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MARCH 6, 2014



RIP Cosmic Cowboy On Jan. 20 I received the following voicemail: “What do you say, Brother Buffington? You just forget your ole ghetto buddies when you move up in the high ranks of the bureaucracy, don’t ya? Give me a call when you get a chance, bud.” The individual responsible for the voicemail was the pony-tailed, scruffy and often politely irreverent Dennis Beavers. Dennis, who passed away Feb. 20, was a longtime community organizer, social activist, homeless advocate and self-dubbed “cosmic cowboy.” Dennis, easily identified by his long white hair, natural charisma and suspiciously empty pack of Pall Malls, was the founder of The SOAR Network. It officially launched in the summer of 2009 after Dennis recruited a group of ragamuffin AmeriCorps members, homeless volunteers and friends of the un-housed from all over Little Rock. I was one of those AmeriCorps members, and I spent almost every day for a year and a half with Dennis. The experience changed me forever. He was my greatest mentor. Some days, he was even my friend. The SOAR Network has long since inspired collaboration in a way that was previously unprecedented in Little Rock. Which is exactly what Dennis wanted when he said people needed to “share their toys and play nice together.” The thing about Dennis was that he didn’t always play by the rules. Or any rules, for that matter. As far as I know, he was the first person to ever bring homeless folks to the city-sponsored Homeless Coalition meetings. A novel idea, I know. Dennis was tired of people in offices making decisions for people on the streets. He wanted the homeless to have a seat at the table, to be a part of the solution to their own problems. He knew that people on the streets had a piece of the puzzle, as he would often say. Everyone has a piece of the puzzle. Dennis took the hardcore homeless (his words) into his home, and he worked tirelessly to help them find their way. But Dennis knew he couldn’t do this alone. He wanted the SOAR Network to be a community effort, a community barn raising, as he would put it. He wanted us to come together to help Arkansans in need. In his words, he wanted us “to bring the cosmic to the concrete.” The SOAR Network was the culmination of one man’s endless journey to do the work of the “cosmic coach.” The SOAR Network is his living legacy. I would dare say Dennis was a prophet. See, prophets don’t just foretell the future, but they confront the present. That’s exactly what Dennis did. Every day. He spoke truth to power. He spoke truth to the unjust systems in our society that disenfranchise people based on their economic status, race, physical abilities and sexuality. Cornell West said, “There is always a 4

MARCH 6, 2014


fundamental tension between a commitment to truth and a quest for power.” Dennis was committed to truth: finding it, speaking it and living it. For Dennis, however, this obviously wasn’t about partisan politics. In fact, I never heard Dennis talk about politics, other than to occasionally refer to officeholders as “chumps” when they didn’t act with the best interests of the community in mind. He wasn’t very political. Probably because he understood that politics, by its most basic definition, means “a struggle for power and wealth.” Dennis understood that we would never create the community we wanted if we were in a constant struggle for

power and wealth, while simultaneously ignoring the truth. The truth about the poor, the hungry, the sick, the elderly, the lonely, the immigrants and the dehumanized. A deep commitment to truth and justice, a deeper commitment than I’ve ever witnessed, wasn’t enough to ward off cynical criticism, stubborn political agendas and ingrained cultural beliefs. The Archbishop Helder Camara could relate to this when he said, “When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why they have no food, they call me a Communist.” I believe this is because people will never be more defensive than when you challenge the

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validity of the systems, which they know little about but believe wholeheartedly in. However, even when facing perceivably insurmountable obstacles, Dennis would say, “Things are going wrong, so I must be doing something right.” We lost Dennis on a Thursday. A Sunday memorial took place under the Broadway Bridge in downtown Little Rock, a place of great significance for the local homeless community, their advocates and friends. Hundreds of people turned out for the memorial, undeterred by the sturdy gusts of February winds blowing down the adjacent Arkansas River. We laughed and cried, sang and sat silent, hugged and stood somber. We honored our friend. We made light of his eccentric behaviors with which we were all familiar, and we shared stories of personal, and more intimate, encounters. For many involved, Dennis’ memorial has been a call to continued action, which is exactly what he would’ve wanted. I can say that with honest certainty. Drew Buffington Little Rock


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Recently, the Arkansas DemocratGazette ran a story about the punk band, Pussy Riot, but deleted the band’s name throughout the entire article. In other words, they censored the “who” in “who, what, when, where and why.” Yet, it was in the original AP version, and numerous other papers around the country printed the article uncensored. Even Brian Williams enunciated their name on prime time news. Ironically, the D-G had no problem publishing a picture of Pussy Riot being viciously attacked with whips by a member of the Cossack militia. But they can’t print the band’s name? Allow me to make this perfectly clear: The D-G decided that a photograph of a woman being whipped in public was acceptable, but publishing the name of her band was not. Family values at its finest, eh? The members of this feminist band have suffered numerous atrocities for speaking out against Putin, including jail time. They deserve more respect than to have their name erased because some copy editor determined that readers are too delicate to handle the name of a punk band (even though AD-G has, in fact, published its name in the past). And readers of the D-G deserve more respect than to be treated like children or idiots. Ignorance, thy name is that of a Puritan and anonymous copy editor. Marck Beggs Little Rock

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It was a good week for ...

THE PRIVATE OPTION. After four previous tries, Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion received the supermajority necessary in the Arkansas House of Representative to refund it. THUNDER SLEET. After Sunday’s deluge turned into the latest round of “wintry mix,” Gov. Mike Beebe called out the National Guard on Tuesday to help the State Police and others bring aid to motorists stranded on ice-covered stretches of Interstates 40 and 55 in Northeast Arkansas. In Little Rock, Monday’s high of 28 was the lowest high temperature recorded on that date. NORTH LITTLE ROCK. A new State Veterans Home will be built on a site next to the North Little Rock Veterans Administration Hospital at Fort Roots, state Veterans Affairs Department head Cissy Rucker announced Tuesday. GOP MAJORITY. At Monday’s filing deadline, Republican candidates led Democrats 35-27 in races where no major party opposition existed, giving the GOP an edge in holding its legislative majority.

It was a bad week for ...

HOT SPRINGS. The landmark Majestic Hotel, vacant since 2006 and recently boarded up, caught fire last Thursday and kept burning as dozens of firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. Coverage of the spectacular fire kindled memories among thousands of Arkansans from the resort hotel’s happier days. CIRCUIT JUDGE MIKE MAGGIO. The judge, a candidate for the state Court of Appeals, is under investigation by the State Judicial and Disability Commission for inappropriate comments he made on an LSU fan website under the pseudonym “geauxjudge.” The comments revealed that actress Charlize Theron had adopted a child through a Faulkner County court, a proceeding that is supposed to be confidential. Geauxjudge also ridiculed Arkansas and made sexist remarks about women. LITTLE ROCK. A new survey based on FBI data shows that among the top 10 most dangerous mid-sized cities, Little Rock, ranked fifth and was one of only three that showed no improvement in its overall crime statistics in the first half of 2013 over the same period in 2012.

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MARCH 6, 2014



School truths

he Walton Family Foundation, abetted by the wealthy Stephens, Hussman, Murphy and Dillard clans, is winning the “school choice” war. Choice means, eventually, taking public tax money to pay for private school tuition. A major interim step is the charter school, a publicly financed school unaccountable to voters and sometimes run for profit. With cheerleading from a Walton-financed school at the University of Arkansas, Waltonbacked legislators have raised the cap on charter schools and opened the spigot of public money for home schoolers. A favorite beneficiary of the Waltons is Responsive Education Solutions, a Texas-based management company led by people with a history of religion-influenced thinking. Responsive Ed just won approval for a fourth charter school in Arkansas, the Quest charter school in western Little Rock. It also holds management contracts with three public school districts. The state Department of Education staff, which approved the Quest application, apparently doesn’t review curriculum. Responsive Ed’s biology workbook taught creationism, contrary to Arkansas law. In the face of publicity from an investigative article in Slate, the company has pulled the books. No word yet if it has improved its history materials, which Slate also found full of misinformation. Quest also applied to open its school to draw higher-income white people from the Little Rock School District on Rahling Road in Chenal Valley. A great deal of state Board of Education debate was about the location — in the Pulaski, not the Little Rock, School District — and the cost. Its proximity to Little Rock’s Roberts Elementary was seen as a plus. The Arkansas Times has now discovered through an FOI request that Quest, at the very meeting the Rahling site was approved, was working on relocating the school to near Shackleford and I-430, close by Little Rock’s Henderson Middle School. The landlord on Rahling proved unwilling to negotiate a lower price. A better price is a good argument to move, but it doesn’t excuse the failure to tell the state Board of Education that it was planning a dramatically different location than the one being debated. Charter school backers always claim they are all about accountability. To date, broken promises and failing charter schools have rarely resulted in state consequences. It’s time to give the word meaning. Responsive Ed shouldn’t be given a rubber stamp by department staff for its new, cheaper location. It should be made to file a new application and explain why it didn’t tell the truth. 6

MARCH 6, 2014





CHILL: Spectators watch as the 2014 Little Rock Marathon gets underway in wet and frigid conditions on Sunday.

Unfit for the bench


iling closed for Arkansas judicial races with only a scattering of contested races. At every level, many spots are filled by candidates who expected to be financed by wealthy business interests anxious to see legislated from the bench what they haven’t been able to win at the legislature: further limits on damage lawsuits. One notable victory for the Chamber of Commerce and its allies was Rhonda Wood, a Court of Appeals judge who drew no opposition for an open seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She made more than half her initial campaign contributions from the nursing home industry, which was a “tell” on her philosophy surer than a blinking, sweating poker player in a Texas hold ’em game. But a little bumpy spot emerged this week for one chamber-approved candidate. Circuit Judge Mike Maggio suffered a grievous political blow. Maggio, of Conway, made the rounds of Republican county committees politicking with his friend Wood and also scored nursing home contributions thanks to the help of UCA’s publicly paid $132,000-a-year lobbyist, Gilbert Baker of Conway, in between Baker’s money bundling for Republican legislative candidates. He was expected to win unopposed. But Blue Hog Report’s Matt Campbell, a lawyer and records sleuth, uncovered Maggio’s prolific posting under the pseudonym “geauxjudge” on an LSU fan website, Tiger Droppings. Maggio gave away his identity with personal references. Much of his writing was juvenile. It was sexist (women are only interested in bulges in pants or wallets); racist (ever see a doctor named Tanisha?); homophobic (don’t go to Disney World during gay pride week), and outlandishly scornful of Arkansas. Over and over, Mississippi native Maggio depicted Arkansas as an incestuous backwoods. Example: “What’s the most used line in Arkansas? Daddy get off of me. You’re crushing my cigarettes.” It’s an interesting question whether Maggio broke any

ethical rules with anonymous comments. But he was exposed. And litigants in his courts — women, blacks, gays, poor Arkies — now have reason to question his impartiality. Maggio brought to this race a MAX sketchy record — including messy BRANTLEY personal finances and Ethics mission discipline for spending campaign money on personal expenses. His astonishing ruling to help a negligent nursing home sued over the excruciating death of a patient — reduction of a unanimous $5 million jury verdict to $1 million — also had been noted. Blue Hog revealed more than a contemptuous judge. He revealed that Maggio, on a message board for football fans, had said that actress Charlize Theron had come to Faulkner County in 2012 to adopt her son Jackson. Adoption proceedings are secret. Maggio’s violation of that should be ground for removal from the bench. At the very minimum it was ground for voters to prefer Judge Bart Virden of Morrilton, a last-minute filer for the same Arkansas Court of Appeals seat. Shortly before press time, Maggio issued a brief no-comment, prompting his campaign consultant to quit over his apparent decision to stay in the race in the face of crippling disclosures. Maggio’s actions were already under review by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission when Blue Hog and Arkansas Blog reports appeared Monday. Even if Maggio eventually decides to get out of the Court of Appeals race, that review continues. He remains on the circuit court bench through the end of this year. There’s high irony in the development. Maggio was the designated candidate of the business lobby. Virden is a past president of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, generally pitted against the chamber of commerce in legislative battles. Looking for a strict construction conservative to advance their cause, the business lobby came up with a fistful of Tiger droppings.


ACA critics favor profits over people


ts multitude of critics have two big objections to Obamacare, the health insurance reform otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. (1) It spends too much money. (2) It doesn’t spend enough money. If the criticisms sound contradictory, it is because they are. The act greatly expands access to medical care, to literally tens of millions of people, which is costly, but it also takes steps to rein in the perpetually mushrooming costs of medical care. The evidence is that it is already very successful in doing the latter, especially in Arkansas. Obamacare’s critics object to the cost of insuring poor people but also to reversing the medical inflation that every year drives premiums and federal health spending upward. You hear complaints about both the spending and the saving from opponents of the “private option” in the Arkansas legislature. They seem clueless about the contradiction, or else they know it and count on everyone else not catching on.

But such contradictions have been the story of Obamacare from the start. Let it be said that Obamacare had ERNEST one giant problem DUMAS from the outset: the immense complexity of linking insurance to individual and employer tax liability. If you don’t want a single-payer system like Medicare, that system has been the only way anyone has dreamed up to achieve coverage for everyone. But the companies hired to create the Internet network for evaluating insurance choices and calculating whether you qualify for tax subsidies for Medicaid or private insurance, and how much of a subsidy, botched it royally last fall. Obamacare critics, though secretly rejoicing, feigned rage at the clumsy rollout. The most cynical contradiction is the Medicare Advantage scare, which started before Obamacare’s passage but has ratcheted up the past month. Letters and op-ed articles about the horrible cut in the fed-

The politicization of ‘Downton’


ecently, I had the disconcerting experience of seeing Lady Mary Crawley on a Boeing 747. Costumed as a flight attendant, she was, and looking rather alarmed at the spectacle of that great Irish lout Liam Neeson heroically rampant in the passenger cabin with a pistol. As well she might be. It was only a 30-second TV commercial for a new movie. However, it struck me as deeply wrong. I couldn’t decide which was more alarming: Lady Mary’s descent into acting, a profession only slightly more respectable in her world than prostitution, or her appearance in yet another reprise of “Air Force One,” a ludicrous thriller that ends with President Harrison Ford flinging a terrorist from the airplane’s cargo bay into the ocean. For readers unfamiliar with “Masterpiece,” I should stipulate that Lady Mary Crawley, capably played by Michelle Dockery, is an imaginary character in “Downton Abbey,” the popular BBC series that recently completed its fourth season on PBS. Dockery herself is no more an aristocrat than I, reportedly having to lose her East London

cockney accent to win the role. Yet the actress so fully incarnates the role of Lord Grantham’s eleGENE gant, acerbic eldest LYONS daughter that audiences may have difficulty accepting her in any other role. This must be a mixed blessing for Dockery. On one hand, she’s starring in the role of a lifetime. On the other, audiences confuse her with a fictional character now 125 years old. Most actors would think it’s a nice problem to have. However, Lady Mary’s a widow because Dan Stevens, the actor who played her husband, Matthew, decided against returning to the series for a fourth season, necessitating his shocking death in an automobile accident. But if “Downton Abbey” fans resist distinguishing between fact and fiction, they have nothing on the kinds of American political pundits for whom the very existence of imaginative art seems an affront. Seemingly incapable of what Coleridge called “the will-

eral subsidy for insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage plans appear in newspapers everywhere; the Arkansas Democrat Gazette published an op-ed last week from a woman complaining that her benefits were going to be cut. Actually, they don’t tell you that it is a cut in taxpayer subsidies for the insurance companies rather than a benefit cut for the patients. Rep. Tom Cotton, the Republican candidate for the Senate, raised the scare last week that Obama was cutting your Medicare. But here is the truth: If they understood the program, every U.S. taxpayer who does not own health insurance stock or a Medicare Advantage policy would be cheering the change — or would, anyway, if they were not told it had something to do with Barack Obama. The government in 1982 authorized private Medicare Advantage plans, under another name, as an alternative to regular government payments to providers, but few oldsters switched until the Republican Congress in 2003, in the Medicare prescription drug act, made it worth their while. The government tendered a huge subsidy to insurance companies so that they could offer wider benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs to Medicare enrollees, typically through HMOs and PPOs, and still make a good profit. Starting in 2006,

oldtimers like me were flooded every winter enrollment season with mail from insurance companies pushing Medicare plans that offered lower out-of-pocket costs and wider benefits — things like eyeglasses and dental work — than we got through old Medicare. Sure enough, millions switched to the Cadillac private plans every winter and Medicare’s costs soared. The theory had been that the HMOs would lower patient spending but, as simple logic told you, if you are going to provide more services and cover the insurance companies’ overhead and profits, the program is going to cost a lot more. Taxpayers and regular Medicare enrollees, through higher copays and premiums, are subsidizing the companies and Advantage enrollees. Three years later, Medicare’s commissioners noted that taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries themselves were supporting much higher spending for Advantage customers than for regular Medicare patients, which was neither fair nor economical. So the Affordable Care Act reduced the Advantage subsidy, with a net saving for the taxpayers of about $156 billion over a decade, and authorized further reductions as the average patient cost declined. You would think fiscal conservatives would be cheering. You would be mistaken.

ing suspension of disbelief,” they reduce everything to a partisan cartoon. And, yes, they come in all flavors. Over on Fox News, the popularity of a program about titled English aristocrats and their servants on a landed estate in Yorkshire 100 years ago proves the enduring popularity of inherited wealth. To Stuart Varney on “Fox & Friends,” Downton’s aristocrats are their kind of people: “They create jobs, for heaven’s sake. They’re classy; they’ve got style. And we love them. That show is wildly popular; it poses a threat to the left, doesn’t it?” You’d sure think so to judge by Salon’s indignant reduction of the drama to a Marxist cartoon. To Daniel D’Addorio, “Downton Abbey” offends by being “stunningly tonedeaf. The show depicts a group of actual monsters in a manner that’s explicitly loving — and when the facts get in the way, they’re disposed of. ‘Downton Abbey’ is a show about how the world was straightforwardly better when an entrenched class system ruled.” Facts in a fictional TV drama? What is this fellow talking about? Evidently his own indignation that “the show is intent on portraying positively a wealthy patriarchy.” Alas, “patriarchy” has become one of those dreadful cant terms that stops people thinking. So that when Lady Mary’s younger sister Sybil

dies in childbirth after marrying the family’s Irish chauffer, Tom Branson, Salon deduces a moral: “The punishment for having a baby with Branson is death.” Apparently too because “Downton Abbey’s” creator Julian Fellowes sits in the House of Lords, no other interpretation is possible. The terrible scene where Lord Grantham snobbishly refuses to allow his daughter to be hospitalized because the Yorkshire doctor who recommends it hasn’t the social standing of a London specialist who breezily assures him that all’s well escaped D’Addorio’s indignant notice. But the real prize goes to George F. Will. To the Washington Post’s resident pecksniff, it’s “fitting that PBS offers ‘Downton Abbey’ to its disproportionately progressive audience.” Why? Because, contrary to Salon, Will thinks Democrats are secret snobs who yearn for hereditary titles. Of course, one could argue with equal cogency that the popularity of, say, “The Sopranos” signifies that Republicans secretly admire mobsters and would have their rivals whacked if they could get away with it. However, the real story is that literal minded drudges of every political persuasion are made terribly uneasy by the imaginative arts, and the scary anarchy of “Once upon a time ...”

MARCH 6, 2014



Like 1994



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MARCH 6, 2014


t’s been a maddening few months to be a Hog aficionado, but as this strange and often unnerving basketball season unwinds, the fact that we are hearkening back to historical markers is pretty telling. Twenty years had gone by since Arkansas pinned a loss on Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Granted, Arkansas does not travel to that garish place every year, but it’s still a drought that has served as a microcosm of the program’s deterioration (and, simultaneously, as proof of the Wildcats’ dominance of late). That last win there, natch, was in the midst of the Hogs’ memorable run to the national title, and so anytime the magic digits “1994” are flashed on ESPN, it incites nostalgia and aggravation for us all at once. There’s some real bittersweet irony, then, in the fact that the Hogs went to Lexington last week as a double-digit underdog and came out with a seasonand possibly era-altering 71-67 overtime win. Obviously, Arkansas beating Kentucky is something that Hog fans contend shouldn’t send ripples, but the reality is that it does. We celebrated a narrow victory over a modestly accomplished team — the Cats promptly followed up their sixth loss with No. 7 at woeful South Carolina on Saturday — the way we might’ve rejoiced in ... yes, 1994. Different though the stakes may be, the impact isn’t. For Mike Anderson, the Hogs’ third road win of the season may have been the one that mattered the most for his long-term prognosis. He’s clearly had some pent-up disgust over the erratic manner of play his team has employed, evidenced by the fact that he never loses his cool even when circumstances practically beg for it. As the Hogs started faltering in the middle stages of the second half against Kentucky, it was looking like another one of those nearmiss moments we’ve been seeing every few days this year. But the Hogs were, as this column posited a while back, buoyed by recent changes in fortune. They could draw on two close-shave victories at Nashville and Starkville and understand that, amazingly, you are not out of the game when the other team pulls ahead by a few points with time to spare. There was remarkable resolve on display during those last, critical junctures of regulation that weren’t there in prior defeats: steady free throw shooting, smart and patient ball movement, and prudent doses of aggression on defense where bailout fouling might have once reigned.

For those reasons, once the Hogs managed to force that extra five-minute frame, the team’s makeup BEAU was decidedly difWILCOX ferent than it had been before. Coty Clarke drained a long three and four free throws, and when Kikko Haydar sank a couple more to punctuate a 16-for-16 foul shooting effort, that was the wraps. And it was satisfying, yet the understated rejoicing on court led you to believe it was nowhere near enough to placate the staff or its charges, and that may have been the best sign of all. The carryover was evident this time. Having followed the home upset of the Wildcats with a pretty much illogical clunker in losing at Georgia in late January, the Hogs minded history (see thesis above!) and got nasty in the rematch. The Bulldogs’ seven-point first-half lead was built on false pretenses: They bagged 13 of 16 field goal attempts from all over the court early, and what happened the remaining 25 minutes or so was simply a matter of anomalies correcting themselves. Arkansas tuned its offensive game beautifully, and again Clarke was the catalyst, pouring in a career-best 23 in what ended up being a comfy 12-point win. So that put the Hogs back in 20-win territory, hardly rarefied air nationally but, close to home, utterly meaningful. The last time they crested that modest hill was 2007-08, the first of John Pelphrey’s fated four years as coach, and they arguably underperformed to get there. This time, finally, there’s a sense that Anderson’s influence is being felt: A team that has played a lot of flawed basketball even in the last four weeks has nonetheless figured out how to scratch out wins in seven of those eight, and it’s that absence of perfection that seems to be fueling the Hogs. They were turnover-prone at Kentucky and bullied in the paint, but mastered the nuances needed to overcome that; against Georgia, efficient play from Mike Qualls and Clarke offset the subpar showings of Bobby Portis and Rashad Madden. Imagine all of this coming together at once, and it frankly becomes pretty daunting, but the recent history of no-shows at the worst possible times also has to factor into the preparation as this season draws to a close. Reflecting on 1994 is worthless if missteps in January 2014 aren’t also given due treatment.

Road WaRRioR?


The breakup The first thing we want to tell you is that we will always love you. Of that, you never have to worry or wonder. We. Will. Always. Love you. The second thing is, it’s not you, sweetheart, it’s us. We’ll always have the good times: the sledding, and those shouts that rise as the sledder dives, a shooting star, headfirst down the hill. We’ll always have the squeak of boots in fresh powder, always the look of frozen breath in moonlight, always that lovely feeling of being cozy inside the house as the first grains of ice begin to rattle against the windows, always the joy of finding a five-dollar bill in the pocket of our jacket when we first put it on, always the joy of sitting in the dome of warmth around a fire while you whisper pale blue and gorgeous in the darkness, always the beauty of the waterfall frozen solid on Petit Jean. These are the things that we’ll all treasure as April and May come on and the buds light up the trees and the mockingbirds return to their nests, heavy with eggs. These are the things that will make us long for your comfort in the black naugahyde hell of August, when ice cream cones begin to drip before you can get in one good lick, when the playground slides are too hot to be slid by 10 a.m. Then we’ll miss you. Then we’ll pine for your chilly arms. Then we’ll ask: How could we have ever been so ready to let her go, our sweet, lovely Winter? For now, though, we’ve made up our minds, and our minds say: We need some time apart. We need you to go. Don’t blame yourself. It wasn’t the snow in December. It wasn’t even those days in February when you raced up our coattails and slapped an icy hand on the small of our warm backs, a trickster whose tricks quickly ran thin and brittle after awhile. It was not the morning, so cold, when the car barely started,

or the day we busted our ass flat on the ice, snatching back an extended wrist a second before impact, remembering our friend who spent a month in a cast two years ago after the same sort of icy mishap. We carried a bruise on our tailbone that went from purple to yellow to sick green over the course of weeks, like an alien sunrise. But that still wasn’t it. All those things are in your nature, and we have to take the good with the bad. Too, loveliness carries a lot of weight with us, and there’s no doubt you can be lovely. No, beautiful, it’s just that you have finally outstayed your welcome. That’s all. A simple exhaustion. We were wrung out by February, but an ice storm in March? That just feels like plain, dumb spite, tinged with jealousy for your sister waiting in her green gown just offstage. Jealousy and spitefulness in a lover is a sin we can’t quite forgive. And so, we finally come to the point where we can say the words: We’re ready for you to go. Finally we can pack your bags and set them on the stoop: all your coats and boots and thick gloves, all your rock salt and wool, all your ice scrapers and electric blankets. It’s all ready for you there. Ready for you to head out the door, and shut it behind you. No, no, no sweetheart, don’t cry. No tears. We won’t allow it. Remember the good times, not the bad, but otherwise keep looking forward. Besides, as we said so recently: You have your charms, and we are never able to resist them for long. Something tells us that by the time red-headed Summer sashays off in her cloak of wavering grass and heat shimmer next September, we’ll be longing for your touch again. In case you haven’t heard it, here’s the secret of love, my dear: Passion, like the seasons, is always turning like a wheel. BRIAN CHILSON


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MARCH 6, 2014


Arkansas Reporter



Less than 30 years ago, fewer than five women sat on the hundreds of judicial benches in Arkansas. A woman would occasionally fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court by appointment. A woman, Annabelle Imber Tuck, wasn’t elected to that court until 1997. After election filing finished Monday, the Arkansas Supreme Court was heading to a female majority next year. Both Justice Karen Baker and Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood are unopposed for election to the court. They join Justice Jo Hart and Courtney Goodson on the sevenmember court. Their paths have crossed at times. Hart defeated Wood in her first race for a Court of Appeals seat. Hart, elected to the Supreme Court in 2012, used Mark Henry as her campaign consultant and spoke glowing of him in her investiture. He’s the former husband of Goodson, now remarried to Texarkana trial lawyer John Goodson.

Opponents Candidates overcame icy roads to make Monday’s filing deadline at the state Capitol. Chase Busch of Mena completed his Democratic filing to challenge everyone’s favorite troglodyte, Republican Rep. Nate Bell. Tyler Pearson of Conway filed to challenge the leading Senate troglodyte, Jason Rapert. Pearson, 28, is a UCA graduate and holds a master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service. According to his Facebook page, he’s a graduate consultant at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and has worked as a tutor in Americorps. Sounds like a good resume. But Rapert can find a way to demonize him if need be. He’s in Obama’s party, which is all Rapert needs. Pearson was featured in a recent “PBS News Hour” piece on Arkansas’s struggle to continue Medicaid expansion. He’s one of those young, healthy people who signed up for the private option, recognizing the need for basic care that insurance could cover. Democrat Clea Hupp, a member of the history faculty at UALR, has filed for House District 31, currently held by Republican Rep. Andy Davis, a leader in the legislature in weakening clean water protection. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 10

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Women in the majority


Grass roots

In Van Buren County, a small group soldiers on for medical cannabis. BY DAVID KOON


here’s a picture that instantly springs into most people’s heads when they hear the phrase “medical marijuana advocate.” For a lot of folks, it’s one of a 20-something guy with dreads, a Bob Marley T-shirt, a poorly defined ailment and an assortment of interesting glassware on his dresser back home. The reality of those advocating for medical marijuana in the state is a lot different from the stereotype, however. Many of those pushing for cannabis legalization are work-a-day folks, many of whom have heartbreaking personal stories of pain or the pain of a loved one. When a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the state fell just short of passage 2012, failing with 48.5 percent of the vote, it was regular people driving the bus — collecting signatures, talking to their neighbors, educating their friends. Efforts to get medical marijuana back on the ballot are underway, and advocates say that grass roots work by small groups of volunteers who don’t fit the stereotype will be crucial to the measure’s success or failure. One of those small groups is Van Buren County’s Arkansans for Medical Cannabis. Formed in January 2010, with an aver-

age age hovering somewhere around 60, the group is pushing for full legalization of marijuana so that it can be both prescribed as a medicine and grown by Arkansas farmers. The spokesman for Arkansans for Medical Cannabis is Robert Reed, who lives near Clinton. Reed comes to Little Rock once a week to host the radio show “Cannabis Education,” which airs on KABF 88.3 FM, every Saturday at 3 p.m. A 60-year-old veteran, Reed suffers from a degenerative disease that he said is slowly eating the cartilage in his body. He takes 11 pills every day for his various conditions, including painkillers. Though regular drug testing through his pain management clinic at the VA prohibits him from using marijuana as a medicine, he believes that if he had access to medical cannabis, he could take his daily pill count down to two. Arkansans for Medical Cannabis, with a few dozen members, holds monthly meetings in homes and invites public speakers to the area. Those involved are decidedly not what you’d expect. “I’m 60, a disabled vet, and a grandfather of 22,” Reed said. “We’ve got a disabled farmer who is 67. We’ve got another member of the group

who is a retired highway worker who suffers from neuropathy. ... We’ve got a gentleman who is a farmer in Randolph County. We’ve got an artist who used to work for a brewing company. He’s in his mid-50s. I think the youngest person in the group is probably 44 to 47, somewhere in there.” In 2012, the group hosted an informational event at the state Capitol, and has repeatedly submitted ballot initiatives to the Attorney General’s office, only to see them rejected, the AG finding their wording either vague or ambiguous. (The AG has since approved two different ballot titles, one submitted by Arkansans for Compassionate Care and the other by Arkansans for Responsible Medicine.) Reed believes the full legalization of cannabis in Colorado will have a positive effect on efforts to get medical marijuana legalized in Arkansas. Too, he notes, there’s a libertarian appeal of passage that should resonate with Arkansas voters, no matter what their party. As Reed said, “When have you had enough of the government telling you what you can do, what you can eat, and what you can put in your body?” With access to medical cannabis, he said, “I could definitely get off the painkillers. I live on a small farm, and I grow a heck of a vegetable garden. If I could grow it? Put it together: The taxpayer is no longer funding my medicine, I can’t overdose with it. So what’s the problem?” Marjorie LeClair of Shirley, 77, is another member of Arkansans for Medical Cannabis. A retired operating room nurse who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, LeClair said that she first became aware of the benefits of medical cannabis in the late 1970s while working at a spinal cord injury rehabilitation facility in Little Rock. Many of her patients were prescribed Valium for violent spasms that could sometimes leave them writhing on the floor. After several of them refused their medicine, she learned that they were buying and using marijuana to control their symptoms. “[I asked them] the Valium is free for you, and you refuse it? But you’ll spend your last dime if necessary on marijuana. Tell me, why is that so?” They said for controlling the symptoms, there was little difference, “but the side effects of the Valium were such that they were so sleepy and drugged up that they couldn’t do their CONTINUED ON PAGE 58





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Bennett’s staying downtown

1. In late January, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines sent out a memo warning that if certain acts on county-owned property didn’t stop, he’d have to ban the perpetrator from the premises. What was the issue? A) Pulaski County Animal Shelter employees running a teacup poodle fighting ring. B) Someone keeps building a brick wall in the middle of the Big Dam Bridge and painting a cartoon tunnel entrance on it. C) Pulaski County Quorum Court has started opening their meetings with a prayer to the Mesopotamian god Gozer the Gozerian from “Ghostbusters.” D) A dog — presumably owned by one of the judges who routinely bring their pooches to work — has been issuing writs of habeas crapus in the halls of the Pulaski County Courthouse. 2. In early February, a 36-year-old man was shot twice in the legs at a Pine Bluff apartment complex. According to a police report in the case, which of the following best describes what the victim did immediately prior to being shot? A) He insulted a woman. B) He insulted a woman whose armed son happened to be standing nearby. C) He insulted a woman whose armed son happened to be standing nearby, with the victim allegedly calling her a term associated with being a prostitute. D) He insulted a woman whose armed son happened to be standing nearby, with the victim allegedly calling her a term associated with being a prostitute, and then — after the woman’s son fired several shots near his feet with a handgun — reportedly asked the gunman: “Well, are you gonna hit me or not?” 3. In January, the congregation of Greater Dimensions Ministry in Jonesboro was shocked to learn that the church had been one of the victims of a scam. What was the scam? A) Choir secretly replaced by the Harlem Globetrotters. B) The Pigeon Drop, in which trained pigeons steal from the offering plate. C) Two little girls went door-to-door around town in November, taking orders for $20 cheesecakes, which they said were being sold by the church as a fundraiser to help bury their grandmother. D) Shard of the True Cross purchased for $322.50 on eBay turned out to be a cellophane wrapped toothpick from Denny’s. 4. On Feb. 8, reported that a script dealing with events in Arkansas history sold for $1 million to Universal Pictures, with Ron Howard attached to direct. What’s the script about? A) “Roger Clinton: Still Alive in Vegas” B) Tony Alamo’s hairdresser C) Barry Seal, the pilot who allegedly trafficked cocaine from a base at the Mena airport. D) “The Legend of Boggy Creek II: Electric Boggyloo.” 5. On Feb. 25, a new reality show called “Clash of the Ozarks,” set in Hardy, debuted on the Discovery Channel. According to a press release from Discovery, which of the following are allegedly real Arkansans who appear on the show? A) A dude named Crowbar. B) A mountain man who doesn’t own a pair of shoes. C) Sevella, “a tough, gun-toting elderly woman who is ... rumored to be clairvoyant.” D) All of the above. 6. Police in North Little Rock said that a man recently released from the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center was so incensed that his ex-girlfriend hadn’t sent him money while he was in the clink that he allegedly took a bizarre revenge. According to police, what did he do? A) Filled all her salt shakers with dandruff. B) Broke into her apartment and killed her pet snake. C) Replaced her regular coffee with Folgers Crystals. Let’s see if she notices. D) Tied her to a chair and then walked her through a three-hour Powerpoint presentation on batshit crazy boyfriends. 7. On Feb. 25, a woman was arrested for shoplifting at a Conway Walmart. According to police, what was she attempting to shoplift? A) Nine copies of Billy Ray Cyrus’ 1992 album “Some Gave All.” B) A camping hatchet and a 48 oz. bottle of baby oil. C) 330 frozen pizza rolls. D) 11 “Duck Dynasty” bobblehead dolls.

Recent news about plans to renovate the Fulk Building, current home of Bennett’s Military Supplies, for a new home for the Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods ad/PR firm didn’t include an answer to the future location of the venerable retailer, 144 years old and a 74-year resident of Main Street. A new location should be decided by next week. It will be downtown. Sheree Meyer, owner of the store and the fifth generation of her family to be in charge, said the business was considering several locations, including on Main Street. The familiarity of Main Street has appeal. The store has been in its current spot at Third and Main since the early 1970s, when a fire in a previous location in the next block north forced a move. But she said some other locations might provide better options for parking. “With all the wonderful things happening downtown” and the history, Meyer said downtown would definitely be the choice. “We’re ready for the next phase,” she said. A family partnership led by Meyer’s husband, Doug, owns the building and a building across the street where a film subsidiary of CJRW will locate. The partnership will renovate both buildings for lease to the new tenants, part of an emerging picture of technology, arts and residential development on what had long been a moribund strip.

Help us find All-Star alumni The 20th class of the Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team will be named in April. Starting in 1995, teams of judges with years of experience working in education have whittled down hundreds of nominations we’ve been sent from school districts and high schools throughout the state to create each year’s team of 20 of the top students in the state. Now that a good number of past All-Stars are well into their professional careers, and since we’re at a milestone year, we’re hoping to track down as many alumni as possible. If you know a former All-Star, please help put us in touch. Send an email with the subject “ALL-STAR” to with any information that you have. See a searchable database of all the past winners at

MARCH 6, 2014


ANSWERS: D, D, C, C, D, B, C


AUTHENTIC: Mr. Chen’s waitress Nico Weng holds a plate of Ginger & Onion Lobster. Mr. Chen’s was a runner-up for best Chinese.


Times readers have spoken.


hirty-three years: It’s got to be some kind of record. That is the number of years that readers of the Arkansas Times have weighed in — sometimes a few pounds heavier after a delicious meal — on the best places to dine, sup, chow down, grab a bite, nibble, whatever, in Arkansas.


A restaurant called The Hive is giving everyone an itch to get to Bentonville and experience the 21c Museum Hotel’s fine dining amid fascinatingly curious artwork. South on Main is getting rave reviews from the readership, proving that the Oxford American magazine’s notion to back good Southern eating as well as good Southern writing was a super idea.

OVERALL LITTLE ROCK: The Pantry RUNNERS-UP: South on Main, Brave New Restaurant, Trio’s AROUND THE STATE: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: ZaZa (Conway), Mike’s Place (Conway), James at the Mill (Johnson) NEW LITTLE ROCK: South on Main RUNNERS-UP: Bruno’s Little Italy, Table 28, Big Orange Midtown AROUND THE STATE: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: Tusk and Trotter (Bentonville), Umami Sushi and Grill Fusion (Conway), Table Mesa Bistro (Conway)


MARCH 6, 2014


The chefs behind both, along with other products of the Capital Hotel kitchen, are profiled in one of our accompanying stories. Elsewhere, look for features on chicken and waffles in Central Arkansas, restaurants worth driving to Benton for (yes, you read that right), waitress extraordinaire Joann Sims, meat savant Rob Nelson of Bentonville’s Tusk and Trotter and the continuing evolution of Southern Gourmasian. Fair warning: You’re going to have a hard time reading on an empty stomach.

CHEF LITTLE ROCK: Matthew Bell (South on Main) RUNNERS-UP: Anthony Talley (Terry’s Restaurant), Peter Brave (Brave New Restaurant), Scott McGehee (ZaZa, Local Lime, Big Orange) AROUND ARKANSAS: Matthew McClure (The Hive) RUNNERS-UP: Mark Cook (Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse), Jerrmy Gawthrop (Greenhouse Grille) SERVER LITTLE ROCK: Joann Sims (Cache) RUNNERS-UP: Scott Roberts (Brave New Restaurant), Wayne Pyland (Trio’s Restaurant), Aimee Stockton (Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro) AROUND THE STATE: Brent Garrett (Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse, Eureka Springs)

BAKERY LITTLE ROCK: Community Bakery RUNNERS-UP: Boulevard Bread Co., Rosalia’s Family Bakery, Dempsey Bakery AROUND THE STATE: SugarBelles Cupcakes (Ward) RUNNERS-UP: Ed’s Custom Bakery (Conway), Rick’s Bakery (Fayetteville), Arkansas Fresh Bakery (Saline County) BARBECUE LITTLE ROCK: Whole Hog Cafe RUNNERS-UP: Sims Bar-B-Que, Corky’s BBQ, HB’s BBQ

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AROUND THE STATE: McClard’s BarB-Q Restaurant (Hot Springs) RUNNERS-UP: Craig’s Bar-B-Q (DeValls Bluff), Jones Bar-B-Q Diner (Marianna), Whole Hog Cafe (Conway) BREAKFAST LITTLE ROCK: The Root Cafe RUNNERS-UP: Ozark Country Restaurant, B-Side, Red Door Restaurant


AROUND THE STATE: Mud Street Cafe (Eureka Springs) RUNNERS-UP: Stoby’s Restaurant (Conway), The Pancake Shop (Hot Springs), The Hive (Bentonville) BRUNCH LITTLE ROCK: Trio’s RUNNERS-UP: YaYa’s, The Root Cafe, Red Door Restaurant AROUND THE STATE: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: Tusk and Trotter (Bentonville), Mud Street Cafe (Eureka Springs), Local Flavor Cafe (Eureka Springs) BUFFET LITTLE ROCK: Franke’s Cafeteria RUNNERS-UP: Tokyo House, Star of India Restaurant, Panda Garden Restaurant AROUND THE STATE: Brown’s Country Store & Restaurant (Benton) RUNNERS-UP: Buffet City (Benton), Who Dat’s Cajun Restaurant (Bald Knob) BUSINESS LUNCH LITTLE ROCK: Capital Bar & Grill RUNNERS-UP: South on Main, Copper Grill, Trio’s Restaurant



MARCH 6, 2014


IN THE HIVE: Chef Matthew McClure (center) with executive sous chef Luke Wetzel (left) and sous chef Robert Pohland. 14

MARCH 6, 2014


FARM TEAM TO TABLE Capital Hotel alums Matthew McClure and Matthew Bell make good with the Hive and South on Main. BY DAVID RAMSEY



hat do folks think of when they think of Arkansas? The Clintons? Football fanatics? Natural beauty? Fine cuisine is probably not high on the list. There have always been great restaurants here and there, but the Arkansas food scene has probably had more ebbs than flows over the years. Lately, however, things are looking up. Just take a look at our “Best Of” list. If our readers are the judge, two of the state’s best restaurants — South on Main in Little Rock and the Hive in Bentonville — just opened in the last year. If we are to search for the beginning of this happy wave, a good place to start might be 2006, when Lee Richardson arrived as executive chef at the Capital Hotel and reopened the upscale Ashley’s restaurant. Richardson, a New Orleans native who had worked under John Besh, among others, was a wonderfully gifted chef, but he also set about building an unusually talented team at the Capital. Richardson recruited folks with Arkansas roots who had been trained at some of the best restaurants in the country — Little Rock native Brian Deloney returned home after spending 10 years with Emeril; another Little Rock native, Matthew McClure, came back from Boston; Conway native Travis McConnell returned from Portland, and Mountain CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

MARCH 6, 2014



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Home native Cassidee Dabney left the worldrenowned Blackberry Farm in east Tennessee to come to the Capital. “We had traveled around, and we walked into Ashley’s like we already knew how to cook; we already had these ideas about food,” McClure said. “Then we got exposed to the Arkansas farmers markets, and all those networks of farmers evolved and cultivated the way we thought about what we could do in the state of Arkansas and really expanded it. “It was amazing to work in the same kitchen as these guys. Now that we’ve all kind of gone our separate ways, there’s an unspoken brotherhood or club that we’re in. You don’t realize you joined it, but you did.” Before he left the Capital in 2012, Richardson drew national acclaim for his work in Little Rock, with multiple nominations for the James Beard Foundation Awards, the prestigious honors awarded to the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs. As those who worked under him have started to branch out on their own, there’s been a ripple effect that has impacted the culinary scene in Arkansas, which Richardson said “was my intention from the beginning. … If I could provide an opportunity for people to learn and to develop and to grow, the reward for that is that they’re going to go and do their own thing.” Slowly but surely, restaurants are popping up with the same ambition and quality that Richardson brought to the Capital, and the same vision of meticulously crafted food sourced by local ingredients. Longtime Little Rock residents remember Jacques and Suzanne, which opened in 1975 and drew nearly universal acclaim as the finest restaurant in the city for the next decade. It closed in 1986, but alums from Jacques and Suzanne went on to work at or founded dozens of restaurants, forming the bedrock of the city’s dining scene in the decades to come. Something similar is afoot among Capital alums. McClure is now the executive chef at The Hive, the Bentonville restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel. The restaurant, which opened last February, is the choice of Times readers for numerous “Best of” categories, and is already in the conversation for best restaurant in the state; it’s also getting national acclaim, with McClure recently named a James Beard semifinalist. “Every chef in the country that has a clue is looking at that [James Beard] list to see if their name is going to be called,” McClure said. “It’s amazing. To be from Arkansas and bring something like that … it’s just a huge win for Arkansas. We’re competing on that level.” McClure loved working in a big food town like Boston, but said he has been inspired by the challenge of leaving a well-established foodie culture and moving to a place still finding its sea legs. “It’s like, OK, what is this actually accomplishing?” McClure said. “What are my longterm goals about changing food? You’ve got to move to the middle of the country where

BELL: Spicing up Little Rock’s culinary scene at South on Main.

there’s not the movement, and my home state is a great example. I’m from here. I’m an Arkansan through and through. To be able to do it here, and feel like I’m not compromising anything … that’s the absolute cherry on top. … I’m serving the same food I would serve if I was in a bigger market but I’m doing it in my home state successfully, and trying to just change the way people think about what Arkansas contributes to the culinary world.” Last August, Capital alum Matt Bell opened South on Main, another multiple-category winner in this year’s “Best of Arkansas.” Bell, a Montana native, was hired by Richardson in fall 2008. He started as a pastry player, “low man

on the totem pole,” as he puts it. Bell worked his way up to sous chef, eventually writing the menu and running the kitchen at Ashley’s, but it wasn’t easy. “My first six months, I would go home repeatedly and tell my wife, ‘I am so in over my head,’ ” Bell said. “Cassidee Dabney and Matt McClure really pushed the boundaries of what I thought was professional cooking, especially for this town. With Cassidee, Matt, Travis [McConnell] — it was a realization for me that these people are not only the best in Arkansas, they could be anywhere cooking and they could compete on a top level at any restaurant.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

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MARCH 6, 2014


What’s cookin’ with Capital alumni?

LEE RICHARDSON A New Orleans native who spent time in the kitchens of celebrated chefs Emeril Lagasse, Kevin Graham and John Besh, serving for a time as chef de cuisine at Besh’s famed Restaurant August, Richardson came to Little Rock in 2006 to reopen the Capital Hotel as executive chef. His elevated take on Southern comfort food earned him annual James Beard Award nominations and wide praise. He left the hotel in 2012, citing “a need to expand the breadth and depth of my own horizon.” Since then, he’s talked about Arkansas food culture at the Clinton School, successfully lobbied the Arkansas General Assembly to allow the sale of unpasteurized milk, and cooked for special events. He’s said he and his wife and daughter are settled in Little Rock. There’ve long been rumors about what shape his next restaurant project will take, but all he’d tell the Times this week is that he’s working on something new in Little Rock but is not ready to share details. BRIAN DELONEY Chef/owner Maddie’s Place Deloney, a Little Rock native, returned home in 2007 to help Richardson

reopen the hotel. After attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York, he’d spent almost a decade working for Emeril Lagasse, first at NOLA in the French Quarter and then at Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. He stayed on at the Capital as executive sous chef for around a year before leaving to open Maddie’s, the popular, casual, Louisiana-influenced restaurant in Riverdale. “We’re really hitting our stride,” Deloney said of Maddie’s, now entering its fifth year in business. As for expansion, of Maddie’s or a new concept, Deloney said he’s always got an eye on the market should the right situation appear.

ALEXIS JONES Chef/owner Natchez After stints at The Mansion on O Street in Washington, D.C., and culinary school in Chicago, Jones, a native of Madison, Miss., took a position at the Capital Hotel. Among

Ashley’s and the Capital, Bell said, “set a new expectation for what great food is and what great service is. … Lee spent over a year researching Arkansas and food providers and food preparers. … Ultimately, with all the talent in the world, he really managed to focus it and try and tell this food story that is locally sourced, locally grown and honing it with an eye for what is Arkansas cuisine.” Working on that question — what is Arkansas cuisine? — seems to be a mission statement of sorts for places like The Hive and South on Main. “I think as the people kind of go and seed from the Capital Hotel, I think we’re finding our answer,” Bell said. “I think Matt McClure will be that second huge wave of what is Arkan18

MARCH 6, 2014


other roles, she served as lunch chef at Ashley’s, worked banquets and supervised the hotel’s vegan dishes, soups and the daily amuse bouche at Ashley’s. She left the hotel in the spring of 2012 and opened Natchez in the ground floor of the Tower Building. Her self-billed “reinvented Southern food” in a “retro fine-diner atmosphere” (the former home of Your Mama’s Good Food) has attracted a devoted following.

TRAVIS MCCONNELL Chef/butcher-for-hire with Butcher and Public With a stint in the Bay Area in between, Conway native McConnell did two tours at the Capital Hotel. He joined the hotel initially in 2007 as sous chef in charge of the Capital Hotel Bar and Grill, which under his leadership quickly became one of downtown Little Rock’s most popular lunch spots, and returned to the same position in 2012 after Richardson offered him a 12-month contract. Since that expired last September, McConnell has been working full time on developing and raising capital for Butcher & Public, a combination butcher shop and cafe he wants to locate in downtown Little Rock. In the meantime, he’s hosting special events and teaching butchery classes. JEFFREY OWEN Chef at Ciao Baci Owen, a Little Rock native, cut his teeth working just about everywhere within the Capital Hotel’s kitchens. He worked

sas food and what can we do with stuff we can get within a couple hundred miles.” McClure said he’s rooting for fellow Capital alums like Bell as they start other projects in the state (see sidebar for more). “I want them to do great,” he said. “As long as they stick to the philosophy that was the philosophy at the Capital, just being honest about your food, then I want everybody to do well. When I go back to Little Rock, I want to go eat at chef-driven restaurants. I want to eat food that is interesting and delicious as opposed to just slopping it out for the crowds because that’s what they’ve done for the last 30 or 40 years.” Both McClure and Bell have continued the

in the bar and grill. He did banquets. He spent time in Ashley’s. For a good portion of his four-year tenure, from 2008 until 2012, he was a roundsman, filling in at whichever station he was needed. Now, he’s the much-acclaimed chef at Ciao Baci, where he worked as sous chef before his time at the Capital. He’s just rolled out a spring menu; look for dinner features to start to change more frequently, too. MOVED ON David Thomas, former chef de cuisine at Ashley’s, now serves the same role at The Bazaar by Jose Andres in Miami’s South Beach. Chef Tandra Watkins, who worked at the Capital from preopening until last year and received a James Beard nomination last year, now works alongside Thomas as pastry chef at Bazaar. Mountain View native Cassidee Dabney, who worked as sous chef in Ashley’s, returned to the Tennessee resort Blackberry Farm, where she worked before coming to the Capitol, to become executive sous chef. MOVING ON UP: COOKS TO WATCH Micah Klasky has been sous chef at Maddie’s for two years after spending four at the Capital. While McConnell was in California, Klasky supervised the hotel’s charcuterie program. Meanwhile, South on Main’s sous chef, Phillip Schaaf, and pastry chef, Matthew Lowman, are both alumni, as are two of The Hive’s sous chefs, Dan Bufford and Robert Pohland.

careful preparation and adventurous menus from Ashley’s but both have, thankfully, left the stuffy ambience behind. The Hive and South on Main certainly qualify as fine dining, but both restaurants are inviting and relaxed. “I wanted to make sure it was fun,” McClure said. “The food at Ashley’s was fun and very creative, but the whole dining experience was stuffy. People were not comfortable laughing or being able to have a good time. [At the Hive] the passion and the seriousness that comes with sourcing all the ingredients and taking care of them and cooking that, that is all the same, or even elevated. But the casual dining experience is really what I CONTINUED ON PAGE 42

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A guide to chicken and waffles The best Little Rock has to offer. BY WILL STEPHENSON



I can highly recommend the chicken and waffles at Boulevard Bread in the Heights, but it’s going to take some strategy and patience on your part. I first found them here by accident, a Sunday special scribbled on a whiteboard off to the side of the regular menu. I was shocked when they asked how I liked my egg — a very unorthodox supplement to a delicate formula — but in retrospect I endorse it. Fair warning: The waffle was a little thin; but I don’t know, some people prefer that. Hot sauce was served on the side for dipping and spreading, an intelligent and compassionate move on their part; key to the success of the whole thing.


runch is a vague and indefinite practice, suspended restlessly between two more traditionally established mealtimes, and what dish better reflects this ambiguity than chicken and waffles? Sweet and savory, neither entirely breakfast nor lunch, the meal marks an almost psychedelic blurring of food categories, an imprecision that extends to its complicated heritage. Though clearly rooted on the soul food spectrum, the combo was popularized in 1920s Harlem and later L.A., leading food writer John T. Edge, in an interview with NPR, to call it “a Southern dish once or twice removed from the South.” But as folks in Little Rock know, chicken and waffles have come home.



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Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken dives right into the middle of one of the more polarizing debates in the chicken and waffle community, namely: bones or boneless? At Gus’s, you decide. On your table, if you come here for brunch one Sunday, you’ll find a small yellow menu with very few and very important options: You can have your waffle alongside two pieces of white meat, two pieces of dark meat, or three tenders. This stumped me; I figured there was no real right answer. Because I love Gus’s chicken during the week, and because tenders seem like a copout, I went with white meat. It turns out that there is a right answer, however, and it is boneless. I spent the meal arduously disassembling a chicken breast. Great waffle.

2/12/14 2:39 PM


Sharing good things with good friends. 1900 N. Grant, Little Rock, AR • 501-663-8999 20

MARCH 6, 2014




One other Sunday morning, I was shivering in the parking lot of a strip mall on Rodney Parham, looking for breakfast and not finding it, when a friend rescued me by pulling me into a dim sum restaurant called Lilly’s. In the mornings, part of it serves as the diner B-Side, an important battleground in the chicken and waffle renaissance, though the only sign indicating this was written in Sharpie on printer paper. Not that it matters — the place was packed. The chicken was loosely breaded and flaky, the waffle crisp and extensive. The portions were generous, so much so that it seemed perverse to serve them on such small plates. It was a constant struggle not to spill the meal in my lap, but that seems like nitpicking. This place is the real thing.

We appreciate your votes.


Thank you!

915 Front St. • Conway 501.205.8751


On Sundays, you can find the Waffle Wagon outside Stone’s Throw Brewing, at Ninth and Rock streets, but I sought it out on a Tuesday and found it, sort of ironically, at the state Department of Health office. A particpant in the food truck festival last October, the Wagon is actually more of a nondescript trailer, but make no mistake, they do important work here. Their menu varies, but $10 chicken and waffles seems to be a staple, and so what if it’s served in a box. We can’t always sit around leisurely for an hour on plush leather booths drinking mimosas — some of us have to keep moving, to get out into the world. Enter the Waffle Wagon. They don’t serve hot sauce on the side here, they lather it on boldly and unapologetically. Their credit card reader wasn’t working when I showed up, so they asked me to just write down my card number and leave it with them. Normally that would seem like a red flag, but I trust these guys. And you should, too.

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Best BarBeque - around the state

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Thank You, Arkansas Times Readers!

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Czech mate: The Pantry Crest Hillcrest to get a taste of Tomas Bohm’s cooking. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


omas Bohm’s restaurant The Pantry on Rodney Parham, this year’s readers’ choice for the best restaurant in Central Arkansas, has been a huge hit from the get-go, which was in 2009. There the native of the Czech Republic serves a distinctive menu of German and Czech dishes, like goulash beef stew and Wiener Schnitzel and a board that combines pork belly, bratwurst, country terrine and cured ham. After working at EZ’s, 1620 and So, opening his own restaurant was “a dream come true,” Bohm says, one made possible by longtime restaurateur Denis Seyer, who helped Bohm get his start. Just as Seyer did with Le Casse Croute, Bohm has made an impression on the hungry and thirsty of West Little Rock. Now, Bohm has his sights set on midtown, in the drafty Hillcrest charmer (as opinion writer John Brummett liked to say) once occupied by The House and Sufficient Grounds, just off Kavanaugh on Palm Street. He’s calling it The Pantry Crest and knows he’ll finally lure all those Heights and Hillcrestian types who don’t much travel, as they say, west of the Mississippi, to drink and dine. The Pantry Crest will serve the same old world menu that Bohm grew up eating before moving to Eureka Springs 18 years ago to be near close friends. There may be a few offerings not found at The Pantry, but the menu will basically be the same (best to be consistent, Bohm said) if smaller (best to start small and grow than the other way round, he added), with favorites like homemade sausages, lasagna and “fish and frites.” Midtown beer lovers will be thrilled to hear that The Pantry Crest will have an extensive beer menu that will include beers on draft, large-bottle beers and “vintage beers” — brews that Bohm is aging before serving. The full bar will include “seasonal cocktails” as well, Bohm said. A summer cocktail sounds mighty good right now in the midst of our endless winter, especially served on the Pan-


The Best Choice? Right Here!

BOHM: Branching out.

try’s deck, which Bohm plans to redo with a roof. Bohm had hoped to open in April, but the condition of the one-time two-story residence (as anyone in the neighborhood could have told him from experience with their own drafty charmers) turned out to have more structural problems than he expected. In fact, it needed a new foundation and substantial repairs. “I’m not a patch-and-go type of guy,” Bohm said, adding, “It’s an expense, but I’m really happy [the house] is going

to be there for another 200 years.” Bohm will serve food on both the first and second floors but the first will have “more of a kind of bar energy.” When The Pantry Crest opens — perhaps in August — it will be for dinner only (The Pantry is open for lunch Monday through Friday). Lunch will come later. Out west, “we have an amazing crowd,” Bohm said, a community that helped him build his business. He expects The Pantry Crest will draw a new, equally happy, clientele.


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Eat My Catfish, Baja Grill put Benton on the map. BY DAVID KOON


otoring along Interstate 30 through Saline County, it’s easy to get the idea that the only thing to eat there are gas station hot dogs, chain restaurant burgers and questionable diner grub. There is, however, interesting food in Benton once you leave the freeway behind, and has been

for years. It seems like just yesterday that one of this writer’s favorite restaurants in the world was Benton’s Dizzy’s Grill, situated above a very not-so-picturesque Walmart parking lot. While owner Darla Huie packed up and moved our still-fave to downtown CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

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Little Rock some years back, there are more good places to eat in Benton. At least two of them started small, as food trucks, which has allowed them to build a reputation and clientele before taking the big and expensive step of signing a brick-and-mortar lease. One of those restaurants is Eat My Catfish. Now a booming storefront at 1205 Military Road, sharing space in a strip mall with a hardware store and a pawnshop, the place started out selling catfish from a trailer just up the street. While catfish joints in small towns can seem as common as mushrooms on a damp log, there’s nothing common about the food at Eat My Catfish: thick, meaty catfish fillets, lemony homemade tartar sauce, hand-battered chicken tenders, perfectly seasoned shrimp, excellent sides — including a tangy cole slaw — and crawfish by the ton (according to owner Travis Hester, they’re the biggest seller of live and cooked crawfish in the state, moving several thousand pounds a week). The place was packed by 5 p.m. when we visited last Friday, and the line steadily grew out the door as the night wore on. Hester, who was born in the East End community in Saline County, started Eat My Catfish from a catering wagon on Military Road in October 2008. Fresh out of college, he had no restaurant experience. He was, however, the scion of a family of good Southern cooks, and so he took a few family recipes and bought a catering trailer. “Catering trailers or food trucks back then had just started to come on the scene,” Hester said. “There weren’t that many around here at all six years ago, so it took a little bit to get a reputation where people wanted to eat out of one. But we kind of came up at the right time.” The restaurant moved to its current location in January 2012. Hester said that one of the main things that separates Eat My Catfish from other catfish joints in Central Arkansas is that all the meat on the menu — chicken, shrimp and fish — is never frozen, and cooked to order instead of being fried in batches and kept warm under heat lamps. That, Hester said, makes a big difference in terms of flavor. “It’s just like going to the Gulf and getting shrimp or going to Maine and getting lobster: It’s always going to taste fresher if it’s from an hour or two away,” he said. “All our fish comes out of Tunica, packed on ice, twice a week, just for us. No additives. When you freeze something, it saps the moisture and the natural oils out of the middle of whatever you’re freezing. When you don’t

freeze it, you’re going to have a better, more natural flavor.” Hester is rapidly spinning that thinking into a growing little empire, with a second location opened in Conway in October 2013. Just up the street from Eat My Catfish — coincidentally, in the same spot where Travis Hester parked the Eat My Catfish trailer for two years — is another up-and-coming trailer-based restaurant — Baja Grill. Opened by owners Craig and Melissa Roe in January 2012, the tidy wagon with a flock of cafe tables scattered around in front has done booming business in recent months, serving up a take on Mexican cuisine that Craig Roe calls “Mexi-Cali.” “I don’t know if there’s an actual, formal definition for that word,” Roe said, “but where Tex-Mex is more authentic Mexican with a Texas twist, we feel like ours is more of a California twist. We kind of take a healthier, fresher approach to the taco and the burrito, by using only fresh ingredients. We make everything 100 percent scratch in the trailer.” The Baja Grill menu (available at boasts nine different varieties of tacos plus burritos, “naked” burritos (burrito fixins in a bowl, without the tortilla) and quesadillas, and appetizers like queso, fresh guacamole and salsa. All the tortillas are locally made. As for meat, there’s nary a crumble of ground beef in sight, but there is Cuban pork, marinated chicken, blackened mahi-mahi, honey-chipotle pork, veggies-only options, and blackened shrimp, served with goodies like tequilalime aioli, fresh mango salsa, cabbagejicama slaw, fresh salsa verde, sweet onions and salt-lime vinaigrette, to name only a few of the in-house ingredients. Roe, who started in restaurants in Hot Springs when he was 13 and worked his way through high school as a cook, said that the freshness and care they take with everything shows in the loyalty of their customer base. That loyalty has them busy even in the cold and rainy months, and has kept their rating on consistently above 95 since they opened, which Roe said is unheard of in the restaurant business. Though al fresco dining has its charms, Roe said the uncertainty caused by Arkansas weather means that Baja Grill is soon to follow Eat My Catfish in ditching the wheels and moving into a permanent space. Though he doesn’t want to announce where until the lease is signed, he said he’s hoping to sign papers on a location “in the next week or so,” with a mid- to late-April grand opening.



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Hog heaven Tusk and Trotter is a carnivore’s paradise in Northwest Arkansas. BY DAVID RAMSEY


fter getting his culinary training in Boulder, Colo., and the Provence region of France, Rob Nelson settled about five years ago in Bentonville and, in the summer of 2011, opened Tusk and Trotter, a snout-to-tail restaurant with a focus on charcuterie, the art of curing meats. “Northwest Arkansas is home, I love it,” said Nelson, who grew up in Hope and did his undergrad at the University of Arkansas. The area “was an untapped resource five years ago and now the explosion’s happened.” The timing for Nelson couldn’t have been better. Bentonville — a once sleepy Ozark town until some guy named Sam opened a five-and-dime there — has recently been getting attention for more than just its status as Walmart Stores Inc. headquarters. With the opening of world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in late 2011, the hospitality industry in downtown Bentonville has boomed. The town has become a cultural destination; the Washington Post highlighted the Bentonville dining scene as its go-to spot on the 2013 “In/Out List” (sorry Charleston, S.C., you’re out). The James Beard House in New York, the mecca of good eats, recently hosted a multi-course tasting event featuring only Bentonville chefs, including Nelson. Nelson had been thinking of his concept for Tusk and Trotter — a French-style brasserie with Ozark flavors, specializing in creative pork dishes — for a while. “My favorite animal in the world is the pig, of course,” he said. “We take the entire pig

and show its versatility. … I wanted to do something focused on that, but also local sustainability is also a passion of mine. I’ve got 25 different [local] purveyors that I use week in and week out.” Nelson focuses on getting as much as possible from Arkansas or nearby — everything comes from within 200 miles. “The closer it is, the better the food tastes,” he said. Nelson trained in the art of charcuterie and whole-animal cooking with master chefs in the south of France. It’s fitting that he brought this refined training to hog-crazy Arkansas. “It’s been a part of our culture since the beginning,” Nelson said. “A lot of people forget — farm to table, the slow food movement — it really isn’t something new to the people of Arkansas, who have been farming and ranching for generations. Now we’re just trying to refine our cooking and bring it up to the next level, but still try not to stray from ... our roots.” Nelson said he aims to apply the “standards of Old World charcuterie but give it a modern Southern flair.” Nelson and other Bentonville chefs (Matthew McClure at the Hive, Case Dighero at Eleven) have come up with the name “High South” to describe their approach, giving a cultivated touch and creative flourishes to traditional Southern cooking, all with ingredients locally available in Northwest Arkansas. “It’s anything that you can do sticking with the Ozark region,” Nelson said. “Lake fish and river fish — trout and walleyes — things that you can get up here.

Ducks and pig, of course. All the grassfed beef. Everything that’s indigenous to Northwest Arkansas.” Tusk and Trotter’s menu is an extravaganza of carnivorous decadence: pork belly cheese stix, poutine, the Hogzilla sandwich (a wild boar patty with housemade bacon, face bacon jam and boursin cheese), crispy pig ear nachos, pork tongue galette, a charcuterie board featuring alligator sausage and duck pastrami, just to name a few. “We start with trying to figure out what’s a little different, what’s unique that the customer hasn’t experienced yet,” Nelson said. “You can go anywhere and you can get a filet, you can get a ribeye. But have you tried the hanger steak, which is from the diaphragm? Have you tried a pig’s ear?” “We try to take the odds and ends, take the odd bits of the animal and try to elevate it,” he said. The artisanal approach at Tusk and Trotter isn’t limited to butchering and preparing meats in house — there are also housemade pickles, jellies and jams, cheeses, sauces and more. Behind the bar, mixologist Scott Baker makes dozens of house-infused liquors for cocktails, including six different Bloody Marys (the bacon-infused version is garnished, of course, with bacon made by Nelson; the ghost-chile infused version is astounding but recommended only for the brave; best of all is the pickle-infused, packed with sharp flavor). On a recent visit, we sampled the risotto balls, the perfect deep-fried comfort food, and a heaping portion of housemade spicy pork rinds, served piping hot and still crackling from the grease. We also tried the lovely lemon souffle pancakes from the brunch menu and the charcuterie burger, a treat-yourself fantasy sandwich with a sausage patty, duck pate, bacon, pickled vegetables and roasted garlic-red grape cheese — all made in-house — on a perfect brioche bun made by a baker just down the road. Our only regret was finally running out of room in our bellies. Next time we’re eager to try the “lamb four ways” — Nelson uses the loin to make “lamb ham,” makes a stock out of the bone for lamb stew, cures a strip of meat from the back to make lamb bacon and finishes off with lamb meatballs. Sounds like a bravura performance: four ambitiously crafted tastings from the same animal. Of course, the important part isn’t just panache and technique, which Nelson has in spades. The real test is simply making delicious food. Based on our recent visit, Nelson has that bit well covered.


Inspired by the We’re proud to have Scott Roberts on our team.

Thanks again to Arkansas Times readers for your continued support and for recognizing Brave New Restaurant among the best in Arkansas year after year.

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he road to Little Rock food truck dominance for The Southern Gourmasian wasn’t an easy one. When Justin Patterson first left his job at the Country Club of Little Rock and decided he would open his own gourmet eatery on wheels with a “Southern cooking meets Asian cuisine” theme, many folks had no idea what to expect — and there were fears that the new truck would be an experiment in fusion cuisine gone horribly wrong. After all, Little Rock had never seen the sort of menu presented by Patterson and crew, and it’s unlikely that anyone could replicate it easily. Patterson drew his initial inspiration from David Chang, the James Beard award-winning chef who made his name with New York City’s Momo-

fuku restaurant group. Chang’s specialty is classic steamed buns served with sliced pork belly — a simple sandwich of pork, pickle and hoisin sauce that was trendy in the early 2000s. Patterson made Chang’s buns for a party once, and they were such a hit that friends and family encouraged him to make them part of a professional menu. Coincidentally, Patterson had also been looking for work that would allow him to spend more time with his young daughter, and opening his own business seemed to be the best route toward that end. The Southern Gourmasian food truck debuted in the summer of 2012 at the now-defunct University Market at 4 Corners and immediately exceeded all expectations among local food truck CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

Voted THAT NEVER GROWS OLD A Li t tLe Rock tRAdi t i o n Best Catfish Around the State! ATTENTION MEMBERS AND GUESTS

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Located Just Off Dickson Street 112 N University Ave • Fayetteville 32

MARCH 6, 2014


lovers. Keeping the idea of the steamed bun as the main thrust of his menu, Patterson tweaked the recipe by replacing the pork belly with smoky Southern-style pulled pork, chopped beef brisket and shredded chicken, creating something that combines the best of good barbecue with unique Asianinfluenced techniques. This genius is also on display with Patterson’s chicken and dumplings, a spicy broth loaded with shredded chicken poured over rice cake “dumplings” that quickly has become one of his most popular dishes. By the fall of 2012, the University Market had fallen apart, and Patterson’s crew had its own internal issues to contend with, including a stolen generator that sidelined them for a time. Running a kitchen from the back of a truck means two things: Having all the problems that come with maintaining kitchen equipment and all that comes with maintaining a work truck — and problems on both sides have grounded the Gourmasian truck several times over the years. Undaunted, Patterson and his crew still seem to be everywhere, popping up for lunch all around Little Rock, serving a breakfast menu at the Hillcrest and Bernice Garden farmers markets, and maintaining a catering schedule that keeps them booked

months in advance. As for the future, Patterson has his eye on several brick and mortar locations, although he won’t reveal any specific locations. The transition from truck to storefront brings with it an entirely new set of challenges, especially for a chef like Patterson who refuses to lower his standards on ingredients to squeeze a little more profit out of his food. Given the steady rise in popularity that Gourmasian has experienced since its inception, a brick and mortar store seems inevitable, and Patterson has plans drawn up for how he wants the stationary location to look. While more at home creating menus and executing them, Patterson has proven himself to be a capable businessman, weighing issues of location, lease price and kitchen equipment prices simultaneously as he poaches an egg and crisps up a pan full of his beloved Benton’s ham. This new chapter in the story of Southern Gourmasian will see if the ingenuity and resolve that have pulled the yellow truck with the red dragon to the top of the food truck game in Little Rock can see it through when it’s competing with established favorites. If the lines that stretch out from the truck window are any indication, success seems almost inevitable.


Tastes Around the State

Many reader favorites return again in the 33rd Annual Readers Choice Awards from the Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers, and Eureka Springs area. Northwest Arkansas restaurants represent some of the readers’ favorite choices Around the State this year. ARSAGA’S makes a return as a runner up in the category of Best Coffee. You can get your caffeine fix at any of their five locations in Fayetteville. MONTE NE INN in Rogers takes the top honor in the Best Fried Chicken category with THE VENESIAN INN also

celebrating recognition as a runner up for Best Fried Chicken. GREENHOUSE GRILLE remains a favorite, earning an accolade for Vegetarian/Vegan fare around the state as well as an award for JERRMY GAWTHROP’S culinary skills in the Best Chef category. TUSK & TROTTER AMERICAN BRASSERIE remains a top contender in three Around the State categories including Best

DiTion Sinc rA T n W o T i E 1 94 nT o T 7 A

Best Coffee Around the State

Best Fried ChiCken Around the stAte

The Venesian Inn

MON-FRI 11AM-2PM • TUES-THUR 5-9PM • FRI-SAT 4-9PM 582 W. Henri De Tonti Blvd | Tontitown | 479-361-2562 |

Voted Best Restaurant In Eureka Springs Open for Dinner 5 pm to 9pm Every Night

Eureka Spring’s most popular restaurant!

Little Rock Retailers Hilcrest Artisan Meats The Green Corner Store 1423 Main St 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd Boulevard Bread Company 1920 N Grant St

Award Winning Ermilio’s is family friendly, with dozens of authentic Italian choices served in a casual, comfortable, just-like-home atmosphere. No reservations are taken… Come as you are!

(479) 253-8806

Best Italian - Around the State Best in Eureka Springs

Best Romantic - Around the State

26 White Street • Eureka Springs Located on the upper Historic Loop, old Highway 62B, just a few short blocks from the Crescent Hotel.

Fayetteville’s Award Winning Conscious Cuisine Thanks For Voting For Us!

Thanks to all who voted for us! Best Fried ChiCken Around the stAte Jerrmy Gawthrop, Best Chef - Around the State

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Around the State

Monte ne Inn Family Style ChiCken DinnerS

3.5 Miles East of Rogers • Hwy 94E • 479-636-5511 • Reservations Reccommended

Bentonville’s Award-Winning Eatery

Best New RestauRaNt aRouNd the state • Best BRuNch aRouNd the state Best RestauRant in Bentonville

ERMILIO’S continues to shine, winning Best Italian around the state, Best of Eureka Springs, and coming in as a runner up for Most Romantic. Plan your next trip to Northwest Arkansas soon and check out these reader selections!

110 SE. A St, Downtown Bentonville | 479-268-4494

New, Best of Northwest Arkansas, and Best Brunch. POWERHOUSE SEAFOOD & GRILL makes the list this year as a runner up for Best Seafood with their award – winning menu of lobster, crab, and oysters. In Eureka Springs,

MARCH 6, 2014


Y k n o a u! h T

Best ItalIan • Best RomantIc Sun-Thu 5-9pm Fri-SaT 5-10pm reServe your Table aT 1315 breckenridge drive, liTTle rock 501-225-0500

The BesT Overall 11401 N RodNey PaRham LittLe Rock · 501-353-1875

BesT OTher eThnic co m i Ng Soo N !

the PaNtRy cReSt 722 N. PaLm

Fresh, Delicious Mediterranean Cuisine

JapaneSe SteakhouSe & SuShi bar

Gyros Hummus TabbouleH baba GHanousH Pizzas Calzones salads

Thanks for the support. Come see us soon! BEST JAPANESE AROUND THE STATE Private tatami tables & Party room Full Cocktail lounge Daily lunch specials 3954 Central avenue (behind StarbuCkS) hot SpringS · 501.525.9888 oSakahotSpringS.Com mon-thu 11am-3pm, 4:30-10pm Fri 11am-3pm, 4:30-10:30pm Sat-Sun 11am-CloSe


MARCH 6, 2014


Best Other Ethnic 2012-2014 Best Other Ethnic Around The State

LittLe Rock Locations 8201 Ranch Blvd., 868.8226 • 9501 n. Rodney Parham, 227.7272 conway 713 oak st., 205.8224

Spreading Jo Jo’s love Joann ‘JoJo’ Sims, Times readers pick for best server, tells all.

» I’VE ALWAYS BEEN in food service. My first job was in a Chinese restaurant in Louisiana. I worked at the Capital Hotel for 18 years. Now I’m at Cache. I wanted a fresh start. Just to see if I can share what I do and get Cache off to a good start. I call it spreading Jo Jo’s love. » I LOOK AT THIS INDUSTRY like a stage. I have to make sure everyone is happy. I like to live in a happy world. What you see is what you get with me. I’m an open book. I like to take charge of the situation. I look at it as a challenge. You never know who’s going to come in and what mood they’re in. I guess I’ve got a little gift of being able to read people. I like to look in people’s eyes, and I can pretty much judge, “OK, this is the road that we have to take.” » ONE TIME I WAITED on this guy from New York who had every allergy known to man. We literally had to open a new saute pan that had never been used because it couldn’t have any residue of salt and pepper. He could only drink a certain vodka because he’s allergic to the other ingredients. For five minutes, we were doing this tango, and so I pretty much told him, “Dude, why don’t you just off yourself. You can’t have any good food.”

That guy turned from being this really strong Italian influence, “I know everything ’cause I’m from New York” kind of guy to saying, “I love you! Oh my God, no one’s ever told me to off myself because of my allergies!” » YOU WANT PEOPLE to have a good experience. That’s what it is, it’s an experience. It’s not just about the food. It has to have a soul, a character, so that when they can go home they go, “You know what, that place is fun.” That’s kind of my middle name. » LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE. Family of five walks in. Mom, dad, three kids. Each one had a phone. They never looked me in the eye when they walked in. Within two minutes of greeting them, they still hadn’t made eye contact with me. I pretty much said, “I’m not going to feed you guys until I collect all of your phones.” The mother looked at me like, “Oh my God, did you really say that?” She was embarrassed. She started telling her kids, “Yeah, we need to do this.” Then I said, “Now, see each others faces. Have you seen them in a while?”


» I WAS BORN in the Philippines. My dad was in the Navy. He retired in Louisiana. By the time I turned 18, he was like, “OK, it’s time for you guys to ship over here.” I’m the oldest of nine siblings. It’s a his, hers and ours combination. My mother was the hostess with the mostest. If there was a party, it would end up at our house. I get the technical side of my personality from my dad, also the humility, the politeness. The tenacity comes from my mom.

BEST ITALIAN 310 Main St., Little Rock, AR 72201 Tuesday - Saturday, 5 PM - 10 PM (501) 37BRUNO

A sincere and heartfelt “Thank You” to the Arkansas Times’ readers who voted for us in the Restaurant Readers Choice Awards from the Bruno family and our entire staff find us on

» I’VE WAITED ON presidents, dignitaries, actors, comedians, the tattooed guy that bartends down the street. Everyone for the most part is memorable. » WHEN PEOPLE SAY, “Why don’t you get a real job?” I say, “I have a real job.” I’ve raised four kids. Three are in the military. I’m actually a grandmother. I’m closing in on the big 5-0. My family is my emphasis. If they’re happy, I’m happy. I worry a lot more now that I’m getting older, but I’ve got my husband to help buffer that. Riding motorcycles with him helps. It’s the best stress reliever. As told to Lindsey Millar.

An Arkansas Original Since 1980 Best Breakfast around the state Best restaurant in Conway

Conway · Russellville

MARCH 6, 2014



thanks for voting! Best Pizza - around the state

RUNNERS-UP: The Hive (Bentonville), Fayrays (El Dorado)

best deli / gourmet to go

CATFISH LITTLE ROCK: Flying Fish RUNNERS-UP: Lassis Inn, South on Main, Cock of the Walk

Charcuterie • soups & Sandwiches

AROUND ARKANSAS: Eat My Catfish (Benton) RUNNERS-UP: Flying Fish (Bentonville), Catfish Hole (Fayetteville), Fred’s Fish House (Mammoth Spring)

2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. • 501.671.6328 • mon-fri 10-6 • sat 10-5

FaMed reStauranteur deniS Seyer JoinS 1620 Savoy. Seyer haS been aFFiLiated with a SerieS oF high-end LittLe rock reStaurantS, incLuding reStaurant JacqueS and Suzanne and aLouette’S. we’re extreMeLy excited to have an icon Like deniS to be aSSociated with our coMpany.

CHINESE LITTLE ROCK: Fantastic China RUNNERS-UP: Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking, Chi’s Authentic Chinese Cuisine, Fu Lin Chinese Restaurant AROUND ARKANSAS: Jade China (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Grand Fortuna (Harrison), Fu Lin Chinese Restaurant (Conway) COFFEE LITTLE ROCK: Boulevard Bread Co. RUNNERS-UP: Starbucks, River City Coffee, Mylo Coffee Co. AROUND THE STATE: Onyx Coffee Lab (Fayetteville) RUNNERS-UP: Common Grounds (Fayetteville), Mud Street Cafe (Eureka Springs), Arsaga’s (Fayetteville) DELI/GOURMET TO GO LITTLE ROCK: Hillcrest Artisan Meats RUNNERS-UP: Boulevard Bread Co., Jason’s Deli, Bray Gourmet

tiM Morton


deniS Seyer

AROUND THE STATE: Cafe 1217 (Hot Springs) Runners-up: Stone Mill Bread Co. (Fayetteville), Coursey’s Smoked Meats (St. Joe) DESSERTS LITTLE ROCK: Trio’s Restaurant RUNNERS-UP: South on Main, Big Orange, Natchez

1620 Market Street LittLe rock, ar 72211 5 0 1 - 2 2 1 - 1 6 2 0 | 1 6 2 0 S AV O Y. C O M 36

MARCH 6, 2014


AROUND THE STATE: Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets (Keo) RUNNERS-UP: Nom Noms Mexican Grill-N-Chill (Hot Springs), Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse (Eureka Springs), The Hive (Bentonville) FOOD TRUCK LITTLE ROCK: Southern Gourmasian CONTINUED ON PAGE 38


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Congratulations To All The Readers Choice Award Winners and Runner-ups.

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Veal • olIVes • CharCuterIe • ChoColates

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Pork • lamb • antIPasta • graIns • desserts • Flours • duCk • WIld game



Congratulations To ALL The WiNNeRS! 4310 Landers Road • North Little Rock, AR 72117 (501) 687-1331 • M-F 8-5 Sat. 9-5

isn’t just LunCh anyMore. CoMe taste what everyone’s taLking about.

RUNNERS-UP: Waffle Wagon, kBird, Taqueria Samantha II AROUND THE STATE: Baja Grill (Benton) RUNNERS-UP: Crepes Paulette (Bentonville), Big Rub BBQ (Bentonville), Green Cart Deli (Conway) FRIED CHICKEN LITTLE ROCK: Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken RUNNERS-UP: South on Main, Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Bobby’s Country Cookin’ AROUND THE STATE: Monte Ne Inn (Rogers) RUNNERS-UP: Holly’s Country Cooking (Conway), AQ Chicken (Springdale), Venesian Inn (Tontiown) FUN LITTLE ROCK: Big Orange RUNNERS-UP: Playtime Pizza, South on Main, Local Lime AROUND THE STATE: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: Mike’s Place (Conway), Jose’s (Fayetteville), Pesto Cafe (Fayetteville) GLUTEN FREE LITTLE ROCK: Dempsey Bakery RUNNERS-UP: Izzy’s, Cafe Bossa Nova, Big Orange AROUND THE STATE: ZaZa (Conway) BURGER LITTLE ROCK: Big Orange RUNNERS-UP: David’s, The Root, Arkansas Burger Co.

Monday – Friday open 11 aM | Last seating 9:45 pM saturday open 5 pM | Last seating 9:45 pM

425 president CLinton ave. LittLe roCk | 501-850-0265

AROUND THE STATE: David’s (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Hugo’s (Fayetteville), Whattaburger (Russellville), CJ’s Butcher Boy Burgers (Russellville) HOME COOKIN’ LITTLE ROCK: Homer’s Restaurant RUNNERS-UP: Bobby’s Country Cookin’, South on Main, Your Mama’s Good Food AROUND THE STATE: Holly’s Country Cooking (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Momma Dean’s Soul Food Kitchen (Fayetteville), Hole in the Wall (Conway), Ed and Kay’s (Benton) CONTINUED ON PAGE 40


MARCH 6, 2014





Celebrating Excellence in Dining


From The Sponsors Of The 2014 Arkansas Times Readers Choice Awards

Year after year we are proud to be a part of this prestigious contest honoring outstanding restaurants all over the state of Arkansas. It’s an honor to serve the needs of the restaurant community. Keep up the good work.


INDIAN LITTLE ROCK: Star of India Restaurant RUNNERS-UP: Banana Leaf food truck, Taj Mahal AROUND THE STATE: Tandoori Chicken and Fish House (Plumerville) RUNNERS-UP: New Delhi Cafe (Eureka Springs), Indian Orchard (Rogers)

ITALIAN LITTLE ROCK: Bruno’s Little Italy RUNNERS-UP: Ristorante Capeo, Vesuvio Bistro, Bravo!

AROUND THE STATE: Umami Sushi and Grill Fusion (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Meiji Japanese Cuisine (Fayetteville), Osaka (Hot Springs)

AROUND THE STATE: Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking (Eureka Springs) RUNNERS-UP: Bordinos (Fayetteville), Pasta Grill (Conway)

MEXICAN LITTLE ROCK: Local Lime RUNNERS-UP: Cantina Laredo, Senor Tequila, La Hacienda

JAPANESE LITTLE ROCK: Sushi Cafe RUNNERS-UP: Sky Modern Japanese Restaurant, Mt. Fuji Japanese Restaurant, Hanaroo Sushi Bar

AROUND THE STATE: Taco Mama (Hot Springs) RUNNERS-UP: Table Mesa Bistro (Bentonville), Jose’s (Hot Springs), Baja Grill (Benton)

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OTHER ETHNIC LITTLE ROCK: Layla’s Gyros and Pizzeria RUNNERS-UP: Cafe Bossa Nova, Pho Thanh My, The Pantry AROUND THE STATE: Layla’s Gyros and Pizzeria (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Taste of Thai (Fayetteville), Rolando’s Restaurante (Hot Springs), Pho Vietnam Restaurant (Fort Smith) PIZZA LITTLE ROCK: Damgoode Pies RUNNERS-UP: ZaZa, U.S. Pizza Co., Vino’s Brewpub AROUND THE STATE: ZaZa (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Damgoode Pies (Fayetteville), Rocky’s Corner (Hot Springs), Tommy’s Famous (Mountain View) PLACE FOR KIDS LITTLE ROCK: Playtime Pizza RUNNERS-UP: All Aboard Restaurant and Grill, Purple Cow, Big OrangeMidtown AROUND THE STATE: Purple Cow Restaurant (Hot Springs) ROMANTIC LITTLE ROCK: Ashley’s RUNNERS-UP: South on Main, Vesuvio Bistro, Ristorante Capeo AROUND THE STATE: James at the Mill (Johnson) RUNNERS-UP: The Hive (Bentonville), Red Apple Inn (Heber Springs), Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking (Eureka Springs) SEAFOOD LITTLE ROCK: Brave New Restaurant RUNNERS-UP: Flying Fish, Cajun’s Wharf, Bonefish Grill AROUND THE STATE: Mike’s Place (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Fisherman’s Wharf (Hot Springs), Powerhouse Seafood and Grill (Fayetteville) STEAK LITTLE ROCK: Sonny William’s Steak House RUNNERS-UP: Doe’s Eat Place, South on Main, Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse

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AROUND THE STATE: Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse (Eureka Springs) RUNNERS-UP: Mike’s Place (Conway), The Hive (Bentonville), The Porterhouse (Hot Springs) CONTINUED ON PAGE 42


MARCH 6, 2014




CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE YEARS IN DINING ATTENTION READERS We’ve tallied your votes and the results are final. Finalists in the 2014 Readers Choice Awards are all invited to a celebration of 33 Years in Fine Dining on March 12. HOSTED AT THE Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute 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 Cookin’

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



WINE LIST LITTLE ROCK: Ashley’s RUNNERS-UP: Brave New Restaurant, Ciao Baci, Trio’s Restaurant

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN LITTLE ROCK: Root Cafe RUNNERS-UP: Cafe Bossa Nova, Boulevard Bread Co., Banana Leaf Indian Cuisine

AROUND THE STATE: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: Bordinos (Fayetteville), Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse (Eureka Springs)

AROUND THE STATE: ZaZa (Conway) RUNNERS-UP: Greenhouse Grille (Fayetteville), Autumn Breeze Restaurant (Eureka Springs)

YOGURT LITTLE ROCK: Red Mango RUNNERS-UP: Orange Leaf, TCBY, Yogurt Mountain

AROUND THE STATE: Freddo’s Frozen Treats (Russellville)

BEST RESTAURANTS IN AREAS AROUND THE STATE BENTON/BRYANT: Baja Grill RUNNERS-UP: Eat My Catfish, Ed and Kay’s, Pasta Jack’s CONWAY: ZaZa RUNNERS-UP: Mike’s Place, Stoby’s, Table Mesa Bistro EUREKA SPRINGS: Ermilio’s Italian Home Cooking

RUNNERS-UP: Local Flavor Cafe, Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse, DeVito’s Restaurant

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS: The Hive (Bentonville) RUNNERS-UP: Tusk and Trotter (Bentonville), James at the Mill (Johnson), Bordinos (Fayetteville) HOT SPRINGS: Rolando’s Restaurante RUNNERS-UP: Taco Mama, McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant, Central Park Fusion Cuisine


available at select retailers throughout central arkansas, including kroger


MARCH 6, 2014


felt like more people wanted.” Bell takes a similar approach. “An environment where people don’t feel like they have to dress up, don’t have to make advance plans, I think that puts people at ease and opens them up to the idea of trying new things,” he said. “Like our rabbit boudin is really popular. That’s not something you see everywhere on a refined menu, that’s a roadside menu. Same with our pork rinds: It’s something we have; it’s something we love to do. But it’s also just fun to sit down and eat a bowl of pork rinds.” Bell and McClure are too talented to be pigeonholed, but both have a particular knack, as Richardson did, for offering a refined and cultivated spin on familiar country classics. This approach (we’d call it downhome gourmet, but Bell said he hates the word “gourmet”) has anchored some of the best new restaurants in New Orleans, where Richardson was born and raised and first cut his teeth as a rising chef. Richardson came to Little Rock in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. “I was very focused on trying to preserve the integrity of my own heritage in Louisiana,” Richardson said. “That’s where my mind was. But when I came to Arkansas, I saw a food culture and a food story that was under-recognized and essentially untold. I felt the same sort of calling. My driver is cultural preservation. We’re at great risk of losing some of the meaningfulness, some of the soulfulness of life, as we barrel into the future.” “I’m damn proud to be cooking food in Arkansas, this food in Arkansas. We have the opportunity to become a culinary destination, and the fact that I’m a part of the conversation, I couldn’t be happier.”

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

h t l a e H T H E

P UB L I C ’ S

ISTory of a narraTIvE H aS aSE In arkanS E IS d d n a H LT HEa gArt, M.D. by Sam Tag

tes, M.D. Joseph H. Ba 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

Arts Entertainment




HERE COME THE FINALS John Neal Rock & Roll win last semifinal round. BY WILL STEPHENSON


ardon my voice, I just came from the flu,” said Joshua Stewart of My Brother / My Friend at the start of Round 5 of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase last Thursday. Later, the night’s host would use this fact as an opportunity to advocate for the benefits of flu shots. I didn’t pay much attention to it, being in 44

MARCH 6, 2014


general too distracted by a dancer near the front of the crowd who wore a black fedora and kept spinning around. The next morning I woke up with the flu. Not that I blame My Brother / My Friend. Or, I guess, I blame them, but I don’t hold it against them. They were great, and Stewart was full of off-thecuff, inspirational stage banter, like “Are

we having fun?” and “Please support local music for all eternity, for all of your days.” Judge Stephen Neeper liked their “ambient guitar sounds” and “American Chris Martin feel,” and Stacie Mack dubbed it “aggressive hippie music.” Next up was Shawn James and the Shapeshifters, whose stage presence was as ominous as their sound. Their

banjo player wore a Darth Vader T-shirt, and I’ve never seen a bass player with longer hair. They played mostly songs from the Shapeshifter Trilogy, James’ three consecutive concept EPs that tell Herzogian tales of nature and savagery. But there were also covers: “This next song is a voodoo song written by a man from Australia,” he claimed at one point, and that’s exactly what it sounded like. The Vail played last, which is only fitting for a band so preoccupied by death and ruin. Neeper wrote “Rock-FuckingSolid” a total of three times in his notes on their set, while Judge “Big” John Miller called it “very loud.” Tim Jones agreed, deeming it a “technically proficient aural assault,” and Stacie Mack went even further, writing, “I feel like I should thank this band for the intimate vibrations they gave me, because they were louder than the second coming of Christ.” The night’s winner, however, was John Neal Rock & Roll, who even brought their own announcer. Neal wore a black leather jacket over a white undershirt and sported a cowlick that flicked back and forth as he played. He looked like Richie Valens, or like a character from “The Outsiders.” It was awesome. He said things like, “We aren’t the lucky ones, y’all are,” which, now that I think about it, isn’t a nice thing to say. The band’s other star was its sax player, who wore a cowboy hat and jammed with determination and proud grit. John Neal and his band will go on to compete in the finals at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7, at Revolution, along with the other semifinal winners: Peckerwolf, who impressed the judges with pure energy, as well as what “Big” John Miller called “The right mix of riffs, beards and asscracks.” John Willis, urbane and lighthearted by comparison, who played piano-rock with humor and back-up singers. Mad Nomad, who snapped guitar strings and made a wall of distortion seem subtle. Duckstronaut, who slayed the crowd with your typical washboarddulcimer-mohawk combo.

ROCK CANDY Check out the Times’ A&E blog

A&E NEWS THE ARKANSAS REPERTORY THEATRE will kick off its 39th season in September with David Bryan and Joe DiPietro’s “Memphis,” based on the life of WHBQ DJ Dewey Phillips, host of the famous “Red, Hot and Blue” show and the first DJ to play Elvis on the radio. “Wait Until Dark,” the play that inspired the Audrey Hepburn film and which Managing Director Robert Hupp calls a “retro suspense classic,” will open in October. The holiday show will be the adaption of the 2003 Will Ferrell film “Elf.” Next up will be the award-winning post-Civil War drama, “The Whipping Man,” followed by a new adaptation of “Mary Poppins” (“One of the biggest musicals we’ve ever undertaken,” says Hupp”) and, in June, “August: Osage County,” the Pulitzer and Tony winner that inspired the film.

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RIVERFEST has announced its first three 2014 headliners, and it’s a diverse bunch: Hank Williams Jr., SaltN-Pepa and Buckcherry, three acts with impressively non-overlapping fan bases. This year’s festival will be held May 23-25; three-day passes will go on sale at half-price ($20) starting April 1. Check back next week for the next three headliners. THIS YEAR’S JOHNNY CASH MUSIC . 15 at ArFESTIVAL will be held Aug����������� kansas State University’s Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare will perform, and Mark Lowry will host. “That’s a lot of star power in one room,” a press release quotes Lowry, and McEntire notes that “Jonesboro is a very hospitable town.” Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the festival’s website or by calling 1-888-278-3267. THE HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL has been named an Academy Award qualifier in the Documentary Shorts category. Susan Altrui, chair of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute board, said that only “one percent of all film festivals in the world have this designation,” and emphasized the economic potential for Hot Springs. Its qualifier status will go in effect in 2015, at which point any winner of the festival’s “Spa City Best Documentary Short” award will be eligible for Academy Award consideration.

MARCH 6, 2014








8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $29-$49.


7:30 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $10-$25.

In her feature for the Oxford American’s Tennessee Music issue last year, Rosanne Cash wrote briefly about living in Nashville in the late 1980s. She remembers tour buses regularly stopping in front of their house and pointing out her big black fence, which the tour guides attributed to her father, the Man in Black, who they’d say bought it for her to thank her for recording one his songs. Nothing about this was true. The fence wasn’t even black, it was green. It would be hard to have a famous parent. That story is probably one of her more innocuous illustrations of this truth, but it stuck with me, maybe because it’s such a strange and specific thing for a tour guide to make up. Didn’t they notice the fence wasn’t black?

The Grammy Award-winning, 24-member Soweto Gospel Choir will find its way to Fayetteville this week in a stop on its 2014 American tour. In recent years, Soweto, an area of Johannesburg, has gotten recognition as a fairly forwardthinking music scene, one of the sources of dance genres like Kwaito. This will be nothing like that. This tour, the choir says, is a tribute to Nelson Mandela, at whose 46664 Concert it memorably performed in 2003 along with U2 and Beyonce. Also note that it collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to “WALL-E.”




Thomas Pynchon has argued that “recluse” is a journalism code word meaning “doesn’t like to talk to reporters.” In the same way, I think “enigmatic,” as applied to young musicians nowadays, mostly just means “doesn’t offer easily Googlesearchable biographical details.” J Fernandez is from Chicago, and that’s the only factual thing I can tell you about him off-hand, but he makes soft, mellow, imaginative pop in the tradition of R. Stevie Moore and Ariel Pink, and that should be enough. An Internet source says he is an enigma, but I’ll bet he’s just shy. His video for “No Luck” is a collage of old game show clips that is sad and touching. He will share the bill with Little Rock’s Sea Nanners.

9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.


10 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.

more hilarious and subversive in hindsight. Bill Murray is beautiful here — when his girlfriend is leaving him at the beginning, he tells her, “You can’t go, all the plants are gonna die.” His co-star Ramis passed away last week, the motivation for the Little Rock Film Festival’s screening. Judge Reinhold, who made his featureacting debut in the film, will give a Q&A afterwards.

Adam Faucett’s voice has powerful and unexpected dimensions. This isn’t an issue of volume, it’s about pitch and strength and resonance, if that makes any sense. I’ve seen him play in front of crowds having a hundred different conversations, completely indifferent to the stage, and yet his voice is still the only thing anybody can focus on. Also there is the matter of his beard. It suggests some “Jeremiah Johnson”-like past life filled with tragedy and mountains. Faucett has a new album now, he’s reemerged with it, and he will celebrate its release at White Water. Note: He’ll also be performing at South on Main the following Wednesday, March 12, 7:30 p.m., as part of the restaurant’s Local Live series.

in the news last year being indicted for “terroristic threats.” I never quite understood what happened, so I looked it up: Apparently, he yelled at a 70-year-old boat captain. Another one of my favorite Billy Currington

songs is “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer.” “I’m not the type to work in a bank,” he sings. “I’m no good at slappin’ on paint. Don’t have a knack for makin’ motors crank, no. But I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer.”

RED, WHITE AND BLUE: “Stripes” will be screened at the Ron Robinson Theater Friday night, 7 p.m.



7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $5.

If it’s true that there are no real antiwar movies, that even films that attempt to protest war end up making it look compelling just by photographing it, then how do you explain “Stripes”? Ivan Reitman’s 1981 comedy finds Bill Murray and Harold Ramis joining the Army essentially out of boredom, an idea that seems even



7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $49.

Country singer Billy Currington was raised in Savannah, Ga., where I spent a lot of time growing up. Because 46

MARCH 6, 2014


he is from Savannah and seems likeable, and because you could make the argument that his song “People Are Crazy” is one of the best pop-country singles of the past five years, it was especially surprising to see Currington


THURSDAY 3/6 The Clinton School will host a panel discussion at noon on “Les Miserables” featuring cast members of The Rep’s upcoming production of the musical. They will discuss the differences between film and stage productions. Emmanuelle Bercot’s “On My Way,” starring Catherine Deneuve, is this week’s selection for the Ron Robinson Theater’s Gathr Film Series, 7 p.m., $10. At the University of Central Arkansas, Susanne Mentzer and Louis Menendez will offer a free song recital with collaborative piano as part of a March artists residency, 7:30 p.m., and The Spring Standards will perform at Stickyz, 9 p.m., $7.


TULSA SOUND: Jesse Aycock will be at White Water Tavern Saturday night, 9:30 p.m.



9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

“I’m living in a strange cloud,” sings Jesse Aycock on his new album, “Flowers & Wounds,” and I can only assume he is referring here to Tulsa, Okla., his hometown. From afar the city has always seemed to be onto something,

like Austin without the arrogance, and Aycock has embraced the place and its history, nodding heavily in his music (and promotional materials) to the icons and innovators of the 1970s “Tulsa Sound,” like J.J. Cale and Leon Russell. He plays cosmic ballads and upbeat county rock, with

lots of tambourines and a fragile alto singing voice. Saturday’s show is to celebrate his album release, and after that he’ll head out on tour as part of the backing band of The Secret Sisters, the Muscle Shoals-based duo whose T. Bone Burnett-produced album is due in April.

sync up “The Wizard of Oz” with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Those sorts of tired, hippie antics are now blissfully behind us, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will celebrate this fact over the weekend with two back-to-back performances of the actual, original, nofrills score to “The Wizard of Oz” alongside a screening of the film, which, inci-

dentally, is always worth seeing on its own merits. Salman Rushdie once called it “a film whose driving force is the inadequacy of adults, even of good adults,” and so I would hope that the audience at these things skews younger. Pink Floyd fans will be booted and shamed. The ASO reprises the concert at 3 p.m. Sunday; same place and price.



8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $18-$58.

Say what you will about Millennials, but we have better things to do than sit around scratching our heads trying to



7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $17.50-$97.50.

In the early 20th century, the McMahon brothers, Jess and Edward, managed casinos, boxers and African-American baseball teams, like the New York Lincoln Giants, based in Harlem. On the side, Jess promoted wrestling matches in Coney Island and Brooklyn, and went

Charles Reagan Wilson, professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, will present a lecture at the Clinton School titled “The TwentyFirst Century South: What The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Tells Us About the Burden of the Southern Future,” noon. Vino’s will host “Trill Clinton,” the latest hip-hop showcase from the Natural State of Mind crew, featuring Kari Faux, Vile Pack, Joe Average, Reggie Gold, Malik Flint and Goon des Garcon, 8 p.m., $8.


Trombonist Jason Hausbeck will perform at the University of Central Arkansas’s Snow Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, 3:30 p.m. Keller Williams and More Than a Little will perform at Revolution, 9 p.m., $22, and Irish musician Sharon Corr will be at the Ron Robinson Theater, 8 p.m., $20. War Chief, Stephen Neeper and the Wild Hearts and The Fable and The Fury will be at Stickyz, 9 p.m., $5, and Artifas, Evacuate the City, Dead End Drive and Jessica Seven will be at Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $10.


Former Faith No More frontman Chuck Mosley will be at Vino’s with his band The VUA, The Body, R.I.O.T.S and Chronic Ritual, 8 p.m., $7. Glossary and Kevin Kerby will perform at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m.,


on to found the Capitol Wrestling Corp. with Toots Mondt. Jess’s son, Vince Sr., stayed in the family business, booking fights at Madison Square Garden and bringing wrestling into the television era. In 1982 he sold his company, by then called WWF, to his son, Vince, who would later, in an interview with Sports Illustrated, acknowledge, “Had

my father known what I was going to do, he never would have sold his stock to me.” There followed World Wrestling’s golden era, the days of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura and others. Leagues have come and gone since then, but the WWE and Vince McMahon remain. This is America.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is this month’s screening in Market Street’s Classic Movie Series, sponsored by KARN’s “The Dave Elswick Show,” 7 p.m., $5. Oceano, Within Ruins, Barrier and Years Since the Storm will perform at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $15. Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang will be at George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $23, and Eternal Summers and El El will be at White Water Tavern, 10 p.m.

MARCH 6, 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


Jim Short. The Loony Bin, 7:30, 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.



“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. J Fernandez, Sea Nanners. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. Karaoke and line dancing lessons. W.T. Bubba’s Country Tavern, first Thursday of every month, 9 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-244-2528. Keller Williams and More Than A Little. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $20. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Krush Thursdays with DJ Kavaleer. Club Climax, free before 11 p.m. 824 W. Capitol. 501-554-3437. 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. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. www. Soweto Gospel Choir. Performance by the 24-member Grammy Award-winning choir from South Africa. Walton Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $10-$25. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. The Spring Standards. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Susanne Mentzer and Louis Menendez. A free song recital with collaborative piano as part of a March artist residency. University of Central Arkansas, 7:30 p.m. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. 501-450-3163. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


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


Hillcrest Shop & Sip. Shops and restaurants offer discounts, later hours and live music. Hillcrest, first Thursday of every month, 5 p.m. P.O.Box 251522. 501-666-3600. www.hillcrestmerchants. com.


“On My Way.” This week’s Gathr Film Series screening. Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., $10. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx.


“Les Miserables” panel discussion. Cast members of The Rep’s upcoming production will talk about how film productions and stage produc48

MARCH 6, 2014



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.


DROP BENEATH: Eternal Summers will perform at White Water Tuesday night, 10 p.m. tions of “Les Mis” differ. Sturgis Hall, noon. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


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


Young Professionals fundraiser for circuit judge candidate Cathi Compton. White Water Tavern, 6 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400.



Adam Faucett record release. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finals. Featuring Peckerwolf, John Willis, Mad Nomad,

Duckstronaut and John Neal Rock & Roll. Revolution, 9 p.m. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Backroad Anthem, Mark Chapman Band. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $10. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 1620 Savoy. 1620 Market St. 501-221-1620. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Rosanne Cash. Walton Arts Center, 8 p.m., $29$49. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4435600. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Trill Clinton Showcase. Featuring Kari Faux, Vile Pack, Joe Average, Reggie Gold, Malik Flint and Goon des Garcon. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $8. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.

21st Annual Camden Daffodil Festival. Food, shopping and guided tours through Camden’s famous museums, antebellum homes and historical sites complete with costumed re-enactments. Downtown Camden, March 7-8, 9 a.m. Washington Street, Camden. Lake Maumelle Walking Tour. Audubon Arkansas trail walk with Dr. Dan Scheiman starts at Bufflehead Bay Trail. Snack provided. Lake Maumelle, 9 a.m. Highway 10. LGBTQ/SGL weekly meeting. 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. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group, 6:30 p.m. 800 Scott St.


“The Twenty-First Century South: What The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Tells Us About the Burden of the Southern Future.” A lecture by Charles Reagan Wilson, professor of Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Sturgis Hall, noon. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


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


Benefit Concert for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists presents organist Alan Morrison, to benefit the Pediatric Injury Prevention Center of ACH. First Presbyterian Church, 8 p.m. 800 Scott St.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Arkansas Arts Center, through March 23: 7 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Wizard of Oz.” For the fourth concert in its Acxiom Pops Live! Series, the ASO will perform the live score alongside a screening of “The Wizard of Oz.” Robinson Center Music Hall, March 8, 8 p.m.; March 9, 3 p.m., $18-$59. Markham and Broadway. conv-centers/robinson.

If you’re not HERE, we’re having more fun than you are! Artifas, Evacuate the City, Dead End Drive, Jessica Seven. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Billy Currington, Brett Eldredge, Chase Rice. Billy Currington performs with Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice as part of his “We Are Tonight” Tour. Verizon Arena, 6 p.m., $45-$49. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001. verizonarena. com. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See March 7. Jason Hausbeck, trombone. Guest artist. University of Central Arkansas, Snow Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, 3:30 p.m. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. Jesse Aycock record release. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Casa Mexicana, 7 p.m. 6929 JFK Blvd., NLR. 501-835-7876. Karaoke with Kevin & Cara. All-ages, on the restaurant side. Revolution, 9 p.m.-12:45 a.m., free. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Keller Williams and More Than a Little. Revolution, 9 p.m., $20 adv., $22 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom. com. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Kristen Cothron and The Darkside, Fox and the Bird, Valley Ray. Maxine’s. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Len Holton. Host of KUAR’s “From Albion and Beyond” performs traditional songs. Hibernia Irish Tavern, 8 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. www.hiberniairishtavern. com. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Masterworks II Concert, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. SoNa will perform Brahms’ “Ein deutsches Requiem,” op. 45, with guest vocal soloists, the SoNA Singers, John Brown University Cathedral Choir and regional choirs. Walton Arts Center, :30 p.m. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. National “Be Nasty Day” Leather and Lace Ball. Featuring the Tech Trix, Big Brown, Noah Beaudin and DJ Brandon Peck. Discovery Nightclub. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. Paper Diamond. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $15. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. www. Primitive Man, Snakedriver, Wartrodden, Apothecary. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $6. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Sharon Corr. Ron Robinson Theater, 8 p.m., $20. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx. 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. www.capi- War Chief, Stephen Neeper and the Wild Hearts, The Fable and The Fury. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.



Jim Short. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. “Winter Sucks.” See March 7.


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


21st Annual Camden Daffodil Festival. See March 7. 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. 501-6137001. 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. Little Rock’s Great American Cleanup. Citywide clean up in neighborhoods and parks. Learn more at Little Rock, 8 a.m. p.m. 200 E. Markham St. 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. River City Comic Expo. Guests include Bernie Wrightson, James O’Barr, Dennis Calero and Mitch and Elizabeth Breitweiser. Clear Channel Metroplex, 10 a.m., $5. 10800 Col. Glenn Road. 501-217-5113. www.clearchannelmetroplex. com.

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2014 Pokemon Trading Card Game State Championships. Clarion Resort, 8 a.m. 813 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-525-1391. 32nd Annual Victorian Classic. The Rotary Club of Eureka Springs presents the 32nd Annual Victorian Classic with proceeds to benefit the Merlin Foundation: includes a 10K Run, a 2M Run and a 2M Fun Walk. Best Western Inn of the Ozarks, 9 a.m. 207 W. Van Buren, Eureka Springs. 479-253-9768. Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411.


Advanced Crochet Workshop. Plantation Agriculture Museum, 9 a.m., $10. 4815 Hwy. 161 S., Scott. 961-1409. www.arkansasstateparks. com/plantationagriculturemuseum. Made from Scratch, with Chef Brandon Douglas. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 10 a.m. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501-7275435. CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

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LES MISERABLES: Mary Little, Douglas Webster, Caleb Reese, Matthew Hugg, Sydni Whitfield, Karenssa LeGear and Christopher Behmke star in The Rep’s production.

‘Les Mis’ returns to Rep BY WILL STEPHENSON


ictor Hugo published his novel “Les Miserables” in 1862, and the reviews were mixed. Flaubert said it was “infantile,” and Baudelaire is supposed to have called it “tasteless and inept.” Since then, the book has become many things, in the process garnering a whole spectrum of positive and negative responses: a 1930s Hollywood film starring Charles Laughton, a seven-part radio serial directed by and starring a then-22-year-old Orson Welles, a Japanese manga. Most famously and perti-


MARCH 6, 2014


nently, it became a musical. “Les Miserables,” the musical which first premiered in Paris in 1980 and was then translated and reworked for an English-language audience five years later, today occupies a rarefied space in the world of theater, having become one of those token crossover successes that appeal to even those otherwise uninterested in Broadway. It is a cultural behemoth, a force of its own, and this week it returns to Little Rock. The Times interviewed the direc-

tor and principal cast of the company’s new production of the musical. Or at least most of the principal cast — Douglas Webster, who plays Jean Valjean, was upstairs in fitting, running a few minutes late. The other actors, who a little while earlier had been loudly pretending to be 19th century French revolutionaries, quietly played with their iPhones. Bob Hupp, the theater’s artistic director for the past 15 seasons, wore a blue V-neck sweater and sipped hot tea from a Styrofoam cup. He explained why they’d decided to revive the musical this year, having also produced it in their 2008-09 season. “It was the most popular play in our history, so we felt it was appropriate to revisit it,” Hupp said. The actors nodded. “And for the most part, we’re starting from scratch. The cast is mostly new, the set design is new, the costumes have been enhanced. Every other member of the creative team except the choreographer is new. I’m the same, only older and sadder.” He took another sip of his tea. “Secondly, the film just came out.” He meant the 2012 Tom Hooper adaptation of the musical starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, a film that proved more than a little divisive among theater die-hards, to say nothing of the critics. Anthony Lane’s review for the New Yorker contained the memorable phrase, “I screamed a scream as time went by,” while The New York Times write-up ended with a warning that by the end we might be “raising the white flag in exhausted defeat.” This group was a little more diplomatic with their critiques. “There were aspects of the film that demonstrate why a musical like ‘Les Mis’ demands to live on the stage,” Hupp said. “It was brave, but [the film actors] didn’t have the voices for the show.” Karenssa LeGear, who plays Cosette, agreed: “I missed the voices. You have to really know your instrument to have the freedom to play with it.” Chris Behmke, the company’s Marius, took a more positive tack, though his conclusion was essentially the same, noting, “Whatever its failings were as a film, the movie is a gateway to get people into a theater to experience it the way it’s meant to be experienced.” Webster returned from fitting and took his place with the others. He wore a dark gray pea coat and sat hunched back in his seat. He’s played the role of Jean Valjean, the musical’s ex-convict protagonist, since 1989 in cities all over the world. Asked if the intensity of the role ever got to him, and how he handled

it, Webster responded, “It’s a job, I look at my bank balance.” Later, he seemed to reconsider. He said he remembered hearing the score for the first time, a recording of the London cast before the musical had premiered in New York. “I was traveling through Lincoln, Nebraska,” he said, “and a friend had left a post-it note on the record, saying ‘This is for you.’ I remember the chills on my arms with that first upbeat. I remember thinking, ‘Oh shit.’ ” Webster was cast for this particular production via Facebook message, though Hupp assured me this wasn’t typical. “We had auditions in New York, Arizona, and here over the course of about six or seven months,” he said. “It was our biggest audition process yet.” Webster shrugged: “Casting over the phone or on Facebook — that’s trust, intuition and 20 years of experience. I knew I’d be walking into a very cool situation. This is a charmed environment.” Speaking to Webster, you also get the impression that there is an element of weary responsibility to his continually playing the role of Jean Valjean. He understands the character; it’s something he thinks is necessary. As he puts it at one point, “It’s the only thing I know how to do.” Like Webster, the other cast members remembered their first encounter with the musical vividly. Terey Summers, who plays Madame Thenardier, described “not feeling like I took a breath the whole time,” while Behmke referred to “that feeling where your jaw drops to the floor and you’re rendered speechless.” Hupp noted that off all the ways one can experience “Les Mis” today, their production offers something different, and important. “I think what takes the experience of seeing ‘Les Mis’ at the Rep over the top is connecting with the actors on a stage where you’re never more than 30 feet away from the performers. It’s that intimate connection.” Later, the cast discussed seeing the Chinese figure skating team use a song from “Les Mis” at the previous night’s Winter Olympics, and I asked if they still enjoyed the music. “It’s magical,” said Michael Sample, who plays Thenardier, “though I don’t personally listen to it.” Christopher Carl, who plays Javert, recalled hearing “I Dreamed a Dream” on the plane down to Little Rock. Hupp nodded, saying, “It’s elevator music, that’s when you know you’ve become part of the canon. It’s like The Beatles. It’s part of our common social vocabulary.” He laughed, “It’s in my head right now, in horrifying ways.”

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Arkansas Arts Center, through March 23: 2 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Wizard of Oz.” See March 8. Cumulus, Sea of Echoes. Juanita’s, 7 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501372-1228. Har Mar Superstar. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Karaoke with DJ Sara. Hardrider Bar & Grill,

7 p.m., free. 6613 John Harden Drive, Cabot. 501-982-1939. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Yautja, Pyrrhon, Psalm Zero, Mainland Divide, Godcity Destroyers. Vino’s, 7 p.m., $6. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.


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


Horse racing. Oaklawn, through April 11: 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411.

KIDS Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Finding Family Facts. Rhonda Stewart’s genealogy research class for beginners. Arkansas Studies Institute, second Monday of every month, 3:30 p.m. 401 President Clinton Ave. 501-320-5700 .

The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Arkansas Arts Center, through March 23: 2 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.


Chuck Mosley and the V.U.A, The Body, R.I.O.T.S., Chronic Ritual. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Glossary, Kevin Kerby. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. lit-




Eternal Summers, El El. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Hibernia Irish Tavern, second and Fourth Tuesday of every month, 7-9 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $23. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Music Jam. Hosted by Elliott Griffen and Joseph Fuller. The Joint, 8-11 p.m., free. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Oceano, Within Ruins, Barrier, Years Since the Storm. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $15. 923 W. 7th St. 501375-8466. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. UCA Jazz Ensembles. University of Central Arkansas, Snow Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, 7:30:30 p.m. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway.


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


Little Rock Green Drinks. Informal networking session for people who work in the environmental field. Ciao Baci, 5:30-7 p.m. 605 N. Beechwood St. 501-603-0238. www.greendrinks. org. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; schedule available on website. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Call for reservations. Starving Artist Cafe, 5 p.m. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. www.beerknurd. com/stores/littlerock.


“Raiders of the Lost Ark.” This month’s screening from Market Street’s Classic Movie Series, presented by The Dave Elswick Show on KARN News Radio 102.9FM. Market Street Cinema, 7 p.m., $5. 1521 Merrill Drive. 501-312-8900. www.


Sam Taggart lecture. Lecture by the author of “The Public’s Health,” a history of the evolution CONTINUED ON PAGE 54 52

MARCH 6, 2014


Celebrate Arkansas Artisans! Beautiful handmade quality products by Arkansas artists!

F-Yeah Little Rock Letterpress Print

Hand Painted Razorback Necklace

Roll & Tumble Press Little Rock, AR

Grace Mikell Ramsey Little Rock, AR

C’mon Little Rockers, show your love with a hand-printed Little Rock letterpress print from Roll&Tumble Press. This foul-mouthed lil’ beauty is printed with antique wood type, all hand set and hand-fed one at time into a vintage press. It is printed in neon pink ink, on 80# cover, recycled paper. F*$k Yeah! It’s Letterpress Y’all!

Explore the relationship between fantasy and reality with a wearable miniature razorback pendant. Handpainted in a home studio, these original pieces of art are bound to be the quirkiest pieces in your collection. Flaunt your Hand-Painted Razorback Necklace to support your favorite team. Or your general love for pigs.

The most industrious little insect on the planet is honored on these Honeybee Necklaces. It ’s about time these little pollinating honey-makers got their day in the sun. This resin pendant sports a shiny gold vermeil honeybee in one of six colors: freesia, hemlock, orchid, paloma, pool, or violet.

Days are long. And they are tiring. But baths are warm, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Make bedtime even better with Blue Morpho Apothecary’s Organic Sleepytime Bath Salts. Perfect for the busy professional, stressed student, or angsty child.

Tea Cookies in Lemon, Key Lime and Raspberry

The Heights T-Shirt

The Wyatt, Silver Pocket Knife

Silver Johnny Cash Necklace Robinson Lane Little Rock, AR

J&M Foods Little Rock, AR

A new take on the original, this Silver Johnny Cash Necklace showcases a hand-stamped sterling silver circle with pewter gun charm, hung on a sterling silver box chain. Johnny Cash reminds us to keep a close watch on our hearts, and this necklace is a handy reminder.

Delicate and sweet, these tea cookies are the perfect way to satisfy your inner sweet tooth. Made with only the finest natural ingredients like creamery butter, chocolate, raspberries, real lemon and lime juices, cinnamon and nutmeg. Enjoy them with your favorite cup of tea, coffee, ice cream or all by themselves!

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Honeybee Necklaces

Organic Sleepytime Bath Salts

Dimestore Diamonds North Little Rock, AR

Blue Morpho Apothecary Maumelle, AR

Mascot Madhouse Bryant, AR

He Man Tools North Little Rock, AR

Everyone wants to live in a neighborhood at the top of the hill. Exercise your upper crust (even if it’s not really true) with The Heights T-Shirt from Mascot Madhouse. The unisex shirt is a beautiful, vivid kelly green with a weathered “The Heights” logo across the chest. Welcome to the neighborhood.

ARTISAN ARKANSAS By Arkansas Grown Products

Searching for the perfect silver spoon? Consider this heirloomqualit y silver knife instead. The handle is solid silver. The blade is Damascus–a pattern welded steel technique that has been used for more than thousand years. It weighs almost 3 ounces and makes a beautiful lady ’s purse knife or gentleman’s pocket knife.

arkansas times

AFTER DARK, CONT. of health and disease in Arkansas over the last two hundred years. Faulkner County Library, 7 p.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482.


WWE Smackdown. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $17.50$97.50. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001.



Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Local Live: Adam Faucett. South on Main, 7:30 p.m., free. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. www. Motionless in White, Like Moths to Flames, For the Fallen Dreams, The Defiled. Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $15 adv., $20 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. Matt Sadler. The Loony Bin, March 12-15, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.

Pub crawl A r k A n sA s Ti m e s p r e s e n T s


ick ’ s Da y s t. P a t r

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.

in th e

Rocktown Slam. Sign up at the door to perform in the competition. Arkansas Arts Center, 7-9 p.m., $5-$10. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www. Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. html.

Pub crawl ArgentA Arts District



6 to 7

the Joint

Cooking Curries, Stir Fry and Asian Noodles. Basic cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Robert Hall, part of 12-class session. Register at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 10 a.m. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501-7275435.

7 to 8

reno’s ArgentA cAfe


8 to 9

cregeen’s irish PuB

Monday, March 17th 6 –9pM

Signature DrinkS at e ac h lo c ati o n ! n o green beer h ere !


MARCH 6, 2014


Chicago: The Musical. Seven performances of “Chicago: The Musical” featuring Seinfeld’s John O’Hurley. Walton Arts Center, March 11-17, 7 p.m., $39-$83. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “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. “The Water Children.” The Weekend Theater, through March 22: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761.



ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: Friends of Contemporary Craft Conversation with Ed Pennebaker, glass artist, 5 p.m. March 9, lecture hall, reception after talk. $5 for FOCC members; $10 for non-members; students free with current ID. 372-4000. ART GROUP GALLERY, Pleasant Ridge Town Center, suite 910: Open House 4-8 p.m. March 7, featuring 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. CANTRELL GALLERY, 8206 Cantrell Road: “Arkansas Weather Report,” new paintings by Daniel Coston, opens with artist’s reception 6-8 p.m. March 7, show through April 27. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 224-1335. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “The ERUDITE,” metalworks by non-traditional students in applied arts, through March 17, Gallery II, gallery reception 5-7 p.m. March 17; “Primary Clay,” work by Summer Bruch, Ty Brunson, Aaron Calvert, Dawn Holder, Jeannie Hulen, Beth Lambert, Linda Lopez, Mathew McConnell, Adam Posnak, David Smith, Liz Smith and Kensuke Yamada, Gallery III, through March 27, lecture by Yamada, 5 p.m. March 6, FA161; “Say It With Snap! Motivating Workers by Design, 1923-29,” historic posters, through March 16. 569-3182. FAYETTEVILLE ARSAGA’S AT THE DEPOT, 548 W. Dickson St.: “Positive Negatives,” works by Lindsy Barquist, Kat Wilson and Crystal McBrayer, through March 30, reception 7-9 p.m. March 20. 505-795-8293. WALTON ARTS CENTER, 495 W. Dickson: “Divide Light: Operatic Performance Costumes of Lesley Dill,” through April 13, with reception 5-7 p.m. March 6. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., noon-4 p.m. Sat. 479-443-5600. 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. HELENA DELTA CULTURAL CENTER, 141 Cherry St.: “Songs from the Fields,” exhibit about Delta music; “We Must Stand or Fall Alone: The Civil War in Arkansas,” women’s journals, slave narratives, letters from soldiers, uniforms and weapons, through June 28. 870-338-4350. HOT SPRINGS Galleries along Central Avenue will be open 5-9 p.m. Friday for the monthly Gallery Walk.

AFTER DARK, CONT. ARTISTS WORKSHOP GALLERY, 610 A Central Ave.: June Lamoreux, Virginia Hodges, paintings. 623-6401 BLUE MOON GALLERY, 718 Central Ave.: “My Watercolor Images,” work by Kay Aclin, through March. 318-2787. GALLERY CENTRAL, 800 Central Ave.: Work by Houston Llew, Amy Hill-Imler, Gloria Garrison, James Hayes and others. 318-4278. JUSTUS FINE ART, 827 Central Ave.: Abstract paintings, mixed media and sculpture by Robyn Horn, Dan Thornhill, V. Noe and others, through March. 501-321-2335. JONESBORO ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY: Photographs of Rohwer by Paul and Ann Faris, 1945, 1-3 p.m. March 6, Wilson Auditorium, with discussion by Sarah Wilkerson Freeman. 870-972-2227. “Disparate Acts,” paintings and drawings by David Bailin, Warren Criswell and Sammy Peters, Bradbury Gallery, Fowler Center, artists’ talk 3 p.m. March 12 with reception afteward, show March 13-30. Noon-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 2-5 p.m. Sun. 870-972-3471. RUSSELLVILLE GALLERY 307, THE FRAME SHOP, 307 W. C St.: “The Conceptual Art Show,” work by Arkansas Tech University students, entertainment by Larissa Gudino, 5-8 p.m. March 7, show through March 29. 479-747-0210.


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 artists 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 2nd. Pre-registration of artists is encouraged. For more information go to White River Artists on Facebook, email or call 870-424-1051.


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, through 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. 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. 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. 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. 6648996. GALLERY 360, 900 S. Rodney Parham Road: “Fascination,” paintings, sketches, multimedia work and jewelry by Kelley Naylor Wise and Anna Tanner, through April 5. 993-0012. 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. 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: “At First Sight,” watercolors from the personal collection of museum founder Alice Walton, through April 21; “Edward Hopper: Journey to Blackwell’s Island,” preliminary sketches on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the finished painting and other watercolors by Hopper, through April 21; 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.



ARKANSAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME MUSEUM, Verizon Arena, NLR: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 663-4328. 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.

Sponsored by

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.

MARCH 6, 2014


march 14

HillcrestCreative, Creative,LLC LLC Paper,Scissors, Scissors,Little LittleRock Rock Paper, Hillcrest 601Ridgeway RidgewayDr. Dr.Apt AptD-1 D-1 POBox Box452 452 601 PO LittleRock, Rock,Arkansas Arkansas72205 72205 Little LittleRock, Rock,Arkansas Arkansas72203 72203 Little

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GALLERY 221 & ART STUDIOS 221 By Gino Hollander


CELEBRATE ! Dolan By Andrea


Gypsy Bistro 200 S. RIVER MARKET AVE, STE. 150 • 501.375.3500 DIZZYSGYPSYBISTRO.NET

“Unmasked Ballerina”  Fine Art by Greg Lahti  Cocktails & Wine

 Hor d’oeuvres IntroducIng new works by March featured artIst greg LahtI exhIbIt runs through March 31st and IncLudes works Pyramid Place by gaLLery 221 artIsts tyLer arnoLd, nd kathI couch, 2 Mary & Center eMILe, gIno hoLLander, sean Lecrone, ann St stafford, byron tayLor, scuLpture by(501) sIrI hoLLander, 801-0211 & jeweLry by rae ann bayLess. “HOT SEAT” BY JODGERS oin Us 5-8pm CATHERINE R Pyramid Place • 2nd & Center St • (501) 801-0211

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These venues will be open late. There’s plenty of parking and a fREE TROllEY to each of the locations.


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Don’t miss it – lots of fun! Free parking at 3rd & Cumberland free street parking all over downtown and behind the River Market

Opening reception for

Ciara Long: A Different Perspective

(Paid parking available for modest fee.)

56 march 56 MARCH 6, 6, 2014 2014


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Divided (deta i l), etched polyca ronate

200 E. Third St. 501-324-9351 A museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage

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The 2nd Friday Of Each month 5-8 pm


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Rock Rock

MOVIE REVIEW SubmittedMay May6th, 6th,2013 2013 Submitted


Proud to support

‘NON-STOP’: Liam Neeson stars.

Up in the air Liam Neeson fights bad guys at 30,000 feet.

local artists at Second Friday

Art Night STRATTON’S Downtown Little Rock STRATTON’S Market


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Fine Wine

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t took a dozen years, but someone has finally made an honest run at a post9/11 hijacking movie, in the form of “Non-Stop,” Liam Neeson’s latest thriller in which he is both cat and mouse. An air marshal with a fear of flying, he finds himself at some personal low point, steeling himself with booze for a transatlantic flight. High over water, he gets a text from an apparent hostage-taker who promises to kill a person on the flight every 20 minutes until he gets $150 million in ransom. As the minutes tick by, Neeson realizes he’s being set up to take the fall for whatever happens onboard. At least since calls have been coming from inside the house, thrillers have made phones a creepy connector in claustrophobic quarters. (The texts are coming from inside the plane!) “Non-Stop” puts the scorpions in the jar and then shakes it with a plane full of innocents. It could stand to be a good sight grittier, and somewhat smarter. But, sure, if what you want to see is Liam Neeson ferreting out a terror plot from 30,000 feet, “Non-Stop,” why not. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (“Unknown,” “Orphan”) lays out the nonNeeson cast as an eclectic lineup of nobodies who instantly become suspects as the texts arrive. In this, at least, “Non-Stop” does what it means to, inviting us into the headspace of its protagonist, and meting out clues in pleasant doses. We get just enough information to know not to trust the bald passenger, the obviously Muslim passenger, the obnoxious hot woman, the crew. This movie’s not so smart, you think. It won’t pull one over on me. Well, it prob-

ably will. And it’s all right, because in its big reveal, “Non-Stop” shows that it could use a lesson in motive. Still, as with anyone who has stared at two closed fists wiggling alluringly, guessing is fun. Neeson has settled into his autumn years with a convincing weariness. (Not that an actor has to do quite as much once a film opens with him heavily spiking his coffee and then stirring it with a toothbrush.) Here as the air marshal he cuts a trustworthy old drunk whose periphery is always milky. When he gets seated next to a harried Julianne Moore (suspect!) his attempts at conversation remind us why he’s cast so often as an ex-cop rather than as, say, a widower on the prowl. Neeson used to box, and has one of those smiles, when he holds it in place, that resemble a car door after a moderate T-boning. Neeson has made a late career playing flawed protectors, men who because of past baggage leave their charges vulnerable to evildoers. It’s not quite so dark as a genuine antihero, because it is after all the nature of a hero to have to battle his own ingrained defects as he tries to help others. But it does work well as a leading man ages. Without a hint of sarcasm or even particular wit, Neeson plods along, almost canine, in his effort to thwart the bad guys, knowing he makes a hulking target, a big man inside the plane’s cabin, threatening some madman on the other end of the line. We recognize this brute, and we know he’ll stop at nothing to save his daughter or the random schmo in seat 25C. If only we could so trust his instincts in choosing movies.

MARCH 6, 2014





➥ There’s nothing like this time of year — when flowers bloom, birds sing and tournament fever takes hold. March Madness is on its way, but there’s a new competition for those who are more interested in their beer than b-ball: Brew Brackets at COLONIAL WINES & SPIRITS. Colonial is hosting the first Brew Bracket, where beer fans and suds aficionados are invited to join the celebration. Four styles of craft beer will square off in this no-holds-barred, tournament style elimination contest whose winner will be determined by popular taste test. This season’s contenders come from the Wheat Conference, the Amber Conference, the IPA Conference and the Stout/ Porter Conference. According to Brew Bracket Commissioner and Colonial craft beer enthusiast Colin Maxwell, the tournament takes place from 1-4 p.m. on consecutive Saturdays at Colonial Wines & Spirits’ instore Tasting Bar, beginning March 8, with the champion crowned on April 5. The contestants are: WHEAT CONFERENCE Marshall Sundown Wheat Tallgrass Halcyon Wheat Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss Boulevard Wheat AMBER CONFERENCE Piney River Eddy Amber Ale 58

MARCH 6, 2014


Sudwerk Marzen New Belgium Fat Tire Abita Amber Ale IPA CONFERENCE Green Flash West Coast IPA Boulevard Double Wide IPA Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA New Belgium Ranger IPA STOUTS/PORTERS CONFERENCE North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Green Flash Double Stout Piney River Old Tom Porter Anchor Porter Keep up with the Colonial Brew Bracket action at ➥ ALTAR’D STATE clothing boutique has plans to open a new store at The Promenade at Chenal in spring 2014. Customers can enjoy personalized attention in an upbeat environment that promotes confidence, civic involvement and positivity through its merchandise, as most purchases “give back” in some way. Through what is known as Mission Mondays, the company donates 10 percent of net proceeds to various local charities every Monday. Altar’d State also gives back through an in-house clothing line in which a portion of every purchase goes to feed, clothe, educate and shelter children in need.

Continued from page 10 therapy. The marijuana didn’t leave them as sleepy and drugged up.” LeClair retired and moved back to Van Buren County five years ago. Remembering her experience with patients using medical cannabis, and wanting to help people during her retirement, LeClair began to read “every piece of literature I could get my hands on” and soon came to the conclusion that the prohibition on cannabis was ridiculous. Though the demands of her family and career meant that she couldn’t advocate publicly for an illegal drug back when she was working, a retired LeClair decided to join up with Arkansans for Medical Cannabis. In addition to her work with the group, LeClair has proposed several constitutional amendments for the legalization of medical marijuana, proposals also rejected by the AG’s office as too vague. Though she said she’s never used marijuana (she doesn’t drink or smoke, either), she believes in its power as a medicine. “The more I learn,” she said, “the more I realize that a big mistake has been made.” On Dec. 13, 2013, LeClair was arrested for allegedly receiving marijuana through the mail. After receiving a FedEx package that she said she believed contained cookware she’d ordered online, her home was raided by officers with a search warrant, including Van Buren County deputies. Though LeClair said she never looked inside the sealed box, she was later told by investigators that it contained over two pounds of marijuana. LeClair maintains her innocence, saying she doesn’t know who would have had the package sent to her house or why. She adds that, as a widow living on a fixed income, she wouldn’t have been able to pay for what amounts to thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, even if she had a place to sell it. A defense fund has been set up for LeClair on the website “It’s as much a mystery to me as it is to you,” LeClair said. “The only difference is, I’m caught up in it.” Melissa Fults, who serves as the spokesperson with Arkansans for Compassionate Care, the organization behind the narrowly rejected 2012 medical marijuana initiative, said that small groups like Arkansans for Medical Cannabis will be crucial to getting medical marijuana legalized in the state. Like many of those pushing for medical cannabis, Fults and her husband, Gary, who serves as ACC’s president, have a personal story that pushed them into the fight. Their son, who had been on painkillers and muscle relaxers for over 13 years due to injuries suffered in a car accident followed by several surgeries, was told by his doctor that the pills were destroying the lining of his stomach.

“The doctor told him, ‘it’s not a matter of if we’re killing you, it’s a matter of when. ...’ He vomited blood every day,” Fults said. “One of his doctors told him that if he’d just throw away all the medicines he was giving him and just use cannabis, he had a chance to live. So we got online immediately when he came in and told us that, looking for how to get an initiative started.” Within two months, the Fults were the directors of Arkansans for Compassionate Care. The ACC has 475 volunteers seeking signatures to put the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 on the ballot. They will need to collect at least 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify. Unlike the 2012 initiative, the ACC’s 2014 initiative has excised a “grow your own” provision that proved troublesome for some voters, though this year’s updated language does include provisions for lowincome patients or their caregivers to apply for a “hardship cultivation certificate” that allows for the private cultivation of cannabis in limited quantities for those patients who don’t have access to an authorized dispensary. The initiative proposed by Arkansans for Responsible Medicine, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2014, has no such “hardship cultivation” language. Melissa Fults, who is 59, and other ACC volunteers helped man a booth at the Arkansas State Fair last fall to get word out about their initiative. Fults said that some were surprised that a lot of those staffing the booth looked more like grandparents than college-age ganjaphiles. “We were set up next to some guys who were selling security systems for houses,” she said. “The second night, we kept having all these older people coming up and signing the petition and [the man running the security system booth] looked over and said, ‘I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but y’all aren’t what we expected.’ We laughed and said, ‘What did you expect? A 25-year-old with dreadlocks and tie-dye T-shirts?’ ” Fults said that given the success of legalization in other states and new information about the medical benefits of marijuana since 2012, she’s more confident that the measure will meet the approval of voters this go-round. The ACC is holding a series of educational meetings all over the state in coming months. She said getting neighbors talking to neighbors, much like what Arkansans for Medical Cannabis is doing in Van Buren County, will be an important part of the effort. “That’s kind of what our educational meetings are. Talk to your neighbors, and invite your neighbors,” she said. “If they have questions, invite them. That’s what we want. We want them to understand what we’re trying to do.”


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

AY FRID 8:00 pm


e at t h


5 Rounds & 20 Bands

M ROO REV !!!!

Who will win?

All ages welcomE $5 over 21 $10 under 21

Find out at

THE FINAL! March 7 March 7 at the Rev Room

8:30 pm


8:30 - Peckerwolf 9:30 - John Willis 10:30 - Mad Nomad 11:30 - Duckstronaut 12:30 - John Neal Rock’n’Roll

With Special Guest Host AMBROSIA BORDEAUX “In Cher Allusion”

9:30 pm

11:30 pm

10:30 pm

12:30 am

D2K TOUR 2014


at Verizon Arena · MARCH 28

One last chance to register to win Bonnaroo ® Music & Arts Festival 2014 and Wakarusa tickets each week! We'll draw after the last band performs.

Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ LOOKING FOR SOMETHING “green” to do the weekend before St. Patty’s Day? Love a good movie? You could do worse than the “Dinner and a Movie” showing of the toe-tapping 1991 Irish music flick “The Commitments,” paired with vegetarian soul food (is there, in fact, such a thing?) from Little Rock’s Sol Food Catering. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 14, with a pre-show mingle at Market Street Cinema (1521 Merrill Drive in Little Rock), followed by a five-course dinner while the film screens. On the menu, according to a flyer on the Sol Food Catering Facebook page, is a vegetarian soul food smorgasboard (a nod to the film’s plot about Dubliners forming an R&B band) including cauliflower and grits, black-eyed peas with cornbread, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, sweet potato pie and mint tea. There will also be a $5 cash bar available, featuring sweet tea spiked with Rock Town Distillery’s Arkansas Lightning. Tickets for the event are $25 per person, or $45 per couple, and can be bought at Find the page by searching for “Market Street.” 




1620 SAVOY Fine dining in a swank space. The scallops are especially nice. 1620 Market St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-1620. D Mon.-Sat. ADAMS CATFISH & CATERING Catering company with carry-out restaurant in Little Rock and carry-out trailers in Russellville and Perryville. 215 N. Cross St. All CC. $-$$. 501-3744265. LD Tue.-Fri. ALL ABOARD RESTAURANT & GRILL Burgers, catfish, chicken tenders and such in this trainthemed restaurant, where an elaborately engineered mini-locomotive delivers patrons meals. 6813 Cantrell Road. No alcohol. 501-975-7401. LD daily. ALLEY OOPS The restaurant at Creekwood Plaza (near the Kanis-Bowman intersection) is a neighborhood feedbag for major medical institutions with the likes of plate lunches, burgers and homemade desserts. Remarkable chess pie. 11900 Kanis Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9400. LD Mon.-Sat. ASHER DAIRY BAR An old-line dairy bar that serves up made-to-order burgers, foot-long “Royal” hotdogs and old-fashioned shakes and malts. 7105 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC, CC. $-$$. 501-562-1085. BLD Mon.-Sat., D Fri.-Sat. B-SIDE The little breakfast place in the former 60

MARCH 6, 2014


Dickey’s Barbecue Pit 3213 Main St. Bryant 501-213-0074

QUICK BITE Tucked in just past the soda fountain and the barbecue sauce station is a small soft-serve ice cream machine and a cone dispenser. Be sure to grab yourself a cone or two after you eat -- this ice cream is free every day of the week. HOURS 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. OTHER INFO All major CC, no alcohol, online ordering available.

CHAIN PIG: Pulled pork at Dickey’s.

Tangling at Dickey’s Family-friendly Texas ’cue in Bryant.


entral Arkansas has its famous barbecue joints, places we can point to and say, “Now there’s some good Arky ’cue.” Sims and Whole Hog come to mind. But sometimes, you know, you’ve got to give Texas a try. Enter Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, a Lone Star State-based chain that’s just set up shop in Bryant. We showed up bright and early on a brisk Sunday morning in hopes of beating the after-church crowds that flock to family-friendly joints like Dickey’s — and we managed to do so by about 15 minutes, as the place filled up not long after we placed our orders. Ordering at Dickey’s should be familiar to anyone who has ever eaten at Chipotle, Moe’s, or Subway: You tell the folks behind the counter what you want, what sort of meats and sides you want with it, and they slap it all together right in front of you. For a place that hasn’t been open terribly long, the Dickey’s crew was very quick, processing our

orders with a friendly efficiency that had us tucking into plates of barbecue in no time flat. Wanting to put the place through its paces on the basics, we started with the Two Meat Plate ($11), picking pulled pork and sliced brisket for our proteins alongside a bowl of barbecue beans and a pile of small onion strings called “Onion Tanglers.” The Tanglers were the best thing about the plate, and although we admit that it’s hard to go wrong with fried onions, these were dropped fresh right when we ordered them and came out piping hot. The beans were passable, but wouldn’t stand out in a lineup of any other barbecued beans we’ve ever had. As for the meat, well, it was fine. Good, even, if not spectacular. The pork and beef were both moist and tender, and lean without being dry. What was lacking was any spark of the rich, smoky flavor that marks really transcendent meat. Barbecue is, unfortunately, a style of cooking that’s hard to do well on a

large scale — there’s simply too many things that go into really excellent ’cue, and it often takes years of experience and a ton of time to get a feel for the intricate play of fire, smoke and meat that only a true pitmaster possesses. Still, for a quick plate of decent barbecue, this will do fine in a pinch. We followed up our plate of meat with one of the giant baked potatoes that seem to be the hallmark of all these chains. The Pork Tangler ($7) was gigantic, a sort of mutant Andre the Giant-sized potato that had us wondering just how these things are grown. Despite its size, the potato was baked well, with a steamy, mealy middle and a crisp skin that impressed us given the amount of these spuds Dickey’s must have to make daily. The potato was piled with butter, sour cream, cheese, pulled pork and more of those onion tanglers, and while it was good for a few bites, we admit that there was just simply too much going on here for us to really get a handle on one specific flavor. Again, the meat was good, if unimpressive, and the crisp-fried onions made a nice topping that spilled over the sides of the mammoth potato onto the tray. We followed our meal with a slice of prepackaged coconut cream pie that, like everything else at Dickey’s, was perfectly fine and perfectly forgettable. But all that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy our meal: It was relatively cheap, extremely fresh, served up quick, and since kids eat free on Sunday, we foresee a bright future for the joint as a family destination in Saline County.

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.

party room of Lilly’s DimSum Then Some turns tradition on its ear, offering French toast wrapped in bacon on a stick, a must-have dish called “biscuit mountain” and beignets with lemon curd. 11121 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-716-2700. B-BR Sat.-Sun. BAR LOUIE This chain’s first Arkansas outlet features a something-for-everybody menu so broad and varied to be almost schizophrenic. 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 924. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-228-0444. LD daily. BIG WHISKEY’S AMERICAN BAR AND GRILL A modern grill pub in the River Market with all the bells and whistles - 30 flat screen TVs, whiskey on tap, plus boneless wings, burgers, steaks, soups and salads. 225 E Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-324-2449. LD daily. BOBBY’S COUNTRY COOKIN’ One of the better plate lunch spots in the area, with some of the best fried chicken and pot roast around, a changing daily casserole and wonderful homemade pies. 301 N. Shackleford Road, Suite E1. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-9500. L Mon.-Fri. BOGIE’S BAR AND GRILL The former Bennigan’s retains a similar theme: a menu filled with burgers, salads and giant desserts, plus a few steak, fish and chicken main courses. There are big screen TVs for sports fans and lots to drink, more reason to return than the food. 120 W. Pershing Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-812-0019. D daily. BOOKENDS CAFE A great spot to enjoy lunch with friends or a casual cup of coffee and a favorite book. Serving coffee and pastries early and sandwiches, soups and salads available after 11 a.m. Cox Creative Center. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501- 918-3091. BL Mon.-Sat. THE BOX Cheeseburgers and french fries are greasy and wonderful and not like their fastfood cousins. 1023 W. Seventh St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-8735. L Mon.-Fri. BUFFALO GRILL A great crispy-off-the-griddle cheeseburger and hand-cut fries star at this family-friendly stop. 1611 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, CC. $$. 501-296-9535. LD daily. CAFE 5501 New American cuisine in sleek setting. 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-603-0080. LD Mon.-Sat., B Sat.-Sun. CAFE 201 The hotel restaurant in the Crowne Plaza serves up a nice lunch buffet. 201 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-2233000. BLD Mon.-Sat., BR Sun. CATFISH CITY AND BBQ GRILL Basic fried fish and sides, including green tomato pickles, and now with tasty ribs and sandwiches in beef, pork and sausage. 1817 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-7224. LD Tue.-Sat. CHEERS Good burgers and sandwiches, vegetarian offerings and salads at lunch and fish specials, and good steaks in the evening. 2010 N. Van Buren. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6635937. LD Mon.-Sat. 1901 Club Manor Drive. Maumelle. Full bar, All CC. 501-851-6200. LD daily, BR Sun. CHICKEN KING Arguably Central Arkansas’s best wings. 5213 W 65th St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-5573. LD Mon.-Sat. CHICKEN WANG & CAFE Regular, barbecue, spicy, lemon, garlic pepper, honey mustard and Buffalo wings. Open late. 8320 Colonel Glenn


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

Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas

Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-1303. LD Mon.-Sat. DAVE AND RAY’S DOWNTOWN DINER Breakfast buffet daily featuring biscuits and gravy, home fries, sausage and made-to-order omelets. Lunch buffet with four choices of meats and eight veggies. 824 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. $. 501-372-8816. BL Mon.-Fri. DAVID’S BURGERS Serious hamburgers, steak salads, homemade custard. 101 S. Bowman Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-8333. LD Mon.-Sat. 1100 Highway 65 N. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. (501) 327-3333 4000 McCain Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-353-0387. LD Mon.-Sat. E’S BISTRO Despite the name, think tearoom rather than bistro — there’s no wine, for one thing, and there is tea. But there’s nothing tearoomy about the portions here. Try the heaping grilled salmon BLT on a buttery croissant. 3812 JFK Boulevard. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-771-6900. L Tue.-Sun., D Thu.-Sat. FLIGHT DECK A not-your-typical daily lunch special highlights this spot, which also features inventive sandwiches, salads and a popular burger. Central Flying Service at Adams Field. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-975-9315. BL Mon.-Sat. HILLCREST ARTISAN MEATS A fancy charcuterie and butcher shop with excellent daily soup and sandwich specials. Limited seating is available. 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. Suite B. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-671-6328. L Mon.-Sat. THE HOP DINER The downtown incarnation of the old dairy bar, with excellent burgers, onion rings, shakes, daily specials and breakfast. 201 E. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2440975. KITCHEN EXPRESS Delicious “meat and three” restaurant offering big servings of homemade soul food. Maybe Little Rock’s best fried chicken. 4600 Asher Ave. No alcohol, All CC.

* Mar 5 - Mar 11 2014

BEER SPECIALS Heineken 12pk Cans Reg $16.99..............................Sale $14.99 Boulevard Bully Porter 6pk Bottles Reg $8.29 ................................. Sale $6.99 Boulevard Wheat Ale 6pk Bottles Reg $8.29 ................................. Sale $6.99 Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Ale 16.9oz Bottle Reg $8.99 .................................. Sale $7.99

$-$$. 501-666-3500. BLD Mon.-Sat., LD Sun. LASSIS INN One of the state’s oldest restaurants still in the same location and one of the best for catfish and buffalo fish. 518 E 27th St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-372-8714. LD Tue.-Sat. MADDIE’S PLACE If you like your catfish breaded Cajun-style, your grits rich with garlic and cream and your oysters fried up in perfect puffs, this Cajun eatery on Rebsamen Park Road is the place for you. 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4040. LD Tue.-Sat. MARIE’S MILFORD TRACK II Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill, featuring hot entrees, soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. 9813 W Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-225-4500. BL Mon.-Sat. MASON’S DELI AND GRILL Heaven for those who believe everything is better with sauerkraut on top. The Bavarian Reuben, a traditional Reuben made with Boar’s Head corned beef, spicy mustard, sauerkraut, Muenster cheese and marble rye, is among the best we’ve had in town. 400 Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-376-3354. LD Mon.-Sat. MORNINGSIDE BAGELS Tasty New York-style boiled bagels, made daily. 10848 Maumelle Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-7536960. BL daily. NEWK’S EXPRESS CAFE Gourmet sandwiches, salads and pizzas. 4317 Warden Road. NLR. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-753-8559. LD daily. ORANGE LEAF YOGURT Upscale self-serve national yogurt chain. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-4522. LD daily. PACKET HOUSE GRILL Owner/chef Wes Ellis delivers the goods with an up-to-date take on sophisticated Southern cuisine served up in a stunning environment that dresses up the historic house with a modern, comfortable feel. 1406 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1578. D Tue.-Sat. SIMPLY NAJIYYAH’S FISHBOAT & MORE


1.75L Spirits

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Treana Vineyards 2011 Central Coast White Blend Reg $24.99 .............................Sale $14.99

J.P. Wiser’s Rye Whiskey Reg $41.49............................. Sale $36.99

Groth 2012 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Reg $24.99 .............................Sale $18.99 Candor NV California Zinfandel Reg $19.99 ..............................Sale $14.99 We Will MatCh any loCal, advertiSed priCe! Bring in the ad to Save. *In Store Only • While Supplies Last.

Grey Goose Vodka Reg $64.99 ............................ Sale $54.99 Beefeater London Dry Gin Reg $39.99 ............................ Sale $28.99

750ML CONNOISSEuR SELECTIONS Glenkinchie 12yo Single Malt Scotch Reg $61.99............................. Sale $52.99 Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey Reg $22.99 ............................. Sale $19.99 Wiser’s Legacy Canadian Whisky Reg $39.99 ............................ Sale $29.99 Hendrick’s Scottish Gin Reg $39.99 ............................ Sale $29.99

11200 W. Markham Street · 501-223-3120 · · C E L E B R AT E R E S P O N S I B LY.

Good catfish and corn fritters. 1717 Wright Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-3474. LD Tue.-Sat. SLICK’S SANDWICH SHOP & DELI Meatand-two plate lunches in state office building. 101 E. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. 501-375-3420. BL Mon.-Fri. SPECTATORS GRILL AND PUB Burgers, soups, salads and other beer food, plus live music on weekends. 1012 W. 34th St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-791-0990. LD Mon.-Sat. SPORTS PAGE One of the largest, juiciest, most flavorful burgers in town. Grilled turkey and hot cheese on sourdough gets praise, too. Now with lunch specials. 414 Louisiana St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-9316. LD Mon.-Fri. STARVING ARTIST CAFE All kinds of crepes, served as entrees or as dessert, in this cozy multidimensional eatery with art-packed walls and live demonstrations by artists during meals. The Black Forest ham sandwich is a perennial favorite with the lunch crowd. Dinner menu changes daily, good wine list. “Tales from the South” dinner and readings at on Tuesdays; live music precedes the show. 411 N. Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-7976. L Tue.-Sat., D Tue., Fri.-Sat. SUFFICIENT GROUNDS Great coffee, good bagels and pastries, and a limited lunch menu. 124 W. Capitol. No alcohol, CC. $. 501-372-1009. BL Mon.-Fri. 425 W. Capitol. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-4594. BL Mon.-Fri. SUGIE’S Catfish and all the trimmings. 4729 Baseline Road. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-5700414. LD daily. THE TAVERN SPORTS GRILL Burgers, barbecue and more. 17815 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-830-2100. LD daily. TROPICAL SMOOTHIE CAFE Smoothies, sandwiches and salads. 524 Broadway St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 246-3145. BLD Mon.-Fri. (closes at 6 p.m.) 10221 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-224-2233. BLD daily 12911 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-376-2233. BLD daily. VICTORIAN GARDEN We’ve found the fare quite tasty and somewhat daring and different with its healthy, balanced entrees and crepes. 4801 North Hills Blvd. NLR. $-$$. 501-758-4299. L Mon.-Sat. WHITE WATER TAVERN Excellent, locally sourced bar food. 2500 W. 7th St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-8400. D Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat.


BENIHANA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE Enjoy the cooking show, make sure you get a little filet with your meal, and do plenty of dunking in that fabulous ginger sauce. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-8081. LD Sun.-Fri., D Sat. CHI’S DIMSUM & BISTRO A huge menu spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings, plus there’s authentic Hong Kong dim sum available. 6 Shackleford Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-7737. LD daily. 17200 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-8000. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. 3421 Old Cantrell Road. 501-916-9973. FAR EAST ASIAN CUISINE Old favorites such CONTINUED ON PAGE 62

MARCH 6, 2014


as orange beef or chicken and Hunan green beans are still prepared with care at what used to be Hunan out west. 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-219-9399. LD daily. FORBIDDEN GARDEN Classic, American-ized Chinese food in a modern setting. Try the Basil Chicken. 14810 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-8149. LD daily. FU LIN Quality in the made-to-order entrees is high, as is the quantity. 200 N. Bowman Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-225-8989. LD daily, BR Sun. IGIBON JAPANESE RESTAURANT It’s a complex place, where the food is almost always good and the ambiance and service never fail to please. The Bento box with tempura shrimp and California rolls and other delights stand out. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-217-8888. LD Mon.-Sat. KIYEN’S SEAFOOD STEAK AND SUSHI Sushi, steak and other Japanese fare. 17200 Chenal Pkwy, Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-7272. LD daily. KOBE JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI Though answering the need for more hibachis in Little Rock, Kobe stands taller in its sushi offerings than at the grill. 11401 Financial Centre Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-225-5999. L Mon.-Sat. D daily. NEW FUN REE Reliable staples, plenty of hot and spicy options and dependable delivery. 418 W. 7th St. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-664-6657. LD Mon.-Sat. PANDA GARDEN Large buffet including Chinese favorites, a full on-demand sushi bar, a cold seafood bar, pie case, salad bar and dessert bar. 2604 S. Shackleford Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-8100. LD daily. SUPER KING BUFFET Large buffet with sushi and a Mongolian grill. 4000 Springhill Plaza Court. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-9454802. LD daily. THE SOUTHERN GOURMASIAN Delicious Southern-Asian fusion. We crave the pork buns constantly. Various locations. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-954-0888. L Mon.-Fri. VAN LANG CUISINE Terrific Vietnamese cuisine, particularly the way the pork dishes and the assortment of rolls are presented. Great prices, too. Massive menu, but it’s user-friendly for locals with full English descriptions and numbers for easy ordering. 3600 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-570-7700. LD daily.


CAPITOL SMOKEHOUSE AND GRILL Beef, pork and chicken, all smoked to melting tenderness and doused with a choice of sauces. The

crusty but tender backribs star. Side dishes are top quality. A plate lunch special is now available. 915 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-4227. L Mon.-Fri. CROSS EYED PIG BBQ COMPANY Traditional barbecue favorites smoked well such as pork ribs, beef brisket and smoked chicken. Miss Mary’s famous potato salad is full of bacon and other goodness. Smoked items such as ham and turkeys available seasonally. 1701 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-265-0000. L Mon.-Sat., D Tue.-Fri. 1701 Rebsamen Park Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7427. LD daily. FAMOUS DAVE’S BBQ 225 North Shackleford Road. No alcohol. 501-221-3283. LD daily. FATBOY’S KILLER BAR-B-Q This Landmark neighborhood strip center restaurant in the far southern reaches of Pulaski County features tender ribs and pork by a contest pitmaster. Skip the regular sauce and risk the hot variety, it’s far better. 14611 Arch Street. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-888-4998. L Mon.-Wed. and Fri.; L Thu. HB’S BBQ Great slabs of meat with fiery barbecue sauce, but ribs are served on Tuesday only. Other days, try the tasty pork sandwich on an onion roll. 6010 Lancaster. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-565-1930. LD Mon.-Fri. MICK’S BBQ, CATFISH AND GRILL Good burgers, picnic-worth deviled eggs and heaping barbecue sandwiches topped with sweet sauce. 3609 MacArthur Dr. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-791-2773. LD Mon.-Sun. SIMS BAR-B-QUE Great spare ribs, sandwiches, beef, half and whole chicken and an addictive vinegar-mustard-brown sugar sauce unique for this part of the country. 2415 Broadway. Beer, CC. $-$$. 501-372-6868. LD Mon.-Sat. 1307 John Barrow Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-2242057. LD Mon.-Sat. 7601 Geyer Springs Road. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-562-8844. LD Mon.-Sat.


ALI BABA A Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery. 3400 S University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. 501-570-0577. LD Mon.-Sat. BANANA LEAF INDIAN FOOD TRUCK Tasty Indian street food. 201 A St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-227-0860. L Mon.-Fri. KHALIL’S PUB Widely varied menu with European, Mexican and American influences. Go for the Bierocks, rolls filled with onions and beef. 110 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-0224. LD daily. BR Sun. THE PANTRY Owner and self-proclaimed “food evangelist” Tomas Bohm does things the right way — buying local, making almost everything from scratch and focusing on simple prepara-

tions of classic dishes. The menu stays relatively true to his Czechoslovakian roots, but there’s plenty of choices to suit all tastes. There’s also a nice happy-hour vibe. 11401 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-353-1875. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. STAR OF INDIA The best Indian restaurant in the region, with a unique buffet at lunch and some fabulous dishes at night (spicy curried dishes, tandoori chicken, lamb and veal, vegetarian). 301 N. Shackleford. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-227-9900. LD daily.


DAMGOODE PIES A somewhat different Italian/pizza place, largely because of a spicy garlic white sauce that’s offered as an alternative to the traditional red sauce. Good bread, too. 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 6706 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 10720 Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 37 East Center St. Fayetteville. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 479-444-7437. LD daily. GUSANO’S They make the tomatoey Chicagostyle deep-dish pizza the way it’s done in the Windy City. It takes a little longer to come out of the oven, but it’s worth the wait. 313 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1441. LD daily. 2915 Dave Ward Drive. Conway. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-329-1100. LD daily. JAY’S PIZZA New York-style pizza by the slice. 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-313-8611. L Mon.-Sat. LARRY’S PIZZA The buffet is the way to go — fresh, hot pizza, fully loaded with ingredients, brought hot to your table, all for a low price. Many Central Arkansas locations. 1122 S. Center. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-8804. LD daily. 12911 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-8804. LD daily. NYPD PIZZA Plenty of tasty choices in the obvious New York police-like setting, but it’s fun. Only the pizza is cheesy. Even the personal pizzas come in impressive combinations, and baked ziti, salads are more also are available. Cheap slice specials at lunch. 6015 Chenonceau Blvd., Suite 1. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-8683911. LD daily. VESUVIO Arguably Little Rock’s best Italian restaurant. 1315 Breckenridge Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-246-5422. D daily.


CASA MANANA Great guacamole and garlic beans, superlative chips and salsa (red and green) and a broad selection of fresh seafood, plus a deck out back. 6820 Cantrell Road. Full

bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-280-9888. LD daily 18321 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-8688822. LD daily 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. BL Mon.-Sat. CASA MEXICANA Familiar Tex-Mex style items all shine, in ample portions, and the steak-centered dishes are uniformly excellent. 6929 JFK Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-835-7876. LD daily. ELIELLA You’ll find perhaps the widest variety of street style tacos in Central Arkansas here — everything from cabeza (steamed beef head) to lengua (beef tongue) to suadero (thin-sliced beef brisket). The Torta Cubano is a bellybuster. It’s a sandwich made with chorizo, pastor, grilled hot dogs and a fried egg. The menu is in Spanish, but the waitstaff is accomodating to gringos. 7700 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $. 501-539-5355. L Mon.-Sat. THE FOLD BOTANAS BAR Gourmet tacos and botanas, or small plates. Try the cholula pescada taco. 3501 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-916-9706. LD daily. LA HACIENDA Creative, fresh-tasting entrees and traditional favorites, all painstakingly prepared in a festive atmosphere. Great taco salad, nachos, and maybe the best fajitas around. 3024 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-661-0600. LD daily. 200 Highway 65 N. Conway. All CC. $$. 501-327-6077. LD daily. LA VAQUERA The tacos at this truck are more expensive than most, but they’re still cheap eats. One of the few trucks where you can order a combination plate that comes with rice, beans and lettuce. 4731 Baseline Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-565-3108. LD Mon.-Sat. LAS PALMAS Mexican chain with a massive menu of choices. 10402 Stagecoach Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-8500. LD daily 4154 E. McCain Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. LD daily. LONCHERIA MEXICANA ALICIA The best taco truck in West Little Rock. Located in the Walmart parking lot on Bowman. 620 S. Bowman. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-612-1883. L Mon.-Sat. RIVIERA MAYA Typical Mexican fare for the area, though the portions are on the large side. 801 Fair Park Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-663-4800. LD daily. ROCK ’N TACOS California-style cuisine that’s noticeably better than others in its class. Fish tacos are treated with the respect they deserve, served fresh and hot. Tamales are a house specialty and are worth sampling as well; both pork and beef warrant attention. 11121 North Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-812-3461. LD Mon.-Sat.

Full-time customer service representative needed for local


payroll firm. Must be personable, pleasant, and eager to assist callers. Applicants fluent in Spanish are welcome! Benefits available. Email resume to

local payroll Firm seeking data entry clerk m-F. Must have a strong work ethic and willingness to learn, proficient in MS Office. Benefits available. Email resume to


MARCH 6, 2014



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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.

announces the following positions available for the 2014-2015 School Year: MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH TEACHERS We are looking for highly qualified Middle School Math Teachers with experience teaching higher level mathematics, as well as basic math. We are seeking candidates who possess strong interpersonal skills, excellent classroom management and a desire to work with middle school students and their parents to ensure success in the classroom. Qualified candidates should complete the application process on-line through the eStem Website or you can also mail/e-mail a cover letter and resume to: eStem Middle Public Charter School Attn: Dr. Cindy Barton 112 W 3rd Street Little Rock, AR 72201 and eStem is an Equal Opportunity Employer


MARCH 6, 2014


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reathtaking views of the surrounding hills, deluxe modern amenities and more – the luxurious high-rise residences of Woodland Heights take retirement living to a whole new level. Tucked away in the serenity of nature yet only minutes from the bustle of the city, you’ll love life from our point of view.

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8700 Riley Drive | Little Rock | 64

MARCH 6, 2014


Ar times 3 6 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics Readers Choice Awards

Ar times 3 6 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics Readers Choice Awards