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VOLUME 38, NUMBER 17 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, 200 Heritage Center West, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72203, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR, 72203. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $78 for two years. Subscriptions outside Arkansas are $49 for one year, $88 for two years. Foreign (including Canadian) subscriptions are $168 a year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.


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DECEMBER 28, 2011



Lyons’ logic

From the web

The column by Gene Lyons “Global Warming Is Real” ranks right in there with Saudi Arabia claiming that if women are allowed to drive there will be no more virgins. Global warming is exacerbated by things people do, but scientists have proven beyond a doubt that it started long before the Industrial Revolution even began. The logic he uses is like the old man who walks down my street at sunrise every day so he must be causing the sun to come up! Bill Cochran Ash Flat

In response to an Arkansas Blog item on the high number of gun permit holders who are also felons or have been convicted of misdemeanors: I grew up with a loaded shotgun and rifle leaning against the corner at the bottom of the stairs where the door opened outward to the dining room. I knew they were loaded and stayed as far away as possible when going up or down. But those guns were never fired in town, were strictly

for hunting, and I wonder still why they were never unloaded except for a rare cleaning. In Grandma’s house there was a long barreled pistol in her dresser drawer. She lived near the railroad tracks, a block or so from a grain elevator, and used the pistol to shoot rats between her privy and henhouse. I never touched it. But I never felt safer because it was there. I do not understand why anyone would want a handgun in their purse, on their hip, or in their home. And I usually question the sanity of those who do. Verla Sweere

White men’s rights In 1828 President Andrew Jackson formed the Democratic Party to extend the right to vote to the common white man with little or no property. In the era of Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama, the Democrats approved policies and appointed federal judges with the intention of suspending the rights of the common white man in employment and education through Affirmative Action programs, although none of the Democrat leaders or families will ever lose a job, promotion or school assignment to an AA quota. When Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court, primarily for the purpose of preserving reverse discrimination, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rushed off to Washington, D.C., to support her confirmation. As far as I can tell there aren’t any rights Sotomayor wouldn’t suspend for white men if given the opportunity.   Just recently, President Obama exempted whites from equal protection of the civil rights laws under the guise of promoting racially diverse schools. The Democrats elevate all of their constituents above the rest of society and want to set-up a permanent system of legal discrimination against white men, regardless of the very diverse reasons for black or Hispanic under-employment. Justice Sotomayor, Presi dent Obama and Attorney General McDaniel have no respect for the 14th Amendment’s “Equal Protection of the Laws” provisions.  They are enabled by millions of other white people who no longer care about the rights of their own race.  They can get away with it for now, however, there is a growing far right wing movement online that if it spills into the streets will shock the soul of this nation. Thomas Pope Little Rock 4

DECEMBER 28, 2011





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This project was supported by Grant No. 2007VNCX0006 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the United States Department of Justice.

In response to an Arkansas blog item noting the New York Times’ rave review of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: My friends have raved about Crystal Bridges and I’m already proud of it, like I’m already proud of my first grandchild still in human egg form out there somewhere. It’s exciting to know that Crystal Bridges is still an infant and will grow and grow in the coming years. Thanks in advance, Mother Alice! Crystal Bridges will help us not be so 48-ish, but only if we allow the museum to expand our minds. We have to keep pounding the idea into our children’s heads that they CAN do anything, even in Arkansas … even from Arkansas. After all, without Arkansas they’d be no Walmart. Why didn’t Mr. Sam decide he’d have to move to Chicago or New York to launch his enterprise? Who would have thought one dinky store in backwoods Arkansas could rise up to conquer the retail markets of the planet? Arkansas will be a different place 20 years from now, thanks to Crystal Bridges and the Arkansas Lottery Scholarships, the Murphy Scholarships and some more good things going on that you have to dig to find.  And lest we forget, before there was Alice Walton there was Bernice Jones who did for the people in and around Springdale what Alice is doing for Bentonville today. How about a Fort Baptist billionaire stepping up to the plate? We got a U.S. Marshals Museum that could use a little love … . Deathbyinches In response to an Eat Arkansas review of Hibernia Irish Tavern: Has bangers and mash somehow transmogrified from an English dish to an Irish one now? And if bangers and mash is now an Irish dish, then it stands to reason that “burgers” must be, too. Right? And is crème brûlée now spelled crème Brule? And has the past participle of “shrink” really become “shrank”? The world and the rules that govern accurate and educated journalism seem to be changing far more rapidly than I’d ever realized these days. William D. Lindsey

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DECEMBER 28, 2011




Coming clean

Civility lost


nd class war is total. Our Arkansas congressmen’s colleague, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, has announced that Michelle Obama’s butt is too big. (Too black for Sensenbrenner’s taste too, we imagine, though he bit his tongue at that point.) Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s looks were mocked by Republican officeholders, and so were Eleanor Roosevelt’s. Can anyone remember a Democratic congressman or senator making cruel fun of a Republican president’s wife or daughter’s appearance? Rudeness has become part of the Republican playbook. Lincoln was their last gentleman. 6

DECEMBER 28, 2011




t’s hard for us, as it would be for any wellintentioned person, but some commendation is due the three Republican congressmen from Arkansas. In a moment of candor — a rare one — U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack have all admitted publicly that they’re not opposed to higher taxes as such, only to higher taxes on rich people and big corporations — that is, the sort of people who contribute generously to the representatives’ political campaigns, and to their party. (The three agree with the Supreme Court that corporations are people, only slightly more deserving than the average.) Like the famous baseball triad of Tinker to Evers to Chance, Crawford and Griffin and Womack are capable of inflicting considerable pain on the opposition, which in their case is the working people of America. They just haven’t been in the game as long as the Cub infielders were. The Arkansas congressmen had professed repeatedly, tiresomely, their opposition to higher taxes in general. Yet when the time came to vote on a tax increase for millions of middle-class Americans, all three dropped the duplicity and voted to stick it to the working stiffs. Crawford, Griffin and Womack joined their fellow teabaggers in support of legislation to increase the payroll taxes on workers, and to cut unemployment benefits for those who’ve lost their jobs. Here’s truth in government for you, harsh truth. (How cruel to the common man would they have been were it not the Christmas season? Repealed the childlabor laws, maybe. Closed the public schools.) It now appears that House Republicans, including the Arkansas Three, have been forced to back down by the White House and public opinion, and that they will reluctantly accept delay in the proposed payroll-tax increase and unemployment-benefit decrease. Delay, but not surrender. The Arkansas congressmen have shed their lambs’ clothing and enlisted in the raging class warfare for the duration. They’ll still be dedicated enemies of the common people, but they’ll be fighting out in the open, their malice visible to all. This new honesty may give them problems sleeping. Class war is hell.

FOUR-KID PILEUP: Four children take a tumble Friday at the River Market on Ice rink in the River Market Pavillion.

LR’s shadow government


exchanged several notes with Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola last week about his disappointment over Pulaski Tech’s rejection of a proposal to move its culinary school downtown. He still thinks he had better cost estimates that proved the plan could work on available money. He insists he holds no ill will against Pulaski Tech as it moves toward a property tax election, but adds that he wants to know details first. Which is fair. Inevitably, though, our conversation turned to the divide in Little Rock — the one between rich and poor and black and white. It’s best illustrated by the city’s shadow government, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. Stodola says he can’t understand my obsession with the topic. I can’t understand why he can’t understand. When Stodola jetted off to Paris, it was Jay Chessir, CEO of the Chamber, who shared the publicly financed haute cuisine at Stodola’s table. When Little Rock passed a sales tax, it was a committee set up, financed and administered by Chessir and his employees that ran the show. They did so without disclosing their involvement on campaign papers and without the campaign committee reporting in-kind contributions from the chamber for its administrative support and Chessir’s time. The chamber wrote the law that set up the new technology park authority. Through that law, the chamber effectively controls the governing board, including a designated seat for Chessir. The sales tax the chamber puppet committee promoted provided $22 million to the technology authority. The tax passed, but was trounced in the neighborhood in which the Chessir-created, chamber-controlled and city-financed board intends to expropriate dozens of homes of lower-income minority citizens. Chessir successfully fought disclosure of how

the sales tax campaign money was spent. I’d like to know, for example, if they hired any neighborhood “consultants” to help with the campaign. Chessir has also successfully MAX fought disclosing how the BRANTLEY chamber spends the $200,000 in taxpayer money that Stodola insists on providing the agency for putative economic development work. It’s a sham deal. It is a taxpayer subsidy to work the chamber was already doing. The city itself once did it with public employees whose work WAS transparent. The chamber was in the thick of the effort to move the culinary school downtown from the southwest location. Working class stiffs in Southwest Little Rock, including a city director whose opinions had not been sought, weren’t happy about the implied disrespect. The chamber continues to support at-large election of city board members, a process that favors wealthy neighborhoods and depresses influence of the city’s black/Latino majority. It likes the system so much, a chamber employee has worked to impose at-large elections on the Little Rock School Board, too. This fits with the chamber’s unsuccessful effort six years ago to take over the School Board. Defeated at the polls, it has turned its attention to supporting the charter school movement (a movement littered with failure) and using its mailing list to trash the Little Rock School District. How this encourages economic development is beyond me. The chamber was established to maximize members’ profits, which means minimizing pay, benefits and access to the courts for members’ employees and customers and the public at large. This is legal, of course, even laudable to some. I’d be less obsessed about it if my tax money wasn’t paying for it. See now, mayor?


Republicans cave


t turns out that there is a limit to the oldest cynical political strategy — saying one thing, doing the opposite and then claiming credit for both. The holiday cave-in by House Republicans demonstrates it. All year long, led by its congressional freshman class and Tea-Party wing, the party talked about the plight of middleclass families while voting for the rich and corporations, talked about economic growth while voting to stymie it, and proclaimed its dedication to low taxes while scheming to let them go up, at least for working people. The strategy became unglued Christmas week when the House had to capitulate to President Obama and the Senate, with considerable damage to the party and its election prospects, which was opposite to its purpose. The strategy was supposed to do in President Obama, who had cooperated with the Republican strategy all year long until the Christmas season. Our Arkansas members of Congress played a small and unproud role. Let it be said that few Republicans actually think that working people ought to pay a lot more taxes, although the party seemed to embrace that idea last summer when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the party’s leading presidential candidate at the time, Michele Bachmann, complained that almost half of Americans — the poorest half — were skating by and paying no federal taxes. The statistic was not even close to being correct although it was true that the Obama tax cuts in 2009 left 47 percent of Americans, including the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and people with very low take-home pay,

owing no federal income taxes for 2009 and 2010 but paying plenty other taxes. Soon after ERNEST taking office, DUMAS Obama got Congress to temporarily reduce taxes for Social Security and Medicare to put more money into people’s pockets and help spend the country out of recession, a proven trick for the past 80 years. But after the devastating 2010 election, Obama could not get Republicans to go along with extending the low payroll taxes until he agreed not to restore taxes on the rich to their 2001 levels. Obama’s own party was furious at his surrender. He had campaigned on the promise to close the federal budget deficit by restoring taxes on high incomes and closing corporate tax loopholes. Then in August House Republicans and the filibuster faction in the Senate threatened to shutter the government and plunge the nation into bankruptcy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Arkansas’s three Republican congressmen, Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack, were in the vanguard. Crawford declared that he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling and incur a dime’s more debt. But Obama agreed to a deal with Republican leaders in the House and Senate. In exchange for his dropping a plan to restore slightly higher taxes on millionaires and agreeing to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits and other programs in the future, they raised the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. Our men changed their votes, too.

So the expectation was that the president would fold anytime his back was to the wall. With the lower payroll taxes expiring this week, Obama wanted Congress to extend the low rates a while longer to avert the country’s sliding back into recession. Some 160 million Americans — more than 1.5 million of them in Arkansas — would see their 2012 take-home pay fall by an average of $1,000. Nowadays, Congress is supposed to pay for these things by raising taxes somewhere else or cutting spending. Obama wanted to pay for it with a temporary surtax on multimillionaires. In Arkansas, fewer than 2,500 people, those with adjusted net incomes over $1 million in 2012, would pay 2.1 percent more in taxes so that some 1.5 million would keep a little more of their wages. The House balked. Republicans in the Senate worked out a deal with the president and Democrats to continue the tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits until March 1 to give everyone more time to work out an agreeable plan for the whole year. House Speaker John Boehner agreed to the plan and the Senate adopted it, 90-10. But when Boehner went back to his caucus he faced rebellion from the tea party and freshmen. Congressman Crawford termed the deal “irresponsible” and called on the House to defeat it. It did. Crawford, Griffin and Womack voted “no.” Womack held a news conference Tuesday before Christmas to praise himself and his fellow freshmen for being tough. But a tidal wave was in motion. Obama refused to budge further. Even the rightwing Wall Street Journal editorial page condemned the House Republicans, saying they had sabotaged the party’s chances in 2012 by putting the GOP foursquare for higher taxes on 99 percent of Americans and refusing to compromise.

Senate Republicans were horrified. The next day Crawford deleted the word “irresponsible” from his published statement of the day before and called on the speaker to take the deal. Boehner had already got the clear message that he should stand up to the teabaggers in his caucus. He held another conference call but this time did not allow Crawford, Womack, Griffin or anyone else to speak and he told them that he would hold another vote and this time he expected it to pass by unanimous consent. Not one objected. Some deal it was, too. The Democrats had already caved on the millionaire tax cut — again — and accepted the Republican plan for paying for the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits. Instead of multimillionaires paying for it, middleclass people who buy or refinance their homes will pay for it over the next 10 years with a fee that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will charge loan originators. Boy, that has to help the economy! One more irony. Griffin claimed victory by saying that as part of the plan they had forced Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline — a great “job creator,” he says — within three months. He was exactly wrong. The president had made it clear that he would reject the pipeline if he were forced to decide before the kinks were worked out. Republican Nebraska was in revolt because the pipeline would carry the dirtiest oil in the world across the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to the Great Plains. NASA’s climate scientist said the pipeline would be the end game for global warming. The State Department said it could not complete its review within three months and would recommend disapproval. But who cares about jobs as long as the president gets the blame?


It was a good week for… GETTING OUT OF COURT. The Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas reached a settlement with SWEPCO, the utility company building the Turk coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County. The agreement ends legal challenges to the plant, and eliminates the possibility that Arkansas appellate courts, in the past unfriendly to SWEPCO legal arguments, might block the plant despite the huge sum of money already invested. In exchange, SWEPCO agreed to retire a coal plant in Texas, plus pay $10 million for environmental and clean energy causes and another $2 million for attorney fees. It also promised not to build a second unit at the Turk plant. THE SPIRIT OF GIVING. We’ve always had a soft spot for those who labor each year to line up a Christmas for children in protective custody of the state Division of Child and Family Services. This year, the Joe Johnson Foundation provided support for food, games and a $100 shopping spree for 50 kids at a local Walmart. THE ARKANSAS LOTTERY. Because no one claimed the $77 million Powerball ticket sold at a Georgia highway stop six months ago, the money will be distributed to participating states based on a percentage of tickets sold on that drawing. Arkansas could receive as much as $600,000. Interim Lottery Director Julie Baldridge said she would recommend that the money be directed towards the Arkansas Lottery’s Education Trust Fund.

It was a bad week for… ESCAPING ON A TECHNICALITY. A court clerk’s typographical error led to early release of a habitual criminal who got charged with more crimes during his unexpected freedom. Cody Shields, 22, of Bentonville got 36 years for burglary as a repeat offender in June, but the clerk recorded his sentence as 36 months. He was sprung less than five months later, and within six weeks had been arrested in a home invasion, burglaries and the beating of two men. He’s back in the slammer, his original sentence corrected and awaiting trial on new charges. GOOSE HUNTERS. The Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park announced just before press time that the city of North Little Rock had agreed to a non-lethal method of controlling the Canada geese in the city park. The city will shoo them with dogs rather than shoot them, as originally planned.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of this week’s special, larger-than-usual issue, the Words and the Media columns do not appear. You’ll find Beau Wilcox’s Cotton Bowl preview edition in his column, Pearls About Swine, on page 98. As usual, we’ll publish our annual Native’s Guide to Pulaski County the first week in January. Because it doesn’t include any regular features, you’ll find an expanded To-Do List and calendar in this week’s arts and entertainment section.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Arkansas Reporter



The often-beleaguered Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, which has run into money troubles in recent years, has quietly installed a new executive director in recent months. Carol Kimery, a 2010 graduate of UALR with a degree in marketing, was hired as executive director of the HSDFI in November. She had been the interim director since midOctober. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival has been held annually in October for 20 years. There were fears the festival wouldn’t materialize this fall, after the Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau refused its annual $5,000 in support because the institute was in arrears on bills dating back to 2010. The Malco Theater, home to the festival, is mortgaged to a local bank, and the institute has often been late on its payments. In April, citing more than $30,000 in debt, which thendirector Dan Anderson blamed on overspending for filmmaker hospitality and staff costs, the institute furloughed all its employees. Kimery hopes to turn that around. She worked in sales for 13 years, including a stint in New York, before going back to college at UALR to get her degree. She said she got interested in film while serving as an intern to Little Rock Zoo spokesperson Susan Altrui. Altrui has produced a number of short films in Little Rock. Kimery served as a production assistant on one of those films, and has since worked on the new Animal Planet reality show “American Stuffers” (see this week’s Televisionist column for more), which was filmed in Romance. Kimery said saving the Malco and recruiting more volunteers will be a big part of getting the festival out of trouble. Anderson, who was also the festival director, has taken a leave of absence, Kimery said, and is “working on another venture,” and the majority of the members on the festival board, including the chairman, are new this year. Kimery will take on Anderson’s old job as well as her duties as head of the institute CONTINUED ON PAGE 9 8

DECEMBER 28, 2011





Lights, camera, action … soon Pulaski Tech plans to train film crew members. BY DAVID KOON


hough rumors that Pulaski Tech might locate a film production school in the old M.M. Cohn building in downtown Little Rock seem to be mostly wishful thinking by Main Street revitalization boosters, the film production program at PTC is the real deal. The school recently finalized a proposed curriculum for a new degree program to educate offcamera film crew members like grips, gaffers and digital special effects technicians. They hope to fast-track the program for a fall 2012 debut. The behind-the-scenes push to get PTC to locate its new program in the M.M. Cohn building at 510 Main St. is coming from some of the same civic leaders who tried unsuccessfully to get PTC to locate its culinary school at Sixth and Main streets. The school decided instead to create its culinary school at its campus in Southwest Little Rock, the former Little Rock Expo building. Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane said that his office isn’t pushing for any specific location, but has long been an advocate for a school in the state to train film crews. “One of the things we’ve been trying to push is workforce development within the industry,” Crane said. “We have good, qualified crew, but we don’t have qualified crew across the board in crew, grip and gaffe.” Grips are rigging technicians,

who specialize in placing and moving the camera before and during shots. Gaffers help design a production’s lighting plan. Crane said the M.M. Cohn building would be a “sexy” location for the Pulaski Tech program, but added that recruiting good students and teaching the right courses while getting the program off the ground is more of a concern. “It’s the quintessential chicken and egg,” he said. “If we have a good quality workforce and more film production, then they’re going to have more students who are interested in [film production] and who want to go to that program.” David Durr, dean for information technology at Pulaski Tech, will direct the new film production program if it is eventually approved by the state Department of Education. Durr and others from Pulaski Tech recently toured the M.M. Cohn building as a possible location for the program. What they found doesn’t bode well for Main Street’s silver screen dreamers. “There are these large supporting columns all across the first floor,” Durr said. “There is not any place, as the building stands, where we can get enough space to build a sound stage.” Durr said a developer told them it would cost around $175,000 to replace the columns with structural steel, which must be done before any other renovations — money which Durr hinted could

be better spent on equipment. Durr said the team from the school has also toured the old Dempsey Film Group studio at 322 S. State St. and discussed locating the program on the PTC main campus in North Little Rock. (The school’s campus near the Pulaski/Saline County line doesn’t have enough room for the program.) Durr said the school doesn’t need a new facility before starting the program. “We can start by repurposing some facilities on campus and continue to work to find an optimum facility,” he said. “Early on in the program, the students will be going to a lot of general education courses, a lot of introductory courses, so that’s going to give us some time to work on this.” Durr said the idea for a program to train film production workers grew out of PTC’s plans to instruct web design students on basic animation, sound and video production skills, with a goal of helping graduates address the growing convergence of computers and film. “There’s a demand for people who can produce digital artifacts, whether those are illustrations, animations, audio or video,” Durr said. He said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 14 percent growth in the number of jobs in those areas between now and 2018, “so it’s a high-demand area that extends far beyond film.” Once the digital ball was rolling, the school was approached by Crane, Little Rock Film Commissioner Gary Newton and Little Rock Film Festival founder Craig Renaud. “Essentially, they were pointing out to us that we could build on what we were already doing and meet a need that exists for people who are able to produce film,” Durr said. Durr said the school currently has two faculty members in the areas of design and illustration who’ll teach in the new film production department. The school has hired a third faculty member who specializes in sound and video production to round out the teaching staff. Durr said the curriculum for the program was completed before Pulaski Tech broke for the Christmas holiday. It will next go to the school’s Academic Affairs Committee in early January for approval, and before the Pulaski Technical College Foundation Board of Directors at its Jan. 30 meeting. If the plan is approved by the Pulaski Tech Board, it will go before the Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board in April. Durr said he hopes the program can be launched in August 2012.





Based on combined traffic, the release of the West Memphis 3 in August was by far the biggest story of the year.

s we close out the books on 2011, we decided to take a look back at the traffic on our website,, to get a tally of the most-read stories of the year. All but three of the stories below appeared online only.

1. KARK’s Cummins questioned in Labor Day death 2. Damien Echols statement on plea deal 3. West Memphis 3 hearing tomorrow 4. DJ Tommy Smith arrested in Little Rock 5. The Damien I Know—The Architect and the Inmmate 6. Delta Blues—a massive bust 7. Video portrays Texas judge beating daughter

Arkansas celebrity missteps

8. God and gays at Harding University 9. West Memphis 3 free in plea bargain on 1993 murders 10. Sources: Lu Hardin plea bargain set 11. Attorney alleges Little Rock police brutality 12. Death declaration sought for John Glasgow 13. Mike Huckabee’s $3 million home 14. Yarnell’s ice cream closes after 78 years 15. Bird death mystery solved

Harding University blocked on-campus access to HU Queer Press, an online “zine” that contained perspectives from current and former gay and lesbian students at Harding. The zine and Harding’s blocking of it quickly went viral.

It was God’s punishment for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell according to a group called People for the American Way.

Mara Leveritt’s 2004 interview with Lorri Davis was the first interview Davis granted following her marriage to Damien Echols.

Here it is.

16. Thursday To-Do: Justin Bieber

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

INSIDER, CONT. until the outcome of several grant applications is known. Associate festival director Jim Miller will work on a volunteer basis. Kimery said that she hopes to eventually hire more employees after grants come in. “We’ve restructured,” Kimery said. “We’re going through everything and making sure our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed. ... Some things fell by the wayside.” She hopes to make people trust in the festival again — not only that it will survive, but that it is worth their volunteer hours and donations. “People shouldn’t believe what they’ve read,” she said. “We’ve got a brand new board of directors, we’ve got a new chairperson and a new executive director. They’ve got to trust that it’s not going to fall apart — that it’s going to thrive and it’s going to get better. They’ve got to trust us enough to grant us the grants and donate their time and money.“

17. Hearing set in West Memphis 3 case 18. Dwight David Honeycutt throws down 19. Alice Walton arrested in Texas for DUI 20. Sunday To-Do: Dead Confederate

No clue why this preview of this Georgia-based alt-rock band has been so popular.

Two years after the YouTube video “Dwight David Honeycutt for Conway School Board” went viral and a year after Honeycutt’s “Sweet Tea Party” at Juanita’s, this party preview and explainer on DDH lives on.

Further proof that Justin Bieber is the Internet, this item is a preview of the last time the teen pop icon played Verizon Arena — in 2010. The item continues to generate comments like this from user jlo love jb: “hi justin bieber my name is jenniefer and am 8 year old may not look 8 but i just wated to know do have a girlfriend” and this one from user nuunuu “hi u may not know me yet but we are going to get married so come to forrest city on izard st.”

New Chicken House

The Poultry Federation is going to tear down its existing headquarters and replace it with a new building at Fourth and Victory Streets, just down the hill from the Capitol. The change will require a rule change for the property, which falls in the Capitol Zoning District, to comply with setback requirements established after the existing building was completed. A district spokesman said the change isn’t expected to be controversial, unlike the ruckus that arose over Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter’s proposal for a rule change to clear the way for him to build a five-story building at Sixth and Woodlane in front of the Capitol. The change was denied. There’s a rumor Burkhalter may come back with a design for a threestory building, but he hasn’t returned our calls. The Poultry Federation said multiple problems were better corrected by new construction than repair. The building is known at the Capitol as the Chicken House. Over the years, it’s been the setting for many an informal lobbying session.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Low-flying on real wheels


he Observer owns a bicycle now for the first time in 20 years or more, the first one since the mountain bikes of our troubled youth. We’ve been riding The Going Nowhere bike at the gym since August, and have been making noises about our desire for a Going Somewhere bike for months now. Probably just to call our bluff, Spouse bought us one for our X-mas present: a shiny black cruiser that looks like it’s going a million miles an hour just sitting on the kickstand. She’s apparently had it hoarded up in her office for a good two weeks now, fending off the advances of 40-something children who wanted to take it for a spin down her hallway. Sorry, dudes. It’s ours now. And, as all bikers and fans of “Sons of Anarchy” know: You never sit on another man’s bike.


Three days before Christmas, she sprung the gift on us by way of a photo on her phone. Her office is only six or seven blocks away from The Fortress of Employment, so last rainy Thursday, a bit giddy at the prospect of gliding along on two wheels again, we walked down to claim it. She’d neglected to include a helmet with her gift, so the last thing she said to her One and Only as we wheeled the new machine away from her office was not to ride it without

a helmet, and especially not in the rain, because a funeral might put a damper on end-of- year parties. We couldn’t resist, though. Half a block from her office, we saddled up and just sat there awhile, waiting for the frame to snap in half under our weight. Then we put a foot on a pedal and kicked off. After a wobbly start, one back hoof dangling in the air and searching for the other pedal, we found it. Suddenly, we were in the wind. It was a crawl, really, but to us it felt like flying: the wind in our face and the rain prickling on our skin. We crossed streets, looking both ways for the 9 a.m. drunk who would appear and cut us down, buzzing along in the open stretches with the padded seat nestled comfortably into our padded posterior. It was, in a word, glorious. There are certain things that — if the writer was a creator of fiction — nobody would buy if we made ’em up. Just as we pulled up in front of the Arkansas Times offices and coasted to a stop, we heard a rattle and a sickening crash. We turned, and saw a delivery truck standing in the middle of the Scott and Markham

intersection. Nearby was a crunched motorcycle, the bike pilot still dazed on the ground. Forgetting about shiny paint, we dropped our new bicycle on the sidewalk and rushed over to him as he picked himself up, pulled off his nicked helmet, and had some choice words for the driver. We helped the biker stand his machine up, then stood and looked at it, the bike’s red plastic faring broken and forlorn, the seat spun six feet away in the rain. We couldn’t help but imagine what kind of shape we would have been in had it been us who fell under the bumper of the behemoth. Thankfully, the motorcyclist was OK. There’s a lot of motorcycle accidents that don’t end so well, we know. It sure enough gave this new/ old bicyclist some pause. Be careful out there, two-wheelers. Wear your helmet and keep the tread side down. On second thought, maybe we’ll confine our low-flying to the River Trail. There’s no delivery trucks to round a corner and flatten us on the Big Dam Bridge, and besides: when the Universe sends you a message that clear, you damn sure better listen.

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ver burgers at Stickyz last August, my friend Tom Peterson remarked that Little Rock had changed in the 20 years he had lived here and in some ways now resembled his hometown of Chicago. “Little Rock and North Little Rock have neighborhoods now,” he told me. “With the exception of Heights and Hillcrest, Little Rock was nothing but a collection of subdivisions and big malls when I moved here. Now you have real neighborhoods with their own feel and with restaurants and shops that are dedicated to that area.” Looking at where we live every day and noticing fundamental change is a little like looking into the mirror every morning. It looks the same as yesterday, but over the last two decades, it’s become a different face and a different city. So we’ve set out to document that change in this week’s issue. Reading through these essays, I think you will be struck by the incredible diversity we have for an



urban area of no more than 250,000 people. For example, we have new “creative class” neighborhoods like Argenta and South Main, affluent suburban neighborhoods such as Northwest Little Rock and Chenal, historic middle class black neighborhoods such as the Central High neighborhood and the newly Latinized neighborhoods of Southwest City and Levy. Where people once looked for the perfect house, now they are finding the perfect neighborhood. And here there is a neighborhood for every lifestyle. As this issue goes to press, we are also creating a Unique Neighborhoods of Central Arkansas website. It’ll reside permanently in the GUIDES section of the Arkansas Times website, If you know of someone considering a move or visit to Central Arkansas, tell them they can get a better feel for us there in just a few weeks. Additionally, we are turning this issue into a hardbound book that will include more color photography as well as all of the essays. It will be

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available from the Arkansas Times, local bookstores and our sponsors. I would like to thank each of the neighborhood sponsors who appear at the beginning of each neighborhood essay. We went to companies, churches and other institutions that had a special relationship with the neighborhoods we were profiling. They had no input or control over the writing, but they wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the importance of their neighborhood or place to their organization. Their participation is making the book and the website possible. I hope you enjoy this issue and hang onto it. Many of essays are highly personal and highly subjective, written by people who feel a special connection to where they live. When you read the essay on your neighborhood, if you think to yourself, “Yes, that’s who lives here, that’s what it feel like,” then we will have been successful with this issue.


DECEMBER 28, 2011





River Market District cosponsors Dean the Bean and Diana McClung share an office above the bustling Ottenheimer Market Hall, where the colorful mascot and the director of River Market Operations welcome visitors and manage the events and activities in one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. As the River Market’s official goodwill ambassador, Dean the Bean can often be found strolling the Farmers’ Market, appearing at events and posing for photos with kids who love to crowd around the city’s greenest dignitary. McClung handles the logistics in and around the pavilions, where thousands of residents and visitors enjoy a unique mix of shopping, dining, live music and other activities along the banks of the Arkansas River. “Visiting the River Market district is an essential Little Rock experience,” McClung said. “It’s great to be involved in a neighborhood that offers such an eclectic atmosphere.”


DECEMBER 28, 2011




HUB OF GRUB, ACTIVITY: The Farmers Market fills the pavilions of the River Market.

Raised from the dead


early 15 years after what we know today as the River Market district was born, it’s still a neighborhood without a clear identity. Is it where Central Arkansas goes to drink? The cultural capital of the state? An actual neighborhood where people live and work and buy things? It depends on when and where you look. I look on it from the perspective of someone who spends most of his time there. I don’t live in the River Market district, but I may as well. Five days a week, I park my car with other cars owned by people who don’t care about them under an I-30 exit ramp in a parking lot covered in pigeon scat and broken glass. From there, it’s a three-block walk to Arkansas Times HQ: Across


the trolley tracks and by a passing trolley, pretty to look at but always empty. Past the five-story main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System, with the names of canonical writers etched in the top of the building — Dickinson, Faulkner, Thucydides — that always remind me that I should be reading better books. Across what may be Little Rock’s most complicated traffic arrangement, which in a short span brings together four on/off ramp lanes into a three-way intersection governed by rules that are broken nearly every time the light turns green. Down a pea gravel path through the latest territory the Historic Arkansas Museum has claimed for its fort of historic preservation and resurrection, where even in

triple digit heat this summer the resident blacksmith stoked the fire inside in his dark forge. My second-floor office looks out onto the intersection of Markham and Scott and the Main Street Bridge. Almost 300 years ago in the same spot, Chester Ashley, then probably the richest man in Arkansas, looked out onto the Arkansas River idling by from his front porch. At some point, the Arkansas Gazette spent 50 years in the same intersection, the mid-point of a Newspaper Row that stretched from the Old State House down through what’s now President Clinton Avenue. My greatgreat grandfather Alexander Millar, who edited and published the Arkansas Methodist, might’ve once penned



JOINING LR, NLR: The Junction Bridge is next to what’s left of the “Little Rock.”

Anti-Saloon League editorials mere blocks from where I now put out at least a couple issues a year celebrating Little Rock bars. In 1985, when the Times moved into the newly renovated Heritage West Building, the River Market didn’t exist and wouldn’t for more than a decade. Locals called the area Old Town or the East Markham Warehouse District. The only business in the district served as a ready metaphor for how dead Old Town was — a casket store. The redevelopment boom that finally came in the mid-’90s was a product of the vision of people like Jimmy Moses, who sketched out an early version of the River Market building after visiting the Pike Place Market in Seattle; Bobby Roberts, who plotted the Main Library’s move into the old Fones Brothers Warehouse before any plan for the River Market existed, and master politicians like Dean Kumpuris and Buddy Villines. But the key

spark was public money. All the early major development that kick-started the River Market district was primarily funded from an assortment of city, county, state and federal funds. In the early days of the development, itself only a piece of a sweeping project that led to the construction of what’s now called the Verizon Arena, the renovation of the Statehouse Little Con-Rock 501-455-2027 vention Center and the relocation and Searcy expansion of the Museum of Discovery, 501-268-2425 there were complaints — in this paper, Hot Springs believe it or not — about the lack of 501-623-9021 private support. Today, with much of the institutional groundwork laid and fresh off a successful public-private partnership that led to the reclamation of the old Rock Island Railroad Bridge as a pedestrian crossing, the tension is over what the neighborhood is, rather than what it’s going to be. The initial vision, like all New Urbanist revivals, called for a mix of

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In the heart of Little Rock


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retail, housing, parks, dining and entertainment. Retailers have given it a go. When I first moved to Little Rock a decade ago, retail shops Take a Hike and Vesta’s occupied space in the first block of what’s now Clinton Avenue. Today, aside from 10,000 Villages and an office furniture store, the neighborhood doesn’t have a retail store that’s not an outgrowth of some larger institution (like the Central Arkansas Library System or the Clinton Library). As for park land, more than 30 acres rolls along beside the river: There’s a sculpture promenade that doubles as a stretch of the River Trail; La Petite Roche (the actual Little Rock, worth a visit if only to marvel at all the fuss — and money spent — over such a dinky rock); maybe the city’s best playground at Peabody Park, with boulders to climb, tunnels to explore and a massive play-fountain to run through; the newly opened Bill Clark Presidential Park Wetlands, with walkways snaking through a river backwash below the Clinton Library, and the two former railroad bridges smartly reclaimed for pedestrian use. Thanks to River Market godfather Jimmy Moses and his business partner Rett Tucker there are plenty of places to live high in the sky in the neighborhood, though probably only for those making more money than most of us. NBA star and Little Rock native Joe Johnson has a two-story condo in the 300 Third Tower that has a shark tank in it. I suspect no one lives higher in the River Market district. Down on the goldfish-bowl end of the housing spectrum, a number of area warehouses have been converted into lofts. Unfortunately, despite a number of failed attempts, there’s nowhere within walking distance for neighborhood dwellers to buy groceries or fill a prescription (a new grocery is supposedly coming soon to the recently revived Third Street corridor). There are, however, dozens of restaurants nearby. In the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall, the cornerstone for all the development that followed in the River Market district, none of the original vendors remain, though there’s a nice multicultural balance. It’s not quite the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, but on Saturdays during warm weather months, when farmers, trinket hawkers, busking musicians and clowns on stilts who make balloon animals pack under the pavilions behind the hall for

the Little Rock Farmers Market, no place in the city is more alive. Except maybe for a trip down President Clinton Avenue on a weekend night. Muscle cars and neon motorcycles inch along with no clear destination beyond a continuous loop. On the sidewalks, it’s not hard to win at River Market district bingo: B for a bach-

elorette party (you can spot the brideto-be by her tiara of condoms or some other embarrassing accoutrement); I for the impaired, walking in a zigzag; N for New Era cap-wearing, wouldbe rappers selling homemade CDs; G for gawkers, the pedestrian version of the cars that cruise past, people — often underage — just there to see the

sights, and O for overcrowded clubs, with clumps of folks huddled near the entrances, texting furiously as they wait to get inside. In the 20-odd blocks that comprise the broadest conception of the neighborhood, at least 10 restaurants or bars cater to drinkers with hours that extend CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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DECEMBER 28, 2011


beyond dinner service, and there are at least half a dozen more restaurants that serve booze. Want to see a concert by a touring band? Odds are you’re coming to Clinton Avenue, where the largest and most active bar/venues operate and at least half a dozen other bars regularly feature live music. Want to see a handful of big-named nostalgia acts? Odds are you’re among the quarter million or so who descend on the River Market district annually on Memorial Day weekend for Riverfest. In the daytime, it’s easier to make a case for the district as the cultural heart of the capital city. Most of Little Rock’s museums sit within a few blocks of each other in the neighborhood, with the Clinton Library cantilevered over the banks of the Arkansas River in all its modernist glory on the eastern edge.




trail mix. When they are full-grown and ready to make more mallards, they are released into the wild.

It’s meant to give kids a semblance of what it’s like to play in nature (the way its designers once did), rather than on an asphalt lot, and it works. A large sculpture marks the park from the River Trail passing by. Get a little art. The city parks department landscaped the Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park with steel banks and walkways that allow visitors to walk among sculptures scaled for interior settings but placed in the great outdoors. It’s intimate, if weird, and a nice place to take a stroll just off the backside of the Peabody Hotel. Watch the ducks. The Peabody Hotel mallards leave their feather beds in the Royal Peabody Duck Palace on the roof each morning at 11 a.m. for a ride down the elevator with the Duck Master (you’ll know him by his scarlet-and-gold-trimmed jacket) to the lobby, where they waddle down their red carpet to the strains of John Philip Sousa to the fountain. They’ll spend the day in their tiled swimming hole quietly paddling, dabbling and quacking. At 5 p.m., the virtual duck call blows and it’s out of the fountain, back down the red carpet and back up the palace with the master. The hotel says they are fed a dinner of handshredded Romaine lettuce, grated carrots, live worms and Peabody Duck

Nearby, Heifer Village’s exhibits on global poverty and hunger attract tourists and visiting school kids by the busload. Want to see art, buy Arkansas crafts, get a smoothie or research your Arkansas roots? Head to the Central Arkansas Library’s sprawling campus of artfully renovated historic buildings where, at least for the near future, you can also check out books. I’m sure it’s not without precedent for a city’s nightlife and cultural districts to live together in tight quarters, but I can’t think of any other examples. It’s not always easy for the night and day sides of the neighborhood to live together. Pushes by some in the entertainment community to close Clinton Avenue off on weekend evenings a la Beale Street have thus far not gotten very far. Ditto for an application by new River Market district tenant Juanita’s to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. The glass I park on every morning isn’t good for either constituency. But still the people come. And the teen-aged neighborhood hums with life.

FARMERS’ MARKET QUARTET: A little music for the shoppers.


And drink, eat and be merry. The River Market district is to Little Rock as Beale Street is to Memphis — or at least that’s what it might grow into, as President Clinton attracts more restaurants and bars. Once imagined as a retail district, with furniture stores and dress shops and a sporting goods emporium, Clinton and streets south now serve to quench one’s thirst rather than solve one’s down skiwear needs. You’ve got piano bars, beer bars, clubs that bring in all variety of musical acts, restaurants, all of which draw the tourist trade to the neighborhood in massive numbers on Friday and Saturday nights.


Hit the Heifer Village. No, it’s not a small town populated by

Play in Peabody Park. There’s the old joke about Mr. Peabody playing for you, but we won’t tell it here. This Riverfront Park haven for children has a splash park (with water shooting up from the ground in various combinations), rocks to climb on, a hill to slide down and a pavilion.


female cows, but it does demonstrate the “it takes a village” axiom. Heifer International constructed the educational facility next to its headquarters just south of the Clinton library, and there you’ll learn about how people live in the undeveloped parts of the planet, where you can’t just turn on a tap to get water or go to the grocery store for food. There’s also a gift shop and a nice cafe; in good weather, you can eat outside and enjoy the native plant landscaping and views of downtown.


Cross the river. The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is a beautiful transformation of a railroad bridge into a pedestrian expanse that completes the east loop of the River Trail in Little Rock and North Little Rock. The walkway is engraved with names of donors, special lighting has been incorporated into the design and flower boxes on the rails add a soft touch to the steel. From the bridge you can see the city skyline on the north, the winding Arkansas River to the south and, at the foot of the bridge on the Presidential Park’s river edge, the 13acre Bill Clark Wetlands. The wetlands, constructed in a river backwater, was a multi-agency project involving city and state plant and animal scientists and landscapers. It’s traversed by wooden walkways, features a pavilion for shade and a sculpture of Clark, whose company constructed the Clinton Presidential Library and Archives. It has an educational element as well: Downtown Little Rock drains into the river here; a box collects trash to demonstrate that trash carelessly tossed onto the street ends up in the river. The Junction Bridge from Riverfront Park is another route across the river, but without the graceful ramps that the Clinton Bridge has; bikers must haul their wheels up a flight of stairs to access the span.

DECEMBER 28, 2011




CENTRAL ARKANSAS LIBRARY SYSTEM SPONSOR DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is comprised of 12 branch libraries serving residents of Pulaski and Perry Counties, and is Arkansas’s largest public library system. For over 100 years, CALS has provided books, DVDs, audiobooks, reference and research assistance, and computers for millions of patrons’ information and enjoyment. CALS’ Main Library has been an anchor of downtown Little Rock since it was built. Currently, the Main Library campus’ three buildings are located on two blocks in the River Market district, and include the Cox Creative Center, home to River Market Books & Gifts, the library’s used book store; the Arkansas Studies Institute, site of the Butler Center for Arkansas History and the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, and the library. Wireless Internet access in all branches, downloadable eBooks, lectures, book club kits, and art galleries are all free. Visit or any branch and use your library card.


DECEMBER 28, 2011




BRIGHT-LIGHTS LIVING: No commute, no yard, close to fun.

In praise of urban living BY KELLEY BASS


iving in the core of downtown Little Rock is the ultimate reverse commute. I’m here when few others are. And while thousands are spending their 8-to-5 Mondays through Fridays downtown, I’m gone. The masses and I pass on our ways in and out, but as they head to Chenal or Bryant or Cabot or Maumelle or wherever, I feel a little sorry for them. I’ve lived in Bryant. I’ve lived in Maumelle. But I much prefer living in downtown Little Rock. Kidless, petless, with no longing for planting daffodils, mulching shrubs or stringing Christmas lights on eaves, my wife and I live in a thoroughly modern, affordable 1,660-square-foot condo on the seventh floor of Lafayette Square, the refurbished Lafayette Hotel at Sixth and Louisiana streets. Our living room, dining room and master bathroom windows overlook the Cathedral of St. Andrew, the oldest place of continuing worship in Little Rock. It is a beautiful church; we gaze at the glow of its stained glass windows; we hear its bells; we see its

parishioners come and go. Our bedroom and office overlook the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. We can also see Acxiom’s headquarters and three much-higher-dollar mixed-use condo towers: River Market Tower, 300 Third and the Capital Commerce Center. Ours is one of the few “urban” views available in Arkansas. And we love “urban.” I am fortunate to have a sister and brother-in-law with homes in Paris and New York, two of the world’s greatest cities — and even more fortunate that they open their doors for us when we find the time and money to visit. It’s exhilarating to walk out the doors of their buildings and immediately be caught up in the vibrant hustle/bustle of Parisians and New Yorkers going about their business. And it’s liberating to spend time in cities where feet are one of the primary modes of transportation. Little Rock doesn’t feel much like New York or Paris when we pass through the restored, ornate, circa 1925 Lafayette lobby and out the door for our 6 a.m.

weekday walks. But we’ve come to know and appreciate the city-waking-up activities along Capitol Avenue. As we head west along Arkansas’s grandest avenue we see the state van zip by on its way to pick up commuters; CAT buses full of workers headed to jobs performing the various services a white-collar downtown work force requires; and the food service truck driver unloading cases of goods at Rx Catering, whose employees we see preparing their customers’ meals. We climb the steps to the state Capitol, touch the shiny brass doorknobs and pause briefly, gazing east at the sunrise’s warm glow. It is often a magnificent view. On weekend mornings, we often walk down Louisiana Street, hang a right on East Markham, greet the Capital Hotel doorman, look in longingly on the fabulous fare Ashley’s breakfasters are enjoying and watch the crew clean the River Market sidewalks littered with evidence of last night’s crowds. We head over the new Clinton Presidential Park CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

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Bridge, pause long enough to enjoy Little Rock’s only bridge-free view downriver, often with the sun’s shimmery reflection in the Arkansas River, walk on into North Little Rock’s Riverfront Park and head west along the North Shore river walk. Other times we’ll walk to MacArthur Park and stroll along its trails or throw a baseball back and forth in the grand lawn along Ninth Street. We try not to miss an exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center. We walk and we walk: to the River Market area for food, drinks, concerts and general revelry; out the Lafayette’s side door and a half-block to the Rep, happy first-time season ticket holders; half a block for the cheap Wednesday wine tastings at Lulav; half a block further for sandwiches and a cold draft beer at EJ’s; three blocks to Ciao, one of the city’s friendliest, best, least heralded restaurants; today we’ll walk a block and a half to catch the final show in the Community Theater of Little Rock’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Public Theatre. There are some places we can’t walk — like the grocery store. But how many Little Rockers can do that? Thanks to the Edwards Food Giant people, there’s now a decent grocery store at 17th and Main streets, but for specialty items perpetually on our grocery list, we head to Kroger a few miles away. The No. 1 question we get about living downtown makes us laugh: “Do you feel safe?” Well, we don’t lock our door very often if that tells you anything. That’s because the Lafayette requires a code to enter the building after work hours, and the only people who can get to our floor are those who know our floor-specific elevator code. As for the great dark outdoors, Sixth and Louisiana is actually a peaceful place at night. About once or twice a month we’re approached by a person asking for money — some homeless, some not, sometimes during the day, sometimes at night. And there are often throngs of young people on the lot across from the Lafayette awaiting a show at Downtown Music around the corner. But usually there aren’t many people moving around; therefore, a bad guy out to rob or assault someone would have to hang around a pretty long time hoping for someone to happen past. Most crimes happen where there are more potential victims to choose from. Crime can and does happen everywhere — as other neighborhoods are well aware — and I hope I haven’t just jinxed us. But no, we are not afraid. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

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See fine art. The Arkansas Arts Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has six galleries, a museum school and a children’s theater, set in the fine MacArthur Park. It has made a name for itself nationally with its wide collection of works on paper and contemporary crafts. There are 5,509 works in the collection on paper, ranging from Old Master drawings dating to the 1550s to work by contemporary American masters .

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Go to the theater. We’re consistently stunned by the quality of the productions at the Arkansas Repertory Theater, which just renovated to add seats and other amenities. Recent productions of “Hairspray” and “A Christmas Carol” were Broadway-caliber, hands down. If you’ve never been to The Rep, go. If you’ve been, go back. Seriously.


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DECEMBER 28, 2011


I’m proud of what downtown Little Rock has become, and I’ve got perspective. Almost 50 years ago my father used to bring me to work with him on Saturday mornings during a CPA’s “busy season” — January through mid-April. I realize now it was because my mom needed a break from a rambunctious young boy she’d been riding herd over all week, but back then it just seemed like an adventure. I’d tear all over the Pyramid Building looking in office after unlocked office for the red air conditioner that didn’t exist, a crafty ploy by my dad, who had plenty of adding

Eat well. Lee Richardson, the state’s best chef, works at Ashley’s, the state’s best restaurant, housed in the Capital, the state’s best hotel. The Stephens family’s investment in only the best kitchen equipment, room furnishings and other important infrastructure components combines with an unparalleled focus on customer service to elevate the Capital and everything associated with it. The lobby and elevators are tourist attractions themselves, and it’s hard to think of a more perfect setting for a business lunch or after-dinner drink than the stately Capital Bar and Grill. Hear the music of youth. The bands that play at Downtown Music, a record store-turned-club, aren’t ones we know but clearly appeal to teens and young adults based on the size of the crowds that throng the nearby streets and parking lots. Have a whiskey. The Peabody Hotel is a convention hot spot but there are still plenty of reasons for locals to happen in — from a martini at the lobby bar to a great steak at Capriccio. But the biggest draw — especially for the cigar and/or other tobacco smoker — is Mallard’s on the ground floor, a quintessential leather/mahogany-appointed bar of the old-school variety. Feast on jazz. Credit the owners of Porter’s Jazz Cafe with putting a stake in the ground and saying, “We’re going to be the first people in a very long time to give live music and good food a shot here” along this once-bustling section of Main Street. The upstairs restaurant looks over the downstairs jazz club, so you can have shrimp and grits with your blue notes and syncopation.

machine keys to push. By the time I was 12, my parents were willing to let my friends and me roam all downtown on summer days. My dad’s friends at Spaulding Sporting Goods would let us in their upstairs warehouse to pore through football helmets, jerseys, baseball gloves and cleats for hours. Then we’d stroll over to Minute Man for a No. 2 and fries before scalding our mouths on a “radar range” pie. The afternoon matinee at one of the three — THREE! — downtown movie theaters let out just in time to ride home to Bryant with Dad.

My first apartment after college was at the corner of Eighth and Rock streets, across from what then was called the Terry Mansion and one short block from a liquor store. The apartment building’s owner had fallen ill in the middle of his renovation work, so the exterior was just plywood, giving the “Plywood Party Pad” its nickname my friends always used. My Tri-P one-bedroom unit was $165, all utilities paid — I tacked on an extra $20 during summertime months since the owner let me put in a window unit AC. It was an easy morning walk to my desk at the Arkansas Gazette. Later I teamed with a college buddy to rent a much nicer unit above a sixcar garage on Seventh Street between Rock and Cumberland. After our door was kicked in and several of our more portable possessions were stolen, a



PORTER’S JAZZ CAFE: Blue notes and shrimp.

friend’s mother rented us a house in Park Hill. The Tri-P had been burglarized twice as well, so we thought it was time to flee downtown Little Rock. The irony is that a loser kleptomaniac friend from high school had been the burglar all three times. Several years after the Gazette closed,


I worked downtown again — at this very newspaper just as the River Market was being birthed, and later in the stunning 12-story Acxiom building, the largest new development downtown since the TCBY Tower in 1986. I was proud my company started a trend that continues, as our bedroom/office window view

A Lifestyle Choice

clearly attests. Now downtown rejuvenation is getting closer to us. Porter’s Jazz Cafe has breathed some new life into Main Street, and the apartments above it are in mid-construction flight. Just a few floors below us in the Lafayette are the offices of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, a sort of mini chamber of commerce for downtown merchants and residents, and an organization on whose board of directors I served while working at Acxiom. Sharon Priest and her team at the Partnership spend their work weeks doing on a broad scale what I do in one-off conversations with friends and colleagues: evangelizing about the enriching, fulfilling experience of living in the core of Arkansas’s most vibrant, eclectic city.

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What is a “Good Neighbor”? For USA Drug it meant respecting the history of the SoMa (South of Main) District when designing its new location there. USA Drug, working with the Capital Zoning District Commission, created a building with details like classic brick and period authentic exterior lighting. With the help of local leaders and zoning, the building was positioned adjacent to the Main Street sidewalk to allow it to fit with the style of surrounding structures. As a result, the location has become a hub for the entire neighborhood. USA Drug, headquartered in Little Rock and Pine Bluff, is the nation’s largest privatelyowned pharmacy chain. An Arkansas success story, USA Drug started in 1984, when Stephen L. LaFrance opened his first pharmacy in Pine Bluff. Today the chain has expanded to over 150 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Kansas, and employs more than 3,500 people.


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EAST OF MAIN: This home at 18th and Center is one of many grand residences in the SoMa area.

SoMa peeks over the hump B Y JAY B A RT H


hen I first moved to the Quapaw Quarter in 1997, the question asked by friends and acquaintances was “Is it safe down there?” Understandable just a few years after the height of the 23rd Street Crips, the question became more and more detached from reality years after the gang battles had receded. Over time, that question was replaced by another one: “I love the architecture down there, but where do you shop for groceries?” For over a decade, there was no good answer “down there” to that, a pretty fundamental one for a livable neighborhood. The Harvest Foods store at 17th and Main was slow to be replaced after a deadly tornado destroyed it in 1999 and when

it returned it was perhaps the grimiest grocery store in the first world. Longtime downtown residents all have a story about giving the store one more chance only to witness a food felony in the store’s produce section. A couple of years ago, downtown residents got a better answer to the grocery store question. The demise of the Harvest Foods chain presented an opportunity for the Edwards family to open a Food Giant in that space. “The Meat People” (as is their slogan) do a bit more for those with a penchant for pork parts than vegetarians like me. In dramatic contrast to Harvest Foods, however, the store is tidy and well stocked and the staff is incredibly friendly and responsive to requests. (After they began car-

rying hummus when I asked for it, I felt a need to buy the item every time I entered the store whether I needed it or not.) The arrival of Food Giant came at a time that the SoMa (South Main) neighborhood showed real promise of finally getting over the hump and becoming a stable living and retail area driven not by gentrification but instead by a racially and economically diverse population like that seen at Food Giant on any weeknight after work. Over the 15 years I’ve lived downtown, the neighborhood has, again and again, seemingly been on the cusp of that status, exceptional for urban living in Central Arkansas. There were signs of real promise following the end of the gang wars when I arrived in 1997, but

NIGHT OWL HOT SPOT: Midtown Billiards.

the newest outpost of Boulevard Bakery, whose arrival was a crucial psychological boost for the neighborhood. A Saturday morning at Boulevard is now a meeting space for neighbors to connect with each other about happenings in the Quapaw. Across the street, the innovative Root Cafe creates another stellar lunch option in the neighborhood and shows promise to become an outstanding dinner option in the coming months. All told, that block has some of the same feel as Austin’s hippie chic South Congress area. November’s Cornbread Festival, sponsored by the Bernice Garden, exemplified the spirit of the neighborhood. The first annual event was a success in the traditional sense, outpacing expectations in terms of the sheer number of attendees. But, the event was more remarkable in its generational and racial diversity; indeed, it is perhaps the most diverse social event I’ve attended in Little Rock in recent years. In a racially divided city, such signs of line-crossing should be celebrated, and a neighborhood where that can happen represents the best hope for eroding the deep divisions that mark our community. As the Quapaw Quarter Association’s recently completed community branding project states, “Named to honor those who once lived here, we celebrate a unique diversity that creates history every day.” The other public space in Little Rock in which such diversity shows itself regularly is Community Bakery, the CONTINUED ON PAGE 27


the January 1999 tornado ripped the neighborhood apart, destroying numerous homes and creating a wasteland east of Main Street. In the first decade of the 21st century, the post-9/11 recession and the attention focused on the River Market area delayed additional progress in the area. After the River Market had become vibrant, there were repeated rumors that the Stephens family or some other investor was about to make the move to bring housing and retail down Main Street north of I-630, creating an opportunity for the area south of I-630 to connect across the interstate that divides the capital city. Nothing has come of those big ideas — the street remains pretty desolate at night between the freeway and the marvelous island that is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The SoMa neighborhood came to realize it couldn’t rely upon financier Warren Stephens to stretch development down to it; it would have to generate development itself. Although less marked than Argenta’s recent progress, the last three years have shown steady progress for SoMa. First, Paul Page Dwellings began building contemporary structures on empty lots east of Main Street, providing an option for younger residents unable to afford the large old homes to the west and providing growth on both sides of the Main Street corridor. While originally annoying to Quapaw residents with a love for Victorians and Craftsmans, slowly the stylish modern homes have come to be seen as filling a crucial niche in the neighborhood. The Pettaway Park neighborhood, an older African-American community east of Main and north of Roosevelt that had been a center of gang activity in the 1990s, has shown clear signs of stabilizing, aided by the building of new affordable homes by the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation. After years of design battles with the various regulatory bodies that oversee the area’s architecture, a new pharmacy — almost as crucial as a grocery store to a healthy neighborhood — arrived when USA Drug built an excellent new store just to the north of Food Giant. Just as importantly, Anita Davis began investing in the 1400 block of Main Street, creating the gorgeous and funky Bernice Garden on the corner of Main and Daisy Gatson Bates streets and the commercial spaces along the block, including the Green Store with its cool recycled gadgets and goods and



MEANWHILE, AT BOULEVARD: Nighttime is the right time for baking.

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DECEMBER 28, 2011





PETTAWAY STYLE: This house at 1519 Commerce is one of several designed by UA architecture students for the LRCDC.

combination of old-style bakery and cafe that has served as an anchor for the neighborhood in good times and bad. Long-time owner Joe Fox, who moved the bakery to the corner space in the mid-1990s and created the cafe, a daily gathering place for lawyers, politicians, retirees and students of all races, is dedicated to employing neighborhood residents who often find it difficult to locate jobs. A block away sits the recently abandoned Juanita’s restaurant and music space. The neighborhood worried as rumors spread of nightclubs and other less desirable tenants for the large building. Instead, news that Oxford American magazine would relocate its administrative offices (and, in the years ahead, possibly much more) to the space only accelerated energy in the neighborhood. More than just one of the nation’s most extraordinary magazines, but also a brand dedicated to promoting Southern culture in all forms under the leadership of publisher Warwick Sabin, the Oxford American’s move significantly enhances the neghborhood’s building momentum. At a time when more and more Americans are looking for urban spaces in which to create more sustainable lives, SoMa shows promise to become the magnet for urban living in Central Arkansas. Starting in the 1960s, a generation of folks came to the Quapaw to save the gorgeous variety of residential structures threatened by destruction through indifference. Their good works — in the form of renovated American Foursquares, Victorian cottages, and mansions with Italian Renaissance touches — remain as a testament to their care. But, the homes themselves are now populated by a combination of

those urban pioneers of the past and a new generation (many with children in strollers) who have arrived to care for the homes. The attendees of the monthly Quapaw Quarter Home and Garden Club dinners (where gardening is never on the agenda) are now a mix of those who have lived in the area for decades and new arrivals with the same dedication to preserving the fabric of the neighborhood. New faces moving into old homes is a sign of success in Quapaw. Despite this progress, obvious voids show themselves in the commercial life of the neighborhood. The departure of Juanita’s leaves the neighborhood without a dinner option after Community Bakery closes at 8 p.m. Three or four dinner venues are crucial so that residents don’t have to drive anytime they want to eat out. There’s no bank (and, indeed, no ATM) available to residents. And, while the E-Z Mart and Food Giant have surprisingly good beer selections, there’s not a place to buy a nice bottle of wine for miles. For SoMa to finally get over the hump and become the vibrant space that many have long thought it could be, it will have to continue to grow itself (in dramatic contrast with Argenta, its closest parallel). There are no signs that major outside investments will swoop in to do wholesale renovations of blocks of South Main Street, city government is at best indifferent to the area’s interests, and the perception that the area is “unsafe” remains the basis of realtors’ avoidance of the area with prospective buyers. Despite these obstacles, SoMa may gradually — and finally — be creating the space from which a gritty, diverse version of Little Rock’s urban core can be reborn.

Sit amongst sculpture in the Bernice Garden. When Anita Davis decided in 2008 to turn an empty lot she owned at the southeast corner of Daisy Bates and Main streets into a sculpture garden, she called it a “feminine approach to downtown revitalization.” So, on land where a Captain D’s fast fish food restaurant stood before it burned to the ground, the Bernice Garden — so named for Davis’ grandmother — is bringing life to the neighborhood through art. With the help of grants from the Southside Main Street Organization (SoMA), more than a dozen Arkansas artists have created and exhibited there. Davis has continued to make structural improvements to the garden, which is landscaped with sturdy grasses and other natives, by adding seating, a shelter that is sculptural itself, and a sign featuring the garden’s blackbird icon. Along with permanent pieces, works that have made an appearance in the garden or are there now include the reclaimed and recycled steel “AgriGate” by John Mark Van Horn; a chair featuring teapot-topped columns and flipper feet (Kursilimapuluhlima”) by Kwendeche; Heidi Mullins’ tall wood piece made to look like a hollow tree and engraved with the route traveled by Indian woman on the Trail of Tears; soaring aluminum birds by Alice Guffey Miller; painted arching steel by the late Mac Hornecker. Davis, who is an artist herself, cooked up another idea to bring new life to the South Main neighborhood: a cornbread festival at the Bernice Garden corner. The Nov. 5, 2011, festival was a rousing success, another first on the city’s only public park on private land. Eat local. In the former Sweden Creme, The Root Cafe does sandwiches, salads and sweet treats made from all-local ingredients. It’s homey inside, with only a handful of tables, mismatched cloth napkins and serve-yourself tea and lemonade. We’re big fans of the burger and curry chicken salad. Across the street is the venerable local bakery Boulevard Bread Company’s new headquarters. The outlet





doesn’t keep the same early evening hours the Heights location does, nor does it offer as extensive a selection; maybe later. For now, the best baguette in town is plenty. Down the street is another venerable bakery, Community Bakery, a South Main hangout since time immemorial. Coffee and donuts in the morning, the best chicken salad in town for lunch, soup for dinner — it’s not hard to come up with a reason to visit. Dream about the OA. When Juanita’s abandoned the neighborhood for the River Market, SoMa lost its entertainment anchor. But now that the Oxford American magazine has signed a five-year lease on the space and said it hopes to eventually house a Southern cafe where it’ll host noteworthy musicians, writers, artists, photographers, chefs, filmmakers, playwrights and others for evening programming, the neighborhood is over the moon about the prospects. Shop greenly. The Green Corner Store is just what it sounds like. It’s green — meaning it sells locally-made items. It’s on the corner of Main and Fifteenth Street, in a historic-register building that’s seen a century pass by and was home for decades to Dawson Drug, and its front door makes a quirky architectural statement by facing that corner. And it has a store of items that you won’t find just anywhere, like jewelry and one-eyed monster dolls and soaps and candles made by local crafters; home décor items; kitchen musts like cutting boards; sweatshirts that say “I heart ar,” and, delightfully, small-batch ice creams by Loblolly Creamery. The soda fountain ghosts that hang out around the old wooden bar still there will be pleased, especially when the owners perfect the fizzy soda they’re working on. The kind of store Little Rock needs more of.

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In 1957, when nine Little Rock students sought tutoring help for their classes at Central High School, they came to the library and instructors at Philander Smith College for assistance. The doors of this institution were always open for them, creating a bond between the efforts to integrate a high school while educating generations of students to be aware of the call for change and justice. Today, Philander Smith College connects its past, present and future to conscious movements that build trust, relationships and lives around issues that strengthen others. Our campus participated in a social, educational justice issue demonstrated in 1957. Today, it continues to prepare students to embark on similar missions the Little Rock Nine endured as they took on the challenges of being where they were not wanted, but persevered to do what was called for, and that was to show up with equality and justice for all on their minds. Philander Smith College: Think Justice.


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CENTRAL HIGH: An icon in a neighborhood with “good bones.”

The Central promise BY ERIC FRANCIS


ay “Central” and most people familiar with Little Rock will reflexively add “High” to it. The school is the city’s most famous icon. Today, the neighborhood surrounding Central High is seeking to vie for its share of attention — and with some success. Less famous than the grand Quapaw Quarter it abuts, less fashionable than the later-vintage Hillcrest and Heights neighborhoods to the west, the Central High neighborhood nonetheless has the “good bones” that New Urbanism advocates crave: Vintage homes aching for restoration, streets largely devoid of commuter traffic, mature trees and big lots. And, like so many inner-city neighborhoods, it has also suffered over the decades from municipal neglect, an exodus of

middle class and affluent residents, and deterioration of housing stock. A drive through the area offers a clear vision of its grand past. On streets like Battery (whose former prestige is revealed by the mansions divided by a park on a two-block stretch between 19th and 21st), Schiller, Summit and Wolfe you can find block after block of impressive houses, ranging in size from cottages to impressive large homes. Many were clearly the domain of families with money and influence. But the families who built those houses — almost all white, wealthy, and well-connected — abandoned the neighborhood many decades ago. In the years following, much of the fabric of the neighborhood began to unravel. Houses deteriorated, infrastructure was ignored, crime rose and owner-

occupants were often replaced by renters. The population shifted to mostly poor and mostly black, and poor black neighborhoods typically didn’t do well in Little Rock during the middle part of the last century. Still, the area seems to be regaining some of its cachet; there may not exactly be a Renaissance going on, but the neighborhood’s partisans say the area has more going for it than conventional wisdom will attest. Philander Smith College and Arkansas Baptist College are investing in the area, and while some houses sport the city’s red tags denoting a condemned property, others display work permits for renovations. Middle class home-seekers interested in the ongoing trend of urban revival are coming back into Central Little Rock.


Land Bank and the Promise Neighborhood The city has begun efforts to tackle blight and provide affordable housing south of Interstate 630, creating the Land Bank Commission to acquire “vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent, and city lien properties.” The focus area is bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the east and Pine Street on the west, with 17th Street as

CENTRAL HIGH CHECKLIST Learn about Little Rock’s history at the Central High School Visitor’s Center. History lingers heavily in some corners of Little Rock, but nowhere does it bear so much weight as at Central High School, where nine courageous students — just children, really — endured what can only be described as a daily hell to help force open the gates of equality. The National Parks Service honors their sacrifice and bravery at the Central High School National Historic Site Visitor’s Center, a spicand-span, state-of-the-art facility featuring displays, filmed interviews with the Little Rock Nine, stirring quotes on the walls, artifacts from those confusing days and more. Definitely a must-do, even if you’ve lived in Little Rock your whole life. Tour the dead at Mount Holly Cemetery. Founded on Feb. 23, 1843, when early Little Rock residents Chester Ashley and Roswell Beebe donated a plot of the land south of the city for a cemetery, Mount Holly has been called “The Westminster Abbey of Arkansas,” and for good reason. The storied burying ground contains the mortal remains of many of the city and state’s most honored forebears, including 10 governors, 14 Arkansas Supreme Court justices, six U.S. senators, one Pulitzer Prize winner, the wife of a Cherokee chief, the founder of the University of Arkansas Medical School, the founder of the Arkansas Gazette and David O. Dodd, “The Boy Martyr of the Confederacy.” To boot, it has one of the finest collections of Victorian cemetery statuary found anywhere in the state. Definitely a fine place to do some sightseeing, or just to find a bench and rest your tired bones. Buy some eggs at Dunbar Garden. The premier community garden in Little Rock, this two-acre plot adjacent to Gibbs Magnet School serves as an outdoor classroom of sorts for elementary students, who learn about everything from worm composting (a box holds thousands of Red Wigglers) to windpower (the garden has a windmill that generates electricity). Grown folks are welcome to stop by for gardening advice or to buy some free-range eggs or produce. Get some boudin at K Hall. Post-Katrina, this neighborhood grocery started carrying New Orleans essentials — Leidenheimer French Bread, Camellia Brand beans, sausages of all varieties. Pick up all that, a ham hock at the meat counter and a Mexican Coke from the cooler,


economy, she says. “When money came so easily, it was kind of a difficult proposition to focus attention on this neighborhood. It was more risky than people wanted to be at that time,” said Carman. “The great irony is now the momentum is like a runaway train. I see people on a daily basis driving through the neighborhood, looking at houses. But now nobody can get money.” That’s especially frustrating, she said, because she and her collaborators have sold every house they’ve rehabbed and haven’t lost money on any of them. Still, banks tell her they’d like to see another one sell before lending money to rehab additional houses. “Even if the people are confident,” she said, “the bank isn’t.” Carman remains optimistic about the future of her neighborhood, especially given ongoing national trends toward more urban living. One of the best things that could happen, she said, is for the city to give Wright Avenue some serious attention, such as street and sidewalk improvements. That, she said, would be a big help in drawing in businesses to the neighborhood. “To me, it’s a main thoroughfare in a historic district, and it deserves five or eight blocks of exactly what you see on South Main or in Argenta: Period lights with underground wiring, maintained green spaces.” Carman ranks her neighborhood among Little Rock’s “best-kept secrets.” “The physical location can’t be beat. It’s close enough to downtown but not close enough to hear the [fire station] sirens all night long. It’s perfectly positioned to get you access to Hot Springs, Little Rock, North Little Rock, but you don’t have to constantly look at the interstate,” she said. “It’s a diverse and vibrant community of friendly neighbors who will lend you flour and eggs to make a cake.”


and you’ve got the makings of a feast. There’s a nice vegetable selection and a lunch counter, where you can grab fried catfish, fried chicken, burgers and the like to-go. Shop for fine art and books. Garbo and Archie Hearne decided a couple of years ago to build a gallery of fine art, a bookstore and a clinic at 1001 Wright Ave., in a neighborhood closer to people they wanted to reach both for cultural and health reasons. Pyramid Art, Books and Custom Framing and Hearne Fine Art, formerly in the River Market district, is the only business in Arkansas to focus exclusively on African-American authors and artists. There are book-related events every Saturday, as well as other regular activities for all ages. Hearne Fine Art shows works by artists of national renown, works with the school district to involve high school students in art-related events and is a regular participant in the 2nd Friday Art Night after-hours gallery walk.


Sheila Miles is president of the Wright Avenue Neighborhood Association, for the area bounded by 17th Street on the north, Roosevelt on the south, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the east, and Thayer Street on the west. It and the adjoining Central High Neighborhood Association are the voices of the residents in the area, neither of which is shy about going to City Hall when they feel their neighborhoods aren’t getting the attention or services they deserve. “We’re building relationships with neighborhoods, businesses, we have a good working relationship with the city,” said Miles. “They’ve been really helpful in working with us on improving the image of the neighborhood. We established a crime prevention group and are trying to improve the public safety. I think those are some of the things that will set the foundation for a stronger community.” Wright says she’s seen improvement since she moved to Battery Street in 2006. “What drew me to the neighborhood initially was I loved the character of the historic homes,” she said. “Once I moved here I met some really nice neighbors, and I see this area for one that is, I guess you could say, a diamond in the rough.” One of those neighbors who also saw through to the sparkle is Jennifer Carman, who has lived on Schiller Street since 2004. That’s when she bought a 1912 Craftsman-style American Foursquare house that had been vacant for 18 years. “The house was full of sleeping bats and needles and used condoms and debris,” she recalls. “It was pretty shocking.” But Carman is pretty handy with a hammer — and is an independent curator and art appraiser to boot, so she knows something about historic research — and she turned her house from a derelict to the belle of the ball. And she didn’t stop there. “I have played a role in four houses on this street, and a fifth I’ve designed the redevelopment for,” said Carman. “I’ve convinced other investors to do so with my guidance. If you have the money, I have the know-how.” Now those rehabbed Craftsman houses stand out like beacons on Carman’s block, but they’re still in the minority; other dilapidated houses await similar treatment. But there’s a bit of a Catch-22 given the current


Take a walk through Centennial Park. Though Centennial Park might best be known as a hangout for the Wolfe Street Crips in the 1994 HBO documentary “Bangin’ in Little Rock,” the neighborhood has calmed quite a bit these days, and the massive stone tower and steps at the center of the park are definitely worth a look for fans of Little Rock history. The tower is all that remains of Centennial Elementary School, an impressive stone pile designed by Little Rock architect Thomas Harding. Completed in 1894, the school encompassed almost a whole city block, with the tower seen today being only the lowest floor of what was once a 120 foot-high spire capped with a school bell. The school was demolished in 1971, but the stone entryway and steps were left standing to serve as the centerpiece for Centennial Park. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.


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uring the 1957 Central High Crisis, Philander Smith College faculty and staff helped and mentored the nine students who became known as the Little Rock Nine. With that history and many more ties over the years, Philander is proud to be the Central High Neighborhood sponsor.


he Little Rock Nine’s stand for justice changed the world for the better. Today, we are committed to developing future leaders who will follow in their footsteps.


ur mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better.

900 Daisy Bates Drive · Little Rock, AR 72202 · (501) 375-9845 30

DECEMBER 28, 2011



a southern boundary. The land bank has already acquired almost 20 properties in the area. Another major neighborhood initiative is the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood. Funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Promise initiative is designed to provide a “cradle to career” pathway for children. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is the lead agency for the local Promise grant and state Sen. Joyce Elliott is executive director of Central Little Rock Promise. Little Rock was one of only 21 cities in the country to receive an initial planning grant for the Promise program. The Promise initiative is a collaboration between city government, schools, churches and businesses “to make sure that we are changing our neighborhood from the bottom up by engaging community people and looking at changing institutions and systems,” said Elliott. “We are concentrating our energies primarily south of I-630.” With $500,000 in hand for planning, Elliott said the Little Rock effort is being patterned after the successful Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, with modifications to address the specific needs of Little Rock’s core urban neighborhood. “The promise we are making to the neighborhood, should all of this work, is we will do whatever it takes to make sure this neighborhood changes so kids have happy, healthy lives from birth through 24,” she said. “If we can get one generation well-educated, good jobs, good citizens, it will change the whole neighborhood and their kids will not face the things these kids are facing now.” Central Little Rock Promise has eight partners — the city, UALR and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Central Arkansas Library System, the Little Rock School District, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock Preparatory Academy and New Futures for Youth. Representatives from those entities make up the Promise board; residents from each of the seven census tracts in the target area make up an advisory board, which includes dedicated positions for young people, the Hispanic community and clergy — about 21 seats in all, said Elliott. The central focus is on successful schools, parent nurturing and sup-

port, and community building. And while the programs are targeted at the Central Little Rock area, Elliott noted that parents from outside the neighborhood whose kids attend one of the target schools — Franklin, Bale, and Stephens elementary schools, Little Rock Preparatory Academy, and Forest Heights Middle School — will be eligible to participate in all of the pro-

grams, as will parents whose children attend schools outside the target area. Central Little Rock Promise did not win a $12 million implementation grant it applied for. But, Elliott said, the coalition will move forward with its plans. “The central thing for people to know is we will continue this effort,” she said. “What we’re doing is chang-

ing the way we do business. That’s the strategy and we have so many resources to do what we need to do in the neighborhood. “It’s such a great opportunity to be a game changer for our neighborhood,” said Elliott. “If we learn how to get this right for this area, then we’ll know what to do for expanding it further.”

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EDWARDS FOOD GIANT SPONSOR MIDTOWN There are a lot of places around town to do your grocery shopping, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a pleasant experience. We live in the era of all-in-one superstores, so big they’ve got a horizon — places where rushing in for a gallon of milk can turn into a 30-minute ordeal. Then there’s Edwards Food Giant. With the experience, customer service and quality that have made it a hometown favorite, Edwards Food Giant is what grocery shopping used to be. Started by veteran grocer Oral Edwards in 1959, Edwards Food Giant is a company with deep Arkansas roots. It’s still family-owned and operated by Oral and his son Steve, with eight locations around the state, including five in the Little Rock area. Our location, in the Tanglewood Shopping Center at 7507 Cantrell, features full-service meat and seafood counters, a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and the kind of personalized service you just don’t see much anymore. Stop in at Edwards Food Giant today, and remember what you’ve been forgetting at the grocery store. Hint: It’s not the butter or the eggs. It’s the feeling that you’re more than a number.


PARK PLAZA: Little Rock’s oldest mall has kept up with the times.

In the center of things B Y K AT H E R I N E W Y R I C K


live in Midtown, also known as the Hall High neighborhood, where proximity is everything. I enjoy boasting that I can get anywhere I need to be in 15 minutes or less. I’m five minutes from sushi in the Heights and a mere 10 from catfish at the Lassis Inn off Interstate 30. Should I choose to catch a play at the Rep downtown or a movie at the Rave, I can do either with minimal driving time and effort. If I’m feeling sporty, Pinnacle is an accessible 15 minutes away, and the River Trail even closer. The kids’ school is 18

minutes on foot from our house — not that we walk, but we could — and I live too close to our gym to ever use distance as an excuse for not exercising. When my daughter was little, I could walk her down the block to preschool and spy on her during the day on the enclosed playground. Were I so inclined, I could attend a panoply of churches that are a stone’s throw from my house — Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran and nondenominational. I’m also just minutes away from a yoga studio on H Street and my favorite library, Fletcher.

And as if things weren’t convenient enough, they had to go build a Target on University earlier in the year! So much for my moratorium on buying plastic storage bins, T-shirts and other superfluous sundries. Before Target, the opening of Midtowne shopping center — in what was once dead space across from Park Plaza Mall — marked a new beginning for the business district in this area. Little Rock gained big-city cred with the introduction of retailers like The Container Store, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma. And many mid-




town families make a habit of hitting Pei Wei for a fast, inexpensive dinner or Cantina Laredo for a pricier, upscale one. Thankfully, if I don’t feel like shelling out big bucks for guacamole, I can skip on down University in no time to one of our favorite Mexican haunts. To help you get your bearings: Though northern and southern boundaries of the neighborhood are less distinct, heavily-traveled Mississippi and University avenues generally are considered as western and eastern boundaries. H Street and Evergreen Drive are among the busier streets carrying traffic between the two avenues. Very loosely speaking, this area is bracketed by Mississippi, Cantrell and I-430. A bit of history: Originally developed in the late 1940s, Midtown was the suburb for many members of the Greatest Generation who chose to build low-standing, ranch-style homes in the hills west of Hillcrest. We asked a lifelong Little Rock resident who attended Hall High in the ’50s about her impression of the neighboring houses at the time, and she replied, “Low.” An accurate description, especially when compared with the multi-storied homes in the city’s older neighborhoods. Though the Heights and Hillcrest, which border the Hall High area, are technically suburbs themselves, neighborhoods in Little Rock generally become more suburb-like the farther west you travel. Case in point, I have a garage almost half the size of my house — with an automatic door. I also have a pink-tiled bathroom circa 1950. Jealous? True, there are many nondescript houses in these parts, but there are also several 1960s-’70s gems thrown in the mix. A Fay Jones-esque stone house just blocks from Hall High comes to mind as one particularly shining example of the retro cool architecture you can find here. Another plus is the abundance of trees and rolling hills, though many trees didn’t survive a devastating tornado that tore through the neighborhood in the spring of 2011. Evergreen was especially hard hit, losing many of the trees for which it was originally named. Though it lacks the community feel of, say, Hillcrest, there is much to recommend in Midtown, especially “ROCKET PARK”: That’s what the neighborhood calls Meriwether Park, a revitalized green space for kids like Christian Curry.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


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Play in Rocket Park. Meriwether Park (a.k.a. “Rocket Park”) in the Hall High neighborhood of Midtown offers recreation for all ages. Kids will love the refurbished playground, while adults will enjoy hitting the tennis ball on the public court (no tennis whites required!). All ages will like traveling the paved circle around the park, whether via scooter or bike or on foot. The playground itself is a nice mix of old-school, retro playground equipment (the rocket slide) and new school (a safe, sturdy plastic jungle gym). Parents will appreciate the presence of two varieties of swings — a set for babies and one for older kids. The athletic field is a great place to catch a little league game in progress, depending on the season, or — when not in use — a nice wide open space in which to run free.

CATHOLIC HIGH: Boys private school.

for families who’ve outgrown their houses and need something both bigger and more affordable. Many young families move from Hillcrest for this very reason. A father of three who relocated from Capitol View says he likes the extra space and also having a creek near his house where his kids can play. I also like the diversity of this neighborhood. Here are some of the people I know who live here: a therapist, a health care worker, a school teacher, a novelist, a photographer, a bike mechanic, a nurse, a dance teacher, a church administrator and a landscaper. In parts it’s solidly middle-class while other streets like Pinnacle Point and Pine Valley veer towards the upper-middle class range. Another plus is Meriwether Park, which, thanks to the efforts of neighborhood activist Clayton Johnson, has undergone a remarkable transformation. The park that Johnson once described as the “crescent of fear” is now a draw for residents. In the springtime you’ll usually find a baseball game in progress and people knocking a tennis ball around on the court. At any time of year, you’ll see dog walkers strolling the circular path and kids on the playground,

some climbing up the metal rocket at its center (hence the park’s alternate moniker, “Rocket Park”). The park sits a block away from one of the city’s most desirable magnet schools, Williams Elementary. (Note: Though there’s a “shadow zone,” living near the school by no means guarantees admittance.) Catholic High is just up the road near Park Plaza, and cleancut, oxford-wearing young men can often be spotted tearing through surrounding cut-through streets after school. Streets are, however, for the most part quiet, many with limited roadways in and out. Not only does it make the roads safer, but also more conducive to family play outdoors. And there is a positive flipside to Midtown’s lack of community — anonymity. You can retreat into your garage and close the door behind you. Or, as one single mother who had moved from the Heights put it, “I love having more privacy and not running into people I know at every turn.” I prefer to sum it up this way: I feel compelled to put on lipstick before going into the Heights Kroger, but don’t even consider it if heading to the Edwards Food Giant in Midtown. Now that’s convenience.

Shop. Midtown has reimagined itself as somewhat of a shopping destination for the city. And Midtowne (note the “e”), an open-air shopping center on University, has gone a long way to doing just that. Whether browsing the kitchen gadgets whilst nibbling samples at Williams Sonoma or pawing the throws at Pottery Barn, good times are to be had here. Especially when you head to The Container Store to entertain dreams of bringing order out of chaos. Directly across the way is Park Plaza, the best mall of its kind in North Little Rock or Little Rock, and south of the Markham and University intersection is the new Park Avenue development that includes Target, Carter kids clothing store and more to come. Knowledge Tree, an educational supply store, is north of Midtowne and has expanded its toy offerings so is a great spot to buy birthday party gifts for kids. Tanglewood Shopping Center on Cantrell has limited retail offerings but two worth mentioning — Community Cyclist and Roy Dudley Estate Sales. Dudley is headquartered there and doesn’t keep regular hours, but hosts stellar sales there at least once a month. Midtowne Antique Mall at Markham and Rodney Parham houses a multitude of booths.





Eat. Much hoopla surrounded the recent opening of the Cheddar’s Casual Cafe on University, and even a few months in, the lines are still long and the parking lot full. Other options along University include Pei Wei and Cantina Laredo at Midtowne shopping center. Along Cantrell, you’ll find pan-Asian at Saigon Cuisine, Damgoode Pies, Casa Manana and All Aboard, a train-themed restaurant.

DECEMBER 28, 2011





ARTY, LOOSE, FREE-FLOWING: The ambiance in Stifft Station and Capitol View.

Living the American dream B Y D AV I D K O O N


ven though three members of the seven-person editorial staff of the Arkansas Times, including me, reside in the Capitol View/Stifft Station neighborhood, initially there was talk of unceremoniously lumping the neighborhood in with Hillcrest. People do that all the time, in my experience, and I don’t like it one bit. I’ve lived south of Markham for eight years now, in a little white house with a red door on Maple Street. Our house is all of 1,000 square feet and change, just enough for me, my wife, my son, his tuba, and a 26-pound black cat. I love my home, and I love my neighborhood. Because of that I’m always ready to scrap whenever I hear somebody call it Hillcrest South. The housing stock in Capitol View/ Stifft Station is close to the same as it is up in Hillcrest. There are hills down 36

DECEMBER 28, 2011


south of Markham too, including one at Maple and Plateau that’s a killer when you’re walking for exercise or pleasure. The people here tend to be just as friendly as they are up in Hillcrest as well. But — there’s always a “but” when you’re talking about why you love something more than somebody else loves their own thing they love — there’s a whole different vibe down in Capitol View and Stifft Station: more free-flowing, more artsy, more diverse, less put together. Can you imagine, for instance, a joint like Whitewater Tavern tucked away in Hillcrest? How about the line of street-art — including a portrait of Johnny Cash, resplendent in heaven — that adorns the front of The Oyster Bar? I can’t. That vibe probably has a lot to do with the fact that Stifft Station/Capitol

View is generally not as well-to-do as Hillcrest. Maybe I’m hanging with the wrong crowd, but most of the 30-somethings I know couldn’t buy a house in Hillcrest without selling a kidney on the black market, so they came south a bit, where the neighborhood was a little more dicey and the houses were cheaper. The bad aspects of gentrification aside, it has allowed a whole group of younger folk, like me, to have a house with character while grabbing their little slice of the American Dream. A neighborhood fabric has been re-knit in the process. 

The Capitol View and Stifft Station neighborhoods came about in a long span of rapid, early 20th century growth on what was then the Little Rock’s far western edge. Stifft’s Addition, conceived by prominent jeweler Charles Stifft, came

first. The neighborhood, built for easy access to the major streetcar stop and a string of shops (including Stifft’s jewelry store) where Markham and Kavanaugh split, was proposed to the city in 1898, though most of the first batch of houses there were built between 1905 and 1930. The boundaries of the Capitol View and Stifft Station neighborhoods have blurred together over the years, even in the minds of many of the people who live there, but Stifft Station is a little farther out — still boxed in north and south by I-630 and Markham, though bounded by Pine in the west, and Woodrow Street in the east. The houses in Stifft Station are a bit newer vintage as well, with the majority of homes there built between 1920 and 1940. My little house is one of those: small, but sturdy; every inside wall made of


White Water Tavern There are many beloved dive bars in this great state of ours, but it’s unlikely any of them inspire more devotion than this odd little wooden building, situated on a strange corner, which somehow feels way out on the edge of the dismal part of town despite being damn near at the dead center of the city. It’s a refuge, where the wayward hobo, the weary drywall guy and the wounded vegetarian poet alike find cheap beer by the pitcher full and live music that tends toward the roots-rock side of things. Squat red canoes hang from the ceiling and the walls are strewn with art, craft and debris. In the men’s room, the missives covering the walls are by turns accusatory, sinister, vague, hilarious or lifted from half-remembered punk rock and country tunes. The Oyster Bar It’s rare to find a restaurant any more unpretentious — or consistently tasty — than The Oyster Bar. From the red check-

sheetrock over shiplap pine. The boards in the walls are thick and deep redorange. The rafters in the attic are coarse, and sap-smelling in the heat of summer. They really knew how to build a house back in those days. I say that I love my neighborhood, and I mean it. Sometimes I drive through Stifft Station and Capitol View just for the pleasure of it. There’s a thousand little marvels in any neighborhood if you’ll slow down long enough to see them. Behind The Oyster Bar, for example, the short driveway that leads up to the loading dock is paved with oyster shells — hundreds of them — tossed out the back door years ago after their inhabitants had gone on to that great oyster bed in the sky. They look like round, bleached-white stones, until you bend down and pry one out of the dirt. Only then do you catch a hint of mother of pearl, and realize that you are standing on shell. Nearby, in the parking lot behind Pizza D’Action, heaps of glass have been swept to the edge of the pavement by the rain: shards of beer bottles, red arrowheads of broken taillight lens. In the far




ered tablecloths to the wood paneling to the great food and the laid-back vibe, this is the type of neighborhood joint that feels perfectly broken-in and comfy and so just-right that often, nothing else will do. Not surprisingly, the menu is heavy on the seafood, with lots of southern Louisiana standards thrown in — red beans and rice with Andouille any day of the week, shrimp gumbo and dependable po’ boys. As far as appetizers, the fried asparagus is always a hit, but for the hungry yet bargain-minded diner, it’s hard to avoid the Cat-touffee — a big, crispy fried catfish fillet atop a generous helping of creamy shrimp etouffee for $11. Of course the oysters — fried or fresh — are delectable.

corner of the lot is a neat pile of shattered glass, probably from a car window or three. My guess is that nobody put it there. More than likely, that’s just where Mother Nature put it, washed down over the years. Just around the corner and up the alley, in the fenced yard behind the refinishing shop that fronts Markham, the hull of a Depression-era panel truck hunkers in the weeds, windowless, its deliveries all done. 

On the corner of Brown and Seventh Streets, buried back in Capitol View, is a community garden. It’s clear that a lot of love and care has been expended on that acre. In the summertime, it’s common to see women in their big straw hats tending the raised beds or pushing wheelbarrows through. On an afternoon in November, it’s quiet. Only a single bed of turnips and kale prove it’s a place where things grow, but summer is everywhere: picnic tables, a barn with a porch, neat piles of compost and mulch, a pink wheelbarrow, a yellow shed. Smack in the middle of one bed sits a red lawn chair. It’s easy

Pizza D’Action How many places are there in Little Rock that can rightly be described as an institution? Who knows, probably no more than a dozen, but regardless, Pizza D’ is unquestionably one of them. The first thing you need to know is: Never call Pizza D’Action by its full name, unless you want to immediately out yourself as a noob. Nobody calls it “Pizza D’Action.” It’s Pizza D’ or just The D. OK, now that we’ve got that down, here’s the next thing you need to know: Pizza D’s got a funk, and if you go there, it is gonna be on you for a while — and not just your clothes. It’s gonna be on you. “But what is this ‘funk?’” you ask. Well, basically, it’s the accumulated smell of years of partying. It’s booze and smoke and grease and smoke and nascent hangovers and smoke and yelling over the music and the other people yelling and smoke, all combined into a powerful, enduring sensory force — the Voltron of smells. Once you realize that and know what you’re in for, it’s all good. Lamar Porter Field This Works Progress Administration ballpark was where Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson — widely regarded as the best third baseman of all time — got his start. In 1990, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places, though it’s still in use today. The field’s namesake was the son of Q.L. Porter, and was killed in 1934 in an auto accident in Virginia, where he was attending Washington and Lee University. The elder Porter had donated

to imagine some gardener sitting there in hat and gloves, willing her prizes out of the earth. Next door to the garden is Lamar Porter Boys’ Club Athletic Field — small and white, the yard out front cobbled with sandstone. Built in 1936 by the WPA and bearing a plaque from The National Register of Historic Places, the details of the little gatehouse under the bleachers are pleasingly crisp and Art Deco, crowned with twin flagpoles. Once Ray Winder Field falls to the dozers in the next year or so, Lamar Porter will be the oldest baseball stadium in the city. It’s hard to imagine a more classic place to play the classic game. It’s locked up tight on a Tuesday afternoon when I stop by, but I peer in through the expanded mesh that covers the windows and walk the perimeter fence. Situated under a high roof to shade fans from the sun, the bleachers are painted the same color as the rich, green infield. The grass there looks so deep and thick and manicured, even in fall, that it makes you want to lie down in it and sleep. The pitcher’s mound rests under a round rubber

the land for the field and named it after his son. Initially, the field was used by the Boys Club, but other leagues soon began playing there. The 1983 film “A Soldier’s Story” was filmed largely in Arkansas, and Lamar Porter was featured prominently in the Academy Award-nominated picture.





State Capitol The State Capitol is fairly hard to miss if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of downtown or, of course, Capitol View. Ground was broken at the site in 1899, and the giant limestone structure took 16 years to complete, using stone quarried in Batesville. It is the second state Capitol, and replaced the Old State House starting in 1915. The 230-foot-tall building is a replica of the U.S. Capitol and was convincing enough to be used in some films. The 1986 TV movie “Under Siege” used the Capitol as a stand-in for the one in Washington, and its dome actually bore burn marks for several years as a result of the pyrotechnics used in the film.

cover, the baselines dark with recent rain. Standing there with my fingers hooked in the chain link, imagining the smell of popcorn and the sounds of the infield (“heybattabattabattaswingbatta”), I realize that — even as long as I’ve lived in the neighborhood — I’ve never sat in those bleachers. Never mind, I think. Lamar Porter Field will still be in the neighborhood next summer, and so will I.

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All are welcome here. Established in 1912, Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church rises in the middle of Little Rock’s historic Hillcrest neighborhood, where it has served the community for 100 years. With its lofty bell tower and graceful arches, the church serves as a landmark. The true inspiration of the church is not in the bricks, stone and mortar. The strength is in the people of this large, diverse, vibrant congregation. The body of believers draws its strength from God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ. The congregation is resilient and optimistic about the next 100 years. As the congregation grows larger in numbers, as well as younger in age with each passing year, the future of this cathedral in Hillcrest is promising. Through worship, mission, witness and community building, Pulaski Heights UMC will continue to shine brightly, locally and globally. Please join us in our efforts to serve our community and our world.


DECEMBER 28, 2011




WHEELS AND ART: Hillcrest residents think nothing of biking to a reception at their local fine art purveyor, Gallery 26.

The best neighborhood in Little Rock BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


live in a two-story brick house on Ridgeway Street that my neighbors would surely like to see spiffed up, but Ridgeway is in Hillcrest, and because Hillcrest attracts an eclectic, tolerant type of person, the neighbors have never complained. At least not directly to me. The mortar between the bricks is made from river sand, so that the brickwork sags in places; the previous owner repaired the cracks without benefit of trowel (or expertise), but who cares? The house stands, if barely. Our friend who makes small repairs to our house has filled the box gutters with some kind of expanding plastic foam to keep the rain out (otherwise it runs down the brick wall of the glassed-in porch), so

that yellow bubbles poke out as if our gutters are sprouting fungi. But who cares? It’s Hillcrest, and you’ve got to have a sense of humor when you live in what peripatetic columnist John Brummett famously called “drafty charmers,” with their rhomboid windows hinting at shifting nearly century-old foundations. We live with it. And we are happy to be there, because Ridgeway Street — and Midland, Crystal Court, Linwood, Colonial Court, Pine, Oak, Cedar, Hill Road, Oakwood and all those presidential and lettered streets, etc. — are in the best neighborhood in Little Rock. (The street is curvy by design, “following the foothills and hillcrests” as a 1911 promotional brochure cited by Cheryl

Nichols and Sandra Taylor Smith in their cherished (by the neighborhood) opus “Hillcrest: The History and Architectural Heritage of Little Rock’s Streetcar Suburb” said. Like Midland Hills’ curving streets, ascending from Markham and the old city of Little Rock, and the neighborhood’s eclectic architecture, Hillcrest’s residents also eschew the grid and cookie-cutter way of thinking, which is a nice way of saying they’re a little bent. (Mostly toward the left, but we tolerate those who’ve lost their way.) On Ridgeway — which has a constant supply of children filling in as older ones go off to college, meaning there will often be kids playing basketball in the street,

SATURDAY MARKET: A farmer’s market on Kavanaugh is a hit.

Kavanaugh, a little business district that helps make Hillcrest the complete, perfect neighborhood it is. Pulaski Heights Junior High School, built between 1920 and 1936 as an elementary school, was scarcely changed when I went to school there in the 1960s, though the boys could go through the girls’ door and the girls through the boys’ door. There was a wonderful little grocery across the street on Lee where you could get a Grapette; the orthodontist office was there, too, so there was no way to get out of getting your braces tightened periodically. Back then, when schools didn’t close until there was actually snow on the ground, the Island X was waiting to serve cheese dip to kids walking home in the snow. The Mexican restaurant later became known as the Felony Lounge, but I’m not sure why. It burned down in the 1990s. About 30 years after I was a student at PHJH, I was walking my own kid to Pulaski Heights Elementary, next to the junior high. Here’s how you get your kid to school in Hillcrest: You pour a big cup of coffee and head out the door with child in tow and walk there, with all the other parents holding cups of coffee, all accompanied by the family dogs. The gossip continues after the bell rings, on the return home. Here’s how far I have to go to get to a grocery store: About five blocks. To the waterworks park: About five blocks. To Allsopp Park: About five blocks. To the new bike store: Two blocks. To the cute independent dress shop: Four blocks. To the bus stop: Two blocks. To the Greek


the hoop set up on the sidewalk, or riding bikes or chasing balls, so you had better drive slow or we’ll kill you — there’s a lot of what you would call bonhomie, which is to say that we like to visit one another clutching fresh gin and tonics in our hands or plastic cups filled with wine (the better to disguise the libation if one is en route to the Hillcrest Girls Softball League play in Allsopp Park, as every parent of a girl is at one point or another). I am certain this is true of other streets in Hillcrest as well, and I can vouch for Kavanaugh when First Thursdays and Harvest Fests and all the other street parties held in the no-big-boxes-here commercial district roll around. A little more history from the NicholsSmith book: The upper part of Hillcrest, where the big houses line the streets leading to Knoop Park, a brilliant creation of the Works Progress Administration to give the neighborhood a place to stroll and view the Little Rock skyline, was once its very own town, Pulaski Heights, incorporated in 1905. The area to the south was the city’s first suburb, springing up around the streetcar line on Kavanaugh (then Prospect Avenue). In 1906, Pulaski Heights added the Hillcrest Addition, the crest north across the ravine that would become Allsopp Park. A steel suspension bridge gave the folks north of the ravine access to the streetcar line, and in true Hillcrest spirit, the concrete piers that remain in Allsopp Park have been painted with a scene of people seated in a movie theater, an act carried out by clever teenagers in the early dawn. In a move that anticipated today’s westward expansion, the little town glommed on to Little Rock in 1916 to get fire protection. Hillcrest has resisted the tear-down trend our brothers and sisters in the Heights have embraced, so the homes that sprang up in those days are the homes you see today, with a few sad exceptions. Name the architectural style, you’ll see it here. Little Rock’s city fathers wisely heeded landscape architect John Nolen’s advice to preserve the woods that would become Allsopp Park, as being too hilly to develop. And what a park it is, deep woods crisscrossed with walking and bike paths. There are crawdads to fish for in the creek, a resident pair of hawks in early spring and places to play in the flatlands. I didn’t grow up in Hillcrest, so I’m not as familiar with its sewer tunnels the way all Heights children were with theirs in the 1950s. But I did know about Spatz Bakery, which had the best chocolate eclairs ever, in one of the quaint storefronts along



IDYLLIC: Allsopp Park, with creeks for kids, trails for bikers, a playground and more.

diner, seven blocks. To get a great Margarita, five blocks. To the upscale country chic furniture store, seven blocks. To the pool hall (were I to suddenly decide to take up smoking), five blocks. To the hairdresser — well, if there’s anything overblown about Hillcrest, it is that there is a salon, or two, on every block. On a recent night, the neighborhood bar (near the pool hall/bar) was full of locals listening to one

of their own, a heart surgeon when she’s not singing, croon with a klezmer band. Is there any other park in town where you’ll hear the strains of the bagpipes being played by the musician who lives in the “Hillcrest Addition”? Plenty of neighborhoods have chickens these days, but we think the gals we have in the two henhouses on our street are the best in town.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Love God. Love Neighbor. Change the World.

Welcome to Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church We believe that God is unchanging love. We seek to judge none, and to serve all. We would love for you to join us in worship as we celebrate and proclaim the boundless love of Christ that draws us together, and to join us in our service to the community as we go out to demonstrate and share this love with our neighbors.

God is love, and those who live in love abide in God, and God abides in them. – 1 John 4:16 Worship Times



We spend a lot more time trying to build bridges than we do building walls. We believe in a big Jesus, a Jesus big enough to make room for lots of different people, different ways of connecting to God through worship, and different ways of serving others. If you are looking for a church community where you can be who you are, while being challenged to become all that God made you to be, then come worship or serve with us!

6 p.m. in Sanctuary (traditional, casual)


8:15 & 10:30a.m. in Sanctuary (traditional) 10:30 in Wesley Hall (contemporary)

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Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church 4823 Woodlawn, Little Rock, Ar 72205


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Go to Knoop Park. Knoop Park is on a promontory overlooking downtown Little Rock, a site selected by the Little Rock Water Works for its elevation and still the home of the waterworks. A horseshoeshaped paved path leads from an upper entrance on Hill Road to the midpoint overlook and back to the lower entrance on Ozark Point. It’s perfect for birding, bike riding, fireworks watching and strolling and teen-agers have long found it a perfect place to do illicit things after sundown, when the park is, by law, closed.


Experience shopping the way it was before the birth of the big box. The shopping district of Hillcrest follows the picturesque two-lane that is Kavanaugh Boulevard. Buildings that are closing in on the century mark line the winding road, housing locallyowned stores and restaurants and hair salons, hair salons and more hair salons. If you are having a bad hair day, you sure as hell can fix it in Hillcrest. But, more amusingly, in Hillcrest one can shop for clothes made by your spiky-haired millennium dress designer at not one but two stores with herpetologically-inspired names, the Box Turtle and the Freckled Frog. One can dress up one’s home as well with a simple stroll down Kavanaugh, at Antiquarius, on the cusp of the Heights, for the 1 percenters; Clement/Sweet Home for the tastefully quirky; Hillcrest Interiors for decorating divas, Haus Werk and the Shoppes on Woodlawn for sophisticated boomers seeking new furnishings made to look old, and Hillcrest Junk for people who

only shop on Sunday. Also along Kavanaugh: Shops selling fine art (Gallery 26), alcohol (Hillcrest Liquor), oriental rugs (Ronaghi), bedding plants (Hocott’s), wedding presents (Full Moon), bikes (Spokes) and drugs (Rhea Drug Store). Tats, too (Electric Heart). Groceries, of course (Kroger).

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Go to Allsopp Park. Hike, bike, take a trike to this 150acre park that occupies the hilly ravine that takes a divot out of Hillcrest. The softball field is home to the venerable Hillcrest Girls Softball League, a pavilion includes a stone fireplace, the playground has a bouncy rubber surface and a sandbox to bury toys in. There are two tennis courts, one usually given over to basketball. The creek is one of the main attractions to kids, thanks to crustaceans, and dogs, thanks to a deepish pool where it emerges from the woods. Mountain bikers maintain the trails, birdwatchers come out in force in spring looking for warblers in the willows and some folks just like to park and drink beer.


Dine along Kavanaugh. In a perfect world, a neighborhood will have lots of restaurants and bars easily walked to and, more importantly, from. Like we said, Hillcrest is the perfect neighborhood. There’s Eurofood in varying degrees of fanciness (Fernau, Acadia, Vieux Carre, Ciao Baci) and faux Mexican (Canon Grill) and faux Greek (Leo’s) and hamburgers (The House) and pizza (U.S. Pizza and Damgoode Pies) and Brazilian (Bossa Nova). (Sadly, the naughty chocolates of the old River City Tea and Coffee are gone; fortunately, the owners of Bossa Nova have opened a Brazilian Baker, Rosalia’s.) Diversion serves tapas, but its big draw is the martini in all its incarnations, from dry to chocolateflavored, and other drink specials from its well-stocked bar.

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Dive into pool. The Hillcrest Fountain is a haven for (mostly) men who like to shoot pool and smoke cigars while drinking copious amounts of foamy beverages. There are rocking chairs out front — a sort of oxygen bar for patrons — and a patio out back for the dating set. Mahi and shriMp pasta salad also available

Clean ’em, board ’em, fix ’em. Hillcrest (aka “Whiskerworld”) is not only a place of multiple beauty parlors for people, but for dogs, with two groomers in about three blocks (Dog House Bath and Grooming and Gina’s Pet Salon), taking advantage of the fact that there is 1.5 dogs per household in Hillcrest. Happy, healthy pets patronize Hillcrest Animal Clinic, which is to the four-legged as Mayo Clinic is to the two. A playground for all. When Pulaski Heights Elementary School is not in session, the neighborhood comes out to climb, slide, balance and kick or bat at balls in the playground and ballfield. At dusk in fall, it’s a good place to watch chimney swifts, which circle by the hundreds into PHE’s chimney vents.

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Founded in 1887, our company’s culture is based on being a good “neighbor” in the communities where we have a presence. This means not only being a trusted business partner, but also being a strong community partner. Since 1956, our Arkansas banking presence has been headquartered in the Heights. Our commitment to the neighborhood remains steadfast and strong. We strive to be creative and thoughtful in all that we do. Our community relations strategy closely reflects our relationshipbased approach to business. IBERIABANK has a philosophy to exceed client satisfaction by delivering exceptional customer service at every point of contact. We invite you to experience the IBERIABANK difference. Visit any of our 34 locations throughout Central, Northeast and Northwest Arkansas to speak with one of our dynamic banking, investment or mortgage professionals today. IBERIABANK offers the strength, security and stability you deserve from a bank — now, and far into the future.


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ST. JOHN CATHOLIC CENTER: Where teens once blared Led Zepplin as they drove by.

Aspiring to great Heights B Y K AT H E R I N E W Y R I C K


t the risk of sounding like some nostalgic curmudgeon, the Heights that I grew up in during the ’70s and ’80s is a far cry from the Heights of today — which is not to say that all the changes are unwelcome (more on that later). But it’s no longer the place where I saw my first movie at the Heights Theater (“Fantasia”) or where I bought trinkets and candy at the local five-and-dime, Heights Variety. Thanks to loyal customer support, some institutions remain — Heights Toy Center, WordsWorth Books, Mr. Wick’s, Cheers, Terry’s Finer Foods and Browning’s Mexican Grill to name a few (although the new Browning’s bears no resemblance to the original). And, thankfully, in a rare effort at historic preservation, the marquee for the Heights Theater remains intact, though

the building now houses a bank, pizza place and other businesses. Since I’m walking down memory lane (essentially Kavanaugh), other fond memories include: playing Moon Patrol at the Yellow Rocket arcade, walking up to rent movies for the Betamax at the video store, sledding down Spruce Street, reading comics at Smith Drugs, trying to buy a copy of Judy Blume’s “Forever” at The Paperback Writer (and being turned away by the owner — too risque), visiting the talking mynah bird at Bill’s Pets, spending my allowance on stickers at the Design Center and getting fitted for my annual pair of summer sandals and fall topsiders at Tot to Teen. I also remember exploring the woods around St. John’s before they were cleared to make way for a gated development and the adja-

cent vacant buildings of The Diocese of the Catholic Church before they were renovated. The Diocesan offices, or St. John Catholic Center as it’s called, form a triad of impressive, imposing buildings built in 1916 around a pleasant green space in a kind of cul de sac. As teens we enjoyed cranking up Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” while slowly rolling up to the forbidding gates at nighttime just for dramatic effect. Try it sometime. What has perhaps changed most about the Heights is the residential landscape, and by that I mean the houses themselves. The Heights is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Little Rock and long considered one of the most affluent. But what was once a neighborhood of attractive homes — many modest, none over-the-top —




has become one of hulking mansions without lawns, too big for their lots, built right up to the property line. They encroach upon the street — like those people who corner you at parties with no regard for personal space. I can remember the first to fall — one of the Heights’ earliest houses, off of Country Club, razed to make room for two enormous structures, neither in keeping with the architecture of the neighborhood. And, of course, trees don’t stand a chance in this process. Case in point: On the street I grew up on, two houses were recently torn down to make way for a colossal one with a swimming pool, and a cluster of soaring old magnolias were removed right along with them. Sadly, the tree-tear-down trend has firmly taken root, as many of the Heights’ oldest have been uprooted. The repercussions reach beyond the aesthetic, as tree-root-removal can lead to drainage problems and other issues that affect neighboring homes. A few ill-fated attempts at preservation have been made over the years and then abandoned due to community backlash. But you can still find homes from the turn of the century and early 1900s (with actual lawns), though fewer and fewer all the time. For the most part, you will find: new Dallas-sized houses designed without the expertise of an architect, small cottages aspiring towards greatness (i.e., little houses with grand stone whippets or topiaries flanking the front door) and a handful of charming, old Heights homes who embrace their age and imperfections. A bit of history to put it all in context: The Heights is part of The Pulaski Heights development that also included Hillcrest. Pulaski Heights was incorporated in 1903 and annexed to Little Rock in 1916. Both areas developed their own personalities over time, Hillcrest becoming the “funkier” of the two, the Heights the more conservative older brother. The Country Club of Little Rock, established in 1902, is still a draw for many. It sits on beautiful acreage overlooking the river and downtown. In this area of the Heights, the golf cart seems to be the preferred mode of transportation; the preferred beverage, anything alcoholic in a Styrofoam cup (sometimes monogrammed); preferred dress, Lilly Pulitzer for the ladies and Duckhead for the gents. But these are, of course, stereotypes ALL THE COLORS IN THE RAINBOW: In the salad bar at ZaZa.

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Eat. The Heights abounds with a variety of restaurants, from Korean to straightup American. The Sushi Cafe is always hopping and appeals to all sorts — from families to the young, hip set. You can enjoy an intimate tete-a-tete at Terry’s, a neighborhood French bistro adjacent to a grocery, or a burger at Cheers down the street. Cheers also has a cozy party room in back where many a festive gathering has taken place. The red-glow ambiance at Fantastic China makes you feel like you’re out of town, and the food has kept loyal patrons returning for years. Craving Tex-Mex? Go to the newly refurbished Browning’s, which also has a buzzing sports bar. Pizza? ZaZa for upscale pies, U.S. Pizza for no-frills ones. For a little something sweet, there’s yogurt at Red Mango or cupcakes at Cupcakes on Kavanaugh. For sandwiches, Burge’s can’t be beat (best Coke in town, too, by the way). Boulevard Bread Co. has the best bread and coffee around, tasty take-out and a nice front porch for enjoying it all. Step out. It’s pretty low-key at night unless there’s

an event happening, though those do happen with regularity — events like Happy Hour in the Heights, Holidays in the Heights and the Party on the Promenade. Otherwise, you won’t see a lot of bustle on the streets past dark, save for the occasional roaming band of pre-teens or groups gathered at Starbucks. That said, Kavanaugh Boulevard is ideal for strolling, night or day, with wide sidewalks on either side and ample window-shopping. The aforementioned Browning’s is evolving into somewhat of a nighttime hotspot with live music and lots of big-screen TVs for gamewatching. Shop. In the Heights, your every retail need can be met without ever leaving the neighborhood. From antiques to kids’ clothes, you can find just what you’re looking for and support local businesses in the process. For home decor, Cobblestone & Vine and the newly opened White Goat are the places to hit. Both have a European flair but appeal to different tastes. Little Rock’s only remaining independent bookstore, WordsWorth, can also be found here and always warrants a visit. David Sedaris knows how worthwhile it is, having just held a signing there in the fall. Eggshells Kitchen Co. is known for its excellent selection of all things cooking-related and its wildly popular cooking classes, taught by visiting chefs and well-known local ones. Other prime shops include: Mrs. Polka Dot (monogramming and more), Ozark Outdoor, Heights Toy Center, Go! Running and Bella Boutique (bath and beauty). And speaking of beauty, whether you’re in search of a barbershop cut





5815 Kavanaugh Blvd. Little Rock, AR 72207 501.664.0030

or full spa treatment, the Heights has both. Caracalla is one of the finest salons around, offering a range of services in a cool atmosphere, while Jerry’s and Sullivan’s both offer a traditional barber shop experience. Other salons include Fringe Benefits, Headwaves and Major D’Seyne. The number of salons is matched only by the number of banks and galleries. Each gallery is unique, representing a range of styles and artists. Along Kavanaugh, you’ll find Stephano’s, Local Colour, The Heights Gallery, Chroma Gallery, Boswell-Mourot Fine Art and, the most recent addition, L&L Beck.

— not without truth but not entirely accurate either. All manner of people choose to live here (even the odd Democrat). West of University, for instance — near the University of Arkansas System president’s residence and Cammack Village — there are still small, reasonably priced homes to be found; which means this area tends to attract a more diverse bunch than other parts of the Heights. Still other sections cater to the most affluent. On the south side of Cantrell, bordered by Kavanaugh, are the areas known as Prospect Terrace and Edgehill. Prospect Terrace includes the winding streets of Sherwood, Centerwood, and other wood-names, and is beloved by families whose kids go to Forest Park Elementary, one of the CONTINUED ON PAGE 46

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Alden Burge started with a small smokehouse in his back yard, preparing mouth-watering smoked turkeys for family and friends. What started as a hobby, would soon become a full-time business steeped in tradition. With the local demand so strong, he and his wife Margaret added a restaurant at the Lewisville, Arkansas location. And in 1974, Alden Burge branched out to open another restaurant location in the capital city of Little Rock. Today, that tradition continues at Burge’s®. From our original Lewisville, Arkansas location we continue to send out the finest selection in smoked meats to our loyal customers all over the United States, year round. Our hickory smoked turkeys and hams have become a long tradition in many family meals, and nothing says “thank you” or “happy holidays” like a gift package from Burge’s® to friends, business associates, and family, particularly during the holidays. Visit one of our legendary restaurants in Lewisville and the Heights location in Little Rock for a wide selection of Award-winning Fried Catfish, Bar B Que, and delicious smoked turkey and ham sandwiches. And don’t forget to pick up a container of our famous “Smoked Turkey Salad” to go.

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oldest and finest public schools in the city. Edgehill is where Heights living reaches its apex, a curving lane lined with the grandest of what the Heights has to offer — sprawling spreads with even more sprawling lawns, some with spectacular views. The houses aren’t packed in close together the way they are elsewhere and are set back from the street. The teardown trend aside, positive change has also come to the Heights — specifically a renaissance in the business sector. This is due, in part, to the efforts of Heather Smith, owner of the kitchen store Eggshells and president of The Heights Business Association. She moved here almost five years ago from North Carolina, fell in love with the neighborhood and decided to settle here. She bought what was Sauce Co. on Kavanaugh and opened Eggshells, a small business success story if there ever was one. “People in the Heights seem to have a strong sense of community and sense of pride,” Smith said. “It’s a neighbor-friendly way of life. People walk the streets, they walk their dogs, they walk their babies. The fact that I can walk three blocks to work and have conversations with people along the way, stop at Boulevard for coffee, is so great. I love knowing the people at the bank, at the grocery store. … If a dog gets lost people help find it.” Her efforts to unify merchants met with some resistance at first but much progress has been made, and the retail scene is thriving. “As small business owners, we struggle together and we celebrate together,” Smith said. “Westward expansion really took its toll on the business community. Events like Happy Hour in the Heights give people a chance to get together and support local businesses. Holidays in the Heights, the Party on the Promenade, the Chili Fights with John and Charlie Porter, all of these things encourage a sense of community.” Smith says they work closely with the active Heights Neighborhood Association and value that partnership. Years before Smith arrived on the scene, however, the opening of Boulevard Bread (in 2000) heralded a new era in the Heights, introducing superlative coffee and bread to Little Rock and becoming the nexus of the neighborhood. The re-birth of Terry’s (courtesy of Lex Golden) over the past few years has also given a real shot-in-the arm to the area, and Cheers, though



FAMILY FRIENDLY: Parents and kids on bikes, or in the snow, a common sight in the Heights.

fancied up over the years and now more bistro than burger joint, has remained a mainstay for locals for over three decades. The neighborhood eccentrics are

now a thing of the past; there’s no Billy Moore Clark (Billy “Mo” as he was called) in a jaunty tam o’shanter strolling the boulevard, yorkie under one arm, walking stick in hand, tartan scarf

draped over his shoulders. It’s a fact that the character of the neighborhood changed along with the passing of this (WWII) generation. That said, there exists a real — and renewed — sense

of community and belonging among the people who live there today. And if you’re a kid in search of candies or stickers, there are still some sweet spots left to discover.

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At Centennial Bank, our philosophy is “Banking that comes to you.” See, we don’t believe in just sitting behind our desks. We believe in the importance of getting out in the community. For us, it’s all about providing access for our customers. If you need us, we’ll be there for you. Even after hours. We understand banking can be a chore. That’s why we do everything we can to make it as easy for you as possible. We offer you free ATM use, nationwide. Free e-statements. Free unlimited bill pay. Free online and mobile banking. We even give you an instant-issue debit card — with no monthly fees — that’s ready before you walk out the door. Get it today. Use it today. It’s that easy. It’s just another way we provide “Banking that comes to you.”




Down by the river BY RANDY WILBOURN


orthwest of downtown and adjacent to the Arkansas River lies Little Rock’s Riverdale neighborhood, an area that has been an important part of my life and my family’s history. This morning, as I played with my granddaughter at our home in Sherrill


DECEMBER 28, 2011


Heights, a Riverdale neighborhood, I counted back and was able to recall six generations of Wilbourns that have lived and worked in Little Rock’s Riverdale area over the last 112 years. It was around the year 1910 when my great-grandfather, William Wilbourn, began managing farms that comprised

most of what is now Riverdale. That farmland began near the intersection of today’s Riverfront Drive and Cantrell Road, continued through the areas that are now Rebsamen Park Golf Course and Murray Park and ended beyond the Big Dam Bridge by the mouth of the Little Maumelle River, where



BIG DAM BRIDGE 100: Hundreds ride in the annual event.



I-430 now crosses the Arkansas River. Before 1927, short levees existed that gave some protection to the farmland along the southern bank of the river. At one point in the early ’70s, my grandfather, father and I all worked together in The Mart Building (now known as the T.J. Rainey Building) for Allied Telephone Company. Allied had its first offices on Kavanaugh Boulevard in Hillcrest. Allied became Alltel and eventually merged with Verizon, so the company has a long history in the Riverdale area. My grandfather, father and I all lived in the Riverdale and Hillcrest neighborhoods, commuting down the hill to work just as William Wilbourn had done in the early 1900s. Today my office in the Morgan Keegan building on Riverfront Drive in Riverdale sits on the same land William Wilbourn managed, in sight of the Big Rock bluffs and the calm-oneweek, raging-the-next Arkansas River. To me, Riverdale is more than a place to go to work on the Verizon campus, stop and eat at Buffalo Grill, or buy a flower for the table from About Vase and a bottle of wine from Bullard’s. I am deeply rooted here. It is home. Riverdale has changed since my TOWN PUMP: Burgers and $1 PBR.

DECEMBER 28, 2011





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great-grandfather’s time. On his daily commute, William rode his horse through a neighborhood of laborers that worked on nearby farms, at the quarries and mills that grew up along the river bottomland, for the Rock Island Rail line, or in the fast-growing Hillcrest and Prospect Terrace developments along the Kavanaugh street car line that connected the new “west” Little Rock to downtown. Today that area is the Allsopp Park softball diamond, tennis courts and children’s playground. Wrape Lumber Co. had a large sawmill where the Episcopal Collegiate School now resides. There was a large quarry where Rivercliff apartments now stands, and another at the foot of what is now Scenic Drive, served by a rail spur that connected to the rail line in the valley below. The area was home to cotton gins, a boarding house, commissary offices, grain and cotton warehouses, horse and mule barns, another sawmill, lumberyards, rail sidings and a small rail depot. Riverdale was decimated in 1927 when the receding waters of the great flood ripped the farmland apart. The flood destroyed the levees that had held the river in check, leaving only a narrow strip of sandy land along the base of the south river bluffs. After the disaster, the rail line was rebuilt but the farms never recovered. They lay fallow for years, and were eventfully converted to golf courses for the city of Little Rock and Riverdale Country Club. William Wilbourn did not see the long-term effects of the devastation. He died shortly after the floodwaters receded. Riverdale recovered from the flood and continued to move forward and develop. After the completion of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation project, Murray Park was founded in the north part of the neighborhood. A major change occurred in the early 1960s when developer Wythe Walker, working with the city and Winthrop Rockefeller, used urban renewal funds to transform the area.  Cantrell Road was rerouted to its present course and expanded to four lanes, and Cantrell Hill was widened. Westriver Tower and the Mart building, Riviera Apartments and the all-night diner the Toddle House were added to the area.  Riverdale Country Club became Pleasant Valley Country Club and moved west, and the

Riverdale Business Park opened. The office park, housing and apartment centers we see in the area today followed. Modern Riverdale is bordered on the east by the MacDonald-WaitNewton House (commonly known as the Packet House), an architectural landmark in Little Rock. Constructed in 1869, it is the last remaining of the

large houses that were built on the north side of Cantrell Road in the 19th century. Plans are underway to open a Southern-fusion restaurant, the Packet House Grill, in the historic building. West of the Packet House is the corporate headquarters of Dillard’s Department Stores, followed by a section of warehouses and businesses including Discovery nightclub and

landmark restaurant and bar Cajun’s Wharf. Farther west, the neighborhood progresses toward shopping areas, office complexes, upscale residential communities, and a popular mix of restaurants skewing toward Southern and Italian cuisine. In recent years Riverdale has experienced an increase CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

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Walk the Arkansas River Trail. When it’s finished, the Arkansas River Trail will total 24 miles, a loop that follows the Arkansas River on both its north and south shores from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. In Riverdale, the trail runs through bluffs and woods along Murray Park and the Little Rock and Western railroad tracks and leads to the Big Dam Bridge, crossing the river to North Little Rock, and Two Rivers Bridge, crossing the Little Maumelle to Two Rivers Park. It’s a haven for joggers, bikers, commuters and leashed canines — shady in summer, bursting with color in fall. The Riverdale leg is perfect for snapping photos of wildlife, particularly the elegant Scissortail flycatchers that dip and soar near the water’s edge.

ON THE HILL ABOVE THE RIVER: The Sherril Heights neighborhood.

We got our start in Riverdale!


valley in which most of Riverdale rests, it defines the physical shape of the neighborhood and its steady presence recalls the area’s long history; but the charm, character and work ethic that defines Riverdale rises from the businesses that call it home, the good people that live here and everyone else that comes to the neighborhood to work, eat and play each day.

Tee it up at Rebsamen Golf Course. This public course offers a short nine for beginners and folks with not a lot of time and a nice links-style 18-hole course. The river isn’t a hazard, unless you can hit the ball like John Daly, but you can get in trouble along the edges. It is possible to enjoy a frosty one afterward in the club house. There’s also a practice range. With golf, you can’t practice enough.


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in design-oriented businesses, with retailers offering antiques, ceramics, fine fabrics, plants and specialty lighting fixtures. Beyond these venues are soccer fields, corporate towers and apartments, then Rebsamen Park Golf Course, the city’s largest public golf course, and Murray Park to the far west along Riverfront Drive. The Arkansas River carved out the

Ride the Big Dam Bridge. At 4,226 feet, the Big Dam Bridge is the nation’s longest bridge constructed solely for pedestrians and bikers. Suspended 65 feet above the river, the bridge incorporates the Murray Lock and Dam directly into its design. A cross-section of the city’s diversity is nearly always in attendance, engaged in various modes of muscle-powered transit. At sunset it’s a great place to catch a bird’s-eye view of the Pinnacle Mountain light show. Cross Jimerson Creek. This creek empties into the Arkansas from a ravine in back of the Robinwood neighborhood. You can just stare at it from the railroad tracks or venture down to its edges for some muddy play.

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DECEMBER 28, 2011


rate play area for smaller pups.

Take Fido to Paws Park. Murray Park is a wide expanse of riverfront lawn that offers soccer fields, covered pavilions, two playgrounds and a boat dock. It also boasts the only fenced, off-leash dog park in Little Rock. Paws Park is pooch paradise—two wellmaintained acres of shaded walkways, benches and water troughs, with a sepa-

Eat. For a relatively small neighborhood, there is a wealth of options. It may be in an unattractive office building, but Brave New Restaurant’s reputation as one of the finest restaurants in Little Rock is deserved. For Louisiana fare, there’s massive (Cajun’s Wharf), lively (The Faded Rose) and more authentic (Maddie’s). At lunch during the week, Whole Hog Cafe might be the busiest and best barbecue joint around. For burgers and other pub grub, Town Pump and Buffalo Grill are predictably satisfying. Loca Luna and Union specialize in approachable gourmet. In warm weather, there’s no better place to sit outside and drink a beer and eat a slice than Pizza Cafe’s deck. Drink. Town Pump is a neighborhood dive that’s become popular with the younger set uninterested in the River Market district or Hillcrest. On the weekends, Cajun’s is perhaps Little Rock’s swingin’est singles bar; a Play-De-Do cocktail on the deck is an essential warm weather ritual. When Little Rock doesn’t want to go home, it goes to Discovery (open only on Saturdays) or Backstreet (only open Fridays and Saturdays) to dance until 5 a.m.





n the span of time, Southwest Little Rock is a newer part of town. That vast swath of land south of Asher Avenue (updated in recent years to Col. Glenn) between Arch Street Pike and the Saline County line was home to an emerging middle class in a time when thousands of workers flocked to warehouses and plant shift work in industrial districts near their homes in places like Wakefield and Cloverdale and Geyer Springs. Geyer Springs Road and Baseline Road remain the major surface-level arteries of Ninerville (ZIP code 72209), but even they are dotted with outward signs of a second sea change in the territory. First, Southwest Little Rock became home to an increasing number of black residents. McClellan High School, once a working class white high school in the Pulaski County School District, is now a black high school in the Little Rock School District. The school desegregation case, it’s worth noting, helped drive some of the population shift from SWLR to suburbs across the county line in Bryant and beyond. Now the news is delivered in Spanish. The influx of Latino residents in Pulaski County has found a home in Southwest Little Rock. Speed shops have given way to mobile taco stands and permanent buildings selling groceries, work clothing, bus tickets home and even candy and party supplies from south of the border. Southwest is not one-dimensional. Cattle ranchers still call the area around Mabelvale home. Otter Creek is a racially diverse middle class enclave with a tennis club and golf course nearby. Big box, entertainment and major commercial developments, along with medical services and sparkling megachurches dot the Interstate 430 corridor. But nothing matches the flavor of a cruise down Geyer Springs, preferably broken up by a stop for a taco and a Coca-Cola, made with cane sugar, straight from Mexico. But don’t believe us. Believe Rafael Nunez, who’s captured the emerging, sometimes underground character of Nuevo Southwest Poco Roco better than we ever could.



The hidden Southwest Little Rock B Y R A FA E L N U N E Z




wake up early on this crisp, chilly autumn Sunday morning, my head still aching from the one-too-many beers I drank last night around that bonfire at my trailer park on Stanton Road, where a bunch of my neighbors and I talked shop, exchanged anecdotes, told dirty jokes and belly-laughed copiously way into the wee hours of the morning. As I leave my trailer and start wobbling to Baseline Road, here comes wafting through the nippy air, quickly permeating all my olfactory senses, all the smells associated with menudo, spicy beef tripe soup: first, the somewhat exotic fragrance of oregano, then, the clean, bright aroma of freshlycut lemons, as well as the heady, sharp whiff of chopped onions, and the faintly pungent, dusty odor of dried and crushed ancho chilis. “Aha!” I say to myself, that’s where I got to go, to wherever it is they’re serving that menudo. So I just follow my nose down Stanton, walking south until I come to the trailer park nearest to Baseline.

Since opening in 1970 to serve customers in southwest Little Rock, Metropolitan National Bank has been committed to providing the things that were important to us on our opening day. Those core values are outstanding service, convenient locations, and innovative banking solutions to every customer. In addition to serving our customers, being a friend and partner to the communities in which we live and work is integral to our Nearby & Neighborly philosophy. Our Metropolitan associates are involved in numerous local and national organizations and give thousands of hours of their time each year. Metropolitan has expanded well beyond its original Little Rock banks and currently serves its customers from 46 Arkansas branches and 53 ATMs throughout Little Rock, North Little Rock, Benton, Bentonville, Bryant, Cabot, Conway, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Johnson, Maumelle, Rogers, Sheridan, Sherwood and Springdale.

AT LA REGIONAL: Hispanic grocery.

DECEMBER 28, 2011



Once there, I quickly spot some idling cars outside the third trailer from the street, and then see a man coming out of the trailer with a five-gallon stainless steel pot. He carefully puts down the pot on the floor of the back seat of his sedan, gets into his car and leaves. That easily, I have found the cure to my hangover. Now it’s just a matter of fumbling through my pockets in search of three, four or five loose dollar bills while I continue to approach on foot the menudo-selling trailer. Half hour later, I’m walking north on Stanton, back to my trailer, with a full belly, a twinkle in my eye, a smile on my face, a happy heart, and whistling a cheerful song. “Ah,” I think to myself satisfied, “to be Mexican and be lucky enough to find a place to eat some good menudo on a Sunday morning. What more can one ask? Undoubtedly, life is very, very good, indeed … Or to paraphrase Garrett Morris’ saying on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ‘Menudo binn berrri, berrri good to me.’ ”


DECEMBER 28, 2011




In the heart of Southwest Little Rock, the selling of menudo is truly pervasive, since on a Sunday morning you can get it on almost any block, regardless of the direction on the compass you choose to go in. That’s true for more than menudo — you can get all kinds of food and services from someone’s home. It is much like Mexico and Central America, where you will find that in every barrio, in every urban, suburban or rural setting, everyone who lives there knows the home where you can buy the best homemade boiled pinto beans every day, the house where you can have your hair cut and styled, the house down the block where the huesero or sobandero (bone-man or rubdown man) will help fix your stiff muscles and dislocated joints; where you can get the best homemade tamales, the best made-from-scratch tacos. And so it is in Southwest Little Rock, where, alongside the formal economy, you have a sizeable — but hidden — informal economy where Hispanics purchase various prepared food items from their neighbors, and/or pay for a variety of services provided by informal “professionals.” These “professionals” include everyone from hairstylists and barbers to mecánicos de arbolito (tree-shade mechanics) to carpenters, electricians and various other construction-industry-related specialists. There are hueseros, curanderos (healers) and brujos (shamans or witchdoctors) for a wide variety of physical, mental and spiritual ills. (Some brujos, besides being able to cast out whatever demons are supposedly causing you trouble or bad luck, can also — for a small additional fee — cast spells upon individuals you consider your


“enemies,” so that they, instead of you, will be harassed by demons and plagued by bad luck). And even tarot card readers, gypsy-style palm readers and crystal-ball fortune tellers in case you’re someone who just needs a lot of reassurance about how bright your future will be and how exciting your love life is about to turn. This hidden economy pervades all of those sections of Southwest Little Rock where you have more than, say, 20 Hispanics residing. But it is particularly profuse in what is considered the heart of the so-called Mexican barrio, which is roughly located in and around the intersection of Baseline Road and Geyer Springs Road, in an area that is delimited by that stretch of Baseline Road bordered by Chicot Road to the west, and Scott Hamilton Drive to the east, and on the stretch of 65th Street bounded by those same cross streets. Those sections of Baseline and 65th, as well as Geyer Springs, Doyle Springs and Scott Hamilton, have a good number of trailer parks scattered along them, and they are populated mostly by Hispanics. These trailer parks are where you’ll find the most abundant collections of these “entrepreneurial artisans.” And because of where these trailer parks are located, and the way they are set up in relation to the

street, you can slowly pass right in front of them and never in a million years would you guess, or even get the tiniest visual hint, of all the entrepreneurial activities and commercial transactions going on inside. 

On Doyle Springs Road, near the intersection with Baseline, there is a trailer park famous for having among its inhabitants the best huesero or sobandero around. Don’t get me wrong, there are other hueseros in Southwest Little Rock, but none as highly regarded as the “Doyle Springs Huesero,” as he is popularly known. This is one of those “professions,” trades or crafts that go way, way back, to pre-Columbian times, since it is well-documented that the Aztecs and many other indigenous Mexican tribes knew about bone-setting, putting back into place dislodged bones, and “rubbing-away” and healing lowerback pain, muscular and joint injuries such as twisted ankles, dislocated vertebrae, twisted necks and sore shoulders, arms and legs. In the case of the Doyle Springs huesero, he is a fifth-generation bone-man, since before him, his great-great- grandfather, his great-grandfather, his grandfather and his father were all bone-men. “I inherited my trade, and it’s just something that from the time you’re a child, you

just grow up with. I am proficient in both ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ (i.e, with rubbing oils) rubdowns, and the decision of doing one or the other really depends on the type of injury you’re dealing with, since strained muscles or ‘knotted-up’ nerves will almost always respond better to wet rubdowns, where as torn muscles, contusions, sprained ankles, wrists, ligaments or tendons, or displaced bones, often do better with a ‘dry’ rubdown.” The Doyle Springs bone-man and his dad have on occasion been called to perform a “rubdown, or muscular healing, or bone adjustment” session to places such as Houston. He charges $30 per session, but he says almost always, “except in the very, very severest of cases, the patient will only need one session.” Considering the fact approximately 50 percent of all the Hispanic adult males living in Southwest Little Rock are employed in some type of manual-labor capacity, and that at least half of these jobs are in the construction industry, there is just no shortage of customers for the Doyle Springs huesero, since in most cases, for these individuals every workday missed from injury is a day’s salary lost. These men need to get back to work as soon as possible in order to be able to continue providing for their families, and so, in the interest of saving time and money, the services of a huesero are preferred over a doctor, chiropractor or orthopedist. 

The prepared food vendors cannot stay in business for any length of time if they do not quickly gain the approval of their consumers. In fact, in all cases, these food vendors rely almost exclusively on word-of-mouth recommendations from their customers in order to expand their clientele. In every one of the following summaries, the factors or contributing “vectors” that have made these entrepreneurial ventures a success are: quality, authenticity or taste, convenience and price. Every day, right before sunset, Julio starts cleaning and preparing the vertical spit where he cooks pork for his tacos al pastor (shepherd-style tacos). He carefully places thin, circular cuts of raw pork loin and pork leg on top of each other until the thin cuts reach a height of about two feet. The spit is turned slowly in front of a brazier or hearth placed to the side, right next to it. His fonda (small restaurant, usually fronting, connected to, or inside a private residence) is on Geyer Springs, just south of Baseline Road. His tacos al pastor are reputed to be the best in all of Southwest Little Rock. They sell for $1.25 per CONTINUED ON PAGE 56


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Get your motor running at Steve’s Speed Shop. If you’re one of those folks with high-test gasoline coursing through your veins, you’re probably well aware of Steve’s Speed Shop, Southwest Little Rock’s 40-year-old chapel to St. Acceleration. Started by owner and drag racer Steve Haynes way back in 1971, Steve’s Speed Shop features performance parts for all makes and models — from commuter cars to 600-horsepower drag cars — dress-up accessories, wheels, tires, stickers, T-shirts, used speed equipment, carburetor rebuilding (you remember those, right?) as well as truck accessories, racing fuel and refills for nitrous tanks. If you’ve ever loved a car, stop in and look around. Chow down on the cheap. One of the greatest blessings of the influx of Latinos into Southwest Little Rock in recent years has been the feeling of entrepreneurial spirit in the area. For a foodie, the greatest blessing of THAT blessing has been the taco trucks. With cheap, authen-

taco. By the way, his green sauce, made with guacamole and serrano hot peppers, is just incredible. I had never tasted any hot sauce in which avocado, cilantro and fiery serrano spiciness came together and blended so mouthwateringly well. If you try it even once, you’ll undoubtedly come back for more. At just about the same time that Julio is setting up, so is “la señora de los tacos de la Stanton,” which is how most of her customers refer to her, and how she herself prefers to be known. Her specialties are the tacos de carnitas (small pieces of braised pork), tacos de carne asada (broiled or grilled steak tacos), and tacos de longaniza (spicy pork sausage, virtually equivalent with chorizo). She also serves tacos campechanos (“combination” tacos, for

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tic and expertly-seasoned tacos, burritos, tortas and more, your average Southwest Little Rock taco truck routinely puts the sit-down Tex-Mex joints to shame. There are around a dozen that frequent the area. Drive down Geyer Springs and Baseline and you’re bound to find one that can set your stomach growling from 50 feet away. Shop at a mercado. The neighborhood’s largest Hispanic gro-

example, a taco with asada and longaniza), along with the tostadas de cueritos (diced pieces of pickled beef feet, served on top of a flat, crispy corn tortilla). The tacos are served with sides of chiles toreados (roasted jalapeño peppers), grilled onions, lemon slices, cucumber slices and radish. The tostadas, along with the pickled pork feet rinds, are topped with lettuce, sour cream, grated cheese, beans and salsa. The owners say that some months back, to their great surprise, they found out that whenever they come to Little Rock, “some people from as far away as Rogers and Springdale go the whole day without eating and wait until sundown just so they can go eat at our place. So do plenty of people from Bryant, Benton, Alexander and Hot Springs. At least that’s what they have told

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ceries — La Regional, Mercado San Jose and Supermercado Sin Fronteras — sell the essentials: queso blanco, big bottles of La Valentina hot sauce, dry peppers (with so many ways to punish yourself — chile puya, guajillo, ancho, chipotle, arbol, pasilla mulato, morita, pequin), cheap avocadoes and limes and Brenda’s Tortillas, made fresh daily on 65th Street. At each store, you’ll also find meat you won’t usually find at Kroger like cabeza (cow head meat) along with other, more familiar (and cheaper) cuts along with big cases of flaky, puffy, sugary cookies and pastries.

siree — that’s a custom order the buyer never came back for — they can cut you a deal on those. Choose from their ample, rainbow-hued stock, or go nuts and order custom. If you can dream it — pretty much any boot, in any style, in any leather, in any color combo — they can probably get it on your feet, with prices from $100 to $500 or so.

Buy some botas. When the weekend rolls around, a lot of folks down in SWLR just want to dress up and cut loose. That’s where La Regia Western comes in. Want a pair of boots with pointed toes so long that they look like something out of science fiction? They’ve got that. Want powder blue alligator skin boots with a matching belt? Si, senor. Want a pair of custom made boots with “Freddy” emblazoned on them? Yes-

Raid the lost treasures of Arkansas bureaucracy. Arkansas state government is a kind of business, and like any business, it has its share of old junk hanging around: chairs, lamps, bookcases, gubmint cars, exercise bikes, refrigerators and a thousand other things. When all that stuff has reached the end of its usefulness to the state, it finds its way to the giant Arkansas Marketing and Redistribution warehouse at 6620 Young Road near Geyer Springs. The first, second and third Wednesday of every month, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., AM&R throws open the doors and allows the retail-buying public to paw through the state’s official garage sale.

us. This surprised us, since we had always thought that all of our customers came from around the neighborhood. Never did we imagine that people from other cities were coming.” When it comes to tamales, there are quite a few households around Southwest Little Rock that make them as good, big and tasty as mi abuelita (my grandma) used to. And one señora who lives on Baseline goes even further: She makes these humongous, incredibly tasty and wholesome tamales, each one measuring about 10 inches long and about 3 and a half inches wide. You just can’t get these extra-big, extra-tasty, totally-made-from-scratch super-tamales at any store or restaurant. Of course, a dozen of these big boys costs $20, but they’re well worth it, since you can’t eat more than two — or at the most three — in one sitting. But although not as big, when it comes to sheer variety and tastiness, no one can match doña Delfina, who makes delicious homemade tamales of many types: the traditional pork tamales, along with chicken tamales, sweet tamales (pineapple, strawberry, cinnamon-sugar, etc.) hot-pepperslices-and-cheese tamales, beans and cheese tamales — you just name it, and she’ll make ’em for you. At another trailer park on Baseline is where you’ll find the best pozole de puerco (spicy pork soup) in Southwest LR. The ingredients are pork, hominy (optional), red chile sauce, onions, garlic, thyme, bay

leaves and salt. And pork pozole’s main ingredient is either the meat on a pig’s head, or the meat found on pork backbone. Once fully cooked, a pork pozole plate is very similar in appearance to menudo, except it is much tastier. Along with menudo, pork pozole is widely regarded in Mexican culture to be an excellent cure for a hangover. And while doña Lucy does not vouch for the effectiveness of said cure, she does guarantee that both her pozole and her menudo will help you “sweat out” your hangover, and that, in the end, “that is perhaps all a person really needs in order to feel a little better after a night of excessive imbibing.” Doña Lucy serves her delicious pork pozole on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and menudo on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at about 9 a.m. But you must get there before noon, because usually by 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m., it’s all gone. But not to worry, since there are other dishes expertly prepared on a daily basis by doña Lucy, from about 10 a.m. to about 6 p.m.: quesadillas, enchiladas, guisado de chicharrón (pork rind stew), as well as guisados of tinga (pulled pork or chicken stew), and chorizo (Mexican spicy sausage), all served with sides of rice and beans, as well as eggs cooked in any style (including her scrumptious huevos rancheros and her lip-smacking huevos revueltos con chorizo (scrambled eggs and sausage) and, of course, all these dishes can also be served in salsa roja (red sauce) or salsa verde (green sauce).






IN CHENAL ARE MANY MANSIONS: Like this one at 46 Duclair Court, but West Little Rock has potholes, too.

Proud to live out west B Y A M Y B R A D L E Y- H O L E


hen my husband and I first moved to Little Rock, we knew little about the area, and had no preconceived notions about the metro’s various neighborhoods. We came here with an open mind, eager to explore our new home, excited to see where our tastes would lead us. We did, however, have a pretty fixed set of criteria that any potential neighborhood of ours must meet. We wanted to be near good schools, of course. Safety was a must — I don’t want to be scared going from my carport to my door at night. An easy commute would be a benefit, and I also wanted to be near plenty of shopping and great restaurants. (My husband, a British expat, particularly wanted to be near an authentic curry house.) And even in the midst of a turbu-

lent real estate market, we were hoping to find housing prices rooted in reality. After just a little research, it became obvious that one Central Arkansas neighborhood clearly fit the bill — West Little Rock. For us, West Little Rock is an amalgamation of all we treasure: convenience, comfort, affordability and a sense of being cradled in a community where the people we interact with daily aren’t just acquaintances, but our neighbors and friends. Since we’ve relocated to Little Rock, we’ve moved twice more, and each time, we’ve made it a point to stay in this part of town we’ve come to love and call home. Right now we live in the Hillsborough subdivision, just off Hinson Road. It’s a lovely neighborhood, featuring a mix of modern and

traditional homes, and it’s just minutes away from our school, our church and many of our friends. Sure, there are drawbacks to life on the far side of town. It is, literally, hell on your wheels. There is no noncongested east-west corridor in this city, so if we West Little Rockers want to head downtown in the mornings or head back home from downtown in the evenings, it can be a daunting, stop-and-go proposition. Traffic on a Saturday around the Bowman, Chenal Parkway and Markham Street triangle isn’t much fun, either. And despite some of the complaining letters to the editors about how the swanky side of town has well-kept streets, anyone who regularly drives in this area can testify

Deltic Timber Corp. is a natural resources company engaged in the ownership and management of nearly 450,000 acres of sustainable forests. In addition to timberland management and added-value manufacturing, the company also develops residential and commercial properties in Little Rock and Hot Springs through its subsidiary, Chenal Properties Inc. It’s one thing to build a community. It’s quite another to grow one. The respect for nature embraced by the 33 distinct neighborhoods of Chenal Valley is a result of Deltic’s business philosophy, a philosophy based not only on the environmentally responsible management of woodlands, but also the expert development and growth of communities focused on convenience, excellence and residential and commercial amenities designed to enhance the quality of life. The management of solid assets and the stewardship of growing communities, like Chenal Valley, begin with the strength of Deltic Timber Corp. For more information about Deltic communities, call 800-8489559, or visit


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to hitting potholes the size of a Hickory Creek mansion. West Little Rock, for many, also symbolizes the worst of urban sprawl. Bigbox stores. Cookie-cutter tract homes. Nouveau riche white people barreling obliviously through life in their jumbo SUVs with a Fellowship Bible Church sticker on the back. Yep, we’ve got all that, and for some people, it’s enough of

a deal breaker to keep them from ever crossing 430. We’ve also got some hot pockets of criminal activity. I find myself intentionally avoiding the Mara Lynn/Green Mountain area at night. And a couple of the apartment complexes on Chenal Parkway (of all places!) have seen crimes against both persons and prop-

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Meditate. Amid the retail rush in West Little Rock is the non-denominational Arkansas House of Prayer, a beautiful copper-sided building set among the pines on the grounds of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. Inside, cushions surround a central earthen hearth in the round meditation room, lit by natural light from above. Outside, a wooden deck is surrounded by a stone wall. It’s a silent retreat where one can escape the noise and stress of everyday life; for the religious, it’s a place to chat with God.

Promenade on over to the shopping center. Talk about fancy. Well, the entire Chenal neighborhood in West Little Rock is pretty hifalutin, so it only makes sense that its main shopping center has fountains with gargoyles, bronze sculptures of children at play, huge decorative lampposts, wrought-iron gates and a store that sells canine haute couture (Just Dogs! Gourmet). This is the shopping center with the first DSW shoe store, the first Apple store and the first Anthropologie to open in Little Rock. The Chenal 9 Theatre has the only IMAX screen in town. And Big Orange does burgers, fries, shakes and cocktails as well as anyone around.

Enjoy performing arts in the wild woods. Wildwood Park for the Arts, set in 104 acres of woods and water north of Chenal Parkway, is home to the 625-seat Lucy Lockett Cabe Theatre and a series of gardens, including the Richard C. Butler Arboretum, the Gertrude Remmel Butler Gazebo and Gardens, Ruth Allen Dogwood Trail, the Boop Water Garden, the Carl Hunter Wildflower Glen, the Bruce Theatre Gardens, the Doris Carre Gay Asian Garden, the Campbell Davies Reflection Garden and the 8-acre Swan Lake. The theater hosts theatrical and dance performances and the grounds are the setting for several festivals throughout the year.

Explore big boxes. Big-box stores boomed in roomy West Little Rock: You’ve got your Barnes and Noble; Toys R Us; Petsmart; Best Buy; Sam’s; Garden Ridge; Home Depot; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Staples; Old Navy; Target and, farther west, the planet’s largest Kroger store complete with furniture — and that’s just along the main drag. No, these aren’t quaint independently-owned stores; there’s not a lace curtain or shop cat at any of them. But yes, they’ve got what you need

Drive around looking at the really big houses. There are some mighty fine homes in the Chenal Valley neighborhoods, and it’s fun just to drive around and see some of these mansions, many of them circling the Chenal Country Club golf course. The grass is manicured, the statuary is showy, the rooftops are steep a la French maisons and so are the price tags — these are the neighborhoods where you’ll need a million clams to move in. Not all are behind gates, so enjoy the ride.

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Spoiled. But unspoiled. From natural landscapes to wonderful amenities, the 33 neighborhoods of Chenal Valley bring to life everything you could dream of in a community. Surrounded by green belts, walking trails and 36 holes of picturesque golf, this amazing community makes coming home more like a walk in the park. Plus, your new home is nestled near the fine dining and retail experience at The Promenade at Chenal, and located in the Chenal Elementary School zone. Now you can have it all and never leave the neighborhood. To begin your search for a new lot or home in Chenal Valley, go to

DECEMBER 28, 2011




A DRAWBACK: Traffic can be hell on wheels.

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erty in the past couple of years. But all statistical data shows that West Little Rock is, by far, the safest part of town. But it seems the greatest criticism of those of us who’ve chosen to live in this community is our glaring lack of diversity. According to anecdotal opinion, we’re all upper income Caucasians happily nestled in our 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath homes with our 2 to 3 children, representing the perfect nuclear families. Not so. West Little Rock is, geographically, quite a large community. It’s much too large to be pigeonholed, whatever demographic measuring stick one chooses to hold up to it. Although the Chenal Valley neighborhoods, with their faux French names derived by Deltic Timber, are often decried as the embodiment of a typical West Little Rock neighborhood, they represent only a very limited part of this area. West Little Rock has a great deal of apartment and duplex living, bringing with it a younger and more transient population. It has subsidized housing, modest starter homes and neighborhoods that cater to low income and lower middle class income families. The cultural diversity in West Little Rock is one of my favorite things about this area. In my son’s classroom, there are kids of all colors and religions. I’ve had conversations about Buddhism with the Chinese family across the street. I picked up cooking tips from the Caribbean family in our old subdivision. The Korean women who run one of my favorite local spas also live just around the corner with their two families. And many of the UAMS faculty and staff members have chosen to settle out west, which has contributed even more to the diversity of the area. I have long argued that if you want the best ethnic food in town, you’ll most likely find it somewhere on Shackleford, Markham or Rodney Parham. Ah, the restaurants. We’ve got some good ones out here. Scott McGehee’s Big Orange at the Promenade at Chenal is one of our newest additions. Ya Ya’s Bistro, also at the Promenade, is a favorite neighborhood watering hole and gathering place. Chi’s and Lilly’s both offer excellent Dim Sum menus. Star of India most definitely satisfies my husband’s, and many other people’s, craving for a good curry. The Pantry and 1620 both keep foodies happy. I could list many more excellent independent restaurants, but let’s not forget the chains, either. While many loathe their very existence, let’s face it, they’re con-

venient and affordable. And West Little Rock has a plethora of them, catering to any taste. Our shopping is much the same as our restaurants. There are many successful independent boutiques in West Little Rock, selling everything from baby cribs to upscale clothing to outdoor gear. The aforementioned big box stores are, like the chain restaurants,

convenient and popular options. And with the arrival of the Apple store and J. Crew, the Promenade at Chenal is fast becoming a mecca for serious shoppers of all tastes and incomes. That particular stretch of the Parkway, with the recent addition of the upscale Kroger Marketplace and the soon-to-be bustling new St. Vincent’s medical facilities, has the potential for even more

explosive growth. And that may be what I truly love most about West Little Rock — the potential. It’s much like a microcosm of America. It’s a place where expansion and newness are good things. Where aspirations are OK, not inauthentic. Where people from all walks of life come together to live, play and work. It’s a place I’m proud to call home.

DECEMBER 28, 2011





After earning his degree in civil engineering at Cornell University, Lou Schickel was a project engineer on the State Theatre at Lincoln Center and the Verrazano Bridge in New York and on the 25th of April Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal. In 1966, he moved to Little Rock as a project engineer on Lock and Dam No. 7. When the job was complete, he had four little girls, so he and his wife, Lenore, decided to stay and put down roots. In 1968 he opened a dry cleaners in the Southwest part of the city and now has four Schickel’s Cleaners locations. In 1974 Lou started acquiring land “way out west” on Highway 10 and developed a vision for a neighborhood-friendly lifestyle center that would serve the evergrowing community. His passion was to visit thriving centers throughout the country, so he could learn what worked and incorporate the best of the best. In 2006 the Pleasant Ridge Town Center opened with its beautiful architectural design and landscape. Anchored by the Fresh Market and Belk Department Store and with the perfect blend of local, regional and national retailers and restaurants, Pleasant Ridge has quickly become the neighborhood hub for convenient, quality shopping and dining.


DECEMBER 28, 2011




PLEASANT SHOPPING: There’s much to buy at Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

Many shades of green in Pleasant Valley B Y JA N I E G I N O C C H I O


n the last two decades, there’s been an undercurrent of tension that hums along the western expanse of the Cantrell Road/state Highway 10 area from Interstate 430 to Chenal Parkway. It’s a delicate balance between the desires of two very different forces: one that seeks the preservation of the area’s natural beauty and an ideal of residential living, while the other heeds the siren’s call of commercial development dollars. It’s the clashing realities of country and town, with periodic eruptions that are fought in city hall and sometimes in the courtroom. Thirty years ago, Highway 10 was a ribbon of a road that wound its way

west on a scenic course parallel to the Arkansas River, past Pinnacle Mountain, the shores of Lake Maumelle and into Perry County. The two-lane passed the small black community of Pankey, a couple of liquor stores, some trailers and lots of pine trees. Today, Highway 10 is a principal arterial (the largest road designation below an interstate) for the city to points west. A drive along the corridor offers a variety of views. Great cliffs of stone rise up at sharp angles from the road, covered thickly with trees, which give way to gently rolling hills. Split rail fences along the highway frontage add a country air, as this piece of Arkansas River

valley land gives way to the early foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. On the residential front, there’s a mixture of housing types, from upscale apartments and million-dollar mansions to the occasional ramshackle house with rusted cars parked in the yard. The first major development in this part of West Little Rock, Pleasant Valley was once part of a horse farm owned by Charles Taylor, who bought the first 90-acre tract near the intersection of Highway 10 and Rodney Parham Road (then called Perryville Loop Road) in 1929. During the next 30 years, Taylor would purchase 52 adjoining parcels, for a total of about 1,200 acres. He sold



DIRTY MOVING: The 5K Mud Run at Two Rivers Park benefits the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department.

1,100 acres to R.A. Lile, Ernest Phillips and Sam Rowland in 1959, and Pleasant Valley Inc. was formed. Future Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller was reportedly an early investor. The first homes were built in the mid-1960s and the neighborhood was completely developed by the ’70s, for a total of about 1,000 homes. Today, Pleasant Valley boasts large lots with mature hardwood trees, rolling hills populated with pine trees and about 50 acres of dedicated green space. There are two swimming pools, one on Hidden Valley and one on Arkansas Valley; both have been renovated within the last decade. There are also tennis courts and two playgrounds. A small creek that runs along the backyards of homes on Happy Valley Drive provides unstructured play for kids on the block. The Pleasant Valley Property Owners Association is responsible for maintaining the green space and amenities. Adjacent to the neighborhood is the

Pleasant Valley Country Club, a private club with a 27-hole championship golf course. The original 90-acre parcel that served as the Taylor homestead was later developed into office space that at one time housed Systematics and Alltel, and is now the home of Fidelity Information systems and the headquarters of Windstream Communications. Farther west on Highway 10 are the Pleasant Forest and Walton Heights neighborhoods. These rooftops, especially the ones that cover the well-heeled residents of neighborhoods Chenal Valley and Valley Falls Estates, attracted a variety of commercial developers with plans for office buildings and shopping centers in the early part of the 21st century. But it’s not just the residential developments that fuel commercial growth. Among the 100,000 square-foot office giants on Highway 10 are a call center for AT&T Wireless; FamilyLife, a part

of Campus for Crusade for Christ; and Leisure Arts, the giant publisher of howto instructional books on needlecrafts and home decor. The three combined employ upwards of 1,000 people, and restaurants, gas stations, banks and retail stores have flocked to the area. The for sale signs and bulldozers began to change the bucolic nature of the area, to the dismay of some residents and activists who were — and still are — concerned about traffic and destruction of old-growth trees in favor of sterile concrete and glass structures. Residents overflowed the city board meeting room in 2004 when a Walmart Supercenter was approved at the corner of Highway 10 and Chenal. Despite the city’s requirements for landscaping and a more “upscale” look than the retailer’s usual buildings, neighbors complained the extra traffic (estimated at 3,0004,000 more cars a day at the time) and the big box nature of the store wasn’t a good fit for the community, which

would drive down property values. It was at about the same time as the Supercenter opening that retail development in the corridor hit full speed, with more than 320,000 square feet of retail and office space built on Highway 10 between 2005 and 2006, not including Lou Schickel’s Pleasant Ridge Town Center, which was another city hall showdown. The city had approved a planned retail development on a parcel of land Schickel owned at Highway 10 and Pleasant Ridge Road, but in 2003, Schickel began acquiring residential property on the hillside behind the parcel with the intent of building a fullblown lifestyle center, modeled after outdoor centers in Atlanta, instead of just a typical strip center. His goal was to land a major, upscale department store as the main anchor with a major bookstore and a Whole Foods as the secondary anchors. Smaller, upscale national CONTINUED ON PAGE 65

DECEMBER 28, 2011


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tenants would round out the plan. The opposition to the rezoning was virulent, with concerns about traffic as the No. 1 objection. After a series of heated planning commission and city board meetings, the revised plan was finally approved. The center opened in 2006 with Parisian and Fresh Market as the anchors. Several national chain restaurants new to Little Rock landed there, while the majority of the smaller tenants relocated from shopping centers in other parts of the city. Between Pleasant Ridge and Walmart, there are several other nodes of commercial development, most of them roughly 2 miles apart. Between these lie standalone office or residential buildings or undeveloped land. It’s what planners point to in the face of criticism over the area’s development: The master zoning plan is working. A master zoning plan for the area was adopted by the city in 1986. The master plan created commercial nodes at certain intersections with residential areas and transition zones (land zoned for office or multifamily use) in between the nodes. In 1995, the city approved a design overlay district for the corridor, which outlines landscaping requirements and limits access points on the highway. The plan was the city’s attempt to stop the “domino effect” seen on Rodney Parham, University and Asher Avenues, where commercial development on these roads forced residents out. No one can talk about the master plan without mentioning National Home Centers, and the time a zoning battle went from city hall to the courtroom. In 1993, the Little Rock Board of Directors voted 4-2 to rezone 17.7 acres of residential land on Highway 10 for commercial use, a vote that went against the recommendations of city staff and the planning commission. The rezoning effort, spearheaded by David Jones, was to pave the way for a National Home Centers big box store. Three years before, Jones led a successful bid to rezone a parcel of land at Highway 10 and Taylor Loop Road for the Harvest Foods store that later failed. (The Harvest Foods building would be home to an upscale furniture store in the early 2000s, but now sits empty as the city considers a proposal by Easter Seals to move its adult training facilities there, a move area residents support.)

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city succeeded in approving the National Home Center project, “it would have torpedoed the Highway 10 plan.” Despite assurances from city planners that the master plan works, residents are ever vigilant to any new development proposal in the area. Even as late as September, neighbors were voicing objections to proposed commercial rezoning applications.

PLEASANT VALLEY CHECKLIST Wander among plants. Like independent bookstores, nonchain nurseries are having to fight big-box garden centers, where the prices are cheap but the variety is limited. There’s no more peaceful, pleasant shopping experience in the world than walking through a sea of green tucked into the woods. The Good Earth Garden Center is gardenbrowsing the old way: Walking on soft pathways through tall pines, finding new species or beautiful examples of familiar ones, sending the child off to play in the little sandbox. The Good Earth setting is a happy one of flowering plants and bushes improved by the hand of man set among tall trees designed by God. We’ve only been misled once at the Good Earth, being sold a swamp holly (ilex verticillata) instead of deciduous (ilex decidua), which sounds like no big deal except verticillata needs a specific mate instead of the whorish decidua to make berries. Blame it on the teenage worker, is what we always say. These days, the Good Earth offers not just pansies and pampas grass but pumpkins and misting systems and irrigation installation and gifts. It’s growing, the Good Earth.

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Eat lunch by the fire. Panera Bread has several things going for it: Good pastries, good sandwiches, good service and outdoor dining in summer. But it’s in winter that Panera appeals the most: There’s a cozy fire in the dining room, which goes great with the breadbowl (soup served in a scooped out loaf) and chitchat. It’s good preparation for the shopping you’ll do in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center. Other fueling stops: Bar Louie; Cheeburger, Cheeburger; Bonefish Grill (see below); Cupcakes on the Ridge; Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle; Orange Leaf. Bang on Wednesday. It’s pretty much universally agreed that Bonefish Grill’s bang bang shrimp are dang dang great. The spicy sauce puts the bang in bang bang and Bonefish sells a pile of these babies for only $5 all day every Wednesday. Veer over to Vesta’s, etc. Vesta’s, which sells sheets and rugs and dresses and furniture and plates and whatnot, used to be downtown in the River Market. Sadly, the River Market neighborhood lost this great store to the wild west, where it seems more sensible to shop for things you can’t take back to the office, like beautiful chairs and heavy linen bedding. Vesta’s is but one of several places to shop at Pleasant Ridge: there’s big old Belk (its secret: great dresses), Beyond Cotton for those who aren’t beyond 25, The Toggery (a classic spun off from the Heights mothership) and more.


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Gene Pfeifer, president of OneSource Building and Home centers, along with other opponents of the 1993 rezoning, filed suit in Pulaski County Circuit Court. Judge Vann Smith reversed the board’s decision, describing the vote as “spot zoning incompatible with the city’s land-use plan.” The state Supreme Court upheld Smith’s ruling on appeal. Pfeifer said at the time that had the


Wander among fresh food. The Fresh Market in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center is a bustling purveyor of truly beautiful fruits and vegetables, fancy cuts of meat and fresh fish from the butcher, and a delicatessen with prepared foods that way outclasses all other grocery-store delis in the area. It’s not all fancy pants either: the chicken pot pie is out of this world. Fresh Market also has unique seasonal offerings, like stocking stuffers at Christmas. OK, it’s not cheap. But even if you can’t afford anything more than the fresh grapefruit juice, a must for the perfect salty dog, it’s fun to see how the


Tour Two Rivers Park. Now that the Two Rivers Bridge, an extension of the River Trail, is open, it’s easier for most people to access by foot or bike than in a car. Situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Maumelle Rivers, the 1,000-acre park is filled with trails that snake through piney woods and loop around open grassland. Wildlife is plentiful. We’ve never visited the park and not seen deer. The annual Mud Run takes place in Two Rivers every October.






LOVELY LAKE WILLASTEIN: With a dock for fishing, a path for walking.

Maumelle hitting growth spurt BY FRANK BRADY


t 7:20 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, cars crawled along Maumelle Boulevard. To reach Interstate 430 or Interstate 40, Maumelle residents have to travel the four-lane Maumelle Boulevard. Drivers heading east jockey through the traffic hoping to shave a few minutes off what should normally take 10 minutes to reach the freeway. This is Maumelle, a city just north of the Arkansas River from Little Rock and to the west of North Little Rock, and one of the fastest growing cities in Arkansas in the last decade. Between 2000 and 2010, its population jumped nearly 63 percent, to 17,163. I was one of the people who helped Maumelle grow. Moving from Little Rock, I bought a three-bedroom home

near the city’s Jess Odom Community Center in 2006. I, like thousands of others, was drawn to the city because of the friendly vibe, convenient access to grocery stores and outdoor activities. Maumelle has been accused of being a place built for whites fleeing Little Rock to avoid living next to blacks. But that’s not the case. Years ago, people would have probably said the same thing about Cabot and Conway. Maumelle residents don’t seem to discriminate, and blacks and whites live side by side on the same streets without a second thought. In fact, the black population of Maumelle is 12.1 percent, compared to the statewide average of 15.4 percent, according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau.

What attracts people to the town are the large homes and sprawling yards in quiet neighborhoods and outdoor activities for residents, ranging from a skateboard park to seemingly endless walking trails. From first-time homebuyers to retirees, people are finding their way into the city with street names such as Arnold Palmer, Trevino and Par Drive. But Maumelle isn’t for everyone. Young adults fresh out of college who enjoy the bright lights with bars and a movie theater, might think twice about Maumelle: It has none of those attractions. Home values have remained stable over recent years, unlike some areas in the country that have been hammered

It’s no surprise that businesses and families choose to locate in Maumelle, the fastest growing city in Central Arkansas. First Security Bank is proud to be part of this community and offer its services as a family banking center. Kids Club Savings Accounts offer children valuable and rewarding lessons from an early age. Just $5 opens the account, and prizes are awarded with every deposit. A free coin counter for customers makes it even easier and more profitable for kids to add to their savings accounts. For families who may be purchasing a new home or remodeling an existing one, First Security Mortgage is a fullservice mortgage lender with an experienced staff offering expertise in every area of mortgage lending — from purchase to refinance, for first-time home buyers, and for those who want to build the home of their dreams. They have access to a full range of mortgage sources, and all of their lending specialists are dedicated to finding the right loan — with great rates, terms and costs — to meet each customer’s unique needs. First Security Bank is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.


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by falling housing prices, said Lisa Holloway-Sugg, a real estate agent for Crye-Leike Realtors. The median value of a home in Maumelle was around $195,000 in 2009. And Mayor Michael Watson said he’s encouraged by the number of housing permits. In 2011, 68 permits had been issued through the end of September, just one fewer than in all of 2010. The founding father of Maumelle is Jess P. Odom. Odom’s vision was for the city to include all people from “all socio-economic levels,” said Ed Dozier, Maumelle’s first resident in the early 1970s. Odom, who made his money in the insurance industry, paid about $1 million for the land that would become the city of Maumelle and received funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dozier said. It was one of 13 “New Towns” that popped up across the country in the early 1970s, according to the city of Maumelle. In the 1970s, people started trickling into Maumelle for the same reasons that COMFORTABLE LIVING: At 11 South Shore Circle.


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Nosh on a bagel at Morningside. Arkansas is known more for our donuts when it comes to hole-inthe-middle breads and pastries (big shout-out, Spudnuts in El Dorado!), but that doesn’t mean Central Arkansas is a bagel desert. One place where devotees can get their doughy/ chewy fix is at Maumelle’s Morningside Bagels. There, they serve up that most New Yawk of foods the old-fashioned way, making their own dough in-house, boiling them first (as any bagel fan knows is the right way), then baking to perfection. You can get them in several flavors and toppings, sliced, toasted, with lox or cream cheese, or whatever — and all very cheap. Definitely a treat, not to mention a nearly unique offering in Central Arkansas.



Get a peek at America’s automotive past. We don’t know the story behind the old junkyard on the oh-so-spiffy main drag of Maumelle, but we’d love to hear it. If you’ve driven down Maumelle Boulevard, maybe you’ve seen it: a huge expanse of 1950s and ’60’s American iron — buses, panel trucks, sedans, coupes, maybe even a sports car or two — quietly rusting in peace

in a grove of trees. The lot is for sale now, and something tells us that if the economy wasn’t so in the toilet, somebody would have long since brought in the crushers and made tin cans out of all those shapely old birds. For now, though, slow down a bit and look for it. It’s a blast from the past, and one of the most interesting things to see in Maumelle if you love old cars. Grab lunch at Kierre’s. While it isn’t hard to find a link in some restaurant chain in Maumelle, finding something that’s actually good for lunch is a bit harder. If you’re into diner-style food, it pays to go looking a bit for Kierre’s Country Kitchen, which is tucked back off Maumelle Boulevard at 6 Collins Industrial Place in a nondescript and pretty much windowless metal building across the street from a concrete plant. While the outside is nothing to write home about, a parking lot full of workingmen’s trucks at lunchtime should tell you something about the grub inside: sweet tea, homemade desserts, burgers, sandwiches (including fried bologna!), daily plate lunches, loaded footlongs, and other big, hearty, stickto-your-ribs fare. It’s a greasy little star in the Maumelle culinary firmament. Get your cornbread tossed. Maumelle has grown up around Cock of the Walk, once a destination surrounded by woods and the sound of spring peepers in the pond and now plumb in the middle of the business district. No matter; the fried chicken, hush puppies, cornbread tossed by your waiter, and greens are still as tasty and the ambiance still all comfortable checked-tableclothfamily-noisy.


people come today. “It sits away from the city … and yet it’s close enough for people to live in an almost pristine environment out in the country,” Dozier said. These days, a handful of joggers start their day at 5:30 a.m. at Lake Willastein, a 100-acre park with a 55-acre lake as its centerpiece. Joggers along with bikers and walkers move around the 2-mile cement path around the park, but the trail also snakes its way around the city. The 26-mile route takes walkers through subdivisions and along Maumelle Boulevard to the city’s second lake, Lake Valencia. This lake features a fountain and dock for fishing and is next to the Maumelle Public Library, which is part of the Central Arkansas Library System. 70

DECEMBER 28, 2011


The park also has an amphitheater for such events as the annual Maumelle Family Fest and a skateboard park near the Jess P. Odom Community Center, a magnet for gym rats with an indoor basketball court, walking track and an outside swimming pool. For other outdoor activities, the Maumelle Country Club touts tennis courts and an 18-hole championship golf course. Maumelle is devoid of rundown houses or overgrown yards. In the summer on any of the winding streets, there’s usually a gathering of middleschool children, either talking or playing a game. Their parents are usually close by, mowing the grass or pulling weeds

in their flowerbed. This fall, Maumelle opened the $55 million Maumelle High School. The town’s first high school opened with 900 students. It has a 185-seat room for seminars and a 2,000-seat gymnasium. Education is important to the residents of Maumelle. About half of the city’s population who are over 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Across the state, only 18.3 percent of people have a bachelor’s degree or higher. When the sun sets in Maumelle, the residents who want to enjoy the bar scene go to the River Market district in Little Rock. But there are plenty of places to eat, and a Starbucks just off of Maumelle Boulevard to grab a cup

of coffee. Traffic There’s hope that Maumelle’s traffic will improve in the next couple of years. The city of Maumelle is proposing a new interchange on Interstate 40 which will provide another entry into the city. The interchange is in its early phases, but Watson said he hopes to have a design for a project done by August 2013. In the meantime, Watson said, he will search for funding for the $15 million work. If the interchange is opened, “I’m not going to say that it would make us more attractive. [But] it would alleviate one of the major problems that we have,” Watson said.






AN ENTERTAINMENT ANCHOR: The Argenta Community Theater opened in 2011.

Revival on Main Street BY ERIC FRANCIS


ld houses with tons of character. Local shops with locallyproduced goods. Neighborhood bars and restaurants run by your neighbors. Dedicated trails for biking and walking. A spectacular skyline view — Up until that last bit, you might have been talking about the Hillcrest neighborhood in Little Rock. But hugging the north bank of the Arkansas River in downtown North Little Rock, the Argenta neighborhood has been making the case for being one of the trendiest places to live and play hereabouts — and with no small success. Anchored by a revived Main Street with its historic buildings still intact (a number of them renovated), this dense, urban neighborhood dates back to the early 20th century. West of Main you’ll find about 16 blocks of houses — a frac-

tion the size of many Little Rock neighborhoods, to be sure — many of them Craftsman in style and some quite spectacular. (The 1895 E.O. Manees House on Fourth Street, home to the Junior League of North Little Rock, is the belle dame, but even the more modest homes have touches like stylish architecture, built-in cabinetry with leaded glass and original windows and woodwork.) Plus, the whole area is protected by a local ordinance historic district that requires buildings to maintain a historically correct exterior. It’s not terribly hard to see why Argenta, a neighborhood that also boasts Dickey-Stephens Park, Verizon Arena and the the Millenium Trail along the river, attracts homeowners. As recently as five years ago, the easiest way to buy in Argenta was to know

someone who already lived there. Word that a neighbor was thinking about moving invariably resulted in a race to see who could call one of their house-hunting friends first with the news, and sales were often closed without the house ever actually being put on the market. In fact, that’s exactly how I bought my Argenta home. One of the most telling things about the state of Argenta today is that people are putting a sign in their lawn when they want to sell their house. Realtor and FSBO signs now appear in front yards and turnover is slower; houses can stay on the market for weeks or months. Part of that is due to the terrible nature of the national economy and the fact that banks are still loan-shy. But it’s also true that there are fewer and fewer houses in

The Argenta Arts Foundation, located in the Argenta Arts District, is a local arts agency working to create an environment in which the arts and culture of the region can flourish and prosper. The AAF supports Tales From the South, Thea Foundation, Argenta Community Theater, The Great Arkansas Talent Search, the Little Rock Film Festival, Argenta Film Series, 3rd Friday Art Walk, Argenta Farmers Market, and many other events. The AAF is committed to supporting the visual, performance, landscape and culinary arts in the Argenta Arts District. The Argenta Arts District is easily accessible from all downtown hotels by foot or trolley and has become a premier dining and arts destination. The Argenta Arts District is filled with Art Galleries, Artist Studios, The Thea Foundation, Argenta Community Theater, Chef-driven Restaurants, a Farmer’s Market and Neighborhood Grocery, eclectic shopping, and pocket parks and more to relax and rejuvenate, all within several easily walkable blocks. Visit, www.argentadowntowncouncil. org, to contact us to join Friends of the Arts or “Like” us on Facebook, Argenta Arts District.


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Argenta that you can get at bargain prices, even if they’re fixer-uppers. Property owners understand the value inherent in those structures. But Becky Ragsdale, president of Argenta Neighborhood Boosters, says, “I think we’re actually doing well at the under $200,000 range.” Ragsdale is a former Floridian who lives with her husband, Bob, in a rehabbed brick Craftsman on Sixth Street. Sitting at her dining room table, she quickly ticks off recent sales in the neighborhood. “There’s the brick rent house in the 700 block of Willow; the duplex condo; the Dutch Colonial sold on the day of its first open house; and the Fire Department’s inspector bought the house at Seventh and Orange.” The so-called “duplex condo” — more like two good-sized houses with a shared entry porch — was significant because it’s the first new-home construction in Argenta in more than a decade, and was a high-dollar sale to boot. The last time anyone built from scratch in Argenta was Habitat for Humanity back in the CITY GROVE TOWN HOUSES: John Gaudin development on Maple Street.


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Tales From the South Every Tuesday Night at Starving Artist Cafe

Argenta Community Theater This unique black box theater hosts film, music, plays and many other events

Argenta Film Series In partnership with Little Rock Film Festival Monthly at A.C.T.

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ARGENTA CHECKLIST Soak up the arts. The Argenta Downtown Council and Argenta Arts Foundation have put down a flag in this once-sleepy downtown district and claimed it for the arts. By doing so, Argenta has quickly become one of the most enviable neighborhoods in the state, with 10 artists studios, galleries and between 60 and 80 events per year, including the Third Friday Argenta ArtWalk and Fourth Friday Music Walk. Starving Artist Cafe gets literary once a week with “Tales From the South,” a live dinner-and-a-show event where Southern authors, both famous and emerging, read their work for a live audience and on radio. For young artists, the Thea Foundation nurtures burgeoning painters, and performers, providing them with exhibit and workshop space and scholarships and art supplies.


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Go for a pub crawl. Start at Cregeen’s for whiskey and traditional Irish fare. Move to Reno’s for a great selection of beers, good food and what is quickly becoming a solid venue for live music. You just have to make it one door down to go to Cornerstone and then one more for the upscale Crush Wine Bar (have the delicious cheese plate; wine probably isn’t what you need at that point). Then it’s off to MacDaddy’s for pool, darts and some bar food to absorb the alcohol. A late-night trip to Sidetracks can be FAB-u-lous! Sleep it all off, then head to Argenta Healing Arts in the morning for yoga or a massage to work out all the toxins.

Catch a film/play/concert at the Argenta Community Theater. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in Central Arkansas, it’s that when Bill Clinton and Mary Steenburgen come to open a place, it’s going to be a big deal. Among other events, this 200-seat performance space hosts the opening night film of the Little Rock Film Festival and the Argenta Film Series, a program of local, national and international films, followed by discussions with the filmmakers.


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Walk/ride to fun things. Argenta may not have the celebrated “coffee shops” and red-light district of Amsterdam, but it certainly has the tulips. Stroll down Main Street and see the 140 flowerpots, 40 hanging baskets and 35 flower beds. On Saturdays, stop by the “certified local” farmers market, and buy fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey, soaps, bread, jams, etc. Rent bikes (River Trail Rentals), go cruising (The Arkansas Queen Riverboat), hit a concert (Verizon Arena, where Tom Petty is coming!) and visit an underwater museum (the U.S.S. Razorback at the Maritime Museum). Every great ballpark in America has a nickname and why Dickey-Stephens (home of the AA Arkansas Travelers) hasn’t become known as “The Dick” yet is baffling. That said, it’s one of




Eat. Argenta Market, the independently owned grocery store that specializes in locally-grown produce and products, makes some of the best breakfasts and lunches around. For steaks, both foreign and domestic, head to the Wyndham Hotel and the Riverfront Steakhouse or Benihana. To get your Irish up, try Cregeen’s Irish pub. For buffalo wings and music, head over to Cornerstone Pub and Grill. Starving Artist Cafe does a terrific lunch Tuesday through Saturday, and dinner on Friday and Saturday night. And do yourself a favor and try Ristorante Capeo for gourmet Italian food.

’90s — and that house, which is next door to mine, also sold recently. “I think overall, if something’s for sale in the neighborhood, it’s selling,” she said. “That’s pretty good.” Today, she estimates, houses are selling in the $100 to $105 per square foot range. One of my friends in the neighborhood actually tracks home prices and tells me that from 1994 to 2001 the increase, on average, was 400 percent. Case in point: Her own home, which was acquired by the Argenta Community Development Corporation for less than $15,000 in the early ’90s, cost her $40,000 in 2001, and today she’s selling it for $150,000. Indeed, 10 years ago the Argenta CDC was doing a lot to drive the real estate market here as it bought up neglected properties and bought out landlords. As prices followed the upward trend of property values, many people who’d hung on for years in Argenta decided to cash out, which drew bargain hunters and do-it-yourselfers. But once the resurrection of Argenta became self-sustaining, the CDC wasn’t needed as the primary house rehabilitator anymore. Ragsdale sits on the CDC board and acknowledges that the economy is prompting the nonprofit to change its focus some. For example, a large, mixeduse residential and commercial project proposed for the 700 block of Main Street that was highly touted just a few years ago is now off the table. “We’re trying to sell our property there,” Ragsdale said. But, she said, the need for entry-level affordable housing is still being met in the area, this time just west of Argenta. “There’s a lot of growth and development in Baring Cross. It makes me very hopeful.” Thinking big about Argenta’s future is The Argenta Downtown Council, another nonprofit development agency, which has made its bid to be the provider of vision for the area. Established by developer John Gaudin and staffed by some of the area’s most familiar names — former Twin City Bank exec Donna Hardcastle is the executive director, and long-time Argenta resident Don Chambers is the general manager — the ADC has produced a master plan for the neighborhood. The most sweeping changes it shows are concentrated in the area between Main Street and Interstate 30. That stretch, generally known as East Argenta, has long been the redheaded stepsibling of Argenta proper. Other than the construction of Verizon


(nee Alltel) Arena back in the ’90s, it has been left almost entirely untouched by the nearly 20-year rehabilitation trend the area west of Main has enjoyed. Gaudin has good reason to want to see a second Argenta renaissance east of Main: He owns a whole lot of property there and has spoken often of the potential for this part of the neighborhood. An advocate and practicer of New Urbanism (he lives smack on the corner of Main and Broadway above Cregeen’s Irish Pub, in a building he built and owns), Gaudin has already put his money where his mouth is by developing the CityGrove townhouses along Maple Street. He would love to see the area east of Main reborn as the Mill District, an homage to the old Mountaire Feed Mill at Fourth and Poplar streets that he bought and tore down. But the big picture again intrudes.

has been a major boon to residents who don’t like the 20-minute round trip to the Levy Kroger to get just one thing — and who don’t mind paying smallstore premium prices. And with six bars and restaurants in a two-block stretch drawing diners from a wide swath of the socio-economic scale, finding a bite to eat is never a chore. “We’ve got a neighborhood for all age groups,” says Ragsdale. “Activities for the young, family stuff, the park, bars, the River Market a trolley ride away. And for retirees, they can walk to the grocery store or the drug store.” That walkability, she adds, is one of the best things about Argenta — not just the quiet streets and the nearby River Trail, but the fact there’s someplace to go, like the farmer’s market (in season) and the grocery store. “Sometimes we walk to the [Argenta]

Still, in the grand scheme of neighborhood problems, Argenta’s pretty well off. “I think the neighborhood overall is stable,” said Ragsdale. “I think we’ve held our own in this economic crunch better than many, many neighborhoods. I think Argenta is attractive to a lot of people. We have homes here small enough to support your lifestyle. You

can walk to everything you need.” And, when you get right down to it, lots of good neighbors. “We’re like a little San Francisco here,” Ragsdale said of the live-andlet-live attitude she sees pervading Argenta. “You can be of any political persuasion, any sexual orientation, white or black or polka dot, and people just don’t care.”

participating restaurants eight-dollar lunch

argenta market benihana cornerstone pub & grill cregen’s irish pub reno’s argenta cafe riverfront steakhouse starving artist cafe

twenty-five-dollar dinner


benihana ristorante capeo riverfront steakhouse starving artist cafe

DIVE! DIVE!: Onboard the U.S.S. Razorback.

Just as the national real estate bust cooled the rate of home sales in Argenta, it put the brakes on Gaudin’s initial plan to expand CityGrove along another couple of blocks of Maple. Likewise, there’s not much movement toward realizing the Mill District plan; in fact, Gaudin has placed a number of properties in the neighborhood on the market, including the former mill site itself. The Argenta Downtown Council has asserted, though, that it would be happy to work with new owners interested in taking part in the master plan. While the gentrification of East Argenta still remains a dream, west of Main Street they’re living a lifestyle that wouldn’t seem out of place in Hillcrest. The Third Friday Argenta ArtWalks see crowds up and down Main, perusing artworks under shade pavilions and listening to live music, popping into galleries and shops that take advantage of the extra foot traffic. Argenta Market

Market two or three times a day,” she admitted. So what’s missing? “We need more shops,” Ragsdale said. “A Ten Thousand Villages, a Hallmark, more retail. That would draw more people in. Look at downtown Conway — all those little shops.” Indeed, there are spaces to fill on Main Street, where some storefronts have remained stubbornly empty over the years; that’s been one of the great frustrations for the partisans in Argenta. Ragsdale notes there’s been an uptick in crime lately, though the overall rate in Argenta is still low. Walmart’s plan to open one of its Neighborhood Market grocery stores in Riverdale — not too far a drive on Cantrell — could be detrimental to Argenta Market. Plus, the uncertainty of the master plan’s fate means nobody knows when the next wave of investment needed to draw in even more residents and businesses will happen.

DECEMBER 28, 2011






Park Hill Baptist Church is a staple of life in North Little Rock. In 2012 the church will celebrate 65 years of service to the Lord and the community. Since its founding, many things have come and gone, but the focus and message of the church remain unchanged. Throughout the years, PHBC has been characterized by strong biblical preaching and teaching, joyful praise and worship, and an unwavering commitment to sharing the love of Christ with those near and far. In keeping with its long-standing commitment to missions, the congregation continues its intentional strategy to be “on mission” with God, as evidenced by its ardent support for and involvement in global evangelism. Whether you are a long-time resident or a newcomer to our community, we invite you to join us and discover why so many have come to choose Park Hill Baptist Church as their “home on the hill.”


DECEMBER 28, 2011




THE VIEW ON SKYLINE: From the homes, the city; from the street, the homes.

Learning to love North Little Rock BY JENNIFER BARNETT REED


ny description of North Little Rock’s Park Hill neighborhood will eventually, inevitably, include a comparison to Hillcrest, its better-known cousin south of the river. On the surface, the comparison is apt. Park Hill, which straddles JFK Boulevard from Interstate 40 north to roughly McCain Boulevard, was developed at about the same time as Hillcrest. It’s home to a number of 1920sera houses in the historic district, lots of sidewalks and mature trees, a central thoroughfare lined with locally owned shops. The prospect of owning a Hillcrest-style house in a Hillcrest-esque

neighborhood for roughly half the Hillcrest price is what pushed me past my childhood bias against the north side of the river. My mother was raised in Park Hill and my grandmother lived in Lakewood, the next neighborhood over, when I was a kid, but still, when I was growing up in the ’80s in what is now Midtown Little Rock, North Little Rock might as well have been Mars. No one cool came from North Little Rock, right? Our mall was so much better than theirs. I mean North Little Rock was practically Jacksonville, for the love of God. Yes, I used to tag along with my high school boyfriend to Peaches and the Arkansas

Record Exchange (no CDs back then), but those two oases of hip were the exceptions that proved the rule. A year after my husband and I moved back to Little Rock, though — in 2004, at the height of the real estate boom — we had to face the harsh reality that as much as we loved living in Hillcrest, we couldn’t afford to buy a house there, and neither could we bear to live in our crappy apartment with our Jerry Springer Show neighbors one more second than we absolutely had to. A cookie-cutter starter house in West Little Rock was out of the question, so my husband told me to stop being a closed-minded idiot and we started



looking in Park Hill. What we found, besides a perfectly charming 1924 bungalow with a huge front porch and a wonderfully roomy, flat backyard listed for $85 a square foot, is a neighborhood that, kind of like North Little Rock as a whole, just does its own thing. There is a variety of architecture in Park Hill that doesn’t seem to exist in many other neighborhoods, for one. Craftsman bungalows and stone English Revivals from the 1920s sit next to post-WWII frame tract houses from the 1940s, ranches from the 1950s and ’60s, and, mixed in among the rest, some truly one-of-a-kind works of art that I never tire of walking past no matter how many years I’ve lived here. My two favorites: a house on Skyline that appears to be made of three cylinders kind of squashed together, and one on Goshen that someone who


knows more about architecture than I do might describe as mid-century modern, all stark white and vertical lines with a playful turquoise front door. And in the next neighborhood over, Lakewood — a lovely if more homogenous area that is technically within walking distance if you can hack the hike up Snake Hill — there is a structure that I call the Parabola House. Picture picking up a square piece of paper by two opposite corners so those corners point up, then bending the other two opposite corners so they point down — that’s what the Parabola House looks like, plus a crow’s nest and a couple other random oddities. I would set up a tent in the street and stare at it all day long if I weren’t afraid of being arrested. (In fact, Park Hill’s proximity to Lakewood is a major selling point, especially if you want to pay the annual fee to join the Lakewood Property Owners

Association, which gets you access to a great park, a swimming pool, fishing and boating in the neighborhood’s six lakes, discounted rentals of a pavilion and a clubhouse, etc. Enjoying the lake views while you walk/jog/bike is free.) All the different styles and sizes (and price points) of houses in Park Hill have attracted just as diverse a group of residents — socioeconomically, racially to some degree, and, judging from the yard signs during election years, politically as well. My nearest neighbors are a young single woman in a small frame house, an older lady in a ranch, a couple in their 50s with a passel of grandchildren the same age as my kids in a beautifully detailed stone English Revival designed by architect James Carmean; another couple in their 50s in a gorgeous flat-roofed glass-walled modern house that kind of disappears into the ravine, and a woman and her

two grown children in a bungalow just like ours. Park Hill is a front-yard kind of neighborhood — people don’t hide behind giant garages and privacy fences. And we don’t have the kind of petty crime that comes with the territory in a lot of older neighborhoods. Thanks to a group of skittish voters 40-some-odd years ago, we don’t have the vibrant entertainment district, either. There is plenty of retail along JFK, and it’s just as diverse as the neighborhood’s residents: upscale home decor boutiques, bridal shops, a furniture rental place, a Schlotzky’s, an art gallery, a Razorbacks memorabilia store, three gas stations and a tire shop, among others. But residents of the voter precincts that straddle JFK Boulevard from Skyline to Kierre voted themselves dry back in the 1960s rather CONTINUED ON PAGE 79

DECEMBER 28, 2011




DECEMBER 28, 2011




Walk, skate, roll, tumble, sled, or otherwise descend Snake Hill. If there’s a steeper, twistier stretch of road in Central Arkansas, we don’t know where. Think Cantrell Hill condensed into a single block. And forget we mentioned skating. That’s probably a bad idea. Enjoy the adult beverage of your choice on the patio at U.S. Pizza. Housed in a converted historic stone

than face the prospect of a single liquor store opening near JFK and McCain, and because of that — and possibly also because JFK is just not as friendly to pedestrian and slow-moving vehicular traffic as Kavanaugh Boulevard is — Park Hill suffers from a pronounced lack of the kind of restaurants and night spots that make Hillcrest, the Heights and these days Argenta so distinctive. It’s not like you have to drive 40 miles to have a glass of wine with your dinner, though, and Argenta is just a couple of miles down the road, so I don’t consider it a fatal flaw. That’s another nice thing about Park Hill — it’s close to everything, and there’s almost always a back way to get there that’ll keep you out of the traffic snarls on McCain. North Little Rock has pretty much all the conveniences of Little Rock, just more compact: My house is half a block from one park and two blocks from another, four blocks from good fudge, six blocks from the onramp to I-40/I-30, one mile from Hobby Lobby and Shipley’s, two and a half miles from Barnes and Noble and Argenta Market, and four miles from both downtown Little Rock and Lowe’s. The only place that feels far away is West Little Rock, and now that we have an Indian restaurant north of the river, I can’t find much reason to mind.

mer Shake’s franchise, which added hotdogs to the menu when it went independent a couple of years ago.

mansion, this is undoubtedly the nicest link in the U.S. Pizza chain, thanks to its beginnings as a fine-dining establishment called Aydelotte’s. It inherited the private club permit as well as the decor, so it’s also the only place in Park Hill where you can legally buy yourself a drink. Bonus: the spacious front patio has plenty of room for restless kids to roam while you’re waiting on your pizza. Pick up the latest issue of Detective Comics at Collector’s Edition. You went to see “The Dark Knight,” the live-action comic book that’s not at all nerdy to love, so now embrace your inner geek and go all the way. Comic stores like these are a dying breed, a place where you can walk the aisles and feed that part of your childhood that didn’t quite die away — or, if you’d prefer, they’ve got grown-up stories too. Where else can you drop a few bucks and see a grown man dressed like a bat shoot a

Take a breather on a bench by Lake No. 1 on a sunny fall day. The tree-colored hillside across the lake from the park on Waterside Drive turns a riotous mix of orange and yellow and red in a good year, and it’s doubly gorgeous reflected in the lake when the sun’s shining. Just steer clear of the geese — those suckers are mean.


god with a time bullet? Grab a wiener and a sundae at Scoop Dog. Walk up or drive through this for-

Take a stroll along Skyline Drive. Park Hill’s southernmost street was originally reserved for high-dollar homes when development began in the neighborhood, and while there are some more modest homes on the street now, there’s still plenty to look at, and no two houses are alike. Plus, you can catch a nice view of downtown Little Rock between the houses on the south side of the street.


DECEMBER 28, 2011



Have a burger and a shake at Frostop. It’s not quite the neighborhood institution it once was — its current locale in a strip center a couple of blocks down JFK lacks about 98 percent of the personality and charm of the now-razed original location with its landmark giant rootbeer mug — but the burgers are still big and greasy, the fries multitudinous and the menu still a strange mash-up of American diner and Greek food festival.




Dale Stock, owner and operator of Chick-fil-A at 4320 E. McCain Blvd. (on the Lowe’s parking lot) is dedicated to the community he serves. Stock opened the location in 2010 and has enjoyed a steady stream of guests and catering jobs to hospitals and clinics, schools and local businesses. Stock is a major sponsor of the Lakewood Property Owners’ Association, supplying the microsoccer league with uniforms, sponsoring a youth baseball team and providing trophies to the league. He’s also hosted several kids’ nights at the Lakewood pool. Chick-fil-A is equally involved in neighborhood schools. Both public and private schools have benefitted from Stock’s love of kids and his wish for them to be successful in life. Stock is also involved with many civic and non-profit organizations in the area including the NLR Junior League, the American Heart Association, NLR Chamber of Commerce and more. Those who serve our country also benefit from the good will. Chick-fil-A supports the “Wounded Warriors” program as well as providing food for several squads at the Air Force Base. Stock’s vision is to be known as the friendliest, most involved business in the community.


DECEMBER 28, 2011




THE OLD MILL: Gins up lots of visits by brides, tourists and “Gone with the Wind” fans.

Planned, lakeside living B Y JA N I E G I N O C C H I O


’ve spent most of my adult life as a vagabond of sorts, living in such diverse areas as New York and Paragould, Ark., and everywhere in between. I recently settled into a two bedroom, two-bath apartment on McCain Boulevard in Lakewood, and I’d be hard-pressed to name a more ideal location in terms of convenience in Central Arkansas. If I felt inclined to take my life in my own hands and dodge the traffic on McCain, I could easily walk to Kroger, Lakewood Village and even McCain Mall. Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s — along with a selection of restaurants that run the gamut from fast food to upscale steakhouses — are just a couple of traffic lights away. As an added bonus, it takes me 15 minutes to get to my job in downtown

Little Rock during peak rush hour, and I’m minutes away from Interstates 30 and 40 and Highway 67/167. A short drive to John F. Kennedy Boulevard can take me either to Argenta or Indian Hills and Sherwood, depending on which way I decide to turn. When my toddler reaches school age, I can walk her to Lakewood Elementary, just down Fairway from the apartment complex, although by then, I’m hoping to own a house there. The houses in Lakewood come in a variety of styles, from modest ranchstyle homes to large brick-and-glass structures that overlook one of the neighborhood’s six lakes. The lots are fairly large for the most part, and one of the original selling points was the hilly, rocky terrain and mature trees in the area.

“A considerable number of homeowners may be expected to follow the trend away from the formality of sodded lawns and tailored shrubbery,” according to a sales flyer from the 1950s, a copy of which can be found in the North Little Rock History Commission’s archives. According to Cary Bradburn’s book, “On the Opposite Shore: The Making of North Little Rock,” real estate developer Justin Matthews — who’s also credited with helping develop Park Hill and Sylvan Hills — started developing the 2,000 wooded acres now known as Lakewood, building six lakes and dams, in 1932. The Old Mill, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, was built in 1933. Designed by concrete sculpture craftsman Dionicio



Rodriguez to replicate a water-powered grist mill from the 1880s, it was featured in the opening sequence of “Gone with the Wind.” Rodriguez’s work was renovated in 1991 by Carlos Cortes, one of Rodriguez’s grandsons. The Matthews Co. transferred ownership of the Old Mill to the city of North Little Rock in 1976, and it is maintained by the Pulaski County Master Gardeners and the North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department. Lakewood’s first residential lot was sold in 1947, and the first 40 homes were built near Lake No. 1, according to news reports at the time. The average home price was $6,000. Matthews’ son, John P. Matthews, took over Lakewood’s development, creating “rolling wooded homesites amidst 200 acres of private lakes and parks,” according to marketing materials. Lakewood was a planned community, locating office and commercial buildings on main thoroughfares like McCain and designing residential streets in a way that discourages through traffic. “It is exceptional that so large an area is being laid out as a unit, making it possible to incorporate every worth-while feature of contemporary


NEIGHBORHOOD SOCCER: Lakewood kids play in their own backyard.

WINTER WALK: In a planned community of “rolling wooded homesites.”

community planning,” according to the 1950s-era sales flyer. The city of North Little Rock annexed Lakewood in 1951. At the time, the neighborhood had 4,000 residents. In the late 1960s, development began on Heritage Park, which was John Matthews’ answer to Little Rock’s exclusive Edgehill neighborhood,

according to a 2004 Arkansas Business article by George Waldon. This 41-home development is described as a “treeenshrouded enclave with estate-sized lots” with massive homes. Among Lakewood’s amenities are McGee Park, which has a baseball/ softball complex and swimming pool; two pavilions; a tennis center, a

basketball court and an activity center that can be rented for events. Lake No. 1 is known as the skiing lake, Lake No. 2 is used mostly for fishing and Lake No. 3 is the swimming lake. The other three lakes range from two to six acres. There are also parks and walking trails along each of the lakes. CONTINUED ON PAGE 83

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Located on E. McCain Blvd. (on the Lowe’s parking lot) Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 6:30 AM to 10 PM



Take a walk around Lake No. 3. The adjacent park and the lake itself are private, but you don’t need a property owners association membership card to stroll around this picturesque lake, the only one in the neighborhood that isn’t at least partially obscured by private homes. It’s a popular spot — no matter what time of day you come, you’ll likely be sharing the sidewalk with babies in strollers, joggers and older folks taking their daily constitutional. Benches on Fairway Avenue provide an ideal spot to rest and enjoy the view of Lake No. 3 on the north side and the Old Mill on the south side.

shore Drive. Its claim to fame may be marginal — it appeared in the opening credits of the movie “Gone with the Wind” — but it’s a lovely little place in its own right. Justin Matthews, the developer who built Lakewood, commissioned the structure in the early 1930s. He wanted something that looked old and abandoned, just like the actual 19th-century water-powered gristmills that dotted the state, and that would fit into the natural contours of the land. Sculptor Dionicio Rodriguez created a number of lifelike concrete pieces for the Old Mill, including toadstools, tree stumps and a footbridge made to look like an old tree had simply fallen down over the water. It’s a great place for a picnic with kids — plenty of trails and hidey-holes for the young ones to explore while the older folks relax and take in the views — and for any occasion that calls for a scenic background for pictures (about 200 couples a year get married at the Old Mill, and it’s a popular spot for high school students’ senior photos as well). The heavily landscaped park is especially beautiful in spring.

Speaking of the Old Mill … North Little Rock’s most famous tourist attraction is tucked into a ravine that straddles the northernmost finger of Lake No. 2, at Fairway and Lake-

Shop and eat. McCain Boulevard is the nucleus of North Little Rock’s retail community, and the stretch that runs through Lakewood — between JFK Boulevard and Highway 67/167 — is the nucleus of the nucleus. Scratch your department store itch at McCain Mall, where the options include Dillard’s, JCPenney, Sears and a host of

A membership fee is required to get full access to all of Lakewood’s facilities. Residents can choose between a fullaccess family membership, a boating/ fishing membership or a tennis-only membership, all of which vary in price. Non-residents are limited to an associate membership that grants access to all facilities for $275 a year. The Lakewood Property Owners Association also hosts youth sports leagues for soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis and swimming. There’s a strong sense of community among Lakewood residents, with the property owners association sponsoring numerous community events throughout the year, including picnics, a winter polar bear plunge in one of the lakes and a visit from Santa during the holidays. In addition to the single-family homes, Lakewood House, a high-rise apartment building, was built in 1969. There’s also Lakewood Hills, a more

traditional apartment complex, built in 1984. McCain Mall, built in 1973, is the second largest enclosed shopping mall in Central Arkansas, with JCPenney, Sears and Dillard’s as its anchors. It’s currently undergoing a facelift that includes upgrading the exterior and more prominent signage. Just down from the mall is Lakewood Village, an open-air center that could be considered a prototype of the “lifestyle” centers that are currently popular. Built in 1986 by Matthews and General Properties, the center floundered for several years before developer J.D. Ashley (who built the Indian Hills Shopping Center) and his sons, J.D. Jr. and Rick, purchased the struggling property. The Ashleys made Lakewood Village a success and the center now houses a variety of restaurants and specialty shops, along with a movie theater and one of the highest-grossing restaurants in the state.

the evening with a movie or a game of pool at the Fox and Hound. In between, you can peruse dozens of shops, including Steinmart, Books-A-Million, Bedford Camera and Video, Plato’s Closet and more. Lakewood Village is also home to one of the last remaining TCBY locations in Central Arkansas.

other mall staples. Next door, Lakewood Village provides a more eclectic, open-air experience, with stores and restaurants built in a giant circle around a central fountain/amphitheater/playground. You can start at Panera for breakfast, have lunch at Five Guys burgers or Georgia’s Gyros, and dine at Taste of India or Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill, and finish




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DECEMBER 28, 2011


A GEM OF A PLACE: Emerald Park, overlooking Baring Cross and the old Big Rock Quarry.

Durable as the stuff in a hardware store B Y D AV I D K O O N


een from the Interstate, on the way from somewhere to somewhere, Levy looks picturesque, even pretty, nestled in the bowl of a valley west of North Little Rock’s Park Hill, a patchwork of rooftops sticking up above the trees. Once you get off the freeway, you can see that Levy is really a town within a town. It’s a working-class place, as it has been since the start — plain, honest, maybe even a little gritty. Many of the businesses that anchored the community for years, like Venable Lumber Co., are boarded up or gone. For a lot of people, it’s a middle place now, somewhere they drive through to get else-

where, someplace they leave at quitting time, someplace they live but want to leave when they can afford better. The best symbol of Levy these days might be the monolithic overpass which leaves a swath of the old downtown buried in shadow a good bit of the day. That said, while older businesses have moved on, others — many of them catering to the area’s growing Latino population — have sprung up: Mexican grocery stores, restaurants, and a Latinopatronized billiard parlor downtown. There are still old-line businesses there, still people there, folks who say they’re in for the duration. And if a neighborhood isn’t about the determination to

stay, to make something new from the old, then what is it? The town of Levy was started by Ernest Stanley, a young businessman who opened a hardware and grocery store there in 1897, near a field where farmers often camped while bearing their crops to market in Little Rock and points east. Morris Levy, a German-Jewish shopkeeper from Little Rock who later opened a successful dry-goods store in nearby Argenta, had provided Stanley with enough money to start his new store, so Stanley named the town that grew up around it after him. North Little Rock was apparently hot to annex Levy nearly from the beginning, so Levy


incorporated in 1917 to try and cling to municipal independence. They couldn’t stop progress or the expanding borders of their neighboring city, however, and Levy was officially annexed into North Little Rock in 1947. The hardware store started by Ernest Stanley is still in Levy, if you can believe it, making it one of the oldest continuously-operated businesses in Central Arkansas. It’s not in the same place as the first incarnation (that spot is occupied by a gas station under the interstate overpass now), but it’s still the same name out front in the latest location at 4308 MacArthur Drive. People drive in from miles around to shop at Stanley; to get their mowers worked on, their chainsaws sharpened, to buy bags of framing nails, canning jars, jar lifters, sandpaper on rolls, draw knives, oil cans straight out of “The Wizard of Oz,” cast iron skillets, pocket knives, and woodworker’s spoke shaves in two sizes: small and large. A big black and white cat — which the clerks have named, perhaps inevitably, Stanleycat — came in from the cold a few years back. They didn’t have the heart to put her out, so she stayed, sleeping amongst the cans of paint and prowling the aisles. The clerks know most of the customers by name, just like clerks before them knew many of the current customers’ fathers by name. It’s that kind of place. There aren’t many like it anymore, in this world of Faster/Cheaper trumping all. Jeff Dumboski bought Stanley from the third-generation owner in 2005. Dumboski grew up in Levy, and remembers coming to Stanley with his dad. Levy back then was a whole different world. “It was nice,” he said. “Everybody got along with everybody. You could ride your bike everywhere you wanted to go, you didn’t get hassled, you didn’t get messed with. You knew all the neighbors on your street, and even the neighbors a few streets over from you.” His mother still lives in the same house he grew up in, he said, but only knows a few of her neighbors. People have moved away over the years, many of their houses going to rental property. Dumboski said that people come to Stanley because of the service. He didn’t set out to own a hardware store, he said, it just kind of happened that way. His heart’s still in his hometown. “I still believe in Levy,” he said. “There’s still a lot of the old folks around who I remember as a kid. I still see them in here. The rental business, which is a CONTINUED ON PAGE 87

POUNDS OF FLESH: To be had at Hogg’s, 49 years in business.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


We’re just the right fit.


Wherever you are in life, wherever you are in Central Arkansas, we’re just the right fit for you. Visit us at to find classes that fit your busy schedule. 3000 West Scenic Drive • North Little Rock, AR 72118 • (501) 812-2200

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DECEMBER 28, 2011



LEVY/BARING CROSS CHECKLIST stuffed pork chops, ribs, chicken tenders, marinades, rubs and sauces. Definitely a destination if you’re passionate about good ingredients, or just need some quality flesh for a cookout.


Take a hike at Emerald Park. Located just behind Pulaski Technical College and centered around the old Big Rock Quarry (the former location of the Big Rock on the river that served as a landmark counterpoint to the Little Rock

Get your carnivore on at Hogg’s. Hogg’s Catering and Meat Market is the way people used to buy their meat: friendly, service-oriented, familyowned, and with employees who know backwards and forwards (not to mention inside and out) anything that goes moo, cluck or oink. Vegetarians should probably be required to stay 500 feet from the building, but for the rest of us, a trip to Hogg’s is a trip to carnivore heaven, with cases full of thick steaks,

Have a brew at My Friend’s Place. There is something just about perfect about My Friend’s Place, a neighborhood pub frequented by a very low-key, mature and friendly crowd from Levy and nearby Camp Robinson. We stopped in for a brew on a Saturday night a few months back, and really fell in love with the place — one of those little joints that look exactly the way you imagine a local bar should. They’ve got a karaoke machine, a nice menu of pub grub, a full bar, and the beer is always cold and cheap. What more can you ask for?

lot of Levy now, is good for business.” Across town from Stanley is another old-line business that plans on staying: Hogg’s Meat Market. Inside are all the flavors of the fleshy rainbow. Steaks thick as “War and Peace.” Raw, smoked, peppered and sugar-glazed hams. Butterflied pork chops overflowing with stuffing. Big bags of chicken tenders, made in-house. Everything but the moo, oink and cluck. Vegetarians need not apply. Just to keep everything honest and up front, one whole wall of Hogg’s is covered by a long mural, a herd of placid cattle being driven to market on one end, while a herd of fat pigs roots under idyllic hills on the other. Mike Hogg, who took over from his father, runs the place. Hogg’s has been in North Little Rock for 49 years, and in its current location at 4520 Camp Robinson Road since 1976. Like Dumboski at Stanley Hardware, Hogg said it’s the small-town service that keeps people coming back. “If somebody wants something cut special, we’re able to do it,” he said. “Lots of people have their family recipes for sausage, and we can do that. We’ve got lots of customers that bring their sausage seasoning in or bring a recipe, and we’ll make their sausages for them.” Hunt-

ers from all over Arkansas and even Texas send their kills to Hogg’s to be made into their special venison jalapeno and cheese summer sausage. Hogg said he’s watched the meat business shrink since taking over the business. When he was learning the trade from his dad, there were 1,500 independent meat-packing houses in Arkansas. Now there are none. He used to sell whole barbecued hogs, but the closest whole pig he can get now resides in Iowa. Hogg hopes people will spend their money at small businesses, and tries to do the same. He goes to Wal-Mart once a year, he said, to help his grandson spend the gift cards he gets at Christmas. A few weeks back, Hogg said, he was throwing a party for one of his sons, and went to a local liquor store to buy some wine and a dozen thirty-packs of beer. When he stepped to the register, the clerk spoke up. “She said, ‘You need to go to the gas station to get your beer. It’s a whole lot cheaper.’ ” Hogg recalls. “I said: ‘No ma’am, Doug’s my neighbor. He buys his meat from me, and I’m going to buy my beer from him. I don’t give a damn how much it is.’ ” And that, friends, is how you keep a

community alive. Equally venerable is the neighborhood of Baring Cross, west of Pike Avenue and south of Levy. The blue collar neighborhood, once home to Vestal commercial nurseries, was settled in the 1870s by the families of railroad men working at the Iron Mountain (now Union Pacific) yards and got its name from the Baring Cross railroad bridge (named for the financiers, the Baring Brothers and Judge John Cross). Cut off from the rest of North Little Rock, Baring Cross wasn’t part of the city until 1905, and it’s always had its own flavor. The late humorist John Fergus Ryan, in his “Argenta Memoir,” recalled his ramshackle house, saying his garage moved closer to the house every time the clothesline was tightened. Drive through Baring Cross today and you’ll see more stable home construction, attractive one-story Craftsman-styled homes built with federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. An apartment-retail-restaurant development, Rockwater Village, is going up along the River Trail. Be careful getting there though: Baring Cross is also home to North Little Rock’s first roundabout intersection, and it’s a doozy.


that gave the capital city its name), Emerald Park is Exhibit A of one of the coolest things about Little Rock and North Little Rock: Even when you’re downtown, you’re at best 20 minutes from a place where you can immerse yourself wholly in nature. Featuring a one-mile walking trail, 135 wooded acres, and some of the best views of the Little Rock skyline and the Arkansas River from the bluffs, Emerald Park is definitely a hidden gem.

Get around to it at Stanley Hardware. Need a thing-a-majig, whatsit or dealybob to repair something around the house? Stanley Hardware has probably got it, and they have people who know what the hell they’re talking about. In continuous operation since 1897, Stanley is one of the oldest businesses in Central Arkansas, and is quite literally the reason Levy exists in the first place. They’ve got a penny scale, a live-in cat, and can fix you up no matter what you’re fixing up. It’s worth stopping in just to soak up the hardware store ambiance.



Try some barbecue at the Dixie Pig. In business since 1923 — the original outlet was in Blytheville, with the Levy location opening in 1983 — the Dixie Pig is one of those old-line barbecue joints mostly frequented by locals, but which everybody should probably visit a time or three. Very friendly, very homey, and with an old-timey vibe you’re just not going to get from most barbecue joints.

Services & Collection • Books, DVDs, Audiobooks, CDs, and more • Internet access • Word processing • Downloadable audiobooks and eBooks • Voter registration • Passport Application Processing • In-house coffee shop/café • Contemporary Teen Center • Museum quality exhibit hall • Free public notary • Fax Service • Rentable meeting rooms HOURS: Mon-Thur: 9am – 9pm (Children’s Dept Closes at 8pm) Fri-Sat: 9am – 5pm Sun: 1pm – 5pm (Closed Sundays during summer, Memorial Day – Labor Day) 2801 Orange Street North Little Rock, AR 72114 Phone: (501) 758-1720 Fax: (501) 758-3539

Argenta Branch

Services & Collection • Books, DVDs, Audiobooks, CDs, and more • Internet access • Word processing • Downloadable audiobooks and eBooks • Voter registration • Fax Service HOURS: Mon-Sat: 10am – 6pm 506 Main Street North Little Rock, AR 72114 Phone: (501) 687-1061 Fax: (501) 687-1063

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Arts Entertainment








t’s that time of year again, when we adorn ourselves in our most festive, shimmering finery and our most humorously oversized glitterencrusted novelty glasses and top hats so that we can get gouged on cover charges by industrious promoters who know it’s likely their only shot all year at wringing a bit of filthy lucre from all of you 9-to-5 stiffs who only go out once every 365 days. But hey, there’s probably a plastic flute full of tepid bubbly in it for you, and if you’re lucky, a New Year’s kiss from your sweetheart or failing that, a probably harmless stranger. Besides, who cares if the cover charges are a little higher? It’s New Year’s Eve fer Pete’s sake, don’t be such a cheapskate. Go out and have some fun and drink some drinks and get all covered in confetti, but just make sure to call a cab or have a designated driver to get you home again. Here’s a rundown of New Year’s Eve parties: If you’re looking for a New Year’s celebration filled with unbridled rock ’n’ roll, Stickyz has your ticket, with Fayetteville’s Benjamin del Shreve, Careworn and Belair. It’s an 18-and-older show, 9 p.m., $15. Conway Boyz Productions presents “The Arkansas New Year’s Eve Party,” including DirtyRob, DJs Aone, Flying Brian, Chucci Da Basegod Tarintino and more, going down at Michelangelo’s Italian Ristorante in Conway, 10 p.m., $15. Over at the White Water Tavern, you can greet 2012 with a big dose of Big Silver, 10 p.m., a very reasonable $5. Porter’s Jazz Cafe hosts a party with the On Call Band, 9 p.m., $35 per person or $65 per couple adv., $40 and $75, respectively, at the door, includes champagne toast, balloon drop and party favors. Or you can reserve a table, $100 for two, $190 for four or $280 for six, includes a bottle of champagne, 88

DECEMBER 28, 2011


chocolate covered strawberries, appetizer sampler and party favors. Revolution hosts Fireball 6: The ’80s Party, with the final performance from Memphis party band The Venus Mission, 9 p.m., $15. Flying DD — which bills itself as The Sports Bar with Balls — has a night of raging hard rawk featuring Four on the Floor, 9 p.m., $10, includes champagne toast. In Hot Springs, Maxine’s hosts a diverse musical lineup, with Blue Screen Skyline, From Which We Came, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth and Stiff Necked Fools, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 door. If you want to catch Nashville-based Cody Belew & The Mercers while they’re still in town, get out to Cajun’s Wharf. The cover charge includes party favors, an appetizer buffet from 7 p.m. to midnight and a midnight champagne toast, doors open at 7 p.m., $25. The Afterthought will probably pack the place out with local rock ’n’ roll favorites The Goodtime Ramblers, 9 p.m., $20. At Juanita’s, the classic rock- and blues-loving outfit Katmandu plays downstairs, while the upstairs hosts B-Level, doors at 9 p.m., $25 adv., $30 d.o.s. The Tavern Sports Grill has that most elusive phenomenon: the New Year’s Eve party with no cover charge. Includes music from After Eden and drink specials all night, 9 p.m. Flying Saucer sends 2011 into deep space with Mayday by Midnight, 9 p.m., $25. Sway hosts “Minutes to Midnight,” which boasts a VIP package including complimentary hors d’oeuvres, express red carpet entry and ever-flowing champagne fountains. General admission includes a midnight toast, balloon and confetti drop, laser light

show, live video recording, complimentary mix tape and party favors and more, 9 p.m. $15 general entry, $35 for VIP package. At Cregeen’s, greet 2012 with The Fragile Elite, 8 p.m., $10 with champagne toast. Mojo Music Management presents a jam-tastic New Year’s Eve Bash with performances from FreeVerse, Interstate Buffalo and Justin Bank & The Knights of Pulaski at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $15-$25. The Peabody has a giant New Year’s Eve concert, with music from Tragikly White, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers, Epiphany and Tomorrow Maybe, Tre’ Day, plus DJs g-force and Brandon Peck, 9 p.m., $45 adv., $55 d.o.s. There’s also a special Duck Master VIP package available, which includes a four-hour open bar and breakfast snacks for $150 and overnight room packages starting at $230 per couple. Shooter’s Sports Bar & Grill has Mr. Happy, 7 p.m., $10 including a champagne toast. Reel in 2012 at Denton’s Trotline with local country stalwart Ryan Couron, 9 p.m., $25 including a champagne toast. Discovery Nightclub hosts “Under the Bigtop,” featuring DJs Ewell, Jared, Crawley, JMZ Dean, and Mistery, with performers Dominique and others, 9 p.m., $15, includes champagne or well drink of your choice. The club is also giving away a pair of Cotton Bowl tickets. If you happen to be up in Boone County, you can party like it’s 1929 at the Harrison New Year’s Eve celebration. The event includes music from The Cate Brothers, food from several area restaurants, dancing, and, for the first time, alcoholic beverages. It’s going down at the 1929 Hotel Seville, 9 p.m., $20 single, $30 couple, with hotel packages starting at $235.







9 p.m. Stickyz.

So the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is coming up, and it’s the 20th anniversary of the event. That’s a lot of bands over the years, and the crew here at Times HQ decided it’d be kinda cool to put together a show with some of the previous years’ winners. The Big Cats (1997 champs) probably need no introduction, but just in case, the band’s been playing hook-filled rock ’n’ roll for nearly as long as the showcase has been around and just released “The Ancient Art of Leaving: High & Low,” the first of a two-part album. Adrian Tillman — a.k.a. 607 (2008 winner) — is the tireless renaissance man of the Central Arkansas hip hop scene, whose latest album, “Yik3s!” came out this fall. Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth took the prize in 2010 with their burly, awesomely vulgar power-pop gems. It’s an 18-and-older show, so you can bring along your little cousin, sibling, niece or nephew who’s home from college over the winter break. The 2012 showcase starts Jan. 26. The entries have been rolling in, and we’ll let you know early next month which acts made the semi-finals.



NIGHTFLYING PARTY: Tyrannosaurus Chicken is among the acts playing Nightflying’s 31st birthday bash at Stickyz Wednesday night.



7 p.m. Stickyz. $10.

Good old Nightflying magazine is celebrating its 31st anniversary with — what else? — a gigantic rock show. The publication has had a few other birthday blowouts in recent weeks, in Hot Springs and Fort Smith, and now, in

Little Rock. The lineup for the capital city show includes Grateful Dead tribute artists The Schwag, long-running folk duo Trout Fishing in America, psych-blues cosmonauts Tyrannosaurus Chicken, party band par excellence Tragikly White, the blues stalwarts in The Joe Pitts Band, R&B and blues from Salt & Pepper and, of course, the man himself, publisher Peter Read. The Point 94.1’s Jeff Allen will serve as master of ceremonies.


8 p.m. Revolution. $6.

Remember all those hideous Christmas sweaters you always got from Aunt Matilda (even though you specifically asked her for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Gameboy)? Well, let’s hope you hung on to at least one of those awful things, because here’s

where that crummy gift can finally come in handy. Wear your most dreadful holiday abomination and bring at least two nonperishable food items to this all-ages show, a benefit for Arkansas Food Bank. You can also catch some tunes from Booyah! Dad, The Ginsu Wives, Ezra Lbs., Many Persian Z’s and The Alpha Ray.



WINNERS CIRCLE: 607 plays a show with other past Times Musicians Showcase winners The Big Cats and Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth.

DECEMBER 28, 2011





FRIDAY 12/30


9 p.m. Downtown Music Hall. $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after.

This is the last Cool Shoes dance party this year, and it’s an all-ages affair, with DJs Wolf-eWolf, Kichen, Rysk and Cam Holifield pumping out the music, as well as a free party photo booth and promises of special surprises all night. I’ll go ahead and cop to not totally “getting” contemporary electronic dance music. A lot of it sounds like squeaky, squiggly bad-trip nightmare videogame music to my delicate old-man ears, which nowadays can’t handle anything more raucous than early Wilco. Just kidding. But in all seriousness, last week, Rock Candy reader “furobertbell” reminded me of something via the comments section: “Robert, you have for the umpteenth time made it abundantly clear that you like only what YOU like and are truly no real fan of music.” Presumably it’s bad to only like the music you like. You should also like the music you don’t like. Furthermore, my “write ups are either bitter, closed minded reflections of something you have NO business covering or a very sad attempt

at humor.” Wow. Harsh, but completely, 100 percent true. So it was with that withering indictment in mind that I endeavored to check out some of this electro/dubstep/moombahton/what-haveyou. I certainly don’t like it, and probably have NO business covering it, so it would be a natural fit for my column. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Soundcloud. I found a lot of stuff that didn’t seem that far off from Black Dice or Excepter or Wolf Eyes or various other noise and experimental acts I’ve enjoyed over the years. I listened to some mixes by Wolf-e-Wolf and Kichen and I’ll be damned if I didn’t end up liking several of them quite a bit. In particular, I thought Kichen’s track “HORRORS” was rad — it was jarring and brutal and felt like your brain was being jackhammered. Plus I’m told that the Cool Shoes folks have a colossal sound system and that it’s all about getting your innards jostled by the massive bass. So props to commenter furobertbell. Thanks to him or her, I finally like some music that I don’t like. But wait — if I didn’t like it, but now I like it, then that means I’m back to only liking the music that I like. Dagnabbit!

LET IT RIP: New Orleans cow-punk lifers Dash Rip Rock tear it up at Stickyz Friday, Dec. 30.

FRIDAY 12/30


9:30 p.m. Stickyz. $6.


DECEMBER 28, 2011


Of all the bands that have had the “cow-punk” label pinned to them over the years, none of them lived up to that description more than South Louisiana’s Dash Rip Rock. For a good primer on the band’s overall sound, check out “Hits and Giggles” from back in 2000. It’s got 23 compact little ditties perfect for getting hopped up on cheap hooch and going out to raise some hell. “Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot” is a Gen-X update of “Let’s Go to the Hop” that name-checks every Lollapalooza-bound band of the day, with just a hint of punk-rock disdain. The band has progressed from those early roots-rock ragers, though. Take, for example, 2007’s “Hee Haw Hell,” a concept record about a hillbilly who dies while partying and makes purgatorial layovers in the various circles of Hell, including a world where “Punk Rock Never Happened,” which bears an unsettling resemblance to our own. Despite some lineup changes, Dash Rip Rock has been at it forever, so if you like hanging out at that amphetamineaddled intersection where punk rock and country meet, get into a dustup and then make nice and become best friends, don’t miss this chance to see one of the genre’s originators.



Local supergroup Amasa Hines includes members of Velvet Kente and The Romany Rye, 10 p.m. at White Water Tavern. Mayday by Midnight plays an acoustic set at Markham Street Grill and Pub, 10 p.m. Maxine’s hosts Nashville roots rockers Sunday Valley, 8 p.m., free. Musical funnyman J.R. Brow brings the hilarity to The Loony Bin, 8 p.m., with shows at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday and at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, $7-$27.50.



7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $17-$62.

Did you know that professional wrestling buffs have their own incredibly detailed jargon that they use? It’s crazy. For example, from a January 2010 Wrestlezone forum titled, “Randy Orton: Face or Tweener?”: “So my question is what would you do? Keep Orton a heel for a heel vs. heel feud, turn him into a full-fledged babyface, or maybe try for that SCSA type character once again ... but do it right this time? IMO I would have him a Tweener, keep him as that SCSA kinda guy and try to propel him into the next level. Some smark fans cheer for him anyway and he has been getting more cheers as of late, however his last face turn was horrible and I think he has done too much heelish things to be a face [sic throughout].” I’ll try to translate some of this. Here goes: So Orton used to be a “heel” (bad guy) but eventually became a “babyface,” or “face” (good guy), but for a little while there he was a “tweener” (neither good nor bad). “SCSA” refers to retired wrestling champ “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. A “smark” is a

fan who knows wrestling is all scripted and likes it anyway, and it’s a variation on the term “mark,” which variously refers to people who think wrestling is real; wrestlers or others in the industry who are overly concerned with fan perception; or, pejoratively, self-proclaimed wrestling experts who actually don’t know a damn thing. A “turn” is a change in a wrestler’s persona from good to bad or vice versa. So besides the insider lingo, there are the convoluted storylines, which seem to be at least as hard to keep up with as most soap operas. Anyways, this right here is being billed as The First Smackdown of 2012, in which “The Apex Predator” Randy Orton takes on “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry AND “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show in some sort of three-way match, with special refereeing by Booker T. Also appearing will be: “Captain Charisma” Christian, “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus, Wade Barrett, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase Jr., Ezekiel Jackson, Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, Natalya, Alicia Fox and more.

FACE IT: “The Apex Predator” Randy Orton is among the wrestlers hitting the ropes at Verizon Arena Tuesday, Jan. 3.

bit more laid back and into the country blues and unconcerned with conquering the wider world. That’s not to imply that Mike Hosty and Mike Byars are in any way idle. Indeed, it seems that they are rarely still for more than 15 minutes or so. In 2011 alone, Hosty played a staggering 250-something concerts, weddings, parties, barbecues, get-togethers, shindigs and one-man-shows. Damn!

Is there a harder working man in Oklahoma showbiz whose name isn’t Wayne Coyne? It seems unlikely. Make sure and get there early, because the Cotton Bowl’s on the TV for all ya’ll who aren’t driving down to Jerry World to see Arkansas take on Kansas State. It’s an 18-and-older show, and if you get there before halftime, you don’t have to pay the cover.

think you can love both bands. You can like both of them, or you can like one and love the other, but nobody’s heart is big enough to honestly love both of those bands. This is a source of some friction in my house, but that’s probably getting too personal. Moving on, a few years back I saw a Sabbath tribute band, which will remain nameless, and even though I really wanted it to be good, it was dreadful. Their Geezer was OK and their Bill Ward was OK and their Tony Iommi was OK, but their Ozzy was missing some fingers, and more importantly, he couldn’t sing like Ozzy. On

the other hand, Zoso is, by all accounts, transcendently awesome, the members bearing uncanny resemblances to their real-world counterparts in Zep, plus they can play like them, which is really saying something because even though my heart belongs to Sabbath, John Bonham is hands down the greatest rock drummer ever — maybe even the only rock drummer ever. So while I pine away for a great Sab tribute, I’ll be very happy for all you Zepheads out there, losing your minds as Zoso soars through “Into the Light” and “Over the Hills and Far Away” and all your other faves.

FRIDAY 12/30

Mojo Depot rocks The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. Blues lady Shannon Boshears brings down the house at Markham Street Grill and Pub, 10 p.m. Over at Revolution, it’s an End of the Year Music Dump, featuring Amsterdam, Grand Facade, Chasing Pictures, The Revolutioners and The Supporting Cast, $5 21 and older, $10 younger than 21.


Be sure to check out our New Year’s Eve roundup on page 88 for more concerts and parties than you can shake an empty plastic champagne flute at.


The Frontier Circus brings its madman blend of psychedelic garage rock and classic country to Stickyz for an 18-and-older show, 9 p.m., $5.



9:30. Stickyz. $6.

This Norman, Okla., act has for several years now been trafficking in stripped-down blues, with plenty of twang, occasional harmonica and kazoo and an ever-so-slightly alt-country kinda vibe that’s super relaxed. The band’s overall sound is not unlike The Black Keys, if The Black Keys were a


ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute)

9 p.m. Revolution. $10.

Look: there are Led Zeppelin people and there are Black Sabbath people. That’s just the way that it is, and I won’t go into all the reasons why some folks might be drawn to one over the other. But I am a through-and-through, tillthe-day-I-die Sabbath freak. “Observe the Sabbath” might be God’s fourth commandment, but on my own personal stone tablets it’s No. 1, forever and ever amen. I think Zep is OK and all — and the third album is great — but I just don’t


The Argenta Film Series brings in Robert Walden, an Emmy-nominated actor, director and producer currently starring in the sitcom “Happily Divorced.” Walden will discuss his work and show screen clips of his performances, Argenta Community Theater, 7 p.m.


Velcro Fly pays homage to everybody’s favorite beard-rockers ZZ Top, West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10:30 p.m. Downtown Music Hall hosts a metal lineup with Sychosys, Still Reign and Scorned, 8 p.m., $6. Over at Juanita’s, Blind Mary and Dark from Day One bring the gloomy modern rock, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra plays self-described funk-pop, featuring four-part vocal harmonies, ukulele, violin, tuba, saxophones, electric bass, rock drums and Latin percussion, Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door. The band also plays an 18-and-older show at Stickyz on Sunday, Jan. 8, at 8:30 p.m., $5.


It’s a New Year’s Comedy Explosion, with Deray Davis, Michael Blackson, Lil J and Lil Duvall, hosted by Mark “Superstar” Jones, Robinson Center Music Hall, 8 p.m., $35-$69. Down in the Spa City, Low Key Arts presents Arkansas Shorts: A night of short film at Malco Theater, 6 p.m., $7. Arkansas country up-and-comers Matt Stell & The Crashers play Stickyz, 9 p.m., $6.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


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



Acoustic Open Mic. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Alternative Wednesdays. Features alternative bands from Central Arkansas and the surrounding areas. Mediums Art Lounge, 6:30 p.m., $5. 521 Center St. 501-374-4495. Bolly Open Mic Hype Night with Osyrus Bolly and DJ Messiah. All American Wings, 9 p.m. 215 W. Capitol Ave. 501-376-4000. Brian & Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. Grim Muzik presents Way Back Wednesdays. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8:30 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Hibernia Irish Tavern, 9 p.m. 9700 N Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. www. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-3151717. Nightflying 31st anniversary party. Featuring The Schwag, Trout Fishing in America, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Tragikly White, Joe Pitts Band, Salt & Pepper. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 7 p.m., $10. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Ugly Sweater Party. All-ages show to benefit Arkansas Food Bank, featuring an ugly sweater contest and music from Booyah! Dad, The Ginsu Wives, Ezra Lbs. Many Persian Z’s, The Alpha Ray. Revolution, 8 p.m., $6. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090.

BIBLE-BELT CHANTEUSE: Grace Askew is that increasingly rare entity: the singersongwriter who can actually sing, and sing really, really well. The Memphis native comes across like a bit like a countrified Norah Jones, backed up by the beautifully languid instrumentation of her band, The Black Market Goods. The 18-and-older show starts around 9 p.m. at Stickyz on Thursday, Jan. 5, $5.

ball teams compete in a round-robin tournament. Hot Springs Convention Center, 9 a.m., $5 a day, $12 three-day pass. 134 Convention Blvd., Hot Springs. 501-321-2027.


Allyson Lewis. The author of “The 7 Minute Solution” will sign copies of her book. That Bookstore in Blytheville, 4 p.m. 316 W. Main St.



Amasa Hines. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. www.whitewatertavern. com. Audrey Kelley. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782.

New Years Eve Dinner


JR Brow. The Loony Bin, 8 p.m.; Dec. 30, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 7 and 10 p.m., $7-$27.50. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www.

Four Course Menu Champagne Toast and Party Favors $45 Per Person Seatings at 5pm • 7pm • 9pm Call For Reservations


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, 2012, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Lionels at Laman. Display from the Arkansas Chapter of the Lionel Collectors Club of America. Laman Library, through Dec. 31, 9 a.m., free. 2801 Orange St., NLR. 501-758-1720.


Spa City Shootout. Sixteen high school basket-


DEC. 28, 2011



3421 Old Cantrell Rd. • 501-353-0360 (One block from Loca Luna)

Live DJ 10pm-1am No Cover! Come Dance In The New Year!

Crisis (headliner), Tanya Leeks (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. Handmade Moments. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. “Inferno.” DJs play pop, electro, house and more, plus drink specials and $1 cover before 11 p.m. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke. Zack’s Place, 8 p.m. 1400 S. University Ave. 501-664-6444. Mayday by Midnight (acoustic). Markham Street Grill and Pub, 10 p.m. 11321 W. Markham St. 501-224-2010. Ol’ Puddin’haid. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Sunday Valley. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Times Musicians Showcase past winners show. 18-and-older show featuring 607, The Big Cats and Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. “VIP Thursday” with Power 92 and Stack 3. Juanita’s, 9 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


JR Brow. The Loony Bin, through Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Dec. 30, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 7 and 10 p.m., $7-$27.50. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, 2012, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 28.



Big John Miller (headliner), Ben & Doug (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. Cool Shoes End of the Year Party. All-ages show. Downtown Music Hall, 9 p.m. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. D-Mite and Tho-d Studios Showcase. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8:30 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Dash Rip Rock. 18-and-older. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9:30 p.m., $6. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. DJ Silky Slim. Top 40 and dance music. Sway, 9 p.m., $5. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. End of the Year Music Dump. Featuring Amsterdam, Grand Facade, Chasing Pictures, The Revolutioners and The Supporting Cast. Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $5 over 21, $10 younger than 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-

0090. “The Flow Fridays.” Twelve Modern Lounge, 8 p.m. 1900 W. Third St. Jeff Ivy. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Jet 420. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. Mojo Depot. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Nine Lives Spent. Fox and Hound, 10 p.m., $5-$10. 2800 Lakewood Village, NLR. 501-7538300. Ol’ Puddin Haid. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m., free. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. www. Sean Austin. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www. Shannon Boshears. Markham Street Grill and Pub, 10 p.m. 11321 W. Markham St. 501-2242010. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, Dec. 30, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Velvet Kente, Amasa Hines. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs.


JR Brow. The Loony Bin, through Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Dec. 30, 10:30 p.m.; Dec. 31, 7 and 10 p.m., $7-$27.50. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, 2012, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. 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. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 28.



“The Arkansas New Year’s Eve Party.” Including DirtyRob, DJs Aone, Flying Brian, Chucci Da Basegod Tarintino and more. Michelangelo’s Italian Ristorante, 10 p.m. 1117 Oak St., Conway. 501-733-0299. www.michelangelosconway. com/index.html. Benjamin del Shreve, Careworn, Belair. 18-andolder show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $15. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Big Silver. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400. Blue Screen Skyline, From Which We Came, Brother Andy & HBDM, Stiff Necked Fools. Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 door. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Cody Belew & The Mercers. Includes party favors, appetizer buffet from 7 p.m. to midnight and a midnight champagne toast. Cajun’s Wharf, 7 p.m., $25. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. DJ Shane Train. Fox and Hound, 10 p.m. 2800

Lakewood Village, NLR. 501-753-8300. www. aspx. Fireball 6: The ‘80s Party. Featuring The Venus Mission and Friends. Revolution, 9 p.m., $15. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Four on the Floor. Flying DD, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $15 door. 4601 S. University. 501-773-9990. The Fragile Elite. Cover charge includes a drink for a toast at midnight. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m., $10. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. Glo Party. All-ages show featuring DJs Ewell, Crawley, Joel Allenbaugh, J-Dawg, Jordan Get’em and Hector Ramos. Downtown Music Hall, 7 p.m., $5 adv., $10 door. 211 W. Capitol. 501-376-1819. downtownshows.homestead. com. Goodtime Ramblers. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $20. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Grim Muzik. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Jeff Coleman. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Katmandu (downstairs), B Level (upstairs). Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $25 adv., $30 d.o.s. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. “Minutes to Midnight.” Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Mojo Music Management New Year’s Eve Bash. Includes performances from FreeVerse, Interstate Buffalo and Justin Bank & The Knights of Pulaski. Vino’s, 8 p.m., $15-$25. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. New Year’s Eve at the Peabody. Includes music from Tragikly White, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers, Epiphany and Tomorrow Maybe, Tre’ Day, DJs g-force and Brandon Peck. The Peabody Little Rock, 9 p.m., $45 adv., $55 d.o.s. 3 Statehouse Plaza. 501-906-4000. www.peabodylittlerock. com. New Year’s Eve Celebration. Includes champagne toast at midnight and live music. Midtown Billiards, 10 p.m., $10 singles, $15 couples. 1316 Main St. 501-372-9990. New Year’s Eve party with Mayday by Midnight. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $25. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www. New Year’s Eve with Mr. Happy. Shooter’s Sports Bar & Grill, 9 p.m. 9500 I-30. 501-5654003. New Year’s Eve with Ryan Couron. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. On Call Band. Porter’s Jazz Cafe, 9 p.m. 315 Main St. 501-324-1900. Shannon Boshears. Dugan’s Pub, 8:30 p.m. 403 E. 3rd St. 501-244-0542. Taylor Made. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501224-7665. “Under the Bigtop.” Includes DJs Ewell, Jared, Crawley, JMZ Dean, and Mistery, with performers Dominque and more. Discovery Nightclub, 9 p.m., $15. 1021 Jessie Road. 501-664-4784. White Collar Criminals. Markham Street Grill and Pub, 10 p.m. 11321 W. Markham St. 501224-2010.


JR Brow. The Loony Bin, 7 and 10 p.m., $7-$27.50. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, 2012, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Christ Church Labyrinth. A candlelight walk to celebrate the new year. Christ Episcopal Church, 5 p.m. 509 Scott St. 501-375-2342. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell and Cedar Hill Roads. Harrison New Year’s Eve celebration. Includes music from The Cate Brothers, food from several area restaurants, dancing, and for the first time, alcoholic beverages. Hotel packages start at $235. 1929 Hotel Seville, 9 p.m., $20 single, $30 couple. 302 N. Main St., Harrison. 870-7412321. Lionels at Laman. See Dec. 28. New Year’s Eve on the River. Includes early dinner cruise and late night party cruise. Arkansas Queen, 6 and 9:30 p.m., $30-$49. 100 Riverfront Park Drive, NLR. 501-372-5777.



Porter’s Sunday Jazz Brunch. Porter’s Jazz Cafe, 10 a.m. 315 Main St. 501-324-1900.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.



Chris Parker. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Karaoke. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Touch - Grateful Dead Tribute. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.



The Frontier Circus. 18-and-older show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little

Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. 120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. Jeff Long. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke Night. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. cstonepub. com. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 120 Ottenheimer. 501-244-9550. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-3151717. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. 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.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; get schedule at www.talesfromthesouth. com. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Reserve at 501-372-7976. Starving Artist Cafe. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www.


WWE Smackdown. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $17$62. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001.



Acoustic Open Mic. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Alternative Wednesdays. Features alternative bands from Central Arkansas and the surrounding areas. Mediums Art Lounge, 6:30 p.m., $5. 521 Center St. 501-374-4495. Bolly Open Mic Hype Night with Osyrus Bolly and DJ Messiah. All American Wings, 9 p.m. 215 W. Capitol Ave. 501-376-4000. Brian & Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. Gil Franklin & Friends. Holiday Inn, North Little Rock, first Tuesday, Wednesday of every month. 120 W. Pershing Blvd., NLR. Grim Muzik presents Way Back Wednesdays. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8:30 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. CONTINUED ON PAGE 94

DEC. 28, 2011


AFTER DARK, CONT. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Hibernia Irish Tavern, 9 p.m. 9700 N Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. www. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


Mike Speenberg, Jerry Rocha, Casey Coleman. The Loony Bin, Jan. 4-6, 8 p.m.; Jan. 6, 10:30 p.m.; Jan. 7, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.


Ron Robinson. Robinson presents a lecture on “Ark in the Dark: An Exhibition of Movie Posters about Arkansas,” which is currently on display at the Arkansas Studies Institute. Bring a lunch, drinks are provided. Main Library, 12 p.m. 100 S. Rock St.


UALR Women’s Trojans vs. Nicholls State. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 6 p.m. 2801 S. University Ave.



Grace Askew & The Black Market Goods. 18-and-older show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501-3727707. “Inferno.” See Dec. 29. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke. Zack’s Place, 8 p.m. 1400 S. University Ave. 501-664-6444. Ol’ Puddin’haid. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Some Guy Named Robb. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 5 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Tragikly White. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-2247665. “VIP Thursday” with Power 92 and Stack 3. Juanita’s, 9 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. White Noise Theory (headliner), Interstate Buffalo acoustic (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351.


Brian Regan. Walton Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $43.75. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. Mike Speenberg, Jerry Rocha, Casey Coleman. The Loony Bin, through Jan. 6, 8 p.m.; Jan. 6, 10:30 p.m.; Jan. 7, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


DECEMBER 28, 2011



Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Hillcrest Shop & Sip. Shops and restaurants offer discounts, later hours, and live music. Hillcrest, first Thursday of every month, 5-10 p.m. P.O.Box 251522. 501-666-3600.


Argenta Film Series: Robert Walden. Walden, an Emmy-nominated actor, director and producer currently starring in the sitcom “Happily Divorced,” will discuss his work and screen clips of his craft. Argenta Community Theater, 7 p.m. 405 Main St., NLR. 501-353-1443.



Blind Mary, Dark from Day One. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Brian Ramsey Trio. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m., free. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. www. Chris Henry. Flying Saucer, 9 p.m., $3. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www. DJ Silky Slim. Top 40 and dance music. Sway, 9 p.m., $5. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra. Maxine’s, 8 p.m. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. Embrace the Crash. Fox and Hound, 10 p.m., $5-$10. 2800 Lakewood Village, NLR. 501-7538300. “The Flow Fridays.” Twelve Modern Lounge, 8 p.m. 1900 W. Third St. Hosty Duo. 18-and-older show. Cotton Bowl (Arkansas vs. Kansas State) begins at 7 p.m. No cover if you arrive before halftime. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9:30 p.m., $6. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band. Midtown Billiards, Jan. 6-7, 12:30 a.m., $5. 1316 Main St. 501-372-9990. The Josh Love Band. Faulkner County Library, 7 p.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. The Mercers with special guests. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Raising Grey (headliner), Richie Johnson (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5 and 9 p.m., $5 after 8:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-3755351. Sychosys, Still Reign, Scorned. Downtown Music Hall, 8 p.m., $6. 211 W. Capitol. 501376-1819. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Tragikly White. Denton’s Trotline, 9 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-315-1717. Velcro Fly (ZZ Top tribute). West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10:30 p.m. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. Victory Garden Benefit. White Water Tavern. 2500 W. 7th. 501-375-8400.


Mike Speenberg, Jerry Rocha, Casey Coleman. The Loony Bin, through Jan. 6, 8 p.m.; Jan. 6,

10:30 p.m.; Jan. 7, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group. See Dec. 30.



After Eden. Fox and Hound, 10 p.m., $5-$10. 2800 Lakewood Village, NLR. 501-753-8300. Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band. Midtown Billiards, 12:30 a.m., $5. 1316 Main St. 501-372-9990. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. “KISS Saturdays” with DJs Deja Blu, Greyhound and Silky Slim. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Matt Stell & The Crashers. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $6. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Mayday By Midnight. West End Smokehouse and Tavern, 10 p.m., $5. 215 N. Shackleford. 501-224-7665. Mockingbird Hillbilly Band. The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Queen Ann’s Revenge. Cregeen’s Irish Pub, 8 p.m. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-376-7468. www. Shawn G. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8:30 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. UALR Men’s Trojans vs. Florida Atlantic. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 7 p.m., $4-$35. 2801 S. University Ave. Zoso (Led Zeppelin tribute). All-ages show. Revolution, 9 p.m., $10. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090.


Comedy show after party. After party for New Year’s Comedy Explosion show. Juanita’s. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Mike Speenberg, Jerry Rocha, Casey Coleman. The Loony Bin, 7, 9 and 11 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. www. New Year’s Comedy Explosion. With Deray Davis, Michael Blackson, Lil J and Lil Duvall, hosted by Mark “Superstar” Jones. Robinson Center Music Hall, 8 p.m., $35-$69. Markham and Broadway. conv-centers/robinson.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through Jan. 8, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell and Cedar Hill Roads.


Arkansas Shorts: A night of short film. Presented by Low Key Arts. Includes all genres of film. Malco Theater, 6 p.m., $7. 817 Central

Ave., Hot Springs. 501-282-9056.


UALR Women’s Trojans vs. Florida Atlantic. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 4:30 p.m., $4-$35. 2801 S. University Ave.



Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra. 18-and-older show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8:30 p.m., $5. 107 Commerce St. 501372-7707. Karaoke. Shorty Small’s, 6-9 p.m. 1475 Hogan Lane, Conway. 501-764-0604. Porter’s Sunday Jazz Brunch. Porter’s Jazz Cafe, 10 a.m. 315 Main St. 501-324-1900. Sunday Jazz Brunch with Ted Ludwig and Joe Cripps. Vieux Carre, 11 a.m. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Arvest River Market on Ice. Ice skating rink. Go to on_ice/ for schedule. River Market Pavilions, through, $9 an hour. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.


Jeannie Whayne. The author of “Delta Empire” will discuss and sign the book. That Bookstore in Blytheville, 3 p.m. 316 W. Main St.



Karaoke. Thirst n’ Howl, 8:30 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Tonya Leeks. The Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Traditional Irish Music Session. Khalil’s Pub, Fourth and second Monday of every month, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224.


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



Jeff Long. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke Night. Cornerstone Pub & Grill, 8 p.m. 314 Main St., NLR. 501-374-1782. cstonepub. com. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 120 Ottenheimer. 501-244-9550. Karaoke with Big John Miller. Denton’s Trotline, 8 p.m. 2150 Congo Road, Benton. 501-3151717. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Stephen Compton Guitar Lessons. All-ages show. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. www. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. The

AFTER DARK, CONT. M2GALLERY, 11525 Cantrell: Work by Lisa Krannichfeld, Michelle Mikesell, Ann Laser, Joan Heiden, Frank Milo, Jason Gammel, Chris Hill, Richards Sutton, Robin John Tucker, Zilon Lazer, Toby Penney, Kathy Bay, Keith Newton and others. 225-6257. OLDE WORLD PIZZA, 1706 W. Third St.: “Travels,” photographs by Grav Weldon, through December. 374-5504. REFLECTIONS GALLERY AND FINE FRAMING, 11220 Rodney Parham Road: Work by local and national artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. 227-5659. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS BY MARSHALL CLEMENTS, Promenade at Chenal: Impressionist landscapes and still lifes by Trey McCarley, through December. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-7 p.m. Sun. 821-3700. SHOWROOM, 2313 Cantrell Road: Work by area artists, including Sandy Hubler. 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 372-7373. STATE CAPITOL: “Arkansans in the Korean War,” 32 photographs, lower-level foyer. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. STEPHANO’S FINE ART, 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd.: New work by Stephano, Thom Bierdz, Tony Dow, Kelley Naylor-Wise, Michael A. Darr, Mike Gaines, G. Peebles, Steven Thomas, Alexis Silk, Paula Wallace and Ron Logan. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 563-4218. ST. JAMES UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive: Jeannie Stone, oils, through Jan. 3. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays and before and after Sunday services. 2213559. THEA CENTER, 401 Main St., NLR: “Arkansas League of Artists Winners Show.” 379-9512.

Afterthought, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Blue Man Group. Walton Arts Center, Jan. 10-12, 7 p.m.; Jan. 13-14, 8 p.m.; Jan. 14-15, 2 p.m.; Jan. 15, 7 p.m., $49-$69. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Latin Night.” Revolution, 7 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-8230090.


Tales from the South. See Jan. 3. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-7468. www.


Jay Jennings. The author of “Carry the Rock: Race, Football and the Soul of an American City” will discuss his work. Faulkner County Library, 7 p.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-3277482.


“It’s A Wonderful Life.” TheatreSquared presents this stage adaptation of the classic Frank Capra film about the true meaning of Christmas. Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios, through Dec. 31: Thu.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Sun., 2 p.m.; Wed., Dec. 21, 2 p.m., $10-$26. 505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Not Now, Darling.” British farce concerns the hilarious complications between a fur shop owner, mobsters and mistresses. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through Dec. 24, 6 p.m.; through Dec. 31, 6 p.m., $15-$33. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131.

ARKADELPHIA ARKADELPHIA ARTS CENTER, 625 Main St.: “Trees and Quilts,” 10 decorated trees, handstitched quilts, some vintage, through Jan. 20. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thu.-Sat. 501-802-1003.



“The Art of Science and the Science of Art” is the name of the Arkansas Darwin Day 2012 competition. Artworks should illustrate the relationship between art and science. Artists may submit up to two works in various media. Registration is $10 per artist and the deadline to enter is Feb. 1. For more information, go to The Thea Foundation is accepting applications for its college scholarships in visual arts (10), performing arts(10), creative writing (2), filmmaking (4) and poetry slam (2). Graduating seniors are eligible to compete. Deadlines vary. The foundation will give away more than $70,000. Go to, call 379-9512 or e-mail for more information.



LAMAN LIBRARY, 2801 Orange St.: 2012 “Small Works on Paper,” juried show of 40 works, Jan. 5-29, reception and artist talks 6-8 p.m. Jan. 6. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. L&L BECK GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Landscapes,” originals and Old Master reproductions by Louis Beck, through January. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 660-4006. EL DORADO SOUTH ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, 110 E. 5th St.: “Within Sight of Land,” work by Gulf Coast artists Bill Myers, Susan Carranza, Kat Fitzpatrick, Kerr Grabowski, Mary Hardy, Ellen Ellis Lee, Trailer McQuilkin, Vicki Niolet,

‘SMALL WORKS ON PAPER’: The annual juried show of small works, including Cindy Arsaga’s work “House,” opens its statewide tour Jan. 5 at the William F. Laman Public Library in Little Rock. The 2012 show features 40 works and will travel to museums across Arkansas for a year. Joey Rice and Peggy Tilley, Jan. 4-28, reception 6-8 p.m. Jan. 28. 870-862-5474. SPRINGDALE ARTS CENTER OF THE OZARKS, 214 S. Main St.: “My Aluminum Experience,” work by Shane Beyer; “A Journey Between Heaven and Earth,” paintings by Napoleon Dezaldivar, both Jan. 4-27. 479-751-5441.


ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER: “Will Barnet at the Arkansas Arts Center: A Centennial Exhibition,” through Jan. 15; “Cast, Cut, Forged and Crushed: Selections in Metal from the John and Robyn Horn Collection,” through Jan. 15; 43rd “Collectors Show and Sale,” drawings ranging from 18th century to contemporary and contemporary craft from 26 New York galleries, through December. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 372-4000. THE ART LOFT, 1525 Merrill Drive: Work by Dan Thornhill, Catherine Rodgers, Patrick Cunningham, Rosemary Parker, Kelly Furr, Melody Lile and others, with music by Rico Novales. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. 251-1131. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute: “Ark in the Dark: An Exhibition of Vintage Movie Posters about Arkansas,” 35 posters for films dating between

1926 and 2009, from the collection of Ron Robinson, through Feb. 25; “Thomas Harding, Pinhole Photography,” through December; “Reflections in Pastel,” Arkansas Pastel Society’s 4th national exhibition, through Jan. 14; “Leon Niehues: 21st Century Basketmaker,” through Jan. 28. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 3205790. CHROMA GALLERY, 5707 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Work by Robert Reep and other Arkansas artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0880. GALLERY 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.: 17th annual “Holiday Art Show,” show and sale of work by dozens of Arkansas artists, through Jan. 14. Holiday hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., 1-5 p.m. Dec. 30. 664-8996. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Interwoven: The Work of Robyn Horn and Dolores Justus,” sculpture, works on paper, paintings, through Jan. 14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. 920-2778. HEIGHTS GALLERY, 5801 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Work by contemporary Arkansas artists, gifts. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 664-2772. KETZ GALLERY, 705 Main St., NLR: Sulac, recent works, through Dec. 30, also work by more than 30 artists. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 529-6330. LOCAL COLOUR GALLERY, 5811 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Art and jewelry by members of artists’ cooperative. 265-0422.

BENTON BOB HERZFELD MEMORIAL LIBRARY, Saline County Library, 1800 Smithers Drive: Artwork by Stephanie Cheatham through January. 501778-4766. DIANNE ROBERTS ART STUDIO AND GALLERY, 110 N. Market St.: Work by Chad Oppenhuizen, Dan McRaven, Gretchen Hendricks, Rachel Carroccio, Kenny Roberts, Taylor Bellott, Jim Cooper and Sue Moore. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. 860-7467. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, 600 Museum Way: American masterworks spanning four centuries. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Thu., Sat.-Sun.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Fri. Tickets free. 479-418-5700. CALICO ROCK CALICO ROCK ARTISTS COOPERATIVE, Hwy. 5 at White River Bridge: Paintings, photographs, jewelry, fiber art, wood, ceramics and other crafts. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-4 p.m. Sun. FAYETTEVILLE FAYETTEVILLE UNDERGROUND, One E. Center St.: “Art for the Holidays,” works by Fayetteville Underground studio and E Street artists and others, through December. Noon-7 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. HEBER SPRINGS BOTTLE TREE GALLERY, 514 W. Main St.: Work CONTINUED ON PAGE 97

DECEMBER 28, 2011


HELP WANTED ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS Friday, December 30 - Thursday, January 5


My Week With Marilyn r 2:00 4:15 7:15 9:15 Judi Dench, Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh Satellite Awards, Toronto Film Critics Awards Chalet Girl nr 1:45 4:15 6:45 9:15 Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Billy Nighy like Crazy PG13 2:15 4:25 6:45 9:00 Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence Sundance Film Festival MelanCholia r 1:45 4:30 7:00 9:30 Kristen Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland Cannes Film Fest another haPPy Day r 2:00 7:00 Ellen Barkin, Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore Sundance Film Festival Dirty Girl r 4:20 9:15 Juno Temple, Jeremy Dozier, Milla Jovovich

screen your FeaTure, shorT, documenTary or musIc vIdeo! emaIl For deTaIls

The husTler

Tues 1/10 • NR • 7pm • $5

Free WI-FI In The lobby







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DEC. 28, 2011


MOVIE LISTINGS NEW MOVIES Chalet Girl (NR) – A tomboy skateboarder must risk it all on the snowboarding slopes to win some prize money and save her family. Market Street: 1:45, 4:15, 6:45, 9:15. The Darkest Hour (PG-13) – Aliens invade Moscow, in 3D. Breckenridge: 11:35 a.m., 2:15, 4:25, 7:20, 9:50. Chenal 9: 10:05 a.m., 1:05, 4:05, 7:05, 10:00. Lakewood 8: 11:30 a.m., 4:15 (2D), 2:00, 7:40, 9:55 (3D). Rave: 12:15, 3:00, 5:20, 7:40, 10:05, 12:20 a.m. Riverdale: 11:05 a.m., 1:10, 3:10, 5:10, 7:15, 9:15. War Horse (PG-13) – A horse named Joey and a young man called Albert form an unbreakable bond that carries them through the battlefields of World War I. Breckenridge: 12:35, 4:00, 7:15, 10:35. Chenal 9: noon, 3:30, 7:00, 10:15. Lakewood 8: 12:45, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00. Rave: 9:30 a.m., 1:10, 4:30, 7:45, 8:25, 11:05, 11:50, 12:30 a.m. RETURNING THIS WEEK A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (R) – Remember how the first Indiana Jones movie was awesome, and the second one was kinda meh, but then the third was awesome again? (3D Stoner Christmas comedy). Movies 10: 12:30, 2:50, 5:00, 7:40, 10:15. The Adventures of Tintin (PG) – Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of one of the most popular comic series of all time, concerning Tintin, a plucky young Belgian reporter. Breckenridge: 11:45 a.m. (2D), 11:00 a.m., 2:05.4:35, 7:25, 10:10 (3D). Chenal 9: 10:00 a.m., 1:00 (IMAX 3D) 4:20, 7:20, 10:20. Lakewood 8: 11:20 a.m., 4:30 (2D), 1:40, 7:20, 9:45 (3D). Rave: 11:00 a.m., 1:45, 5:00 (2D), 10:00 a.m., 12:45, 4:00, 7:00, 9:45, 12:20 a.m. (3D). Riverdale: 11:20 a.m., 1:35, 4:00, 6:25, 8:50. Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G) – That rascally Alvin is at it again, driving Dave crazy and making him scream “ALVIN!” Only this time it’s on a cruise ship. Also, Alvin raps. Breckenridge: 11:15 a.m., 12:15, 1:45, 2:20, 4:15, 4:45, 7:15, 7:45, 9:40, 9:55. Lakewood 8: 11:10 a.m., 1:15, 4:10, 7:20, 9:25. Rave: 9:25 a.m., 10:25 a.m., 12:40, 1:35, 3:50, 4:55, 7:10, 7:55, 10:15, 11:10, 12:25 a.m. Riverdale: 11:00 a.m., 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00. Another Happy Day (R) – Tense drama about a wedding day fraught with potential for explosive outbursts among family members who can’t seem to get along. Market Street: 2:00, 7:00. Arthur Christmas (PG) – 3D computer-animated film answers the question of how Santa manages to deliver all those gifts in one night. Rave: 9:35 a.m., 1:30. Riverdale: 11:35 a.m., 2:00, 4:20, 6:35, 8:55. Courageous (PG) – Wholesome family movie about courage and God and police officers and things like that. Movies 10: 12:50, 3:45, 7:05, 10:00. Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13) – Exactly what it sounds like, from director Jon Favreau. Movies 10: 12:45, 7:25. The Descendants (R) – Clooney inches ever closer to making his “About Schmidt” in this tale of furrowed-browed, middle-aged soulsearching set in scenic Hawaii. Rave: 9:40 a.m., 12:25, 3:35, 6:35, 9:30. Dirty Girl (R) – A precocious young lady and a closeted young man traipse across the country, she in search of her biological father, he to escape his homophobic small town. Market Street: 4:20, 9:15. Dolphin Tale (PG) – This story about an injured dolphin overcoming adversity and learning to

‘DARKEST HOUR’: In which Emile Hirsch must fight these aliens that want to steal all of Earth’s energy and also they kill people by turning them into dust and they even kill a dog that way, too. use a prosthetic tale will jerk the tears out of your face so hard you’ll get whiplash. Movies 10: 12:15, 2:45, 5:20, 7:50, 10:20. Don 2 (PG-13) – Bollywood crime action flick. Rave: 3:15, 9:55 (2D), 12:05, 6:30 (3D). Footloose (PG) – This remake of the 1984 classic will probably make you side with the humorless minister who doesn’t want the small-town kids to have any fun ever. Movies 10: 4:15, 10:10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (R) – The first in a series of film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium Trilogy, directed by David Fincher (“Seven,” “The Social Network,” “Zodiac”). Breckenridge: noon, 3:30, 7:00, 10:25. Chenal 9: noon, 4:00, 7:25, 10:50. Lakewood 8: 12:30, 3:45, 7:00, 10:10. Rave: 10:15 a.m., noon, 1:15, 3:30, 4:45, 7:15, 8:15, 10:45, 11:45, 12:10 a.m. Riverdale: 11:15 a.m. 2:45, 6:15, 9:40. Hugo (PG) – Martin Scorsese’s latest is a family-friendly 3D epic based on the best-selling “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Rave: 9:35 a.m., 12:30 (3D). Riverdale: 11:25 a.m., 2:00, 4:45, 7:20, 9:55. Ides of March (R) – Clooney directs Clooney in this political thriller starring Ryan Gosling, who seems poised to become the next Clooney. Movies 10: 12:20, 2:40, 5:10, 7:30, 9:50. Jack & Jill (R) – Dear sweet Lord, is there any way for us to all just pay Adam Sandler to not make movies? Rave: Like Crazy (PG-13) – An international love story about the perils of long-distance relationships. Market Street: 2:15, 4:25, 6:45, 9:00. Melancholia (R) – The latest from Dutch director Lars von Trier has to do with celestial destruction as a metaphor for feeling bummed out. Your goth girlfriend will love this film. Market Street: 1:45, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (PG-13) – Ol’ Middle-tooth is back in this, the fourth MI flick, which supposedly is really good with killer special effects and action sequences. Breckenridge: 12:30, 3:45, 4:30, 7:05, 7:35, 10:05, 10:30. Chenal 9: 4:00, 7:00, 10:00 (IMAX 3D), 10:20 a.m., 1:20. Lakewood 8: 10:45 a.m., 1:30, 4:20, 7:10, 10:00. Rave: 9:50 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 1:00, 2:00, 4:15, 5:15, 7:30, 8:30, 9:15, 11:00, midnight, 12:30 a.m. Riverdale: 11:00 a.m., 1:45, 4:25, 7:10, 9:55. Moneyball (PG-13) – Baseball can seem pretty boring, but this movie makes it look funny, but also people learn things about life and themselves. Movies 10: 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:55.

DEC. 30-31

The Muppets (PG) – This Muppets reboot starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams has gotten nothing but glowing reviews. Rave: 9:45 a.m. My Week with Marilyn (R) – Starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe circa 1956. Market Street: 2:00, 4:15, 7:15, 9:15. New Year’s Eve (PG-13) – What could possibly go wrong with a holiday-themed rom-com starring Ashton Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Ryan Seacrest, Zac Efron and everyone else in the world? Breckenridge: 11:25 a.m., 5:00, 10:20. Chenal 9: 10:10 a.m., 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10. Rave: 3:25, 6:40, 9:40. Riverdale: 11:25 a.m., 1:55, 4:30, 7:00, 9:35. Paranormal Activity 3 (R) – The franchise continues with more found footage of people who conveniently videotape their lives. This one takes us back to the genesis of the demon from the first two. Movies 10: 12:40, 2:55, 5:05, 7:15, 9:40. Puss in Boots (PG) – A Shrek spin-off following the adventures of Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas. Movies 10: 1:10, 3:30, 5:50, 8:15 (2D), noon, 2:20, 4:40, 7:20, 9:30 (3D). Real Steel (PG-13) – You know they’re turning Battleship into a movie, too. (Boxing robots). Movies 10: 1:15, 4:10, 7:10, 10:05. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (R) – Robert Downey Jr. once more stars as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. Breckenridge: 11:10 a.m., 12:10, 2:00, 4:50, 7:10, 7:40, 10:30, 4:00 and 10:00 (opencaptioned). Chenal 9: 10:15 a.m., 1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15. Lakewood 8: 11:00 a.m., 1:50, 4:40, 7:30, 10:15. Rave: 9:25 a.m., 10:25 a.m., 12:40, 1:35, 3:50, 4:55, 7:10, 7:55, 10:15, 11:10, 12:25 a.m. Riverdale: 11:15 a.m., 1:50, 4:20, 6:55, 9:45. The Sitter (R) – Jonah Hill plays an Apatovian man-child who must decide whether he will be the babysitter or else become the babysat, from director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”). Rave: 11:10 a.m., 5:05, 10:20. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (PG13) – Vampires and werewolves and young actresses and supernatural battles and sexual tension and dramatic things and other stuff all are factors in this movie. Breckenridge: 2:10, 7:45. Rave: 1:40, 7:20. We Bought a Zoo (PG) – They sure did. Made a movie about it, too, if I’m not mistaken. With Matt Damon. Breckenridge: 11:05 a.m., 1:50, 4:40, 7:30, 10:20. Lakewood 8: 11:05 a.m., 1:45, 4:25, 7:10, 9:50. Rave: 9:40 a.m., 12:50, 4:05, 8:00, 11:15, 12:05 a.m. Riverdale: 11:15 a.m., 1:50, 4:25, 7:05, 9:40. Young Adult (R) – Charlize Theron stars as an unlikeable former prom queen turned desperate old hag who has returned to her small hometown to try to woo back her now happily married old flame. Rave: 10:20 a.m., 4:10, 7:25, 9:50. Chenal 9 IMAX Theatre: 17825 Chenal Parkway, 821-2616, Cinemark Movies 10: 4188 E. McCain Blvd., 945-7400, Cinematown Riverdale 10: Riverdale Shopping Center, 296-9955, Lakewood 8: 2939 Lakewood Village Drive, 7585354, Market Street Cinema: 1521 Merrill Drive, 312-8900, Rave Colonel Glenn 18: 18 Colonel Glenn Plaza, 687-0499, Regal Breckenridge Village 12: 1-430 and Rodney Parham, 224-0990,


‘MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — GHOST PROTOCOL’: Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner star.

Bang! Boom! Bongos! Latest ‘Mission: Impossible’ succeeds by playing up the camp. BY SAM EIFLING


anufacturing a franchise out of “Mission: Impossible” has the ring, after a while, of calling a band The Lone Rangers, a la “Airheads.” (If they’re so impossible, how has the team now completed four of them?) The most recent installment, “Mission: Im-

possible — Ghost Protocol,” not only doubles down on the internal punctuation, it attempts some of the most audacious stunts and set pieces ever committed in an action movie. A Russian prison escape. A terroristic demolition of the Kremlin. Free-climbing the outside of Dubai’s

Burj Khalifa, a superstructure nearly as tall as the old Twin Towers combined. Whether you can really enjoy “Ghost Protocol” will depend on whether your reptilian brain (“awesome!!!”) can shout down your cerebral neocortex (“wait, if he just faceplanted against the side of a building at sprinting speed while falling 20 feet, why isn’t he bruised five minutes later …?”). But then, if you’re going to get all uppity about sense, you’ll be happy to learn there are some lovely nature specials on PBS playing right about now, and homemade popcorn is delicious when topped with a touch of dill. Actually, “Ghost Protocol” gets to have things both ways — doubling as an espionage flick and as a cartoony action spectacle, sort of a James Bond lite — in part because it does keep things a shade campy. Tom Cruise returns a fourth time as Ethan Hunt, the top agent of the double-dog-top-secret government agency I.M.F., once again receiving his orders via self-destructing message. We get only a glimpse of Ving Rhames, but Simon Pegg is back from the previous (2006) film as the technician Benji, geeked to be working in the field, and Paula Patton (“Precious”) arrives as an agent named Carter, bent on avenging the death of a fellow I.M.F. spook. As she and Benji bust Hawk out of that prison by inciting a riot, they pipe in Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” The credits roll and that familiar theme song plays, gently reminding the audience that this is a film based on a TV show from the gadget-and bongo-happy ’60s.

So they get out, check a self-detonating voicemail in Moscow and learn that a mad genius is bent on sparking nuclear war by acquiring loose Russian launch codes. While not every villain needs to soliloquize to our heroes over tea or in some undersea lair, “Ghost Protocol” disappoints by never fleshing out this shadowy fellow or his minions. All we really know is that they love pulling triggers, punching faces and driving fast cars. (Avoid this film, by the way, if you have a problem with BMWs starring as the hero-cars in multiple scenes. One upside of this blatant product placement is a cameo by the Vision EfficientDynamics Concept car, a veritable “Tron” doodle come to life.) Instead of delectable wickedness, director Brad Bird settles for the getalong teamwork story. When Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) is thrown in, a buried tension threatens to derail the team at a time when home-office support is out of the question. Naturally they have to work together if they’re going to pull off the orchestrated chaos that these plots require, lots of talking into unseen microphones and coordinating down to the split second. In between, it’s going to take a lot of Ethan Hunt to save the day. Tom Cruise squinting. Tom Cruise sprinting. Tom Cruise shirtless on a zipline. Tom Cruise throwing himself out of moving cars and onto speeding trucks. How he’s not a shipwreck of compound fractures by the film’s end is beyond explanation. Don’t ask for one, and you’ll enjoy this ride just fine.

AFTER DARK, CONT. by Maeve Croghan, Jonathan Harris, George Wittenberg. 501-590-8840. HELENA DELTA CULTURAL CENTER, 141 Cherry St.: “The Art of Jeanne Seagle,” landscapes, through Jan. 21. 800-358-0972. HOT SPRINGS ALISON PARSONS GALLERY, 802 Central Ave.: Paintings by Alison Parsons. 501-625-3001. AMERICAN ART GALLERY, 724 Central Ave.: Paintings by Jimmy Leach, Jamie Carter, Ersele Hiemstra, Margaret Kipp, Kim Thornton, Sue Coon, Virgil Barksdale and others. 501-624-055. GALLERY 726, 726 Central Ave.: Shirley Anderson, Barbara Seibel, Caryl Joy Young, Sue Shields, Becky Barnett, Janet Donnangelo, Marlene Gremillion, Ken Vonk and others. 501915-8912. GALLERY CENTRAL, 800 Central Ave.: Michael Ethridge, paintings. 501-318-4278. JUSTUS FINE ART, 827 A Central Ave.: New work by Steve Griffiths, Dolores Justus and Rebecca Thompson, through December. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. 501-321-2335. PERRYVILLE SUDS GALLERY, Courthouse Square: Paintings by Dottie Morrissey, Alma Gipson, Al Garrett Jr., Phyllis Loftin, Alene Otts, Mauretta Frantz,

Raylene Finkbeiner, Kathy Williams and Evelyn Garrett. Noon-6 p.m. Wed.-Fri, noon-4 p.m. Sat. 501-766-7584. PINE BLUFF ARTS AND SCIENCE CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS, 701 Main St.: “2011 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Exhibition,” through Feb. 4. 870-536-3375.


ARKANSAS INLAND MARITIME MUSEUM, NLR: Tours of the USS Razorback submarine. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 1-6 p.m. Sun. 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.: “The Art of the Brick,” LEGO sculpture by Nathan Sawaya, through Feb. 12; exhibits about policies and White House life during the Clinton administration. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $7 adults; $5 college students, seniors, retired military; $3 ages 6-17. 370-8000. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. Third St.: “Found-Fired-Formed: Sarah May Leflar, Donna Uptigrove and Amber Uptigrove,”

through Feb. 5; “Tesseract Dancing: Brett Anderson and Emily Galusha,” through Feb. 5; “Playing at War: Children’s Civil War Era Toys,” through Jan. 10; “Reel to Real: ‘Gone with the Wind’ and the Civil War in Arkansas,” artifacts from the Shaw-Tumblin collection, through April 30. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS MILITARY HISTORY, MacArthur Park: Exhibits on Arkansas’s military history. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, Ninth and Broadway: “Soul Sanctuary — Images of the African American Worship Experience,” artifacts and photos from the museum collection; permanent exhibits on African-American entrepreneurial history in Arkansas. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 683–3593. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “An Enduring Union: Arkansas and the Civil War, through March 11. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685. WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, Riverfront Park: Exhibits on wildlife and the state Game and Fish Commission. ENGLAND TOLTEC MOUNDS STATE PARK, State Hwy.

165: Major prehistoric Indian site with visitors’ center and museum. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun., closed Mon. $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6-12. 961-9442. JACKSONVILLE JACKSONVILLE MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY, 100 Veterans Circle: Exhibits on D-Day; F-105, Vietnam era plane (“The Thud”); the Civil War Battle of Reed’s Bridge, Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) and other military history. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $3 adults; $2 seniors, military; $1 students. 501241-1943. MORRILTON MUSEUM OF AUTOMOBILES, Petit Jean Mountain: Permanent exhibit of more than 50 cars from 1904-1967 depicting the evolution of the automobile. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 7 days. 501-727-5427. POTTSVILLE POTTS INN, 25 E. Ash St.: Preserved 1850s stagecoach station on the Butterfield Overland Mail Route, with period furnishings, log structures, hat museum, doll museum, doctor’s office, antique farm equipment. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sat. $5 adults, $2 students, 5 and under free. 479-968-9369.

DECEMBER 28, 2011



Posterity pets BY DAVID KOON

who kept their dead dogs (yes, plural) in the freezer beside the frozen peas for FOUR YEARS before bringing them in for stuffing. I get it. Losing a pet hurts. But just let it go, man. Let it go.

‘AMERICAN STUFFERS’: Set in Romance.


Debuts 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5 Animal Planet

One of the saddest things in the world is that every bit of love you get from a pet is tempered with the knowledge that it’s all going to come to an end sooner rather than later. With cats and dogs, you get 10 good years at best, and that’s if they don’t run out into the street and get creamed by a passing car. That short time is doubly sad when you realize that for a lot of folks, their pets are like their children. It’s understandable, then, that when Fluffy, Rex or Lord Pontchartrain kicks the bucket, some start thinking of taxidermy-ing the little sucker. No more walks and feedings, just regular dusting, a swipe with a damp cloth every once in a while, and the thousand-yard stare that says: “Let me go, stupid.” In this new show from Animal Planet, Daniel Ross — the owner and operator of Romance, Ark., stuff shop Xtreme Taxidermy — helps grieving pet owners cheat the reaper by mounting their dead pets in lifelike poses. I had a chance to watch some previews online, and let me tell ya: If you’ve ever loved a dog or cat, “American Stuffers” is going to make you want to scream and jump backwards through a plate glass window. That’s because for every shot of pet lovers being tearfully reunited with Fido, there’s at least a couple minutes of Ross and Co. going to town on Fido’s furry little corpse with scalpels, picks, knives and other assorted pointy objects, and the camera doesn’t cut away much. Is this the first time the phrase “go ahead and remove the eyeball” has been uttered on cable TV? Probably not, but it should be the last. Too — and I understand I’m going to hell for this, but I accept my punishment — I couldn’t stop chuckling at some of the seemingly-heartwarming situations captured in the clips I saw, including Ross and a dog owner discussing how to mount an aged pooch while the dog was actually there and still running around, and another family 98

DECEMBER 28, 2011



Debuts 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8 The History Channel

If you’ve watched even a single frame of History Channel’s big hit reality series “Pawn Stars,” you know exactly how every transaction on their new spinoff “Cajun Pawn Stars” is going to go. Some guy brings a shard of the One True Cross into the shop, along with a letter of authenticity from the Vatican and a notarized letter from Jesus Christ stating that it is, in fact, a shard of the True Cross on which He was crucified. Pawnbroker asks the seller what he wants for it. SELLER: “I was, uh, hoping to get $300 dollars.” PAWNDUDE: “Whoa, whoa, whoa there. Slow your roll, Daddy Gotrocks. I’ve gotta make a profit on this thing, it’s got to sit in the shop, and the right collector might never come in to buy it. How about $5?” The show then cuts to a shot of Pawndude in the storage room saying: “If I can make this deal, I can turn this around and make a LOTTA money on this. I know exactly the guy I’m going to sell this to.” And, scene. As if celebrating that kind of industrial-strength greed wasn’t bad enough, it’s even worse considering that — due to Discovery’s penchant for considering the word “reality” as more of a guideline than a rule — you never really know if what you’re looking at is an actual Royal F’ing, or just a simulated, scripted Royal F’ing performed by plants and shills. Given that, I’ll probably be changing the channel when “Cajun Pawn Stars” comes on. That doesn’t mean you should, though. The show, set at Silver Dollar Pawn in Alexandria, La., features veteran pawnbroker Jimmie DeRamus — a.k.a. “Big Daddy” — and his family as they try to get the best return on their money. Got a Van Gogh your grandpa stole from Hitler? The silver codpiece George Washington wore anytime he wanted to get frisky with Martha? The sled from “Citizen Kane”? Don’t take it to Sotheby’s, stupid! Bring it to a PAWN SHOP in Louisiana! Just don’t expect to get retail prices, pal. They’re trying to run a business, not a charity.


Hogs battle ghosts in Cotton Bowl


he Arkansas Razorbacks’ uniquely miserable bowl history — 12 wins in 38 games — is perfectly encapsulated by a 3-7-1 showing in the Cotton Bowl. After smashing Georgia by 21 points in the 1976 game, little more than a decade after winning its only national championship in the House That Doak Built, Arkansas has returned to Dallas five times and lost on four occasions, with the single victory being s rout of a worse-than-usual Texas team in 2000. My contemporaries will have no difficulty recalling some hideous showings there, specifically a 17-3 loss to UCLA in 1989 that represented the single-worst offensive output of any Arkansas team ever (four first downs, 42 total yards) and a 10-3 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma in 2002 that somehow appeared worse than that debacle against the Bruins. For these reasons, Bobby Petrino again finds himself grappling not only with the challenge of the opponent on Jan. 6 but also the tormented ghosts of the program. Fortunately, having bested Texas A&M three straight years at Cowboys Stadium, the Hogs have become accustomed to and comfortable with these confines. The offense has churned out an average of 38 points in the three victories there, so it seems likely that the Petrino machine will not be slowed much by a Kansas State defense that yielded just shy of 28 points and 400 yards per game in 2011.  It’s the staff upheaval since the loss at LSU that probably presents the biggest risk of an upset, with the Hogs being favored by a healthy eight points. John L. Smith, Willy Robinson and Garrick McGee are all gone, and Steve Caldwell shifted from defensive line coach to assume Smith’s role while Paul Haynes and Paul Petrino assume the defensive and offensive coordinator roles, respectively. Hazarding a guess as to how well each will adapt to his new station is difficult: Haynes will continue to operate the Robinson defense, at least in terms of terminology and scheme, but it stands to reason that he will take a few more risks and be a little more audacious, as this is essentially a floor show for what’s to come.  Kansas State’s strengths, as is custom for a Bill Snyder team, lie in a more conservative, staid approach to the game. The Wildcats managed a 10-2 record because they did two things remarkably well: they controlled the clock, averaging almost an eight-minute time of possession advantage over the opponent, and they protected the ball to the tune of a plus-13 turnover margin that ranked sixth in the nation. These two areas were among the Hogs’

biggest deficiencies (a net-zero turnover margin and a TOP ranking of 101st nationally), so this would seem BEAU to play into Kansas WILCOX State’s favor. The problem for the Wildcats is that these virtues masked defensive problems that were, by and large, even more significant than those which plagued the Razorbacks. Kansas State gave up 24 touchdown passes and only generated scant pressure on the quarterback (19 team sacks), and this led to a team pass defense ranking of 104th in the country, behind the likes of New Mexico and Troy, two secondaries that Arkansas torched early in the season. Kansas State’s sustained drives of six or seven minutes will be rendered mostly meaningless if Jarius Wright, Joe Adams or Cobi Hamilton gets behind the defense routinely. The kicking game looks like a wash at first blush with Zach Hocker owning only one more field goal and a few more PATs than the Wildcats’ very capable junior Anthony Cantele, and Ryan Doerr is probably just a shade below Dylan Breeding as a punter (although Breeding’s coverage unit failed him memorably this year on two occasions at Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge). Kansas State has an electric freshman return man, Tyler Lockett, whose father Kevin became K-State’s all-time leading receiver while playing for Snyder in the early 1990s. What the Wildcats do not have is any peer at punt returner, and if Joe Adams gets an open lane at all next Friday, it will be an opportunity for him to cement his legacy with a decisive play in a postseason game. The consensus among national pundits is that the Hogs’ defense will have its hands full with Wildcat quarterback Collin Klein, who’s been essentially miscast as a poor man’s Tim Tebow. Klein is taller at 6’ 5”, has prettier throwing mechanics now as a junior than Tebow does as a second-year pro, and is more dynamic as a runner. His long strides are more evocative of Matt Jones than Tebow, and Klein has demonstrated a Jones-like ability to wiggle out of trouble and chuck it on the run. He’s going to be a handful, no question. But this game ultimately will be a showcase for Haynes, who with six weeks of prep milks everything he can out of a beleaguered defense. Tyler Wilson outplays his counterpart, and Arkansas sets off into recruiting season on its highest note in decades. Arkansas 40, Kansas State 27.


Information in our restaurant capsules reflects the opinions of the newspaper staff and its reviewers. The newspaper accepts no advertising or other considerations in exchange for reviews, which are conducted anonymously. We invite the opinions of readers who think we are in error.

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

BELLY UP Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas



SURPRISING: Mongolian beef from Lemongrass Asian Bistro.

Better than most Lemongrass Asian Bistro does some good, some bad.


nother day, another Asian restaurant. The “Lemongrass Asian Bistro” is not part of the national Lemongrass chain but locally owned, and the food’s pretty good, especially the pot stickers. We visited Lemongrass twice this month, once for lunch and once for dinner. We arrived to find a comfortable place with an aesthetic we like to refer to as Early Whimsical: a mostly unassuming and straightforward design with the occasional weird flourish. We don’t consider this a bad thing; quite the contrary. Our mind still sometimes turns to the bizarre layout of framed butterflies on one wall, which we couldn’t quite interpret. But it isn’t boring. As to the food, it’s mostly solid stuff. On our first visit, a lunch trip, we started off with the pot stickers appetizer, then moved on to the basil chicken and the Mongolian beef from the “lunch combos” menu. The pot stickers? We could eat our weight in them. They’re pan-fried, crispy on the bottom, and served with what they call “pot sticker sauce,” which is short on 99

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Lemongrass Asian Bistro

4629 E. McCain Blvd. North Little Rock 945-4638 QUICK BITE It’s worth a trip just for the pot stickers.

HOURS 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Other info: Credit cards, beer and sake.

information but pretty tasty nonetheless. Our entrees were likewise well done, not overcooked or oily, as badly done Asian food so often is. We were quite surprised over the Mongolian beef, in fact, as small cuts of beef are easy to turn into shoe leather, but we found the dish to be anything but. Our companion’s basil chicken entree was likewise cooked with a fair bit of skill, savory and just spicy enough to suit. You can specify how many “stars” of spiciness you want in your food, as is common with American Thai restaurants. Our companion, not a huge fan of hot food,

asked for one star, while we went for three (not minding a fair amount of heat), and we were both very happy with what they brought us. The only downside to our experience was the wait for our entrees — it took longer than you’d expect. We weren’t in a rush, so it didn’t weigh heavily against Lemongrass, but if we’d been on a lunch break, we’d have been irritated. Dinner a few days later was, unfortunately, worse. We went back for more pot stickers (just as good as before) and some vegetable summer rolls (also very good, cool and light and crunchy). A good start. But our wait for the entrees was even longer, and we have our suspicions here. We went with another spicy basil dish, this time the duck, and it’s our belief that the hold-up was waiting for them to thaw the frozen duck breast. What they served us was overcooked and chewy, though the sauce was delicious and adequately spicy, and the vegetables were again perfectly cooked. Duck’s easy to screw up, and non-frozen duck’s a bit difficult (and expensive) to come by, but it isn’t a meat you can afford to do poorly. Duck is as close to steak as fowl gets, and people tend to expect that experience, but ours was the consistency of cheap diner steak ’n’ eggs. Our companion went with the ginger beef and was likewise disappointed. Problem one: The beef was also overcooked and chewy. We’re guessing that the troubles with getting the duck thawed and cooked may have been a contributing factor, but then there’s problem two: You can’t really taste ginger, at least not to an extent that you’d call it “ginger beef,” a disappointment if fresh ginger is a favorite of yours. On the whole, our opinion of Lemongrass Asian Bistro is that the food is on par with that of your average Pei Wei franchise: tasty enough and satisfying, a little Americanized for broader commercial appeal, but better and lighter on the gut than a Chili’s or Cheddar’s. That’s a pretty good sweet spot to hit. They still have some service wrinkles to iron out, and at least for now we’d steer you away from the more exotic menu items — if they couldn’t get the duck right, then we’re a little leery of the prawns. Though we’re willing to concede the possibility that we caught them on an off night. It happens. But if you’re tired of the usual chain restaurant march of fried this and babyback that and Slammin’ Jalapeño Flingers the other, and we know we are, then by all means, give them a try.


Year’s Eve (see calendar for others): • New Year’s Eve Dinner at Starving Artist Cafe. There are seatings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; reservations are recommended. Starving Artist will offer a choice of three prix fixe menus. 372-7976. • New Year’s Eve Victorian Affair Wine Dinner Dance at The Empress of Little Rock. Hosted by Sharon Welch-Blair and Bob Blair, with dinner starting at 8 p.m and dancing afterward in the parlors. $200. 374-2966 or e-mail hostess@ • New Year’s Eve at the Capital Hotel. Eat, drink and be merry and don’t drive home. Guests stay in a Capital Great Double suite, get a two-course dinner for two at the Capital Bar and Grill with wine pairings and a glass of sparkling wine to ring in the new year. $299 (includes tip and tax). 877-637-0037. • Vesuvio Bistro New Year’s Eve Event. Various four-course meals for $100 a person, limited to 100 guests. 225-0500.



4 SQUARE CAFE AND GIFTS Vegetarian salads, soups, wraps and paninis. 405 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-2622. L daily. D Mon.-Sat. ARGENTA MARKET Daily selection of big sandwiches along with fresh fish and meats and salads. 521 N. Main St. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-379-9980. L daily, D Mon.-Sat., B Sat., BR Sun. ARKANSAS BURGER CO. Good burgers, fries and shakes. 7410 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-0600. LD Tue.-Sat. ASHLEY’S The premier fine dining restaurant in Little Rock marries Southern traditionalism and haute cuisine. The menu is often daring and always delicious. 111 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-3747474. BLD Mon.-Sat. BR Sun. BELWOOD DINER Traditional breakfasts and plate lunch specials. 3815 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-753-1012. BL Mon.-Fri. BRAVE NEW RESTAURANT The food’s great, portions huge, prices reasonable. 2300 Cottondale Lane. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-2677. LD Mon.-Fri. D Sat. BURGER MAMA’S Big burgers and oversized onion rings headline. 10721 Kanis Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-2495. LD daily. CAPITAL BAR AND GRILL Hearty sandwiches, daily lunch specials and fine evening dining all rolled up into CONTINUED ON PAGE 100

DECEMBER 28, 2011



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Best Little Antique Store in Central Arkansas We Really Do

North Little Rock • 501-771-1604

1524 W. Main St.

Jacksonville • 501-982-0533

Have Antiques Lots of Them!

1135 Skyline Dr.

Conway • 501-205-1985

Kids eat free on Thursday at dine-in locations

400 President Clinton Ave. (In the River Market)

Oliver’s Antiques

501.982.0064 • 1101 Burman Dr. • Jacksonville Take Main St. Exit, East on Main, Right on S. Hospital & First Left to Burman. While in town, Shop Double R Florist & Gift Shoppe. It’s right across the street from us.


BROTHER ANDY AND HIS BIG DAMN MOUTH Past Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Winners are performing live at Stickyz. Thursday, December 29! 9 p.m. $5 cover With performances by: Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth • The Big Cats • 607


DECEMBER 28, 2011


DINING CAPSULES, CONT. one. 111 Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-7474. LD daily. CAPITOL BISTRO Breakfast and lunch items, including quiche, sandwiches, coffees and the like. 1401 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-371-9575. BL Mon.-Fri. CATFISH HOLE Downhome place for wellcooked catfish and tasty hushpuppies. 603 E. Spriggs. NLR. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-758-3516. D Tue.-Sat. CHEEBURGER CHEEBURGER Premium black Angus cheeseburgers, with five different sizes. For sides, milkshakes and golden-fried onion rings are the way to go. 11525 Cantrell Rd. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-490-2433. LD daily. DOE’S EAT PLACE Huge steaks, great tamales and broiled shrimp, and killer burgers at lunch. 1023 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-1195. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. EJ’S EATS AND DRINKS The friendly neighborhood hoagie shop downtown serves at a handful of tables and by delivery. 523 Center St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-6663700. LD Mon.-Fri. 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. $$. 501-375-3474. LD daily. HOMER’S Great vegetables, huge yeast rolls and killer cobblers. 2001 E. Roosevelt Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-3741400. BL Mon.-Fri. THE HOUSE A comfortable gastropub in Hillcrest, where you’ll find traditional fare like burgers and fish and chips alongside Thai green curry and gumbo. 722 N. Palm St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6634501. D daily, BR and L Sat.-Sun. JIMMY’S SERIOUS SANDWICHES Consistently fine sandwiches, side orders and desserts for 30 years. Chicken salad’s among the best in town. 5116 W. Markham St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-3354. L Mon.-Sat. KRAZY MIKE’S Po’Boys, catfish and shrimp and other fishes, fried chicken wings and all the expected sides. 200 N. Bowman Road. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-907-6453. LD daily. LOCA LUNA Grilled meats, seafood and pasta dishes that never stray far from country roots. 3519 Old Cantrell Rd. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-4666. L Sun.-Fri., D daily. LULAV Comfortably chic downtown bistro with continental and Asian fare. 220 A W. 6th St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-3745100. BL Mon.-Fri., D daily. MILFORD TRACK Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill that serves breakfast and lunch. 10809 Executive Center Drive, Searcy Building. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-223-2257. BL Mon.-Sat. OYSTER BAR Gumbo, red beans and rice (all you can eat on Mondays), peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters on the half shell, addictive po’ boys. 3003 W. Markham St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-7100. LD Mon.-Sat. OZARK COUNTRY RESTAURANT A longstanding favorite with many Little Rock residents, the eatery 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. PORTER’S JAZZ CAFE Nice takes on Southern cuisine are joined by chicken

wings, a fabulous burger and a Sunday brunch that features an impressive array of breakfast and lunch foods at a reasonable price. 315 Main St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-324-1900. D daily, L Thu.-Fri. BR Sun. PURPLE COW DINER 1950s fare — cheeseburgers, chili dogs, thick milk shakes — in a ‘50s setting at today’s prices. Also at 11602 Chenal Parkway. 8026 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-221-3555. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun 11602 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-4433. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun. 1419 Higden Ferry Road. Hot Springs. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-625-7999. LD daily, B Sun. SALUT BISTRO This bistro/late-night hangout does upscale Italian for dinner and pub grub until the wee hours. But there’s no late-night food on Wednesday! 1501 N. University. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6604200. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat. SBIP’S RESTAURANT Casual fine dining with sandwich and salads on its lunch menu. Sunday brunch, too. Try the Cro Que Monsieur sandwich or the weekend prime ribs. 700 E. Ninth St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-7247. LD Mon.-Sat. BR Sun. SONNY WILLIAMS’ STEAK ROOM Steaks, chicken and seafood in a wonderful setting in the River Market. 500 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-324-2999. D Mon.-Sat. STAGECOACH GROCERY AND DELI Fine po’ boys and muffalettas — and cheap. 6024 Stagecoach Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-4157. BL daily. D Mon.-Fri. TERRI-LYNN’S BAR-B-Q AND DELI Highquality meats served on large sandwiches and good tamales. 10102 N. Rodney Parham Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-6371. LD Tue.-Sat. (10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.). UNION BISTRO Casual upscale bistro and lounge with a new American menu of tapas and entrees. 3421 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-353-0360.


CURRY IN A HURRY Home-style Indian food with limited interior seating and a focus on fresh ingredients and spices. Lunch and dinner combos coming soon. 1800 Pike Avenue. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-753-4400. LD Tue.-Sat. HANAROO SUSHI BAR Expansive menu, featuring largely Japanese fare. 205 W. Capitol Ave. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-301-7900. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat. 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. $$. 501-312-7498. SHOGUN JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE The chefs will dazzle you, as will the variety of tasty stir-fry combinations and the sushi bar. Usually crowded at night. 2815 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6667070. D daily. WASABI Downtown sushi and Japanese cuisine. For lunch, there’s quick and hearty sushi samplers. 101 Main St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-0777. L Mon.-Fri., D Mon.-Sat.


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. The

DINING CAPSULES, CONT. sandwiches are basic, and the sweet, thick sauce is fine. Serving Little Rock since 1923. 900 West 35th St. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-753-9650. LD Mon.-Sat.


ARABICA HOOKAH CAFE This eatery and grocery store offers kebabs and salads along with just about any sort of Middle Eastern fare you might want, along with what might be the best kefte kebab in Central Arkansas. Halal butcher on duty. 3400 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-379-8011. LD daily. ISTANBUL MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE This Turkish eatery offers decent kebabs and great starters. 1525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-223-9332. LD daily. LEO’S GREEK CASTLE Wonderful Mediterranean food — gyro sandwiches or platters, falafel and tabouleh. 2925 Kavanaugh Blvd. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-7414. BLD daily. ZOGI’S EURO ASIAN BISTRO Euro-Asian fusion with a lot of Mongolian items along with Russian, Hungarian, Chinese and Japanese dishes. 11321 W. Markham St. All CC. $-$$. 501-246-4597. LD Mon.-Sat., L Sun.


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. $$-$$$. 501-6635355. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. CIAO 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. $$. 501-372-0238. L Mon.-Fri., D Thu.-Sat. GRADY’S PIZZAS AND SUBS Pizza features a pleasing blend of cheeses rather than straight mozzarella. 6801 W. 12th St., Suite C. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-1918. LD daily. IRIANA’S PIZZA Unbelievably generous hand-tossed New York style pizza with unmatched zest. 201 E. Markham St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-3656. LD Mon.-Sat. PIERRE’S GOURMET PIZZA CO. EXPRESS KITCHEN The first RV entry into mobile food truck scene. With a broad menu of pizza, calzones, salads and subs. 760 C Edgewood Drive. No alcohol, No CC. $$. 501-410-0377. L Mon.-Fri. 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. $$. 501-664-7071. LD daily. 9300 North Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-224-6300. LD daily. 3307 Fair Park Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-565-6580 ý. LD daily. 650 Edgewood Dr. Maumelle. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-8510880. LD daily. 3324 Pike Avenue. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-758-5997. LD daily. 4001 McCain Park Drive. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-753-2900. LD daily. 5524 John F Kennedy Blvd. NLR. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-975-5524 ý. 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.

CROSSWORD EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ Across 1 Some confessions 5 Quite 9 Yearned (for) 14 Economist Smith 15 Arthur who often raised a racket 16 Home to Bates College 17 “Later” 18 Fan sound 19 Grain disease 20 *1982 hit by the Clash 23 64-Across, for one 24 “You are not!” retort 27 “___ durn tootin’!” 28 *1994 World Cup final site 30 Cul-de-___ 33 Off-kilter 35 Part of A.D. 36 Spanish uncle

37 *Fortuneteller’s bit 40 M.D.’s reading 41 Stuff to be loaded 43 1953 John Wayne film 44 Teetotaling 45 *Popular drinking game 48 Sounds of woe 50 Shut up 51 Trapdoor concealer 55 Ordinary … or what the beginning of the answer to each starred clue is? 58 Ritzy 60 Cutting put-down 61 Salon employee 62 Taken for ___ 63 Blue shade 64 Colossal statue outside ancient Rome’s Colosseum























65 Church council 66 Big name in locks 67 Bogotá bears Down 1 “___ bleu!” 2 Cut to the chase, say 3 Org. co-founded by W. E. B. Du Bois 4 Bear with a hat 5 Carpenter’s aid 6 Program distributor 7 All the rage 8 Goddess whose name is an anagram of her mother’s 9 Single-celled creatures 10 South-of-theborder cry 11 Pretentious 12 Record producer Brian 13 Ford Field team, on scoreboards 21 Pick up the tab 22 Family nickname 25 One of the capitalist class 26 Science 28 Register anew

29 ___ Glendower, last Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales 30 Attempts


















24 27 31


28 33


34 39










50 55



43 46


35 38
























Puzzle by Ian Livengood

31 Singer Mann 32 “Huh?” 34 France’s Dominique Strauss-___ 38 Eliciting an “aww,” maybe 39 Room with a closet, often

42 Florida getaway locale 46 Sat (up) 47 Roulette bet 49 Declined 51 Singer Lavigne 52 Spanish kings 53 In ___ (unborn)

54 Sidewalk vendors’ offerings 56 Parent company of 57 Grandma 58 An original member of the Star Alliance 59 Twisted

For answers, call 1-900-285-5656, $1.49 a minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800-814-5554. Annual subscriptions are available for the best of Sunday crosswords from the last 50 years: 1-888-7-ACROSS. AT&T users: Text NYTX to 386 to download puzzles, or visit for more information. Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 2,000 past puzzles, ($39.95 a year). Share tips: Crosswords for young solvers:



BROWNING’S MEXICAN FOOD New rendition of a 65-year institution in Little Rock is a totally different experience. 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. $-$$. 501-663-9956. LD daily. CANON GRILL Tex-Mex, pasta, sandwiches and salads. Creative appetizers come in huge quantities, and the varied main-course menu rarely disappoints. 2811 Kavanaugh Blvd. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-664-2068. 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. $$. 501-244-0733. L Mon.-Sat. LA REGIONAL The menu offers a whirlwind trip through Latin America, with delicacies from all across the Spanish-speaking world (try the El Salvadorian papusas, they’re great). Bring your Spanish/ English dictionary. 7414 Baseline Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-565-4440. BLD daily. 2630 Pike Ave. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-246-4163. 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 Mexicanstyle seafood. 5309 W. 65th St. Beer, No CC. $. 501-562-3951. LD Tue.-Thu.

DECEMBER 28, 2011


Rez, 2012


was just finishing up my New Year’s resolutions for 2012, and my thought was to keep them to myself this time, so as to avoid the usual hoorawing from y’all, starting in early February, for my inconstancy of purpose. Once I had them printed up and posted, though — thumbtacked to my forehead like Luther’s theses — the resolutions assumed a life of their own and it became a matter like abortion to consider untimely ripping them off and throwing them in the fire and then taking the Fifth if anybody were to bring the subject up. Which I still might do if the fifth we’re talking here is Crown Royal. I know this: They’re harder to keep than make. And one of the harder ones to keep is to make up a frank, sincere batch of them in the first place. You’re always tempted to monkey around with them, to play the fool. But earnestness is the key to making the exercise worthwhile. Be dour. Dig deep. But enough dithering. Here are the 2012 rez: I’m not going to invite people to my soirees who ordinarily won’t give me the time of day. I’m making it a point to not learn

any more than I already know, which is next to nothing, about this Kardashian bunch. I’ll try to BOB remember often, LANCASTER and with ingratitude, that I got where I am today by standing on the shoulders of dwarves. I’ll not talk on the phone to androids. I’ll not tweet. If these zombies become legion and manage to kick down my door, I’ll try reasoning with them, then appeasing them with treats like on Halloween, and if that doesn’t work I’ll sic them on my neighbors, who, being more corpulent, should be more succulent — or so I will argue. I’m not sending another penny to that guy in Nigeria, no matter how dire his straits. It’s hard, even bitter, for me to accept that others can do certain things better than I can. But I’m herewith resolving to accept it. Admission No. 1: I’ll never paint fruit as good as Cezanne. I’ll not dispose of all my goods and property in anticipation of another Rapture date. Not again. If I cross paths with one of the Koch

brothers, I’m going to ask him the question posed first in Matthew 16:26 and then again in Mark 8:36. The one about gaining the world and losing your soul in the process. I imagine the response will be to signal one of their goons to administer a quietus. I’ll not stencil Bible verses into my eyeblack. Even with my longstanding commitment to ethnic diversity, I won’t welcome any of these crazy hairy ants into my neighborhood. Unless I need a mess of them to keep my aardvark fed. I’ll not poke at a pit bull through a wire fence with a sharp stick. I’ll not expect deference from cats. I’ll not wear jeans with one of the knees torn out if I go on Judge Judy. I’ll try my best to not let my disappointment show when People magazine chooses its annual Sexiest Man Alive. I’m planning a summer telethon to raise money to help in the fight to eliminate the dog-peter gnat. I’ll not gesticulate when it’s uncalled for. I’ll do Branson — if someone hogties me, throws me in the trunk of a car, and dumps me there. Using the same rationale as Edmund Wilson’s “The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles,” I’ll use my garden this year to grow a nice crop of weeds. Unless I just have to, when I go some-

where, I’m not taking the phone. I’ll not vacation in Rumania. Or Pakistan. Or Cabot. I’ll not be joining Rep. Ross as a frontline defender in the War on Christmas. If I come across any forgotten bags of unsown wild oats, I might feed them to the birds but I won’t be sowing any of the bastards myself. I’ve stood in enough lines. I won’t be going gentle to take my place at the end of another one. If I can think of a good reason not to, I won’t. Maybe I’ll try one more time, but I just can’t read Melville. I’ll hear you out on “enhanced interrogation techniques” after you’ve read “Waiting for the Barbarians” by J. M. Coetzee. I’m not going to play games with these weasels and dumbasses and blowhards. I might be able to conversate with some of them if they were ever right about anything, but they’re not. They wallow in wrongness like my old ducoc Van Dalsem used to do in his mudhole. If she’s still alive, I’m going to look up my Seventh Grade civics teacher and tell her at least one of her students got far enough along to learn that the river Thames has a different pronunciation from the one she tried to pin on it: it doesn’t rhyme with the sixth word in the preceding paragraph. Not even close.

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21, 2011 ARKANSAS TIMES 102 December 102 DECEMBER 28, 2011 ARKANSAS TIMES

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It’s the return of the annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase as performers compete for an array of prizes. All acts who have at least four songs of original material are encouraged to enter. All styles are welcome.


Semifinalists will compete throughout January and February at Stickyz and Revolution. Weekly winners will then face off in the finals in March. Check out for information on how to enter online and upload your files. Door prizes will be given away to fans in attendance.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRY DEC. 31, 2011 FOR MORE INFO E-MAIL Don’t miss the show of past showcase winners! December 29 at Stickyz! 9 p.m., $5



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Arkansas Times, 12-28-12  

Arkansas Times newspaper