort food, burgers and more sophisticated fare at this River Marketarea hotspot. 300 E. Third St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3333. LD Mon.-Sat. DAVE’S PLACE A popular downtown soupand-sandwich stop at lunch draws a large and diverse crowd for the Friday night dinner, which varies in theme, home cooking being the most popular. Owner Dave Williams does all the cooking and his son, Dave also, plays saxophone and fronts the band that plays most Friday nights. 201 Center St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-3283. L Mon.-Fri., D Fri. DAVID FAMILY KITCHEN Call it soul food or call it down-home country cooking. Just be sure to call us for breakfast or lunch when you go. Neckbones, ribs, sturdy cornbread, salmon croquettes, mustard greens and the like. Desserts are exceptionally good. 2301 Broadway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-3710141. BL Mon.-Fri., L Sun. DELICIOUS TEMPTATIONS Decadent breakfast and light lunch items that can be ordered in full or half orders to please any appetite or palate, with a great variety of salads and soups as well. Don’t miss the bourbon pecan pie — it’s a winner. 11220 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-225-6893. BL daily. DIZZY’S GYPSY BISTRO Interesting bistro fare, served in massive portions at this River Market favorite. 200 River Market Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3500. LD Tue.-Sat. THE FADED ROSE The Cajun-inspired menu seldom disappoints. Steaks and soaked salads are legendary. 1619 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-9734. LD daily. FLYING SAUCER A popular River Market hangout thanks to its almost 200 beers (including 75 on tap) and more than decent bar food. It’s now non-smoking, so families are welcome. 323 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-8032. LD daily. FOX AND HOUND Sports bar that serves pub food. 2800 Lakewood Village. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-753-8300. LD daily. FRANKE’S CAFETERIA Plate lunch spot strong on salads and vegetables, and perfect fried chicken on Sundays. Arkansas’s oldest continually operating restaurant. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-2254487. LD daily. 400 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-372-1919. L Mon.-Fri. FRONTIER DINER The traditional all-American roadside diner, complete with a nice selection of man-friendly breakfasts and lunch specials. The half-pound burger is a two-hander for the average working Joe. 10424 Interstate 30. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-6414. BL Mon.-Sat. GADWALL’S GRILL Once two separate restaurants, a fire forced the grill into the pizza joint. Now, under one roof, there’s mouth-watering burgers and specialty sandwiches, plus zesty pizzas with cracker-thin crust and plenty of toppings. 12 North Hills Shopping Center. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-834-1840. LD daily. B Fri.-Sun. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

Daily Drink Specials Weekend Brunch Menu Happy Hour Tues-Fri 3-6pm Open Late Catering Available Sun, Tue, Wed, Thu - 11am–11pm Fri & Sat - 11am–Midnight

* Feb 26 - Mar 4 2014

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DINING CAPSULES, CONT. IZZY’S Sandwiches and fries, lots of fresh salads, pasta about a dozen ways, hand-rolled tamales and brick oven pizzas. 5601 Ranch Drive. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-868-4311. LD Mon.-Sat. LITTLEFIELD’S CAFE The owners of the Starlite Diner have moved their cafe to the Kroger Shopping Center on JFK, where they are still serving breakfast all day, as well as plate lunches, burgers and sandwiches. 6929 John F. Kennedy Blvd. NLR. No alcohol. 501-771-2036. BLD Mon.-Sat., BL Sun. MARKHAM STREET GRILL AND PUB The menu has something for everyone, including mahi-mahi and wings. Try the burgers, which are juicy, big and fine. 11321 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-2010. LD daily. RED DOOR Fresh seafood, steaks, chops and sandwiches from restaurateur Mark Abernathy. Smart wine list. 3701 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-666-8482. BL Tue.-Fri. D daily. BR Sat. RENO’S ARGENTA CAFE Sandwiches, gyros and gourmet pizzas by day and music and drinks by night in downtown Argenta. 312 N. Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-3762900. LD Mon.-Sat. RIVERFRONT STEAKHOUSE Steaks are the draw here — nice cuts heavily salted and peppered, cooked quickly and accurately to your specifications, finished with butter and served sizzling hot. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-7825. D Mon.-Sat. ROCKET TWENTY ONE The former Hillcrest fine-dining restaurant, now in a new location by the Riverfront Wyndham hotel. 2 Riverfront Drive. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$$-$$$$. 501-6039208. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat. ROUTE 66 DINER Kid-friendly ‘50s diner with a menu of classics, including chicken and waffles. 7710 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-223-3366. BLD Mon.-Sat. RUDY’S OYSTER BAR Good boiled shrimp and oysters on the half shell. Quesadillas and chili cheese dip are tasty and ultra-hearty. 2695 Pike Ave. NLR. Full bar, All CC. 501-771-0808. LD Mon.-Sat. SO RESTAURANT BAR Call it a French brasserie with a sleek, but not fussy American finish. The wine selection is broad and choice. Free valet parking. Use it and save yourself a headache. 3610 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-1464. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. STICKYZ ROCK ‘N’ ROLL CHICKEN SHACK

Fingers any way you can imagine, plus sandwiches and burgers, and a fun setting for music and happy hour gatherings. 107 Commerce St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-7707. LD daily. TOWN PUMP A dependable burger, good wings, great fries, other bar food, plate lunches, full bar. 1321 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-9802. LD daily. TRIO’S Fresh, creative and satisfying lunches; even better at night, when the chefs take flight. Best array of fresh desserts in town. 8201 Cantrell Road Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-3330. LD Mon.-Sat., BR Sun. YANCEY’S CAFETERIA Soul food served with a Southern attitude. 1523 Martin Luther King Ave. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-372-9292. LD Tue.-Sat. YOUR MAMA’S GOOD FOOD Offering simple and satisfying cafeteria food, with burgers and more hot off the grill, plate lunches and pies. 215 Center St. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-3721811. L Mon.-Fri. ZACK’S PLACE Expertly prepared home cooking and huge, smoky burgers. 1400 S. University Ave. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-6646444. LD Mon.-Sat.


CHI’S CHINESE CUISINE No longer owned by Chi’s founder Lulu Chi, this Chinese mainstay still offers a broad menu that spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings. 5110 W. Markham St. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-604-7777. LD Mon.-Sat. CRAZY HIBACHI GRILL The folks that own Chi’s and Sekisui offer their best in a three-inone: tapanaki cooking, sushi bar and sit-down dining with a Mongolian grill. 2907 Lakewood Village. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-8129888. LD daily. FANTASTIC CHINA The food is delicious, the presentation beautiful, the menu distinctive, the service perfect, the decor bright. 1900 N. Grant St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-663-8999. LD daily. LILLY’S DIMSUM THEN SOME Innovative dishes inspired by Asian cuisine, utilizing local and fresh ingredients. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-716-2700. LD Tue.-Sun. MT. FUJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT The dean of Little Rock sushi bars offers a fabulous lunch special and great Monday night deals. 10301

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Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-227-6498. LD daily. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-227-6498. OSAKA JAPANESE RESTAURANT Veteran operator of several local Asian buffets has brought fine-dining Japanese dishes and a well-stocked sushi bar to way-out-west Little Rock, near Chenal off Highway 10. 5501 Ranch Dr. $$-$$$. 501-868-3688. L Tue.-Sat., D Tue.-Sun. SKY MODERN JAPANESE Excellent, ambitious menu filled with sushi and other Japanese fare and Continental-style dishes. 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 917. Full bar, All CC. $$$-$$$$. 501-224-4300. LD daily. SUSHI CAFE Impressive, upscale sushi menu with other delectable house specialties like tuna tataki, fried soft shell crab, Kobe beef and, believe it or not, the Tokyo cowboy burger. 5823 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-9888. L Mon.-Sat. D daily.


CORKY’S RIBS & BBQ The pulled pork is extremely tender and juicy, and the sauce is sweet and tangy without a hint of heat. Maybe the best dry ribs in the area. 12005 Westhaven Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-954-7427. LD daily. 2947 Lakewood Village Drive. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-753-3737. LD daily, B Sat.-Sun. WHITE PIG INN Go for the sliced rather than chopped meats at this working-class barbecue cafe. Side orders — from fries to potato salad to beans and slaw — are superb, as are the fried pies. 5231 E. Broadway. NLR. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-945-5551. LD Mon.-Fri., L Sat. WHOLE HOG CAFE The pulled pork shoulder is a classic, the back ribs are worthy of their many blue ribbons, and there’s a six-pack of sauces for all tastes. A real find is the beef brisket, cooked the way Texans like it. 516 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-664-5025. LD Mon.-Sat. 12111 W. Markham. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-907-6124. LD daily. 150 E. Oak St. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-513-0600. LD Mon.-Sat., L Sun. 5107 Warden Road. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-753-9227.


ALADDIN KABAB Persian and Mexican cuisines sound like an odd pairing, but they work fairly well together here. Particularly if you’re ordering something that features charred meat, like a kabab or gyros. 9112 N Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. 501-219-8787. LD daily. CAFE BOSSA NOVA A South American approach to sandwiches, salads and desserts, all quite good, as well as an array of refreshing South American teas and coffees. 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-614-6682. LD Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. DUGAN’S PUB Serves up Irish fare like fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage alongside classic bar food. The chicken fingers and burgers stand out. Irish breakfast all day. 401 E. 3rd St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-0542. LD daily. GEORGIA’S GYROS Good gyros, Greek salads and fragrant grilled pita bread highlight a large Mediterranean food selection, plus burgers and the like. 2933 Lakewood Village Drive. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-753-5090. LD Mon.-Sat. HIBERNIA IRISH TAVERN This traditional Irish pub has its own traditional Irish cook from, where else, Ireland. Broad beverage menu, Irish and Southern food favorites and a crowd that likes to sing. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-246-4340. D Mon.-Sat., L Sun.

LAYLA’S GYROS AND PIZZERIA Delicious Mediterranean fare — gyros, falafel, shawarma, kabobs, hummus and babaganush — that has a devoted following. All meat is slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law. 9501 N Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7272. LD daily (close 5 p.m. on Sun.). TAZIKI’S GREEK FARE Fast casual chain that offers gyros, grilled meats and veggies, hummus and pimento cheese. 8200 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-227-8291. LD daily. 12800 Chenal Parkway. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-225-1829. LD daily. YA YA’S EURO BISTRO The first eatery to open in the Promenade at Chenal is a date-night affair, translating comfort food into beautiful cuisine. Best bet is lunch, where you can explore the menu through soup, salad or half a sandwich. 17711 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-1144. LD daily, BR Sun.


BRAVO! CUCINA ITALIANA This upscale Italian chain offers delicious and sometimes inventive dishes. 17815 Chenal Pkwy. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-821-2485. LD daily. BR Sun. BRUNO’S LITTLE ITALY Traditional Italian antipastos, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Extensive, delicious menu from Little Rock standby. 310 Main St. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-7866. D Tue.-Sat. GRAFFITI’S The casually chic and ever-popular Italian-flavored bistro avoids the rut with daily specials and careful menu tinkering. 7811 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-2249079. D Mon.-Sat. RISTORANTE CAPEO Authentic cooking from the boot of Italy is the draw at this cozy, brick-walled restaurant on a reviving North Little Rock’s Main Street. Familiar pasta dishes will comfort most diners, but let the chef, who works in an open kitchen, entertain you with some more exotic stuff, too, like crispy veal sweetbreads. They make their own mozzarella fresh daily. 425 Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-3463. D Mon.-Sat. ROCKY’S PUB Rocking sandwiches an Arkie used to have to head way northeast to find and a fine selection of homemade Italian entrees, including as fine a lasagna as there is. 6909 JFK Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine. $$. 501-833-1077. LD Mon.-Sat.


JUANITA’S Menu includes a variety of combination entree choices — enchiladas, tacos, flautas, shrimp burritos and such — plus creative salads and other dishes. And of course the “Blue Mesa” cheese dip. 614 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1228. LD Tue.-Sat. LA SALSA MEXICAN & PERUVIAN CUISINE Mexican and Peruvian dishes, beer and margaritas. 3824 John F. Kennedy Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. 501-753-1101. LD daily. LOCAL LIME Tasty gourmet Mex from the folks who brought you Big Orange and ZaZa. 17815 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-448-2226. LD daily. ROSALINDA RESTAURANT HONDURENO A Honduran cafe that specializes in pollo con frito tajada (fried chicken and fried plaintains). With breakfast, too. 3700 JFK Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-771-5559. BLD daily. TACO MEXICO Tacos have to be ordered at least two at a time, but that’s not an impediment. These are some of the best and some of the cheapest tacos in Little Rock. 7101 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-4167002. LD Wed.-Sun.



CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE YEARS IN DINING ATTENTION READERS Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tallied your votes and the results are final. March 6 we reveal the favorite restaurants from central Arkansas in all parts of the state ... Best Overall

Best Chinese

Best Japanese

Best New

Best Coffee

Best Mexican

Best Chef

Best Deli/Gourmet to go

Best Other Ethic

Best Server

Best Desserts

Best Pizza

Best Bakery

Best Food Truck

Best Place for Kids

Best Barbecue

Best Fried Chicken

Best Romantic

Best Breakfast

Best Fun Dining

Best Seafood

Best Brunch

Best Gluten Free

Best Steak

Best Buffet

Best Burger

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Best Business Lunch

Best Home Cookinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Best Wine List

Best Catfish

Best Indian

Best Yogurt

Best Italian Top vote getters in Benton/Bryant, Conway, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville/Springdale/Rogers/Bentonville and Hot Springs

Finalists in the 2014 Readers Choice Awards will receive an invitation to a celebration of 33 Years in Fine Dining on March 12. HOSTED AT THE Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute


FEB. 27, 2014

Shop SoMa

Sweet Home Furnishings and Clement

Esse Museum Store

Green Corner Store

Moxy Modern Mercantile

SoMa in December. “If you told me two years ago that we’d move down here, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Clement said. “But, things are really starting to happened down here. It’s a beautiful space, and it felt like the right time.” Since moving to SoMa, Clement said he’s been surprised at the amount of foot traffic and at the number of young people and young families that live nearby and stop at his shop. “It’s a different energy, more urban,” he said. “I really love the diversity of the neighborhood. We knew we would like it, but we were not prepared for how busy we would be and how much was going on down here. It was a good move all the way around.” Even though both Moxy and Sweet Home/Clement sell vintage pieces and there’s another vintage shop nearby, East Ninth Vintage, shop owners say the neighborhood is a collaboration and everyone works to cross-promote one another. Kahler and Clement credit Green for being a pioneer in setting up shop in SoMa and echo her more-the-merrier sentiment when it comes to new retailers moving in. Romco Drums/Rosen Music Company and Piano Kraft are other retailers located along Main Street. “We want to be a complement and not compete with other businesses,” Kahler said. “We’re not worried about competi-

tion,” Clement said. “It gives people even more reasons to come downtown and stay. The more, the better.” Hillis Schild of the Southside Main Street Project said the area always needs more businesses, and many building owners work to promote the area to attract them. “Our purpose is to promote economic development along South Main,” she said. “We like to create opportunity for viable businesses and see them grow and be sustainable.” Schild said an announcement of a new business in SoMa is coming soon, but she declined to provide details about the business or specify if it is retail.

Retailers continue popping up in this growing neighborhood. BY ERICA SWEENEY PHOTOS BY BRIAN CHILSON


hen Shelley Green opened The Green Corner Store in the SoMa neighborhood in 2009, it was the only shop around. But she saw the area’s potential and knew more retailers would follow. SoMa refers to Southside Main Street, the stretch of Main between I-630 and Roosevelt Road. In the past year, SoMa has seen the opening of new shops and the relocation of others to the area, quickly making it a downtown destination. Green said this is what she had envisioned when she set up shop. “I wished for more shops when I moved in,” she said. “I didn’t know how long it would take, but it couldn’t happen fast enough for me. So much has happened lately, and I have been pleasantly surprised. With more retail, it attracts more customers and everyone benefits.” The newest shop on the block, Moxy Modern Mercantile, just opened earlier this month, and owners (and husband-and-wifeteam) Lara Kahler and Jon Estelita say they couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. They say they love the energy and vibe of SoMa, with lots of walkers and cyclists passing by. “I love being down here,” Kahler said. “This is the place.” Kahler also runs the Esse Purse Museum shop across the street from Moxy. The museum and shop opened in June 2013 to showcase the collection of Anita Davis, who owns the building housing the museum and

the one across the street, where Green Corner Store and Moxy are located. Since opening, Davis said the museum has brought many people to the area. Kahler said visitors can shop at Esse, even if they don’t tour the museum. The museum shop carries an array of purses, wallets, jewelry, scarves and hats. The shop focuses on artisanal products in a variety of price points, and it’s the only place in the country that carries Anya Sushko handbags, Kahler said. Even though Moxy has just opened, Kahler said she has no plans to leave Esse. She is also a buyer for Kahler-Payne Antiques in Hillcrest, owned by her mother and aunt. Moxy brings an eclectic mix of vintage and modern to SoMa’s retail lineup, she and Estelita explain. The shop features vintage furniture, along with records, house wares, accessories, food items, locally made products and lots more. “It’s the juxtaposition of the new and old together, things that shouldn’t go together but actually do,” Kahler said. Estelita said Moxy is a “good place to linger,” and being in SoMa reminds him of the boroughs of his native San Francisco. Business has been so go so far that they are already restocking items, he said.

ROOM FOR GROWTH Down Main Street, Chris Clement and John Bell just moved their antique and vintage shop from Hillcrest. They re-opened Sweet Home Furnishings and Clement in

A NEIGHBORHOOD OF POSSIBILITIES The beautiful architecture and shop space are what first attracted Green to SoMa. “I wanted a walkable neighborhood. I wanted natural light. I wanted a door that opened to the outside,” Green said, explaining all that she loved about her spot. She said she could foresee a lifestyle change, as shoppers started paying more attention to the origins of their purchases. And, she knew the possibilities because of what the neighborhood had once been, full of shops and community. That’s why Green has dedicated much of her space to locally made items, along with

hearsay ➥ KEN RASH’S OUTDOOR FURNITURE is moving, and now is the time to stock up decorative accessories and furniture because they’re currently marked down 20-60 percent. The new Ken Rash’s location will be at 11220 N. Rodney Parham in the Pleasant Valley Plaza shopping center. If you picked up the Welcome Home 2014 special section by the Times, you’d already have most of the scoop. The projected opening date is in March, and the store will occupy at least half of the strip center (Lawrie 38

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Rash bought the center last year and gave the exterior a massive face-lift). This means a larger showroom with an expanded selection of interior decorative pieces, the addition of gas logs and fireplace accessories, and a new focus on outdoor kitchens. So go now to get great deals at the Cantrell location, and check this space to find out when the new location will be open. ➥ L&L BECK GALLERY’S March exhibit will be “Potpourri,” or a sampling of our various other exhibits.

The giclée giveaway of the month is “Bodemeister by 9 ½,” and the drawing will be held at 7 p.m. March 17. The exhibit runs through the end of March. ➥ Looking to support local artists and craftsmen, but want to do it from the comfort of your own home? Then check out WWW.ARTISANARKANSAS.COM, brought to you by BOURBON AND BOOTS and the TIMES. At the website, you’ll find hand-crafted items, from jewelry to paper crafts to bath and beauty products.

ARKANSAS TIMES MARKETPLACE natural and environmentally friendly products. Supporting Arkansas-made products keeps money circulating in the community, which has “exponential benefit,” she said. Two years after opening, Green partnered with Sally Mengel and Rachel Moore to serve their Loblolly Creamery products from the soda fountain at Green Corner Store. The addition of Loblolly’s smallbatch ice cream, sodas and other goodies made from mostly local ingredients has brought a different experience to SoMa, Green said. Interestingly, Green said the shop, which is about 100 years old, operated for 70 years as a pharmacy with a soda fountain. While the soda fountain and fixtures at the store are not original to the space, they are roughly the same age. While not so much on shoppers’ minds a few years ago, shopping local is a trend that Clement said has staying power. “People want to know where their stuff is coming from and to know their neighbors and do business with their neighbors,” he said. Green, who lives about five blocks from Green Corner Store, said shopping local gives shopkeepers the opportunity to know their customers and vice versa. “People like supporting something that’s different,” she said. “When something is locally owned and operated, shopkeepers can respond immediately to customer requests. Customers can see the things Arkansans are making, and that is really changing the landscape of retail.” No one is quite sure what the future holds for retail in SoMa, but everyone is buzzing with excitement about all that the neighborhood has to offer. It’s a community, Estelita said, and now “feels like a good time” to be there. “It’s an entirely different experience,” Green said. “You can go from store to store, and stay for dinner, drinks and entertainment.” “It’s like a little slice of a big place,” Kahler said.

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Yellow Fever, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Flu and Hookworm A Fascinating History of Arkansas’s 200 Year Battle Against Disease and Pestilence

Health THE


Tory of a narraTIvE HIS aS EaSE In arkanS HEaLTH and dIS Art, M.D. by Sam Tagg

s, M.D. Joseph H. Bate Preface by

This is a great history of Arkansas that tells how public attitudes toward medicine, politics and race have shaped the public health battle against deadly and debilitating disease in the state. From the illnesses that plagued the state’s earliest residents to the creation of what became the Arkansas Department of Health, Sam Taggart’s “The Public’s Health: A Narrative History of Health and Disease in Arkansas” tells the fascinating medical history of Arkansas. Published by the Arkansas Times.


Payment: Check Or Credit Card Order By Mail: Arkansas Times Books P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203 Phone: 501-375-2985 Fax: 501-375-3623

96 PP. Soft Cover • Shipping And Handling: $3

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Mental Health Services of Southern Oklahoma (MHSSO) is searching for an Executive Director with excellence in organizational management. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission. All candidates should possess proven leadership, the ability to manage and develop highperformance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget. Other qualifications include: MBA in hospital administration, public health, or mental health related field with 3 years of senior management experience preferred; Candidates with a BA and 5 years of administrative experience will be considered. Please contact: Stacy Leach @ (580) 223-5070 or sleach@ Ardmore is home to businesses, cultural and tourist areas and is considered the central hub of a ten county region - a bustling metropolis with a population of over 25,000 that lies 30 miles North of the Texas border and 90 miles South of Oklahoma City on Interstate 35. MHSSO provides services in Bryan, Carter, Garvin, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Murray, Pontotoc, and Seminole counties.

Call Center Customer Service Agent Needed Position is full time with benefits starting at $9.00/hr. Must be flexible to work any hours between 7:30 am and 9:00 pm. Applicant must be dependable and professional. We are a drug free and smoke free company. EOE Send resumes to: Account Advisor Position P.O. Box 384 Bryant, AR 72089 Note: Office is located in Bryant, Arkansas

FEBRUARY 27, 2014


Ar times 2 27 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics

Ar times 2 27 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics