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Unplugged Think the hippified back-to-the-land movement died with disco? Think again. Out in the Ozarks past where the power lines stop, there are still Baby Boomers who never cashed in their ideals. BY DAVID KOON



MAY 29, 2014


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VOLUME 40, NUMBER 39 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $78 for two years. Subscriptions outside Arkansas are $49 for one year, $88 for two years. Foreign (including Canadian) subscriptions are $168 a year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.


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MAY 29, 2014



War fetish First up let me give a great big thank-you out to your regular columnist, Gene Lyons, for his excellent article “Trigger warnings” (May 22). And, especially for his more than apt admonishment to those bleating “check your privilege” that they kiss his — well, you know. It is in that spirit of kiss my — you know, that I want to offer some thoughts about our recently passed Memorial Day and some preparatory fire for our next opportunity to wax apoplectically about our very own bloated, big (you know) military. We just about love us some dead soldiers more than a big ol’ Frito chili pie, don’t we? A clean and sanitized flag-draped casket or some newly dug dirt with a cluster of little clean flags stuck in it gets our inner faucets overflowing every time. Well, we don’t actually call them dead soldiers, we like to say they are “fallen” as if somehow that makes it all right and they’re still really alive and unemployed and only missing a few unseeable body parts and trying to get help from the mean ol’ VA and, God forbid, not one of those “trigger warnings.” Anyway, we blew the drums and beat the horns or the other way around, and wept and cheered, and got all warm when we saw old Colin Powell, one of the good — um, people, without his United Nations WMD clothes on, and wanted to go all Putin on those Obamacare-loving liberals. Bang, bang went the fireworks and we strapped on the kids and hugged our guns and stretched up on our tiptoes and thumped our Bibles on the hoods of our pickup trucks, which are a whole lot bigger than yours — you know what I’m saying. And here we are in the afterglow, full of love for the dead and wanting to see some blood from that VA administrator with the unpronounceable, funny name. How about we try doing something else? Instead of continuing to make a fetish of uniforms and bombs and planes and all the other adolescent props that divert our attention from the real world, why don’t we take all the wasted resources we pour into perpetuating our death fantasies and spend it on education, and job training, and repairing or replacing our outdated, rotting infrastructure, and decreasing the speed of climate change, and housing, and feeding our hungry children just for starters? While we’re about change, what if we turn all the VA hospitals and 4

MAY 29, 2014


their massive budgets, as well as their negotiating power over, to the medical schools in every state where one exists? Maybe it would be possible to maintain a reasonable level of national oversight and purchasing power while giving the state institutions administrative and operational authority. Open the doors to all seeking health care. A bonus would be getting rid of the current federal government-run (socialized medicine) system we have now for military veterans. How much of a scandal would that be? As a final insult to our perpetual struggle at maintaining our childhood, what if we stop creating dead soldiers or military veterans? Can we give up our fantasy of a “good” war with everyone who isn’t us and work toward peace instead? What if our children really do learn from the behavior we show them? Yeah, yeah, I know: carrots and sticks. The problem there is that when you’re out of carrots, are sticks what you want to be looking for? David Steadman Damascus

Bigger picture Dozens of preachers, mainly black, gathered at the Arkansas state capital today to protest gay marriage. We haven’t seen this type of “ecumenical” protest since the ’60s civil rights movement! Regardless of your moral or religious stance, their priorities are totally misaligned. Arkansas ranks 49th in child poverty, minority voting rights are being threatened, mass incarceration of blacks, Hispanics and the

poor is at an all-time high, Affirmative Action is about to be a thing of the past, federally funded health care coverage in under siege, violence in many of the neighborhoods where their churches are located is riveting — and you choose to march against what two consenting adults decide to do with their lives. Gay marriage is no threat to democracy. Is it me or is someone missing the bigger picture of the Gospel meaning, which is to bring liberty to the oppressed? And the ultimate truth is some of them are gay as well but too coward to stand in truth. Now, let the church say, Amen! Jajuan Johnson Little Rock

From the web On the May 22 article about Koy Butler’s unsuccessful attempt to open a small group home for disabled adults in North Little Rock: Wrongdoing is that unlicensed opportunists are allowed to move elderly and disabled people into homes that are unlicensed and unsupervised “surrounded by their prize possessions.” Obviously they house only three because that is the maximum allowed without a license. This guy owns nursing homes — too much supervision? Too much scrutiny? These homes cost twice or more what a nursing home costs to the patient, but no license and no supervision. Much easier to convert patient real estate assets and personal possessions to his own bank account without licensing or oversight. How does he recruit these patients?

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Does he advertise? How does he get “referrals”? Do nursing homes deny admittance to steer patients into his and others’ private unlicensed, unsupervised care? Arwth On the Arkansas Blog item about the disqualification of 80 percent of the ballots in St. Francis County: The fact that we got 80 percent of the ballots in a Democratic county disqualified warms this Republican’s heart. Every conservative in Arkansas is rejoicing today, from Stacy Hurst to her partners in politics, Tim Griffin and Jason Rapert. Not since the 1960s have we managed to keep black folk in their place so well.  And I want to thank all the poll workers and commissioners for their service to democracy. Paying Top Dollar for Legislators On the Arkansas Blog item on the rally by black clergymen against samesex marriage: Last week in the list of marriage licenses issued in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, I saw the names of a couple of my neighbors. When I saw one of them a few days ago, I congratulated her and said that I’d seen their names in the paper. She was so excited to hear that, she pulled out her phone and called her partner to tell her. You could hear the excitement in her voice. Not only were they able to get married, they got their name in the paper for doing so — something we take for granted. Marriage or a civil union — no matter what you call it — gives them so many more important rights, things most of us take for granted. I really wonder when looking at the men in the picture, many who have probably faced discrimination because of their race, and heard stories of what their grandparents and parents faced, how they can forget that history? I wonder how they can claim to be Christians — much less Christian pastors — when they are deliberately wanting to restrict the rights of people who are different from them?  Never Vote Republican

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MAY 29, 2014




We now have proof positive from a chaotic and wildly inconsistent enforcement of the Voter ID law last week that rampant confusion exists on how the law is to be administered. Voters all over Arkansas reported election officials who believed photo IDs were to be used to check birth dates and addresses. They are not. There were also numerous reports of challenged voters being denied their absolute right to cast a provisional ballot, countable only when proper proof is presented. Reported disqualifications of absentee ballots have ranged from 10 percent Pulaski County to 80 percent in St. Francis County to 175 of 200 absentees in Mississippi County, according to the ACLU’s Holly Dickson. On Friday, Circuit Judge Tim Fox rightly issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the state Voter ID law. The written order continues to stay that injunction, but plaintiffs were expected to ask him to put it into effect, as his order encouraged. The secretary of state’s office moved before the day was out to appeal to the state Supreme Court and said it had made arrangements to get the record to the court. In other words: Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin will do all he can to keep the vote suppression statute in place.

Tweet of the week “You won’t see me arguing against those who choose to be homosexual — that’s their personal choice. Just quit forcing approval.” —Sen. Jason Rapert, who has single-handedly proved that no one is forcing him to approve of anything, exercising his First Amendment right to be as bigoted as he pleases on a daily basis.

Magic numbers 40: Number of minutes played by Riverfest headliner CeeLo Green, according to a spokesperson for the Riverfest board, which is withholding full payment of its contract. 75-90: Number of minutes CeeLo was supposed to play; he was preceded by underwhelming performances by something called the CeeLo Experience and a DJ. Many in attendance grumbled that these non-CeeLo performers were not, in fact, CeeLo. 79: Number of complaints, at press time, from commenters on the Times’ Facebook page about the CeeLo show. Nobody flat out said “F*** You,” but commenter Nicholas Williams had the best reference to that CeeLo hit: “I guess the change in his pocket wasn’t enough.” 6

MAY 29, 2014



Vote suppression

BIG AIR: The Jessie White Tumblers perform at Riverfest. For more Riverfest photos, see page 34.

The big news on election day


rkansas held primary and judicial elections Tuesday, May 20, and none of the major media got the biggest news right. It wasn’t the predictable Democratic and gubernatorial nominees, Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson. The big news: VOTERS STAYED AWAY IN DROVES: The turnout was only about 20 percent of registered voters, which is even worse than it sounds because thousands of eligible voters are unregistered. More Republican votes were cast than Democratic votes. But despite numerous hotly contested races from the top to the bottom of the ticket, Republican turnout wasn’t that much bigger than the Democratic vote in a primary with no significant race. Ross and Hutchinson got about the same number of votes. It’s not coincidental that low turnout comes as Republicans claim a majority in Arkansas politics. Republicans have risen to power by demeaning government and trashing those who serve in it. They have convinced many voters that it doesn’t matter who gets elected. The result: primary elections by diehards. Their numbers were about equal, particularly when you consider the Democrats who crossed over to do mischief in the GOP primary. More will vote in November. But who? I’d guess the new voters will be roughly split between old-line populist-leaning voters and the rising tide of I Want Mine voters. Some big races — U.S. Senate and governor — could produce departure from the expected dogmatic responses because of moderate Democratic candidates who’ll dodge the hot-button issues so beloved of Republicans. But first we’ll have to endure $10 million or more in dishonest advertising, much of it from secret interests. THE VOTER ID LAW WORKED: The Republican Party Voter ID legislation took effect and it couldn’t have worked better. Thousands of voters were not allowed to cast legal ballots because they didn’t produce the required ID. In St. Francis County, 80 percent of the absentee ballots were ruled ineligible. This hit elderly poor and

minorities hard. Problems ran deeper than absentee ballots and most of the media missed the story. State law clearly says that the newly required photo ID is only to be MAX used to check the name and face of BRANTLEY the person attempting to vote. But clerks all across Arkansas seized the IDs and did pop quizzes. If the address on an ID didn’t match the voter rolls, voters were denied a ballot. This is illegal. In an untold number of cases, voters were not given the legally mandated provisional ballot when questions arose so that election commission could resolve disputes later. The secretary of state had spent little to educate voters on the new law. After the chaos, the state Board of Election Commissioners, led by that selfsame Republican secretary of state, gave little indication of concern. Many county clerks passed the buck. The Pulaski County Election Commission was a welcome departure. It went so far as to notify people who’d been disqualified, in hopes they get it right next time. The ACLU, which is suing over the patently unconstitutional voter ID law, has complained to anyone who’ll listen. But the new law DID suppress Democratic voters, just as Republicans have hoped. It was an implementation marked by subjectivity, widespread confusion and vastly different practices from county to county. Faced with far less confusion over letting two women marry, the Arkansas Supreme Court stayed a ruling against that unconstitutional law. But the results-oriented, Republican-fearful Supreme Court has had no problem allowing the Voter ID law to take effect despite a court ruling that IT was unconstitutional. We also elected more judges Tuesday. Dark money and blood-sucking nursing homes influenced several important races. That was another missing headline.


The new politics: Benghazi gets deeper look than 9/11


hen the new (the ninth) congressional investigation of the terrorist attack in Benghazi opens next month, here’s an exercise that will put it in perspective: Revisit the spring of 2004 when the Bush White House, yielding to pressure from the commission that was investigating the 9/11 attacks, declassified a single daily presidential security brief, that of Aug. 6, 2001. It brought gasps but no real accounting of how the administration had handled things. “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” was the famous heading on the brief. The White House, believing the warnings of an airliner attack on the U.S. came from a disinformation campaign by Saddam Hussein, took no precautions, and al Qaeda struck five weeks later. Nearly 3,000 people died and the United States was changed forever. Four Americans, including the

ambassador to Libya, died in the 2012 terrorist assault on the compound in remote Benghazi, Libya. ERNEST What President DUMAS Bush and his advisers knew and why they didn’t act remains the greatest unexplored question in modern history. Even after more of the pre-9/11 briefs to the president leaked in 2012, exposing the earlier explanations of the White House, particularly those of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, as a tissue of lies, no one demanded an investigation or access to all the presidential briefs about the impending attacks. Someday we will know, but right now we have to find out if somebody, preferably Hillary Clinton, the putative Democratic candidate for president in 2016, fouled

The gun cult strikes again


nother week, another disturbed young man, another mass killing spree. It’s come to where episodes like Eliot Rodger’s murder of four men and two women near the Cal-Santa Barbara campus have become so frequent in America that the crime scene tapes have hardly been removed before people turn them into political symbols. At which point any possibility of taking anything useful away from the tragedy ends. I certainly have no answer for the eloquent cry of Richard Martinez, whose 20 year-old son Christopher, a stranger to the killer, was shot dead in the street. “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the N.R.A.,” he cried. “They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’s right to live? When will this insanity stop? When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness; we don’t have to live like this?’ Too many have died. We should say to ourselves: not one more.” Such is the downright satanic power of the gun cult in this country, however, that Martinez may as well never have spoken. Every poll available shows that Democrats, Republicans and gun owners alike favor, at minimum, stronger background checks aimed at keeping semi-automatic killing machines away from disturbed individuals

like Rodgers. Yet nothing happens, basically because Second Amendment cultists exercise a strangleGENE hold on the politiLYONS cal process. If the Newtown massacre of elementary school children didn’t cause a rethink, no misogynist shooting down sorority girls is going to change a thing. It’s really quite bizarre, but until some certifiably conservative politician takes on the NRA and wins, spree killings will remain a depressing feature of American life. We could make it much harder for deranged people to acquire arsenals without greatly inconveniencing legitimate gun owners, but we haven’t got the guts to give it a serious try. Then there’s the customary inadequacy of our laws relating to involuntary commitment of persons deemed an active threat to themselves or others — very roughly the legal standard in most jurisdictions. I got into an online debate recently with Lindsay Beyerstein, a young journalist whose work I admire. She argued that Rodgers should be classified as a “misogynist terrorist,” who targeted a sorority house as part of his “WAR ON WOMEN” (his words). “Here’s why he did it,” Beyerstein wrote.

up in some unforgivable way before or after the Benghazi tragedy. (She accepted personal responsibility for it.) The first eight investigations produced nothing, but maybe this one will. It will keep the issue alive and arouse the base through the fall elections, and well beyond. Benghazi will never merit even a footnote in the history books. Beyond the vast human tragedy on 9/11, the administration’s failures plunged the nation into two wars that cost America immensely in blood, treasure and confidence and annulled, perhaps forever, people’s cherished right to have their privacy vouchsafed by their government. Besides their relative magnitudes, Benghazi and 9/11 also expose a huge difference in how the nation’s political culture treats tragedies and failures of a foreign nature. Once America emerged as a world power with keen exposures to diplomacy and foreign intrigue, both parties more or less exercised reservation in exploiting tragedies for political gain. It was true even in fairly recent times with Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis, the cumulative terrorist slaughters under Ronald Reagan, the tragedies following Bill Clinton’s dithering in Africa and eastern

Europe and, the biggest of all, George W. Bush’s 9/11. When a few firebrands demanded impeachment hearings after the 9/11 briefings began to surface and the president’s excuse for invading Iraq — the weapons of mass destruction — proved to be a fraud, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared there would be no impeachment inquiry and pretty much ordered her party’s malcontents to shut up. But a terrorist attack on a remote diplomatic outpost in an African country steeped in anarchy must be milked for all it’s worth. We are in a new order. The crime in Benghazi apparently was that in the hours afterward there were slightly conflicting reports from the desert outpost about what happened. So let’s revisit 2004; make it 2001 because we now know a little about a few of Bush’s briefs that preceded the Aug. 6 one. By May 1, 2001 the CIA had told the White House that “a group presently in the United States” planned a big terrorist attack. On June 22, the daily brief said al Qaeda strikes were “imminent.” One memo to Bush said the attacks were going to be really big.

“He was distraught because he had never had a girlfriend. He was enraged because he believed he was entitled to sex and adulation from women. He believed that women would never be attracted to him because women are sub-human animals who are instinctively attracted to “brutish,” “stupid” men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like himself. Women, in his view, should not be allowed to make their own decisions about whom to have sex with, because, as subhuman animals, they are incapable of choosing the good men.” All true. However, I thought calling it terrorism was beside the point. The specific content of a psychotic person’s delusions has little reference to anything outside his own mind. It’s a funhouse mirror version of reality. I’m guessing Rodger was a big porn fan with no understanding of real women. Beyerstein convinced me I’d spoken too loosely. Nothing released about Rodgers so far shows clear evidence of mental illness — defined as a treatable brain disease like schizophrenia. So we settled on a New Jerseyism: agreeing that Rodgers was one sick pup. Not exactly how Tony Soprano would phrase it, but safe for newspapers. Sick enough that his own mother called police after seeing his bizarre YouTube videos ranting about wicked “blonde sluts” who ruined his life — pure paranoid ideation, in my view, but I am not a psychiatrist.

Where I live (Arkansas) the standard for involuntary committal to a lockdown mental health facility is basically the aforementioned “danger to oneself or others” — pretty much regardless of diagnosis, although psychiatric testimony helps. Alas, most people don’t know how the system works. Petitioners have to be both sophisticated and determined to get anything done. Most families just hunker down and pray. That tends to be true everywhere. In the case of Eliot Rodger, there should have been better two-way communication. California authorities say Sheriff’s Deputies who visited his apartment found a polite, shy kid who seemed no threat. (His posthumous manifesto expresses fear the cops would find his guns and mad videos.) But shouldn’t there have been two-way communication? Maybe instead of just dispatching deputies, they should have talked with his mother first. Maybe she’s an alarmist; maybe not. I’m told some California jurisdictions do this as a matter of course. Liberals and conservatives alike worry overmuch about the rights of mentally disturbed people. This isn’t the USSR. Nobody’s hospitalizing eccentrics or dissenters. Madness, however, has no rights. Acting otherwise is like letting children play in traffic. Alas, it appears Americans will face the problem soon after enacting sensible gun laws. In short, probably never.


MAY 29, 2014



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or as flawed as Arkansas’s 2014 baseball squad seemed, the Razorbacks had precisely the sort of finish they needed. At no point was this team ever going to draw serious consideration for hosting a regional, but after teetering on the brink of the proverbial bubble for months, the last three weeks have represented a clear breakthrough. First order of business was cleaning up a muddy conference slate, and they did that by taking two of three against then-No. 20 Texas A&M at Baum Stadium and then nudging their league record over .500 with a sweep of basement-dwelling Missouri. That series was capped off by an improbable late rally to force extra innings, and when the Hogs finished off the Tigers 7-5 in the end it gave them their first series sweep of the season. It was arguable whether the Hogs could make much hay at the conference tournament, but improbably they acquitted themselves fairly well. LSU pinned two losses on them, the last of which a run-ruling that ended the Hogs’ stay in Hoover on Saturday afternoon, but Arkansas took two games from Ole Miss and blanked Texas A&M in the opening round. It’s hardly any kind of bold declaration to go 3-2 in the SEC tourney but Arkansas has a pretty uninspiring history there, so this kind of showing represented an unqualified success. The endgame here is that for the 13th straight year, Arkansas is in the national tourney, and this time going in with some obvious swagger. The once-moribund offense is showing late-season promise thanks to timely hits from newcomers like Clark Eagan, Michael Bernal and Alex Gosser. They’ve started to run a little more, Eric Fisher’s flexed his power bat and recent run production has been on an uptick. Over the final seven regular season games, the Hogs plated 46 runs, which certainly doesn’t connote an outburst, but is meaningful given how stellar the pitching and defense was over that stretch. With nine shutouts among their 38 victories, and another batch of one- and tworun games, this staff is every bit as salty as the much more heralded ones of prior seasons. There is no lockdown guy like Ryne Stanek or D.J. Baxendale in the bunch — Jalen Beeks, Trey Killian and Chris Oliver have been stingy without being overpowering — but the group scarcely allows any baserunners at all and works deep into games. That’s where a heady bullpen asserts itself, and even if Michael Gunn creates his own trouble and Colin Poche has fits of wildness, there’s no shortage of options. Jacob Stone (4-0, 0.99 ERA, three saves and a remarkable 0.74 WHIP) has taken control when late

innings end up on the precipice of trouble. In the field, Arkansas has cleaned it up substantially as well, with only five BEAU errors in the last nine WILCOX games, and that figure may be as critical an indicator of recent progress as any. For a team that walks on a razor wire all the time (21 one-run contests, representing more than a third of the overall slate to date), sharp glove work matters much. Arkansas’s reward for its ending flurry was a trip to Charlottesville, Va., for a regional that features host Virginia, fellow commonwealth denizen Liberty and Patriot League upstart Bucknell. It’s an unusual foursome considering that Arkansas is the clear geographical interloper of the bunch, and probably the No. 2 seed that Virginia didn’t realistically want to draw, given that the Hogs have generally upgraded their level of play against the nation’s best this spring. The Cavaliers are a 44-win monster and a home-field juggernaut, but they had a mildly disappointing finish and therefore lost out in an effort to secure the tourney’s overall top seed. The Hogs open against Liberty on Friday night, neatly securing a primetime ESPNU tilt with the Flames. Liberty will in all likelihood turn to Trey Lambert (11-2, 2.10 in 15 starts) and though he’s been phenomenal all season, he’s more or less fresh meat to a lineup that has, strangely, had few problems challenging frontline starters this season. The real test for the Hog pitchers comes in the form of Ryan Seiz and Alex Close, two stout kids with better power numbers than anyone in the Hogs’ lineup (combined .343 with 20 homers and 87 RBI), but the rest of the offense is far less dynamic. And these kids are a free-swinging bunch, striking out once every 4.8 at-bats and rarely walking, which plays well to the strengths of Killiam or Beeks, who is still battling a sore left elbow. It seems like it’s now the custom rather than the exception, but Arkansas looks like a team much better suited to taking its show away from home for the NCAA regionals. The Hogs’ wealth of pitching is the kind of asset that has made them worthy of extended play in June each year, and it’s also the sort of trait that pins all the pressure on the host. Virginia is a worthy high seed, without question, but the Cavs are also more than capable of overlooking Bucknell in anticipation of a grind-it-out matchup with the Hogs. As it was two years ago when the Hogs authored an improbable run to Omaha, they are finding the makeup of a championship contender amid a sea of obvious flaws.


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Rollin’ stones THE OBSERVER SPENT a good part of last week working on a story that took us out into nature, which we generally hate. Too many ticks, chiggers, snakes, no-see-ums and poison ivy out there, my friend. We’ll stick to the paved roads, thanks. Going to see a gent up near Red Star, for example, a solid 50 twisty miles from the nearest tow truck or taxi cab, Yours Truly and Mr. Photographer went down the hairiest fire trail we’ve attempted in a wheeled vehicle since we hit the offroad vehicle park up near Hot Springs for a story some years back. Instead of riding in a lifted Land Rover this time, however, The Observer was white-knuckling it in Spouse’s Honda CRV — an SUV, but just barely — glad even at that we didn’t take Mr. P’s little Ford Fiesta, recently back from sabbaticals at the Grease Rag Spa for an oil leak and a busted transmission. The intrepid ramblers would have surely had to abandon that little Ford at some point in last week’s off-roading, high-centered, buried to the hubs in damp clay or just plain ol’ conked out and pushed off the road, a coop for owls and doves for the rest of time, covered over with vines, left to return to the earth. We barely made it through as is, with all-wheel drive and a good eight inches more ground clearance. Up and down and through we went, over rocks and roots and mud, past wildflowers, trees and turtles, doe deer and low-water crossings, out to where the cell service gets spotty and the street signs stop and all the power lines come to an end. The end of the world, right here in Arkansas. There are people at the end of the world, if you can imagine it, happy people, even without all the gadgets and geegaws and coolerators that seem to rule these modern lives

of ours and keep us couchbound all summer. Spouse’s little Honda, Black Phillip, has seen it all in the past two weeks in our treks out to the mountainous boonies of North Arkansas. At one point in the deep woods, rattling over what appeared to be the partially buried backbone of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the car sounded an ominous “PingTing!” that signifies some metallic thing has fell off and skittered away into the underbrush. We never saw it if it did. A mechanic’s lost class ring, perhaps. We hope so, anyway. There’s hearty souls out there in the backwaters and great beyond of north Arkansas, my friend. People living in places where you could do anything you wanted short of getting a no-whip mocha from Starbucks if the mood struck you, the immensity and remoteness of that wild country powerful nerve wracking to city fellers like The Observer and Mr. P, who cracked nervous jokes about “Deliverance” as we rattled over hill and dale in the leopard-spotted shade of the fathoms-deep woods. If the terrifying inbreds who — SPOILER ALERT! — killed Hopper and Fonda at the end of “Easy Rider” are out there, however, we didn’t see them. To a person, everybody we met was helpful and kind, generous, passionate about their lives, itching for conversation. We don’t know if that’s because they just grow ’em polite in the mountains, or because not many folks get out their way. Probably a little of both. It’s almost enough to make us change our mind about nature. Maybe if we weren’t so afraid of picking ticks and having to find somebody to suck the poison from a copperhead bite out of our ankle, we might have to get out there and ramble more often. Probably not, but it’s a thought. C










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A fundamental right


ur Arkansas constitution guarantees that “no power, civil or military, shall ever interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.” In other words, voting is a fundamental right. We have come far to get to the point that voting is a fundamental right. In 1961, well within memory for many, there were zero African-American citizens registered to vote in Amite County, Miss. Zero. It took the courageous organizing of a young man named Bob Moses to ensure that constitutional rights actually meant something more than mere words on paper. In 1961, Moses went to the courthouse in tiny Liberty, Miss., the Amite County seat. Moses and an AfricanAmerican farmer and minster were beaten senseless by a sheriff’s deputy and others that first day they tried to register to vote. Bloodied and bandaged, Moses announced to an assembled crowd the night of the beating that it occurred to him that he was no different than any other man. It occurred to him that “all” were created equal. So Moses went back to the Liberty courthouse the next week. And the next. Moses didn’t quit until all could exercise their fundamental right to vote. We have come a long way since 1961, and racial animus is not nearly what it once was. But even if a law is passed with the best of intentions, laws that disproportionately impact elderly, minority or poor should give us pause. Now Arkansans’s fundamental right to vote may be threatened. Act 595 of the 2013 Arkansas General Assembly is known as the Voter ID law. The Arkansas Voter ID law is similar to other laws enacted around the nation during President Obama’s time in office. Courts in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have found that these so-called Voter ID laws place additional burdens on

the right to vote. Courts have specifically held that these Voter ID laws also disproportionately CHRIS impact elderly, BURKS GUEST COLUMNIST m in o r i ty a n d poor voters. In the past, the Arkansas Supreme Court has found that our state constitution is the “fortification within which the people have entrenched themselves for the preservation of their rights and privileges.” As ever, it’s important not to forget our history. The fortress that defends our rights only survives if those we elect vigilantly stand watch. The statistics are clear that the Arkansas Voter ID law today disproportionately impacts elderly, minority and poor voters. Even if you buy the argument that the Voter ID law is valid on its face, the law’s implementation has been messy and unequal at best — many voters from the May 20 primary say poll workers illegally quizzed them about the information on their ID. Gov. Mike Beebe has said that the Voter ID law that passed over his veto was an expensive solution in search of a problem. The problem the Voter ID law seeks to address — in-person vote fraud — is not a problem in Arkansas. A separate absentee bearer issue may be the real culprit, if there is one to be found. A young woman named Freedom is now one of the plaintiffs seeking to overturn the Arkansas Voter ID law. How appropriate. Just as Moses took a stand in Liberty, Miss., Freedom is now fighting in Little Rock. Let’s hope our state Supreme Court takes note, and remembers that we are who we are because of where we have come from.

The problem the Voter ID law seeks to address, in-person vote fraud, is not a problem in Arkansas.

Chris Burks serves as a Pulaski County Election Commissioner.







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It took a couple of days of pestering — and we never did get a direct response from Chief of Staff Bruce Campbell — but Amber Pool, who handles communications for the office of the lieutenant governor (there hasn’t been one since Feb. 1) did respond to the Arkansas Times’ request for leave records, email and other material that could reflect activities in the leaderless office. Bottom line: not much happening. Some routine notices of governmental meetings irrelevant to office operations came through email. One letter from a student. Some email from Black Helicopter Queen Debbie Pelley of Jonesboro bearing her voting recommendations. The records produced showed no office-generated work. The documents did turn up the news that former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who resigned Feb. 1 in an expense account scandal, still has not repaid the money a Legislative Audit says he owes for billing the state for personal expenses. It seeks $9,836, mostly for charging the state for mileage for commutes to his home in Springdale, but also for some other improper travel expenses for himself and an employee. The office response to an inquiry from Legislative Audit was that Darr doesn’t work there any more. A spokesman from the state auditor’s office confirmed that the auditor hasn’t received any payment from Darr for the amount Legislative Audit says he owes. The auditor’s office sent a letter to him May 8 at his Springdale address asking that he repay the $9,836 said he owed by the end of the fiscal year, on June 30. He has been making installment payments on $11,000 in fines by the state Ethics Commission for converting campaign money illegally to personal use. He has taken steps to square the campaign account. As yet, there’s been no word of any criminal investigation of Darr’s illegal use of campaign and state money for personal use. A criminal investigation is nearing completion of former Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout for use of campaign money for personal expenses. State law makes such violations misdemeanors, but federal investigators are also looking at the case. Under federal law, use of a credit card, telephone and mail in furtherance of obtaining public CONTINUED ON PAGE 13 12

MAY 29, 2014


‘Sooner or later, you know it’s time to leave’ Homicide Diary: former LRPD Homicide Detective Ronnie A. Smith AS TOLD TO DAVID KOON


hat follows is the latest installment of Homicide Diary, an ongoing project in which we speak to those who have been impacted by or who deal with the aftermath of homicide in Little Rock — victims’ families, prosecutors, cops, defense attorneys, community activists and others. Currently, the number of Little Rock deaths classified as homicides since Jan. 1 stands at 25.

If you want to find retired LRPD Homicide Detective Ronnie Smith on any given night, he’s probably at the gym. He goes seven nights a week if he can. Sometimes you’ll catch him on a spinbike, but mostly, he’s a runner. He has run the Boston Marathon five times. Smith started with the department as a patrolman in 1976, and transferred to Homicide in September 1983, working sexual assaults for the first few years. He was called to be a police officer, he says, using the same word a priest or monk might use. When I asked him for a ballpark figure of the number of homicides he worked in his career, he said “about 187” before admitting it wasn’t an estimate. It’s 187, and the details of most of them are still locked in his heart: the girl from Mount St. Mary Academy who came to the department for a class project a few months before her body was found dumped in Ferndale; the woman who jealously shot into her husband’s car, the bullet finding a toddler strapped into a safety seat; the grocery store manager, killed by thieves, whose


Darr still owes, nothing happening in former office


widow Smith had to inform that her husband wasn’t coming home while her two children looked on. While others transferred in or out of Homicide, Smith stayed with the unit until 2006. Since then, he’s served as a bailiff in the court of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, who he met when Piazza was a young prosecutor back in the old days. Running helps him think, Smith says. It helps him think about other things than what he’s seen. I worked my first homicide on Thanksgiving Day 1983, down at 14th and Woodrow in an old duplex there just

east of the intersection. These two guys were fighting over a turkey leg, and one shot the other one. It’s kind of hard to believe that a human being will take a life over a turkey leg. But you go ahead and work it. You submit the case to the prosecutor’s office, and let it go from there. I’d seen dead bodies by then. Being a patrol officer, that’s part of the job. Sometimes you can kind of become desensitized to it, which is good in one aspect, but also can be bad in another. Maybe it’s cold to say, but you start to look at the body as evidence. There’s not a whole CONTINUED ON PAGE 14




They call them the Fragile Five: Arkansas landmarks in danger of destruction, whose loss would put a hole in Arkansas history. The Historic Preservation Alliance has announced its annual list of Arkansas’s Endangered Places. Fittingly, the Alliance made its announcement at the once-endangered White-Baucum House, built in 1869 and 1970 at 201 S. Izard St., which has been brought back to life by businessman Jay Chandler. Here are the properties, the reasons given by the Alliance on their choice and our own observations on the sites:

ARKANSAS MOUND SITES, 1500 BC TO 1700 AD. This listing includes more than one property but many. These earthworks tell the story of Arkansas’s prehistoric cultures, Native Americans whose history is recorded only in the nonperishable items and earthworks left behind. Leveling for agriculture and residential and industrial development, erosion and looters have all taken their toll on these tangible pieces of a rich native history. Visitors to Toltec Mounds State Park or Parkin Mounds State Park are examples of what the mounds offer in the way of knowledge. THE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORIC DISTRICT There has been private and public investment to preserve some homes around the historically significant and “most beautiful high school in America,” as we all know Central High to be. But alterations to houses and demolitions of its historic structures are jeopardizing the district’s historic designation and property owners’ access to the state and federal tax benefits that come with the designation. Central High Visitors Center is a national tourist attraction, as well; investment in the neighborhood would help restore some of Little Rock’s reputation. DOWNTOWN HOT SPRINGS (1886-1930) Central Avenue’s historic buildings date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, making the avenue one of the most distinctive and familiar commercial streets in Arkansas. While the ground floors of these older buildings are occupied with often bustling business, upper stories have gone neglected. Until recently, Hot Springs ordinances exempted upper stories from building codes unless they were occupied. But in the wake of the fire that destroyed the oldest section of the Majestic Hotel in February, the city created a Thermal Basin Fire District designation that allows property owners to install safe, modern fire suppression systems that preserve historic features. The Alliance hopes property owners, developers, city officials and community and state leaders will address the problems of large-scale vacancy issues with solutions that include reuse and rehabilitation of the structures. THE JOHN LEE WEBB HOUSE (1900), 403 PLEASANT ST., HOT SPRINGS John Lee Webb, a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, “Supreme Custodian” of the Woodman of the Union fraternal order and president of the National Baptist Laymen’s Convention, was one of Hot Springs’ most influential African-American leaders. The home in which he lived for 30 years has long been vacant and is vulnerable to fire and vandalism.

THE THOMPSON BUILDING (1913), HOT SPRINGS The Classical Revival, white-glazed terra cotta façade of the Thompson Building, designed by state Capitol architect George R. Mann, is one of Central Avenue’s most important extant buildings from the early part of the 20th century. Built in 1913 as a five-story office building at 340-346 Central Ave., it is occupied only on the ground floor. A vertical shaft that runs through the top four floors makes it particularly vulnerable to fire. The building is eligible for state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, but its owner has not invested in improving or updating the property beyond the first floor. It would benefit from a retrofit to meet the recently adopted IEBC (International Existing Building Codes).


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INSIDER, CONT. money improperly can be leveraged into a more serious charge. There are also potential tax implications in receiving such money if it isn’t declared as taxable income. Bookout was a bigger scofflaw, in terms of spending, than Darr. He spent tens of thousands on purely personal things, from clothes to home furnishings. The Times’ FOI request turned up a monthly accounting of the lieutenant governor’s office cost to taxpayers. It’s around $25,000 a month — $26,746.77 in April, to be precise — for the salaries for four employees, costs of their benefits and office expenses. The four employees — Bruce Campbell ($75,132 annual salary); Amber Pool ($57,564); Josh Curtis ($51,564), and Raeanne Gardner ($33,660) — have worked continuously with no boss and limited duties since Feb. 1. They apparently plan to continue to do so until June 30, unless something better comes along.

No downtown Mapco An informed source tells the Times that the Little Rock City Board will defeat a proposal to put a Mapco convenience store and gas station at Third and Broadway, already a sometimes horrendous intersection for traffic. Despite recommendation from the city Planning Department that it oppose approval of the store, the Little Rock Planning Commission voted several weeks ago to allow it. The proposal is supported by Little Rock developer Dickson Flake. If — when — the city Board defeats this proposal, maybe Mayor Mark Stodola can then give some thoughts to the quality of his Planning Commission appointments given that they overwhelmingly overrode the recommendations of our professional city planning staff. Happily, the staff produced plenty of reasons that will allow the board to defeat the proposal without appearing arbitrary.

Impeach Rapert Critics of Sen. Jason Rapert have organized an on-line petition effort to protest his attack on a judge doing no more than upholding his duties to rule on the constitutionality of challenged laws. Find it by visiting thepetitionsite. com and searching “Rapert.” As the organizer indicates, impeachment of Rapert isn’t expected, but signers want to make a statement about the Conway demagogue.

MAY 29, 2014


‘SOONER OR LATER, YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO LEAVE,’ CONT. Continued from page 12 lot you can do about what happened beforehand, but at least when you get to the crime scene, you can kind of take control. You have control over those circumstances. You can work the crime scene and do what you have to do to try and bring it to a conclusion and make an arrest. I can’t control why that guy shot and killed someone. That’s just the sinful nature of man. It’s the sinful nature in his heart. That’s the only way someone could do that to someone, and I guess we’re just born with that nature. But once you get there, you can control what happens inside that crime scene. You can do the best you can for that family. You can bring closure for them. You’re never going to bring that person back, but you can do the best that you can.  It’s an awesome responsibility when you’re working a homicide, because a lot of times, you’ll only get that one chance to get it right. But when you leave work, you try to leave the work there at 700 W. Markham. You always try to do that, but you can’t all the time. When I was there, I gave 110 percent, and when I left the police department at night, I tried not to carry it home with me. But you can’t do that on certain cases. There are

certain cases where I’ll still wake up at night and think about them, or I’ll think about them while I’m on the job here at the courthouse. I think about cases I’ve worked in the past: Did I do everything that I could? Did I do the right thing? You have thoughts like that. I’ve been gone eight years in April, and there are still cases that come back. I’ll always think about them. Sometimes when I’m driving around the city, I’ll go by certain parts of town and I’ll think: I worked a homicide there, or I worked a sexual assault in that house. When I go up to Kroger, you know, Andre, the chef, was killed in March or April of 1994 right across the street from that Kroger. I think about that. At the Deaf School, I worked a rape where a young girl was kidnapped and taken there. Right past the Deaf School, there’s some apartments that go down the hill — I forget the name of the street — but a young man shot his dad on a front porch right there. There was a robbery that turned into a homicide at Western Sizzlin’ on Rodney Parham in April of 1999. The manager was sitting in his office, counting the day’s receipts, and a guy came in, shot and killed him. I drive by what used to be Western Sizzlin’ on Rodney Parham, and it brings back those

memories. It’s not sad. It’s just a moment of recognition. I worked 3 to 11 most of my career. I liked that shift. It gives you something new to do every day. In Homicide, once you go to work, you’re scheduled for eight hours, but you may be there another 24 hours before you go home. The longest I’ve stayed out is, I think, 32 hours. I was kind of married to my job. I worked long hours and I didn’t have to be home. It can affect your personal life. You can get to the point that nothing really affects you anymore. You’ve seen me up at the fitness center. That was my release. Fortunately I’ve had the good health where I could run. I used to do some marathons. I’ve always kind of channeled that energy into running, where it doesn’t affect you, where it can’t make you jaded or coldhearted. But it can if you let it.  I can remember some guys who just became cold. You always try to guard against that. But most of the guys I worked with, they dealt with it. You develop a bond among those homicide detectives. That’s the part I miss about it: being part of that special group. Unless you’re a part of it, you don’t know what it means to be a part of that.  Sooner or later, you know it’s time to leave. Sometimes I think I stayed too

long in homicide. I figured 30 years at the police department was enough. I loved my job, and I loved what I was doing. I loved getting up in the morning and going to work. But you just come to hate some of the things you have to do when you get there, what you have to deal with. At the end of my career, I would go to a crime scene and I would never go inside the crime scene to look at the body. I’d start doing a neighborhood canvas or interviewing witnesses. So I knew at that point that it was time to leave. I didn’t want to look at the body. The part I really miss is working with people, helping people out. A couple times I’ve been over here in the hallway, and somebody will come up to me. They’ll say, “Hey, I really appreciate what you did on my son’s case or my daughter’s case.” They remember me. They tell me that they appreciate what I did. That feels good. I had some doubts about leaving the police department, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be best to get away from the job. I don’t miss the long hours. I don’t miss getting called out in the middle of the night and missing holidays. I think it’s out of my blood now. But it took me awhile to get it out of my blood.


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Deep in the Ozarks, aging idealists still live the dream of a simpler, more environmentally conscious life. BY DAVID KOON PHOTOS BY BRIAN CHILSON


y the early 1970s, with the Age of Aquarius rapidly succumbing to a thousand cuts — at the Lorraine Motel, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Spahn Ranch, Saigon, Altamont Speedway and eventually the Watergate Hotel — large swaths of the generation that came of age listening to the Beatles had resolved to try something different. For some, spurred by the growing environmental movement and the rise of publications like “Mother Earth News,” that something different was the back-to-the-land movement, which called on adherents to drop out of the urban life and head to rural America, where cheap land, a low cost of living and scant government regulation promised the kind of utopia many had dreamed of but few had accomplished. A lot of them ended up 16

MAY 29, 2014


in Arkansas, where wooded, spring-fed acreage in the Ozarks could be had in those days for as little as $50 an acre. Though the true numbers of how many young people decamped to the boonies in the heyday of the back-to-the-land movement will likely never be known, sociologist Timothy Miller, in his book “The 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond,” says the exodus could have been more than 1 million people nationwide. How many of those people actually stayed on the land is just as hard to pin down, but it’s clearly a tiny percentage of those who set out for greener pastures. Living in the backwoods miles from where the paved roads and power lines stop isn’t for the faint of heart, and in many cases the ideals that sent a lot of young people looking for nirvana in the hills seem to have lasted just about as long as their first hard

winter, their first pregnancy miles from a hospital, or their first long spell of intermittent hunger because they had no reliable income. There were some who stuck with it, however, often because they mastered a traditional craft that allowed them to earn a semi-reliable living. All of the people we talked to for this story live either mostly or entirely “off the grid,” relying on solar panels and banks of batteries for their electricity. Several of them haven’t had air conditioning or indoor plumbing for decades. While that might seem primitive to someone sitting in a suburban house, a person, every one of those we talked with said they feel they have a more meaningful existence unplugged from the world, more in touch with nature and themselves. The question is: Would you trade your flush toilet and curling iron for fulfillment?




he first thing you notice about master cabin builder Robert Runyan is his beard and ponytail, a mountain man’s spill of off-white hair, usually framing a smile and a twinkling set of eyes that have a good bit of devilment still left in them at age 64. Then you notice his hands and forearms, corded with muscle, the hands and arms of a man who has sweated his way into being the best at what he does. Runyan, who was named an Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council in May, is one of the state’s greatest living practitioners of the only traditional art form you can live inside. His white oak cabins — like the one he built on a ridge of Mt. Gaylor near Winslow for a Fayetteville surgeon over the course of two years in the 1990s — are a revelation of detail, skill and craftsmanship. The timber is set using a technique called “Scandinavian scribe,” in which each log is painstakingly coped until it fits exactly into the natural contours of the log below it. The resulting joints are so tight that you’d be hard pressed to find a place you could slide a credit card between the two logs. Maybe even more amazing is that — with a few exceptions — Runyan normally uses no power tools or mechanized equipment in his constructions, relying instead on hand tools, ropes, blocks and tackles and a matched set of giant mules. Originally from Newport, where his father ran a small architectural firm, Runyan always had a sense of being an environmentalist, even before the term

was popularized. In high school, he worked part time as a surveyor, and was struck by the waste of clearing the land for farming. “We’d go out and survey big blocks of woods,” he said, “and the next day they’d go in, push it up in a big pile and burn it — 300 acres, 160 acres.” Though a football knee injury saved him from Vietnam, many of his friends joined the Army or Marine Corps and were shipped off to war. The

world had changed by the time they got back to the states. Disillusioned with life in conservative Northeast Arkansas, Runyan said, dozens of young people he knew migrated to Northwest Arkansas over a two- or three-year period in the early 1970s. He moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1971, working as a stonemason on projects by the famous Arkansas architect Fay Jones and his proteges. “Northeast Arkansas was a whole different world from Northwest Arkansas back then,” he said. “We had a mass exodus of people who came up here in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I’ll bet there were 40 or 50 of us that migrated up here from the Jonesboro/Newport area. ... Jonesboro was pretty rigid and still is, so we had our bumps and bruises along the way.” Though Runyan’s wife, Dorothy, has a more conventional house that’s hooked to the power lines near the top of Mt. Gaylor on U.S. Highway 71, Runyan is working on a cabin on property he’s owned for years a few ridges away in the watershed of Lake Fort Smith. That property is completely off the grid, with electricity provided by solar panels. While Runyan eventually got interested in the environmental aspects of solar power, he said its first appeal to him was the cost. “They wanted $10,000 to run a power line in,” he said, “and that was back in the ’70s. So I backed off. Right now to this day, I might have $10,000 invested in my [solar] system. It’s set up now so you can run power tools, refrigeration, fans, lights, freezer. Plus they wanted to put a power line through the most pristine part of the property. ... I CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

MAY 29, 2014


said, ‘No, I’m not going to go there, either.’ ” After most of a lifetime spent as a steward of the forest in Northwest Arkansas, Runyan is saddened by the environmental waste he sees creeping into the area. A lot of the old-growth timber there is spontaneously dying, he said, possibly because of prolonged summer heat and drought in recent years leaving the woods susceptible to disease. Logging, he said, has become slash and burn, with high-dollar operations requiring high-profits and speed, neither of which allow for preserving the smaller trees that get in the way. “What I call the old-time loggers — which is a couple of generations in front of me — they were fairly conservative,” he said. “They knew they could go back in 20 years and go through it again and make a living. Now it’s [cut] everything: from pulp, to crossties, to high-grade lumber. It’s everything. It’ll take a long time for one of these clear cuts to come back.” As has been his habit over the past 40 years, however, Runyan is working to push back against what’s fast and modern. “I’ve got a couple hundred white oaks I’ve started,” he said. “They’re in pots right now, but when they get big enough, I’m going to put them out.”


Hazel Valley near Durham


hen we drove out to Don House’s place near the little dirt-road enclave of Hazel Valley, he was picking an herb related to chamomile out of the middle of the driveway. He planned to make tea from it before bedtime. It’s soothing, he said, and gives him interesting dreams. A professional photographer who once ran a studio on Dickson Street in Fayetteville before moving to Hazel Valley in 1998, House, 62, is originally from Detroit. He said he fell in love with the area in the early 1980s while visiting his sister, who was teaching at the University of Arkansas. He moved to Fayetteville in 1984. “A number of people that I was meeting had made the decision to change their lives,” he said. “It seemed like everyone I met had been educated or trained to do something different than what they were doing. They had made a decision to give up lucrative financial rewards and come to an area where minimum wage was the common salary. But what they got in return was the ability to do what they wanted to do — to live the lifestyle that they wanted to live. They were happy.” House’s cabin and studio are set in hilly, wildflower-strewn terrain, at the end of a winding driveway. The entire property is off the electrical grid, powered by a small solar array House put together himself with guidance from Jimis Damet (page 19). When House and his then-wife built the 700-square-foot cabin there, they’d originally wanted to bring in electric lines but soon ran into a problem that’s familiar among those who went to solar as a plan B. “They wanted to cut a 30-foot swath up the 18

MAY 29, 2014



mountain for the poles, no exceptions, and it really would have ruined a beautiful view and the woods there,” he said. “You have to give them the right to do whatever they need to do to maintain it, including herbicides. So we decided to look at other options.” That option is mounted on a post at the bottom of the hill: a series of solar panels, hooked up to several 6-volt forklift batteries, with the power run through an industrial inverter that converts it from DC to 110 volt AC. House said it cost him around $5,000 to set up the system originally, and the only major repair he’s had to do in 14 years is to replace a set of batteries that went bad. He totaled it up once, and figured that he spends around $30 a month for electricity. Though he doesn’t have air conditioning, he does run commercial photographic lights

in his studio, along with computers, printers and large scanners. He has a small propane refrigerator. His house, with windows set against the high ceiling to let the heat rise up and out, was ten to 15 degrees cooler than the outside when we visited. Behind a folding door in the kitchen is a small meter that shows him exactly how much electricity is in his batteries and how much electricity he is using at any given moment. When it was installed, he said, he was amazed at how much electricity normal appliances and electronics — radios, TVs, chargers — use when they’re not turned on or in use. Now he has cutoff switches for everything. A lot of people take the wrong approach to the idea of going solar, House said, asking how many panels it would take to live as they do now, instead of trying to consume energy in ways that are better


suited to the technology. “They’re asking the question, ‘How can I get all this electricity from solar?’” he said. “Instead, they should look at, ‘How can I reduce the amount of electricity I’m using first, and then get the panels to fit that?’ That’s a much healthier and less expensive approach to getting off the grid.’ ” Living where he does and how he does allows him to think more deeply about his craft, House said, paring away distractions and lending a “spiritual quality” to his life that helps him in his work. Though House is clearly living a simpler life than most Americans, he resists the label of “simpler” because of the connotations. “You say simpler and they might picture me and my sweetie sitting around a candle on a table trying to read,” he said. “I would say that instead

of a simpler life, it’s a more conscious life. You’re more conscious of the energy that you’re using. It’s not an inconvenience of it at all once you’re more considerate of it.”



ed Star, around 50 winding miles north of Clarksville, might well be the dim singularity at the middle of nowhere. From there, drive until you hit a washboard road that snakes through the woods for four miles. Turn, then head down a narrow trail rough enough to make you imagine punching a hole in the gas tank followed by a spark and explosion, trees pressing in so tight in some

places that the branches touch the car on both sides. A mile and a half of that, and you’ll finally emerge into a fair and sunlit glade, crowned with the rambling dome house owned by Jimis Damet and his wife, Patricia Powell. Damet, the owner of the solar installation business Rocky Grove Sun Co., is the sole remaining member of a commune that fled civilization in 1973, the group paying $8,000 for 80 acres of some of the most beautiful and least-accessible land on God’s green earth. One by one, his partners cashed out. Most of them live comfortable suburban lives now, having left their dalliance with communal living behind 40 years ago like a handful of wild oats. Damet, 65, was born in Tulsa and attended college at the University of Arkansas. By the time he graduated, the back-to-the-land movement was kicking into high gear. He and five other idealistic compatriots went in together and bought the property, moving their families to the property near Red Star. “It’s really fun for the first two years,” he said. “Everything’s novel and nothing is too serious at first. You’re just out there, and you’ve got so much energy that first year. But once people get down to how comfortable this lifestyle is going to be, and how they’re going to have to be in charge of their own comfort, and maybe they don’t think that can do it, it gets old quickly. The other thing is economics. Most people who lived out here two years being broke eventually got the reality of making money. Some of them had babies pretty early, and that made them move away.” It was the reality of making money that pushed Damet into the solar business. By the 1980s, he’d gotten a few photovoltaic panels, intending to start building furniture for a living. When other off-thegrid people heard about his solar system, however, they started asking whether he could help them set up their own or help them acquire parts. So he started his company. The first few years were very hard, but as costs dropped and technology improved, so did his business. These days, Damet has three employees, and installs 20 to 40 systems per year all over the state. While living so far out and off the grid is a “higher maintenance lifestyle,” he said, “you’ve got to like all that. You’ve got to like the purity of it. There’s got to be something that makes you satisfied that you’re doing something in a kind of zero-emission way. You’re not contributing to consumption or pollution necessarily.” Damet and his wife recently installed a very efficient AC unit to cool one room of their house on hot days. He said he has everything he wants on the property. They’re comfortable there after 40 years, he said, in a world created by their own blood, sweat and tears. It’s difficult at times, but it’s clearly preferable to the alternative. “A lot of people end up spending their time in a job they don’t like,” Damet said. “Maybe they like the money they’re making, but they don’t like spending all that time. So it’s all about doing what you want to do. It’s not about money.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

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n the tiny studio she shares with her husband behind Mellon’s Country Store in Mountain View, Sage Holland heated a blob of glass until it glowed a dull red, then deftly touched it over and over with a thin wire of colored Italian glass, turning the bead in a blue cone of flame as she worked. Slowly, as her husband and I talked about their life off the grid 20 miles west near Fox, the world-renowned artisan, who has been making glass beads for over 25 years, added glass layer on layer until she’d fashioned something like a nebula captured in a drop of water. Right now, when they aren’t in their studio or on the road to shows, Tom and Sage Holland live in what they unapologetically call a shack — a tiny cabin with no indoor bathroom on 44 acres, only connected to the outside world by a telephone line run three-quarters of a mile over the ground. They have a bank of four solar panels and several batteries. They’re working on a larger house with a cistern in the basement, a flush toilet and 20-plus solar panels. They hope to have it done by next winter. Tom, 60, a well-known beadmaker in his own right, was raised in Cape Girardeau, Mo., while Sage, 55, grew up in Southern California. They met at a bead-making conference in Washington, D.C., in 1990, and Sage moved to Arkansas from 20

MAY 29, 2014


Bellingham, Wash., in 1993. Tom said that living an off-the-grid lifestyle has been an aspiration of his since he was young. “I read a book when I was a freshman in college called ‘Replenish the Earth,’ ” he said, “and it stated that one American uses as many resources to survive as 45 people in India. It’s only gotten worse since the ’70s. ... I always wanted to go down kicking and screaming, at least being part of the solution instead of part of the problem.” Tom said that the Baby Boomers are a “freak anomaly in the history of mankind.” Being born after World War II allowed them to reap the benefits of an economy powered by the fact that most of the rest of the world’s economic might had been destroyed.

“You have a generation of people who had time to stop and think,” he said. “Then, all of a sudden, you had an unjust war like Vietnam that unified us into one common cause. ... We were on this youthful, idealistic fun trip. But when it came for the down and dirty of it, we realized it was a lot of work and we became disillusioned with it. The same with the back-to-the-land movement. There was disillusionment. People realized how hard it was.” Tom said he can tell story after story of idealistic people who crumbled in the face of the reality of living out in the boonies. “I can take you to unfinished foundations way out in the woods where people had this grandiose dream, and they never got any further than the foundation,” he said. “But there are a few of us that have held on.” Sage said the enemy of living off the grid is the “comfort zone” that tells people they have to exist in a world never hotter than 85 degrees or below 70. She said when people visit their property, she has found that many of them are downright afraid of nature. “You have to have a hearty spirit,” she said. “You can’t be a wimp. It’s not for the weak of heart down here on the creek or anywhere in Arkansas in the woods. We’ll bring people from the city who are wanting to learn in an environment that’s away from everything. If they’re the kind of person who is afraid of a tick or afraid of a snake, everything goes to a mode of trying to


Near Mountain View



coddle them.” There is, Sage says, a certain kind of person who has an open place in their mind that allows them to handle the pressures of being self-sufficient. “I’m sure most people don’t even know it’s possible,” she said. “So they close their minds to it. If they ever visited a place that’s totally solar that was comfortable, then their minds would be open. But they have to see that place and experience it, and they don’t.” The lifestyle, Tom said, is well suited to how they want to live: low impact, environmentally sound, close to the culture and the earth. Part of what drew him to the Mountain View area, Tom said, was the feeling that the world was becoming all the same. He’s a bit wary now that there’s a McDonald’s in town. “When I first moved here,” he said, “ I lived next to an 85-year-old lady who

had never been more than 45 miles away from where she was born. That’s why I moved here. I saw this country becoming homogenized — same, same, same. And, by golly, Stone County had culture back in those days. It was a different part of this nation that had identity, and I loved that because I saw it being lost.” Sage said she feels like she’s doing something positive by living the way they do. She feels like they’re doing something good for the earth, and setting an example. “You feel like you’re helping further an alternative energy future,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about the power company coming and tearing the woods up. And it can be fun. It’s good for your brain to not surrender to the way people tell you it has to be done. You have to be a bit of a rebel to live this way, I suppose.”

nother long, rough trail through the mountains near Mountain View brings you to the cabin of Owen Rein, who has devoted his life to making traditional while-oak baskets and masterful rocking chairs. Now 58, he moved to Stone County in 1980. Before that, he’d been living in Massachusetts. Unemployed, in the middle of a recession, with no other prospects, he said he tried the only thing he could think to do, trekking into the middle of the forest and building a 12-by-20-foot log cabin, where he would live for the next three years. For him, he said, going back to the land wasn’t an ideology, it was just a lack of options. “I remember being on unemployment lines that went out the door and down the block,” he said. “I didn’t have any other opportunity, and I couldn’t pay rent — out of college, sharing a house, $60 bucks a month, and I couldn’t pay rent. What was I going to do? So I ended up going back to my childhood idea of building a fort in the woods. I built a log cabin in the woods. That was plan B. That was all I could come up with, and it worked.” Everybody brings up Thoreau when he tells them that story of a cabin in the woods, Rein said, but he reminds people that Thoreau’s mom brought ol’ Henry David dinner every night. Nobody was bringing him dinner at his cabin, Rein said with a laugh. After a few years of living “hard and primitive,” saving money where he could, Rein bought land near Mountain View — where the acreage and taxes were cheap and the oak and hickory trees were plentiful, he said — and built a cabin. His current house, a 900-square-foot clapboard cabin situated in a clearing in the dense woods, sits just up the lane from his workshop. Inside the workshop are only two large pieces of equipment: a homemade foot-treadle lathe for turning the tenons on stretchers, and a long, narrow shaving horse, where Rein spends his days alone by the stove with a drawing knife, sighting down a stick of wood with a practiced eye as he shaves down a chair part, cleaved minutes before from the heart of a log outside, until it is ruler straight and square. His rocking chairs, hand-whittled with the grain of CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

MAY 29, 2014


STILL BACK TO THE LAND, CONT. Continued from page 21 the wood for strength, sell for $1,200 each. Both former U.S. Sen. David Pryor and President Bill Clinton own Rein rockers. “Part of the plan of moving here and setting up here in the method I use now was to set up my own business without the financial pressure of a traditional woodworking business,” he said. “That’s really high, and it’s really hard to make a go of it. It’s very competitive and you need a lot of capital to invest in power tools if you’re going to compete. With the traditional methods I use, it’s a few simple hand tools and the technique

gives me access to the timber. I can go cut a tree down by myself with simple hand tools, take it through the whole process.” His resolve and that method was tested during the Great Recession of recent years, including one spell in which he didn’t sell a single chair for nine full months. Owning his property and having access to the materials — being “vertically integrated” as he calls it — allowed him to use that nine months to focus on new designs and getting inventory done instead of sweating about where his next paycheck was coming from. Rein said that he feels he’s doing good and valuable work. His property is pow-

ered by solar panels, but that’s only since 1989. Up until then, he’d lit his world with kerosene lanterns. These days, his only bills are his phone and Netflix. He used to have a computer, he said, but he got rid of it when he found he was wasting too much time. There’s a peacefulness about living the way he does, Rein said, a feeling that he’s not hurting anybody. While driving to see his daughter in Conway a few summers back, he noticed that he saw only a handful of people outside the whole way. Now, he can’t not see it when he’s driving in the hot months: the un-air-conditioned world, full of beauty, but emptied of people. As for

him, Rein said, he tries to give and take the way all the rest of nature does, from the birds to the bees to the termites. “When I go cut down a tree, I see the hole I make in the canopy,” he said. “I see the other, smaller trees that I crush if I don’t land a tree right. That’s the warehouse for my business. So it’s profitable for me to try to get the most out of what I take from the forest without diminishing it. It’s not an ideological concept. It’s just a very practical business thing. I’m making chairs and the trees are growing wood. We work together to achieve each other’s needs.” DUMAS, CONT. Continued from page 7 But neoconservative allies of Vice President Cheney in the Pentagon told the White House all the chatter was planted by Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to distract the White House from the real danger, Iraq. The CIA sent a memo begging the White House to accept that the danger was Bin Laden. “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden,” said a July 29 presidential brief. Top counterterrorism operatives on July 9 asked for a transfer so that they would not be blamed for the attacks when they came. Rice, the administration’s chief spokesman, maintained throughout 2004 that the White House never had a warning of an attack by al Qaeda or anyone else. Later, the explanation was that there was never anything specific enough for Bush to act, even to raise the alert level. None of those briefs have been declassified and Congress has never asked for an accounting. Let’s also revisit 1983. Militants bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including the CIA’s top Middle East analyst. Reagan sent Marines to be peacekeepers. At dawn on Oct. 23 a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with 21,000 pounds of TNT through an open gate past sentries without loaded weapons to the Marine compound and blew it up, killing 241 men. Democrats controlled Congress but no one mentioned impeaching Reagan or firing his defense secretary and subpoenas were not sent to Reagan’s Cabinet. A House committee did an inquiry and issued a report finding “very serious errors in judgment” by the chain of command and calling for better security against terrorism at U.S. installations around the world. Compare that to the coming spectacle on Benghazi.


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Salon ____________________________________ Spa ______________________________________ Jeweler _ _________________________________ Pharmacy _ _______________________________ Auto Dealer _______________________________ Car ______________________________________ Home Entertainment Store __________________ Sporting Goods ____________________________ Toys _____________________________________ Florist ____________________________________ Plumber __________________________________ Gift Shop _________________________________ Veterinarian _ _____________________________ Cleaners _ ________________________________ Got an opinion? It’s time to choose the Best of Artisan Crafter_____________________________ Decorator _ _______________________________ Arkansas. Music Equipment __________________________ Cast your votes on this ballot or vote online at Bookstore _ _______________________________ We’ll Pawn Shop _ ______________________________ announce the winners in July. Funeral Home _____________________________ Retirement Community _____________________ We’ll award a randomly selected winner $250. Place To Take A Yoga Class _________________ To be included in the drawing, you must complete Chiropractor ______________________________ at least half of the poll and provide your email Tattoo Artist ______________________________ address. Investment Advisor _ _______________________ Company To Work For ______________________ Shopping Center ___________________________ Recreation ________________________________ Grocery Store _____________________________ Place To Swim _ ___________________________ Women’s Clothing _ ________________________ Park _____________________________________ Men’s Clothing ____________________________ Cheap Date _______________________________ Hip Clothing _ _____________________________ Weekend Getaway _________________________ Children’s Clothing _________________________ Resort _ __________________________________ Vintage Clothing ___________________________ Golf Course _______________________________ Lingerie __________________________________ Athletic Club ______________________________ Shoes ____________________________________ Hiking Trail _______________________________ Antiques _ ________________________________ Place To Mountain Bike _____________________ Furniture _________________________________ Marina ___________________________________ Garden Store Or Nursery ____________________ Local Charity Event _ _______________________ Hardware/Home Improvement _______________ Eyewear __________________________________ Fresh Vegetables __________________________ Musician Or Band __________________________ Outdoor Store _____________________________ Dj _ ______________________________________ Bicycle Shop ______________________________ Comedian_________________________________ Gun Store _ _______________________________ Place For Live Music _______________________ Commercial Art Gallery _ ____________________ Place To Dance ____________________________ Mobile Phone _____________________________ Live Music Festival _________________________ Internet Service Provider ____________________ Neighborhood Festival_ _____________________ Real Estate Agency _ _______________________ Late Night Spot ____________________________ Auto Service ______________________________ Gay Bar __________________________________ Auto Stereo _______________________________ Sports Bar ________________________________ Travel Agency _____________________________ Movie Theater _____________________________ Hotel _ ___________________________________ Museum __________________________________ Private School _____________________________ Performing Arts Group ______________________ Public School _ ____________________________ Place To Gamble ___________________________ Apartment Complex ________________________ Place To See Someone Famous ______________ Bank _____________________________________ Food And Drink ____________________________ Barbershop _______________________________ Food Festival ______________________________




French Fries _ _____________________________ Onion Rings _______________________________ Cheese Dip _ ______________________________ Ribs _ ____________________________________ Arkansas-Brewed Beer______________________ Happy Hour_______________________________ Wine List _________________________________ Liquor Store _ _____________________________ Sushi ____________________________________ Salad ____________________________________ Business Lunch _ __________________________ Brunch ___________________________________ Cocktail __________________________________ Milkshake _ _______________________________ Vegetarian ________________________________ Bread ____________________________________ Caterer ___________________________________ Outdoor Dining ____________________________

PEOPLE AND POLITICS Artist _ ___________________________________ Photographer _ ____________________________ Politician _________________________________ Athlete ___________________________________ Celebrity__________________________________ Liberal ___________________________________ Conservative ______________________________ Worst Arkansan ___________________________ Charity ___________________________________ Misuse Of Taxpayer Funds __________________ Media ____________________________________ Radio Station _ ____________________________ Radio Personality __________________________ Tv Station ________________________________ Tv News Person ___________________________ Tv Weatherman _ __________________________ Tv Sports Person __________________________ Newspaper Writer _ ________________________ Blog _ ____________________________________ Website __________________________________ Twitter Feed_______________________________ Instagram Feed ____________________________ Author (Of Books) _ ________________________

Deadline for entry is June 1. Duplicate entries, faxes, e-mail or photocopies will not be accepted. The judges reserve the right to disqualify obvious ballot-box stuffing.

Drop off entries or mail them to: Arkansas Times, 201 E. Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201. NAME_________________________________________________________ EMAIL*________________________________________________________ SIGNATURE____________________________________________________ * By providing your email address, you’re agreeing to allow us to add you to our daily email newsletter.

Arts Entertainment AND




erhaps you’ve seen the flyers around Little Rock. Papered on an electrical box or an otherwise unadorned wall, there lurks a Toto clutching Dorothy, Madonna during her Boytoy incarnation or an ax-wielding Tin Man. Perhaps you’ve noticed the text (“Got Lube?” asks the Tin Man) or the hashtag (#Glitterrock). And perhaps you’ve been intrigued, perplexed or even a little ruffled by the salacious appropriations of beloved Oz inhabitants. For the party-throwing masterminds behind the flyers, that’s precisely the point: The trio of artists and gay, pop culture-celebrating provocateurs who call themselves the House of Avalon want to change Little Rock, but to do that, they’ve got to get your attention first. I first encountered the House of Avalon three at their Second Annual Britney Bxtch party held downtown at Sway in April. I attended because I had been made aware that Chris Crocker, the androgynous defender of Britney Spears’ honor in one of YouTube’s earliest catchphrase-spawning juggernauts (three words: LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE), would be there. Beckoned by the promise of a weird evening, I showed up to Sway expecting, well, I don’t know what, but certainly not what I experienced: a kaleidoscopic visual assault, playful and earnest partying, and such pervasive positive vibes that the place seemed, in some fascinating cognitive dissonance, downright wholesome. Shortly after I arrived at Sway, I was intercepted by the nightclub’s pleather hot pant- and vest-clad proprietor, Jason Weist, whose day job is as a speechwriter for the governor’s office, and who immediately got down to business filling me in on the parties. They were, he told me leaning in, “more than parties.” The riding crop he clutched was flicked at especially pertinent thoughts. It’s about community. Flick. Building a heart and soul here. Flick. I asked what it was like to operate a gay club in Little Rock. The crop was still. I was briefly distracted by the giant projectors streaming a never-ending loop of Britney Spears videos on the wall: shiny Britney shimmying in “I’m a Slave 4U,” pensive Britney amongst rock formations in “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” pigtails and schoolgirl skirt Britney of “Baby One More Time.” The riding crop’s return to motion reclaimed my attention. It was challenging, he acknowledged. Branding was the difficulty. Finding the right balance was tricky — if the club was too gay, it turned off the heterosexual community, but if you weren’t gay enough, it alienated the gays. There could be no ambiguity either, about whether or not it was a gay bar; that lack of distinction had caused trouble in the past, he said. “What’s the solution?” I asked. Well, we go all the way. We go really, really gay. Flick. As I surveyed my surroundings — the Britney Spears videos in a heady loop, the bed set up against the mirror-paneled wall for party-elevating photo ops and the ever-increasing stream of gender-bending costumed revelers — I got it. There could be no confusion that this was a safe place. I wanted to know about the House of Avalon, which I had

GLITTER ROCK The rise of the House of Avalon. BY MORGAN SYKES


I DON’T THINK WE’RE IN LITTLE ROCK ANYMORE: Top (L-R): Guest, Hunter Devereaux, Grant Monroe and Mark Vanderbilt. Bottom (L-R): Devereaux and Vanderbilt. 24

MAY 29, 2014





Check out the Times’ A&E blog


A&E NEWS MARKET STREET CINEMA owner Matt Smith told the Times this week that he will be closing his current location and reopening at Riverdale 10, the 10-screen, 35,000-square-foot theater on Cantrell Road that closed in December. “The big change that the customers will see is we’re going to be installing new Barco digital projectors and Dolby digital sound,” Smith said (before, both theaters used 35mm film and analog sound). The move will also affect the theater’s programming, with some of the screens devoted to “first-run, Hollywood commercial films that are playing at other places,” and a certain percentage focused on “independent, foreign, documentary and art films, like we did at Market Street.” Smith hopes to have “some” screens open by Friday, June 6, and the full theater open by the following Friday, June 13. Market Street gift cards and passes will be honored at the new location (which will still be called Riverdale 10 for the time being).

1900 N. Grant, Little Rock, AR 501-663-8999

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

THE OXFORD AMERICAN magazine will release its summer issue Sunday, June 1. The issue features novelist Lauren Groff on the mermaids at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs, music critic Amanda Petrusich on the rare 78-rpm record collector Joe Bussard, a dispatch from the Boy Scout Jamboree from Rosecrans Baldwin, John T. Edge on truck-stop Indian food and fiction by George Singleton. There will be a release party at South on Main before Local Live at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 4. THE SCHEDULE FOR CALS CON, the Main Library’s “celebration of all things fandom” starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 31, reads like an academic conference planned by awesome 9-year-olds. The day includes board and card game tournaments, an “Adventure Quest Sword Fighting Workshop,” a panel discussion on the enduring influence of comic books on new media, and lectures with titles like “The Morality and Human Experience of Doctor Who” and “The Elements of Harmony: How the My Little Pony Reboot Created a Fresh New Fandom.” Have you ever asked yourself where all the podcasters and Magic the Gathering fans and D.I.Y. cyberpunks hung out? Because the answer is CALS Con. Don’t miss the cosplay contest (with three categories: best overall, most creative and best performance) at 4 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater.

Health THE


STory of a narraTIvE HI nSaS aS SE E In arka HEaLTH and dI Art, M.D. by Sam Tagg

tes, M.D. Joseph H. Ba Preface by

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


Payment: Check Or Credit Card Order By Mail: Arkansas Times Books P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203 Phone: 501-375-2985 Fax: 501-375-3623 96 PP. Soft Cover • Shipping And Handling: $3

MAY 29, 2014







9 p.m. Clear Channel Metroplex. $35.

XXL magazine’s annual “Freshmen” issue, designed to introduce emerging young rappers, hasn’t actually broken any new artists since the invention of

YouTube, but the 2014 list’s inclusion of August Alsina was notable nevertheless, if for no other reason than that he isn’t a rapper. The 21-year-old New Orleans native, who released his debut, “Testimony,” in April, is an R&B singer in the





Noon. First Security Amphitheater and Riverfront Park. Free.

Way back in March, the Legends of Arkansas Festival asked fans to vote for the local acts they’d most like to see headline a festival. The results are in, and the event, boldly scheduled only a week after the state’s biggest music festival, promises to be a kind of grassroots, Arkansas-only antidote to the tourist-heavy Riverfest madness, a hometown hangover cure featuring the nowcertified “Legends of Arkansas” Good Time Ramblers, Stephen Neeper and The Wild Hearts, Swampbird, 607, Flatland Funk Donors, Joe Pitts Band, Moonshine Mafia, Jamie Lou Thies and about a hundred others. It’s free, family-friendly and gates open at 11 a.m., with an “official” after party scheduled at the Rev Room with DJs Ewell, Lawler, Joe C. and Teezy. WS

Noon. Main Street between Markham and Second streets. $35 adults, $10 children 6-12.

Just because you aren’t participating in the Gran Fondo (the Orbea/Mini Cooper/Ben E. Keith-sponsored 70-mile bike ride for 250 cyclists) doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this sister pop-up event, with food by five top chefs

classical sense of the term, a sensitive crooner from a rough background. His appearance on the “Freshmen” cover is just another indication of the wave of buzz he’s riding at the moment, momentum not at all hurt by his pattern of col-

and beer by Diamond Bear, outside Orbea bike’s concept store. In the spirit of the pop-up neighborhood design events Little Rock’s seen in the past couple of years, chefs Matt Bell of South on Main, Tomas Bohm of The Pantry, Donnie Ferneau of Good Food, Travis McConnell of Butcher & Public and Arturo Solis of le klaxon noir will offer a culinary pop-up, offering gourmet nosh at a price that would let you sample

laborations with high-profile Atlanta MCs like Jeezy, Rich Homie Quan and Trinidad James. If you don’t recognize the name, you’d probably at least recognize the horn riff on his biggest hit, “I Luv This Shit.” WS

only a couple of these master chefs’ talents. Also, you’ll get to cheer on the arriving cyclists, who should start hitting the finish line at 11:30 a.m., right before the chow begins to be served up. Show up in Spandex if you want to horn in on the acclamation that will attend those who’ve just biked to East End and back. The Arkansas Times and Ben E. Keith Foods are the Pop on Main sponsors. LNP



9 p.m. Juanita’s. $15.

There’s a running joke in “The Comedians of Comedy,” the 2005 stand-up tour documentary, about Brian Posehn getting recognized in public only for his role on the sitcom “Just Shoot Me!” These days, it’s one of the more dated bits in the film, as Posehn is a constant presence in the comedy nerd community, with three live albums, a host of high-profile appearances on shows like “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “Tim and Eric,” a feature-length special (a Netflix hit called “The Fartist”), headlining spots at Bonnaroo and the Gathering of the Juggalos and a podcast called “Nerd Poker,” which I’m pretty sure is just him playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. Angry Patrick and Michael Brown will open. WS

FARTIST: Brian Posehn will be at Juanita’s 9 p.m. Saturday, $15.



1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, and the Frisco Trail, Fayetteville. Free.

What is so rare as a day in June? A day in which folks can hike, bike, see sculpture and hear music all at once. And not just on any trails, but those on the bucolic grounds of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville 26

MAY 29, 2014


and the Frisco Trail in funky Fayetteville. The Artosphere 2014 Trail Mix Concert Tour, which kicks off the final week of the Walton Arts Center’s Artosphere month of art and music, runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Bentonville, where musicians will play at Compton Gardens (the south entrance to Crystal Bridges’ trails) and eight other museum trail stops, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 10

stops on the one-mile Frisco Trail. Hear Candy Lee and the Sweets (next to the bronze bear at CBM and at Center and Mountain Streets in Fayetteville), Cry You One (Walker Landing and West Prospect and West Douglas), Carter Sampson (at the Turrell skyscape and on Meadow Street), Smokey and the Mirror (Bernice and Bryan Hembree of 3 Penny Acre, at the rock “Chaise

Gaibon” and on Maple Street), Martha Redbone (CBM museum store plaza and Arsaga’s at the Depot), the Street Drum Corps (Champion Eastern White Pine) and the Artosphere percussion, string, brass and mixed ensembles. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s rare, coming just one day a year. For maps, go to and click on music. LNP


THURSDAY 5/29 The Ron Robinson Theater will screen Wong Kar-wai’s latest, “The Grandmaster,” a martial arts film based on the life of Yip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee, 7 p.m., $5. Local improv group Armadillo Rodeo will perform at The Joint at 7 p.m., $7, and Christine Stedman will be at the Loony Bin (through May 31) at 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. Dayton, Ohio, emo group Hawthorne Heights will be at Juanita’s with On My Honor, Consumers and More Than Sparrows, 9 p.m., $15.



2 p.m. The Pink House. Free.

In January, Robert Loyd and John Schenck will celebrate 40 years as a couple. Loyd is a Vietnam veteran, and Schenck tended bar at the Stonewall Inn during the infamous riots named for the bar. For the last 28 years, they’ve been perhaps Conway’s most famous gay couple. Since 2004 — the same year they were legally married in Canada — they’ve hosted the Conway Pride Parade and Festival. It hasn’t been easy. The first year, a thousand protesters showed up to heckle several hundred marchers. Someone dumped manure along the parade route and in the yard of the couple’s iconic home, the Pink House (it’s painted pink, with a rainbow-painted picket fence and a “Teach Tolerance” sign over the entryway). But things are looking up. Protesters are now few to none. It’s been years since anyone shot at the Pink House, the couple said in a YouTube video made last year to celebrate the event’s 10th anniversary. Meanwhile, Loyd and Schenck were plaintiffs in Wright v. Arkansas, the lawsuit that successfully overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage until the ruling was stayed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. Loyd and Schenck didn’t take advantage of the week of marriage equality in Arkansas because their home county, Faulkner, refused to abide by the ruling. They said they’d wait. The fight for equality marches on. Meanwhile, the parade marches from the Pink House, 1605 Robinson Ave., to Simon Park. The parade lineup begins at 1 p.m. At the festival in Simon Park, there will be vendors and a cash prize for the best parade float. LM

FRIDAY 5/30 North Carolina metal band Between the Buried and Me will be at Stickyz with Trioscapes, 8:30 p.m., $17 adv., $20 day of., Austin Red Dirt Country band Jason Boland and The Stragglers will be at Revolution with locals Swampbird, 9 p.m., $15. Birminghambased hip-hop group The Green Seed will be at White Water Tavern at 10 p.m., followed by a DJ set from Joshua Asante, $6. Former B2K singer Omarion will be at 4 Corners Bar and Grill at 9 p.m., hosted by Power 92, $10-$25.

SATURDAY 5/31 The Run or Dye 5K, in which runners (and/or walkers) are sprayed with what the organization calls “safe, eco-friendly, plant-based powdered dye,” will be held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds at 9 a.m., $42-$57. Disney actress and singer Zendaya will open the new conert season at Magic Springs’ Timberwood Amphitheater, 8 p.m., $5. Randall Shreve and The Sideshow will be at Stickyz at 9 p.m., $7, and Clarksdale Deep Blues guitarist Lightnin’ Malcolm will be at White Water Tavern at 10 p.m., $7. LIFE HAPPENS: Ester Rada will be at South on Main 8 p.m. Tuesday, $15.



8 p.m. South on Main. $15.

For a certain type of person, the idea of Erykah Badu doing neo-soul remixes of the “Ethiopiques” series is probably music heaven. If you are that person, you absolutely, positively must see Ester Rada play at South on Main, an event hosted by the Oxford American magazine. Rada is an Ethiopian-Israeli singer who delivers supremely groovy fusion. On her eponymous debut, released earlier this year, she takes

an around-the-world approach (Ethio-jazz, reggae, Motown) that might devolve into ready-made NPR candy in lesser hands, but Rada’s a showstopper, funky and distinctive and fun. This is exactly the sort of show that South on Main should be angling for: an interesting new artist with the sort of musicianship that doesn’t fit easily into the noisy-bar scene. Tickets are available only via until 6 p.m. on the day of the show, at which point tickets can be purchased at the door. DR

The Little Rock Wind Symphony will perform at St. Paul United Methodist Church at 3 p.m., $10, and Gorilla Music’s Battle of the Bands will be at 4 p.m. at Juanita’s, $8. The Hot Springs Music Festival’s Season XIX (which will run daily through June 14) will kick off at 6:45 p.m. with a free Brass Fanfare concert at the Arlington Steps, followed by a performance by the Cavell Trio at the Crystal Ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $15. Vino’s will host its monthly Poetry Night, featuring Justin Booth, Dylan Jackson, Kara Bibb, Stan Jackson and others, 7:30 p.m.

MAY 29, 2014


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

p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.


“Salsa Night.” Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.




Armadillo Rodeo. The Joint, 7 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Chapel Series Concert: Cry You One. Walton Arts Center, 6:30 p.m., $10. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. Hawthorne Heights, On My Honor, Consumers, More Than Sparrows. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $15. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. “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. Krush Thursdays with DJ Kavaleer. Club Climax, free before 11 p.m. 824 W. Capitol. 501-554-3437. Landrest. CD Release. Maxine’s, Free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Michael Eubanks. Newk’s Express Cafe, 6:30 p.m. 4317 Warden Road, NLR. 501-753-8559. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Velcro Pygmies (headliner), Ben Byers (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com.


Christine Stedman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.


Geocaching. Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, 8:30 a.m. 602 President Clinton Ave. 501-907-0636.


“The Grandmaster.” Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., $5. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.cals.


“The Jennifer Schuett Case Study.” Sturgis Hall, 6 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


51st Humanitarian Awards Dinner. Presented by Just Communities of Arkansas Statehouse Convention Center, $250. 7 Statehouse Plaza. 28

MAY 29, 2014


Geocaching. See May 29. LGBTQ/SGL weekly meeting. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14 to 23. For more information, call 244-9690 or search “DYSC” on Facebook. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group, 6:30 p.m. 800 Scott St. Main Street Food Truck Fridays. Capitol and Main,11 a.m. Twilight History Tour. Proceeds go to restoration and preservation. Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery, 6 p.m., $15. 2101 Barber Ave. 501-372-6429.


ROUGH OUT THERE: Lightnin’ Malcolm will be at the White Water Tavern 10 p.m. Saturday, $7. “Curtain Call for a Cause.” An event to benefit Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled. Argenta Community Theater, 6 p.m., $100. 405 Main St., NLR. 501-353-1443.



August Alsina. Clear Channel Metroplex, 9 p.m., $35. 10800 Colonel Glenn Road. Between the Buried and Me, Trioscapes. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $17 adv., $20 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Chapel Series: The Dover Quartet. Walton Arts Center, 6:30 p.m., $10. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu. 1620 Savoy, 10 p.m. 1620 Market St. 501-221-1620. www.1620savoy. com. Collin vs. Adam, Witchsister, Charlie Virgo. Vino’s, 9 p.m., $5. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.

The Green Seed. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Swampbird. Revolution, 9 p.m., $15. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Just Sayin (headliner), Daro (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501375-5351. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Music MAY’hem. Featuring Rufus Elam, Wren Whiteseven and Ben Drain. River Valley Arts Center, 7 p.m. 1001 E. B St., Russellville. 479-9682452. Mya’s Madams Drag Show. Maxine’s, $7. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Omarion. IV Corners, 8 p.m., $25. 824 W Capitol Ave. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


Christine Stedman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10

Reginald “Reggie” Jones. A book signing by the former NFL player and author of “Stilettos on Gridiron.” WordsWorth Books & Co., 4 p.m. 5920 R St. 501-663-9198.



Ben Franks and The Bible Belt Boys, Amy Jo Savannah. Maxine’s, $5. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See May 30. Creeper, A Traitor’s Funeral, Furia, Moment of Fierce Determination. Vino’s, 9 p.m., $7. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Lawler and Ewell’s Birthday Bash. Feature Joe C. and Teezy Revolution, 8 p.m., $5-$10. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom. com. Legends of Arkansas Festival. Riverfront Park, noon, Free. 400 President Clinton Avenue. www. Lightnin’ Malcolm. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. Raising Grey (headliner), Brian Ramsey (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Randall Shreve and The Sideshow. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. The Road to ESSENCE Festival. Bentonville High School. 1901 S.E. J St., Bentonville. 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. Zendaya. Magic Springs’ Timberwood Amphitheater, 8 p.m., $5. 1701 E. Grand Ave., Hot Springs.



Little Rock Women’s Business Boot Camp. Pulaski Technical College, 9 a.m., Free. 3000 W. Scenic Drive, NLR.


Run or Dye 5K. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, 9 a.m., $42-$57. 2600 Howard St. 501-372-8341 ext. 8206.


Carribbean Cabaret. An event benefiting Woman and Children First, at the home of Daniel and Tiffany Robinson. 6 p.m., $75. 501-376-3219. www.



Cypress Creek Park Bluegrass Festival. Cypress Creek Park. Cypress Creek Avenue, Adona. 501662-4918. Gorilla Music Presents: Battle of the Bands. Juanita’s, 4 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Hot Springs Music Festival Season XIX. Downtown Hot Springs, June 1-14, $150. Irish Traditional Music Session. Hibernia Irish


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Poetry Night. Featuring Justin Booth, Dylan Jackson, Kara Bibb, Stan Jackson, Scott McDaniel and more. Vino’s, 7:30 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501375-8466.




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

David LaMotte. Philander Smith College, 7:30 p.m., $12-$15. 900 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. Hot Springs Music Festival Season XIX. Downtown Hot Springs, through June 14, $150. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Richie Johnson. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351.

Classic Italian Cuisine with Chef Eric Isaac. Eggshells Kitchen Co., 6 p.m., $50. 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-664-6900.



Brian and Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. Ester Rada. South on Main, 8 p.m., $15. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. https://www.facebook. com/SouthonMainLR. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

Publication: Arkansas Times

11th Annual Conway Pride Parade and Festival. Featuring food, entertainments, vendors and a prize for Best Float. The Pink House, 1 p.m. 1605 Robinson Ave., Conway. Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market. Bernice Garden, 10 a.m. 1401 S. Main St. Geocaching. See May 29. “Live from the Back Room.” Spoken word event. Vino’s, 7 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www. Trail Mix Concert Tour. A combination hike, outdoor sculpture viewing and live music event, featuring Candy Lee, Martha Redbone, Cry You One and others. Part of the Artosphere Festival. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 1 p.m., Free. 600 Museum Way, Bentonville. 479-4185700.

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40th Annual Little Rock Farmers’ Market. River Market Pavilions, 7 a.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Argenta Farmers Market. Argenta Farmers Market, 7 a.m. 6th and Main St., NLR. 501-8317881. CALS Con. Panels, workshops and contests based on popular fandoms, as of Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Also featuring cosplay and video, card and board game tournaments. Main Library, 10 a.m. 100 S. Rock St. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Geocaching. See May 29. Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. Historic Neighborhoods Tour. Bike tour of historic neighborhoods includes bike, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 9 a.m., $8-$28. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001. POP on Main and Gran Fondo. A pop-up food festival and culinary cycle tour on Main St. (between Markham and 2nd Street). Downtown Little Rock, 12 p.m., $35. Downtown. 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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Brian Posehn, Angry Patrick, Michael Brown. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $15. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Christine Stedman. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.

Tavern, first and third Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501246-4340. Little Rock Wind Symphony. St. Paul United Methodist Church, 3 p.m., $10. 2223 Durwood Road. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Successful Sunday. Lulav, 8 p.m., $5-$10. 220 A W. 6th St. 501-374-5100. Sunday Serenade. Presented by the Little Rock Wind Symphony’s Chamber Players. St. Paul United Methodist Church, 3 p.m., $10. 2223 Durwood Road.

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he homage to fermented grapes that is the Celebrate the Grape event coming to Argenta Friday, June 6, will this year feature a clink of the crystal to both old and new labels from established and new wineries, wines high-brow, lowbrow and just in the middle of the brow, more than 300 in all. They’ll include wine from California vineyards, both high dollar and affordable French vin, Argentine Malbecs, Italian Proseccos, South African, German and Portuguese tipple. And more. The wine, food and jazz festival starts at 6 p.m. in the Farmers Market lot at 419 Main St. Tickets are $40, the equivalent of four or five glasses of wine at a restaurant, but at the festival including lots of wine, music by Lagniappe, and cheese and other nibbles from seven Little Rock restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Argenta Arts District. We asked the participating wine distributors to highlight a few of the standout wines they’ll be pouring: “Pinot Gris, cousin to Pinot Grigio from Italy, is becoming quite popular,” said David Cone, director of fine wines at Glazers. He’ll bring a selection from J Vineyards Winery, run by second-generation vintner Judy Jordan, whose family operates the popular Jordan Vineyard &Winery. J produces the largest selling premium Pinot Gris from California, Cone said. La Crema winery, known for its Pinot Noir, has recently produced a Pinot Gris and

it will also be at the tasting. Other wines to look out for: Duckhorn’s new Decoy line of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir; Avant, an un-oaked Chardonnay from Kendall-Jackson, and Luc Belaire Rose from France, which Cone says has “taken the market by storm.” Even if you’ve never tried them, you’ve probably noticed Charles Smith Wines at your favorite wine shop. They’ve got names like Kung Fu Reisling and Boom Boom! Syrah and big block-print-y blackand-white labels. They’re also among the most popular wines Custom Beverage distributes, according to co-owner James Cripps. At the festival, there’ll be a wide selection of Charles Smith wines, including selections from Smith’s Charles and Charles and The Modernist Project. But wine lovers should especially pay attention to Smith’s limited line of K Vinters Syrahs. “I literally get two cases of some of these a year,” Cripps said, but he’s getting some special for the event. A few more of the vineyards whose barrels of fun will be tapped for the event: Sean Minor, Point North Oregon, The Seeker, Gundlach Bundschu, Furst, Roskam, Risata, Pascual and Piper Sonoma (Moon Distributing). And, as the advertisement says, That’s Not All! There will also be wines from French vineyards Chateau Minuty, Oliver LeFlaive, Chateau Le Mou-

Bread In The Natural State ARKANSAS FRESH BAKERY lin and Chateau Bibian, Italy’s Cacciata and Zaccagnini and Japan’s Hana Awaka and Sawa Sawa (Central Distributors). What goes better with wine than cheese? Kent Walker, Little Rock’s artisan cheesemaker, is bringing samples of his year-round cheeses, including garlic Montasio (drink with light white wine), goat feta (sweet white wines), Gouda (light reds), habanero cheddar (spicy pinot noir), Leicester (full-bodied reds) and Ophelia (light reds). You’ll need more than cheese to be able to sample all the wines: Bravo! Cucina Italian will be serving its Italianstyle meatballs topped in marinara sauce. Little Greek will offer a mini-Greek salad with the option of topping it with gyro

meat. Arkansas Fresh Bakery will have an assortment of baker/owner Ashton Woodward’s masterful baked goods. Lulav’s menu includes Mediterranean pork medallions with cranberry bourbon cream sauce on yeast rolls, with artichoke beignets. Two Sisters Cafe, in Sherwood, will serve beef brisket, crawfish bisque, grits and greens, a strawberry romaine salad and a chocolate cake; plus, they’ll bring a chocolate fountain for strawberry-dipping. Crush Wine Bar will offer stuffed grape leaves, kalamata olive tapenade, roasted red pepper pesto and bruschetta. To get an idea of the variety of wines to be served, check the accompanying sidebar, beginning on page 32.

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A sip Some of the grapes to be celebrated: CALIFORNIA Antinori Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio

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Di Rosa Rosa di Rosa

Bell Wine Cellars Sparkling

Estancia Cabernet

Broadbent Vinho Verde (Portugal)

Frei Brothers Chardonnay

Butternut Chardonnay

Ghost Pines Cabernet

The Calling Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Great American Wine (Rosenblum Cellars) Cabernet, Chardonnay, Red Blend

Cartlidge and Browne Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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501-374-9463 32

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Charles and Charles Chardonnay, Red Blend and Rose. Charles Smith Wines Secco Bubbles Bianco, Secco Bubbles Rose

Crush Wine Bar

Chamisal Vineyards Stainless Chardonnay

Best Wine Bar

come s us at ee celebrthe tHe Gr ate festivaape l!

Eppa SupraFruta Sangria, SupraFruta White

Belle Ambiance Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Red Blend

Chalone Gavilian Chardonnay, Gavilion Pinot Noir

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Edna Valley Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Chateau Ste. Michelle Harvest Selection, Michelle Brut Clois du Bois Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Conn Creek Cabernet Creme de Lys Chardonnay Cupcake Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti Deadbolt Red Blend

Green and Red Zinfandel Gundlach Bundschu Moutain Cuvee, Gewurztraminer Jelly Bean Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blend, Moscato and Moscato Rose. Joel Gott Cabernet Josh Cellars Cabernet, Chardonnay Kunde Cabernet, Chardonnay Lady Lola Pinot Grigio/Moscato Laetitia Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Brut Legend of the Vine Cabernet Louis M. Martini Cabernet Luli Pinot Noir MacPhail Family Wines Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir

Mark West Santa Lucia Pinot Noir Modernist Project Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Eve Chardonnay, Vino Pinot Grigio, Velvet Devil Grigio, Boom Boom Syrah and Chateau Smith Cabernet The Naked Grape Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir Newton Red Label Chardonnay Piper Sonoma Brut Primal Roots Red Predator Zinfandel Quady Electra White, Electra Red Ravenswood Zen of Zin Rex Goliath Pink Pinot Grigio Rhiannon Red Rodney Strong Sonoma Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc Row Eleven Russian River Pinot Noir, The Magician, Vinas 3 Sean Minor Central Coast Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast Chardonnay, Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros Vin Gris Rose, Carneros Pinot Noir, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Red Blend, Oregon Pinot Noir. Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, Chardonnnay The Saint Wine Rioja (Spain)

The Seeker Rose (French), Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), Pinot Noir (French)

NV Red Diamond Temperamental

Chateau du Berne Impatience Rose

Treveri Blanc de Blanc, Rose

Chateau du Moulin Bordeaux Blanc

Sequin Sheer Delight Wine Shortcake Zinfandel Simi Winery Merlot Skinnygirl Chardonnay, Cabernet, Moscato Sonoma Coast Vineyards Pinot Noir, Chardonnay Stag’s Leap Chardonnay Karia Steakhouse Red Stepping Stone (Cornerstone) Rocks Red, Rocks White Sterling Carneros Pinot Noir Sterling Napa Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc

ARGENTINA Battle Ax Malbec, Cabernet Belasco Rosa, LL Old Wine Malbec Cigar Box Malbec, Cabernet, Chardonnay

Tercos Torrontes

Cacciata Toscana Red

Vina Maquis Carmenere

Cavicchioli Sparkling


William Hill Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot

Haras de Pirque Carmenere Rsv

San Antonio Winery Stella Rosa Black

Canoe Ridge Merlot, Pinot Gris

SeaGlass Pinot Noir

Hot to Trot Red Blend

Maule Valley Meli Carignon Vina Quebrada de Macul Penalolen Cabernet Sauvignon


Hana Awaka Sparklin Sake Sawa Sawa Sparkling Nigori

NEW ZEALAND Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc


Calcu Sauvingnon Blanc


O. LeFlaive Les Setilles Chardonnay

Ruta 22 Malbec

Swanson Merlot

Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose

Dr. Hermann H Riesling (German)

Pascual Toso Brut

Apaltagua Extra Brut

Primirius Pinot Noir

Mouton Cadet Rose


Graffigna Malbec

Stratton Lummis (Row Eleven) Carneros Chardonnay, The Riddler Red


Furst Riesling, Pinot Blanc


Gancia Prosecco, Moscata d’Asti

Nobilo Savignon Blanc Icon Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc Thorny Rose Sauvignon Blanc Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc

SOUTH AFRICA Secateurs Red Blend, Chenin Blanc

Marco Negri Moscato d’Asti


Martini and Rossi Prosecco

Los Cardos Malbec

Risata Moscata d’Asti

The Show Garnacha

Ruffino Chianti, Prosecco Sarocco Moscata d’Asti Stellina di Notte Prosecco

Chateau Bibian Bordeaux Haut Medoc

Trivento Amado Sur Malbec Blend, Amado Sur Chardonnay

Chateau Bonnet White

Voga Sparkling Pinot Grigio

Chateau Minuty M by Minuty Rose, Prestige Rose

Zaccagnini Montepulciano Red, Pinot Grigio

ALSO Central Distributor’s Grape Buys: MYX Moscato, Moscato and Coconut, Moscato and Peach; Chili’s Mango Margarita, Margarita, Strawberry Margarita and Strawberry Daiquiri

MAY 29, 2014




SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: (Clockwise from top): Sunday night fireworks over the Junction Bridge, Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers, CeeLo Green, Robert Randolph, the crowd for CeeLo and chowing down on corn. 34

MAY 29, 2014


Hey, do this!


Food, Music, Entertainment and everything else that’s JUNE 5-29


The impressive artwork of renowned American artist Dale Chihuly is on display at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the studio glass moment. A remarkable visual experience of color, shape and form, his installations elevate perceptions of glass from a craft to a fine art. Admission to view the exhibit is $7. For more info, call 501-374-4242.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona opens the 2014 season of

the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Also showing this year are Pippin, Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors. Performances take place at Hendrix Village and Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of UCA in Conway. For tickets, visit


Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas hosts the Beaux Arts Ball at 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. Festivities will include a champagne toast, anniversary cake and dancing to the big band sounds of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $150. Proceeds benefit Arkansas Arts Center programs. For more information, visit n Arkansas has an amazing African American history. Mosaic Templars Cultural Center - the Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas History Commission Present, Teaching African American History In Arkansas Schools: The Current Reality. Registration is required by June 2 email or call 501.682.6892. Lunch is provided. Teachers attending receive professional development credit.


Join us at Celebrate the Grape, an evening of Wine, Food & Jazz from 6-9 p.m. at the Argenta Farmers Market in downtown North Little Rock. Sample more than 300 wines plus delicious food from local restaurants as well as live music by Lagniappe. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Purchase tickets online at celebratethegrape2014. n Support our troops, and cheer on our Arkansas Travelers at Military Night at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock. Sponsored by Budweiser, tickets are $1 for military families (with military ID). Game time is 7:10 p.m.


Bruno Mars makes a stop at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock on his “Moonshine Jungle World Tour.” Don’t miss one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer. Tickets are $67.50, $79 and $90 and available online at or by phone at 800-745-3000.




sundown at Riverfront Park in Little Rock. The weekly series takes place on Wednesday nights through July 30. This month’s films also include Office Space (June 18) and Eat Pray Love (June 25). For a complete schedule, visit n SIMI Wine Dinner at Copper Grill with Susan Lueker from Simi Winery. Welcome reception and a four course meal with wine paring for each course. Jacquelyn Gooding-Peske, Chef. Contact Copper Grill for reservations 501.375.3333.

Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Sample Schlafly beers and snacks in Foster’s Bar on the second floor from 6 p.m. until show time at 7 p.m. Enjoy an acoustic set by Steve Davison and Mickey Rigby of Finger Food before the hilarious The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr. For more info, visit Sponsored bty Arkansas Times

place at 6 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Little Rock. The jazz festival and fundraiser benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas. This year’s acts include Yellowjackets, Rodney Block & the Real Music Lovers, The Julia Buckingham Group, Twice Sax and That Arkansas Weather. Tickets are $25-$45. Visit for more info.

Movies in the Park presents Man of Steel beginning at

It’s Schlafly Beer Night at the

Jazzlights in the Park takes



Arena in North Little Rock with special guests The Band Perry, Dan + Shay and Neal McCoy. This is sure to be a hot ticket. Prices range from $42.50-$69. Purchase yours online now at or by phone at 800-745-3000.

Always a Bridesmaid

Blake Shelton performs at Verizon


Murry’s Dinner Playhouse presents following the ups and downs of four high school friends who vowed to be in each other’s weddings. Be there as they navigate the choppy and unpredictable waters of friendship and marriage. For show times and ticket prices, visit


From June 6-22, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre brings you

The Compleat Wks of Wllm Shkspr, which

portrays all of the bard’s most famous pieces in one condensed and hilarious rollercoaster spoof. For show times and ticket prices, visit


The 56th Annual Delta Exhibition opens at the Arkansas Arts Center. The show has grown to encompass works in all media to showcase the vibrant and dynamic perspectives of artists from the Mississippi Delta region. Artist Brian Rutenberg will serve as juror. Born and raised in the Lowcountry of coastal South Carolina, Rutenberg is now living and working in New York City. He will assign the $2500 Grand Award and two $750 Delta Awards. For more information, visit


EARLY GENER AL ADMISSION $40. $50 AT THE DOOR R AIN OR SHINE All participating restaurants will be receiving the following: FRIDAY, JUNE 6 | 6 -9 P.M. SEVEN PARTICIPATING RESTAUR ANTS may 29, 2014

PUBLICITY: • Free ¼-page ad in Arkansas Times on May 29 — the Wine Festival issue ($750 value)




120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. Hot Springs Music Festival Season XIX. Downtown Hot Springs, through June 14, $150. Central Avenue, Hot Springs. Jeff Ling. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501312-1616. Mother Falcon, The Family Crest. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. 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. The Sharrows. Maxine’s. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


Splice Microcinema. Vino’s, 7:30 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.


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


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.


Geocaching. See May 29. Oxford American Summer Issue Celebration. South on Main, 6 p.m., Free. 1304 Main St. 501244-9660.


Stand-Up Tuesday. Hosted by Adam Hogg. The Joint, 8 p.m., $5. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. “Latin Night.” Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-8230090. Arkansas Travelers vs. Springfield. DickeyStephens Park 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Geocaching. See May 29. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; THIS WEEK IN THEATER schedule available on website. Dinner served The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged). 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Call for reservations. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, through June 29: Starving Artist Cafe, 5 p.m. 411 N. Main St., NLR. Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 p.m., 501-372-7976. $30-$35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. www.therep. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President org. Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. “Ripped and Wrinkled.” An original rock musical stores/littlerock. 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. 501Arkansas Travelers vs. Springfield. Dickey- 372-0205. Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. “A Second Helping: The Church Basement Ladies Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Sequel.” Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through June 15: Tue.-Sat., 7:35 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4 $25-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131.





Good Time Ramblers Stephen Neeper & the Wild Hearts

Swampbird 607 Flatland Funk Donors Joe Pitts Band Moonshine Mafia Jaime Lou Thies

Weakness for Blondes • Whale Fire • Fitra whoa dakota • Sarah Hughes Duo • Mister Morphis Mark stuart • Mandy McBryde Freak Jones (featuring members of Starroy) Kish Moody & The House of Melody Band Apple & the Hoodoo Godess • John Willis Black Pearl River • Charlotte Taylor • & more

The all-arkansas music & arts festival

Saturday May 31, 2014

First Security amphitheater & riverfront park

free admission• Family Friendly • Four Stages • gates 11am


MAY 29, 2014




Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. First Impressions. Local Live, South on Main, 7:30 p.m. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. https://www. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. 120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. Hot Springs Music Festival Season XIX. Downtown Hot Springs, through June 14, $150. Central Avenue, Hot Springs. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189.



BOSWELL-MOUROT FINE ART, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Everyday Details,” new work by Dennis McCann and Jason McCann, through June 21, opens with reception 6-9 p.m. May 31. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0030. MAIN LIBRARY, 100 Rock St.: Legacies & Lunch: Charles Witsell, Gordon Wittenberg talk about their book “Architects of Little Rock: 1833-1950,” noon-1 p.m. June 4, Darragh Center. 918-3033. L&L BECK ART GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Go West, Young Man!” June exhibit, giclee giveaway 7 p.m. June 19; “Backyard Birds,” through May 660-4006. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie,” drawings, CONTINUED ON PAGE 47


A forever franchise

The Bailey Family Foundation Presents

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ suggests there’s no stopping series. BY SAM EIFLING



WITH ‘X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST’: Hugh Jackman stars.


FOR dISCOunT TICKETS Call 501-666-8816 Visit our website


Benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Arkansas 501-666-8816

Doors - 5pm, show starts - 6pm

THE UNIQUE NEIGHBORHOODS OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS Full of interesting voices and colorful portraits of 17 Little Rock and North Little Rock neighborhoods, this book gives an intimate, block-by-block, native’s view of the place more than 250,000 Arkansans call home. Created from interviews with residents and largely written by writers who actually live in the neighborhoods they’re writing about, the book features over 90 full color photos by Little Rock photographer Brian Chilson.

Payment: CHECK OR CREDIT CARD Order by Mail: ARKANSAS TIMES BOOKS, P.O. BOX 34010, LITTLE ROCK, AR 72203 Phone: 501-375-2985 Fax: 501-375-3623 Email: JACK@ARKTIMES.COM Send _______ book(s) of The Unique Neighborhoods of Central Arkansas @ $19.95


Send _______ book(s) of A History Of Arkansas @ $10.95 Send _______ book(s) of Almanac Of Arkansas History @ $18.95 Shipping and handling $3 per book

Name ____________________________________________________________

go slap some sense into Xavier, Magneto and Mystique back at the dawn of the Sentinel program … (cue wakka-wakka electric guitar) … in … NINETEEN SEVENTYTHREE … Three … three … Wolverine gets the gang back together before there’s even a gang. Ten years after “First Class,” Xavier is a veritable junkie on a serum that dulls his psychic powers but keeps his legs functional. Magneto is doing extraordinarily hard time a country mile beneath the Pentagon for his apparent role in whacking JFK. Also, Beast is hanging around. But Mystique is on a rampage and if she puts a bullet into a fellow named Trask, the military contractor behind the Sentinel program (Peter Dinklage, owning a role not written specifically for a little person), then everyone will hate mutants and fund Sentinels and the future will turn out like “Blade Runner” crossed with “The Matrix.” Schlocky time travel, A-minus-list actors, true brutality by the Sentinels, a menacing turn by Fassbender and a general tone of high play make this probably the best film in the series, somewhat of a lesser spark than Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” masterpieces but nearly as satisfying. It also contains what might be the single most memorable scene among the “X-Men” installments to date: a whirlwind shoot-’em-out moment that a young Quicksilver (Evan Peters) owns with such casual aplomb, and Singer depicts with such moviemaking joie de vivre, that for an instant the whole venture crystallizes into a moment of Zen. This should be dark fun, emphasis on the dark, emphasis on the fun. “Days of Future Past” balances both.

Address __________________________________________________________

City, State, Zip ______________________________________________________

lone among the major comic book film franchises, the “X-Men” flicks have been able to navigate seven films now without pressing the “reboot” button on any of its major characters. Think of the redundancy of the new Spider-Man films, the cringeworthy Bana-to-Nortonto-Ruffalo saga of the Hulk. Meanwhile, you still have Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Halle Berry as Storm, Ian McKellen as Magneto. Somehow, too, Hugh Jackman has hung around long enough to appear in nearly every one of the movies, including two standalone “Wolverine” titles. They’ve even pulled the same characters out of time with “X-Men: First Class,” exhuming the mutants’ backstories from the early ’60s and bringing in new faces with old names. The question becomes, how long can they go without breaking down? The answer comes in the form of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which is a clunky name for an otherwise outstanding genre movie. It’s also, conspicuously, the point at which the franchise opens to any and all possibilities (except for Jackman leaving; at 200-odd-years-old, and impervious to aging, we’re stuck with him as Woverine as long as he’ll have the part). This is where we fold the old-guard mutants back onto their younger selves, allowing James McAvoy to claim Xavier as his own and, to a greater degree, giving Michael Fassbender the reins of Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence the definitive Mystique. We open on a gnarly future in which awesomely powerful robots called Sentinels hunt and exterminate mutants, and pretty much anyone else they feel like wiping out or enslaving. They’re imbued with the chameleonic DNA of Mystique, allowing them to absorb mutant powers and retort with the same. Some of these fight sequences … gracious and good golly. They are ferocious and they are high-stakes. Bryan Singer, directing again, has mastered at least part of this comic-book movie thing. Kill a few heroes and everyone perks right up. Ah, but here’s the twist. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page, Juno-riffically) has the ability to do some kind of mental time-travel thing with Bishop (Omar Sy) and save everyone just in the nick o’, but eventually they figure the only way out of this hellhole of a 21st century is to do a proper “Back to the Future” time-swap and have Wolverine

Phone ___________________________________________________________ Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc # _________________________________ Exp. Date __________

MAY 29, 2014



THURsday, June 12 | 5:30-7pm Showtime In Foster’s Bar at The Rep (2nd floor) FEATURING MUSICAL GUESTS:

Finger Food with Steve Davison and Mickey Rigby For Tickets (501) 378-0405 or visit


Schlafly Representative Chris Johnson will be on hand. FEATURING

heretofore only recognized as an almost Oz-like presence, a name on all the promotional materials. Introductions were made in a hallucinatory manner. I was encircled by the trio: Hunter Devereaux, Grant Vanderbilt, Mark Monroe, plus their celebrity guest, the viral video phenom Crocker. Their mind-bending assortment of genderbinary-smashing costumes, including lacey teddies, pleather and very small denim cut-offs, all assembled with obvious care and worn with intimidating confidence, made me feel far, far from Little Rock. As I remarked on the amazingness of their outfits, overwhelmed and beginning to grasp how unique this environment was in Little Rock, Chris Crocker piped up: “Yeah, this is the first time in a while I have felt totally basic.” I had come here to take in some pop cultural weirdness, possibly to gawk at whatever fringe subcultural freak show was being showcased, but as Grant, Hunter and Mark spoke about the mission of these parties, it became clear that they were fulfilling a need for young gays in Little Rock, providing a creative outlet and, frankly, a kind of spiritual center. They started last year. Hunter, Mark and Grant began throwing house parties in Hillcrest after Hunter and Mark returned home from Brooklyn and were “really bored,” having gotten a taste of what it was like “to be totally free.” In New York, Hunter and Mark had to get creative to come up with extra money and started little street-corner dance parties in their neighborhood, where a tip bucket would be passed around. This was the genesis of the House of Avalon: After experiencing the openness and freedom of bigger city life, they felt a drive to come back and bring their experiences home. “Why not here?” Hunter said they asked themselves. One of the central issues with Lit-

AT SWAY: Hunter, Jason Weist, Mark and Grant.


MAY 29, 2014


tle Rock, Hunter says, is that “many of the young creative people leave.” This is even more so an issue in the gay community here, which Hunter says lacks outlets for open and complete expression, particularly for the young and hyper creative. The House of Avalon guys (the name, by the way, is an homage to the drag culture documentary “Paris Is Burning,” where a “house” is a “gay street gang”) all have fine arts educations, so their desire for a creative outlet was especially intense. And rather than just bitching about it or leaving town, they decided to do something about it. The idea behind their early house parties was to create this space by “completely recontextualizing the house,” according to Mark. The three official House of Avalon parties (the ones that get styled with “Annual” in their descriptions) are Madonnarama, Britney Bxtch and Disco 3000, and they were first thrown last year in the guys’ house, which received a total and jawdroppingly time-intensive overhaul for each party. For the Britney event, they papered the entire home, floor to ceiling, with images of Spears, each room with a different theme: There was the Young Britney room, the Sexy Britney dance room and a photobooth covered with images from Spears’ meltdown circa 2007, when she gave herself a very memorable haircut. The guys had clippers on hand in case partygoers wanted to copy her. The self-styled social media queens advertised on Instagram and Facebook, tools they say have been invaluable for promoting the parties. Kids turned up from all over, in numbers exceeding their imagining: 250 came to Madonnarama, and each party saw more, which necessitated a bigger (i.e., nonresidential) venue, which is how they ended up at Sway. What they began to see was that Little Rock’s young gay community craved



Continued from page 24


SHOP ‘N’ SIP First thursday each month


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


THE REVOLUTION: Hunter and Mark dancing.

and was grateful for the opportunity for totally judgment-free self-expression. I mentioned to Hunter that when I was at Sway, each person I talked to — about half a dozen in all — told me with absolute sincerity that they “needed” the House of Avalon parties. One twentysomething, slim and sporting a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, stilettos and an enviably impeccable face of makeup, gestured to his getup and said, “This, this I couldn’t wear anywhere else without getting looks or harassed.” “Not even another gay club?” I had asked. He shook his head emphatically, “No way.” It took Hunter a moment to digest this story. He was visibly moved, said it gave him goosebumps. “That’s validation,” he said. “Validation we’re doing something right.” Further validation came when some of the more middle-aged members of Little Rock’s gay community began to embrace the House of Avalon’s spirit. Hunter reported that a few turned up to the first house parties in polos and khakis, and left after just a few minutes. When they came to subsequent parties in costumes and heels and stayed, Hunter took that as a victory. This, to him, was proof that even Little Rock’s established gay nightlife scene — in which he never felt comfortable because it plays by “the same old rulebook” — was hungry for change, even if it was slow to admit it. To that end, the House of Avalon wants everyone to “stop taking things so seriously.” Because to them, especially in the context of being a part of the gay community, “Where do we go if we take everything so seriously?” Hunter quoted Orwell’s “Animal Farm” to better illustrate this point (or claimed to; the only direct source I could find was a RuPaul tweet): “The

rebels eventually forget the purpose of the revolution.” Why all the in-fighting within the culture? This seems to capture much of the House of Avalon’s ethos: They are “politically incorrect yet sensitive,” and seek to playfully offend or confuse to get people to talk but also just to relax. This spirit is made manifest in the aesthetics and themes of the parties. Conversations with the three of them are peppered with pop culture references (they love Miley Cyrus, Cher and “Party Monster”: “anything irreverent, anything cult-y”) that demand fluency in both the high and low brow. John Waters is also something of a spirit animal (“To know bad taste you have to know all the rules of good taste”) and they bring new meaning to being fans of the “The Wizard of Oz.” Besides their three main parties, they host a Friday night party at Sway called the House of Avalon playhouse. The themes for these parties vary, but one of the first was Oz-themed. They decorated Sway with images of poppies, and promoted the party with fliers adorned with Dorothy and the tagline “I Don’t Think We’re in Little Rock Anymore.” When I asked the House of Avalon what’s next for them, there was no talk of leaving. It’s all about what they can do here in town. They mention more parties, screen printing shirts, zines and maybe a store. They’ve started something, and they want to see it through. Grant summed it up best: “We’re doing God’s gay work for young people in Little Rock.”

Join us! Live Music on the Lawn Beer, Wine + tons of great finds!




Lots of New Clothing, Jewelry & Other Summertime Fun Stuff

4523 WoodlaWn (Historic Hillcrest) 501.666.3600

GrillinG SeaSon • Father’S Day 2014

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

Find Us On Facebook


2801 KAVANAUGH • LITTLE ROCK • 663-4131

The next House of Avalon party is May 30 at Sway and will be ages 18 and up. It is “Intergaylactic” themed and costumes are encouraged.

MAY 29, 2014


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ THE PROMENADE AT CHENAL shopping center in West Little Rock has announced the opening of a much-needed addition: a new cafe and specialty coffee shop called Cafe Brunelle. A news release calls Cafe Brunelle quaint and cozy at 1,395 square feet, with a menu of deli-style sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries and a coffee bar. “The Café aims to establish itself as a vibrant communal hub, a sanctuary for the caffeine-deprived and a meeting place for all,” the release says. Cafe Brunelle, a locally owned venture by UAMS’ Dr. Ali Krisht and his brother Abbas Krisht, is located in the Promenade Courtyard near yoga stuff seller Lululemon. Hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.




1620 SAVOY Fine dining in a swank space. The scallops are especially nice. 1620 Market St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-1620. D Mon.-Sat. ADAMS CATFISH & CATERING Catering company with carry-out restaurant in Little Rock and carry-out trailers in Russellville and Perryville. 215 N. Cross St. All CC. $-$$. 501-3744265. LD Tue.-Fri. ALL ABOARD RESTAURANT & GRILL Burgers, catfish, chicken tenders and such in this trainthemed restaurant, where an elaborately engineered mini-locomotive delivers patrons meals. 6813 Cantrell Road. No alcohol. 501-975-7401. LD daily. ALLEY OOPS The restaurant at Creekwood Plaza (near the Kanis-Bowman intersection) is a neighborhood feedbag for major medical institutions with the likes of plate lunches, burgers and homemade desserts. Remarkable Chess Pie. 11900 Kanis Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9400. LD Mon.-Sat. ASHER DAIRY BAR An old-line dairy bar that serves up made-to-order burgers, foot-long “Royal” hotdogs and old-fashioned shakes and malts. 7105 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC, CC. $-$$. 501-562-1085. BLD Mon.-Sat., D Fri.-Sat. B-SIDE The little breakfast place in the former party room of Lilly’s DimSum Then Some turns tradition on its ear, offering French toast wrapped in bacon on a stick, a must-have dish called “biscuit mountain” and beignets with lemon curd. 11121 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-716-2700. B-BR Sat.-Sun. BAR LOUIE This chain’s first Arkansas outlet features a something-for-everybody menu so broad and varied to be almost schizophrenic. 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 924. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-228-0444. LD daily. 40

MAY 29, 2014


PRIMAL: The Beast’s hickory link with dijon-roasted carrots and a bacon-Caesar salad.



Food truck grills up a paleo menu.


f you haven’t heard of the Paleo Diet, you might think it refers to grilled sabertooth tiger and Fred Flintstone-sized brontosaurus ribs. Actually, that’s not far off. The Paleo Diet is based on the concept of eating food “to which we are genetically adapted,” according to the diet company’s website. The diet consists mainly of fish, meat, eggs, vegetables, roots and nuts ... things our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have no problem obtaining. There are several items, staples in most American diets, not included in the Paleo Diet: wheat and other grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, and potatoes, just to name a few. This may not be appealing to many folks, but there are a lot of people making it work — and while we’ve not thoroughly investigated the science behind it (and have not yet committed to this lifestyle ourselves ... primarily because it cuts out doughnuts), we will admit that several of the folks we know who have “gone paleo” are some of the most fit individuals we’ve met. The aptly named Beast, a tiny black

and red food trailer that has recently hit the streets of Little Rock, is focused on bringing paleo-friendly foods to a growing throng of dieters. And by the looks of it, butcher Gwen Jones and chef Michael Qandah have a hit on their hands, with Beast often selling out of food before the day is through. You’ll often find the Beast parked near gyms and fitness centers — capitalizing on the fact that most paleopeople are also committed to fitness, many being part of the CrossFit phenomenon. Being neither paleo nor a CrossFit junkie, we were naturally a little skeptical about how much we’d enjoy their food. But the menu seemed quite well thought out, using local producers and growers, so we determined to hunt down the Beast and sample its wares. We first found it on a Saturday morning at the Hillcrest Farmers Market serving breakfast. Several menu items caught our eye, but we decided on the “Primal Biscuits and Gravy” and another item called the “3, 2, 1,” which featured three slices of bacon, two scrambled eggs and one biscuit.

Locations vary, follow at or on Twitter @beastfoodtruck QUICK BITE As the name implies, Beast is a protein-heavy operation, but it often serves something for vegetarians, as well, such as curried greens with organic kale stewed in coconut milk and madras curry. But make no mistake, the meat here is masterfully done. Each menu is composed of locally sourced products, everything from Kent Walker cheese to Cedar Rock Acres farm-raised eggs. HOURS Vary. OTHER INFO Credit cards accepted.

First, the biscuits and gravy ($6). You can imagine that making biscuits without flour is a challenge. Beast’s biscuits use a sort of root vegetable mixture that’s been manipulated to turn out a product that appears surprisingly similar to a gluten-heavy, grainbased biscuit. It’s got some definite textural differences, however, as the paleo-friendly biscuits came out a bit drier and denser than most of their non-paleo counterparts. The scratchmade gravy, however, was excellent — creamy, rich and full of slightly spicy

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.

chunks of locally made breakfast sausage. It was a real delight. We ordered it with a couple of farm-raised scrambled eggs, which were perfectly light and well prepared. It was a solid item, which we’d readily eat again if given the chance. The “3, 2, 1” ($7) came next. This featured the same biscuits (minus gravy) and eggs, but this time paired with house-cured, thick-cut bacon. This bacon is not to be overlooked. It was some fantastic pig. Beast uses Freckle Face Farm products, curing and preparing the bacon itself. The quality and attention given to the food really shows here. It’s crispy, salty, thick and flavorful — you can’t ask for much more in your bacon. A final note on breakfast: We have not sampled them yet, but we’re hearing wonderful things about the Beast’s chorizo and cheddar breakfast tacos ($7). Our next encounter with Beast came at Westover Wednesday’s monthly food truck gathering (at Westover Hills Methodist Church). We started with the Hickory Link ($10), one housemade sausage on top of dijon-roasted carrots and a bacon-Caesar salad. The link was made of grassfed beef filled with hickory-smoked bacon ends and bits of jalapeño-cheddar. It was wonderful — full of flavor, tender and not too greasy. Probably the best bite we had all night. The accompanying carrots were also perfectly cooked and tasty; the salad was simple, but delightful. Next came the Seven-Spice Cutlets ($10) — a dish composed of pasture-raised pork brined and seasoned with Beast’s “secret-spice” blend. The spice blend was good — we thought we detected a bit of cumin or cinnamon — but maybe a little overused, making the pork a bit too salty. We found the seasoning tempered and more enjoyable when paired with the simply dressed salad provided with the pork — an organic spring mix with feta, roasted garlic and herb vinaigrette. One thing has been made clear to us after a few visits to Beast — it may be “paleo-friendly” but the food should certainly not be restricted to those on the Paleo Diet. This food is meant for everyone to experience and enjoy.


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

Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas

BIG WHISKEY’S AMERICAN BAR AND GRILL A modern grill pub in the River Market with all the bells and whistles — 30 flat-screen TVs, whiskey on tap, plus boneless wings, burgers, steaks, soups and salads. 225 E Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-324-2449. LD daily. BOBBY’S COUNTRY COOKIN’ One of the better plate lunch spots in the area, with some of the best fried chicken and pot roast around, a changing daily casserole and wonderful homemade pies. 301 N. Shackleford Road, Suite E1. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2249500. L Mon.-Fri. BOGIE’S BAR AND GRILL The former Bennigan’s retains a similar theme: a menu filled with burgers, salads and giant desserts,

plus a few steak, fish and chicken main courses. There are big screen TVs for sports fans and lots to drink, more reason to return than the food. 120 W. Pershing Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-812-0019. D daily. THE BOX Cheeseburgers and french fries are greasy and wonderful and not like their fastfood cousins. 1023 W. Seventh St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-8735. L Mon.-Fri. BUFFALO GRILL A great crispy-off-the-griddle cheeseburger and hand-cut fries star at this family-friendly stop. 1611 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, CC. $$. 501-296-9535. LD daily. CAFE 201 The hotel restaurant in the Crowne Plaza serves up a nice lunch buffet. 201 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-223-



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3000. BLD Mon.-Sat., BR Sun. CHEERS Good burgers and sandwiches, vegetarian offerings and salads at lunch and fish specials, and good steaks in the evening. 2010 N. Van Buren. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6635937. LD Mon.-Sat. 1901 Club Manor Drive. Maumelle. Full bar, All CC. 501-851-6200. LD daily, BR Sun. CHICKEN KING Arguably Central Arkansas’s best wings. 5213 W 65th St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-5573. LD Mon.-Sat. CHICKEN WANG & CAFE Regular, barbecue, spicy, lemon, garlic pepper, honey mustard and Buffalo wings. Open late. 8320 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-1303. LD Mon.-Sat. DAVE AND RAY’S DOWNTOWN DINER Breakfast buffet daily featuring biscuits and gravy, home fries, sausage and made-toorder omelets. Lunch buffet with four choices of meats and eight veggies. 824 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. $. 501-372-8816. BL Mon.-Fri. DAVID’S BURGERS Serious hamburgers, steak salads, homemade custard. 101 S. Bowman Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-8333. LD Mon.-Sat. 1100 Highway 65 N. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. (501) 327-3333 4000 McCain Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-353-0387. LD Mon.-Sat. E’S BISTRO Despite the name, think tearoom rather than bistro — there’s no wine, for one thing, and there is tea. But there’s nothing tearoomy about the portions here. Try the heaping grilled salmon BLT on a buttery croissant. 3812 JFK Boulevard. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-771-6900. L Tue.-Sun., D Thu.-Sat. HILLCREST ARTISAN MEATS A fancy charcuterie and butcher shop with excellent daily soup and sandwich specials. Limited seating is available. 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. Suite B. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-671-6328. L Mon.-Sat. THE HOP DINER The downtown incarnation of the old dairy bar, with excellent burgers, onion rings, shakes, daily specials and breakfast. 201 E. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2440975. LASSIS INN One of the state’s oldest restaurants still in the same location and one of the best for catfish and buffalo fish. 518 E 27th St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-372-8714. LD Tue.-Sat. MADDIE’S PLACE Owner/chef Brian Deloney has built quite a thriving business with a pretty simple formula — making almost everything from scratch and matching hefty portions with reasonable prices in a fun, upbeat atmosphere. Maddie’s offers a stellar selection of draft beers and a larger, better wine list than you might expect. 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4040. LD Tue.-Sat. MARIE’S MILFORD TRACK II Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill, featuring hot entrees, soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. 9813 W Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-225-4500. BL Mon.-Sat. SIMPLY NAJIYYAH’S FISHBOAT & MORE Good catfish and corn fritters. 1717 Wright Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-3474. LD Tue.-Sat. CONTINUED ON PAGE 43

MAY 29, 2014



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MAY 29, 2014



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


BENIHANA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE Enjoy the cooking show, make sure you get a little filet with your meal, and do plenty of dunking in that fabulous ginger sauce. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-8081. LD Sun.-Fri., D Sat. CHI’S DIMSUM & BISTRO A huge menu spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings, plus there’s authentic Hong Kong dim sum available. 6 Shackleford Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-7737. LD daily. 17200 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-8000. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. 3421 Old Cantrell Road. 501-916-9973. FAR EAST ASIAN CUISINE Old favorites such as orange beef or chicken and Hunan green beans are still prepared with care at what used to be Hunan out west. 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-219-9399. LD daily. FORBIDDEN GARDEN Classic, American-ized Chinese food in a modern setting. Try the Basil Chicken. 14810 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-8149. LD daily. FU LIN Quality in the made-to-order entrees is high, as is the quantity. 200 N. Bowman Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-225-8989. LD daily, BR Sun. IGIBON JAPANESE RESTAURANT It’s a complex place, where the food is almost always good and the ambiance and service never fail to please. The Bento box with tempura shrimp and California rolls and other delights stand out. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-217-8888. LD Mon.-Sat. KIYEN’S SEAFOOD STEAK AND SUSHI Sushi, steak and other Japanese fare. 17200 Chenal Pkwy, Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-7272. LD daily. KOBE JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI Though answering the need for more hibachis

in Little Rock, Kobe stands taller in its sushi offerings than at the grill. 11401 Financial Centre Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-225-5999. L Mon.-Sat. D daily. NEW FUN REE Reliable staples, plenty of hot and spicy options and dependable delivery. 418 W. 7th St. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-664-6657. LD Mon.-Sat. THE SOUTHERN GOURMASIAN Delicious Southern-Asian fusion. We crave the pork buns constantly. Various. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-954-0888. L Mon.-Fri. VAN LANG CUISINE Terrific Vietnamese cuisine, particularly the way the pork dishes and the assortment of rolls are presented. Great prices, too. Massive menu, but it’s user-friendly for locals with full English descriptions and numbers for easy ordering. 3600 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-570-7700. LD daily.


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


ALI BABA A Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery. 3400 S University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. 501-570-0577. LD Mon.-Sat. KHALIL’S PUB Widely varied menu with European, Mexican and American influences. Go for the Bierocks, rolls filled with onions and beef. 110 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-0224. LD daily. BR Sun. THE PANTRY Owner and self-proclaimed “food evangelist” Tomas Bohm does things the right way — buying local, making almost everything from scratch and focusing on simple preparations of classic dishes. The menu stays relatively true to his Czechoslovakian roots, but there’s

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


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


CASA MANANA Great guacamole and garlic beans, superlative chips and salsa (red and green) and a broad selection of fresh seafood, plus a deck out back. 6820 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-280-9888. LD daily 18321 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-8688822. LD daily 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. BL Mon.-Sat. CASA MEXICANA Familiar Tex-Mex style items all shine, in ample portions, and the steakcentered dishes are uniformly excellent. 6929 JFK Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-835-7876. LD daily. EL PORTON Good Mex for the price and a wide-ranging menu of dinner plates, some tasty cheese dip, and great service as well. 12111 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-223-8588. LD daily. 5201 Warden Road. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-753-4630. LD daily. ELIELLA You’ll find perhaps the widest variety of street style tacos in Central Arkansas here — everything from cabeza (steamed beef head) to lengua (beef tongue) to suadero (thin-sliced beef brisket). The Torta Cubano is a belly-buster. It’s a sandwich made with chorizo, pastor, grilled hot dogs and a fried egg. The menu is in Spanish, but the waitstaff is accomodating to

gringos. 7700 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $. 501-539-5355. L Mon.-Sat. THE FOLD BOTANAS BAR Gourmet tacos and botanas, or small plates. Try the cholula pescada taco. 3501 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-916-9706. LD daily. LA HACIENDA Creative, fresh-tasting entrees and traditional favorites, all painstakingly prepared in a festive atmosphere. Great taco salad, nachos, and maybe the best fajitas around. 3024 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-661-0600. LD daily. 200 Highway 65 N. Conway. All CC. $$. 501-327-6077. LD daily. LAS DELICIAS Levy-area mercado with a taqueria and a handful of booths in the back of the store. 3401 Pike Ave. NLR. Beer, All CC. $. 501-812-4876. BLD daily. LAS PALMAS Mexican chain with a massive menu of choices. 10402 Stagecoach Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-8500. LD daily 4154 E. McCain Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. LD daily. MARISCOS EL JAROCHO Try the Camarones a la Diabla (grilled shrimp in a smoky pepper sauce) or the Cocktail de Campechana (shrimp, octopus and oyster in a cilantro and onion-laced tomato sauce). 7319 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-3535. Serving BLD Fri.-Wed. MEXICO CHIQUITO Some suggest cheese dip was born at this Central Arkansas staple, where you’ll find hearty platters of boldly spiced, inexpensive food that compete well with those at the “authentic” joints. 102 S. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-224-8600; 13924 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-217-0700. LD daily. 11406 W. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-217-0647. LD daily.; 4511 Camp Robinson Road. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-771-1604. LD daily.

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May 20 – June 21

Dishing up good, clean laughs… and heavenly fun!

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





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farm to vineyard MAY 29, 2014

Native Arkansan and Simi Winery director of winemaking to host wine dinners in LR, Bentonville BY JANIE GINOCCHIO


rkansas has had its share of chefs that have left home and gone on to work at some of the country’s best restaurants — Nola, Chez Panisse, Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico and Jardinière, to name a few — but we don’t hear much about those who’ve left and made waves in the winemaking industry. Which is why we’re excited about the Simi Wine Dinners scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 11 at Copper Grill in Little Rock. The dinners will feature Susan Lueker, the director of winemaking for Simi Winery and a native Arkansan, who will tell the story of the celebrated 135-year-old winery. Continued on page 46

Simi Wine Dinner featuring Arkansas native Susan Lueker 6:30 p.m. June 11 Copper Grill Tickets: $65 501-375-3333

hearsay ➥ Get your tickets now for CELEBRATE THE GRAPE, an evening of wine, food and jazz to benefit the Argenta Arts District. Scheduled for 6-9 p.m. June 6 in the Argenta Arts District, attendees will have the chance to sample more than 300 wines and delicious food from seven local restaurants. There will also be great jazz music with Lagniappe featuring Genine Perez. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at ➥ Former Times staffer Erica Schaffer has launched a new venture: SEEDS: URBAN MARKET + ARTISTS’ BOUTIQUE, located at 13 Nalley Road, Suite B in Cabot. Open the second Thursday through

Sunday of every month and by appointment, Seeds sells created/designed by local Arkansas artists. The store is also accepting applications for a limited number of consignment slots. For more information or to book an appointment, call Schaeffer at 501-960-5939. ➥ One of the most exciting art exhibitions in town is at the CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER: Works by artist DALE CHIHULY are on display now through Jan. 5. There are three exhibits of Chihuly’s blown glass pieces inside and red glass reeds outside. Entry to the exhibition requires a ticket to the museum, $7 for adults, $5 for college students,

seniors and retired military and $3 for youth ages 6-17. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO ARKANSAS TIMES

MAY 29, 2014


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ummer is finally upon us! The Central Arkansas summer can be brutal, but you can beat the heat with some refreshing chilled rose’ or sparkling wine. Over the past few decades, rose’ wines have gotten a reputation as a lowbrow choice. But the fact is that in many European cities (particularly Provence and other parts of South France) the locals often partake of chilled rose’ to cool down.

A common misconception about sparkling wines is that they are an expensive indulgence only for special occasions. Sparkling wines now come in many more varieties and price points than ever before, and pair with such a wide range of cuisines that they’re a perfect fun sipping beverage for poolside, enjoying at the lake, or your next cookout. Here are a few recommendations for either of these terrific styles.

ROSE’ Everyday choice: Gazela Vinho Verde is a Portugese crowd pleaser, and at about $8 it delivers lively strawberry and banana flavors. The finish is fresh with elegance and balance.

Weekend choice: I usually spend a little more for my weekend wine. A great choice is Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel. It’s recognized as the most complex, flavorful Rose in the world. The nose is bursting with strawberry and raspberry notes with a fresh, complex finish. At about $20, this Rose is a wonderful wine.


Here are three wines new to Arkansas that fit everyone’s budget. They blew me away when I tried them. I’m confident you will enjoy them too. Treveri Cellars of Washington State Blanc de Blanc Brut, about $15 Smooth, nuanced and crisp, it brings clear perspective to your moment. The fresh and dry finish enhances this bubbly, and brings opulence to any occasion. Sparkling Pinot Gris, about $15 46

MAY 29, 2014

Special occasion: Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah, Bourboulenc and Clairette that provides beautiful layers of complexity. A wine you’ll long remember, about $30.

A sophisticated and refreshing reflection of luxury, it offers a semi-dry finish that will delight the senses and invigorate the mind. This sparkling wine proves that in vino veritas- in wine, truth. Sparkling Brut Rose’, about $16 Crisp and complex, it boasts hints of berries and citrus, creating a blend of delicious and enticing flavors. Rosé pairs well with any dish, and its versatile profile is sure to lavish your meal with luxury and class.


Continued from page 45

She’s teamed up with Copper Grill chef Jacquelyn Gooding-Peske to pair Simi Winery wines with a delicious four-course dinner. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased by calling 501-375-3333. Lueker will also host a Simi Wine Dinner at The Hive in Bentonville on June 12. This will be a return home for Lueker, who was born in Little Rock and lived in Arkansas until she was 12. Her father, a farmer, got a job with the University of Missouri Extension and moved the family to Buffalo, Mo. Lueker’s first forays into winemaking were making dandelion wine with her father on the family farm. Despite coming from an agricultural family and her interest in winemaking, Lueker’s path from Missouri to Sonoma County and California’s wine country had its share of detours. Making wine and beer with friends was a hobby as she enrolled at Mizzou, where she started out as a chemistry major. She later switched majors and graduated with a degree in child development. She started graduate school and worked as a play therapist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, but she discovered she needed a change. She transferred to the University of California Davis, where her parents went to college, and earned an enology degree. It was with her first enology class and a visit to the vineyards that Lueker knew she was home. “I loved the vineyard, the interaction with the people, nature and science,” she said. After graduation, she began her career at Hacienda Winery, a family winery in the Sonoma Valley, and then moved on to Kendall Jackson where she worked for eight years at Dry Creek Vineyard. In the fall of 2000, Susan joined the team at SIMI. At SIMI, Susan directs the day-today winemaking processes, works with growers and vineyard managers to obtain the highest quality Sonoma County grapes, and assists marketing and sales in promoting the unique beauty and diversity of Sonoma County wines.

AFTER DARK, CONT. sketches, videos, photographs and scale models, May 31-Sept. 1; “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, through Sept. 15; “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. FAYETTEVILLE THE DEPOT, 548 W. Dickson St.: “Natural Synchronicity,” paintings by Colleen Poplawski, Natalie Brown and Jessica Westhafer, through June. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. 479-443-9900. PINE BLUFF THE ARTS AND SCIENCE CENTER, 701 Main St.: “I come from Women Who Could Fly: New Work by Delita Martin,” opens with reception 5-7 p.m. May 29, show through August, printmaking workshop with the artist 1-3 p.m. June 14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat. 870-536-3375.


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. 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. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5790. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: Paintings by Dee Schulten, Dr. Lacy Frasier and Sue Henley. 375-2342. COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 River Market Ave.: Arkansas League of Artists’ “Spring Members Show,” juror Kevin Kresse, through May 918-3093. 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. 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. THEA FOUNDATION, 401 Main St., NLR: “The Refinery,” “Art Department” exhibit of watercolors by Lisa Krannichfeld, 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, through June 26; “Revision, Missing, Listen, Light, Fly: Drawings by David Bailin,” charcoal and mixed media drawings, Gallery II, through May 30. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 569-8977.

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CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: “Chihuly,” studio glass, through Jan. 5, 2015; 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. 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 MILITARY HISTORY, MacArthur Park: “American Posters of World War I”; permanent exhibits. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. 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.

ARKANSAS TIMES ADVERTISING SALES Arkansas Times has one position open in Advertising Sales. If you have sales experience and enjoy the exciting and crazy world of advertising then we’d like to talk to you. In addition to our popular weekly issue, we also publish our “over the top” website and blogs. Annually we have special focus issues that cover everything from education and careers to dining and nightlife. What does all this translate to? A high-income potential for a hard working advertising executive. We have fun, but we work hard. If you have a dynamic energetic personality, we’d like to talk to you. Please send your resume and cover letter to Phyllis at: EOE.

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MAY 29, 2014


Ar times 5 29 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics

Ar times 5 29 14  

Arkansas Times entertainment, culture, politics