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From the web In response to the June 4 Arkansas Blog post “Bill Clinton’s book tour turns to Monica. He gets defensive”:
Sorry, Anna, but you can’t blame Clinton for Trump’s election. That’s way too simplistic in its reasoning.
Tsallenarng OK, you two can duke it out this morning while I bring the commentary to an even lower issue, to say nothing of down and dirty, that of established authors lending their names to usually lesser known writers, taking top billing and raking in the money. Patterson is one of those top authors, not to say writers, in this seamy category, but there are plenty of others. I’ve always wondered how much
work they put in on their “collaboraIn response to the May 29 Arkansas tions” — yes, plural to the max. Blog post “Supreme Court refuses to hear Better Clinton had said something Arkansas abortion law appeal”: along the lines of, “We all do stupid things, some more stupid that others So the supposedly “pro-life” Repuband I did hurt people, including my fam- licans, who at the same time support ily. I’ll leave it at that.” Forget the “poor imprisoning immigrant children, makme” stuff. ing an unlimited supply of guns availEven so, I am inclined to think he able to any unstable person who wants was set up after the fact — think keep- them, and unfettered, life-threatening ing a soiled blue dress in your closet for pollution of the environment children (how long?). have to live in, not to mention eliminatDoigotta ing health care for them and their mothers — these same right-wing hypocrites can pat themselves on the back for winning a “pro-life” victory. K ate
le du f in p. he r o e hi y! Sc ou om ns da a t ew h Tow 01 to n 1 ur lem -5 yo e Sa -258 Old l 501 l Ca
I don’t think Clinton’s actions rose to the level of an impeachable offense. I do think he is a prime beneficiary of white male privilege and his sense of entitlement is disturbing. That sense of entitlement helped cost his wife the presidency and saddled us with a dictator in the making. Actions have consequences. Unfortunately for the little people, the consequences usually fall on them. We’re the ones who fight your wars and suffer most in your recessions. Last I checked, Bill and Hillary were doing OK financially and Chelsea wasn’t in any danger of having to sign up with the military to make her way in the world. A nna H arrisonTerry
All this decision did was vacate the temporary restraining order. The case will still be heard on its merits, and Planned Parenthood may well succeed on the merits once it provides evidence of the damage the law has done and other medical evidence about the procedure. Unfortunately, in the meantime, many women will be denied their choice, unless they can make it to Little Rock. plainjim
wannabee, I do blame Hillary Clinton for not working harder and taking Trump more seriously. The consequences were likely to be dire — as every day under Trump and today’s Supreme Court ruling [siding with the Colorado baker who was sanctioned for not making a cake for a gay couple] prove. Not only actions have consequences, but elections do, too. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” A nna H arrisonTerry I don’t care whether he apologizes to Monica or not, Bill’s time has come and gone. I would argue that if it was a Clinton who “gave” us Trump as president, he’s the one, not Hillary. He was the genesis of the Democratic Leadership Council, the so-called Blairite “third way” reworking of the Democratic Party that formalized the severing of the party from any vestige of New Deal reformism. What emerged was an “era of big government is over” Republican-lite party of identity politics and kowtowing to the 1 percent. Unless something changes or new and genuine faces emerge, Trump (or Pence, depending on how things shake out) will be sworn in come Jan. 4
JUNE 07, 2018
In response to a June 5 Arkansas Blog post about President Trump calling out the Marine Band to play the National Anthem after football players declined his invitation to the White House:
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Trump is so exhausting. I wish, wish, wish, somehow the media could just ignore him, or most of him. Only talk about the important stuff and ignore all of this side-show stuff, his loony Tweets and TV-show-like atmosphere. I feel like the media enables Trump in so many ways. Not always. His policies and such deserve scrutiny and discussion, but all of this personal, race-baiting, identity-baiting, whatever, ugh; can’t we just put him on mute? Also, I don’t care where Melania is or isn’t. Is this truly a news story? Unless there’s something to factually report, then who cares? It’s gossipy and innuendo-laden “journalism” to winkwink and wonder, “What’s going on? Where is she? This is so strange.” Is it, though? Or maybe her medical issue was more substantial than reported and she needs or desires recovery time or whatnot. So silly. All of that aside, it’s good for business. Media, advertising, etc. They would never do it. As bad as things are right now, in so many ways, make no mistake, BUSINESS IS GOOD in America and that’s ALL that matters. Geronimo R ex
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EYE ON ARKANSAS
WEEK THAT WAS
Monument destroyer acquitted Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza last week found Michael Tate Reed innocent of a first-degree criminal mischief charge for knocking down the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds last year with his car. The judge cited mental disease or defect for the acquittal. Reed, who had been at the State Hospital since his arrest in July 2017, was returned there. The hospital could eventually decide he can be released. Reed was arrested after he drove his car into the newly installed monument the night it was put in place. He’d destroyed a similar monument in Oklahoma City. That case was resolved by an agreement that he would get additional treatment. His family said Reed needed mental treatment, but problems arise when he fails to stay on his medication. A new monument, with protective pillars, has been installed. Two lawsuits seek its removal as a violation of church-state separation.
Canvassers working minimum wage proposal David Couch, a Little Rock lawyer who submitted the ballot proposal to raise Arkansas’s minimum wage, says that canvassers have been lined up to gather signatures on petitions to qualify the measure for the ballot. The minimum wage act — pushing the minimum from $8.50 an hour to $12 in stages by 2022, will require 67,887 signatures. Also, the paid canvassers will be working to complete a drive begun more than a year ago to shorten term limits for Arkansas legislators, from the current 16 years (and longer depending on luck of the draw for senators) to 10. 6
JUNE 07, 2018
The proposed term limits, an amendment to the state Constitution, and another amendment to authorize additional casinos in Jefferson and Pope counties, will take 84,859 signatures. They must be submitted by July 6. Couch said nonprofit groups, not organized labor, will be helping the minimum wage drive, but won’t be identified until the money is delivered and report filed.
Pivotal school case Legal proceedings are underway in federal court in El Dorado that could decide whether Arkansas may legally assist the resegregation of public schools. Three school districts — Hope, Camden Fairview and Lafayette County — are challenging a state decision that the districts can’t opt out of state law allowing school choice, even though they have ongoing federal desegregation cases and transfers from the districts would demonstrably promote white flight and resegregation of public schools. The districts, represented by the
Allen Roberts Law Firm in Camden, say that the case is “eerily similar” to want a federal judge to rule that their the landmark Cooper v. Aaron case in court desegregation cases and segrega- 1958 that said the state could not usurp tive impact of transfers allow them to the authority of federal courts. That prohibit transfers from the district. It case cleared the way for desegregafurther asks for a declaration that the tion of Central High School, opposed 2017 Arkansas law that gives the state in segregationist law and the ArkanBoard of Education control over the sas constitution. The districts’ legal opt-outs is unconstitutional. pleading says the General Assembly The Arkansas law, adopted in 1989, “cannot through the 2017 Act vest the that allowed interdistrict school trans- ADE with authority to interpret fedfers specifically prohibited transfers eral court desegregation orders. Nor that harmed desegregation in either can the General Assembly assign itself district. But court cases and new the authority to amend or alter bindstate law began changing the land- ing federal court orders ... .” scape, with a notable push from the The deadline for approving school “school choice” lobby led by the con- transfers is July 1 and parties in this siderable dollars of the Walton Family case hope for speedy consideration Foundation. The law changes removed by the federal court. The larger cirprohibition of transfers on account of cumstance won’t go away, whatever racial impact. In 2015, the law said the outcome. Arkansas is encouraging districts had to prove they remained segregation by class and race through under an active federal court desegre- charter schools and the school-transfer gation order to opt out. Then, in 2017, law, aided by financial and political the standard of proof of an existing support from the wealthiest people case was made harder and it reserved in Arkansas. That won’t stop, even if final judgment for the state Board of a handful of districts are protected. Education. Jacksonville-North Pulaski, El Dorado The state decision is an “unconsti- and Hot Springs and three of its neightutional usurpation” of judicial author- boring school districts currently enjoy ity, the districts argue. The districts protection from the transfer law.
‘Freedom of choice’ back
federal court in El Dorado soon proof was made harder and it reserved will decide if unalloyed “Free- final judgment for the state Board of dom of Choice” may be legal Education. state policy, even when it encourages In March, the school segregation. state board refused Three school districts — Hope, Cam- to allow the three den Fairview and Lafayette County — school districts to are challenging a state decision that opt out. the districts cannot opt out of the state The districts school choice law, even though they say that the case is MAX BRANTLEY have ongoing federal desegregation “eerily similar” to email@example.com cases and even though the transfers will the 1958 landmark promote white flight. case Cooper v. Aaron that said the state The districts, represented by the Allen could not usurp the authority of federal Roberts Law Firm in Camden, say a 2017 courts and block desegregation of CenArkansas law that gives the state Board tral High School. of Education control is unconstitutional. The state refusal of these districts is Arkansas adopted a law allowing based on the assertion that court orders interdistrict school transfers in 1989 as in their cases didn’t specifically bar interlong as they had no harmful racial impact. district transfers. The court had no need But law began changing the landscape, to do this at the time the districts’ orders with a notable push from the “school were entered because transfers with racial choice” lobby led by the Walton Family impact were barred by law. Now the disFoundation. In 2015, the law said districts tricts ask that their court orders be modihad to prove they remained under an fied to reflect the changed circumstances. active federal court desegregation order The districts argue that the state’s to opt out. Then, in 2017, the standard of preference for “school choice” over all
Scary Granny Pelosi
ancy Pelosi has replaced Barack Obama as the all-purpose bete noir of Republican politicians, including Arkansas’s, but will she be as potent as the black president? Logic tells you no, because no one could be more toxic to most Southern and Midwestern voters than a mixedrace man with a Middle Eastern name who had become the most powerful and admired man on the planet. It was Obama’s election in 2008 that turned Arkansas into a solidly Republican state. From 2010 forward, Republicans were going to win state and local offices in Arkansas anyway, but linking their opponents to Obama, if by nothing more than side-by-side mug shots of the president and their Democratic opponents, was good insurance. Pelosi, the congresswoman from San Francisco who was the speaker of the House of Representatives and is now the minority leader, does not reckon to be quite as menacing as Obama to fearful voters who have been convinced that their way of life is under attack by the political descendants of Jefferson and Roosevelt. But the 78-year-old grandmother of eight, unsullied by scandal, is the scariest bugbear the GOP has.
U.S. Rep. French Hill and the party committees backing him are running against Pelosi in Arkansas’s 2nd District. Commercials say Pelosi handpicked state Rep. ERNEST Clarke Tucker as DUMAS Hill’s Democratic opponent and will control everything he does, although Tucker, like other Democrats running in red states, says that if he is elected he intends not to vote for her as either the speaker or minority leader. Tucker knows that is a futile defense. In 2014, former congressman Mike Ross was running for governor and the Republican National Governors Association ran ads and commercials denouncing him as a robot for Pelosi. In fact, Ross had made the nominating speech for Pelosi’s opponent in the last leadership election and regularly defied her leadership on major issues like Obamacare. Ross joked that the commercials for Asa Hutchinson were an exercise in seeing how many times the announcer could say “Obama, Pelosi and Ross” in
other factors is unwise, as abundant evi- encouraging segregation by class and dence still shows the effect of past dis- race through charter schools, the end crimination in education in Arkansas. of regulation of home schooling and a The districts have some powerful new private school voucher program. numbers to share. In Hope, about 50 A federal court win for the three dispercent black, 68 of 69 transfer requests tricts won’t alter the bigger picture, a are from white students, mostly hoping product of the political clout of the Walto attend the 99 percent white Spring ton forces. Their leading public repreHill School District. In Lafayette County, sentative, Gary Newton, has been issuing 61 percent black, all 42 potential trans- a steady stream of criticism of the disfers would go to Spring Hill or the 84 tricts trying to prevent resegregation of percent white Emerson-Taylor-Brad- their districts in court. Newton’s organiley District. In Camden-Fairview, 13 zation is a tax-exempt lobbying group for students, all white, would leave the 60 the choice agenda whose major backer percent black district for 82 percent is the Walton Family Foundation. white Smackover-Norphlet. There’s a historical element in the Comments the districts’ legal briefs: effort to bring the Hope School Dis“At present, the state intends to have free trict to heel. John Walker, the famous and unrestricted movement of students civil rights lawyer, went to a segregated between districts ... . Put simply, the state, high school in Hope. Hope landed in through the General Assembly, the Arkan- court after “Freedom of Choice” failed sas Department of Education and the state to desegregate the schools. There and Board of Education, is trying to recreate a elsewhere, often through the work of 1960s vintage ‘freedom of choice’ system, Walker, all students finally became entiwhether it is constitutional or not.” tled to equal opportunity in Arkansas. The state has accepted opt-outs only Whatever the failures in producing from Jacksonville-North Pulaski, El equal outcomes (and the more we sepDorado, Hot Springs and three small arate students by class the harder that districts linked to Hot Springs in a deseg- will be to achieve) separate isn’t equal. regation case. At the same time, it is Not then. Not now.
30 seconds. Five was the record. Women who rise to power are automatically subjected to vilification, but Pelosi’s ascent to villainy is still irrational. The congressional historian Thomas Mann called her “the strongest and most effective speaker in modern times.” Considering the men who preceded and succeeded her, that is not saying much. The only things that Dennis Hastert, John Boehner or Paul Ryan could pass with big Republican majorities were tax cuts. Speaker Hastert quit right before he was charged with evading financial reporting laws, lying to federal investigators and sexually molesting boys. The beloved Denny entered plea agreements and served a little time. Boehner and Ryan quit (Ryan actually will finish his term) because they couldn’t corral the party’s angry factions into doing much of anything. But, with a bare majority, Grandma Pelosi got things done. She persuaded warring Blue Dog Democrats to vote for Obama’s stimulus package, which passed without a single Republican vote, halted the nation’s slide into depression and started the longest period of sustained growth in the nation’s history. She engineered the financial reform law to prevent another banking collapse. When health insurance reform ran into trouble, she demanded that Obama stick
to his goal and that Senate leaders get serious. House committees produced competing reform bills, but she took elements of them, consolidated them into one sweeping bill, allowed a vote to prohibit government-paid abortions in the insurance exchanges and got enough Blue Dogs to go along to pass the bill. In the end, owing to the Senate’s dawdling and the death of Ted Kennedy, Congress had to accept the flawed Senate bill. She was never a party-liner all the way. She fought President Clinton’s successful effort to admit Communist China into the World Trade Organization. While leading Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards and Chris Dodd supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, she opposed it, ridiculing the president’s assertion that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and predicting a destabilized Middle East, endless conflict and huge losses of American lives and treasure. Her demonization has followed the familiar pattern — manufactured scandals. The internet for years has been rife with charges that she is an alcoholic who throws wild drinking parties and shows up drunk at the Capitol. Just look at her eyes, they say. Pelosi does not consume alcohol. She runs in the gym. Why can’t the Democrats find a leader like Boehner, Hastert or Ryan?
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o this is what Republican “con- on self-pardoning, for example, is that servatives” prating about limited even Richard Nixon was too much of a government have brought us: an patriot to try it. The United States is a authoritarian cult of personality, the nation of laws, and we’re going to stay braggart crybaby in the White House that way whether Trump likes it or not. insisting he’s above the law. L’etat, c’est Anyway, never moi, in King Louis XIV’s (1643-1715) mind Louis XIV, epic formulation: I am the state. what we have President Trump tweets that he has here is Putinisman “absolute right to PARDON myself,” lite — this presialthough he insists he’s done nothing dent’s envy of the GENE wrong. Absolute, mind you. He’s the Russian dictator LYONS monarch of all he surveys. Anybody who whose machinathinks otherwise is treating him unfairly, tions did so much to install him in office. one of the persecuted chief executive’s But Americans aren’t Russians, heirs to favorite words. Heartbreaking, ain’t it? centuries of political repression, concenMeanwhile, in a remarkable memo tration camps and state murder. sent to Special Counsel Robert MuelUnlike Vladimir Putin, Trump can’t ler and leaked to The New York Times, order his opponents jailed or journalists Trump’s lawyers have declared that the flung off balconies. All he can really do president literally cannot commit the to retain the support of his enraptured crime of obstruction of justice. base is spin persecution fantasies. “The President not only has unfetIndeed, his own attorneys’ memo tered statutory and Constitutional catches Trump in a convoluted fabricaauthority to terminate the FBI Direc- tion of his own — basically a lie about a tor, he also has Constitutional author- lie regarding the forbidden topic of colity to direct the Justice Department to lusion with Russian spies. Possibly you open or close an investigation, and, of recall the June 2016 meeting at Trump course, the power to pardon any person Tower between Donald Trump Jr., sonbefore, during, or after an investigation in-law Jared Kushner, campaign direcand/or conviction,” they wrote. tor Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer According to his lawyers, Trump is promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. literally outside the law, free to govern Trump’s lawyers now concede that by presidential diktat. If he wanted to when the press first asked about it in sack Robert Mueller and direct the Jus- July 2017 the president himself “dictated tice Department to arrest Hillary Clin- a short but accurate response to The ton, nobody could stop him: “[T]he Pres- New York Times” basically claiming it ident has exclusive authority over the was all about adopting Russian children. ultimate conduct and disposition of all Make that a short,inaccurate response. criminal investigations and over those See, what the White House didn’t know executive branch officials responsible was that The Times already possessed for conducting those investigations.” copies of Trump Jr.’s emails making clear It was left to the inimitable Rudy the true purpose of the Trump Tower Giuliani to suggest that Trump could gathering — promise of hurtful Russian literally murder former FBI Direc- intelligence against Clinton. tor James Comey with impunity. He Its cover blown, the White House appeared to be joking. retreated to a second falsehood: Don Evidently, these boys failed to pon- Jr., not his father, had written the der the clause in Article II of the Con- bogus adoption claim. White House stitution mandating that the president spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders “shall take care that the laws be faithfully declared that Trump “certainly didn’t executed.” The chief executive’s oath of dictate, but … he weighed in, offered office also explicitly requires him to do suggestion, like any father would do.” exactly that. The law, like the ConstituTrump lawyer Jay Sekulow doubled tion itself, being by definition anteced- down. “The president was not involved ent to the president, and not vice versa. in the drafting of that statement,” he So no, Trump can’t get away with stated. Giuliani concedes that Sekulow, pardoning himself, nor with declaring one of the inculpatory memo’s authors, investigations of his own suspect con- may have been mistaken. Or maybe his duct null and void. For all the boasting client deceived him. and bitching, his failure to act on such So why come clean to Mueller? Preclaims makes it appear that he knows it. sumably because already knew the score. The reason there’s no specific case law
n his majority opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake shop owner who refused to bake a cake for a reception for the wedding of two men. Phillips had explicitly noted his religious objections to their marriage and was sanctioned under Colorado’s state Civil Rights Commission for his violation of state law. “Religious liberty” advocates from the White House to the Arkansas attorney general’s office quickly and emphatically praised Monday’s 7-2 court ruling. As Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton put it in a statement: “Religious freedom is the first freedom, and the government ought not force people of faith to violate their beliefs. The Supreme Court has rightly decided that open hostility to religion has no place in a free country’s government … .” Kennedy’s opinion, of course, was decidedly more complicated than that. Indeed, it’s unclear what it really means at all. In his attempts to develop the rules of the game in an America where “the rights and dignity of gay persons” are fully and simultaneously protected along with the “sincere religious beliefs and convictions” of purveyors of public accommodations, Kennedy articulates an attractive ideal. Indeed, it is what united seven justices on what is, in most major cases, a 5-4 court. In getting there, Kennedy targeted the overblown rhetoric employed by a member of the state Civil Rights Commission as evidence that the body acted in a manner that was “hostile” toward Phillips’ religious beliefs. Kennedy said that, while antidiscrimination legislation is an important instrument for protecting and promoting the dignity of gay and lesbian individuals and couples, any such law “must be applied in a manner that treats religion with neutral respect.” But, it’s thoroughly unclear how true “neutrality” can be achieved in such affairs. Kennedy employed a multipart definition of “neutrality” toward religion from a 1980s case involving a city ban on animal sacrifice that highlighted that non-neutrality can be evidenced by the “contemporaneous statements made by members of the decision making body.” However, won’t any debate by a governmental body include statements that some might perceive as “biased” against one’s views? Does one ill-advised statement by a single mem-
ber of a public body that votes unanimously to rule against a business undermine the entire effort? In short, we are likely to see a series of cases that will lead to lower courts parsing the words of debates within administrative bodies or in statements by bureaucrats. Kennedy’s decisions have provided very little guidance for those cases. The seven-vote court majority included both the most conservative members of the court along with two of its more progressive members. Three conJAY curring opinions BARTH emerged from that group. While Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence argued in a decidedly more radical direction that would threaten the future of all antidiscrimination laws, two of them attempted to shape the “real” meaning of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case for future courts. Justice Elena Kagan agreed with the outcome because of the ham-handedness of the commissioners but emphasized that Phillips likely violated the very appropriate Colorado law: “Phillips sells wedding cakes. As to that product, he unlawfully discriminates: He sells it to opposite-sex but not to same-sex couples.” Progressive groups like the ACLU emphasized this telling of the Masterpiece result. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s concurring opinion instead emphasized the differential treatment of the Colorado commission of two cases — that of Phillips and that of a cakemaker who refused to make a cake expressing antimarriage-equality sentiment — as inherently problematic, writing “the place of secular officials isn’t to sit in judgment of religious beliefs, but only to protect their free exercise.” Thus, the meaning of the Kennedy ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop will be given substance by the winners of this real debate between the Kagan and Gorsuch perspectives. It’s possible that Kennedy might get one more bite at the cake in a cleaner case on the topic in the near future. Perhaps more likely is that a future court will decide the issue. Court retirements and presidential elections thus will be the ultimate determinant of which way the seesaw goes in Kennedy’s failed balancing act between full respect for gay folks and full support for religious liberty.
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PEARLS ABOUT SWINE
Super regional time
ven with a rather jarring home/ road split, Arkansas’s accomplished baseball team posted its best national seeding for the tournament ever, and had itself situated to crest the 40-win mark for the 10th time in Dave Van Horn’s 16-season tenure. Hosting a regional last year ended up being a bit of a drag after the Hogs soldiered out of the loser’s bracket in the SEC Tournament to make a sprint toward a conference title, only to lose the championship game to those greedy Tigers. The Hogs were a bit gassed from the extra time and effort expended in Hoover, got beat by a stout Missouri State team early in the Fayetteville regional, then dropped the decisive seventh game after surging out of the loser’s bracket for the second straight weekend to force an eliminator. Obviously, Arkansas had less pitching depth last year — or let’s say, what depth was there was quite lacking in useful experience — so the Hogs’ 45-19 campaign ended thusly. But it was a big resurgence from the lost 2016 season, and it really staked expectations high for 2018. The Hogs delivered for the most part, and after again bowing out in the SEC Tournament to LSU, they got the last laugh this time by blitzing through the Fayetteville Regional with a spotless 3-0 mark as the Tigers saw their season end with two decisive routs at the hand of Oregon State, the Corvallis Regional host. This season is by no means about simply trying to one-up longtime league powers like the Tigers or shake off newschool threats like Florida, the defending national champ that is well positioned to make a bid at a repeat. No, this Arkansas team is balanced throughout the lineup, strengthened by a bullpen that can capably rescue any starter in peril for long stretches, and infield/outfield defense that, while adventurous at times, seems to make dazzling plays at a far greater clip than those intermittent gaffes. See, for example, freshman left fielder Heston Kjerstad, who inexplicably let a lazy fly ball glance off his glove for a two-base error in the regional final against Dallas Baptist, then later saved the Hogs’ precarious one-run lead by snatching a home run away from the Patriots’ burly slugger, Devlin Granberg. That preserved a bravura seveninning stint from Jake Reindl in long relief of the immediately ineffective starter, Isaiah Campbell, who was pulled 13 pitches in after yielding two walks and a hit to load the bases in the first
JUNE 07, 2018
inning. Van Horn, known for his quick hooks on pitchers who can’t find the zone, didn’t hesitate to trot out and pull the inconsistent redshirt sophomore, who leads the staff in walks allowed despite throwing a good 25 to 30 innings less than the Hogs’ top two starters, Blaine Knight and Kacey Murphy. Reindl delivered immediately, as he got the Hogs out of BEAU that initial jam by WILCOX yielding only one run on a harmless groundout before striking out slugger Tim Millard and then coaxing a popup from Matt Duce. The Pats manufactured another run in the second inning, but Reindl calmly worked through that and let his offense catch up. Eric Cole’s RBI groundout in the third got the Razorbacks on the board, and they followed in the fourth inning with what ultimately ended up as the decisive hit, Grant Koch’s clean single to right to put Arkansas ahead 3-2. Kjerstad, soon after atoning for his error with his fielding brilliance, made a contribution with the bat by stroking an RBI hit with two outs for a key insurance run. Closer Matt Cronin blew through the Patriot bats for the most part in allowing a single run in the ninth, but striking out four over two frames, to log his 12th save of the year. The celebration that ensued when Cronin got Millard to fly out routinely to left was appropriately muted; just shy of 10,000 Hog fans at Baum Stadium rose to their feet and applauded the effort, but after a workmanlike three games in which the Hogs outscored all three of the regional invitees by an aggregate 24-7, you got the sense that players and backers alike recognized that this was merely the necessary first component of what they hope and believe will be a triumphant, historic trilogy for the program. The second component of the 2018 Razorbacks’ story comes this weekend, again at Baum, for the Super Regional, and it will predictably involve a familiar SEC rival, South Carolina. The Gamecocks were notably the only league foe that won a game at Baum Stadium this year, taking the Friday night game against the Hogs in April but then getting shut out the next two days thanks to yeoman pitching efforts by Murphy and Campbell. They’ll be pesky foes for sure.
Searching for Archie
he Observer doesn’t watch a lot of TV unless it’s the killer robots on “Westworld” or the killer sexyfolk on “Game of Thrones.” We did, however, want to weigh in on the “Roseanne” horse puckey. You’re already turning the page, aren’t you? Stay thy hand and stay awhile, traveler. This might be, dare we say it, important. The Observer, born into a clan where casual racism was as natural as breathing, has grown into an old fart who despises racism and racists like a bunny in the tall grass despises the sly fox. We’ve tried to scrub out every damned spot of it from our own heart and speech, and we have tried, as we are able, to make sure Junior was never exposed by Dear Old Dad to the slow drip of the mental and societal corrosive that has dissolved so much promise during this country’s long history. To that end, we have told him since he was too young to understand our words what we know: that if you believe Billy Joe Trailerparkrebelflag is smarter and worth more to society than astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson just because Tyson happens to be black, that’s not only wrong, it’s a form of mental illness. So, you’ll understand why we say you ain’t gonna believe this, but: After a momentary flush of satisfaction that Roseanne Barr got a speedy comeuppance following her proudly racist tirade on Twitter, The Observer is actually sad the reboot of her show, “Roseanne,” was canceled. Don’t get us wrong. First: Ambien, my ass. Second: She spread latrineof-the-internet-created conspiratorial slander about several people, and topped it off with the rotten cherry of saying a black woman looked like she came from “Planet of the Apes.” If you don’t see anything wrong with that, you’re either being purposely obtuse or you and Roseanne need to be roomies at the Laughing Academy. Booting her off her gold-plated, prime-time soapbox was absolutely the right thing to do. But it still makes The Observer sad, and not only because a lot of actors and behind-the-scenes folks lost their jobs because one contrarian, racist asshat couldn’t stay off Twitter. (Call it: Trump, writ smaller.) Why does Yours Truly care that some sitcom got shit-canned? Don’t we have
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THE OBSERVER NOTES ON THE PASSING SCENE
better and more important things to worry about? Maybe. But we also know that right now, America needs Archie Bunker. One look around the sitcom universe shows why Yours Truly has never had much use for them: They don’t look like where we came from. They’re almost universally about solidly middle-class to upper-middle class urbanites or suburbanites. Blue collars are as rare in sitcoms as graphic sex scenes. But “Roseanne” was different in that regard (the blue collars, not the graphic sex scenes, thank God), and that’s what made it special. Starting conversations through laughter about race, class, economic anxiety and folks who feel “left behind” by the economy and the culture is a way to help us start healing the cracks exposed by the election of the dour and humorless bigot in the White House. We are in desperate need of that medicine. Roseanne Barr not only got the rare Hollywood Second Act, she had a golden opportunity to help this country start repairing itself through making both liberals and conservatives laugh at ourselves and find common ground through that laughter. Ever heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”? Turns out whoever came up with that gem is right. If you don’t believe us, next time you’re arguing with someone, say something self-deprecating and get them laughing. Watch how quickly the venom falls away. Laughter is a bridge, and “Roseanne” had the opportunity to build one. Instead, the show’s namesake used the megaphone she’d been given to spread racism, conspiracy theories and hate, and was as shocked as the rest of us when the suits at ABC chose what was moral over a certified hit show worth a couple hunnert million greenbacks. Saying those repulsive things was her right, of course, because our birthday present from Thomas Jefferson was free speech (but not, Dear Roseanne Apologists, speech free of social and financial consequences … go back and read the First Amendment reeeeal close if you don’t believe it). But because of her selfish decision, the opportunity she’d been given to nudge an entire nation a halfinch back from the brink is lost. So even if you’re liberal as the day is
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Fairfield Bay Conference Center South Fork Nature Center Fundraising Concert
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The Weekend Theater Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Clinton Presidential Center Lawn East Village Street Food Jam presented by RICELAND
Curran Hall Preservation Conversations: “The Original City of Little Rock, Establishment of Pulaski County, 1818.”
Old Chicago - Conway Summer Brewers Dinner
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JUNE 07, 2018
Inconsequential News Quiz:
I’m BIG ‘Because Dumb’ Edition PICTURE
Play at home while slathering yourself in lube! 1) A Springdale couple was recently arrested after police say they allegedly tried to hire a hitman — who turned out to be an undercover police officer — to murder Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren. According to police, what were the two offering as payment to put His Honor on ice? A) An older model computer tablet. B) A sound bar for a television set, to be turned over once they got it out of the pawn shop. C) A photograph of Marilyn Monroe. D) All of the above. 2) According to the “hitman” in the above case, which of the following was part of the conversation between the undercover cop and the couple who wanted the judge killed? A) They asked him if he could also stop by and kill their 15-year-old cat, which they said had “become a real dick in his old age.” B) An hour-long discussion on the oeuvre of Insane Clown Posse. C) One of the accused started out with a list of 15 people she wanted killed, but after being told that it would be very expensive, she whittled it down to two. D) They also asked him to go piss on the rug of a guy named Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. 3) Recently, Michael Reed, who mowed down the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol lawn in July 2017 with his Dodge Dart, was found not guilty of first-degree criminal mischief. Why was Reed acquitted? A) The shattered remains of the monument — gathered by investigators and placed in a large box — were stolen by Indiana Jones. B) Reed’s attorney put the SYSTEM on trial, man! C) He successfully argued that, like Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), he is unable to tell the difference between his own internal monologue and the voice of “God.” D) He was found not guilty “by reason of mental disease or defect.” 4) The Saline County Sheriff’s office recently arrested an Alexander man who witnesses reported lurking near the loading dock of a hardware store in the tiny community of Avilla. What, according to police, was odd about the suspect? A) He was wearing only a pair of pants with the crotch ripped out and “a leather belt with chains and other adornments that were wrapped around his genitalia.” B) He was covered head to toe in personal lubricant. C) He had a backpack full of porn and told officers he’d come to the store “because I’m dumb.” D) All of the above. 5) Speaking of Saline County weirdness, police recently arrested a Shannon Hills man on charges of residential burglary after a woman reported the man had entered her mother’s home and stolen a 49-inch TV, a 19-inch TV and a microwave. What, according to investigators, was odd about THAT suspect? A) It was Donald Trump Jr. B) This guy was ALSO covered in lube and wearing a chain around his junk. C) He left behind a pile of books and told the woman he was taking her TVs “for her own good.” D) Investigators say it was Shannon Hills Mayor Mike Kemp, who has been charged with felony residential burglary along with misdemeanor criminal trespassing and theft of property.
ANSWERS: D, C, D, D, D
20 years of progress
n unlikely experiment in grass- offenders. Protecting victims of domesroots democracy begun 20 years tic violence. Education reforms, like ago in Arkansas today boasts a quality pre-K and help for low-income rich track record of profound improve- and special-needs kids. Increasing ments to the state’s agriculture, civil energy efficiency and opportunities for rights, education, economic, education, renewable energy while protecting conelection, environmental and health laws. sumers. Expanding access to health care. The Arkansas Citizens First Congress Equally important are the bad ideas meets again this weekend to elect a our members have helped stop. FightPeople’s Agenda for the coming legis- ing legislation that targets immigrants, lative session, and Saturday night we or dismantles public schools, or legalare having a party to honor some of the izes discrimination, or guts protections strongest community advocates in the for your drinking state. water, or limits At its founding, few thought the effort the public’s right to build a powerful statewide coalition to vote and know of community and social justice groups what their elected would succeed. They said we could not officials are up to. overcome the state’s history of moneyed We have done BILL KOPSKY domination, or our state’s deep divisions none of this alone. Guest Columnist on race, geography and class. Despite That’s the point. the challenges, our members have cre- Our member groups work together with ated a model of how to build community allies to press for change. Our biggest power across a range of diversity that source of influence is the thousands of stands unique in the nation. Arkansas we’ve informed about how I was lucky enough to be hired by proposed laws will impact them. There Brownie Ledbetter as an organizer at are few things more persuasive to a lawthe Arkansas Public Policy Panel in 1996. maker than an informed constituent in We were still unsure how to pull the his or her district who is organizing with coalition together or even what to call it. others. We are one of the few groups Brownie just called it the Big Hoobie Doo. that reads nearly all of the 3,000-plus We engaged a broad cross-section of bills that get filed each legislative sesleaders to figure it out. Bill Becker and sion and we educate the public about other labor leaders formed part of a core what impact they could have. planning team that also included civil While the Arkansas Citizens First rights leaders, environmentalists, faith Congress advocates, the Arkansas Public leaders, education and health advocates Policy Panel complements it by training and community activists and developers. leaders on how to be powerful advocates The coalition was frustrated that the for their communities and issues. voices of the vast majority of Arkansans A critical part of our strategy is raisweren’t being heard. ing grassroots dollars from Arkansans to We held big, unruly planning meet- pay for the advocacy efforts of the coaliings over a couple of years. Our lead- tion. This Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Four ers had to suspend their disbelief and Points by Sheraton hotel, 925 S. Univertrust one another to create something sity Ave., we are holding our Dragon that would benefit everyone. They built Slayer Banquet to celebrate Arkansas genuine relationships with one another leaders and the incredible progress they as they developed a process for devel- are making to improve our state. Our oping a common agenda to move the keynote speaker is the amazing Glenn state forward. Harris of Race Forward, who will speak It’s often messy and a little chaotic, about the importance of placing racial but the improvements for Arkansas are equity at the center of social change. incredible. Creating a state Department We are celebrating a host of awesome of Agriculture to help farmers. Expand- leaders; find details on them and buy ing voting hours, Saturday voting, train- tickets at arpanel.org/events. Tickets ing poll workers and expanding election are $75 will directly fuel the advocacy monitoring. Protecting our drinking power of Arkansas grassroots advocates. water and natural resources. Protecting I hope you can join us to celebrate 20 workers from wage theft and expand- years of progress, and the leaders who ing the minimum wage. Criminal jus- are paving the way into the future! tice reforms, like mental health diversion programs, expanding drug courts Bill Kopsky is executive director of the and finding alternatives for nonviolent Arkansas Public Policy Panel.
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arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
Feeding more kids Public schools taking advantage of federal free-meal program. BY SETH BLOMELEY ARKANSAS NONPROFIT NEWS NETWORK
ntil recently, students who from parents. Second, it reimburses got free or reduced-price districts by a factor of 1.6 for every stulunches in Fordyce schools dent documented as eligible for free and found themselves the sub- reduced-price meals, taking into account jects of taunt. Word would get around a historical undercount of needy students. about who received government assisIn exchange, districts must provide all tance, and “there was always a stigma student meals at no charge, even to those attached to it,” Fordyce School District whose parents earn enough that their Superintendent Albert Snow said. “Many children would otherwise be ineligible to parents would do anything to get off that participate. The districts must make up list.” with their own funds the cafeteria costs Not anymore. not reimbursed by the U.S. Department Now, Fordyce is one of 58 Arkansas of Agriculture, which funds the free and school districts and charter schools that reduced-price meals program. allow all students to eat breakfast and Without CEP, generally only students lunch for free, thanks to a federal student whose household incomes are below 185 FOOD PROGRAM A ‘NO-BRAINER’: Patty Barker says most school districts would benefit. nutrition program. The Community Eli- percent of the Federal Poverty Limit — gibility Provision — commonly referred $46,435 for a family of four, for example to among school officials as CEP — is a — would be eligible for a free or reduced- CEP should be a “no-brainer,” said Patty cent.” This allows the districts to be reimsection of the federal Healthy, Hunger- price lunch. Barker, the No Kid Hungry campaign bursed for all meals served. Any lower Free Kids Act. President Barack Obama Snow said the program is getting director for the Alliance. percentage means there is a balance that signed the bipartisan act into law in 2010. rave reviews in Fordyce, which has an The Child Nutrition Unit of the must be made up by the districts. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee enrollment of 800 students in grades Arkansas Department of Education has Providing free meals to all students supported the law and joined a state- K-12. Fordyce has lost a paper mill and conducted trainings and offered presen- isn’t a new idea. Some districts have ment from the White House praising suffers from other economic troubles; tations at conferences about the benefits been doing so through a USDA program its passage. the superintendent estimates about 70 of CEP, department spokeswoman Kim known as Provision 2, which has been “A breakfast or a lunch tray needs to be percent of his students would be eligible Friedman said, and the number of dis- around since 1980. It works much the filled with foods that will give the energy for free or reduced-price lunches with- tricts participating in CEP has grown same way as CEP in that districts must [students] need to be active and succeed out CEP. over the past five years, she said. make up the costs for students not eliin school,” first lady Michelle Obama said “We’re a fairly high-poverty area, so The Mineral Springs School District gible. after the signing of the Healthy, Hunger- providing two meals a day for our kids and Little Rock Preparatory Academy, There are some differences, though, Free Kids Act. is a great benefit for many of them,” he a charter school, were the first to take between CEP and Provision 2. AccordCEP eligibility is limited to districts or said. “We’ll continue doing it as long as advantage of CEP, in the 2014-15 school ing to the USDA, Provision 2 eligibility is schools with at least 40 percent of their it’s not draining any finances, but right year, the first year it was available in based on actual free and reduced-price students certified for free school meals. now we’re able to maintain break-even Arkansas. The next year, 22 districts and meal applications, not SNAP or other Instead of collecting individual pro- status.” charter schools signed up. The number data used under CEP. That means that gram applications detailing household Some education and health advocates more than doubled to 45 in 2016-17 and initially districts must perform more income, the percentage can be gleaned in Arkansas are urging more districts to increased to 58 in 2017-18, according to paperwork with Provision 2 than with through the use of data showing students follow suit and sign up for CEP. the Department of Education. CEP. And, there is no 1.6 multiplier used receiving benefits through the Supple“It’s a boon to school personnel that The USDA says it “recognizes that to increase reimbursement as under CEP. mental Nutrition Assistance Program they don’t have to deal with applications. CEP is not a good fit for all schools,” espeFor some districts, it may still make (commonly referred to as SNAP, or food It helps with administration, and more cially those with lower poverty rates. sense to remain on Provision 2 instead of stamps) or Temporary Aid for Needy students are getting fed,” said Cory Biggs, Even those that meet the 40 percent switching to CEP, Friedman said. Families (TANF). This data is verified associate director of Forward Arkansas, eligibility threshold could have a tough In Arkansas, 11 districts remain on through other government agencies. a nonprofit organization that works with time funding the meals not reimbursed Provision 2. Little Rock has 30 schools For eligible districts, the CEP does districts on innovations. by the federal government. on Provision 2 and is the only urban distwo key things: First, it relaxes income Yet the Arkansas Hunger Relief AlliFriedman notes that the percentage trict on the Provision 2 list. Among the reporting requirements for school dis- ance estimates that only 57 percent of eligibility within a district “has to be larger districts on CEP are Hot Springs, tricts, easing the burden of annually seek- eligible districts in Arkansas have signed around 62-63 percent, so when the 1.6 Jonesboro, West Memphis, Pine Bluff, ing and collecting detailed statements up for CEP. For most districts, joining multiplier is applied it will equal 100 per- North Little Rock and Jacksonville/ 14
JUNE 07, 2018
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North Pulaski. Regardless, the student benefit is the same under Provision 2 or CEP. “All children eat at no charge to the household for meals at school,” Friedman said. Shortly after the Lake View school funding decision of 2002, Provision 2 caused a bit of a stir at the legislature. The revised school funding formula for 2004-05 added extra money for districts with high poverty rates, which was based on free and reduced-price lunches. But the funding formula didn’t take into account the districts claiming the 100 percent free and reduced-price lunch rate through Provision 2. That led to inflated poverty counts, which funneled a combined $11 million extra to 10 districts. Legislators tweaked the formula in 2005 to better account for Provision 2 and to more accurately fund high poverty districts. Some superintendents sued over the lost state funding, prompting the late Rep. Jodie Mahony (D-El Dorado) to call them “clowns.” The superintendents lost their suit. Today, Provision 2 and CEP haven’t created any controversies, not even from anyone complaining that the federal government shouldn’t be spending money on school lunches, advocates say. Most opposition results from local school officials being “resistant to change just in general and not wanting to read through federal regulations,” Biggs said. Vivian Nicholson, breakfast program director with the Hunger Relief Alliance, said some districts think providing free meals to all students will be too much trouble, but once they hear from other districts, “they are sold” on the idea. “It takes away the peer pressure that ‘I’m free and you are paid,’ ” she said. “We stop that ‘I’m poor and you’re not’ with CEP. It’s part of the school day. We all ride the bus. We all have desks. We have books. We all ought to eat together.” June 30 is the deadline for more districts to sign up for the program. This reporting is courtesy of the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, an independent, nonpartisan project dedicated to producing journalism that matters to Arkansans. Find out more at arknews.org.
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COURTESY OF THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
See yourself in the ‘Delta’ Where art is about what we share. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK
ake a deep breath, Arkansas Times readers, and relax. This is not a harangue about our prevaricating president, though he
certainly deserves one, or a story about the piteous state of Arkansas’s political minds.
JUNE 07, 2018
COURTESY OF THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
MARJORIE WILLIAMS-SMITH’S ‘THE MESSENGERS’: Her metalpoint is “as good as it gets,” juror Shea Hembrey says.
It’s about art, which is some- tual pieces that prompt as much thing we can all come together head-scratching as admiration over, or at least view together. — always a feature of the “Delta” Rare is the gallery fistfight: — get gracious receptions. See Should Jackson Pollock’s splat- much in the way of gracious ters hang next to Margaret behavior outside a gallery these Keane’s sappy big-eyed girls, fans days? John Salvest’s American of both would not come to blows. flag (1994), made of matches They wouldn’t even Tweet. tipped red, white and blue and In fact, we dare to say that packed into an explosives box, for whatever courtesy is left in did not provoke a shouting match. Arkansas we can thank the arts, Nobody suggested our moral faband the Arkansas Arts Center’s ric had gone to hell when exam“Delta Exhibition,” the juried ining Pat Larsen’s sculpture that show of works by regional art- blew the viewer’s skirt up if she ists that is now in its 60th year, got too close (and was wearing a is a big piece of that. Concep- skirt, 1997). Here, showing side
COURTESY OF THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
THE JURORS: (From left) Shea Hembrey, Les Christensen and Brian Young worked their way through more than 1,400 entries to choose 52 for exhibition.
by side in the Arts Center’s galleries, have been or with whom they share a cultural language. traditional work in this year’s show. The conGinger Feland’s live snails munching on a head The exhibition “gives people immense permis- servative nature of the entries — a lot of porof cabbage next to Warren Criswell’s narrative sion to have an opinion” about what they’re traiture and landscapes — was a surprise to the painting of a woman carrying a naked man seeing, Hall said. Even if it’s a Tim Hursley jurors, who expected to see more new media. (1995), and still folks sang “Kumbaya.” The photograph of a two-headed calf (2016), they Only three videos, for example, were entered. 1990s, of course, were a happier time, but the feel secure that they can say whether it’s art or As a result, Christensen said, this year’s 3D work in the 2018 exhibition — including not. That’s not always the case; it’s that fear of show “might be a show that would appeal to a deflating and inflating 8-foot-tall faux fur “not getting” art that keeps some people away people who don’t normally look at art, because bear — had no one Googling “how to emigrate from museums. it has a lot of work that is so traditional, accesto Canada.” Since 1958, the “Delta” has allowed artists sible.” Therefore, with the nation descending into in Arkansas and its contiguous states (and a Perhaps the domination of landscape entries us vs. them, this writer’s recommendation is few outliers) a chance to put their work before — making up as much as three-fourths of works that people grab their worst enemy and head such big-name art critics as The New York submitted for judging — shouldn’t have been to the “Delta,” for there is a place where you’ll Times’ John Canaday (1970) and Grace Glueck a surprise, Hembrey observed, because of the hold hands in awe of such works as “The Mes- (1986) and The New Criterion’s Hilton Kramer region’s natural beauty. “That really came sengers,” Marjorie Williams-Smith’s copper- (1982), and artists like Will Barnet (1974), Rob- across,” he said. Young, formerly a curator at point, aluminum point and conte crayon self- ert Gwathmey (1979), Graham Nickson (2000), the Arts Center for several years, noted that portrait with roses, and find common ground Alison Saar (2001), and James Surls (2007). It work in the “Delta” continues to draw from the looking at Milly West’s photograph of a White has allowed the big-city folk to see that art is, essence of place, though artists now are more River bridge in fog. in fact, being made between the coasts. traveled and, thanks to social media, aware Sixty years of peaceful relations, thanks Three jurors waded through the record of how their contemporaries on the east and to art. 1,424 entries to the “Delta” this year: Brian west coasts are working. Young, gallery director at the University of Young particularly noted Hursley’s work in *** Central Arkansas; Les Christensen, an artist the show, “Pine Bluff Mortuary” and “Comet and director of the Bradbury Art Museum at Rice, Stuttgart, Arkansas,” as proof of the As a show of regional work, the “Delta” has Arkansas State University; and Shea Hembrey, continued aesthetic of regionality. Though a welcoming intimacy, said retired registrar a native of Hickory Grove and a conceptual Hursley is known internationally for his phoand Arts Center institution Thom Hall, and artist whose 2011 creation, “seek,” a “biennial” tography, from his work at the Museum of that makes it hugely popular to gallery-goers of 100 works of art by 100 artists, all of whom Modern Art, Andy Warhol’s Factory and the whether they can put a name on what they’re were actually Hembrey, won him acclaim and brothels of Nevada, his work brings the Delta seeing — New York School? Figurative expres- a TED Talk appearance. The three winnowed to the “Delta.” “Tim Hursley embodies what sionism? — or not. The work on the walls or the huge number down to 52 works made by the ‘Delta’ is about,” Young said. on the floor or hanging overhead is made by 46 artists. Hursley is not the only artist widely apprepeople visitors to the show know, or have met, Conceptual art takes a backseat to more ciated. Large-scale charcoal artist David Bailin, arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
pa inter Criswell, of the green central woodworker Robyn square in “Eviction Horn, photojourQuilt No. 3” recalls n a l i st B enja m i n the green windows Krain, printmaker in a tin-roofed nightand drawing master club near where the Aj Smith, and metclothes were found. alpoint artist WilWhat should the liams-Smith, to name quilt be called? Craft? just a few, exhibit 3D art? “To a certain nationally. But they extent, I don’t care,” still choose to comMatthews said in a pete for a spot in the recent interview. As a “Delta.” graduate of the CenThere are strong ter for Documentary installation pieces, Studies at Duke Unibut the strength of versity, Matthews is the 2018 “Delta” lies both observer and in two dimensions. creator. In addition Jurors noted the to the quilts, he has aforementioned selfcon st r uc ted a nd portrait by Williamsthen photographed Smith (“world class a ssemblages of in technique” and st reet-side det rithe artist being “as tus. He’s trying to good as it gets,” juror photograph all the Hembrey said) and churches in Little described Aj Smith’s Rock. He blogs about WORKING WITH THE DISCARDED: James Matthews creates quilts, such as “Eviction Quilt No. large graphite porhistorical places. He 3 (Green Medallion)” from clothes tossed to the street by banished families. trait of a weathered finds inspiration in woman, “Faces of Little Rock’s pockthe Delta: Geraldine,” ets of poverty, places and Donna Pinckthat he knows many ley’s photographs of interracial cou- tus leaves and drooping figures, was 1994) and less eyebrow-raising than people would be shocked to discover. ples — two men in one, a family in the another work overlooked by the Ginger Feland’s aforementioned Matthews is drawn to such sad areas other, titled with the insults they’ve judges (at least this go-round, for all snail/cabbage work. But it’s good perhaps because when he first came received — as genre standouts (quint- three stressed that their award selec- work by artists the Times has not to Little Rock — it was 2006 — he essential “Delta” portraiture, Young tions could have been very different at written much about before. Check was shocked by its homicide rate. said). Hembrey was happy to see such another time, thanks to the vagaries out the work by the following: His first project was to photograph psychologically challenging works of mood and current events). Spencer places where killings had taken place: as “Sticks and Stones,” Anais Dasse’s Purinton’s “Peripatetic Terrine,” in front yards, sidewalks, parking lots. large oil-and-ink on paper of children which hard-edge, hot-pink shards JAMES MATTHEWS They showed the surprising banality dressed in a kind of weird camou- and blue feather shapes spill against of the locations. He made postcards flage tangling with fierce wolves, and a black background, is one of those viewer might look at “Evic- from some of the photographs, as if Melissa Cowper-Smith’s entrancing works that bring you back for second tion Quilt No. 3, Green Medal- they were tourist shots: Welcome to “Unremember” video in which paint- and third looks. lion” and think of it simply as Little Rock! ings devolve into photographs and But while the “Delta” may be shy something to keep him warm. It’s Matthews, 42, who sews at a dinback again, the denouement an enor- on what you’ll find in New York — plain, made of rectangles and squares ing room table in the front room of his mous fire. (“Sticks and Stones” won a none of the artists is sitting in the of denim and gray and green pieces home, is working on the final quilt in Delta Award; this writer is sure that middle of the gallery and inviting of cloth, tied with knots rather than the eviction series. He was a bit leery “Unremember” deserved one.) visitors to sit silently before them, as stitched together. of talking about what might be his A diplomat ic Ch rist ia nson Marina Abramovic did at the MoMA But there’s a backstory to “Eviction next project — his wife warned him declined to cite a favorite, saying only in 2010, nor are the rooms covered in Quilt,” as its name suggests, and that people would think he was a bit off that she was “really impressed by and Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots — there are makes all the difference. Matthews, when they hear of it — but he agreed surprised by the number and qual- several worthy 3D pieces among the the director of communication for the to drive this reporter to what he calls ity of figurative and portrait pieces portraits and landscapes. With the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas, has a “dog dump” on Maryland Avenue submitted.” exception of Max Adrian’s “Solo: The for the past three years created quilts beneath Interstate 630 and beside a This writer is under no such Furry Divine of Fearsome Desires,” from clothing tossed to the street after railroad track to talk about his idea. constraints, and would have given that inflating bear of leather and an eviction. “There are lots of evic- Matthews travels here every other awards to Criswell for his oil “Eat fur, they are a bit more constrained tions in Little Rock,” Matthews noted, week or so and he always finds the Now (Again),” a scene of two hands than the conceptual pieces of earlier thanks to Arkansas’s notoriously dra- weeds littered with the carcasses of poised over a plate of spaghetti with “Delta” shows, such as Jean Flint’s conic landlord laws. Yet, Matthews dogs. A collar revealed the identity crows flying above — a work with stretched-acrylic mimicking flesh said, the project, which takes him of the matted fur and bones of one two tops that can be hung both ways. hanging from a steel rod (“Evidence to neighborhoods all over Little deceased animal we saw on our trip. Loren Bartnicke’s meaty abstrac- of Passage,” 1994), less incendiary as Rock, is more documentarian than Why here? Matthews wonders. He is tion, an impasto creation with cac- John Salvest’s match-tip flag (“Flag,” social wake-up call. The placement intrigued by the juxtaposition of the
JUNE 07, 2018
uncaring way dogs are being dumped themed images. in this place with the obliviousness It’s a departure of drivers speeding overhead on the from the older interstate. work shown on Matthews sometimes collects the his Arkansas skeletons and cleans them off at home. Arts Council’s He has even collected carcasses for Artist Registry further decomposition in his back- page: an intriyard, beneath a bucket. Unfortunately cately carved his daughter, then 5, observed him e a r t h e n w a r e at this labor, and later told some of piece depicting her friends at school whose dogs had a figure in a boat died that her dad would take them. offering up a frog He had to put her straight; he’s not to a bundle, sodain the market for dead dogs. fired cups, mugs, Matthews won an honorable men- plates and teation for his eviction quilt, which juror pots featuring Young described as a perfect fit for stylized ants. He TALKING TECHNIQUE: Ceramicist Aaron Calvert talks about glazes on his “Always Facing South Bear” with visitors to the “Delta Exhibition” opening. the “Delta.” Another of his quilts was turned to whimalso selected for the 2017 exhibition. sical, hand-built You can see more of his work at asur- pieces in 2014, plusofobjects.com. inspired by his love for the outArkansas for several years before he ing ‘South.’ doors and the wild and a tad burned realized that when someone said “When I was working on the bear, AARON CALVERT out on the wheel. “I’ve always been “Bless his heart” it was a put-down, that idea just kept playing over and a real big surface person, whether I not intercessory prayer, he told visi- over in my head and I ended up putenderson State Univer- carved or drew … and I wanted some- tors to the “Delta” opening. ting it on the bear.” One of the images sity associate art professor thing really bright,” Calvert, 44, said. “Coming to the South was a bit of on the bear is what appears at first Aaron Calvert’s “Always Hence the vivid, highly saturated a culture shock,” Calvert said. “Being glance to be a Dixie flag, but the stars Facing South Bear” is a cylindri- glaze under-painting of “Always Fac- from the North, I felt like what I was make a Y rather than an X. “However cal ceramic creation spelling out ing South Bear.” seeing was ‘South,’ no matter which you feel about that flag, my goal as an its title and depicting SouthernA native of Ohio, Calvert lived in direction I looked. … I’m always fac- artist was not to cram my thinking
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down people’s throats, but just open DUSTY MITCHELL the conversation,” the artist said. Calvert said he likes the “Delta” t the opening reception of the because the work in the show isn’t “Delta,” people walked all over nostalgic — its not all barns and chickDusty Mitchell’s installation ens — but about contemporary life “Pressure,” a checkerboard of square, here, and he likes that. “The downside flat black-and-white bathroom scales. is there’s usually not a lot of ceramics Each square showed a different weight, in there,” he said. Jurors “can’t make some in pounds, some kilograms, some that mental jump from contemporary accurate, some way off. to ceramics unless it’s a big, colorSome people, however, would ful bear.” approach the artwork, but stop short Juror Young saw a bit of famed of stepping on it. It’s those people, said experimental ceramicist Jun Kaneko, Mitchell, of Mountain View, that the whose high-gloss glazed and rounded artwork is for: those fearful of the cylinders were exhibited at the Arts number the scale might show, presCenter in 2009, in Calvert’s work. Cal- sured to think their weight defines vert said that made a lot of sense: He their identity. is in the “lineage” of Kaneko, since Mitchell, 39, has the distinction the ceramicist he studied under — the of being the only artist in the “Delta” iconoclastic Kirk Mangus — was a to have been on a Bravo reality show student of Kaneko’s. that, like “The Voice” and “Project Calvert won an honorable mention Runway,” put artists in competition. for “Always Facing South Bear.” It was He watched the first season and suchis second “Delta” honorary mention; cessfully sought a place in the seche won in 2017 with his gold-faced ond, an arduous process that included ceramic woman, “Giving Figure.” He waiting for hours in a line in Chicago does not yet have a web page, but is to put his portfolio before “two kids working on it. going to graduate school at the Art Institute,” being assigned an art project as another step in the application
JUNE 07, 2018
*** One theory about why the “Delta” had a record number of entries is that anyone rejected from the show gained an automatic spot in the “Delta des Refuses” exhibition, which opens Friday, June 8, at the Butler Center. The show, in its third year, will feature the work of more than 100 artists. Read more about that show in the To-Do section of this paper. The “Delta Exhibition” runs through Aug. 26.
COURTESY OF THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
WEIGHING IN: Dusty Mitchell with his “Delta” installation, “Pressure”
process, and having to undergo psychological and IQ tests. “It was pretty intense,” he said. The show, which aired in 2011, started with 14 artists; he was in the top five. The top three got to make their own work, rather than work on assignment. “I feel like if I’d gotten to that step, I could have done some damage.” By then, the Michigan native — and now a school principal in Mountain View — had had work accepted into the “Delta” a number of times. Like “Pressure,” Mitchell’s work often addresses perception and societal quirks (his 2016 “Delta” appearance, “Home Sweet Home,” at first glance appeared to be a cross-stitch but was actually flies placed samplerlike on stretched fly strips). He’s made pointillist portraits made of crayons stacked on end; an exit sign that on closer examination says “Exist”; a bomb substituted for a globe of the earth; a flag made of toy soldiers, firefighters and policemen. If that latter work recalls the work of John Salvest, there’s a reason: Mitchell studied with the conceptual artist at Arkansas State University. He said Salvest was “the best thing that could have happened to me.” In Salvest’s class, Mitchell said, he learned “I can make whatever I want out of whatever I want. … It’s the opposite of abstraction.” Mitchell has two pieces in the 2018 “Delta”: In addition to “Pressure” is his etched stainless steel “Diet Coke (From Trump Tweet Series).” If his messages are obvious, that’s what Mitchell wants. “I have no interest in making a painting that people have no access to. I put it all out there.” Mitchell said the “Delta” was one of the first art shows he saw as a student at ASU. “That’s when I first started meeting people I considered professionals, they were showing in that show. The first year I got in, that was a big deal for me.”
PRIZE WINNERS Jurors Les Christiansen, Shea Hembrey and Brian Young selected three works to receive cash awards at the “Delta Exhibition” and three honorable mentions, and the Contemporaries art group of young members selected one work for a cash award. The Grand Award of $2,500 went to Lisa Krannichfeld of Little Rock for “New Skin” (above), 2018, Chinese ink, watercolor, acrylic, paper collage and toned cyanotype on paper mounted on board and covered with resin (36 by 36 by 2 inches). Two Delta Awards worth $750 were awarded, one to Anais Dasse of Little Rock for “Sticks and Stones,” 2017, oil, ink, charcoal and pencil on gessoed paper (48 by 80 inches); and Arkansas native Louis Watts of Burlington, N.C., for “Carbon Alphabets (The Ship Minerva Series),” 2015-18, graphite on paper (60 by 42 1/2 inches). Honorable Mention awards went to Aaron Calvert of Arkadelphia for “Always Facing South Bear,” 2017, glazed stoneware (40 by 23 by 13 inches); Tim Hursley of Little Rock for “Pine Bluff Mortuary,” 2017, chromogenic color print (30 by 40 inches); and James Matthews of Little Rock for “Eviction Quilt No. 3 (Green Medallion),” 2017, hand-tied quilt made from jeans and dress recovered from an eviction (86 by 68 inches). The Contemporaries Award of $250 went to Ray Allen Parker of Fayetteville for “Post Punk,” 2017, oil on canvas (60 by 48 inches). Of the 52 artists whose works were chosen for the show, 31 were Arkansas residents. (There were 1,424 entries by 618 artists in total). In addition to those named, they were John Allison, David Bailin, Robyn Horn, Jeff Horton, Charles Henry James, Donna Pinckley, Aj Smith, Cary Smith and Marjorie Williams-Smith, all of Little Rock; Ian Campbell of Batesville; Melissa Cowper-Smith of Morrilton; Warren Criswell of Benton; Tessa Davidson of Cabot; Daniel Franke of North Little Rock; Neal Harrington and Tammy Harrington of Russellville; Benjamin Krain and Jason McCann of Maumelle; Cynthia Kresse of Eureka Springs; John Lasater of Siloam Springs; Dusty Mitchell of Mountain View; Marc Mitchell, Hannah Moll and Kathy Thompson of Fayetteville; and Spencer Purinton of El Dorado. In the beginning years of the “Delta,” prizes were purchase awards, but at some point the awards could not keep up with the artists’ cost of materials and value of works and were abandoned.
WE ARE PROUD TO REPRESENT THESE ARTISTS SHOWING IN THE 60TH DELTA EXHIBITION AT THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER
David Bailin 5 8 1 5 K A V A N A U G H B LV D • L I T I L E R O C K , A R 7 2 2 0 7 • ( 5 0 1 ) 6 6 4 . 0 0 3 0
Jeff Horton • W W W. B O S W E L L M O U R O T. C O M arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
Arts Entertainment AND
Venerable monosyllable ‘The V Show’ unfolds at Emergent Arts. BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE
V, IN MANY FORMS: Janet Gade Malone’s “Shell” is one of fifty works up at Emergent Arts in Hot Springs for “The V Show: Subtle and Explicit Female Imagery.”
ot Springs’ historic Whittington Park is home to a handful of old-school oddities and roadtrip destinations: the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo, the Historic Baseball Trail that commemorates the park’s colorful history as a hub for major league spring training, a jug fountain where visitors can fill containers with cold spring water from West Mountain’s Whittington Spring, an immaculate handmade miniature railroad attraction called Tiny Town. Last Friday evening, that tree-lined greenway was also a spot where visitors to “The V Show: Subtle and Explicit Female Imagery” grabbed a pink marker from a doilied anteroom table and wrote words like “peach fish,” “china cabinet,” “velvet lockbox,” “Holy of Holies” and “Venerable Monosyllable” — as well as its plain-spoken equivalent, “cunt” — on a posterboard framed
in stately gold. “NuNu” was a new personal favorite word, Vanessa Tomczak, Emergent Arts’ program manager, told me. Like the euphemisms on that interactive board, the 50 pieces that make up Emergent Arts’ “The V Show” alternate between goofy, covert, steamy, abstract and interactive. Some, like Deborah Griffin’s encaustic ceramic pieces “Yoni Iris” and “Vulvase,” are soft. Some are more confrontational: Alice Guffey Miller’s “Hands Off Our Business” is a “Protective Shield” fashioned from recycled and repurposed materials and “created to defend women’s rights” (the artist carried it in the 2018 Women’s March on Arkansas in Little Rock). Other pieces manage to be both soft and subversive at the same time: Ivy St. Germaine’s Victorian-inspired earrings with the word “cunt” delicately embroidered in script
inside tiny silver settings, for example, mally consider themselves visual artists or Angie Ezekiel’s “Muff” and “Honey who submitted quality work,” Tomczak Pot” in cursive needlepoint. told me. In fact, one piece — “Milk-OEzekiel, a torch singer who goes by Vision,” a sort of lightbox diorama with the name “Sylvia Stems” onstage, guest images of 1950s-era health class videos curated “The V Show” with Tomczak projected over a milk waterfall — is engiand Emergent Arts Executive Director neer Bob Nagy’s first attempt at art since Erin Holliday. “Almost a year ago,” Eze- grade school. The waterfall is made of kiel said, “I sent Erin an artist’s photos powdered milk and titanium dioxide, he that were made of groupings of flesh- said, “with a little vinegar and some noncolored satin coin purses, turned inside foaming soap to keep the splash down.” out.” That sparked a conversation, Eze- Other pieces borrow from — and curtsy kiel said, about all the ways in which to — a long and complicated history of vaginal imagery surfaces in “art, fash- feminist art, as does Kelly Cowart’s clevion and everyday life,” and further, how erly titled woodwork, “The Vagina Mono those elements might be more likely to Log,” and Anne Greenwood’s “Tribute get overlooked than their phallic coun- to Judy,” a wall-mounted bloom of lace, terparts. (Ezekiel pointed to the Moun- cloth, lamb’s ears and lichen inspired tain Tower in her adopted hometown by the place setting for Emily Dickinas a particularly conspicuous architec- son in Judy Chicago’s 1979 installation tural example.) That conversation was “The Dinner Party.” A goal for the show’s serendipitously timed with Emergent curators, Tomczak said, was to highlight Arts’ upcoming 10th anniversary in words like “cunt” and to create a space August of this year, a time Holliday and where they were shown “in a positive her colleagues felt was appropriate “to light.” start featuring more ‘grown-up’ content,” Tomczak said, “particularly since “The V Show” is on display at Emerwe don’t have any children’s program- gent Arts, 341-A Whittington Ave., Hot ming in June.” Springs, through June 16. Gallery hours “The V Show” is celebratory in tone, are noon-5 p.m Thu.-Sat. and that’s by design, Tomczak said. “Some people create artwork to move past traumatic experiences, and we didn’t want to create an inappropriate setting for viewing potentially sensitive work.” Deborah Griffin’s charcoal drawing “Womb Cave” depicts a revered rock formation in Bulgaria that draws tourists from afar for its uncanny representation of the “Deep Feminine,” and Julie Williams’ “Dare To Swing” beckons visitors to recline in a modified freestanding hammock, its center slit and lined with pink folds of fabric that cradle the “swinger.” “We were surprised by the number of peo- A SETTING FOR DICKINSON: Anne Greenwood’s “Tribute to ple who wouldn’t nor- Judy,” made from lace, lichen, cloth, pins and lamb’s ears, pays homage to Judy Chicago.
JUNE 07, 2018
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A&E NEWS FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON and author James Patterson, co-authors of the 2018 novel “The President Is Missing,” will talk about the book at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at UA Little Rock’s Jack Stephens Center. Arkansas native actor Mary Steenburgen will moderate the discussion, part of the Clinton School of Public Service’s Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture series. The lecture is free to attend, but reservations should be made at kumpurislecture@ clintonschool.uasys.edu. The lecture is not accompanied by a book signing, but readers may place themselves on a wait list for books pre-signed by both authors by emailing wordsworthbooks@ att.net. A live stream of the lecture will also air at clintonschool.uasys.edu/uacslive. THE CLINTON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE also hosts “Arkansas Repertory Theatre: What We Are Doing to Reimagine” at noon Thursday, June 7, at the school’s Sturgis Hall. Ruth Shepherd, who was serving as The Rep’s board chair-elect when the theater announced it would suspend operations April 24, will speak at the Thursday event. Shepherd, long-time board member Bill Rector and Rep founder Cliff Baker are serving on a leadership team to design a financially sustainable version of The Rep. The event is free; visitors can reserve seats by emailing email@example.com or by calling 683-5239. THE ARKANSAS CINEMA SOCIETY is following up its 2017 “Premiere” film showcase, which featured Adam Driver, David Lowery and Noah Stahl, with a second “Premiere” Aug. 21-28 at the Ron Robinson Theater. The society is seeking film submissions for a new Arkansas program; they must have been written, directed or produced by an Arkansan and/or filmed in Arkansas, and must have been made no earlier than 2015. For more details, visit arkansascinemasociety.org. OPERA IN THE OZARKS’ 68th season kicks off June 22 with a performance of Johann Strauss II’s “Die Fledermaus,” to be performed in English. The season, which takes place at Inspiration Point Fine Arts Center in Eureka Springs, also includes performances of Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia,” to be performed in Italian with English supertitles, and Douglas Moore’s “The Ballad of Baby Doe.” The season concludes July 20. See opera.org for tickets and a full schedule.
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arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Father’s Day is June 17! Don’t forget to shop these local retailers and show some love to all the great dads in your life.
Does your dad love wine? Edwards makes
buying wine fun, easy and handy. Get this tidy six pack holder and take 10% OFF your assortment of wine!!! Offer is good every day (except Sunday).
Smirnoff Blue 100 Proof is now $17.99 (175 ml) and Jameson Irish Whiskey is
$39.99 (175 ml) at Warehouse Liquor.
Dad will love
his copy of Calling The Wild: The History of Arkansas Duck Calls by avid Arkansas duck call collector and author Mike Lewis. Grab yours at Cynthia East Fabrics.
Indoor. Outdoor. Encore! We do it all— Fabrics•Design•Labor•Everything!
1523 Rebsamen Park Rd | Riverdale Design District | Little Rock 501-663-0460 | 10–5:30 Mon–Fri;10–4 Sat | cynthiaeastfabrics. com 24
7, 2018 TIMES JUNE 07, 2018 ARKANSAS ARKANSAS TIMES
A Traditional Pharmacy with eclectic Gifts. Since 1922
2801 Kavanaugh, Little Rock • 501.663.4131
Does your dad have an adventurous spirit? Find something he’ll love for Father’s Day at Stifft Station Gifts!
Give your dad
something he can use all summer, like a new baseball cap or a grill prep station. Find these gifts and more at Rhea Drug!
Find the featured items at the following locations:
Colonial Wines & Spirits
11200 W Markham St. 223.3120 colonialwineshop.com
Cynthia East Fabrics
Rhea Drug Store
1523 Rebsamen Park Rd. 490.9330 cynthiaeastfabrics.com
2801 Kavanaugh Blvd. 663.4131
Edwards Food Giant
3009 W Markham St. 725.0209 stifftstationgifts.com
7507 Canztrell Rd. 614.3477 other locations statewide edwardsfoodgiant.com
Stifft Station Gifts
Warehouse Liquor Market
1007 Main St. 374.0410
860 E Broadway St, NLR 374-2405
ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT arktimes.com arktimes.com JUNE JUNE07, 7, 2018 2018
BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE AND LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK
OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW 8 p.m. Clinton Presidential Center Lawn. $30-$35.
When I accessed the sas’s own Big Bill Broonzy? YouTube link for Old Crow Were Critter’s casual strolls Medicine Show’s “Wagon around the grocery store Wheel” video earlier this interrupted by fellow shopweek, the view count was pers who wanted to show 43,603,021. (I became No. off their “Wagon Wheel” 43,603,022.) The song — a tattoos? Is “Wagon Wheel” chorus recorded by Bob his “Free Bird?” None of Dylan in 1973’s “Pat Gar- those answers became rett and Billy the Kid” ses- clear, but what did become sions grafted to new verses clear was that there were by O.C.M.S.’s Ketch Secor two people in the converwhen he was 17 years old sation, and only one of — has become so ubiqui- those people cared to talk tous since its 2004 release about “Wagon Wheel.” The that it’s a bone of conten- other one, understandtion. There is a registered ably, wanted to talk about URL for stopplayingwagon- 2018’s “Volunteer,” a fullwheel.com. There are post- length album produced by ers available online to hang Dave Cobb and recorded in in your bar or restaurant, a hallowed Nashville studio declaring it a “ ‘Wagon co-founded by Chet Atkins. Wheel’ Free Zone.” Men- The record is emblematic of tion of Darius Rucker’s O.C.M.S.’s expansion, with cover of the song can trans- pedal steel and electric form polite company into guitar incorporated into something that resembles a tried-and-true jug band Peter Paul Rubens’ “Mas- sensibility, and they’ll bring sacre of the Innocents.” In that mountain music riverfact, I’d hoped to posit some side this Thursday, likely burning questions about making it pretty plain why the phenomenon to “Crit- they’re known for raucous, ter” Fuqua of O.C.M.S.: Did romping live performanche have any inside knowl- es. Fiddler and wordsmith edge that might firm up the Joshua Hedley opens the song’s lineage from Arkan- show. SS
FISCAL SPLIFF, LISTEN SISTER, COLOUR DESIGN 9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
This show is a good example of how wildly different local sounds — Fiscal Spliff’s straight-ahead punk-infused romp, Listen Sister’s dark pop and Colour Design’s dystopic guitar layers — can all co-exist under some umbrella we all tacitly agree to call “rock ’n’ 26
JUNE 07, 2018
roll.” Come for wry, playful gems like “The Night I Stole Your Pen” from musician/artist Sulac and cohort Liz Johnson, stay for the urgent, nightmarish gospel from Shawn Hood on Colour Design’s latest, “Hover.” Black Eyed Prom Date shares the bill. SS Follow us on Instagram: ArkTimes
REFUSED: Deborah Kuster’s fabric vessel “Burden” and Barbara Satterfield’s “Stigmata.”
‘DELTA DES REFUSES’ 5-8 p.m. opening reception (2nd Friday Art Night), Cox Creative Center, Butler Center Galleries.
Artists whose work has been rejected from a juried exhibition have long taken comfort in the 1863 Salon des Refuses in Paris, that show of art denied entry to the Salon of Paris, because it famously included such masterpieces as Edouard Manet’s “Dejeuner sur l’herbe” and James Whistler’s “Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl.” Manet’s work featured a naked woman picnicking with two gentlemen (Too flat! Too modern!) and Whistler’s was of his mistress (Art for art’s sake? Non!). The artists were ahead of their stuffy time. The Arkansas Arts Center’s “Delta Exhibition” is, like the Salon of Paris, the ne plus ultra for art hereabouts, and Arkansas has a Paris, so it makes sense that there is a “Delta des Refuses,” or at least it did to the show’s founder, Rachel Trusty. Now in its third year, the show has no juror and, as its mission statement says, “hopes to place the power of judgment in regard to taste into the hands of the public.” There are more works by more than 100 artists in the exhibition, which is divided between the basement gallery of the Butler
Center and the third-floor gallery of the Cox Creative Center. Some well-known Arkansas artists whose work you’ll see in the show: Ed Pennebaker, Rene Hein, Emily Wood, Kim Kwee, Kasten Searles, James Volkert, Laura Raborn, Marianne Hedges Hennigar, Markeith Woods, Robert Reep, Sabine Schmidt, Barbara Satterfield, Beth Lambert, Cary Jenkins … well, the list could go on and on. The 2nd Friday Art Night reception will feature live jazz by Isaac Helgestad at the Butler Center. Other 2nd Friday receptions will be held at the Historic Arkansas Museum (“The Medium is the Message” photography, Kat Robinson’s “Another Slice of Arkansas Pie” book signing, music by A Rowdy Faith), Matt McLeod Fine Art (paintings and blown glass), Bella Vita Jewelry (henna painting), the Old State House Museum (ice cream floats, Stone’s Throw Beer and music by the 106th Army Band), the Marriott Little Rock (the Art Group) and Gallery 221. The Copper Grill and Nexus Coffee Creative are also participating venues. LNP
THURSDAY 6/7 Red Octopus Theater presents its summer sketch comedy production, “Flamingo,” 8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., The Public Theater, $8-$10, recommended for mature (18-plus) audiences. Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters bring their boogie to Four Quarter Bar, 7 p.m., free. Jazz quintet Saffron performs at CALS’ Dee Brown Library as part of the “Sounds in the Stacks” series, 6:30 p.m., 6325 Baseline Road, free. Canadian comedian Trixx takes the stage at The Loony Bin, 6:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $8-$12. The Arkansas Travelers take on the Tulsa Drillers, 7:10 p.m. Thu.Fri., Dickey-Stephens Park, $7-$13. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse hosts “Tyrannosaurus Sketch: Part Two,” 7:30 p.m., $8. Los Angeles psych rockers Wand take the stage at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, with Itasca, 8:30 p.m., $10-$12. The Lewd Awakening Revue entertains with burlesque at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, 9 p.m., $10. Memphis Yahoos perform at Cajun’s Wharf, 9 p.m., $5. Saxophonist Brandon Dorris sits in with the Clyde Pound Trio at the Ohio Club in Hot Springs, 7 p.m. Ballet costume designer Leonard Choo gives the Art of Fashion lecture, 5:30 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. Fenix Fayetteville opens “Immersion”show for First Thursday, with music by Susan Shore and Michael Cockram, 5-9 p.m., 16 W. Center St., Fayetteville.
‘I GOT YOUR MEDICINE’: Kevin Russell’s “swamp pop” ensemble Shinyribs lands at Stickyz Friday night.
SHINYRIBS 8:30 p.m. Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack. $12-$15.
What started as a solo diversion from Kevin Russell’s main musical squeeze — The Gourds, who self-identified as “music for the unwashed and well read” — has morphed from an alias for Russell into an eight-piece funk-rock outfit of the same name. Aided by a horn section affectionately called the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns (“I’m hooked on that brass gravy,” Russell told Texas Highways magazine in 2015) and two “Shiny Soul Sisters” singing
backup, Russell’s songs — once delivered a cappella or via voice and ukelele — have been cast in a big, rollicking New Orleans R&B mold, with Russell’s jolly hip swivels and magical realism poetry at the core. Swampy songs like “Pack It Rite,” “Poor People’s Store” and “Song of Lime Juice and Despair” are the gems that await fans once the novelty of Russell’s famed covers – “No Diggity,” “All About That Bass,” “Waterfalls” — wears off a little. SS
Solar Flux 5 kicks off at Cadron Creek Outfitters in Greenbrier with sets from Sad Daddy, Couch Jackets and more, through Sunday, see fluxfamily. com for passes and details. Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain take the stage at Kings Live Music in Conway, 8:30 p.m., $5. Kevin & Gus Kerby duet at The Undercroft, 8 p.m., $10. The North Little Rock Community Concert Band plays works by Holst, Sousa and others for “Songs in the Key of J,” 7:15 p.m., Lakewood Village Shopping Center, North Little Rock, free. Austin rockers Desilu join Black Basement, Whoopsi and Lola Tried for a rock bill at Maxine’s, 9 p.m., $7. Raising Grey kicks off the weekend at Cajun’s, 5:30 p.m., free; after dinner catch Donna Massey, 9 p.m., $5. The Little Rock Wind Symphony presents “Grand Old Flag,” a concert of patriotic tunes, 7 p.m., MacArthur Park (or Arkansas Arts Center if it rains), free. Two Gun Hattie entertains at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming’s Silks Bar & Grill, 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
SATURDAY 6/9 Crooner SeanFresh & The NastyFresh Crew take the stage at The CONTINUED ON PAGE 29
Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies
arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE AND LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK
ROCK AND SOUL: Dazz & Brie team up with Belle Camino for a show at South on Main Friday night.
BELLE CAMINO, DAZZ & BRIE 9 p.m. South on Main. $10.
“Girl gang” Dazz & Brie already guarantee attitude anthems arranged with virtuosity and swagger, and add to that a newly formed coalition of players with classical precision and mad style: guitarists Read Admire, drummer Slavek Bolubah, bassist Cody Lucas, ethnomusicologist and percussion sensei Rolf Groesbeck and pianist John Willis, with the effervescent Claire Admire at the forefront. The new outfit self-describes as “a curious and delightfully raw fusion of smooth modern soul, Latin-driven rhythms and electronic funk,” and my money’s on this one being an unabashed delight. SS
GOYA 9 p.m. Vino’s. $10.
Recreational marijuana isn’t yet 2017’s “Harvester of Bongloads.” The that comes to a full stop at around legal in Arizona, but Phoenix metal first track, “Omen,” spans 20 minutes the 12-minute mark, rebuilding itself trio Goya make a pretty good case for it. and three movements, “I. Strange piece by piece from an unaccompaThe band has secured the URL “mari- Geometry,” “II. Fade Away” and “III. nied “Because”-esque melody, with juana.bandcamp.com,” and it’s there Life Disintegrates,” and gives way to Jeff Owens’ voice lamenting the lyrics that you can find its third full-length, a plodding, diabolical guitar assault “fade away into oblivion” as the tune
locks into a downtempo denouement. It’s brutally meditative stoner metal for fans of Sleep and Windhand and CBD, and locals Tempus Terra are a perfectly menacing opener for this show. SS
BERNICE GARDEN VINTAGE & CRAFT MARKET, ‘YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE’ 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 1400 block of Main Street.
New, handcrafted items, from jewelry to baskets, and vintage clothing and furniture and geegaws made desirable by the passage of time will once again be on sale at the Bernice Garden, the outdoor SoMA venue at Main Street and Daisy Gatson Bates Drive. Here are some things this vintage writer has bought there: A poodle 28
JUNE 07, 2018
necklace. A pitcher. A creamy white planter in the shape of a cat. An apron featuring a map of Texas. A vintage postcard. Saturday’s vendors include Crying Weasel Vintage, Doty Prints, Otter Been There Studios and others for vintage goods; Scripted Joy, Decanter Luminescence, Beatrice Huey, Lamps by Nick, Berkshire Creations,
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Shop Myrrh and others for handcraft- mean Esse Purse Museum, which has ed goods and jewelry. All on this pleas- a special exhibit of wedding dresses ant, sculpture-dotted bit of corner just from the 1900s through the 1980s: steps away from good lunches (Bou- “You May Kiss the Bride.” Admission levard Bread Co., The Root Cafe), ice price to Esse on Saturday ($10) will incream (Loblolly Creamery), and shop- clude cake and champagne. Perfect for ping (Moxy Mercantile, Argenta Bead, June, right? LNP Clement/Sweet Home Antiques, South Main Creative) and more, by which I
IN BRIEF, CONT.
‘NOW’: Shania Twain’s on tour in support of 2017’s “Now,” after 15 years without an album. She’s at Verizon Arena Tuesday night.
SHANIA TWAIN 7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $30-$150.
If your knowledge of Shania she’d star in a lavish Caesar’s Palace Twain, like mine, has a chronological show — one with live horses, a sea black hole between Twain’s “Broad of gown changes and a stunt where City” cameos and the lyrics to “That Twain flew through the air on a moDon’t Impress Me Much,” consider torcycle. Now, it’s “Now,” the tour in that Twain didn’t make a record for 15 support of Twain’s 2017 release, and years. At the peak of fame, Twain re- a return to the world of country mutreated for a while; contracted Lyme sic she helped shape in the ’90s with disease and a vocal-cord disorder; be- pop feminist(ish) anthems like “Man! came a mother; divorced her longtime I Feel Like a Woman.” Bastian Baker, songwriting partner, Mutt Lange, in a Swiss native that Twain discovered a tabloid-feeding web of extramari- when she heard him at the Montreaux tal affairs; and then announced that Jazz Festival, opens the show. SS
THE JERRY DOUGLAS BAND 7:30 p.m. South on Main. $30-$47.
When Jerry Douglas isn’t don- “Cavebop” from the band’s latest, a ning a three-piece suit and a west- blueprint for how the band manages ern bolo bow tie to peddle the Flatt to showcase Douglas’ dizzying tech& Scruggs gospel with his bluegrass nique while still proving its telepathic supergroup Earls of Leicester, he’s do- mettle as an ensemble. Douglas, with ing furious and unimaginable things a sideman session discography that an on the Resonator, proving why he’s archival project numbers somewhere considered one of the best — actually, around 1,600 albums, has managed to probably the best — dobro players in surround himself with players brilthe world. What’s more, he’s man- liant enough to keep up with him, and aged to meld that traditionalist sound that’s bound to make for a mesmerwith horns and jazzy chord changes: izing live show. This one’s presented As the Earls of Leicester are to Del by the Oxford American, a midseaMcCoury and Bill Monroe, the Jerry son addition to the magazine’s lineup Douglas Band is to Chick Corea and of concerts at the adjacent South on Medeski, Martin & Wood. Check out Main. SS
White Water Tavern, with Southwest Boaz, BJ Soule and L-Smooth, 9 p.m. Route 358 brings family band vibes to Kings Live Music, 8:30 p.m., $5. The Arkansas Travelers face off against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, 6:10 p.m. Sat., 2:10 p.m. Sun., 7:10 p.m. Mon.-Tue., Dickey-Stephens Park, $7-$13. The Rodney Block Collective plays for cigar connoisseurs at “Stilettos & Stogies,” 9 p.m., Crush Wine Bar, $10. Hemmed In Hollow plays a show at Nexus Coffee + Creative, 7:30 p.m. DJ Ron keeps the tunes going in the lobby at Discovery Nightclub, and onstage, “Disco Inferno” features performances from Victoria Rios, Blaze Duvall, Roxie Starrlite, Crystal Beth and Chichi Valdez. Queensryche takes the stage at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, with Warrant and Great White, 5:30 p.m., see magicsprings.com for details. Frank Foster brings “Red Wings and Six Strings” and other country anthems to the Rev Room, 8:30 p.m., $25. Howard & Skye perform at Markham Street Grill and Pub, 8:30 p.m. Fayetteville rockers Goose perform at Stickyz, 9:30 p.m., $10. Big Shane Thornton takes the stage at West End Smokehouse, 10 p.m., $7. Eve, Brother Berra and Walthall share a bill at Maxine’s, 9 p.m., $5. Red Oak Ruse gives a concert at Four Quarter Bar, 10 p.m., $7. All Is At An End takes the stage at Vino’s, 8 p.m., $7. Ben Byers plays happy hour at Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., free; later, Mary Kate & The Sinners take the stage, 9 p.m., $5. Rock Town Revival rocks at Thirst N’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., $5. A panel discussion and workshop on early black fraternal organizations will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
SUNDAY 6/10 Height Keech, Don’t Cry Paula, Goldzilla and Atomicons share a bill at E.J.’s Eats & Drinks, 9:30 p.m., $5. Guitarist Tim Higgins gives a concert at New Deal Studios and Gallery, 7 p.m., 2003 S. Louisiana St., $10. Wood sculptor Betty Scardino will give a talk and a silent auction will be held at the Friends of Contemporary Craft annual meeting, 5 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center, $10 nonmenbers.
TUESDAY 6/12 The Miss Arkansas and Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen competitions kick off at Robinson Center, see missarkansas. org for details. CALS’ “Terror Tuesday” series screens “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde,” Ron Robinson Theater, 6 p.m., $2.
WEDNESDAY 6/13 “Movies in the Park” screens Disney’s “Zootopia,” sunset (8:20 p.m.), First Security Amphitheater, Riverfront Park, free. Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies
arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
Dining WHAT’S WHAT’S COOKIN’ COOKIN’
OKI SUTANTO, WHO operated the Two Brothers Hibachi food truck, is remodeling a storefront at 301 N. Shackleford Road for a noodle bar to be called Aji Ramen Bar. Sutanto hopes to have Aji open by the end of July. The restaurant, at an intimate 1,200 square feet, will seat 40. The menu will include noodles in rich broth with a variety of toppings. Sutanto noted the rise of ramen restaurants in bigger cities and thought, “OK, let’s give it a shot,” he told the Times. He expects to add appetizers and apply for a liquor license after he has been open for a while. SUNDAY, JUNE 10, is the last day to get a deal on tickets to Wildwood Park for the Arts’ 20th annual “Wine & Food Feastival.” The Feastival, 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, June 15, will feature a silent auction, raffle and cork pull along with the eats, provided by Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse/Oceans at Arthurs, Bonefish Grill, Boulevard Bread Co., Blue Cake Co., Chenal Country Club, the Capital Hotel, Casey’s BBQ, Little Greek Fresh Grill and Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe. The aptly named Greasy Greens will provide live music for onstage dancing. The event benefits Wildwood’s gardens, art exhibitions, the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts (WAMA) and educational programs. Tickets bought before midnight Sunday will be $65; afterward, the price is $75. You can also call for tickets at 821-7275. A shuttle will run from the Denny Road parking lot to the Cabe Festival Theatre, 20919 Denny Road. TICKETS GO ON SALE Monday, June 11, for the third dinner in the Historic Arkansas Museum’s “History is Served” series. The theme of the dinner, 6:30-9:30 p.m. July 26, will be German and Scottish influences on the cuisine of the territorial period, particularly immigrants like Jesse Hinderliter, who ran the Hinderliter Grog Shop tavern and boarding house on the museum’s historic block. Capi Peck of Trio’s Restaurant will be guest chef, and George Brothers Historic Arkansas Ale, based on a historic recipe and brewed by Stone’s Throw, will be served. Tickets are $45 ($35 for museum members) and will be available online at historicarkansas.org. The other dinners have sold out quickly. IT LOOKS LIKE the building under construction at 2815 Cantrell Road, where Shogun Japanese Steakhouse once stood, will be a Starbucks Coffee, according to a plumbing permit application to the state Department of Health. 30
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SWIGGING AND PIGGING IN 2017: This year, Knob Creek is the presenting sponsor.
High on the hog Plan to attend the second annual Pig & Swig on June 15.
hat goes together better than whiskey and pork? That’s not just a rhetorical question. Nothing goes better than fancy whiskey and pork from some of Central Arkansas’s finest dining establishments. No swill for this swine party. Knob Creek is the presenting sponsor at the Arkansas Times’ second annual Pig & Swig event, which takes place 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 15, at the Heifer Village. Get tickets at arktimes.com/pig. At Pig & Swig, you’ll be able to sample not only Knob Creek, but also Knob Creek Single Barrel, Knob Creek Rye, Jim Beam Black and Basil Hayden — either straight or in cocktail form. Plus, there’ll be all sorts of delish food from @ the Corner, Buffalo Wild Wings, the Cafe @ Heifer, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, The Pizzeria, The Root Cafe,
Follow Eat Arkansas on Twitter: @EatArkansas
South on Main, Southern Table, TAE and Whole Hog Cafe in North Little Rock. Adam Harris is North American whiskey ambassador for Beam Suntory, the global spirits company that owns all the brands that’ll be featured at Pig & Swig. He says Jim Beam Black (aged six years minimum and bottled at 86 proof) has long been the preferred bourbon for folks who work at the Beam distillery. “It’s a great day-to-day whiskey. For a lot of us in the know, that was our preferred whiskey, and it was kind of our best-kept secret until it won the Best Bourbon at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2016.” Basil Hayden and Knob Creek are small-batch bourbons, a category F. Booker Noe II, the late master distiller
of Jim Beam and grandson of Jim Beam, popularized in the late 1980s and early ’90s. A batch of Jim Beam White Label might be made from 1,000 barrels of bourbon. For Basil Hayden and Knob Creek, a batch might be made from anywhere from a couple to several hundred barrels. For a company that produces millions of barrels of whiskey per year “that’s a very small batch,” Harris said. Basil Hayden is high-rye bourbon; it uses almost twice the amount of rye in the mash while adhering to legal standards that dictate how bourbon is made. Harris knows those standards by heart and how they came to be. “[The standards] were set forth in 1964 in the code of federal regulations … under Lyndon Johnson. He was a big bourbon fan, and he wanted us to have a spirit that was recognized as the official spirit of the United States. Congress agreed and we claimed it.” The rules codified what was already popular practice, Harris said. “Bourbon has to be American-made. It has to be made with no less than 51 percent corn. It has to be aged in a new,
Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas arktimes.com
TOAST TOWN OF THE
MAKING THE WHISKEY LESS RISKY: There will be lots of pork-themed eats (and vegetarian, too) at Pig & Swig.
unused charred oak container. … We can’t distill our whiskey any higher than 160 proof. We can’t go into a barrel any higher than 120 proof. We don’t go into a bottle any lower than 80 proof. Last, but not least, we can’t add or subtract any colors to our distillate before maturation.” So Basil Hayden meets the 51 percent corn requirement, but with an extra shot of rye, which lends it an “elegant spice” Harris said. Basil Hayden (80 proof) and Jim Beam Black (86 proof) are great day-drinkers, Harris said. Knob Creek (100 proof), on the other hand, is “big, full-flavor bourbon,” Harris said. It has hints of “vanilla and caramel and a little bit of spiciness and smoke.” You get a similar flavor profile with Knob Creek Rye (100 proof), but instead of vanilla and caramel, it has spicy flavors. With single-barrel Knob Creek, aged 10 to 13 years, you get 120 proof. It’s a “non-chill filtered whiskey,” which means distillers “don’t filter the fatty acids,” Harris said. That adds a lot of flavor. “Have a single-barrel Knob Creek on the rocks to cap off a great day and have someone drive you home,” he recommended. Meanwhile, there’ll be plenty to nosh on, too. South on Main will serve pork boudin made from Grassroots Farmers Cooperative pork, along with mustard
GROW grow LOCAL ARKANSAS TIMES
seeds and fresh red onions. The Root Cafe will dish up pork adobo with cornbread and dilly scapes (pickled garlic scapes) and barbecued jackfruit (which looks and tastes a lot like pork) for the vegetarians. Southern Table will serve its handmade Sicilian sausage. Old Chicago will have its Double Deckeroni pizza, covered with a double dose of pepperoni, hot sauce and parsley. TAE (True Arkansas Eatery), the soon-toopen restaurant from Justin Patterson (The Southern Gourmasian), will dish up pork belly with watermelon mint salsa. Local “Grass Roots” bratwurst sliders with “Great Ferments” crunchy sauerkraut and stone-ground mustard are on the menu from Cafe @ Heifer. Whole Hog will have pulled-pork barbecue sliders on hand. Several of the participating restaurants were still sorting out their plans at press time. The seven-piece party band Dizzy 7, featuring the Arkansas Times’ own Roland Gladden, will be playing all the songs you know and love. Proceeds benefit Heifer Village and Little Rock Urban Farming. Sponsors include Knob Creek, Jim Beam Black, Basil Hayden, Guinness Blonde American Lager, Rock City Harley-Davidson (which will have bikes on hand) and Colonial Wine and Spirits (sponsoring the photo booth). arktimes.com JUNE 07, 2018
MOVIE REVIEW ‘FEAR OF FLYING’ TO ‘FIFTY SHADES’: Even Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen couldn’t save “Book Club.”
Fifty shades of saccharine
‘Book Club’ aims for wit, wilts instead. BY JACOB ROSENBERG
In her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” Nora Eph- as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Their lives are at a crossron brought her inescapably smart and punchy eye roads as they experience the complications of middle/ to old age. “Why do people write books that say it’s old age (not quite retirement-home old, but “talking better to be older than to be younger? It’s not better,” with your two daughters in Arizona about living in she wrote. Then, she proved it, listing the many ways their basement” old). aging is dysphoric: no understanding of the zeitgeist, Sounds fun. Easygoing! Light! But, it wasn’t. inability to chop an onion, bikinis are unwearable (if Because as “Book Club” flailed around trying to make you’re 26, she implores you to wear a bikini constantly a joke of life’s saddest themes — death, loneliness, love until the age of 34). — they all became heavier. Ever heard an old person Ephron was gifted, funny and wondrously clear try to make a joke and then cough during the punchwriting about old age. Not everybody is. I went to see line? That’s what “Book Club” was like. Bill Holderman’s “Book Club” — an attempt at EphDiane Keaton is fine as Diane (the woman considronesque old-age clarity — on a dreary day, hoping to ering the move to Arizona with her daughters). Andy be cheered up in the delightful way the film promises. Garcia, as her lover and a pilot, is gruff and leans in too I left lower than ever. “Book Club” is, completely by much — both into the role and into Keaton: He’s conaccident, the secret psychological horror movie of stantly crowding Keaton’s space, pushing his slightly the spring. bearded face near hers, to make up for a lack of chemHere are the basics: A group of women living in istry. Mary Steenburgen (one of Arkansas’s own) as Santa Monica have been in a book club for decades. Carol is the accidental soul of the movie. Her given They started with “Fear of Flying,” the 1973 Erica slice of the plot and her performance are a pinch betJong novel that set fire to the world with its descrip- ter than the other actors’. But, by the end, the denouetions of sexuality. Now the women are jumping into ment to Steenburgen’s storyline is so ridiculous and the brash adventures in whips and bondage we know awful it seemed worthy of a sketch spot on “Tim and 32
JUNE 07, 2018
Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” Vivian (Jane Fonda) and Sharon (Candice Bergen) are powerful women looking for love, and they’re also … fine. But when the movie’s jokes are about something so weighty — hitting the age of 70 in the work-centric United States, especially as a woman — the jokes need to be great. And we deserve great! This demographic does not get many movies made about it, and when one’s produced, it should be a stunner. Fine won’t do. In the 1990s, the culture slogged through rip-off Ephron rom-coms. Since the mid-2000s, we’ve waded through an ill-defined genre of foolish attempts to capture Ephron’s voice as she got older and took on the golden years of life. What to name this genre? It concerns older folks — usually women, but sometimes men (think of a bad Robert De Niro film) — but not old folks. For some reason, the chief joke is that old people also enjoy sex; “Book Club” has enough dick jokes to rival “Superbad.” And the genre, whatever it is, has a single theme: death. “Book Club,” like its wittier companions in the literary world, could have taken the nearness of death — and all those potentially riveting aspects of old age — and stared them in the face until laughter rose to the surface. Instead, it takes the gas can and douses them in glugging gallons of schmaltz. If “black humor” is, as Andre Breton put it, “the mortal enemy of sentimentality,” then “Book Club” is its antithesis. It’s like watching someone try to laugh through the pain instead of go to the doctor. In case you think I didn’t like the movie because I’m young and didn’t get it, here’s the two-word review of someone I talked to who fits the exact demographic for Book Club: “It sucked.”
RW E G
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1 2 3 45 ill tip i as though h You will the burger is regular price. This should go without saying, but step up to the plate with a 20% tip, and say “Thank you” for the sweet deal.
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The Art Issue - We picture the ‘Delta Exhibition,’ which includes this photograph by Donna Pinckley, and ‘The V Show’
Published on Jun 6, 2018
The Art Issue - We picture the ‘Delta Exhibition,’ which includes this photograph by Donna Pinckley, and ‘The V Show’