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Van GoghO’Keefe Kahlo PicassoDali WarholRothko Van Gogh Dali Kahlo Van Gogh Rothko Rothko O’KeefeDali Warhol RothkoO’Keefe TO



76 ARTWORKS • 73 ARTISTS FROM THE LATE 19TH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT Experience these masterpieces through the

ARKANSAS TIMES ART BUS TRIP to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

MAY 2, 2015



per person

Price includes: Round-trip tour bus transportation Boxed lunch Tickets to the Van Gogh to Rothko exhibit at Crystal Bridges Dinner at The Hive restaurant

PLUS A special dinner by Award-Winning Chef Matthew McClure at The Hive restaurant inside the 21C Museum Hotel

AND See the two current exhibits on display at 21C Museum Hotel: Duke Riley: See You at the Finish Line • Blue: Matter, Mood and Melancholy



Round-trip bus transportation provided by Arrow Coachlines. Admission into Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is free. 2

APRIL 16, 2015





201 East Markham Street, Suite 200 Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 @ArkTimes

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Thursday, April 16

John Moreland

Friday, April 17

John Paul Keith

Tuesday, April 21

Dana Louise & The Glorious Birds

Friday, April 24


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Yellow Fever, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Flu and Hookworm


A Fascinating History of Arkansas’s 200 Year Battle Against Disease and Pestilence


association of alternative newsmedia

VOLUME 41, NUMBER 32 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, 201 EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $74 for two years. Subscriptions outside Arkansas are $49 for one year, $88 for two years. Foreign (including Canadian) subscriptions are $168 a year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.


Health THE



tes, M.D. Joseph H. Ba Preface by

This is a great Arkansas history showing that tells how public attitudes toward medicine, politics and race have shaped the public health battle against deadly and debilitating disease in the state. From the illnesses that plagued the states earliest residents to the creation of what became the Arkansas Department of Health, Sam Taggart’s “The Public’s Health: A Narrative History of Health and Disease in Arkansas” tells the fascinating medical history of Arkansas. Published by the Arkansas Times.


Payment: Check Or Credit Card Order By Mail: Arkansas Times Books P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203 Phone: 501-375-2985 Fax: 501-375-3623 96 PP. Soft Cover • Shipping And Handling: $3

APRIL 16, 2015



Mindless cattle Why only two choices at the polls in this country? I’ll tell you why. Because the real power structures within the Republicans and Democrats are engaged in an operation designed to keep us mindless cattle at each other’s throats while they rob us blind. They have a vested interest in keeping us locked in a battle of words over moral issues while ignoring the economy. While we argue over same-sex marriage and abortion, the gap between production and income grows wider everyday. As CEOs and shareholders gain more power and wealth, the rest of us obsess over whether or not we should kill prisoners. It’s time to wake up, folks. Capitalism is destroying us. It’s time to remind our leaders/overlords they can be replaced. Richard Hutson Rose Bud

Another monument Now that we’re going to be blessed with a monument on the Capitol grounds celebrating words from the old Jewish part of the Bible, I believe that it’s only fair that we also have a monument celebrating something from the New Testament, the Christian part of the same book. I suggest that the other monument celebrate the Sermon on the Mount, especially the Beatitudes, the very words spoken by Jesus himself. No one but a real Jesus hater would oppose that second monument. Brent Cater Clarksville

From the web: On last week’s cover story by Leslie Newell Peacock, “Why and how you got screwed by the 90th General Assembly”: Thanks. Great concise reminder of all the harms that the greedy self-aggrandizing public “servants” brought us this session. Ark7788 Don’t forget the quiet passing of an act that totally restructures state government, creating 10 executive level top pay cabinet members. I am amazed this hasn’t received more publicity. It in essence builds a much bigger government. Clem Hooten Worst Arkansas Legislative Session EVER! 4

APRIL 16, 2015


However, stayed tuned, because I suspect this is only the beginning since we passed a Constitutional Amendment that not only increased the salaries but also extended the terms of these hateful, self-centered and small minded “public servants.” In just a little over 3 months, the Teapublibans managed to reverse the last 50 years here in Darkansas. RYD Is there a short catchphrase or hashtag to rally against this wave? I am looking for something short to scribble on a T-shirt. “Equality Arkansas” or #EqualityArkansas seems to have a nice touch, but I want something that is more inclusive of the poor who got shafted this session. jj

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taxes to create jobs and growth, so the responsibility falls to the states. But seriously, anyone who has witnessed the failure of the stimulus package, that was only capable of generating two years growth and still argues for the Keynesian economic recovery model, is lacking in economic analysis skills. Simply put: An across-the-board tax cut at the federal level would place a massive infusion of cash into the economy through the hands of businesses that can create jobs and into the hands of consumers who can purchase goods and services. A huge psychological effect occurs in the minds of job creators that doesn’t occur following a government stimulus. In the absence of a federal income tax cut, then state income tax reductions can be effective, i.e. Texas and Florida that don’t have any income taxes and whose economies are very strong. In every instance in which the policy was implemented the economy rocketed out of recession with a 7 percent or greater post-recession growth rate, generating a self-sustaining recovery for 5 to 7 years. Obama’s government stimulus was only capable of generating a 5 percent postrecession quarter growth rate and a two-year recovery. By 2010 the Federal Reserve had to intervene to keep the economy afloat by holding interest rates at zero and expanding the money supply to purchase T-bills private investors didn’t want. In a recovery, both short-term and long-term unemployment decline in tandem. That didn’t happen following the stimulus package. Long-term unemployment remains elevated at over 11 percent. You can label an across-the-board tax cut as only for the rich, but it happens to be the only way to create enough jobs and economic growth for any socioeconomic class to feel economically secure and that they are providing for their families, and to propel the economy for an extended recovery. As for an state Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers: Why don’t the Democrats try targeting it toward Medical Savings Accounts or other benefit rather than as a cash payout that can be spent in foolish ways. Obamacare was so poorly conceived with unsustainable cost increases that it can’t last much longer and these workers could benefit greatly from a modest and affordable market-oriented insurance plan. Thomas Pope



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“I cannot be complicit in machinations which have the effect of depriving justice to any party before this court. Because I believe the current actions of the court impinge on the oath I took and my duties under the Code, I must recuse in this matter” — Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Paul Danielson in a letter recusing himself from the new (and redundant) same-sex marriage case created by the court last week; Chief Justice Jim Hannah also recused in a similar letter. Last November, the Supreme Court heard the appeal of Judge Chris Piazza’s decision to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, but now that the court has two new members, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wants the case to be argued again. Hannah said the creation of the second case was an attempt by a majority of the court to delay ruling on the controversial matter.

Surprise! LRSD schools to be reconfigured News surfaced this week that two schools in the Little Rock School District, Rockefeller Elementary and Baseline Elementary, will be reorganized. Baseline will be converted into a school focusing on literacy and Rockefeller will be converted into solely an early childhood education center. There’s nothing wrong with those ideas — but perhaps 6

APRIL 16, 2015


Dexter Suggs, the interim superintendent of the LRSD, might have informed parents and teachers of the plans. Instead, the news was released to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before staff or families were told anything about the changes. All staff at Baseline will be removed and placed into a pool of unassigned teachers. The district and the Arkansas Department of Education also have been remarkably unresponsive to Freedom of Information Act requests since the state took over the LRSD in late January. For example, less than a week before this news broke, the Times asked Suggs under the FOIA for any documents concerning plans to reassign principals in the district. There were no such documents, came the reply. The LRSD plan just released makes it clear that the principal at Baseline (and possibly the principal at Rockefeller) will be reassigned. So, did Suggs provide false information in response to an FOIA request, or was the plan to reconfigure the schools concocted in the past five days alone?


Quote of the Week:


Not bad for a failed district Four Arkansas students were among the 800 African-American high school seniors named as Achievement Scholarship winners in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Two of the four, Dana Abulez and Chandler Smith, are from Central High School. (Jonah Rodgers of Jacksonville and Taemora Williams of North Little Rock were the others honored.)

Race against the machine Mike Huckabee, a darling of the 2008 GOP presidential primary but striving to stay relevant in advance of 2016, attempted to style himself as the one Republican candidate

RINGING THE BELL: Denise Ennett rings the bell in Mount Holly Cemetery on Tuesday, April 14, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Arkansas’s ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery. President Abraham Lincoln pushed for the 13th Amendment; later on the night of April 14, 1865, he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Also this month at Mount Holly: Garden Series on Saturday, April 18, at 9 a.m. and the Mount Holly Picnic on Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m.

with a proven record against the Clintons. “Every time I ever ran for public office in Arkansas — every time — I ran against … their machinery,” Huck said in an ABC interview over the weekend. “I ran against their money and frankly both Bill and Hillary Clinton came back and campaigned personally in the state for every opponent I ever had.” In fact, in Huckabee’s critical first victory, which he won against Democrat Nate Coulter for the lieutenant governor’s seat in 1993, neither Bill nor Hillary appeared in Arkansas. They were too busy in Washington.


Miles to go on equal rights


couple of disparate events prompt me to reflect on progress toward equality. One is the local news that the Little Rock City Board, after much foot-dragging and thanks to the work of new Director Kathy Webb, could vote as early as next week on a civil rights ordinance giving a measure of specific legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance includes employment protection only for those working for the city. The significant, if small, addition is that the ordinance requires a nondiscrimination agreement by companies that wish to do business with the city. The ordinance has no enforcement mechanism. Realistically, companies will be able to discriminate with only a limited potential for adverse consequences. But that potential is a step forward.

There is no express protection for sexual minorities in state or federal law, though the federal Equal MAX Employment BRANTLEY Opportunity mission has determined that discrimination against a transgender person amounts to prohibited sexual discrimination. Federal employees have some protections on orientation thanks to executive orders. But that’s about it. The key element of this ordinance is the expansion beyond government employees. The legislature passed a law aimed at preventing any sort of local ordinances with civil rights protection beyond local government employees. Little Rock seems poised to provide more before that state law takes

Misplaced priorities


ommunities like Gould, where I am chief of police, need help from lawmakers. But lawmakers delivered very little of what Gould needs: namely jobs, opportunity and meaningful education improvements. Our families and our neighbors are still wondering when they will be the priority of lawmakers. Gould is a tight-knit community that is used to overcoming adversity. We have been losing population and are searching for ways to rebuild our city. Our average household income of just over $17,000 a year is less than half the state average and less than one-third the national average. Forty-three percent of our residents live below the federal poverty line, more than twice the state average. The real poverty rate of families barely getting by is much higher. Unemployment is a huge problem, as is education. One-fourth of our residents are under 18. Unfortunately, we are not unique in Arkansas. Lawmakers started the legislative session well enough. The private option health insurance program’s renewal and importance cannot be overstated. It provides a significant part of our population with their only access to quality health care. The governor’s original budget was not

great for us, but it didn’t have much pain, either. But somewhere along the way our leaders lost control. WILLIAM The governor’s EL-AMIN proposal fell apart. The pragmatic moderation that Arkansas is known for evaporated. Lawmakers’ economic priorities, the most important issue to Gould, were a disaster. The governor’s middle class tax cut averages $140 for a person making $35,000 a year, and it doesn’t even affect most of our residents. The working poor in Arkansas pay the highest tax rates in the state and yet they were completely ignored this session. These are the people of Gould and many Arkansas communities. A statelevel earned income tax credit would have offered help to working families struggling to get out of poverty, but lawmakers shot it down in favor of big tax cuts for the most well-connected and wealthiest Arkansans instead. The overall impact of tax cuts this session makes our system less fair for lowand even middle-income families, tilting

effect in late July, as Eureka Springs has already done. Some other cities and counties might join them. The Arkansas legislature and governor made clear their opposition to civil rights for gays. (Don’t be misled by the compromise “religious freedom” bill. It is still a vehicle for discrimination.) But concrete statements to the contrary, particularly from the state’s largest city, matter. It was only 13 years ago that a brave Arkansas Supreme Court said that sodomy was not a crime. It was 2000 when Vermont became the first state to give marital rights to same-sex couples. Now three dozen states are in that number with a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will finish the job in June, no matter how much Arkansas objects. Discrimination continues. Even in the most progressive states, it remains wise to check surroundings before venturing openly some places as an identifiable minority — sexual, racial or religious. But a unanimous Little Rock City Board could do wonders for our enduring reputation as a city known for hate nearly 60 years ago. That disparate event? That would be Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement as a presidential candidate.

Put aside your Clinton fatigue, Whitewater, Benghazi, Clinton dynastic questions and the rest. The United States has never had a woman president. There have been dozens worldwide. That’s American exceptionalism for you. We may not have a woman president after 2016 either. But odds are strong that we’ll at least have our first major party female nominee. And yet. The U.S. doesn’t have an Equal Rights Amendment. The pay gap only slowly narrows. In Arkansas, a woman employed full time makes 77 cents for every $1 a man makes. The executive offices and boardrooms of Arkansas remain predominantly male. But there have been advances. It was around 1976 when Hillary Clinton was hired at the Rose Law Firm. She was the first woman hired as an associate by one of the Big Three Little Rock law firms. The Arkansas state judiciary included a grand total of one woman at that time. Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court numbers four women among its seven. We’ve come far enough as a state that it’s not sexist to say you regret the election of some of them.

our system even more in favor of the elite. And they required the governor’s budget proposal to be tabled in favor of deep cuts to health clinics, libraries and other things our residents depend on. Lawmakers put faith in failed trickledown economics instead of doing what’s proven to work. They gave favors to fat cats instead of investing in low- and middleincome families and creating opportunities for working people to get ahead. But they didn’t stop there. Lawmakers also passed a slew of legislation making it harder for working people. They cut unemployment benefits by 20 percent. They weakened workers compensation. They rejected ending the only debtors’ prison left in America by continuing to criminalize being late on your rent. The moderation in the session, aside from the private option, was in what they didn’t do. They didn’t build a BIG new prison. They didn’t pass the worst of the proposals to limit the hours and right to vote. They didn’t privatize our education system while gutting the funding to pay for it. They didn’t, by a whisker, legalize discrimination and return the state to our darkest past. It could have been worse, but Arkansas needs more than that. Education was not given the attention it deserves. The $3 million Arkansas’s awardwinning pre-K program received is less

than one-fifth of what is needed to keep up with inflation. Other proven education reforms like afterschool and summer programs were left unfunded. They rolled back standards on curriculum, teachers and facilities. They rejected legislation to ensure that money spent to help students in poverty, the vast majority of students in our community, is spent effectively. How are we going to advance as a state if we don’t invest in proven strategies to help our children? Prison reforms to reduce recidivism, help the mentally ill and focus on the most dangerous criminals were woefully underfunded. Although the governor’s plan takes the first steps, it’s nowhere near the reform our correction system needs to be cheaper, safer and more effective. Through the halls at the Capitol our lawmakers had misplaced priorities. The people of my community need better. Arkansas has large gaps in opportunity and we should come together to make an informed plan to solve them. We can move the entire state forward, but we must do it together. Unfortunately, opportunity was never on the table this session. William El-Amin is co-chair of the Citizens First Congress, a coalition of 58 member organizations who work on social, economic and environmental justice issues elected by their membership.

APRIL 16, 2015


The Obama doctrine


f he accomplished nothing else during his presidency, Barack Obama has surely earned a place in the Bad Political Analogies Hall of Fame. According to savants on Fox News and right-wing editorial pages, Obama is both Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who capitulated to Nazi territorial demands in 1938. That is, to the more fervid exponents of the Sore Loser Party, Obama is both a psychotic dictator and a spineless appeaser of tyrants. (I am indebted for this insight to Washington attorney Mike Godwin, promulgator of “Godwin’s Law,” which holds that the first person to play the Hitler card in a political argument automatically loses.) I’m thinking the law also needs a Chamberlain corollary, because to the Permanent War Caucus on the Republican right, every American president who negotiates an arms pact with our putative enemies gets accused of weakening national security. Always and with no known exceptions. President Nixon got compared to Neville Chamberlain for his (strategically brilliant) opening to China, as well as for the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the Soviet Union. In 1988, something called the Conservative Caucus Inc. took out full-page newspaper ads arguing that “appeasement is as unwise in 1988 as in 1938.” The ad mocked President Reagan with Chamberlain’s iconic umbrella and compared Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to Hitler. In 1989, of course, the Berlin Wall fell and the U.S.S.R. imploded. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait sums up the right’s paradoxical case against Obama, weakling dictator: “He is naive in the face of evil, desperate for agreement, more willing to help his enemies than his friends. The problem is that conservatives have made this same diagnosis of every American president for 70 years. ... Their analysis of the Iran negotiations is not an analysis at all, but an impulse.” Despite concessions most observers thought Tehran would never make, the right hates this deal because they hate all deals. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his U.S.

supporters, such as the forever wrong William Kristol, describe Iran’s leaders as the new fuhrer. GENE The apocalyptic LYONS enemy before that was the Tehran regime’s bitter enemy, Saddam Hussein. Anyway, we all know how invading Iraq worked out. Iran is five times Iraq’s size, has three times its population and extremely forbidding terrain. No matter. To the Permanent War Caucus, it’s always 1938 and blitzkrieg is eternally threatened. Netanyahu has been predicting Iran’s imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons for almost 20 years now — although the Wile E. Coyote bomb cartoon is a relatively recent touch. Israel, of course, has a nuclear arsenal of its own. But what really makes the Hitler/ Chamberlain comparison so foolish isn’t simply that it’s a cliche. It’s that it completely misrepresents the power balance between the U.S., its allies Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, and militarily weak, politically and strategically isolated Iran. In 1938, Nazi Germany had the strongest military in the world. (Indeed, there’s a revisionist school that holds Neville Chamberlain was wise to postpone an inevitable war while Britain re-armed.) Shiite Iran, by contrast, can scarcely project power much beyond its borders, and is threatened by traditional enemies on all sides. Examine a map of the Middle East. Tehran is almost 1,000 miles from Jerusalem. Ethnically and linguistically distinct, the Persians are surrounded by hostile Sunni Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, which repress their own Shiite minorities and are fanatically opposed to the ayatollahs. Almost unknown in this country, U.S. client Saddam Hussein’s 1980 invasion of Iran — complete with nerve gas attacks on the Persians and Kurds — remains a bitter memory. ISIS terrorists are massacring Shiites by the thousands in Iraq and Syria. For that matter, check out the U.S. military bases ringing the Persian Gulf, along with omnipresCONTINUED ON PAGE 38


APRIL 16, 2015




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Future shock


Deputy Observer sent along the following tale of technology, an all-too-familiar song in this day and age, when tech that’s supposed to be bringing us together and making our lives easier so often does the opposite: I can tell Siri to remind me to take out the trash when I get home. It occurs to me that much more often I need Siri to remind me why I went into the living room, from the kitchen. It’s dumbfounding that I can’t remember an intention I had 30 seconds and 25 feet ago. I do not think iPhone’s GPS is sensitive enough to distinguish my kitchen from my living room, so Siri won’t be able to help. Maybe I’ll write myself a note before I leave the kitchen, and hope I remember to glance at it when I arrive in a different room.” Having been born in that deep distant past when the Internet and cell phones and 900-flick Netflix was not a thing — way back when the only Facebook was the high school yearbook, in which the only posts were stuff like “See ya!” and “Have a crappy summer, dude!” — The Observer was already thinking a lot about technology even before our Deputy sent us a note about her love/hate relationship with Siri. Though The Observer goes into a frantic paw at our clothes now whenever we momentarily suspect we’ve left our cell phone somewhere, there was a day when we’d happily strike out for Phoenix, Bangor or Bumfukt, Egypt, with only an ID, $100 bucks and a couple of dimes to call home to mama if the going got rough. Ah, the salad days, when everybody in the world would periodically go out of radio contact and be perfectly happy to be there. Not to get too old and farty on you, kids, but gather round and listen: The world was freer then. More adventurous. Friendlier. You told people you’d call when you got there and then you were incommunicado, like an astronaut rounding the dark side of the moon, until you got where you were going. You followed maps if they weren’t too out of date, mastering the back-front-back-front fold so you could fit the gatdamn thing back in the glove box. You stopped and asked for directions. If

your Packard or Hudson or Studebaker gave up the ghost next to some backcountry lane, sweet-smelling radiator steam curling picturesquely into the summer air, you simply walked to the nearest house, took off your hat, and knocked. “My heap quit on me, Daddy-o,” you’d say. “Might I use yon jinglebox to call the cavalry?” Nine times out of 10, unless it was some 12-year-old babysitter, sour Connecticut Yankee relocated to the warmer climes, or otherwise suspicious sort, they’d let you. You’d wipe your feet, and walk into their secret lair, full of knickknacks and whatnots and tiny dogs named Diddibiteya? You’d thank them kindly for a drink of their iron-flavored well water and remark politely on the heat. Then you’d pick up the phone, use one of the phone numbers that you kept in your head instead of in some gadget (Yours Truly couldn’t tell you his wife’s phone number right now if you put a gun in our ribs) and you’d call the cavalry. You’d make a memory. Years later, you’d tell the story: This one time, my Nash quit on me way the hell out near Cotton Plant and I walked to this old falling-down house and used the phone of a guy who turned out to have been Harry Truman’s White House masseuse back in the day. No foolin’. Had pictures of himself with ol’ Give ’Em Hell all over his place. Nice old fella, once he put his shotgun away. Now, though, our memories are filed and sorted and stored on a chip. Now, we’ve got all this technology to bring us closer and help us communicate. Ain’t it lovely? Ain’t it grand? Speaking of travel, The Observer was traveling over the weekend. Sunday morning, standing under a hotel showerhead with all the force of a half-full watering can sprinkling delicate petunias, The Observer found our calling in life and made a vow. From now on, whenever we travel, we’re going to pack a Crescent wrench and a small screwdriver so we can secretly pull the flow restrictors out of hotel showerheads. It will be a service we do for the good and hygiene of all humanity, one showerhead at a time. Just try and stop us, Johnny Law.

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APRIL 16, 2015


Arkansas Reporter



Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena) has been quoted on the Arkansas Blog and elsewhere as saying he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2016 and he repeated that in a Facebook message over the weekend. Under the new so-called “ethics” amendment, term limits were extended. Previously, three terms would have been the limit for Bell in the House and he’s completing his third. Under the new amendment, which also gave legislators a 150 percent pay raise, he could have served 10 more years in the House. Bell may be an exception. Amazing how many people who hate government and supported term limits serve a few terms in the legislature and decide they are indispensable public servants. Bell said, in part: “During my first campaign in 2010, I promised my wife and our daughters that if they would allow me to serve for 3 terms, I would not seek additional elected office. Phyllis, Tori and Hannah have supported me despite the financial hardships, loss of privacy and other considerations that go along with service in the legislature and I am forever grateful to them for allowing me the flexibility necessary for me to be a part of Arkansas’s state government for the past four and a half years.” Bell worked at the job, we’ll give him that. And he wasn’t utterly predictable, like some members of the Republican caucus. But we’ve had plenty negative to say about Bell, part of the reason, perhaps, that he didn’t respond to a Twitter question from the Arkansas Blog: Will his wife, Phyllis, be staying on in her $50,000 a year legislative lobbying job with Gov. Asa Hutchinson? And might the politically inclined Phyllis Bell, whose past work includes labor for the Koch-backed political lobby in Arkansas, perhaps consider a run for her husband’s seat? She made a losing race for county office last year. The Bells have a daughter on U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman’s staff, too. Nothing says reducing the size of government like getting three family members on the government payroll. Whatever the future holds, don’t forget that Bell still has 20 months left in this term, which includes at least one more regular fiscal session of the legislature and perhaps a special session. There are many more opportunities for extraordinary moments.


Bell to call it quits

BUTTING IN TO ABORTION: Rep. Justin Harris’ Act 934 was just one of six bills passed by this legislature that was considered anti-abortion.

Junk science, risky prescriptions New anti-choice laws pose danger to women BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


stensibly out of concern for women’s physical and mental health, the Arkansas General Assembly this year passed six antiabortion bills. None of them benefit women’s health. Several of them could endanger it. But politically, any legislation that makes it difficult for a woman to exercise her legal right to abortion is golden in the eyes of the anti-choice elements who now dominate lawmaking in Arkansas. Getting the most scorn from physicians in and outside Arkansas is a provision in HB 1578 (Act 1086), sponsored by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Springdale) and Sen. Jim Hendren (R-Gravette), that requires the state Department of Health to provide women who have taken a drug to induce abortion information on how to reverse the abortion. That sounds sort of like closing the barn door after the horse is out, but it’s possibly more dangerous than that. The so-called “abortion reversal” requires giving the woman a high dose of the hormone progestin.

“There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that supports that method,” Little Rock Family Practice administrator Lori Williams said. An “abortion reversal,” which an Arizona ob-gyn called “tantamount to quackery” after that state signed a bill similar to HB 1578, is, fortunately, difficult to obtain, in that, according to Williams, “there is only one physician in the country who claims he has a way to reverse medication abortion, and he has an extremely small number of cases, like six patients, that he has attempted this on. … We don’t know what effect that would have on a fetus” or whether it would be safe for the woman, she said. “There is no data.” Suzanna de Baca, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, which encompasses Arkansas, decried the new law, saying, “Make no mistake — this law is based in politics and not science. But, as Williams pointed out, “abortion reversal” is just one of many problems legislators busied themselves with this session. Act 1086 also requires a woman to meet in person with the doc-

tor who is to administer her medicinal abortion (Mifeprex, or mifestiprone, followed up by misoprostol) 48 hours ahead of the scheduled abortion. At this appointment, the doctor is to provide to the patient materials to be developed by the state Department of Health that includes a DVD showing an ultrasound of the fetal heartbeat at four to five weeks and subsequent gestational ages and materials on alternatives to abortion, color photographs of fetuses at two-week gestational increments, information on the risks of abortion (but not the risks of childbirth) and information on fetal pain, a controversial theory. Arkansas law previously required a physician to administer Mifeprex but not the 48-hour advance appointment and the woman could take the second medication at home. Benton Republican Rep. Lanny Fite’s HB 1394 (Act 577), the “abortion-inducing drugs safety act,” requires that women return to the doctor’s office for misoprostol. A third visit is to confirm the abortion was successful. With the newly required appointment 48 hours previous to the doctor’s giving his patient Mifeprex, Arkansas law now requires that women seeking a medical abortion make four trips to their physician. Requiring trips in person before and after the pills are administered is “a terrible burden for women,” Williams said. The first visit is unnecessary, given that information to be provided is easily obtainable either online — the state will be required to put all the information on a website — or by phone. Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-Hensley) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) were lead sponsors of identical bills (HB 1076 and SB 53) that outlaw telemedicine in the administration of a medicinal abortion. “Many of our patients travel from hundreds of miles away. They will have to take off work, find child care and transportation for no other reason than [legislators’ desire] to make it more difficult” to end an unwanted pregnancy, clinic administrator Williams said. Some women will be forced into motherhood by the roadblocks the new legislation throws up. Act 577 has another problem: It restricts the time in which the drugs can be administered to no more than CONTINUED ON PAGE 38


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Ask the Times: How much does a bill cost? Q: I am not passing judgment on any particular legislation or legislator, but I am curious as to how much it costs for each bill that is introduced while the legislature is in session. This is all taxpayer money, and some bills that have been introduced seem to be doomed to failure, and all they accomplish is a bit (or a lot) of free publicity for the sponsoring individuals, even if they never make it out of committee. Can anyone put a price tag on these efforts? — Phil Palludan

A: Sorry, Phil. We tried, but we couldn’t get a simple answer to this question. We started with Marty Garrity, the director of the Bureau of Legislative Research at the Capitol. Every bill begins its life as a draft composed by a BLR staff attorney at the request of a legislator or a state agency. Some of those drafts never see the light of day, while others are eventually filed and assigned a number (such as “Senate Bill 202”), at which point they are made public Garrity said there are too many variables at play to actually come up with a price tag for what it costs BLR to hatch a bill. “I think it’s almost impossible, because each bill requires a different amount of time. I had one bill that took the entire session; I had others that took about three days,” she said. Appropriations bills, the routine pieces of legislation that parcel out some $20 billion in state, federal and cash funds to all the hundreds of different components of government, usually take even less time than that. For more substantive bills, the length of the drafting process itself depends partly on whether staff attorneys have to start from scratch in formulating the legislation. “Sometimes it’s just an idea — ‘hey, we heard Nebraska is doing this’ — and sometimes, there’s a Word document [from the legislator].” “It’ll go through a legal review, as well as a grammar review. Then it goes back to the attorney, who’ll review it again, and then to the member who requested it,” she said. Often, a member will also request a fiscal impact study on the bill, meaning staff must research its projected effect on the state budget. If a bill is indeed filed, it then enters the legislative process — a discussion and vote in House and Senate committees and a discussion and vote in each full chamber — which might happen very rapidly or might drag on for hours or days. The bill may need to return to BLR to be amended once, twice or more. And if it’s amended, that may mean more committee time and more votes. There are clearly staff costs associated with all of the stages of this process, but because this is happening with hundreds of pieces of different legislation at once, it’s not feasible to put a price tag on any single bill.

There are, at least, some hard numbers for the annual budgets of agencies associated with the legislature. BLR was appropriated $3.5 million for fiscal 2015, the House of Representatives was appropriated $3.6 million, and the Senate was appropriated $1.3 million. The Division of Legislative Audit, a separate agency, was appropriated $3.1 million. There are also costs to the Secretary of State’s office in maintaining the Capitol grounds. More details on those budgets are available to the public at What about bills that “seem to be doomed to failure” from the beginning, as our reader asked? Case in point: The bill by Rep. Dan Douglas (R-Bentonville) to regulate California wine sales in Arkansas in retaliation for that state’s higher animal welfare standards, a stunt that even Douglas said was never intended to actually become law. After it unexpectedly passed the House, he pulled it down from consideration before it reached the Senate. “We leave that up to the members of the General Assembly to determine,” Garrity said, carefully. “We treat all bills as if they’re going to pass. It’s not our job to question the motive or intent of the members.” The really egregious cost associated with legislative grandstanding, though, occurs after the legislature passes a patently unconstitutional bill. Take the 12-week abortion ban approved in 2013, which flies in the face of Roe v. Wade. According to Holly Dickson, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, the state has already been ordered to pay $69,000 in trial fees and costs after losing a suit challenging the law in federal court last year, and that’s not counting the lost time and effort expended by the Attorney General’s office in mounting its quixotic defense. More costs lie ahead: The state has appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, in 2015, the General Assembly set aside up to $200,000 in anticipation of the additional legal fees associated with further defending the 12-week ban. Now that’s some good fiscal conservatism.


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Miss Japan Universe (of Arkansas) Race is too much with us everywhere, it seems. Japan is buzzing about the mixed racial heritage of Miss Japan Universe, Ariana Miyamoto. Her mother is Japanese, her father a black man from Arkansas. She spent two years in high school in Arkansas. Miyamoto, 20, says her mixed heritage made her an object of bullying in her childhood in Japan. Today, many Japanese are objecting to the representation of the country in a beauty pageant by a mixed-race person, called “hafu” in Japan. She’s almost 6 feet tall and striking. Her father Bryant Stanfield, then a Naval officer, met her mother while in service. They divorced, but Ariana spent two years later at Jacksonville HIgh School learning English and also worked for a time in the state.

Coming soon: The 11 Commandments

Thanks to a Kentucky blogger, we’ve learned that Sen. Jason Rapert’s plan to install a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn might cost 10 percent more than anticipated. The bill seems to set out 11 commandments. Thomas E. Rutledge, of the Kentucky Business Entity Law blog, points out that it includes, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house,” and, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s,” as separate commandments instead of one. Gov. Asa Hutchinson happily signed the bill last week, burnishing his reputation as an exemplar of Religious Right leadership, not to mention showing he’s another political leader who talks leaner government while encouraging expensive lawsuits. We’re lucky that Rapert didn’t edit in a Thou Shalt Not about equal rights for homosexuals. That’s in Rapert’s and Hutchinson’s Bible, after all. More important, even, than the verses about loving everyone. Correction: Last week’s cover story, “Why and how you got screwed by the 90th General Assembly,” erroneously reported that the legislature passed a law that required state college campuses to allow staff to carry concealed weapons. That bill stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

APRIL 16, 2015



APRIL 16, 2015



The story of a Pocohontas meth ring that sparked a years-long FBI investigation and ended in murder. BY WILL STEPHENSON


ravis Perkins lived in Pocahontas, a small town along the Black River in Northeast Arkansas, in a ramshackle brick building painted white, with a long, steep roof of blue shingles. Next door was a junk shop that sold VHS tapes, old toys and swords. Perkins, who was tall, unshaven and bulky, with a buzz cut and an impish grin, lived on the second floor, where there were no windows. He lived alone, with his television, his computer and pictures of his kids on the walls. He would have friends over, usually only one at a time, and they’d play board games or set up a target on one side of the room and shoot at it with pellet guns or, more often, with bows and arrows. They’d smoke meth, torching the bulb of a glass pipe, and in the height of the rush they’d stand, take aim, draw their bows and release. Pocahontas, which lies at the intersection of the Mississippi Delta and the Ozark Mountains, is the seat of Randolph County, home to the first courthouse and post office established in the Arkansas Territory. A quiet community, the town’s history is also a rogue’s gal-

lery of bootleggers and black market opportunists. It’s said to have been an early hideout of onetime Public Enemy No. 1 Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, who went on to serve 26 years in Alcatraz. More recently, it has been home to a series of figures straight out of outlaw legend, like the corrupt, former state Sen. Nick Wilson, onetime namesake of the local airport; and the State Trooper Jack McMullen, who smuggled trash bags of pot up from Pasadena, Texas, before the rest of the law caught up with him. Alongside faded portraits from the steamboat era, back when the city truly thrived, the walls of the Randolph County Heritage Museum are filled with framed photographs of moonshine stills and hanged men. They are part of its history, too. Perkins had come to Pocahontas from Dixon, Mo., in 1992, and graduated from Pocahontas High before studying to become a professional welder. He had emerged from a tough, independent childhood, in which he had thrived under his own self-imposed brand of discipline, even skipping a couple of grades in elementary school. In recent

years he worked for a company called DACO, building flatbed trailers from scratch, and he was divorced, though he and his ex-wife, Kimberly, stayed in touch. It wasn’t the life he had wanted or planned for, but things were improving. Around town, despite his drug use and the sorts of mean associations that tended to go with it, Perkins was generally well liked and thought of as a “sweet kid” and a “big teddy bear” — funny, kind and, at worst, “naive.” He was 34 years old when, one Saturday night in April 2013, someone said to be wearing a trench coat and a wig broke into his apartment in the middle of the night and shot him twice in his bed, once in the cheek and once under his chin. His body wasn’t discovered until the following week. He was lying on his back with his feet on the floor, as though he had intended to stand up. The murder appeared to be related to an FBI-led drug investigation that, over the last few years, had targeted Pocahontas, and had sprawled outward in a kind of tragic farce, tarnishing some of the city’s most respected institutions in the process, including the police force

and the judiciary. Buildings were raided, reputations were ruined and general paranoia ran rampant in a community of roughly 6,500. Perkins, for his part, looked like collateral damage. For a long time afterward, his death was the subject only of speculation and countless theories. In the end, there would be only one theory, though so far that’s all it has remained — a theory.

We often picture criminal investigations as tightly structured and logical, a series of names written on a chalkboard and arranged in a sort of pyramid according to guilt. A more accurate image, though, might be that of a spider web pattern on a pane of shattering glass, with lines extending outward quickly and chaotically. This is how the FBI came to Pocahontas. Ask around and you’ll find any number of theories as to the first cause, the inciting incident. Who talked first? Some point to a man arrested several years ago after nodding off stoned at a car wash. Maybe he said too much?

APRIL 16, 2015


Others mention a couple who always seemed strangely eager for attention. Most locals I spoke with were less specific, intimating vaguely that the city itself has long been so corrupt that it was bound to come apart eventually. Almost everyone agreed, however, that Travis Perkins’ fate was finally and irrevocably sealed one afternoon in April 2011, when Glen Smith, the chief of police in the nearby town of Hoxie, switched on his lights and pulled over a pickup truck he had seen veering over the center traffic line on U.S. Highway 67. Behind the wheel, he found 63-yearold Bob Sam Castleman, along with his girlfriend, Becky Spray. Well known in the area as a former municipal judge and attorney, Castleman was slim and nervous, with hunched shoulders and glasses with rectangular wire frames. He had been dating Spray, who at 30 was less than half his age, for a couple of years. They’d met in a professional capacity: He’d represented her in a drug


APRIL 16, 2015


case when she was 19. After running their licenses and scanning the messy interior of the truck, Smith asked Castleman if he would submit to a drug test, to which the former judge replied apologetically, “Why in the world would I want to do that?” In truth, Smith had been looking for this particular truck. A longtime friend who worked at a farm supply store would often tip him off when he noticed customers purchasing what in law enforcement jargon are termed “drug precursors” — materials regularly used in the manufacture of illicit drugs — or otherwise acting suspiciously. “You can tell most of the time if they look suspicious,” the friend later explained in court. “You can tell by their appearance a lot of times, they’ll have sores on their body, on their face, their arms, their eyes will be sunk back in their head.” In Castleman’s truck, Smith found a can of Coleman lantern fuel and rolled up vinyl tubing, which qualify as pre-

cursors when purchased together, and which his friend had seen Castleman and Spray collecting earlier that afternoon. On the floorboards in front of the passenger seat, Smith also noticed a bag of allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine, a common chemical precursor for methamphetamine. Both were promptly arrested, and a state judge issued a search warrant for Castleman’s property on Fairview Road, just outside of Pocahontas. The farm, over 200 acres of mostly dense, desolate woods, had once been a cattle operation, but for several years had been used only for its timber. A team of Randolph County sheriff’s deputies entered through the front gate, breaking the lock with bolt cutters, and began exploring the Castleman home and surveying the surrounding area. Lining the walls inside were Castleman’s collections of arrowheads and Native American pottery, which he’d been assembling for decades. In the living room hung the

Samurai sword he claimed to have purchased in Japan after a tour in Vietnam. “The real McCoy,” he called it proudly. In the house, the police found lithium batteries (another key meth ingredient), digital scales and about a halfounce of marijuana. They immediately put Castleman’s son, Jerrod, and his girlfriend, Fanci, in handcuffs. At the same time, about 200 yards out in the woods in a sort of trough, two other deputies stumbled on what they’d later describe as a meth lab. Like moonshine stills before them, meth labs can be triumphs of rustic ingenuity, revealing an unlikely mastery of complex chemical processes, and this was one of those. It was a strange sight, a science experiment in the middle of a forest: an air tank, a plastic tub, coiled copper line, various lengths of piping and tubing, a hand siphon pump, funnels and a plastic pitcher containing a pill crusher and residue. Later, under questioning, Jerrod

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Long before the drug investigation and the events that followed, Bob Sam Castleman was infamous in Pocahontas and beyond for a bizarre incident years earlier involving a copperhead snake. Castleman is the grandson of a mill worker who uprooted his family in Illinois for a small town in the south Missouri bootheel after World War I. Continuing the family’s gradual southerly migration, Castleman’s father, Bob Sam Castleman Sr., decided to put down roots in Arkansas. He married a woman from Imboden, a devout Baptist, and they raised three children together in Pocahontas. Bob Sam Jr. and his older brother, Richard, both fought in Vietnam, before eventually finding themselves pulled back to Northeast Arkansas to practice law. Richard became a deputy prosecutor; Bob became a municipal judge, as well as the proprietor of what he later deemed “probably the most successful private law practice in Pocahontas.” In the ’90s, according to some who have known Castleman for decades, he was part of the orbit of casual corruption surrounding the notorious Sen. Wilson, memorably described by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Linda Satter as the “smooth-talking, cigar-chomping man with the ice-blue eyes.” (Wilson eventually resigned in 1999 after facing over 100 criminal charges stemming from his various schemes, having funneled just over $1 million of public funds into his own pocket.) “I prided myself in my job,” Castleman would later say in court. “I worked — I wasn’t an 8 to 5 lawyer. I would work into the wee hours of the evening. Some nights I would work all night. A client’s problem maybe went home and went to bed with them, but they never rested with me until their case was over. I did the best I could.” One former client of Castleman’s, however, told me, “There’s something wrong with Bob, with his way of think-

ing. He’s not 100 percent in contact with the world.” Many people noticed this about him, this sense that he lacked a firm grasp on his surroundings (to say nothing of the law). He seemed spacey or distracted, they say, like his mind was elsewhere. Some attribute his particular form of eccentricity to his drug use, though others insist it was in place well before the meth. Not that the meth helped. In the early 2000s, Castleman began having what he termed “blackout spells.” They were typically harmless, except for one December night when he passed out while driving home from an errand in Jonesboro. He drifted off the highway and hit two large steel culverts, totaling his car, breaking his ribs and sternum and knocking himself unconscious. He was pried out of the vehicle with the Jaws of Life, and the pain and medical issues stemming from the accident would follow him for years. Jerrod Castleman has had drugrelated legal issues of his own since he was 14, and it is difficult to say which Castleman picked up the habit from the other. The two were, as a friend put it in court, “more like buddies or friends than like a father-son relationship.” Jerrod is in many respects tougher than his father, more physically intimidating — “He thinks he’s Scarface,” as one person close to the family told me. Still, Bob Castleman has always been intensely, even violently, protective of his son, and it is this tendency that led directly to one of his strangest and most embarrassing episodes, what newspapers would later dub the “snake trial.” In the summer of 2001, Jerrod was in the middle of a feud with a former friend over the possibly fraudulent sale of a 4-wheeler ATV. One night that June, he and his girlfriend drove to the old friend’s home and began doing doughnuts outside in the street, driving ominous circles in the gravel as if to issue a threat. “We were so scared,” Albert Staton, the friend’s father, said later in court. “We didn’t know what he was planning to do.” Staton retrieved his 9mm handgun and fired seven shots at Jerrod’s 1998 Chevy Blazer, shattering the windshield and barely missing him. Bob, who was called to the scene in the middle of the night, was incensed. “God was riding with them that evening,”


Castleman gave up a few names of locals who he said had cooked, purchased or smoked meth on the farm. One of those he named, a regular, was one of his oldest friends, a then-32-year-old welder named Travis Perkins.














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APRIL 16, 2015


he’d say later, “or one or both of those young people would have been dead.” After no charges were brought against the Statons for the incident, Bob became obsessed with revenge. “I wanted to take immediate action,” he explained in court. “I think any parent would want to take immediate action.” The timeline of what happened next is difficult to accurately reconstruct, as many aspects are in dispute by both parties. It may be easiest to simply quote the federal court’s transcript from the sentencing proceedings: “On or about September 29, 2002, in the Eastern District of Arkansas, Mr. Castleman, aiding and abetting a son, did knowingly deposit or mail at the Pocahontas Post Office in Pocahontas, Arkansas, and cause to be delivered by mail, a communication containing a threat to the person of another; to wit, a package addressed to Albert Coy Staton, which contained a live mature copperhead snake.” The snake had been mailed in a cardboard box filled with green pack-

ing peanuts, and it was Staton’s wife who opened it while sitting in the front seat of their car. It “popped out” facing her, she said, and she threw it out of the vehicle onto the ground, trapping it under the box. Sheriff’s deputies rushed to the scene and shot the snake, which was then preserved in an ethanol jar by a snake pathologist. The jar would later turn up during the trial, where it was held up in front of the jurors, so they could get a clear look. The “snake trial” very briefly captured the imaginations of media all over the country, who offered it as an emblem of the Southern grotesque. “Lawyer guilty of mailing deadly snake,” reported CNN. It was even cited in law textbooks, a perfect example of socalled “unmailable material.” After a misguided attempt by Jerrod’s lawyer to claim that the Statons had framed them, Bob admitted defeat and appeared contrite. Standing on the steps of the courthouse, he told reporters, “I’m not going to let a snake ruin my life.”

Castleman went on to deliver an extended monologue at the sentencing hearing in 2004. “I made the mistake of taking the law into my own hands,” he concluded. Judge George Howard Jr., heard his apology and was moved. “Once a sinner, not always a sinner,” Howard proclaimed gravely. “I’m a strong believer in that scriptural concept.” Castleman was disbarred and sentenced to 27 months in prison. However, the judge said in closing, “I’m persuaded that you have seen the light.”

The first raid on Pocahontas came a month after the meth lab was discovered on Castleman’s farm, in May 2011. A tactical meeting was called at 5 a.m. May 9 at the Arkansas State Police’s Company F headquarters in Jonesboro. None of the officers had been briefed on the day’s assignment beforehand. The FBI headed the operation, and other departments were also in attendance,

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APRIL 16, 2015


though the Pocahontas Police Department was conspicuously absent. It soon emerged that the city’s police force was kept in the dark because it was among the targets of the investigation. Over the next several hours, officers fanned out across the usually quiet town with S.W.A.T. vehicles, battering rams and flash grenades, breaking down doors, bagging evidence and taking suspects. A friend of Travis Perkins’ told me the couch in Perkins’ apartment was set on fire during his arrest, and that he himself had brandished a letter opener as a weapon amid the loud and disorienting invasion of his own home. Members of the Pocahontas Police Department were lined up at City Hall and interviewed one by one by the FBI. “It’s a very small community,” Anne Gardner, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, told me. “Almost everybody was talked to.” Among those taken in for questioning while their homes and offices were searched were Pocahontas Chief of Police Chad Mulligan and

John Throesch, a district court judge and prominent attorney. Throesch’s law office had been one of the main focuses of the investigation stemming from Castleman’s traffic stop. Tipped off about possible drug activity on the premises, agents had staked out the building and set up video cameras across the street. An obvious pattern emerged. On video, they caught two of Throesch’s employees leaving cash under a stone in the garden. A third figure would later come and replace the money with drugs. One of the employees was identified as Trish Mulligan, the wife of the city’s police chief. The third figure, they learned, was Travis Perkins.

The man driving the drug investigation was FBI special agent Ed Jernigan, a Greene County native who had joined the bureau in the late ’80s and had been transferred back to Northeast Arkan-

sas in 1994. It is possible that no one has ever looked more like law enforcement than Ed Jernigan, with his thick moustache, stocky build and vaguely bemused expression. Bob Castleman had been on his radar since the copperhead incident, on which he’d been lead investigator (it became a federal crime the moment Castleman relied on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver his revenge). According to one person arrested in the raids, who spoke to me only on condition of anonymity (citing a wish not to attract any further attention from the FBI), Jernigan often seemed to take a personal interest in the Pocahontas case. “Jernigan kept on pushing it and pushing it and pushing it,” he said. The pressure worked. Another raid followed in 2012 (“FBI raids AGAIN,” read a post that day on a local forum hosted by the website Topix), and as the number of suspects said to be associated with the Pocahontas drug ring mounted, those at the center of the

investigation grew increasingly paranoid and despairing. “There’s been some very odd occurrences in this case and they seem to continue,” Jerrod Castleman complained in a hearing about his house arrest, insisting that he had been struggling with depression and anxiety as a result. “I have problems, not necessarily eating, but even remembering to eat,” he said. Bob Castleman, in a 2012 hearing over whether or not he could dismiss the evidence from the Hoxie traffic stop, claimed to have developed major depressive disorder, as well as persistent back pain, a herniated disc, 13 kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, a staph infection and a “pinched sciatic nerve” in his left leg. “I need to be back home,” he told the court. “I’m not bothering anybody. I’ve not committed any crimes. I’m not socializing with anyone, no one is socializing with me.” Castleman presented an especially pitiful figure on the stand. “He’s a peace-

ful gentleman,” his first lawyer, a public defender, told the court. “This is not like some of the other defendants you see in this court; there’s no suggestion of violent behavior, no suggestion that anybody is being injured, killed, threatened, any of those things.” He claimed that after Castleman’s farm was searched, the gate was left unlocked and his home was robbed. “I have very few friends,” Castleman said, the emotion rising in his voice. “I’ve acquired a social disease, for lack of a better way to say it.” The pressure was also getting to Travis Perkins, who was painted in the government’s allegations as the crucial point of connection between the drug scene’s manufacturing and distribution crews (based on the farm and at Throesch’s law office, respectively), the hub of what, in criminal law, is known as a hub-and-spoke conspiracy. Those who were actually involved with the scene, however, tend to downplay Perkins’ overall importance in the city’s

APRIL 16, 2015


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drug world, offering that he was never much more than a supplier of precursors to the older, more experienced men who would actually cook the product. Hints as to Perkins’ own state of mind can be gleaned from his Facebook activity during this period, where he wrote about “sweatin’ out my court date,” and appeared generally despondent. “Guess [the] good ol’ days been over,” he wrote to one friend who wished him well. He began posting religious and otherwise inspirational quotes from figures like Mother Teresa: “When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again.” Perkins’ ex-wife, Kimberly, would later testify that he had begun attending church in the lead-up to his court date, at which he intended to plead guilty. “He was at peace,” she said. One of the last posts Perkins made on Facebook was a quote from the Robin Williams movie “World’s Greatest Dad”: “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” Given the charges against him and the amount of information he had on the others, it was perhaps inevitable that Perkins would begin to seem like a liability. After Bob was released on bond, he made frequent phone calls to Jerrod, who himself was back in prison. Like all such conversations, they were recorded. They discussed the case against them in detail, with Bob expressing particular concern for his son, who had prior drug convictions and so was most at risk. “I’m just hoping they haven’t turned Travis,” the elder Castleman said.

Perkins was scheduled to plead guilty on April 18, 2013. The federal prosecutors claim that he had in fact been turned, that he had committed to sign a plea agreement and cooperate with the government’s investigation, testifying against the Castlemans. His friends, however, dispute this, arguing that the deal proffered by the government wasn’t enough. “They were going to give him the same amount of years either way,” one friend told me, “so he decided he wasn’t going to testify.” In any case, the local newspaper, the Pocahontas Star-Herald, reported that he would. On Friday, April 12, the day before he was killed, Perkins played mancala at his apartment with an old friend. A board game in which two players take

turns moving rocks around a wooden board, attempting to capture each other’s pieces, or “seeds,” mancala was one of Perkins’ favorite games. He’d been clean for months, whether because of court-mandated drug tests or out of a sincere effort to turn things around for himself, and the game calmed him down, offered a distraction from his circumstances. While they played that day, according to the friend, Perkins talked mostly about prison. His body was discovered by his landlord the following Monday, April 15, just three days before his court date. “Police investigating death of Pocahontas man,” the Jonesboro TV station, KAIT, Channel 8, reported later in the week, though the investigation had little to go on. The ballistics analysis at Perkins’ apartment was useless, investigators claimed, as the bullets were too damaged to be properly tested. Also, there were no eyewitnesses or usable physical evidence at the scene. The neighbors had heard nothing. Given the timing, however, the government was fairly confident it had a motive in mind, as well as a perpetrator. Following the murder, according to Bob Castleman’s new lawyer, Blake Hendrix, “The trial immediately took on a different tenor.” Jerrod had an alibi — he was back at home by this point, his every movement monitored by an electronic ankle bracelet. Thus, Bob became the government’s primary suspect. That Saturday night, the night Perkins was killed, Castleman had driven to Southland Park in West Memphis to see the dog races with a woman named Kim Caudle, an old girlfriend of his son’s. Caudle later testified, however, that she didn’t see him for a few hours. He placed a call to Jerrod, according to the phone records, at 12:14 a.m., and then left his cellphone with Caudle, because she was out of minutes. She next saw him sometime after 4 a.m. She also testified that she had once overheard Jerrod discussing Perkins with his father, that the younger Castleman was convinced he could “change his mind” if he could only meet with his old friend. The drive from Southland Park to Pocahontas takes roughly two hours — four to make a round trip. If Castleman were to make it to Perkins’ apartment and back, in other words, it would have been necessary to speed considerably. “By my calculations and MapQuest,” Hendrix told me, “that’s physically impossible. The evidence [is] just as thin as could be.” Federal prosecutors, however, thought otherwise. “Travis

had the most information about Bob,” Gardner, the assistant U.S. attorney, told me. “Travis was the one who was out there [on the farm] doing this when Jerrod was away. My personal belief is that Bob thought he was helping Jerrod. His son was in trouble, and he and his son were very close.” “I was surprised,” she said. “We do a lot of violent crime cases, but this was one of those things that just seemed so unnecessary. [Perkins] was a meth cook, but for all intents and purposes he was a pretty nice guy. He was amicable. He was going to take responsibility for what he had done. He was going to do his time and move on with his life. It was just surprising, and even today my one thought on this thing is, it was so unnecessary. What a waste. For everybody.”

In the end, Perkins’ murder didn’t solve any of Bob Castleman’s problems. “[Bob] didn’t realize just how many motherfuckers were gonna testify against him,” one of the other defendants in the case told me. “I think everybody and their dog testified against him.” One testimony, in particular, must have stung. His son, Jerrod, finally agreed to a plea deal in December 2013. Tearfully, he told the court that his father had admitted the murder to him, that he had disguised himself in a trenchcoat and a wig and had driven to Perkins’ apartment in the middle of the night and killed him. He said he had tossed the gun over a bridge into the Spring River. “[Bob] didn’t expect Jerrod to testify,” Gardner told me. “Jerrod didn’t plead guilty until the day of the trial.” Strangely, the government elected not to charge Castleman with murder. Instead, it simply added on the allegation in the latter stages of his drug trial, taking advantage of the nature of the sentencing guidelines (according to which a sentence can be “enhanced,” or increased, if a homicide is committed in the course of committing a crime) to make Castleman’s drug conviction more severe. He was found guilty, and because of his son’s testimony he was sentenced to 40 years in prison, a much greater term than he would have otherwise faced. Hendrix, who is appealing the drug conviction, sees it as an instance of “the nightmarish quality that sometimes the federal sentencing guidelines produce.” The standard of evidence required for a sentence enhancement is less exacting than it would be in an actual murder

trial, he points out. “It’s really not common,” Gardner said, but Castleman has effectively been sentenced for a murder with which he was never charged or tried. According to Hendrix, “You have a situation here where the tail is wagging the dog.” The remaining defendants, along with the prominent bystanders unknowingly entangled in the investigation, all of them now survivors of the so-called Pocahontas drug ring, have either fled town or are lying low. Mulligan, the former chief of police who was cleared

of any involvement in the conspiracy, resigned and moved to Florida with his wife. Throesch, the district court judge who claimed to have no knowledge of his employee’s activities, closed his office and now works out of his brother’s building. The other co-conspirators, most of them truck drivers or auto mechanics who got in over their heads, are on probation, hoping to stay out of trouble and move on. “The thing of it is, it never was supposed to be no big deal like they made it out to be,” one of them told me. “It was just people trying

to get high. And then it all got escalated into a big ball of shit.” For its part, the U.S. attorney’s office believes that justice has been served. “He got 40 years, and he’s already 60 years old,” Gardner said of Bob Castleman, “so I consider it a life sentence. “[A murder change] still could be tried if the state wanted to,” she added. “But how much blood can you get from a stone?”


APRIL 16, 2015


Arts Entertainment AND


ickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs are two of Arkansas’s most widely acclaimed poets and beloved creative writing professors (at UALR and Hendrix College, respectively). The two were married in 2013 and both released new books in the last month. Brown’s “Fanny Says” is an intensely personal “biography-in-poems” about her grandmother, and Jacobs’ “Pelvis With Distance” is a meditation both on the painter Georgia O’Keeffe and on a month the author spent alone in a cabin in the New Mexico desert. Brown and Jacobs will be leaving Little Rock at the end of the semester to pursue writing full time. Caitlin Love, assistant editor of the Oxford American, met with them recently to discuss their books, their writing lives and the future. Do you share your writing with one another? NB: Absolutely. She’s my first reader. It’s in our marriage vows: “I will be your reader and witness.”

‘Your reader and witness’ An interview with Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs. BY CAITLIN LOVE

POETRY IN MOTION: Jacobs (left) and Brown are soon to leave Arkansas.

JJ: It’s honestly more than I could have imagined. Our writing is similar enough that we have complimentary aesthetics, but where I’m always striving for compression, Nickole is trying to find more expansive ways to write. So she’ll tell me when my work needs to breathe, and often I’ll let her know when she might cut away a bit. Did you always want to write? JJ: Writing was something present from the time I was a little kid. But I always imagined myself doing it alone.

entire next morning and early afternoon in silence. And that allows us to spend time together, but to also be alone and enter a creative space. Were there certain books that sparked your interest when you were really young writers? NB: We both cut our teeth on Sylvia Plath. When I was a cranky teenager, I cloaked myself in all black with a copy of “The Bell Jar” under my arm. And Jessica discovered “Daddy” in the library, right? JJ: Yes. Reading that poem stopped the day cold, and made me want to learn how to write like that. NB: We both also have a deep love for Jack Gilbert. His poetry endures in our lives. “The Great Fires” is one book I turn to again and again. His lines often have a deep wisdom to them. He lived outside of the literary and academic scene of his time. The way he talks about awareness and life, not to mention how he set out with intent to live with a deep awareness, is something that has been instructive to both of us. JJ: He lived very simply, on next to nothing, in Greece for many years, in a little town called Monolithos, on the island of Santorini, with the poet Linda Gregg. Something that has been interesting for us to think about are different couples who are both writers. Like Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. There’s a truly amazing essay called “The Third Thing” by Donald Hall about their life together.

NB: Me, too. I thought this was something I had to do alone, really. But now Jessica’s in my life, and I feel so blessed to know she’s working just as hard, right alongside me.

NB: Yes, we’ve read that essay four or five times to each other, dreaming about how we can spend the rest of our days together as writers.

JJ: Since we got married, we’ve grown together, and every day we work to figure out how we can maintain boundaries, both encouraging each other and making sure we’re giving each other enough space. One thing we learned early on is not to distract ourselves too much on days we want to work. So a lot of nights, we’ll say, “OK, we’re not going to talk until 2 or so tomorrow.” Then we’ll spend the

I want to talk a little about landscape — physical and abstract — because I think that “Pelvis With Distance” is very much rooted in the aspect of the desert as a subject. And “Fanny Says” revolves around the landscapes of class and race in Kentucky. Jessica, can you talk more about the desert, and how it influenced your work, and how you see it in the book? CONTINUED ON PAGE 32


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A&E NEWS FOR THIS MONTH’S ARKANSAS Times Film Series screening, co-sponsored by the Little Rock Film Festival and UCA, we’ll be welcoming the writer-director Rebecca Thomas, who will present her 2012 debut feature “Electrick Children” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the Ron Robinson Theater and participate in a post-screening Q&A. The film follows a fundamentalist Mormon teenager who comes to believe she’s been impregnated by listening to a cassette tape, her first experience with rock music, and runs away to Las Vegas looking for answers. The New York Times called it “a playful urban fable, about the collision of country and city mice that suggests a variation of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ “ and “neither comedy nor drama nor satire but a surreal melange infused with magical realism.” The film, which opened at the Berlin International Film Festival and SXSW, stars Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken and Billy Zane. Thomas, who like her protagonist grew up Mormon in Las Vegas, made the film while a student at Columbia University, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 2012. Thomas will also be in Conway to screen “Electrick Children” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the University of Central Arkansas’s Stanley Russ Hall, room 103, where she’ll participate in a post-screening Q&A. The UCA screening is free and open to the public. Looking ahead in the Arkansas Times Film Series, we’ll be showing the Levon Helm-narrated NASA epic “The Right Stuff” May 21, Alfred Hitchcock’s spy-thriller masterpiece “North by Northwest” June 18 and cult-favorite documentary “Hands on a Hard Body” July 16. All screenings are at 7 p.m. and cost $5.

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TICKETS HAVE GONE ON SALE this week for the first-ever Bentonville Film Festival, to be held May 5-9, a new venture launched by actress Geena Davis (“Thelma and Louise,” “Beetlejuice,” “The Fly,” etc.). The festival was started to highlight films that prominently feature women and minorities in cast and crew. The advisory board includes Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman, Bruce Dern, Angela Bassett, Eva Longoria and more. Tickets start at $8 and can be purchased at VERIZON ARENA ANNOUNCED THIS week that country mega-star Tim McGraw will come through North Little Rock on his well-named “Shotgun Rider” tour, with special guests Chase Bryant and Billy Currington. The show will be on Friday, June 5. Tickets will go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, April 17, and will be $43-$74.50. Find them at ticketmaster. com or by phone at 800-745-3000.

APRIL 16, 2015









‘CLASS OF 2007’: Chicago Nina Chanel Abney’s work in the “30 Americans” show at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Thirty for America Art of the new world at the Arts Center. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK


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APRIL 16, 2015


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lenn Ligon’s blinking black-andwhite neon sign, in the Jeannette Rockefeller Gallery at the Arkansas Arts Center, spells “America,” and so does this terrific exhibition of work by contemporary African-American artists now on view. The painters, videographers, sculptors, photographers and mixed media artists whose work makes up the “30 Americans” show use their medium to reflect on the black experience in a white-dominated America, from the literal (Ku Klux Klan masks surrounding a noose) — to the literary (Kara Walker’s silhouetted telling of “Camptown Ladies,” which spans an entire wall of the Rockefeller Gallery). Using the past to celebrate the present, Kehinde Wiley appropriates the pomp and power of European nobility by replacing their heroic portraits with figures of African-American men. His “Equestrian Portrait of the Count Duke Olivares,” a man in a red hoodie and sneakers atop

a rearing white horse, is so tall the Arts Center should consider putting a ladder in the gallery so we might get a good look at the duke’s face and more of Wiley’s impossibly meticulous backgrounds of tapestry patterns. There are fascinating histories behind some of the works. For her painting “Class of 2007,” Nina Chanel Abney painted her all-white art school colleagues as black inmates and herself as a blonde, blue-eyed, gun-toting prison guard. She’s applied aqua and orange paint so thin it drips over her deft renditions of her classmates, whom she’s given flat, jet-black pupils that admit no light. Hank Willis Thomas’ “Priceless” plays off the Mastercard ad campaign, superimposing over a photograph of a family at a funeral “9mm pistol: $80,” “gold chain: $400,” “bullet: 6 cents,” “Picking the perfect casket for your son: Priceless.” Thomas took the photograph at the funeral of his own cousin, shot to death in a petty robbery.


We’re showing “Electrick Children” with filmmaker Rebecca Thomas attending and participating in a post-screening Q&A. CO-SPONSORED BY


The late Robert Colescott’s painterly “Sunset on the Bayou” is a complicated and cartoonish outsider work that is so rich in imagery that looking at it is like reading a good, long book you don’t want to end. In the foreground a grown white woman in red heels lies across the lap of her half-ink black, half-stark white mother and asks in a word balloon, “Mama! How come I’m a quadroon when papa was an octaroon?” In one corner, two white men exchange gold for the Louisiana Purchase; in another is Jim Crow. I’m not even sure the story it tells has a beginning, a middle and an end, but I could have looked at the painting forever. The show is drawn from the collection of the Rubell family in Miami that has been traveling the country. Darrell Walker, the former Razorback basketball star who went on to the NBA and who has a significant collection of African-American art himself, knows the Rubells and asked Arts Center director Todd Herman if he’d like the show to stop in Arkansas. Herman gave an emphatic “absolutely.” “30 Americans” is a vast exhibition; only a part of it is at the Arts Center, though the part that is here takes up most of the galleries. Other works: a painting and a mixed-media work by the late street artist Jean Michel Basquiat; a Kerry James

Marshall installation on the firebombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., that suggests the media makes such things removed and palatable; the beautifully painted “Noir,” in which Barkley L. Hendricks portrays his stylish man against a flat yellow background; “Untitled (after Kikugawa Eizan’s “Furyu nana komachi” [The Modern Seven Komashi])” depicting a Japanese woman in blackface, by Iona Rozeal Brown; Nick Cave soundsuits (minus one, apparently — more title cards than suits) that would have been great paired with video to show how they move when people are dancing in them. Also: Jeff Sonhouse’s gorgeous and weird mixed media on wood “Exhibit A: Cardinal Francis Arinze,” of the Nigerian papal candidate, adorned with a charcoal necklace. And if you want bittersweet joy, see Henry Taylor’s “The Long Jump by Carl Lewis,” a portrait of the track-and-field star running toward the viewer and away from a prison in the background. “30 Americans” runs through June 21. Each Friday at noon, an Arkansas artist will talk about the exhibition for the “American Voices in the Gallery” series; Delita Martin is speaking April 17. Other events associated with the show can be found online at




Tim Sparks Thursday April 16 7:30 p.m. The Joint

301 Main Street North Little Rock

“Sparks’ musical goulash is spiced with Celtic, blues, and jazz flavors for a truly unique work.” —Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Tickets $20

Available at the door or online at Sponsored by…

APRIL 16, 2015







7:10 p.m. Dickey-Stephens Park. $6-$12.

Last weekend at the Rev Room, the comedian Hannibal Buress briefly divided the crowd with an extended riff on the subject of baseball and its utter deficiency as a sport. He dismissed it a sport for children, fundamentally dull, in which the ultimate athletic achievement, a no-hitter, fittingly involves nothing happening at all. Baseball, he said finally, is a great context for hanging out with an old friend for two hours with no distractions. Whether or not you’re a fan, all of this seems more or less true — and can even be restated as an endorsement: Baseball is both the ultimate children’s game and an unparalleled opportunity to hang out while doing nothing. I plan to spend a good deal of the Travs’ 2015 season hanging out and doing nothing. What could be better? Now that the controversy over new mascot Otey (described by SB Nation as a “nightmare hillbilly possum”) has calmed down — and don’t ever doubt that it could be worse: my hometown minor league mascot was a Polecat — nothing should stand in their way. With their brandnew patriotic jerseys and early series against the Frisco RoughRiders and the Midland RockHounds, the Travs are finally returned. 26

APRIL 16, 2015


MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW: Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley plays at Juanita’s 8 p.m. Saturday, $40-$100.



7 p.m. Juanita’s. $40-$100.

Ralph Stanley — known as Dr. Ralph Stanley since he picked up an honorary doctorate in the late ’70s — is the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a winner of the National Medal of Arts. He hails from unincorporated mountain towns in southwest Virginia, an area now often described as “Ralph Stanley country,” if that gives you some sense of his impor-

tance to the region. “I was borned [sic] and raised way back in the hills,” he wrote in his autobiography, “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “and a lot of our forefathers, our grandpas and great-uncles and so forth, were of the old Baptist faith, and they all had lonesome voices to sing out those sad old hymns.” It’s a tradition he has continued, but also one that he himself helped incorporate and firmly establish in the broader culture, helping to shape modern bluegrass as a solo artist and with his decades-span-

ning crew the Clinch Mountain Boys. He’s been cited as an influence by Bob Dylan, Dwight Yoakam and Jerry Garcia; helped launch the careers of Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley; and has been called a “cultural treasure” by the Los Angeles Times and “easily the most eminent bluegrass singer in the world” by NPR. Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys perform live Saturday alongside The Cons of Formant, Sioux City Kid, Rodge Arnold and Kassi Moe, in a concert sponsored by the Arkansas Times.






8 p.m. Verizon Arena. $52.50-$174

Nowadays when we say we like Fleetwood Mac, what we really mean is we like two or maybe three studio albums out of a total of 17 released by the band formed in late ’60s London by a blues guitarist named Peter Green. The band’s own Syd Barrett, Green was Fleetwood Mac’s frontman and major creative force until he suffered an LSDinspired schizophrenic break in Germany in 1970. He wrote and had the band record one last song (called “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)”), then insisted they donate all their money to charity. The band disagreed; Green left. The next year, guitarist Jeremy Spencer walked out one day to “get a magazine” and promptly joined a religious cult called the Children of God. He never came back. They poached a singer named

Christine Perfect from a band called Chicken Shack — she changed her name to Christine McVie when she married their bass player — and proceeded to hire and fire an unrivaled string of great musicians over the next several years, recording now-forgotten albums along the way. The band’s manager, in an interesting twist, figured he owned the name Fleetwood Mac by this point, so he simply recruited a new band (formerly called Legs) and had them tour throughout 1974, prompting a surprisingly lengthy legal battle. Around this time, the real Fleetwood Mac heard a song called “Frozen Love” by the duo Buckingham Nicks and offered to hire their songwriter, the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. By this point, the band had already recorded nine albums. Buckingham said he guessed he’d come if he could bring his girlfriend, Stevie Nicks, and after some discussion the band said “OK.”

A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR: Todd Rundgren performs at Revolution 8 p.m. Sunday, $35 adv., $40 day of.



8 p.m. Revolution. $35 adv., $40 day of.

Despite being a huge fan of Todd Rundgren, the idea of seeing him live has never actually occurred to me. This is partly because he seems somehow mythical in the manner of all ’70s rock icons, but it’s mostly because I’ve always associated him so firmly with the environment of the recording studio. The guitarist Lenny Kaye once summarized Rundgren’s production philosophy this way: “If you know what you want, I’ll get it for you. If you don’t know what you want, I’ll do it for you.” This has been his role — thankless, stuck behind the boards — on pivotal records by The Band, Badfinger, the New York Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, Hall and Oates, Patti Smith and countless others from the 1970s through the present.

Even on his solo albums, he’s always been geekily preoccupied by the artifice of the studio. Witness the gag at the start of side three on his best-known album, “Something/ Anything”: “This game is called ‘Sounds of the Studio,’ ” he says, before introducing a litany of recording flaws, from “popping” to “bad editing.” Like all of his efforts, it’s best appreciated in stereo. His masterpiece, 1973’s “A Wizard, a True Star,” heavily and obviously influenced by his encounters with peyote and psilocybin mushrooms, set the high water mark for visionary studio-rock decadence. Particularly the opening song suite, which is as good as adventurous pop music can get — transcendent and hilarious and heartbreaking and very stupid. It couldn’t be replicated on a stage. Still, I’m excited to see him try.


6 p.m. Sturgis Hall. Free.

Chen Guangcheng lost his eyesight at 6 months old. He was the youngest of five siblings from a poor family in China’s Shandong Province. He attended medical school, studying acupuncture and massage, and auditing law classes in his spare time. He brought his first classaction lawsuit against the government in 1996 and soon began regularly speaking out as an advocate for disability rights and environmentalism, and as an outspoken opponent of forced sterilization and the extreme enforcement of China’s one-child policy. In response, he was arrested and beaten. After he was detained several more times, he was finally sentenced to four years in prison for damaging property and disturbing traffic. The Western press rallied around Chen’s cause, but his conviction was sustained. Amnesty International declared him “jailed solely for his peaceful activities in defense of human rights.” He remained under house arrest following his release — a period that consisted of further beatings and harassment — and was championed by American activists, politicians and public figures (Christian Bale tried to visit him on CNN in 2011 but was rejected by the security guards). When he escaped, in 2012, he came to the U.S. as a visiting scholar at NYU. Since then, he’s emerged as a public intellectual, lecturing and writing op-eds on Chinese politics, and most recently authoring a memoir, “The Barefoot Lawyer,” published last month.

Amy DuBois Barnett, formerly the editor-in-chief of Ebony and now executive editor of ESPN, will speak at Philander Smith College as part of its Bless the Mic lecture series, 7 p.m., free. Comedian Matt Davis is at the Loony Bin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, $7 (and 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10). Guitarist Tim Sparks performs at The Joint as part of the Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series, 7:30 p.m., $20. New York-based percussion quartet So Percussion performs at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, 7:30 p.m., $10-$25. Tulsa songwriter John Moreland plays at White Water Tavern with Kevin Kerby, 9:30 p.m., $7.

FRIDAY 4/17 The first-ever Springtime of Youth Music Festival will be held in Fayetteville at Baum Stadium, featuring Wiz Khalifa, Mutemath, Misterwives, Viceroy, Moon Taxi and more, 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier and Mark Philippoussis will compete at the Powershares Series of tennis legends at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center, 7 p.m. Ballet Arkansas will present their production “Who Cares?” featuring the music of George Gershwin at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $35. Art Alexakis of Everclear performs at Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $20 adv., $25 day of. John Paul Keith returns to White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7.

SATURDAY 4/18 The first-ever Pipes and Tails Crawfish Boil and Bike Show will be at the River Market pavilions, 10 a.m., $5-$15. The 5th Annual Turkish Food Festival is at the Raindrop Turkish House at 11 a.m., free. Poets Jessica Jacobs and Nickole Brown will read and sign books at WordWorth Books & Co., 3 p.m. The Texas Tenors are at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway, 7:30 p.m., $30-$40. The Big Gay Radio Show presents Cody Belew, Shannon Boshears and John Willis at South on Main, 9 p.m., $10.

SUNDAY 4/19 India Fest, featuring traditional dances, music, food and shopping, will be at the River Market pavilions beginning at 11 a.m. Nashville garage rock band Turbo Fruits play at Stickyz with Eternal Summers and Little Rock’s Charlie Virgo, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of.

APRIL 16, 2015


AFTER DARK All events are in the Greater Little Rock area unless otherwise noted. To place an event in the Arkansas Times calendar, please email the listing and all pertinent information, including date, time, location, price and contact information, to

free. 111 Markham St. 501-370-7013. Third Degree (headliner), Richie Johnson (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. The Trustees. Another Round Pub, 9 p.m. 12111 W. Markham. 501-313-2612. Who’s Bad, The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band. RockStar Lounge, a benefit for UAMS. Rock Town Distillery, 7 p.m., $75 adv., $100 day of. 1216 E. Sixth St. 501-907-5244.



“Inferno.” DJs play pop, electro, house and more, plus drink specials and $1 cover before 11 p.m. Sway, 9 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. John Moreland, Kevin Kerby. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. Josh Abbott Band. George’s Majestic Lounge, 9 p.m., $20. 519 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479442-4226. Karaoke. Zack’s Place, 8 p.m., free. 1400 S. University Ave. 501-664-6444. Live Band Karaoke. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. www. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 President Clinton Ave. 501-3724782. Open Jam. Thirst n’ Howl, 8 p.m. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Parker Francis. Another Round Pub, 7 p.m. 12111 W. Markham. 501-313-2612. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. So Percussion. Walton Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $10$25. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-370-7013. Tim Sparks. Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series. The Joint, 7:30 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Tragikly White (headliner), Brian Ramsey (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351.


Matt Davis. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m.; through April 18, $7. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501228-5555.


Antique/Boutique Walk. Shopping and live entertainment. Downtown Hot Springs, third Thursday of every month, 4 p.m., free. 100 Central Ave., Hot Springs.


Amy Dubois Barnett. Bless the Mic Lecture Series. Philander Smith College, 7 p.m., free. 900 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive.


POETluck. Literary salon and potluck. The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, third Thursday of every month, 6 p.m. 515 Spring St., Eureka Springs. 479-253-7444. 28

APRIL 16, 2015



“I Love You But You’re Sitting On My Cat.” An original production by The Main Thing. The Joint, 8 p.m., $22. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Matt Davis. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-2285555.


NO CONTROL: Nashville garage rock band Turbo Fruits play at Stickyz 8 p.m. Sunday with Eternal Summers and locals Charlie Virgo, $8 adv., $10 day of.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555.



All In Fridays. Club Elevations. 7200 Colonel Glenn Road. 501-562-3317. Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. With the Knights Chamber Orchestra. Arkansas School for the Blind, 7:30 p.m., $10. 2600 W. Markham. Art Alexakis of Everclear. Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $20 adv., $25 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Atomic Hi-5, Crowning Alice. The Lightbulb Club, 9 p.m. 21 N. Block Ave., Fayetteville. 479444-6100. Brian Nahlen. Arkansas Sounds. Hillcrest Hall, 7

p.m., $5. 1501 Kavanaugh Blvd. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu, until 2 a.m. 1620 Savoy, 10 p.m. 1620 Market St. 501-2211620. El Campo. Vino’s. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. John Paul Keith. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 PresidentClinton Ave. 501-3724782. Route 66. Agora Conference and Special Event Center, 6:30 p.m., $5. 705 E. Siebenmorgan, Conway. Springtime of Youth Music Festival. Featuring Wiz Khalifa, Mutemath, MisterWives, Viceroy, Wet, Moon Taxi and more. Baum Stadium, April 17-18, 4 p.m. 1255 S Razorback Road., Fayetteville. (479) 575-3655. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m.,

Ballet Arkansas, “Who Cares?” Featuring the music of George Gershwin. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, April 17-18, 7:30 p.m.; April 19, 2 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. Contra Dance. Park Hill Presbyterian Church, first and third Friday of every month, 7:30 p.m.; fourth Friday of every month, 7:30 p.m., $5. 3520 JFK Blvd., NLR. “Salsa Night.” Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


Fantastic Friday. Literary and music event, refreshments included. For reservations, call 479-968-2452 or email artscenter@centurytel. net. River Valley Arts Center, Every third Friday, 7 p.m., $10 suggested donation. 1001 E. B St., Russellville. 479-968-2452. LGBTQ/SGL weekly meeting. Diverse Youth for Social Change is a group for LGBTQ/SGL and straight ally youth and young adults age 14 to 23. For more information, call 244-9690 or search “DYSC” on Facebook. LGBTQ/SGL Youth and Young Adult Group, 6:30 p.m. 800 Scott St.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. Powershares Series: John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier and Mark Philippoussis. Jack Stephens Center, UALR, 7 p.m. 2801 S. University Ave.



The Big Gay Radio Show Presents: Cody Belew, Shannon Boshears, John Willis. South on Main, 9 p.m., $10. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See Apr. 17. Jet 420 (headliner), Greg Madden (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. John Neal Rock N Roll. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m. 107 River Market Ave. 501-372-7707. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S.

Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Casa Mexicana, 7 p.m. 7111 JFK Blvd., NLR. 501-835-7876. Zack’s Place, 8 p.m., free. 1400 S. University Ave. 501-664-6444. Karaoke with Kevin & Cara. All ages, on the restaurant side. Revolution, 9 p.m.-12:45 a.m., free. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. K.I.S.S. Saturdays. Featuring DJ Silky Slim. Dress code enforced. Sway, 10 p.m. 412 Louisiana. 501-492-9802. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 President Clinton Ave. 501-3724782. Lucious Spiller Band. Afterthought Bistro and Bar, 9 p.m. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Mom’s Kitchen. Revolution, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Old Age, JrSOAPbox. The Lightbulb Club, 9 p.m. 21 N. Block Ave., Fayetteville. 479-444-6100. Passing A Starfighter. Vino’s. 923 W. 7th St. 501375-8466. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. Ralph Stanley. Featuring The Cons of Formant, Sioux City Kid, Rodge Arnold, Kassi Moe. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $40-$100. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. R&R. Another Round Pub, 9 p.m. 12111 West Markham. 501-313-2612. Springtime of Youth Music Festival. See Apr. 17. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-370-7013. The Texas Tenors. Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, 7:30 p.m., $30-$40. 350 S. Donaghey, Conway.


“I Love You But You’re Sitting On My Cat.” An original production by The Main Thing. The Joint, 8 p.m., $22. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. Matt Davis. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


Ballet Arkansas, “Who Cares?” Featuring the music of George Gershwin. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-3780405.


5th Annual Turkish Food Festival. Raindrop Turkish House, 11 a.m., free. 1501 Market St. 501-223-2155. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell and Cedar Hill roads. Hillcrest Farmers Market. Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 2200 Kavanaugh Blvd. Historic Neighborhoods Tour. Bike tour of historic neighborhoods includes bike, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 9 a.m., $8-$28. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001. Pipes and Tails Crawfish Boil and Bike Show. River Market pavilions, 10 a.m., $5-$15. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.

Pork & Bourbon Tour. Bike tour includes bicycle, guide, helmets and maps. Bobby’s Bike Hike, 11:30 a.m., $35-$45. 400 President Clinton Ave. 501-613-7001.


Symposium on the Moral Imperative of Music Education. Followed by a short performance by Todd Rundgren. Ticket reservations required. Statehouse Convention Center, 6:30 p.m. 7 Statehouse Plaza.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Frisco. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555.

All American Food & Great Place to Watch Your Favorite Event


Jessica Jacobs and Nickole Brown. WordsWorth Books & Co., 3 p.m. 5920 R St. 501-663-9198.



Fleetwood Mac. Verizon Arena, 8 p.m., $52.50$174. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001. Irish Traditional Music Session. Hibernia Irish Tavern, first and third Sunday of every month, 2:30 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501246-4340. Karaoke. Shorty Small’s, 6-9 p.m. 1475 Hogan Lane, Conway. 501-764-0604. Karaoke with DJ Sara. Hardrider Bar & Grill, 7 p.m., free. 6613 John Harden Drive, Cabot. 501-982-1939. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Todd Rundgren. Revolution, 8 p.m., $35 adv., $40 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Turbo Fruits, Eternal Summers, Charlie Virgo. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 107 River Market Ave. 501-3727707.


Ballet Arkansas, “Who Cares?” Featuring the music of George Gershwin. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 2 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405.


11th Annual Earth Day Celebration. World Peace Wetland Prairie, 1 p.m., free. 1121 South Duncan Ave., Fayetteville. Cruzin’ at Chenal Car Show. The Promenade at Chenal, 2 p.m. 17711 Chenal Parkway. 501821-5552. India Fest. River Market pavilions, 11 a.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 6:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.travs. com.






| Passing A Starfighter (Alexandria, LA) | | Open Fields | Chris Hamlett (Pineville, LA) | T U E S D AY A P R I L 2 1

Vino’s Brewpub Cinema presents 8 At The Earth’s Core (1976) T H U R S D AY A P R I L 2 3

| Sounds Of Satellites (Orange County, CA) | Sean Michel | | Red Sweater Lullaby (Las Vegas, NV) | F R I D AY A P R I L 2 4

| White Collar Sideshow (Fort Smith, AR) | | Silversyde (Toledo, OH) | S AT U R D AY A P R I L 2 5

| Neverafter | Hyper Fury (Memphis, TN) | Mortalus | S U N D AY A P R I L 2 6

| I Was Afraid | Snakedriver | | Means End | Colour Design |

T U E S D AY A P R I L 2 8

Vino’s Brewpub Cinema presents 8 The Earth Dies Screaming (1964)

W E D N E S D AY A P R I L 2 9

| Immortal Bird (Chicago, IL) | Crankbait | | Ozark Shaman | Wayland (Wayland, MI) |

APRIL 16, 2015


AFTER DARK, CONT. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 President Clinton Ave. 501372-4782. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Open Mic. The Lobby Bar. Studio Theatre, 8 p.m. 320 W. 7th St. Richie Johnson. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com.


“The Barefoot Lawyer.” A presentation by the activist Chen Guangcheng. Sturgis Hall, 6 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.



Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Brahms. Chamber music. Clinton Presidential Center, 7 p.m., $23. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 370-8000. Dana Louise and The Glorious Birds. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501375-8400. Jeff Ling. Khalil’s Pub, 6 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7

p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke Tuesday. Prost, 8 p.m., free. 322 President Clinton Blvd. 501-244-9550. Karaoke Tuesdays. On the patio. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 7:30 p.m., free. 107 River Market Ave. 501-372-7707. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 President Clinton Ave. 501372-4782. Music Jam. Hosted by Elliott Griffen and Joseph Fuller. The Joint, 8-11 p.m., free. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205. thejointinlittlerock. com. Nonpoint, 36 Crazyfists, Scare Don’t Fear. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $14.50. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Tuesday Jam Session with Carl Mouton. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Stand-Up Tuesday. Hosted by Adam Hogg. The Joint, 8 p.m., $5. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205.


“Latin Night.” Juanita’s, 7:30 p.m., $7. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


2015 Spring Job Fair. Statehouse Convention Center, 10 a.m., free. 7 Statehouse Plaza. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. www.


“At The Earth’s Core.” Vino’s, 7:30 p.m., free. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Midland RockHounds. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. www.


Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea. Pulaski Technical College-South Campus, 5:30 p.m., $85. Exit 128, I-30.



4th Annual National Open Mic Night. Afterthought Bistro & Bar. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Brian and Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. The Bright Light Social Hour. Revolution, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. www.rumbarevolution. com/new/. David Rosen Septet. South on Main, 7:30 p.m., free. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660. Drageoke with Chi Chi Valdez. Sway. 412 Louisiana. 501-907-2582. I Prevail, Too Close To Touch, Chasing Safety. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 30

APRIL 16, 2015


501-372-1228. Jake Pair. Another Round Pub, 6:30 p.m. 12111 W. Markham. 501-313-2612. Jazz in the Park: Stellar Way. Riverfront Park, 6 p.m., free. 400 President Clinton Avenue. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-3242999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. www. Karaoke. MUSE Ultra Lounge, 8:30 p.m., free. 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-6398. Lee Brice, The Cadillac Three, Granger Smith. Live at UCA’s Farris Center. University of Central Arkansas, 8 p.m., $20. 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-3798189. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-370-7013.


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205.


Little Rock Bop Club. Beginning dance lessons for ages 10 and older. Singles welcome. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 7 p.m., $4 for members, $7 for guests. 12th and Cleveland streets. 501-350-4712. www. littlerockbopclub.


“Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor.” A presentation by James Scott. Sturgis Hall, 6 p.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-683-5200.


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



“Harvey.” Pocket Community Theater, through April 19: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m., $10. 170 Ravine St., Hot Springs. “Karski’s Message.” The Weekend Theater, through April 25: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., $16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. “The Modern Day Esther.” Philander Smith College, Fri., April 17, 7 p.m., $20 adv., $25 day of. 900 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. “Nine: The Musical.” The Studio Theatre, through April 19: Thu.-Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m., $20. 320 W. 7th St. “The Sound of Music.” Connor Performing Arts Center, Pulaski Academy, April 16-18, 7 p.m.; Sat., April 18, 1 p.m., $8-$15. 12701 Hinson Road.


New shows in bold face ARGENTA GALLERY, 413 Main St., NLR:

“Eluvium and Formation: Abstracted Landscapes,” sculpture by Ed Pennebaker and paintings by LaDawna Whiteside, April 17-May 18, reception 5-8 p.m. April 17, Argenta ArtWalk. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sat. GALLERY 360, 900 S. Rodney Parham Road: “Flora and Fauna,” work by Rachel Trusty and Beth Whitlow, opens with reception 7-10 p.m. April 18, show through May. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. 663-222. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Southern Landscapes,” featuring work by Walter Anderson, John Alexander, Carroll Cloar, Sheila Cotton, William Dunlap, Charles Harrington, Dolores Justus, Edward Rice, Kendall Stallings and Rebecca Thompson, reception 5-8 p.m. April 18, Argenta ArtWalk. 664-2787. LAMAN LIBRARY ARGENTA BRANCH, 420 Main St., NLR: “Dennis McCann: A History,” reception 5-8 p.m. April 17, Argenta ArtWalk. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.Fri. 758-1720. MUGS CAFE, 515 Main St., NLR: Artists’ self-portraits, reception 5-8 p.m. April 17, Argenta ArtWalk. 442-7778. NEXT LEVEL EVENTS, Union Station: “Empty Bowls 2015,” art auction of work in all media to benefit Arkansas Foodbank, 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 23, “Full Glasses” event to follow at 7:30 p.m. with music by Rodney Block, tickets $35. 569-4329. PENNINGTON STUDIOS, 417 Main St., NLR: Show and sale of pottery by Larry Pennington, 5-8 p.m. April 17, Argenta ArtWalk, show through April 25. 374-3515. TRIO’S RESTAURANT, 8201 Cantrell Road: John Kushmaul, paintings, 5:30-9 p.m. April 16. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK: “BA Group Exhibition 2,” work by Steve Hollis, Adam Eastham, Jessica Ross, Laura Frizelle, Courtney Lewis, Charles Chew, Victoria Temple and John Stuckey, April 18-29; “Pragmatism + Design + Practice,” work by graphic design professor Kevin Cates, Gallery II, through April 29; “UALR Student Competitive Show,” Delita Martin juror, through April 19, Gallery I. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., 2-5 p.m. Sun. 569-3182. WILDWOOD PARK FOR THE ARTS, 20919 Denny Road: “Symbiotic: Art, Nature & Spirituality,” work in a variety of media by Barbara Cade, Jessica Louise Camp, Sofia V. Gonzalez. Nichole Howard, Lisa Krannichfeld and Rachel Trusty, through May 10, reception 6-8 p.m. April 16 with silent auction of artwork to benefit Sally A. Williams Artist Fund for artists. 821-7275. BENTONVILLE TRUCK/ART: “Structural Defiance: Ba’aler Abstraction,” new work by Louis Watts, in the parking lot behind the Pressroom, 121 W. Central Ave., reception 6-11 p.m. April 17 in the restaurant. CONWAY HENDRIX COLLEGE: “History Unveiled: Commemorating Henry Sugimoto’s 1943 Painting ‘Arrival at Camp Jerome,’ ” 4:30-5 p.m. April 17, Mills Center, with the artist’s daughter Madeline Sugimoto, an event in coordination with inauguration of President Dr. William Tsutui. 501-3296811.


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APRIL 16, 2015




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JJ: Well, in both the book and in my personal experience, there is the landscape of New York, where the earlier parts of the book take place, and then, of course, New Mexico. New York is a place where your line of sight is very limited because you can only look so far before you see a building, which makes you feel very contained. When I lived in New York, I would run or bike pretty much every day along the Hudson or the East River, seeking out the sense of expansiveness in those places. But once you go out to the desert you have this almost limitless line of sight, which is something you can see changing O’Keeffe’s work when she moves from painting primarily in New York to painting in New Mexico: Her work transforms from very tight, close-up views of flowers and architectural paintings with lots of black and primary colors, to making paintings of such distance and expanse. She began to play with perspective. She’ll have bones floating in space, and they should be tiny compared to the mountains, but are instead given just as much prominence and are placed in just the same plane as the rest of the landscape, which I found fascinating. At first New Mexico can feel really desolate. You have all this sand and low trees, and an almost oppressive sky, as though it’s somehow too blue. But if you take enough time, and you’re still enough, you’ll notice that the desert is filled with an incredible diversity of life. I would just sit on the cabin’s porch and watch the cliff swallows come out in the morning, fighting off hawks. Cicadas emerged from the ground and there were rabbits everywhere. It was very instructive to me, to see how if you look closely enough at anything, how much life you can find in the world. As a writer, that type of observation is really key. I also noticed how technology and this sense of constantly waiting for things to come in had obscured my inner landscape. Once those things fell away, there was much more clarity. My days would be so long out there because I couldn’t waste them in front of a screen. Nickole, Kentucky has a very strong presence in your book; but, to me, when I read “Fanny Says,” the landscapes are very social, the problems of class in the South are bigger presences than the land. NB: Well, with Fanny, everything was about class. The kind of fish you ate. The kind of soda you drank, and when you drank it, if you sipped it proper from a glass or right out of the bottle. How


APRIL 16, 2015


you sat — if you crossed your legs at the ankle like a lady. Or if, after 40, you kept your hair up and didn’t let it string down like a young girl. Everything had a class signifier attached to it, and I think that’s because she grew up dirt poor during the Depression in western Kentucky. She married my grandfather very young — she was only about 15 — and even though he barely had a middleschool education, he did well by her, became a prominent builder in Louisville. They got to a point where they were very well off, so it was essential to her to separate herself from her history, from that difficult place from which she came. One of the things she said to me all the time was, “You lookin’ like some trash,” or “Now that’s just trashy.” She was teasing, in a way, but the threat of family becoming “white trash” was a real one to her. Now, one of the more difficult things I did in writing this book was wrestle with Fanny’s contrariness. She would say the worst things sometimes; and there were times in which her racism and ideas about class shamed me. But I’ve never seen her turn anyone away from her door, either, and a lot of the kind of folks she mouthed off about were welcomed, even loved, in her home. My first book, “Sister,” is, in a way, the book that helped me try to understand where I came from. “Fanny Says” is about me trying to understand where my grandmother came from, and lord, she was not an easy one to crack. You were both very close to your subjects before you started your books. Jessica, you said that you did tons and tons of research, that you felt very connected to O’Keeffe’s paintings. And Nickole, a person probably can’t get closer to anyone than you were to Fanny. How did your subjects change for you in writing these books, assuming that they did? NB: Well, Fanny was funny as can be. She cussed up a storm, teased her hair to Jesus, and put on mile-long fake lashes every morning. She always smoked cigarettes on long, white filters; she drove a Cadillac Eldorado with atomic red leather seats. And she was so sassy that I think that a lot of people saw her as more of a caricature, as just a funny lady. Even old friends who met her once back in when I was a kid will ask, “How is your grandmother? I remember the day I walked into her house with all the walls painted solid white, and there was all that crystal on every table … boy, she was such a character.”

NATIONAL TOUR! You see, Fanny adopted her wacky Eva Gabor (you know, the wife on “Green Acres”) sense of style and humor as her means of survival. The world didn’t always offer her the best place to live, and so, well, she made her own world. Underneath she carried all these sorrows and complexities that weren’t always easy to see. But I wanted to look hard and access those deeper layers; I wanted to reach into my family history like an anthropologist. I wanted to step into the history of my family like an investigative reporter. I wanted to listen to what Fanny said but then try to hear what she didn’t always say. Most importantly, no matter what darkness I discovered, I wanted to meet it with compassion. I had to stop, without judgment, and ask, “What exactly did she come from? What did she say versus how did she act?” I started with an idea of my grandmother, but ended with a portrait of a woman. I couldn’t just say, “That’s my Fanny,” or “That’s my grandmother” anymore. No. She emerged more three-dimensional than my earlier grasp of the world would have her. And, to be honest with you, I wrote this book because I didn’t want her to be forgotten. My sisters have children now, and I didn’t want them to grow up without knowing the good fire of hers in their blood. Jessica, what about Georgia O’Keeffe? JJ: Well, Georgia O’Keeffe is so visible as to almost be invisible. Her paintings are everywhere — they’re on postcards and tote bags. She can seem like much more of a legend than a person, in the same way that the essence of Fanny was obscured by being thought of as only a mother and a grandmother instead of a person. In reading letters O’Keeffe wrote from as early as her late teens and early 20s to the end of her life, I got to see her grow from a young, uncertain artist looking to this older man — this accomplished photographer — for mentorship and approval, into a woman pushing back against him and asserting herself as a person, as an artist, saying, “No, I have my own way of thinking about this.” I got to see her create healthy boundaries of collaboration, and that was instructive: how she made her own life apart from [her husband, Alfred] Stieglitz, and eventually ended up owning two homes in New Mexico. She became a person to me when I got to see her in context and understood how astonishing she was for her time. O’Keeffe also seemed so serious before. In every photo, she has this kind of grimace. But in her letters she’s hilarious. She would poke fun at herself all the time. She wrote this letter once talking about how she got

drunk off whiskey at a rodeo. It’s the best thing ever. What is the future for you guys? What are you going to do now that you’ve made this decision to be fulltime writers? JJ: Well, the thing that truly feeds us is our writing. Even though we both absolutely love teaching, if that was the thing we were most doing, we feel like we might not really be doing our students a service. Because to tell students they should be writing every day when we’re not doing it ourselves feels dishonest. Right now we’re thinking about moving to Asheville — not completely sure, but it’s at the top of the list. y Daniel

Photo: Jerem

NB: We also love New Mexico, and so we keep looking there, but those mountains in Asheville, those lush green mountains, are home to me. Our dream is to have a modest house with some studio space and try to live like we do in the summer, at least most of the time. In between, I’m sure we’ll have to wrangle up some work at residencies and conferences to make money. One of the things that was really instructive for me when we were out in the canyon in New Mexico together was that we had only the supplies we’d brought in, which wasn’t much more than the bare essentials of what we needed. When you’re in the everyday modern world, you don’t even realize how many times a day you will run to the store, go get a coffee, or whatever it is. But in the canyon, I didn’t miss much of the material world. I mean, if you have health insurance, a roof over your head and good food on the table, what else is it that you really need? What I want is all my books and pets, and yes, a garden, a good piece of land for a kitchen garden. I might just try to talk Jessica into a couple of chickens, too. Anyhow, this life choice? Well, we made it because simply, this is it. We want to give this writing thing a shot. If it doesn’t work, I’ll return to the job market, and that’s fine. But at least I’ll know I tried to be a writer full time. The key thing is that Jessica and I have each other. We have a vision of what we want and how we want to live, and we’ve got to take this chance. JJ: We can never know how much time we’ll have, which is an idea that gives us a real sense of urgency. Jack Gilbert writes in one of his poems, “We die and are put into the earth forever. We should insist while there is still time.” That’s a part of making this choice, and like Nickole’s saying, really taking a chance. We want to make the most of this life we’ve been given.


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APRIL 16, 2015


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ A NEW CAFE FEATURING sandwiches, soups, pizza and a salad bar is aiming to open by mid-May in the former home of OW Pizza on West Third Street, just north of the state Capitol. Owner Phillip Naylor said Fresh! will focus on providing fresh, healthy food at an affordable price point, something Naylor says grew from his own inability to find healthy things to eat after gastric sleeve surgery several years ago. “I thought to myself, if I can’t find [healthy food], there are a lot of people who can’t find it,” said Naylor, who envisions a restaurant that is both a throwback to the deli sandwiches he enjoyed from his local Safeway growing up but with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and limited food waste. His menu will include sandwich options like Parmesan Basil Chicken Salad, a mayo-free tuna salad with olives and lemon juice, a curry egg salad, and pimento cheese (from a family recipe). Plus, Naylor said he will be using Arkansas Fresh bread for all his sandwiches. Fresh! will also feature a salad bar loaded with fresh vegetables, three soups daily, and a pizza oven where 6-inch personal pizzas will be cooked up to order. Naylor also plans to open for breakfast, with a selection of sweet rolls, homemade “pop tarts” and breakfast pizzas available. And for folks who prefer their meals in liquid form, Fresh! will also be serving espresso and operating a full juice bar.



1515 CAFE This bustling, business-suit filled breakfast and lunch spot, just across from the state Capitol, features old-fashioned, buffetstyle home cookin’ for a song. Inexpensive lunch entrées, too. 1515 W 7th St. No alcohol. $-$$. 501-376-1434. L Wed.-Fri., D Mon-Sat. 4 SQUARE CAFE AND GIFTS Vegetarian salads, soups, wraps and paninis and a broad selection of smoothies in an Arkansas products gift shop. 405 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-244-2622. BLD Mon.-Sat., L Sun. ANOTHER ROUND PUB Tasty pub grub. 12111 West Markham. Full bar, CC. $-$$. 501-313-2612. D Mon.-Thu., LD Fri.-Sun. APPLE SPICE JUNCTION A chain sandwich and salad spot with sit-down lunch space and a vibrant box lunch catering business. With a wide range of options and quick service. Order online via 2000 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-663-7008. L Mon.-Fri. (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). ARKANSAS BURGER CO. Good burgers, fries and shakes, plus salads and other entrees. Try 34

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The Southern Gourmasian 219 W. Capitol Little Rock, AR 72201 313-5645

Quick Bite Despite its move to brick-and-mortar status, the Gourmasian food truck is still in operation, most regularly at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. The truck is also available for event catering, with a contact form available on the website for more info — or just call the restaurant between 2-5 p.m. Hours 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Other info All major credit cards, beer and wine. FLAVORFUL: Spicy Chicken and Dumplings at Southern Gourmasian.

Great Gourmasian Asian-fusion concept makes successful transition from food truck to brick and mortar restaurant.


t’s been a few years now, but we can still remember hearing about a new food truck getting ready to hit the streets of Little Rock with a fusion concept that would pair Asian cuisine with Southern cooking — and we can remember the skepticism we felt. Could such a concept ever work? Could anyone ever pull it off? And even if it tasted good, were the people of Little Rock going to accept it? The truck, of course, was The Southern Gourmasian. And within months of its debut, it had not only proven that its fusion menu was delicious, it had also won over the hearts and taste buds of Little Rockers from downtown to out west. The Southern Gourmasian started racking up awards and provided a sense of legitimacy to the Little Rock food truck scene that helped grow the vibrant truck scene we have today. So when we heard that the Gourmasian team was moving into a brick-andmortar spot downtown, we felt none of

that skepticism from years ago. The only questions in our mind were how the place would look and if the transition from food truck to full dine-in service would cause any kinks in the flow of service. After a couple of visits, it’s safe to say that The Southern Gourmasian is doing things just like it always has: excellent with a side of delicious. The new Gourmasian dining room is attractive and comfortable, with the signature Gourmasian dragon built from found wood and hanging on the wall at the entrance. Tables and chairs aren’t crowded together (an important thing to us), and the high ceilings give the whole place a comfortable, open feel. As one of the first restaurants to open in the renovated Sterling building, we hope future tenants will take a look at this restaurant as an example of how good, low-key style is done. Service was very friendly and attentive if a touch confused. Our table wound up with menus where the dishes did

not match up, leading to some discussion with the waiter as to which list of dishes was the correct one for that night. Even once that was solved, our first two starter choices, the Lobster Kimchi Fritters and the Jalapeno Poppers were put in as orders only to have our server return moments later to tell us that both items had been 86ed for the evening. Not a great start, but our server was so genuinely upset he had led us astray that we felt more amused than upset at the situation. We finally got some starters that the kitchen could do, and the initial confusion melted away into a delightful meal. The Galloping Horses ($6), a tasty dish of build-your-own lettuce wraps, was a Thai-spiced masterpiece of ground pork and peanuts topped with fresh aromatics, all pulled together by just a touch of sweet chili sauce. The bibb lettuce provided was crisp and fresh, the pieces large enough to handle the pork filling — and since the warm filling is added at the table, the lettuce wasn’t wilted from the heat. Our second starter, the Sher Ping Pancakes ($5), was also quite good, if not what we expected from seeing “pancakes” in the name. Each pancake is actually a dough pocket filled with seasoned pork, which we found tasty, especially when dipped into the sweetand-sour sauce provided on the side. It’s telling that this dish was easily the weakest of the meal — and it’s still one we wouldn’t hesitate to order again. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

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

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

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

DINING CAPSULES, CONT. the cheese dip. 7410 Cantrell Road. Beer and wine, CC. $-$$. 501-663-0600. LD Tue.-Sat. BELLWOOD DINER Traditional breakfasts and plate lunch specials are the norm at this lost-in-time hole in the wall. 3815 MacArthur Drive. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-7531012. BL Mon.-Fri. THE BLIND PIG Tasty bar food, including Zweigle’s brand hot dogs. 6015 Chenonceau Blvd. Full bar, CC. $-$$. 501-868-8194. D Wed-Fri., LD Sat. BONEFISH GRILL A half-dozen or more types of fresh fish filets are offered daily at this upscale chain. 11525 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-228-0356. D Mon.-Fri., LD Sat-Sun. BONEHEADS GRILLED FISH AND PIRI PIRI CHICKEN Fast-casual chain specializing in grilled fish, roasted chicken and an African pepper sauce. 17711 Chenal Parkway. Beer and wine, CC. $-$$. 501-821-1300. LD daily. BRAVE NEW RESTAURANT Chef/owner Peter Brave was doing “farm to table” before most of us knew the term. His focus is on fresh, high-quality ingredients prepared elegantly but simply. Ordering the fish special is never a bad choice. His chocolate crème brulee sets the pace. 2300 Cottondale Lane. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-2677. LD Mon.-Sat. BRAY GOURMET DELI AND CATERING Turkey spreads in four flavors — original, jalapeno, Cajun and dill — and the homemade pimiento cheese are the signature items at Chris Bray’s delicatessen, which serves sandwiches, wraps, soups, stuffed potatoes and salads, and sells the turkey spreads to go. 323 Center St. Suite 150. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-353-1045. BL Mon.-Fri. BUFFALO WILD WINGS A sports bar on steroids with numerous humongous TVs and a menu full of thirst-inducing items. The wings, which can be slathered with one of 14 sauces, are the starring attraction and will undoubtedly have fans. 14800 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-868-5279. LD daily. BUTCHER & PUBLIC Sandwich and butcher shop featuring meats from animals locally raised and butchered/processed/transformed by Travis McConnell. 521 Main Street. NLR. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-410-7783. L Mon.-Fri. BY THE GLASS A broad but not ridiculously large wine list is studded with interesting, diverse selections, and prices are uniformly reasonable. The food focus is on high-end items that pair well with wine — olives, hummus, cheese, bread, and some meats and sausages. Happy hour daily from 4-6 p.m. 5713 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer and wine, All CC. $$. 501-663-9463. D Mon.-Sat. CAFE BRUNELLE Coffee shop and cafe serving sweets, tasty sandwiches and Loblolly ice cream. 17819 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-448-2687. BLD daily. CAFE@HEIFER Serving fresh pastries, omelets, soups, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Located inside Heifer Village. 1 World Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-907-8801. BL Mon.-Fri. CAPITAL BAR AND GRILL Big hearty sandwiches, daily lunch specials and fine evening

dining all rolled up into one at this landing spot downtown. Surprisingly inexpensive with a great bar staff and a good selection of unique desserts. 111 Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-370-7013. LD daily. CAPITOL BISTRO Serving breakfast and lunch items, including quiche, sandwiches, coffees and the like. 1401 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-371-9575. BL Mon.-Fri. CATCH BAR AND GRILL Fish, shrimp, chicken and burgers, live music, drinks, flat screens TVs, pool tables and V.I.P room. 1407 John Barrow Road. Full bar. 501-224-1615. CATERING TO YOU Painstakingly prepared entrees and great appetizers in this gourmetto-go location, attached to a gift shop. Caters

everything from family dinners to weddings and large corporate events. 8121 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-614-9030. Serving meals to go: LD Mon.-Sat. CIAO BACI The focus is on fine dining in this casually elegant Hillcrest bungalow, though excellent tapas are out of this world. The treeshaded, light-strung deck is a popular destination. 605 N. Beechwood St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-603-0238. D Mon.-Sat. CRAZEE’S COOL CAFE Good burgers, daily plate specials and bar food amid pool tables and TVs. 7626 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9696. LD Mon.-Sat. CUPCAKE FACTORY About a dozen cupcake varieties daily, plus pies, whole or by-the-slice,


THE EVERYDAY SOMMELIER Your friendly neighborhood wine shop. #theeverydaysommelier

2010 CLIFF LEDE STAGS LEAP DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON REG. $79.99 - SPECIAL $59.99 “The elegance, finesse and purity of these wines are well evidenced by the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Stag’s Leap. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, this beauty boasts a deep blue/ purple color as well as a stunning nose of acacia flowers, blueberries and raspberries. Medium to full-bodied with an ethereal elegance and lightness as well as beautiful texture, finesse and harmony, it reveals the Margaux-like side of southern Napa. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.” - Robert Parker “94 points” – Wine Advocate

Rahling Road @ Chenal Parkway 501.821.4669 • •

cake balls, brownies and other dessert bars. 18104 Kanis Road. No alcohol, All CC. 501-8219913. L Mon.-Fri. CUPCAKES ON KAVANAUGH Gourmet cupcakes and coffee, indoor seating. 5625 Kavanaugh Blvd. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-664-2253. LD Mon.-Sat. DEMPSEY BAKERY Bakery with sit down area, serving coffee and specializing in gluten-, nutand soy-free baked goods. 323 Cross St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-2257. Serving BL Tue.-Sat. DOE’S EAT PLACE A skid-row dive turned power brokers’ watering hole with huge steaks, great tamales and broiled shrimp, and killer burgers at lunch. 1023 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-376-1195. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. DOUBLETREE PLAZA BAR & GRILL The lobby restaurant in the Doubletree is elegantly comfortable, but you’ll find no airs put on at heaping breakfast and lunch buffets. 424 West Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-4371. BLD daily. EJ’S EATS AND DRINKS The friendly neighborhood hoagie shop downtown serves at a handful of tables and by delivery. The sandwiches are generous, the soup homemade and the salads cold. Vegetarians can craft any number of acceptable meals from the flexible menu. The housemade potato chips are da bomb. 523 Center St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-3700. LD Mon.-Fri., BR Sun. FILIBUS TER ’S B IS TRO & LOUNGE Sandwiches, salads in the Legacy Hotel. 625 W. Capitol Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-3740100. D Mon.-Fri. FIVE GUYS BURGERS & FRIES Nationwide burger chain with emphasis on freshly made fries and patties. 2923 Lakewood Village Drive. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-246-5295. LD daily. 13000 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-1100. LD daily. FLYING FISH The fried seafood is fresh and crunchy and there are plenty of raw, boiled and grilled offerings, too. The hamburgers are a hit, too. It’s counter service; wander on through the screen door and you’ll find a slick team of cooks and servers doing a creditable job of serving big crowds. 511 President Clinton Ave. Beer and wine, All CC. $$. 501-375-3474. LD daily. GINO’S PIZZA AND PHILLY STEAK 8000 Geyer Springs Road. 501-562-0152. LD daily. GOOD FOOD BY FERNEAU Lunch offers a choice of ordering the gluten-free, sugarfree, healthy-yet-tasty-and-not-boring fare. On Friday and Saturday nights chef Ferneau stretches out a bit with about four entrees that still stay true to the “healthy” concept but do step outside the no-gluten, no-sugar box. 521 Main Street. NLR. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-725-4219. L Mon.-Fri., D Fri.-Sat. THE GRAND CAFE Typical hotel restaurant fare from this Hilton cafe. 925 South University Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-5020. BD daily. GREEN LEAF GRILL Cafeteria on the ground floor of the Blue Cross-Blue Shield building has healthy entrees. 601 S. Gaines. No alcohol, CC. 501-378-2521. CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

APRIL 16, 2015




hearsay ➥ We’ll see you in Hillcrest on April 25 for the fifth annual Etsy Little Rock Indie Arts and Music Festival, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival will take up residence on Kavanaugh Boulevard between Spruce and Walnut streets. Be prepared to have a great time sampling food and libations from local restaurants and food trucks as you listen to live music and browse the wares from 100 local vendors. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit the Etsy Little Rock Facebook page. ➥ Know an awesome mom who deserves some extra special pampering? Then nominate them for Vesta’s special Mother’s Day contest. Send an email saying why your friend, sister or mom deserves the honor by May 1 to The selected winner will receive a $500 makeover from Vesta’s. What an awesome Mother’s Day gift that would make. ➥ The Toggery will be host to two very special guests April 18: Anna and Elsa from the movie “Frozen”, so pack up the kiddos and be ready to sing “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” for the rest of the day. The duo will be at the Heights location from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center location from 3-4:30 p.m. ➥ Interested in finding new ways to reduce stress and increase emotional wellbeing? Then you might want to check out the Floating Lotus Yoga Studio’s natural solutions for mind, body and emotional wellness workshop, scheduled for April 24-26. Yoga, Pilates and wellness coach Adri Kyser will teach attendees how yoga, meditation, exercise, eating right and essential oils can help improve sleep, reduce stress and improve overall wellness. The cost for the entire weekend workshop is $145, while the Friday night session only is $10 and individual classes are $45 each. Register before April 18 and get a discount on the full weekend price. For more information, visit Advertising Supplement 36

APRIL 16, 2015


We also had difficulties with the entree menu, but this time it wasn’t the kitchen’s doing — there were just too many great choices to make. We’ve long been fans of the spicy Chicken and Dumplings ($8.50) and the Shredded Pork Buns ($7.50), but we felt like we should try something different and new since we were in new surroundings. To that end, we ordered a bowl of ramen ($9), because good, authentic ramen is a dish that we knew the Gourmasian team had been wanting on the menu but just couldn’t make work out of the truck. Folks that see a bowl of ramen for nine bucks and start thinking about those little packets of instant noodles need to understand that this ramen bowl is in an entirely different galaxy. In the Gourmasian version, smoked dashi broth is ladled over tender, taut noodles while shredded pork shoulder swims around one of the best poached eggs in the city — it’s as different from those instant noodles with the pack of flavor powder as a light bulb is from the sun. Each part of this dish would be delicious on its own; together they form something spectacular. Even better than the ramen bowl, though, was the Korean Fried Chicken ($10), which our table declared might be the best fried chicken in the state. Now, this isn’t classic Southern fried chicken; but although it lacks a thick breading, it still has that moist, juicy flavor to the meat that all good fried chicken has. The chicken is fried so that the skin is crispy, then sauced with a flavorful concoction that makes eating this chicken a rather sticky, decadent affair. The cornmeal pancakes and slaw served with the chicken were wonderful accompaniments, but that crispy, piquant chicken was a superstar that should become a bigger part of the overall food conversation in the city. For people who love the Gourmasian classics, the restaurant is providing most of them at prices very comparable to what they were charging from the truck. It’s also added a few new dishes, like the ramen, that are just as good as what Gourmasian has always served — and longtime diners looking for something fresh to eat should be sure to check things out. Lastly, anyone who shied away from ordering food from a truck should come down to the dining room of the new restaurant and let The Southern Gourmasian do what it did for us: Put skepticism to bed with a stomach full of delicious food.

‘WOMAN IN GOLD’: Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds star.

Art and justice ‘Woman in Gold’ too schmaltzy, but reaffirming nonetheless. BY SAM EIFLING


oman in Gold,” a cinematic glass of Chardonnay, pairs Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds as an odd-couple team out to right an old Nazi wrong. She’s Maria Altmann, 80-something and living quietly in Los Angeles, an immigrant since escaping Vienna at the brink of World War II. Her wealthy family was dismantled, robbed and killed; the Nazis looted musical instruments, the silver and several nowpriceless artworks by Gustav Klimt. One in particular, a gold-shellacked portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Maria’s aunt, looks like a fever dream inspired by episodes of “Pimp My Ride” — but has become, in one character’s words, “the Mona Lisa of Austria” since the war. Reynolds is her lawyer, Randy Schoenberg, the guy who really did help Maria get her paintings back in 2006 after years of fighting against the Austrian government. The ingredients, then, are all here for a safe and ennobling courtroom drama, which in essence “Woman in Gold” is, with a parallel line of flashbacks to prewar Austria to round out the tale. For a Holocaust movie, it must get some credit for focusing on the lesser yet still monumental crimes against Europe’s Jews. Austria as a state comes off looking quite the worse for it. So determined Austria was to cling to the big gold Klimt that it overlooked the glaring inconvenience that the painting was plucked off the walls of Maria’s family home in a flurry of glorified looting; Hitler ended up with one of her family’s paintings in his Swiss compound, and Goering got some of the jewels. Maria and Randy offer every opportunity for them to say “our bad.” Instead, they cling to their spoils. And so the phrase “art restitution” gets a real workout in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s script, based on the two protagonists’ life stories. There’s not an overabundance of

subtlety in “Woman in Gold,” if only because there’s only so much room for nuance when you’re arguing against the criminal legacy of Nazism. Austria’s argument for keeping the portrait comes down, in a nutshell, to “yes, but we really want it and we’ve now had it for so long.” It’s up to Reynolds and Mirren to pull something fun or unexpected out of the rhetoric. Turns out there’s not much, in the abundant speeches they deliver, but the case is made quite clear, that stealing things and then keeping them while also killing people’s families is not the right side of history, for the record. Director Simon Curtis (“My Week with Marilyn”) manages to wring most of the movie’s pathos out of the flight story of the younger Maria (played by Tatiana Maslany) and her family’s sudden dissolution. Rich though they were, something about being a refugee, fleeing without so much as a suitcase, has a way of laying a person low. Mirren is quietly commanding in her role, making sharp older-lady jokes and gently pushing her lawyer around. Fairly early on, we bump against the outer limits of caring about Reynolds, however. Originally intrigued by the case because of its potential for a nine-figure settlement (the painting did later sell for $135 million) he finds himself drawn in after traveling to Austria and communing with his own dead relatives there. It’s a powerful journey, though it’s not really clear that Reynolds is the one to pull it off for us. He’s a perfectly pleasant face, capable of feats of plausible earnestness, and in all, a big reason the movie turns out about 30 percent too sugary. At a certain level, it won’t matter, really. The film’s message is reaffirming and indisputable, and the story intriguing enough. You’ll never look at “Portrait of Adele BlochBauer I” on a refrigerator magnet quite the same way again.



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APRIL 16, 2015


JUNK SCIENCE, RISKY PRESCRIPTIONS, CONT. seven weeks after conception, the original FDA guideline. However, Williams said, “There is extensive medical research that supports that use beyond that to nine or 10 weeks gestation is safe.” The language of the bill — which also spells out dosages — poses risks to women by requiring doctors to adhere to 25-year-old FDA guidelines on timing and dosage rather than “evidencebased” regimens. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says such evidence-based regimens — which allow for significantly lower dosages of drugs and a longer window for use, “improve medical abortion in terms of expense, safety, speed, and adverse effects.” West Fork Republican Rep. Justin Harris, who has been the subject of controversy over his decision to give

away his adopted 3- and 5-year-old daughters to a man who later raped the older one, introduced the “parental involvement enhancement act,” Act 934, which amends an earlier law that required minors to be accompanied by their parents when seeking an abortion. Now the parent or guardian accompanying the young woman must provide two forms of identification, a government-issued photo I.D. and “written documentation” that proves the parent’s or guardian’s relationship to the minor. The act also requires minor girls who wish to obtain a judicial waiver to now file in circuit court in the county in which they live. Minors usually file in Pulaski County Circuit Court and then come to the clinic for counseling, Williams said.

LYONS, CONT. ent, nuclear-armed aircraft carriers and submarines. One needn’t have a particle of sympathy for Iran’s odious theocratic government to see that we’ve got them totally outgunned and surrounded. Economic sanctions engineered by the Obama administration have really hurt. So yes, if they thought they could trust us, it would be very much in Tehran’s interest to make a deal and stick to it — putting the nuclear temptation aside in favor of what amounts to anti-invasion insurance. But can we trust them? Obama explained his thinking to the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman:

“We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that’s the thing ... people don’t seem to understand.” “[W]ith respect to Iran … a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.” If you’re really strong, in other words, act strong.

DINING CAPSULES, CONT. GRUMPY’S TOO Music venue and sports bar with lots of TVs, pub grub and regular drink specials. 1801 Green Mountain Drive. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-225-3768. D Mon.-Sat. GUS’S WORLD FAMOUS FRIED CHICKEN The best fried chicken in town. Go for chicken and waffles on Sundays. 300 President Clinton Ave. Beer, CC. $-$$. 501-372-2211. LD daily. 400 N. Bowman. Beer. $-$$. 501-400-8745. LD daily. HERITAGE GRILLE STEAK AND FIN Upscale dining inside the Little Rock Marriott. Excellent surf and turf options. 3 Statehouse Plaza. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-399-8000. LD daily. HOMER’S Great vegetables, huge yeast rolls and killer cobblers. Follow the mobs. 2001 E. Roosevelt Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1400. BL Mon.-Fri. 9700 N Rodney Parham. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-6637. BLD Mon.-Sat., BL Sun. IRONHORSE SALOON Bar and grill offering juicy hamburgers and cheeseburgers. 9125 Mann Road. Full bar, All CC. $. 501-562-4464. LD daily. J. GUMBO’S Fast-casual Cajun fare served, primarily, in a bowl. Better than expected. 12911 Cantrell Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 38

APRIL 16, 2015


501-916-9635. LD daily. JERKY’S SPICY CHICKEN AND MORE Jerk chicken, Southern fried chicken, Southern fried jerk chicken, along with burgers, sandwiches, salads. 2501 Arch St. No alcohol. 501-246-3096. J I M M Y ’ S S E R I O U S S A N DW I C H E S Consistently fine sandwiches, side orders and desserts for 30 years. Chicken salad’s among the best in town, and there are fun specialty sandwiches such as Thai One On and The Garden. Get there early for lunch. 5116 W. Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-666-3354. LD Mon.-Fri., L Sat. JOUBERT’S TAVERN Local beer and wine haunt that serves Polish sausage and other bar foods. 7303 Kanis Road. Full bar, CC. $-$$. 501-664-9953. D Mon.-Sat. K. HALL AND SONS Neighborhood grocery store with excellent lunch counter. The cheeseburger is hard to beat. 1900 Wright Avenue. No alcohol, CC. $. 501-372-1513. BLD Mon.-Sat. (closes at 6 p.m.), BL Sun. KILWINS Ice cream, candies, fudge and sweets galore made in-house and packaged for eatit-now or eat-it-later. 415 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-379-9865. LD daily.

LE POPS Delicious, homemade iced lollies (or popsicles, for those who aren’t afraid of the trademark.) 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. Ste. J. No alcohol, CC. $. 501-313-9558. LD daily. LOBLOLLY CREAMERY Small batch artisan ice cream and sweet treats company that operates a soda fountain inside The Green Corner Store. 1423 Main St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-396-9609. LD Mon.-Sat., L Sun. LOCA LUNA Grilled meats, seafood and pasta dishes that never stray far from country roots, whether Italian, Spanish or Arkie. “Gourmet plate lunches” are good, as is Sunday brunch. 3519 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-663-4666. BR Sun., LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. LOST FORT Y BREWING Brewery and brewpub from the folks behind Big Orange, Local Lime and ZAZA. 501 Byrd St. Beer and wine, All CC. $$. 501-319-7335. LD Wed.-Sun. LOVE FISH MARKET Part fish market, part restaurant. Offering fresh fish to prepare at home or fried catfish and a variety of sides. 1401 John Barrow Road. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-224-0202. LD Mon.-Sat. LULAV A MODERN EATERY Bistro-style menu of American favorites broken down by expensive to affordable plates, and strong wine list, also group-priced to your liking. Great filet. Don’t miss the chicken and waffles. 220 W. 6th St. Full bar, CC. $$$. 501-374-5100. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. THE MAIN CHEESE A restaurant devoted to grilled cheese. 14524 Cantrell Road. Beer and wine. $-$$. 501-367-8082. LD Mon.-Sat. MILFORD TRACK Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill that serves breakfast and lunch. Hot entrees change daily and there are soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. Bread is baked in-house, and there are several veggie options. 10809 Executive Center Drive, Searcy Building. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-223-2257. BL Mon.-Fri., L Sat. MOORE 2 U Deli sandwiches, salads, fruit bowls, burgers, fish, chili dogs, and chicken and waffles. 5405 Geyer Springs Road. No alcohol. 501-562-1200. NATCHEZ RESTAURANT Smart, elegant takes on Southern classics. 323 Center St. Beer and wine, CC. $$-$$$. 501-372-1167. L Tue.-Fri., D Wed.-Sat. NEXT BISTRO AND BAR Live music, on the outdoor patio in nice weather, bar with specialty drinks like cheesecake shots, strawberry fizz martinis. No cover. 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-6398. ONE ELEVEN AT THE CAPITAL Inventive fine dining restaurant helmed by Jöel Attunes, a James Beard award-winning chef. 111 Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 370-7011. BD daily, L Mon.-Fri, BR Sun. THE OYSTER BAR Gumbo, red beans and rice (all you can eat on Mondays), peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters on the half shell, addictive po’ boys. Killer jukebox. 3003 W. Markham St. Beer and wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-7100. LD Mon.-Sat. OZARK COUNTRY RESTAURANT A longstanding favorite with many Little Rock residents, the eatery specializes in big country breakfasts and pancakes plus sandwiches and several meat-and-two options for lunch and dinner. Try the pancakes and don’t leave without some sort of smoked meat. 202 Keightley Drive. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-7319. BL daily. PANERA BREAD This bakery/cafe serves freshly-baked breads, bagels and pastries every morning as well as a full line of espresso

beverages. Panera also offers a full menu of sandwiches, hand-tossed salads and hearty soups. 314 S. University. 501-664-6878. BLD daily. 11525 Cantrell Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-0222. BLD daily. 1050 Ellis Ave. Conway. 501-764-1623 10701 Kanis Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-954-7773. BLD daily. PLAYTIME PIZZA Tons of fun isn’t rained out by lackluster eats at the $11 million, 65,000-square-foot kidtopia near the Rave theater. While the buffet is only so-so, features like indoor mini-golf, laser tag, go karts, arcade games and bumper cars make it a winner for both kids and adults. 600 Colonel Glenn Plaza Loop. All CC. $-$$. 501-227-7529. D Mon.-Wed., LD Thu.-Sun. POTBELLY SANDWICH SHOP Tasty, affordable sandwiches from fast casual chain. 314 S University Ave. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-660-4441. LD daily. PURPLE COW DINER 1950s fare — cheeseburgers, chili dogs, thick milk shakes — in a ‘50s setting at today’s prices. 8026 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-221-3555. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun. 11602 Chenal Pkwy. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-4433. LD daily, BR Sat.-Sun. 1419 Higden Ferry Road. Hot Springs. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-625-7999. LD daily, B Sun. THE RELAY STATION This grill offers a short menu, which includes chicken strips, french fries, hamburgers, jalapeno poppers and cheese sticks. 12225 Stagecoach Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-455-9919. LD daily. THE ROOT CAFE Homey, local foods-focused cafe. With tasty burgers, homemade bratwurst, banh mi and a number of vegan and veggie options. Breakfast and Sunday brunch, too. 1500 S. Main St. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-414-0423. BL Tue.-Sat., BR Sun. SALUT BISTRO This bistro/late-night hangout does upscale tapas. 1501 N. University. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4200. L Mon.-Fri., D Tue.-Sat. SANDY’S HOMEPLACE CAFE Specializing in home style buffet, with two meats and seven vegetables to choose from. It’s all-you-caneat. 1710 E 15th St. No alcohol, No CC. $. 501-375-3216. L Mon.-Fri. SATCHEMO’S BAR AND GRILL Pulled pork egg rolls, chicken fries and a “butter” burger star. 1900 W. Third St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-725-4657. L Mon.-Wed., LD Thu.-Sun. SCALLIONS Reliably good food, great desserts, pleasant atmosphere, able servers — a solid lunch spot. 5110 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer and wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-6468. BL Mon.-Sat. SCOOP DOG 5508 John F. Kennedy Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, No CC. 501-753-5407. LD daily. SHAKE’S FROZEN CUSTARD Frozen custards, concretes, sundaes. 12011 Westhaven Drive. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-224-0150. LD daily. SHORTY SMALL’S Land of big, juicy burgers, massive cheese logs, smoky barbecue platters and the signature onion loaf. 11100 N. Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-3344. LD daily. SLIM CHICKENS Chicken tenders and wings served fast. Better than the Colonel. 4500 W. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-9070111. LD daily. 301 N. Shackleford Road. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 954-9999. LD daily. SONNY WILLIAMS’ STEAK ROOM Steaks, chicken and seafood in a wonderful setting in the River Market. Steak gets pricey, though. Menu is seasonal, changes every few months. 500 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-324-2999. D Mon.-Sat.

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QUALIFICATIONS FOR TAKING THE EXAM ARE: 1- Be a United States Citizen 2- Be the age of 21 on date of the exam (Police Exam) 3- Be able to pass a background check, a drug test, and/or physical examination 4- Possess a high school diploma or equivalent 5- Possess a valid Arkansas driver’s license

ADVERTISING SALES The Special Publications division of The Arkansas Times has a position open in Advertising Sales. If you have sales experience and enjoy the exciting and crazy world of advertising then we’d like to talk to you. We publish 4 publications: Savvy, AR Wild, Food & Farm and Shelter as well as corresponding websites and social media. What does all this translate to? A high-income potential for a hard working advertising executive. We have fun, but we work hard. Fast paced and self-motivated individuals are encouraged to apply. If you have a dynamic energetic personality, we’d like to talk to you.

The CITY OF MAUMELLE announces Civil Service examination for the position of entry level Police Officer will be given on Saturday, May 2, 2015.

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Beginning salary is $30,334.00 per year; the City offers an excellent employee benefit package.

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“EOE – Minority, Women, and disabled individuals are encouraged to apply.” This ad is available from the Title VI Coordinator in large print, on audio, and in Braille at (501) 851-2784, ext. 233 or at

Support for TWT is provided, in part, by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the DAH, and the NEA.

APRIL 16, 2015


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Arkansas poets Ka Chris “The Jou ren Hayes, rn Mary Angelino ey” James, ,K Dylan Jackson atie Nichol, , Chu and 2014 Arka ck Dodson nsas Fiction Contest Times win SETH ELI BAR ner LOW!



Poetry, fiction and memoir readings, live in the big room at Stickyz Rock-N-Roll Chicken Shack.

nd Hosted by Bryan Borlaess. of Sibling Rivalry Bryan.Borland@gmail

Saturday, April 25 7-9 pm

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APRIL 16, 2015


Pub or Perish is a related event of the Arkansas Literary Festival.

Arkansas Times - April 16, 2015  

A Killing in Pocahontas - A witness murdered, a drug ring exposed, a snake in a box.

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