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Quote of the week

“If Democrats continue this kind of obstructionism, we might be compelled to change the rules on our own.” — Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas threatening on the “Hugh Hewitt” radio show to change Senate procedure to prevent Democrats from blocking presidential nominations. Cotton single-handedly blocked numerous nominations during the Obama administration, most notably that of Cassandra Butts, a wholly qualified diplomatic appointment who was dying of cancer. Butts was a personal friend of President Obama’s.

Court overturns long precedent

The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed long court precedent last week when it ruled the state legislature may not pass laws waiving the sovereign immunity provision, or protection against lawsuit, of the state Constitution in cases seeking monetary damages. The decision was 5-2. A dissent said the consequences were “astounding” and could apply to some past cases of enormous significance. The decision came in the case of a Rich Mountain Community College bookstore manager seeking overtime compensation. He argued, and a circuit judge agreed, that the state legislature had explicitly waived constitutional immunity in minimum wage cases and cited past cases on the point in saying the case should go to trial. Justice Karen Baker wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Jo Hart. Chad Pekron, sitting as special justice, joined the majority. He replaced Justice Courtney Goodson, whose husband is a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. Rich Mountain is part of the UA System. Baker’s dissent noted that private employers must pay minimum wages, but, by this ruling, the state need not. She argued that the Constitution should be interpreted as meaning the state could not be compelled to be a defendant, but it could choose to do so. She objected, too, to the majority’s unwillingness to take up the plaintiff’s argument that other parts of the Constitution that guarantee a jury trial and a remedy for “all injuries or wrongs” overrode sovereign immunity.

The commission said the farm must file its appeal no later than Feb. 10. If that deadline is met, the stay will remain in place. The vote was unanimous, with the exception of recusals by Gary Wheeler and Robert Reynolds. The Department of Environmental Quality denied the permit Jan. 10. The lawyer for the farm argued that it had submitted everything required by the department. The Buffalo Watershed Alliance argued before the commission that a stay shouldn’t be granted. The permit expired more than a year ago and an appeal could last months or years. It argued for a phase-out of the operation and, failing that, posting of a substantial bond by the farm to cover potential hog waste pollution in the interim. The commission required no bond, however. Apparently, the commission believed such a requirement was outside its power.

City sues mayoral candidates

Stay granted for hog farm

The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission has granted a stay that will allow continued operation of the C&H hog farm near Mount Judea while it appeals denial of a new permit for the factory hog-feeding operation. 4

JANUARY 25, 2018


As directed by the Little Rock City Board, City Attorney Tom Carpenter last week sued for a declaratory judgment that Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott, candidates for Little Rock mayor, are violating a city ordinance by raising money for exploratory committees to run for mayor.

The ordinance prohibits fundraising part about a short fundraising period. for city office sooner than five months Sabin has raised about $120,000, before an election, with this election Scott about $75,000. scheduled in November. The state Ethics Commission has found, however, that the exploratory The Times’ cover story last week, committees are allowed by state law “Arkansans of the Year: Women,” and declined to take action. The suit quoted House District 32 candidate names the Ethics Commission, Sabin, Jess Virden Mallett as speaking about Scott and their exploratory committees. a proposed 2016 amendment to cap By allowing Sabin and Scott to raise medical malpractice fees that was later money, the lawsuit argues, the state is struck from the ballot by the Supreme denying equal protection to incumbent officials who cannot raise money Court. That was an error. Mallett was until June 1 and may not create an speaking about the 2018 measure, Issue exploratory committee to raise money 1, which would cap attorneys’ fees and for an office he or she already holds. limit noneconomic punitive damages It says the state Ethics Commission in personal injury, property damage or should be made to enforce the city wrongful death to $500,000. “The current legislature, including ordinance and the judge should order my opponent, has introduced a ballot appropriate equitable remedies. referendum that places an arbitrary Meanwhile, Mayor Mark Stodola is value on human life in the Arkansas sitting in blatant violation of the same Constitution. … The majority of our city ordinance by holding on to $78,000 legislators think life is only worth in contributions left over from previous $500,000 and want to amend our campaigns. By terms of the same constitution to reflect that. As a mother, 1997 ordinance the City Board wants wife and a daughter, that is simply not Carpenter to enforce, Stodola should have acceptable. … It is very important that refunded that money to contributors or people know that this is still an issue, distributed it to specified legal recipients, such as charities. Carpenter has argued that they are trying to take away their that state law prohibits enforcement of Seventh Amendment right.” Mallett, this part of the ordinance, but not the a Democrat, is running against Republican state Rep. Jim Sorvillo.


Truth in government W


hy attempt a coherent theme that she’d been informed by the FBI in today’s incoherent political that she was on world? ISIS’ hit list. ?!? However bad things may appear, If ISIS does go we’ll always have the Republican after Morgan, be gubernatorial primary for entertainment advised she has of a gruesome sort. There, gun range lots of guns. They MAX owner Jan Morgan is doing her best weren’t in Fouke on BRANTLEY to make Governor Hutchinson out to Friday as far as we be a liberal. Hutchinson has endorsed know. legal discrimination against gay people; And what about Sen. Tom Cotton? unconstitutional abortion laws; open The tall-talking former Dardanelle Sand carry of firearms; and throwing tens Lizard is too mean to inspire humor. of thousands off Medicaid coverage. If Consider: We learned last week his staff this be liberal, God save us from a “real” was outed for getting so tired of critical conservative. phone calls that they sent cease-andBut she IS colorful. She went down desist letters that threatened police to Fouke last week, where she got a investigation if recipients continued hug from a guy wearing a Boggy Creek ANY communication. Even Sen. John monster costume. When sympathizing Boozman’s office said he wouldn’t go that about the end of slavery defender Robert far in response to a coarse word or two. E. Lee’s state holiday, she mentioned It would be a First Amendment violation

Love that deficit


s 2018 the year that Americans finally learn to love the deficit? It has all the makings for such a phenomenon, at least for one year. The deficit is soaring again, but what is there not to like about it? Taxes have just been cut — precipitously for business and the rich, modestly for many others (for several years) — and the economy continues its historic eightyear expansion. Federal budget deficits have had seasonal defenders but no real admirers except for followers of Keynesian economics during bad times. Thomas Jefferson deplored them, and you can’t quarrel with Thomas Jefferson, unless you explore too many of his ideas and prejudices. H. Ross Perot ran a decent one-note campaign for president by promising to end deficits and save the country from impending collapse. What makes 2018 the optimal year for deficits and the normally despised national debt is that the Republican Party has called a truce on them. You won’t be hearing Republican rants about deficits for a while for the simple reason that the party now owns them. We have had these interludes before — the 12 years of Ronald Reagan and Bush I and the eight years of Bush II — when the

deficits soared owing to tax cuts and spending increases. But they ceased to be a talking point. Democrats never lamented deficits much and, sure enough, deficits moderated ERNEST or even shrank DUMAS under modern Democratic presidents. It went to zero for four years under Bill Clinton. George W. Bush handed Barack Obama a deficit of $1.5 trillion and a sharply contracting economy. By 2015, Obama had whittled it to $438 billion, but two years of defense-spending increases pushed it back up to $666 billion in the year that ended Oct. 1. The tax cut signed by the president at Christmastime was supposed to add $1.5 trillion to the already projected deficit increases over the next 10 years. It actually will add far more than that. Congress had to keep the estimated deficit hike at $1.5 trillion to pass it legally and they did it in the timeless way Congress always does it, with smoke and mirrors. Except those for corporations and some others, the tax cuts begin to expire well before 10 years, and the unspoken tax increases in the out years

to prosecute someone for attempting to petition government. Cotton’s refusal to provide routine taxpayer-financed press services to critical members of the media (such as me) is benign by comparison. And then there was the string of Cotton whoppers about Donald Trump’s vulgar remarks about Haiti and countries in Africa and Central America. Shitholes, he called them, according to multiple sources. Cotton, who was in the meeting, first said he had no recollection of such comments. Then, his memory refreshed, he accused Sens. Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham of lying about Trump’s words. Then under questioning by Chuck Todd on TV’s “Meet the Press,” he conceded Trump used “salty” words, just not “repeatedly.” To compound the dishonesty, he asserted he’d never denied Trump’s use of ugly language. Know this: Cotton will say or do anything to retain his role as a Trump adviser on immigration. This is no joke. It is a tragedy for the Dreamers whose future in America hangs in the balance. Then there’s Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who bragged at a modestly

attended anti-abortion march about her work for, get this, women’s health. This follows a year in which she fought to strip women of abortion rights; in which she defended restrictions on availability of contraception; in which she fought to deny women the doctor of their choice; and in which she championed a state law aimed at preventing abortion by pills in the first days after sex. That last law, by the way, required an unsafe dosage of medication. Dare we hope that the continued vibrancy of the Women’s March a year after the first following Donald Trump’s election is a sign that the women may take over where men have failed? Record numbers of women are running for office. Polls show a 35-point gender gap against Trump. (Could we end men’s suffrage?) Even in places like Little Rock and Nashville, Tenn., thousands turned out, pink pussy hats flying, to march not just for reproductive rights, but a federal government in keeping with majority sentiment on immigration, gun safety, health care and education. Hurry November. But, yes, I know. Careful what you wish for.

shrink the official deficit projection. The Republicans had to take some other steps to protect the political advantages of cutting taxes. Ordinary people and not just the rich must realize advantages from the tax cuts long before the elections, so withholding changes were pushed up to February and big corporations were urged to announce raises for workers or price cuts. Governor Hutchinson joined the facesaving by urging his utility regulators to see if they could get the utilities to use some of their new profits to announce lower rates. Right before passing the tax cut, congressional Republicans realized a huge political peril. Elderly and disabled Medicare constituents, who vote in big numbers, were going to get big reductions in their benefits, totaling $25 billion, immediately, owing to congressional pay-as-you-go rules that were adopted to force deficits down. The cuts were to be automatic if the tax law increased the deficit beyond a certain point, so before sending it to the president they hastily amended the bill to waive the rule for 2018. They remembered having succeeded in making Obamacare initially unpopular partly by claiming that it was going to slash grandma’s Medicare benefits. (It didn’t; it expanded them. It called for lowering pay to providers, not beneficiaries.) Polls showed that

Obamacare was extremely unpopular with the elderly in Arkansas, the group that should have been happiest with it. They weren’t going to run that risk with the tax cut. Trump had been a fan of deficits, saying early in his campaign that he didn’t worry about deficits because if the national debt got dangerously high he would declare bankruptcy as he did in his private businesses. He had a small point. Defaulting on the debt would simply mean that U.S. taxpayers would shift the cost of government to that share of the taxpayers who own most of the national debt. Trump presumably doesn’t own government bonds. The Republican plan, as expressed often by House Speaker Paul Ryan, is to get rid of the deficits by slashing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Ryan said in December that Congress would start doing it this year. He said he had talked Trump into reneging on his pledge not to cut Social Security or Medicare. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has far better political instincts than Ryan or Trump. He said the other day that Medicare and Social Security would NOT be on the block — not before the fall elections. So we have a year to love deficits. Let’s make the most of it, and while we’re at it, raise a toast to the national debt.

Follow Arkansas Blog on Twitter: @ArkansasBlog JANUARY 25, 2018


The story follows Emily Doe, the victim of the January 17-18th sexual assault case of 2015 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The story shows the trauma, fear, and blame one faces after being the victim of sexual assault. With an ensemble of her peers telling the story, Emily must relive her experience one last time in hopes of shedding light on American rape culture and how our society blames victims and normalizes sexual violence.

A spectacle I

f the recent brief government shutdown accomplished nothing else, it sent President Trump into hiding for three days, no small blessing. Somebody convinced him that golfing in Florida would look bad, and his minders didn’t trust him to do any AN ORIGINAL PLAY WRITTEN BY HSU STUDENT, MAGGIE-LEE PRESTON actual negotiating, so the president holed up in the White House watching TV and yakking on the phone. Incidentally, can’t Melania do something about his low-rent habit of wearing a hat in the house? Assuming that she’s RECOMMENDED FOR even talking to the big dope in the wake MATURE AUDIENCES of this porn star business in The Wall Hosted by CALS Ron Robinson Street Journal. Theater & Arkansas Coalition Anyway, if I want to see a countAgainst Sexual Assault down clock in the corner of the screen, I’ll watch a ballgame. The TV news 100 RIVER MARKET AVENUE LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS 72201 networks’ turning congressional politics into ratings-building melodrama, SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2018 complete with good guys, bad guys and 7:00PM-9:00PM manufactured suspense, definitely ain’t helping. It rewards dogmatism over THEATER: (501) 320-5715 ACASA: (501) 246-3276 pragmatism, reducing complex issues to a simple game with clear-cut winners and losers. That’s what the NFL playoffs are for. But it’s basically the opposite of what the Founders intended the U.S. Senate to be. Sure, Election Day can be exciting, but the shutdown drama was just bad TV. Cable news channels devoted last weekend to showing politicians milling about in Senate chambers waiting for something to happen. Evidently nothing of interest was taking place anywhere else in the world. Observing the spectacle, it easy to agree with Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana): “Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots,” he said. Kennedy probably didn’t mean to say that the head idiots are named Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. But the GOP does control Annual Open House Now accepting the White House and both houses of Now accepting Sunday, January 28, 2007 applications for Congress. And it’s important to underapplications for the the 2007-08 stand how those worthies connived to 2010-11 school year. Freshman Entrance Exam school year. Now accepting applications for the February 10, tempt Saturday, 2007Democrats into picking a fight they couldn’t possibly win — pretty 2014-15 school year. much as the party’s embittered leftAnnual Freshman Entrance Exam AnnualOpen OpenHouse House Freshmen Entrance Exam CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL wing now insists minority leader Sen. Sunday, January 26, 2014 Saturday, February 8, 2014 Sunday, January 28, 2018 Saturday, February 3, 2018 FOR BOYS Chuck Schumer of New York should 12:30 - 2:30 12:30 - 2:30 6300 Father Tribou Street have done. Little Rock, Arkansas 72205 New York Times columnist Michele Website Goldberg led the charge. “ ‘Make no misCATHOLIC HIGH501-664-3939 SCHOOL take: Schumer and Dems caved,’ tweeted FOR BOYS Fox News’ Brit Hume. ‘What a political 6300 Father Tribou Street fiasco.’ It makes me sick to say it,” GoldLittle Rock, Arkansas 72205 berg wrote, “but he’s right.” 501-664-3939 Goldberg also quoted one Ezra Levin,

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identified as the co-founder of a leftwing advocacy group modeled on the Tea Party. “It’s Senator Schumer’s job as minority leader to keep his caucus together and stand up for progressive values and he failed to do it,” Levin said. “He led them off a cliff. They caved.” But probably because I spend more time watching ballgames than MSNBC, I tend to see things differently. See, there’s no such thing as a six-run home run. You can’t throw a GENE Hail Mary pass for LYONS a 21-point touchdown. Poker players understand that when you’re holding a pair of sixes, it’s time to fold and play another hand. Which is basically what Schumer did. Did shutting down the U.S. government in 1995 help Newt Gingrich prevail in a budget struggle against President Clinton? It did not, and it led to Clinton’s easy re-election. Did Republicans’ shutting down the government in 2013 lead President Obama to ditch the Affordable Care Act? No. What’s more, for all its huffing and puffing, the GOP still hasn’t been able to kill the law. Schumer simply didn’t have the votes to make anything happen. Meanwhile, the top trending hashtag pushed by Russian bots on Twitter was “#SchumerShutdown.” Trump’s Kremlin supporters, see, have a strong interest in promoting ethnic and racial discord in the U.S. They hope to use the DACA, or “Dreamers,” issue to divide and weaken the country. So do hardline anti-immigrant Republicans, such as White House aide Stephen Miller and a minority of GOP hotheads in the House. But they haven’t got the votes either. Not even close. Indeed, even the most recent Fox News poll shows 83 percent of Americans support granting permanent resident status to the “Dreamers” — young workers, students and soldiers — brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents as small children. Would even Trump be willing to start deporting these young Americans to countries they’ve never known? It’s hard to imagine. Indeed, compromise DACA legislation passed the Senate in 2013, and will almost surely pass again unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell goes back on his word in the glare of the spotlight Schumer’s compromise has put him in.

The future O

n Saturday, thousands of women in Arkansas and millions across the country rallied and marched just as we did last January. In 2017, we marched in anticipation of bad things to come. In 2018, we marched in response. This year, we were louder, we were more unified and we were angrier. I made the drive down to Little Rock from Fayetteville last January with my best friend and my two daughters for the Women’s March. I cried when I saw the number of women waiting to march. It was my first glimpse of the movement that was to come. This year, I joined my friends Olivia Trimble and Blanca Estevez in planning the Fayetteville Women’s March. I thought we might get a couple hundred people to attend. Then, as the day drew closer, I expected closer to 1,000. I did not expect to see nearly 3,000 women and men filling the plaza of the Fayetteville Town Center and overflowing into the downtown streets, but I should have expected that number. After all, women are driving the movement known as “The Resistance.” What I saw on Saturday is more than a resistance to the policies of President Trump’s administration. It is a rejection of centuries of oppression of women, especially women of color. It is more than a fad or a political awakening; it is a movement. It is the joining together of marginalized communities to fight against the patriarchal and racist systems that dominate our economy and our politics. This movement is not going away. It deserves more attention. This is a movement that scares those who rely on the status quo. We are fighting the policies of the GOP that separate families through aggressive deportations, that roll back regulations such as the Americans Disabilities Act, that leave women with substandard health care and that allow police power to go unchecked. We are refusing to accept the old adage that “boys will be boys” as our accomplishments are overlooked in the workplace while our appearances are not. Our outspoken activists are receiving cease and desist letters from U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton for not backing down and are being completely ignored by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack when questioning him about racist

symbols. We are also pushing back against those in the Democratic Party who want to hang out in the center and avoid what they dismiss as “identity politics.” Our candidates are treating women’s rights, gun control, LGBTQ equality and comprehensive immigration reform as more than just a f t er t hou g ht s . We are pushing for county meetings that are AUTUMN more welcoming TOLBERT to women by considering work schedules and childcare. We are asking for less socializing and more activism. We’ve been accused of being divisive by those on the left who are uncomfortable with our impatience. Despite all of this, we continue to speak up because we know we all can be better. Detractors have pointed out our movement lacks unity and is consumed by infighting. Not true. What I saw on Saturday was a diverse group of men and women, being led by women, being taught by women and being inspired by women. Sure, not everyone will agree on everything. Activists from communities facing immediate danger will not be polite. They don’t have the luxury of waiting out this administration or worrying about hurt feelings. The GOP has already capitalized on this by pitting us against each other by claiming we have to choose between CHIP and DACA. They’ve worked to convince the country that we support immigrants over veterans. That’s where they have it all wrong. We demand better for everyone and, if we stay unified, we won’t leave anyone behind. We may not see the wins we want to see in 2018. Womack and Cotton and the rest of the boys may still be in power here in Arkansas. Governor Hutchinson may continue his march to the right. But the momentum is with us. The wind is at our back. The Indivisibles and the Young Democrats control the fate of the Democratic Party. They will be the ones who get out the vote. If the Democratic candidates want to win, they’d better get on board. The future is female. She is black. She is white. She is brown. She is trans. She is cis. She is mad. And she is not backing down.


van Wyler captures the attention of Alexa Vere de Vere, a black-clad woman of mystery who has made the work of celebrity her home. Maybe she’s a record producer, maybe she’s a film agent, what is clear is that she wants Evan to write the screenplay of her life story. Evan discovers a chain of people who have fallen under her spell and acted as her meal ticket. JANUARY 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 2018 $16-ADULTS • $12-STUDENTS & SENIORS THURSDAY, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT CURTAIN TIME IS 7:30 PM. SUNDAY AFTERNOON CURTAIN TIME IS 2:30 PM.

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lorida and Ole Miss both exposed contributed to an average minus-6 point the gross deficiency of an Ar- differential through the first seven conkansas team that still has NCAA ference games, which hardly instills Tournament designs, and yet the Razor- confidence in the Hogs’ prospects going backs managed again to eke out a split down the stretch. of the two games. The Hogs started The Gators have been reborn after to gather themselves a rough nonconference slate and they a year ago when the pummeled the Hogs at Gainesville, a Oklahoma State place that has tormented the visitors Cowboys, largely from Fayetteville like few other ven- an undistinguished BEAU ues. A 23-year, 12-game drought at the bunch under then- WILCOX O’Connell Center for Arkansas persisted coach Brad Underafter the hosts rolled 88-73 last Wednes- wood, slapped Mike Anderson’s lethargic day, anchored by North Little Rock prod- bunch around in a 28-point beatdown uct KeVaughn Allen’s 28-point outburst, at Stillwater in the annual Big 12/SEC which came on the heels of one of the Challenge, which at the time seemed an worst stretches of the junior guard’s affirmation of just how weak the latter career. conference was on a national scale. The If we’ve learned anything as Hog fans, Hogs were 16-4, 5-3 going into that game, it’s that the expats who leave the state but unranked and largely unheralded due and get an opportunity to punish Arkan- to a rather flaccid strength of schedule. sas will do just that at every turn. Allen Fast-forward a year and the Hogs will borrowed from that script in front of his host the Pokes again in that midseason crowd and the Hogs never could nar- cross-conference gimmickry, and go figrow the margin much in the second half, ure, even if they eke out a road win at as the 15-2 run that Jalen Hudson and Georgia first, they’ll go into the game Allen keyed with long triples in the first with a lesser overall record but a far half proved essentially fatal. Arkansas better tournament profile than last year. ironically received excellent produc- The same warts exist, though, which is tion from its de facto Big Three, with really troubling: After surrendering 99 Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon and Daniel points to the Cowboys in that loss, the Gafford accounting for 55 of the team’s Hogs beat Alabama before getting beaten pedestrian 73-point output, but obvi- by a lowly Missouri team and then takously that tells you how underwhelm- ing a surprising home loss to Vanderbilt, ing the role players were. a game that more or less mirrored this With that game unfolding in such January’s lay-down against LSU. a sorry fashion, Arkansas again recapArkansas responded to that challenge tured its cliched but essential sense of with fury, winning six of seven league urgency when it returned home Satur- games and then two in the SEC tourday to take on a middling Ole Miss team. ney, cementing itself as a postseason Notably, the aforementioned trio did its participant with 25 overall wins. Barjob with 58 aggregate points, but the 39 ring a miracle, the Hogs won’t hit that points provided by the supporting cast mark this time around but likely will not proved to be sufficient, albeit barely. have to, either. Thanks to the wins over Fighting off a late barrage of Rebel Oklahoma, Fresno State and Bucknell threes with Macon’s deft free throw (and to a diminishing extent, Minneshooting, the Hogs secured a 97-93 win sota and Troy), Arkansas has a betterto move their record to a respectable than-average nonconference sheen. This 13-6 and 3-4 in SEC play. year, afforded the opportunity to host It is, of course, still noteworthy that an improved Okie State and sweep the for the fourth time in four conference two flagship schools from the neighborgames at Bud Walton Arena, the Hogs ing state, Arkansas could exit January were several notches below dominant with 15 or even 16 wins if it can knock and were so bad at shutting down the off Texas A&M next week in College perimeter that it felt like a mediocre TV Station, and all things considered, that movie replaying itself. Despite having would keep the Hogs on the right side of some fairly exceptional crowds on hand the so-called bracketologists’ collective to watch, the Hogs have managed to be assessment. Even with a sub-.500 SEC ragged in their own house, with three record thus far, the Hogs are a consensus wins by a combined eight points and that higher seed on the first two days of the horror show 21-point loss to LSU. That’s NCAA Tournament for the moment.


Miss Universe T

he Observer has been thinking were from the unsteady aim of the Three about cannabis recently, the stuff Amigos of Ganja. It always ended with our grandma called “The Mari- us flat on our backs in the stubbled winjuana,” and Dear Ol’ Pa called “Mary ter field, bundled up and warmish in our Jane” with the feeling of a man speaking hunting coats, momentarily fascinated fondly about a remembered former lover. to the point of speechlessness with the Cannabis is what the dedicated people sky and stars and the idea that the uniwe’ve run into recently, who believe in verse goes on forever, man … like, FORthe stuff as medicine more than they EVER forever. On one occasion, which believe in Tylenol and Phillips Milk of has somehow managed to sneak into Magnesia, call it most often. We’ll let the jar where we keep those memories them call the ball. of perfect, high-definition clarity, The At the peril of potentially enticing Observer and friends came back to Ma impressionable youths, The Observer and Pa’s farmhouse on the hill one night, will admit we have indulged in the eyes no doubt redder than Satan’s jockintake of nonmedical, purely recre- strap, to find Ma and Pa watching the ational cannabis in the past. Come and Miss Universe pageant on their snowy, get me, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. pre-cable TV. The Three Amigos sat We’ll put on our tie-dye and Beatle boots on the couch, three birds in a row, and for the perp walk if it makes you happy; chuckled in slow motion at the funnywe’ll make for more drama when they sounding names, Pa cutting his eyes at run our televised moment of shame us from time to time in a mixture of on Fox News, between the next Killer annoyance and maybe amusement. Pa Immigrant segment and another round- — that smart cookie and former lover table on why Hillary Clinton should be of dear old Mary Jane — very likely drawn and quartered by four monster knew exactly what was going on, and trucks on the National Mall. it wasn’t because the pots in his kitchen We’ll further admit, while we’re were sadly devoid of fat January rabbits admitting, that being high is not our gone to Bunny Heaven. That’s where favorite feeling in the world. The the memory ends, but we’ve come to Observer, ever the captain of our own treasure it: a moment Pa knew Yours bodily starship like the rest of the 7 bil- Truly was doing what he didn’t care lion people in the world whether they for us to do, but allowed us to make our know it or not, doesn’t really care for own way into the world. It’s an example that feeling of being chemically pole- we’ve tried to follow with Junior, even axed. But to each his, her or their own. though his vice is playing seven straight Full confession, though: There was hours of Call of Duty instead of smokone memorable winter as a teenager ing The Marijuana. when friends of ours lucked into a friend All this is about something and nothof a friend who had a reliable, reason- ing, of course, the past and the future, ably priced supply of the stuff dreams age and youth, but also this plant that are made of. Many nights of that winter has been demonized and worshipped, were spent either on a desperate search praised and vilified, but is now on the for rolling papers or heading out into verge of helping thousands of sick folks the frigid dark with a battery-powered in Arkansas feel better. The Observer is spotlight and a .22 rifle to theoretically not one of those folks, thank God, but and illegally hunt the fat January rabbits still we think: Maybe we should hunt up that lurked in the bushes around daddy’s a phone number for ol’ Mary and give field. Come and get me, director of the her another chance, just to see what Arkansas Game and Fish Commission! happens. Or maybe not. We’re too old Not only has the statute of limitations these days for anybody to believe we’ve surely expired, we can assure you no gone out stalking fat January rabbits by rabbits died those nights, safe as they starlight.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE VICTIM OF A HATE CRIME? The Arkansas Times has joined the nonprofit news organization ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project, a collaboration with newsrooms across the country to track hate incidents that might otherwise go unreported. The project aims to create a comprehensive database of where hate crimes are happening and what groups are being targeted. If you have an incident to report, submit it at arktimes. com/dochate. Information provided will not be shared with law enforcement or to anyone outside the group working on the project.

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Finding solutions


ne advantage of the current po- institutions. Knowledge is power and litical climate is an opportunity understanding these systems is key to for a new and more honest con- making progress. versation about race, gender and many Knowledge other inequities we too often sweep un- alone does not der the carpet. President Trump’s offen- create change. We sive actions and comments keep these also need to build issues in the spotlight, and the response stronger commufrom Arkansas’s congressional leaders nities across the BILL has ranged from vigorous defense of the lines that divide KOPSKY president to complicit silence. us. When African Guest Columnist One of the most radical things we can Americans, whites, do for a better future is to keep talking Latinos and other people come together about social justice until we find the we have the power to create change that solutions that have dogged us for genera- will bring opportunity and justice to all. tions. Tackling these problems is actually What could be better than more knowla key to creating more opportunity and edge and community in this age of polarprosperity for all Arkansans. ization around race, politics, gender and That’s one reason the Arkansas Public economics? Policy Panel and Citizens First Congress We need to bridge the gap between our have begun an initiative to understand communities’ needs to thrive and what our the history and roots of racial oppres- political leaders are doing. In Arkansas, sion and social injustice. We partnered home to one of the fastest growing immiwith Race Forward — one of the nation’s grant communities in the country, we are leading social justice think tanks — to represented by lawmakers who are leadconduct workshops examining the his- ing the attack to deny Dreamers and mastory of racism and social injustice and sively cut legal immigration. In Arkansas, how it operates in our culture, laws and one of the states that’s benefited the most

from the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid care, minimum wage or energy efficiency. expansion, we are represented by lawmakMany, if not most, Americans, are ers who are among the most zealous to cut from places once considered “shitholes.” it. In Arkansas, near worst in the nation for Half of my ancestors came over during poverty and income inequality, we are rep- the Irish potato famine. The other half resented by lawmakers who are among the came from Russia during the Bolshevik most zealous to cut social safety nets to fuel Revolution. Both sides of the family were massive tax giveaways for the most wealthy. poor and never would have been admitLet me talk about one more elephant ted to this country in a merit system. But in the room. Being from Arkansas, I’m my family story is one of excelling over particularly sensitive to “shithole” com- challenges and contributing proudly to ments about someone’s home. Many peo- a stronger American society. ple who have never been to Arkansas That diversity and striving are not perceive us as backward. I get asked by what holds America back, that’s what people who’ve never been here, “Isn’t it makes us great! Today immigration is not frustrating living someplace with such a drain on Arkansas, but a boost of over high poverty and so few opportunities?” $3.4 billion per year. White supremacy, It’s easy for someone from someplace beyond being a moral scourge, underelse to grab a few data points and make mines opportunity for us all. broad negative assumptions. It’s true To get past those who would divide us that Arkansas is one of the poorest states, with racist and ill-informed views, we need with the highest income inequality and to come together, understand the history big challenges. But people who define of social injustice in our society and build a us by those challenges don’t know the collective strategy to challenge it. Our next amazing people of Arkansas. They don’t workshop is this Saturday, Jan. 27, from 10 know our tight-knit communities, our a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jones Center in Springhistory of overcoming political polariza- dale. We will be holding more workshops tion to make progress, or how beautiful in other parts of the state through the year. the Ozarks, the Delta and the Ouachitas Learn more at are. They don’t know we have one of the fastest improving education systems, or Bill Kopsky is executive director of the that we lead the South in access to health Arkansas Public Policy Panel.

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JANUARY 25, 2018



Rx fees: a range


nder Arkansas’s new medical marijuana program, doctors do not prescribe cannabis. Instead, they certify that patients have one or more of the 18 medical conditions that allow them to seek a medical marijuana card from the state Department of Health. To date, at least 21 doctors have agreed to sign the Physician Written Certification required by the state. They will be found on the cannabiz.arktimes. com website that goes live this week. The list will be updated as more physicians come forward with their decision to certify patients for medical marijuana. The small number of doctors may have created a micro-market of weedfriendly doctors. They have set various prices for certification — which is nonreimbursable by insurance. The Arkansas Times compiled a list of prices from doctors and websites (not all doctors returned our calls). The cheapest was Fort Smith Medical (www., which charges $120 for the initial visit to be certified. (Patients must be recertified on a yearly basis at least.) Doctors charging $150 include the Medical Canna Clinic of Springdale (according to its website), Dr. Lance Hamilton of Bentonville, Dr. Ivy McGee of Benton and the Evergreen Clinic of Sheridan. Also on the low end is Dr. Larry Mabry of Springdale, who is charging $180. Mabry told the Arkansas Times that he’s trying to pave a “middle road” with pricing. Mabry will often chat with patients who call in for an appointment to make sure they qualify before they come in and get charged for the visit. For patients, it’d be smart to follow Mabry’s lead: Find the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis at www. Though based in Benton, McGee, who is working in partnership with the company A Medicinal Purpose (, plans to travel throughout the state to see medical marijuana patients, spokeswoman Tausha Dyer said. Here are some other fees provided to the Times, from low to high: Dr. William Piechal of Fayetteville, $150 for established patients ($250 for new patients) Dr. David A. Diffine of Paragould and Blytheville, $200. Dr. Archie Hearne of Little Rock, $200. My Medical Card Compassionate

Care Clinic in Hot Springs, $200. Dr. Dane Flippin of Jonesboro, $250. Dr. George Covert of Ashdown, $250. Dr. Roger Tilley of Benton, $250. Dr. Jeremy Grant of El Dorado, $250. Dr. Joseph Tucker of Texarkana, $275. Dr. Barry V. Thomas of Crossett, $285. Dr. Tammy Post of Bentonville, $287 Dr. John House of Eureka Springs will only see established patients and will charge as he does for a regular office visit. After obtaining the certification, those who apply for a medical marijuana card will be charged $50 by the state. Danny Ford, Razorback football coach from 1993 to 1997 and coach of the Clemson Tigers for 10 years prior to that, has received one of the first permits to grow industrial hemp in South Carolina. The permit allows Ford to grow up to 20 acres of hemp, but he plans to plant 16 acres on his 174-acre cattle, hay and wheat farm, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina issued 20 permits; growers are required to work with state research universities to develop hemp products and must have a contract with a buyer. Industrial hemp has many dozens of uses, from clothing to fuel. “There are still a lot of questions,” The State quotes Ford as saying. “We’re liable to lose everything we do this year. But we’re taking it slow. And if it works it can help all the farmers in the state.” The 2017 Arkansas Legislature created the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Program, which includes a 10-year research program. Cannabis bars and lounges — “budpubs” — of the kinds seen in Colorado and California will apparently not be allowed in Arkansas thanks to Alcohol Beverage Control regulations that prohibit consumption in dispensaries and say that members of the public are not allowed in cultivation areas. ABC Director Mary Casteel released a statement that “It is definitely not contemplated that [cultivation areas] may be open to the public or patients to offer samplings like wineries or breweries. They are only authorized to sell products to dispensaries and they are prohibited from advertising and marketing their products to the public.”

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BIG IDEAS FOR ARKANSAS Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.


n what’s become a near-annual tradition, the Arkansas Times recently solicited suggestions from readers and a variety of experts on how to improve life in Arkansas. We present those

ideas here, along with others on a variety of topics. We hope you find them as inspirational as we do. If any especially strike a chord with you, help make them happen. Many are works in progress; those that aren’t could be with the right collection of advocates.

Remove the incentive to build expensive power plants By Glen Hooks POWER PLANTS ARE expensive investments, often in the several billions of dollars. Investors at that level want to minimize risk, so it’s a common practice for state public service commissions to guarantee a significant rate of return for those who build power plants that provide electricity to public consumers. Rates of 10 to 12 percent are not unheard of, and the return is guaranteed by the payment of our electric bills. While this makes sense in some ways, it also creates an incentive for utilities to want to build the largest and most expensive power plants — a 10 percent 12

JANUARY 25, 2018


ects was removed entirely. Let’s instead incentivize utilities to build projects that benefit our state in other meaningful ways. I’m all for paying incentives to utilities that prioritize public and environmental health, that don’t foul our air and water and don’t rely on mining that destroys communities. Utilities are starting to lead on clean energy here in Arkansas, and I’d welcome a mindset that continued to encourage that practice over building the most expensive plant possible. In short: Let’s not make our utilities want to spend billions to pollute us, when we can encourage spending less to keep our environment and citizens healthy.

rate of return on a $3 billion project is much more attractive than a 10 percent rate of return on a $1 billion project. That’s perhaps the reason why you’ve seen boondoggle projects like the failed $7 billion coal plant project in Mississippi and proposed nuclear facilities in Glen Hooks is executive director of Georgia and South Carolina in which the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club. cost overruns have reached as high as $15 billion. Without pointing fingers at individual utilities or projects, it is undeniable that a financial incentive exists to build costly projects. How about we stop guaranteeing big rates of return for utilities on their capital investments? This guarantee is going to become more and more important as clean energy technology continues to improve. What will a utility do in a situation where its investors make more money on a coal or gas plant, but it is cheaper and better for the state to invest in a solar or wind project that is less capiEnd student debt tal intensive? Clean energy projects are By Billy Fleming much less costly than fossil fuel projects, $31,217. That’s how much the average and have important ancillary benefits of Arkansan owes after graduating from zero fuel costs and zero pollution. college. As a result, millennials have I know that our Public Service Com- seen their odds of living the American mission goes to great lengths to protect Dream diminished by the burden of ratepayers, and I respect the job it does student debt — a dream their parents and when PSC vet proposed utility projects. grandparents realized at the expense of However, we’d all be better off if the their children and grandchildren. incentive to build the costliest of projBut we don’t have to live like this.

All across the country, at universities large and small, public and private, a simple idea is erasing student debt and unlocking new pathways to prosperity for young Americans: the no-loan policy. In practice, most no-loan policies apply a form of means-testing to tuition and the cost of attendance. It means that you pay what you can — no more, no less. At Harvard, for instance, where the sticker price of attendance is nearly $70,000 a year, students from low- and middle-income families pay little or nothing if they garner admission. There, a student whose parents earn $60,000 or less pays less than $5,000 to attend Harvard — all of which is covered through a guaranteed work-study program administered by the university. It’s not a free ride. The University of Virginia, U. Pennsylvania, U. Texas, U. North Carolina, U. Florida and U. Louisville each have comparable programs. All of them are aimed at making college — and the wage premiums it bestows upon graduates — accessible to communities long-underserved by higher education in this country, especially working-class families in the rural South. So, how would this all work? Well, it looks slightly different at every university. At large, private institutions like Harvard, Penn and Yale, huge endowments allow each university to waive tuition for most undergraduate students. Penn, for examples, is tuition-free for any student whose parents make less than $100,000 per year. At public universities like Texas, Virginia and North Carolina, the program works by setting a very high on-paper rate for tuition, one that’s only charged to the wealthiest students on campus. Everyone else pays a prorated amount, from full tuition to none, based on his or her families’ financial circumstances. It’s important to note here that I’m saying no-loan policy, not free college as some unthinking conservatives on Twitter might utter in response to such an idea. Every existing no-loan policy in the United States still requires the students who benefit from it to pay for a portion of their education through work-study programs, paid summer internships and other forms of part-time employment. Even if they didn’t, their families have already paid into the system of higher education through state and local taxes. They all have skin in the game. At the University of Arkansas, roughly half of all undergraduate students come

from families making $150,000 or more Like the rest of the nation, Little 20 percent affordable units. This model per year — many of whom hail from Rock faces a crisis of access to safe and could exist outside of HUD funding, but Texas, Oklahoma or other neighboring affordable housing. According to MHA’s requires buy-in from for-profit developstates that haven’t contributed, through 2018 Annual Plan, 5,085 individuals are ers who value corporate responsibility. taxes, to our university systems. There’s waiting on subsidized housing in Lit*Establish a slanted rent ceiling no reason why — with a few years to tle Rock. Of those, 97 percent have an for Section 8 properties based on ZIP study, design and implement a plan annual income of less than $14,000 and codes. To qualify for Section 8 paythat’s customized to their various cam80 percent are families with children. ments, a property’s monthly rent canpuses — the UA System cannot make a In Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer not surpass the Fair Market Rent value similar commitment to the workingPrize-winning book “Evicted,” he pushes determined by HUD. In Little Rock, this class families of Arkansas by institutfor a really big idea, one that would have means $676 for one-bedroom housing ing a no-loan policy. Figuring out how a monumental impact in Little Rock: a or up to $1,289 for four-bedroom houshigh to set the sticker price of tuition is universal voucher system akin to other ing. In Little Rock’s most resource-rich, More quality, safe and a relatively simple math problem — the benefits like SNAP and Medicaid, where affluent neighborhoods, you’d be hardaffordable housing university just has to decide it’s worthy everyone under an income threshold pressed to find a landlord who charges choices of its time. automatically receives a housing sub- within that range. Localized rent caps In the second-poorest state with By Rachael Borné sidy. Vouchers can be easily scaled up. in neighborhoods with more grocery the second-fewest number of univer- THE FEDERAL HOUSING and Urban Piloting such a groundbreaking program stores, higher performing schools, more sity graduates, surely making college — Development’s Section 8 Housing in Little Rock could serve as a national parks and libraries, better access to puband the social and economic opportunity Choice Voucher Program gives model. A back-of-the napkin estimate lic transportation, and lower crime rates it provides — more affordable for the recipients the option to pay subsidized of the cost of housing every single per- promote mixed-income communities folks who need it most would meet that rent on any house or apartment in our son on the Section 8 waitlist for a year and decrease concentrated poverty and standard. Moreover, redirecting the $1.2 community, so long as the monthly rent is about $40 million. Expensive, yes, but residential segregation. trillion in currently held American stu- does not exceed the fair market rate, not impossible. *Encourage Section 8 property owndent debt toward new home purchases the property passes a housing quality The gains are immeasurable — evic- ers to recruit more landlords for the and retirement investments could super- standard inspection, and the landlord tions would be rare and slumlords program. For the lucky few who are able charge the nation’s economy and unleash agrees to participate. Rental payments rarer, tenants would gain the right to get on Section 8, it is tough to find a a period of shared economic growth not are prorated based on household income, they deserve to safe living conditions, landlord willing to take the voucher, no seen since the 1950s. usually requiring the tenant to pay 30 neighborhood blight would plummet, matter what neighborhood you want Congressional Republicans — Arkan- percent of his or her income, with low-income people would visit hospi- to live in. Cynthia Huff discovered this sas’s delegation included — just spent agencies like Metropolitan Housing tals less, children would suffer fewer when she was first looking for an apart$1.4 trillion on tax cuts that went over- Alliance (MHA) using HUD funding to disruptive school transfers, homeless- ment and had to settle for an area she whelmingly toward the wealthiest indi- pick up the slack. ness and hunger would drop drastically, didn’t feel is safe: “It’s in the ’hood,” she viduals and corporations in this country. I work as a program manager at Our and households would have more time said of the housing available to her. “The For $200 billion less, they could have House, a social service campus for low- and energy to invest in employment and only places that aren’t in the ’hood are erased the entire student debt burden income and homeless people. Permanent education. Desmond describes housing probably rural, and that’s too far out for in this country and unlocked trillions in housing vouchers like Section 8 create as “a human-capital investment, just me. I don’t think it’s fair.” Landlords new, consumer-driven growth. opportunity and stability in the lives like job programs or education, one that choose not to participate in Section 8 The great promise of this country is of many of the families we serve. For would strengthen and steady the Ameri- for reasons ranging from concerns about that no matter who you are, what you folks like Cynthia Huff, who works at can workforce.” the required inspections to conscious look like or where you’re from, you a Little Rock hotel and bears the burIt’s a pie-in-the sky idea, but I think or unconscious bias against the people deserve to have a fair shot at building den of a seasonal industry, Section 8 it would be a worthy investment, a sub- who receive assistance. the life you want. But too often, a per- helps her and her granddaughter make stantial way to truly #LoveLittleRock. Landlords willing to promote their son’s future is defined by their past. In ends meet. Without housing assistance Until we can achieve that ideal, I hope positive experience with voucher-holdthis case, we know that the single most during the off season, she explained, “I our local business owners and represen- ers might help eradicate ignorant stepowerful predictor of your wealth at would have been on the streets, with tatives will consider these more afford- reotypes and expand the geographical retirement age is your parents’ wealth my granddaughter, homeless for the able ideas to creatively increase access reach of Section 8 properties. One of at their retirement age. It doesn’t have first time in my whole life.” Instead, her to good-quality and stable housing for the landlords who rents to Our House to be that way. We can open new doors monthly rental payment expectation our low-income neighbors: families has had a great Section 8 tento opportunity, grow the economy, and was adjusted from $300 to $221, a $79 *Require developments of a certain ant for seven years. She said she likes fight poverty all at once if we erase the difference that allowed Cynthia to stay size to dedicate 20 percent of units to the dependable payments each month, burden of student debt once and for all. stably housed and keep the lights on in low-income tenants. Think about the the yearlong lease agreements and the We just have to decide to do it. her apartment. construction boom in downtown Lit- annual inspections that keep her propWhen the Section 8 waitlist opened tle Rock, where manufactured apart- erties safe and up to city code. ParticiBilly Fleming is the research director up in Little Rock, Our House case man- ment buildings, parking lots and garages pating landlords could give feedback to of the Ian McHarg Center at the Univer- agers cued up every computer in the pepper the landscape. The Little Rock MHA on ways to streamline the enrollsity of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Career Center to the MHA application Planning and Development Commission ment process and share resources for Ph.D. in city and regional planning. He is portal, ready to refresh until we got cli- could play a pivotal role in demanding tax incentives to prospective landlords. a co-author of the “Indivisible Guide,” a ents through to the form. The page went mixed-income development in rapidly At the end of “Evicted,” Desmond co-founder of Data Refuge and a former live at 10 a.m., and within seconds froze gentrifying areas. This is not a new idea; writes, “Decent, affordable housing Associated Student Government presi- up with an error message: No more spots the federal 80/20 Program allows tax- should be a basic right for everybody dent at the University of Arkansas, Fay- available. That was on Aug. 25, 2015. exempt bonds to finance the construc- in this country. The reason is simple: etteville. The waitlist has been closed ever since. tion of developments comprising at least Without stable shelter, everything falls JANUARY 25, 2018


apart.” That’s not just a big idea. It’s a fundamental truth. Rachael Borné is a program manager at Our House.

Align homeless services By Rev. Carter Ferguson

HOMELESSNESS IS A significant issue in Little Rock. The topic and its effects pepper the news, conversations in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences board rooms, the Clinton School of Public Service capstone projects and practicums, social circles of all levels, local businesses, nonprofits and mission conversations in faith communities. It is a visible problem on our streets every day. In 2016, the average homeless rate of medium to large metropolitan areas in the nation was 17.7 percent out of every 10,000 residents. Little Rock’s was nearly triple that at 50.5 percent per every 10,000 residents. Our chronic homeless rate was double the national average; sadly, so was our veteran’s homeless rate, and it’s all on the rise. The point bears repeating: Homelessness is a significant issue in Little Rock. The problem of homelessness, however, goes beyond the intimidation that you feel from the warmth of your car while sitting at a red light on the interstate off-ramp at Broadway or University Avenue. The problem is more than simply the business you have lost in your River Market operation or the irritation you feel when you “see it” in the woods near your collegiate preparatory school. The problem even goes beyond the indisputable call of Christ to care for the poor. Since money is the only thing that so many are willing to listen to, let me make it clear: Homelessness is an economic crisis that threatens virtually everyone in this city. In 2017, a United State Interagency Council on Homelessness study showed 14

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the average homeless person in America vice hours; register to vote; receive mail; costs a local economy around $40,448 work on their GED; learn about healthy per year. Multiply this by HUD’s lowest cooking; meditate; connect to employers estimate for the homeless population willing to hire former felons; enter into in the Little Rock metro area — 1,047 — a formerly incarcerated person’s recovand the financials of this crisis begin to ery program; and even receive pastoral come into perspective: It represents an care at their request (we don’t force economic drain of at least $42 million a anything on anyone, ever). If we cannot year. What’s more frightening is that this solve the problem here, then we’ll also is, again, based on HUD’s very narrow have a working van that can immediately definition of a homeless person, meaning take people to places like the city’s day the dollar amount could be double that. resource center, Jericho Way, and other So how do we solve this issue and locations to solve the issue. save ourselves some money in the proHomelessness is an economic crisis cess? More services? Better services? No. that affects us all, so it’s a problem that Little Rock already has the brilliance we should all work together to address. and the heart to fix the problem. These The reason Little Rock’s problem is so services simply need to be more tightly bad is in no small part due to th coordinated and collaborative. e inability of us to work together. Our You see, the service industry — and big idea for 2018 is to remedy that. not just in Little Rock — functions like a network. They see a client and then send Carter Ferguson is the lead pastor of them to someone else in their network. Canvas Community Church. Unfortunately, networks have holes in them, and those chronically on the street are by and large the ones that the network cannot or will not catch for many reasons. So, instead of a network, what if we created a bucket to catch and save these beautiful people that our society so ignores, while also saving ourselves a little bit — or a lot — of money? That’s exactly what my church, Canvas Community, and a very small and tight-knit group of advocates for the homeless and leading minds in various areas of service are creating. We’re callEmbrace industrial hemp ing it The Hub. By Nicholas Dial The Hub is a co-working space to be located in the historic Seventh Street WE LIVE IN a world that is run by fossil corridor that, rather than attempting to fuels — plants that grew millions of years re-invent and duplicate brilliant services ago that are now in a pool of carbon and efforts that already exist, offers a deep below the Earth’s surface. Much space to work collaboratively to solve of this fossil fuel usage occurs in plain chronic homelessness, all while cost- sight, such as burning gasoline in our sharing utilities, rent, renovations, soft- automobiles. Other instances are more ware costs, overhead and much more, cryptic, such as the composition of the to for-profit and nonprofit businesses; hundreds of plastic items we come in city, state, and federal agencies; indi- contact with every day. vidual contract workers; and any other We also live in a world of accelerorganization. ated deforestation. According to the The Hub, designed by Jeremiah Rus- World Wildlife Fund, we are losing 18.7 sell at Rogue Architecture, will provide million acres of forests each year, or a centralized location where a homeless the equivalent of 27 soccer fields each individual can see the brilliant doctors at minute. Much of this timber is used to ARCare, a federally qualified health cen- make products such as paper and packter; enroll in DHS benefits; see a psychol- aging materials. ogist or psychiatrist from Chenal FamMany of the things surrounding us ily Therapy; attend addiction recovery every day are toxic, from the volatile classes; work with a life coach or social organic compounds seeping out of the worker; apply for rapid rehousing; visit a carpets on our floors and the paints on parole officer; work off community ser- our walls to the insulation used to keep

our homes warm. What if there was one plant that could be made into over 25,000 products, clean up the environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels? There is. And it’s coming to Arkansas in 2018. Industrial hemp farming has been prohibited for over 80 years, thanks to its confused association with marijuana. Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp contains miniscule amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound that is intoxicating. Industrial hemp isn’t grown to be smoked. It’s grown to produce building materials, cosmetics, cordage, textiles, paper, biofuel, clothing and food. Several companies around the world are making concrete-like materials out of hemp, known as hempcrete. This material is seven times lighter than regular concrete, resistant to mold, highly insulative and stores more carbon than is used in its production. The nutrient-rich oil produced in hemp seeds can be made into thousands of beauty care products, such as shampoos, lip balms, soaps and lotions. The compounds in hemp seed oil act as a UV protectant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. Planting hemp on contaminated soils helps improve the soil quality by pulling the toxins out and adding organic matter, which helps the growth of other crops in the future. The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act was passed in 2017 and establishes a research pilot program. The purpose of the program is to experiment with different ways of using hemp so that Arkansas can move to the forefront of industrial hemp commerc ialization in the future. Here’s a big idea: Start planting hemp for a greener future! Nicholas Dial is the president of the Arkansas Hemp Association.

Rebuild trust with independent investigations of police By Charles Blake

I WAS BORN and raised in the south end of Little Rock in the 1980s and ’90s. Now, I serve and represent this same area as a state representative for District 36. As a Little Rock native, I am fully aware that crime in our communities is a problem, but the distrust that communities have

with their local police departments is an epidemic. The distrust is fueled by a lack of transparency and accountability within police departments. The lack of transparency continues to feed the narrative that “police officers are above the laws” that they are sworn to protect. This narrative is one of the foundations of the belief that there is a failure in the justice system. My big idea is to mandate independent investigations into police-involved deaths. This will re-establish the community’s trust and belief in their local police department. Whenever there is a police-involved shooting, the public’s distrust is on display. In these situations, communities are forced to swallow the fact that co-workers of the officers involved in the death are expected to investigate their colleagues with unbiased eyes. How can we expect co-workers and colleagues to objectively and fairly investigate each other? The close working relationships between officers, detectives and prosecutors cause doubt in the process. There is a perception of a conflict of interest. And because perception is reality, the reality is that the community lacks trust in their police department. On Dec. 9, 2010, Little Rock Police Officer Donna Lesher, an off-duty officer working security, shot and killed unarmed 67-year-old Eugene Ellison from outside his apartment. Lesher had scuffled with Ellison after he objected to entry into his apartment through an open door without permission. As expected, many questioned the fairness of the investigations following the shooting. Lesher was married to the sergeant of the detective division, which handles the criminal investigations of officer involved-shootings for the LRPD. As is its protocol, the Little Rock Police Department started an investigation. About a week later, it requested the Arkansas State Police to join the investigation. However, too much time had passed for the State Police to ensure a quality, evenhanded investigation. Lesher remained on the police force, was cleared of any rules violations, and the prosecutor’s office found the shoot-

(Source: “Governance in Little Rock, Arkansas: At-Large and District Elections and the Impact on Representation,” Kolev, Barth, et al)

Eliminate at-large city board positions By Samantha Toro LITTLE ROCK’S CURRENT system of electing both wardbased and at-large city directors helps ensure a majority white City Board in a city that is not majority white. Regardless of what the system was designed to do, it produces inequitable results. We can correct this by eliminating the at-large board positions and moving to ward-based City Board elections. At-large positions may seem fair on the surface, but empirical evidence and national trends suggest that atlarge board positions do not accurately represent residents of large, diverse cities such as Little Rock. A 2015 Hendrix College study of elections since 1957 showed that Little Rock’s successful at-large candidates tend to run vastly more expensive campaigns: At-large candidates raised an average of $50,227 compared to the $8,767 raised by ward candidates. The percentage of elections resulting in white at-large candidates was 87.6 percent, compared to 59 percent in ward elections. At-large elections produced white male winners 80.9 percent of the time and ward elections produced white male winners 46.2 percent of the time. The high financial barrier to entry for at-large elections limits the pool of potential candidates to wellheeled and well-connected individuals. Given Little Rock’s documented history of housing discrimination and intentional segregation, it is unsurprising that successful at-large candidates are more likely to be white and come from the northwest part of the city. Figures like the $95,000 spent on at-large Director Gene Fortson’s 2012 campaign can seem discouraging to potential candidates from poorer neighborhoods in the southeast part of town, who may earn a third of that amount per year. When elections are only drawing at-large candidates from white neighborhoods, Little Rock’s growing low-

income and minority groups often find that the policies passed are failing to address their needs. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed complaints in several Southern cities alleging that their at-large council elections have been used as a tool to dilute minority-voting power. A federal court in 2013 struck down the at-large system for electing the board of commissioners in Fayette County, Ga. Whether or not the dilution of minority votes in Little Rock is intentional, the data points to a skewed balance of power. In a city that is 48 percent white, 42 percent black, 6 percent Latino and 4 percent other, Little Rock’s current board is 70 percent white and 30 percent black. If the three at-large directors aren’t counted, the breakdown is 57 percent white and 43 percent black — much closer to the actual demographics of the city. According to the National League of Cities, at-large elections tend to be more practical for smaller (fewer than 70,000 people) and more racially and economically homogeneous cities. Nearly all major U.S. cities, including Little Rock’s regional neighbors of Dallas and Memphis, have completely eliminated at-large positions on their city councils. Empirical data, first-hand experience and national trends all indicate that Little Rock is too geographically, ethnically and economically diverse for the at-large system. The city needs to eliminate the at-large positions, take advantage of its diversity, and tap into the vast potential that lies in the substantial black, Latino and low-income population. If the at-large positions remain, they will ensure the City Board remains majority white despite Little Rock’s growing diversity. Ensuring a plurality of voices are heard and represented will result in a stronger city more poised for equitable growth and innovation. Samantha Toro is a member of Grassroots Arkansas, a group of concerned citizens based in Little Rock. JANUARY 25, 2018


ing justified. No charges were filed. Due to many factors — including a civil lawsuit filed against the city of Little Rock — Lesher, the city and other defendants eventually settled with the Ellison family for around $1 million. Independent investigations into all police-involved deaths would be a step to dismantle the perception that the bad actors won’t be held accountable. It would also show communities that police departments are taking steps toward the community to build muchneeded trust. Police departments and city and county officials can advocate for and implement a written policy that requires all officer-involved deaths to be investigated by an independent agency. These independent investigations could install a system that is transparent and objective. Bad actors would be expected to be punished. Conversely, those whose actions were found to be justified would be validated and vindicated. Hopefully, a little faith in the justice system would be restored. I acknowledge that it relies on us, those in public service, to take that first step to build trust. To be clear, I accept this challenge and responsibility. We have to make a good-faith effort to improve our relationship with those that we serve. The LRPD and other police departments in this state should recognize the issue and demonstrate that they are serious about taking action to dispel the perceptions of conflict of interest and distrust. Without re-establishing trust, any proactive actions by police officers will be undermined. For example, we can say and promote “community policing” until we are blue in the face, but if there is no trust between the police and the community, then it’s just another ambiguous, generic phrase that misses the mark. Law enforcement can start building that trust, by taking an uncomfortable step toward the community and joining the call for independent investigations of police-involved shootings. State Rep. Charles Blake of Little Rock represents District 36.

Create a science boot camp for elected officials By Steve Barger

LET’S FACE IT: The people we most commonly elect to public office come 16

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from a background of education and misperceptions (many of which were experience that emphasizes social shaped by conditions of evolution far difstudies, humanities and financial ferent from those under which we curacumen to the near-complete exclusion rently attempt to cope). We also come of science. As someone who has come to see the quantum-mechanical gray to find the scientific lens a useful one — the truth that nothing is black and through which to gauge all aspects of white and that any tendency or phenomreality, I see this as a failure of society enon is tweaked, quantitatively, up and on a more fundamental level. The fact down by forces tipping the scale, even is, citizens of this nation can easily if slightly. How often have you heard a matriculate through 17 years of formal gun-rights advocate argue that even the education, perhaps even tack on three complete abolition of guns would fail to four more years of graduate or to stop a committed murderer wieldprofessional school in law or business ing a knife? Of course not; that can’t or humanities, without exposure to be the goal. Because science teaches any science more sophisticated than that scarcely any phenomenon can be 10th-grade biology. I still remember stopped qualitatively. But who wouldn’t vividly the disappointment of my college celebrate the quantitative reduction of philosophy professor when I told him fatal violence that would certainly result that four years of interdisciplinary from even the slightest efforts to restrict opposed to scientific thought, you turn study at Hendrix had boiled down possession or use of firearms? a blind eye to evidence that science can to the conclusion that science had Can we make remedial science edu- succeed where intuition fails. Still, if an demonstrated its supremacy, as a reliable cation mandatory for elected officials? open-minded progressive gets elected informer of my worldview, over the Sadly, I suppose it would be necessar- in this state — ever again — she might contemplative musings of Plato and ily voluntary; even if we could compel appreciate a structured program aimed Santayana. It would be a complete our newly elected leaders to attend, we at remediating the deficiencies of the betrayal of that liberal arts alma mater could never force the ideas to stick. As I educational system she seeks to reform. if I argued scientific deliberation as the was considering this essay and discussonly valid — or even the most useful — ing it with others, I mused about the Steve Barger is a biology researcher way to make every decision. However, relative value of a boot camp for sci- and educator in Central Arkansas. anyone who has obtained medical relief ence vs. one for civics. Surely, the need from a pharmaceutical or relied upon to understand the essential elements of motorized conveyance for transportation democratic heritage and the mechanics Create a not-for-profit would be just as foolish to deny that of government would be more urgent Wi-Fi ‘mesh’ science is an extremely pragmatic way for the typically naive elected official to understand and improve our world. than would be the luxury of learning a IMAGINE A WI-FI NETWORK that It’s hard to sit idly by and watch failings few facts about fruit fly genetics or the unhampered by the FCC’s recent in the arena of public policy without particle/wave dualism of light. In debat- undoing of net neutrality, one in which feeling that governance could benefit ing the relative utility, it occurred to me content is not blocked, and one that is from a more empirical approach. that a call to schooling in civics would affordable. That’s what Leif Hassell Climate science is one of the most be met by resentment from those who and members of the Little Rock Local obvious examples. Biology teaches that had been elected on the very basis of Independent Networking Cooperative the very concept of race has no genetic their perceived talent for civic leader- are imagining. They want to cover the underpinnings. In the social sciences, ship. But as I think harder and deeper city of Little Rock and North Little Rock economic models prove that the rich get about the willingness of elected offi- with a wireless “mesh” network, and rich — and richer still — by dumb luck cials to accept a primer on science, I operate it as a not-for-profit to keep (so do we really need to help them with realize that those who could benefit costs down and access broad. corporate-friendly policies and an elec- most will feel a knee-jerk resistance Hassell, who is a computer networktion system that’s sold to the highest bid- to this subject as much as they would ing/fire alarm/intercom technician, said der?). Advances in neuroimaging have to a civics class. Because science has he and his cohorts were “tired of the revealed that few if any of our decisions become politicized by those who reject choices we had” for wireless internet are made consciously, much less through its inductive premise. Because there service: Two companies, Comcast and rational deliberation. Indeed, psychol- is a type of person who is locked into AT&T, dominate the market. They also ogy has driven home the point again and deductive reasoning, capable of work- want more people to be able to afford again that we are but animals, prone to ing only from a priori assumptions and access to the internet; they would subemotional reactions barely more impres- accepting only the arguments that sup- sidize low-income users of the internet sive than a fish seeking sustenance from port those fundaments. We all do this to by tier pricing; buyers at the top, geta shiny, hook-laden spoon. some extent; experiments in human psy- ting high download speeds, would help So, perhaps the greatest lesson of sci- chology have made this clear. But many the mesh pay for buyers at a barebones ence is not in facts, but in the process of of us can read about those experiments broadband speed. The low tier would epistemology itself. We gain much more and gain a modicum of objective per- pay around $30 to $40 a month. than humility when science convinces spective. It is essentially a chicken-andIt’s still a dream, but it’s one taking us that we are guided by feelings and egg conundrum: If you are intuitively shape at the monthly meetings of Little

households” hooked in, he said. Others working with Hassell include Todd Shapley, Jeremy Culbreath, Travis Bailey, Chris Kleinhofs, Timothy Lee and Rachel McCorkle. — Leslie Newell Peacock


MESH MEETING: LINC planners (from left) Rick Lee, Lori Tankersly, , Jeremy Culbreath, Lissa Culbreath and Leif Hassell meet Fridays at Vino to discuss the not-forprofit Wi-Fi idea.

Rock LINC (Local Independent Networking Cooperative, “We’re coming to the problem at small angles,” Hassell said, and would like to start the network in midtown Little Rock next year. “The nice thing about midtown, if the antenna is high enough, we can sell to people north of Interstate 630 at a higher speed and reach south of I-630 for people buying at lower [less costly] rates subsidized by the purchasers at higher rates,” Hassell said. The not-for-profit setup would help Hassell “keep prices as low as possible.” New York City is a model: NYC Mesh is a community-owned network of Wi-Fi routers that connect directly to the internet “backbone,” rather than an internet service provider. It describes itself as a “neutral network that does not block or discriminate content,” nor does it store collect user data; it gets some of its connectivity donated. Hassell would like Little Rock LINC to eventually serve users of the TOR browser that allows anonymous use of the internet. Other goals: to create a technology recycling program that would provide older laptops to schoolkids who can’t afford new ones and push for tax breaks for high-end users, recognizing their costs as subsidies to low-end users. LINC is in the fundraising stage: It needs $20,000 to $30,000 to start up, Hassell said. Its members are working on grants and putting together equipment and testing it. The mesh would be sustainable “once we got 20 to 30

Incentivize teaching By Cathy Koehler

AS BABY-BOOMERS begin to retire and more students enter our schools, Arkansas faces a serious dilemma: a shortage of teachers. Unfortunately, we also face an effort to deprofessionalize education by privateers hoping to cash in on the public dollars currently going to our students. Long-term solutions are needed to keep educators in the profession by improving working conditions, increasing preparation and mentoring, reducing over-burdensome paperwork, and providing adequate resources that will enable them to do their jobs. Summed up in a word: respect. We know having qualified educators in the classroom is the biggest factor in student achievement. We also know teachers become more effective as they spend more time in the classroom. Unfortunately, across the state and nation we are seeing declining numbers of new people pursuing teaching degrees, as well as epidemic levels of teacher attrition. Teacher turnover has serious implications on the quality and stability of the education profession and student success. When early career educators leave the profession, districts encounter tremendous economic turnover costs, and often resort to back-filling vacancies with out-of-field teachers or substitute teachers, canceling program offerings, or creating larger classes. The state Bureau of Legislative Research found that the five-year teacher attrition rate was over 36 percent. That’s more than one-third of new Arkansas teachers leaving the profession

before they make it to the most effective ents and other city leaders must come years of their career. together to acknowledge these probAs the teacher pipeline dries up, it is lems and work together to support their becoming harder and harder for schools schools and the educators who fill them. to attract and retain qualified educators, How much voice, how much say, do especially in lower income areas. teachers have collectively in the schoolThe attrition rate is even higher in wide decisions that affect their jobs? rural areas where districts can’t afford Are teachers treated as professionals? to keep up buildings, let alone pay teach- Are we providing safe and comfortable ers the same salary as more populated working (and learning) environments areas with higher property tax collection. for educators and their students? In addition, teachers in these schools Achieving affirmative answers to often face greater challenges associated these questions depends on having with students living in poverty. strong educator leaders who will advoArkansas is working to incentiv- cate for their profession and their stuize teaching in rural and high-poverty dents. It also depends on the rest of us schools, but the current bonuses don’t to support their efforts and treat the make up for the incredible difference teaching profession with the respect in salaries you find in school districts it deserves. across the state. The people most likely to commit for Cathy Koehler is president of the the long term to these communities are Arkansas Education Association. those who grew up there and already know it as home. Arkansas needs to develop a more comprehensive support network for new teachers, and we need to do a better job of encouraging students from underserved communities to become the next generation of teachers in their hometown. This “grow your own” strategy should include increased scholarships or student loan forgiveness so there is no income barrier keeping these students from pursuing an education career. We also have an opportunity to ramp up the Arkansas Department of EducaMove from solitary tion’s Teacher Cadet program, created confinement to programto recruit homegrown educators. This rich prisons program is already working in dozens By Morgan Leyenberger of schools across the state to attract our best and brightest high school students IMAGINE SITTING BY yourself for an hour to the teaching profession. in a small room. Imagine not talking to We must bolster this increased access anyone except a correctional officer who with better help for new hires. Arkan- you must ask for food, not checking your sas should ask its longtime educators to cell phone, not being allowed to leave. coach their new colleagues. Engaging Imagine 23 hours of this. Imagine days, and supporting educators as early as pos- weeks, months, years of isolation. In sible will stem the tide of departures and our contemporary world, we can hardly create a strong and sustainable teaching handle putting the phone down before force. This will give experienced edu- bed. Humans are social creatures, and cators the opportunity to share their we typically have dozens or hundreds incredible knowledge, while training of social interactions each day — unless the next generation of teacher leaders. you’re one of a few thousand people Finally, we need to understand this locked in an isolation cell in Arkansas’s issue is bigger than school districts or prisons. even the state Department of EducaThe Arkansas Department of Cortion. If we want more people to become rection uses these isolation cells as a educators, we need to make teaching an form of punishment — and in some cases attractive and respected career again. protection — to separate inmates from Everyone in the community, from the general population. After our state local chambers to legislators, par- prisons experienced an uptick in JANUARY 25, 2018


lence and riots in 2017, the Department conditions. of Correction announced its intention With some imagination and creativto build 400 new solitary confinement ity, existing correctional facilities can cells. An additional 400 beds will mean be reimagined to increase the amount of that on any given day, up to 16 percent of community space like classrooms, recthe state prison population can be con- reation areas and dining halls. Inmates fined to extreme lockdown and social could create flower and food gardens, isolation. offering important vocation training But the sensory deprivation and for a career in horticulture and muchextreme isolation of solitary confine- needed time in nature for socializing Democrat-Gazette as propaganda based ments fails to help inmates, correctional and healing. on its obnoxious op-eds? officers or the prison system at large. It Each correctional facility should be Before I began working as a reporter usually just causes more harm. entirely focused on encouraging diverse about four years ago, I didn’t really This summer, prisoners in isolation program offerings and providing posi- understand the division between at Tucker Maximum Prison and Varner tive incentives for good behavior. Pun- a newspaper’s opinion section and broke out and held correctional offi- ishing negative behavior should only be straight news. I didn’t understand why cers hostage. They were apparently used in extreme cases of violence. After readers should treat anonymous sources demanding better living conditions. The all, prison itself is the punishment, and with skepticism, know how to weigh response to these incidents, in addition further punishment is demoralizing and the relative credibility of different news to more isolation, has been to shut down creates the conditions of violence and outlets, or understand that a story writreligious and educational programs — hopelessness. Placing someone in isola- ten from a disagreeable perspective may punishing the entire inmate population tion should require an external council, still be valuable because the facts speak for a systemic failure. and should have a time cap of one month, for themselves. Arkansas calls isolation cells “restric- if used at all. In short, I had to work as a journaltive housing,” and the act of isolating These suggestions are not ground- ist before I could become an informed inmates “administrative segregation” breaking, but they are working in states consumer of news. Maybe if we want or “punitive isolation.” Regardless of like Colorado, Washington and New Americans to tell the difference between what it’s called, it’s the same practice York. Our next-door neighbor, Missis- real reporting and rumor-mongering (or that many states are moving away from sippi, reduced its prison violence by outright lies), we need to teach them because they consider it to be potentially 70 percent two years after it relocated how to report. torturous. People with mental illness a significant portion of the supermax To that end, Arkansas public schools and drug dependency disorders, gang population into the general population. should mandate every student to study members and victims of violence and While it will take planning and invest- and practice journalism throughout sexual assault are among the people ment in programming to pull off, ulti- high school as part of core graduation overrepresented in solitary confinement mately alternatives to isolation are less requirements. Not for a single semester, nationally. Arkansas already employs expensive and far more effective than but every year from ninth to 12th grade, high rates of solitary confinement. It our current practices, not to mention sig- if not earlier. It could be a standalone has not stopped violence now and it will nificantly more humane and reasonable. class (at least for upperclassmen) or it not in the future. could be incorporated into the curricula Instead of doubling down on soliMorgan Leyenberger is a licensed mas- of existing classes — English and social tary, we would be wise to learn from ter social worker and executive director studies, but also math and science. these mistakes and move forward with of Compassion Works for All, a prison Four years is excessive, you say? Lisevidence-based alternatives. outreach organization in Little Rock. She ten to President Trump. Visit Infowars. Arkansas should entirely eliminate is on the board of directors of the Ecu- com. Follow Louise Mensch on Twitter. solitary confinement and instead build menical Buddhist Society and co-chairs Just scroll through your Facebook feed. program-rich communities that support the decARcerate campaign to end mass Now tell me we’re not in a state of epissafe, healthy rehabilitation and rein- incarceration in Arkansas. temological crisis. We, as a society, have tegration into society. Inmates could no definition for truthful reporting or earn privileges to participate in selfmaybe even truth. help groups, vocation training, exerSocial media has eroded the line Require four credits of cise classes, family visits, religious or between consuming and producing journalism to earn a high news. Any Facebook user, potentially, spiritual services and other enriching school diploma activities. Rather than tossing somecan grab the megaphone now. That By Benjamin Hardy one into isolation, these programs will democratization isn’t bad in itself, but increase prosocial behavior and pro- IT’S NOT JUST the MAGA crowd: it allows partisans, charlatans and manivide people with the necessary skills to Everybody hates the media. From the acs to take advantage of an increasingly reintegrate into society when they are radical left to the robotic center, from confused and exhausted public. released. Each facility should have a good woke liberals to good Christian The problem isn’t everyone being team of licensed mental health provid- conservatives, there is a visceral a journalist. It’s everyone being an ers to address underlying mental health distrust of the motives and methods of untrained journalist. Let’s do us all a conditions, drug and alcohol disorders news organizations everywhere. How favor and teach ourselves to do it right. and treat trauma that arises from incar- many times have I heard Little Rock We need radical intervention, early and ceration, including inhumane isolation progressives dismiss the entire Arkansas aggressive. We have to give kids the 18

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tools they need to navigate the brutal information free-for-all the internet has created. Conservatives, get on board with me. If you want an American public that can call out the biased mainstream media, teach kids how to dissect a lazy article with a liberal slant (and believe me, there are plenty of those). Give students The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, even some Breitbart, just as long as you cultivate a sense of skepticism and analysis and teach them that facts exist. But when I say teaching journalism, I don’t just mean discussing news stories. I mean reporting. I mean talking to human beings, seeking out background information, verifying statements, and looking at numbers. I mean thinking about who wants what and why in a given situation. I mean studying institutions. School administration is a good place to start, but also local businesses and nonprofits, colleges, city government, planning and zoning commissions, police and fire departments, courts, churches, civic organizations — whatever. Motivated students might even help fill the yawning gap left by the decline of daily newspapers, especially in smaller cities and towns. Above all, I mean weighing competing arguments and claims. I mean disentangling facts from opinions while not losing sight of the bigger-picture questions. This may sound like an advanced skill, but it’s really not. From the earliest age, kids weigh competing truth-claims: Mom vs. Dad, teacher vs. peers, television vs. everyday experience. It’s a part of being a social organism. Journalism just broadens the scope of those judgements to take in the rest of society. And finally, I don’t just mean writing; I mean audio and video, too. Millions of American students reach high school without the gateway literacy skills needed to write a newspaper article. Those kids become voters, too. A lack of facility with standard written English shouldn’t get in the way of learning how to think like a journalist. I love the written word, but our society can continue without everyone having the sharpest literacy skills. It can’t continue without citizens being able to sift and sort rhetoric through an informed moral frame. Benjamin Hardy is a freelance journalist based in Little Rock and a frequent contributor to the Arkansas Times.

Better school daycare and after-care By Margaret Strickland and Linda Brown

OUR IDEA FOR a better Arkansas would be free or affordable daycare or afterschool childcare. The Our House Shelter in Little Rock is a wonderful model. It is making a huge impact on the community surrounding its organization by offering daycare for preschool children and

after-school for children K-12. Students are given assistance with homework and have access to a computer lab. They are given a snack, as well as wonderfully

supervised playtime. Programs like the one at Our House would be gamechangers for financially struggling families across the state. Quality childcare is often a large portion of a family’s income. Not only would the parents realize the savings, but the children would benefit academically by having assistance with homework. Our House is changing lives. It would be amazing to see such a wonderful program be available statewide. It would be a good idea to put daycare programs within high schools. Many high school students who have babies miss school if they can’t get their children cared for during the school day. Little Rock used to have daycare in some of the high schools to help teach early childhood education and for teachers and students with young children. We should open them again. Margaret Strickland is a former speech and language pathologist for the Little Rock School District. Linda Brown (left) is retired from the Accademia dell’Arte

Make space for caregivers

By Meredith Martin-Moats MANY PEOPLE GET INVOLVED in community work and community organizing because they believe in building a more just, more equitable world. Yet the planning spaces for this work — meetings, conferences, events, rallies, vigils, study groups — are seldom welcoming to young children or the people raising them. The same goes for people caring for special needs citizens or aging relatives. The premise of these gatherings is to build a world where everyone is treated fairly, where everyone has equal access, where equity and love and care are paramount. If

these gatherings are unwelcoming or inaccessible to caregivers and children, is the work truly invested in building a different future? Throughout my work in both Little Rock and Dardanelle, I have worked alongside many others to push for greater access to organizing space and associated services for caregivers and their families. Through the Caregivers for Justice network and Little Rock Collective Liberation, I have helped to organize events where caregivers and children aren’t just in attendance, but are the root of the work. At the McElroy House in Dardanelle we know that to be engaged in the community means every event we have must be welcoming to children and caregivers. If we want to create change, we must have women and caregivers and grandparents and teenagers at the table. Our coalitions must be filled with single mothers and low-income families. And any space that does not provide childcare is never going to be accessible to a low income family. Being able to hire a sitter is privilege of expendable income. But the problem goes much deeper than creating access. JANUARY 25, 2018


I’ve worked in both paid childcare and restoring historic homes, Arkansans encourage repair over replacement, and Patricia Blick is executive director of eldercare; I’m a mother of three young breathe life into historic neighborhoods any necessary replacements are “in kind” the Quapaw Quarter Association. children and I served as my mother’s — enhancing quality of life and acting as — the same or similar type or appearance. caregiver when she was dying. As a child economic magnets for retail and other New construction does not qualify for I grew up in an intergenerational home businesses. But historic preservation tax credits. with my parents and grandmother. In is often seen as elitist or exclusionary. Under state law today, an owner who short, I have seen caregiving from a lot This perception needs to change, and occupies a historic home can receive of angles. It’s only been in recent years one way to effect this change is a key a 25 percent state tax credit on up to that I have been able to name any of this modification to an Arkansas tax law. $100,000 of approved rehabilitation as caregiving or think critically about In 2009, Arkansas passed the His- expenses. That’s up to $25,000 of tax it. It was just everyday life and it was toric Rehabilitation Tax Credit Act. This credits, which can be sold to another what people did because we all needed program has been an excellent and well- party or applied to reduce state taxes each other. But the more I engage in used tool to incentivize the appropri- for up to five years. But to take advanorganizing spaces — whether these be ate treatment of historic properties tage of the program, you must spend a political organizing spaces or cultural throughout the state. Our idea is to lower minimum of $25,000 — a high threshold. ones — I am certain that far too often the threshold to qualify for tax credits What if the statutory minimum was lowwe operate from the premise the careered from $25,000 to $5,000 for ownergiving exists in a world somehow apart occupied properties, thus significantly from real life. This is deeply classist and enhancing the access for smaller projMural festival it dishonors our generations. It dishonects to qualifying properties? By Diane Page Harper ors ourselves and who we have been All homes require upkeep and mainand who we will be. It has ripple effects tenance, and maintaining an historic TAKE A TORN-UP AREA or an alleyway such as the immorally low rate of pay home can be costlier than maintaining a downtown and invite artists to paint for CNAs, childcare workers and nursnew one due to unique materials or the murals. Then have a festival each year to ing home aids. Put another way: If we cost of craftsmen to make repairs. But view the new murals. Then call it Freak see holding a crying baby, or having a not every repair costs $25,000 or more. Alley Southern Fried. There’s a Freak conversation with a curious toddler, or We believe that this change will assist Alley in Boise and it’s hugely popular and sitting next to a death bed to be a total historic homeowners with basic repair brings in the visitors to local restaurants diversion from our work in building and maintenance projects, like roof and businesses. It’s a win-win. more just communities, what exactly repair or replacement, upgrading their are we aiming for anyway? electric, even repair or replacement of Diane Page Harper is an artist in LitI’m a white woman, and I have under the Tax Credit Act for owner- their HVAC systems; necessary property tle Rock. learned to honor caregiving — to exam- occupied properties, thus increasing maintenance whose costs simply do not ine my own history of caregiving and access to this important incentive to rise to the current minimum level for pull the threads of this experience into rehabilitate historic properties. the tax credits. By taking advantage of Embrace nature my current work — by listening to black The program works as follows: the tax credits and following the treatpreschool women who have spent their whole lives First you must own a historic property, ment standards, there is an assurance By Rachel Parker in the fight for justice. And I say that defined by law as one that is listed on that the work will not diminish the hishere because it’s essential information the National Register of Historic Places toric integrity of the property or historic CHILDREN LEARN BEST by using all and must be named. So, Arkansas, what or is a contributing resource of a historic district. of their senses. They learn best when if we began to not only create spaces of district that is listed on the National RegThe QQA is not suggesting increas- they are given room to ask questions, caregiver accessibility, but what if we ister of Historic Places. The definition ing either the per-project or the over- try out new ideas and form their own also began to fundamentally shift our is a mouthful and sounds pretty limit- all cap for the program, so this change conclusions. Children learn best when views on caregiving? After all, we have ing, but there actually are many such should not have a fiscal impact on the they are able to follow their interests all been babies. If we are lucky, we will homes in and around Greater Little Rock state budget. and PLAY! With what we know about all be elders. We all need each other. and across the state at large. For examWe have communicated our proposal how children learn, it only makes sense ple, Greater Little Rock has 15 National to several public officeholders and offi- that the perfect environment for them Meredith Martin-Moats is the founder Register-listed residential historic dis- cials, and thus far the idea has been well to learn in isn’t “in” at all, but “out” — of the McElroy House: Organization for tricts with a total of 5,500 properties received. The QQA is laying the ground- outdoors. Cultural Resources and lives with her that are contributing resources. These work and has secured sponsors to introNature provides children with family in Yell County. districts include Argenta, Central High duce a bill at the next regular legislative unending possibilities for exploration, School Neighborhood Historic District, session. especially for young children. Nature Capitol View and Stifft Station, DunNot only will this benefit Greater Lit- also provides an opportunity to build bar, Hangar Hill, Hillcrest, MacArthur tle Rock, which is the focus of QQA’s confidence, problem solve and develop Make it easier to Park, Park Hill, Marshall Square, Dun- mission, but every historic district in perseverance. In a state where menrehabilitate historic bar, Railroad Call, South Main Street Arkansas. We envision this budget-neu- tal health issues and childhood obesity properties Apartments, South Main Residential, tral change not only spreading the ben- are serious concerns, we, the parents By Patricia Blick South Scott Street and the neighborhood efits of Arkansas’s Historic Rehabilita- and caretakers of the next generation THE QUAPAW QUARTER ASSOCIATION’S surrounding the Governor’s Mansion. tion Tax Credit Act to more people, but of Arkansans, should focus on preventbig idea is to make an important historic Second, owners of historic homes also incentivizing the rehabilitation and ing these problems in early childhood. preservation incentive accessible to more must undertake rehabilitation expenses upkeep of historic properties in every Nature Preschool, or Forest Kindergarhomeowners in older neighborhoods covered by the Tax Credit Act. Expenses corner of the state. ten as it is sometimes called, is a great around the state. By moving into and are covered if they meet standards that way to combat both of these issues. And, 20

JANUARY 25, 2018


as an added bonus, when children spend time outdoors and witness the changes taking place and learn about the plants and animals that share our environment, they will naturally develop a responsibility to care for it. So how do we work together as Arkansans to get more kids connected to the natural world? Here are some quick ideas: First, ask your childcare center about ways they work to connect children to nature and about opportunities in their programs for children to be immersed in a natural, outdoor environment. Next, consider offering or requesting Forest Days in your early childhood program or elementary school. This is a program offered at Ferncliff, and perhaps other outdoor programs, in which local early childhood educators receive training to take their children out to explore the outdoors. Third, to inspire new programs throughout the state, Ferncliff staff would be glad to work with others on how to start a nature preschool program. We’d love to see 10-plus new programs in Arkansas over the next two years. The benefits that can come from young children learning in a natural environment paired with the natural resources available in our state should make our decision to promote nature-based learning in Arkansas an easy choice. We at the Ferncliff Nature School are making it our mission to get young children connected to nature. We think the Natural State has a great opportunity to be a leader in naturebased learning for young children, and as a result develop happy, confident kids that care for creation.

have just moved to the area and reached out through social media, while others have lived here for years, rarely meeting other Swedish speakers. If you look around, you’ll see that we have a variety of languages spoken here in Central Arkansas. Some of these groups are large enough to have their own institutions — churches, groceries, cultural centers — while others do not. A local library system, university or other engaged organization could easily provide a means by which various language speakers could network with each other and thereby maintain or develop their skills. But would this be of benefit to more than just the individual speakers? I think so. As Gianpiero Petriglieri wrote in the Harvard Business Review in 2016, cosmopolitanism “is a fragile personal attitude” that “strives to humanize the different” and “celebrates curiosity.” The word literally means “citizen of the world,” which is the very opposite of the ideological and rhetorical “bubble” environments in which so many dwell today. In fact, a cosmopolitan runs counter even to the aims of the so-called “globalist elites,” who see the world’s hinterlands (like Arkansas) as sites only for exploitation, not exploration and

Rachel Parker is the director of Ferncliff Nature School.

Help foreign language speakers connect with each other

By Guy Lancaster MY SWEDISH SKILLS are not the best, but they are much better now than they were back in 2016, before I had the good luck to meet, through friends of friends, two people in Central Arkansas who speak the language. One was a native Swede who had the good sense to marry an Arkansas woman, while the other was an American who had lived and worked in Sweden for a few years. Two years later, our ranks have grown — some

appreciation. Becoming a better citizen of the world entails becoming a better citizen of where you live right now, for it means holding your town or city or state up to the fashionable districts of Paris or the highest mountains of Nepal and saying, a la Ernest Hemingway, “Arkansas is a fine place and worth fighting for.” Language skills constitute an important part of developing that cosmopolitan outlook, of seeing the world through a stranger’s eyes, and thus seeing, with renewed fascination and appreciation, your own home, and we should work to cultivate world languages here in Central Arkansas

as a first step toward building a real cosmopolitan spirit. Guy Lancaster is the editor of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System.

Make electoral reform a priority in 2018 By Tyler Pearson

LATE LAST YEAR, I was having a conversation with a friend who is an occasional voter. Something she said struck me to the core. While discussing the need for passing legislation that would improve public education, she said, “That all sounds nice, but I just don’t believe anything will ever get done.” Today, this sentiment seems to ring louder than ever and is supported by polling that shows trust in government is at historic lows. The 2016 presidential election clearly spoke to this. People just don’t believe in the system anymore and feel as if their voices are not being heard. Creating positive change at the pace the future demands will require a wellinformed citizenry whose voices are not only heard but heeded. Unfortunately, special interest groups are drowning out the expressed needs of everyday people. Anyone passionate about improving renters’ rights, protecting loved ones in nursing homes, or ensuring children’s access to quality education and wanting to make a difference quickly will find a well-financed and organized special interest group standing in his or her way. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to help restore confidence in our democracy. They all revolve around the subject of electoral reform. Let’s start by implementing automatic and same-day voter registration policies in Arkansas to make it easier for people to access the ballot box. Arkansas consistently ranks among the states with the lowest voter turnout in the nation. In 2012 we were the third lowest and in 2016 we were the fifth. The six states with the highest turnout in 2016 all offered same-day voter registration and as a result achieved turnouts over 10 percentage points higher than Arkansas, which is huge. Next, and perhaps most pressing, is the need for an independent redistricting commission. After the upcoming census in 2020, elected officials will

have the final say on how the new state legislative and congressional districts are drawn. We have all heard of the term “gerrymandering,” and this is when it will happen next. Voters should choose their representatives and not the other way around. Independent redistricting commissions exist in several other states and have shown to significantly increase competition and fairness in elections. Let’s create one here in Arkansas. Bringing additional transparency and accountability to our electoral process will also require serious action toward curbing the effect that special interest money has on the current system. People have a right to know who is behind political messaging, and state Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) has twice filed a bill that, by forcing their backers to identify themselves, would have shone a light on the so-called “dark money” advertisements that have been corrupting our elections. Tucker’s bill has failed each time and needs broad public support for another chance at passage. Additionally, we should ban contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs) directly to candidates. This is a bold move that would set Arkansas apart from the rest of the nation. State Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) filed a bill to do this in 2017 and it was immediately crushed by special-interest groups. Every election, these groups blatantly abuse this system and dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign war chests of incumbent politicians, which makes it very difficult for challengers to defeat them. In return, they receive favor from and leverage over the politicians. Banning direct contributions to candidates from PACs would effectively stop this corrupt practice in its tracks, give constituents greater influence, and still allow PACs to take actions in other significant ways, such as advocacy and awareness campaigns. Finally, if our elected officials in the state aren’t doing their jobs effectively and break their campaign promises, we should be able to fire them with recall elections. Some 20 other states have such provisions and the issue appeals to both conservatives and liberals alike. Let’s channel our frustrations in a positive direction and make 2018 yet another referendum on the status quo by making electoral reform a top priority. Tyler Pearson is a sustainable development professional and political activist in Faulkner County. JANUARY 25, 2018


Arts Entertainment AND




It felt like the musicians were asking for permission to take risks. When I embraced the relationship, gave them permission to take risks and not be afraid of failure, their personalities blossomed. Musical growth happened in every corner of the orchestra. For me, the relationship is a charmed one that I’m very lucky to have. We knew in that first rehearsal that we had some chemistry. Sometimes when you have this immediate, big flashy spark, things won’t continue to build, but they continued to build all the way through the week and into each performance. Each performance was memorable — the kind of experience that you carry with you for the rest of your life. I draw on those remembrances of those first performances as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and also how we started off together. There was a sense of momentum and kind of passion. There was an abandon to the performances that was very invigorating. KELLY HICKS

n paper, it’s hard to imagine Philip Mann ever wanted to be anything but an orchestra conductor. He picked up the violin at age 5. His stepfather, Jan Roshong, was an oboe A Q&A with ASO Conductor Philip Mann. player and conductor/founder of the San Juan Symphony, in which Mann’s mother, Rochelle Mann, was the principal flutist. Critics describe Mann’s approach with words like “tender” (Voronezh Philharmonia), “clever” (Enkopings Posten, Sweden) and “a skilled musical architect” (San Diego Tribune). Yet Mann assumed he’d pursue science — physics or engineering. Then his stepfather died of cancer, and on that day, in 1994, police had to block the street because so many people turned up for the memorial service. That was an “indelible moment,” Mann said. “I looked around and saw that, and it left an impression on me — that a conductor is given a soapbox to Now that you’ve grown with articulate things and influence the orchestra, take a look back families, young artists and entire and describe the flavor of the communities. … That’s where it ASO. started.” I love that it’s become a place Over eight seasons at the where people take risks. It’s got Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, this sense of being alive, this Mann has transformed the INDELIBLE MOMENTS: Conductor Phillip Mann leads the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in a kind of visceral sensation, a organization into a symphony in program of Bizet, De Falla and Tchaikovsky this weekend. visceral energy that our audiences the black, looked to nationally immediately pick up on. … It keeps and internationally as an aspirational inspiration and was very ambitious in at the orchestra, that we’re bringing things fresh and alive in a good way. model. ASO performs Tchaikovsky’s a way. It was aspirationally poised to attention to our great state in a really A few other characteristics come fiery Symphony No. 6, Op. 74 in B want to do something special and I saw positive way. to mind. There’s this really wonderful minor (“Pathétique”) with pianist it as a great opportunity. esprit de corps camaraderie of family Tatiana Roitman Mann — Mann’s wife This was my first music director Can you elaborate on what that on stage where people feel supported, — preceded by Manuel de Falla’s “Nights appointment of a large orchestra in immediate chemistry with the ASO so people will really put themselves in the Garden of Spain” and excerpts the United States. It was also the felt like? out there. from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” at chance for me to use the position of It’s a little like dating, where you The second characteristic is I’d 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, and 3 p.m. music director to make a difference don’t know when you’ll have that spark, say it’s an agile group. Sometimes Sunday, Jan. 28. in a large place. ... Without going too but it was immediately clear. What when you’re on the podium, different far into the story, ASO has become a I’m really talking about is that very orchestras feel different on the stand Describe what it was like coming national and international success special and mysterious, ineffable type — almost as if you were at a racetrack to Arkansas, which isn’t exactly on story that other orchestras are using of communication conductors have with and you were driving different cars. ….. the classical music map. as a model right now, including legacy an orchestra. It’s nonverbal, it’s with This is an orchestra that really likes At the time, I was working in great orchestras like the Cleveland our eyes, expressions and what we do to take the corner. They are flexible Sydney, Australia, and San Diego, and Orchestra. We’ve simultaneously with our hands. and malleable. They will speed up and I had the opportunity to guest conduct increased the quality dramatically — I felt like it was an orchestra that turn left or right on a dime. For me, and I immediately felt an incredible so we have a extraordinary artistic had been led very successfully by my it’s an absolute joy to tackle Mahler or chemistry with the orchestra. I just felt product now — but we’ve done it in a predecessor [David Itkin] and brought Strauss, the Viennese repertoire works this tremendous potential. It was an financially sustainable way. … That’s many levels up, but was poised to take that require incredible flexibility at all orchestra that was hungry and craving very encouraging and satisfying for us another big step forward artistically. moments where every phrase might 22

JANUARY 25, 2018


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A&E NEWS have slightly different tempo modifications within it. There’s an improvisation to that, a spontaneity that feels in some ways improvised — or at least fresh — even if something is well rehearsed. The third thing I’d mention is that they have a sensitivity in accompaniment with guest artists that comes from a very broad color palette. They have created this enormous range of possibilities of color that is particularly rare in the U.S. The most frequent comment I get from guest conductors and guest artists is that they don’t sound like an American orchestra. That’s not to say that that’s a derogatory thing. I’m an American conductor and grew up with American orchestras, so it’s not pejorative at all, but there’s a European sensibility to this group.


Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, to be filmed in Fayetteville this year. Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Mike Preston called it “the largest and most expensive production we’ve ever had in the

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rooms and construction, requiring bystanders, emergency personnel, machinists and heavyequipment operators,” The Agency Director Yancey Prosser said, “but also some children.” To apply, visit AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMPOSER and Arkansas native Florence Price — whose “Symphony in E Minor” was the first work by a black woman to be performed by a major

Let’s discuss Tchaikovsky’s “Pathetique” symphony, which you’re tackling in the upcoming Masterworks concert. It was written in 1892, and came in a time in his life where he was having the composer’s equivalent of writer’s block and really stuck. He was questioning himself, questioning the role of writing music in his life and he had a relationship that bloomed that was supportive for him, a relationship which is full of all sorts of controversy in musicology. He received advice from this person and he begins writing again, and it flows quickly and with great inspiration. You might consider this piece the result of a newfound muse, perhaps. It quotes Russian Orthodox hymns for the dead but also features extraordinary soaring themes of love and passion. At the end is one of the most poignant and powerful pianissimos you will ever hear. It’s strings and four p’s, so pppp. It creates a setting where you’re afraid to break the silence. The program has an arc. ... It’s a journey of the whole range of human experience, especially in life and loss, love and death. … I love this program because of the mystery that ties it together. And I have the great fortune of working with my wife, Tatiana, as a soloist.

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background actors in the third season of the HBO series “True Detective,” starring

symphony orchestra in the United States — died in 1975. Thirty-four years later, two property renovators discovered manuscripts to two previously unknown violin concertos. University of Arkansas music professor Er-Gene Kahng will perform one of those, Price’s “Violin Concerto No. 2,” with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, in the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville. Kahng recorded two of the lost concertos with the Janacek Philharmonic, thanks to an Arts and Humanities Seed Grant from the UA Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development, and plans to distribute free


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copies of the CD “to art institutions, schools and libraries across Arkansas as part of ‘Music 75,’ the Music Department’s initiative to share and make music in all 75 counties in the state,” a press release read. “In addition to presenting and preserving her music and raising awareness of her musical existence in history, I also hope that this project will invite many to learn more about the incredible and inspiring life of Florence Price, the courageous and strong woman who also was a brilliant composer,” Kahng said. THE ARKANSAS CINEMA SOCIETY is launching a “Homegrown Film Series” to give voice to Arkansas filmmakers, beginning with a Feb. 3 screening of Little Rock native Justin Warren’s “Then There Was Joe,” a comedy based on Warren’s family history. Tickets are sold out, but check out the film trailer at, and the ACS’ work at

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IN THE KEY OF KRISTIN: Comedian Kristin Key entertains at The Loony Bin this weekend.



7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. The Loony Bin. $8-$12.

Kristin Key is a comedian who, in her spare time, makes stop-motion videos of her wife’s Lego collections. She also writes

songs to accompany the action – “The Lego Fire Song,” its Middle Eastern companion piece, “Lego Snake Charmer” and the seasonal “Rudolph, Don’t Go.” Really, check it out; they’re on a YouTube channel called Happy Go Bricks, and they’re great. Check out Key’s stand-up, too, which delves into

the decidedly more adult, waxing on the aftermath of being a Church of Christ preacher’s daughter or explaining why she isn’t cut out for motherhood, as she told PBS earlier this year: “No, that would fuck up my Legos, man. You should see the living room right now. … A baby would die here.” SS



7 p.m. Argenta Community Theater. $5.

The Argenta Community Theatre, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “enhance the community by providing arts education and development,” is again hosting its 24

JANUARY 25, 2018


lauded Dogtown Film Series, where Night Fever,” the soundtrack of which Arkansans can watch classic films earned the Grammy for Album of the in the comfort of the Sally Riggs Year in 1979. Released just one year Insalaco Theater for just $5. Past before his unforgettable performance flicks have included the 1980s John as Danny Zuko in perennial teenyHughes standards “Ferris Bueller’s bopper favorite “Grease,” John Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club,” Travolta played Tony Manero, a but this month they go even farther Brooklyn teenager who feels like his back — to the ’70s! — with “Saturday only chance to succeed is to become

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king of the dance floor, and the film earned Travolta a National Board of Review Award for Best Actor. Let’s face it, though: You don’t see this movie for the acting. It’s those white bell bottoms and sweet disco fingerpointing that bring you coming back for more. HS


THURSDAY 1/25 Austin, Texas, rockers Destroyer of Light play a heavy show at the White Water Tavern, with Apothecary and local stoner metal quartet Tempus Terra, 9:30 p.m. Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack hosts a funk show from Steady Flow, a six-piece out of Peoria, Ill., 8 p.m., $6. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre hosts a panel discussion about the upcoming production of Tanya Barfield’s “The Call,” noon, Clinton School of Public Service, free. Reckless Kelly takes “Sunset Motel” and other twangy rockers to the Revolution Taco & Tequila Lounge, with Muscadine Bloodline, 8:30 p.m., $20. “Potluck & Poison Ivy” features the poetry and prose of Beth Ann Fennelly, poet laureate of Mississippi, and the music of Claire Holley, 7 p.m., The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse, $35 (includes dinner and the show), tickets at The Museum of Discovery holds “Glow After Dark,” an “electromagnetic wave rave” as part of its “Science After Dark” series, 6 p.m. Gigi’s Soul Cafe & Lounge hosts a night of old school grooves and line dancing with DJ Troy G, 5 p.m., free. Keller Williams charms at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, 9 p.m., $25-$27. Brian Ramsey plays a happyhour set at Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., free, and later, LLC takes the stage, 9 p.m., $5.

MANHATTAN, AS SEEN BY MARIN: The watercolor is one of 79 works by the painter on exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.




5:50 p.m. wine bar, 6 p.m. lecture ($15 nonmembers), 6:30 p.m. member opening. Arkansas Arts Center.

In 2014, the Arts Center announced that Norma B. Marin had donated 290 drawings and watercolors by famed early 20th century lyrical painter John Marin to its permanent collection. Marin (1870-1953) was part of Alfred Stieglitz’s stable of artists, and as an exhibitor in the famed 1913 Armory Show in New York helped introduce modern art to America. The gift, promised by Marin’s daughter-in-law in 2008 and formalized several years later after she met with Arts Center Director Todd Herman, makes the Arts Center’s collection of Marin’s works second only to the National Gallery’s. (The National Gallery, the Arkansas Times reported in 2014, suggested to Norma Marin that she donate the drawings to the Arts Center because of its notable collection of works on paper.) After two years of conservation work, made possible by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, and work to pull the exhibition together, 79 works from the collection, along with works from the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will go on view. Thursday night’s lecture, by Marin expert and Arts Center curator Ann Prentice Wagner, is open to the public, though nonmembers must buy a ticket; the preview of the show is open only to members, but you can buy a membership Thursday night. The show opens to the public for free on Friday, when there will be another talk about the artist at noon by another Marin specialist, Josephine White Rogers. The University of Arkansas Press is publishing the exhibition catalog, a comprehensive look at the collection. The exhibition runs through April 22. LNP

TWO-PIECE CRUNCH ROCK: Chicago duo North by North plays at Maxine’s Friday night with Vagittarius and Spirit Cuntz and at Vino’s Thursday night with Us on Fire.



9 p.m. Maxine’s, Hot Springs. $5.

North by North ’s got angular energy like Gossip and prissy angst like The Cure back when all their songs were punchy and less than three minutes long, and they do it with two people. This duo is going to be incredibly fun to see live, and Vagittarius and Spirit Cuntz seal the deal. The former, a sultry soul sound with tons of harmony and a drum-forward urgency, is a Tulsa band that lists as its influences Arkansan outfits like Fiscal Spliff, Adam Faucett and Spirit Cuntz, the Little Rock-based outfit with whom they share this bill, and whose brawny, biting “Two Cents” I had stuck in my head for weeks. SS

The Low Society Blues Band channels Beale Street with a show at Four Quarter Bar in Argenta, 10 p.m., $7. An opening reception at UA Pulaski Technical College’s Center for Humanities and the Arts ushers in two photography exhibits: “Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement” and “A Peace of My Mind: American Stories,” a multimedia project focused on interpretations of peace, with live music from saxophonist Barry McVinney and pianist Tom Cox, 6 p.m., 3000 W. Scenic Drive, free. Jocko entertains at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, in the Hot Springs casino’s Pops Lounge, 5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., and the John Calvin Brewer Band holds down the late-night rock set at Silks Bar & Grill, 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., free. Sean Fresh entertains at Gigi’s Soul Cafe & Lounge, 9:30 p.m., $15-$20. Trey Johnson takes his blues set to the Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse, 6 p.m., 1637 E. 15th St., $5. The burlesque stars of Foul Play Cabaret dazzle at Stickyz, 9:30 p.m., $15. Tragikly White takes the stage at the Rev Room, 9:30 p.m., $10. Rockusaurus rocks at Thirst N’ Howl Bar & Grill, 8:30 p.m., $5. Richie Johnson plays a happy-hour set at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., free, and Mother Hubbard takes the stage at 9 p.m., $5. Steady Flow reprises its funk set in Conway at Kings Live Music, CONTINUED ON PAGE 27

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies JANUARY 25, 2018








6:30 p.m. Argenta United Methodist Church. 421 Main St. Donations.

Launched in 2017, the Argenta Reading Series — in partnership with the William F. Laman Public Library System of North Little Rock — hosts monthly events with writers of note in the effort “to connect writers directly with their audience, to appreciate the written word, and understand better the person behind those words.” Past readers have included Natural State literary luminaries like Bryan Borland, the Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and owner of Sibling Rivalry Press; and Jay Jennings, a writer and editor whose works have run in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Oxford American.

This month, Arkansas Writers MFA Program instructor John Vanderslice, whose stories, poems, essays and oneact plays have appeared in literary journals including the Laurel Review and Crazyhorse, will read. His last book, “Island Fog,” was a series of linked short stories about Nantucket that was named by Library Journal as one of the “Top 15 Indie Fiction Titles of 2014.” His newest release is a work of historical fiction titled “The Last Days of Oscar Wilde,” an excerpt of which ran on the prestigious literaryworld website, Lit Hub. A dedicated professor with a keen eye for character development (and, full disclosure, a former teacher of mine), Vanderslice makes for a warm, personable reading of well-developed material. HS



7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $17$32.

TRIBUTE TO TOM PETTY: White Water Tavern hosts a benefit for KABF-FM, 88.3, that doubles as tribute to the late rocker, with Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts (pictured) and other local musicians.


TOM PETTY TRIBUTE/KABF-FM, 88.3, BENEFIT 9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10 suggested donation.

The sorrow surrounding Tom Petty’s death was magnified by last week’s announcement that it had been the result of an accidental overdose of pain medication. The scope of the guitarist and songwriter’s influence was made clear in tributes everywhere — here at home, for example, when Jason Isbell added a cover of Petty’s “Refugee” to the setlist for his performance at Robinson Center Performance Hall Sunday night. Add to those tributes this benefit for community radio’s “Voice of the People,” KABF-FM, 88.3, with a list of acts that bear — to varying degrees — Petty’s impact on their sleeves: R.J. Looney, Mark Currey, Trey Johnson, Reade Mitchell, Jason Lee Hale, Nick Bromley, Aaron Sarlo, Dan Butler, Blueflower Skye & Jonathan Howard, The Brian Nahlen Band, The P-47s, 5 point Cove, Going Jessies, deFrance and Stephen Neeper & The Wildhearts. SS


JANUARY 25, 2018


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Memory and trauma don’t always get along, and when rape survivors are often forced to retell (and relive) their crimes over and over after reporting the assault, that adds up. So read the harrowing 2016 letter written by Emily Doe that recounts the January 2015 assault on her at Stanford University by Brock Turner, and the aftermath: “Instead of taking time to heal, I was taking time to recall the night in excruciating detail, in order

to prepare for the attorney’s questions that would be invasive, aggressive and designed to steer me off course, to contradict myself, my sister, phrased in ways to manipulate my answers. Instead of his attorney saying, ‘Did you notice any abrasions?’ He said, ‘You didn’t notice any abrasions, right?’ ” This play, written by Henderson State University student Maggie-Lee Preston and presented by the Central Arkansas Library System and the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault, examines the life of Emily Doe. SS



7 p.m. Four Quarter Bar. Free.

You know, there’s not a thing wrong with all the layered sounds that come part and parcel with Jesse Ott’s dreamy vocals (check out the danceable “Ain’t No Good to Myself”

on Ott’s website, for example), but here’s a chance to catch the singer solo — and early enough to get to bed early, even though you’ll want to stay and catch Nathan Perry, a singersongwriter from Benton whose 2016 record “Not Yet Grown” is sweet and meditative, never hurried. SS

IN BRIEF, CONT. 8:30 p.m., $5, with an opening set from Joey Fanstar, 9 p.m., $5.



you can’t make jokes without being ‘politically incorrect’, then you’re just Willow Wheeler, Summer Vega, probably not that good at writing Rachel Mac, Tracy Barkley Dixon, jokes.” This early Sunday show is Ashley Wright Ihler and Vala Bird are going to be a riot and you can be home here to demonstrate that — as Wheeler in time to watch “The Chi.” Get there, told The Odyssey online in 2016 — “If and get there early for good seats. SS 7:30 p.m. The Loony Bin. $10.



of poetry, “A Love Story Waiting to Happen,” with a reading and a book signing at the Clinton School of Crystal C. Mercer is a true Public Service, where she is a secondRenaissance woman. Daughter of year student. “A Love Story Waiting the legendary civil rights attorney to Happen” has been described as “a Christopher C. Mercer Jr. (who was rhythmic, raw and open movement an adviser to Daisy Bates during of poetry that explores love, grief, the desegregation of Central High mourning, freedom, social justice, School), Mercer is a performance sex and courtships.” Including artist, poet and activist who strives black-and-white images from Joshua to lift up voices of color. She’s created Asante, noted local photographer and clothing and accessories for SAFI member of Little Rock bands Amasa FABric Market, performed in off- Hines and Velvet Kente, “A Love Story Broadway plays and emceed the Waiting to Happen” is a pairing of two 2017 Women’s March for Arkansas. Little Rock artistic powerhouses you Now she is launching her new book won’t want to miss. HS 6 p.m. Clinton School of Public Service. Free.



7 p.m. New Deal Salon. $10-$15.

Some entertainment is pure brain bubblegum: It’s delicious and fun, and neither nutritional nor sustaining. However, The Yarn — a local storytelling organization whose mission is to break down barriers, gain greater understanding of others and change hearts and minds through the power of story — has slated a night of narrative that will nourish your soul. “Barred: True Stories of Incarceration” is a thought-provoking show designed to evoke empathy and challenge the status quo with live performances by Arkansans speaking of their lived experiences with the criminal justice system. An event in partnership with decARcerate (a grassroots group focused on reducing the prison population in Arkansas through smart legislation

and community action), “Barred” will feature seven stunning storytellers: Eliza Borné, editor of the awardwinning Oxford American magazine; Jennifer Horan, an Arkansas federal public defender; Hakim Malik, a member of the Our House Reentry Program and returning citizen; April Derricks, a mother of three and returning citizen; Deangelo Lee, cofounder of H.O.P.E. (a support group for formerly incarcerated people) and returning citizen; Meagan McVay, a resident of Hope Rises; and returning citizen Karen Burkes, the mother of an incarcerated youth. With The Yarn’s mission to shine a light on and bring humanity to the social issues that so often divide us, this production will be a must-see. Tickets are $10 online ( through Jan. 30 and $15 at the door. If ticket cost is an issue, contact Zachary Crow at xakeryc@ HS

Vintage Pistol, Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo and Couch Jackets make for a loaded and eclectic bill at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, 9 p.m., $5. Just down the street at Low Key Arts, DJ Courier Coleman spins for the organization’s Prom Fundraiser Formale, 8 p.m., 118 Arbor St., $10. Shannon Boshears takes her blues rock outfit to the stage at Cajun’s, 9 p.m., $5, or come early and catch a happy hour set from Some Guy Named Robb, 5:30 p.m., free. The Electric Cowboy hosts a freestyle country dance competition, 9 p.m. Redefined Reflection, Three Miles From Providence and Josh the Devil & The Sinners share a rock show at The Sonic Temple in Rose City, 4603 E. Broadway, 8 p.m., $5. A reunited Jackopierce is celebrating 25 years of anthemic, pop-flecked folk, and takes the stage at the Rev Room, 8 p.m., $20-$25. If you’re a fan of moody, ’90s-era radio rock, check out Smile Empty Soul at Stickyz, with Stella Lost and From Day One, 7:30 p.m., $10-$13. Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings brings a mountain soul sound to the stage at Four Quarter Bar, 10 p.m., $7. Stone’s Throw Brewing holds its annual Big Red Ball Homebrew Contest at Next Level Events, 1400 W. Markham St., 7 p.m., $25-$35, benefitting Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. Bluesboy Jag performs a noontime solo set at Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro, no cover. Canvas takes the stage at Thirst N’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., $5. The Irie Lions give a late-night performance at Smoke & Barrel Tavern in Fayetteville, 10 p.m., $5. Downtown TJ Brown stars in “360 Fight Club: 5” at the Clear Channel Metroplex, 7 p.m., $20-$125. Shaw Davis & The Black Ties take the stage for a blues rock set at Vino’s Brewpub, 8 p.m., $7.

TUESDAY 1/30 Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo takes its hazy, layered rock to Bear’s Den Pizza in Conway, 10 p.m. Hudson Falcons, Fiscal Spliff and William Blackart share a bill at White Water, 9 p.m., $7. “A Man And His Guitar,” featuring country star Travis Tritt, gives an an acoustic performance at the Faulkner Performing Arts Center in Fayetteville, tickets available at 479-575-5387. Riverdale 10 Cinema screens “The Blues Brothers” (1980), 7 p.m., $9.



Every person riding a bicycle or an animal, or driving any animal drawing a vehicle upon a highway, shall have all the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except those provisions of this act which by their nature can have no applicability.


The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a roadway shall exercise due care and pass to the left at a safe distance of not less than three feet (3’) and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.


Your bike is a vehicle on the road just like any other vehicle and you must also obey traffic laws— use turning and slowing hand signals, ride on right and yield to traffic as if driving. Be sure to establish eye contact with drivers. Remain visible and predictable at all times.

WEDNESDAY 1/31 Jay Farrar, veteran of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, performs at the Rev Room, 8 p.m., $20-$30. At White Water, Taylor Smith & The Roamin’ Jasmine interpret swing era and early blues gems, 9 p.m. Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies JANUARY 25, 2018



THE HILLCREST NEIGHBORHOOD is getting a new bar: Gene Lee, former bar manager at the Pantry and the Pantry Crest, has bought Next Bistro and Bar at 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd. (next door to Kemuri), renamed it Proof Bar and Lounge and is shooting for a late February opening. Lee is altering the look of the bar, going for “modern industrial” chic and brightening the place up — “a cleaner dive bar,” he called it. The storefront is long and narrow, with the bar up front and a lounge in the back. Lee will put games in the back, like darts and board games. He will also fix up the patio, and will eventually put up an awning and a gas line heater so it can be used in cooler weather. Proof will have a full bar and serve bar food, along the lines of pizza and charcuterie plates. In the future, Lee hopes to install a vintage pinball machine. WE REPORTED RECENTLY that David Henry of the Chip’s Barbecue family is remodeling the old Arkansas Burger Co. restaurant at 7410 Cantrell Road as Casey’s Bar-B-Cue. Since then, we have gotten a little more information, from Henry, who was excited when we talked to him because his smoker was on its way. Henry plans a soft opening on Valentine’s Day (“probably”) for Casey’s, which will serve a menu similar to the Casey’s of yore on Reservoir Road: Barbecued beef, pork and chicken, with hamburgers and chili dogs added. It may expand even further; Henry said he’s doing a market survey to see what folks want. He’s changed the look of the restaurant to “old-world cheery” by removing the boards that blocked the plate glass windows that look out on the patio. That will give those seated indoors a view of what Henry calls “Shangri-La,” a patio complete with pergola and seating for 24. The patio will also have its own entrance for four-legged customers who’ll be allowed to join their owners outdoors. Seating indoors will be between 50 and 72, Henry said. Hours will be 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. MAIN STREET ARKANSAS and Arkansas Downtown Network programs gave awards to several restaurants and bars last week, including The Root Cafe in SoMa (Best Adaptive Re-Use/Infill Project); Chow at One Eighteen in Paragould (Best New Downtown Restaurant); Ozark Beer Co. in downtown Rogers (Best Economic Impact Project); and the Old Bank Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Russellville (Best Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Project). Melissa Turpin and Dana Smith also won the Outstanding Main Street Merchant Award for their Honeycomb Kitchen Shop in downtown Rogers. 28

JANUARY 25, 2018


FLAVOR BURSTS: The decor is lovely, but the food is why you’ll go to Taj Majal again and again.

A feast of flavors

Taj Mahal does it right.


n our last trip to India, just burgundy and gold lend a regal air to the outside the colorful, chaotic space. The archways, chandeliers and Bada Bazar in Udaipur — beaded curtains are the kinds of details through a maze of people, cars, you would find in nice restaurants in rickshaws, dogs and the occasional India. The food, though, is the star of the meandering cow — we happened upon a show. Samosa Chaat is offered as an vendor frying up snacks in a 4-foot-wide upgrade to a regular order of samosas. cast iron pot. When the cook turned We recommend it ($5.95 for the veggie his attention our way, we held up two version). A spiced pea and potato fingers, not knowing exactly what that filling with notes of mustard seed and would yield. What we got were two coriander fill a crisp and flaky crust. plates of samosas covered in chickpeas, The samosas are sliced and topped green and red sauces, fresh onions and with warm chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, cilantro: a delicious snack known as cilantro and chutneys. Even though the Samosa Chaat. base of this dish is fried, the freshness You’ll find basically the same version of everything that comes on top makes at Taj Mahal, but without the noise, it seem light. It’s a pleasure to eat, and rickshaws and cows. The restaurant is filling, too. One order is enough for at spacious but feels cozy. Ornate window least two people to share. treatments and wallpapers in shades of Sharing is the name of the game

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when it comes to the main course. Taj Mahal’s menu offers so many choices, and you’ll probably want to try more than just one dish. The Shahi Korma with chicken ($11.95) is a good option for the less adventurous. The creamy, cashew-based sauce offers a good flavor with little spice. It won’t blow your mind, but people easing into Indian food might start here. The Saag with lamb ($15.95) was a hearty dish that offered a smooth, earthy flavor. While it was creamy, we found that Taj Mahal’s version had way less cream and butter than we are used to, and that was fine by us. That allowed the flavor of the spinach to shine. The lamb was tender, but we think it could have done with a little less time in the pot. In many cuisines, vegetables are seen as “side dishes” and often are treated as a second thought. That is not the case with Indian food and especially not here. The Bhindi Masala ($9.95), chopped okra with tomatoes, onions and aromatic spices, was the most pleasant surprise of the night. We’re generally not a fan of big chunks of onions and bell peppers in our vegetable dishes, but they were cooked perfectly, tender with a bit of a crunch. The smoky, grilled flavor


Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas




Seafood Boils and Catering! Book your event today! 1619 REBSAMEN PARK RD. 501.838.3888

SAMOSA CHAAT: Chickpeas, onions, tomatoes and cilantro combine for a winner.

from the roasted okra complemented the sweetness of the tomatoes nicely. There is no sauce. As the tomatoes cook down, they bind everything together. We ordered it at a spice level of 5, enough to let you know there’s heat but not overkill — a true medium. The Baighan Bartha ($9.95) was the most beloved dish on our table. It is a must for the next time you go and will probably be the dish you order every time you go back. Taj Mahal takes roasted eggplant and sautes it with onion, peas and tomatoes. The mixture is cooked with a good amount of oil, or maybe ghee, with lots of spices, including garlic, ginger, turmeric and coriander for a punch of flavor. The Baighan Bartha is great with rice, bread, or all by itself. You’ll get your own bowl of spiced basmati rice. The rice is cooked perfectly and the f lavor won’t disappoint. We felt a bit rationed, after being spoiled at other Indian restaurants with a platter of rice to go along with all the dishes, but if you need more, they’ll happily bring more. There a ren’t ma ny India n restaurants in Little Rock and those that have been in business for a bit tend to develop loyal followings. Since it opened, this was the first time we

Taj Mahal Indian Kitchen 1520 Market St. 520-4900 Quick bite

No Indian feast is complete without bread. You have plenty of options at Taj Mahal, from naan to paratha and poori. The garlic naan ($2.95) was exactly what we were hoping for. A generous portion of roasted fresh garlic sits atop a big piece of pillowy bread that’s covered in butter and fresh herbs. Great for dipping and not bad left over either.




11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Other info

Full bar, credit cards accepted.

stepped out of our old habits to try Taj Mahal. We’re glad we did. Restaurant loyalty definitely has its place, but it’s also good to branch out a little and spread the love. To do otherwise would be to miss out on a delightful experience.

CONWAY: 501-205-1940 | LITTLE ROCK: 501-868-5279 | SHERWOOD: 501-819-0192 DEL CITY 405.677.9464 // SHAWNEE 405.273.3473 // EDMOND 405.340.9647 OKC I-40 & ROCKWELL 405.603.4688 // MOORE 405.794.9647 // NORMAN 405.701.8254 JANUARY 25, 2018 YUKON 405.265.1944 // EAST EDMOND 405.285.0667 // STILLWATER 405.533.2356



SHE, TONYA: The biopic of Tonya Harding should engender a bit of sympathy for the athletic skater.

Bruises and bangs

‘I, Tonya’ depicts an unlikely champion. BY SAM EIFLING


arely does a film come with such essential side blame-shifting that no one escapes unscathed. The reading as the pulpy biopic romp “I, Tonya,” emotionally austere mother denigrates Harding’s and The New York Times Magazine profile, every effort. Stan goes from high school flame to casual published around the movie’s wide release, of former abuser to dark muse and, unwittingly, the architect Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. In the magazine of what everyone calls, in the faux interview cuts piece we learn that nearly everything in “I, Tonya” that frame the narrative, “the incident.” By enlisting is true — at least, in so far as the subject herself was his doofus buddy Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser) to put concerned. (The author also describes the tone of the a scare into Harding’s Disney princess-esque rival film as “wide-eyed Oregon gothic,” a line too fitting Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver), Stan puts in motion to pass up here.) Harding explains that, contra her an attack on Kerrigan that became, weeks before the depiction in the movie, she does not swear copiously; 1994 winter Olympics, just about the biggest tabloid she took her disputes with judges out of public view; story on the planet at the time. and that it leaves the impression that her family made, Screenwriter Steve Rogers (“Hope Floats”) based rather than purchased, the rabbit fur coat she wore as the movie on actual interviews with the principle a child. The Times writes: “That’s it? I asked. That’s it, characters, none of whom are what you’d call in she confirmed. Those are her only objections. Which freshman lit “reliable” narrators. Director Craig was confusing, because the movie doesn’t vindicate Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”), evidently deciding her by a long shot.” that enough time has passed since tragedy, goes No, what you get with the inestimable, Oscar- full-on dark comedy in the telling, and through the nominated Margot Robbie as Harding, and with prismatic roster of narrators — the fourth wall is Sebastian Stan (your Winter Soldier in the Marvel pretty permeable throughout — gets at something universe) as Jeff Gillooly, her abusive bungler of an approximating the daft truth of Harding’s life in a spirit ex-husband, and Allison Janney as Harding’s hard- that a straightforward documentary would’ve bobbled. bitten mother (in a role that already has won a Golden The touchiest point there is, simply, class. “I, Tonya” Globe), is a portrait of poverty, dysfunction and has taken a ration of criticism for seeming to punch


JANUARY 25, 2018


down at Harding and her low-income, blue-collar family, who in the film’s telling were always obvious interlopers among the families with the resources to fund figure skating lessons and transportation and outfits and so on from a young age. Janney’s pitbull portrayal of LaVona Golden, always in snippy battles with Harding’s coach Diane Rawlinson (Julianne Nicholson), plays this up, as do the pinched interiors of the family homes and Robbie as the modern-day Harding, looking weatherbeaten and sporting huge bangs with a jean jacket, puffing a cigarette. You get the sense this is a group who probably heard the word “trash” thrown at them a lot in the day. And it’s easy to see how people would presume the film is picking on Harding yet again for the crime of coming up poor. But tilt your head a few degrees and you’ll see a lot of sympathy for the beleaguered real-life characters — Harding most of all. She’ll tell you, in that kitchen sit-down, that she was at one time the best figure skater in the world — the first American woman ever to land a triple axel in competition. That she never fit the look of what the figure skating establishment (or the endorsement industrial complex) wanted from a champion was, in a sense, their loss. Our loss, really. If the snobs had appreciated Harding as the pure athlete and folk hero she was at the time, you wouldn’t have seen all the mess with the Kerrigan attack. People simply would’ve seen an American badass, bruises and tortured bangs and all, and we wouldn’t be wondering about whether Harding will ever be vindicated. In that, at least, “I, Tonya” gets her as close as she’ll probably ever get.

SEPTEMBER 11-27, 2015 (501) 378-0405 |


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february Hot Tickets in Hot Springs For a complete calendar of events, visit SPONSORED BY OAKLAWN

FEB 2 HOT SPRINGS GALLERY WALK A continuous tradition for 25 years and counting, galleries stay open late for Gallery Walk on the first Friday of each month to host openings of new exhibits by local, regional, national and international artists. From contemporary to traditional art, the diverse offerings in this arts and cultural scene place Hot Springs at No. 4 among the 100 Best Art Towns in America.



FROM A STRANGER Love from a Stranger is a thriller by Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper, which finds a staid young lady in a remote country cottage with her newfound love. What follows is anything but bliss. This mystery will give you shivers! Visit for more performance and ticket information.

The Embassy Suites will host the 14th annual Chocolate Festival this year, benefitting the Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic. Enjoy a decadent day of chocolate for charity with live entertainment and a silent auction. Tickets available from Embassy Suites, from the Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic, and at the door. Call 501.318.1153 for more information.



SPRINGS CONVENTION CENTER US97 Home & Outdoor Show invites you to come and meet two special guests at this year’s show, Eddie Jackson and Maggie Benton. Eddie Jackson won the 2015 Food Network Star competition and has appeared on several shows since. Maggie Benton is Miss Arkansas 2017. Vendors will present the latest and greatest in landscaping, windows & doors, painting, cleaning, siding, electronics, lawn mowing, hot tubs, pools, etc. Admission is $5.

An Evening Science Society Event at MidAmerica Science Museum. Enjoy fun handson science fun! Thursday, 5:30-7:30 pm. Adults 21+ Only.

FEB 17 DAWN AT OAKLAWN kicks off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Get up close and personal to see your favorite horses, jockeys and horsemen with the popular Dawn at Oaklawn presented by Westrock Coffee. Join host Nancy Holthus every Saturday starting Feb. 17 at 7:30 a.m. for a behind-


JANUARY 25, 2018 JANUARY 25, 2018



Open Daily at 11am 7 Days A Week 210 Central Ave. Hot Springs • 501.318.6054


FEB9-10SPACITYSWEETHEARTS BURLESQUE REVUE AT LOW KEY ARTS The Spa City Sweethearts, curated and performed by the ladies of Foul Play Cabaret, return to Low Key Arts to present the largest burlesque review in the state of Arkansas! It’s a two-night extravaganza of sultry titillation and off-color comedy. Doors open at 7 pm., show starts at 8 p.m. Must be 18 years of age or older. Proceeds benefit Low Key Arts and the 14th annual Valley of the Vapors Festival. Buy your tickets at

the-scenes look at Oaklawn as you watch the Thoroughbreds train and enjoy complimentary Westrock Coffee and pastries. Plus, take a guided bus tour through the stable area for an even closer look at the horses. Times: 7:30–9:30 a.m. Barn Tours: 7:30, 8, 9 and 9:30 a.m.

FEB 18 OAKLAWN RACING & GAMING presents the PROGRESSIVE CASH GIVEAWAY. Be at Oaklawn Sunday, February 18th for a chance to win big. We’ll kick things off with the first race when someone will win $2,000 and continue calling names through the 9th and final race when someone will walk away $10,000 richer! Register for the Progressive Cash Giveaway Saturday Feb. 17 and Sunday Feb. 18. You must be present to win and team members of Oaklawn Racing and Gaming and Southwestern Catering are not eligible. Gates open at 11 a.m. First race is 1:30 p.m.

FEB 24 KING OF THE SPRINGS SMASH BROS VIDEO GAME TOURNAMENT The largest dedicated Smash tournament of Arkansas returns with big pot bonuses, bigger names and more hype than ever before. The grassroots event of the year is happening at the Hot Springs Convention Center. The current pot bonus is $1750, split to be determined. Register at

FEB 10 HOT SPRINGS JAZZ SOCIETY’S 6TH ANNUAL MARDI GRAS COSTUME BALL & CONTEST Join this year’s Queen and King Sunny Evans and Richard Stephens as they invite you to be a part of an evening of guaranteed fun, beginning with the Spa City Stompers Dixieland group and moving on to dancing with Delta Brass Express combining blues and classic rock with a touch of jazz and some Cajun thrown in for good measure. Amazing costumes and the largest dance floor in Hot Springs is what makes this “The Most Exciting Party of the Year!” There will be a luxurious Silent Auction as well as a raffle, and New Orleans Specialty Drinks and Food will be available for purchase the entire evening. All at the Hotel Hot Springs & Spa’s Ballroom. Purchase tickets at or call 501.627.2425 for more information.

After the races head to: ROLANDO’S RESTAURANTE is located in the heart of the historic bathhouse district in Hot Springs at 210 Central Avenue. The building was built in the 1800s. The Hot Springs location is unique with its outdoor patio that seats up to 60 people. They also have the Speakeasy bar upstairs for your before-and-after dinner cocktail! The cuisine at Rolando’s is unique and award winning. SQZBX BREWERY & PIZZA JOINT is located at 236 Ouachita Avenue in downtown Hot Springs. Newly opened, this place is the love and brain child of Cheryl and Zac Roorda. They are well-known on the music scene in Central Arkansas and this month, they’ll be presenting a variety of musical entertainment options, from piano to Celtic rock to ambient guitar. CJ Boyd will also be live at SQZBX on February 1. TACO MAMA is located at 1209 Malvern Avenue. Head there to enjoy classic, authentic-style Mexican food! Plus, in celebration of Valentine’s Day and everything amore, Christine DeMeo will be playing at Taco Mama every Friday night in February. And coming soon: the Taco Mama Food Truck will be available to cater great food for all of your events!

Christine DeMeo


Hot Springs Live Music Calendar

7:25 p.m. Tuesday, SQZBX Brewery & Pizza Joint

FEBRUARY 1 (THURSDAY) Clyde Pound Trio @ the Ohio Club Dave Almond @ the Big Chill Larry Womack & Jackie Beaumont @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 2 (FRIDAY) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Aaron Owens @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Mike Mayberry and The Slow Hands @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Christine DeMeo @ Taco Mama

FEBRUARY 3 (SATURDAY) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Aaron Owens @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Mike Mayberry and The Slow Hands @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 6 (TUESDAY) Brian Bearden @ the Big Chill February 7 (Wednesday) Steve Malec @ the Big Chill

FEBRUARY 8 (THURSDAY) Clyde Pound Trio @ the Ohio Club Larry Womack & Jackie Beaumont @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 9 (FRIDAY) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Wesley Pruitt Band @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Brick Fields with Danny Smith @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Christine DeMeo @ Taco Mama


NO KIDS. NO CARES. AND NO PLACE LIKE IT. f ind t his place.

Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Wesley Pruitt Band @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Brick Fields with Danny Smith @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 13 (TUESDAY) Brian Bearden @ the Big Chill

FEBRUARY 15 (THURSDAY) Clyde Pound Trio @ the Ohio Club Larry Womack & Jackie Beaumont @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

Aaron Owens, Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn,

FEBRUARY 16 ((FRIDAY) FRIDAY)) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Mayday by Midnight @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Earl & Them @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Christine DeMeo @ Taco Mama

FEBRUARY 17 (SATURDAY) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Mayday by Midnight @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Earl & Them @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 20 (TUESDAY) Brian Bearden @ the Big Chill

FEBRUARY 21 (WEDNESDAY) Dave Almond @ the Big Chill

FEBRUARY 22 (THURSDAY) Clyde Pound Trio @ the Ohio Club Ten Penny Gypsy @ the Big Chill Larry Womack & Jackie Beaumont @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 23 (FRIDAY) Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Mister Lucky @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Heavy Suga and The Sweetones @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa Christine DeMeo @ Taco Mama


Mayday by Midnight, Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn,

Susan Erwin Prowse @ Pop’s, Oaklawn, 5-9 Mister Lucky @ Silks Bar & Grill, Oaklawn, 10-2 Akeem Kemp Band @ the Big Chill Willie Davis & Co @ Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

FEBRUARY 27 (TUESDAY) Brian Bearden @ the Big Chill

34 34

JANUARY 25, 2018 JANUARY 25, 2018



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• In Studio Showcase at Capitol View Studio • Live Spot at Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion • Live Spot at Music Fest El Dorado • Live Spot at Valley of the Vapors • A Thursday Night Live Series Performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado • 8 Hours of Artist Development at The Hive Studio • Sunrise Guitars is giving us a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 electric guitar and MUCH MORE... JANUARY 25, 2018



THEATER “As Bees in Honey Drown.” A production of Douglas Carter Beane’s jab at fameseeking from The Weekend Theater. 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun. $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. “Grandpa Hasn’t Moved for Days.” The late-winter/spring comedy show from The Main Thing. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., through March 24. $24. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. 301 Main St., NLR. 501-372-0205. “Greater Tuna.” Murry’s Dinner Playhouse puts up a comedy from Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard about “the third smallest town in Texas.” 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 Feb. 10. $15-$37. 6323 Colonel Glenn Road. 501-562-3131. “The Call.” The Arkansas Repertory Theatre tackles Tanya Barfield’s study of parenthood, adoption, privilege and race. 7 p.m. Sun., 7 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 8 p.m. Fri.Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., through Feb. 11. $30-$65. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “The Humans.” TheatreSquared performs Stephen Karam’s drama, deemed the “Best Play of 2016” at the Tony Awards. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., through Feb. 18. $10-$44. Walton Arts Center’s Studio Theater, 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600.



ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work,” drawings and watercolors from the permanent collection, Jan. 26-April 22, “Form and Fear: New Work by Julia Baugh,” ceramics, through Jan. 28. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY, Jonesboro: “2018 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition,” through Feb. 21, Bradbury Museum; “Sorting Out Race: Examining Racial Identity and Stereotypes in Thrift Store Donations,” objects on loan from the Kauffman Museum, ASU Museum, through March 10, panel discussion 5-7 p.m. Feb. 6. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, extended hours to 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. 870-972-2074. ARTS & SCIENCE CENTER FOR SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS, 701 S. Main St.: “#GildTheDelta,” metallic pastels by Norwood Creech, through April 21. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 870-536-3375. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Reflections in Pastel,” the Arkansas Pastel Society’s national exhibition, through Feb. 24; “Education in Exile: Student Experience at Rohwer”; “Bret Aaker: Conatus,” Loft Gallery, through Jan. 27. 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 36

JANUARY 25, 2018

CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way, Bentonville: “All or Nothing,” works from the permanent collection in black and white, through May 28; “Not to Scale: Highlights from the Fly’s Eye Dome Archive,” drawings and models of Fuller’s geodesic dome, through March; American masterworks spanning four centuries in the permanent collection. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Thu.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed., Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun., closed Tue. 479-418-5700.

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; “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; 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.

ESSE PURSE MUSEUM & STORE, 1510 S. Main St.: “Exposed: Unmentionables 1900-1960s,” dress forms, corsets, slips, advertisements, accessories of women’s undergarments, Jan. 30-April 29; “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Hand-


bags,” permanent exhibit. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. $10, $8 for students, seniors and military. 916-9022. FORT SMITH REGIONAL ART MUSEUM, 1601 Rogers Ave.: “Fort Smith Legend John Bell,” paintings and sculpture, through April 22; “Bonfire,” 21 environmentally focused works by textile artist Barbara Cade, through Feb. 11. 18. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 479-784-2787. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: “These Various Threads I Drew,” 19th century needlepoint samplers, through June; “Going Unnoticed: Dustyn Bork and Carly Dahl,” through April 8; “Gordon and Wenonah Fay Holl: Collecting a Legacy,” through Feb. 4. Ticketed tours of renovated and replicated 19th century structures from original city, guided Monday and Tuesday on the hour, self-guided Wednesday through Sunday, $2.50 adults, $1 under 18, free to 65 and over. (Galleries free.) 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS MILITARY HISTORY, 503 E. 9th St. (MacArthur Park): “Waging Modern Warfare”; “Gen. Wesley Clark”; “Vietnam, America’s Conflict”; “Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602.

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MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, 9th and Broadway: “2018 Small Works on Paper,” Arkansas Arts Council traveling competitive show of works by 35 artists, through Jan. 27; exhibits African-American entrepreneurship and work by AfricanAmerican artists. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 683-3593.

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MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY, 500 President Clinton Ave.: Interactive science exhibits and activities for children and teenagers. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 1-12, free to members and children under 1. 396-7050.


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OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham St. “Cabinet of Curiosities: Treasures from the University of Arkansas Museum Collection”; “True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley,” musical instruments, through 2017; “First Families: Mingling of Politics and Culture” permanent exhibit including first ladies’ gowns. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685.

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TOLTEC MOUNDS STATE PARK, U.S. Hwy. 9 England: Major prehistoric Indian site 1 165, g á .P


Contact Luis Garcia today for more information! VEN E E D 201 E. Markham suite 200 • Little NALRock AR A M (501) 374-0853 • SE

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SOUTH ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, 110 E. 5th St.: “Portraits: A Painted History of El Dorado, 1852-2016,” Merkle and Price Galleries, through January. 870-862-5474.

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with visitors’ center and museum. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun., closed Mon. $4 for adults, $3 for ages 6-12, $14 for family. 961-9442.

UA FORT SMITH, 535 N. Waldron Road: “The Erasing,” drawings by David Bailin, Windgate Art & Design Gallery, through Jan. 26. UA LITTLE ROCK: “Building a Collec-

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Don’t forget about these locations when you make your Super Bowl watch party plans! BUFFALO WILD WINGS – Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Bryant, Hot Springs HIDEAWAY PIZZA – North Little Rock, Conway FOUR QUARTER BAR- North Little Rock MIDTOWN BILLIARDS – Little Rock TAVERN SPORTS BAR & GRILL – Little Rock REBEL KETTLE – Little Rock OLD CHICAGO PIZZA & TAPROOM – North Little Rock & Conway

JAN 28

Join Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families for LITTLE ROCK SOUP SUNDAY and help raise money for good causes. The Wally Allen Ballroom will host central Arkansas’s best recipes, biggest soup-lovers, and the nicest people around. Enjoy music, as well as silent and live auctions. Capi Peck, owner and executive chef at Trio’s Restaurant, will be the Featured Chef of the 37th annual event. Tickets are on sale for this family-friendly event. Register at www.

FEBRUARY Food, Music, Entertainment and everything else that’s

JAN 25-FEB 16






The Oxford American presents Catherine Russell as part of their JAZZ SERIES. Thursday at South on Main, 1304 Main Street, Little Rock at 8:00 PM. This is the third show in their 2017-2018 Jazz Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

FEB 11


FEB 20

MARBIN, a progressive jazz-rock band based in Chicago is playing at Four Quarter Bar from 8 p.m. to midnight! Tickets are $8, $12 day of show. Get your tickets at www. centralarkansastickets. com.

FEB 27

Jenna Bush Hagar will be at UCA Reynolds Performance Hall 7:30 p.m.

Two photography exhibits featuring civil rights and peace will debut with an opening reception at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College Center for Humanities and Arts at the Windgate Gallery, 6 – 8 p.m. The two exhibits are Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement and A Peace of My Mind: American Stories. There will be a book signing and remarks from featured speakers John Noltner and Katy Webb. Live music will be provided by saxophonist Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Tom Cox. The opening reception is free of charge and open to the public.

The Weekend Theatre presents CARNIVAL CABARET, a carnivalthemed fundraiser with live performances and a silent art auction. Enjoy drinks, snacks, and good times! Featuring performances by Foul Play Cabaret of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Get your tickets at www.


Downtown Little Rock Partnership is hosting the 2nd annual BARKUS ON MAIN, a Mardi Gras parade of pet proportion! Presented by Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa, this free, family-friendly event kicks off at noon and will feature live music, a beer garden and hurricane station, gumbo, a crawfish boil, plenty of beads, and of course the Mardi Gras dog parade! After the parade, join Downtown Little Rock Partnership for a Mardi Gras Block Party, which will already be in progress in the 300 block of Main Street with other hosts Soul Fish Café, Brewski’s Pub & Grub, CJRW and Samantha’s Tap Room and Grill. Tickets and info at

JAN 26


FEB 8-11, 16-18

The Studio Theatre presents BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. Based on Truman Capote’s classic novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of a young Southern-born writer who becomes infatuated with his Upper East Side neighbor: the beguiling, effervescent beauty Miss Holiday Golightly. As Holly pulls Fred into her world of spontaneous parties and luxury, he finds himself increasingly fascinated by this captivating woman. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m., doors to the theater open at 7 p.m., and the Lobby Bar is open at 6 pm for all your beverage needs. Tickets at

Come Get Inspired at the Baum Gallery. All exhibits and events are free and open to the public! Exhibition: Pathways: An Exhibition of Large Format & Experimental Printmaking.


ARKANSAS FLOWER & GARDEN SHOW will be at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds March 2 through March 4. Get gardening advice and information that is specific to Arkansas and be inspired by the many garden displays. Enjoy one-stop shopping for the garden and landscape with over 100 vendors of plans, pots, outdoor furniture, garden art, tools, etc.! Tickets are available at

JAN 27

CALS Ron Robinson Theater, in partnership with the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault, hosts I AM EMILY DOE, an original play by Henderson State University student, Maggie-Lee Preston, which tells the story of Emily Doe, the victim of the January 17-18th sexual assault cause of 2015 at Stanford University. To purchase tickets, visit



The ‘ARKANSAS DIVINE 9’ EXHIBIT OPENING will take place at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Arkansas Divine 9, the Center’s first communitycurated exhibit, is an exhibit of Arkansas’s African American Greek Letter Organizations and features a screening of the film ‘Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.’ For more information, visit www. or call 501.683.3593. n PIXAR in Concert at the UCA Reynolds Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. n THE ILLUSIONISTS – LIVE FROM BROADWAY is showing at the Robinson Center Performance Hall. Tickets are on sale now at

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the new smashhit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time, will show at UCA Reynolds Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m.


Murry’s Dinner Playhouse presents GREATER TUNA, a hilarious and irreverent comedy about Texas’ third smallest town, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. The eclectic band of Tuna citizens – men, women, and children alike – are portrayed by ONLY 2 performers, making this satire on life in rural America both crazy and delightful.

THE CALL will be performed at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Opening night is January 26 with a few preview events, including Beer Night with Lost Forty and the Arkansas Times on January 25, which includes a complimentary pre-show beer tasting at 6 p.m. For a complete list of show times, events and ticket info, visit


MARCH 2 - 4

Laissez les bon temps rouler at the annual SOMA MARDI GRAS PARADE AND FESTIVAL on South Main Street from noon to 3 p.m., hosted by Little Rock’s Southside Main Street Project! The parade runs from 24th to 12th streets and will be replete with bands, floats, costumes and, of course, beads! For info on joining the parade as an entry, sponsor or volunteer, contact Hillis at n The Root Café and Arkansas Times present Little Rock’s 6th Annual BEARD & MUSTACHE CONSTEST! Judgement Day will be held during SOMA Mardi Gras at the Bernice Garden. For more info, call 501.414.0423 or email

FEB 15

The Oxford American is excited to welcome Lindi Ortega to the South on Main stage, 1304 Main Street at 8:00 PM. This is the third show in their 2017-18 Americana Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents three shows this month: DVORAK THE ROMANTIC (program featuring Arensky: Quartet for Violin, Viola and Two Cellos and Dvoák: String Quartet No.13 in G Major), MUSIC CITY HIT-MAKERS, where three of Nashville’s elite songwriters will perform and share stories behind some of the biggest hits they’ve penned, and THE PLANETS, a journey to outer-space featuring Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra, and Holst’s The Planets. All tickets available at www.

FEB 17

ICM will host its We AR One ANNUAL FUNDRAISER on Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., inside the Great Hall at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. Enjoy delicious food and a cash bar that includes local craft beer and wine while Kris Allen and his band “Rock the Rock” on stage. Tickets are $60 per person and are on sale now at n The Studio Theatre is hosting FTW – FAMILY THEATRE WORKSHOP from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with activities for the whole family! There will be warm-up games, improve games, a lunch break with pizza provided, a rehearsal with director feedback, and scene sharing with the whole group! Limited to 50 participants. Get tickets at n Dublin Irish Dance Company performs at UCA Reynolds Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m.

THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE: Every Thursday night, the Griffin restaurant presents

FREE live music across the genres of R&B, acoustic, rock, bluegrass and country. Check out Thursday Night Live - because “we don’t want to change the world, just show it a good time!” FEBRUARY 1 - The Hollow Decks, FEBRUARY 8 – Rodney Block Collective, FEBRUARY 15 – Smithfield,


FEBRUARY 3 – Keith Sykes, FEBRUARY 10 – The Eskimo Brothers, JANUARY 25, 2018


UPCOMING EVENTS The Weekend Theater As Bees in Honey Drown



Old Chicago Conway



Old Chicago Charity Brewers Dinner

CALS Ron Robinson Theater I Am Emily Doe



Sponsored by the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault

The Weekend Theater



Carnival Cabaret


8-11 16-18

The Studio Theatre Breakfast at Tiffany’s


Barkus on Main DLRP


A Mardi Gras Parade of Pet Proportion

presented by


The Studio Theatre



Pet Parade, Live Music, Beer Garden, Hurricane Station, Gumbo, and a Crawfish Boil! A free family friendly event!

Sunday, February 11, Noon – 5 pm


300 Block of Main Street • Parade begins at 2:30 PM at 7th & Main

Parade entry at



UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS, 201 Donaghey Drive: “Pathways: An Exhibition of Large Format & Experimental Printmaking,” work by 29 artists, including 11 from Arkansas, Jan. 25-Feb. 16. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Wed., Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thu. 450-5793. WALTON ARTS CENTER, Fayetteville: “The Grammar of Ornament,” through March 17, contemporary works. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, noon-4 p.m. Sat. 479-4435600. SMALLER VENUES

Four Quarter Bar Marbin @ Four Quarter Bar

BARRY THOMAS FINE ART & STUDIO, 711 Main St., NLR: Paintings by Thomas. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 3492383.

Robinson Center Red Carpet 2018


UA PULASKI TECHNICAL COLLEGE, 3000 W. Scenic Drive: “Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement,” through April 14, Windgate Gallery, Center for Humanities and the Arts (CHARTS), 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.; “A Peace of My Mind: American Stories,” multimedia project on peace, CHARTS lobby, opens with reception 6-8 p.m. Jan. 26 with City Director Kathy Webb (featured in the show), “Peace of My Mind” founder John Noltner, music by saxophonist Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Tom Cox, show through Feb. 9, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.. 10 a.m.2 p.m. Sat. 812-2760.

ARGENTA GALLERY, 413 Main St.: “Lagniappe,” oils by Greg Lahti.

iHeartMedia Metroplex Little Rock Bollywood Night 2018


tion,” works acquired with gifts from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Main Gallery; “Discovering Kate Freeman Clark,” Lower Level Gallery, both through March 11, Windgate Center for Art and Design. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., 2-5 p.m. Sun. 569-8977.

FTW - Family Theatre Workshop Feb 20, 2018 at 8:00 PM



Go to to purchase these tickets and more!

Arkansas Times new local ticketing site! If you’re a non-profit, freestanding venue or business selling tickets thru eventbrite or another national seller – call us 501.492.3994 – we’re local, independent and offer a marketing package!

BOSWELL MOUROT, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Works by John Sykes, through Feb. 3. 664-0030. CORE BREWERY, 411 Main St., NLR: “The Games We Play,” sports-themed artworks. COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 River Market Ave.: “Uncertain but Unafraid: Contemporary Portraits of the American South,” photographs by Joshua Asante and Matt White, through Feb. 28. 9183093. GALLERY 221, 2nd and Center Sts.: Work by George Dombek and gallery artists Tyler Arnold, Melissa Deerman, EMILE, Kasten Searles and others. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 801-0211. GALLERY 26, 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Recent works by Roger Bowman and Marcus McAllister, through March 10, reception 7-10 p.m. Jan. 28. GALLERY CENTRAL, 800 Central Ave., Hot Springs: Arkansas artists. 318-4278.


NOVEMBER 23, 2017


GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Best of the South,” work by Thomas Hart Benton, Carroll Cloar, Theora

Hamblett and Clementine Hunter, Robyn Horn, Mark Blaney, Sammy Peters, Daniel Mark Cassity, Melissa Wilkinson and others. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 664-2787. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: “Almost Famous,” oils by Curtis Gerhardt. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. 372-6822. JUSTUS FINE ART GALLERY, 827 A Central Ave., Hot Springs: Textiles by Jennifer Libby Fay, 2D and 3D work by Robyn Horn, paintings by Dolores Justus, Laura Raborn, Jason Sacran and Tony Saladino, sculpture by Sandra Sell, woodworking by Gene Sparling. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. 321-2335. L&L BECK ART GALLERY, 5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “Landscapes,” work by Louis Beck. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. 660-4006. LAMAN LIBRARY ARGENTA BRANCH, 420 Main St., NLR: Photographs by Gary Cawood. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat. 687-1061. LEGACY FINE ART, 804 Central Ave., Hot Springs: Blown glass chandeliers by Ed Pennington, paintings by Carole Katchen. 8 a.m.-5 LOCAL COLOUR GALLERY, 5811 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Artists collective. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 265-0422. M2 GALLERY, 11525 Cantrell Road: Works by gallery artists. 225-6257. MCLEOD FINE ART GALLERY, 106 W. 6th St.: Arkansas artists. 725-8508. MUGS CAFE, 506 Main St.: “Sock Monster Problems,” handmade monsters and their stories by Chris Massengill. STUDIOMAIN, 413 Main St., NLR: AIA Design Award boards. OTHER MUSEUMS JACKSONVILLE MUSEUM OF MILITARY HISTORY, 100 Veterans Circle, Jacksonville: Exhibits on D-Day; F-105, Vietnam era plane (“The Thud”); the Civil War Battle of Reed’s Bridge, Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP) and other military history. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $3 adults; $2 seniors, military; $1 students. 501-241-1943. LAKEPORT PLANTATION, 601 Hwy. 142, Lake Village: Antebellum mansion; exhibits on plantation life from before, during and after the Civil War. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays. $5 general admission. 870-265-6031. MUSEUM OF AUTOMOBILES, Petit Jean Mountain: Permanent exhibition of more than 50 cars from 1904-1967 depicting the evolution of the automobile. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 7 days. 501-727-5427. MUSEUM OF NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY, 202 SW O St., Bentonville: Native American artifacts. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 479-273-2456.



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FACES OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS ON DECEMBER 15, 2016, we introduced our first edition of Faces of Central Arkansas, which highlighted local entrepreneurs and business owners who started their business’ here and have played a big role in the success and continued growth of our city’s entrepreneurs. A DIVERSE GROUP OF LOCAL BUSINESSES, BOTH LARGE AND SMALL PARTICIPATED LAST YEAR. TO TO RENEW A FACES CATEGORY OR INQUIRE ABOUT PARTICIPATING CALL 501.492.3994. LIMITED PARTICIPANTS, RESERVE YOUR EXCLUSIVE CATEGORY NOW! ISSUE DATE: MARCH 29,2018

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FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER-TURKISH (Sherwood, AR): Teach Turkish Lang. courses to sec. school students. Bachelor in Turkish Lang or rltd fld + 1 yr exp as Turkish Lang teacher at mid or high sch. Mail res.: LISA Academy, 21 Corporate Hill Dr. Little Rock, AR 72205, Attn: HR, Refer to Ad#DE JANUARY 25, 2018


FEBRUARY LINE-UP SILKS BAR & GRILL Friday & Saturday | 10 p.m.–2 a.m.

_______ for Racing Action? _______ The action is heating up at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs National Park! Come in for more games, more good times and now the thrills and excitement of live racing. Be sure to join us for an actionpacked Presidents’ Day weekend. There are 54,000 reasons to come Feb. 18 when we host the popular Progressive Cash Giveaway and the following day, Feb. 19, the best horses in country hit the track for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes $500,000 Razorback Handicap. Enjoy a full day of racing and then stick around for all the fun our newly remodeled game room has to offer, including live music every Friday and Saturday. Get your group together and get to Oaklawn for the time of your life – closer to home. Are you in?

2-3 9-10 16-17 23-24

Aaron Owens Wesley Pruitt Band Mayday by Midnight Mister Lucky

POP’S LOUNGE Every Saturday | 5-9 p.m.

The Pink Piano Show with Susan Erwin Prowse










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JANUARY 25, 2018



Gambling problem? Call 1-800-522-4700.


Arkansas Times - January 25, 2018  

Big Ideas - Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.

Arkansas Times - January 25, 2018  

Big Ideas - Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.