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ARKAN-SAKE Farmer Chris Isbell is growing prized Japanese rice in Humnoke. BY DAVID RAMSEY


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End times I recently viewed a video on the Mother Nature Network about Salina Turda, a huge 13th century Romanian salt mine that was converted into a tourist attraction. It lay 360 feet below ground and was large enough to accommodate a spa, an underground lake and its own amusement park. The footage was amazing. But as I watched, I began to understand that places like this could very well become the last refuge of our species should a global climate catastrophe become a reality. The Earth’s coral reefs are already in the throes of an extinction event, triggered by rising CO2 levels in the upper layers of the ocean. As the seas become more acidic, the limestone in the corals is being eaten away. Like dropping vinegar onto concrete, but on an epic scale. The Mauna Loa Observatory, run by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, has observed that atmospheric CO2 levels have already reached 400 parts per million, once considered the highest acceptable level of this gas. I’ve read that if global temperatures rise just four degrees above normal, the process of global warming will take on a life of its own, releasing trapped ocean gases, making the seas anaerobic and killing off most sea life. At that point, the process will become irreversible. Extinction of most land-dwelling species will follow. I believe it was Carl Sagan who described human beings in terms of the universe observing itself. But this world wasn’t created just for us. It never was and never will be just about us. I have no doubt that deep underground bunkers exist that are capable of creating oxygen, water, food and power for its inhabitants for years at a time. Most likely, only the very rich and those in the highest echelons of government will be allowed to live in them. But will these places be able to sustain their communities for the hundreds or even thousands of years necessary for global equilibrium to be restored? As I watched the video and wondered, my eyes began to tear up. I realized that it may be just a matter of time before we go the way of 99 percent of all species that have ever lived on this planet. Brad Bailey Fayetteville

The old one-two The hook was baited in Pulaski County, when the school district announced that deseg money had stopped and they are cutting programs. The deseg money doesn’t stop immediately. Patrons and parents got upset and want the programs to remain. Step two will be with the suggestion to raise the millage, oh let’s just pick a number, between 4

APRIL 10, 2014


5 and 5½. Taxpayers won’t think twice about it, right? As stated before, you’re still paying taxes and have no representation. It’s time to take back your school district. Judy Stockrahm Conway

Ignored by Stodola The Little Rock Marathon ran recently, and I find myself a little nonplussed by the reaction I received when attempting to convey some serious concerns about the condition of the course and our city streets in general.

I’ve come to think of the intersection of Cantrell Road and Riverfront Drive as one of the gateways to our downtown. A major state highway connecting to a major office corridor, it shepherds thousands of vehicles to and from the suburbs each day. It’s visible as it can be, and the litter that carpets that area is a disgrace. It looks simply awful and has been thus for years. I know Mayor Mark Stodola, like him well enough, and thought that since I was once a voter for him in at least two elections that I might give him a heads up about something as innocuous and easy to remedy as this was! So, I pick up the phone, put a

call to him. The marathon minus 10 days is plenty of time to place the necessary call to make this happen. To his credit, he returned my call, and it was then that this got to be difficult and just a bit irksome. I had difficulty getting him to understand about what intersection I was concerned with I had difficulty getting a word in edgewise about the deplorable, ongoing condition of the area, and I had difficulty believing he had never noticed it. He readily admitted to that. He asserted that it was a state Highway Department issue, the trash. Call them. I asserted that it was in the city of Little Rock in a damn ditch along Cantrell Road and we had 12,000 people running in a huge event in a matter of days. OK, he would call Public Works. Four, five days go by. Still looking really bad. Text to Stodola. Return text suggesting I get in touch with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and that I should feel free to join a group that adopts and monitors trash on roads and highways. Suffice it to say, 12,000 of Stodola’s friends and admirers ran in trash along Cantrell Road. I can only surmise that Little Rock Public Works thought Stodola was kidding about having them clean the area. Maybe Stodola thought I was kidding, too. David McCreery Little Rock

Trickling down Great news! The European economic crisis is over. The New York Times has been tracking the Eurozone’s industrial output and the stabilizing ratio of European debt over gross domestic product. Europe has been producing more than experts predicted. And here is more good news: The Chinese have finished renovating their stock market indices by now. The beginning of the Chinese New Year and the gathering of the Chinese parliament marked the right time to change Hong Kong’s outdated trading method. The Chinese are struggling to get their new systems up to speed, but their economy still met the 7.5 growth forecast for 2014, according to Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, back here in the states, we have finally recovered from the sour economy of this century’s first decade. These really are the good old days, aren’t they? To everything there is a season, right? I think everyone can admit, at least in secret, that our economy is finally on the right track. We must all savor the fruits of this prosperity, for some Americans will soon elect to steer our nation in the opposite direction. Too bad. Here is some more good news! Unemployment in Arkansas has recently diminished one-tenth of a percent, according to Hola, Arkansas. Gene Mason Jacksonville


Big bee man “David Hay, the bee master at the 45th annual U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee, had to call a recess halfway through the two-student final round after the 92 middle-schoolers competing exhausted his supply of 500 words.” A person who raises bees is a beekeeper. Until now, I didn’t know that a person who presides over a spelling bee is a bee master. I’ll bet he stays busy. Speaking of bees, one of my favorite newspaper names is found in Sevier County: The De Queen Bee. If I remember correctly, the guy in charge of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel is called a duck master, rather than duckherd, or duck major. Ducktator might be appropriate. The ducks are still on parade at the original Peabody in Memphis, but the Peabody in Little Rock was sold to Marriott and the ducks stopped marching here last spring. I’ve been hoping to hear more from ASA. Maybe we will if they get their proposal to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot. ASA’s full name is Americans for Safe Access. It was formed in 2002, during the George W. Bush administration, and

deliberately chose the acronym ASA because the head of the federal Drug Enforcement AdministraDOUG tion at the time was SMITH former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a particularly savage opponent of marijuana and marijuana users. When Hutchinson left the DEA and ran for governor of Arkansas a couple of years ago, he used the slogan “ASA!” Voters were unimpressed. Now he’s running for governor again, and ASA members are likely to show up at his rallies. It would be amusing to hear a politician asking people who were shouting his own name to pipe down. Any talk of political acronyms in Arkansas must include the dueling acronyms of the Little Rock school-integration crisis in the ’50s. When segregationists tried to fire teachers considered insufficiently bigoted, opponents of the move organized and called themselves STOP (Stop This Outrageous Purge). The segregationists responded by calling their own group CROSS (Committee to Retain Our Segregated Schools). In the end, the Stoppers turned back the Crossers.

momentum Arkansas

NOLAN RICHARDSON. The former Razorback basketball coach was named to the 2014 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

JOSH HASTINGS. Pulaski County prosecutors elected not to retry Hastings, a former Little Rock Police Department officer, on charges of manslaughter in the August 2012 death of Bobby Moore Jr., a 15-year-old Hastings shot during a call at a West Little Rock apartment complex. Prosecutors said they believe Hastings is guilty but didn’t think they could convince a jury of that. Two previous trials ended in mistrial with the jury deadlocked. DEAD HEATS. The latest Talk BusinessHendrix College polls had the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton and the gubernatorial race between presumptive nominees Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson as near toss-ups. Pryor led Cotton by 3 percent and Ross led Hutchinson by 1 percent. The margin of error in each poll was 3 percent. LEGAL SKIRMISHES. Three lawsuits were filed against three separate judicial candidates asking that they be disqualified

from running in next month’s judicial elections because their law licenses had been suspended for nonpayment of bar dues. The Arkansas constitution requires judicial candidates to be licensed attorneys for six years immediately preceding the date of assuming office. One of the defendants, Judge H.G. Foster, and the Attorney General’s office have asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction in the suits. The Attorney General’s office also suggested to the high court that administrative law license suspensions shouldn’t affect judicial candidates’ ability to run.

Arkansas Capital Corporation Is Pleased to Showcase the Work of Spencer Jansen, Sandra Sell and Matthew Gore. Robert Bean, Curator

It was a bad week for…

GILBERT BAKER. The former state senator resigned his $132,000 position at UCA as lobbyist and administrative assistant to the school’s president in the wake of reporting on his role in the creation of seven political action committees that contributed almost exclusively to Circuit Judge Mike Maggio. Nursing home owner Michael Morton made contributions to all seven of the PACs the same day Maggio held a hearing on a $5.2 million verdict against a Fort Smith nursing home owned by Morton. A few days later, Maggio reduced the verdict to $1 million.


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It was a good week for…


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APRIL 10, 2014




Setting standards “The very rich are different from you and I.” “Yes, they’re allowed to vote.” he Supreme Court continues its efforts to keep riff-raff from influencing elections. Otherwise, “They could embarrass the rest of us,” U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has explained. “Poor people get some strange ideas, you know. My mother thought she had voting rights equal to the Koch Brothers. She knows better now.” In the space of a few months, a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court has removed the limits on corporate spending in elections, saying that corporations have free-speech rights like people, except bigger, and ruled that rich individuals are entitled to more free speech than their poorer neighbors. The Court has also upheld voter-ID laws that will make it harder for poor people to vote. In each case, the five Republican justices on the Court voted to further advance the rich at the expense of the poor. The four Democratic judges voted with the poor. In the latest case, rules limiting the total amount that an individual could give to candidates, parties and political action committees had been in place for decades. The five-member court majority threw out those limits. Justice Stephen Breyer dissented, saying that the majority was “eviscerating our nation’s campaign-finance laws.” Justice Antonin Scalia, a member of the majority, responded “tough titty.”  Justice Clarence Thomas, another member of the majority, asked the meaning of “eviscerated.”


Keeping it quiet

he nation’s best media review, Extra!, says the biggest news story most Americans haven’t heard of is the Trans Pacific Partnership, a treaty being negotiated secretly between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, and other Pacific Rim countries, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore. Extra! Says that most major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN) have ignored the treaty. A few newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, have had some coverage, all pro-treaty. Negotiated with corporate lobbyists, the treaty would, among other things, promote job offshoring to lower-wage countries like Vietnam (with a minimum wage of 28 cents a hour), give corporations the right to enter signatory nations to extract natural resources without government approval, and make life-saving generic drugs too expensive for millions of people who need them to stay alive. Yet TPP has received only a fraction of the coverage devoted to foreign news of much less import. You’ve probably heard of Benghazi. 6

APRIL 10, 2014




NO RETRIAL: Pulaski County prosecutors appeared before 5th Division Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Monday to inform the court that they will not seek to retry former Little Rock Police officer Josh Hastings for a third time on charges of manslaughter in the August 2012 death of Bobby Moore Jr., a 15-year-old who Hastings shot during a call at a West Little Rock apartment complex. Griffen accepted the state’s motion to nolle pros the case.

Connecting the dots


here’s ample reason for ethics, judicial and perhaps even prosecutorial review of the curious creation of a group of political action committees solely funded by contributions from Fort Smith nursing home magnate Michael Morton. Fingerprints of former Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker (and lobbyist Bruce Hawkins) are all over the PACs, both through their legal agent, Chris Stewart, an old ally of Baker, and the names of people supplied as PAC officers (some without their knowledge.) Technical questions are to be considered about whether money was taken in by PACs before they were registered and about whether some contributions in excess of legal limits were made. The quid-pro-quo question looms, too, though naturally all deny it. But here’s the core question: Is Arkansas law really so porous that somebody can create an untold number of PACs and then find a rich man to fund them all? And then each may make maximum contributions to the same candidate? I’m afraid the answer may be yes, though you’d want to take care to do better detail work than was done in the case of these Stewart creations. Indeed, it already happens after a fashion. State politicians set up leadership PACs and then max out on candidates with help from contributors who’ve maxed out in other arenas. As I’ve reported before, Michael Morton has sent money to, among others, Sen. Eddie Joe Williams’ PAC and Williams favors the sorts of candidates Morton has favored with other contributions. The biggest mystery is why create PACs at all? Morton is already living proof of the porous nature of campaign finance law in Arkansas. He’s given better than $100,000 to judicial candidates associated with Gilbert Baker: Supreme Court candidate Rhonda Wood,

former Appeals Court Candidate Mike Maggio and Circuit Judge candidates Doralee Chandler and Troy Braswell. There are others, but these are part of the Baker Republican Faulkner County phalanx, MAX more about which later. BRANTLEY Why did PACs need to be created for more Morton passthroughs? Had he exhausted the list of private corporations in whose name he gives candidates $2,000 each? The Chris Stewart PACs are indeed interesting, particularly if they were created precisely to send a very specifically timed message to Mike Maggio as he prepared to knock $4.2 million off a verdict against a Morton nursing home in Greenbrier. But I’m not sure that creation of PACs alone or Morton’s role as sole financier is a legal problem in Arkansas. It should be, yes. The big story isn’t campaign finance funny business except to the extent that it reflects a much larger story about justice in Arkansas. Gilbert Baker and Bruce Hawkins have worked for years in the employ of forces who want to make it harder to sue for damages in Arkansas courts: the so-called “tort reform” campaign of big business. You may know their candidates by their frequent appearance at Republican Party gatherings — see the Faulkner County phalanx backed by Baker and Morton of, particularly, Wood, Maggio, Chandler and Braswell. You may also know them by how often they describe themselves as “conservative” jurists. If you don’t understand the code, look no farther than Republican Rep. David CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


Court says money is speech It talks, all right.


id James Madison and the rest intend that 1,500 or so men with billions of idle cash be able to buy a Congress, a president or a state legislature? Absolutely, the five-man majority on the U. S. Supreme Court said last week. We may get to taste the bitter fruit of that holding here in Arkansas, this year, but then we’ve tasted it already. The court’s 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission only nudged us slightly farther down the path to oligarchy. Shaun McCutcheon is an Alabama coal magnate who thought the $123,200 that federal law allowed him to dump directly into the campaigns of Republican congressional candidates this year did not buy him enough influence in Washington. The coal lobby wants a Congress that will weaken the environmental rules on mining and burning coal and halt the shift of U.S. dependence from carbon

to renewable, clean energy. McCutcheon sued, joined by the Republican National Committee, and the ERNEST Supreme Court DUMAS obliged. The court struck down the $123,200 limit on the aggregate amount that one person could give each election cycle to congressional and presidential candidates and to party political action committees that funnel the money on to candidates. From now on, if he likes, McCutcheon can give as much as $3.6 million per cycle to federal candidates, directly or through the political parties. But all the lamentations, here and elsewhere, may be too hysterical. Already, a rich man could spend a billion dollars a cycle to elect people of his choice and keep at least the finer details more or less secret. Mega-donors like

Minimum wage increase could help Democrats


PR’s White House correspondent Scott Horsley came to town last week to report on the effort to raise the state’s minimum wage through a ballot measure. While the story focused on the substantive issue of whether it’s good policy to increase the wage above the federal wage in a state with the third lowest pay in the nation, lurking just behind was the potential for a vote on the minimum wage to aid the candidacy of embattled Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. As President Obama has said, increasing the minimum wage “is not just good policy, it also happens to be good politics.” New Arkansas polling this week reaffirms the president’s political instincts and strongly suggests that the minimum wage proposal making the ballot is one of which the stars that must align for the Democratic Party to find success in 2014. The latest Talk Business-Hendrix College poll shows an overwhelming 79 percent of Arkansas voters favor a proposal being promoted by Give Arkansas a Raise

Now to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour across three years. If the group gets enough signaJAY tures on petitions BARTH to make the ballot, the wage increase should become law. Knowing they have a winning issue, Democratic statewide candidates, led by Pryor and certain gubernatorial nominee Mike Ross, are all-in on the Arkansas proposal. Pryor appeared at a press conference in support of the measure in February and has continually reiterated this stance since then, while Ross issued a supportive press release this week. In contrast, Pryor’s opponent, Congressman Tom Cotton, has refused to take a stance on the proposal and GOP gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson has expressed opposition to the initiative. The minimum wage effort has three interlocking benefits for these Democrats and their partisans lower on the

the Koch brothers can spend whatever they wish on attack ads on congressional and state legislative candidates through super PACs and 501(c)(4) nonprofits like Americans for Prosperity or the Club for Growth as long they don’t stash it directly into the campaign committees of candidates they want elected or official party committees. The Supreme Court years ago endorsed that subterfuge by framing it as the constitutional right of people who had made or inherited vast sums of money. You can make the argument — and its supporters did — that the McCutcheon decision had one beneficial aspect: It encourages the rich to be open about buying influence or “access” by giving money directly to the candidates, who must then report it, rather than by funneling it through 501(c)(4)s and PACs as Arkansas nursing home magnate Michael Morton did in investing in candidates for judge who will favor his interests. Maybe, but I think most people who spend a lot of money on politics will still prefer anonymity. The Koch brothers want people to know they are investing heavily in politicians, just not the details or the extent. Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth and their donors may already have spent $5 mil-

lion to defeat Sen. Mark Pryor. The public doesn’t begrudge swell-sounding groups for prosperity and growth spending vast sums to beat a senator, but they might if you put a few names and faces behind it. The politicians prefer that anonymity, too. They can deny having anything to do with the nasty ads tearing down their opponents. This all began with a different but also conservative Supreme Court. Public revulsion at the corruption revealed in the Watergate scandal caused Congress to toughen the rules controlling the influence of money in government. But the court gutted the reform in Buckley v. Valeo in 1976 by holding that money was speech and that Congress had to be careful in regulating it. If a person had lots of it, the law could not prevent him from spending all he needed to get himself elected. It was sheer baloney, but once the principle of money as speech was established you could hold almost any use of it in the political arena a right. And in the hands of a severely rightward court everything becomes a right, both for the individually rich and for corporations, which the court said were just humans on paper.

Arkansas ballot. First, the signaturegathering process provides an opportunity to enhance the party’s database — in messy shape because there has not been a competitive statewide general election here since Pryor’s 2002 election — by identifying those tens of thousands of voters who sign the petition as ones particularly moved by the issue. In the Obama era, the power of linking information about individual voters’ predilections to a field campaign has been shown again and again. Assuming that field campaign gets up and running (as promised through the national Democratic Party’s “Bannock Street project”), this provides some strong ammunition to use in getting proposal supporters to the polls for the Democratic ticket. To be true turnout fuel, however, there has to be a campaign for the wage once it’s on the ballot to match the spending that is currently being employed to get the necessary signatures. A number of recent examples indicate that ballot initiative campaigns can be employed to boost turnout in higher profile elections. In 2004, conservative churches were used in Arkansas and elsewhere to encourage voters concerned about same-sex marriage to get out to vote for “traditional marriage”; in 2012, in Colo-

rado, in particular, a competitive state at the presidential level, marijuana legalization boosted Democratic turnout up and down the ticket. But, both of those efforts had strong built-in grassroots campaigns (and some national money) to boost turnout; despite the measure’s popularity, it remains unclear whether those elements are present for the Arkansas minimum wage. Assuming significant spending for both field and media campaigns (possibly funded by national labor groups) the issue could reshape the electorate in a manner that benefits Democrats. Finally, the minimum wage has the potential to move voters’ attention to bread-and-butter economic issues during the fall. The still-populist voters who determine the outcome of Arkansas elections are emphatically conservative on cultural issues but retain a progressive streak on economic matters. When economics are at the forefront of the debate, it’s a decidedly fairer fight for Democratic candidates. Polling on the measure shows its particular popularity among some of the groups where Democratic candidates must run well if they are to pull out close wins in the highest profile races and win just enough seats to regain control of the state House. In addition



APRIL 10, 2014



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APRIL 10, 2014


Money and judicial elections, part two


n early July 2013, I wrote an article that was printed in the Arkansas Times. It was in response to the announcement by the Arkansas GOP that it was creating an independent PAC for the expressed purpose of electing judges that more properly reflect the views and values of Arkansas voters, i.e. judges should be elected to reflect conservative public policies rather than remain independent and impartial. My article also referred to the coming of unfettered independent expenditures in judicial elections because of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Citizens United v. FEC. In addition, I stated my concern that the process of the election of judges is now deemed no different than the election of legislators or executives, such as governors. Thanks to a U.S Supreme Court opinion in 2002, Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Justice Scalia concluded that electing judges is no different than any other election, and that the states gave up any argument to the contrary by not appointing its judges. Scalia’s mindset constitutes faulty thinking from my perspective. States have just as much interest in the independence of the judiciary as the feds do, regardless of how judges are picked to fill the position. I want to reinforce a point: When it comes to the judiciary, appearances become reality in the minds of the citizenry the judiciary serves. As a judge for more than 14 years, I know that to be true, just as sure as the sun shines. The Code of Judicial Conduct, the rules by which judges are required to abide, makes appearances a critical element of the Code’s reason for being. If a judge appears to be biased or partial in his or her decision-making, then he or she is not impartial, and the public perception of the impartiality and independence of the judge is lost. It matters not that the judge is in fact independent of undue influence. That assertion is lost because of appearances. If a judge appears either corrupt or incompetent, then the collective public faith in the third branch of government begins to erode. If the election process for judges is tainted by the appearance of the corrupting influence of money, we have a major problem in keeping public faith in the most important process of checks and balances in our democracy. So, what now, since we now see a classic example of what was

and is my major concern? DAVID A. Permit me to STEWART preface this next GUEST COLUMNIST point by citing some very flawed thinking by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who penned the majority opinion in Citizens United: “[T] he appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.” Really? You can argue that money for a legislative campaign, without a specific agreement to support a piece of legislation, is run-of-the-mill politics; and, therefore, you can argue that without an actual quid pro quo, buying access and influence over a legislator is not corrupting, as Chief Justice Roberts does in the most recent case of McCutcheon v. FEC. Roberts incorrectly, and with amazing ignorance, concludes that appearances do not matter, that buying a legislator’s official conduct has to be criminal conduct before it rises to the point of giving government the right to limit the influence of money in campaigns. But appearances are of critical importance, even if not illegal, especially in judicial races. Appearances will cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy. Conduct may or may not be criminal, but it can smell to high-heaven. In a judicial race, the impact from smelly money can be, and should be, devastating. We have now witnessed “apparent” corruption first hand in Arkansas with the withdrawal of a circuit judge from a court of appeals race, and the filing of serious ethical complaints related to the judge’s actions, not to mention the possibility of criminal investigations into the relationship between contributions to the candidate that may have been directly related to the judge’s decision to favor the donor. I do not pass judgment on the factual question of whether an agreement to make substantial campaign contributions to a judge resulted in a judge’s substantial decision in the contributor’s favor, contrary to a jury verdict. That will, I hope, be sorted out. Regardless of the facts, or the criminality, the impression left on me and countless others — the appearance, if you will — is glaring. I no longer have faith that the judge in question can be trusted to make a decision independent of the influence of money, or his quirky CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


for the Arkansas Minority Health Commission’s


Some like it tot FAITHFUL READERS will notice that The Observer has been on the move lately. Something about the spring makes us put on the traveling shoes. Our latest excursion took us to Denver, Colo., for a journalists’ conference. It turns out that Colorado has some different laws than back in home in Arkansas! Fascinating. Though far from the office, The Observer knows an opportunity for some reporting and observing when we see one. We investigated. Lest we offend those of delicate sensibilities or constitutions, we shall now speak in code. You may have read about Colorado’s recently passed laws regarding the decriminalization of tater tots. Here in Arkansas, as in most states, tater tots are illegal. They’re still more or less available, but only through the black market (and enforcement of the tater tot laws has been horribly discriminatory against racial minorities). By popular referendum, the voters of Colorado recently chose to legalize tater tots — and tax them, bringing tens of millions of dollars to the state coffers. The Observer was fascinated to walk into a tater-tot dispensary, full of a large variety of all manner of tater tots (apparently tater-tot chocolates are particularly popular). The dispensary employee was friendly and helpful (if you’re wondering, they are not allowed to eat tater tots on the job). It was almost like … a normal customer service experience! None of the awkward meetups with sketchy tater-tot dealers that The Observer may or may not have had in the past. No coded text messages or confusing etiquette or social obligation to eat tater tots at the moment of purchase. Just a simple, and legal, transaction. The free market. Free as a bird. After consumption of tater tots, perhaps the air was a bit more crisp. Perhaps the Rockies, towering above the Denver skyline, were more magnificent. Or as magnificent as they had always been, the tater tots merely helping The Observer to observe. The Observer got a little giggly during a conference panel discussion on mapping bacteria in the body, but otherwise, we can report that society seems to be surviving the legalization of tater

tots just fine. This assessment stands in sharp contrast to the dire predictions of those who wish to continue the endless War on Tater Tots. “There will be many harmful consequences,” one Colorado sheriff predicted in 2012. “Expect more crime, more kids eating tater tots, and tater tots for sale everywhere.” A California sheriff was a guest on Denver television and said to expect this: “Thugs put on masks, they come to your house, they kick in your door. They point guns at you and say, ‘Give me your tater tots, give me your money.’ ” However, three months into the Great Colorado Tater-Tot experiment, crime in Denver has gone down, not up. As for The Observer, we finished our investigation with some tacos. Delicious. AS HARD AS IT IS TO BELIEVE for Yours Truly, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the death by suicide of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who took his own life on April 5, 1994, with a shotgun in his Seattle home after several years of struggling with heroin addiction and depression. What a blow that was, children. What a tragedy. What a bewildering wound. The ’50s had Elvis Presley, who bloated and faded and finally burned out. The flower children had John Lennon, silenced by a lunatic with a gun. The Observer’s vintage, meanwhile — Generation X — had Cobain, a hugely flawed and reluctant anti-hero who was eventually stolen away by his appetites and his own despair. Calling somebody “the voice of a generation” is a cliche, sure. But for a few years, if there was a voice, Cobain was it. He sure took this kid from the sticks to new places, helping The Observer shrug off the neon-lit testosterone stench of hair metal in favor of a music that was more thoughtful, more introspective, more real. Knowing that Cobain gave in to hopelessness after a few short years of giving everybody else a kind of hope was a hell of a thing, still hard to fathom long after all the flannel shirts and Doc Martin boots went to the back of the closet or off to Goodwill. But that voice was a hell of thing as well. And the voice will live forever.

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APRIL 10, 2014


Arkansas Reporter



ExxonMobil issued a one-page summary last week of the remedial work plan it recently submitted to the federal agency that regulates pipelines. The summary expands upon its earlier finding that a manufacturing defect in the low-frequency electric resistance weld pipe (ERW) caused the joint crack that sent 210,000 gallons of crude oil spewing into a Mayflower neighborhood last year. Exxon now says that “atypical pipe properties [are] the most significant contributing factor” to the break. Karen Tyrone, vice president of Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co., also referred to the joint’s “extreme metallurgical properties” in an interview with Talk Business. By putting the focus on the atypical properties — a chemical stew of sulfur, manganese and carbon that company officials say they’ve never seen to such an extent in a joint before — and away from a well-known manufacturing defect of the ERW pipe used in the northern section that includes Arkansas, it would seem that Exxon is casting the rupture as caused by a rare flaw. But pipeline experts tell InsideClimate News that there is nothing new in Exxon’s supposed revelation. Likewise, in an interview with the Times, Richard Kuprewicz of Accufacts Inc., a pipeline safety consultant working with Central Arkansas Water, which would like to see Exxon move the pipe away from Little Rock’s drinking water supply, said that ERW pipe can have “some strange chemistry” that might contribute to pipe failure and the industry is used to seeing strange chemistry in certain batches of pipe. Pipeline experts tell InsideClimate News that they believe that, in addition to the manufacturing defect and “extreme” chemical properties, a third, still-unknown element helped activate the rupture. Possibilities include “large swings in pressure inside the pipe, excess hydrogen from the product or the corrosion prevention system,” according to InsideClimate News.

Walton goes big in NYC We can see Alice Walton wanting to live seven blocks north of the Frick Collection (with its wonderful Vermeer) and two blocks south of the Metropolitan Museum, can’t you? The New York CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 10

APRIL 10, 2014



Major questions linger in Mayflower spill

JAMIE WALDEN AND KEITH HOELZEMAN: Co-founders of Treatsie Artisan Sweets.

Hail, fellows Finalists in new business mentor program selected. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


hree years ago, in the Arkansas Times’ Big Ideas issue, entrepreneur Kristian Andersen, of Indiana and Arkansas, wrote about a way to keep Arkansas brains in Arkansas. Modeled after Indianapolis’ Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship, Andersen’s program would solicit mentor companies to offer two-year fellowships, worth $40,000 a year, to graduating college seniors. It would offer them monthly programming, a speaker series and networking. After their two-year experience working and mixing it up with other young creative types and local business leaders, these bright minds would be more likely to stay in Arkansas, creating their own companies or rising in their careers. It’s 2014 and the Arkansas Fellowship program is real. On Monday, the nonprofit Arkansas Fellowship’s board of directors chose 25 finalists from among 80 applicants from Arkansas universities and colleges to seek the

fellowships; 12 will be selected by the end of the month. Warwick Sabin, head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and director of the Arkansas Fellowship, said the number of applicants and participating companies — 12 — was “fantastic for the first year.” The applicants — 57 men and 23 women — got one-on-one interviews with the seven members of the board. Sabin said they came from schools all over Arkansas, with a high number from John Brown University, which Sabin said has an “outstanding” business program. “The idea was to try to look for entrepreneurial potential,” Sabin said, for applicants with “initiative and drive” to eventually develop their own projects. The finalists include 16 men and nine women. This week, host companies are reviewing the finalists and next Monday will inform the board which of the

finalists they wish to interview. On April 21, Finalist Day, each host company will interview each of the finalists they choose for 30 minutes. At the end of the interview process, the companies will rank the students they wish to employ and the students will rank the companies they’d like to work for — much like Match Day for medical school graduates going on to residencies. Fellows will consider their job offers and by the end of April, Sabin said, all will know where they’ll be working. The process will start again in the fall, so that each new year will produce a new class of fellows. The program’s startup funding comes from Fifty for the Future, a Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce group; the Northwest Arkansas Council, and Winrock International. Andersen, who lives in Conway and commutes to Indianapolis, where his company KA+A is headquartered, first promoted the idea of the Arkansas Fellowship with Innovate Arkansas advisors Ted Dickey and Michael Smith and Director Tom Dalton. “I knew they had an appetite for big ideas around economic development,” Andersen said. KA+A is a mentor company for the hugely successful Orr Fellowship, CONTINUED ON PAGE 12





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



1. During a recent appearance on TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” former President Bill Clinton said that a certain event “might be the only way to unite this aggressively divided world of ours.” What event was he talking about? A) An invasion by hostile aliens from outer space. B) Storewide 90 percent off sale at DSW Shoes. C) Global beer pong tournament. D) “Game of Thrones” series finale.

2. Last week, officials in Northwest Arkansas told the public that an automated warning texted to over 250 citizens was actually sent in error, the result of a computer glitch. What was the warning about? A) Snakes in the toilet. Seriously. You’d better check before you sit down next time. B) A tidal wave alert for Springdale. C) Imminent arrival of the Coors Light Silver Bullet Party Train. D) Razorback player’s electronic monitoring anklet went off.

3. On April 1, the Little Rock Police Department arrested a man accused of breaking into a car on Cumberland Street. According to police, how did they find the alleged perp? A) He was passed out in the driver’s seat with a screwdriver in his hand. B) Followed a trail of wrappers from a bag of six-month-old Halloween candy. C) He turned himself in after seeing the face of Christ burned into his toast. D) He accidentally locked himself in the trunk of the car.

4. Jim Bob Duggar, of TLC’s ongoing “[Umpteen] Kids and Counting” reality show fame, recently announced that his family was withdrawing their political endorsement for David Sterling, a Republican running for Arkansas attorney general. Why did Duggar pull his support from Sterling? A) As an attorney, Sterling once represented a lingerie store in court. B) Wore white shoes after Labor Day, as forbidden in Leviticus 14:30-31. C) Name begins with a letter other than “J.” D) Jim Bob questions the heterosexuality of any man with fewer than 9 kids.

5. Republican French Hill, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives, recently fielded a TV ad that features something he calls “Old Blue” as an example of Hill’s supposed penny-pinching ways. What is “Old Blue”? A) A shattered, powder blue toilet held together by crazy glue and tape. B) An aging Volvo station wagon. C) A large, resin-clouded water bong. D) A faintly pulsing lump on his neck, which Hill is taking a “wait and see” approach to.

6. Arkansas Times Senior Editor Max Brantley is out of the office this week. Where is he? A) World finals of the Tough-Actin’ Tinactin John Madden Look-Alike Contest in Vegas. B) On vacation in Africa. C) Riding boxcars coast to coast, hobo style. D) TwiCon 2014, the Ark-La-Tex’s biggest “Twilight” superfan conference.

Post reports that Walton is suspected to have purchased a $70 million co-op at 960 Fifth Ave. in New York. It’s the highest amount ever paid for a New York co-op. The co-op belonged to the late Edgar Bronfman, the Seagrams gazillionaire, and is called the “Jewel of Fifth Avenue.” It’s at the corner of 77th Street and Fifth. City Realty says the 15-story co-op building is rated No. 9 in the city (but No. 2 on the East Side, behind the River House at 435 E. 52nd St.). The penthouse, however, is rated No. 3. But City Realty isn’t taking into account proximity to two of the world’s greatest collections of art, is it? Guess all the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art bigwigs will have a nice place to stay when they hit the auctions.

A history of spills Plains All American Pipeline, which is working with Valero Energy Corp. to bisect Arkansas with a pipeline carrying crude oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee, has a history of safety violations with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and is responsible for three major oil spills in Alberta, Canada, including a spill of 28,000 barrels of crude oil into wetlands near Little Buffalo, Alberta, records show. In a settlement over violations related to spills in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas, the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 fined Plains $3.25 million and required the company to spend $41 million to upgrade its crude oil pipelines in the U.S. Arkansas law gives pipeline companies the power of eminent domain if landowners are not willing to negotiate a price for the use of their land. Plains All American will be required to get permits from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (for stormwater construction and hydrostatic testing), the Public Service Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for parts of the route that affect waterways. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is concerned that the $800 million project, called the Diamond Pipeline Project, will pass through three of its wildlife management areas, including the ecologically significant Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA, and hopes to persuade the Army Engineers to require individual permits for each waterway crossing rather than a blanket permit for the work.

APRIL 10, 2014



HAIL, FELLOWS, CONT. Continued from page 10 which has 59 current fellows, an estimated 80 percent of which will stay in Indiana. At Monday’s board meeting, in which Andersen participated by phone, “We looked and said, ‘Wow.’ I knew we were going to have some success, but the fact that 25 kids were willing to take a — gamble’s not the right word — take a flyer and companies would do the same. ... We’re asking companies to commit to hiring somebody for two years for a job that doesn’t exist. For the kids we’re saying we want you to forgo an interview with other companies and we’ll slightly underpay you … with no raises and no bonuses, no nothing for two years. ... The quality of folks that lined up is so cool and a testament to the thread of entrepreneurial DNA that runs through the fabric of Arkansas.” Andersen, and later Sabin, met with college and university presidents, deans, career placement offices and CEOs of potential host companies all over Arkansas to publicize the Arkansas Fellowship. One of the companies Sabin approached: Treatsie, a startup artisan sweets delivery company started by Jamie Walden and Keith Hoelzeman a year ago, now valued at $1.2 million. “One of our four investors helped start [the fellowship] and when he told us about it we were immediately interested,” Walden said. “A lot of these candidates could get a high-paying job out of college,” Walden

said; they are sacrificing that to be able to show local companies what they can do. What sort of student is Treatsie hoping to find? Like any start-up, he said, “We could use creative problem solvers.” As an online company (it boxes artisanal chocolates and other confections from small makers all over the country for one-time or monthly customers, similar to the Harry & David fruit company), someone with a software development background would be valuable as well, Walden said. Andersen added: “Arkansas has plenty of shortcomings, but one thing it consistently outperforms its peers in is chutzpah.” The basic thesis of the fellowship, Andersen said, is this: “Talent is the atomic unit of success.” “Ask Portland or Austin or Boulder — those cities aren’t great merely because of the abundance of ethnic eateries, but because the smartest people in the world want to live there.” It’s important, he said, to give talented Arkansans a reason to stay home. Other mentor companies include Acumen Brands, Bourbon & Boots, CFO Network, Circumference Group, Collective Bias, Datarank, Dillard’s, Moxy Ox, Perks, Stone Ward and Sumotext. Board members include Andersen, Innovate Arkansas adviser Jeff Amerine, startup lawyer Jamie Fugitt, Burt Hicks of Winrock International, CPA Ryan Holder, Heather Nelson of the SEAL Corp. and Michael Steely of the Arkansas Venture Center.

STEWART, CONT. Continued from page 8 biases heretofore exhibited. It may make me or others question how many times this has happened before, and how many times it may not have come to light. At what point does this kind of example need to surface before we collectively lose faith in the independence of our judiciary? Why should the process of electing judges be subject to the same accepted norm of “access” money as in other elections? The simple and correct answer is that it shouldn’t. Another thing: We now see judicial candidates flaunting their “conservative” values as a plank in their election campaign. No doubt those candidates believe that conservative pronouncements will garner them enough money and enough votes to win the election. Then what? Once elected, do we trust the judge to follow the constitution and established law, or are we to assume 12

APRIL 10, 2014


that a conservative public policy position will win the day, regardless? Have those judges, or panel of judges, wedged themselves into a corner when making a decision? Would you have faith in the judiciary when confronted with those appearances? Let’s not take sides here: The same problem would exist if judicial candidates ran on a platform of liberal or progressive or libertarian ideas as a basis for their future conduct once elected. It is flawed thinking and it is dangerous thinking. I’ve said it once, and I say it again: We need to change the rules of the game. We will lose faith in our democracy if we lose faith in our judiciary.

David Stewart is retired executive director of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. He’s currently serving by appointment as district judge in Fayetteville.

BRANTLEY, CONT. Continued from page 6

“tort reform” cause for his many benefactors, all supported by taxpayers. But even Meeks’ recent endorsement of Chandler that wasn’t enough money for Baker. Yet for her “conservative” strengths. Conserto be uncovered are the various sources vative in the Republican lexicon means of money being sent into a consulting anti-tax, pro-gun, anti-abortion, anti-gay company he formed to do government and pro-employer. It also means Repubwork he won’t discuss. One of that firm’s lican friendly. It makes a mockery of the employees did put nursing home titan judicial canon of ethics to run in such an Morton together with Chris Stewart’s overtly partisan manner, but the RepubPACs. lican inclination of voters in the Faulkner A family values theme resonates from area guarantee its use in nominally nonall the Faulkner phalanx candidates. Gilpartisan races. bert Baker is a churchman. His legal facilThe campaign tactic also presents fair itator Stewart was educated by Jerry Falquestions, which the candidates undoubtwell and Pat Robertson institutions and is closely tied with the Arkansas Family edly would refuse to answer. Does a “conservative” candidate believe in obeying Council and credited with writing the the U.S. Supreme Court? David Meeks law requiring discrimination against gay and every single Republican in the Arkancouples in Arkansas. Whatever else family values might mean to this bunch, the sas legislature fail that test. They voted for clearly unconstitutional restrictions on do-right rule appears to be honored only abortion and overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s in the breach. Or when it can be used to torpedo a political enemy. veto on account of the legal deficit. Will these judicial candidates even hear the I’ve been writing about the judicial legally mandated juditakeover from tort cial bypass procedure reform proponents allowed for minors for months and wrote Does a seeking an abortion? months ago about the “conservative” Will they respect fedparticular hotbed of candidate believe activity in Faulkner eral precedent in the growing body of law on County. I also wrote of in obeying the U.S. equal rights for marGilbert Baker’s key role Supreme Court? ried couples regardin judicial and legislaDavid Meeks less of gender? One of tive races, sometimes them might surprise through front groups. and every single in practice, but voters I’d noted, too, the nursRepublican in the will hear a very clear ing home money that Arkansas legislature went to the Faulkner answer to that question from the labeling. candidates, includfail that test. But this isn’t about ing Maggio, whose lawsuits. It’s about a jaw-dropping nursing home rule was first reported here. business community that doesn’t want But little would have come of any of to pay when nursing homes fail vulnerthis but for Maggio’s salacious postings able patients in agony, as happened in the on the LSU message board Tiger Dropunanimous verdict returned in Republican-friendly Faulkner County. pings and then Blue Hog’s brilliant pubThe chamber of commerce takeover lic document sleuthing that connected of the bench is underway. Baker has now critical dates of PAC creation and Morbeen outed as the bagman, strategist and ton campaign contributions and Maggio campaign chief. legal decisions. Arkansas law in theory prohibits Debra Hale-Shelton of the Demworking as a lobbyist while sitting in the ocrat-Gazette has advanced the story legislature. Baker was paid from secret importantly by putting a Baker hire, Linda Flanagin, in the middle of the money sources by Religious Right stratemoney transfers and by getting Morgist Ralph Reed’s organization, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, while he was a ton’s admission that he talks often with senator. He advanced that organization’s Baker (though the circumstantial eviconservative religious political goals and dence of that was already clear up and he also spent its money, successfully, to down the ballot). Just look for a “conelect like-minded Republicans to the servative” judicial candidate and you’ll Arkansas legislature. This isn’t being a find somebody supported by both Gilbert paid lobbyist? Quack quack. Baker and Michael Morton. Then he got a better gig immediately That’s the story of this election season. after term limits — $132,000 a year from And the further evidence that we UCA to continue to work to elect Repubshouldn’t be electing judges. In Arkanlicans to the legislature and advance the sas, as we can see, justice comes cheap.

DUMAS, CONT. Continued from page 7 Everything is legal, that is, except outright bribery. That is the standard described by the chief justice last week. As long as you cannot absolutely prove that a gift to a politician produced a certain benefit for the donor, it is the donor’s right. Roberts said there was just no evidence that mammoth gifts to a politician ever had any influence on his official acts. If money had such influence then Congress could impose limits and controls, but it just doesn’t happen, in the chief justice’s imagination. No one in America really believes that. Alan Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming, dismissed such nonsense when he testified in an earlier case: “Who, after all, can seriously contend that a $100,000 donation does not alter the way one thinks about — and quite possibly votes on — an issue?” The same day Roberts handed down his opinion, national attention was focused on the world’s 10th richest person, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who let it be known he would spend a fortune getting Congress to outlaw online wagering, which was cutting into casino profits. Big bucks went to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who — with amazing coincidence — introduced the bill written by Adelson’s lawyers. Graham gave Justice Roberts some cover. He said he did it not owing to Adelson’s bribe, but to get the votes of South Carolina Baptists.

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BARTH, CONT. Continued from page 7 to nearly unanimous support among groups that make up the Democratic base, the minimum wage resonates with two groups that are key targets in the 2014 election cycle — women (83 percent support for the measure) and political independents (76 percent support). Democratic activists believe that the minimum wage ballot measure is likely worth a couple of percentage points in the final outcomes in the highest profile races. With both the Senate and governor’s races shown as essential dead heats in the Talk Business-Hendrix College polling, those couple of points could well be the difference.

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APRIL 10, 2014



CHRIS ISBELL: “I’m always trying to find something nobody else finds.”





APRIL 10, 2014


’m no expert,” Chris Isbell said as he handed me a glass of sake, the signature alcoholic beverage of Japan, made from water and fermented rice. “I don’t know good sake from bad sake. I just grow rice.” This is a favorite line of Isbell’s — “I just grow rice” — but it’s a bit of an understatement. The 58-year-old Lonoke County farmer put Arkansas on the map in the Japanese culinary world 25 years ago when he began growing and selling Koshihikari, a renowned varietal of premium-quality rice that many once believed could only be grown in Japan. Now he’s growing Yamada Nishiki, the most prized varietal of sake rice in the world and one that no one else — at least publicly — is growing on any marketable scale in the United States.

“It’s going to be 55 this year,” Chris Isbell said. “We don’t ever change the sign ’til we’ve planted.” Chris, 58, runs the family farm these days, with help from his son, son-in-law and a cousin. Leroy, 89, who just this year stopped working the fields, was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame last month for his role in helping to pioneer an innovative irrigation technique that has become common in rice fields throughout the world. So a knack for rice is in the family, but when I asked Chris Isbell whether he always knew he wanted to be a rice farmer, he smiled and shook his head.

and thinks, I could do that. “I’m always trying to find something nobody else finds,” Isbell said. “I like to have at least three things going at the same time. If it drops below that I’m kind of uncomfortable. Gotta have a bunch of things I’m playing with. Switching back and forth, working on some experiment.” This is the thing about Isbell: Though he has lived on the same farm his entire life, make no mistake, he is a seeker. He always has that itch, to tinker and learn and discover. Maybe he got it from his father, who back in the ’70s looked


My own previous experience with sake is probably typical for Americans, if they’ve tried it at all: I’ve ordered sake at a Japanese restaurant. That leads to a “terrible first impression” of sake for new drinkers, said Big Orange bar manager Ben Bell, who trained in Tokyo in 2013 to be a certified advanced sake professional; he’s one of around 100 foreigners in the world who’ve earned that dictinction in Japan. Typically, Bell said, you’ll get served bad sake made from low-quality rice. The sake I tried from Isbell was a sample that a Japanese sake company made from Yamada Nishiki rice that Isbell grew on his farm in Humnoke. Here was an entirely different drink: crisp, complex and refreshing, with a powerful floral aroma and vibrant taste of tropical fruit. “I don’t particularly like it,” Isbell said. “But they say it’s right.” The sake is not yet on the retail market, but is being tested in elite restaurants in major markets, with good results so far. If high-quality Yamada Nishiki and other elite sake rice varietals start being grown in the United States (it would be prohibitively expensive for sake brewers to ship the rice from Japan), it would be a game-changer for sake production in this country, Bell said. “I almost can’t overstate what a big deal that would be in the sake community.” For Bell, who hopes to one day open a sake brewery in Central Arkansas, it is particularly happy news that one of the nation’s biggest developments in sake rice farming is happening just down the road. Bell first heard rumors about what Isbell was up to at a sake conference in New York. It might sound weird — sake in Arkansas! — but Bell wasn’t entirely surprised. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Arkansas has some of the best rice land in the world,” he said. “We can just grow things that are difficult to grow in other places, and we also have very considerable rice farming skill. ... Good on Chris for taking on the challenge. Somebody’s got to be the first to do it.” Chris Isbell’s grandfather grew cotton in Lonoke County, as did his great-grandfather before that. His father, Leroy Isbell, originally wanted to be a veterinarian. Then World War II came along: Leroy joined the Navy, and after he got home, the GI bill offered him $90 a month to go to agricultural school. He went to class and used that $90 a month to finance and grow his first crop of rice. And that’s what the Isbells have been doing ever since. By 1949, Leroy Isbell bought what is now Isbell Farms. If you’re heading up Highway 13 in Humnoke — population 284, a little hamlet of farmland due east of England — just before Rowes Chapel Baptist Church, you’ll see a sign: “First State Bank salutes Leroy Isbell. Rice grown 54 consecutive years in this field.”

54 YEARS AND COUNTING: Isbell Farms has grown Arkansas long-grain rice (pictured above) for decades, but the farm’s experiments with more exotic varietals has attracted international attention.

“No, I don’t know,” he said. “I suppose everybody’s like this. I still don’t know what I want to do.” He loves growing rice, he said, but he always has a hankering for something new. One of his favorite television shows is “Gold Rush,” a reality program about men who go off to Alaska to mine for gold. Isbell watches on Friday nights

at the inefficient irrigation system Arkansas rice farmers were using at the time and decided there had to be a better way. (“Just because your daddy did something a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s right!” Leroy told “Rice Farming” when the Isbells were named Farmers of the Year by the magazine in 1996. “Maybe you can do better.”) CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

APRIL 10, 2014



“I’m adventurous, I guess,” Chris Isbell said. “You can tell me, this is the way something works. And I want to know why. Always been that way. I like looking just a little deeper into everything, for some reason.” So if Isbell was going to be a rice grower, he was going all in. He was going to experiment. That meant hunting for more information at conferences across the country. “Back then, nobody really went to these,”

RICE AMBASSADOR: Isbell put Arkansas on the map in the Japanese culinary world 25 years ago.

Isbell said. “It was just the researchers and the Ph.D.’s, presenting their papers and talking about what was new in rice. I wanted to be there and find out what was going on and if there was something I could pick up. They’d give me a name tag that said, ‘grower.’ And I was the most popular person there. It was like these researchers had never seen a grower before.” In 1988, Isbell went to the Rice Technical

MAY 23-25 16

APRIL 10, 2014

Working Group conference at the University of California, Davis, and saw a Japanese man standing in the corner by himself. “I felt bad for him standing all alone, so I went over to give him a little Southern hospitality,” Isbell said. “We got to talking about rice.” The man turned out to be Shoichi Ito, a rice economist from Japan. Ito started telling Isbell about the differences between rice grown in Japan and rice grown in the United States. The Japanese prefer short-grain rice, Ito explained, which has a different look, taste and feel than the Arkansas long-grain Isbell was used to. Isbell was particularly interested to hear about prized varietals in Japan, varietals that the Japanese took as seriously as French wine enthusiasts take grapes. As with wine, Ito told him, different regions in Japan produced different results, with varieties in texture and flavor. The most famous rice in Japanese cuisine is Koshihikari (often called Koshi rice), the highend choice for sushi, which some consider the best rice in the world. (As one food blogger has written, “Koshi rice is to sushi rice as single malt scotch is to the scotch world.”) The thing is, Ito said, Koshihikari could only be grown in Japan. As far as anyone knew, it couldn’t be grown in the United States. Telling Chris Isbell that something can’t be done is a surefire way to get him to start experimenting. “We grow so much rice here, I figured we’d try growing [Koshi],” Isbell said. “Even if it never made a dollar, I was going to try it, just to see if it was possible or not. That’s what we did, just kind of eased into it. And it grew.” Not that it was easy. “It’s wonderful to eat and not so fun to grow,” Isbell said. “It’s hard to harvest and it’s hard to thresh. ... But it’s a beautiful, beautiful grain once you get it milled.” Raised on Arkansas long-grain, the Isbells themselves became converts to Koshi. “That’s all we eat when we have it,” Isbell said. “We eat it with gravy. We’ll eat it for breakfast with sugar and butter. Once you have it, it’s the best.” (Well, except for Leroy Isbell — “My dad is kind a of straight down-the-road guy,” Chris said. “He’s a long-grain rice guy. However many bushels you can make and sell it for the best price.”) Koshi rice is richly aromatic and has a natural sweetness. Like other Japanese shortgrain varietals, it is very low in amylose, which makes it stickier, softer and chewier. Koshi is known for “fluffiness”: it holds together well for sushi or chopsticks, but each individual grain is intended to be smooth to the tongue. The







closest analogy is probably California mediumgrain rice — in particular, the varietal Calrose — which is what American restaurants had been relying on for sushi. But for connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine, Koshi is the premium stuff. Twenty-five years ago, that was an untapped market in the United States. What began as a fun little project for Isbell turned into a business plan, as Isbell Farms connected with Nishimoto, a California-based trading company specializing in Asian food products. The rice hit the market in 1992, marking the first time domestically grown Koshihikari was sold in the United States. Arkansas-grown Koshi rice became a big hit in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and other major Japanese population centers. Word spread to Japan that Koshi rice was being grown in Arkansas. Since legend had it that the famous varietal could only be grown in Japan, this was big news. Isbell did more than 50 interviews with Japanese television, newspapers and magazines. “For a while, I was getting calls about every day,” Isbell said. “They were just flabbergasted that it could be grown here.” The Japanese public television station NHK produced a 90-minute documentary about Isbell Farms. Buses full of Japanese tourists started showing up every month or two to get a peek at the farm (the Isbells would invite them in to their house and Chris’s wife, Judy, would make rice for everybody). One Japanese television station arranged to bring some of Isbell’s rice to one of the premier rice farmers in Japan and some of that farmer’s rice to Isbell in Arkansas — the Isbells liked the Japanese farmer’s rice better, but the Japanese farmer’s daughter chose Isbell’s in a blind taste test. Isbell traveled to Japan for the first time in 1993 to see how his rice measured up (he eventually went back half a dozen times). The elaborate taste tests included a machine designed to analyze the gasses released from the cooked rice. The human testers, meanwhile, would first smell the rice, then scoop some rice into their mouths and roll the grains over the tongue to feel for a smooth pearl-like quality of each grain, then chew. They would bite a single grain of rice in half to see if it properly sprung apart. “They were down that far into the details, I guarantee you, and even further,” Isbell said. He took notes on what they were looking for to help him improve his Koshi in future years, but the news from that first trip was good: The Arkansas Koshi didn’t take first place, but it held its own. “They were amazed,” Isbell said.


In 1994, Japan began allowing rice to be imported in to the country for the first time. A Japanese trading company brokered a deal to sell Isbell’s Koshi rice in FamilyMart, a Japanese chain with more than 3,000 convenience stores across the country. Unlike other American-grown rice coming in at the time, which was comingled with Japanese rice and sold like that, the Isbell Koshi was specifically marketed as 100 percent from Arkansas, taking advantage of the publicity around Isbell Farms. Sold as “Chris’s Rice” or “Rice Ambassador,” the front of the bag

featured a cartoon of the Isbell family, with a photograph of the Isbells on their farm on the back. A label said: “The State of Arkansas is located in southern America extending to the west of the Mississippi River. The family of Chris Isbell lives in this typical American rice granary where golden ears of rice stretch to the horizon.” The first run sold out in two weeks. FamilyMart later sponsored a sweepstakes, with 25 Japanese customers winning a trip to visit Isbell Farms. Meanwhile, once it became clear that Koshi could be grown outside of Japan and there was a market for it here in the

U.S., others followed suit. Growers in California had better access to the smaller specialty mills needed for the Koshi rice, not to mention closer proximity both to Asia and to the big Asian communities on the west coast. Isbell’s rice sold well for three years in Japan, but eventually the California growers came to dominate the market for American-grown Koshi, both in Japan and domestically. By 2009, Isbell had stopped selling Koshi altogether (Isbell Farms has continued to sell Arkansas long-grain throughout these adventures). His experiments with Japanese rice had brought

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APRIL 10, 2014


the Isbells around the world, exposed their kids to people and cultures that might as well have been a million miles from Lonoke County, and for a while it had turned a profit. But now, though they still had seed ready to plant if it became profitable again, it seemed like the Japanese varietals would be relegated to hobby status at Isbell Farms. That’s around when Isbell got a call from a Japanese sake company out of the blue, asking him about a rumor that Isbell had grown a rice varietal famous for its use in making top-shelf sake. “The guy speaks English, but not very good,” Isbell said. “He asks me if I have Yamada Nishiki. And I said I do. He asked me again, and I said I do. He said, you do?” He did. The whole time that Isbell was growing Koshi, he kept experimenting. “Once we started with Koshi, it was just natural to try something else,” Isbell said. “So we tried a bunch of something elses.” Isbell has a five-acre plot of land devoted to his experiments. “We grow a little bit of this, a little bit of that, just to look at it,” he said. He’s grown multiple other Asian varietals, Italian Arborio, and has created more crossbreeds than you can count. Back when Isbell first heard about Koshi, he asked if that was the most expensive, most exalted rice out there. Nope, he was told. Koshi might be the Cadillac of table rice, but the real deal was rice for sake. So Isbell grew sake rice varietals, too. Dozens of bags, each full of a different rice varietal, are stacked up in his barn. Dozens more are crammed into freezers. One of those bags, which had been sitting in the freezer for years, had around 30 pounds of Yamada Nishiki. A representative from the company showed up two weeks after the phone call. They wanted to brew high-quality sake using Yamada Nishiki here in the U.S., but the rice wasn’t available unless they shipped it from Japan (because the company is still testing the sake they’re making with Isbell’s rice and not yet selling it retail, they asked not to be named in this story). Now it turned out that it was available — in Humnoke, Arkansas. (Isbell doesn’t know whether it can be grown in California, but it stands to reason that folks have tried.) Isbell offered to grow and sell the rice for half of the market price in Japan. They had a deal. Isbell has been growing Yamada Nishiki for the past several years and shipping it to the sake company, which has been experimenting with different yeasts and enzymes and giving Isbell feedback on how to get the rice just so.


In the brewing process, before the sake rice is fermented and eventually made into alcohol, the rice is milled (or “polished”) down to the pure starch at the core of each grain. Higher-quality sake demands the laborious process of polishing away 40 or even 50 percent of the outer layer, getting rid of the fats, proteins and amino acids, so that only pure starch remains (in Japan, small craft breweries sell the milled leftovers to bigger sake breweries to mass produce cheaper sake). Elite sake brewers hope to work with a small white ball of that pure starch known as shinpaku (“white heart”), visible in high-quality rice. Part of what makes Yamada Nishiki so famous is that it consistently produces a strong shinpaku, located in the center of the grain, where it won’t get lost in the milling process. That little ball of starch produces powerful flavors. “Right now, Yamada Nishiki is the king of sake rice,” said Big Orange’s Bell. “It’s the Cabernet Sauvignon, but even more dominant than that. There’s a national tasting competition every year in Japan and Yamada Nishiki has its own category just to give the other varietals of rice a chance. It can create a really big, fruitful, almost monster of a sake. There’s big aromatics, big florals, big flavors.” Like wine, sake can be produced in a huge array of styles. Yamada Nishiki is at one end of the spectrum, but other rice varietals produce savory or herbal flavors. “You might go to a restaurant [in the U.S.] and see a list and it just says sake, hot or cold,” Bell said. “There are more than 1,000 sake breweries in Japan, which is more than the number of wineries in California.” Bell hopes that one day Arkansas will

SAKE DREAMS: Ben Bell hopes to open a sake brewery in Central Arkansas using locally grown sake rice.

become known for its own style (in addition to locally grown rice, he noted that Arkansas has large patches of “soft” water, which produces a particular style of sake). His dream, he said, would be to use a high-quality sake rice varietal grown by

Isbell here in Arkansas “and make some beautiful sake from it, something we can be really proud of. I would love to make something that people would taste and say, ‘Wow, I never would have expected this to come from anywhere outside of

Japan, much less Arkansas.’ My longterm goal is for Arkansas to be known for making quality sake and for growing quality rice, so no one would be any more surprised that Arkansas makes great sake than that Napa Valley makes great wine.” Bell is going to Japan this summer to work on his Japanese and hopes to do a second stint as an intern at a sake brewery. He is aiming to open his own brewery a few years from now, perhaps in Hot Springs, which happens to be the sister city of Hanamaki, home of the most famous sake brewing guild in Japan. It might be a little hard to imagine a market for sake here in Arkansas, but of course that’s what people once said about sushi. (In part due to Bell’s influence, quality Japanese sake is now more widely available in Central Arkansas, including at Big Orange and Colonial Wines and Spirits; Sushi Cafe also has a strong selection.) For now, Isbell is growing Yamada Nishiki exclusively for the Japanese sake company. After several years of work, they believe they’ve arrived at the quality they’re looking for. If it keeps testing well, the company may bring it to market soon. Isbell hopes to eventually ship some of his sake rice to Japan to “see how it fares against the real McCoys.” Isbell and Bell have met at his farm, and are beginning to brainstorm about the future. Isbell is growing two other high-end sake varietals in small batches, in case the market is there. It could be that very soon the best sake made in the United States will be reliant on rice grown in Arkansas. “I grew up Baptist, so it’s a little outside of my comfort zone,” Isbell said. “You know, my grandma wouldn’t be too proud of me. But I’m just growing rice!”

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APRIL 10, 2014


Arts Entertainment AND



Board and card games see resurgence in a digital world. BY DAVID KOON


hough the board game aisle at your local store has been steadily shrinking for decades — hours of rainy-day fun nearly made Dodo-bird extinct by the flashing, beeping, blipping, blooping appeal of digital games and life online — card games and board games have actually seen a surprising resurgence in recent years, and not just among the “Chutes and Ladders” set. These days, board and card games for adults are a billion-dollar industry, with a lot of the seed money to create and publish new games provided via crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Local fans, vendors and creators of tabletop games say the social experience of playing a sit-down game with friends is never going to be matched by anything trapped inside a screen. Josh Wilhelmi is the owner and general manager of Game Goblins, a card and board game shop in Sherwood. Opened in April 2012, the store features both a retail space and play area where customers can play games they’ve purchased, ones they’ve brought from home, or games selected from a demo cabinet. Wilhelmi said the underground popularity of board and card games is a response to the world becoming


APRIL 10, 2014


increasingly digital. He calls board gaming “Unplug and Play.” “Think about all the times during the day that we interact with technology,” he said, “but how often do we truly interact with people? That’s what tabletop gaming allows people to do. It’s a way that friends, or people that were looking to make friends, can get together and have a fun time.” Wilhelmi said the hallmark of a good tabletop game is usually that it has a “low barrier for entry,” meaning the rules aren’t too complicated for a beginner to learn. He said faster-paced games that can be completed in an hour to an hour-and-a-half are also popular. There’s a little something for everyone these days, he said, from 9 to 90 years old. “If you’re not competitive, we have cooperative games,” Wilhelmi said. “If you’re very competitive, we have ultra-competitive games. If you like collecting things, we’ve got that. If you like painting things, we’ve got miniature wargames.” Chris Bruner, owner of Galaxy Games in Springdale, agrees that tabletop gaming offers a more relaxing social experience than online or digital gaming. “A video game doesn’t have a face,” Bruner said. “You’re not able to sit across from other players and actually

talk to them. You can go on Skype, but you’re never able to interact with the people in the room.” Bruner said that when he started his shop last spring, it was mainly focused on collector card gaming like the 20-year-old industry powerhouse Magic: The Gathering. After he began carrying board games, however, he got deeply into playing them. “I didn’t think I’d enjoy them as much as I did,” he said. “I’ve come to find out that there are many people who enjoy them. It’s not just your run of the mill stereotype of the nerd.” The keys to creating a good game, Bruner said, are keeping the attention of players, allowing players to interact, and having sharp production values and good art to give players something to look at between turns. Both independents and established companies are putting out good games these days, he said. “The newer board games have become a very good thing,” Bruner said. “Mainly, it’s because you’re not worried about winning so much as you are about enjoying your time with your friends. While you’re playing, you’re not really competing to win the whole thing. You’re trying to see what you can do to make the best play, the best option for you.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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THE ARKANSAS LITERARY FESTIVAL, set for April 24-27, has released this year’s schedule (available online at, which includes appearances by Mary Roach, Mona Simpson, Kevin Brockmeier, John Lewis, David Finkel, Victor LaValle and presentations on lucid dreaming, paleontology and Arkansas legends from Johnny Cash, to Donald Harington, to Brooks Robinson. There will be concerts, art shows, open mics, dinners, parties and collaborative LEGO-building functions. Some events require tickets, which are now available online. THE LOONY BIN has announced that comedian Chris Tucker will perform in Little Rock for three nights later this month: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24, and twice that Friday and Saturday (at 7:30 and 10 p.m.). At one time the highest paid actor in Hollywood, having earned a reported $25 million for his role in “Rush Hour 3,” Tucker is returning to stand-up this summer for a series of dates at casinos in Las Vegas and Ontario. Tickets for the Little Rock performances are $35. CRAIG AND BRENT RENAUD, the Little Rock documentary filmmakers and cofounders of the Little Rock Film festival, have a new project out this month through VICE News. “Last Chance High” focuses on the Moses Montefiore Academy in Chicago’s West Side (the only therapeutic school in the Chicago public school system) and follows its students, deemed ‘at-risk’ for extreme behavioral or emotional disorders. The first episode was released last week, to be followed by seven more every Friday this month and next. Watch the series online at

APRIL 10, 2014




7:10 p.m. Dickey-Stephens Park. $6$12

Peanuts and Cracker Jack! One-dollar dog night! Our long winter of discontent is over. Spring is here. It’s baseball season. Our beloved Arkansas Travelers, after opening with a six-game road trip, kick off the 2014 season with their home opener Thursday night at DickeyStephens Park against the hated RockHounds of Midland, Texas. This will also mark the debut of the abominable new mascot, Otey the Swamp Possum, the controversial rat-faced, barefooted critter universally considered the worst mascot of all time. Hide the kids! If you’re anything like me, you’re a little bummed that the Travs are the affiliate for the big league club — the Angels of Los Angeles — with the worst minor league system in the league, and the only player of possible interest to your future fantasy baseball team is Kaleb Cowart. But you are not anything like me. The Travs are good times and outdoor fun. Bring the family or a group of buddies, or take an awkward excursion with co-workers. The crack of the bat and a freshly mowed field. The seventhinning stretch and one beer too many. God Bless America and the Arkansas Travelers. DR





7:30 p.m. Hendrix College, Conway. Free.

Arkansas native Trenton Lee Stewart once worked as a video deliveryman in rural Iowa, spending hours on the road to update video displays at gas stations. In between stops, he’d listen to books on tape. He later wrote a book, “Flood Summer,” about a guy

who lives in a trailer in Locker Creek, Ark. This paper called it a “crackerjack first novel.” In the late aughts, Stewart published a children’s book called “The Mysterious Benedict Society,” which spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list, spawned two sequels and a prequel and was optioned by a film production company. He’s

currently the writer-in-residence at Hendrix College, where he did his undergrad (studying fiction-writing with Arkansas expat Jack Butler), and on Thursday he’ll read selections from his fiction. Not the children’s books — the serious stuff, what Terry Southern would call his “Quality Lit Game” material. WS

STRANGE MUSIC: Tech N9ne will be at Revolution Thursday at 9 p.m., $30.



9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Jim Mize hails from Conway, started out playing gigs in VFW halls and has been performing at White Water since you could smoke indoors. On the title track of his 2007 album “Release It to the Sky,” he sings about “broken glass” and “bloodshot eyes” and “whiskey drinks” and “cigarettes,” over sharp, stabbing rhythm guitar and pensive pedal steel, and this is all quintessentially Jim Mize, as far as I can tell. His records are sad and tipsy and honest in the tradition of Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night.” “We believe in ghosts down here,” he said of his Southern upbringing in one interview, and we probably think we understand what he means by this, though we probably do not understand. WS 22

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9 p.m. Revolution. $30.

Kansas City underground rapper Tech N9ne is legendary for his virtuosic quickdraw raps, his dark and dorky Juggalo aesthetic and his profitable independence (his label Strange Music is one of the most

commercially successful independent hip-hop labels around; last year Forbes magazine called him “Hip-Hop’s Secret Mogul”). He’ll bring his “Independent Grind” tour to the Rev Room Thursday night, sharing a bill with Strange Music’s Krizz Kaliko, Psych Ward Druggies,

Jarren Benton, Pine Bluff’s 870 Underground and Gary, Ind., country rapper (and onetime Young Jeezy affiliate) Freddie Gibbs, who seems a little bit like an odd-man-out here, a street rapper who doesn’t wear clown makeup or rap about horror movie scenarios. WS

and KUAR. Burt Reynolds is hypnotic as “Gator” McKlusky, an imprisoned moonshiner and Arkansawyer who goes undercover to avenge his younger brother and justify a number of trenchant action scenes. Shot mostly in Central Arkansas (particularly in and around Benton), the film is a minor masterpiece of magic hour car chases, sideburns and

whizzing bullets, Stetson hats, bar fights shot with telescopic lenses, enviable wood-slat porches and anxious, sweatcovered brows. An early entry in the moonshiner canon, coming two years before my own favorite, “Moonrunners” (narrated by Waylon Jennings), “White Lightning” has indisputable historical and spiritual value. WS



5:30 p.m. Old State House Museum. Free.

The Old State House Museum’s Second Friday Cinema series continues this month with “White Lightning,” the 1973 hicksploitation epic, which will be presented by Ben Fry, UALR film professor and the general manager of KLRE



The third annual Hope for Humanity Film Festival will be held Thursday through Saturday, April 10-12, at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. Screenings will include “The Big Shootout,” “The Butler,” “Thank You, Mr. President,” and “Miss Representation,” and the event will feature guest speakers, including Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Brown Trickey. CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun Bash, a crawfish boil with music by Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco RoadRunners, will take place at the River Market Pavilions, 6 p.m., $50. G-Eazy and Torey Lanez will be at Juanita’s at 9 p.m., $15, and Goatwhore will be at Stickyz with 1349 and Black Crown Initiate, 8:30 p.m., $15.



8 p.m. Walton Arts Center. $25-$55.

Everybody’s first Sinbad experience is different. Yours might have been “The Sinbad Show,” which premiered in ’93. Mine might have been “Good Burger,” the 1997 fast-foodthemed Kenan and Kel vehicle, in which Sinbad plays a character named Mr. Wheat, who has an afro and, near the end, looks on in exaggerated horror as his car is crushed by an enormous hamburger. Or maybe it was “Jingle All the Way,” the most stressful, anti-capitalist Christmas movie ever made, which finds Sinbad playing a postal worker who viciously and desperately faces off against Arnold Schwarzenegger to buy the last remaining TurboMan action figure in New York City (I won’t ruin it for you). It doesn’t really matter: The important thing is that Sinbad, who took his name from an ancient Persian folk legend, has been a real part of my life, part of all of our lives. WS


FOR THE GOOD TIMES: South on Main will host “That Nashville Sound: A Tribute to Ray Price” Sunday at 5 p.m., $10.



Country singer Ray Price died at his home in Texas on Dec. 16, 2013, more than 60 years after starting a career that would take him from an Abilene, Texas, radio station to Nashville stardom. Along the way, he befriended Lefty Frizzell, roomed with Hank Williams Sr. (even briefly taking over Williams’ band, The Drifting Cowboys, after the

latter singer died in the back seat of a Cadillac on New Year’s Day 1953), helped crystallize the “Nashville Sound” and served as a mentor for a generation that included Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. The Oxford American magazine and South on Main will host of night of music honoring Price’s legacy, with two sets featuring The Salty Dogs and a rotating group of guest performers, including Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Mark Currey, Dave Almond, Trey Johnson and many others. WS

The Fayetteville Public Library will host “An Evening with Dr. Maya Angelou” as part of its FPL Author Series, 7 p.m. Tyrannosaurus Chicken will be at Stickyz with The Mansion Family at 9 p.m., $7-$10, and That Arkansas Weather will be at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. Marsha Ambrosius and Rodney Block will be at Juanita’s, 9 p.m.


The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at 8 p.m., $14-$53, and again at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13. The Black Lillies will be at Stickyz at 9 p.m., $10, and Boom Kinetic will be at Revolution, 9 p.m., $10. Deflowered will perform with Cemetery Rapist, Severe Headwound and Slamphetamine at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. Shipp will be at White Water Tavern at 9 p.m., and Soul Thieves will perform at the Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7.




9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

Lee Bains III is a former member of Tuscaloosa, Ala. band The Dexateens, whose bass player Matt Patton also left to join The Drive-By Truckers. Bains’ new group, the Birmingham-based Lee

Bains III and The Glory Fires, claims to make music “for the foundry worker that writes fiction in his spare time,” or “the college English professor that changes her own oil.” This appeal to the high-brow and the populist, or to an absolution from those sorts of distinctions, runs steadily through their

interviews, lyrics and press materials (“bringing to mind Ronnie Van Zant under the tutelage of Noam Chomsky”). The music, though, just sounds like good country rock — you hear the Ronnie Van Zandt, in other words, but they leave the Noam Chomsky to your imagination, fortunately. WS

of his most accessible and generally well liked. Pauline Kael called it his “most delicately charming film.” So loose an adaptation of the noir novel “Fool’s Gold” that the book is hardly even worth mentioning, “Band of Outsiders” still retains the skeleton of a plot and a handful of what seem like deliberately iconic and

fun set pieces. The three characters that make up the movie’s love triangle, at the center of which is Godard’s then-wife, the actress Anna Karina, do whimsical stuff like break the world record for running through the entire Louvre, and execute a well-choreographed line dance in a cafe. WS


‘BAND OF OUTSIDERS’ 8 p.m. Vino’s. Donations.

For the second film in their Jean-Luc Godard series (each of which is to be shown on 16mm), Splice Microcinema has picked “Band of Outsiders,” which the director has called one of his worst films, by which he probably meant one

“Equality: A Three Hour Tour,” a fundraiser for the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality featuring dinner, a variety show and a silent auction, will be held at Thirst N’ Howl, 5 p.m. Midnight Special will perform in “The Classic Rock Experience,” at Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $15.


The Clinton School for Public Service will host “New Urbanism: Classic Concepts for New Communities,” a panel discussion, at Hendrix College’s Worsham Student Performance Hall in the Student Life and Technology Center, 4 p.m. Adam Hogg will host Stand-Up Comedy Night at White Water Tavern, 8 p.m., $5, featuring headliner Keith “Keef” Glason, Ben Malone and others.


The Arkansas Earth Institute will sponsor a free screening of “Chasing Ice” at Market Street Cinema, 7 p.m. Eisley will perform at Stickyz with Merriment, 8 p.m., $15. Vino’s will host a free screening of “Major League” at 8 p.m.

APRIL 10, 2014


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

Fayetteville Public Library will host as part of the FPL Author Series. Reserve tickets starting. Fayetteville Public Library, 7 p.m. 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville. “In A World.” Ron Robinson Theater, April 11-13, 7 p.m., $5. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.cals. “White Lightning.” Second Friday Cinema, introduced by Ben Fry. Old State House Museum, 5:30 p.m. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685. www.



Cypress Creek Park Spring Bluegrass Jam. Cypress Creek Park, through April 12. Cypress Creek Avenue, Adona. 501-662-4918. www. G-Eazy, Torey Lanez. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $15. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Goatwhore, 1349, Black Crown Initiate. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $15. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. “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. Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Dugan’s Pub, 7-9 p.m. 401 E. 3rd St. 501-244-0542. www. Josh Abbott Band. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $20. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479442-4226. 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. Tech N9ne, Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, Jarren Benton, Psych Ward Druggies, 870 Underground. Revolution, 9 p.m., $25 adv., $30 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


The Sandman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m, 10 p.m., $8-$12. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-2285555.


Art of Motion: Tango. Arkansas Arts Center, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., $10 for non-members. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.


CARTI’s Ragin’ Cajun Bash. A crawfish boil with music by Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco RoadRunners. River Market Pavilions, 6 p.m., $45 adv., $50 day of. 400 President Clinton Ave. 3752552.


“The Big Shootout.” Featuring a Q&A with producer Mike Looney and featured players David Alredge and Bruce James. Part of the 3rd Annual Hope For Humanity Film Festival. University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, 6:30 p.m. 2500 S. Main St., Hope. 24

APRIL 10, 2014



WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN ARGENTA? The Beatles are coming to North Little Rock this week when seven downtown venues host exhibits of 200 archival photographs starting April 11. Greg Thompson Fine Art, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, Pennington Studios, The Joint, the THEA Foundation, Mugs Cafe and the Argenta branch of the Laman Library will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s appearence on the Ed Sullivan Show. Among the special events: A performance by The Libras at 8 p.m. April 18 at the Argenta Community Theater; a British Film Festival and a British Invasion Improv at The Joint; walking tours, a 1960s-oriented “Tales from the South” at Starving Artist Cafe and barbecue and karaoke at the maritime museum. The exhibit wraps up with an Argenta Arts Foundation Awards Event with the Steve Bates Band from 7-10 p.m. April 19 at ACT. For more information, go to


“Living Through This.” Lecture by author Anne Ream. Sturgis Hall, noon. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411. St. Vincent Tour de Paul 2014. Men’s professional tennis tournament. Pleasant Valley Country Club, through April 13. 1 Pleasant Valley Drive. 501225-5622.


An Evening with Murphy Visiting Writer Trenton Lee Stewart. Hendrix College, 7:30 p.m. 1600 Washington Ave., Conway. (501) 450-4597. www.



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. Cypress Creek Park Spring Bluegrass Jam. Cypress Creek Park, through April 12. Cypress Creek Avenue, Adona. 501-662-4918. www. Hot Springs Jazz Society Vocal-Rama. Arlington Hotel, 7 p.m., $25. 239 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-7771. Jim Mize, Joe Meazle, RJ Looney. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501372-4782. Marsha Ambrosius, Rodney Block. Juanita’s, 9 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. New Music Test. The Rev Room’s showcase of new sounds. Revolution, 9 p.m., $5. 300 President

Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. The Paul Thorn Band. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9:30 p.m., $20. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. That Arkansas Weather. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-6631196. Tyrannosaurus Chicken, The Mansion Family. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7-$10. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.


The Sandman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $8-$12. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-2285555. “Winter Sucks.” Original sketch comedy by The Main Thing. Call to make reservations. The Joint, 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-3720205.


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


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 Butler.” Featuring a Q&A with Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Brown Trickey. Part of the 3rd Annual Hope For Humanity Film Festival. University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, 6:30 p.m. 2500 S. Main St., Hope. “An Evening with Dr. Maya Angelou.” The

TEDxFayetteville: Mind Shift. TED talk series featuring speakers on a variety of topics. Walton Arts Center. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479443-5600.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Horse racing. Oaklawn, 1:30 p.m., $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411. St. Vincent Tour de Paul 2014. Men’s professional tennis tournament. Pleasant Valley Country Club, through April 13. 1 Pleasant Valley Drive. 501-225-5622.



The Black Lillies. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Boom Kinetic. Revolution, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-8230090. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See April 11. Cypress Creek Park Spring Bluegrass Jam. Cypress Creek Park, through. Cypress Creek Avenue, Adona. 501-662-4918. Deflowered, Cemetery Rapist, Severe Headwound, Slamphetamine. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Robinson Center Music Hall, April 12, 8 p.m.; April 13, 3 p.m., $14-$53. Markham and Broadway. www. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. www. Shipp. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Singer/Songwriters Showcase. Parrot Beach Cafe, 2-7 p.m., free. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Soul Thieves. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www.


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


Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Heifer Hour. Heifer Village, 11 a.m. 1 World Ave. 501-376-6836. Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. Historic Neighborhoods Tour. Bike tour of historic neighborhoods includes bike, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 9 a.m., $8-$28. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001. 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.


“In A World.” Ron Robinson Theater, through April 13, 7 p.m., $5. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www. “Miss Representation.” Part of the third annual Hope for Humanity Film Festival. University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, 12 p.m. 2500 S. Main St., Hope. “Thank You Mr. President.” Part of the third annual Hope for Humanity Film Festival. University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, noon. 2500 S. Main St., Hope.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 6:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Horse racing. Oaklawn, noon, $2.50-$4.50. 2705 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-623-4411. www. St. Vincent Tour de Paul 2014. Men’s professional tennis tournament. Pleasant Valley Country Club, through April 13. 1 Pleasant Valley Drive. 501225-5622.


Committee of 100’s 40th Anniversary Fundraiser. Governor’s Mansion, 6 p.m., $50. 1800 Center St. 501-377-1121.



“In A World.” Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., $5. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx.


Equality: A Three Hour Tour. A fundraiser for the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality: dinner, a variety show and a silent auction. Thirst n’ Howl, 5 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. www.


“Fluff.” Children’s theater performance, best for ages 4-10. Walton Arts Center, 2 p.m., $6. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600.

Closing Date: 4/4/14 QC: CS

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Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco RoughRiders. Dickey-Stephens Park, 4:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. St. Vincent Tour de Paul 2014. Men’s professional tennis tournament. Pleasant Valley Country Club, through. 1 Pleasant Valley Drive. 501-225-5622.



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

Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Rehab. Juanita’s, 8 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.

Spring Greens Cooking Class. Ozark Folk Center State Park, $30. 1032 Park Ave., Mountain View. 870-269-3851.


The Sandman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $8-$12. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. Sinbad. Walton Arts Center, 8 p.m., $25-$55. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Winter Sucks.” See April 11. Blue October. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $25. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4424226. Humming House, Carolina Story. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Robinson Center Music Hall, 3 p.m., $14-$53. Markham and Broadway. conv-centers/robinson. Midnight Special, “The Classic Rock Experience.” Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $15. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. That Nashville Sound: A Tribute to Ray Price. A tribute to country singer Ray Price, who died in December, featuring performances by Katmandu, Amy Garland, Bonnie Montgomery, Mark Currey, Dave Almond, Ben Meade, Lauralee Williard, Buddy Case, and John Talley. South on Main, 5 p.m., $10. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. www.

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Stand-Up Comedy Night. Hosted by Adam Hogg, featuring Keith “Keef” Glason, Ben Malone, and more. White Water Tavern, 8 p.m., CONTINUED ON PAGE 27









APRIL 10, 2014



Notice of NoNdiscrimiNatory Policy to studeNts




admits students of any race,

color, national and ethnic origin

SEHABLA The magnificent ESPAÑOL Anderson El Latino is Arkansas’s only weekly circulation-audited Spanish language newspaper. Arkansas has the second fastest growing Latino population in the country, and smart business people are targeting this market as they develop business relationships with these new consumers.

His ‘Grand Budapest’ a joy. BY SAM EIFLING


ll of Wes Anderson’s movies have, at their heart, at least one sweeping romance, usuprograms, and activities ally contrived with at least one fatal generally accorded or made kink that will conspire to keep the available to students at the hearts apart. By contrast “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” arguably the direcschool. It does not discriminate tor’s richest and most fully realized on the basis of race, color, L NA FI work to date, puts at its center a pair GRAN INAL F RN EO RALNTO GDE L national and ethnic origin in of colleagues who adore one another A INRNSO EOCCER TFO A LDO EN OR DIN GR O R E E C N C R O as brothers. Ralph Fiennes as Gustave, S ‘GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL’: Ralph LDTRA OOOR administration of its educational EPA NI DIN CSCSER SOÑO R O O IÑ Fiennes stars. N O a prim and precise concierge whose A D INPAR IÑOS policies, admissions policies, PARA N strict eye keeps the hotel turning like scholarship and loan programs, watch gears, is approached one day by tra, is every bit as sublime as those facts CARTI Best Doc AR Times ad 2014_Layout 1 3/20/14 9:46 AM Page 1 a hopeful protege, name of Zero (Tony would lead you to expect. and athletic and other schoolRevolori), wanting nothing more than to Anderson as well enlists many of administered programs. Free publication available at 200 be the lobby boy at the Grand Budapest. his familiar players: Jeff Goldblum as a locations in Central Arkansas “Who wouldn’t?” the teenager explains. beleaguered attorney; Jason “It’s an institution.” man as a mediocre concierge; Edward 201 E. MARKHAM, SUITE 200 Gustave — loquacious, omnisexual, Norton embodying the law as a military LITTLE ROCK | 501.374.0853 discreet and perpetually perfumed — officer in a time of occupation; Adrien Brody as a petulant, fiendish goth bent sees in the lad a clay worth sculpting. !"#$%&'()*&+,-&"#&$./()&01&23456708,9*&4&&:;23;45&&<=5>&"?&&@0A(&4 Their friendship comes in handy when on revenge; Owen Wilson and Bill Murone of Gustave’s elderly paramours (a ray as hoteliers. Willem Dafoe plays a Congratulations to CARTI’s physicians who stunningly antiqued Tilda Swinton) nearly mute werewolfesque psychoThere’s a reason CARTI ranks in the top five percent !"#$%&'()*&+,-&"#&$./()&01&23456708,9*&4&&:;23;45&&<=5>&"?&&@0A(&4 &:;23;45&&<=5>&"?&&@0A(&4 456708,9*&4&&:;23;45&&<=5>&"?&&@0A(&4 suddenly falls dead, leaving behind a path; F. Murray Abraham cuts a gentle the“Best Doctors” list incenters. last week’s nationallymade for patient satisfaction amongst cancer gallery of greedy and borderline feral presence as the elder Zero, wizened Arkansas Times. relatives that Charles Addams couldn’t but warm; and the inscrutable Saoirse !"#$%&'()*&+,-&"#&$./()&01&23456708,9*&4&&:;23;45&&<=5>&"?&&@0A(&4 Ronan (the erstwhile titular teenaged have drawn better and who as it turns The following physicians are no longer with out have likely framed Gustave for the assassin of “Hanna”) arrives as a pastry madame’s murder. artist and young Zero’s love interest, their former practice as in listed and are now Dr. Mariann Harrington There’s a reason CARTI ranks percent Larry five Mendelsohn Dr. Diane Wilder Anderson implicitly promises, and distinguished by the perfectly MexicoHematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist nationally forpart patient amongst cancer centers. Hematologist/Oncologist of satisfaction the CARTI family. delivers in heaping doses, a world set shaped red-wine birthmark on her right Dr. Mariann Harrington Dr. Larry Mendelsohn Dr. Diane Wilder a few degrees to the side of our own. cheek. The cast, it lacks not for talent. Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist Filmed in Germany, “The Grand BudaYet the ensemble doesn’t obscure pest Hotel” is set chiefly in Zubrowka, Fiennes. He has never been funnier, a make-believe nation, in 1932. We allowing his “English Patient” Englishlearn of Zero’s and Gustave’s advenness to be combed and coiffed into an tures through a book read in present elevated vulgarian of the old school. The day, written by an author played in his effect ranges to the absurd, to the slapDr. Mariann Harrington Dr. Larry Mendelsohn Dr. Diane Wilder Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist stick, to the affecting and back again to younger years by Jude Law. The frames Dr. Scott Stern Dr. Michael Talbert Head & Neck Surgery Radiation Oncologist tuck into one another like Russian nestplain ol’ charming. The film may in fact Mariann Lawrence a. diane d. wiLder scott J. stern ing dolls, with each time period set to be dark enough to earn Fiennes some You’re looking at five ofMedical them. Dr. Scott Stern Dr. Michael Talbert Oncology & Otolaryngology MendeLsoHn Dr. Mariann Harrington Dr. Larry Mendelsohn Dr. Diane Wilder Mariann Harrington nrry Mendelsohn Dr.Harrington Dr. Diane Wilder a different aspect ratio, the very picawards-season attention for this high Dr. Mariann Harrington Dr. Diane Wilder Head & Neck Radiation Oncologist Hematology CARTISurgery Hematologist/Oncologist Medical Oncology & Medical Oncology & Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist ist Hematologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist ologist/Oncologist Hematologist/Oncologist ture slimming as we delve further into comedic turn, but more likely his perforCARTI 9600 Baptist Health Dr. Hematology Hematology the past. mance will be overlooked, per tradition Thank you to our patients for recognizingCARTI Dr. Larry Mendelsohn, Mariann 9500 Dr. Baptist HealthHarrington, Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205 CARTI Visually it amounts to a physical in Anderson’s works. As fully realized Ste.of200 Dr. Diane Wilder, ScottDr., Stern and9600 Dr. Michael Talbert the Best Doctors 501-219-8777 9500 BaptistDr.Health Baptist Health Dr.of CARTI as five Dr. Scott Stern Dr. Michael Talbert representation of the usual Anderas these characters are, they move with Little Rock, AR400 72205 Ste. 330 of these physicians, LittleHead Rock, ARSurgery 72205our medical & Neck Radiation Oncologist in the state. Because along with staff and colleagues 501-537-9009 son embellishments, which abound such precision through this dreamscape Little Rock, ARCARTI 72205 brings the fight 501-219-8777 throughout the state, cancer to more than 20,000 patients each year. You’retolooking at five of them. 501-537-9009 here. (To cite one example: The paper that they could be mistaken for clockCongratulations on this well-deserved honor. work cogs. It is just as easy to imagine of record is the Trans-Alpine Yodel.) Thank you to our patients for recognizing Dr. Larry Mendelsohn, Dr. Mariann Harrington, them, however, as self-contained solar The soundtrack, composed by regular Thank you to our patients for recognizing Dr. Larry Mendelsohn, Mariann Harrington, Dr. Diane Wilder, Dr. Dr. Scott Stern and Dr. Michael Talbert of CARTI as five of the Best Doctors Anderson accomplice Alexandre Dessystems, in celestial motion as a minDr. Diane Wilder, Dr. Scott Stern and Dr. Michael Talbert of CARTI as five of the Best Doctors plat and performed in a classical style by iature galaxy. The joys are that varied, in the state. Because of these physicians, along with our medical staff and 400 colleagues in the state. Because of these physicians, along with our medical staff and 400 colleagues that numerous, that grand. the Osipov State Russian Folk Orches-

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AFTER DARK, CONT. $5. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400.


New Urbanism: Classic Concepts for New Communities. Hendrix College, 4 p.m. 1600 Washington Ave., Conway.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco RoughRiders. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555.


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. 501-3205700



Eisley, Merriment. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $12 adv., $15 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Swampbird. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge. 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. 501312-1616. 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. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


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


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. stores/littlerock.


“Chasing Ice”. Free screening sponsored by the Arkansas Earth Institute. Market Street Cinema, 7 p.m. 1521 Merrill Drive. 501-312-8900. www. “Major League.” Vino’s, 8 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501375-8466.


“The League of Denial.” A presentation by authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. Sturgis Hall, noon. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco RoughRiders. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.travs. com.



Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8

p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Local Live: Laura Lee Williard. South on Main, 7:30 p.m., free. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. www. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. TEAM*, Hydra Melody. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-3721228. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. TwiceSax. Jazz in the Park. River Market Pavilions, 6 p.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. www.

Fire and Rain You've Got a Friend Carolina on my Mind and more!


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205.


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


“Band of Outsiders.” Splice Microcinema. Vino’s, 8 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.



is here

and so is your guide to

Arkansas vacations

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


Little Beginnings Toddler Program. This month’s topic is Earth Day; for children 2-4. Old State House Museum, 10:30 a.m. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685.


“The Fox on the Fairway.” Dinner and a new comedy by Ken Ludwig. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through April 19: Sun., 5:30 and 11 a.m.; Tue.-Sat., 6 p.m., $25-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-5623131. “Hamlet.” Walton Arts Center, through April 30: Wed.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Sun., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; Wed., 10 a.m., $10-$35. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Pocket Community Theater, through April 13: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m., $10. 170 Ravine St., Hot Springs. “Ripped and Wrinkled.” An original rock musical about a world famous band from North Little Rock called The Dogs. The Joint, through May 31: Fri., Sat., 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. “Tuesdays With Morrie.” The Weekend Theater, through April 13: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. www.

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ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “Art on Art: An Ekphrastic Slam,” poetry inspired by exhibitions “InCiteful Clay” and CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

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She is one-of-a-kind. Uniquely special. In every way. And, while she may be suffering from Alzheimer’s, it in no way diminishes the place she holds in people’s hearts. The gifts and contributions she has shared. The story she has to tell. At Clarity Pointe Little Rock, our goal is to help her continue her story with a decidedly different approach to caring for those with memory loss. Clarity Pointe Little Rock is one of only two free-standing assisted living communities in Little Rock dedicated solely to enriching the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

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“The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South,” 7 p.m. April 22, $5 members, $10 non-members, students free. 372-4000. BOULEVARD BREAD, River Market: Paintings by members of Co-Op Art, through June. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Drawn In: New Art from WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome,” April 11-Aug. 23; “Detachment: Work by Robert Reep,” April 11-July 24; “2nd annual Arkansas Printmakers Membership Exhibition,” through June 28; “Southern Voices,” contemporary quilts by the Studio Art Quilts Associates, through May 24; open 5-9 p.m. April 11, 2nd Friday Art Night. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 3205790. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: Paintings by Dee Schulten, Dr. Lacy Frasier and Sue Henley. 375-2342. DOWNTOWN NORTH LITTLE ROCK: “The British Invasion 50 Years Later,” archival photographs of the Beatles, Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.), Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, Pennington Studios (417 Main), The Joint (301 Main), Thea Foundation (401 Main St.), Mugs Cafe (515 Main) and the Laman Library Argenta Branch (420 Main St.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 12, 14-19, special events each day at www. GALLERY 221 & ART STUDIOS 221, Pyramid Place: New work by Greg Lahti, also Tyler Arnold, Kathi Couch, Emile, Gino Hollander, Sean LeCrone, Mary Ann Stafford, Byron Taylor, Siri Hollander and Rae Ann Bayless, open 5-8 p.m. Aug. 11, 2nd Friday Art Night. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 801-0211. GALLERY 360, 900 S. Rodney Parham Road: “Turnings: The Art and Function of Turned Wood,” work by Vernon Oberle, John Wilkins, Ken Glasscock, Charles Kokes, Gene Sperling, Bob Revell, Tim Hogan and Dick Easter, opening reception 6 p.m. April 11, show through May. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “From a Whisper … to a Conversation … to a Shout,” work by Lawrence Finney, through April 22, receptions 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. April 11, 2nd Friday Art Night, gallery talk by the artist 2 p.m. April 12. 372-6822. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: “Patterns from the Ozarks: Contemporary Ceramics, Quilts and Folk Art Painting,” works by Karen Harmony, Jo Smith and Blakely Wilson, opens with reception 5-8 p.m. April 11, 2nd Friday Art Night, with live music by Mockingbird, runs through June 8; “Ciara Long: A Different Perspective,” sketches, through May 4; Mid-Southern Watercolorists “44th Annual Juried Exhibition,” through April 6; “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. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Second Friday Cinema: White Lightning,” 5:30 p.m. April 11, 2nd Friday Art Night; “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”, the state’s ties to Hollywood, including costumes, scripts, film footage, photographs and more, through March 1, 2015. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. THE REP, 601 Main St.: “ArtWorks XXVI,” art auction of works by more than 90 artists to benefit the theater, 6:30 p.m. April 12 (live auction starts at 7:30 p.m.). 378-0405. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “Revision, Missing, Listen, Light, Fly: Drawings by David Bailin,” charcoal and mixed media drawings, Gallery II, through May 30, artist’s lecture 6 p.m. April 17, reception 6:30-8 p.m. May 15; “Annual Student Competition,” Gallery I, through May 5; “BA Group Exhibit,” Catherine McGibbony, Gary

Tripp, William Ehrle, Kendalyn McKisick, Carlo Alarcon, Elizabeth Hartzell, Nancy McGuire, Gallery III, April 12-20. 569-3182. EL DORADO SOUTH ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, 110 E. 5th St.: “2014 Membership Showcase,” through April 28. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 870-862-5474. EUREKA SPRINGS EUREKA FINE ART GALLERY, 63 N. Main St.: Paintings by Jody Stephenson, through April, reception 6-9 p.m. April 12. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 479-363-6000. FORT SMITH U.S. MARSHALS MUSEUM, 14 N. Third St.: “Guns of the Frontier: The Hangman and His Winchester,” lecture series, 6:30 p.m. April 14, River Park West Room, 121 Riverfront Drive. 478-709-3766. YELLVILLE PAL’S FINE ART GALLERY, 300 Hwy. 62 W: Woodcarvings by Jack Ryan, through April, reception 4-6 p.m. April 11. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.Fri., 10 a.m.-noon Sat.


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 May 2. Landscape artist Bruce Peil will be judge. Artists’ registration will be April 30-May 2; entry fee is $50. Cash prizes to be awarded. Pre-registration is encouraged. For more information go to White River Artists on Facebook, email or call 870-424-1051.


ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “InCiteful Clay,” 35 ceramic sculptures that offer social commentary by Toby Buonagurio, Nuala Creed, Michelle Erickson, Richard Notkin, Anne Potter, Richard Shaw, Akio Takamori, Ehren Tool, Patti Warashina and Paula Winokur, through June 29, Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery; “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.: “New Works by Eric Maurus,” through April 22. CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

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Both Wilhelmi and Bruner said that crowdfunding sites have been a boon to the card and board game world, allowing both independent and more established creators to produce new games and expansion packs for old favorites. One of the independent game producers who has benefited from this approach is Little Rock’s Adam Hogg, who plans to start selling his card game People-Person in June. A musician and stand-up comedian who works a day job as an accountant, Hogg said he started playing a card game called Illuminati three years ago and was soon coming up with an idea for a game of his own. A card game is a natural fit for him. “I’ve grown up playing with cards,” he said. “I was really into card [based] magic when I was younger, so having cards in my hand was always a big thing I did.” Hamstrung by a lack of artistic skill, he enlisted the help of local artists Chris Raymond, Sean “Sulac” Sapp and Phillip Rex Huddleston. A crowdfunding effort through Indiegogo provided $4,500, which he put toward a bank loan


APRIL 10, 2014


ticity, charisma, comfort, confidence, knowledge, respect and security. The game will retail for $25, and Hogg said he’s already received 250 pre-orders. You can watch a video about the game at the People-Person website, peopleperHOGG Hogg said his strong math background helped him in the creation of the game’s rules, which were amended after the game had been played a few times by testers, mainly to speed up play. “I’ve tried to do other things before,” he said. “I’ve written a book, and I quickly realized that I’m not the best writer. ... With this game, I feel like I’m a little bit more sound, because it is math-oriented, as far as behind the scenes goes. You’ve got to make sure all your math is right, and you’ve got to account for random scenarios as far as what shows up in your hand.” Hogg said the appeal of a game like People-Person is both social and ecoHEATHER CANTERBURY

Continued from page 20

of $8,000 for the game’s production cost. Hogg sent the final artwork for the game off to a manufacturer last week. Manufacturing 1,000 copies of the game will take eight-to-nine weeks, and Hogg hopes to have copies for sale and demo play in local coffee shops, bars and bookstores by mid-June. The game features 73 “people” cards — featuring artwork and descriptions of quirky characters, which can either become the player’s “friends” or “family” — and 113 “event” cards, including happenings both fortuitous and catastrophic. The goal of the game is to get 10 points in each of seven categories: authen-

nomic. “You buy a game and you get good at it,” he said, “and before you know it, you’ve spent 80 hours on that game and it cost you 20 bucks. It’s also a bonding thing. For a while, I didn’t really play games unless I was around family. But now that I’m an adult, whenever we’re just sitting around doing nothing, I play games with my friends all the time.” Hogg said that People-Person will be available in several local comic book and game shops, including Game Goblins. He hopes to get it carried by Barnes and Noble in Little Rock and North Little Rock. His ultimate goal is to find a distributor. The first shipment of 1,000 will go to his apartment, he said, which will leave him a bit cramped for space. As for his future as a game producer, Hogg said that his next goal is to produce a board-based option that allows players to use the People-Person cards to play a completely different game. Still, he said he’s not planning on turning into the next Milton Bradley, even if PeoplePerson turns out to be a hit. “I have some ideas, but I haven’t got them all sorted out,” he said. “I’ll probably do another game at some point, but as far as 10 or 12 games, no, I probably won’t. It’ll probably be a two-and-done thing.”

Pub or Perish!  XI

Women Rule! Pub or Perish will present a celebration of the double-X chromosome, with readings by some of the best female poets, essayists and !"#$%&'()$#*)+'%&' the local scene.

W April 28, 2014 • 6:30pm - 9:00pm • The Capital Hotel Don’t miss an evening of delicious food from some of Little Rock’s most talented chefs, rub elbows with local celebrities, and be an integral part of funding the Thea Foundation’s life-changing scholarship program.

$100 Per Ticket • Purchase Tickets At

Kara Bibb, Kita Marshall and other great writers from the 2014 Arkansas Literary Festival.


8 Chefs • 2 Mixologists 10 Local Celebrities

For more information, contact David Koon at (501) 375-2985 ext. 389, or ARKANSAS’S SOURCE FOR NEWS, POLITICS AND ENTERTAINMENT

APRIL 10, 2014



‘Don’t Start Me Talkin’ ’

By Tom Williams, Curbside Splendor Publishing, $15.96 (paperback). BY MATT BAKER


ket information,visit For more details andrtstic . argentaa

SATURDAY, APRIL 12 10am: NLR Visitor’s Bureau Info Booth Opens For Exhibit (Galaxy Furniture) Noon: Yellow Submarine Unveiling (Inland Maritime Museum) 2pm: Walking Tour (begins at THEA Foundation) 8pm: Ripped and Wrinkled (The Joint) TICKETS REQUIRED APRIL 14-19 10am – 5pm: Retro Images Archive Photo Exhibition (all venues) MONDAY, APRIL 14 4pm: British Invasion Film Fest: HELP! (The Joint) & After Party (Crush Wine Bar) 6pm: Pop Up Band Outdoor Concert (Laman Library) TUESDAY, APRIL 15 5:30pm: Tales from the South, Live Radio w/ Storytelling of ‘60s adventures TICKETS REQUIRED 8pm: British Invasion Film Fest: Yellow Submarine (The Joint) & After Party (Reno’s Argenta Café) WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16 6pm: British Invasion Film Fest: A Hard Day’s Night (The Joint) 8pm: British Invasion IMPROV (The Joint) & After Party (Creegen’s Irish Pub) THURSDAY, APRIL 17 7pm: British Invasion Film Fest: Good Ol’ Freda (The Joint) & After Party (All Bars) FRIDAY, APRIL 18 8-11pm: The Libras Fab Four Tribute (Argenta Community Theater) TICKETS REQUIRED SATURDAY, APRIL 19 Noon – 3pm: British Car Club on Main Street 2pm: Walking Tour (begins at THEA Foundation) 3-6pm: British Invasion BBQ & Karaoke (Inland Maritime Museum) TICKETS REQUIRED 7-10pm: Fab Four Finale – Argenta Arts Foundation Awards/Live Art/Live Band TICKETS REQUIRED




323 PRESIDENT CLINTON AVE., 72201 (501)372-8032 BEERKNURD.COM 32

APRIL 10, 2014



arly in “Don’t Start Me Talkin’,” the contemplative and wry new novel by Tom Williams, a former professor at Arkansas State University and editor of the Arkansas Review, the author slyly shows his hand: In the scene, Silent Sam, a Michigan native who plays the harmonica with the legendary Brother Ben, the “Last of the True Delta Bluesmen,” is talking to Heywood Sharp. Nowadays, Heywood’s too busy winning teacher of the year awards in Pine Bluff to miss the long ago days when he performed with Brother Ben. Silent Sam, whose real name is Peter Owens and who has reluctantly adopted a ramshackle backstory and a Mississippi slur to mask his Great Lakes vowels — that is, when he is allowed to speak — occasionally dials up Heywood from the road. It’s one of the few opportunities to fully escape his stage persona to talk about the incredible puzzle that is Brother Ben. It’s while talking to Heywood, shortly into their cross country tour that will take them from Los Angeles through the Upper Midwest down to an award ceremony in Memphis and up to the northeast, that Sam, the narrator of this genuine novel, informs us, “I laugh, knowing the rule concerning all stories about Brother Ben: They’re true, even if they never happened.” The engine of the plot is the tour, a series of gigs sprinkled across college towns. The crowds are slight and lack soulful blues fans, as they’re almost entirely comprised of academic white guys. Silent Sam is unhappy that African Americans aren’t attending their performances. He even remarks that pay phones are as rare as black blues fans, and he wonders if hip-hop music has essentially replaced the blues. Is hiphop piggybacking off of the painful notes that were laid down on vinyl decades ago? When a rap group samples a hook from one of their songs, Silent Sam and Brother Ben briefly experience a miniscule semblance of recognition, but it’s ultimately vapid. The novel tussles with crucial themes such as personal identity, race, and the

role of the blues in American culture. Williams is smart not to directly pontificate on these muddled issues. Instead, we naturally explore these ideas through Silent Sam. “Don’t Start Me Talkin’ ” explores the importance of storytelling. Throughout the novel, the accuracy of its characters’ tales is incidental; instead, you’ll find the truth in the intention of their stories. Nearly everything Brother Ben says is invented, and oftentimes effective, such as when he and Silent Sam concoct a lie to get out of a traffic violation. What are we to make of Brother Ben’s gimmicks, the 1970s stage outfits, bogus life stories, the ’76 Cadillac they drive across the country? Why must Silent Sam amble around sheepishly in Ben’s shadow, muttering one-word sentences in a plantation vernacular that brings to mind Samuel L. Jackson’s character in “Django Unchained”? While pondering the abhorrent fakery of a blues-themed venue, Silent Sam reflects, “… I recall from my marketing classes at State that there’s no need for the genuine if your clientele believes what they’re getting is real.” In a logged-in world in which people can pretend to be anybody they want, and even flat-out steal an identity, what’s so wrong with pretending to be a vintage Mississippi-bred blues player, even if you’re really from suburban Detroit? In addition to Silent Sam’s refreshing voice and the book’s cast of unpredictable characters, we’re also provided a history of the blues’ primary players, how they lived and where they died — who knew that Wisconsin was so deadly for blues musicians? “Don’t Start Me Talkin’ ” is a thoughtful and entertaining novel. Williams’ humor is abundant and largely of the understated variety. Like Charles Portis, Williams excavates the minutia of daily life and finds the forgotten details for his comedy. He refrains from pouncing on cliched comedic targets, such as the proliferation of white people at a blues show behaving like, well, white people. I think Williams trusts that the reader would rather sidestep easy jokes and instead allow the novel to present itself as one long set-up. The punch line is ultimately what we walk away with: In the end, though Silent Sam is telling the story, it may be that it’s Brother Ben who has been controlling the narrative all along.







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APRIL 10, 2014




➥ Don’t forget about the spring trunk show for Regalia Handmade Clothing at CANTRELL GALLERY on April 11-12. A wine and cheese preview party will be from 6-8 p.m. April 11 or you can stop by from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12. ➥ GOOD EARTH GARDEN CENTER is offering make and take classes. The first will be “The Perfect Combo Pot”, from 6-8 p.m. April 14. Learn how to make the perfect combo pot using the “thriller, filler, spiller” planting technique and take your newly created perfect combo pot home with you. Registration is required; the class fee is $75, which must be paid at registration. Snacks and beverages are provided. There are 20 spots available; call 501-8684666 or email to register. ➥ This year’s CURBSIDE COUTURE fashion show will be at 7 p.m. April 27 at the Great Hall at the Clinton Presidential Library. The show gives students the opportunity to showcase and sell their own creations they’ve made with recycled materials. Teachers of art and other subjects are asked to initiate, inspire, and work with their students who wish to participate in the event. Students have the unique opportunity to interact with professional fashion designers, including Korto Momolu, a “Project Runway” first runnerup. Tickets for general admission to Curbside Couture will be available at 4 p.m. April 17. The link to purchase tickets and information on admission price will be available at www. take-action/attend-an-event/curbside-couture at that time. ➥ FAUX PAS BOUTIQUE has opened a spot in the Shoppes at Woodlawn in Hillcrest, in the aqua room. You can also shop online at ➥ WHITE GOAT will have an intro to painting with Annie Sloan paint class from 9:30-11:30 a.m. April 22. The cost of the class is $85; call 501603-3460 to register. ➥ BARBARA/JEAN will host a Natura Bisse event to celebrate International Beauty Lovers Day on April 23. Call the store at 501-2270054 for more information. 34

APRIL 10, 2014


11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0030. 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. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Carroll Cloar: A Road Less Traveled,” 23 paintings and drawings, through April 12. 664-2787. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism,” works by Paul Gaugin, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso and others, through July 7; “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., closed Tue. 479-418-5700.


CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM VISITOR CENTER, Bates and Park: Exhibits on the 1957 desegregation of Central and the civil rights movement. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. 374-1957. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: “Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” from the International Spy Museum in Washington,

D.C., through April 27; permanent exhibits on the Clinton administration. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $7 adults; $5 college students, seniors, retired military; $3 ages 6-17. 370-8000. MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, 501 W. 9th St.: “Repurposed Wonders: The Sculpture of Danny Campbell,” permanent and changing exhibits on black entrepreneurship in Arkansas. 683-3593. MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY, 500 President Clinton Ave.: “Wiggle Worms,” science program for pre-K children 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. every Tue., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 1-12, free to members and children under 1. 396-7050. WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, Riverfront Park: Exhibits on wildlife and the state Game and Fish Commission.









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Or mail check or money-order to: Arkansas Times Crystal Bridges Bus 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201

Travel with the Arkansas Times to see paintings by great French masters and others in the “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism” at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. The exhibit of 60 works from the CBS mogul’s collection features work by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and more contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon. The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.


18 whole hogs! 18 chefs! live music! sAtuRDAy, mAy 3RD Argenta Farmers Market Plaza 6th & Main St., Downtown North Little Rock (across from Mug’s Café)


— 5 p.m. —

— 6:30 —

Doors Open

Public Serving Time


Gated festival area selling beer & wine ($5 each) he a dliner

Ghost toWN BluEs BAND TickeT supply limiTed!

Dine on 18 pit roasted, whole,

rain or shine

heritage breed hogs from Scott Heritage Farms Saturday, May 3rd. Doors open at 5p.m. with

+ RuNAWAy plANEt & thE sAlty DoGs

craft beers and wine available.

1620 sAvoy The fold RisToRAnTe cAPeo

ARThuR’s PRime sTeAkhouse & oceAns The RooT

PuRchAse noW AT HeriTAgeHogroAsT

All-inclusive TickeTs - $25 ($30 day-of) Includes roast hog, sides and live music music-only TickeTs - $10 (Admission after 8p.m.)

cRush Wine bAR

cAfé 42


mAddie’s PlAce

cRegeen’s iRish Pub

midToWn billiARds

Reno’s nATchez ARgenTA cAfé souTh on mAin & TAco mAmA buTcheR And Public Whole hog

The schlAfly souTheRn TAP Room gouRmAsiAn

APRIL 10, 2014


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ IF YOU’VE EVER SPENT TIME in central Mexico, there’s a good chance you fell in love with pastes, a savory stuffed pastry a bit like the British Cornish pasty — or like an empanada, with the difference being that the innards aren’t precooked. A new Mexican eatery in West Little Rock specializing in pastes opened last Friday. Tamalittle serves pastes stuffed with mole, chicken tinga, potatoes and chorizo, beans and chorizo, and cochinita (slow-roasted pulled pork). Plus a selection of tamales. Sounds delicious. Located at 102 Markham Park Drive, Tamalittle is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Riviera Maya

801 Fair Park Blvd. 663-4800 QUICK BITE Like drink specials? So does Riviera Maya. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. daily and features 99-cent 12-ounce drafts on Mondays and Tuesdays, $3 34-ounce drafts Wednesdays and Sundays, and $3 margaritas on Thursdays and Saturdays. And Friday? Well, it’s happy hour all day. HOURS 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. OTHER INFO Full bar, all CC.




ACADIA A jewel of a restaurant in Hillcrest. Unbelievable fixed-price, three-course dinners on Mondays and Tuesday, but food is certainly worth full price. 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-603-9630. D Mon.-Sat. BIG ORANGE: BURGERS SALADS SHAKES Gourmet burgers manufactured according to exacting specs (humanely raised beef!) and properly fried Kennebec potatoes are the big draws, but you can get a veggie burger as well as fried chicken, curried falafel and blackened tilapia sandwiches. 17809 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-1515. LD daily. 207 N. University Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-3798715. LD daily. BOBBY’S CAFE Delicious, humungo burgers and tasty homemade desserts at this Levy diner. 12230 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-851-7888. BL Tue.-Fri., D Fri. BOULEVARD BREAD CO. Fresh bread, fresh pastries, wide selection of cheeses, meats, side dishes; all superb. Good coffee, too. 1920 N. Grant St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-6635951. BLD Mon.-Sat. 400 President Clinton Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1232. BL Mon.-Sat. 4301 W. Markham St. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-526-6661. BL Mon.-Fri. 1417 Main St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-5100. BL Mon.-Sat. BUTCHER SHOP The cook-your-own-steak option has been downplayed, and several menu additions complement the calling card: large, fabulous cuts of prime beef, cooked to perfection. 10825 Hermitage Road. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-312-2748. D daily. CAJUN’S WHARF The venerable seafood restaurant serves up great gumbo and oysters Bienville, and options such as fine steaks for the non-seafood eater. In the citified bar, you’ll find nightly entertainment, too. 2400 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-5351. D Mon.-Sat. 36

APRIL 10, 2014


COMFORT IN A TORTILLA: Enchiladas con Chorizo at Riveria Maya.

Tasty Mex Riveria Maya serves up comfort food at a bargain.


hether it’s the red-sauce-coated Tex-Mex we grew up with or the taco wagon special we’ve grown to love, we have a soft spot for simple, workman-like Mexican food. There’s just something about simply prepared tacos, burritos and enchiladas that makes us feel right at home from the very first bite — it’s the sort of food that doesn’t need anything fancy to make it good. With Riviera Maya on Fair Park, we may have found the perfect sweet spot in terms of good food, great prices and a friendly staff that keeps the chips and salsa full and the drinks flowing free. We paid it a couple of visits recently and were impressed enough with each dish we sampled that we left ready to declare the place one of the top Mexican joints in a city full of them, an accolade that we don’t bestow lightly. Fans of traditional tacos will find a lot to love here, and should make a beeline for the Tacos Azados ($8.25), a plate of four beautifully prepared piles of steak resting in pillowy soft corn tortillas (flour available on request). These tacos were served just how we like them: with a small bowl full of onions and fresh cilantro, some salsa verde, and a couple of wedges of lime. The steak is tender, hot from the grill, and seasoned just enough to give it some kick without

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING: Riviera Maya fajitas.

overwhelming the natural flavor of the beef. Given that the steak was grilled so well, it was no surprise that our second dish, Pollo a la Riviera ($10.25), also turned out nicely, since chicken takes the flavor of the grill better than beef. This chicken dish consisted of a thin, juicy chicken breast piled high with peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and three large shrimp. And as if that weren’t enough, a topping of rich cheese sauce pulled everything together into a gooey pile of gloriously messy excellence. Our only minor complaint with this dish was that the three tortillas served with it were in no way enough to match the sheer volume of food here, but that was a problem solved with just a word to our server about a couple more.

Our second visit found us sampling the weakest dish we tried — which was still pretty good. That was the Enchiladas con Chorizo ($10.25), which consisted of one cheese enchilada, one shredded chicken enchilada, and one ground beef enchilada all topped with spicy chorizo and a single shrimp. The chicken and beef enchiladas were pretty pedestrian, lacking a lot of the flavor we’d come to expect from Riviera Maya, but the cheese variety was a luscious, silky affair of melted white cheese that paired perfectly with the chorizo. The shrimp was a nice touch, and was good enough for us to look forward to our final dish, something we laughingly called “Fajitas Everything” when we saw them. The “everything” fajita platter is the Riviera Maya Fajitas ($12.50), a massive plate of chicken, steak, shrimp and pork ribs. Yes, pork ribs. Again, our side of tortillas was nowhere near enough to hold all this food, and we wound up taking over half of it home to eat later. But, man, it was good. The shrimp, chicken and steak were all wonderful, and while we prefer our ribs barbecued, we have to admit that they were pretty good, too. This was an astonishing amount of food for not a lot of money, and prepared just like we like it: simple and delicious. For a good, tasty bang for your hardearned buck, we can’t think of many places better than Riviera Maya. The staff is friendly, the food is served up quick, fresh and hot, and it’s just the perfect sort of South-of-the-border down-home goodness that makes for some of the best comfort food around.

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.

CAPERS It’s never been better, with as good a wine list as any in the area, and a menu that covers a lot of ground — seafood, steaks, pasta — and does it all well. 14502 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-868-7600. LD Mon.-Sat. COMMUNITY BAKERY This sunny downtown bakery is the place to linger over a latte, bagels and the New York Times. But a lunchtime dash for sandwiches is OK, too, though it’s often packed. 1200 S. Main St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-375-7105. BLD daily. 270 S. Shackleford. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-1656. BLD Mon.-Sat. BL Sun. COPPER GRILL Comfort food, burgers and more sophisticated fare at this River Marketarea hotspot. 300 E. Third St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3333. LD Mon.-Sat. DIZZY’S GYPSY BISTRO Interesting bistro fare, served in massive portions at this River Market favorite. 200 River Market Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-3500. LD Tue.-Sat. THE FADED ROSE The Cajun-inspired menu seldom disappoints. Steaks and soaked salads are legendary. 1619 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-9734. LD daily. FRANKE’S CAFETERIA Plate lunch spot strong on salads and vegetables, and perfect fried chicken on Sundays. Arkansas’s oldest continually operating restaurant. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-2254487. LD daily. 400 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-372-1919. L Mon.-Fri. FRONTIER DINER The traditional all-American roadside diner, complete with a nice selection of man-friendly breakfasts and lunch specials. The half-pound burger is a two-hander for the average working Joe. 10424 Interstate 30. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-6414. BL Mon.-Sat. MOOYAH BURGERS Kid-friendly, fast-casual restaurant with beef, veggie and turkey burgers, a burger bar and shakes. 10825 Kanis Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-313-4905. LD daily.; 14810 Cantrell Road, Suite 190. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-1091. OLD MILL BREAD AND FLOUR CO. CAFE The popular take-out bakery has an eat-in restaurant and friendly operators. It’s selfservice, simple and good with sandwiches built with a changing lineup of the bakery’s 40 different breads, along with soups, salads and cookies. 12111 W. Markham St. , No. 366. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-228-4677. BL Mon.-Sat. BR Sun. RED DOOR Fresh seafood, steaks, chops and sandwiches from restaurateur Mark Abernathy. Smart wine list. 3701 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-666-8482. BL Tue.-Fri. D daily. BR Sat. RIVERFRONT STEAKHOUSE Steaks are the draw here — nice cuts heavily salted and peppered, cooked quickly and accurately to your specifications, finished with butter and served sizzling hot. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-375-7825. D Mon.-Sat. ROCKET TWENTY ONE The former Hillcrest fine-dining restaurant, now in a new location by the Riverfront Wyndham hotel. 2 Riverfront Drive. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$$-$$$$. 501-6039208. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat. RUDY’S OYSTER BAR Good boiled shrimp

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

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and oysters on the half shell. Quesadillas and chili cheese dip are tasty and ultra-hearty. 2695 Pike Ave. NLR. Full bar, All CC. 501-771-0808. LD Mon.-Sat. SO RESTAURANT BAR Call it a French brasserie with a sleek, but not fussy American finish. The wine selection is broad and choice. Free valet parking. Use it and save yourself a headache. 3610 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-1464. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. TRIO’S Fresh, creative and satisfying lunches; even better at night, when the chefs take flight. Best array of fresh desserts in town. 8201 Cantrell Road Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-3330. LD Mon.-Sat., BR Sun.

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


FANTASTIC CHINA The food is delicious, the presentation beautiful, the menu distinctive, the service perfect, the decor bright. 1900 N. Grant St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-663-8999. LD daily. MT. FUJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT The dean of Little Rock sushi bars offers a fabulous lunch special and great Monday night deals. 10301 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-227-6498. LD daily. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-227-6498. SKY MODERN JAPANESE Excellent, ambitious menu filled with sushi and other Japanese fare and Continental-style dishes. 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 917. Full bar, All CC. $$$-$$$$. 501-224-4300. LD daily. SUSHI CAFE Impressive, upscale sushi menu with other delectable house specialties like tuna tataki, fried soft shell crab, Kobe beef and, believe it or not, the Tokyo cowboy burger. 5823 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-9888. L Mon.-Sat. D daily.



CAFE BOSSA NOVA A South American approach to sandwiches, salads and desserts, all quite good. 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-614-6682. LD Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

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

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DINING CAPSULES, CONT. DUGAN’S PUB Serves up Irish fare like fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage alongside classic bar food. The chicken fingers and burgers stand out. Irish breakfast all day. 401 E. 3rd St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-0542. LD daily. HIBERNIA IRISH TAVERN This traditional Irish pub has its own traditional Irish cook from, where else, Ireland. Broad beverage menu, Irish and Southern food favorites and a crowd that likes to sing. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-246-4340. D Mon.-Sat., L Sun. LAYLA’S GYROS AND PIZZERIA Delicious Mediterranean fare that has a devoted following. All meat is slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law. 9501 N Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7272. LD daily (close 5 p.m. on Sun.). TAJ MAHAL The third Indian restaurant in a one-



mile span of West Little Rock, Taj Mahal offers upscale versions of traditional dishes and an extensive menu. 1520 Market Street. Full bar, beer, All CC. $$$. 501-881-4796. LD daily. THE TERRACE MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN A broad selection of Mediterranean delights. 2200 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-217-9393. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat.


BRUNO’S LITTLE ITALY Traditional Italian antipastos, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Extensive, delicious menu from Little Rock standby. 310 Main St. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-7866. D Tue.-Sat. GRAFFITI’S The casually chic and ever-popular Italian-flavored bistro avoids the rut with daily specials and careful menu tinkering. 7811

Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-2249079. D Mon.-Sat. RISTORANTE CAPEO Authentic cooking from the boot of Italy is the draw at this cozy, brickwalled restaurant on a reviving North Little Rock’s Main Street. Familiar pasta dishes will comfort most diners, but let the chef, who works in an open kitchen, entertain you with some more exotic stuff, too, like crispy veal sweetbreads. They make their own mozzarella fresh daily. 425 Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-3463. D Mon.-Sat. ROCKY’S PUB Rocking sandwiches an Arkie used to have to head way northeast to find and a fine selection of homemade Italian entrees, including as fine a lasagna as there is. 6909 JFK Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine. $$. 501-833-1077. LD Mon.-Sat.


JUANITA’S Menu includes a variety of combination entree choices — enchiladas, tacos, flautas, shrimp burritos and such — plus creative salads and other dishes. And of course the “Blue Mesa” cheese dip. 614 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1228. LD Tue.-Sat. LOCAL LIME Tasty gourmet Mex from the folks who brought you Big Orange and ZaZa. 17815 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-448-2226. LD daily. ROSALINDA RESTAURANT HONDURENO A Honduran cafe that specializes in pollo con frito tajada (fried chicken and fried plaintains). With breakfast, too. 3700 JFK Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-771-5559. BLD daily.

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The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration,OfficeofIntergovernmental Services is seeking proposals for funding under the FY 2014 Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Program. The RSAT Program assists state and local governments to develop and implement substance abuse treatment programs in state and local correctional and detention facilities and to create and maintain community-based aftercare services for offenders. Specific information regarding this announcement can be accessed by the following link: intergovernmentalServices/grants/Pages/ rsat.aspx

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Applicants are limited to state agencies and units of local government. Priority will be given to local government agencies for prisoners held in county or city jails and for any aftercare program that meets the requirements of the solicitation.

DEADLINE: All applications materials and supporting documentation are due by 4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, April 28, 2014. Pages requiring a signature may be e-mailed to meet the deadline, but the original pages with signatures must be mailed on that same date. The applications should be mailed, delivered or e-mailed and mailed to the JAG section of the Office of Intergovernmental services on or before 4:30 p.m., on April 28, 2014.

,)#-./&'()#*+'&",%,'&00100234567452722 We are currently seeking ,)#-./&'()#*+'&",%,'&00100234567452722 VOLUNTEERS 18-50 years. If you are healthy and not taking certain medications Mitch Albom’s you may be eligible to participate Just In Time For Easter! in a study to test the behavioral We have a very, very, sweet, male lab mix puppy that has shown up at our farm. He is healthy, playful and very, effects of common medications. very hungry. We wormed him this morning and he is ready to be adopted by a good home. Cost is $10 which Participation involves completing a takes care of the wormer. This puppy would make a great child’s gift, just in time for Easter. Or maybe just a good A young man, an old man, medical evaluation and attending 6 ole’ family dog. Call Kaytee at 501-607-3100. sessions at the Psychiatric Research and life’s greatest lesson Institute at UAMS. Monetary compensation and taxi service to youhave have problem with cocaine cocaine youprovided. may If Ifyou aaproblem with maybebeeligible eligibletoto Directed by Andy Hall and from sessions will beyou

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CONTACT: For assistance with any other requirements of this solicitation, contact IGS via email at or call the IGS office at 501-683-5604 and speak with James Lawson between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. Q&A submitted related to this specific solicitation from any interested party are posted on the current RSAT request for proposal page in the grants section of the DF&A website to assist all potential applicants with answers to question that might have been provided to others. Any questions received, either in writing or orally, will be posted here.


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Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics

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Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics