LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW PAGE 16
NEWS + POLITICS + ENTERTAINMENT + FOOD / MAY 15, 2014 / ARKTIMES.COM
MARRIAGE EQUALITY COMES TO ARKANSAS
MAY 8, 15,2014 2014 ARKANSAS ARKANSAS TIMES TIMES
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Sad about Smith You are sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire, and I’m sad to hear of it. For many years now he has worn Leland Duvall’s word merchant mantle. Where are we pedestrian students of words and idioms going to turn? Woe are we. Billy R. Wilson Little Rock
A voice of affirmation This is a letter to the allies, to the judges and mothers and fathers and neighbors. Those Arkansans who defiantly stand up to their neighbors who preach against their LGBT family and neighbors are the ones who deserve the accolades today. Last week’s historic decision in support of same-sex marriage will not negate the years of trauma from the locker rooms, the classrooms and the floor of the Arkansas legislature that Arkansans, both young and old, have endured. May 9, 2014 has already had an impact on our fellow Arkansans. When I was a kid growing up in Russellville, I listened for any voice in the media who might be a sound of support for myself and those of my orientation. Among the hate from the pulpit and campaign trail and the elections, I rarely heard those voices of affirmation. But I kept listening. There are young Arkansans who are growing up in our Natural State who can turn on the news today and see a group of Arkansans who are taking a brave step towards our shared ideal. They’re out there, listening, and I’m so grateful that today’s ruling speaks to the ideals of equality and neighborliness that they need to hear. For the mothers and fathers and grandparents and families who affirmed and embraced their different children: Today is for you. A supportive family gives us the backbone to be proud of ourselves and today, the words of encouragement are codified in a legal ruling that’s a love letter to our future. Today is a glimpse into the future of Arkansas: families embracing love instead of exclusion, a majority recognizing that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Arkansans are truly their neighbors. To borrow the words of Judge Chris Piazza, we are all stronger for 4
MAY 15, 2014
it. I’ve never felt as Arkansan as I do today. Brandon Brock San Francisco
Just like you Marriage equality is an idea whose time came in Arkansas. The River Valley Equality Center welcomes Judge Piazza’s decision to strike down the state ban on same-sex marriage. Our excitement and joy is also tempered with the knowledge that this victory is not the end to the struggle for mar-
riage equality in Arkansas, as we know it will be appealed by the attorney general’s office. We are cautiously optimistic that Judge Piazza’s decision will stand through the appeals process and Arkansas will join 17 other states and the District of Columbia in offering same-sex marriage to its citizens. As our fellow Arkansans begin discussing the impact of this decision, we ask that you think about your friends, your neighbors and your family members who may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. As we live our lives in the open, you
have the opportunity to see that we are just like you: We worry about the economy, we hope for a better future, and we want the best for our family, our children and ourselves. Though marriage equality is an important issue to the LGBTQ community, we also acknowledge that there is still work and progress to be made toward greater equality and toleration for our community in Arkansas. Employment discrimination, parental rights, adoption rights and legal protections from bullying and harassment continue to be important concerns for our community. The River Valley Equality Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing community services, education and support to the LGBTQ community of the Arkansas River Valley. We meet the first and third Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Chambers Meeting Hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church at 215 N. Sixth Street in Fort Smith. All members of the community are welcome to join us! Jason Phillips Fort Smith
To-do list Thanks to some recent Arkansas Times articles, my to-do list is growing: I can travel around the state trying to locate Judge Chris Piazza to give him a hug. His well-reasoned decision in the gay marriage thing is in keeping with the Constitution, the one we love when we think our rights are threatened but ignore when someone else’s is on the chopping block. Yeah, that one. I can write a modest check to Tim Cullen, who’s feeling the effects of obscene negative campaign bucks from out-of-state players as he runs his honorable campaign for Arkansas’s Supreme Court. I can write another one to the genuinely impressive Nate Steel in his bid to serve the real people of the state as our next attorney general. Or I can have a bumper sticker printed that says, “There is no such thing as JUST a midterm election.” Linda A. Farrell Bella Vista
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other charter schools in Arkansas, damaged its credibility. The state Education Department charter authorizing panel damaged its credibility by ignoring all the problems in the application, not to mention Responsive Ed’s record on educating poor kids and screwy science and history curriculum. Departing Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell damaged his credibility by trying to kiss off traffic concerns of neighbors to hurry another Walton-financed project to fruition. If charter schools are about accountability, Responsive Ed and Quest and Gary Newton have earned an F so far, even as they wage a vicious attack aimed at destroying what little good remains in the Little Rock School District. Even staunch charter school supporters on the state board indicated Quest screwed up with the site switcheroo. Time for a kinder and more honest approach.
EQUALITY: The scene from above as same-sex couples get married at the Pulaski County Courthouse on Monday.
The week that was
e need my retired colleague Doug Smith to make short pithy work of a momentous week in city and state politics. I’ll try to hit the high spots, in chronological order.
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: President Barack Obama, the most reviled politician in Arkansas if polls are any measure, was invited to the state by Sen. Mark Pryor. It was a gutsy move. Pryor’s opponent, extremist Republican Tom Cotton, is running a campaign built solely, after billionaire economic theory, on tying Pryor to Obama. Huge, friendly crowds welcomed Obama to Arkansas. Who wouldn’t want the attention of the most powerful person in the U.S. in a time of need? Republicans even joined in the praise of the president. Tom Cotton sulked in Washington, rudely giving a strange anti-Obama screed before the right-wing Federalist Society while the president was dispensing alms in storm-wrecked Arkansas. What better reminder of Tom Cotton’s repeated votes against disaster assistance for others? It was a home run for Mark Pryor. Obama will remain unpopular in Arkansas, but 6
MAY 15, 2014
the moderate middle — on whom this election rests — have good reason to remember he might not be as bad as Odd MAX BRANTLEY Tom wants email@example.com one to believe. No wonder polls show Pryor with a lead over Cotton. EDUCATION: Shocking. The state Board of Education voted overwhelmingly to refuse a request to move the proposed Quest charter middle school to a new location. Only Board member Diane Zook, aunt of Walton-financed charter school lobbyist Gary Newton — who’s led establishment of the school — wanted to approve the move. The denial could make it hard for Quest, to be operated by Texas-based Responsive Education Solutions, to open in the fall. The school has only itself and lack of honesty to blame. It said an original location out west was vital for parents without a middle school nearby. At that very moment, it was negotiating for a new,
PRESIDENTIAL SELFIE: A Conway Regional Medical Center ER worker with the President last week.
cheaper site near existing Little Rock middle schools. It later said it wouldn’t buy the proposed new building until the state and city approved. Two days later, without approval from either, it bought the building. It said it had studied traffic. But no traffic study existed of the key problem, handling 180 students a day off a cul de sac that can only feed 150 to 200 cars an hour through a light from the cul de sac to busy Financial Centre Parkway. The school’s manager, which operates or has contracts to help manage six
SLEAZY POLITICS: A shadowy Virginia outfit with a long history of pouring secretly sourced cash into state judicial races to help elect chamber of commerce-approved judges is spending a relative fortune in Arkansas to elect Robin Wynne over Tim Cullen to a seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court. The ads follow a past pattern of depicting the unfavored candidate as soft on crime. The core message is that any criminal defense lawyer has no right to run for a judgeship. It’s an un-American reading of the Constitution. Wynne’s failure to repudiate the secret money and the anti-American message of the ads from which he benefits raises fair questions about his fitness to serve. PEOPLE GOT TO BE FREE: Judge Chris Piazza did honor to the U.S. Constitution, the Arkansas Constitution, himself and equality by striking down Arkansas bans on same-sex marriage. The Arkansas Supreme Court, acutely political and with some key changes in membership since its landmark decision striking down constitutional discrimination against gay parenting, may be the first court to resist the rising tide of popular and legal support for marriage equality. It might properly decide to stay Piazza’s order until an appeal is completed. But it’s too late to prevent the world from seeing image after image of devoted and happy families, drinking at long last from the cup of freedom. Our founding fathers specifically provided checks to curb tyrant religious majorities anxious to impose their personal views in law. In Arkansas, for a few days at least, the arc of history bent toward justice.
hen the mossbacks gathered in 1874 to write a new Arkansas constitution, they put at the top, right after a description of the state boundaries, that government’s first job was to protect the rights of everyone equally to enjoy life and freedom and to “pursue their own happiness.” Next, they wrote that the government must never give privileges and immunities — the benefits of marriage, for example — to some classes of citizens but deny them to others on the same terms. Arkansans ratified the constitution by a majority of three to one and it has been the law of the land for 140 years. Friday, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, a burly ex-prosecutor, made good on those promises by striking down recent state laws that outlawed the marriage of loving couples if they were of the same sex and that prevented any part of government from ever recognizing such unions. For going to the trouble of holding that the equal-protection clauses of the state and national constitutions actually meant what they said and applied to gay as well as to heterosexual people, a few Republican lawmakers called on the legislature to impeach Piazza. A few religious figures
denounced him, as their clerical forebears had done over the centuries nearly every time the government ERNEST of the people DUMAS took steps to halt discrimination against some historically scorned or wretched group — African Americans, the latest tide of uncultivated immigrants, Native Americans, women, the handicapped and now sexual minorities. But Piazza also gave Arkansas a flood of international publicity of the kind that the state has rarely gotten since 1874. Of its own volition and without waiting for the highest court of the country or another federal court to order it to end some manifest injustice, Arkansas was, at least for a few days, at the fore of history’s arc. Alone of the states of the old Confederacy it was issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. News reports Saturday and Monday showed exclamations of joy from couples who traveled to Eureka Springs or Little Rock to get marriage licenses and to be married on the spot. Some had been living
No Drama Obama
hen it comes to foreign policy, is flying apart, with everybody’s a drama critic. Par- Mr. Obama unable ticularly on cable TV, the world to fix it.” Partly, it’s a matoutside U.S. borders is presented as an ongoing melodrama on moralistic themes. ter of style. The Since melodrama requires conflict, president’s ostenGENE there’s a built-in bias toward “crisis” nar- sible allies at The LYONS rative. Foreign countries, indeed entire Times can’t stand continents, can vanish from the American Obama’s “maddeningly bland demeanor,” imagination for decades, only to emerge as lamenting that the president’s lack of ideothe putative flashpoints of history. (Syria! logical zeal leaves him “too resigned to the The Ukraine! Nigeria!) Something must be obstacles that prevent the United States done, or all is lost. from being able to control world events as If they agree on nothing else, politi- easily as it may once have done.” cians and pundits who derive great selfRead that last bit again. Try to imagimportance from pronouncing on world ine editors waving it into print. Previous affairs share a bias toward the appearance to World War II, Americans pretty much of action, often in military form. left ruling the world to those plucky lads of It follows that a president whose nick- Sudbury and their brethren among Euroname is “No Drama Obama” has been pean colonial powers who gallantly gave getting very mixed foreign policy reviews. their lives to keep China British, Vietnam What’s more, it’s not only the Bombs-Away French, Indonesia Dutch, etc. But post-war Pax Americana notwithCaucus led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham complaining. standing, I’m unable to think of a time since “President Obama is being pummeled 1945 when the U.S. controlled world events at home and abroad for his international “as easily” as it does today. From the Berleadership,” editorializes The New York lin Air Lift of 1948 through the ill-advised Times. “The world sometimes seems as if it invasion of Iraq in 2003, you name me a
together for decades, never dreaming their government would recognize their vows and dispense the protections that marriage gives to spouses. There on the faces and in the exclamations was all the affirmation one needs of the constitutional right to “pursue their own happiness” with the government’s protection. Even the Catholic bishop of Arkansas, who said it was not about human rights but about changing the definition of a word, a terrible thing to do, had to be moved by the scenes. Here was a ruling handed down not by a federal judge appointed for life but a trial judge elected by people in his community and who, incidentally, is running for re-election this month. Widely admired, Piazza is unopposed, but his marriage ruling cannot have taken anyone by surprise. He had ruled five years ago, in a challenge to an initiated act adopted by Arkansas voters, that people’s sexual orientation could not be grounds for denying them rights and privileges given to others, like adoption and foster parenting. The elected Arkansas Supreme Court upheld his ruling unanimously. If it hasn’t by now, the Supreme Court probably will stay Piazza’s order and halt recognition of the marriages while it reviews the case. The U. S. Supreme Court
will end the whole debate, probably late next year, by holding exactly as Piazza did. If the Arkansas Supreme Court follows its own precedents, it will beat the U.S. Supreme Court to the punch, as it did in the first same-sex legal issue, state sodomy laws. The U.S. court, in a 5-4 opinion written by Kennedy appointee Whizzer White, held in 1986 that a Georgia law making homosexual acts a crime was dandy, but Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, shifted the court in the opposite direction in 2003. It did so only after the Arkansas Supreme Court decided that the Arkansas sodomy law was unconstitutional. Since the U.S. court had said state sodomy statutes did not violate equal protection, due process or privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution, the Arkansas court relied on similar but much stronger provisions in the Arkansas Constitution. Only two of the five Arkansas justices who decided the sodomy case are still on the court and one will retire Jan. 1, but the crisp language of the two prevailing opinions, by Justices Annabelle Imber and Robert L. Brown, would fit the current case. Over and over, the justices wrote that the state could not impose sanctions on a couple or deny them rights accorded to others simply because their relationship violated the majority’s notions of morality or religious beliefs.
president; I’ll name you a foreign policy erfully staged photo ops in the world.” debacle: Budapest, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Even Zakaria wishes that Obama Prague, Vietnam, Iranian hostages, Leba- brought more flair and passion to his role non, the Persian Gulf War, Serbia, 9/11, as what used to be called Leader of the Free Afghanistan... World. Still, his larger point strikes me as President Obama, not so much. Indeed, unexceptionable: Having inherited two illfor an awful lot of his critics, crisis avoid- advised, poorly prosecuted wars in Iraq and ance seems to be the big problem. He’s Afghanistan, Obama has all but finished the making it look too easy, and that scares job of ending both without plunging into people. The Times again: Not the reality, another. As of 2014, the U.S. will finally “but the perception — of weakness, dith- heed President Eisenhower’s advice to stay ering, inaction, there are many names for out of land wars in Asia. it — has indisputably had a negative effect Maybe he’s not Mr. Excitement, but on Mr. Obama’s global standing.” Obama’s made no big mistakes. The Washington Post’s Fareed Zakaria Should the president have talked about a nails it: Many of Obama’s “critics want the “red line” in Syria if he wasn’t willing to use moral and political satisfaction of a great force? No, but better to look feckless than global struggle. We all accuse Vladimir go to war to save face. The Syrian factions Putin of Cold War nostalgia, but Wash- deserve each other; neither is our friend. ington’s elites — politicians and intellectuals In the Ukraine, the big American mis— miss the old days as well. They wish for take was appearing to take sides in an area the world in which the United States was of little strategic importance to the U.S. but utterly dominant over its friends, its foes crucial to Russia. For all the overheated Hitwere to be shunned entirely and the chal- ler/Putin talk, a Russian invasion appears lenges were stark, moral and vital.” increasingly less likely. As for Crimea, those In another way of putting it, for purely Russian soldiers were already there. theatrical purposes they’d be happier with a A deal on Iranian nuclear weapons, posturing ideologue like George W. Bush, of meanwhile, could be an international gamewhom comedian Stephen Colbert observed changer on a Nixon-goes-to-China scale. “no matter what happens to America, she Or would you prefer exciting melowill always rebound — with the most pow- drama? www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 2014
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ow odd is this Arkansas Razorback baseball team? I mean, rhetorical though it may be, it’s a legitimate question. Past iterations of the diamond Hogs were similarly spotty offensively and anchored by exceptional pitching. That much has not changed. But look at this middling bunch and several things jump off the stat page. • Arkansas is 13-14 in the SEC going into a finale at Missouri, by all measure the worst team in the conference. The Hogs arrived at that mark by marvelously consistent inconsistency. Unlike prior squads that would sizzle and fizzle in alternate lengthy stretches, the 2014 Hogs have neither swept a series nor been swept. It’s been a 2-and-1 weekend every time, and to some extent that’s due evidence of credible progress from a team that lacks established leadership. But when the team drops an agonizing Sunday game against a ranked foe like Texas A&M, a one-run extra-inning affair where ample late scoring chances were squandered, the little things are going to determine postseason destinations. • The Hogs’ prized Friday night arm is Mountain Home product Trey Killian. The sophomore has rewarded the coaches for giving him a opening game nod by posting an ERA just a shade north of 2 ... and he’s all of 2-8 on the bump. It’s the most mystifying winloss record in college baseball at this point, for all the wrong reasons. Killian has left games with a lead five times and ended up without a win, and that would probably enervate anyone less stoic. The upside here is that Arkansas is still scratching away even after the luckless starter departs, and the bullpen is mostly steady. • Arkansas is a consensus “bubble” team by most recent prognostications, even considered as one of the first four out by ChasingOmaha.com prior to
the A&M series. Should the Hogs be denied while fellow league teams like Tennessee and BEAU Kentucky get WILCOX in? Moreover, would the selection committee hand bids to the likes of Maryland instead of an SEC team that has a pretty good recent history on the big stage? The Hogs have won four home series against ranked foes (Alabama, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Vanderbilt), and in those road trips that didn’t go as well, they at least salvaged Sunday wins against the likes of LSU, Florida and Ole Miss. • Clark Eagan appears to be another sparkplug for a lackluster offense. He had a big weekend against the Aggies ,and the angular outfield prospect could be ready to contribute more in the league tournament. With Andrew Benitendi doing solid work all year, the Hogs have some hope for reliable sources of runs the next couple of years. There’s a lot to love about the team, as usual, and also the same ol’ batch of lamentations to expend. It’s not a punchless group, but one that struggles in white-knuckle moments. When seasoned guys like Jake Wise and Brian Anderson don’t deliver big hits when called upon, it’s aggravating, but it’s also the law of averages taking hold. Same is true for closer Michael Gunn, who has devilishly good stuff and a real nasty tendency to develop his own quandaries on the mound. Arkansas has a real shot to make the 2013-14 athletic calendar a lot more palatable after performing poorly on the gridiron and swimmingly on the hardwood. The diamond has to be the salvation, and June can still find this squad active and engaged if they will get the kinks worked out.
There’s a lot to love about the team, as usual, and also the same ol’ batch of lamentations to expend.
THE OBSERVER NOTES ON THE PASSING SCENE
Standing orders NEW EDICTS FROM THE OFFICE OF THE OBSERVER for the week of May 14-20 are as follows: EDICT #2014-119: Summer sweaters are not a thing, so stop trying to make them a thing. No, it doesn’t matter how loose the weave is. This is Arkansas, and you can’t wear a garment with the word “sweat” in the name after March and expect to survive without catching a case of the vapors and falling out. We’re looking at you, Spouse. EDICT #2014-120: During an argument, if you or your opponent can make a rational case based on science, mathematics, astronomy, court precedent or recent historical example, both of you are obliged to stay and listen with open minds and hearts. Henceforth, however, if the argument devolves at any time into: “because I have this book written by God that just so happens to agree with all my fears and prejudices,” you have The Observer’s full and enthusiastic blessing to put your hat on and walk away — or sprint away, if The Book of Revelation is being quoted. While The Observer has several go-to sources when researching matters of great social or scientific importance, nary a one of them includes a talking snake in chapter one. EDICT #2014-121: It’s “chest of drawers,” not “chesserdrawers,” “stackdrawers,” or “chesterdrawers.” “Underwears box” is acceptable, but only for those residents who can provide documentary proof that they are nativsStone County. EDICT #2014-122: The Official Best Person in Arkansas for the week of May 14-20 is Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn. On Saturday morning, Osborn, who works at the clerk’s office in Eureka Springs, selflessly stepped up to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in that fair city after the totallynot-a-trainee Deputy Clerk who was on the job that day said she couldn’t issue licenses because her boss was out of town, and then closed the courthouse doors on at least 50 gay and lesbian couples when she couldn’t get an opinion from the Attorney General. Out of the darkness, no doubt to the sound of trum-
pets, strode trainee Jane Osborn, who reopened the courthouse and proceeded to lay the smack down on prejudice by issuing 15 marriage licenses, the first same-sex marriage licenses issued in the state of Arkansas. Thanks for being a part of history, Deputy Clerk Osborn, and congratulations. EDICT #2014-123: In recognition of The Observer’s child’s Saturday night jaunt to his first all-ages music show at Vino’s, storied haunt of our own youth, we humbly accept the additional designation of Old Fart, thus rendering The Observer’s complete ceremonial title to read as follows: The Arkansas Times Observer, Sovereign Anonymite, Chief of Outer Pangburn, Head Bottle Washer, Patron Saint of Eavesdroppers and Old Fart. The printing office is instructed to make changes to the company letterhead. EDICT #2014-124: If pressed for time, citizens may sum up the history of prejudice in this country by citing the following sentence: “I’m not much, but at least I’m not a [ethnic, religious or sexual slur].” We’ve found that selfhatred, as seen in the first half of that sentence, is often at the heart of hate for others. The Observer is not much, but at least we’re not a bigot. EDICT #2014-125: The Observer recently found a team jersey at the Savers store in North Little Rock that apparently belonged to a member of the “Arkadelphia Ballaholics” softball team. The Ballaholics are instructed to change their name to something less triggering to the mind of a dirty old fart like us. Unless, of course, the name was purposely chosen to scandalize the lace hanky clutchers. In that case, by all means, keep it. EDICT #2014-126: Poetry matters. Stop saying it doesn’t. EDICT #2014-127: In an effort to encourage a more sex-positive culture, all motorists are henceforth instructed to roll down their window and give a friendly wave to anyone they see emerging from the adult bookstore on 65th Street in Little Rock. It’s the neighborly thing to do. www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 2014
IN S IDE R
That strange Supreme Court race The Arkansas Supreme Court race between Judge Robin Wynne and Tim Cullen, already stinking to high heaven because of a huge stealth expenditure by an out-of-state organization against Cullen, added a funny wrinkle on Monday. It came in the form of WYNNE gibes by both candidates that could apply to sitting Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson. It’s as good a time as any to report belatedly CULLEN on her clearance by a judicial ethics panel for taking high-dollar trips from a Fayetteville lawyer. Wynne, who sits on the Court of Appeals, and Cullen, who primarily practices appellate law, are running for retiring Justice Donald Corbin’s seat. The race got more interesting last week with news that a Virginia-based 501(c)(4), had made a huge TV ad buy (now up to $400,000, Cullen estimates) to trash Cullen. He once represented a child porn offender on appeal. That’s enough in the eyes of the stealth PAC to make Cullen soft on child porn. Presumably if he’d ever defended a capital defendant they would describe him as soft on murderers. The problem with LEAA is that it won’t identify its leaders, its spokesmen, its source of money or what its true agenda might be. It has used soft-on-crime themes in secretive attacks around the country on judicial candidates, generally to help business lobby candidates. The group, for example, has been identified as a contributor in the defeat of a West Virginia justice that a coal company wanted off a major coal case. Back to Arkansas. On Monday, the Democrat-Gazette ran an article on the race. It mentioned toward the end the outside money, but, before that, said that Cullen cited one reason for running was to restore integrity in public office. “I’m running because I think there are too many examples of our public elected officials behaving badly and I think it’s crucial, particularly for the CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 10
MAY 15, 2014
UNDER ATTACK: Mailers slam Burris for his support of the private option.
Primary options Three GOP senate battles could determine the future of the Arkansas health care private option. BY DAVID RAMSEY
ore than 150,000 Arkansans have gained coverage under the private option — the state’s unique policy using Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for lowincome residents — but the future of the policy could be in jeopardy depending on the outcome of several Republican primaries this Tuesday in state legislative races. “I think it’s the big major issue,” said Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest), one of the most vocal critics of the private option. “As a Republican, when you campaign on less government and then you vote for the largest expansion in government in Arkansas history, it’s definitely going to be an issue.” “I feel that this is an expansion of Obamacare into Arkansas,” said Scott Flippo, owner of a Bull Shoals nursing home, who is running for an open state Senate seat against Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison), one of the key Republican architects of the private option (a third candidate in the race, Mountain Home mayor David Osmon, supports the policy). “The private option is the overriding issue in this campaign.” “I don’t think the race will be decided by the private option,” Burris said. “I think it could be decided by my opposition lying to the voters continually and repeatedly by saying that I brought Obamacare to Arkansas. I think they’re attempting to tell a lie so many times that it becomes the truth to voters. I think they’re going to fail, but I think
they’re attempting it.” Most believe that Burris and Flippo will emerge from the three-way race in District 17 (which includes parts of Baxter, Boone and Marion counties) and face off in a runoff. That race is one of three GOP state Senate primaries that opponents and proponents of the private option will be watching closely. In District 9 (which includes parts of Crawford, Franklin, Scott and Sebastian counties), incumbent Sen. Bruce Holland (R-Greenwood), who voted for the private option, is being challenged by Rep. Terry Rice (R-Waldron), who voted against it. In District 14 (comprised of parts of Garland and Saline counties), another incumbent who voted for the private option, Sen. Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs), is being challenged by an opponent of the policy, retired financial auditor Jerry Neal. The private option has popped up in numerous other legislative and statewide Republican primaries, with lawmakers who voted for the private option under heavy attack — even Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View), who flip-flopped from voting for the private option appropriation in 2013 to voting against it this year, drew a primary opponent criticizing her original vote. Irvin is expected to win re-election easily, but the other senate races are viewed as close calls. They are drawing particular attention because the margins in the General Assembly are so tight: In order to accept
the federal money to fund the private option, both houses of the legislature must approve the appropriation by a 75 percent supermajority, a devilishly high bar. In the 2014 fiscal session, the private option was reauthorized with no votes to spare in the Senate and one vote to spare in the House. Votes in the House have been relatively fluid, but the rump group of eight Republican opponents in the Senate appears to be unmovable. Moreover, while each of these individual races will be decided by personalities and policies beyond the private option, the postelection narrative will focus heavily on the health care issue. Republican lawmakers on the fence about the private option going forward may make a political calculation based on what happens next week. “A lot of what transpires over the next year will be determined [by these primaries],” said Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock), one of the key Republican backers of the private option. The battle lines are being drawn over a deep split within the GOP in Arkansas over the private option. The split dates back to the debate over Medicaid expansion, one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or Obamacare, as many call it). Because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the decision over whether to accept federal money to extend Medicaid coverage to more low-income people was left up to the states. Medicaid expansion appeared doomed in Arkansas, where a newly ascendant Republican majority had campaigned explicitly on an anti-Obamacare platform. But the debate was turned on its head when the feds approved the plan that became known as the private option, using private health insurance instead of the traditional Medicaid program to expand coverage. Republicans like Burris took ownership of the plan and pushed hard to secure passage by bipartisan supermajority. Republican opponents of the policy point out that the private option is funded by the ACA and is bound by many of the rules of Medicaid. For them, it is a capitulation to Obamacare. Republican proponents of the private option argue that the policy is a conservative alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion, and was the best approach for the state given other features of the law that are going into effect regardless of the state’s decision on expansion. “The private option was a nice-sounding name,” said Neal. “I believe it’s Obamacare, CONTINUED ON PAGE 15
RAPERT’S BRAIN THE
In the wake of the May 9 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza overturning Arkansas’s ban on gay marriage, Rev. Sen. Jason Rapert, Republican of Bigelow, has gone on a multiday tantrum, posting a screed on his Facebook page in which he said gays “have no right to redefine marriage and dilute the bedrock principle of families in our country,” and later posting that Piazza’s “decision was reckless and has thrown Arkansas into an uproar.” Funny, we didn’t see much uproar at the Pulaski County courthouse on Monday, unless you count a lot of kissing and whooping for joy. With Rapert’s outrage meter pushing into the red zone over gay marriage, we thought we’d take this opportunity to look under his hood and try to puzzle out what makes him tick.
Fiddlin’ and grinnin’ Vaginal probe targeting center The voice of “Jesus” Hate for “The Gays”
Leviticus Center of Empathy (enlarged 500% to show texture) Node of Self-Righteousness
Difference between minorities and “minorities” Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to Be an American” on a loop Secret love for Justin Timberlake
Tune in to the Times’ “Week In Review” podcast each Friday. Available on iTunes & arktimes.com
INSIDER, CONT. supreme court, to be above reproach,” Cullen said. Cullen said he favored more limits on gifts to judges and said he wouldn’t take any. Gifts of “significant monetary value” can raise questions about impartiality, he said. The article then noted that Justice Goodson reported receiving a trip to Italy in 2012 worth $50,000 from W.H. Taylor, a Fayetteville lawyer. Taylor paid for a $12,000 Caribbean cruise for her in 2011. She reported no gifts in 2013 and has defended the trips as coming from a longtime friend. Wynne also told the D-G he didn’t think judges should take gifts and he’d refuse them. “I think that that creates a sort of appearance of impropriety and I don’t think that that’s a good idea,” Wynne said. Goodson’s former husband is working for Cullen. W. H. Taylor and Tyson Foods have given money to Wynne. The Arkansas Times discovered recently that the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission had received a complaint about the gifts Goodson reported, including some lavish presents from her then-future husband, lawyer John Goodson, as well as a meeting she arranged with Justice Antonin Scalia on a Washington trip and appointment of a friend to a commission. The Judicial Commission issued a detailed ruling last September that found no fault with the judge. Because of publicity about the case, the commission took the rare step of elaborating more than it customarily might in dismissing a complaint. The letter noted that the gifts had been disclosed, that Taylor was a long-time friend of Goodson’s, that the judge recused from Goodson and Taylor cases and that the judge also recused from Tyson Foods cases. A Tyson yacht was used on the Italy trip. The letter concluded, “the investigation initiated by this complaint did not reveal or find any evidence of judicial misconduct, wrongdoing or incapacity within the Commission’s jurisdiction.” Ill appearances and graspiness are not covered in judicial canons. Cullen and Wynne, even if under duress from Cullen, have better ideas. But back to the big point: Wynne has not said enough to distance himself from the smelly money and, particularly, the suggestion in ads directly helping him that he essentially subscribes to the view that criminal defendants deserve what they get and that a defense attorney who does his job is “soft on crime.” www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 2014
A state court overturns Arkansas’s same-sex marriage ban.
BY MAX BRANTLEY, DAVID KOON, DAVID RAMSEY AND LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK
arriage equality arrived in Arkansas at 4:51 p.m. Friday when Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza filed his ruling striking down both a 2004 constitutional amendment and a 1997 statute that ban same-sex marriage in Arkansas. He cited, as many other judges have, the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Piazza, who’d invalidated the statute aimed at preventing gay couples for adopting, wrote for the ages, with lofty appeals to higher purpose and law. He concluded by invoking the federal court ruling that ended discrimination in marriage against mixed-race couples:
Then all hell and happiness broke loose. Perhaps by design, Piazza filed as the Pulaski County clerk’s office closed for the week. That turned attention to Eureka Springs, where the western district clerk’s office for Carroll County is open on Saturday morning to accommodate people who flock to the Victorian village in the Ozarks for a weekend wedding. Carroll County was not one of the six named defendants in the lawsuit. It technically had room to deny applicants. And that was the original decision, to shut down the office entirely rather than plunge into that uncharted water. Eventually, Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn, under the pressure of an unhappy crowd, relented. By 1 p.m., the office’s closing hour, 15 couples had received marriage licenses and promptly had wedding ceremonies. The images of jubilant couples went ’round the world. By that afternoon, county officials gathered in a conference call monitored by the Arkansas Times to plot strategy for coping with the ruling. In a discussion led in significant part by some lawyers who in
MAY 15, 2014
It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples. It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it.
WAVING THE FLAG FOR EQUALITY: Shon DeArmon (left) hugs his partner James Porter outside the Pulaski County Courthouse.
their private lives have distinguished themselves in the cause of evangelical Christian activities (the base for strongest anti-gay-marriage sentiment), county clerks got this message: Only the six named defendants had any liability concerns in continuing to refuse same-sex couples and even those counties could claim some minor technicalities as
excuses. While Piazza made it clear it was unconstitutional for clerks to deny licenses to same-sex couples, he failed to specifically list all the many Arkansas statutes that refer to marriage as being between a man and woman. A slim reed to deny service, but Lonoke, Saline, White and Conway counties grasped it. Pulaski Clerk Larry Crane fixed his software to remove gender references (another glitch that many counties wanted to use to resist) and staffed up for the onslaught that appeared on the county’s doorstep Monday morning, along with national civil rights leaders and the attorneys, Cheryl Maples and Jack Wagoner, who’d fought for months with an unwieldy lawsuit and dozens of plaintiffs seeking to be married or otherwise legally married couples seeking full rights in Arkansas. Pulaski County issued licenses to 169 same-sex couples on Monday alone. Washington County also accepted same-sex couples and issued licenses to two dozen. Saline County did a handful before again stopping. Carroll County, which made history Saturday, on Monday decided to stop following the guidance of Piazza’s ruling. The clerk in tiny Marion County decided on her own to honor the ruling, but then stopped on Tuesday. One license was issued in Yellville on Monday. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel immediately appealed Piazza’s ruling. He’ll continue to bow to the Republican legislative majority (and, he says, his constitutional duty) to defend a law that he has said he personally disagrees with. He also asked for a stay of the circuit court ruling to avoid confusion while the Arkansas Supreme Court hears the appeal. The Supreme Court said it would take arguments on a stay through noon Tuesday. As we went to press, the timing of a decision was unknown. Meanwhile, the interim gave time for same-sex couples to continue to exercise a newfound right. Will the Supreme Court overturn Piazza? If it does, will those several hundred newlyweds see their new legal rights jerked away? These and many other questions, including political ramifications, lie ahead. But the happy faces of completed families — several of which we profile below — formed yet another brief of its own for changing public opinion. Judges watch TV, too.
Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo Seaton, 27, and Rambo, 26, of Fort Smith, became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Arkansas in Eureka Springs on Saturday. So far, married life is “awesome,” Seaton said. “I feel like we’re stress-free about it all,” Rambo said. “We don’t have to worry about our future family now, or kids. We’re taken care of. We have equal rights. It’s a relief, honestly.” Seaton and Rambo came to the courthouse in Little Rock on Monday to “support our fellow Arkansans.” On Saturday, they initially didn’t realize that they were the first legally married same-sex couple in Arkansas, and in the South. “We didn’t even know at first, we thought we were just the first in line [in Eureka Springs],” Seaton said. “It still hasn’t sunk in.” “I’m still in shock,” Rambo said. “Last night we went home and got a Redbox, turned off the phones and kind of soaked it in for a little bit. It’s a great feeling.” Seaton and Rambo, who have been together four years, said they were “keeping high hopes” about the future legal battles ahead. The timing of Judge Piazza’s ruling worked out perfectly for the couple. Seaton proposed in March and they
were planning their ceremony for October. “Now it’s going to be the real thing,” Rambo said. “It’s indescribable.” Seaton proposed while they were hiking in Devil’s Den State Park. “It was actually her birthday weekend, and I had a whole weekend planned for her,” Rambo said. “We stayed in a cabin in Devil’s Den, and she surprised me. It was one of the first places we had went after we met: Yellow Rock Trail. We were climbing up to the top, and the next thing you know, it started raining a little bit. She got down on one knee. It caught me off guard. It was the biggest surprise and the best surprise that’s ever happened to me.” “I knew it was meant to be when it rained,” Seaton said. “The rain was her and her father’s thing, and her dad had recently passed. Once it started sprinkling, I was like, ‘This is him letting us know he’s here.’ It was bittersweet. It still gives me chills right now, thinking about it.” Are they going to be together forever? “Forever and ever,” Rambo said. “Definitely,” Seaton said. “We’re oldfashioned and traditional about that, believe it or not.” — David Ramsey and David Koon
Artist Zeek Taylor and retired electrician Dick Titus, partners for 42 years, had a not-so-funny thing happen on the way to the altar: A Eureka Springs deputy city clerk refused to issue them a marriage license. Taylor, 67, and Titus, 65, were among dozens of same-sex couples who’d arrived at Eureka’s Carroll County Courthouse before sunup Saturday to get a license (Eureka, marriage capital of Arkansas, alone among Arkansas cities issues marriage licenses from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday to accommodate wedding tourism). But deputy clerk Lana Gordon announced to the crowd from the entry landing that she would not issue same-sex licenses because she had no authority from the county clerk to do so. Taylor confronted Gordon, showing her Pulaski Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s Friday ruling and telling her she was now legally required to issue licenses. When she said no, Taylor turned to the crowd and said, “Get in line, we’re going in.” After they entered, Gordon locked herself in her office, Taylor said. “I can’t believe I was such a bad ass,” he said. “I’m an introvert really.” Gordon then summoned Eureka police to the courthouse and officers ushered out the 50 or 60 people there hoping to get the first same-sex licenses in Arkansas. The disappointed couples, some of them weeping, were headed back to their cars or already gone when the officers reappeared 10 minutes later and told them a different deputy clerk would issue the
licenses. Jane Osborn “was so gracious,” Taylor said, “a hero to us all.” Fearful of later glitches, Taylor and Titus abandoned plans to have a garden wedding back at the house and were married immediately after they got their license — the first issued to a male couple in Arkansas — by former Eureka Springs Mayor Beau Satori in an alcove at the courthouse. After pledging their love — “you shall not walk alone,” they told each other — Taylor and Titus became husband and husband and filed their certificate of marriage with the deputy clerk. “Even though I am an eternal optimist,” Taylor said, “at my age I was thinking it was not going to happen in my lifetime in any Southern state.” But with the legal challenges before Arkansas courts, Taylor and Titus, who’d been thinking of going to Iowa, “got our hopes up enough that we decided to hold out” to be married in their hometown, among friends. On Sunday, Taylor said, “We woke up … and sort of laughed. We’ve been together for 42 years. Nothing has changed … except we have been part of a milestone for civil rights. We’ve been part of a movement that stands for love. You know?” Things have changed, however: As legally married, he and Titus now have the same rights heterosexual spouses enjoy, such as the right to visit one another in a hospital, property rights and other benefits. “That has really given us a sense of relief, that we are protected.” — Leslie Newell Peacock
Zeek Taylor and Dick Titus
MAY 15, 2014
Randy and Gary Eddy-McCain
Susan Barr and Shelly Butler
person in the good times and the bad, until death parts you.” Randy said that he’d found that person in his husband, Gary, who he married in Central Park in 2012. They’ve been a couple since 1991. “I’ve committed my life to him,” Randy said of Gary. “I cherish him and thank God for this wonderful, rich experience. My parents called this commitment and so do we. I have been made a better citizen, a better follower of Jesus Christ, a better father to our son, and a better man because of the love that I share with Gary. “Because of Judge Piazza’s right and fair ruling on Friday, mine and Gary’s marriage is a now legal right here in this state where I was born and raised. We are blissfully happy today. I have never been more proud to be an Arkansan.” — David Ramsey
Asked what the word “married” will add to their relationship, given their long, long commitment to one another, Butler said, “Everything. Everything. It’s a long time coming. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for many years, and it’s finally a reality. We couldn’t be happier... I don’t think it’ll necessarily change our relationship other than the official recognition from society. It’s just going to feel correct, I think.” “It’s nice that kids growing up now won’t have to hide who they are,” Barr replied, looking out at the crowded hallway outside the clerk’s office, teeming with happy, young same-sex couples Monday morning. “Yes,” Butler said. “They’ll be able to choose the partner of their choice and marry them.” — David Koon
Susan Barr and Shelly Butler of Dallas were the first same-sex couple to obtain a license at the Pulaski County Courthouse Monday morning, and were eventually the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Pulaski County, once the paperwork was finalized. They’ve been together for 29 years. Butler, who is from Hope, is in a wheelchair. Their entering through the wheelchair-accessible east entrance of the courthouse Monday was a blessing in disguise that landed them at the head of the line. Butler was in Arkansas visiting her mother for the Mother’s Day weekend on Saturday when she heard about Piazza’s ruling. She immediately got in the car, drove to Texas, picked up Barr and some clothes at their home in Dallas — where same-sex marriages are still not recognized — and drove back to Arkansas.
“I’m a southern gospel fan, so I can’t think of anything better than ‘I Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now,’ ” said Randy Eddy-McCain, pastor of Open Door Community Church in Sherwood and a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging Arkansas’s ban on same-sex marriage, in a rally organized by the Human Rights Campaign outside the Pulaski County Courthouse on Monday. “When it comes to marriage, I have a great heritage lived out before me by my parents,” Randy said. “They raised me to respect the institution of marriage. They showed me by example how to do it right. They were together for 54 years before they were parted by my dad’s death in 2000. My parents taught me that you find the person that God has for you and you commit your life to them. You cherish and love that
James Paulus and Christopher Shelton
MAY 15, 2014
Shelton, 25, and Paulus, 26, went to high school together in England (Lonoke County), where they still live. They were Boy Scouts together. They reconnected after school and became a couple. “Seven years together,” Shelton said. “Seven years strong. To the rest of our lives now.” “This is something we’ve waited a long time for and never thought we’d see in this lifetime,” Paulus said. Shelton said he hoped that “everybody comes to their senses and realizes that we’re all equal.” “No matter what the outcome of this case, whether it’s appealed or stayed, it
doesn’t matter, we’re married, that’s all that matters,” Paulus said. Shelton, gripping his marriage certificate and weeping, agreed: “It doesn’t matter what anybody says now, I don’t care. We’re married.” Paulus said that the marriage showed that “at least someone in the state of Arkansas higher-ups cares about human equality. … We’re all equal and we all deserve the same treatment. That’s what this means.” Paulus and Shelton said that it was very important to be able to wed in their home state. “We just never thought we’d see the day,” Paulus said. —David Ramsey
PRIMARY OPTIONS, CONT.
Shane Frazier and Curtis Chatham Frazier and Chatham have lived in Little Rock for the past 12 years and have been together for 12 and a half. Their 4-year-old son, Cory, was there with them at the courthouse Monday to watch his dads get married, the boy all smiles and wearing a smart little bow tie half the size of the ones sported by his fathers. He came into their lives two years ago. He will grow up in a world where bigotry against gays and lesbians is rapidly drying up and blowing off across the wastes of history, dying off, dying out. His children may well grow up never having heard the slurs against gays their grandfathers surely knew when they were children themselves. Monday’s lesson for Cory, Frazier said, was to love everyone. “It’s not our place to judge anyone,” Frazier said. “If what you’re doing doesn’t impact or hurt someone else, leave people alone.” Frazier said he would challenge anyone to show him how his getting married Monday has harmed anyone by sunrise Tuesday. “Tomorrow, when you wake up, ask yourself: Our being married legally and being afforded the rights everyone else has, did it truly change anything for anyone other than
us? No one else lost their rights. No marriages failed because of ours succeeding. So I really don’t know what people are afraid of.” They decided to get legally wed for the protections a marriage certificate will afford them, but Frazier was clearly married to Chatham long before the state issued them a piece of paper. They met through mutual friends and fell in love — the same old story that’s been played out forever among couples both gay and straight. He and Chatham are on their third home together. They’re the beneficiaries of each other’s wills and life insurance policies. They’ve long held a joint bank account. They both wear wedding rings, and have lived through five dogs. Monday night, Cory and his fathers would go home as if nothing had changed. Meals would be cooked. Garbage would be carried out. Plates would be washed and dried. Somebody, Frazier said, would still have to do the laundry. The same as anyone. No one harmed. No one wounded. “It’s our boring life,” Frazier said. “Our boring life we love.” —David Koon
Obama says it’s Obamacare. The only people who don’t are the Republicans who voted for it and then are being challenged in primaries.” In a television ad, Rice says, “My opponent was the deciding vote to pass the implementation of Obamacare.” An ad from Holland counters: “You might have heard that I am for Obamacare. That is false. I am against Obamacare. … The Obamacare law gave us hard choices to make and I supported the private option. We would have Obamacare with or without the private option. We can debate the private option, but saying I am for Obamacare — that’s just a lie.” (Both Rice and Holland did not respond to repeated interview requests.) “You’ve got to start with what Obamacare took from us,” Burris said. “You add up Medicare [reimbursement] cuts and tax increases, it’s $1.25 billion a year out of our economy. I couldn’t stop those things. I couldn’t stop the essential health mandates driving up the cost of your premiums. I couldn’t stop the individual mandate that’s penalizing people for not buying insurance they can’t afford. I tell people, call somebody you trust in another state [that said no to expansion] and ask them if they have Obamacare, too.” The private option, Burris argued, was a way to bring money back to the state and use it “to reform our Medicaid system and our health care system … and get waivers [of federal rules] to put our fingerprint on the system.” Flippo said, “My opponent and I disagree. He says that [the private option] is not per se Medicaid expansion. I believe that it is. Medicaid expansion is one of the key pillars of Obamacare.” Burris said he has no regrets about his vote for the private option. Sample said the same. “As a legislature, we have to have the guts to make tough decisions,” Sample said. “This wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve compared the decision that we made on the private option to the decisions that some of the legislatures had to make years ago when they were deciding segregation. It was a tough issue, it was not a pleasant issue, but sometimes you have to stand up and say, whether I get elected or re-elected, I’m going to do the right thing and I’m going to take care of my constituents. I’m going to take care of the citizens of Arkansas, and I feel like that’s what we did.” Sample said that while in his district “everybody is against Obamacare,” he
believes that the majority of his constituents support the choice he made on the private option. Neal countered that “unless I’m living in an alternate universe, the vast majority of people I talk to are against it.” Outside advocacy groups opposed to the private option have been aggressive in trying to tilt the scales in the primaries. Americans for Prosperity has done two mailers attacking Sample (including one criticized by factcheckers for implying that Sample had been responsible for Medicare cuts). “They’re an out-of-state entity that’s trying to buy a Senate seat,” Sample said, who added that he believed that part of Neal’s rhetoric “is based on information that he gets from them.” (Neal said he had not looked closely at the AFP mailers, but believed that they were accurate.) Meanwhile, a variety of PACs and advocacy groups co-founded and at least partially funded by Fayetteville businessman Joe Maynard, a vocal opponent of the private option, have donated or spent tens of thousands of dollars in this election cycle, much of it targeted at Burris. One of the groups, Conduit for Action (via its independent expenditure committee) has issued one mailer attacking Holland for his vote on the private option and three mailers and a television ad attacking Burris. One mailer features goofy pictures of Burris culled from social media (wearing a bandana, eating a sandwich) while a hologram of President Obama hovers in the background. “I think the mailers are very dishonest and in poor taste,” Burris said. “It’s not illegal. It’s not against the rules. I’ve dealt with a lot tougher, but I think it’s juvenile, and I think voters I’m hearing from think it’s juvenile and in poor taste.” Conduit for Action’s Director of Governmental Affairs David Ferguson said that Burris was targeted because he was “pretending that the private option and Obamacare have nothing to do with each other” and that all of Conduit’s materials were footnoted with sources. All of the candidates the Times spoke with noted that there are many issues voters are concerned about in their districts outside of the health care expansion, and all believed their races would not be determined by the private option alone. “For me, this race is not all about the private option,” Burris said. “For my supporters, it’s not all about the private option. But for everybody else, it is.”
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ARKANSAS’ PREMIER MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK
MAY 15, 2014
A NEW HOME FOR THE LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL
The Ron Robinson Theater is a dream come true. BY LINDSEY MILLAR
rent and Craig Renaud, the documentary filmmakers who cofounded the Little Rock Film Festival with Jamie Moses and Owen Brainard in 2007, have built the LRFF based on their experience traveling the festival circuit. From the beginning, they made showing visiting filmmakers a good time a top priority. Treat a filmmaker right, they knew from experience, and he’ll tell his friends, who’ll want to screen their visionary works down the line. The secret sauce in Little Rock’s rapid rise in stature in the festival world might be Southern hospitality (free booze, lodging and Bill Clinton windup dolls haven’t hurt, either). This year, they’ve got something even more appealing to offer filmmakers and attendees alike — something few to no other film festivals can boast: a brand spankin’ new, state-of-the-art 315-seat theater in the heart of downtown. The Ron Robinson Theater represents the realization of a dream the Renauds talked about at the inception of the festival, but one they never, in their wildest dreams, expected to happen in eight years, said Craig Renaud Monday night in remarks opening the festival. That it did owes to the Central Arkansas Library System’s visionary leader, Bobby Roberts, whose foresight and political skill kept the library’s funding independent from the wavering fortunes of local and state government. Other cities struggle to buy new books; our library system builds the nicest theater in town. Since it opened in January, the $2.8 million theater has been tied closely with the Little Rock Film Festival. The LRFF keeps offices in the building’s third floor and longtime LRFF managing director Angie Stoffer is theater manager. Concerts, lectures, meetings and all sorts of other functions fill the theater’s calendar, but this week it’s all movies, all the time. Another dream of the Renauds and other organizers came to pass last year, but is happening in a more convenient 16
MAY 15, 2014
‘MANAKAMANA’: Screening as part of the festival’s new cinematic nonfiction programming.
way this go-round: The festival has become a walkable, downtown event. The 375-seat Arkansas Repertory Theatre returns as a venue, as do the Historic Arkansas Museum’s more intimate theater and the Clinton School of Public Service’s Sturgis Hall. New this year is The Joint, the North Little Rock venue and comedy club, and Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, the River Market area restaurant and venue directly across from Ron Robinson. With few exceptions, The Joint and Stickyz will screen the same short films at different times, so for those not crossing the river, the longest hike — from the Clinton School to The Rep — is no more than 10 or 12 blocks. After honing a niche by creating a cash award for the best Southern film screening in the festival, the LRFF is adding a new wrinkle this year — a selection of films branded “cinematic nonfiction.” Robert Greene, a filmmaker and critic who screened films at the LRFF in 2011 and 2013, programmed the series. He’s long been writing about (and making) films that push beyond conventional notions of documentary film and often blur the line between reportage and fiction. Of course, filmmakers — going all the
way back to Robert Flaherty is “Nanook of the North” in 1922 — have long made movies that don’t adhere to strict conventions. But with the likes of Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” getting attention in recent years, Brent Renaud said the time was right to highlight hybrid films. Greene calls them “cinematic treats.” Greene said that a lot of documentarians view conveying information as their No. 1 goal. The films in his cinematic nonfiction block “are less about bringing information across ... and more about creating a moving cinematic experience,” he said. The series includes everything from “Killing Time,” a feature about a family that is waiting for a family member to be executed in Texas that’s shot directcinema style with no music or effects; to “Fishtail,” a Western tone poem featuring narration by Harry Dean Stanton (more on page 17), to “Manakamana,” a collection of 11 uncut shots of people riding a cable car to a Hindu temple in Nepal. “If you watch the film with an audience in a theater, it’s a pretty transcendent thing,” Greene said of “Manakamana.” “It’s very moving and funny… It’s experimental, but I think a lot of the best
art house films are experimental. The trick is, when you go in and watch a fiction film, you know there’s control over the material, so you’re expect something to happen. With documentary, you need to look for other things. These films are cinematic experiences but they’re also dealing with reality in different ways.” For those looking to adjust their reality in other ways, the festival is full of parties as usual. At 9:30 p.m. Thursday at W.T. Bubba’s, the delightfully filthy, religion-haunted rawkers of Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth perform amidst a crawfish boil. Reliable partystarter DJ/VJ G-force will be projecting videos that correspond with the jams he’s playing on paneling that’ll be draped across the Junction Bridge, which is the site of Friday’s party, beginning at 9 p.m. Joshua from Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente is bound to make the people sweat with what he does on the ones and twos at a dance party at the Ace Glass Warehouse, 405 Shall Ave. (near Heifer International) beginning at 10:30 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, the Arkansas Times hosts the closing awards gala. This year, it starts at 6 p.m. and takes place at the Old State House Museum, largely on the picturesque front lawn, as long as the weather cooperates.
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May 20 – June 21
Dishing up good, clean laughs… and heavenly fun! ‘HAPPY VALLEY’
TEN TO WATCH
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A can’t-miss list for the Little Rock Film Festival. BY DAVID KOON, LINDSEY MILLAR, DAVID RAMSEY AND WILL STEPHENSON
thursday, May 15
HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev
The Penn State sexual abuse scandal broke in 2011 and was one of those horrific, news-cycle-dominating events that seemed only to expand, threatening (and arguably succeeding) to drag down an entire college administration in its wake. Most of us were desperate to look away, but documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev, award-winning director of “The Tillman Story” and “My Kid Could Paint That,” opted to look closer, traveling to State College, Pa. (the surrounding area nicknamed Happy Valley) and immersing himself in the minutiae of the crisis and the rabid world of Penn State football. “Happy Valley” isn’t looking for a new scoop, and it doesn’t offer viewers an easy out — it’s a meditative and careful film, an examination of the structures and cultures both literal and abstract that allowed for the abuses to go undiscovered. 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Ron Robinson Theater. WS
Happy Hour In The Heights Refreshments For All Ages 5-7pm On Charlotte’s Porch
join us for Happy Hour 5-7pm
Directed by Andrew Renzi
“Fishtail” is a Western, and a cowboy movie, but there’s no gunslinging or noisy action. The documentary, part of the festival’s cinematic nonfiction programming, depicts the daily grind of ranching work, following a pair of cow-
boys during calving season at the 2,000acre Fishtail Basin Ranch in southern Montana. The cowboys make small talk, horse around with their kids, and do their work. But they are minor figures in the film, which is a love letter to the land and the lifestyle of the ranches of the American West. Shot on 16mm film, CONTINUED ON PAGE 18
6pm performance by
Forest park elementary school choir
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the photography is rustic and breathtaking: brown earth, staggering mountains, big sky. The film depicts the cowboys at their daily tasks — gathering timber, transporting hay, tagging and banding the animals, castrating bull calves. In case you’re missing the poetry in all this, director Andrew Renzi offers up haunting music, voiceovers and languid cinematography — this is a documentary deeply committed to its vibe. The soundtrack features acoustic guitars and strings with the same cinematic sweep and crackling, dusty feel as the cinematography (suggested soundtrack title: “Explosions in the Big Sky”). The actor Harry Dean Stanton does the voiceover, popping up from time to time to recite Rick Bass and Walt Whitman, or gently sing “Home on the Range.” As clouds roll and horses roam, Stanton intones, “Here I am alone and sad like a leaf on the wind.” Does it all get a bit goopy? Well, yes. But damn, Harry Dean Stanton’s voice. It’s like honky-tonk Shakespeare. It sounds like God talking, or maybe just Jimmie Rodgers. The glacial pacing, sun-drenched portraits and meandering poetic voiceovers inevitably call Malick to mind. If Malick’s great theme is The Fall, “Fishtail” seems to argue that Eden’s still right here on Earth. 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Ron Robinson. 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Ron Robinson. DR
Directed by Sara Colangelo
Starring two Arkansans — Little Rock-born Josh Lucas and Briggsville native Jacob Lofland, who played one of the boys in Jeff Nichols’ Arkansasshot feature “Mud” — “Little Accidents” is an unflinching look at grief, guilt and the way we try to make ourselves whole in the wake of tragedy, set in what appears to be District 12 from “The Hunger Games.” Boyd Holbrook
does standout work as Amos, the mentally and physically wounded sole survivor of a mine accident that took the lives of 10 West Virginia coal miners. Amos’ testimony and spotty recollection of the events leading up to the accident soon finds him pulled in all directions as an investigation ramps up. With the town in the midst of wallowing in grief and blame, the lens soon settles on young Owen, played by Lofland, a poor and sensitive boy who lost his father in the mine disaster, but is forced to carry on while trying to help his harried mother (Chloe Sevigny) raise her other son, James (Beau Wright), who has Down Syndrome. Owen soon finds himself at the secret heart of another tragedy: the disappearance and long search for JT (Travis Tope), a corporate mining exec’s son who disappeared in the weeks after the mine collapse, following a spate of anti-bigwig violence.
JT’s mother, Diana (Elizabeth Banks), destroyed by her son’s disappearance and feeling pushed away by her grieving husband, Bill (Lucas), seeks comfort in the arms of an unlikely lover, and it all eventually rushes to some kind of head. If all this sounds bleak, it is. But coal mining and the pain of loss ain’t beanbag, friend, and the film handles both with the gravity it should. Shot in the real-life mining town of Beckley, W.Va., the color scheme of “Little Accidents” is almost exactly the blue/black of the coal dust-stained coveralls the miners wear, and the only redemption to be had is when characters are escaping into things they probably shouldn’t do, from cheating on a spouse to sneaking into a pitch-black mine shaft. Still, if you don’t mind a plot as heavy as 16 tons and whadaya get, it’s a good film. Not excellent, but good — a subtle character piece with fine performances from
most of the people on screen. Sure, it’s not the feel-good hit of the year, but “Little Accidents” does speak with a harsh kind of reverence about the gritty lives of those who do the hard, dangerous jobs no one else wants, while making Amos, Owen, Diana and all the rest more than hayseed saints or sadsack caricatures. 6 p.m. Thursday, Ron Robinson Theater; 1:30 p.m. Friday, The Rep. DK
Directed by Keith Miller
Driving through Brooklyn, James “Primo” Grant tells the story of missing his son’s birth because he was locked up. Primo, a bulky, tattooed man with a shaved head and a thick black beard, is shot in closeup during his monologue, which runs more than three minutes. His voice is measured, at times lyrical: “I can’t
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Directed by Robert Greene
Devotees to HBO’s “The Wire” will remember Brandy Burre as Theresa D’Agostino, the icy political consultant who beds McNulty and helps Carcetti CONTINUED ON PAGE 20
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in his criminal operation. John is torn between questions about his father’s death, allegiance to Primo, a budding romance, and his mother’s fears that he will meet the same fate as his father. The narrative can be a bit pat, but the film is at its best lingering on the naturalistic moments happening in and around the story — the bustle of Brooklynites in the background, John’s goofy tenderness in puppy love, Primo playing with his kids. The film uses the real-life James “Primo” Grant’s real-life family — his girlfriend and his four kids — and these are the scenes that most reward the fiction-documentary blend, as we see the joy and the ache in Primo as he tries to envision a secure future for his family. The film is perhaps a bit too enamored with Primo’s O.G. wisdom at times, but Primo himself (the character, the actor, the man) is a tour de force. You can’t take your eyes off him. 6 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 p.m. Friday, The Rep. DR
Foto por Brian
recall tearing so hard in my life ... I teared like a baby. Because I missed the most important part of my son’s life and that was his coming. And on that day, I promised my kids, I swore to my son and I swore to my daughter: I’ll never leave you again.” The thoughtful gangster — the tenderness and the violence, the rage and the calculating patience — is a familiar archetype in film and television. The difference in “Five Star” is that Primo is a real-life gang member playing a dramatized version of himself (he caused a bit of a stir at the Tribeca Film Festival when he told the audience during a Q&A that he remains an active member of the Bloods street gang; he’ll be in Little Rock for the festival, too). Keith Miller’s previous film, “Pine Hill” used a chance real-life encounter Miller had with another Brooklyn resident, Shannon Harper, to build a deeply personal fictionalized portrait of Harper, who played himself. “Five Star” finds similar emotional power in the spaces between fiction and documentary. The film depicts the story of John (played by one of the few professional actors in the cast), a cocky, rail-thin 15-year-old whose father was once a gang leader before he was shot and killed. Despite pimples and peach fuzz, John wants to be a man, and Primo — who was close to John’s father — offers to mentor him and give him work
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MAY 15, 2014
become mayor in seasons three and four. That’s the last you’ve seen of her on-screen. She got pregnant while on “The Wire” and retreated from acting to suburban Beacon, N.Y., where she and her partner, restaurateur Tim Reinke, have been raising two children. In “Actress,” filmmaker Robert Greene, who’s shown twice previously at the festival — “Kati with an I” in 2011 and “Fake It So Real” in 2013 — tracks Burre through her day-to-day life in Beacon. Greene programmed this year’s slate of cinematic nonfiction at the festival, an adventurous collection of films that don’t fit neatly into traditional cinematic categories, and though “Actress” isn’t included in the collection, it clearly belongs. Greene set out to find out “what happens when you film an actor in an observational documentary,” he told the Times in an interview. “Is it a fiction film, or is it a nonfiction film?” The degree of collaboration between Burre and Greene and the extent to which we’re seeing Burre, the actress, in the role of Burre, mother and domestic partner, will be fun to talk about with Burre and Greene in the post-screening discussion. Regardless of where you land, it’s an arresting character study that captures how
‘THE NIGHT THE BLACKBIRDS FELL’
corrosive domestic mundanity can be when dreams are deferred. Sound like something that hits too close to home? That it’s beautifully shot should help it go down easier. 6 p.m. Friday, Historic Arkansas Museum. LM.
‘THE NIGHT THE BLACKBIRDS FELL’
Directed by Brian Campbell and Will Scott
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On the first day of 2011, Arkansans
awoke from ringing in the New Year to learn that the apocalypse was nigh. Or at least that’s how the mystical-paranoid among us saw it (while others of us made jokes to similar effect). Thousands of blackbirds had fallen out of the sky in
Beebe and some 100,000 drum fish had washed up along the banks of the Arkansas River near Ozark, and for some time, officials couldn’t definitively explain why either had happened. Naturally, national media descended. Every talking head from Jon Stewart to sitcom-star-turned-crackpot Kirk Cameron weighed in. Paranoid websites and Facebook pages emerged to offer explanations. In this 40-minute documentary, Campbell and Scott create a character that Gustav Carlson illustrates — a vaguely stoner-ish and conspiratorial college student working on a thesis project on the animal deaths — who serves as our guide through the media circus and conspiracy theories. That creation allows the filmmakers to indulge in wild conjecture, something the film’s appropriately playful tone makes easy to forgive. Most crucially, they find fantastic Arkansas characters, one of whom tells them that blackbirds falling out of the sky in Beebe was “the second most Googled news items in the history of Googlin’.” 9 p.m. Friday, The Joint. 7:15 p.m. Saturday, The Joint. LM
‘POINT AND SHOOT’
Directed by Marshall Curry
“Point and Shoot,” the new film by the Academy Award-nominated doc-
umentary filmmaker Marshall Curry (“Street Fight,” “If a Tree Falls”), is the story of the impulsive 27-year-old ex-pat, Matthew VanDyke, who took a 35,000-mile motorcycle trip through the Middle East that led to his ultimately joining the Libyan revolution, where he was captured and imprisoned for six months. Fortunately, VanDyke thought to bring a camera. The film, which won Best Documentary at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, combines VanDyke’s footage with animation, and New York magazine calls it “as much a coming-of-age story and an exploration on the everevolving nature of filmmaking as it is a riveting tale of war and conflict.” 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Clinton School of Public Service. 1 p.m. Sunday, Ron Robinson Theater. WS
Directed by Sebastian Junger
“Restrepo,” the 2010 Academy Award-nominated documentary from Sebastian Junger and the late Tim Hetherington, was a towering achievement. The film depicted an Army platoon during their 15-month deployment in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. Perhaps the most intimate por-
trait of war ever shot, “Restrepo” captured both the lives of the young men (in some cases, boys, really) on deployment and followed them in real-time battle scenes so embedded in the action that it was almost excruciating to watch. We are distanced from the wars our nation fights — and often from our fellow citizens who fight them. Sitting down and watching a movie can’t change that,
of course, but Junger and Hetherington labored to create the most up-close depiction imaginable of the platoon and their experiences in the Korengal Valley. That kind of reporting is dangerous work, and Hetherington was killed by shrapnel while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war. Junger had so much material from “Restrepo” (they shot over CONTINUED ON PAGE 24
A CONvERSATION WITH
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SCHEDULE THURSDAY, MAY 15 10 a.m.: LRFFYouth Films. 90 min. Ron Robinson. 11:30 a.m. “A Night in Old Mexico,” dir. Emillio Aragon. Narrative feature. 103 min. The Rep. 12:10 p.m. “Happy Valley,” dir. Amir Bar-Lev attending. Documentary feature. 100 min. Ron Robinson Theater. 12:30 p.m. “Killing Time,” dir. Jaap van Hoewijk. Cinematic nonfiction feature. 54 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 12:30 p.m. World Shorts 1: “Pieces of Life.” Six short films: “The Bravest, The Boldest,” dir. Moon Molson; “Looms,” dirs. Trevor Funk, Nathan Funk and Morgan Funk; “Lambing Season,” dir. Jeannie Donohoe; “The King of Size,” dir. Peter Dowd; “Ghosts on the Mountain,” dir. Jared Jakins; “June July August,” dir. Jason Affolder. 120 min. The Joint. 1:45 p.m. “Valley Inn,” dirs. Kim Swink and Chris Spencer. Arkansas-made narrative feature. 119 min. The Rep. 2 p.m. “To Kill a Man,” dir. Alejandro Fernandez Almendras. Narrative feature. 82 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 2:15 p.m. “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” dirs. Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden. Cinematic nonfiction. 107 min. Ron Robinson. 3 p.m. World Shorts 2: “Cinematic Stories.” Six documentary shorts: “Cinephilia,” dir. Leah Chen Baker; “The Spymaster,” dir. Patrick Tapu; “Last Shot,” dir. Greg Popp; “Phil Collins and the Wild Frontier,” dir. Ben Powell; “Lomax,” dir. Jesse Kreitzer; “A Stitch in Time (for $9.99),” dir. Mu Sun. 120 min. The Joint. 4 p.m. “The Heart Machine,” dir. Zachary Wigon. Narrative feature. 85 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 4:30 p.m.: “Living Stars,” dirs. Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat. Cinematic nonfiction. 63 min. The Rep. 4:30 p.m. “Fishtail,” dir. Andrew Renzi. Cinematic nonfiction. 61 min. Ron Robinson. 6 p.m. “Five Star,” dir. Keith Miller. Narrative feature. 88 min. The Rep. 6 p.m. “Little Accidents,” dir. Sarah Colangelo. Narrative feature. 105 min. Ron Robinson.
6 p.m. “The Notorious Mr. Bout,” dirs. Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin. Documentary feature. 90 min. Clinton School. 6 p.m. World Shorts 3: “Askew.” Six documentary shorts: “Where the Red Fox Lies,” dir. Jeff Ray; “Songs From the Outside,” dir. Michael Van Ostade; “The Cyclist,” dir. Christopher Bryan; “Minimus,” dir. Jonathan Hopkins; “Cherry Pop: The Story of the World’s Fanciest Cat,” dir. Kareem Tabsch; “Tin & Tina,” dir. Rubin Stein. 120 min. The Joint. 6:30 p.m. “E-Team,” dirs. Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman. Documentary feature. 88 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 8:30 p.m. “Two Step,” dir. Alex R. Johnson. Narrative feature. 93 min. The Rep. 8:30 p.m. “Stop the Pounding Heart,” dir. Roberto Minervini. Cinematic nonfiction. 101 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 8:30 p.m. “Sympathy Pains,” dir. Joe Dull. Arkansas-made narrative feature. 90 min. The Joint. 9:15 p.m. “Metropolis,” dir. Fritz Lang. Narrative feature accompanied by a live score from Sound of the Mountain. 70 min. Ron Robinson. 9:30 p.m. LRFF Hootenanny. Crawfish boil with music by Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth. 180 min. WT Bubba’s.
FRIDAY, MAY 16 12:45 p.m. “Manny,” dirs. Leon Gast and Ryan Moore. Documentary feature. 106 min. Ron Robinson Theater. 1:30 p.m. “Little Accidents,” dir. Sarah Colangelo. Narrative feature. 105 min. The Rep. 1:30 p.m. “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” dirs. Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden. Cinematic nonfiction. 107 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 1:30 p.m. World Shorts 5: “Multifariousness.” Six short films: “Sketch,” dir. Stephen T. Barton; “X-Ray Man,” dir. Kerri Yost; “Breaking Night,” dir. Yolanda Ross; “Yearbook,” dir. Bernardo Britto; “Master Muscles,” dir. Efren Hernandez; “Pity,” dir. John Pata; “One Armed Man,” dir. Tim Guinee. 120 min. The Joint. 3:30 p.m. “Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter,” dirs.
David and Nathan Zellner. Narrative feature. 105 min. Ron Robinson. 4 p.m. “Rich Hill,” dirs. Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo. Cinematic nonfiction. 91 min. The Rep. 4 p.m. “Man Shot Dead,” dir. Taylor Feltner. Arkansas-made documentary feature. 73 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 4 p.m. World Shorts 6: “Our Time.” Six short films: “The Usual,” dir. Dawn Higginbotham; “Families Are Forever,” dir. Vivian Kleiman; “Confusion Through Sand,” dir. Danny Madden; “Distance,” dir. Aimee Long; “Little Black Fishes,” dir. Azra Deniz Okyay; “Broke,” dir. Benham Jones. 120 min. The Joint. 4:30 p.m. Filmmaker Welcome Reception. 120 min. Heifer International. 6 p.m. “Big Significant Things,” dir. Bryan Reisberg. Narrative feature. 85 min. Ron Robinson. 6 p.m. “The Notorious Mr. Bout,” dirs. Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin. Documentary feature. 90 min. The Rep. 6 p.m. “Actress,” dir. Robert Greene. Cinematic nonfiction. 86 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 6:30 p.m. World Shorts 4: “Mental and Physical.” Six short films: “By the Sea,” dir. Robert Machoian; “Le Plongeon,” dir. Delphine Le Courtois; “Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told,” dir. Joey Daoud; “Insomniacs,” dir.
Charles Chintzer Lai; “Dog Food,” dir. Brian Crano; “The Lipstick Stain,” dir. Dagny Looper; “Into the Silent Sea,” dir. Andrej Landin. 120 min. The Joint. 8:30 p.m. “Fort Tilden,” dirs. Sarah Violet and Charles Rodgers. Narrative feature. 85 min. Ron Robinson. 8:30 p.m. “Manakamana,” dirs. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez. Cinematic nonfiction. 118 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 8:30 p.m. “Five Star,” dir. Keith Miller. Narrative feature. 88 min. The Rep. 9 p.m. “The Night the Blackbirds Fell,” dir. Brian Campbell and Will Scott. Documentary feature. 40 min. The Joint. 9 p.m. Junction Bridge Party. 120 min. The Junction Bridge. 11 p.m. Argenta Place Rooftop VIP Party. 180 min.
SATURDAY, MAY 17 10:45 a.m. “Killing Time,” dir. Jaap van Hoewijk. Cinematic nonfiction. 54 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 10:45 a.m. “Fishtail,” dir. Andrew Renzi. Cinematic nonfiction. 61 min. Ron Robinson. 10:45 a.m. Arkansas Shorts 5: “Lessons in Loss.” Four short films: “The Shoes of Hayim,” dir. Kenn Woodard; “A Matter of Honor,” dir. David
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Bogard; “Sidearoadia,” dir. Bruce Hutchinson; “13 Pieces of the Universe,” dir. Tara Sheffer. 65 min. The Joint. 10:45 a.m. World Shorts 6: “Our Time.” Six short films. “The Usual,” dir. Dawn Higginbotham; “Families Are Forever,” dir. Vivian Kleiman; “Confusion Through Sand,” dir. Danny Madden; “Distance,” dir. Aimee Long; “Little Black Fishes,” dir. Azra Deniz Okyay; “Broke,” dir. Benham Jones. 120 min. 12:15 p.m. “Manakamana,” dirs. Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez. Cinematic nonfiction. 118 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 12:30 p.m. “Point and Shoot,” dir. Marshall Curry. Documentary feature. 82 min. Clinton School. 12:30 p.m. “Big Significant Things,” dir. Bryan Reisberg. Narrative feature. 85 min. Ron Robinson. 12:30 p.m. “Sympathy Pains,” dir. Joe Dull. Arkansas-made narrative feature. 90 min. The Joint. 12:45 p.m. “Manny,” dirs. Leon Gast and Ryan Moore. Documentary feature. 106 min. The Rep. 1:15 p.m. World Shorts 4: “Mental and Physical.” Six short films: “By the Sea,” dir. Robert Machoian; “Le Plongeon,” dir. Delphine Le Courtois; “Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told,” dir. Joey Daoud; “Insomniacs,” dir. Charles Chintzer Lai; “Dog Food,” dir. Brian Crano; “The Lipstick Stain,” dir. Dagny Looper; “Into the Silent Sea,” dir. Andrej Landin. 120 min. 2:30 p.m. The Future of Film Tech. Panel discussion with digital media creator Brant Collins and John Steward, physics lab manager at Hendrix College. 45 min. Ron Robinson. 3 p.m. Arkansas Shorts 1: “Adventure Time.” Five short films: “In Borrowed Time,” dir. Dustin Barnes; “Stuck,” dir. John Hockaday; “Spontaneous History Lesson By Evan,” dir. Douglas Bankston; “Citizen Noir,” dir. Michael Ferrara; “Undercover,” dir. Marcel Guadron. 65 min. The Joint. 3:15 p.m. “Life After Death,” dir. Joe Callander. Cinematic nonfiction. 74 min. Clinton School. 3:15 p.m. “Korengal,” dir. Sebastian Junger. Documentary feature. 90 min. Ron Robinson. 3:30 p.m. “Two Step,” dir. Alex R. Johnson. Narrative feature. 93 min. The Rep. 3:45 p.m. World Shorts 5: “Multifariousness.” Six short films. “Sketch,” dir. Stephen T. Barton; “X-Ray Man,” dir. Kerri Yost; “Breaking Night,” dir. Yolanda Ross; “Yearbook,” dir. Bernardo Britto; “Master Muscles,” dir. Efren Hernandez; “Pity,”
dir. John Pata; “One Armed Man,” dir. Tim Guinee. 120 min. Stickyz. 5 p.m. Arkansas Shorts 6: “Unbroken Spirits.” Four short films: “A Broken Road to Hope,” dir. Nathan Willis; “After the Tsunami,” dir. Larry Foley; “True Athlete,” dir. Tyler West; “Blowing Smoke,” dir. Mike Holifield. 76 min. The Joint. 5:45 p.m. “Stop the Pounding Heart,” dir. Roberto Minervini. Cinematic nonfiction. 101 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 5:45 p.m. “Virunga,” dir. Orlando von Einsiedel. Documentary feature. 96 min. Clinton School. 5:50 p.m. “The Overnighters,” dir. Jesse Moss. Cinematic nonfiction. 100 min. Ron Robinson. 6 p.m. “I Believe in Unicorns,” dir. Leah Meyerhoff. Narrative feature. 80 min. The Rep. 6:15 p.m. World Shorts 2: “Cinematic Stories.”
8:30 p.m. “Buzzard,” dir. Joel Potrykus. Narrative feature. 97 min. Ron Robinson. 8:45 p.m. Mockingbird Don’t Screen riffs on “The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant.” Comedians Mockingbird Don’t Screen poke fun at terrible movie. 87 min. The Joint. 9 p.m. “Living Stars,” dirs. Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat. Cinematic nonfiction, 63 min. Stickyz. 10:30 p.m. ACE Glass Warehouse Party. 405 Shall Ave., Little Rock. 180 min.
SUNDAY, MAY 18 10:30 a.m. “Rich Hill,” dirs. Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo. Cinematic nonfiction. 91 min. The Rep.
Six documentary shorts: “Cinephilia,” dir. Leah Chen Baker; “The Spymaster,” dir. Patrick Tapu; “Last Shot,” dir. Greg Popp; “Phil Collins and the Wild Frontier,” dir. Ben Powell; “Lomax,” dir. Jesse Kreitzer; “A Stitch in Time (for $9.99),” dir. Mu Sun. 120 min. Stickyz. 7:15 p.m. “The Night the Blackbirds Fell,” dirs. Brian Campbell and Will Scott. Documentary feature. 40 min. The Joint. 8:30 p.m. “The Case Against 8,” dirs. Ben Cotner and Ryan White. Documentary feature. 109 min. The Rep.
10:30 a.m. “Man Shot Dead,” dir. Taylor Feltner. Arkansas-made documentary feature. 73 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 10:30 a.m. “Before I Disappear,” dir. Shawn Christensen. Narrative feature. 99 min. Ron Robinson. 11 a.m. Arkansas Shorts 2: “Altered States.” Five short films. “Origin,” dir. Caleb Fanning; “Strangers,” dir. Justin Nickels; “Mal,” dirs. Joshua Harrison and Michael Armstrong; “An Ode to Angeline,” dir. Sarah Jones, “Collection Day,” dir. Scott Eggleston. 68 min. The Joint.
Noon. And the “Star” of the Documentary Is … Panel discussion on cinematic nonfiction moderated by Robert Greene and featuring Brandy Burre, Tim and Sara Carlson and Joe Callender. 40 min. Ron Robinson. 1 p.m. “Point and Shoot,” dir. Marshall Curry. Documentary feature. 82 min. Ron Robinson. 1 p.m. “I Believe in Unicorns,” dir. Leah Meyerhoff. Narrative feature. 80 min. The Rep. 1 p.m. Arkansas Shorts 4: “Face to Face.” Four short films: “Watch the Rhine,” dir. Taylor Dan Lucas; “Homefront,” dir. Eric White; “Man of God,” dir. Matthew Aughtry; “Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls,” dir. Mark Thiedeman. 70 min. The Joint. 1 p.m. “Buzzard,” dir. Joel Potrykus. Narrative feature. 97 min. Historic Arkansas Musuem. 1 p.m. World Shorts 3: “Askew.” Six documentary shorts: “Where the Red Fox Lies,” dir. Jeff Ray; “Songs from the Outside,” dir. Michael Van Ostade; “The Cyclist,” dir. Christopher Bryan; “Minimus,” dir. Jonathan Hopkins; “Cherry Pop: The Story of the World’s Fanciest Cat,” dir. Kareem Tabsch; “Tin & Tina,” dir. Rubin Stein. 120 min. Stickyz. 3 p.m. Arkansas Shorts 3: “Arkansas Up Close.” Four short films: “The 21 Mile Marathon,” dir. Tyler Tarver; “An Uncertain Bill of Health,” dir. Eric White; “Flokati Films Presents Red Octopus,” Johnnie Brannon; “Glass Eyes of Locus Bayou,” dir. Simon Mercer. 67 min. The Joint. 3:30 p.m. “Life After Death,” dir. Joe Callander. Cinematic nonfiction. 74 min. Historic Arkansas Museum. 3:30 p.m. “Virunga,” dir. Orlando von Einsiedel. Documentary feature. 96 min. Ron Robinson. 3:30 p.m. “Fort Tilden,” dirs. Sarah Violet and Charles Rodgers. Narrative feature. 85 min. Ron Robinson. 3:30 p.m. World Shorts 1: “Pieces of Life.” Six short films: “The Bravest, The Boldest,” dir. Moon Molson; “Looms,” dirs. Trevor Funk, Nathan Funk and Morgan Funk; “Lambing Season,” dir. Jeannie Donohoe; “The King of Size,” dir. Peter Dowd; “Ghosts on the Mountain,” dir. Jared Jakins; “June July August,” dir. Jason Affolder. 120 min. Stickyz. 6 p.m. Little Rock Film Festival 2014 Awards Gala. 120 min. Old State House Museum. 8:15 p.m. “Devil’s Knot,” dir. Atom Egoyan. Narrative feature. 114 min. Ron Robinson. 10:30 p.m. Crush Wine Bar Wrap Party. 120 min. Crush Wine Bar.
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150 hours of footage during their year with the platoon) that he decided to make a second film, “Korengal,” which makes its world premiere at the Little Rock Film Festival. Junger has said that while “Restrepo” aimed to capture the experience of war, “Korengal” aims for understanding. It features more postwar interview footage than “Restrepo” and is structured thematically rather than following the chronological narrative that “Restrepo” did. The original film is a more powerful work, but “Korengal” is an important coda, a deeper look at these Americans tasked with navigating the horror and the boredom and the rush of war, far from home. “Korengal” is excellent as a stand-alone film, but “Restrepo” is on Netflix streaming, so you might consider a double feature. Michael Cunningham and Jason Mace, two soldiers from the platoon, will be on hand after the screening for a Q & A. 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Ron Robinson Theater. DR
‘THE OVERNIGHTERS’ Directed by Jesse Moss
Midway through “The Overnighters,” Jesse Moss’ harrowing look at a conservative North Dakota town in the grips of an oil job boom, the local pastor at the center of the film recommends that one of the men looking for work cut his hair. “Did Jesus have short hair?” the man asks, and the pastor responds patiently, “Jesus didn’t have our neighbors.” This is the crux of the documentary, which begins slowly and earnestly, and becomes gradually messier and more uncomfortable as it also becomes more beautiful and visually striking. It’s a film about class, about work and especially about fear — the fear that results from a sudden collision of values and tax brackets — and there’s no question 24
MAY 15, 2014
of it ending well. 5:50 p.m. Saturday, Ron Robinson Theater. WS
‘THE CASE AGAINST 8’
Directed by Ryan White and Ben Cotner
Hear that? That’s the sound of a whole lot of nothing terrible to report happening in the wake of gay and lesbian couples by the hundreds being married earlier this week at four county courthouses in Arkansas after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. That’s right, the milk didn’t curdle, plagues of frogs didn’t drop from the sky and hetero marriages were as great or God-awful as they had been before. Considering the big doings and plentiful conservative outrage in Arkansas over the issue, it’s an excellent time to take in “The Case Against 8,” a documentary about the seemingly mismatched team of determined, passionate people — including Arkansan Chad Griffin, who now heads the Human Rights Campaign — who took on the five-year quest to get California’s Proposition 8 ban on samesex marriage overturned. Watching attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who stood on opposite sides during the landmark Bush v. Gore arguments before the Supreme Court in 2000, battle arm in arm for marriage equality gets at the soul of what it is to be an attorney who sees through the political smoke around hot-button issues, striving to reach the place where justice — blind to Republican versus Democrat — still stands. Like 1993’s similarly excellent “The War Room,” you go into “The Case Against 8” knowing basically how it’s all going to turn out, but getting there still manages to be a nail-biting ride. 8:30 p.m. Saturday at The Rep. DK
MAY 15, 2014
Arts Entertainment AND
and broke my heart
A story about a film about a man named Phil Chambliss. BY WILL STEPHENSON
n the summer of 2012, a 35-year-old part-time filmmaker from London named Simon Mercer flew from Los Angeles to Texas and then on to Little Rock, where he rented a car and drove south on U.S. Highway 167, deep into timberland. The highway was lined with dense pine forests that reminded him of the small town in Ontario, Dundas, where he’d grown up, and as he journeyed further south, he remembers watching as the auto-scan on his FM dial started losing traction and going in circles, finding nothing but static. 26
MAY 15, 2014
He knew then that he must be close to his destination, a place called Locust Bayou. At home, Mercer works an office job for the National Health Service, shoots music videos and ads on the side and spends much of his free time dreaming up ideas for short films and documentaries. “Other people look at me a bit strangely,” he admits of his co-workers at the NHS. “They’re friendly, but I don’t think they totally get why I’m doing this.” His first completed documentary, a “no-budget” production, was a portrait of the cult filmmaker Len Cella, whose short comedy videos were a recurring feature on “The Tonight Show” in the early ’80s. After
finishing it, Mercer worried he’d never find another subject as perfect. Then one day his friend Ryan Smith, a former arts critic who now plays guitar with the indie rock band Caribou, told him about a filmmaker from rural Arkansas whom he’d interviewed years before. “What about Phil?” he asked, and Mercer promised to look into it. He didn’t expect what he found, nor could he have. The films of Phil Chambliss, the 59-year-old Arkansas native who worked as a night watchman for the Highway Department for three decades and during the day made wholly unique, indescribably odd movies starring his neighbors,
seemed to Mercer like something out of a “real world John Waters or David Lynch universe.” Westerns, holiday epics and obscurely sinister dramas set in funeral homes, pencil stands and daycare centers for birds, the films proudly ignore most classical standards of editing, acting and coherent dialogue, and come complete with titles like “To Hell with Lead-Poison” and “Shadows of the Hatchet Man.” Shot on Super 8mm and later videotape, the movies are filled with absurdist but earnest exchanges, and often seem to exist in a subgenre of their own invention. “I’m originally from a small town,” Mercer said, “so there were certain bits that I understood very well and related to, but the rest of it was a completely alien world.” He recognized Chambliss right away as belonging to that category of creative personalities that he relates to most. “They’re aiming for the top and they keep pursuing it, even if nothing ever pays off, not letting go of that spark that most people have when they’re kids and then decide to tuck away. I love the guys who refuse to do that and just keep on with their magical little worlds.” He was sold. Contacting Chambliss was a challenge, as was convincing him to participate in the film Mercer wanted to make: a documentary about his work that would also stand alone as an interesting film in its own right. He eventually made a connection through Chambliss’ daughter, who, unlike her father, uses email (“Phil doesn’t enter the world of computers,” Mercer said). He spent hours on the phone with him explaining his project and trying to earn the older man’s trust. “He likes keeping to himself in a lot of ways,” Mercer said. “But I knew that he was the right subject when I started talking to him. I’m kind of Mr. Introvert and he was talking a mile a minute, and by the end of our first conversation I was laughing my head off at 10 different stories he’d told me.” Mercer booked his flights and secured a room via “literally the only Airbnb listing in the whole county.” This was a leap of faith in itself. “The pictures were all sort of dimly lit,” he said of the room, “so I didn’t know if I was going into some sort of murder shack or a lovely hotel, I had no idea.” He had never been to Arkansas before, had never really heard anything about it. For that matter, he had understandable CONTINUED ON PAGE 34
Check out the Times’ A&E blog arktimes.com
A&E NEWS GOV. MIKE BEEBE has officially proclaimed May 13 to be “Sunshine” Sonny Payne Day to commemorate the 17,000th broadcast of the radio host’s iconic show on KFFA AM, 1360, in Helena, “King Biscuit Time,” the longest running daily blues show in the country. A Peabody Award winner and a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, Payne has been cited as an influence by such artists as B.B. King, Levon Helm, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello. The first episode of the show was broadcast in 1941 and featured musical guests Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood Jr. WELL HERE’S A WELCOME COMEBACK: Chris Denny, who was Arkansas’s most promising musical talent for so long that he seemed destined to remain forever stuck on a “greatest that never was” list, is back on the path. Last week, the Wall Street Journal debuted the first song from Denny’s first album in seven years. It’s called “Our Kind of Love,” and it features guest vocals from the Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom. A full-length album, produced by Asleep at the Wheel’s Dave Sanger, a Grammy winner, is due Aug. 5 on Partisan Records. It’s called “If the Roses Don’t Kill Us.” The Wall Street Journal noted that people were crying at the end of Denny’s set at SXSW in Austin, where Denny now lives. THE ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE THEATRE has announced that its eighth season will open June 5 at The Village at Hendrix College, with a production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” The summer lineup will continue with performances of “Pippin” (2013’s Tony Award winner for “Best Revival of a Musical,” opening June 11), “Hamlet” (opening June 20 at the Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA), and “The Comedy of Errors” (aimed at young audiences, opening June 24). Tickets to the Reynolds Performance Hall productions of “Hamlet” and “Pippin” are $28; tickets for “The Comedy of Errors” are $10. All outdoor performances of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” are “pay what you can” (with a $15 per person suggested donation). For more information about tickets or subscriptions, call the box office at 1-866-8100012 or visit arkshakes.com.
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MAY 15, 2014
BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK AND WILL STEPHENSON
ARKANSAS FESTIVAL BALLET’S ‘SNOW WHITE’
7:30 p.m. Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. $10-$12.50.
It’s the fairy-tales-for-grownups age, what with “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time” on the tube and “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Maleficent” on the silver screen. “Snow White” in toe shoes should be far and away more appealing to young fans of such tales. Arkansas Festival Ballet Artistic Director Rebecca Stalcup will choreograph the production, which will also be performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18. LNP
FRIDAY 5/16– SUNDAY 5/18 BRIAN CHILSON
GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Free.
Opa! No bundt cake here! No, the Greek Food Festival is all about such culinary delights as baklava (and chocolate baklava), tabbouleh, hummus dip, souvlaki, spanakopita and much more. The tradition carries on: Dine picnic style while being entertained by a multicultural lineup that includes Greek-American folk musicians, Irish and Indian dancers, cloggers, American rock by songbird Heather Batchelor, and more. After you’ve downed your gyros, you can set off for the Old World Market to pick up jewelry, Russian nesting dolls, ceramics, jewelry, artwork and other goodies. There’s also a drivethrough window and frozen foods to take home. It’s Little Rock’s rite of spring, and besides being fun, the festival is your way to contribute to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, CARTI, Community Connections, Easter Seals, Harmony Health Clinic, Wolfe Street Foundation and Youth Home while chowing down on chicken kebabs. In its 30 years, the Greek Food Festival has raised $1.3 million for Arkansas charities. LNP 28
MAY 15, 2014
THICK SYRUP: Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth will headline the Thick Syrup Anniversary show 9:30 p.m. Friday, $5.
FRIDAY 5/16 – SATURDAY 5/17
THICK SYRUP RECORDS ANNIVERSARY
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
Travis McElroy’s Thick Syrup Records is a Little Rock institution, something we can all be proud of. Its roster is almost unaccountably wide-ranging and surprising, extending to celebrated outsiders like Half Japanese and Chrome Cranks, but it has always kept an ear to the ground in Arkansas as well, and will celebrate its eighth anniversary with a set of shows
highlighting its local talent. First up, on Friday night, will be Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth (who sing about having been “baptized in a hot tub,” and once described their sound to this paper as “Dinosaur Jr. plus Modest Mouse minus Modest Mouse”), plus Adam Faucett (back in town from taking over the country) and Nathan Brown, followed by a night of noise and haunted mayhem from Ginsu Wives, Twelve Tone Elevator and Jumbo Jet on Saturday. Both
of these shows will be at White Water, and McElroy has been dropping hints that they’ll also double as a celebration of owner Matt White’s birthday, and that some secret, unannounced happenings will be going on after these bands play — “even the sound guy doesn’t know what we’re doing,” is all he’s willing to say at press time. Another lineup, at Maxine’s Live in Hot Springs on May 24, will feature Bloodless Cooties, Ezra Lbs and Trophy Boyfriends. WS
Arkansas’s second Chihuly exhibit opens in Arkansas, at the Clinton Presidential Center, showing work from the Tacoma, Wash., artist whose name is synonymous with the rebirth of studio glass. In keeping with the occasion, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will come to Little Rock for a private artist’s reception Friday, May 16. Chihuly will give a public
lecture at 11 a.m. Saturday and will sign books from noon to 1 p.m. in the Great Hall. The lecture is free, but reservations are required; email email@example.com or call 501-748-0425. See examples of some of Chihuly’s work — his red reeds, mille fiori and seaforms — at clintonfoundation.org. The exhibition runs through Jan. 5, 2015. LNP
Clinton Presidential Center
When Dale Chihuly’s exhibit of blown glass seaforms and other organic creations opened at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2000, it was a blockbuster show in keeping with the event: the opening of the new wing of the Arts Center. On May 17,
FRIDAY 5/16 Started up at punk shows in 1995, local book and zine distro Tree of Knowledge will lead a zine-making workshop at 4 p.m. at the Children’s Library and Learning Center. Metal band Mean Ends will be at Vino’s with Not On Your Life at 9 p.m., $5, Austin group Megafauna will be Maxine’s in Hot Springs with Fitra and Opportunist, $5, and Canadian dance pop band Royal Canoe will be at Stickyz at 9 p.m., $7.
HEART OF A LION: Lil Boosie will be at the North Little Rock Riverfront at 6 p.m. Saturday, $50-$75.
6 p.m. North Little Rock Riverfront. $50-$75.
After five years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, during which his legend and legacy only grew, like some Old West outlaw, Lil Boosie has returned to civilization more famous than he left it. He was always well known and respected by his target audience — fans
of serious-minded country rap and sordid Southern storytelling — but now he’s a kind of celebrity, with Rolling Stone reporting from his trial in Baton Rouge and with every rapper in the country begging for a feature on Twitter and pretending to have supported him all along. It’s enough to restore your faith in the rap meritocracy (if maybe not the legal system), as Boosie is wildly,
obviously talented, with one of the most inimitable voices in hip-hop. It’s an alto, a pitched-up, syrupy drawl in the Pimp C lineage, and he’s exhibit A in the argument that the South can be as lyrical as New York. Listen to “I Had A Dream,” off “Ghetto Stories,” or really anything from that album — the detail is cinematic and it goes beyond righteous to jaded and doomed. WS
know that “there will be parking.” Apparently this has been an issue in the past. This year’s lineup will include Elizabeth Berg, the New York Times bestseller who scored an Oprah’s Book Club sticker for 2000’s “Open House”; Michael Sheldon, an award-winning biographer of Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and George
Orwell (for which he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist); Brian Walter, all-around Donald Harington scholar and director of the documentary film “Stay More: The World of Donald Harington,” and Kathy and Kerry Reichs, the mother and daughter team who currently write for the television series “Bones,” among many others. WS
James Dupree, who was born in metro Atlanta. The thing later devolves, though, into pure, beautiful metal machine music, with Dupree inviting us to “dig on my new stainless steel sound,” before lurching into a chainsaw solo like they’re Einstürzende Neubauten. That’s not a metaphor either: Dupree revs up an actual chainsaw as if
it’s a natural fit on a hair metal anthem, which, of course, it is. It’s not the band’s fault that grunge happened either, they gave it their all — vying for public attention via appeals to the Guinness Book of World Records and post-9/11 Southern xenophobia — and anyway, “The Lumberjack” belongs to history now. WS
BOOKS IN BLOOM LITERARY FESTIVAL
12:30 p.m. Crescent Hotel and Spa, Eureka Springs. Free.
The ninth annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival will be held Sunday afternoon at the Crescent Hotel and Spa, and festival chair Jean Elderwind wants you to
8 p.m. Juanita’s. $15 adv., $20 day of.
There is actually maybe not a better American rock ’n’ roll single than Jackyl’s “The Lumberjack,” the opening bid from the band’s 1992 self-titled debut. “I was born in the backwoods of a two bit nowhere town,” sings front man Jesse
“Everything Old Is New Again: The Arkansas Foodways Movement,” a conference at the South Campus of Pulaski Technical College, will kick off at 10 a.m. and feature speakers and panel discussions on Arkansas culinary history. The 14th Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest, sponsored by the Delta Cultural Center, will go down in Downtown Helena starting at 11 a.m. and featuring live performances by Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs (the great gospel group who’ve been doing it since 1968) and many others. Mordecai “Baby Boi” Whitley (from the group Integrity) will give a solo performance at the Afterthought at 9 p.m., $8, and local death metal group Severe Headwound will play at Vino’s with Evil Army, Dawn Patrol and Slamphetamine, 9 p.m., $7.
SUNDAY 5/18 The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center will host a free “Creature Feature” at 2 p.m., at which one of the center’s experts will present one of its “resident critters” to the public, all ages. Self-proclaimed “super group” The Winery Dogs, featuring former members of Dream Theater, Poison and Steve Vai’s and David Lee Roth’s touring bands, will be at Juanita’s with Third Degree at 8 p.m., $20 adv., $25 day of.
WEDNESDAY 5/14 Continuing its “Arkansas B-Movies” series, local film collective Splice Microcinema will screen 1987’s “Stay Tuned for Murder,” a VHS nonclassic shot in Little Rock, at Vino’s at 7:30 p.m., donations encouraged. Rap duo and Tech N9ne affiliates CES Cru (featuring rappers Ubiquitous and Godemis) will be at Revolution with Big Piph, Stephan James, 870 Underground, Rozay Thrower, iWrek and 540 at 8:30 p.m., $10 adv., $15 day of. Georgia heavy metal band Fozzy, fronted by the professional wrestler Chris Jericho, will be at Juanita’s at 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Bradford and Jordan Van Den Berghe. Revolution, 8 p.m., $8. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom.com.
Marc Ryan. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555. www.loonybincomedy.com.
THURSDAY, MAY 15
Aces Wild (headliner), Jamie Lon (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf.com. B-Side Players. Revolution, 9 p.m., $5. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom.com. The Funkanites, Foliage. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www.whitewatertavern.com. “Inferno.” DJs play pop, electro, house and more, plus drink specials and $1 cover before 11 p.m. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. www.sonnywilliamssteakroom.com. 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. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Michael Eubanks. Newk’s Express Cafe, 6:30 p.m. 4317 Warden Road, NLR. 501-753-8559. newks.com. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. www. senor-tequila.com. Sean Ashby. Maxine’s, Free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. www.maxinespub.com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www.capitalhotel.com/CBG. Walter Henderson. The Joint, 9 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. thejointinlittlerock.com. Wild Belle, Caught A Ghost. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www. stickyz.com.
Marc Ryan. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555. www.loonybincomedy.com.
“Salsa Night.” Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www.littlerocksalsa.com. Trey McIntyre Project. Walton Arts Center, 8 p.m., $10-$25. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600.
BELIEVERS: Royal Canoe will be at Stickyz 9 p.m. Friday, $7. recenter.com.
Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, through May 18. $60-$300.
POETluck. Literary salon and potluck. The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, 6 p.m. 515 Spring St., Eureka Springs. 479-253-7444.
Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.travs.com.
“Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King.” A talk and book signing by David L. Chappell. Old State House Museum, 6 p.m. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685. www.oldstatehouse.com.
FRIDAY, MAY 16
Barrett Baber. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $8. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-442-4226. Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Adam Faucett, Nathan Brown. Thick Syrup Records Presents. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $5. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www.whitewa-
tertavern.com. 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. www.1620savoy.com. Earl and Them (headliner), Chris DeClerk (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf.com. Goodtime Ramblers. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.afterthoughtbar.com. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Mean Ends, Not On Your Life. Vino’s, 9 p.m., $5. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www.vinosbrewpub.com. Megafauna, Fitra, Opportunist. Maxine’s, $5. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. www.maxinespub.com. Raising Grey. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. www.westendsmokehouse.net. Royal Canoe. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www.stickyz.com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www.capitalhotel.com/CBG. Zodiac: Taurus Edition. Featuring Fractal Sky, Big Brown, Basspeddler, Brian Dub Hill,
Fantastic Friday. Literary and music event, refreshments included. For reservations, call 479-968-2452 or email email@example.com. River Valley Arts Center, 7 p.m., $10 suggested donation. 1001 E. B St., Russellville. 479-9682452. www.arvartscenter.org. Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com. LGBTQ/SGL weekly meeting. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14-23. 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. Main Street Food Truck Fridays. Capitol and Main,11 a.m.
Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, through May 18, $60-$300.
Greek Food Festival. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, May 16-18, 11 a.m. 1100 Napa Valley Drive. 501-221-5300.
Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. Conference includes presentations by novelists, art directors, agents and editors. Laman Library, May 16-17, $150-$165. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720. www.lamanlibrary.org.
Zine Making Workshop with Tree of Knowledge Book Distro. Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4 p.m. 4800 W 10th St. www.cals.lib.ar.us.
“Snow White.” Arkansas Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $15-$25. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www. arkarts.com.
Andrea’s School of Dance Recital. Robinson Center Music Hall. Markham and Broadway. www.littlerockmeetings.com/conv-centers/ robinson.
Antique/Boutique Walk. Shopping and live entertainment. Downtown Hot Springs, 4 p.m., free. Around the World Thursday: Greece. Forty Two, 6:30 p.m., $27.95. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-537-0042. www.dineatfortytwo.com. Cypress Creek Park Christian Motorcycle Rally. Cypress Creek Park. Cypress Creek Avenue, Adona. Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www.centralarkansasnatu30
MAY 15, 2014
SATURDAY, MAY 17
14th Annual Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest. Featuring music by Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs and Point of Grace, sponsored by the Delta Cultural Center. Downtown Helena, 11 a.m., Free. Cherry and Main Streets, Helena. Big Dam Horns (headliner), Bert and Heather (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m.
PARTY AT OUR PLACE!
Cult Fiction. Maxine’s, Free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. www.maxinespub.com. Marc Ryan. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www.loonybincomedy.com.
Little Rock West Coast Dance Club. Dance lessons. Singles welcome. Ernie Biggs, 7 p.m., $2. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-247-5240. www. arstreetswing.com.
40th Annual Little Rock Farmers’ Market. River Market Pavilions, 7 a.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. www.rivermarket.info. Argenta Farmers Market. 7 a.m. 6th and Main St., NLR. 501-831-7881. www.argentaartsdistrict. org/argenta-farmers-market. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com. 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,
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Greek Food Festival. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 11 a.m. 1100 Napa Valley Drive. 501-221-5300.
Society for Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. Conference includes presentations by novelists, art directors, agents and editors. Laman Library. $150-$165. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720. www.lamanlibrary.org.
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All American Food & Great Place to Watch Your Favorite Event
“Everything Old Is New Again: The Arkansas Foodways Movement”. Pulaski Technical College-South Campus, 10 a.m. Exit 128, I-30. Synesthesia Workshop. A lecture and presentation by natural perfumer Jill McKeever. Walton Arts Center, 10 a.m., $10. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600.
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helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 9 a.m., $8-$28. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001. LRFF Artisan Street Fair. Ron Robinson Theater, 10:30 a.m. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.cals. lib.ar.us/ron-robinson-theater.aspx. 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.
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2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf.com. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See May 16. Ginsu Wives, 12 Elevator, Jumbo Jet. Thick Syrup Records Presents. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $5. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. whitewatertavern.com. Goose. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $7. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www.juanitas.com. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. www.khalilspub.com. Karaoke. Casa Mexicana, 7 p.m. 6929 JFK Blvd., NLR. 501-835-7876. Karaoke with Kevin & Cara. All ages, on the restaurant side. Revolution, 9 p.m.-12:45 a.m., free. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom.com. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Lil Boosie. North Little Rock Riverfront, 6 p.m., $50-$75. 100 Riverfront Drive, NLR. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Mordecai “Baby Boi” Whitley. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $8. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.afterthoughtbar.com. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. www.fcl.org. Seth Freeman. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. www.westendsmokehouse.net. Severe Headwound, Evil Army, Dawn Patrol, Slamphetamine. Vino’s, 9 p.m., $7. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www.vinosbrewpub.com. Singer/Songwriters Showcase. Parrot Beach Cafe, 2-7 p.m., free. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www.capitalhotel.com/CBG.
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“Snow White.” Arkansas Arts Center, 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m., $15-$25. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www.arkarts.com.
SUNDAY, MAY 18
If you’re not HERE, we’re having more fun than you are!
There’s still time, GET HERE!
A Chicago style Speakeasy & Dueling Piano Bar. This is THE premier place to party in Little Rock. “Dueling Pianos” runs Monday through Saturday. Dance & Club music upstairs on Wed, Fri & Sat. Drink specials and more! Do
Irish Traditional Music Session. Hibernia Irish Tavern, first and third Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. www.hiberniairishtavern.com. Karaoke with DJ Sara. Hardrider Bar & Grill, 7 p.m., free. 6613 John Harden Drive, Cabot. 501-982-1939. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-3724782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. The Winery Dogs, Third Degree. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $20 adv., $25 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www.juanitas. com.
Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market. Bernice Garden, 10 a.m. 1401 S. Main St. www.thebernicegarden.org. Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www. centralarkansasnaturecenter.com. “Live from the Back Room.” Spoken word event. Vino’s, 7 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-3758466. www.vinosbrewpub.com.
Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, through, $60-$300. Downtown. CONTINUED ON PAGE 33
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eth Rogen for some years now has been the movie star who least resembles a movie star. Much of the time on-screen, he is stoned. All of the time, he is overweight and usually unkempt. Not coincidentally, he’s also hilarious. This is in fact a fine line to tread, for someone who expects to remain employed in an industry predicated on dreams. Rogen is not the proverbial man that women want and other men want to be. He’s closer to the man women know they could have and other men hope they’re not. In “Neighbors,” he’s back as a young father, still getting stoned, still overweight, but doing all right for himself. He’s married to his college sweetheart, an erstwhile exchange student from Australia (Rose Byrne, so charming you almost forget she’s a knockout). We meet this couple, the Radners, as they’re revving up a bout of enthusiastic but infinitely awkward coitus on a kitchen chair in their new house. It’s clear from their interruptus peptalking that theirs normally is a scheduled sort of deed, and for a moment in their suddenly grown-up lives they feel half their age. Then baby keeps ogling from a walker, quashing the mood for the very act that begat her, and the circle of early middle age is complete. As if they weren’t already aware of their burgeoning squarehood, the couple soon finds that a fraternity has bought the house next door. The frat president is a sensitive bro with the chisel-tacular torso and effortless bland handsomeness of a Zac Efron, played here by Zac Efron. He sizes up the situation similarly to the couple and determines things could get ugly. Diplomatically he invites the old people (his word, not mine) over for a bit of a bender and bonding. He then proceeds to declare outright war when the
norms have to phone the po-po to get some peace and quiet. This sets up what in lesser hands could be an utterly disposable night at the movies, but director Nicholas Stoller, who has been involved in several of the more genuine comedies of recent years (“The Muppets,” “The Five-Year Engagement,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) lets the situation breathe, and a weird thing happens: All of the main characters reveal inner lives, almost like real cinema. Now, this isn’t to say “Neighbors” skimps on the juvenile humor — far from it! If there was a body part or fluid that made you laugh milk through your nose in seventh grade, chances are it stars in a stupid gag at some point (the movie earns its R-rating). And every person in a position of authority is hilariously corrupt or inept, including Lisa Kudrow as a brittle college dean and Hannibal Buress as a cop half-assing his job. The movie works, mostly, because we care about what happens with these folks. Rogen and Byrne feel like a real couple, with just enough acid to keep their teamwork interesting. Part of them wants to celebrate when a cross between “Animal House” and “Project X” lands a few feet from their porch, with ample beer pong and black-lit dance fights to go around. But they, like most grown-ups, have scaled their world down to its basic elements: getting enough sleep, maybe having sex once every so ever, making sure baby isn’t fussing, trying not to go broke. When this seemingly blah existence comes under threat, they retaliate with a vengeance. We may not aspire to be Seth Rogen per se, but when this is the on-screen life he cuts — committing criminal mischief with his partner and sneaking pizza into bed to celebrate — we see how he stays firmly in the Hollywood pantheon.
AFTER DARK, CONT.
Creature Feature. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 2 p.m., Free. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www. centralarkansasnaturecenter.com.
Greek Food Festival. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 11 a.m. 1100 Napa Valley Drive. 501-221-5300.
Books in Bloom Literary Festival. Featuring readings, presentations, booksellers and signings. Crescent Hotel and Spa. 75 Prospect Ave., Eureka Springs. 877-342-9766. www.crescenthotel.com. Ray Hanley Booksigning. MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 2 p.m., free. 503 E. 9th St. 376-4602. www.arkmilitaryheritage.com.
“Latin Night.” Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501823-0090. www.littlerocksalsa.com.
Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com. 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. www.starvingartistcafe.net. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President
Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. www.beerknurd. com/stores/littlerock.
“Knife in the Water.” Vino’s, 8 p.m., free. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www.vinosbrewpub.com.
“Nature of Circumstance.” A lecture by architect Peter Bohlin, preceded by a reception at 5:30. Ron Robinson Theater, 6 p.m. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.cals.lib.ar.us/ron-robinsontheater.aspx.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21
Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8
p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.afterthoughtbar.com. Ces Cru, Big Piph, Stephan James, 870 Underground, Rozay Thrower, iWrek, 540. Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $10 adv., $15 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom. com. Fozzy, Minerva. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www.juanitas.com. Free Verse Duo. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. www.sonnywilliamssteakroom.com. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. CONTINUED ON PAGE 38
“Snow White.” Arkansas Arts Center, 2 p.m., $15$25. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www.arkarts. com.
MONDAY, MAY 19
The Black Cadillacs, Effective Immediately. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. juanitas.com. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.afterthoughtbar.com. Richie Johnson. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf.com.
TUESDAY, MAY 20
Brian and Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Jackyl. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $15 adv., $20 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. juanitas.com. Jeff Ling. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. www.khalilspub.com. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. www.sonnywilliamssteakroom.com. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. www.copelandsrestaurantlittlerock.com. Music Jam. Hosted by Elliott Griffen and Joseph Fuller. The Joint, 8-11 p.m., free. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. thejointinlittlerock.com. Shannon Wurst. Walton Arts Center, 6:30 p.m., $10. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-4435600. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www.afterthoughtbar.com.
Stand-Up Tuesday. Hosted by Adam Hogg. The Joint, 8 p.m., $5. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 2014
GONE DONE AND BROKE MY HEART, CONT. Continued from page 26 reservations about spending weeks in a tiny rural community in the company of a man who’s been characterized as a recluse and an outsider artist. “I had some ideas in my head about what I’d find or what I’d want to find,” he said, “and then I got there and it just changed immediately.” I called Phil Chambliss on a recent Thursday afternoon after getting his phone number from Mercer, who warned me that Chambliss’ career as a night watchman had “messed up his internal clock for life,” and that he keeps odd hours. “If he’s there he’s there, if he’s not he’s not,” Mercer said. “There’s no logic to it.” I got his answering machine, the recorded message of which consists of the man himself very slowly and insistently saying “Phil ‘Mr. Blue’ Chambliss,” in his distinct South Arkansas drawl. I figured that would be the end of it, but several hours later he returned my phone call, immediately launching into a frantic story about a time he found himself in my shoes, calling someone whose films he admired, which in his case happened to be the actor Lee Van Cleef, best known for playing The Bad in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Chambliss had sent the actor some fan mail in his early 20s, which led to his receiving a phone call from Van Cleef, who couldn’t read the return address on the letter but wanted to send him an autographed glossy. Later, Chambliss decided to call him back, assuming they were now on friendly terms. “Man, he chewed my ass out. He said, ‘I don’t usually accept calls like this.’ I asked if I could I call him back, ’cause I just wanted to talk about his film work, and he said, ‘I wouldn’t advise it. Next time, I might not be so polite.’ ” Well after our conversation, I realized that a version of this exchange occurs almost verbatim in a different context in one of Chambliss’s films, “The Pastor and the Hobo.” Did the story inspire the film, or did the film inspire the story? It’s never entirely clear with Phil. “I started in 1974,” he said, when I asked about his first foray into directing. “I was a country boy, me and some people around our area still had what you call ‘hog claims’ in the woods. We marked the pigs and sold them when they got bigger. We done all this with horses and dogs and hog trap pens, and I just thought, man, I wish I could afford me a movie camera and just set it up and film some of this. That’s kind of what got me started. And I was a big Western fan also, TV Westerns. I don’t watch Westerns much anymore, but back then I was a fanatic about them.” “There’s been quite a few write-ups 34
MAY 15, 2014
about my films,” he said, “and it hurts me that they always write the same thing — they always say I started making movies for my friends and my family. I never made films for my friends and my family ever. I made them for me, trying to be a filmmaker. I hate to read that. I hate to read an article where somebody refers to them as ‘home movies.’ I use professional equipment.” This is a particular concern of Chambliss’, being taken seriously as a professional. “I’ve been paid not one time, but many times, several times,” he says. “That’s what a professional is. If you’re singing birthday parties for free, you’re an amateur, but as soon as they start paying you, you’re a professional. And I consider myself a professional.” The thing is, he’s right to insist on this point. Since receiving some wider exposure through the film festival circuit, reactions to his work have been complex, as is just about always the case with work
man in Locust Bayou who was making fun of his films behind his back. Chambliss ran off several photocopies of the checks he’d received from festivals showing his work and presented them to the man in public, “in front of all his friends,” before stalking off in triumphant silence. “He was trying to make a joke out of me,” he said, “but with this kind of money, they can make all the fun they want to.” It is this discomfort over the reception of his work, as well as his desire to be absolutely certain of a person’s intentions, that led to his initial reluctance to take part in Mercer’s film. “He tried to get in touch with me for months before I would talk to him,” he said. “I said, ‘I’m very flattered, but I just don’t want to do that.’ ” Mercer, after all, isn’t the first to approach Chambliss about a documentary or collaboration. It’s happened several times over the years, with one recent filmmaker based in Memphis even offering
“I never made films for my friends and my family ever. I made them for me, trying to be a filmmaker. I hate to read that. I hate to read an article where somebody refers to them as ‘home movies.’ I use professional equipment.” judged to be “folk” or “outsider art.” Even appreciative reviews often have a slightly patronizing tint, and he’s well aware of this. He recalls hearing from former Arkansas Film Commissioner Joe Glass that the actor Ray McKinnon, based in Little Rock, planned to make a movie about a famous, well-respected actor (to be played by himself) stuck in one of Chambliss’ productions and trying desperately to escape it once he realizes what the films are like. “I think he was just mocking me, really,” he said glumly. Another time, a well-connected supporter, the producer Dub Cornett, had him convinced that Billy Bob Thornton was going to come to Locust Bayou and star in one of his movies. “We were really excited to get him down here to make a film,” he said. “I didn’t just write it and rewrite it, I kept on rewriting it.” When the day came, Chambliss waited around on set for several hours before realizing the actor wasn’t coming. He recast the role and made the film anyway. His latest strategy for dealing with naysayers has been to flaunt his modest success. He proudly tells one story about a
to pay him $2,000 for the privilege. Two weeks before we spoke, Chambliss said he was contacted by the creators of the Adult Swim series “The Heart She Holler,” a kind of surrealist, Southern Gothic comedy starring Patton Oswalt. They claim to be fans of his films and have asked for the rights to use clips in the show for what seems like a fair price. So far, he’s refused to speak to them. “They may be nice people for all I know,” he said, “but I’ve had people do this to me before.” So what was different about Mercer? Chambliss really can’t say. I asked Mercer what he thinks, and he said, “I think he’s the type of person who gets a gut instinct about a person, and I think it was that kind of thing. He can sense when people aren’t actually interested in the content of his films or what he’s about. People love putting him on a pedestal, but he’s not there to be a curiosity.” Of Mercer, the British introvert who would seem to have nothing in common with the voluble Arkansas eccentric, Chambliss said simply, “I greatly admire him. He’d be welcome in my house anytime.”
Mercer stayed in Arkansas for a little over two weeks, collecting hours of footage of Chambliss, his instantly recognizable troupe of actors and the striking rural decay of their hometown. The resulting film, “Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou,” is only 14 minutes long, and yet it’s a perfect glimpse into the mind of Phil Chambliss, an affectionate, hilarious and utterly mysterious tribute to a unique Arkansas artist and his environment — from one professional outsider to another. Just as Mercer himself was thrust into a strange context he couldn’t possibly understand, the film declines to offer names or dates or any of the other structural cues typically used to help viewers navigate what they’re seeing. “You just kind of wonder what you’ve just witnessed,” Mercer said of his approach, “as opposed to me explaining or giving real commentary. I just sort of let you ponder it.” The film makes extensive use of clips from Chambliss’ vast archive, all of which was shot in Locust Bayou, an enormous and casually executed anthropological feat. “Phil has been going around with a camera since the ’70s just capturing little tidbits of people and places around that area,” Mercer said. “That’s what I think is incredible. He’s documenting this whole chunk of Arkansas history and culture and society without even really thinking about it too consciously — better than probably a lot of people are.” Equally powerful is its presentation of Chambliss’ natural gifts as a storyteller. “I wish I could have had them all,” Mercer said of the stories, which include tales of hog hangings, attempted murders and an abandoned career as a pornographer. “There was sex and murder and intrigue and family feuds, every kind of story you could ever hope for. And you’re always sort of straddling this line of not knowing when a story is getting blown out of proportion into fantasy territory, though not in bad way. Sometimes it’s with a wink and a nudge, and other times it’s just so wild I didn’t know where the line was.” One story Chambliss tells, in particular, about being kidnapped by a group of Lakota Native Americans, struck me as both incredible and almost certainly, self-apparently not true. When I asked Chambliss about it, though, he seemed confused by my skepticism and stood by its total accuracy. Though Mercer originally doubted it, too, he said he isn’t so sure anymore himself. “It doesn’t really matter,” he said finally, and he’s right. “That’s just one of the stories Phil tells about his life. “Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou” screens 3 p.m. Sunday at The Joint.
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More information and tickets at www.arktimes.com
MAY 1, 2014
Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ THE RESTAURATEURS BEHIND LOCAL LIME have purchased Browning’s and will replace it with a Tex-Mex restaurant, Heights Taco & Tamale Company. The group takes ownership of the space, 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd., on July 1, after which coowner Scott McGehee said he expects a three-month-long renovation, which would put opening around early October. As Yellow Rocket Concepts, McGehee, John Beachboard and Russ McDonough own Big Orange, Local Lime, ZAZA and Lost 40, a production brewery that’s in the works. Ben Brainard is a partner in Local Lime. He’ll also be an owner in HT&T. McGehee said the prospect of opening a Tex-Mex restaurant was “incredibly sentimental and nostalgic.” He said he was raised eating at Browning’s and actually raised in Juanita’s and Blue Mesa, two restaurants his late father Frank McGehee co-owned. McGehee said he wasn’t ready to delve too deeply into menu specifics, but mentioned burritos, churros, nachos and tamales. Where Local Lime focuses on authentic Mexican food and is more geared to adults, he said HT&T would be more in the vein of a Tex-Mex restaurant you’d find in San Antonio or Austin, “where you go with 40 people to watch the Razorback game” or take the family. Yellow Rocket Concepts recently purchased the recipes from the long-gone Taco Kid restaurant in Little Rock, and with the purchase of Browning’s, now owns that restaurant’s secrets. McGehee speaks wistfully about Browning’s hot sauce and says he can’t wait to get his hands on it. There are certainly a lot of folks in Central Arkansas with similar nostalgia for old-school Little Rock Tex-Mex. By all accounts, Local Lime’s Taco Kid throwback nights have been a hit. But what about those who think the original Browning’s and its ilk were terrible? “The way I feel about it is, there were some great things at the original Browning’s,” said McGehee. “It is a lot about that nostalgia. I think we’ll draw on that. I think people that loved Browning’s are going to love us more. I think people that’ve been to San Antonio and Austin are going to be impressed as well.” Whatever homage he pays to his father or to Browning’s, all recipes will be unique creations, McGehee said. “As crazy as it sounds with all the Mexican restaurants we have, I think we can bring something to Little Rock that doesn’t really exist.” 36
MAY 15, 2014
to have a new go-to spot when we get a hankering for a Cadbury’s Twirl or bag of Hula Hoops. Wee Betty’s Cafe is located at 1336 John Harden Drive in Jacksonville. — Erica Sweeney
HEARTY: Full Irish Breakfast from Wee Betty’s Cafe.
Small bites from north of the river A recent sampling from our food and drink blog, Eat Arkansas.
British food fix Wee Betty’s Cafe is definitely a one-ofa-kind in Central Arkansas. Located just off U.S. 67/167 in Jacksonville, the cafe opened about nine months ago serving up homemade, authentic British cuisine and tailoring to British expats with a small shop full of foodstuffs not found anywhere else locally. My husband, who is from England, and I visited Wee Betty’s on a Saturday morning, looking for savory pastries and the Full Irish Breakfast that we had scoped out on the menu on their Facebook page. Only served on Saturday (10 a.m.-noon) and Sunday (11 a.m.-1 p.m.), the Full Irish Breakfast includes bangers (sausages), bacon, eggs, potato scone, black and white pudding, Heinz baked beans, buttered toast and tea or coffee. Tons of food for only $9.50. The breakfast definitely made the 20-or-so-minute drive to Jacksonville well worth it, as my husband happily doused his breakfast in HP Sauce and devoured it, graciously allowing me a bite or two. We determined that it was nearly the same as a full “English” breakfast, except there were no tomatoes or mushrooms. There were no complaints about inauthenticity or Americanized items, which is what usually happens when he orders full English
Breakfasts at other local spots. I ordered the pastries (which we shared) to round out our breakfast, and we found them to be just like you’d find all over the U.K. The sausage roll had nice, flaky pastry wrapped around loose sausage meat, and I ordered mine with Heinz baked beans for only $3.75. The Cornish Pastie ($4.50) was our other choice. This is a traditional pie with potatoes and beef or lamb, with a little bit of gravy, stuffed in pastry. It is definitely one of my favorite British foods, and Wee Betty’s version was delicious. We had our eyes on other menu items, namely the Fish and Chips. But this British staple is only available 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturdays, and we were too early. We’ll definitely go back to try that. Scones, Scotch pie, Shepherd’s pie and trifle are just a few other menu items at Wee Betty’s. On the retail side, Wee Betty’s sells an array of British candy, chips (the Brits call them crisps) and frozen pies, pasties and black pudding not found anywhere else in Central Arkansas. We came home with an impressive haul. We have brought bags full of these very items back from trips to England and paid exorbitant shipping costs to order this stuff online, so we’re thrilled
Central Arkansas has an abundance of Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, but only one Honduran restaurant that Eat Arkansas knows of: Rosalinda Restaurante Hondureno in North Little Rock. My favorite dish is #52, the Plato Rosalinda for $10.50. It is a thin skirt steak, served with mixed beans and rice, avocado, fried plantains and a side of thick handmade tortillas. There is a lot to like here — and a big enough portion you can have it for lunch tomorrow, too. The steak is well seasoned and juicy and pairs deliciously with the tortillas. I am a fiend for the beans and rice served with this dish; they have an addictive richness that I’ve been trying to puzzle out and I think may be due to coconut milk. When you tire of those, the plantains are slightly sweet with a very pleasant texture that is a lovely contrast to the rest of the plate. Pupusas are another standout — stuffed tortillas somewhat similar to quesadillas ($2 each). Rosalinda’s offers them in four varieties — our favorites are the queso (cheese) and the chicharron (pork). The pupusas are served griddled and crispy on the outside with a slightly spicy slaw and mild, fruity salsa. One or two can make a great appetizer or you can easily make a meal out of them. For a little adventure, try the Pescado Frito, a whole fried tilapia, served with green bananas and rice ($10.50); one of the trio of shrimp soups, or a fried or steamed yuca (cassava) dish. I am also a big fan of the Agua Frescas made in-house, particularly the Agua de Pina (pineapple). Fair warning: A meal at Rosalinda’s can be a bit unpredictable. The menu is enormous and the descriptions are a bit mysterious, so you can’t be quite sure what you’re getting until it arrives at the table. The service is usually attentive but there can sometimes be a language barrier. Although this section of JFK is now officially “wet,” Rosalinda’s still does not serve alcohol. Rosalinda Restaurante HondureNo is located at 3700 JFK Blvd. — Mrs. Jones
Information in our restaurant capsules reflects the opinions of the newspaper staff and its reviewers. The newspaper accepts no advertising or other considerations in exchange for reviews, which are conducted anonymously. We invite the opinions of readers who think we are in error.
B Breakfast L Lunch D Dinner $ Inexpensive (under $8/person) $$ Moderate ($8-$20/person) $$$ Expensive (over $20/person) CC Accepts credit cards
LITTLE ROCK/ NORTH LITTLE ROCK
4 SQUARE CAFE AND GIFTS Vegetarian salads, soups, wraps and paninis and a broad selection of smoothies in an Arkansas products gift shop. 405 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-2622. BLD daily. ARKANSAS BURGER CO. Good burgers, fries and shakes, plus salads and other entrees. 7410 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-0600. LD Tue.-Sat. THE BLIND PIG Tasty bar food, including Zweigle’s brand hot dogs. 6015 Chenonceau Blvd. Full bar, CC. $-$$. 501-868-8194. D Tue.-Sun., L Sat.-Sun. BRAVE NEW RESTAURANT Chef/owner Peter Brave was doing “farm to table” before most of us knew the term. His focus is on fresh, highquality ingredients prepared elegantly but simply. 2300 Cottondale Lane. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-2677. LD Mon.-Fri. D Sat. CAPITAL BAR AND GRILL Big hearty sandwiches, daily lunch specials and fine evening dining all rolled up into one at this landing spot downtown. 111 Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-7474. LD daily. CIAO BACI The focus is on fine dining in this casually elegant Hillcrest bungalow, though excellent tapas are out of this world. 605 N. Beechwood St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-6030238. D Mon.-Sat. DOE’S EAT PLACE A skid-row dive turned power brokers’ watering hole with huge steaks, great tamales and broiled shrimp, and killer burgers at lunch. 1023 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-1195. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. GUS’S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN The best fried chicken in town. Go for chicken and waffles on Sundays. 300 President Clinton Ave. Beer, CC. $-$$. 501-372-2211. LD daily. HOMER’S Great vegetables, huge yeast rolls and killer cobblers. 2001 E. Roosevelt Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1400. BL Mon.-Fri. 9700 N Rodney Parham. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-6637. LD Mon.-Sat. NATCHEZ RESTAURANT Smart, elegant takes on Southern classics. 323 Center St. Beer, Wine, CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1167. L Tue.-Fri., D Wed.-Sat. OYSTER BAR Gumbo, red beans and rice, peeland-eat shrimp, oysters on the half shell, addictive po’ boys. 3003 W. Markham St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-7100. LD Mon.-Sat. THE ROOT CAFE Homey, local foods-focused cafe. With tasty burgers, homemade bratwurst, banh mi and a number of vegan and veggie options. 1500 S. Main St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-414-0423. BL Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. SOUTH ON MAIN Fine, innovative takes on Southern fare in a casual, but well-appointed setting. 1304 Main St. Full bar, CC. $-$$. 501-244-9660. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat.
A.W. LIN’S ASIAN CUISINE Excellent panAsian with wonderful service. 17717 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-5398. LD daily.
DED R FA OS R E S TA U R A N T E
HANAROO SUSHI BAR An expansive menu featuring largely Japanese fare. Try the popular Tuna Tatari bento box. 205 W. Capitol Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-301-7900. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat. SEKISUI Fresh-tasting sushi chain with fun hibachi grill and an overwhelming assortment of traditional entrees. 219 N. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-7070. LD daily.
CHIP’S BARBECUE Tasty, if a little pricey, barbecue piled high on sandwiches generously doused with the original tangy sauce or one of five other sauces. 9801 W. Markham St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-4346. LD Mon.-Sat.
1619 Rebsamen Rd. 501-663-9734
LITTLE ROCK’S MOST AWARD WINNING RESTAURANT
EUROPEAN / ETHNIC
ISTANBUL MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT This Turkish eatery offers decent kebabs and great starters. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-223-9332. LD daily. LAYLA’S GYROS AND PIZZERIA Delicious Mediterranean fare that has a devoted following. 9501 N Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7272. LD daily (close 5 p.m. on Sun.). L E O ’ S G R E E K C A S T L E Wonderful Mediterranean food, plus dependable hamburgers, ham sandwiches, steak platters and BLTs. 2925 Kavanaugh Blvd. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-666-7414. BLD Mon.-Sat., BL Sun. (close at 4 p.m.).
LA HERRADURA Traditional Mexican fare. 8414 Geyer Springs Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-6063. LD Tue.-Sun. LOS TORITOS MEXICAN RESTAURANT Mexican fare in East End. 1022 Angel Court. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-261-7823. LD daily. RIVERIA MAYA Tasty, cheap Mexican food. Try the Enchiladas con Chorizo. 801 Fair Park Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 663-4800. LD daily. TAQUERIA KARINA AND CAFE A real Mexican neighborhood cantina from the freshly baked pan dulce, to Mexican-bottled Cokes, to first-rate guacamole, to inexpensive tacos, burritos, quesadillas and a broad selection of Mexican-style seafood. 5309 W. 65th St. Beer, No CC. $. 501-562-3951. BLD daily.
Jim Beam 4yo Bourbon Reg $27.99 ..................... Sale $22.99
MAY 14 - MAY 20, 2014
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CAFE PREGO Dependable entrees of pasta, pork, seafood, steak and the like, plus great sauces, fresh mixed greens and delicious dressings, crisp-crunchy-cold gazpacho and tempting desserts in a comfy bistro setting. 5510 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-5355. LD Mon.- Fri, D Sat. CIAO ITALIAN RESTAURANT The fine pasta and seafood dishes, ambiance and overall charm combine to make it a relaxing, enjoyable, affordable choice. 405 W. Seventh St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-0238. L Mon.-Fri., D Thu.-Sat.
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Free Valet Parking www.arktimes.com
MAY 15, 2014
AFTER DARK, CONT.
hearsay ➥ Gather your gal pals and make your way to THE PROMENADE AT CHENAL on May 15 for its Ladies Night Out event, an exciting night of fashion and fun to benefit Ronald McDonald House. There will be sweet treats from YAYA’S EURO BISTRO, a cocktail hour hosted by THE POINTE BRODIE CREEK LUXURY APARTMENTS and the first Promenade at Chenal charity fashion show benefitting RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE. In addition, there will be great deals at participating stores and the first 100 ladies receive a free “Shopper Swag Bag” filled with fabulous goodies. The Promenade will be accepting cash, check or credit card donations to support Ronald McDonald House as well as hosting an on-site event giveaway. To register for the giveaway, enter your name and information along with a $10 donation. For every $5 donation after your first $10, you’ll get another entry. ➥ It’s time to register for the annual GO!RUNNING Go! Mile race, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. June 14 at Burns Park, which is also Father’s Day weekend. This year, the Go! Mile is the RRCA 1-Mile National Championship Race. Sponsored by WINDSTREAM, the championship race will take place in the Elite runners heat. If you feel you can’t hang with big boys, there are six other heats to choose from, including one for first-time racers and a kids mini-mile. The race benefits the Win Wardlaw Scholarship Fund at CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL. To register, visit www.gorunning.com. ➥ Get your furry friends ready for their closeup: The 2014 “CIRQUE DU PUP” POOCH PARADE, presented by PETSMART, will be May 24 at RIVERFEST. Ruff on the River and Riverfest want to give back to animal organizations in need, and this will benefits All About Labs, Little Rock Animal Village and C.A.R.E. The registration “PAWTY” will take place at 8:30 a.m. at Acxiom at the corner of Third Street and River Market Ave. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. and will end at Heifer International. Immediately following the parade will be the Weenie Dog Derby for all short legged dogs. There’s also a doggie costume contest. For more information, visit www.riverfestarkansas.com.
➥ By the way, the photo in the LANDERS FIAT ad (above) in last week’s edition was courtesy of Evan Carter Photography. 38
MAY 15, 2014
Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. www.khalilspub.com. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. littlerock.erniebiggs.com. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. www.thirst-n-howl.com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. www.capitalhotel.com/CBG.
The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. thejointinlittlerock.com.
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.
Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Program. Program will include a lecture, a jiu jitsu demonstration and refreshments. MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, 11:30 a.m., free. 503 E. 9th St. 376-4602. www.arkmilitaryheritage.com. Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636. www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com.
“Stay Tuned for Murder.” Splice Microcinema. Vino’s, 7:30 p.m., Donations. 923 W. 7th St. 501375-8466. www.vinosbrewpub.com.
Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. maxineslive.com/shows. html.
Arkansas Travelers vs. Corpus Christi. DickeyStephens Park, May 21-23, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www. travs.com.
THIS WEEK IN THEATER
“A Strange and Separate People.” The Weekend Theater, through May 17: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. www.weekendtheater.org. “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer.” Recommended for ages 11 and up. Walton Arts Center, through May 15, 7 p.m.; Sat., May 17, 2 and 8 p.m., $6. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Come Blow Your Horn.” Dinner and a performance of Neil Simon’s first play. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through May 17: Tue.-Sat., 6 p.m., $33-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131. murrysdinnerplayhouse.com. “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. thejointinlittlerock.com.
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. GALLERY 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Recent Works by Arkansas Society of Printmakers,” including Robert Bean, Warren Criswell, Debi Fendley, Melissa Gill, Jorey May Greene, Diane Harper, Neal Harrington, Tammy Harrington, Samantha Kosakowski, David O’Brien, Sherry O’Rorke, Jessi Perren, Shannon Rogers, Dominique Simmons, Tom Sullivan and David Warren, May 17-July 12, opening reception 7-10 p.m. May 17, with music by the Rolling Blackouts. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.Sat. 664-8996. L&L BECK ART GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Backyard Birds,” giclee giveaway drawing 7 p.m. May 15. 660-4006. MUGS CAFE, 515 Main St., NLR: “Strangers Now and Then,” paintings and drawings by Robert Bean, May 16-June 17. Opening reception 5-8 p.m. May 16, Argenta ArtWalk. 379-9101. THEA FOUNDATION, 401 Main St., NLR: “The Refinery,” “Art Department” exhibit of watercolors by Lisa Krannichfeld, reception 5-8 p.m. May 16, Argenta ArtWalk, show through May 30. 379-9512. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “Recent Work by Laura Raborn and Sandra Sell,” paintings and woodwork, M.A. thesis exhibition, lecture 5:30 p.m., reception 6:30-8 p.m. May 15, show through June 26; “Revision, Missing, Listen, Light, Fly: Drawings by David Bailin,” charcoal and mixedmedia drawings, Gallery II, through May 30, reception 6:30-8 p.m. May 15. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 569-8977. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “Anglo-American Portraiture in an Age of Revolution,” five paintings, including works from the Musee de Louvre, the High Museum of Art, and the Terra Foundation, May 17-Sept. 15; “Rethinking Wright,” lecture by UA architecture professor Santiago Perez on Frank Lloyd Wright and Moshe Safdie, 7-8 p.m. May 21, $10 (free to members); “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; 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. EUREKA SPRINGS EUREKA FINE ART GALLERY, 63 N. Main St.: Cynthia Kresse, pastels, May 16-22, reception 6-9 p.m. May 17. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 479363-6000.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
The Center for Artistic Revolution is seeking heart-shaped or heart-referencing works of art for its 10th annual “Corazon,” a benefit for the work of CAR. One entry will be used in promotional materials; deadline for application to be that entry is May 23. Deadline for other completed work is June 13. The event is set for 7 p.m. June 28 at Boswell-Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.
NEW EXHIBITS, EVENTS
CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: “Chihuly,” studio glass, free lecture by the artist 11 a.m., booksigning at noon May 17, exhibition through Jan. 5, 2015;
ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: 53rd “Young Arkansas Artists,” artwork by Arkansas students K-12, through July 27; “InCiteful Clay,” 35 ceramic sculptures that offer
social commentary, through June 29, Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery, “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South,” 70 paintings by the late Arkansas native, through June 1. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 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,” through Aug. 23; “Detachment: Work by Robert Reep,” through July 24; “2nd annual Arkansas Printmakers Membership Exhibition,” through June 28; “Southern Voices,” contemporary quilts by the Studio Art Quilts Associates, through May 24. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 3205790. CANTRELL GALLERY, 8206 Cantrell Road: “Painting Arkansas — Finale,” new work by John Wooldridge, through June 21. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 224-1335. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: Paintings by Dee Schulten, Dr. Lacy Frasier and Sue Henley. 375-2342. CHROMA GALLERY, 5707 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Work by Robert Reep and other Arkansas artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0880. COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 River Market Ave.: Arkansas League of Artists’ “Spring Members Show,” juror Kevin Kresse, through May. 9183093. THE EDGE, 301B President Clinton Ave.: Paintings by Avila (Fernando Gomez), Eric Freeman, James Hayes, Jerry Colburn, St. Joseph Thomason and Stephen Drive. 992-1099. ELLEN GOLDEN ANTIQUES, 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Barry Thomas and Arden Boyce. 664-7746. GALLERY 221 & ART STUDIOS 221, Pyramid Place: 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. 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, through May. GINO HOLLANDER GALLERY, 2nd and Center: Paintings and works on paper by Gino Hollander. 801-0211. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Southern Women Artists Exhibition,” work by Sheila Cotton, Louise Halsey, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Linda Palmer, Rebecca Thompson and others, through June 14. 6642787. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: More than 40 illustrations on oil and canvas by author/ artist Kadir Nelson, through June 7. 372-6822. ST. MARK’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 1000 N. Mississippi St.: “Icons in Transformation,” 100 expressionist works by Ludmila Pawlowska, through Aug. 17, percentage of sales proceeds to Artist-in-Residence program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. 225-4203. STEPHANO’S FINE ART GALLERY, 1813 N. Grant: Bronze sculpture by actor/artist Tony Dow, paintings by Stephano, through June 1. 563-4218. FAYETTEVILLE BOTTLE ROCKET GALLERY, 1495 Finger Road: “Makeshift Theatre,” photographs by Logan Rollins. 479-466-7406. THE DEPOT, 548 W. Dickson St.: “Point Scratch Squint,” paintings by Benjamin Lowery, through
AFTER DARK, CONT. May 29, with installation by Ben Flowers and Luke Knox. 479-587-9100. LALALAND, 641 Martin Luther King Blvd.: “Women of DAPA (Drawing and Painting Association of the UA),” Raven Halfmoon, Ashley Byers, Carrie Gibson, Mia Buonaiuto, Ashley Lindsey, Jessica Lynnlani Westhafer, Emily Chase, and Natalie Brown. WALTON ARTS CENTER: “Translating Earth, Transforming Sea,” sculpture by Shawn Bitters and Joan Hall and 3-D painting by Laura Moriarity, through June 21, Joy Pratt Markham Gallery. HOT SPRINGS ARTISTS WORKSHOP GALLERY, 610 A Central Ave.: Joann Kunath, pastels, and Teresa Widdifield, paintings, through May. 623-6401. BLUE MOON GALLERY, 718 Central Ave.: Suzi Dennis, paintings. 318-2787. EMERGENT ARTS, 341-A Whittington Ave.: “Tohoku —Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers,” through May 30. 501-655-0836 FINE ARTS CENTER, 626 Central Ave.: “Art & Music Exhibition,” work inspired by the Hot Springs Music Festival repertoire, through June 17. 501-624-0489. GALLERY CENTRAL, 800 Central Ave.: Paintings by Robin Hazard-Bishop, Jacqueline Ellens, Doyle Young. 318-4278.. JUSTUS FINE ART, 827 Central Ave.: Tony Saladino, abstract paintings; also work by Matthew Hasty, Rene Hein, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Rebecca Thompson, Emily Wood and Taimur Cleary, through May. 501-321-2335.
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ONGOING MUSEUM EXHIBITS
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. ESSE, 1510 S. Main St.: “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Handbags (1900-1999),” purses from the collection of Anita Davis, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun., $10-$8. 916-9022. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: “Co-Opt,” work by UALR student artists Taimur Cleary, Jennifer Perren and Mesilla Smith; “Patterns from the Ozarks: Contemporary Ceramics, Quilts and Folk Art Painting,” works by Karen Harmony, Jo Smith and Blakely Wilson, through June 8; “A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America,” through June 22; “Arkansas Made,” ongoing. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS M I L I TA R Y H I S T O R Y , M a c A r t h u r Park: “American Posters of World War I”; permanent exhibits. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, 501 W. 9th St.: “Repurposed Wonders: The Sculpture of Danny Campbell,” permanent and changing exhibits on black entrepreneurship in Arkansas. 683-3593. MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY, 500 President Clinton Ave.: “Wiggle Worms,” science program for pre-K children 10-10:30 a.m. every Tue., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 1-12, free to members and children under 1. 396-7050. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”, the state’s ties to Hollywood, including costumes, scripts, film footage, photographs and more, through March 1, 2015. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, Riverfront Park: Exhibits on wildlife and the state Game and Fish Commission. 907-0636.
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MAY 15, 2014
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MAY 15, 2014