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A Ceremony of Recognition



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The internet is great. But it’s upended the way news outlets make money, in Arkansas and everywhere else. The alarming consequence of this is that, with each passing year, there are fewer and fewer journalists reporting stories that make a difference.


association of alternative newsmedia

The Arkansas Nonprofit News Network is working to fill that gap in Arkansas. In 2017, ANNN has produced more than 75 public interest and investigative news stories — on topics including health care, education, child welfare and juvenile justice — that have been shared with news outlets across the state for free.


ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, 201 EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $74 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.



HELP ANNN CONTINUE TO PRODUCE POWERFUL INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM. YOUR DONATION WILL DIRECTLY FUND REPORTING THAT MATTERS. ANNN is a registered nonprofit in the state of Arkansas that operates under the fiscal sponsorship of the Fred Darragh Foundation. To make your tax deductible donation, visit or make your check out to the Fred Darragh Foundation and mail to the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, at PO Box 250746, LR, 72225-0746. ANNN partners include Arkansas Business, the Arkansas Leader, (KARK, Channel 4’s website), Arkansas Times, the Ashley County News Observer, the Batesville Guard, the Baxter Bulletin, the Eureka Springs Independent, (FOX, Channel 16’s website), the Harrison Daily Times, the Jonesboro Sun, the Log Cabin Democrat, the Russellville Courier, the Searcy Daily Citizen, the Sheridan Headlight, the Southwest Times Record and the Spring River Chronicle. DECEMBER 21, 2017



Quote of the week “I was sick and I wanted to leave,” Sen. Bill Sample (R-Hot Springs) told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette when asked why, at a legislative subcommittee meeting, he made a motion to reject restrictions proposed by the state Plant Board to limit the use of the controversial herbicide dicamba. The Plant Board had proposed a ban on the in-crop use of dicamba from April 16 to Oct. 31 after receiving more than 1,000 complaints from dicamba damage to crops, trees and more. The Plant Board will reconsider its proposal in January.

Another big arts gift for UA

No ABC leader Arkansas Baptist College is without a president. Dr. Joseph Jones, who led the campus for about a year, said he had resigned the job Friday in an email to the Board of Trustees’ e xe c ut i ve committee. Sunday, he said, the Board sent him an email s a y i n g he had been terminated “for cause,” but it listed 6

DECEMBER 21, 2017


no cause. As a consequence, he said transfer of federal student payments. he had hired legal representation. He Bill Walker, a new member of the declined further comment. board and a former state legislator Dr. Kenneth Harris of Arkadelphia, and state agency leader, said the final chairman of the board, said Jones was issue that led to board action was the terminated last week “for cause” and college’s falling behind on payment of issued a brief prepared statement. It federal withholding, a serious issue we said the board had “lost confidence in “have to correct.” He confirmed the Dr. Jones’ leadership and judgment.” It November payroll was paid late and said the firing was “predicated on his the December payroll, due to be paid lack of transparency with the Board at the end of the month, may be late, on issues that could place the Board too, unless the college can arrange a and the institution at significant risk short-term loan to cover it. Walker said of financial and legal jeopardy.” college “overhead” had to be reduced The college has been coping because of the smaller enrollment, but with financial difficulties since he also said he hoped to see a return a major growth spurt under the of the recruiting effort of Hill’s days leadership of former President Fitz as president. Walker also said Jones Hill. Enrollment grew and so too declined an offer to be allowed to did campus facilities, in part thanks resign rather than be fired. to some significant private donations, but when Hill departed it was still on uncertain footing, Former death row despite a major federal inmate Tim Howard loan that paid off private was released from lenders and bought the Varner Supermax Unit college time to right its prison last week after 20 finances. Enrollment years in prison, 14 of them on has fallen and the death row. college is under federal The state Parole Board monitoring that delays voted last month to parole

Howard freed


The Universit y of Arkansas announced a gift of $40 million from the Windgate Charitable Foundation of Siloam Springs to expand the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences’ Hill Avenue Sculpture Complex as the Windgate Art and Design District. The gift will allow the university to build new art and design classrooms, studio space and “potential new gallery space” near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Hill Avenue. It follows the $120 million gift from the Walton Charitable Foundation to the university to renovate its Fine Arts Center and substantially beef up the UA’s art education within a new School of Art. The university is doubling its art programming budget over the next five years, representing another $16 million investment above its previous arts budget. That all adds up to $166 million invested in arts education and creation in Fayetteville.

Howard, who had been imprisoned since 1997 after his conviction for the slayings of a Little River County couple and the attempted murder of their child. Howard has maintained his innocence and has had an unblemished prison record. Howard had previously been denied parole in 2015 despite a retrial that made him immediately eligible. Howard spent 17 years of his incarceration in isolation. The Parole Board voted 5-0 on Nov. 20 to grant parole to Howard. Several conditions were placed on pa role, including a n employment plan, periodic drug testing, no association with victim or relatives, maximum supervision for t he rema i nder of his probation by the Depa r tment of Communit y Correction, a curfew if he is not at work, school or church and community service work if he is not employed. He also may not return to Sevier or Little River counties.


Hiding Hog money


he Arkansas Democrat-Gazette per’s aggressiveness is because it was this week reported that a Univer- behind the curve in the sudden upheaval sity of Arkansas response to an that led to the firing of Athletic Direcopen records request shows UA officials tor Jeff Long, Footregularly communicate with the Razor- ball Coach Bret back Foundation, which supports UA Bielema and a athletics. Duh. raft of assistant The emails did add some current coaches, leaving a detail to a 30-year story I’d recounted the multimillion-dolday before on the Arkansas Blog about lar severance bill to MAX BRANTLEY the use of the private foundation to throw be paid by the foun- secrecy around pay, perks and other dation. emoluments (think private jet use and The newspaper also blew the cost of the six-figure retirement income pro- the severance deal for Bielema because vided former athletic director Frank Bro- it didn’t have access to all the relevant yles) in the athletic kingdom. documents covering his employment, A key question was left open: Will the some held by the Razorback Foundation, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sue to unlock a private nonprofit. foundation secrets? Many, including me, Now the newspaper is on the hunt. have long contended the legal precedents The only way to pry the records out support opening the books. It’s good the of Razorback Foundation boss Scott D-G has finally roused itself to challenge Varady’s grip is a lawsuit. A Little Rock the status quo, once a no-no for those lawyer, Chris Corbitt, has given an indiwho chronicle Razorback exploits in cation he might beat the D-G to the courtthe sports pages. Perhaps the newspa- house for Varady’s refusal to detail a

Donor payback


appy days are here again! The coffers of the Republican campaign committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, which have been in a drought this year while the party struggled to deliver the huge tax cuts so long promised to businessmen, will get a deluge now that the deed is about done. A Republican senator whose candor is often shocking said his colleagues had to pass the tax cuts, no matter how unpopular they might be, because big donors were counting on recompense. Once the party finally had a working majority in both houses and the White House, it could not afford to disappoint the corporate forces that had spent so much in recent years to elect Republicans in statehouses and Washington. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who had voted against the first Senate tax bill because it would have added $1.3 trillion to the federal debt, agreed to supply the crucial vote this time — right after finding out that the conference committee had added another big loophole that will mean a giant payout for people like him and Donald Trump. It added real estate companies to the list of pass-through businesses that qualify for a tax break that isn’t available to

wage earners. The tax votes this week are a gamble for the party, for polls show that most ERNEST p e o pl e d o n ’ t DUMAS believe the tax cuts will help them. A CBS poll said 76 percent of people believe that the tax bill will benefit large corporations, 69 percent think the beneficiaries will be wealthy people generally and only 31 percent believe the beneficiaries will be middle-class families. The great unwashed in this instance are not far off the mark. All the analytics done by experts who apply the various terms of the bill to the trove of IRS data from last year’s tax returns conclude that while most people will get some temporary and often minuscule relief, mainly owing to a larger standard deduction, most will eventually pay more. Corporations will see large permanent benefits, and wealthy businessmen whose incomes depend on pass-through entities like partnerships and limited liability companies can count on politicians to keep their benefits flowing. But the president and Congress

workout of loans made to the fired Jeff Long to buy whole life insurance as part of his compensation package. I wish the Arkansas Times could afford to go to court, but we got bruised financially once tilting against the legal team the UA is willing to assemble to protect secrets pertaining to wealthy donors and we are less able to muster such resources today. The D-G, too, is facing the harsh realities of the changing world of publishing as evidenced by dramatic staff reductions and consolidation of statewide operations at the chain›s newspapers. This shouldn’t take a lawsuit. An honest public institution wouldn’t participate in the fiction that the Razorback Foundation is disconnected from the university. Public employees — the chancellor and athletic director — strike pay deals with other public employees, including the athletic director and various coaches, that are guaranteed by payments from the Razorback Foundation. The foundation is able to deliver because it has the franchise to extract premium payments for UA ticket sales along with contributions from UA athletic support-

ers. All understand the foundation WILL deliver; otherwise nobody would take the jobs. The $120 million athletic department confers daily with the foundation on everything from ticket sales to building projects to use of a $4 million aircraft. The foundation is the department’s shadow treasury. It should function in sunlight. I welcome the D-G’s spotlight. It, by the way, could find in the files it inherited from the late Arkansas Gazette that newspaper’s pursuit of these records in the 1980s, a pursuit that brought advertising pressure from powerful Razorback supporters interested in keeping Razorback Foundation affairs secret. The nowdefunct newspaper’s success then in opening records led to the move of the foundation off campus and other steps to create an appearance of independence. But the new offices and nominally independent board are only a disguise. The foundation doesn’t exist or operate at the exorbitant SEC level without a UA Athletic Department. And vice versa. Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and UA President Donald Bobbitt: Tear down that wall of secrecy.

count on H.L. Mencken being right in the end: No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Every Republican congressman’s message — we see it in Arkansas — is the same as Trump’s: This is great for working people. Mencken may have been right this time, too. Many people give credence to the words rather than the deeds of the politicians they like. Thirtyone percent in the CBS poll believe the tax bill mainly benefits the middle class. The Gallup daily tracking poll this week shows that 34 percent like the job Trump is doing. Are they the same people? “This [the tax bill] is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me,” Trump said. There is no way to tell except by the three summary pages of his 2005 tax return, which his tax preparer apparently leaked to a reporter because it showed him paying some taxes that year. Trump’s 2005 return makes it clear that the tax bill should deliver a small fortune to him and his family. Most of his income came from real estate companies and other pass-through entities that will get big tax cuts. The tax bill keeps the most egregious tax loopholes, like carried interest, that were supposed to drive the crusade for “tax reform.”

Trump paid some taxes in 2005 mainly owing to the alternative minimum tax, the device Congress installed in 1969 to force rich people to pay some taxes even if deductions and exemptions left them owing no regular income tax. Trump’s point man, the treasury secretary, tried to get the tax abolished, but the bill keeps a trace of it. The GOP bill doubles the exemption for the estate tax, the century-old tax on large sums of inherited wealth that Trump may one day pass on to his offspring. A person will now have to inherit $11 million or a couple $22 million before owing a dime. A narrative recited by Arkansas Republican leaders in op-ed articles is that the bill simplifies the tax code so that people can file on a postcard. Trump said people could do their returns on a single page. Most people do that now by claiming the standard deduction, but the bill actually complicates tax reporting immensely by adding, not eliminating, loopholes. There is the little matter of the bill’s driving up health insurance costs for low- and middle-income Americans by torpedoing the Affordable Care Act. Congress’ fiscal analysts concluded that the bill will cost 13 million people with low and middle incomes their health insurance. Happy days are here again!

Follow Arkansas Blog on Twitter: @ArkansasBlog DECEMBER 21, 2017


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In step with America’s State Parks’ “First Day Hikes” health initiative, state parks around Arkansas will host guided hikes on January 1. It’s a great way to get outside, connect with nature, and start the new year on the right foot. Visit for a participating state park close to home. My park, your park, our parks 8

DECEMBER 21, 2017




Trumpistan “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.” Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism


f the president thinks he can get away with firing special counsel Robert Mueller and turning the United States into an authoritarian Trumpistan, now would be the time to go for it. Right now, I mean: Immediately after his triumphal signing of the larcenous Republican tax bill and the Christmas congressional recess. Issue Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein his walking papers, and replace him with a more pliable Trumpist willing to send Mueller and his investigative team packing. Strike dramatically and decisively while most of the country is enjoying the holidays. And then brazen it out. “There is no collusion. Democratic witch hunt. Puppet? You’re the puppet!” Like that. That’s certainly how Vladimir Putin would do it, although he has the advantage of a Russian populace used to seeing inconvenient citizens shipped to Siberia or shot dead in the street. Already, Trumpist media are urging him to act. In the alternative-reality world of Fox News, the impeccably Republican special counsel is described as leading a “coup” against the president. Sean Hannity charges that Mueller’s investigation has America “on the brink of becoming a banana republic.” Trump favorite Jeanine Pirro says high-ranking FBI officials should be taken “out in cuffs,” for crimes she’s failed to specify. Oh yeah, back in 2016, a couple of agents exchanged texts critical of Trump. For this, Mueller removed them from his investigative team — thereby proving, in Foxified bizarro-world terms, his bias against Trump. Back in May, the ever-pliant Newt Gingrich the former FBI director’s assignment to head the Russia probe. “Robert Mueller is a superb choice to be special counsel,” Gingrich said. “His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity.”

As, indeed, it always has been. But, one way or another, Trump corrupts everything he touches. As the evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election draws the special counsel’s probe inexorably nearer the White House inner circle, panic has set in. Gingrich now argues that the entire GENE federal criminal LYONS apparatus has become corrupted — the “Deep State” and all that. Sitting on his ample posterior watching cable news networks and guzzling a reported 12 Diet Cokes each day, Trump has himself dabbled in conspiracy talk. During a Pensacola, Fla., speech supporting the Senate candidacy of an accused child molester, he denounced the entire federal law enforcement establishment. “This is a rigged system,” he said. “This is a sick system from the inside. And you know, there’s no country like our country, but we have a lot of sickness in some of our institutions.” The question becomes, “who’s pushing whom?” Are TV cheerleaders preparing the way for a planned action, or, as Josh Marshall suspects, merely “trying to goad Trump into taking the plunge?” Seemingly, the latter. Sources tell CNN that Trump has been “boasting to friends and advisers that he expects Mueller to clear him of wrongdoing in the coming weeks … [and] telling associates Mueller will soon write a letter clearing him that Trump can brandish to Washington and the world in a bid to finally emerge from the cloud of suspicion” looming over his administration. Supposedly, White House lawyers — probably with his best interests at heart — have so assured him. If Trump does believe that, then he’s actively delusional. Aides are said to be wary of a volcanic outburst when the president figures out what most observers already know: that the Mueller probe is nowhere near its end, and that letter ain’t in the mail. But this is about a lot more than Donald J. Trump. It’s a serious counterintelligence investigation of a Russian attempt to sabotage American democracy.



n last week’s column, Gene Lyons asks the question, “How low will a columnist go?” before he insults the integrity of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), sympathizes with a man whose wife won’t let him paw her in public, and equates Sen. Al Franken’s alleged groping of women during photo ops as mere “insults.” All while minimizing and dismissing the voices and experiences of the women he mentions. After yet another woman accused Franken of inappropriate touching, Gillibrand called for the Minnesota Democrat to resign. Lyons implies Gillibrand is somehow unfit to question another’s ethics because she represented Philip Morris, a tobacco company. Nonsense. I go to court week after week and represent men and women charged with rape, murder, DWI, theft and domestic violence. Some are guilty. Some are innocent. I don’t do it because I support rape, murderer, drunk driving, theft or battery. I do it because I support the U.S. Constitution. Attorneys are not their clients and zealously representing unpopular ones does not make us compromised about “means and ends.” This smear is as unfair now just as it was when used to discredit Hillary Clinton. Lyons references accusations made by former congressional staffer Tina Dupuy, who describes Franken as “grabbing a handful of flesh” at her waist and squeezing a couple of times during a photo op. Sounds similar to the accounts of the other women who accused Franken of grabbing their buttocks or breasts. Dupuy points out how demoralizing it is to be minimized down to body parts, and for that reason does not allow her husband to touch her that way in public. Instead of speaking up for Dupuy’s right to body autonomy, Lyons expresses sympathy for her husband seemingly because the man is not allowed to get handsy with his wife in the company of others. “Getting patted on the posterior.” That’s what Lyons calls what happened to Franken’s accusers. Lyons claims Franken’s actions are merely “insults” instead of an “outrage.” No, Mr. Lyons, calling someone “fat” is an insult. Calling someone “stupid” is an insult. Molesting a woman on her rear end or

on her breast without permission is an outrage. We spend our lives trying to deflect off-color jokes, unwanted advances, hugs that go on a bit too long, and men who just won’t take no for an answer. We are way past being insulted. We are outraged. Look, I know Fra n ken wa s adored by many on the left. I liked AUTUMN TOLBERT the guy. I thought he honestly cared. I believe we should be wary of false accusations because they absolutely happen. However, the pattern of credible complaints against Franken means he has to go. I agree it’s not fair that Trump remains while Franken steps down, but, as I was always taught, two wrongs don’t make a right. If Democrats want Franken to stay in the Senate because he is a “good guy” despite his assaults on women, then they are falling into the same “imperfect vessel” trap many evangelicals use to justify support of Trump. And to those who argue it benefits Gillibrand to have Franken out, my response is that she still did the right thing by joining the chorus of those calling for his resignation. Franken, not Gillibrand, is the political opportunist. He used his fame and office to cop cheap feels on unsuspecting women. I disagree with Lyons that this will drive Democrats away. The majority of progressives I know, especially women, believe Franken’s behavior has no business in the Senate or in any workplace. Women want to be recognized for our accomplishments at work. We want to walk down the street and not be catcalled. We want to run for office and not have all the focus on our outfits and hairstyles. We want to stand next to our elected officials for a photo without being felt up. We want to be able to speak out against harassers without being accused of having ulterior motives. And we want a political party that will stand up for us every step of the way, even against a party darling. Is that really too much to ask? If some Democrats would rather protect Franken than stand up against harassment, then they better get ready for pushback, because we are over it. Completely.

Save the date for the first annual


ARKANSAS MUSIC AWARDS 7 p.m. Jan. 23, Ron Robinson Theater Presented by the Arkansas Times and Arkansas Sounds (a project of the Butler

Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System). Learn more at

New Years Eve with

The Mike Dillon Band + Dazz and Brie

The Mike Dillon Band will be bringing in the New Year w/ Dazz and Brie at Four Quarter Bar. We will be open later than most bars - until 2am!! Champagne toast at midnight included in price of admission. Kitchen open until 1:30am. $25 Pre-event Tickets -$30 Day of show.

Get Tickets Today!

Go to to purchase these tickets - and more!

415 Main St North Little Rock • (501) 313-4704 • DECEMBER 21, 2017



B-ball promise T





DECEMBER 21, 2017


he winds of change that swirl with some questionable coaching hires about the Arkansas football and Kentucky’s oppressive dominance program have thankfully leading to a watering-down of the rest compelled us Hog fans to focus an of the league. That’s even sharper eye on the basketball no longer the case, team, which is clearly re-energized as the Volunteers after the 2016-17 team cruised back to are among four the NCAA Tournament and won an currently ranked opening-round game against Seton Hall SEC teams and all before succumbing to eventual national of the outliers but BEAU WILCOX champion North Carolina. Vanderbilt are also Three valuable seniors — Moses above .500. Kingsley, Dusty Hannahs and Manuale It’s a much harder league up and Watkins — all left town after that down, and so this year, an 11- or 12-win brief but encouraging run. But Mike campaign within conference play might Anderson had a tremendous returning be suitable for a 4 or 5 national tourney core to lean on, and so far the leadership seed rather than an 8 or 9. Arkansas of guards Jaylen Barford and Daryl would love to validate the strength of Macon, along with the heavily improved its recruiting and its in-state talent by play of Anton Beard and C.J. Jones, has getting to that level or beyond. Barford, led the hardcourt ironically, is the key, Hogs to an 8-2 In all eight wins, freshman and he is one of the start, with the few on the roster phenom Daniel Gafford has defeats occurring who arrived in had at least one dunk. And boy, Fayetteville without away from home i n a re m a t c h - does he like dunking. It’s no some tie to the gone-sour against wonder the Razorbacks are a state. He’s pouring Carolina and then singularly better team when it in to the tune of a mysteriously the El Dorado product is on the 20 per game, and flat and terrible floor. He’s a transcendent talent giving the opposing showing at Houston. who is already remarkably guards hell with his The w i n s polished for a true freshman perimeter defense, have been good, post player, with a soft touch and it feels like though. While in he’s been here all but impressive strength. Portland, the Hogs four years rather bookended the loss than two after to UNC with a well-played win over transferring. Oklahoma and a 35-point bombing of Anderson has the best team he’s onetime power Connecticut. Arkansas assembled in seven years on the job as also whipped a couple of other potential a direct result. He is giving the program tourney teams, Bucknell and Fresno what it long needed, a deep and athletic State, and really unloaded on Top 15 roster, a solid connection to in-state Minnesota at home. prospects, and a style of play that In all eight wins, freshman phenom resonates with fans. The Hogs bottled Daniel Gafford has had at least one dunk. up Troy by 25 in their annual game And boy, does he like dunking. It’s no at Verizon Arena on Saturday night, wonder the Razorbacks are a singularly and it was a lively sellout crowd that better team when the El Dorado product piled into North Little Rock’s venue. is on the floor. He’s a transcendent talent Everyone enjoyed the outcome and who is already remarkably polished the path the Razorbacks took there for a true freshman post player, with a — it was a game where frenetic pace soft touch but impressive strength. His and crisp offense was on full display, shot-blocking and rebounding skills are and it accordingly enticed everyone. beyond reproach for a teenager, and if Now if the Hogs can do more of this, and he can avoid foul trouble, he’s easily consistently, throughout an upcoming the best Razorback interior asset in a SEC slate, things are looking great, not good while. only for the season underway but the Arkansas figures to need Gafford to ones on the immediate horizon. The mature at an even greater clip once SEC nucleus is as good as it has been, and play commences with a home tilt against Anderson’s steadiness through some Tennessee on Dec. 30. The conference’s lean and frustrating years has yielded reputation has sagged in recent years dividends.


Resolutions 2018


ecause of our annual Native’s Guide issue coming next week, this will be the last regular issue of the dear ol’ Arkansas Times — and thus, the last Observer — for the Year of Our Lord 2017. We close on this year, thankfully, not with the hearty “good riddance” we gave the horrible, bad, no-good year of 2016, which took Prince and David Bowie and Muhammad Ali and gave us, in one of the great sucker deals in the history of mankind, an orange shyster named Trump. 2017 has turned out to be a fairly okay year, all in all, even when figuring in the sense of unrelenting dread that never leaves the pit of the stomach, that sense of wondering when, exactly, Gen. Bonespurs is going to stop his f lirtation with apeshit crazy and go “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” up there in the White House, possibly cashing us out as a species by accidentally pushing the button to launch a full-scale nuclear strike on Russia while attempting to call in H.R. McMaster for a little juggling to entertain him during the commercials on “Fox and Friends.” But enough about that. While there’s still Christmas and a handful of gray days left jingling in 2017’s pocket, we figure we’ll get our resolutions for 2018 out of the way now, so they can be good and broke by the time they go into effect. Saves time that way. So no more sitting around scheming on how to get a medical marijuana card, because if we’re honest, at least 60 percent of the fun of smoking pot is knowing it’s illegal. No more denying that men are asshats who need to listen more and scheme on how to get their flyrods waxed less, because enough is goddamn well enough. No more flicking out a licked finger, quick as a snake, to make three Xs on the windshield and thus ward off bad luck when a black cat crosses our path, because if this is good luck, let’s give bad luck a try for a change and see what happens. No more wishing somebody would shake

up Washington, Ark. No more buying breakfast cereal based solely on the quality of the prize inside, because it probably needs to be bran or woodier from here on out. No more shirking our duty to our aging colon. No more wasting time at work looking up recipes for weed-infused lube while daydreaming about starting the Stoner Boners empire once Arkansas passes recreational pot. No more forgetting to get a copyright on the name “Stoner Boners,” because that’s actually pretty good. No more itchy trigger fingers, or toes for that matter. No more pitying the fools. No more denying that we drink entirely too much Coke Zero and not nearly enough bourbon. No more sitting in the back pew at church like a wretched sinner, because if the evangelicals can see fit to extol the Christian virtues of Donald Trump and a credibly-accused serial pedo, Yours Truly figures our heathen ass oughta rank at least row two or better, maybe even a Deacon’s chair. No more blaming it on the other guy. No more hiding the fact that we want a quiet, mid-sized dog once Junior heads off to college; maybe something in a nice Beagle or plucky mutt. No more putting off scraping and painting the house, as it’s starting to look like it belongs in an Old West ghost town. No more spending the week before New Year’s telling everybody we meet “SEE YA NEXT YEAR!” No more giving in and letting it slide. No more making excuses and making due. No more standing at the window deep down in the quick of the night and thinking of what might have been, and what tragedy didn’t transpire only by the grace of God. No more living in the past, because the past doesn’t exist anymore. No sweating the future, because the future doesn’t exist yet. No more dragging this out. No more sad goodbyes, only this: May 2018 bring you more happiness than sadness, my friend. Whatever the case, know that The Observer, as always, smiles upon you. See ya next year.

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Little Rock has a paternalism problem.


cannot count the number of times The editorial that more established people have speaks of chartold me how I should think, how I ter schools as the should dress, how I should get my hair savior to all things cut and when it is my time to place my public education. name in the proverbial election hat. I Personally (and ANTWAN have talked with many people my age not on the behalf PHILLIPS and this issue is not unique to me. There of all Think Big Guest Columnist is a pervasive “wait your turn” mentality members), I disin Little Rock, and when coupled with agree with that notion; conversely, I the “we know what’s best” mentality, it do not think all charters schools are is disheartening and disenfranchising. ill-conceived. Nonetheless, as it relates On Sunday, the Arkansas Democrat- to Think Big, the Education Task Force Gazette published an editorial that epit- developed recommendations that were omized my sentiments. The editoral important to them and other millenniwas titled “Big Thoughts,” and it was als. They focused on other issues such a retort to the Think Big strategic plan as pre-K, restorative justice and middle to make Little Rock more attractive to school partnerships with local busithe millennial generation. I was one of nesses. The editorial would make more the co-chairs of the Think Big strate- sense if the Think Big recommendation gic initiative. There were a few points spoke ill of charter schools, but it does in the editorial that had a paternalistic not. It simply addresses the importance overtone. of early childhood education. Ignored Think Big was a wide-ranging plan, by the editorial is the fact that pre-K with recommendations for a dedicated improves student performance in grades funding source for public transit, for 1 and beyond. It is well documented repurposing War Memorial Golf Course that students who participate in pre-K into a central park, for a juvenile diver- obtained higher literacy rates than those sion program for Pulaski County, and who do not. This is a noble issue that much more. However, the editorial we hope will be supported and implefocused on one idea Think Big did not mented. discuss: charter schools. The Think Big strategic plan was One of the foundational principles intended to be the first of many periodic of the Think Big project was for young plans and was not intended to address people, ages 25 to 40, to offer their per- every issue in Little Rock. Rather, it was spective on how we should live, work conceived to allow younger people to and play in Little Rock. Some leaders in express their vision for the future of Litour community understand that young tle Rock. It was a much needed opporpeople need to be more involved in the tunity for young people to get involved, direction of our city. As a result, the ideas without waiting on someone to pass the created from Think Big were intended proverbial torch. Personally, I expected to be by young people for young people to receive some criticism and pushback and the future of Little Rock. after publishing the report, but when I The editorial attempts to undercut read the editorial I did not sense conthis important fact by essentially tell- structive criticism or new ideas. I felt ing us that, as it relates to education, the “system” and “way we do things” charter schools are “what you need to telling us that instead of thinking big, think/talk about.” In fact, the article we thought wrong. said that charter schools are the “most If Little Rock is going to be all it can promising innovation in public educa- be, then we need those in positions of tion in a decade” and that the Think Big prominence to stop telling everyone members could not seriously promote else “how it is” and to start listening their recommendations while ignoring to “how it can be.” As long as there is charter schools. Sentiments like those the pervasive paternalism, Little Rock expressed in the editorial are a micro- will continue to be what it is, not what cosm of a greater societal issue, where it can be. those in authority or perceived positions of power attempt to regulate the Antwan Phillips is a lawyer with the conduct and conversations of others. Wright Lindsey Jennings firm.


Rx card event


Medicinal Purpose, an Arkansas He also cited some statistics in the company established this year to email: “In September of 2016, I asked provide physician evaluations staff to provide data for five years docfor patients seeking a medical marijuana umenting the number of misdemeanor card that entitles them to legally buy marijuana arrests where that was the and use cannabis to treat health condi- only violation. The number of arrests in tions, will hold an evaluation event from Little Rock increased from 68 in 2011 to 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 23 at the Holiday 225 in 2016. The total number of arrests Inn, 10920 Financial Center Parkway. during that timeframe was 928. That Patients seeking evaluation must be is a dramatic increase. That increase 18 years old, able to prove their Arkan- was dramatic enough for us to make sas residency with a state-issued I.D. national news. or driver’s license and must bring cop“A November 21 article in The Washies of medical records proving they ington Times noted that the increase have been diagnosed by a physician in arrests from 2012 to 2016 was 95%. with one of the qualifying conditions Without conducting a mapping of or symptoms included in the Arkansas these arrests, I would guess the lion’s medical cannabis law, including can- share of these arrests occurred south cer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, of I-630 and Southwest Little Rock.” Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, ulcerative Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is colitis, post-traumatic stress syndrome, the main active ingredient in cannadebilitating arthritis, wasting syndrome, bis — and the one whose effects science peripheral neuropathy, intractable pain knows the most about. But, marijuana that has persisted for more than six has over 80 cannabinoids that bind to months despite medical treatment, or brain receptors. Beyond THC, the most seizures or conditions causing severe talked about one is cannabidiol, or CBD, muscle spasms and/or severe nausea. which does not have the psychoactive Dr. Ivy McGee, a family medicine effects of marijuana but is being tested doctor who practices in Bryant and is as a drug. one of the founding partners of A MedicIt’s still too early to say for sure what inal Purpose, will evaluate potential CBD does or if it works as a vitamin. medical marijuana cardholders. The But it’s not illegal to purchase prodevaluation fee is $150. Patients who ucts labeled “CBD only” in Arkansas, qualify for a medical marijuana card, and vendors are selling it, both online which is issued by the state Depart- and in dispensaries, in the form of oils, ment of Health, must be re-evaluated creams and drops that supposedly give by a physician every year to reauthorize relief to such things as arthritis. their eligibility. At the recent Ark-La-Tex Medical Patients can also request a private Cannabis Expo at the Statehouse Conevaluation at the A Medicinal Pur- vention Center, one company showed pose website, a slew of these products, even offering Once the physician evaluation form is gummy bears to folks to sample and dog signed, patients have 30 days to apply treats for their pooches. for a medical cannabis card through the Still, the FDA frowns on companies health department at healthy.arkansas. that make health claims on their CBD oil gov/programs-services/topics/id-card- product labels, and has written warnapply-online. ing letters to stop making such claims to companies including That’s Natural!, Ward 2 City Director Ken Stanley Brothers, Natural Alchemist Richardson is pushing to make and Green Roads Health (find more marijuana arrests and investiga- information on the website). tions a low priority in Little Rock. Consumer warning: The website Richardson emailed a sample ordi- says there may not be CBD nance from Fayetteville to that effect in your CBD products. The only states to his fellow members on the city board, in which you can be sure products conand said he hopes to take up the issue tain CBD are where the products are in January. “This email from me and regulated and tested: Colorado, Washthe accompanying ordinance is long ington, Oregon and Alaska. As Leafly overdue,” he wrote fellow directors. “I says, “Outside of those four states, conbelieve the merits of an ordinance like sumers must put their trust in the manthis go without saying.” ufacturer.”

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It’s The

BeSt AnD WorSt 2017 All the news that was fit to print, and some that probably wasn’t. BY DAVID KOON | ILLUSTRATION BY BRYAN MOATS


hristmas has finally rolled around, Twittler, but we’re muddling through as best we which means it’s time once again can, knowing that every second of the ticking for the Arkansas Times’ Best and clock is another whole second closer to the Worst issue, our annual salute to all day all of us can turn to another old codger in the weird, wacky, wonderful things in Arkansas the nursing home and say the magical words: that managed to briefly make it on the public “Remember when Donald Trump was presiradar in the past year. It’s been a hard 12 months, dent? Did I dream that, or did that bullshit especially for folks dismayed to live under the really happen?” So keep on keeping on, citizen, addled, increasingly erratic gaze of President and keep on reading below for the skinny on

Worst old timey

Best proof

According to a story in The Saline Courier in May, a funeral home in Benton is offering a $3,895 coffin made of rough, salvaged barn wood, complete with knots and unfilled nail holes, with interior options in camouflage, lace and duck cloth.

In March, a student at the University of Central Arkansas pulled over by Conway police who suspected him of driving while intoxicated proved his sobriety beyond a shadow of a doubt by retrieving three juggling pins from his car and juggling them for the officers, including flipping pins behind his back and under his legs. An officer’s dashcam video of the stop soon went viral online.

Best march On Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration of President Pussygrabber, thousands of Arkansas women and their allies, like millions of women nationwide and around the globe, took to the streets for a massive, raucous anti-Trump protest march on the state Capitol.

Worst trunk In February, a Johnsville (Bradley County) man was arrested after he brought his father’s dead body to the Warren Police Department in the trunk of his car and allegedly confessed to his murder.


DECEMBER 21, 2017


two-faced snakes of the nonpolitical variety, a bye-bye for Razorback football Coach Bret Bielema (and just when we’d finally started spelling his name right on the first try!), pissed off women on the march, tragedy somehow averted during the shootout at the OK Ultra Lounge and Corral, and goatly heroism of the first order. It’s all here, friends. Read it and weep, and may 2018 be kind to you and yours.

Worst difference

Worst ransom

On Oct. 10, it was simultaneously 49 degrees in Garfield (Benton County) and 93 degrees in the Bradford (White County).

In December, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office announced it had paid $2,400 in bitcoin to hackers to get them to release the “ransomware” that encrypted the department’s computer system, making all files — including files related to ongoing cases — unreadable.

Best ol’ yeller It was a hell of a mess in early October, when according to the Eureka Springs Independent, the Arkansas Department of Transportation painted new stripes down the main drag of the town with water soluble paint on a rainy day. The newspaper reported that the oozing hue temporarily dyed Leatherwood Creek a brilliant yellow, with the paint being splashed onto cars and tracked into stores.

Best unemployment

Hunter Hatcher, an outreach coordinator for State Treasurer Dennis MilIn June, Philip P. Frederic, 56, a forligan, resigned in January after it was mer school bus driver from Jacksonrevealed he had made several boorish ville, who was convicted of conspiracy posts on social media, including an inauto commit rape for arranging a sexual guration day Facebook post in which he rendezvous with a police officer he said that because of Trump, “gay jokes thought was an underage girl, wrote a are back on ya bunch of homos,” a post letter to the judge in his case asking for during the Jan. 21 Women’s March in a new trial and saying that his attempt to Worst day for everyone not driv- Little Rock in which Hatcher wondered, meet the girl was actually research for ing a yellow Corvette “if all these women are at the Capitol, his college thesis, for which he wanted Some of the cars splattered by the who’s making lunch?” and a Jan. 1 post to “engage certain online subject in an sticky yellow mess were several of the in which Hatcher said: “Equality? Don’t immersive conversation regarding their 400-plus classic Chevrolet Corvettes in get equal, get to cooking woman! Get sexuality.” Eureka Springs for a car show. equal on your own time.”

Worst ‘research’

Worst beef Best canceled In January, the Arkansas Inaugural Gala, the state’s contribution to the slate of Washington, D.C., balls surrounding the inauguration of Donald Trump, had to be canceled after organizers admitted they hadn’t sold a single ticket.

Best lonely

In March, former Gov. Mike Huckabee was unmercifully mocked for

that resembled Donald

When local blogger Russ Racop asked a Little Rock Police Department spokesman why LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner wasn’t issued a ticket after a March 2 incident in which Buckner rear-ended a car at Markham and Spring streets, Racop was given a copy of a memorandum authored by Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore that stated it was LRPD policy that police officers were never issued tickets after traffic accidents in city-owned vehicles, even if they were at fault.

Trump, with Huckabee

Worst perk pattern

attempt to start a Twitter beef with rapper

Second worst judge

video in which Snoop

Worst judge In October, former state District Judge Joseph O. Boeckmann of Wynne plead guilty to federal counts of witness tampering and wire fraud related to allegations that Boeckmann had used his position on the bench for years to take lewd photos of young men who came before him, some of the most desperate of whom, according to investigators, he recruited as paid sexual and sadomasochistic partners.

Best freedom! In April, the “Chocolate Covered Cherry Freedom Act of 2017,” sponsored by Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers), was signed into law.

Worst insult to hardworking grit tanks A petition was filed in February on asking that the mayor of Conway rename the city’s “grit tank” — a round tank that gathers and agitates raw sewage prior to its being treated — after Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway). The petition has over 2,500 signatures as of this writing.

Snoop Dogg over a music

“shoots” a fake gun at a clown

calling Snoop “Poop Dogg” and showing his street cred by making a reference to the 16-year-old Baha Men novelty hit “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and longest-running festival lost almost $300,000 in its final year. Organizers blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers’ fees for the move.

Worst hearse In August, Little Rock police and several other agencies engaged in a highspeed chase with the driver of a Hummer SUV that had a full-sized casket strapped to the roof. When he finally pulled over near the town of White Hall, the 39-year-old driver was arrested on several charges, including fleeing and reckless driving. The casket, thankfully, was empty.

Worst sweeper In June, a Rogers woman and her infant son were injured when a wayward street sweeper careened off the road and crashed through the wall of their house.

Worst serious

Following a March presentation to the Little Rock Rotary Club, Arkansas After celebrating its 40th anniver- Department of Correction Director sary in June, Riverfest announced that Wendy Kelley closed by asking if any it was closing shop. The state’s largest of the audience members would like

Worst anniversary present

Best perk

his cornball

In March, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) filed a one-sentence bill that proposed to “preserve the right to be left alone.” The bill was still pending when the legislature adjourned.

In April, the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission issued a letter of admonishment to Circuit Judge William “Bill” Pearson, whose jurisdiction includes Pope, Johnson and Franklin counties, after he pleaded guilty to two charges related to a January incident in which he blew through a DWI checkpoint near Clarksville while driving drunk, then led police on a short chase before a state trooper rammed Pearson’s truck to end the pursuit.

The bill offsets the cost of the tax break by hiking up the tax on candy and soft drinks. But completely unrelated, it also reduced the tax on soft drink syrup and paid for that by raising taxes on unemployment benefits and digital downloads.

to volunteer to witness one of the eight executions the state had scheduled for April. “Temporarily, there was a little laugh from the audience because they thought she might be kidding,” acting chapter president Bill Booker told a local news station. “It quickly became obvious that she was not kidding.”

Worst ordinance In May, a new ordinance put under consideration by the Little Rock City Board proposed making it illegal to feed free meals to more than 25 people in a city park without a permit, with groups barred from serving such meals more than two times a year at any park.

Worst ‘therapy’ Documents uncovered in January related to the state’s General Improvement Fund, a taxpayer-funded, $50 million slop for legislators, revealed that between 2013 and 2015, $41,698 had been paid to a Saline County company run by a former insurance agent that provided “ozone therapy,” a quack medicine technique that’s about as effective at preventing and treating disease as regular ol’ breathing.

Worst soda scam The legislature passed a bill, pushed by Governor Hutchinson and signed into law in February, that creates a tax exemption for military retirement pay.

Moore’s memorandum noted that the Cops Don’t Get Tickets After Accidents policy was also true for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the North Little Rock Police Department and the Arkansas State Police.

Worst ‘fair trials’ A report by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project about Arkansas’s plan to execute eight death row inmates over an 11-day period in April noted that the inmates scheduled to be executed included a man with an estimated I.Q. of 70, another who regularly reports seeing his dead father and ghostly dogs walking around inside the prison, an inmate who was represented at trial by an attorney who was allegedly drunk and another whose defense during his original trial — including attorney’s fees, travel costs for witnesses, lodging and food — cost a grand total of $6,641.95.

Worst faith in the memories of inky wretches The Arkansas Department of Correction initially announced that during the executions in April that reporters serving as media witnesses to the executions would not be able to bring pens and notebooks into the execution viewing room, with ADC spokesman Solomon Graves telling the assembled media, “I trust your ability to be able to clearly and concisely report what you would have witnessed” — which called into question just how, exactly, Graves thought reporters, most lacking a photographic memory, could manage to do all that clear and concise reporting. After DECEMBER 21, 2017


an outcry, which included accusations that the ADC was trying to keep a lid on accurate reporting should an execution be botched, the decision was reversed.

Worst quick Though officials with the Arkansas Department of Correction said that the rush to execute eight men in April — the state eventually managed to kill only four — was due to the fact that the state’s supply of the execution drug Midazolam was set to expire and might be impossible to replace, 97 days after the last of the four executions, a new Midazolam supply was acquired and the state was ready to resume killing prisoners.

Worst milk Two police officers in Crossett were fired for a March 13 incident in which investigators say they were caught on surveillance video climbing through the window of an elementary school in the middle of the night, each stealing a carton of milk from the cafeteria.

Best neigh In April, Ryan McDonald, 38, of Fouke, pleaded guilty to 18 felonies and assorted misdemeanors, thus sparing himself a trial in which prosecutors said their key pieces of evidence would have been cell phone videos of McDonald fornicating with a miniature horse. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Worst chief In June, a judge found that Jacksonville Police Chief Jeff Herweg was ineligible to hold the position he’d been hired for in March after it was revealed Herweg had a conviction on his record stemming from a Christmas 2000 incident in which investigators said Herweg, then a sergeant with the Tyler, Texas, police department, crashed his car into a house, left the scene of the accident and later reported his car stolen, with an incident report in the case alleging he told fellow officers he’d been drinking at the time of the accident.

Best goat Officials in Poinsett County hailed a baby goat named Speedy as a hero in March after the pet repeatedly jumped on the legs and chest of his sleeping, 10-year-old owner, Abigail Bruce, rousing the girl enough to realize that her family’s home was on fire and quickly filling with smoke. Thanks to 16

DECEMBER 21, 2017


Speedy’s efforts, Abigail and her family got out safely.

dents had secretly been taken to the local “Walter Sobchak,” which also happens dump along with the rest of the trash. to be the name of John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski.”

Best timing

Worst pet

Speedy had only joined the family two days earlier, when he had been given to Abigail as an early birthday present.

In late March, a man shopping at the Jacksonville Walmart was taken to the hospital for treatment after the defanged pet copperhead he’d brought along in his pocket bit him with its remaining teeth.

Worst Cotton Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton proposed legislation that would cut in half the number of immigrants and refugees legally allowed to enter the U.S. each year.

Best not sticking to the script

Worst commuters A Freedom of Information Act request by the Arkansas Times in May revealed that 179 officers with the Little Rock Police Department take their taxpayer-funded cars home after work, with the longest daily commute being to and from the Garland County town of Fountain Lake, a 97-mile round trip from Little Rock.

At a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, dubiously dubbed by city leaders as “Reflections Best library Best good riddance of Progress,” Little Rock Nine member A Bull Shoals man who purchased The flamboyant Arkansas cult leader Minnijean Brown Trickey delivered a the contents of an abandoned storage Tony Alamo, who was convicted in 2009 speech in which she said, “We’re not locker in Little Rock in July was shocked of taking underage girls as young as 9 stupid. We know what’s going on in to find that the locker contained thouacross state lines for sex, died May 4 in this town,” alluding to ongoing school sands of books read by Damien Echols federal prison. divisions in Little Rock, including the — one of the West Memphis Three — durstate takeover of the Little Rock School ing his 18 years on Death Row, including Second best good riddance District. at least two personal journals Echols In September, two racist billboards — kept during his incarceration. The including a yellow sign that said, “Diver- Best billboard locker and contents were apparently sity is a code word for white genocide” In May, the group abandoned at some point after Echols’ — that had long been a blight on the main paid to put up a billboard near the home August 2011 release. drag of Harrison were removed after of Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Sewage Tank) the owner of the property where the that encouraged Rapert to resign. Worst chocolate billboards stood discovered the permits A driver who was robbed in May of his for the signs had expired. Best ‘You’re out of your element, shoes, wallet and car after pulling over Jason’ to relieve himself, told police he was on Worst ‘recycling’ In his 20-minute Facebook video in his way to a Little Rock hotel where he In May, the Southwest Times-Record which he griped about the billboard, planned to meet a woman he met online of Fort Smith published an expose Rapert held up his cell phone camera who he knew only as “Slim Chocolate.” revealing that for months, the bins of several times to show the names of recyclable materials sorted and put to people associated with ARrevolution, Best skills the curb every week by Fort Smith resi- including a person who called himself Told her spouse would survive, a woman arrested for allegedly stabbing her husband told Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies that she “needed to work In October, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen held on her knife skills.”

Best ballsy

a press conference in which he announced he was filing suit against the Arkansas Supreme Court over the court’s decision to remove him from all death penalty cases following a Good Friday protest at the Governor’s Mansion in which Griffen lay tied to a cot while protestors held anti-death penalty signs nearby.

Second worst stash Because a suspect arrested in the June robbery of a Jonesboro tobacco store was mumbling, police officers ordered her to open her mouth, where they found what investigators say was the take from the till: 14 $20 bills, one $5 and four $1s.

Absolute worst stash (and best reason to wash your hands after handling money) Following the September arrest of a female driver who had been reported swerving, a jailer in Bentonville who was searching the woman allegedly found three syringes, a folded $20 bill and a Dilaudid pill, all inside the woman’s vagina.

Worst dodge Best surveillance

Second worst dodge

In June, The Jonesboro Sun published a story on efforts by officials at the Craighead County Courthouse to combat a recurring problem they’ve had there for years: courthouse guests peeing in the elevator, even though every floor has public restrooms 25 feet from the elevator doors. By the time the story was published, cameras installed the previous fall had already caught three different men taking a clandestine whiz.

In July, the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission filed formal disciplinary charges against Saline County Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister, with investigators saying McCallister had not paid income taxes for “most years” since 1995. McCallister resigned his position in December as part of a settlement with the JDDC.

Best cry me a river In June, Josh Duggar, the former professional morality scold whose own alleged moral transgressions cost his family its lucrative reality TV series when In Touch magazine revealed that he’d molested his sisters when he was a teenager, withdrew an attempt to join a federal breach of privacy suit brought by his sisters against the magazine, the city of Springdale, Washington County and officials who released information about an investigation into the allegations against him, with Duggar’s intervention motion saying the reporting had caused him “severe emotional distress,” “embarrassment” and “humiliation.”

Worst determined In June at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock, police say, a woman allegedly tried to steal a portable stripper pole and bit a worker who tried to stop her. She was arrested.

Worst ‘engineering’ A man who marched in August with the Tiki-torch-carrying mob of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., drew special attention because of a widely circulated photograph showing him wearing a red T-shirt that said “Arkansas Engineering,”

Best reason to find someone who fought in World War II and ask him ‘what these guys are about’ Tracked down by Arkansas Times reporter Jacob Rosenberg, the man in the “Arkansas Engineering” shirt said that even though he’d already lost his job over the photo and doesn’t consider himself a white supremacist, he may participate in future white supremacist demonstrations because, he said, “How else am I going to figure out what these guys are about?”

Best dose of reality In June, Arkansas transgender activist Rae Nelson told Yahoo News about a March incident at the state Capitol in which she and far-right Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) met in a ladies’ restroom, where Nelson told Collins-Smith — who was then in the process of trying to push a “bathroom bill” through the legislature that would have forced transgender people to use the public restroom that corresponds to their birth gender — “I am a black trans woman and we are in the bathroom together and you survived.”

Worst brazen In November, a spokesman for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s office said deputies had discovered that someone had stolen a 14-inch TV from the lobby of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center.

Second worst brazen

clearly unconstitutional granite monument inscribed with the Catholic and Lutheran version of the Ten Commandments on the lawn of the state Capitol …

Best … must come down

Perhaps worried that activists might want to harangue him about his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack scheduled his “Coffee With the Congressman” event Aug. 21 in a location that was accessible mostly by

… w h i c h wa s smashed to pieces Peel Ferry, the last operating ferry in the fewer than 24 hours after it was installed state, across Bull Shoals Lake. The only when Michael Reed, 32, a man with a his- road to the island was through Branson, tory of mental illness who was broadcast- Mo., a drive of over 85 miles one way. ing live on Facebook, drove his Dodge Dart into the monument, shouting “FREEDOM!” Rapert and the group that paid for the monument are getting close to replacing it with enhanced security measures. Then it’s on to federal court to see if a promised lawsuit by the ACLU will — legally this time — take down the monument for good.

Worst fomenting

At a post-monumentdestruction news conference, Rapert — who once took to social media to brag that a constituent wasn’t “smart” to bother him while the legislator was Worst brazen (dishonorable men- “#armed&ready” — railed tion) against the ACLU, the FreeA 77-year-old woman serving as an thinkers and critics of the monument on any entertainment that might “prousher during a July funeral at Jones- in the media for “fomenting violence.” mote or incite violence.” The Quorum boro’s First United Methodist Church Court quickly shot down the proposal, reported to police that following the ser- Best miracle which Little Rock City Attorney Tom vice, she found that one of the attendees The fact that no one was killed dur- Carpenter noted could prevent theaters had stolen her wallet out of her purse. ing an early-morning July 1 shootout from staging Shakespeare’s “Romeo and during a hip-hop show at Little Rock’s Juliet” because of the play’s depictions Worst take the money and run Power Ultra Lounge, which saw plen- of bloody gang warfare. In September, it was revealed that tiful bullets flying around the dark and two recruits who went through the crowded club as rival shooters swapped Worst ‘Deliverance’ Little Rock Police Department’s train- close-range lead. Twenty-eight people In July, a couple canoeing the Muling academy in February had received were shot or otherwise injured as they berry River north of Ozark reported to the department’s $5,000, no-strings- tried to flee. Two people have since been police that a bearded stranger they’d attached “signing bonus” upon gradua- arrested. been chatting with at the Redding Rection, then promptly quit the LRPD. reation Area struck the male canoeist Worst bard barring on the head, put a machete to the womWorst what goes up … In July, in an apparent reaction to the an’s throat and attempted to drag her On June 27, Sen. Jason Rapert near-massacre at Power Ultra Lounge, to a truck. The woman’s companion (R-Conway) was on hand to crow Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Judy managed to wrestle away the heavy about the installation of a 10-foot Green proposed a 180-day moratorium blade, but only after the man severely In June, an employee of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock reported she was robbed at gunpoint near a cafe inside the sprawling hospital. DECEMBER 21, 2017


Best Driver Worst prudes Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville) took to Facebook in March to remind Arkansas Tech University that state legislators “hold the purse strings” of the college’s budget after a “Sex on the Lawn” event at which students — all of them legal adults — were invited to talk about sex, relationships and sexual health. Rep. Trevor Drown (R-Russellville) later proposed an amendment to the college’s general appropriation bill that would have defunded Tech’s Department of Diversity and Inclusion, which sponsored the event, but the amendment was withdrawn after lobbying by the university’s administration.

Worst ‘hero’

At its inaugural event in August, the Arkansas Cinema Society featured an appearance by actor Adam Driver, who plays baddie Kylo Ren in the latest installments of the “Star Wars” franchise. slashed his arm. The suspect fled. The assailant, later identified by police as Michael Leon Warrington, 49, of Chipley, Fla., was later arrested and booked on charges of battery.

Worst notification A new state law that was scheduled to go into effect July 30 included provisions that would have made it illegal for a woman in Arkansas to have an abortion without first informing the man who impregnated her so they could discuss how the fetal tissue should be disposed, with no exceptions for women who became pregnant through rape or incest.

Best ACLU to the rescue After a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the rapist notification law two days before it was scheduled to take effect.

Worst hobby In July, police arrested a couple in Jonesboro and charged them with several crimes related to, investigators say, the couple making graphic sex videos in public places — including a Home Depot store, a Cheddar’s restaurant and an Arkansas nature center — which they would then upload to the internet.


DECEMBER 21, 2017


Worst drive-through In July, a driver pulling in to meet friends for lunch at the Little Rock outlet of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain reportedly passed out at the wheel and drove her Honda CRV through a wall and into the restaurant.

Best gift from the gods In July, an 18-wheeler overturned on Interstate 40 in Lonoke County and spilled thousands of gallons of bourbon.

Worst what could possibly go wrong In July, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service office in Southwest Arkansas announced it is seeking to stop the spread of the red fire ant, a stinging invasive species from South America that has infested large portions of the state, by releasing swarms of two species of the phorid fly, a predator that lays its eggs in the ant’s body, which eventually causes the ant’s head to fall off.

Worst sign of the pending apocalypse In September, a workman near Forrest City found and captured alive a venomous timber rattlesnake with two fully functional heads. It was delivered to a local nature center.

In August, Arkansas-based retail giant Walmart apologized for a photo that went viral online that showed a case full of shotguns and rifles, topped with a sign that read: “Own the School Like a Hero.”

Worst tragedy In a clear case of one-upmanship following the previous month’s wreck of a semi hauling thousands of gallons of bourbon, an 18-wheeler that crashed in Little Rock on Interstate 30 in August blanketed the freeway from edge to edge with thousands of frozen pizzas.

Best clown Gary Weir, a beloved figure who famously portrayed Bozo the Clown on television in Central Arkansas for over 25 years, passed away in October at the age of 75.

Worst eclipse Students in the Little Rock School District didn’t get to directly view the partial solar eclipse seen in Little Rock Aug. 21 after the district announced that a recall had been issued on thousands of eclipse glasses handed out to LRSD teachers.

Best jailbreak

exiting onto Little Rock’s busy University Avenue from Interstate 630 while at the wheel of a golf cart.

Worst disappointment Citing numerous fire code violations, Little Rock building inspectors forced the closure of Midtown Bar and Grill on Asher Avenue in August. Sadly, that also meant the club had to cancel the planned “2017 Booty Bowl,” which appears to have been a competition to award prizes for the shapeliest posterior.

Best arrest Jacob Scott Goodwin, a 22-yearold man from Ward (Lonoke County), was arrested in October after, investigators say, he was identified as one of five men who participated in the Aug. 12 beating of DeAndre Harris, an African-American anti-Nazi protestor who was surrounded, punched and kicked during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., with the assault caught on video.

Best lifesaver At an August press conference, Governor Hutchinson announced that pharmacists across Arkansas may now dispense Naloxone, a drug that can save lives by reversing an opioid overdose in seconds, without a prescription to anyone who knows an opioid addict they believe may be at risk of overdose.

Best bad news Officials announced that Arkansas’s state average ACT score fell by almost a full point, from 20.2 for last year’s high school seniors to 19.4 for this year, but added that it was largely due to 25 percent more students — including many low-income students who previously couldn’t afford it — taking the test because the state started picking up the cost for all juniors to take the test.

Best don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone

Data recently released in September In September, police were sum- by the U.S. Census Bureau showed the moned to the North Little Rock Animal number of uninsured residents in the Shelter, where they found that someone state dropped by 50 percent between had cut a fence and smashed through a 2013 and 2016, with the number of wall to bust out a pit bull that a judge had uninsured children in the state droprecently ordered euthanized because ping to 4 percent — a record low. With of a city ordinance banning the breed. Republicans in Congress busily chipping away at the foundations of the Best slow ride Affordable Care Act, those numbers In September, police pulled over and are bound to rise. arrested a 22-year-old man as he was

Best ‘hold my beer and watch this’ Best park

at home to Missouri. Bielema finished 1-7 in the SEC and 4-8 for the season. His overall record at Arkansas was 29-34.

On Sept. 24, the city of Perryville (Perry County) held the grand opening of The Perryville Goat Park, which, much like a more conventional dog park, allows goat owners a space to let their kids romp and play.

Worst explanation for making love to a donkey After a man in Siloam Springs was caught putting a bag over the head of a couple’s pet donkey and “placing his pelvis against the rear of the animal,” he told the police that marijuana makes him do “sick things.”

Worst sniper In September, a 14-year-old girl playing soccer with her father and brother in Little Rock’s Allsopp Park was shot in the leg with an arrow. The identity of the person who shot her remains a mystery.

Best use of Arkansas love for leverage

Worst ‘patriotic’ A firefighter in the tiny community of Earle was relieved of duty “indefinitely” in October after, his superiors say, he made a Facebook post in which he said any pro athletes who kneel in protest during the National Anthem should be shot in the head.

Using speculation that he might return to his native Arkansas to coach the Razorbacks for a whopping $50 million, Gus Malzahn signed a paltry $49 million, 7-year deal to stay as coach of Auburn, where he already has a great program and won’t have to do any rebuilding. A source told Sports Illustrated before the Auburn deal, “Arkansas is dead serious. … They want [Malzahn] in the worst way.”

Best bedbug bucks In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that an Arkansas family won a judgment of $546,000 in their lawsuit over bedbug bites they received while staying at a Hilton Hotel in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in 2013.

Worst bug bust-up

Three men were arrested in May after, investigators say, they drunkenly broke into the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas

Best rebound The University of Arkansas hired Chad Morris, former head coach of SMU, for $3.5 million a year. He is credited for helping Coach Dabo Swinney turn around Clemson, installing a high-octane offensive that program still runs today.

Also in October, Little Rock City Nature Center in Little Rock’s River Market district and stole a Director Doris Wright miraculously escaped serious injury after she live, 3-foot alligator. Police soon recovered the alligator, unharmed, rolled her VW Beetle convertible near 15th and Battery streets. The crash from under the seat of a truck. occurred when a man ran at her car Best legacy and attempted to jump into the passenger’s seat, caus- November for attacking a woman with a chainsaw Columbus Lincoln Abrams Jr. died in Little Rock ing her to lose control. was, at the time of the attack, out on parole after in October with 38 years of sobriety under his belt, serving time in prison for attacking another woman years during which Abrams started numerous 12-step Worst role model with a chainsaw. groups, served as the sobriety sponsor for dozens, In October, police arrested and charged with 11 and amassed a huge database of phone numbers felonies, including gun and drug charges, a 41-year- Best story to tell to a senior prom date some- for recovering alcoholics, who he personally called old Little Rock man who worked for Better Commu- day each year on their “sobriety birthday.” According to nity and Family Values, a nonprofit that seeks to help In November, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette an obituary published in the Arkansas Democratyoung people find positive alternatives to selling drugs. published a report about an Arkansas couple and their Gazette at the time of his death, Abrams made over soon-to-be-born daughter, who the couple planned 15,000 such calls per year — over half a million since Best hitched to name Olivia after their favorite restaurant, The he got sober in 1979 — to help encourage others to The fortunes of Mountain Pine High School’s Olive Garden. stay away from the bottle. football team took a decided upswing in August after a star player, who had been ruled ineligible by the Best testing Best persistent Arkansas Activities Association because he was a In March, state Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) In Abrams’ obituary, Don Adams, who worked transfer student, was able to hit the gridiron after filed a bill that would have required every member with Abrams at Dassault Falcon Jet and credited all when he married a 17-year-old Mountain Pine of the Arkansas Legislature to take and pass the civ- Abrams with saving his life from alcoholism, said student. That made him immediately eligible under ics portion of the U.S. citizenship test before being of his former sobriety sponsor, “He called people an old and obscure AAA rule. With the newlywed allowed to vote on bills. The measure died in com- who had slipped and told them that he cared reportedly rushing for over 100 yards every game, mittee. about them. So many people came back to the the team went on to make the playoffs. meetings because of Columbus. He called one Best about time woman for about eight years before she finally Worst repeat offender The University of Arkansas fired head football came back to the program. He just doesn’t give Police said a Hot Spring County man arrested in coach Bret Bielema immediately after a 48-45 loss up on you.” DECEMBER 21, 2017


Arts Entertainment Big boys AND

Oakland, Calif., to be a part of the emergent East Bay punk scene of the early ’90s, working as a cartoonist, illustrator and storyboard artist in advertising. Eventually, she found herself in New York. It was there, as a temporary worker on a TV set, that Crisp struck up a conversation with the art department

be able to work on commercials and features, so I’ve been able to support myself in the industry even here. However, most people have had to leave, because the bigger money jobs Mitchell Crisp’s film design career are elsewhere.” Now that her son is off to college in is pretty punk rock. New York, Crisp is able to travel more BY ANDREW MCCLAIN for work, to places like Atlanta and South Africa, where she worked he world I grew up earlier this year on “Samson,” in was one where an action feature. Part of her the arts were not job involved the construction a mystery,” Little Rock-based of several large Biblical cities. production designer Mitchell “My house is here, and Crisp said. “It was absolutely, what’s great about Arkansas is positively everywhere I looked. that my mortgage is less than People were making money off my day rate, so I can leave my of being creative, so it was never house, lock it up and go away to that sort of mystery where it another country and work and was like, ‘Yeah, we’ll give you make the money that people in crayons but you can’t be in the my field make.” arts.’ ” The tax credits offered by So it may come as no surprise the Arkansas Film Commission that Crisp is not your standard for film productions in bohemian multihyphenate. Arkansas are not competitive She’s an illustrator, painter, with those offered by Georgia sometimes an actor and a singer, and Louisiana, leaving much of and all of these titles play an the film production workforce important role in her life as an in Arkansas either migrant artist. But she’s also dedicated or underemployed. “I think her career to the craft of set that the powers that be don’t WORLD BUILDER: Mitchell Crisp’s work as a film designer has required her to recreate everything from design for film and TV — a tough understand really the amount of ballrooms to Biblical cities. gig to hold down in Little Rock. money that actually gets spent The production of “God’s when films get made here,” she Not Dead 3,” during which Crisp, as up and say, ‘Y’all wanna play?’ And we coordinator of “Law & Order” because said. “We have a lot of really good production designer, oversaw the will.” Crisp also contributed the cover he was wearing a T-shirt featuring crew here that has to leave because burning of a church, just wrapped a art and “Mitchell Crisp’s Rainy Day Texas hardcore band Big Boys. It led there’s not enough of the bigger work.” few weeks ago in Little Rock. Crisp has Playlist” to Fluke Fanzine’s “Lucky to a two-and-a-half hour conversation For instance, she said, “The movie 13” issue, the 25th anniversary issue of about punk rock — and ultimately, to a worked on nearly every feature shot that I just wrapped last week, my in Arkansas since the mid-2000s — Matthew Thompson’s punk zine, born full-time job in the art department on budget for the art department was “Come Early Morning,” “Mud,” “God’s out of the Little Rock ’90s punk scene. “Law & Order.” Crisp credits her punk brought in from another state and Crisp, born in Texas, moved to Little background for getting her further Not Dead 2” — and helped construct spent here. … We spent tens and tens Rock with her family as a sophomore than her resume ever could. a replica of the original Dreamland of thousands of dollars on furniture Ballroom for the PBS documentary, in high school, carving out a niche in After 13 years at the grindstone and lamps and stuff for all the sets, “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th the small-but-blossoming film scene. in New York, Crisp moved back to plus rental fees. “I’m one of those people who’s been Little Rock to be closer to her family Street.” “… I think it’s a little short-sighted Kim Swink and Chris Spencer’s doing it my whole life. My brother-inas her son was entering kindergarten. when people are arguing against “Valley Inn” features Crisp both as law is a director and producer, but I “I like it here, my house is here, I love having film incentives because they didn’t really know what a production my neighborhood, I love my friends production designer and in front of think the money’s not going here, the camera as an actor. Her band, designer was until I was older.” She and my parents, and I like being here.” because the money comes through Riverbottom Debutante, is on the remembers making movies with her Crisp committed to staying close to here and comes through here again cousins as soon as her family got a home while her son finished high soundtrack. “Sometimes we’ll play in so many different ways.” months in a row, sometimes we’ll go a video camera. “I was real bossy,” she school. “I did a lot of commercial work. Now that her latest project has year without playing,” Crisp said about said, “so I was the director and art A lot of commercial work. I’ve done a wrapped, Crisp said she’s hoping director and the costume designer lot of commercials. Riverbottom Debutante. “Everyone is to paint for a few months. “But if middle-aged and busy and in other and wrote all the scripts.” “I consider myself super fortunate film work calls, I’ll definitely drop bands, but Brian Rodgers will call us After graduation, she moved to because it’s kind of rare for people to everything and go.”




DECEMBER 21, 2017





Check out the Times’ A&E blog



IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Arkansas Sounds, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the Arkansas Times presents the first Central Arkansas Music Awards. Performers and composers in 22 categories are up for awards celebrating work created between Oct. 1, 2016. and Oct. 1, 2017. Winners determined by an esteemed board will be announced at a ceremony of recognition at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 23, 2018, with host Kevin Kerby and live performances from Dazz & Brie, Brethren (Zakk & Big Papa Binns and special guests), The Legendary Pacers, Yuni Wa, Adam Faucett, Princeaus and The Brian Nahlen Band. Tickets, $5, are available at THE ARGENTA ACOUSTIC MUSIC SERIES is dedicated to showcasing acclaimed solo acoustic guitarists — such as Pat Donohue, Beppe Gambetta and Stephen Bennett this year — in the cozy acoustics of The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse on the third Thursday of each month. Organizers announced the series’ 2018 lineup this week: Adam Miller, Jan. 18; Vicki Genfan, Feb. 15; Susana Raya, March 15; Ed Gerhard, April 19; Mary Flowers, May 17; Eric Skye, June 21; Richard Smith, July 19; Bill Evans, Aug. 16; Brooke Miller, Oct. 18, and Ian Ethan Case, Nov. 18. Tickets are $25, and are available now at THE ARKANSAS TIMES is accepting submissions for the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Original material in any musical style is welcome. Finalists will be asked to perform in one of four semifinal rounds, to take place at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack each Thursday night in February. Winners from each round will compete for a robust prize package in the final round at Revolution Taco & Tequila Lounge on Friday, March 9. Send streaming links (Bandcamp, Youtube, Soundcloud, Facebook, etc.) of your band performing to and include band name, hometown, date the band was formed, age range of members (all ages are welcome) and a contact person’s name, email address and phone number.

APRIL 19 – MAY 6, 2018 | Robinson Performance Hall

| 866-870-2717 | Groups (10+): 501- 492-3312

© Disney

PARAGOULD NATIVE IRIS DEMENT has been added to the lineup of Oxford American’s 2017-18 Concert Series at South on Main, scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22. Tickets are available beginning at noon Thursday, Dec. 21, at or by calling 800-293-5949.













dane — pickles, mustards, breads and butters, lavash, pimento cheese — to the notable. This time, though, there’s an extra pull: Brother Andy and His 6 p.m. Lost Forty Brewing. $5 sugBig Damn Mouth, Adam Faucett’s gested donation. rhythm section with another formiAs the parking lot on a Saturday dable creative mind at the helm, Andy afternoon attests, people find plenty Warr. Go to belt the lyrics to “Hobo of reasons to go to Lost Forty Brewing Camp” and “Social Lube” at the top of even when one of the most sidesplit- your lungs and stay for a surprisingly ting trios in town is not playing there. loyal cover of Toby Keith’s “Should’ve The Sorghum + Black Pepper Pecans, Been A Cowboy” from a dude who for example. Or the house-made brat- looks like the Norse god of thunder, wurst, or the Forest King stout or the wielding a guitar in lieu of a lightningsnack list, which elevates the mun- throwing hammer.

EMOJI PAINTINGS: Kat Wilson, the photographer behind the “Habitats” series, has been painting under the psuedonyms “Gar,” “Neon” and “Charro Dorado” for over 20 years, and opens her “Emoji Paintings” series at the MFA Gallery in Fayetteville Thursday afternoon.




2 p.m.-9 p.m. MFA Gallery, 546 W. Center St., Unit F, Fayetteville. Free.

Did you know that there are no fewer than 13 platform-specific variations of the red heart emoji? Or that there are emoji for both dromedary (one-humped) camels and Bactrian (two-humped) camels? There are emoji for prayer beads, custard, floppy discs, sauropod dinosaurs, chestnuts, tridents, roasted sweet potatoes and, in case you ever need it, a man in sunglasses and a three-piece suit levitating. In short, the days are gone when anyone could credibly claim emoji are without nuance, or a facile and lazy way of communicating. (That businessman levitating, for example? A holdover from the late ’70s ska revival in England. His name is Walt Jabsco, a “rude boy” from the cover of a Japanese import LP by The Specials, turned into Wingdings font form by Vincent Connare, the Microsoft typographer who invented Comic Sans. Thanks, Connare.) Photographer Kat Wilson, who’s been painting under the pseudonyms “Gar,” “Neon,” and “Charro Dorado” for over 20 years, has taken the humble emoji and elevated it, revealing its depth and mystery. It’s akin to what the Renaissance painters did with still life renderings of fruit and flowers — except, you know, with a hot dog and a pile of poop. Those paintings (and all the color theory therein) will be on display at this Center Street gallery in Fayetteville for Thursday’s opening, with cocktails from Pink House Alchemy. Afterward, you can saunter over to the Walker Stone House (207 Center St.) for the Winter Solstice Art Action, where you and your kids can dance to a performance from Shaky Bugs, 3 p.m., take in some live theater from LatinX at 6:30 p.m., or hang out and play the Stuart Davis piano from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, make an outdoor wreath for birds with the folks from Ozark Natural Foods, make-and-take a succulent from Southside Succulents and stroll around to the neighboring galleries. If you find yourself too far from the Fayetteville city limits to observe the deep purples of the eggplant emoji in person, Wilson is live-streaming the event at facebook. com/katographic and on her Instagram page, @katographic.


DECEMBER 21, 2017



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8 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $10.

Before you dismiss burlesque as degrading, or a misunderstanding of empowerment or a reinforcement of troublesome tropes that objectify women, consider that, well … maybe that’s not up to you to decide? Burlesque, for the women who perform it, can be a way of meeting the male gaze head on — of grabbing it by the chin, looking it straight in the eye and saying, “I see you, too.” Or, as 45-year-old queen of burlesque Dita von Teese put it in the Huffington Post, “How is that degrading to women when there’s all the women who are supporting it and they’re getting inspiration from it and they’re happy to see a different version of sensuality?” She’d know; audi-

ences for von Teese’s show tend to be mostly women, as the icon recalled in an interview with Glamour Magazine in 2012: “Recently,” von Teese said, “someone that I know came to my show, and she said she couldn’t find one group of straight men that were there.” In that tradition, the femmes of Foul Play Cabaret are inventive and clever with their costumery, adapting it to the season (Violet D’Vine broke out a gorgeous ivory Christmas angel getup at Maxine’s last week) and evidently having a lot of fun doing it. I’ve seen them completely rock a rousing performance under harsh fluorescent lights at the Statehouse Convention Center Exhibition Hall, but do yourself a favor and go see them at The Joint, where the theater lights and red curtains are built for just this sort of extravagance.

FRIDAY 12/29


7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $58-$88.

The long, icy rift between “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kandi Burruss and bandmate Tamika Scott has thawed, and the Xscape quartet is touring with openers Monica and Tamar Braxton, reviving the sounds that defined ’90s-era girl groups: the

minimalist a capella wonder “Tonight,” the silky-smooth “Understanding” and the swagger that started it all, “Just Kickin’ It.” Oh, and they’re doing it in fantastically elaborate and glittery jumpsuits. Check this one out for an example of how four soloists-atheart can bring the house down with a beautiful blend, even 25 years after their heyday on the charts.



BIRTHDAY BASH: Big Piph’s annual birthday concert raises funds for the Global Kids Arkansas 2018 summer program.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker lands at Robinson Center Performance Hall, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., $28-$126. Or, if you’d like to do the dancing yourself, catch CosmOcean at Cajun’s Wharf, 9 p.m., $5, or come earlier for happy hour with a set from Brian Ramsey, 5:30 p.m., free. Dylan Earl & His Reasons Why share a bill with Willi Carlisle at Four Quarter Bar, 8 p.m. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” screens at The Meteor, 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd., 6 p.m. The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History hosts trivia at Stone’s Throw Brewing, 6:30 p.m. If you like your comedy on the clean side, check out James Ervin Berry at The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. Thu.Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $8-$12. The Arkansas Homeless Coalition hosts the National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Service at First United Methodist Church, 723 Center St., 6 p.m.


FRIDAY 12/22



9 p.m. Revolution. $10.

“You say ‘overhype much.’ I say check out everybody who’s performing and couple that w/ the dope cause of the Global Kids-Arkansas 2018 summer program.” That’s how the promotional email goes for the birthday bash Big Piph (Epiphany Morrow) is throwing this Thursday, his fourth annual such event. Expect a rapid-fire lineup of the city’s foremost soul and hip-hop artists: Bijoux, SeanFresh, Arkansas Bo,

Dee Dee Jones, Dazz & Brie, Philly Moo, John Willis, DJ Code Red, Tawanna Campbell, Asylum, Papa Leo and YK, and imbibe knowing that your revelry is helping three young people attend a summer program under the Global Kids missive, as stated on the organization’s website — “to ensure that youth from underserved areas have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process, and achieve leadership in their communities and in the world.”



8 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10-$12.

Here’s the bad news: By the time you attend this, Ashtray Babyhead and Trusty’s reunion will have — God willing and the creek don’t rise — already have happened. Lucky for you, that show, on the prior Saturday, sold out so quickly they decided to schedule another one. Don’t sleep on it, though;

opportunities to witness the punk-in- length, the Kinks-esque “Goodbye Dr. formed fruits of the Little Rock music Fate,” from the band’s days in Washingscene in the ’90s are sparse and they ton, D.C., and Ashtray Babyhead’s “Otend to come around only at this time Rama,” an exercise in pop that proves of year, when aging rockers get a baby- you don’t need much more than three sitter and thrash around at the White chords and some well-placed harmoWater Tavern just like they did at the nies to pack a punch. Adam Faucett River Market gazebos in days of yore — whose melodies surfaced in a later — except with substantially better odds wave but likely would have fit right of making it to show’s end without the into the Towncraft scene’s pith and cops shutting the thing down. For a malaise — shares the bill. Get tickets at primer, check out Trusty’s second full-

D.O.T. and The Moving Front share a bill at the White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. Jeff Coleman & The Feeders play some rock’n’roll at TC’s Midtown Grill in Conway, 1611 E. Oak St., 9 p.m. Revolution hosts a song-swapping showcase from TV-famous country rocker Barrett Baber and Matt Stell, 8:30 p.m., $10. Down the street in the River Market district, there’s a show from Couch Jackets, Ghost Bones and Lame Johnny, 8:30 p.m., Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, $5-$7. Splendid Chaos performs at West End Smokehouse, 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $7. Mississippi-based Hartle Road brings its surf-infused rock to Maxine’s in Hot Springs, 9 p.m., $5. Also in Hot Springs, Low Key Arts hosts its annual Christmas Bingo & Potluck, 6 p.m. Kevin Kerby, Amy McBryde & the Active Ingredient, Benadriil, and The Martyrs entertain for The Sonic Temple’s Toy Drive, 4603 E. Broadway, North Little Rock, 7 p.m., donations. Richie Johnson kicks off the weekend with a happy-hour set at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., free, followed by a latenight set from Jet 420, 9 p.m., $5. Billy Jones Bluez takes the stage at Kings Live Music in Conway, with an opening set from Edward Briggler, 8:30 p.m., $5. Liquid Kitty takes the stage at Thirst N’ Howl, 8:30 p.m.

SATURDAY 12/23 Chinese Connection Dub Embassy brings some reggae to the holidays at Stickyz, 9 p.m., $6. Soul CONTINUED ON PAGE 25

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies DECEMBER 21, 2017










9 p.m. The White Water Tavern.

Look, you’re gonna listen to dance music on New Year’s Eve, so you’d better get down with some disgustingly heavy noise the night before. Exorcise them demons. The Portland-based duo The Body — native Arkansans Lee Buford and Chip King — land at the White Water Tavern Saturday evening with the amplification equivalent of a

horse tranquilizer, the necessary gear to produce diabolical dance music like that on their November release, “A Home on Earth.” Prepare for sonic assault with a listen to The Body & Thou’s collaborative vinyl release “Released From Love/You, Whom I Have Always Hated,” slated for January 2018, or “Mother’s Voice,” a 90-second howl that begs the listener to ask, “Whose mother, exactly?” Lifer and Or share the bill.


AULD LANG SYNE: All The Way Korean (top), Ghost Bones (above) and Big Piph ring in the New Year at Maxine’s in Hot Springs.

SUNDAY 12/31


8 p.m. Maxine’s Live, Hot Springs.

In August 2014, at a fundraiser for KUHSFM, 97.9, in the red velvet digs of Maxine’s, four women marched slowly and deliberately up to the stage footlights in DIY military-ish attire, the backs of each jacket adorned with five-point stars. Each one bore a sparkler in hand, gently waving it to the tune of “Aegukka,” the national


DECEMBER 21, 2017


anthem of the Democratic People’s Republic (Low Key Arts co-founder and currently at Visit of Korea (I know, I know, there are two Koreas Hot Springs) reprises the trio for New Year’s fesand it’s complicated. To ruminate on that a little tivities in downtown Hot Springs. It’s exactly the more, pair the tracks on ATWK’s “All One Ko- manner of loud, wild noise capable of shaking you rea” with a chapter or two from Daniel Tudor’s out of the shitshow that was 2017, coupled with “Korea: The Impossible Country.”) The anthem labyrinthian party rhymes and hard truths from ended, they departed and a mean bass riff made Big Piph, as well as creepy, angular boogie from way for a vocal line, alternately punk-aggro and Ghost Bones. If you’re not hip to the latter, stop eerily delicate. Such was the debut of All the Way everything you’re doing right now and watch the Korean. From the frontman that brought us the deliciously dark 2-and-a-half minute video for pummeling riffs of Holy Shakes, Bill Solleder “Nape of My Neck.”

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One more! ARGENTA VIBES: Four Quarter Bar hosts a show from Dazz & Brie and the Mike Dillon Band on New Year’s Eve.

SUNDAY 12/31


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WEDNESDAY 12/27 Comedy improv troupe The Joint Venture gets inspiration from the impromptu at The Joint, 8 p.m., $8. Catch James Johann’s “rural genius” stand-up routine at The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sun., $8-$35.

8 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. $25-$30.


New Year’s Eve calls for a plan, and for revelers that intend to kick it postmidnight, this is one of your best bets. New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday this year, so closing time rules are a little tricky. Four Quarter will be open until 2:30 a.m., with a midnight champagne toast (included in admission) and the Argenta spot’s elevated barroom eats available from the kitchen until 1:30 a.m. (Veggie hash, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?) Secondly, this bill: Dazz & Brie will bring it girl-gang style with the infectious call-and-response anthems they’ve honed over countless gigs this year, and the Mike Dillon Band keeps it virtuosic and bizarre with vibraphone-forward experiments in sound. Think: Lionel Hampton’s technique, Frank Zappa’s weird science. For a primer, check out 2017’s “Life Is Not a Football,” about which Dillon said: “This is a punk-as-fuck record and has lots of social commentary. These are songs about the acceptance of life, love and death. At 50, you are either cool with the impermanent nature of the universe, or you start a life of serious meds and booze-infused denial. Songs like ‘Cremate Me,’ ‘Man Cunt’ and ‘Friendship’ deal with the happy little deaths that occur daily.”

Bad Habit kicks off a rock set at Stickyz, 8 p.m., $5-$8. Stephen Koch, host of the Arkansas music history radio show “Arkansongs,” hosts state-centric trivia at Stone’s Throw Brewing, 6:30 p.m., free. Indie Music Night at the Rev Room features an eclectic mix of hip-hop and spoken-word performers, 9 p.m.

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SUNDAY 12/31

Club Sway revisits some memorable 2017 performances with a drag remix, #NeverForget, 9 p.m. Freeverse jams at Stickyz, 9:30 p.m., $5. Carey Griffin hosts a jam session at Hibernia Irish Tavern, 8 p.m. Bluesboy Jag plays a happy hour set at EJ’s Eats & Drinks, 6 p.m.



The presence of electro-wave guru Yuni Wa and soul siren Joshua Asante (Velvet Kente, Amasa Hines) might be enough to convince you that this dance party is the move for New Year’s Eve. Trust that instinct, but also know you’re in good hands as pertains to the other senses: Matt Bell is cooking up a “Joshua’s Playlist” menu for the occasion, Michael Shaeffer is painting live and there’ll be a photo booth to remind you how fabulous and/or tipsy you looked after the dust settled on that first day of 2018. Call 244-9660 to reserve a table, and don’t trickle in late; Sunday liquor laws mean this venue’s champagne toast bubbles up at 11 p.m.

Fayetteville rock quintet Vintage Pistol takes its guitar riffs to Stickyz, 9 p.m., $6. The Schwag channels the best of the Grateful Dead with a tribute show at the Rev Room, 9 p.m., $12. Trey Johnson holds down happy hour at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., and later, Lypstyck Hand Grenade takes the stage, 9 p.m., $5. Harrison-based Polyester Robot performs at Kings Live Music, 8:30 p.m., $5. Elsewhere in Conway, Billy Don Burns and The Great

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


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singer J-Wonn performs an early show at Club Envy, 7200 Colonel PRINT Glenn Road, 7 p.m. Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth, Adam Faucett, Spirit Cuntz and Drybrain play a rock show at the Rev Room, 9 p.m., $10. Watch “The Polar Express” from your car at the Reels & Wheels series, 6 p.m., Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport, 525 Airport Road, free. Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo perform their hazy, crescendoing tunes at Kings Live Music, with an opening set from Caleb Ryan Martin, 8:30 p.m., $5. Steel drum percussionist Darril Edwards brings calypso beats to Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., free, followed by a late-night set from Nerd Eye Blind, 9 p.m., $5. In Fayetteville, the Ben Miller Band plays a free holiday show at George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m. Big Red Flag performs at Reno’s Argenta Cafe, 10 p.m.


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Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies DECEMBER 21, 2017



IF HOT CHOCOLATE five ways conjures up the small rich cups drunk in the movie “Chocolat” for you but you don’t plan on visiting France anytime soon, just head to Bentonville, where scratch chocolatier Markham & Fitz has opened at 801 SE Eighth St. Lauren Blanco and business partner Preston Stewart have been importing beans and making chocolate bars formerly branded as Hello Cocoa for about three years. Now they’re offering what might be called a full-service cacao operation next to the Brightwater food study center in what’s coming to be known as the Market District in Bentonville. Bar has two meanings at Markham & Fitz: 2-ounce chocolate bars as well as the kind that serves alcohol: Think chocolate martinis; crème de cacao-infused bourbon and vodka; drinks made with baba, the fruity juice of the cocoa bean. What goes great with a chocolate martini? Chocolate eats! How about a chocolate croissant? Chocolate mousse? Cake? Confections? Or brulee — two kinds are available, one a very rich chocolate and the other a white chocolate lemon brulee. Blanco said she and Stewart “wanted to put [chocolate] in a new medium,” and because they couldn’t trademark Hello Chocolate went with the names of Stewart’s son and Blanco’s dog. Blanco, whose background is in nonprofit management, said her experience with an NGO that took her to cacao farms gave her the idea that she could own her own business and “be a means of doing good in the world,” using beans grown on small farms in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bolivia and Nicaragua. The five hot chocolates: 50 percent dark, 60 percent Bolivian, 75 percent Haitian, Mexican hot chocolate and a peppermint hot chocolate. If you want only to watch people lick their fingers, you can get wine or a beer, as well. Markham & Fitz seats 30, 50 when the patio opens. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. You can get a taste of Blanco’s product at Bella Vita Jewelry, 523 S. Louisiana St. in Little Rock. REBEL KETTLE, 822 E. Sixth St., will usher in 2018 with a new menu that will include Cajun offerings. Chef Gwen Jones is cooking up po’boys, crawfish balls and other “shareables”; the rest will be announced later. The first taste will come New Year’s Day after 3 p.m.; earlier, Rebel Kettle will serve a New Year’s brunch with offerings including biscuits with chorizo, Hoppin’ John and savory maple breakfast links. Rebel Kettle began collaborating with Mother’s Brewing Co. of Springfield, Mo., to produce Hipster Banana, a New England-style IPA. There is no banana in Hipster Banana; it’s made with pawpaw juice. 26

DECEMBER 21, 2017


THE ‘SMALL’ MEAT-AND-CHEESE TRAY: Fashioned from a number of offerings, this tray included mortadella, hot sopressa, speck and three cheeses, an aged French cheese and two by Margie Raimondo, with a jam, nuts, olives and Boulevard baguette slices.

Tasty table Hodge and Raimondo team works well at Southern Table.


hen two devotees of fine food, Brewing Co. and later Kent Walker fine wine and fine art join Artisan Cheese, and it suits her well. forces to open a restaurant, Partner Hodge, executive vice good things can happen. In the case of president for lending at Arkansas Southern Table, Margie Raimondo and Capital Corp. for more than 20 years, Al Hodge are good examples of that. provided some of the wherewithal that Raimondo owns a winery in got Southern Table up and running. He Mountain Home that uses California runs the front of house, greeting and grapes to make Italian classics. She visiting with all, making suggestions on also has a line of olive oils, balsamic wine and food choices, and just generally vinegars, jams, mustards and such. All being jovial. of those, plus her cheeses, are for sale Raimondo runs the kitchen — by at Southern Table. herself the night we were there — At one time, Raimondo planned to but she also comes out to chat. Their open in the 600 block of Main Street — tag-team hospitality approach works. now the home of Three Fold Noodles They have refined the larger of the two and Dumpling Co. But she ended up public spaces in the former brewery/ in the site of the old Diamond Bear cheese factory into a simple but elegant

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dining room, with six tables for four and artwork by Arkansans borrowed from Hodge’s collection dressing up the walls. There also are two cocktail tables and five stools in the small bar area at the entrance and plenty of outside seating, perfect when the weather is amenable. Southern Table’s website and Facebook page fashion it as a small-plate, noshing sort of spot, but that sells it short. Yes, the meat-and-cheese plate we had was a highlight, but so was the soup, the Italian beef sandwich and the nightly special — baked ziti with lamb and beef. We started with cheese puffs, not dissimilar to the classic cheese bread at Bossa Nova, the Hillcrest Brazilian restaurant. Seven light but slightly overdone puffs ($7) were accompanied by apple persimmon butter, a Raimondo concoction the consistency of jelly. Next came what was billed as potato cheese soup ($6), which conjures visions of a white, creamy soup flecked with orange. Not at all. The “other vegetables” that


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are included must all be of the root variety. This was a tasty, complexly flavored soup, accompanied by homemade pita bread. When pondering the meat-and-cheese trays, know that the “small” ($18) isn’t small at all. It includes your choice of three of the nine meats and three of the nine cheeses, plus crackers, olives, nuts, homemade jams and mustard, crackers and slices of baguette from Boulevard Bread Co. We deferred to Hodge on the selections, and he nailed it with mild mortadella; spicy hot sopressa; speck, a cousin of prosciutto; Tomme de Savior, a wellaged French cheese; and Raimondo’s own Prairie Breeze Alpine and Menage. Hodge had the waiter throw in three chunks of prosciutto spread, like a classed-up deviled ham. Cucumber is a cool complement to the spicy spread. A fabulous Italian beef sandwich was one of the chef’s specials. It featured mounds of thin and tender lean beef and giardiniera, the classic Italian vegetable relish. It was as good an Italian beef as we’ve had, but pricy at $13 (though that featured a side salad). The other special was Italian comfort food: a baked ziti ($13), served with a vegetable salad. It was layered like lasagna and filled with ground lamb and beef, tomato and cheese. The mac-and-cheese ($9) featured penne in a white-cheese-based Mornay sauce with finely diced red bell pepper.

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Southern Table 323 S. Cross St. 501-379-9111 Quick bite

During “Tasting Tuesday,” 5-8 p.m., Margie Raimondo creates an appetizer designed to pair perfectly with the featured wine. The app and that first glass of wine will set you back $15, and Al Hodge tells us the wine itself is always worth more than $15 a glass on its own.






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Southern Table also serves beer and takes credit cards.

The bell pepper dominates, so choose this based on how you feel about red bells. Almost everything is made in-house at Southern Table, including gelato. We had the chocolate ($7 for two scoops served with two pieces of buttery shortbread) and a rich cranberry ($6), a scoop of which accompanied a piece of moist, dense lemon pound cake. We chased everything down with Raimondo barbera and a fruit-forward old vine zinfandel, both excellent representations of the Italian classics. DECEMBER 21, 2017



An uneven epic ‘Last Jedi’ visuals are indelible, even if the plot isn’t. BY SAM EIFLING


he latest Star Wars installment isn’t quite des- explores — in a surprisingly satisfying formulation tined to be this trilogy’s “Empire Strikes Back,” — the true nature of the Force. Stakes feel high in even if they share some similarities. “The Last the dead expanse of the cosmos and in Rey’s inner Jedi,” a nearly three-hour epic in which little seems exploration and, lest we start feeling too serious, to change about the Star Wars universe, lacks the raw rad alien animals and side characters pop up to resonance of an “I am your father” burn from Vader to break the tension. An opening bit between snitty COOL HAND LUKE: Mark Hamill reprises his iconic role as Luke Luke, but give “Last Jedi” credit for being weirder and First Order Gen. Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Skywalker in Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” riskier and grimmer than what you might have expected. the hot-shot Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Director Rian Johnson does manage to nail the oper- Isaac) skates the line between a comedy bit and an handed the reins to this billion-dollar Disney tentpole. atic scale of the franchise at its best. Most of the action outright gag, giving the movie some room to loosen up. Unfortunately, though, the sensuality can’t overtakes place in a relative standoff in space. Our plucky Driver, too, in particular, has a delivery that punctures come the occasional lack of plain ol’ sense. A mid-movie rebel resistance — accustomed to making hyperspeed the sometimes stentorian pretense that clings to these mission by reformed stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) escapes when the imperial First Order star destroyers movies like plaque buildup, giving the entire film a move and new Resistance sidekick Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and such arrive — learn that they can now be tracked. lived-in, spontaneous-feeling atmosphere. feels more like a video game side quest than a meanWhat follows is something like trench warfare as the We’ve come to take it for granted in this franchise, but ingful part of the plot. The tension sags in the middle hulking might of the First Order bears down on a slow- the visual and audio effects are outrageously pretty. An hour as the star destroyers wait out the limping rebel moving, increasingly desperate rebel transport ship. early sequence of a Resistance bombing attack on a First ship, and Leia (Carrie Fisher) uses the Force to pull a Meanwhile, our heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) is spending Order dreadnaught feels like a vivid, dark dream, and a trick that rewrites the bounds of plausibility even in quality time with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a later battle on a salt-covered vermillion planet — using this quasi-magical sci-fi universe. remote island somewhere, trying to pry Jedi training vehicles that skim the surface as they skate — is shameWhether any of its foibles detract from the overall out of him while also mentally Force-Skyping with lessly indulgent and instantly indelible. A fight sequence effect is up to your own attention span. Yes, at times it’s the emo-Vader, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). in the candy-red chamber of the evil First Order regent silly and uneven and illogical. But it also feels visceral Out in space, the battles look and feel terrific; down in Snoke (Andy Serkis through layers of digital makeup) and bold, and in a franchise with vast expectations, it the cross-legged spiritual journey Luke and Rey share, Rey is like something Kubrick would’ve devised if he’d been manages the impossible by actually meeting them.



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11/10/17 10:19 AM

IN BRIEF, CONT. Whiskey Rendezvous play a show at TC’s Midtown Grill, 9 p.m. New Town Blues Band plays a free show at Markham Street Grill & Pub, 8:30 p.m., free. The Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs celebrates Noon Year’s Eve, a daytime event for kids featuring a bubble wrap stomp, a ball drop and tinkering exhibits, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 500 Mid-America Blvd., $8-$10.

SUNDAY 12/31

DJ G-Force kicks off the festivities early at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., and for the revelers who plan to stay up til midnight, the Big Dam Horns play at 9 p.m. Later on in Riverdale, Discovery Nightclub hosts a New Year’s Eve Bash with seven DJs, a drag show, three dance floors and a midnight toast, see for VIP tickets. The Joint Theatre & Coffeehouse hosts a special New Year’s Eve celebration with a champagne toast, a holiday meal from Two Sisters Catering and a performance of its two-act comedy “A Fertle Holiday,” 8:30 p.m., $55, call 372-0205 or see for tickets. Deep Sequence, Ryan Viser and Flintwick bring the electronic dance beats to Stickyz, 9 p.m., $10-$12. The Crumbs entertain revelers at Flying Saucer, with special tappings


and shots until 2 a.m., $5. In Hot Springs, Legoria’s Rhythm & Rocks Jazz Bistro holds a New Year’s Eve Masquerade, $35-$45, call 7014799 for tickets. George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville rings in the New Year with a show from Arkansauce, The Mighty Pines and The Toos, 9 p.m., $15. Jacob Flores, Susan Erwin and Moxie entertain for Oaklawn Racing and Gaming’s NYE celebration, Hot Springs, 4 p.m.-midnight, free.

TUESDAY 1/2 Brett Ihler hosts “Punch Line” Stand-Up Comedy at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse, 8 p.m., $5. Riverdale 10 Cinema screens the painted imagery film “Loving Vincent,” 7 p.m.

WEDNESDAY 1/3 Encyclopedia of Arkansas Editor Guy Lancaster discusses his new book, “Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas, 18401950” at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library as part of the Legacies and Lunch series, noon, free. Improv troupe The Joint Venture flies without a script at The Joint, 8 p.m., $8.


Theater, 495 W. Dickson St. 479-443-5600.

“Manheim Steamroller Christmas.” The touring production of Chip Davis’ multimedia seasonal production. 7:30 p.m. Tue. $38-$78. Robinson Performance Hall, 426 W. Markham St. 501-244-8800. “The Gift of the Magi.” Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s world premiere of the O. Henry classic, with original music by Andrew Cooke. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., 2 p.m. Sat.Sun., see for additional performances. $30-$65. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “Santaland Diaries.” Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s take on David Sedaris’ irreverent holiday roast, through Dec. 24, various times, performances staggered to coincide with “The Gift of the Magi,” see for tickets and showtimes. $30$65. 518 Main St. 501-378-0405. “A Fertle Holiday.” The Main Thing’s rapidfire holiday musical comedy about a “troubleridden holiday reunion in the tiny town of Dumpster, Arkansas.” 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., through Jan. 13. $24. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-372-0205. “Harvey.” Murry’s Dinner Playhouse presents Jeff Bailey in Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about an invisible rabbit. 7:30 p.m. Tue.-Sat., dinner at 6 p.m.; 12:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Sun., dinner at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., through Dec. 31. $15-$37. 6323 Colonel Glenn Road. 501-562-3131. “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” TheaterSquared stages Joe Landry’s adaptation of the Frank Capra film classic. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., through Dec. 31. $10-$40. Walton Arts Center’s Studio


MAJOR VENUES ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “49th Collectors Show and Sale,” works from New York galleries, through Jan. 7; “The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design,” through December. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Reflections in Pastel,” the Arkansas Pastel Society’s national exhibition, through Feb. 24; “Bret Aaker: Conatus,” Loft Gallery, through Jan. 27; “The Art of Injustice,” Paul Faris’ photographs of Japanese incarceration at Rohwer, through Dec. 30. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5790. 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.: “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu,” photographs by Matthew Willman and recreation of Mandela’s cell, through Feb. 19, 2018; “Art of Africa: One Continent, Limitless Vision,” pieces from the Clinton Presidential Center’s archives as well as from President Clinton’s own personal collection, through Feb. 12, 2018; permanent exhibits on the Clinton administration. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 adults, $8 seniors, retired military and college students, $6 youth 6-17, free to active military and children under 6, President Clinton’s birthday. 374-4242.


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Board Vacancy Board of Commissioners Central Arkansas Water The Board of Commissioners, Central Arkansas Water (CAW), is seeking letters of interest and resumés from Little Rock residents interested in serving on the Board. CAW is the largest public water supplier in the state of Arkansas and serves the Greater Little Rock-North Little Rock area. The water commissioners have full and complete authority to manage, operate, improve, extend and maintain the water works and distribution system and have full and complete charge of the water plan. The governing board consists of seven members who serve seven-year terms. The Board appointee for the existing vacancy will fulfill the remainder of a seven year term ending June 30, 2020. In accordance with Ark. Code Ann. § 25-20-301, the Board must consist of four residents of Little Rock and three residents of North Little Rock. The current vacancy is for a Little Rock representative. CAW is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in all areas of our operations and on the CAW Board of Commissioners. All interested Little Rock residents are encouraged to apply and should submit a letter of interest and resumé no later than 12:00 p.m. (noon) Friday, December 28, 2017 to:



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Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute

Next year, the Arkansas Times will put out the 37th edition of our Readers Choice restaurant awards. That makes us the oldest and most respected readers survey in Arkansas. Walk in many restaurants around the state and you’ll see our posters on the walls. Be a part of the tradition: Vote online for your favorite chefs and restaurants in dozens of different categories. Winners will be announced in the March 15 issue and an awards celebration sponsored by Ben E. Keith Foods, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Southern Glazer’s Beers will be held at the UA Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute who will prepare all the food for the celebration March 13.


DECEMBER 21, 2017




Arkansas Times - December 21, 2017  
Arkansas Times - December 21, 2017  

It's the Best & Worst of 2017. With illustrations by Bryan Moats!