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MAY 9, 2013



Dispatch from Nate Bell-land I’m writing to tell you how much I enjoy reading the Arkansas Blog. Here in Nate Bell land (Mena), we have no state news coverage in our two newspapers nor on our radio stations. No one really knows what’s going on in Little Rock or around the state unless they read it on the Internet. Actually, they do have a weekly column written by Nate Bell in the papers touting his opinions of all the good work he’s doing for us. So again, no one really knows what’s going on in Little Rock. The only reason Nate Bell was ever elected was because he had an “R” by his name and no one challenged him in the primary. Maybe next time it will be different. He’s really had some come-uppance this past few weeks. More letters to the editor in the local papers than I’ve seen on any subject in a long time, and all of them negative. Your coverage of the legislative session was enlightening and helped me to know who the players are and what they’re doing to misrepresent their constituents. The Republican-controlled legislature gave you plenty of fodder for your wonderful sense of humor. Your read on Mike Ross is spot on. I’ve held my nose and voted for him too many times, and I was so sorry to hear that he’s running for governor. He needs to just change parties and get it over with. He was a lousy congressman and he’d make a lousy governor. Thank you, thank you, thank you for a shining light in the deep dark red of Arkansas. Hopefully a few years down the road, people will realize they’ve been duped into voting against their own self-interests and for the corporate agenda, and the pendulum will swing back to the left. Sherry Balkenhol Mena

About those job creators I have one simple question for Republicans. If cutting taxes to the “job creators” creates jobs, then why do we still have an unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent? Taxes for the “job creators” have been low since the Bush tax cuts of 2002. Obama has not raised taxes in the four-plus years he has been in office and has, as a matter of fact, lowered taxes. The experiment during the Reagan years failed (the deficit exploded during the ’80s, unemployment hovered at 10 percent for almost a year and the wealth gap between the wealthy and middle class widened), and the continued experiment currently going on has been a miserable failure (high unemployment, 4

MAY 9, 2013


high deficits and an even greater widening of wealth between the rich and middle class), so why not try a different approach? Trickle down simply does not work! But do you know what does work? Trickle up. The poor and middle class tend to spend most (or all) of what they make. If we give these people more money instead of the “job creators,” they will spend it, putting more money into the economy. It will also create more demand for goods and services. And higher demand for goods and services will create increased profits for

corporations as well as creating more manufacturing jobs. Creating more manufacturing jobs will put more people to work and give more people more money to spend on goods and services. Giving more people money to spend on goods and services will put more money into the economy and the circle starts all over again. The poor and middle class benefit. The “job creators” benefit and the country as a whole benefits. With the current system, only the “job creators” benefit. Everyone else, the poor, the middle class and the country as a whole, is worse off.

“Job creators” haven’t held up their end of the bargain by creating jobs. As I said, taxes are low for them. The Dow Jones is at a record high, indicating that corporate America is doing better than ever, yet unemployment is still unacceptably high. The economy is doing great for the “job creators,” but not for the rest of us. I find it sad that the American economy no longer depends on the American worker. It is time to change the way you think and start to do what is best for the American people. I think the evidence is in and your policies simply don’t work. Garrett Brown North Little Rock

The murder of a school district While PCSSD had $14 million and a budget that reflected one-time (not recurring) expenses, it was declared in fiscal distress. Now it’s almost the end of the year and don’t be surprised to hear that it now has $26 million. Without taxpayers’ knowledge, they continue to pay taxes and don’t have an elected school board. Taxation without representation is existing right now. If you needed to address the school board about a concern, where would you go? Who or how many people would take you seriously or be there to listen? A petition was sent to Governor Beebe, but he ignored it. No response. The Arkansas General Assembly met and was quickly put into motion by a select few to help dismantle the district or at best, help area communities break away so they’d get their own districts. They were told it would be the only way to get out of a desegregation order from court (not true). Now, rather than get control of the district they have, the communities are fed up and want their own. Teachers have spoken up and tried to draw attention to what’s been going on, but they aren’t taken seriously because they have a union. We are waiting patiently, and continuing to serve our students, while we wait on court dates. Even when we win our recognition back and get our contracts reinstated, the taxpayers still will be in the same position. Before the “powers that be” ruin your district, please stand up as taxpayers, as stakeholders and demand your district back. Your children and grandchildren deserve better than a one-man show for a school system. Judy Stockrahm Conway

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CONGRESS DIDN’T PASS any gun-control legislation, either, but at least the Senate tried, and the bill would have cleared the Senate except that Republicans and renegade Democrats like Mark Pryor now use the filibuster freely to prevent majority rule. The filibuster was used rarely in the past. During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 12-year tenure as president, the Senate used the filibuster six times. In the last six years, the Republican minority in the Senate has used the filibuster to block or stall legislation or presidential nominees more than 170 times. This is not your father’s Republican Party, or your father’s Pryor either. 6

MAY 9, 2013




he 2013 legislature was protective of guncarriers and red-light runners, but it came down hard on voters. The first two groups might kill a few people, (or a lot). The third might remove from office a few Republican legislators. This was seen as the greater danger by Republican legislators. Their priorities are different from normal people’s. Every mass murder by gunshot, such as the recent incident in Connecticut, stirs the hearts of Arkansas legislators, though not in the way that outsiders might expect. The lawmakers rush to shield guns and gun owners from any proposed restriction, and, if possible, to increase the number of pistol-packers in the state, thus pleasing the NRA. This year, the legislators responded to the slaughter of schoolchildren by passing a law that would allow the faculty and staff of state universities to carry guns on campus, unless the governing bodies of the universities opt out. We’re hoping that the institutions of higher education will be more level-headed than the General Assembly, and it seems likely that they will. The legislature also voted to exempt concealed-carry permits from the state Freedom of Information law, so that you can’t learn whether your neighbor is packing until he tells you or shoots you. Those who work in downtown Little Rock know that red-light running here is only a little less common than breathing. Nonetheless, a bill to let Arkansas cities use cameras to catch the offenders, as is done successfully in other American cities, was rejected overwhelmingly. Legislators evidently felt it would take the fun out of intersections. Inclined to vote Democratic, the elderly, the poor, and minorities are those most likely to be harmed by a bill that requires photo identification of all voters, so the Republican majority shouted the bill through. The only kind of voter fraud it would prevent is already non-existent, as Governor Beebe noted when he vetoed the bill. The legislators still could return to the Capitol and override the veto, which is just the sort of meanness that many of them enjoy, and which would advance the Republican belief that only rich white men deserve a voice in government. Which reminds us of another group the legislative majority cracked down on. The black flag of “no quarter” waved in the legislators’ war on women. It was hard to keep track of all the bills that were intended to deprive women of control of their own bodies, so the Republicans didn’t try; they just passed all of them. They know what they don’t like, this bunch, if not much else.

THE HONOREES: Bill and Hillary Clinton walk through the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport on Friday after a ceremony formally announcing the airport’s name change.

The gold still rules


try to get excited about the 2014 constitutional amendment proposal forged by the Regnat Populist ethics reform group and the legislature. It’s hard. The proposal won legislative approval because 1) it creates a mechanism for legislative pay raises protected from political blowback; 2) it allows legislators to serve longer, and 3) it gives constitutional protection to free meals for legislative groups and for junkets. The positives? Individual gifts by lobbyists will be prohibited, if not group wining and dining. Legislators must wait two years, rather than a year, to be a lobbyist. But there’s nothing to prevent them from being special interestpaid governmental relations experts as long as they don’t directly work on legislation. Finally, the amendment does prohibit direct corporate contributions to political campaigns. A reduction in corporate contributions — if the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately doesn’t nullify such laws — isn’t a bad thing. But contributions to PACs and by PACs are untouched and that’s a pretty big exception. The Democrat-Gazette, for example, pored over contribution records recently and found 13 lawmakers had taken contributions during the supposed contribution blackout period 30 days before a legislative session. There were varying excuses. Forget the blackout rule and look at simple political decency. These are politicians who were at least 18 months away from an election when contributions were made. None had a demonstrable need for the money. And there it came. It was mostly corporate money, but a big chunk of it came from PACs, which won’t be a bit restricted by the amendment. Consider Republican Sen. Ron Caldwell of Wynne. He raked in more than $30,000 on Dec. 20, including some $10,000 from the PACs of Southwestern Energy, the Arkansas Health Care Association, the Go Eddie Joe PAC (a vehicle by which Sen. Eddie Joe Williams rounds up corporate money to pass out to needy colleagues), the Arkansas Dental PAC, the Hospital Asso-

ciation and the Community Health Centers PAC. All this special interest money and Caldwell doesn’t have to run for re-election until 2016. If the “ethics” amendment passes, looks like he can still count on plenty of corporate money, laundered through PACs, presuming they like his voting record. I’m betting they will. Generally speaking, you don’t find a lot of corporate money in a vast number of legislative races, though a little can go a long way. But, you might argue, the removal of corporate MAX money could be very important BRANTLEY in statewide races for governor and other powerful positions, such as attorney general and treasurer. True. But this new restriction, some believe, will only encourage a worse form of corporate influence peddling — independent expenditures. Increasingly, the independent money is coming through 501c4 organizations that enjoy special tax status, but can spend unlimited amounts on “education” and even some direct advocacy without ever disclosing where the money is coming from. By shutting off the flow of transparent direct corporate contributions, some critics say, the state will only encourage a redirection of unaccounted money to “dark money” expenditures. I expect huge sums of independent money to be spent in 2014 to elect corporate-friendly Supreme Court justices. Look for it also to be spent to defeat Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. He derailed the business lobby’s tort reform amendment in support of his financial benefactor John Goodson, a wildly successful Texarkana trial lawyer. Rep. Ann Clemmer will be a collateral beneficiary in running against Hutchinson. She’ll get corporate money, too, by PACs or otherwise. Money, like water, always finds an outlet. That’s the chief reason it’s hard for me to become too enthusiastic about the so-called ethics amendment.


‘42,’ ’54 and since


he feel-good movie of the season, Everyone now unless you are of a certain turn of winces when Ben mind, is “42,” the story of Jackie Chapman, who Robinson, whose number is the only one managed the Philretired by major-league baseball. lies in the City of You get to see what repugnant racists Brotherly Love, ERNEST we once were but, mercifully, are no more. stands in front of DUMAS Not quite, anyway. his dugout tauntJackie Robinson’s is one of the great ing the black man at the plate — “Nigger, American narratives: a poised black man, nigger, nigger, nigger ...” — and signals the chosen for the mission of breaking the pitcher to go for the brain. We overcame all that, didn’t we? color barrier in professional sports owing It must be lost on no one that most of not only to his marvelous athletic skills but to the temperament to absorb unceasing the ugliness in “42” occurs in northern abuse without fighting back and risking cities, Philadelphia, New York, St. Louis, the cause. He cleared the path for black Cincinnati and Boston, not Memphis, youngsters to perform and excel in the New Orleans, Dallas or Atlanta, but only citadel of American culture, sports, as well because they didn’t have major-league ball. as the arts, entertainment and elsewhere. It also must be said that when Jackie The other half of the feel-good story Robinson redeemed major-league baseof “42” is all of us — how we supposedly ball, as his patron, Branch Rickey, claimed, have overcome our fears and loathing it carried no weight at all in the South. Seven years later, we faced the prob— although the theme is muted in the movie, merely understood. All that hor- lem in South Arkansas. Hot Springs passed rible stuff — the threats, the humiliation, for a liberal precinct in 1954. The peohis own Brooklyn teammates refusing ple who ran the Hot Springs Bathers in to take the field with him, the ugly slurs the Cotton States League, including a screamed from the field and the stands, Republican lawyer and politician named the fast balls aimed at his head, the denial Hank Britt, hired two black pitchers, Jim of public accommodations that his team- “Schoolboy” Tugerson and his brother mates enjoyed — was so long ago, 66 years. Leander. The other Arkansas and Missis-

It’s not just geography


n a blog post last week, I made the case that geography no longer creates a clear barrier to the Republican nomination for a candidate from outside of Northwest Arkansas like House Speaker Davy Carter. The dramatic spread of Republicanism across the state in the Obama era means that Northwest Arkansas (while still the source of a significant share of Republican primary votes) has now essentially been matched by the Little Rock metropolitan area. While it would require a candidate who could run up large margins in these counties outside the 479 area code to beat a strong Northwest Arkansas candidate like GOP frontrunner Asa Hutchinson, it’s achievable in a way that wasn’t feasible just a couple of cycles ago. Geography matters enormously in a state that practices “friends and neighbors” politics like few others in the nation. However, that variable is only the start of any analysis of Arkansas electoral politics. Campaign resources, ideology and personality are the other three key variables that determine the winners and losers of GOP primaries in contemporary Arkansas. Bringing these forces into the equation, Hutchinson remains advantaged in

a possible primary against Speaker Carter no matter the geographical shifts in the state’s electoral patterns. JAY In terms of camBARTH paign resources, Carter and Hutchinson appear quite evenly matched. The most important of these resources, of course, is campaign funding. Carter would likely do quite well among in-state business interests who will benefit from the tax cuts that the Speaker orchestrated during the recently completed session and who also see the economic benefits of the expansion of health care access that Carter helped bring about. On the other hand, Hutchinson has long-standing support among establishment Republicans and, probably underestimated to date, Hutchinson’s leadership of the National Rifle Association’s school safety initiative gives him access to a national fundraising network that is larger and more active than at any time in recent history. (Neither candidate will have natural access to the energy of activists that can overwhelm monetary support in a primary electorate that, while

sippi cities in the league announced they when its parent club, the Phillies, signed wouldn’t play the Bathers if they fielded Dick Allen, a future major-league slugger, a Negro. The attorney general, J. P. Cole- and sent him to the Travelers. Fearing the man, declared it illegal in Mississippi for torment that would ensue, he begged not a black man to play baseball on the same to be sent to Little Rock and always hated field as whites. the Phillies for it. My paper, the Gazette, My beloved Oilers at El Dorado and and the Democrat instructed their writthe other teams voted to expel the Bath- ers not to identify this Dick Allen as the ers until their management agreed not to first black player, but the word got out. play a Tugerson. When Schoolboy went The White Citizens Council picketed the to the mound anyway against the Jackson park the first night with signs that said Senators, before he could deliver a pitch “Nigger go home” and “Don’t Negro-ize the umpire forfeited the game to Jackson. baseball.” As the national anthem played The Tugersons picked up and went at the outset, Allen stood frozen in right to Knoxville, Tenn., where the unhitta- field reciting the 23rd Psalm to himself. ble Schoolboy won 33 games that season. When he left the ballpark that night he Before the season was out, Britt managed found a note on his windshield: “Don’t to put a black Langston High School lad, come back again nigger.” An outcast on Uvoyd Reynolds, and another player the team and in town, he could not stay from the Negro American League on the in public accommodations or eat out, so field for a few games at Hot Springs, and he lived with a black family. attendance jumped. But other cities — El We aren’t so callous anymore, not Dorado, Helena, Pine Bluff — were not openly anyway — not in Philadelphia, ready to see black athletes. I went to town Penn., or even in Philadelphia, Miss. In one August night that year to see the Oil- fact, we have elected a black man presiers pound the Greenville Buckshots. Jim dent and re-elected him in what was supJohnson from nearby Crossett, who was posed to be the “post-racial society.” running for attorney general to fight inteBut, make no mistake. Race still makes gration, stood at the plate with his wife a difference everywhere, even in the sportand sang “On Mockingbird Hill” at the ing arenas, and it governs national life in subtle ways and big. A huge national conseventh-inning stretch. The Cotton States League, facing integration and other issues, sensus about guns, so relatively easy to folded the next season, and for some of us translate into law when a Southern white summers were never the same. boy was president, flounders when the Little Rock integrated baseball in 1963, black man makes it his cause. expanding, remains relatively small; indeed, the more fringe candidate Curtis Coleman may well be best-positioned to make inroads with the Tea Party portion of the GOP electorate.) The recent high-profile gun advocacy by Hutchinson also reemphasizes his conservative bona fides for a primary electorate that historically has rewarded ideological purity. Hutchinson’s consistently conservative voting record while in the U.S. House is also evidence of his core beliefs as is his lukewarm response to the “private option.” Conversely, Carter not only shepherded Arkansas-style Obamacare, but went out of his way to emphasize his relative moderation by chiding his legislative colleagues for placing too much emphasis on social issues like guns and abortion. Carter regularly has described Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe as the most outstanding governor in the state’s history. It’s also important to recognize that Carter’s final mission as House Speaker will be to oversee another key vote to appropriate money for the first full year of the “private option” plan; it will take place after the filing period has opened and will provide a potential target for any Carter opponent wanting to make inroads with GOP rankand-file conservatives. In short, on the ideological front, a Carter/Hutchinson race would have parallels to the primary

between Win Rockefeller and Hutchinson in 2006 that was cut short by the lieutenant governor’s sudden health crisis. Speaker Carter, affable and energetic, would seem to be advantaged over the more staid Hutchinson on the personal front, the final key variable. However, Hutchinson also ultimately ends up advantaged here. While the Hutchinson family name is a flawed one with general election voters, GOP voters recognize that the Hutchinsons were the soul of the party when few others were willing and able to represent it; indeed, Asa Hutchinson was a masterful party chair in the 1990s. Finally, there is the lingering resentment over how Carter became speaker. There was some evidence that those most loyal to Rep. Terry Rice, whom Carter booted from the post, resisted giving Carter a win on the private option out of lingering resentment. That group of influential Republicans will likely continue to actively oppose a Carter gubernatorial candidacy. Thus, for reasons both ideological and personal, an advantage in a prospective Carter/Hutchinson primary battle goes to the veteran. That said, it is right for political observers from inside and outside the GOP to salivate at the prospects of a primary battle for the soul of the party that would approximate that which never came to pass in 2006.

MAY 9, 2013


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MAY 9, 2013



Minor exodus makes ripples


here isn’t any reason to read tea leaves with searing scrutiny when there’s a minor mass exodus of football players after spring practice ends, right? Unless, of course, the defecting foursome announced by the University of Arkansas on Monday includes: • A three-year letterman who has capably demonstrated his quarterbacking skills at various times the past few seasons, then in 2012 made waves as both a part-time wideout then a late-season disciplinary casualty for still-undisclosed investigative reasons. • A theoretically vital defensive lineman who transferred in last year with some measure of fanfare, then finally got his sea legs late in the season and looked like a potential contributor for 2013. • A coveted small-town Arkansas prospect from last year’s class who probably could have been plugged into any number of positions. • A onetime celebrated receiver prospect who, despite his inexperience to date, had as good a chance as anyone to fit into the catching cadre or at least be a return specialist and gadget player. The releases from the program for Brandon Mitchell, Austin Flynn, Defonta Lowe and Keante Minor, respectively, made ripples only because all four have played and all four had expectations of playing more. It’s not insignificant that someone groomed to be a starting quarterback at this very point in his career is now, months before that, carting his unique skills elsewhere, nor is it just a footnote that someone like Flynn, who brought a little bit of pizzazz to a woebegone defense last year at times, is bailing out. (Flynn had a publicized legal issue in February that basically triggered his dismissal long ago, but his release was only granted this week.) Bret Bielema’s active Twitter feed, given the truncated nature of the medium, didn’t exactly say a lot. But he managed to offer up one phrase that carried some logical weight: “Transition is a process.” It wasn’t surprising when Bobby Petrino came onboard that Ryan Mallett suddenly had designs on playing for the team he grew up watching. And it wasn’t shocking that once

Mallett became eligible, Nathan Dick summarily high-tailed it to Conway to finish out his career at BEAU Central Arkansas. WILCOX Mitchell wasn’t a prototype Bielema quarterback, either, though perhaps everyone felt he could excel the way Russell Wilson did in his one season under Bielema’s watch at Madison. The hang-up there: Wilson had spent three years slinging it, rather prolifically, for North Carolina State, while Mitchell remains unproven as a college quarterback with only 43 attempts through three seasons. And Mitchell wasn’t mincing words when he said a while back that he was “strictly focused on [playing] quarterback.” To his credit, the young man put his money where his mouth was, and he’s leaving with most Hog fans fondly recalling his selfless move to wideout last year and generally empathizing with his desire to advance his career elsewhere if that’s what suits him. Mitchell may see the field for some other program this fall and that’s no great sin for Mitchell, or for Hog fans. It is easy to see Mitchell’s physique and watch him seamlessly run pass routes and zip throws and simply assume that he’s the heir apparent to Tyler Wilson, but Brandon Allen didn’t come to this program without pedigree or gifts of his own, and what the Russell Wilson experiment actually proved is that Bielema doesn’t deem stature to be all that critical. It’s about heady leadership first and foremost, and it’s abundantly clear now that for all of Mitchell’s contributions and selflessness over the years, Bielema, Jim Chaney and others view Allen as the right guy at the right time. And the read on the other departures is parallel: Flynn, Minor and Lowe all have lots of learning to do, and maybe even flourishing, at other locales. Hog fans always wince about those players who skipped town after a year or two and found a niche at a smaller program, maybe even parlayed it into an NFL career, but this staff wasn’t brought here to make friends or kowtow to seniors at the expense of others. Transition is a process.

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Nixes on Exes Munthlee Parker writes: “I went to the George Strait concert and heard him sing ‘All My Exes Live In Texas.’ I knew that was wrong, but I didn’t say anything. Then I read in the daily paper about a ceremony at the Airport: ‘Political figures from the present and the past sprinkled the crowd. They included two former governors – ex-Sen. Dale Bumpers and Jim Guy Tucker.’ I can’t remain silent any longer. When will American schools start teaching the proper use of ex- ? Or are we just going to let the Chinese be the only ones who use ex- correctly? Then I guess we’ll start eating with chopsticks too.” Mr. Parker may be a little too ex-cited, and I certainly hope he’s wrong about the chopsticks. But strictly speaking, he’s identified two errors, at least under the old rules. The usage manual “Success With Words” says “When the prefix ex- is attached to a title (as in ex-president) or a word (as in ex-husband), the resulting term designates the person who held the position immediately before the current holder. The term former should be used to refer to any previous holders of the position.” The rule holds true even if the position is now vacant. Only the last person to hold it is ex-. So George Strait should have


MAY 9, 2013


Remember the great pitcher Dizzing Dean? “The financial success of the paperback became its cultural downfall. Media conglomerates bought the upstart pocket-book firms and began chasing after quick-money best-sellers … And while paperbacks remain commonplace, they’re no longer dizzingly cheaper than hardcovers.” Not highly educated, Ol’ Diz probably wouldn’t have noticed the misspelling here. But you’d expect more from the editors of Smithsonian magazine. The word they wanted is dizzyingly.


It was a good week for ... THE CLINTONS. The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport hosted the former president and former secretary of state to herald an expansion project and celebrate the formal renaming of the airport. The construction project — a new ticket lobby and baggage handling system — cost $67 million. Clinton said he’d love to see the airport become international and that he was “profoundly grateful” that the airport was named for him, particularly since the name had included “the airport’s lawyer.” Hillary Clinton represented the airport when her husband was governor. A LAWSUIT. A coalition of conservation groups announced plans to file a lawsuit over Agriculture Department approval of a major hog feeding operation at the C&H Hog Farm at Mount Judea, located near a creek that flows into the Buffalo National River.

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sung “My Ex Lives in Texas, And So Do All My Formers,” and Bumpers should have been identified as DOUG “former Sen. Dale SMITH Bumpers.” After him came Blanche Lincoln. Not there’s John Boozman. Not all the contemporary authorities are so picky about ex-. The Associated Press Stylebook says only that “usually former is better.”

THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF AN ERA. State Auditor Charlie Daniels, a nearly eternal state officeholder, announced he’s hanging it up. He won’t seek re-election in 2014. He’d previously served as land commissioner (five terms) and secretary of state (two terms). He’s 73 and won 70 percent of the vote in 2010, but said he’s ready to retire. This further opens the field to a Republican challenger in reddening Arkansas. Republican State

Rep. Andrea Lea of Russellville has said she might run. A Republican even more conservative than Lea, Ken Yang of Benton, is already in the race. A HOG ROAST. Tasty, heritage-breed hogs slow roasted overnight, live music, cold beer — if the weather had been a little more spring-like, the first annual Arkansas Times Heritage Hog Roast would’ve been perfect. AN OPT OUT. The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees and Hendrix College Trustees voted to opt out of the new state law that allows concealed guns to be carried on campus. The law, by Republican Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville, passed with the provision that governing bodies could choose to continue no-gun policies.

It was a bad week for ... THE SLOANHENDRIX SCHOOL DISTRICT. The tiny school district in the Northeast Arkansas town of Imboden was rocked by the negative publicity surrounding reports that Bryant Huddleston, a former TV news anchor and successful TV producer, was invited to speak at graduation of his alma mater, Imboden’s Sloan-Hendrix High School, but then disinvited because at least two school board members didn’t think a gay man should speak at graduation.


True blood THE OBSERVER WAS MOTORVATIN’ through North Little Rock the other day with particularly weighty reporter issues whirling in our noggin when we spied a city worker with a leaf-blower, using the contraption to swirl leaves off a sidewalk. It says something about where our head was that day that our literal first thought on seeing him was: “I could do that job.” The Observer once worked a blue collar job, free of responsibility for anything other than doing as we were told, keeping our head down, not whacking our thumb with a hammer, and performing to the best of our ability. Sometimes, in the spring, we miss it. There is a scene in the great film “American Beauty” where Kevin Spacey’s middle-aged and professionally successful character fills out an application for a fast food joint, specifically requesting the most least-incharge position available, and this time of year that sentiment always calls to Yours Truly. The drive to excel, if we could ever be accused of having that, momentarily flees our body around the time the dogwoods bloom, and doesn’t return until the sweaty fist of deep summer clenches tight. We suspect it’s that way for a lot of folks. If only we could be a leaf blower, The Observer thought as we motorvated by, our life would be so simple. We’d create a flow chart and pin it to the sun visor of our car, to stare at every afternoon after doffing our orange safety vest and hat and blower. “Did you blow the leaves?” the flowchart would say. “Yes? Good job! No? Well, better luck tomorrow! But don’t beat yourself up about it, because here’s the secret of life, my friend: there will always be more leaves tomorrow, and there’s no sense giving yourself a gatdamn heart attack.” The Observer would do our best, but not so good as to be promoted. In the afternoons, The Observer would go home sweaty, vibrated numb from the rattling engine and smelling of grass, gasoline and two-cycle oil. Spouse would say: “What did you do today?” and The Observer would say: “I pushed the leaves. They rolled on invisible breath. Through my earplugs, the whine of the blower was the purr of hidden bees

inside a wall. I wanted for nothing except water, and to be here inside this house, with you.” Hurry along, Springtime. We love you, girl. But if you stay much longer, we’ll be over in North Little Rock signing up for menial labor. SPEAKING OF BEING in the wrong line of work, we read online the other day that Charlaine Harris, the Arkansasborn novelist who wrote a whole bunch of vampire books and made herself a gazillionaire, has decided to end her Sookie Stackhouse series after a thirteenth novel. Actually, what caught our eye was the news that since Harris made that announcement, fans have sent her death threats. According to the Wall Street Journal, one reader even threatened to kill herself “if Sookie doesn’t wind up with Eric.” In full disclosure, The Observer is not a fan of Harris’ books. We tried a few years back with the first one — really tried — and we have friends who think the sun rises and sets on “True Blood,” HBO’s redneck-vampire series based on the Sookie Stackhouse books. But Harris’ novels were just too ... something ... for our liking. No matter. The Observer finds that taste in novels is like taste in pie: you’re just never going to reach a consensus on coconut over chocolate, and who wants to make a jackass out of themselves while arguing over a pie? Given how few people can count themselves as readers these days, The Observer gives you our blessing to tell any booksnob who’d ridicule you for what you read to go urinate up a rope. You’re doing a good thing, even if you read crap. All that said, it occurs to Your Favorite Book Club Philosopher that it takes a certain amount of writerly mojo to make people threaten your life for bringing a series to an end, which makes us want to give ol’ Sookie another shot. Until then, The Observer, who has never felt homicidal after a novel but who has grieved a bit over the turn of that last page, can sympathize with both Harris and those readers who have clearly invested a bit too much in her imagination.

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MAY 9, 2013


Arkansas Reporter



Gay away in Imboden Another Arkansas school district has provided another negative educational experience (remember Midland and the homophobic school board member Clint McCance?) for all students, particularly those who happen to be gay. The latest is the Sloan-Hendrix District based at Imboden in Northeast Arkansas. Its school board president is Steve Huddleston, a retired state trooper. He talked to school Superintendent Mitch Walton in January about inviting Huddleston’s son, TV producer Bryant Huddleston, to be the high school graduation speaker this week. Bryant Huddleston is a Sloan-Hendrix graduate. Huddleston thought the deal was set. When Walton said he was planning to invite someone else to speak, Huddleston said he reminded Walton about his son, a former TV news anchor in Jonesboro who now lives in California and is currently working on a new series for the Bravo channel. According to Steve Huddleston, Walton said he’d talked with the four other school board members and two of them, reportedly banker Preston Clark and dentist Aaron Murphy, said it would create a community backlash to have a gay man speak at graduation. Bryant Huddleston is gay. Rather than have him, there will be no graduation speaker this year. Graduates include Steve Huddleston’s daughter.

The reaction The decision to have no graduation speaker in Imboden prompted Bryant Huddleston to write a long letter to Walton, reprinted first on the Imboden Live website, then the subject of a news article in the Jonesboro Sun and elsewhere, including the Arkansas Blog, which picked up 30,000 readers for our account of the story on a normally slow Sunday. Huddleston said he’d had no plans to promote an “agenda,” as Walton apparently feared. Huddleston wrote: “... I was hoping to empower your students to continue their education. My speech would have also touched on the importance of women, like my sister, who will go out into the world and know that they can now pull their chairs right up to the table of equality. To encourage them that they can no longer sit in the back and let men make the important decisions for them. And for that matter, letting them know that someday a woman or two or three can become a member of the Sloan-Hendrix School Board. After all, there’s an opening, since my father will resign from the Board later this month.” Bryant Huddleston, who has an adopted son, said he decided not to let the issue slide because discrimination would CONTINUED ON PAGE 13 12

MAY 9, 2013


Drawing the line Groups battling SWEPCO power line project that could encroach on some of Arkansas’s most scenic landmarks. BY DAVID KOON


n odd set of corporate, municipal and grassroots bedfellows has coalesced in Northwest Arkansas around opposition to a proposed Southwestern Electric Power Co. power-line project that critics say could encroach on some of the most scenic places in the Ozarks. The proposed project would push through a 150-foot-wide cleared right-ofway studded with 150-foot-tall electrical transmission towers. One route for the project would bring the power lines within 1,000 feet of the iconic Thorncrown Chapel in the woods near Eureka Springs. On April 3, SWEPCO filed an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need with the Arkansas Public Service Commission, requesting approval to build a new 345,000-volt transmission line from SWEPCO’s Shipe Road station near Centerton to a proposed power station on Kings River northwest of Berryville. The proposal includes six alternate routes. If any one of those routes is approved by the APSC, the certificate would give SWEPCO eminent domain powers, allowing the company to condemn and purchase the land of any landowners who refused to willingly sell for the power line right-ofway. Peter Main, a SWEPCO spokesman based in Fayetteville, said that all power facility projects have an impact on the environment, but “it’s very much a balancing act — a balancing of impact.” Main said the new project would “directly reinforce the local transmission system” and will provide power to the area, with a stepdown transformer in Carroll County that will take the voltage down from 345,000 volts to 161,000 volts so it can be used by the local power grid. Main said that a 150-foot-wide easement is “the typical right-of-way” for a power line that size. Once the right-of-way is cleared, Main said, it will be maintained at least partially through the ground application of EPA-registered herbicides. Public comments about the project, posted on the APSC under docket number 13-041-U and available at its website, have


been strongly against the project, with more than 2,000 people writing to express their opposition. More than 50 individuals, organizations, corporations, and cities — including the American Institute of Architects, the Walmart Real Estate Business Trust, and the cities of Bentonville, Cave Springs, Springdale, Garfield and Gateway (whose city park would apparently be cut in half by one of the proposed routes) — have filed requests to intervene in the case, meaning they could give testimony before the commission when the hearing on SWEPCO’s application convenes. The date of the hearing is not listed on the APSC calendar as of this writing, but APSC executive director John Bethel said it should take around 180 days from the time of the application before the commission reaches a decision, with “several rounds of testimony” addressing the application. Bethel said the commission “always appreciates and gives consideration to the comments from the public.” Jeff Danos is with the group Save the Ozarks, which opposes the SWEPCO project. Danos, who lives just outside Eureka Springs, said that depending on the route, the easement, transmission towers and lines could pass close to or be visible from a host of well-known Northwest Arkansas landmarks, including Lake Leatherwood, the Christ of the Ozarks, Beaver Lake, Spring Street in Eureka Springs, Thorncrown Chapel and Pea Ridge Battlefield. One route would cross Highway 23 just north of Eureka Springs, near the North Arkansas and Eureka Springs rail-

way station. Danos said another potential route could cross the proposed path of the Razorback Regional Greenway mountain bike trail project, which would run from Bella Vista to Fayetteville. Danos said that potential conflict led Springdale and Bentonville to file interventions in the case Part of getting out the word about the project, Danos said, is helping people understand the impact it would have on the area. “Everybody’s trying to wrap their minds around this, and it’s very difficult to do because we have no power lines of that size anywhere in this area,” Danos said. “We’re talking power lines that are the height of cell towers. It’s definitely something new. Personally, I’m seeing this as the single largest act of utility-driven destruction that we’ve seen in this region.” Danos said that he believes “sound planning” should be able to find a route that doesn’t encroach on landmarks and environmentally sensitive areas. He said he feels positive about the fight, which he calls “a David and Goliath story,” because of the outpouring of public and municipal support. “We’ve got strength in numbers,” he said, “but what it’s ultimately going to come down to is: Is the PSC going to listen to us? ... When you look at previous documents, utility companies tend to get their way.” Doug Reed is the pastor at Thorncrown Chapel, designed by the Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones. The chapel, which opened in 1980, is run by a non-profit, and holds weekly services. Potential encroachment on Thorncrown is why the American Institute of Architects has filed to intervene in the case. Reed said more than 300 weddings a year are performed there. One potential route for the power line, designated on SWEPCO plans as Route 91, would cross Highway 62 around 1,000 feet south of the chapel. Reed said it’s unclear whether the transmission towers would be visible from Thorncrown if the line goes through there, but added that he has been amazed and moved by how many people have mentioned Thorncrown in their letters to the APSC in opposition to the SWEPCO project. “Fay Jones’ architecture is organic,” Reed said. “His buildings were designed to be part of their environment, almost like someone dropped a seed there and they just grew with everything else. When you harm the environment around a Fay Jones building, you harm the building. There’s just no way around it.”





Around 500 hearty souls braved the wind and the rain on an unseasonably cold May Saturday to attend the first annual Arkansas Times Heritage Hog Roast in Argenta. Teams from the Argenta Market, Cafe Bossa Nova, the Capital Hotel, the Country Club of Little Rock, Lulav Italian Kitchen, the Root Cafe, Local Lime, Maddie’s Place, Reno’s Argenta Cafe, Ristorante Capeo and St. Jude Children’s Hospital were even heartier — most of them spent the night before, when temperatures flirted with freezing, tending to their fires and rotating their swine to ensure they were cooked to perfection. Our celebrity judges had trouble selecting a winner; only two points separated first and third place. But ultimately the $1,000 cash prize and the handcrafted mosaic pig trophy went to the Country Club of Little Rock. Local Lime earned second, with Reno’s Argenta Cafe coming in third. The judges had excellent — and diverse — variations on pig to deliberate on. Local Lime served its porchetta in a taco. The Root Cafe pulled its pig and included it on bahn mi-style crostini. The Capital’s team offered its porchetta bites in a ciabatta roll with mustard and cabbage. Sides were equally inspired. The Reno’s team — packed with politicos like Arkansas Economic Development Commission head Grant Tennille, Lottery Director Bishop Woosley and Arkansas House Chief of Staff Gabe Holmstrom — made fresh pork rinds and put bacon and beer in mac ’n’ cheese with great success. The team from St. Jude made hot water cornbread. The Root served homemade spicy kimchi. All that, plus tasty beer from Schlafly, live music from the likes of Bonnie Montgomery and The Lost Bayou Ramblers — next year can’t come soon enough.

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

INSIDER, CONT. continue if not addressed. He said he’d been bullied as a high school student. “As Superintendent, Mr. Walton — I hope you are aware that LGBT youth already attend classes on your campus. They are going from class to class with a fear of being outed or being treated horribly by their classmates — so adding educators and mentors to that mix prohibits these teens from thriving. The Board represents them too, and by silencing me, you’re telling those students that it isn’t okay to be who they are.” Walton stopped taking phone calls, but issued a statement in which he said Huddleston had never been given a formal invitation and that it was his decision not to have a speaker after “informal discussions” with school board members. Henceforth, he said, there will be no graduation speakers at Sloan-Hendrix. The community has been roiled by the controversy, with predictable lines being drawn — some sympathy toward Huddleston and a great deal more anger toward him, plus theories that he had somehow cooked up the controversy to enhance himself. There’s a simpler way to look at it. Do you really doubt who the speaker would have been at Friday’s graduation if Steve Huddleston’s child had a wife at home?

One month after the spill LOCAL LIME’S PIG



Oil company cheerleader Jason Rapert, the senator for the Mayflower oil spill zone, helped get out the ExxonMobil public relations message earlier this week by tweeting news of the oil company’s report a month after a ruptured pipeline spewed Canadian tar sand crude on a Mayflower neighborhood. Exxon is sorry, of course, but upbeat about the cleanup and cooperation of all involved. Photo coverage includes a cleaned turtle being released to its native environment. An Exxon exec comments: “I am grateful for the patience and understanding displayed by the wonderful people of Mayflower. Quite frankly, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community — the welcome they have shown us — in light of the circumstances. I speak for everyone working on the cleanup in saying we won’t be satisfied until we can give them back the beautiful community they know and love.” Still awaiting answers on what caused the break; the nature of what’s being pumped through the pipe; whether pressure on the pipe flow was excessive; what’s the possibility of pollution seeping below ground; what sort of damages Exxon plans to pay to those not “directly impacted” by oil flow, and lots more.



Rep. John Burris went to Arkansas Tech University. Our cover story last week stated that he went to Pulaski Tech.

MAY 9, 2013



Does one massive achievement cancel out dozens of terrible ones?


ow to think about the 89th General Assembly? In one sense, it was hugely successful. No other legislation that emerged from the session will even approach the effect that health care expansion will have on the state. More than 200,000 low-income Arkansans will get health insurance. Hospitals, drowning in uncompensated care, will avoid closure. Billions of dollars in federal spending will stimulate the state’s economy. Who do we have to thank for it? Democrats, who voted for it en masse in the House and Senate, and Gov. Mike Beebe, who


MAY 9, 2013


brokered the deal, sure. But mostly a handful of pragmatic Republicans, who worked tirelessly to engineer a palatable plan and sell it to their skeptical GOP colleagues. Of course, these were the same Republicans who think everything goes better with more guns, support tax policy that burdens the poor and middle class in favor of the rich and helped push through one of the most punitive anti-woman packages of legislation in the country. Does health care expansion overwhelm the damage done by those and other pernicious new laws? Read on and decide for yourself.



ere’s a rundown on some of the new laws enacted during the 100 days of the 89th General Assembly, which informally adjourned April 23. Formal adjournment is May 17.

ABORTION Act 301 (Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway) outlaws abortions after 12 weeks gestation, and Act 171 (Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley; Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs), outlaws abortions after 20 weeks. Also: Act 72 (Rep. Butch Wilkins, D-Bono), prohibits insurance coverage of abortions; Act 156 (Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch), defines personhood as beginning at conception and allows a woman to use deadly force to protect her fetus; Act 1032 (Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette), defines personhood as beginning at conception for purposes of legal action; Act 725 (Hester), requires parental consent for abortions performed on girls under 18 and that forensic samples be taken from aborted fetuses from girls under 18.

EDUCATION Act 1227 (Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home) removes race as a factor in student transfers between districts. EFFECT: A federal judge last year ruled unconstitutional the state’s practice of allowing school districts to consider race as a criterion for allowing transfers between districts. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case in January, and now has asked lawyers in the case to submit briefs arguing whether or not it should rule in the wake of Act 1227. But in perhaps solving one question the new law has created a whole new batch. Act 1227 removes race as a factor in student transfers between school districts, but it also lets school districts opt out of school choice, without any state review, if they have been mandated to remedy the effects of racial segregation in the past. The past is not defined. Many districts in the state could opt out under that criterion — Blytheville, Camden-Fairview, El Dorado and Hope already have. Some have even argued that the entire state has a history of segregation, which might allow even districts without a history of their own to opt out. Among those that don’t opt out, don’t expect the racial makeup of districts to change overnight (read: white flight). The new law caps the number of transfers allowed from a district to no more than 3 percent of the district’s student population per year. FUTURE: Lawsuits are a near certainty.

EFFECT: Legislators, overriding vetoes by Gov. Mike Beebe, decided to require Arkansas women to bear children, whether they want to or not, if they are 12 weeks or more pregnant, when an ultrasound can detect the fetal heartbeat. There is no exception for fetuses so malformed that they are destined to die in utero or at birth. There are exceptions to save the life of the mother or prevent irreversible damage to her organs or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Act 301 requires that a woman seeking abortion submit to an ultrasound to detect the fetal heartbeat. (In its first iteration, sponsor Rapert wanted to require that ultrasound to be vaginal; he amended the bill after doctored images of him playing the fiddle with a vaginal ultrasound were created for the Internet.) The woman’s doctor will be required to inform her of the results of the ultrasound in writing and provide information on the “statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual to term.” She will then have to sign a form acknowledging she’s been told the heartbeat could be heard, and continue the pregnancy. Act 171 bans abortions after 20 weeks, declaring that that is the point at which the fetus feels pain. Whether it causes emotional pain to require the woman to carry to term — or as long as it can last — a fetus she knows will not survive was disregarded. FUTURE: Two doctors have filed suit in federal court naming the state Medical Board as defendant challenging the constitutionality of Act 301. A separate suit challenging Act 171 is expected.

Act 509 (Rep. Mark Biviano, R-Searcy) gives the state Department of Education oversight of public charter schools. EFFECT: Republicans and so-called “education reformers” came into the session eyeing a complete overhaul of public education in Arkansas — opening the floodgates to charter schools, introducing school vouchers and expanding school choice. Prevailing only on an incremental expansion of the school choice law probably represents a loss for the “reformers,” but they remain in good position for the war. (When the “reform” is funded by money from the Waltons and other billionaires, you’re always in a good position). “Reformers” couldn’t muster enough support for another bill sponsored by Biviano that would’ve given charter school approval and supervision to a newly created independent commission. The fallback, Act 509, takes away discretionary power over charters from the state Board of Education and gives it to the state Education Department. The initial proposal to create a new commission would’ve ensured a rapid expansion of charters; the fallback won’t help the “reform” movement until a governor sympathetic to charter schools remakes the Education Department accordingly. FUTURE: Elections matter.


MAY 9, 2013


ELECTIONS Act 595 (Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest) requires voters to present photo identification at polls. EFFECT: You’ve got to show a photo ID — issued by the federal or state government or an Arkansas college or university — when voting. Previously, poll workers were required to ask you for your ID, but you were not required to provide it. Republicans say the new law will protect the integrity of our elections; some may believe that. But there’s no evidence of substantial in-person voter fraud, the only kind prevented by the new law. There is plenty of evidence, however, that this law is a cynical ploy to suppress the votes of the poor, elderly and minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats and lack photo IDs disproportionately to other demographics. Dan Greenberg, a former Arkansas legislator who was the chief “expert” during voter ID testimony, helped craft the bill at a meeting of the Koch-financed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2009, not coincidentally a little less than a year after President Obama inspired a historic voter turnout. In case his bid to tilt elections in Republicans’ favor fails, King pushed through

ENVIRONMENT Act 954 (Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock) declares water quality measures required by the federal Clean Water Act to be speculative and sets a different standard for release of minerals by industry and cities into Arkansas waterways. EFFECT: Your future drinking water may taste bad and be bad for you. It took a legislative committee less than 15 minutes to give a “do pass” to this bill, which lowers pollution standards for Arkansas’s waterways. Ignoring warnings from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency that the bill violated federal law, the industry-sponsored bill upends current regulations that protect all waterways from pollutants — which is why our drinking water is so good — to exempt only those waterways now in use as a source of drinking water from relaxed pollution rules.

a trio of bills that would put more power over election oversight in the office of the secretary of state, now held by Republican Mark Martin. Gov. Beebe vetoed all three, calling them “unwarranted attempts to undo a carefully crafted system of checks and balances and divisions of responsibility between the state Board of Election Commissioners, the secretary of state’s office and local election commissioners.” House Speaker Davy Carter has said it’s unlikely he’ll call back the full House to try to override the vetoes on May 17, when the General Assembly formally adjourns. FUTURE: The ACLU of Arkansas is likely to file suit against Act 595. Amendment 51 of the Arkansas Constitution, which outlawed the poll tax and established a system of permanent voter registration, prevents the legislature or a local government from adding new requirements for voting beyond the procedures outlined in the amendment.

GUNS Act 67 (Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest) lets houses of worship decide whether they will allow churchgoers to carry concealed handguns; Act 226 (Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville) lets colleges and universities decide whether concealed weapons will be allowed on campus; Act 1390 (Sen. King) lets churches operating K-12 schools decide whether to allow concealed weapons on school property; Act 760 (Sen. King) allows licensed employees to carry a concealed weapon in liquor stores; Act 1089 (Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway) automatically accepts concealed-handgun licenses from other states in Arkansas; Act 145 (Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood) exempts the names and zip codes of gun owners from the state Freedom of Information Act; Act 415 (Rep. Justin Harris, R-West Fork) exempts former law-enforcement officers from licensing requirements for concealed carry; Act 746 (Rep. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith) defines a “journey” as a trip leaving the county (carrying a weapon on a journey is permitted by law).

FUTURE: A challenge to the law as violating federal law is expected. Act 1302 (Sen. Ron Caldwell, R-Wynne) amends laws and regulations of air quality standards. EFFECT: More air pollution. The industry-sponsored bill removes ADEQ’s ability to require industrial permit seekers to model their pollution dispersant systems to show what the impact on surrounding areas would be. The ADEQ and EPA opposed this bill as well, on the grounds that it runs afoul of federal clean air laws. FUTURE: A challenge to the law as violating federal law is possible.

EFFECT: Restrictions on guns were loosened in a variety of ways. Most churches and higher-education institutions will probably maintain a no-guns policy, but it will at least be legally possible for the lock-and-load set to seek out firearmfriendly places for prayer and learning. Ditto for church-run private schools. Liquor-store employees will be able to carry concealed weapons, and it will be easier for former law-enforcement agents and licensed gun owners moving in from other states to get a concealed-carry license. Who are all these folks carrying concealed weapons? The public will no longer have access to that information. The one possible doozy was the most obscure: Rep. Altes’ act that quietly re-defined “journey,” at least according to some gun advocates, that carrying a weapon — concealed or open, with or without a license — is allowable so long as a person is journeying from one county to another. It’s implausible that this was the legislature’s intent (a bill allowing open carry failed), but the question will be left to the courts unless the legislature tries to take action to amend or repeal it in May. The same “journey” exemption would apply to knives, throwing stars, etc., pleasing the traveling ninja lobby. FUTURE: Act 746 is likely to lead to a court case as soon as someone defies a gun law but announces, “Hey, I’m on my way to Stuttgart!”


MAY 9, 2013


HEALTH CARE Acts 1496, 1497, 1498 (Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe; Sen. Paul Bookout, D-Jonesboro; Sen. David Sanders, R-Little Rock; Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View; Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison; Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot; Rep. Mark Biviano, R-Searcy) use Medicaid dollars from the federal healthcare law to offer subsidized private health insurance on the exchange to low-income people; Act 1499 (Sanders) creates the office of Medicaid Inspector General; Act 1500 (Biviano) creates a nonprofit healthcare exchange marketplace; Act 1339 (Burris) allows the Insurance Commissioner to consider a nonprofit insurer’s surplus funds in determining whether a proposed rate is excessive. EFFECT: The state’s decision to accept federal money for expansion of healthcare coverage means that more than 200,000 low-income Arkansans will gain health insurance. Via the so-called “private option” plan, the government will pick up the entire cost of the premium for private health insurance on the exchange for people whose earnings fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Meanwhile, the exchange — a regulated marketplace that is currently a federal-state partnership — will be able to transition to a state-run entity in 2015, at the discretion of a non-profit board, including legislators and state officials, that will manage it. The existing Medicaid program will add a new position in charge of program integrity, the Inspector General, appointed by the governor and operating independently of DHS. Fraud in the Medicaid program on the beneficiary

TAXES Act 1488 (Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot) increases the exemption on state income taxes paid on capital gains. Act 1459 (Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville) reduces state income tax. EFFECT: The legislature passed a slew of tax cuts that’ll eventually cost the state as much as $140 million in revenue, but unless you’re active-duty military, a blood donation organization, a dentist, a farmer, a large manufacturer, a timber harvester or a volunteer firefighter — all of whom received tax breaks or exemptions — you won’t feel much relief. Cuts to income and capital gains tax got the most publicity during the session, but unless you’ve got seriously deep pockets, you won’t notice them either. Act 1459, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins, reduces all tax brackets one tenth of one percent. The cut on the lowest bracket goes into effect in 2014; all others start in 2015. Act 1488, championed by House Speaker Davy Carter, exempts capital gains in excess of $10 million beginning in 2014, not coincidentally the year he’s likely to be running for higher office, in need of some funding by those buying and selling things worth more than $10 million. In 2015, the act ups the percentage of capital gains exempt from income tax from 30 percent to 50 percent. Regular folks, most of whom take

side is negligible, but could be a significant problem on the provider side. According to Sanders, this will be the inspector general’s focus; if so, the position could be a useful piece of a larger reform effort to reduce costs. Other minor reforms to the Medicaid program include a new system for income verification; a new system to target Medicaid providers that have not paid state income tax; background checks and drug testing for Medicaid in-home caregivers; and the creation of a new pilot program as well as a legislative review committee for the state’s payment reform initiative. Act 1339 will provide some protection to consumers in the private market. The bill in practice largely targets Blue Cross Blue Shield, making it more difficult for the insurance carrier to accumulate excess income while hiking premiums. FUTURE: Arkansas will seek federal approval of the waiver necessary to enact the “private option” — the feds are highly likely to grant the waiver. In June, carriers will submit bids to sell insurance on the exchange, and the exchange will be up and running on Jan. 1, 2014, with the transition to a state-run exchange a possibility a year later.

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the standard deduction, get a crumb in the legislation, too: In 2015, taxpayers can claim $2,200 for their standard deduction, $200 more than is currently allowed. Many Republicans were eager to pass healthcare expansion in Arkansas because it’s projected to save the state money, whereas doing nothing would’ve required the legislature to shore up the ballooning cost of the state Medicaid program. Without the savings, there couldn’t have been similar-sized tax cuts. Otherwise, despite Carter’s claims to the contrary, healthcare expansion and tax cuts have nothing to do with each other. One helps the working poor, the other disproportionally benefits the ultra-rich, who already paid the lowest effective tax rate in the state. Moreover, to pay for the tax cuts, the legislature didn’t fund promising educational programs and kept the budget for National School Lunch Act funding, which goes to school districts with the highest level of poverty, flat, while giving all the other categorical funding a cost of living increase.

MAY 9, 2013


THE WORST OF THE WORST The terrible 10 of the 89th General Assembly. REP. BOB BALLINGER, R-HINDSVILLE A strong candidate for this year’s Constitutional Law Quizbowl Least Valuable Player, Ballinger lands a seat on the dunce stool for filing a bill called “The Arkansas Second Amendment Liberties Safeguards Act,” which would have forbidden the federal government from enforcing federal gun laws in Arkansas. While it might be easy to come to the facepalm-worthy conclusion that Ballinger (who has a law license) has never heard of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which says federal laws take precedence over state laws, the alternative is even more disturbing: that, like a lot of far-right Republicans these days, Ballinger simply doesn’t believe in the validity of the Supremacy Clause, even though it is nothing less than the glue that keeps the “United” in “The United States.” As you’ll no doubt recall, we fought a very bloody Civil War a while back over the issue of states rights versus federal supremacy, and the Union won. Nonetheless, similar federal power “nullification” bills have been floated in farright legislatures all over, with Tea Party legislators proudly proclaiming they’re standing up for and protecting the Constitution while busily wiping their asses with it. Luckily, Ballinger’s bill failed in committee, allowing the state’s political science and American history professors to slowly take their seppuku swords away from their exposed midriffs. Simultaneously, and thank the Lord, Arkansas taxpayers were spared the cost of fighting off legal challenges to yet another blatantly unconstitutional law.

REP. NATE BELL, R-MENA What greater ding-a-ling exists in the Arkansas legislature than Nate Bell? The Mena legislator earned the moniker “the moron from Mena” thanks to his Twitter page taunt of Boston “liberals” that the marathon bombing had them quaking in their boots wishing they had guns and lots of ammo. (Twitter has not been kind to Bell: He once compared Democrats 18

MAY 9, 2013


to Nazis, using a bogus quote by Hitler to do so.) Fortunately, some of Bell’s ideas didn’t make it into law, like requiring students who for some reason failed to get a degree to pay back their Academic Scholarship to the state. He withdrew a bill that would have made it easier for gas companies to build pipelines on property over the objection of the landowners; with oil running all over Mayflower, the timing seemed poor. To be fair, Bell was on the right side of the entire eminent domain issue, seeking to prohibit its use for private enterprise. His support of privacy rights (unless it’s a woman’s) makes sense. Still, he is wholly owned and operated by the Tea Party and the Koch machine (his wife has been employed by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity), and so he voted against using federal dollars to buy health insurance for a quarter-million Arkansans.

REP. ANN CLEMMER, R-BENTON Arkansas legislators said a lot of stupid, insensitive things during the General Assembly, but it’s hard to top Clemmer defending the 12-week ban on abortions she sponsored in the House: “I really believe that we are not eliminating choice at all. We’re just saying after 12 weeks, the choice is over,” and, appropriating a famous line from Bill Clinton, “The purpose of this bill is to make abortion safe, legal, and more rare.” When she’s not sponsoring bad legislation, Clemmer is a political science professor at UALR. She’s clearly not stupid. With an eye on Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson’s Senate seat, deeply cynical might be a better description. How else to explain a political scientist who grew up in majority-black Mississippi County, but now represents majority-white Saline County not just casting a vote for a modern day poll tax (voter ID), but having the gall to take to the House well to express mock outrage that anyone might suggest the legislation

was aimed at keeping people from voting? With her voice wavering, she said she found that notion “horrifying,” and added that when she spoke for her abortion ban, she “did not accuse anyone in this body of wanting to kill babies.” Maybe she did her graduate study on the political science of demagoguery.

REP. JIM DOTSON, R-BENTONVILLE Dotson is one of the Republican Simpletons — the Republican House Caucus who devised the SIMPLE plan (Spending cuts, Income tax cuts, Medicaid opposition, Protection for embryos, Legal reforms to restrict lawsuits, Educational reforms to increase charter schools). A footsoldier for the Walton family’s charter school ideas, Dotson introduced a bill to strip the governor of the power to appoint members to the state Board of Education and allow the legislature to nominate six of the nine members, a bill he later amended to call for the election of board members and which died in committee. On the other hand, despite the fact that his district’s biggest revenue generator, the Walton-founded Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is headed up by a man whose family includes two dads and a son, Dotson felt called upon to introduce a bill (with Sen. Bart Hester) to affirm the state’s position that marriage is between a man and a woman, a bill that sailed out of committee like a released dove. Coincidence that one of the members of the state Board of Education that Dotson sought to gut is a married gay man? Dotson also introduced a shell bill to amend the Arkansas Constitution on public prayer, though details were never filled in.

SEN. BART HESTER, R-ROGERS Hester loves concealed handguns and Koch money and voted against the state’s measure to provide health insurance coverage to 200,000 Arkansans who could not otherwise afford it. You give

’em health insurance, you make ’em “government dependent,” he said. Let ’em wait till they get really sick and have to use the ER. Urged on by the hotel and restaurant lobbies, he also would have reduced unemployment benefits. That’ll get those freeloaders back on their feet! He joined with Republican colleague Rep. Andy Mayberry of Hensley to practice medicine without a license by declaring the human fetus feels pain at 20 weeks. Having been over-served at the Tea Party, his grasp of state government is less than firm; he suggested the legislature go home without enacting a budget bill, thinking the state could just keep on keepin’ on. That move would have been the “Biggest win possible for GOP,” he tweeted. While he saw no need for a 2014 budget, he thought it important that the state mandate a minutelong “period of silence” in schools, an idea that is now law. Perhaps he could use a minute to think on the fact that if it weren’t for one woman — Kochpaid Teresa Crossland Oelke — and her family’s companies, his campaign chest would have been depleted by nearly a half. Talk about dependency.

SEN. MISSY IRVIN, R-MOUNTAIN VIEW Missy Irvin began and ended the session with silliness. January found her publicizing a letter from her 12-yearold son to the president, which began “Dear Barack” and included the surprising information that everyone in Mountain View has guns. “We use guns to put food on the table here and we all rely on guns,” the letter stated. “Without guns our whole town will go hungry!” Irvin herself offered more surreal news from Mountain View when she claimed in a committee meeting that Medicaid recipients back home were driving around in fancy cars. Irvin could always be counted on to demonize beneficiaries of public healthcare; all of her empathy is saved for doctors (such as her husband), whose paychecks she ferociously protects. Her bill to ban certain practices in tattoo shops was a classic example of the nosy, intrusive brand of conservatism that Irvin prefers. Her bullying performance testifying for it was light on evidence but heavy on Missy-knows-best descriptions of how gross the practices she hoped to ban were. At one point she compared scarification CONTINUED ON PAGE 20


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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 — a form of non-ink tattoos some adults would like to choose for themselves — to female genital mutilation in Africa. (Under pressure, the bill was eventually amended to more reasonable regulation.) In the final week, the self-promoting senator managed to leave her mark on the session with a bit of pointless grandstanding on the “private option” healthcare expansion bills. After flip-flopping multiple times, she announced on the morning of the vote that she would vote for the bill if her demands were met. She had hand-written notes that she was unable to explain until proexpansion legislators swooped in with amendments they had already written and convinced Irvin they addressed her concerns. It was clear in committee that Irvin had no idea what the amendments were, other than the one most important to her — adding her name to the bill.



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MAY 9, 2013


SEN. BRYAN KING, R-GREEN FOREST We’ll give him credit for this: King cast the decisive vote to keep a punitive tort reform measure from advancing as a constitutional amendment. Otherwise, there’s no legislator worse. When he got worked into a rage in committee meetings, barking at colleagues with spit flying, we’d occasionally focus in on his lizard eyes, absence of a neck and general villainy and hallucinate Jabba the Hut. That’s un-Christian of us, but so is sponsoring legislation to allow concealed weapons in church, as King did. He also sponsored a bill, like Ballinger, that would prohibit the federal gubmint from enforcing any of its pesky gun regulations. King farms for a living. Surely the name of the farm he runs with his father and brother — Triple K — doesn’t have one of those double meanings. Surely it’s just a coincidence that he was the relentless champion of voter ID legislation that disproportionally affects minorities. What’s clear is that King wants to remake state government to give Republicans a better opportunity to gain power and keep it. The ledge passed a trio of his bills just before adjourning that would give the secretary of state more power over election oversight (the current SOS is, of course, Republican). Thankfully, the governor vetoed them and, perhaps because King popped off at House Speaker Davy Carter when he thought the House wasn’t taking up consider-

ation of an override of the governor’s veto of King’s voter ID bill, Carter has said he doesn’t expect to call the full House in to consider another override when the legislature formally adjourns on May 17.

REP. DAVID MEEKS, R-CONWAY Meeks is one of those House Republicans who didn’t get the memo that serving in the legislature is a part-time job. While colleagues like Rep. John Burris seem to use their down time to bone up on policy (albeit, usually bad policy), Meeks must spend all of his memorizing Tea Party rhetoric. He needs more practice. There’s no greater ideologue in the House and few as incoherent. Meeks could be counted on to fidget like an elementary schooler eager to get the teacher’s attention during committee meetings — as if he had a devastating question — only to baffle the room by regurgitating a talking point he’d just read online with only passing relevance to the issue at hand. In fairness, it must have been hard for him to focus on what was actually being discussed, spending his time in committee maniacally tweeting and surfing the conservative blogosphere. That he would oppose healthcare expansion was a foregone conclusion; that his reasoning managed to get the issue so backwards that he began insisting that the government set prices for private companies was classic Meeks. He also got in on the Republicans’ collective, “Lord of the Rings”-grade assault on women’s reproductive rights, sponsoring the “Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act,” cut-and-paste legislation modeled on a template offered by the antiabortion group Americans United for Life, which would allow doctors or hospitals to refuse birth control, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and other procedures if those procedures don’t square with the doctor or hospital’s “religious, moral or ethical principles.” Thankfully, it went into interim study. For sheer, clueless audacity, though, it’s hard to beat Meeks’ Twitter comment following an impassioned speech by Rep. John Walker against the Voter ID bill, in which Walker — a black attorney who grew up in some of the darkest days of the Jim Crow Era — made the case that requiring voters to present ID would be an impediment to minorCONTINUED ON PAGE 23

J U N E 7 T H — S E P T. 8 T H , 2 0 1 3


Downton Abbey Meets Downtown Little Rock

Anthony van Dyck Princess Henrietta of Lorraine Attended by a Page, 1634 Kenwood House, English Heritage; Iveagh Bequest Photo courtesy American Federation of Arts

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Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London


5.LITTLE 18.13






➥ COLONIAL WINES AND SPIRITS has kicked off a new image just in time for the summer season. Complete with a new logo, slogan and in-store signage, the new branding highlights the philosophy of Colonial’s owners, Clark Trim and Henrik Thostrup. “We’ve been in the community for 21 years, and we have a wonderful staff of professionals who love helping our customers celebrate more,” said Trim. “At Colonial Wines and Spirits, we sell celebrations. So the new idea is to celebrate more.” Colonial features everything from domestic, imported and craft beer to rare and hard-to-find vintage wines, in addition to a full selection of spirits from around the world. Colonial also offers convenient staff picks and party planning tips on their new website, ➥ In honor of fabulous moms, TULIPS is marking down dresses 25 percent through May 11. ➥ CANTRELL GALLERY is pleased to announce that they are now representing Ed DeLauter, a wood-working artist from Stone Co., Ark. He is self-taught and employs both hand and power tools to produce his one-of-a-kind pieces, but the real labor of love is using hand tools like planes and chisels. Most of the woods DeLauter uses are obtained from local sawmills including white & red oak, walnut, cherry, ash, sycamore, and persimmon. The unique boxes DeLauter creates are now available at Cantrell Gallery. ➥ Give Mom a piece of History from the Jacqueline Kennedy collection found at the CLINTON MUSEUM STORE. Beautiful jewelry ready to give in a velvet gift box, perfect for your first lady. ➥ If you haven’t gotten something for mom yet, then head on down to VESTA’S in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center. The store has a little bit of everything, from light jammies from P.J. Harlow to new jewelry from Rhonda Smith, as well as barefoot dreams throws, frames, art, vases – the list is endless.

MAY 9, 2013



Some legislation shone. THE BIG ONE The legislature got lots of things very wrong but managed against long odds to get the biggest issue right. Hundreds of thousands of low-income Arkansans will gain health insurance thanks to the supermajority that accepted the federal Medicaid expansion (routed through private insurance companies via the so-called “private option”). Three Republicans stood up for common sense (at least once the “private option” emerged) against those in their party more interested in ideological rigidity than what was best for the state. Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock) was the group’s big-picture idea man; Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe) their detail-oriented policy whiz; Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison) their preternaturally talented pitchman. They outworked, outresearched, outdebated, and outhustled all comers (among many highlights, Burris and Sanders at a Saline County town hall trouncing a former Romney healthcare advisor — flown in as a hired gun by antiexpansion Americans for Prosperity the night before the big vote — was a sight to behold). We disagree with them on just about everything else but they deserve applause for the Herculean task of getting Republicans on board with doing the right thing. Equally important, Democrats were united in support of expansion from the get-go, and leaders like Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville and Sen. Paul Bookout of Jonesboro were vital not just in keeping the caucus together but in keeping them quiet during the expansion debate — biting your tongue ain’t easy, but any voices from the left were liable to spook wobbly Republicans. We sometimes had doubts about the party’s strategy during the session as they held their powder on just about every issue, but they brought home the big one.

MORE EXPANSION HEROES Also deserving props for their role in the expansion debate: Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-Marianna) and Rep. Joe Jett (D-Success) played key behind-the-scenes roles for the Democrats on both policy and politics; Fayetteville Republican Rep. Charlie Collins (smart enough to realize that expansion will add money to the state’s coffers, which creates more wiggle room for the tax cuts Collins is obsessed 22

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with) was a tireless advocate for expansion, obsessively working the phones, town halls, and Capitol hallways with his psychedelic “Charnalogies” (it’s like a Rubik’s cube, like the grieving process, like rheostat lights); House Speaker Davy Carter (R-Cabot) and Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville) might not be moderates in any typical sense of the word but they were sane and effective leaders who managed to climb the supermajority mountain. Finally, just a footnote, but a thank you to Rep. Sue Scott (R-Rogers), for being one of the only legislators to inject the human element into the debate — from her speech on the House floor: “When I look at the numbers, I see faces with those numbers.”

SMALL ENVIRONMENTAL VICTORIES Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock) managed to get two energy-efficiency laws passed. One allows for the creation of energy improvement districts to help fund home or business energy efficiency projects with low-interest loans. This means less demand for power and water by residential, commercial and industrial properties, via the PACE (propertyassessed clean energy) program, which allows property owners to finance energy improvements through their property tax assessments. The other law allows state agencies to use maintenance and operations dollars to finance energy cost-saving contracts, which should help the state save money by lowering utility costs.

SPEECH OF THE SESSION Simple decency was hard to come by this session but Rep. Deborah Ferguson (D-West Memphis) could be counted on to deliver. Serving on a Public Health committee dominated by know-nothing grandstanding, Ferguson often managed to gently steer the conversation toward medical facts. On the House floor, she gave the best speech of the session, during the debate over a resolution to reaffirm the Defense of Marriage Act, with Republicans (and no doubt some Democrats, there was no roll call) standing athwart history. “With liberty and justice for all,” Ferguson began. “We say that every day. We don’t say some, we say all.” Yes, the resolution itself was meaningless, but the

brand of ugliness for its own sake on display needed to be called out — Ferguson did it with both passion and compassion, grounded in knowledge of the past and hopeful for the future. “We all possess the ability to love, to love people as they are,” she said. “This resolution is hurtful, to our sons and daughters and an entire community… I see it as an opportunity for Arkansas to stand on the right side of civil rights. Arkansas has too many times stood on the wrong side of history. Not just the losing side, but the wrong side.”

CITIZEN ADVOCACY Ferguson also deserves praise for her role in coming to the rescue with amendments to a body-modification bill that turned it from a nonsensical ban to reasonable regulation. After Sen. Missy Irvin’s (R-Mountain View) “ew gross” dismissal of people interested in body modification, Ferguson’s tolerant approach was a breath of fresh air. (“Everyone has a different idea of beauty but we should try to ensure that it’s done safely. … I’m not for banning anything. … It’s not a fringe practice — it’s a natural desire to create meaning and beauty in the world.”) To their credit, the opposition of arch conservatives Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena) and Sen. David Sanders also helped turn the tide on Irvin’s nanny-state bill. The biggest difference maker, though, was the citizen advocacy of local tattoo and bodymodification artists. They flooded legislators with emails and calls and came to meetings to speak clearly and eloquently against the ban. In local politics, half the battle is showing up, and a group without much political clout made their voices heard.

FRESHMAN OF THE SESSION Former Times staffer Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) was chosen as chairman of the House freshman caucus and emerged as the strongest liberal voice in the House. His ethics reform bill was imperfect but making even incremental progress on that front was an impressive accomplishment with this crew in charge. His alternative progressive taxcut bill served as pushback against the windfall-for-the-rich approach of Collins and Carter. The Republicans won the day

but adopted at least a small increase in the standard deduction from Sabin’s proposal, and Sabin helped to highlight the nastily regressive approach of the GOP.

NOBLE IN DEFEAT In another legislature, or perhaps in another time, Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) would be a lion. Here in Arkansas her role is to stand proudly for what is right, even when the cause is hopeless. Her efforts to abolish the death penalty, to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and to require a racial impact statement for any bills creating a new offense were all, of course, defeated. We thank her for them still. A bit less hopeless: Her bill to offer in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrant students who’ve graduated from Arkansas high schools will languish in interim study, but it may have enough legs to make it through next time around.

WE DISAGREE WITH THEM ON ALMOST EVERYTHING BUT … Rep. Duncan Baird (R-Lowell) walks the walk on ethics reform (he’s one of the only legislators who unilaterally refuses to accept gifts from lobbyists) and his honest approach and quiet competence were welcome in his role as House Chair of Joint Budget. Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home) got enabling legislation passed for after-school and summer pilot programs; though it was swallowed up by tax cuts and never appropriated, it’s a start. Key was also a co-sponsor of the DREAM act, Elliott’s bill to offer in-state tuition to undocumented high school graduates.

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE! No anti-immigrant legislation was filed and other than a meaningless resolution, the legislature’s bullies left the LGBT community alone. Bills to strangle state spending, to end government regulation as we know it, to defund Planned Parenthood, to raid the state’s revenue for the highway department, to cap jury awards in civil cases and to dismantle public education all failed to pass. Ditto to a couple of bills that would have been extremely costly and extremely ineffective, but would have satisfied the Republican itch to pick on recipients of public assistance: biometric smart cards for Medicaid beneficiaries (the Voter ID of healthcare) and drug testing for unemployment beneficiaries (no drug testing for legislators, natch). Before you breathe a sigh of relief at all of these bullets dodged, remember that for a group of mischief makers this determined, there’s always next year.


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20 ity voting. Afterwards, Meeks, who had clearly lashed himself to the mast and plugged his ears with beeswax during the speech, tweeted: “More inappropriate remarks by Rep. John Walker from the well. This is 2013.” Yes, it is. Though some clearly wish it was 50 years earlier.

SEN. JASON RAPERT, R-CONWAY Sen. Jason Rapert quickly became the face of the Christian Right in the Arkansas Legislature, and it’s a face that prochoice folks love to throw tomatoes at. Not that the opinions of heathens probably matter to The Lord Thy Senator, whose Armor of God helmet strap is cranked down so tight that he once countered a Twitter critic’s questioning of his religio-political beliefs with: “If you’re a Christian, and you believe in God, then our beliefs would be the same.” Rapert brought that spirit of compromise to the abortion debate, driving through the “Human Heartbeat Protection Act,” which is now — thanks to an override of the governor’s veto — a patently unconstitutional state law that limits abortions to 12 weeks from conception by redefining viability to mean: “Whenever a doctor can hear something in there, even if it’s just a wad of heartlike cells.” Rapert originally wanted the ban to kick in at six weeks after conception, but backed off because detecting a “heartbeat” that early requires a vaginal ultrasound, and having the word “vagina” cross his lips would likely lead to a whole lot of frantic, prayerful toothbrushing. Sadly, The Pope of Bigelow apparently missed the Bible verse on Jesus driving out the money changers, given that he once favorably compared the predatory payday loan-lending industry to humanitarian “micro-financing” non-profits that help impoverished people in third-world countries start businesses. Looks like he missed the part about Love Thy Neighbor as well, given that back in March he called liberals “the nearest thing to Taliban we have.” Might we suggest a peek in the nearest mirror, senator?

REP. BRUCE WESTERMAN, R-HOT SPRINGS The tin-voiced majority leader turned

out to have a political glass jaw, unable to rally support for his governmentslashing crusades, and ending his failed session with a temper tantrum on the House floor. A key architect of the Republican agenda, unselfconsciously named the SIMPLE plan, Westerman’s big push was a “starve the beast” bill. Unsatisfied with a budget system that has been successful for the last 70 years, Westerman sought to put an arbitrary cap on spending. This questionably legal attack on legislative discretion failed. Westerman’s greatest passion for cutting government was devoted to healthcare spending on the poor. According to a well-placed source, Westerman was behind the misuse of the Legislative Audit office to attempt a hatchet job on the Medicaid program via shady methodology and bad data. The aim was to derail Medicaid expansion; the plot was eventually foiled and the audit was much ado about nothing. Westerman was also constantly inflamed by the notion that a single poor person out there somewhere might be gaming the Medicaid system, despite the lack of evidence that this was a significant cause of fraudulent spending. His bill to mandate Medicaid beneficiaries to have biometric smart cards — a program that had in other states proven costly, wasteful, and effective only at discouraging eligible folks from getting services — thankfully died in committee. Westerman’s most memorable role in the session came from his noisy opposition to Medicaid expansion. After working alongside the architects of the “private option” plan that will bring coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income Arkansans, he suddenly became the plan’s fiercest opponent in the week before the votes (widely believed to be an attempt to appeal to the Tea Party faithful for a congressional run). He went all in with inflamed rhetoric, sparsely attended press conferences and his own poison pill bill. When he didn’t get his way, he gave a bizarre speech accusing unnamed colleagues of being Judases and giving the press and bloggers a faux-defiant invitation to “write what you want to about me.” And we will: he’s a weaselly ideologue; thank goodness an agenda so nasty had a spokesman so poor.

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There’s always something springing up in Chenal Valley. From natural landscapes to wonderful amenities, the neighborhoods of Chenal Valley bring to life everything you could dream of in a community. It makes coming home more like a walk in the park. To begin your search for a new lot or home in Chenal Valley, go to

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Arts Entertainment AND

toward suburban sprawl by contributing to revitalization efforts in their hometown. Pairing this desire with a second of their passions, contemporary art, the couple embarked on a journey to create an oasis where art challenges and amuses, stimulates conversation and provokes new ideas. (The collection in Bentonville achieves all of this.) The pair partnered with world-renowned architect Deborah Berke to realize their vision on the three existing properties. 21c Museum Hotels claims to redefine the art of modern Southern hospitality — which would explain why Bentonville guests are greeted by a mutant wombat in the lobby, offspring in various stages of gestation protruding from its grotesque back. (The wombat is actually part of the current exhibition, a work by Australian artist Patricia Piccinini crafted from silicon, hair and other materials). The space itself is airy and light-filled, welcoming and beguiling. A serpentine vintage Italian couch winds its way through the lobby, behind which hang the arresting photographs of South African artist Pieter Hugo. (They all linger in the mind, but there’s one particularly stirring image of a child atop a chained hyena that still haunts me.) A striking photograph of a bison (as large as an actual bison) hangs behind the front desk; a sparkling pile of crystal encrusted antlers twinkle in the hallway; an interactive sculpture of whirring fans sits outside the elevators. It’s a full-immersion experience into the world of 21st century art, where no place is out-of-bounds — from bathrooms to the boardroom and gym. Two inaugural exhibitions at the hotel will run through July: One, titled “Dead Ringer,” features work from artist Slater Bradley and noted cinematographer Ed Lachman; the other, “Hybridity: The New Frontier,” highlights more than 85 pieces from the 21c collection, including the aforementioned wombat-esque creature and a taxidermied turkey wearing a wig. The hotel has several permanent pieces, but rotates exhibitions. Even before setting foot in the museum, however, you feel transported to some distant and exotic cosmopolis. The experience begins outside when you spy Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea’s Orange Tree in the courtyard, a large-scale sculpture of a metal tree sprouting basketball hoops and surrounded by basketballs. (They’ve since had to erect stanchions around the piece to deter visitors from trying to shoot hoops.) You’re also drawn to the concrete bench by the entryway that looks like stacked suitcases and offers a surprisingly comfortable

ENJOY YOUR STAY: Kenny Belaey performs at the 21c Museum Hotel grand opening.


21c Hotel opens with bike tricks and parkour, naturally. BY KATHERINE WYRICK


erhaps best known as the world headquarters of Walmart, Bentonville, in a delicious slice of incongruity, is fast becoming a center of art and design, thanks primarily to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art but also to 21c Museum Hotel, which opened in February. It’s the third in a mini-chain of art-obsessed hotels, with others in Louisville and Cincinnati (and plans for more in Durham, N.C., and Lexington, Ky.). Located on the northeast corner of the Bentonville town square, a short walk from Crystal Bridges’ south entrance, 21c is a swell 104-room boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and cultural civic center all in one. Among its features are 12,000 square feet of exhibition space that’s freely open to the public 24/7; The 24

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Hive restaurant (already creating a buzz), loaner bicycles that guests can use to access the area’s 20-plus miles of cycling paths and a flock of giant plastic green penguins (explanation to follow). The hotel seamlessly marries thoughtful design, culinary creativity and contemporary art by emerging and internationally acclaimed artists (hence the name, paying homage to the 21st century). The lively grand opening, held April 19-21, drew an eclectic mix of artists and art critics from all over the country. Before recounting the weekend’s festivities, however, a brief history: 21c, which launched in downtown Louisville in 2006, was born of a desire to integrate contemporary art into everyday life. Troubled by development encroaching upon Kentucky’s farmlands, philanthropists and contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson sought to reverse the trend


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7th & Thayer · Little Rock · (501) 375-8400

Saturday, May 11


CHARLAINE HARRIS, who became famous for her Sookie Stackhouse vampire fiction (“True Blood”) while living in Magnolia, has decided to end the series after 13 books. Fans are not happy. According to the Wall Street journal, thousands of readers have written her begging her to continue. “I’m very fortunate that people are so invested in the series,” Harris told the Journal. “At the same time, it can be a source of some anxiety to get emails that say, ‘If Sookie doesn’t end up with Eric, I’m going to kill myself.’ “ Some have sent death threats, said Harris, who lives near Dallas now. She’s working on a new series that will include some supernatural elements. ARKANSAS’S ANSWER to “Austin City Limits,” “AETN Presents: On the Front,” is on the hunt for artists to feature. Interested musicians should email with their name, contact info, a little bit about their musical background and an online sample of their music.

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm

Saturday, May 18

Fri & Sat 11am-10pm

Weakness For Blondes

thurSday, May 23 Mary Gauthier! W/ The Great Scott Nolan & Amy Garland

check out additional shows at

7700 Baseline Rd • (501) 246-3744

Ride the ARkAnsAs times Bus to Saturday, May 18, 2013 lASt cHAnce tO See tHe ROckWell eXHiBit!


OPERA IN THE OZARKS celebrates its 63rd season at Inspiration Point this summer with alternating performances of three favorites: Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love,” and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance.” Young artists from all over the country will come to the training program near Eureka for the fourweek season beginning June 21. (The company will also give three performances at the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville.) Forty singers were chosen from the more than 250 who tried out. Thomas Cockrell is the artistic director. In case you’ve forgotten the story lines, “Madama Butterfly” is a tragedy about a woman who is betrayed by her Anglo husband, “The Elixir of Love” is a comedy about a love potion concocted by a traveling charlatan and “Pirates of Penzance” is typical byzantine G&S humor about pirates who want to marry noble ladies. “Butterfly” will be performed June 21, 26 and 29 and July 3, 6, 9 and 17 at Inspiration Point and July 14 at the Arend center. “Elixir” will be performed June 25 and 28 and July 1, 5, 11, 13 and 19 at Inspiration Point and July 7 at the Arend Center. “Pirates of Penzance” dates are June 22 and 27 and July 2, 8, 10, 12 and 18 at Inspiration Point and June 30 at the Arend Center. All Inspiration Point performances start at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20 and $25. To purchase, go to or call 479-253-8595.

Real. authentic. Mexican. tacos & toRtas



per person

hosteD By LesLie neWeLL peACoCK, Fine Art eDitor Join us on our journey to see a vast collection of masterworks in a masterfully designed museum, set into 100 acres of beautiful trail-threaded woodland. Museum founder Alice Walton has assembled one of the most important collections of American art in the country, including paintings, drawings and sculpture from America’s colonial period to the present, from Peale’s famed portrait of George Washington to Mark Rothko’s brilliant abstraction in orange. Moshe Safdie’s design for the museum incorporates areas for contemplation and study with views of the spring-fed ponds that give the museum its name and the Ozarks.

norman rockwell traveling exhibition at Crystal Bridges One of the most popular American artists of the past century, Norman Rockewell was a keen observer of human nature and a gifted storyteller. This exhibition features 50 original paintings and 323 Saturday Evening Post covers. Timed, reserved tickets will be required to view this exhibition. Cost to reserve time ticket is $12 per person. Please reserve ticket time between hours of 1pm-4pm.

PRice includeS: • round trip tour bus transportation • lunch & dinner • museum admission is free

BuS leAveS At 8:30 AM fROM MAin StReet PARkinG deck At 2nd And MAin. buses provided by arrow coach lines

Charge By Phone: (all major Credit Cards)


or mail CheCk or money-order to arkansas times Crystal Bridges Bus PO BOx 34010 • LittLe ROck, AR • 72203 At the museum in mAy: Special exhibits “Art under Pressure,” etchings, engravings and other prints made between 1925 and 1945 by thomas Hart Benton, James Abbott Mcneill Whistler, edward Hopper and others, much of it addressing social issues, and “Abstractions on Paper,” work from the Arkansas Arts center that complements crystal Bridges’ modern works.


MAY 9, 2013







Like a good many singer/songwriters, Ben Taylor has spent the last several years honing a brand of laid-back songcraft that’s thoughtful without being ponderous and adventurous without trying to reinvent the wheel. Unlike the bulk of his peers, Taylor’s parents (Carly Simon and James Taylor) are legendary musicians. That caliber of comparison might intimidate a lot of star progeny, but Ben Taylor seems very comfortable and confident. His voice is a bit similar to his father’s, but not uncannily so. His 2008 album “Another Run Around the Sun” (produced by actor Kevin Bacon) earned Taylor critical accolades, with Allmusic calling it “sure-footed, impossibly warm, and engaging enough to deserve an attentive audience.” His 2012 album “Listening” will be a good bet for anybody into contemporary folk and singer/songwriter-types like Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. Treva Blomquist and Cliff Hutchison are also on the bill.


9 p.m. Juanita’s. $10 adv., $12 day of.

SONG MAN: Ben Taylor performs at Juanita’s Thursday.


THICK SYRUP ANNIVERSARY SHOWS 9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.

It’s been seven years (eight really, but he doesn’t count the first one) since Travis McElroy got the itch to become a record label mogul. In that time, his Thick Syrup Records has given us such notable releases as: Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth’s “Mystic Indian Hitmakers,” which will one day be widely recognized for the brilliant work of twisted rock genius it is; the works of Smoke Up Johnny, who soundtracked so many of our hazy evenings with their goodtime beer-drinkin’ rock ’n’ roll; Ezra Lbs, whose self-titled debut was a highlight of last year; the sophisticated arch-power pop of The Alpha Ray’s “Follow the Ghost” — and those are but a few of the local releases Thick Syrup has graced us with. McElroy has also released a raft of records from some of the underground’s leading lights, such as Half Japanese, Chrome Cranks, zinester legend and filmmaker Dave Markey, Weird Paul, Don Fleming and so many more. To mark the anniversary of Thick Syrup, this Thursday, White Water Tavern hosts Ginsu Wives, Hamburguesa and The Bloodless Cooties (TSR will be releasing the band’s first full-length in 20 years in July!), and on Friday, Bryan Frazier, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth and Richie (of Tennessee trouble-causers Ghostfinger). 26

MAY 9, 2013




Anybody who digs giggles, chortles, chuckles, titters, yukkety-yuk-yuks, and/or laughs will probably want to go ahead and get on down to The Joint, where the in-house comedy experts, collectively known as The Main Thing, will this very weekend unveil their latest two-act comedic play. The crew is once more inviting the audience along for a trip to the bucolic little burg of Dumpster, Ark., where the Fertle Family is gearing up for the town’s biggest event of the year, Wiener Day. Who knows what manner of small-town foofaraw and hillbilly high jinks those wacky Dumpsterites (Dumpsterinians?) will get up to on Wiener Eve? Ol’ Doc Moore is hosting and cain’t nobody understand what he says, and Bridgette is in the running for Weiner Queen, and Country Wayne Conaway is mixed up in this Shinola, but don’t ask me how. And Lordy, what if the fine citizenry of Wiener, Ark. was to find

YUK IT UP: The Main Thing’s “Wiener Day at the Rollercade” debuts Friday at The Joint.

out that the folks in Dumpster had up and stoled their town’s name what for to call their festival? Could get dicey, so hang onto your hats folks. The show runs at 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through July 13.



8 p.m. Vino’s.

Ola Podrida is the brainchild of one David Wingo, a musician and film scorer who’s worked on films by David Gordon Green and Little Rock native Jeff Nichols. Wingo soundtracked much of Nichols’ critically acclaimed film

“Mud,” which, unless you were living under a rock, you already know was mostly filmed in Arkansas. Wingo has collaborated with his fellow Austin dwellers Explosions in the Sky for Green’s upcoming film “Prince Avalanche” (starring Paul Rudd). His latest long-player is “Ghosts Go Blind,” out last week on Western Vinyl.






3 p.m. Downtown Helena. $30.

All right rockabilly lovers, check it: They’re gonna be havin’ a party over in Helena, and they invited Wanda Jackson, who probably needs no introduction, so notable are her contributions to the history of the genre. The tireless Sonny Burgess & The Leg-

endary Pacers are also performing at the 3rd Annual Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival. That right there makes for two bona fide, genuine, real-deal rockabilly innovators (they both play on Saturday). But wait, there’s more: Sleepy LaBeef’s playing on Friday, along with Brandon Cunning & The Stunning Cunning Band, C.W. Gatlin, The Cate Brothers (in tribute to Levon Helm) and Cooter and Coot-

er’s Garage Band. Saturday kicks off at 11 a.m. with the great drummer D.J. Fontana performing with Stan Perkins (son of Carl Perkins), followed by Reba Russell, W.S. Holland (drummer for Johnny Cash), Ace Cannon, Linda Gail Lewis (sister of Jerry Lee), Burgess and The Pacers, Jackson, Travis Wammack and The Kentucky Headhunters. Kids younger than 12 are free with a paid adult.

acrobatics? Sound good? Of course it does. In this, the fifth installment of the Acxiom Pops Live Series, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will be joined by a talented array of dancers — mostly from Russia — who’ll perform feats of derringdo, including acts of contortion, dance, acrobatics, juggling, balancing and that thing where they hang and twirl around

in midair on really long pieces of fabric. Musical highlights include Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus,” selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty Suite,” Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque: Claire de Lune” and works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Bizet, Bartok and more. Geoffrey Robson conducts. The program also runs Sunday at 3 p.m.



8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $10-$58.

What goes really well with a boisterous orchestra performing a lineup of lively classics? How about high-flying

It’s time once more for Live at Laman, this month featuring Michael Carenbauer and Friends, Laman Library, 7 p.m., free. Taste of the Rock 2013 features food and drinks from 34 area vendors, River Market Pavilions, 5:307:30 p.m., $15 adv., $20 door. Revolution has a great lineup of Arkansas bands, with 2013 Times Musicians Showcase winners The Sound of the Mountain, along with Laundry for the Apocalypse and Mainland Divide, 18-and-older, 9 p.m., $5. Down in Hot Springs, check out rockers New York City Queens, with Fayetteville’s Shawn James & The Shapeshifters, Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free.

FRIDAY 5/10 Whiskey-soaked Arkansas rockers Swampbird will play an 18-and-older album release show with Open Fields, Stickyz, 9 p.m., $6. If you’re up Eureka Springs way, check out folk/old-timey outfit The Carper Family at Chelsea’s Corner Cafe. Nashville rockers Modoc make a welcome return to Arkansas, with The See and Mandy McBryde, Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. Modoc will also play Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Bear’s Den Pizza in Conway. Texas singer/songwriter Radney Foster is at Juanita’s, with Adam Hambrick and Covert Case, 10 p.m., $12 adv., $15 day of. Out at The Tavern Sports Grill in The Promenade at Chenal, don’t miss FreeVerse Duo, 8 p.m., free.


NORWAY OR THE HIGHWAY: Kvelertak plays at Downtown Music Hall Tuesday.



7 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $13 adv., $15 day of.

Dudes, y’all, this band Kvelertak? Have you heard them? For real, it’s like this crazy mix of blistering, balls-tothe-wall hardcore, black metal, anthemic soccer-stadium rock, punk, clas-

sic rock, power-metal, pop-metal … is there any genre of rock that this band is not ready and willing to throw into its ADD insanity blender? I think not. You know what I like about them, besides the fist-pumpingly badass songs? They’re sung in Norwegian. Because hell yes. I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I hear more than enough

people screaming at me through my headphones in English. Is it time for some Norwegian screamin’? You know it is! Dig it! Get on board the train to Kvelertak (which means “chokehold” in Norwegian). Also on this bill: Savannah, Ga., sludge titans Black Tusk, Canadian bruisers Cancer Bats and Enchiridion.

Renowned bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart plays what’s sure to be a stuff-of-legend show at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. It’s an Osyrus Bolly Birthday Bash at Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, with Osyrus Bolly, Rhetoric Jones, SeanFresh, Big Drew of TGE, Jay Bundy, Zo Carver, Arkansas Bo, Southwest Boaz & Ill Bill, Rod-D, Konyak, Duke Stigall and more, 9 p.m., $5. The River City Comic Expo features guest James O’Barr, Hot Dog Mike, cosplay, gaming, comics, toys and more, Sherwood Forest, $3. “Wild Wines Of The World” boasts wines from around the world, paired with food from Arkansas restaurants, Little Rock Zoo, 7-10 p.m., $45 members, $50 non-members. Attention, punkers: The STDs, Jethro Skull, The Muddlestuds and Sin City Scoundrels are playing at Downtown Music Hall, 8 p.m., $5. Hey you Phanatics, need a Phix? Don’t miss this Phish Phacsimile, billed as A Live One: Celebrating the Music of Phish, 18-and-older, Revolution, 9:30 p.m., $5.

SUNDAY 5/12 In search of the right Mother’s Day gift? How about taking a trip to Eureka Springs’ May Festival of the Arts and the John Two-Hawks Mother’s Day Concert? It’s at The Auditorium, 2 p.m., $12, and hey! It’s free for mothers!

MAY 9, 2013


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



Almost InFamous. Ya Ya’s Euro Bistro, 7-10 p.m. 17711 Chenal Parkway. 501-821-1144. Ben Taylor, Treva Blomquist, Cliff Hutchison. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 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. Interstate Buffalo. The Joint, 9:30 p.m. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Dugan’s Pub, 7-9 p.m. 401 E. 3rd St. 501-244-0542. www. 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. Live at Laman: Michael Carenbauer and Friends. Laman Library, 7 p.m., free. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720. Michael Eubanks. Newk’s Express Cafe, 6:30 p.m. 4317 Warden Road, NLR. 501-753-8826. New York City Queens, Shawn James & The Shapeshifters. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. The Sound of the Mountain, Laundry for the Apocalypse, Mainland Divide. 18-and-older. Revolution, 9 p.m., $5. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Thick Syrup Records Anniversary Show. With Ginsu Wives, Hamburguesa and The Bloodless Cooties. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W 7th St. 501-375-8400.


Mikey Mason, Jodi White. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Art of Motion: Tango. Includes lessons from local and national tango instructors. No partner needed. Arkansas Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $10, free for members. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.


“How Can I Afford Retirement?” workshop. Register at Oley E. Rooker Library, 6:30 p.m., free. 11 Otter Creek Court. 501-9075991. McCain Mall’s Mom’s Nite Out. Free event, including refreshments, food samplings, entertainment, fashion and beauty services and goodie bags. McCain Mall Shopping Center,


MAY 9, 2013


ON THE NIGHT TRAIN: Country favorite Jason Aldean performs at Verizon Arena, with Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, 7:30 p.m., $41-$69. 5-8 p.m. 3929 McCain Blvd., NLR. Permaculture Film & Discussion Series. Film and discussion series about permaculture, on the fifth floor of the Main Library, 5:30-7:30 every Wed. through May 22, free. 100 S. Rock St. www. Taste of the Rock 2013. Food and drinks from 34 area vendors. River Market Pavilions, 5:30-7:30 p.m., $15 adv., $20 door. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. UniverSoul Circus. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, 7:30 p.m., $16-$25. 2600 Howard St. 501-372-8341 ext. 8206. Woodlawn Farmer’s Market. Shoppes on Woodlawn, 4:30 p.m. 4523 Woodlawn. 501666-3600.


Robin Preiss Glasser. The illustrator of the “Fancy Nancy” series of children’s books will discuss her work. Barnes & Noble, 6:30 p.m. 11500 Financial Center Parkway. 501-954-7646.



Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival. With Wanda Jackson, Sonny Burgess and The Legendary Pacers, W.S. Holland, C.W. Gatlin, Linda Gail Lewis and more. Downtown Helena, May 10, 3 p.m.; May 11, 11 a.m., $30 (both days). Cherry and Main Streets, Helena. Brian Nahlen. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. Carl Thomas. Montego Cafe, 8 p.m., $30-$50. 315 Main St. 501-372-1555. The Carper Family. Chelsea’s Corner Cafe. 10

Mountain St., Eureka Springs. 479-253-6723. Chris Henry. Flying Saucer, May 10, 9 p.m.; May 18, 9 p.m.; May 24, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. stores/littlerock. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu, until 2 a.m. 1620 Savoy, 10 p.m. 1620 Market St. 501-2211620. Ed Burks. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, May 10-11, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. FreeVerse Duo. The Tavern Sports Grill, May 10, 8 p.m.; May 22, 7 p.m., free. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. Friday night at Sway. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Happenstance. Faulkner County Library, 7 p.m., free. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. www. Joe Pitts. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. www.thirst-n-howl. com. Mister Lucky. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m., $7. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Modoc, The See, Mandy McBryde. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Ola Podrida. Vino’s. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Radney Foster, Adam Hambrick, Covert Case. Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $12 adv., $15 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. SOULution. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 9 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Swampbird (album release), Open Fields.

18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $6. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Synergy, DJ Sleepy Genius. Montego Cafe, 8:30 p.m. 315 Main St. 501-372-1555. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Thick Syrup Records Anniversary Show. With Bryan Frazier, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth and Richie. White Water Tavern. 2500 W 7th St. 501-375-8400. “YOLO.” Featuring four DJs and beach volleyball, 18-and-older. Flying DD, $5. 4601 S. University. 501-773-9990.


The Main Thing: “Wiener Day at the Rollercade.” Original two-act play from The Joint’s resident comedy troupe. The Joint, 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Mikey Mason, Jodi White. The Loony Bin, 7:30 and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Ballroom Dancing. Free lessons begin at 7 p.m. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 8-11 p.m., $7-$13. 12th & Cleveland streets. 501-2217568. Salsa Night. Begins with 30-40 minute salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9:30 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


19th Annual Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis Event. Arkansas State Capitol, 11 a.m. 5th and Woodlane. 501-366-3647. Amy Binder. Presentation from the author of “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives.” Clinton School of Public Service, noon., free. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-6835239. Bugs, Bands & Bikes. Free, with the exception of the Duck Dynasty VIP Experience. 6 p.m. Main Street and Northwest Avenue, El Dorado. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14 to 23. For more information, call 244-9690 or search “DYSC” on Facebook. 800 Scott St., 6:30 p.m. 800 Scott St. Main Street Food Truck Fridays. Fifth and Main, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Main Street. Picture the Past. Monthly archeological film and lecture series. Screening the documentary “Objectified.” Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 7 p.m. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501-727-5435. UniverSoul Circus. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., $16-$25. 2600 Howard St. 501-372-8341 ext. 8206.



Almost InFamous. Rudy’s Oyster Bar, 9 p.m., free. 2695 Pike Ave., NLR. 501-771-0808. Alvin Youngblood Hart. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival. See May 10. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Cirque de la Symphonie.” Featuring acrobats, contortionists

and aerial flyers while listening to classical and contemporary music. Robinson Center, May 11, 8 p.m.; May 12, 3 p.m. 426 W. Markham St. 501-376-4781. Central Arkansas NSAI Songwriters Workshop. All songwriters welcome. Second Presbyterian Church, 2-5 p.m. 600 Pleasant Valley Drive. Chris Endeavour. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 7 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See May 10. Ed Burks. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. www. Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett. Verizon Arena, 7:30 p.m., $41-$69. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001. Just Sayin’. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m., $6. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. A Live One: Celebrating the Music of Phish. 18-and-older. Revolution, 9:30 p.m., $5. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. revroom. com. Modoc. Bear’s Den Pizza, 8:30 p.m., free. 235 Farris Road, Conway. 501-328-5556. Osyrus Bolly Birthday Bash. Featuring Osyrus Bolly, Rhetoric Jones, SeanFresh, Big Drew of TGE, Jay Bundy, Zo Carver, Arkansas Bo, Southwest Boaz & Ill Bill, Rod-D, Konyak, Duke Stigall and more. Utopia Restaurant and Lounge, 9 p.m., $5. 521 Center St. 501-413-2182. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. Saturday night at Discovery. Featuring DJs, dancers and more. Discovery Nightclub, 9 p.m., $10. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. Singer/Songwriters Showcase. Parrot Beach Cafe, 2-7 p.m., free. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Smokey Emerson. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. The STDs, Jethro Skull, The Muddlestuds, Sin City Scoundrels. Downtown Music Hall, 8 p.m., $5. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. Steve Bates, Midas Coven. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m., $5. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. www. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Tightrope!. The Tavern Sports Grill, 8:30 p.m., free. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. www. Tragikly White. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9:30 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Walker and the Texas Dangers, 800 Mile Monday, Brian Martin. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. White Chocolate. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189.


The Main Thing: “Wiener Day at the Rollercade.� New, original two-act play from The Joint’s resident comedy troupe. The Joint, 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. thejointin- Mikey Mason, Jodi White. The Loony Bin, 7:30 and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


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


49th Spring Tour of Homes. Tours of historic homes. Skyline Drive, 5:30 p.m., $125 (includes Sunday admission). Skyline Drive, NLR. www. Argenta Farmers Market. Argenta, 7 a.m.-noon. Main Street, NLR. Bugs, Bands & Bikes. Free, with the exception of the Duck Dynasty VIP Experience. 8 a.m. Main Street and Northwest Avenue, El Dorado. Day of Mindfulness. Meditation and dharma talks led by Monastics of the Magnolia Grove Meditation Practice Center in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 8 a.m. 12415 Cantrell Rd. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Helping Hand “Walk, Run or Wheel� for Special Needs. Big Dam Bridge - NLR Side, 8:30-11:30 a.m., $28. 4000 Cooks Landing Rd., NLR. Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. International Migratory Bird Day at Holland Bottoms WMA. Arkansas Audubon family event. Holland Bottoms WMA, 7 a.m. Lonoke County. Made From Scratch: Summertime Backyard Grilling. Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $80. 1 Rockefeller Drive, Morrilton. 501727-5435. NAMIWalk. National Alliance on Mental Illness walk to promote support for mental illness awareness and to raise funds for the support, education and advocacy of NAMI Arkansas. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Clinton Presidential Center, 10 a.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 3708000. Little Rock Farmers Market. River Market pavillions. 7 a.m., free. UniverSoul Circus. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, noon, 4 and 7:30 p.m., $16-$25. 2600 Howard St. 501-372-8341 ext. 8206. “Wild Wines Of The World.� Wines from around the world, paired with food from Arkansas restaurants. Little Rock Zoo, 7-10 p.m., $45 members, $50 non-members. 1 Jonesboro Drive. 501-6662406.


Dennis Vannatta. Book-signing with the author of “Around Centralia Square.� WordsWorth Books & Co., 1-2:30 p.m. 5920 R St. 501-663-9198. www. River City Comic Expo. With guest James O’Barr, Hot Dog Mike, cosplay, gaming, comics, toys and more. Sherwood Forest, $3. 1111 W. Maryland Ave., Sherwood. 501-492-9007.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: “Cirque de la Symphonie.� See May 11. May Festival of the Arts: John Two-Hawks Mother’s Day Concert. The Auditorium, 2 p.m.,

$12, free for mothers. 36 Main St., Eureka Springs. Michael Eubanks. Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, 7 p.m. 10901 N Rodney Parham Road. 501-227-8898. Successful Sunday. Featuring live music and DJs. Montego Cafe, 7 p.m. 315 Main St. 501-372-1555. Sunday Jazz Brunch with Ted Ludwig and Joe Cripps. Vieux Carre, 11 a.m. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Bernice Garden Farmers Market. The Bernice Garden, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 1401 S. Main St. www. “Gatsby in the Garden.� Home tours, food vendors, activities and more. Skyline Drive, 1-5 p.m., $20-$25. Skyline Drive, NLR. “Live from the Back Room.� Spoken word event. Vino’s, 7 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www. Mother’s Day Strawberry Festival. Bernice Garden, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 1401 S. Main St. www. UniverSoul Circus. Arkansas State Fairgrounds, 1, 4 and 7 p.m., $16-$25. 2600 Howard St. 501372-8341 ext. 8206.



Femme Fest 2013. With The Fabulous Miss Wendy, Hear Kitty Kitty, Sara Rae, Mahi Gato, She Breathes Fire, Tie Die Love Affair. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


“Juvenile Law: Implementing Miller/Jackson in Arkansas.� Panel discussion in partnership with the University of Arkansas School of Law. Clinton School of Public Service, 11:30 a.m., free. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5239. www.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $4-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-6641555.


Kimberla Lawson Roby. Reading, Q&A and book signing from the NAACP Image Award winner and author of “A House Divided.� Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing, 5:30 p.m. 1001 Wright Ave.


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

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Arkansas River Blues Society Blues Jam Fundraiser. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501379-8189. Brian & Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30.

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MAY 9, 2013





‘DEATH OF A SALESMAN’: Robert Walden stars as Willy Loman.

‘Death of a Salesman’ at the Rep Robert Walden stars in the theater’s first production of the Arthur Miller play. BY ROBERT BELL


he Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s current show “Death of a Salesman” — its first production of Arthur Miller’s iconic and storied play — is a wrenching affair, a glimpse into a dysfunctional family finally confronting reality after years of failure, denial and unfulfilled promise. The story will probably ring familiar for most theatergoers: a salesman, in the waning days of his career, falls to pieces in the face of a lifetime’s worth of disappointment and delusion. In Robert Walden’s Willy Loman, you feel the weight of the years and all of life’s thousands of disappointments great and small in every lumbering step. His posture and crumpled frame communicate nearly as much as Miller’s words to convey the brokenness of this man. He pinballs fitfully between bursts of manic optimism, convulsions of rage and rose-colored recollections of the good old days, when his sons Biff and Happy showed such promise. As Linda Loman, Carolyn Mignini effortlessly alternates between diminutive, devoted wife and mother and fiercely loyal defender of her crumbling spouse. In one moment, smilingly accepting each interruption and shushing as she tries to chime in, in another, heaping guilt and rage on her two sons and utterly owning the famous line: “Attention must be paid.” As Biff, Rep veteran Avery Clark embodies the directionless angst and wanderlust of his character. In the flash30

MAY 9, 2013


back scenes, he’s a cocksure and carefree football star Adonis, while the presentday Biff, 34 and still trying to figure out what to do with his life, is desperate and still deeply wounded by a scarring, longago encounter with his father’s failings. Craig Maravich’s Happy Loman is all libidinous id, more successful than his brother only in that he’s managed to maintain a job and an apartment, but still an emotionally stunted man-child. The use of Alex North’s original score feels somewhat anachronistic, but deepens the experience. Similarly, the period-perfect costumes and props lend a preserved-in-amber visual quality to the show, but the grief and the rage and the disappointment and fleeting optimism are all alive and breathing in the moment. Mike Nichols’ set is both visually appealing and economical in its use of the space, and the lighting works beautifully with the design. The Rep has put together a cast that brings this emotional and at times traumatic work to messy, tearful life on the stage. The play is nearly three hours long, but under Bob Hupp’s deft direction it neither drags nor feels rushed. This show seems like it will be one of those Rep productions that people will talk about long after its run has ended. It is not to be missed. “Death of a Salesman” runs through May 12, with performances at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25-$40.

Kvelertak, Cancer Bats, Black Tusk, Enchiridion. Downtown Music Hall, 7 p.m., $13 adv., $15 day of. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Mainland Divide, The Sound of the Mountain. Bear’s Den Pizza, 8:30 p.m., free. 235 Farris Road, Conway. 501-328-5556. Ricky David Tripp. Rocket Twenty One, 5:30 p.m. 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-603-9208. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


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


Architecture+Design Network Presents: “CALS Children’s Library & Learning Center: A New Paradigm.” A conversation with Bobby Roberts, director of CALS, and Reese Rowland AIA, of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. CALS Children’s Library, 5:30 p.m. 4800 W. 10th St. Little Rock Green Drinks. Informal networking session for people who work in the environmental field. Ciao Baci, 5:30-7 p.m. 605 N. Beechwood St. 501-603-0238. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; schedule available on website. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Call for reservations. Starving Artist Cafe, 5 p.m. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. stores/littlerock.


7th Annual Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $4-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-6641555.



Acoustic Open Mic. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Cory Fontenot. The Tavern Sports Grill, 7 p.m., free. 17815 Chenal Parkway. 501-830-2100. www. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Ricky David Tripp. Rocket Twenty One, 5:30 p.m. 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-603-9208. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila (Maumelle Blvd.), May 15, 7-9 p.m.; May 29, 7-9 p.m., free. 9847 Maumelle Blvd., NLR. 501-758-4432. Scorpion Child, Mourning View, Sumokem. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. The Sheepdogs. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $12 adv., $15 day of. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $5. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. Standup Open Mic Night. Hosted by local come­ di­ans of the com­edy col­lec­tive Come­di­ans of NWA. UARK Bowl, 9 p.m., free. 644 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-301-2030.


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.


Arkansas Commitment Bow Tie Bash 2013. Includes hors d’oeuvres, drinks, complimentary bow tie, music from Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers and more. Clinton Presidential Center, 5:30 p.m., $100. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 370-8000. Go Red For Women Luncheon. The Peabody Little Rock, noon, $125. 3 Statehouse Plaza. 501906-4000.


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


Arkansas Travelers vs. Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Dickey-Stephens Park, 11 a.m., $4-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.


Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre: “James and the Giant Peach.” Arkansas Arts Center, through May 12: Fri., 7 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www. Auditions for “The King & I.” Prepare a song and bring sheet music if accompanist is needed. Royal Theatre, Sun., May 12, 6 p.m.; Mon., May 13, 7 p.m. 111 S. Market St., Benton. “Dearly Beloved.” The Royal Players present a Jones-Hope-Wooten comedy. Royal Theatre, May 9-11, 7 p.m.; Sun., May 12, 2 p.m.; May 16-18, 7 p.m.; Sun., May 19, 2 p.m., $5-$10. 111 S. Market St., Benton. “Death of a Salesman.” Arthur Miller’s tragic masterwork, which has been widely hailed as the greatest American play. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, through May 12: Wed., Thu., Sun., 7 p.m.; Fri., Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “Mahalia!: A Gospel Musical.” Musical about the life and career of Mahalia Jackson, presented by Paul Laurence Dunbar Festival of Arts Inc. with Shorter College Academy of Creative Arts. Argenta Community Theater, Sun., May 12, 2 and 5 p.m., $20-$35. 405 Main St., NLR. 501372-5824. “Next to Normal.” The critically acclaimed musical drama about a family’s struggle with mental illness. Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios, through May 12: Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Sun., 2 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m., $10-$22. 505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “The Paris Letter.” Jon Robin Baitz’s story of Wall Street powerhouse Sandy Sonenberg, who finds his personal and professional life threatened by the unraveling secrets of his past. The Weekend Theater, through May 18: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., CONTINUED ON PAGE 32

21C, CONT.

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HANGING OUT: Aerialist Tatyana Petruk performs.

spot from which to watch the comings and goings (of which there were many this weekend). And as for those giant green penguins, one keeps watch atop the hotel while others roam freely within it, popping up in unexpected places, like in the elevator or by your table in The Hive, during the course of the day — it’s both playful and disorienting in a pleasant sort of way. Each location has them in varying colors, green in Bentonville, red in Louisville, yellow in Cincinnati. The weekend festivities began with an intimate dinner at The Hive with 21c founders Brown and Wilson and a handful of artists and press. I would venture to say that the restaurant, under the leadership of Executive Chef Matthew McClure, serves up some of the finest fare in Arkansas. One of the many highlights of the weekend included seeing non-Southerners (of which there were plenty) being introduced to pimento cheese, here ingeniously served with bacon jam and toasted white bread. Saturday consisted of a tour of 21c’s current exhibition with the brilliant Chief Curator and Director of Art Programming Alice Gray Stites, a tour of Crystal Bridges and a screening of the short film “Shadow” by Bradley and Lachman followed by a discussion/ Q&A. The day culminated in a “Pajama Party” that overtook the first floor. Attire included all forms of sleepwear, from pilled sweatpants and T-shirts to feathery scuffs and silken robes. I spent part of the evening lounging in The Hive (in my nightgown) as New York-based artist Slater Bradley offered a primer on astrology — it informs his work — over a plate of suckling pig and soybean salad. Not to be outdone, hotel owner Steve Wilson sported chic black PJs with the top buttoned down to reveal a fake six pack. Several other surprises lay in store throughout the evening; at one point the sliding doors of the gallery were opened by two stilt walkers to reveal Kenny Belaey, world champion Belgian moun-

tain bike trials cyclist, who gave a performance that elicited shrieks and gasps (and some expletives) from the crowd. He was joined by pro parkour athlete Travis Graves, who demonstrated parkour by springing over the scaffolding like a cricket (like a totally rad, hot cricket with a shaved head). Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Derrick Adams acted as DJ, setting a cool vibe for the wild goings on. Though the party went until the wee hours, it perhaps reached its apex with a performance by worldrenowned aerialist Tatyana Petruk. We entered the gallery space, which was strewn with pillows, a pulsating light show flashing in sync with the music, and there saw a body cocooned in silks suspended from the ceiling. Petruk eventually burst forth and wowed the audience with staggering feats of agility and strength — like falling headlong toward the floor but being stopped short by the fabric wrapped round her ankles. Throughout the weekend, performance artist turned acclaimed designer Karelle Levy of KRELwear created custom knits at the KREL2go Pop Up Shop — crafting ready-to-wear pieces in under an hour. Sunday concluded with an artists’ roundtable titled “Myth, Magic, and Landscape,” with five artists whose work is currently being exhibited at the hotel. Each created a site-specific installation for the property, employing a wide range of media, from organic to digital. 21c is a boon to this growing city (and that’s not just the pimento cheese talking), providing a crucial link between historic downtown Bentonville and Crystal Bridges. Where else can you walk down the block to enjoy an old-fashioned float at a soda shop (and purchase some Walmart memorabilia) and then head up the street to an uber-cool gallery/hotel to see a mounted rhino head constructed entirely of matches? Sure, deer heads are ubiquitous in these parts, but a twoheaded ram made from used tires? You’ll have to go to 21c to see that.

MAY 9, 2013


AFTER DARK, CONT. $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. www. “See How They Run.” A former American actress and wife of the vicar shakes things up in a sleepy English village. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through May 12: Tue.-Sat., 6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., $15-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131. “The Smell of the Kill.” New dark comedy from Michele Lowe about three malicious wives and their miserable husbands. The Public Theatre, through May 12: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m., $12-$14. 616 Center St. 501-374-7529.


More art listings can be found in the calendar at


ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “Collecting Southern Art,” Fine Arts Club talk by Greg Thompson, gallery owner, 11 a.m. May 23, $10 non-members (students free), $18 buffet lunch, reserve by May 17; works by Museum School instructors in jewelry and small metals, Museum School Gallery, through June 2; “50 Works / 50 Weeks / 50 Years,” Alice Pratt Brown Atrium, through 2013. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. BOSWELL-MOUROT, 5816 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Arkansas Artists & Their Works,” sculpture by Andy Huss, raku vessels by Winston Taylor, collaborative works by Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner, paintings by Missy Wilkinson, opening reception 6-9 p.m. May 11. 664-0030. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Arkansas Art Educators Youth Art Show,” through July 27; “Creative Expressions,” work by individuals with mental illness at the Arkansas State Hospital, through Aug. 25; “No I’m Not, He Is: A ‘Flying Snake’ and ‘Oyyo’ Comic Retrospective,” drawings by Michael Jukes, through May 26; reception 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night, with featured raku artist Kelly Edwards and music by Mockingbird. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5700. CHILDREN’S LIBRARY AND LEARNING CENTER, 4800 W. 10th St.: “CALS Children’s Library and Learning Center: A New Paradigm,” with Bobby Roberts, CALS director, and architect Reese Rowland, 6 p.m. May 14 (5:30 reception), Architecture and Design Network event. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: “Dream Weavers,” work by Sandra Marson, open 6-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 8 a.m.-noon Sun. COURTYARD AT THE MARRIOTT, 521 Clinton Ave.: Work by Holly Tilley and other members of the ArtGroup Maumelle, 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night. COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 River Market Ave.: Arkansas League of Artists’ “Spring Members Show,” juried exhibition, May 10-June 28, reception 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. Third St.: “Reflected by Three: William Detmers, Scott Lykens and G. Tara-Casciano,” prints, ceramics, sculpture, May 10-Aug. 4; “Painting in the Open Air: Day and Night,” paintings by Jason Sacran, May 10-July 7, reception 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night, with music by the Rolling Blackouts; 40th annual “Territorial Fair,” activities on the grounds and barbecue, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 11; “The Curious World of Patent Models,” through Sept. 29; “Treasures of Arkansas Freemasons, 1838-2013,” study gallery, through July 12; “Perfect Balance,” paintings by Marty Smith. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. GALLERY 221, 2nd and Center Sts.: “A Spring


MAY 9, 2013


Celebration,” featured artist Gino Hollander, through May, open 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night. 801-0211. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “Beautiful Uprising,” new woodcuts by LaToya Hobbs, through June 8, 2nd Friday Art Night reception 5-8 p.m. May 10; artist receptions 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. May 17, artist talk 11 a.m. May 18, “Relevance of Hair” discussion 1:30 p.m. May 18. 372-6822. LOCAL COLOUR GALLERY, 5811 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Robin Parker, featured artist for May, reception 5:30-8 p.m. May 9. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Up-cycled Jewelry,” bracelet making from found supplies, 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night; “Battle Colors of Arkansas,” 18 Civil War flags; “Things You Need to Hear: Memories of Growing up in Arkansas from 1890 to 1980,” oral histories about community, family, work, school and leisure. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. STUDIOMAIN, 1423 Main St.: “From Bauhaus to Our Haus,” 20th century architecture, open 5-8 p.m. May 10, 2nd Friday Art Night. THEA CENTER, 401 Main St., NLR: “The Argenta Project,” 25 pen-and-ink drawings of Argenta structures by Mary Ann Stafford, closing day reception 5-9 p.m. May 17. 9 a.m.-noon, 1-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 379-9512. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK:  “My Art, Their Personalities: Capturing the Sitters,” recent paintings by Michael Worsham, through May 10; “BFA Thesis Project Exhibition No. 2,” with Zechariah McGhee, Georges Launet, Mary Tanner and Christian Peter, through May 13. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., 2-5 p.m. Sun. 569-8977. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life,” five 19th century paintings by American and European artists, including two from the Louvre Museum in Paris, May 11-Aug. 12; “American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell,” through May 28, $12 non-members ages 19 and up; permanent collection of American masterworks spanning four centuries. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Thu., Sat.Sun.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Fri. 479-418-5700. EUREKA SPRINGS ARTRAGEOUS PARADE, Downtown Eureka: May Festival of the Arts kick-off, 2-4 p.m. May 11 (rescheduled from last week). COMMUNITY FIRST BANK, 107 W. Van Buren: Bank on Art’s “Meet the Artist” reception, 4-6 p.m. May 9; Cynthia Dupps, sculpture, reception 5:30-6:30 p.m. May 14. MAY 11 GALLERY STROLL, downtown galleries: Carol Dickie, watercolors, at Eureka Thyme, 19 Spring St., 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.; Johnny Ray, painting demonstration Jewel Box Gallery, 40 Spring St., 2-5 p.m. demonstration, 6:30-9 p.m. reception; Bobby Huffman, found object creations, Fusion Squared, 84 Spring St., 3-7 p.m.; Jim Nelson, woodworks, Artifacts Gallery, 37 Spring St., 6-9 p.m. PIED PIPER, North Main St.: “Drink and Draw with Robert Norman, 7-11:45 p.m. May 11, 15. SACRED EARTH GALLERY, 15845 Hwy. 62: Art exhibit, 5-8 p.m. May 12. 479-253-7644. STUDIO 62, 335 W. Van Buren: “Art as Prayer.” 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Wed. 479-363-9209. VILLAGE AT PINE MOUNTAIN, 2075 E. Van Buren: “Spring Craft Show,” 10 a.m. May 10. 479-244-6907. FAYETTEVILLE LALALAND GALLERY, 641 MLK Blvd.: “Synthetic Syncopation,” work by Ashley Lindsey and

Stephanie Petet, 7-9 p.m. May 10, music by WitchSister and Foley’s Van 9 p.m. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS: “Graduating BFA Exhibition,” through May 11, reception 5 p.m. May 10 (gallery open noon-5 p.m. May 11); “MFA Group Exhibition,” May 13-July 19, work in a variety of media.


The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is accepting works for the 65th “River Valley Invitational” through June 7. Submissions can be any media, including installation, and should focus on nature. First, second and third place winners will win approximately $10,000 in cash and awards. For more information, go to The Southeast Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado is seeking entries for its annual juried competition. Deadline to enter is May 31. Juror is David Houston, director of the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, Ga., formerly of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. For more information, go to


CANTRELL GALLERY, 8206 Cantrell Road: 22nd annual “Southern Watercolorists Special Open Membership Exhibit,” through June 22. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 224-1335. ELLEN GOLDEN ANTIQUES, 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Barry Thomas and Arden Boyce. 664-7746. GALLERY 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “The World is Flat,” recent paintings by Stephen Cefalo, through May 11. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 664-8996. L&L BECK, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Backyard Birds,” through May, giclee giveaway 7 p.m. May 16. 660-4006. LAMAN LIBRARY, 2801 Orange St.: “Portraits in Gray: A Civil War Photography Exhibition,” featuring the collection of David Wynn Vaughan, through June 15. 758-1720. M2GALLERY, 11525 Cantrell: Sixth anniversary show featuring work by Liz Noble, Steve Adair, Cate Wood Burton and other artists. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 225-6257. PAINT BOX GALLERY AND FRAME SHOP, 705 Main St., NLR: “Cityscapes,” paintings by Marty Smith; gourds by Dawn Clark. TERRY HOUSE COMMUNITY GALLERY, 7th and Rock Sts.: “Learning to See: Students of Stephen Cefalo,” 46 figurative works by the artist’s students at UALR and the Arts Center, through June 2. 765-7688.


ARKANSAS INLAND MARITIME MUSEUM, North Little Rock: “Captain’s Cabin Exhibit,” photographs, biographies, sea stories from the crew, and personal artifacts, through August. 371-8320. CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM VISITOR CENTER, Bates and Park: Exhibits on the 1957 desegregation of Central and the civil rights movement. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. 374-1957. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: “Jazz: Through the Eyes of Herman Leonard,” more than 40 original black and white images by photographer Herman Leonard, who documented the evolution of jazz form from the 1940s through post-Hurricane Katrina, with photographs of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald, through July 21. 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. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS MILITARY HISTORY, MacArthur Park: “Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: JapaneseAmerican Soldiers in World War II,” through August. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602.


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Robert Downey Jr.’s super-hero character is in crisis mode in ‘Iron Man 3.’ BY SAM EIFLING


ron Man 3” is such a galumphing gale of a movie, such an “Avengers”fed force, that it pulled in the second-highest opening take in box office history (after, yes, “The Avengers”) without so much as a tagline on its poster. This is the fourth time Robert Downey Jr. has clambered into the now iconic goldand-merlot armor, and in that span he has established Tony Stark as arguably the most distinct alter-ego in superhero cinema. He’s brash, stinking wealthy, endlessly smarmy — the antihero you love to hate to love — and he’s why the film didn’t need subtitles or slogans to slurp up a sixth of a billion dollars in its first three or so days in American theaters. In this round, though, Stark is an admitted hot mess trying to recoup his swagger after an incident in New York (see the near-fatal wormhole scene in “The Avengers”) that left him with insomnia and recurring panic attacks. He sleeps never, he neglects his lady (Gwyneth Paltrow, back again as Pepper Potts) and he seems unnerved by his new sense of mortality. It’s all he can to do just to drop double entendres in his patter with women and flat-out make fun of children to their faces. A distraction arrives in a series of mysterious bombings — apparent suicides, but without trace of bombs or of bombers. A sinister old coot calling himself the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley, doing an Anglo bin Laden) keeps hijacking the airwaves to claim responsibility for them and to brandish generic jihadist home movies. Things get personal when Tony’s buddy Happy (Jon Favreau, who directed the first two “Iron Man” flicks) gets exploded, and there turns out to be some dark connection with a venture think-tank yutz called Aldrich

Killian (Guy Pearce). He’s into science that sciences around with scientific scientism, which all sounds very promising but could also be used for evil, if it fell into the wrong sciency hands, perhaps even those of a fellow with “rich” and “kill” as constituent parts of his name. The details from there, they get murky. Suffice it that bad things happen to the good guys and Stark winds up broke-down and miserable in Tennessee, though of course that’s a veritable redundancy. Shane Black, who wrote “Lethal Weapon,” directs and shares the screenwriting credit; he and his editors have a better sense of pace and patter than they do for particulars. Downey Jr. gets at least half a dozen laugh-aloud lines, which is about five more than the typical sci-fi comic orgypalooza can manage. As in most everything, strong writing in action movies is still the killer app. Stick around through the credits, because per usual with these Marvel tentpoles, an Easter egg awaits at the end. As a phone book of names lopes past you’ll also notice the sun-obscuring swarm of CGI worker bees who evidently toiled to make this one of the most seamlessly effects-heavy movies in the history of movies. The whole 130 minutes of “Iron Man 3” are no less visually seductive than a dream, even when the hero’s suit whizzes about as autonomous panels, or when Stark’s space-age cliffside manse catches missiles from helicopters, or during an impromptu group skydive. Those latter two scenes, by the way, are audacious summer-movie eye candy, and that’s where, ultimately, “Iron Man 3” earned its rake. It’ll blow your twitchy little mind without evincing a shred of remorse on how it does so.

MAY 9, 2013


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ TWO NEW FAST CASUAL CHAINS opened their first locations in Little Rock earlier this week. Slim Chickens, a chicken joint started by three friends in Fayetteville in 2003, is now serving at 4500 W. Markham St. Chicken tenders and wings are specialties, natch. The restaurant is open 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. Farther west, Austin-based chain Chuy’s (pronounced Chewy’s) is open at 16001 Chenal Parkway. Tex-Mex and margaritas made with fresh-squeezed lime juice are on the menu. Hours are 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. TASTE OF THE ROCK 2013 features food and adult drinks from dozens of vendors, including Bravo Cucina Italiana, Cantina Laredo, Dugan’s, Flying Fish, the Italian Kitchen at Lulav, Shake’s Frozen Custard and the Tavern Sports Grill, in the River Market Pavilions, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9. Tickets, available at, are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. “WILD WINES OF THE WORLD” boasts wines from around the world, paired with food from Arkansas restaurants, including Ashley’s, Boulevard Bread Co., Dave’s Place and Salut Bistro, at the Little Rock Zoo, from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Tickets are $45 members, $50 non-members.



4 SQUARE CAFE AND GIFTS Vegetarian salads, soups, wraps and paninis and a broad selection of smoothies. 405 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-2622. BLD daily. ALL AMERICAN WINGS A small chain of wing shops that feature 13 flavors of wings, from hot to not. 801 W. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-0000. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. 7706 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-223-3355. Serving LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. APPLE SPICE JUNCTION A chain sandwich and salad spot with sit-down lunch space and a vibrant box lunch catering business. 2000 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-663-7008. L Mon.-Fri. (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). ARGENTA MARKET The neighborhood grocery offers a deli featuring a daily selection of big sandwiches along with fresh fish and meats and salads. 521 N. Main St. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-3799980. L daily, D Mon.-Sat., B Sat., BR Sun.


MAY 9, 2013


TASTY PIE: Pizza Cafe’s artichoke chicken pizza.

A pizza staple goes west New Pizza Cafe locale maintains winning formula.


e rarely meet a pizza we disagree with. Sure, we have our preferences, as most do, and pizza comes with a great deal of variability. Thick or thin crust, Neapolitan or Sicilian, New York or Chicago styles — many people are as loyal to their preferred pizza as they are to their spouses. But it’s never a bad thing when a new pizza joint moves into the neighborhood, no matter what its offerings may be. There’s something inherently comforting about sitting down in front of a hot, cheesy pizza — it has a supernatural ability to melt away all of life’s evils, at least for a moment. And so we welcome the newest member of the Pizza Cafe family, a restaurant whose founding father has long carried a steady following in Riverdale. The menu hasn’t changed, but the new West Little Rock digs are bringing new life to the restaurant. The new location screams “family friendly,” but it’s also welcoming to any kind of group gathering. Looking around, you can almost picture the birthdays, the post junior-league soccer game chowdowns, and the “I’m-too-tired-to-cook” family dinners happening regularly at Pizza Cafe West. There’s a large, covered outdoor patio — perfect when the weather permits — that houses plenty of seating and long, group-friendly tables for comfortable, casual dining. Inside, the space is roomy, the decor leans a little to the quirky side and you instantly feel that you could

Pizza Cafe West

14710 Cantrell Road 868-2600

QUICK BITE The newest Pizza Cafe location brings a slice of something special to West Little Rock. A large patio makes outdoor dining a great option; you can also sit at a counter overlooking the kitchen. A wide assortment of salads are offered to anyone not interested in pizza; try the “Freaks and Greeks” with feta, olives, red onion, romaine and housemade vinaigrette. Mondays through Fridays at lunchtime, diners are able to go the by-the-slice route, which includes classics such as cheese, pepperoni and veggie. HOURS 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. OTHER INFO Credit cards accepted, wine and beer.

become a regular here, so long as the food can hold its weight. The menu is a good mix of classic pizza joint standards and house specialties that add a bit more interest to what would otherwise be a rather uneventful menu. Pizzas come in 10-, 13- and 15-inch sizes. Traditional pies — cheese, pepperoni and other one or two topping pies — are always a safe bet, but we opted for some of the more interesting combinations. Our 10-inch “artichoke chicken” ($13.95) was everything we were hoping it would be.

The pie begins with a generous helping of stringy mozzarella and melted yellow cheddar cheese, but the few sprinkles of tangy feta really won us over. Grilled chicken, juicy and flavorful is seasoned heavily, and thrown across the pizza along with garlic and onion. But we most enjoyed the chunks of meaty, tender artichoke — always a favorite of ours on a pizza pie. It’s served hot, the cheese almost bubbling, and one certainly does well to consume as close to its escape from the oven as possible. We enjoyed our “Mexican chicken” pie ($13.95), but found the salsa base to be sparse and not spicy enough. This pizza was similarly topped with char-grilled chicken, mozzarella, and cheddar with monterey jack thrown into the blend. Bell pepper and black olive are included, but we found the addition of fresh, raw green onion and diced red tomato to be the smartest choice in the mix. Pizza Cafe’s crust definitely fits in the thin crust camp. It’s crispy, almost crunchy. It’s a fairly standard crust, but supports the cheese, sauce and toppings soundly. Around a half-dozen sandwiches find themselves on the menu as well, all served with a bag of chips and a salad pepper. We were most interested in their version of the muffaletta ($7.50), the classic New Orleans sandwich that’s now found popularity across the country. Pizza Cafe’s version begins with a soft sourdough hoagie that spends some time in the sweltering pizza oven until it comes out toasty and crisp. Ham, turkey, and salami make up the protein portion of the sandwich, while a few slices of soft, creamy, melted provolone provide a bit more richness. A nice spread of house-made olive salad mix gets spooned over the top. It’s composed of briny green olives, crunchy celery, cauliflower and carrot, seasoned with oregano, garlic and olive oil — always the greatest part of any decent muffaleta. Pizza Cafe may be many miles from the French Quarter, but it does a respectable job with this sandwich, and if for some reason you’re not in the market for the muffaleta sandwich, you can always order it as a pizza, something we’re anxious to try at a future visit. Pizza Cafe West is likely to thrive at its current location — longtime cafe fans living on the west side of town will be pleased with the proximity, and new patrons are likely to be won over as diners begin to test out the new kid in town. Pizza Cafe has been, and will continue to be, a solid, dependable option for any aching for a nofrills, no-hassle pizza joint.

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.

ARKANSAS BURGER CO. Good burgers, fries and shakes, plus salads and other entrees. 7410 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-0600. LD Tue.-Sat. ASHLEY’S The premier fine dining restaurant in Little Rock marries Southern traditionalism and haute cuisine. The menu is often daring and always delicious. 111 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-374-7474. BLD Mon.-Sat. BR Sun. BELWOOD DINER Traditional breakfasts and plate lunch specials are the norm. 3815 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-753-1012. BL Mon.-Fri. BEV & GUY’S FISH & CHICKEN This restaurant specializes in fried catfish fillets and chicken and all the trimmings. 3319 John Barrow Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-2242981. L Fri.-Sat. D Thu., Sat., Sun. BRAVE NEW RESTAURANT The food’s great, portions huge, prices reasonable. It’s great fun, and the fish is special. 2300 Cottondale Lane. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-2677. LD Mon.-Fri. D Sat. BRAY GOURMET DELI AND CATERING Turkey spreads in four flavors and the homemade pimiento cheese are the signature items. Sandwiches, wraps, soups, stuffed potatoes and salads also available. 323 Center St. Suite 150. No alcohol, All CC. 501-353-1045. BL Mon.-Fri. CAFE@HEIFER Serving fresh pastries, omelets, soups, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Located inside Heifer Village. 1 World Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-907-8801. BL Mon.-Fri. CAPITAL BAR AND GRILL Big hearty sandwiches, daily lunch specials and fine evening dining all rolled up into one at this landing spot downtown. 111 Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-7474. LD daily. CAPITOL BISTRO Serving breakfast and lunch items, including quiche, sandwiches, coffees and the like. 1401 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-371-9575. BL Mon.-Fri. CATERING TO YOU Painstakingly prepared entrees and great appetizers in this gourmetto-go location. 8121 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-614-9030. Serving meals to go: LD Mon.-Sat. CATFISH HOLE Downhome place for wellcooked catfish and tasty hushpuppies. 603 E. Spriggs. NLR. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-758-3516. D Tue.-Sat. CIAO BACI The focus is on fine dining, though excellent tapas are out of this world. 605 N. Beechwood St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-6030238. D Mon.-Sat. CRAZEE’S COOL CAFE Good burgers, daily plate specials and bar food amid pool tables and TVs. 7626 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9696. LD Mon.-Sat. CUPCAKES ON KAVANAUGH Gourmet cupcakes and coffee, indoor seating. 5625 Kavanaugh Blvd. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-664-2253. LD Mon.-Sat. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-2253. LD Tue.-Sat. DEMPSEY BAKERY Bakery with sit down area, serving coffee and specializing in gluten-, nutand soy-free baked goods. 323 Cross St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-2257. Serving BL Tue.-Sat. DIXON ROAD BLUES CAFE Sandwiches,


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

burgers and salads. 1505 W. Dixon Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-888-2233. BLD Mon.-Sat. DOE’S EAT PLACE A skid-row dive turned power brokers’ watering hole with huge steaks, great tamales and broiled shrimp. 1023 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-1195. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. EJ’S EATS AND DRINKS The sandwiches are generous, the soup homemade and the salads cold. 523 Center St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-3700. LD Mon.-Fri. FILIBUSTER’S BISTRO & LOUNGE Sandwiches, salads in the Legacy Hotel. 625 W. Capitol Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-3740100. D Mon.-Fri. FIVE GUYS BURGERS & FRIES Nationwide


burger chain with emphasis on freshly made fries and patties and over 15 toppings for you to create your own burger. 13000 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2251100. LD daily.; 2923 Lakewood Village Dr. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-246-5295. LD daily. FLYING FISH The fried seafood is fresh and crunchy and there are plenty of raw, boiled and grilled offerings, too. The hamburgers are a hit, too. 511 President Clinton Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-375-3474. LD daily. GRUMPY’S TOO Music venue and sports bar with lots of TVs, pub grub and regular drink specials. 1801 Green Mountain Drive. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-3768. LD Mon.-Sat.



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Stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables, our authentic street vendor style Piadas are handmade daily using only the very best ingredients available and are lightly dressed with garlic butter.




Lunch M-F 11-2 • Dinner M-TH  5-9 • Dinner Fri-Sat 5-10 • Bar Open: Until Located in the Historic Mathis Building • 220 West 6th Street • Downtown Little Rock 501.374.5100

HOMER’S Great vegetables, huge yeast rolls and killer cobblers. Follow the mobs. 2001 E. Roosevelt Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1400. BL Mon.-Fri. 9700 N Rodney Parham. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-6637. LD Mon.-Sat. THE HOUSE A comfortable gastropub, where you’ll find traditional fare like burgers and fish and chips alongside Thai green curry and gumbo. 722 N. Palm St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-4500. D daily, BR, L Sat.-Sun. IRONHORSE SALOON Bar and grill offering juicy hamburgers and cheeseburgers. 9125 Mann Road. Full bar, All CC. $. 501-562-4464. LD daily. JIMMY’S SERIOUS SANDWICHES Consistently fine sandwiches, side orders and desserts for 30 years. Chicken salad’s among the best in town. Get there early for lunch. 5116 W. Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-666-3354. L Mon.-Sat., D Mon.-Sat. (drivethrough only). KRAZY MIKE’S Po’Boys, catfish and shrimp and other fishes, fried chicken wings and all the expected sides. 200 N. Bowman Road. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-907-6453. LD daily. LOCA LUNA Grilled meats, seafood and pasta dishes. “Gourmet plate lunches” are good, as is Sunday brunch. 3519 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-4666. BR Sun., LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. MILFORD TRACK Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill that serves breakfast and lunch. Hot entrees change daily and there are soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. 10809 Executive Center Dr., Searcy Building. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2232257. BL Mon.-Sat. OYSTER BAR Gumbo, red beans and rice, peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters on the half shell, addictive po’ boys. 3003 W. Markham St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-7100. LD Mon.-Sat. OZARK COUNTRY RESTAURANT Specializes in big country breakfasts and pancakes plus sandwiches and several meat-and-two options for lunch and dinner. 202 Keightley Drive. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-7319. B daily, L Mon.-Fri., D Thu.-Sat. PANERA BREAD Freshly-baked breads, bagels and pastries every morning. Also offers a full menu of sandwiches, hand-tossed salads and hearty soups. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-0222. BLD daily. PURPLE COW DINER 1950s fare — cheeseburgers, chili dogs, thick milk shakes — in a ‘50s setting at today’s prices. 8026 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-221-3555. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun. 11602 Chenal Pkwy. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-4433. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun. 1419 Higden Ferry Road. Hot Springs. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-625-7999. LD daily, B Sun. THE RELAY This grill offers a short menu, which includes chicken strips, French fries, hamburgers, jalapeno poppers and cheese sticks. 12225 Stagecoach Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-9919. LD daily. THE ROOT CAFE Homey, local foods-focused cafe. With tasty burgers, homemade bratwurst, banh mi and a number of vegan and veggie options. 1500 S. Main St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. BL Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

Private events in the LULAV LOFT for 20-300

MAY 9, 2013


DINING CAPSULES, CONT. SALUT BISTRO This bistro/late-night hangout does upscale Italian for dinner and pub grub until the wee hours. 1501 N. University. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4200. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat. SANDY’S HOMEPLACE CAFE Specializing in home style buffet, with two meats and seven vegetables to choose from. 1710 E 15th St. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-375-3216. L Mon.-Fri. SCALLIONS Reliably good food, great desserts, pleasant atmosphere, able servers -- a solid lunch spot. 5110 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-6468. L Mon.-Sat. SHORTY SMALL’S Land of big, juicy burgers, massive cheese logs, smoky barbecue platters and the signature onion loaf. 1100 N. Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-3344. LD daily. SONNY WILLIAMS’ STEAK ROOM Steaks, chicken and seafood in a wonderful setting in the River Market. Menu is seasonal, changes every few months. 500 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-324-2999. D Mon.-Sat. STAGECOACH GROCERY AND DELI Fine po’ boys and muffalettas — and cheap. 6024 Stagecoach Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-4157. BLD Mon.-Fri., BL Sat.-Sun. TERRI-LYNN’S BAR-B-Q AND DELI High-quality meats served on large sandwiches and good tamales served with chili or without (the better bargain). 10102 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-6371. BL Tue.-Fri., BLD Sat. (close at 5pm). WEST END SMOKEHOUSE AND TAVERN Dinner entrees (grilled chicken, steaks and such) are plentiful and the bar food is upper quality. 215 N. Shackleford. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-7665. L Fri.-Sun., D daily. WINGSTOP It’s all about wings. The joint features ten flavors of chicken flappers for almost any palate, including mild, hot, Cajun and atomic, as well as specialty flavors like lemon

pepper, teriyaki, Garlic parmesan and Hawaiian. 11321 West Markham St. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-9464. LD daily.


A.W. LIN’S ASIAN CUISINE Excellent pan-Asian with wonderful service. 17717 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-5398. LD daily. CHINA INN Massive Chinese buffet overflows with meaty and fresh dishes, augmented at dinner by boiled shrimp, oysters on the half shell and snow crab legs, all you want cheap. 2629 Lakewood Village Place. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-771-2288. LD daily. CURRY IN A HURRY Home-style Indian food with a focus on fresh ingredients and spices. 11121 North Rodney Parham. Beer, Wine, No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-4567. LD Mon., Wed.-Sun. HANAROO SUSHI BAR One of the few spots in downtown Little Rock to serve sushi. With an expansive menu, featuring largely Japanese fare. 205 W. Capitol Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-301-7900. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat. LEMONGRASS ASIA BISTRO Fairly solid Thai bistro. Try the Tom Kha Kai and white wine alligator. 4629 E. McCain Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. 501-945-4638. LD Mon.-Sun. MR. CHEN’S ASIAN SUPERMARKET AND RESTAURANT A combination Asian restaurant and grocery with cheap, tasty and exotic offerings. 3901 S. University Ave. $. 501-5627900. LD daily. PHO THANH MY The pho comes in outrageously large portions with bean sprouts and fresh herbs. Traditional pork dishes, spring rolls and bubble tea also available. 302 N. Shackleford Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-312-7498. LD Mon, Wed.-Sun. SEKISUI Fresh-tasting sushi chain with fun hibachi grill and an overwhelming assortment of traditional entrees. 219 N. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-7070. LD daily.




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CHIP’S BARBECUE Tasty, if a little pricey, barbecue piled high on sandwiches generously doused with the original tangy sauce or one of five other sauces. 9801 W. Markham St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-4346. LD Mon.-Sat. DIXIE PIG Pig salad is tough to beat. It comes with loads of chopped pork atop crisp iceberg, doused with that wonderful vinegar-based sauce. The sandwiches are basic, and the sweet, thick sauce is fine. 900 West 35th St. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-753-9650. LD Mon.-Sat. PIT STOP BAR AND GRILL A working-man’s bar and grill, with barbecue, burgers, breakfast and bologna sandwiches. 5506 Baseline Road. Full bar, No CC. $$. 501-562-9635. BLD daily.


CREGEEN’S IRISH PUB Irish-themed pub with a large selection of on-tap and bottled British beers and ales, an Irish inspired menu and lots of nooks and crannies to meet in. 301 Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-376-7468. LD daily. ISTANBUL MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE This Turkish eatery offers decent kebabs and great starters. The red pepper hummus is a winner. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-223-9332. LD daily. LAYLA’S GYROS AND PIZZERIA Delicious Mediterranean fare that has a devoted following. 9501 N Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7272. LD daily (close 5 p.m. on Sun.). LEO’S GREEK CASTLE Wonderful Mediterranean food plus dependable hamburgers, ham sandwiches, steak platters and BLTs. 2925 Kavanaugh Blvd. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-666-7414. BLD Mon.-Sat., BL Sun. (close at 4 p.m.). NEXT BISTRO & BAR Mediterranean food and drinks. 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. 501-663-6398. D Tue.-Thu., Sat. TAZIKI’S GREEK FARE Fast casual chain that offers gyros, grilled meats and veggies, hummus and pimento cheese. 12800 Chenal Parkway. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-2251829. LD daily.



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SHOGUN JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE The chefs will dazzle you, as will the variety of tasty stir-fry combinations and the sushi bar. 2815 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-666-7070. D daily. WASABI Downtown sushi and Japanese cuisine. For lunch, there’s quick and hearty sushi samplers. 101 Main St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-0777. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat.

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CAFE PREGO Dependable entrees of pasta, pork, seafood, steak and the like, plus great sauces, fresh mixed greens and delicious dressings. 5510 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-5355. LD Mon.-Sat. CIAO ITALIAN RESTAURANT The fine pasta and seafood dishes, ambiance and overall charm combine to make it a relaxing, enjoyable, affordable choice. 405 W. Seventh St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-0238. L Mon.-Fri., D Thu.-Sat. GRADY’S PIZZA AND SUBS Pizza features a pleasing blend of cheeses rather than straight mozzarella. 6801 W. 12th St., Suite C. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-1918. LD daily. IRIANA’S PIZZA Unbelievably generous hand-tossed New York style pizza with unmatched zest. Good salads, too; grinders are great, particularly the Italian sausage. 201 E. Markham St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-3656. LD Mon.-Sat. THE ITALIAN KITCHEN AT LULAV Comfortably chic downtown bistro with excellent Italian fare. 220 A W. 6th St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-5100. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat. PIERRE’S GOURMET PIZZA CO. EXPRESS KITCHEN The first RV entry into mobile food truck scene. With a broad menu of pizza, calzones, salads and subs. 760 C Edgewood Drive. No alcohol, No CC. $$. 501-410-0377. L Mon.-Fri. PIZZERIA SANTA LUCIA A mobile pizza oven, imported from Italy, that churns out fine pies. They’re on the smaller side and not topped to excess, but quite flavorful. 1401 S Main St. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-666-1885. Various times. ROMANO’S MACARONI GRILL A chain restaurant with a large menu of pasta, chicken, beef, fish, unusual dishes like Italian nachos, and special dishes with a corporate bent. 11100 W Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-2213150. LD daily. CONTINUED ON PAGE 39

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the ArkAnsAs times


Not another tie. The Perfect Gift for Dad

ArgentA Arts District

congratulate the winners of the

heritage hog roast

This year, honor your father or another man who is important in your life. When you make a contribution of $50 or more to Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County, your name and your honoree’s name will appear in the June 10th edition of Arkansas Business. Your donation provides scholarships and support services to single parent college students. It really is The Perfect Gift. “When you bring single parents out of poverty, they bring their children with them.”

1 st Place C o u n t ry C l u b o f little roCk 2 nd Place

LocaL Lime

Contribution deadline for names to appear in the June 10th Arkansas Business is May 29. Your donation to SPSF is tax deductible. Order Online At

3 rd Place

R e n o ’ s a R g e n ta c a f é


College Sweethearts, Financially Secure, Doting Dad, Stay-Home Mom yearn for baby. Expenses paid ❤ Bob&Maria ❤



Comcast is seeking 8 Installers for our Little Rock, AR location! Are you: · Interested in a new career? · Experienced working with tools? · Able to go the extra mile for your customer? · Looking for a career with growth potential, not just a job? Consider a career with Comcast, the world’s largest telecommunications company! Job details: · $11.75/hr base pay · 40 hours/week · Company van provided · Training, tools and equipment provided Apply now: Candidates must have a clear background and clean driving record. Email resumes to: Thornita Armstrong at:

38 May 9, 2013



MAY 9, 2013




NOTICE Board Vacancy Board of Commissioners Central Arkansas Water

The Board of Commissioners, Central Arkansas Water (CAW), is seeking letters of interest and resumés from Little Rock residents interested in serving on the Board. CAW is the largest public water supplier in the state of Arkansas and serves the Greater Little Rock-North Little Rock area. The water commissioners have full and complete authority to manage, operate, improve, extend and maintain the water works and distribution system and have full and complete charge of the water plan. The governing board consists of seven members who serve seven-year terms. The Board appointee for the existing vacancy will fill a seven year term beginning July 1, 2013 and ending June 30, 2020. In accordance with Ark. Code Ann. §25-20-301, the Board must consist of four residents of Little Rock and three residents of North Little Rock. The current vacancy is for a Little Rock representative. CAW is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all areas of our operations and on the CAW Board of Commissioners. All interested Little Rock residents are encouraged to apply and should submit a letter of interest and resumé by 12 p.m. (noon) Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Resumés will be accepted until filled. Submit to:

Board of Commissioners Central Arkansas Water C/O Becky Wahlgreen, Chief Administrative Officer P.O. Box 1789 Little Rock, AR 72203 Telephone: 501-377-1357


Real Estate

COUNSELOR/CASE MANAGER - Non-profit organization seeks experienced, careeroriented candidate for Counselor/Case Manager/Counselor in Training. Works under the supervision of the Director of treatment for assigned program; responsible for direct treatment, the continuity of services to individuals and the process of linking clients with resources all within compliance of state licensure and CARF accreditation standards. This position is full time and offers full company benefits with growth potential. Must have a minimum of a Bachelor level degree in the field of psychology, social work, mental health or substance abuse, CADC certification and knowledge of the dynamics of substance abuse & evidenced-based treatment for substance abuse disorders. Compensation to be determined by education and experience. Send resumes and current phone number for contact to

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ATTEND COLLEGE ONLINE from Home. *Medical, *Business, *Criminal Justice, *Hospitality. Job placement assistance. Computer and Financial Aid if qualified. SCHEV authorized. Call 800-481-9472 (AAN CAN)

LITTLE ROCK, 5815 Windamere Dr., 3BR/1.5BA Single Family 1050 sq.ft. Fixer Upper w/Lease Option or Cash Discount $1250 down, $506/mo. Call 803-354-5310.

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Automotive ALL AREAS-ROOMMATES.COM. Browse hundreds of online listings with photos and maps. Find your roommate with a click of the mouse! Visit: (AAN CAN)



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tAmAles mAde fresh dAily sold A lA cArte, plAte or by the dozen

It’s happenIng rIght now on

Monday – Friday 11am – 8pm Sat. 11am - 2pm Sunday Closed

arkansas Blog

(501) 812-3461 (501) 812-3462 11121 North Rodney Parkham Rd. Suite 40B, Little Rock AR 72212 DINING CAPSULES, CONT.

U.S. PIZZA Crispy thin-crust pizzas, frosty beers and heaping salads drowned in creamy dressing. 2710 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-2198. LD daily. 5524 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-664-7071. LD daily. 9300 North Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-224-6300. LD daily. 3307 Fair Park Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-565-6580. LD daily. 650 Edgewood Drive. Maumelle. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-851-0880. LD daily. 3324 Pike Avenue. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-758-5997. LD daily. 4001 McCain Park Drive. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-753-2900. LD daily. 5524 John F Kennedy Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-975-5524. LD daily. ZAFFINO’S BY NORI A high-quality Italian dining experience. Pastas, entrees and salads are all outstanding. 2001 E. Kiehl Ave. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. 501-834-7530. D Tue.-Sat.


BROWNING’S MEXICAN GRILL New rendition of a 65-year institution in Little Rock is a totally different experience. Large, renovated space is a Heights hangout with a

huge bar, sports on TV and live music on weekends. Some holdover items in name only but recast fresher and tastier. Large menu with some hits and some misses. 5805 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-9956. LD daily, BR Sat-Sun. CANON GRILL Tex-Mex, pasta, sandwiches and salads. Creative appetizers come in huge quantities, and the varied main-course menu rarely disappoints, though it’s not as spicy as competitors’. 2811 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-664-2068. LD daily. CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL Burritos, burrito bowls, tacos and salads are the four main courses of choice -- and there are four meats and several other options for filling them. Sizes are uniformly massive, quality is uniformly strong, and prices are uniformly low. 11525 Cantrell Road. All CC. $-$$. 501-221-0018. LD daily. COTIJA’S A branch off the famed La Hacienda family tree downtown, with a massive menu of tasty lunch and dinner specials, the familiar white cheese dip and sweet red and fiery-hot green salsas, and friendly service. 406 S. Louisiana St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-244-0733. L Mon.-Fri. EL CHICO Hearty, standard Mexican served

in huge portions. 8409 Interstate 30. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-3762. LD daily. LA HERRADURA Traditional Mexican fare. 8414 Geyer Springs Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-6063. LD Tue.-Sun. LAS MARGARITAS Sparse offerings at this taco truck. No chicken, for instance. Try the veggie quesadilla. 7308 Baseline Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. LD Tue.-Thu. LA REGIONAL A full-service grocery store catering to SWLR’s Latino community, it’s the small grill tucked away in the back corner that should excite lovers of adventurous cuisine. The menu offers a whirlwind trip through Latin America, with delicacies from all across the Spanish-speaking world (try the El Salvadorian papusas, they’re great). Bring your Spanish/English dictionary. 7414 Baseline Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-4440. BLD daily. LAS AMERICAS Guatemalan and Mexican fare. Try the hearty tamales wrapped in banana leaves. 8622 Chicot Road. $-$$. 501-565-0266. LD daily. LOS TORITOS MEXICAN RESTAURANT Mexican fare in East End. 1022 Angel Court. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-261-7823. BLD daily.

MEXICO CHIQUITO MEX-TO-GO Some suggest cheese dip was born at this Central Arkansas staple, where you’ll find hearty platters of boldly spiced, inexpensive food to-go that compete well with those at the “authentic” joints. 11406 W. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-217-0647. LD daily. PEPE’S Better than average Tex-Mex. Try the chicken chimichanga. 5900 W 12th St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-296-9494. LD Mon.-Sat. SENOR TEQUILA Cheap, serviceable Tex-Mex, and maybe the best margarita in town. 2000 S University Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-660-4413. LD daily. TAQUERIA KARINA AND CAFE A real Mexican neighborhood cantina from the owners, to freshly baked pan dulce, to Mexican-bottled Cokes, to first-rate guacamole, to inexpensive tacos, burritos, quesadillas and a broad selection of Mexican-style seafood. 5309 W. 65th St. Beer, No CC. $. 501-562-3951. LD Tue.-Thu. TAQUERIA SAMANTHA II Stand out taco truck fare, with meat options standard and exotic. 7521 Geyer Springs Road. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-744-0680. LD Tue.-Sun. May 9,39 2013 39 MAY 9, 2013


invites you to join

Dr. David Lipschitz

as he presents a monthly series of talks on lifelong health “Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients and Their Families” Monday, May 20 Noon Dr. David’s greatest goal is to educate the public about aging. Most importantly, he aims to empower people with the tools to live longer, happier and healthier lives. Refreshments will be served. Events are free but seating is limited. Please call Wendy Hudgeons for reservations at 501-492-2911 or email

8700 Rile y Drive L i t t l e R o c k


w o o d l a n d h e i g h t s l l c . c o m

Arkansas Times - May 9, 2013