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Stories from Arkansans like Tamara Williams who gained health coverage under the private option, Arkansas’s version of Medicaid expansion. B Y D AV I D R A M S E Y

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MAY 8, 2014



Politics and tragedy At first glance, your Arkansas Blog post “The bipartisan open line: Togetherness in support of tornado relief” [about a bipartisan group of politicians that toured Faulkner County recently] appears to be a great positive piece about coming together for the greater good to help the people of Arkansas. Something we need more if. But it took only four sentences to realize this couldn’t be further from the truth. This was the most negative, vile, sarcastic article I’ve ever read. It is disgusting to politicize any tragedy. I’m sure you justify your actions with the “they do it too” excuse. That, sir, is a cop-out. This is a pitiful excuse for journalism, if that was even your attempt. Get out of the gutter with the rest of them and have some dignity and self-respect. Any human should try to be better than this. Lisa Nichols Jackson, Miss.

Don’t wait until it’s too late for environment Earth Day 2014 has come and gone, so I thought I would share a few random thoughts on where we are on some environmental issues. In March, the U.S. Congress utilized the Wilderness Act of 1964 for the first time in five years to permanently protect the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. This was such a popular idea in Michigan that even Michigan’s Republican delegation in Washington voted for it. What is truly remarkable is that the current House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Fox-Republican-Tea Party, is certainly the most dysfunctional House in U.S. history and one of the most anti-environmental. Nevertheless, by voice vote, the House unanimously supported this new wilderness area! In spite of its incompetence since the elections of 2010, the House can still do something right if the people demand it. Also, in March we remembered the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez accident that polluted part of the Alaskan coastline and waters. Oil can still be found around the rocks there, and the fisheries and lifestyles haven’t fully recovered. I’ve boycotted Exxon gas pumps for all those 25 years, and you can see what good I’ve done: Exxon-Mobil is probably the biggest corporation in the world. As Ernest Hemingway wrote, “A man alone ain’t got no bloody chance.” It would take popular outrage to get Exxon to change its ways, but my conscience is clear. The Keystone XL pipeline is already an environmental disaster at its source in the Canadian tar sands region and will 4

MAY 8, 2014


undoubtedly be a constant threat to the fragile water supplies of the Great Plains where the pipeline may be laid. The justification for this risk is that the pipeline is necessary to get the dirty crude to Texas refineries so the oil can be shipped overseas. President Obama has delayed a final decision on it, and his environmental legacy will depend on whether he has the moral and political courage to say no. I can hear the late, great Pete Seeger singing now: “When will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?” The Buffalo National River is still threatened by pollution from a factory

farm. What is laughingly still called the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality gave its approval for the C&H Cargill farm to house 6,500 swine and spread their manure over fields near Big Creek, which flows six miles down to the Buffalo River. The porous nature of the rock in that area means that there is a strong chance that the Buffalo will be adversely affected. The April tests for water quality by the National Park Service have found E. coli bacteria colonies at 30 times the normal level in Big Creek. Currently, the farm has not been shut down, and, incredibly, no heads have rolled at ADEQ.

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About the only thing in doubt about climate change seems to be that nobody is sure just how much more time we have before it’s too late to prevent the temperature rising too high. The recently released three-part UN study predicts that we have no more than 15 years to act. We’ve been procrastinating since the late 1970s when we first realized the dangers of global warming. In the ’30s we were able to see that certain farming practices helped lead to the Dust Bowl. In the ’60s and ’70s, we could see the hole in the ozone layer, that lakes could die, that rivers could catch on fire, and that acid rain and DDT have disastrous consequences, and we were willing to do something about them. But climate change is too abstract for most people. Droughts, floods, tornados, hurricanes, snowstorms, wildfires and earthquakes are all natural phenomena, so their increasing severity is harder for Joe and Sue Citizen to connect to human activity. There has been a steady, drastic increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ever since industrialization increased after 1860. It seems like plain common sense that it is we who put it there and it is we who need to do something about it. But common sense and all the scientific data that confirm the major causes of climate change have had little effect on getting Congress to act. We will likely procrastinate on reducing greenhouse gases until we actually see the seas rise. That will be when our favorite beaches are permanently under water and people in coastal cities and resorts are abandoning their homes, farms and businesses to move to higher ground. Only then will we feel remorse for not taking preventative action when we should have from the 1980s to the present. As to the importance of procrastination and what it tells about an individual or a people, I refer to the words of Thomas de Quincey, an essayist in the early 19th century. He wrote an interesting treatise in 1827 titled “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” His analysis included the following: “Once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he thinks very little of robbing. And from robbing, he next comes to drinking and Sabbath breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination.” David Offutt El Dorado

Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, 201 E. Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is arktimes@ Please include name and hometown.


It was a good week for… ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL. He came out in support of same-sex marriage, but said his office would continue to fight to preserve the state’s ban in court. Some other attorneys general around the country have declined to defend laws they believe to be unconstitutional. McDaniel has told the Times that he feels bound by the constitutional provisions governing his office to defend even laws that he might find objectionable. ARKANSAS VOTERS. Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who recently struck down the 2013 Voter ID law because it unconstitutionally adds additional requirements to be eligible to vote, again found the law unconstitutional in a separate case, but stayed his decision, citing the beginning of early voting. He said he didn’t want to create turmoil at the polls. TONY WOOD. Gov. Mike Beebe tapped Wood, the deputy director of

the state Education Department, to succeed Tom Kimbrell as director. Kimbrell will become superintendent for the Bryant school district after June 30. Politics could determine how long Wood keeps the job, a fact he acknowledged. KEVIN DELANEY. The Museum of Discovery director of visitor experience performed delightful science experiments as a guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

It was a bad week for… ARKANSAS. The death toll from the tornadoes that struck the state April 27 rose to 16 after an infant died shortly after birth to a woman injured in the Faulkner County tornado. MIKE ROSS. A new poll, by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, had Asa Hutchinson, the presumptive Republican candidate for governor, up 46 percent to 38 percent over Ross, his likely Democratic opponent.

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MAY 8, 2014



The end of an era

e’re sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he’s been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992. On this page, he had an uncanny knack for distilling complicated issues — law, medicine, education — to understandable terms in a small amount of space. He wasn’t interested in a lot of argumentation or in showing how smart he was. He measured everything by a few principles — truth, kindness, generosity, tolerance, humility — and he told you exactly how things measured up. And he did it beautifully, with humor and grace. Doug joined the Times in 1992, as part of a cadre of Arkansas Gazette veterans who gave a jumpstart to the conversion of the Times from a monthly to a weekly publication. He’d worked for the Gazette for nearly 30 years before it closed in 1991, notably as a Capitol reporter, editorial writer and “Words” columnist. The “Words” column continued at the Times, offering up Doug’s unique brand of erudite humor (where else could readers learn whether the expression is, to get a wild hare or a wild hair and up what?). Without the stature of people like Doug (and Ernest Dumas, Bob Lancaster and George Fisher) and the following they brought to the Times from the Gazette, it’s safe to say we would never have gotten the weekly edition off the ground. Doug and company brought us an initial base of readers that has enabled the Times to survive 22 years now in a dramatically changed publishing world. Doug’s particular talents and institutional knowledge can’t be replaced. He will be missed. This week marks the end of this column and last week signaled the end of the long-running “Words” column.


A stand for equality

ast week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to “zealously” defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood. Good for him. The more people who come out and stand up for equality, the sooner equality will come. Even in Arkansas, where 63 percent of the state remains opposed to same-sex marriage, according to a recent survey from Public Policy Polling. Poll after poll shows majority support for equality among younger people. The same poll from Public Policy Polling showed voters under 30 support same-sex marriage 53 to 32 percent. Opposition is concentrated among the elderly, who won’t be around forever. 6

MAY 8, 2014





BLOOMING AT THE MILL: Spring in full effect at the Old Mill in North Little Rock.

Already missing D-Mac


he 2014 race for attorney general makes me appreciate the current officeholder, Dustin McDaniel. Three Republicans — Patricia Nation, David Sterling and Leslie Rutledge — are in a dead heat race to the right-wing fringe. They all show disdain for the federal government. It is a burden to Arkansas, all say, though they don’t explain how a federal government that sends more money back to Arkansas than it collects here is a burden. Like the rest of the Republican majority in the legislature, they see no need to obey the U.S. Constitution. All support the unconstitutional legislation to make abortion harder to obtain in Arkansas. They recognize no room in the Constitution — though court precedent and law always have — for regulation of firearms. And then they get really wacky. All support capital punishment and evince no concerns about the cost, discriminatory application or execution of innocents that complicate the issue. Sterling “distinguishes” himself further by wanting to give state prison officials an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act so they can keep secret how they obtain dubious drugs for lethal injections. Meanwhile, he’d like to return the electric chair to service. Sterling also is the beneficiary of a huge TV campaign by a secretive political organization, the American Future Fund, which is running thinly disguised pro-Sterling ads in the form of “educational” spots about his support for a Stand Your Ground law. Sterling claims no coordination. You have to wonder how these shadowy right-wingers learned of his advocacy of such legislation. A Stand Your Ground law is a ready alibi for “justifiable homicide.” When someone is gunned down for allegedly threatening a person who happens to have a gun, it’s hard to prove ill intent when the only other witness is dead. But back to Dustin McDaniel. He’s not perfect. A personal dalliance forced him out of a planned race for

governor. But he says Arkansas should come to grips with the reality that resumption of a sustainable death penalty is a long way off, if ever. McDaniel also warned the legislature about the unconMAX stitutionality of the abortion laws BRANTLEY it passed over Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto. A Republican federal judge agreed in short order. McDaniel chose the twilight of his term to declare that he now personally supports same-sex marriage (though he’ll defend marriage discrimination in court as state law). He supported civil unions when he ran for attorney general, a bridge few politicians would cross at the time. He was among a handful of politicians who opposed the hateful effort by the Religious Right to make it illegal for gay couples to adopt or be foster parents. Now he’s fully evolved. He’s running with a rising tide on gay rights, but it’s no safe position for an Arkansas politician yet. Recent polling shows a majority of Arkansans under 30 support same-sex marriage. The elderly — people like Gov. Mike Beebe — remain opposed. They won’t be around forever, but they still have years of voting left. McDaniel has left me exasperated more than once, but he demonstrates a heart now and then. It’s better than you can say for the Republican candidates. They hate helping the working poor get insurance (Obamacare). McDaniel has stuck his head out on that issue from the beginning. McDaniel is putting his political skills (including raising money) to work for state Rep. Nate Steel, the Democratic candidate for attorney general. Steel is, sigh, an open carry advocate. The best he can do on the death penalty is say he’d work to pass a constitutional law. I hope his mentoring from McDaniel has included tutelage that this is a safe thing to say for now, if all but impossible to achieve.




hat do Nancy Pelosi, Charles and David Koch, Barack Obama and Harry Reid have in common besides causing loathing at the mere mention of their names? Answer: None is on the ballot in Arkansas or anywhere else outside San Francisco, but they dominate political races across the South and the Great Plains. In the case of the shadowy billionaire Koch brothers, that may be only the wishful thinking of Democrats. Despite their deep financial interest in polluting industries in Arkansas and their huge investments in Arkansas Republicans, the Kochs are largely unknown, but Democrats hope to change that by November. Bête noires — no, let’s use a good Southern word for them, bogeymen — are not a novelty of modern elections, but this is the decade where they have become almost the whole election. In Arkansas they are at least 75 percent of the election. Since the first midterm of his presidency, Barack Obama has been the bogeyman of every congressional election in the South. Every Democrat who

has run for the U. S. Senate or House of Representative and often for state legislative seats has had to run with the ERNEST specter of Obama DUMAS beside him or her. Obama’s image or the signature achievement of his presidency, “Obamacare,” appears alongside the Democrat in attack commercials. You can quarrel over the degree to which the color of his skin and his uncommon name make Obama a hobgoblin in Arkansas and the rest of the South, but when his approval ratings are barely above 30 percent you know it is the case. Arkansas Democrats have run from Obama since 2010 in every way they can. The two senators voted early that year for the Affordable Care Act, although the electorate had already been poisoned on it. Once the president’s name had been successfully attached by the media to health reform that formerly had been widely popular, it became deadly in the South. Two of the Arkansas Democrats

Mainstreaming the GOP


erhaps the greatest threat to the Arkansas Republican Party’s continued growth in Arkansas is the selection of nominees unable to appeal to Arkansas’s independent voters who are increasingly comfortable voting Republican but with a strong predilection for candidates with a veneer of moderation. In 2012, the loss of three state House races by the GOP resulted from the extremist writings by Republican candidates like Jonesboro Rep. Jon Hubbard, who had declared in a selfpublished work that “the institution of slavery ... may actually have been a blessing in disguise” for African Americans. Just as problematic U.S. Senate candidates such as Missouri’s Todd Akin in 2012 have cost the GOP control of that body, the selection of not-ready-for-prime-time GOP nominees could cost the party races in the high-stakes 2014 election cycle in Arkansas. The latest round of polling of probable GOP primary participants by Talk Business and Hendrix College, however, shows a very different trend. In race after race, candidates from the establishment wing of the Republican Party are fending off threats from insurgent candidates who would face significantly longer odds against

Democratic opponents because of their issue stances and their fundraising challenges. Establishment JAY candidates appear BARTH to be on their way to convincing primary victories from the top of the state ballot on down to lower profile posts. This pattern is most emphatic in the gubernatorial race, where former Congressman Asa Hutchinson leads Tea Partier Curtis Coleman 70 percent to 20 percent, but is replicated across the ballot: • In the battle for lieutenant governor where retiring Second District Congressman Tim Griffin is leading two state representatives with grassroots support with 53.5 percent of the vote. • In the race for Griffin’s seat where Little Rock banker French Hill is, to date, holding a lead that would prevent a runoff against two candidates coming at Hill from the right on issues such as abortion and the 2008 financial bailout. • In the primary contest for auditor where private option supporter state Rep. Andrea Lea comfortably leads Family

in the House, including Mike Ross, voted against it as well as Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who cast a meaningless vote against it on reconciliation after helping write the bill. Only Sen. Mark Pryor, although more conservative than Lincoln, did not flee the president entirely, and he has paid a heavy price. Last week, to the dismay of many Democratic candidates and the unrestrained glee of Republicans, Pryor invited the president to come see the destruction of the tornadoes in Central Arkansas. Ordinarily, a visit by even an unpopular president to a scene of suffering is a bonanza for his party’s candidates. That may not be the case with Barack Obama. Republicans will be scouring the coverage for photos of a schmoozing Obama and Pryor without the destruction in the background. His foes have a photographer following Pryor wherever he goes. The backup bête noire, to return to the French label that she might use, is Pelosi, the Democratic leader and former speaker. Asa Hutchinson’s ads make, Mike Ross, his gubernatorial opponent, Nancy Pelosi’s close friend and subject. “Arkansas deserves better than Congressman Ross putting the interests of Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and union bosses ahead of Arkansas workers,” a

Hutchinson commercial said last week about Ross’ vote years ago for a failed bill that would have put unions on a par with management in union elections. This works. Every big commercial buy linking Ross with Pelosi drives him down a couple of points in the polls, although Ross cast one of the few votes against her as Democratic leader at the beginning of his last term. Democrats running for other congressional seats have to announce that if they are elected they will oppose Pelosi for minority leader or for speaker. The commercials typically run carefully selected photos of Pelosi with drooping eyelids, to fortify the narrative that she is a party girl and a drunk. Pelosi, 74, the mother of five and grandmother of eight, actually doesn’t drink alcohol and is a fitness addict. Republicans have made bogeymen of Democratic speakers since Tip O’Neill (who did imbibe). Soon after her election as speaker, a right-wing group circulated a story that Speaker Pelosi threw lavish and drunken parties on the Air Force jet that flew her and her friends and fellow Democrats across the country and around the world. It turned out that Pelosi’s congressional travels cost

Council staffer Ken Yang 32 percent to 12.5 percent. In addition to the Fourth Congressional District where both GOP candidates are emphasizing their outsider status, there are two apparent exceptions to this establishment dominance. In the race for state treasurer, state Rep. Duncan Baird (the choice of party insiders) is trailing Saline County Clerk Dennis Milligan 15.5 percent to 10 percent, primarily because Milligan has built a lead among private option opponents (Baird was a visible advocate for the innovative Medicaid expansion program.). And, in the race for Attorney General, the closest thing to an establishment candidate — Leslie Rutledge, the former counsel to Gov. Mike Huckabee and the Republican National Committee — finds herself third in a race which is being led by outsider David Sterling and where each candidate is jolting to the right ideologically on a variety of issues. Assuming victories by Milligan and Sterling, these races would provide the state’s Democrats their best shots outside of the governor’s race to win statewide races. (A different Public Policy Polling survey of the land commissioner’s race does show that a large vote for the Libertarian candidate with the golden name of Elvis Presley may also create an unex-

pected opportunity for Democrats in that low-profile race.) Finally, in the much-watched battle for control of the state House, the GOP does have the potential to nominate insurgent candidates, like Jim Sorvillo in a west Little Rock district, who could create struggles for the party in the fall because of his previous comments and votes. One must offer caveats to all these polling results. First, low-turnout Republican primaries are notoriously difficult to survey because accurately ascertaining exactly who will participate is challenging in a state where the open primary laws mean that voters could vote in either primary on May 20, and where primary participation is dropping in general. Second, the fact that several races show that a plurality of voters has yet to focus on the race means that one effective television ad or welltargeted mailer could shift the outcomes significantly. At this point, however, it appears that Democratic dreams for a flurry of GOP nominees who would damage the party’s brand with the nonaffiliated voters who will decide the 2014 elections seem not to be coming true. There will be no shortcuts for the Democrats in an election cycle that will determine so much about Arkansas’s political future.


MAY 8, 2014



MAY 8, 2014



Parenthood THE OBSERVER SEEMS to have a lot of friends right now who are expecting babies come this summer. Our best to all those of round tummy going into this sweltering season. The Observer smiles upon you with the making of the elaborate gesture of blessing, and all that. Everybody always wants to give new parents advice, and The Observer is not exempt. Just the other day, a friend who is expecting twins told us that the worst part of pregnancy isn’t the morning sickness or the weird cravings or being nauseated by Burger King commercials: It’s the advicetinged horror stories people are willing to tell you just because you’re pregnant and they were once, too. It’s the checkout-line version of The Hook-Handed Maniac on Lover’s Lane, we suppose: 105 degree fevers and death dives off monkey bars, eyebrows meeting coffee table corners and pennies jammed into wall sockets. The Observer and Spouse only have one young’un our damn selves, not having needed more due to the lack of a plow for them to pull or some bass-ackward religion that demands we smoosh out Soldiers of Yahweh as fast as we can, feeding them brown beans at every meal. The Observer has, however, learned a thing or three during our ongoing stint as Dad. So here’s our advice for new parents, horror-story free: 1) DISREGARD MOST ADVICE: Kids aren’t made on a blueprint from interchangeable parts like a toaster. Because of that, there’s a good chance that most advice you’re going to get in terms of their day-today care may not work on your kid. It’s not your fault when it doesn’t. And for God’s sake, stay off the Google. 2) YOU CANNOT F*** THIS UP: You will feel like a failure sometimes, guaranteed. You will feel like a fraud. As much as you don’t want to, sooner or later you’ll come to the point you’ll yell at your kid. Here’s what the parenting books don’t tell you, though: Children are like little drunk sociopaths. They have zero empathy, care for personal space, or self-preservation. And because of that, they can drive you a special, bright purple shade of crazy sometimes. And so, you’ll yell. Not now. Later. You’ll feel terrible afterward. But don’t beat yourself up about it. Finally blowing your stack from time to time doesn’t make you a bad person, even if that’s the one thing in the world you wanted to avoid. The trick is: Keep it rare, and drown any moments of anger with 10 times the love,

and love is what they’ll remember. Also: Take up a hobby that allows you to pound stuff with a hammer. 3) NO, SERIOUSLY. YOU CANNOT F*** THIS UP: Kids are resilient. We evolved from creatures that lived high in the canopy of the forest, clinging to their mothers’ backs and occasionally falling off, and we’re all still here. The Observer knows it’s terrifying to think about, but they’re going to whack their heads, split elbows on the driveway and eat stuff off the floor that a raccoon would think twice about, but they’ll be OK. Here’s what lots of people don’t understand: Falling makes us stronger. Falling lets a kid know she’s not made of glass and gives her an awesome respect for what her body can take. It lets her know that if she falls, she can get right the hell back up again and keep going. That’s what life is about: keeping going. Remember, you’re not a caretaker or a cop. Your real job is preparing them to be on their own. As much as you’ll want to put them in a giant hamster ball so they don’t get hurt, hang back a bit. Watch them rise, dust themselves off, and realize they can. 4) DON’T FORGET ABOUT EACH OTHER: After awhile, you’re going to feel like being a parent is your job. The problem is, when you start feeling that way, you’ll inevitably start to see your co-parent as a co-worker. We’re not just talking about the 3 a.m. feeding and diaper-changing years, either (You’re going to be so tired during all that stuff that you wouldn’t want to go out if Mary Poppins showed up and offered to babysit). No, we’re talking especially about down the road: day care and soccer practice and new puppies and trips to Disney World. There’s joy in all that. True, unexpurgated joy. But we promise you, if you don’t set aside regular, guilt-free time to spend with the person you loved enough to make a baby with, one day, one or both of you will look up and think: Who am I? And the moment you think that, you’ve already got one foot out the door. So hear this, and remember it: When you carve out time to share with your Significant Other — not just dates, but conversations that don’t include kid concerns, kisses by the sink, moments where you plug in a Sesame Street DVD and just go be still and quiet together for as long as you can — you’re not really stealing from your kid. In fact, you’re giving that child something to aspire to — a person who sees his or her mother or father as a hell of a lot more than just a mother or father. They’ll need that example down the road, when they step into the barrel and head over Niagara Falls themselves.



MAY 8, 2014


Arkansas Reporter



WET/DRY: Arkansas’s wet counties are shaded blue.

For the third time, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel last week found technical reasons to reject the wording of a proposal to legalize alcohol sales in all Arkansas counties, but regulated by the legislature. A potentially powerful coalition could lobby for the measure if McDaniel doesn’t prevent a petition campaign. The majority of the counties in Arkansas are “dry” — meaning alcohol sales to the public are not allowed. In virtually all the dry counties there are private club outlets where alcohol is sold by the drink. A measure to legalize sales in all counties would open the door to grocery and convenience store sales of beer (and perhaps spirits, as many states allow, though that would be a tough legislative hurdle). You can imagine where the money and organizing power would come for a ballot initiative to vote the entire state wet. Counties can vote wet now by petitions signed by 38 percent of voters, a tough threshold, but not insurmountable. Walton money powered a successful campaign in Benton County. A petition drive is now underway in Craighead County, maybe the wettest dry county in Arkansas with many restaurants open to the public serving drinks under the “private club” exception. That loophole was widened by the legislature some years ago in the name of “economic development.” Faulkner County similarly has been dampened by restaurant drink sales in nominal private clubs. McDaniel insists the ballot proposal doesn’t say enough about the specifics of the legislature’s regulatory power. He also claims it’s murky as to wet-dry status of areas of the state currently dry. David Couch, a Little Rock lawyer, has proposed the initiative. He declined to identify specific backers, other than to point the Times in the direction of retailers who’d like to sell beer, but he said it grew CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 10

MAY 8, 2014



Push to eliminate dry counties coming

JOHNSON: ‘I don’t talk about my work a lot at home.’

‘This is a job that weighs on you’ Homicide Diary: Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Johnson. AS TOLD TO DAVID KOON


hat follows is the latest installment of Homicide Diary, an ongoing project in which we speak to those who have been impacted by or who deal with the aftermath of homicide in Little Rock — victims’ families, prosecutors, cops, community activists and others. As of May 6, the number of Little Rock deaths classified as homicides since Jan. 1, 2014 is 24. By this time last year, that number stood at six. In April of this year alone, there were 11 deaths classified as homicides in Little Rock, the highest single-month count in years. He wanted to be a literature professor. That was his dream once. His closing arguments still show it sometimes, as he sneaks a literary allusion every

once in awhile into the accounts of kids shooting kids over weed and slights on street corners, snippets of the great abstract struggle between chaos and order that authors have waged on paper since Gilgamesh. Somewhere along the way, however, he realized that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life staring down classrooms full of college kids who would rather be somewhere else, so he went to law school. Johnson has been with the prosecutor’s office since 1990.

I really thought that I wanted to be a public defender. I wanted to protect people’s rights. I wanted to make sure that people got fair trials. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “If you’re waiting until after a person is charged, that ship has sailed.” That’s why I decided to be a prosecutor. I was hired in November of 1990. Back then, you started out taking complaints as a lawyer. People would come in and complain about cats going to the bathroom in their flowerbeds, or actual complaints where somebody came and beat them. So I did that. I got moved to circuit court pretty quickly, within a couple of months of working here.   I had my first murder trial in August of 1991. It was a guy named Dana El Greco Frazier. He and some friends were drinking, and he spilled his drink on his pants. His friends started giving him a hard time about having pissed himself, so he got mad and shot one of them. My supervisor, the guy I was going to try the case with, left and went to the attorney general’s office, so I got left with the case. Things were a lot different then as far as how the office was and how we did cases. We have two people sitting on all our trials now, and we certainly don’t have someone who has been a lawyer for less than a year trying our murder cases by themselves. But I did, and he got convicted and got 40 years on it. The pressure must have been intense. But I can’t remember it. I know it should have been a lot of pressure. I know I should have been scared.  This is a job that weighs on you. People ask: How can you do it? There are people here who believe that we’re all subject to some degree of post-traumatic stress. I think that might be an exaggeration. But it’s something that you carry with you all the time. I don’t know if you’re a Stephen King fan, but I recently read the sequel to “The Shining,” and there’s a character in there who puts all the ghosts that haunt him in a box in his head. I think that, for me, that’s sort of how it is. You have all these things you can’t get rid of that haunt you, and to survive, you gotta put them in a box. You compartmentalize. You can go visit it, but if you’re going to move forward, you’d better get a good lock. To do this job well, you have to open yourself up to it. You have to be willing to. In the Anne Pressly case, they tore CONTINUED ON PAGE 21





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1. In April, a guest at a motel in Berryville called police after finding a nasty surprise in his room, apparently left there by a previous guest. What was it? A) Bathtub full of deer guts B) A live stick of dynamite C) A large, lubed-up eggplant D) Plastic tote full of 15 ball pythons

2. Little Rock had experienced 24 deaths classified as homicides by May 6 this year. How many homicides had the city experienced by May 6 last year? A) 6 B) A Detroitian number C) 13 D) A kajillion

out of discussions he had in the course of a successful legal fight against a new Arkansas law aimed at making it harder for groups to wage petition campaigns with paid canvassers. His win is on appeal by the state. Couch said he believes McDaniel won’t approve the proposal no matter how it is written, so as to run out the clock on petition efforts. He said he’s considering a direct action to the Arkansas Supreme Court, as the initiative statute allows. Couch believes McDaniel’s disapproval of this and other measures, including several on marijuana legalization, has begun to infringe on constitutional rights. “He is using his discretion in the ballot title approval process to make people draft laws that he likes and not what they like.” Couch said he was confident he could get the necessary signatures for the proposition in relatively short order if the wording could be approved.

Happy Huck replaced with snarl 3. In April, a Little Rock man was arrested after he allegedly confessed to a crime that will clearly make next year’s Thanksgiving dinner an awkward affair. What did police say he confessed to? A) Kicking the cane out from under his grandmother at the top of the steps. B) Robbing his sister’s home while she was hospitalized, then threatening to kill her and her kids if she went to the police. C) Putting his father’s ashes in the cat box. D) Teaching his brother’s kids to sing the “Game of Thrones” theme song, with the lyrics being a repetition of the words “Peter Dinklage.”

4. According to Conway’s Log Cabin Democrat, a police officer responding to a call about a naked guy walking around a park there recently found a man wearing only small shorts that allegedly allowed his genitals to wag in the breeze. What, according to the paper, was part of the ensuing conversation between the man and the officer? A) “The officer told him he wasn’t in Houston, Texas, anymore. He was in Arkansas.” B) “The man eventually convinced the officer to take off his own pants.” C) “’If you can’t beat the heat,’ the man told the deputy, ‘you gotta free the meat.’” D) “The officer informed him that one does not, in fact, ‘bait raccoons’ that way.”

5. A Star City High School social studies teacher was recently suspended from his job pending the investigation of certain extra-curricular activities in which he was allegedly involved. What was he allegedly up to? A) Featured performer at Miss Sassy’s House of Beefcake in Shreveport. B) Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that he was a frequent, pseudonymous poster on a prominent whitesupremacist website. C) Voted for Obama. Twice. D) Revealed as one of two plucky brothers who spent several years in the 1980s eluding bumbling deputies, blowing up outhouses, destroying hundreds of police cars, and jumping convenient dirt ramps in their bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger.

The Daily Beast offers an interesting analysis of the change of tone in Mike Huckabee from the happy, crossover candidate of 2008 (always a bit of a stretch, we thought) to an angry right-winger with a chip on his shoulder about supposed persecution of Christians and the like. Anger and persecution complexes are the theme of the day in Republican politics, thus the new Huck. Writes David Freedlander: “ ‘He is not a different person, but the outlook then was better. We are in a different time. It calls for some tougher language.’ “This new Huckabee told the New Hampshire Freedom Summit, ‘I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea than there is in the United States.’ It’s the Huckabee who said Democrats want the women of America to ‘believe that they are helpless with Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government.’ Gone is the talk of evangelicals approaching the political sphere ‘with joy in our hearts.’ Instead, Huckabee now wonders, ‘Why is it that Christians stand back and take it in the teeth time and time and time again?’ It is this Huckabee who defended the Duck Dynasty reality star’s comments on gay marriage and civil rights in the South but accused those who criticize Chick-fil-A’s corporate anti-gay marriage stance of engaging in ‘vicious hate speech.’ ”

MAY 8, 2014




Arkansas’s private option has already changed lives.



uring a debate last year in the Arkansas General Assembly over the private option, Rep. Sue Scott (R-Rogers), who voted for the policy, explained, “When I look at the numbers, I see faces with those numbers.” It was a welcome reminder — the details of health care policy can be confusing (and the heated politics can be exhausting), but this is an issue with major stakes for people’s lives. People like Tamara Williams, and the other Arkansans profiled in this story. The private option uses Medicaid funds available via the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, or Obamacare as many call it) to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. The policy is the state’s unique version of Medicaid expansion, a provision in the ACA to expand coverage that was left up to the states to pursue or not. Arkansas is one of 26 states plus the District of Columbia to expand coverage, while 24 states have refused the federal money to do so. Arkansans between the ages of 19 and 64 who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (that’s around $16,000 for an individual or $33,000 for a family of four) qualify for the private option. Prior to the ACA and the private option, nondisabled adults without dependent children, no matter how poor, were not eligible for Medicaid in the state. For parents, if you made more than 17 percent of FPL, your income was too high to qualify. For a family of two, making $2,675 a year was too much to qualify for Medicaid; for a family of four, $4,054.


MAY 8, 2014


If Arkansas had chosen not to expand (or defunds the private option in the future), people who make more than 100 percent of FPL level would be eligible for subsidized insurance on the ACA’s health care marketplace, but people making less than the poverty line (or, for parents, people making between 17 and 100 percent) would be out of luck — like the nearly 5 million Americans estimated to be without insurance this year because they fall into the coverage gap in states that refused to expand Medicaid. More than 150,000 Arkansans (and counting) have gained coverage under the private option. Most beneficiaries are enrolled in plans offered by private insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield or Ambetter (around 10 percent of the newly eligible are routed to the traditional Medicaid program because they were screened as medically needy). Beneficiaries do not have to pay anything for premiums and have very little cost-sharing. Another 40,000 Arkansans who make too much to qualify for the private option have purchased their own coverage on the marketplace created by the ACA, with 90 percent of them qualifying for subsidies made available by the ACA to help them with the cost of premiums. Five months into the private option, the Arkansas Times has been talking to people who have gained coverage to hear about their experiences. Here are some of their stories (we’ll have more at


Tamara Williams 40, North Little Rock

For Tamara Williams, a North Little Rock mother of three, gaining health insurance came in the nick of time. Williams had her first mammogram in late February and it came back abnormal. After a follow-up and a biopsy, doctors informed her that she had invasive ductal carcinoma. She had surgery in late March and is scheduled to begin chemotherapy this month. A year ago, Williams likely never would have gone to the doctor. “The Affordable Care Act saved my life,” she said. Prior to gaining coverage under the private option, Williams had been without health insurance for 10 years. Her kids — an 18-year-old son who has ADHD, a 17-year-old daughter who has sickle-cell anemia, and an 8-year-old son who has chronic asthma — were covered by ARKids, but Williams herself didn’t have options. She has always worked — she’s been everything from a lab technician to a cosmetologist — but didn’t have coverage through her jobs and made too much to qualify for the Medicaid program under the old state laws. “You have one job that doesn’t have coverage, so you try to find a second job, a third job, trying to pay for insurance,” she said. “If you’re trying to take care of four people, you’re already strapped. To figure out how to budget that in, it just wasn’t possible.” Due to a pre-existing condition — hypertension — Williams wasn’t able to find affordable health insurance. “Because my blood pressure was so

high, insurance companies didn’t want to touch me,” she said. “I just had to pray that I didn’t get ill.” She couldn’t afford the medicine she needed to keep her blood pressure under control or the blood work she should have been getting to monitor it. She ended up running up more than $10,000 in credit card debt to pay for medical expenses. When she did have her medicine, she would take it every other day “to try to stretch it.” Eventually, she simply avoided seeking the care that she knew she needed but didn’t have enough money to pay for. “It’s between do I feed the kids or do I get the medicine?” she said. “I knew sometimes my pressure would be extremely high, at stroke level. I would drink vinegar and lay on my side. I taught my oldest son how to take my pulse and make sure I was OK. I told him, ‘If it gets too high, just call the paramedics, it’s going to be OK.’ Thank God we didn’t get to that point.” Williams was laid off from her job as a medical records analyst at the state hospital in July and started working full time for $11 an hour as an IPA guide, one of the federally funded outreach workers charged with helping people navigate new options under the Affordable Care Act. She loves the work, she said, because she loves helping people and is able to share her own experiences to convey the value of health insurance. “I’ve met people who had to file bankruptcy just because of medical bills,” she said. “I’m thinking, wow, and I thought I had it bad. My heart goes out to them.” Williams herself got covered under Ambetter and got her card the first of

February. “It has been wonderful,” she said. “For the first time in 10 years, I actually have normal blood pressure. I’m actually getting treated, and I don’t have to wait and figure out how I’m going to pay for it. The health care system without insurance — you’re going through and you’re scared and you can’t afford things. Sometimes you feel like you’re less than human. Now I’m not worried. They asked about insurance and I had my card to give them. I know my insurance is there. If I do get a bill it’s not something that’s going to take me 10 years to pay off.” Williams is not out of the woods with the cancer but she is feeling upbeat. “You kind of feel like you’re getting the VIP treatment because it was like boom, boom, boom, let’s get it out,” she said. “I was like, wow, insurance really does mean something. You have good days and bad days, but I’m optimistic. It’s mind over matter. If you hope for the best, you have better outcomes.” Williams is hoping that she’ll still be able to work four days a week during her chemo treatment. “That’s me being optimistic but I can’t be down more than a day,” she said. “Life goes on, I’ve still gotta take care of my kids, I’ve still gotta work.” Williams will likely have to look for a new job soon; the future of the guides program is in flux after the legislature banned the state from appropriating funds for outreach for the Affordable Care Act in the new fiscal year in July. “I’ll be out hitting the pavement every day,” she said. “I’ve always showed my children you have to get out and work. I’ll go dig ditches to feed my kids before I stand in line and wait for the government to hand me something.” Williams added that she believes that health care is different. She doesn’t consider the private option a “handout.” “I think health is something you need,” she said. “How can you go to work if you’re not healthy? Now that I have my medicine, I have the energy to get out here and do whatever it is I need to do to support my family.” Williams said that she was “sweating bullets” as the legislature debated whether to reauthorize the private option during this year’s fiscal session. “It was like getting the breath knocked out of you. I honestly feel like the private option saved my life. Had I not had insurance, I don’t know what I would have done. What do people do who find out they’ve got cancer and don’t have insurance?” “I feel grateful,” Wiliams said. “It’s about time.”

“They told me I was on the verge of almost having a stroke when they put me on high blood pressure medicine. So I needed it and I needed it bad. Without health insurance, I never would have gone to the doctor to even find that out or to be able to get medication. They would probably be putting flowers on me right now, in my opinion.” Herbert Denson, 57, of Little Rock, currently working and staying at Our House homeless shelter, had never had insurance in his life before this year.

“I was lost my job in January. Before, when I’ve been unemployed, there wasn’t anything like this. You had to have insurance through your employment or you didn’t have it. I’m on blood pressure medication and my prescription had run out. Once I got covered, I was able to go to the same doctor I had before and get my prescription filled. It’s lifted a huge burden knowing that even though I’m looking for jobs, I don’t have to wait until I have employment to go to the doctor.” Paula Shatzer of Alexander, a 42-year-old single mother of a 2-year-old daughter, was laid off earlier this year from her job at a tax resolution company. She is now looking for a new job.

MAY 8, 2014



MAY 8, 2014


Fetara Amos broke down crying when an outreach worker helped her sign up for health coverage. “I actually cried in front of this man,” she said. “It felt amazing. I felt like my prayers had been answered.” Amos, 22, hadn’t had health insurance since she was 18. “I had a very serious situation going on that needed to be taken care of,” she said. “They were telling me that damage could really be done to me.” Doctors first found tumors and scar tissue on Amos’ thyroid in 2008. It had been manageable until recently, when she began experiencing severe pain that at times made it difficult to walk. In December she was taken to the emergency room when she passed out after intense abdominal pain. “They told me I needed surgery or it could get even worse,” Amos said. Amos and her husband, Azel, are hoping to have a second child, but doctors told her that the surgery would be necessary before they could.

Irene Warren

56, Madison

Irene Warren has been without health insurance for around 15 years. Currently unemployed, she has been unable to hold a steady job because of health problems. “I got congestive heart failure,” Warren said. “I got liver disease. I got kidney disease. Arthritis. Gout. I got it all. “I didn’t go to the doctor when I should have gone to the doctor because I didn’t have insurance,” she said. “I couldn’t afford it. Why would I go? I didn’t have the money to buy my medications or to pay for the visit.” Things came to a head in 2012, when she had a stroke. “I did what I could do,” she said. She pointed to a stack of papers a foot high. “That’s medical bills. I still owe a lot. Then you’re just shamed to go back to the doctor because they’re going to tell you that you still owe. It hurt, you know? It was a hurting feeling.” In December, Beatrice Malone, an outreach worker who attends Madison Light Baptist Church with Warren, spoke to the congregation about new options

Without insurance, Amos had no idea how she would be able to get the treatment she needed. She couldn’t even afford the cost of a follow-up visit. Amos is only able to work part time right now, around 25 hours a week, making $10 an hour as a nursing assistant. Her husband, 21, works at a fast-food restaurant making minimum wage; he’s hoping to go to school to pursue a career in asbestos removal. They make just enough to get by but had been making too much to qualify for Medicaid under the old laws in Arkansas

under the Affordable Care Act. “That day in church, that was a blessing right there,” Warren said. “I didn’t know nothing about it until she got up there that Sunday.” Warren qualified for the private option and is now covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield. In January, Warren went to the doctor for a checkup with her new coverage. “It felt good,” she said. “Before, if you go up there and you don’t have no insurance, you just feel like, I don’t have nothing.” Warren is now able to get the medication she needs. “It changed my whole way of thinking,” Warren said. “It uplifted my life. If something happened to me now and I go to feeling bad, I can go to the doctor.” What would Warren do if the private option policy went away? “Just like I did before,” she said. “Depend on the good Lord and make it the best way I can. Keep the faith and it’s a brighter day ahead.” Warren said that for the first time since her stroke, she has been feeling better. “I know it’s going to be some of them days coming. But at least now I can have something to fall back on to try to help me move back to the light.”

prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act and the private option. When she was uninsured, Amos, who also has asthma and severe allergies, avoided going to the doctor altogether. “I never had the money,” she said. “It changed my life in a tremendous way, because it was so hard for people like me and my husband to get coverage and get insurance before this law,” Amos said. “I can’t tell you what I would have done if I didn’t get this insurance.” For now they have been routed to the traditional Medicaid program but may eventually transition to private plans. Once she was covered, Amos immediately went to the doctor, and they were able to give her medication to manage her pain and set up an appointment for the surgery she needs. “It felt like a ton of weight was lifted off of my chest,” Amos said. “I felt relieved. We could finally get coverage and be able to take care of ourselves.” Amos is having her surgery this week to get the tumors removed. She is hopeful the surgery will allow her to safely have another child. “I pray to God it does,” she said. “I’ve been blessed this far, and He’ll keep on blessing me.”


Shelley Jackson, 42, of Newton County, is a self-employed construction worker who hadn’t had insurance in 20 years.

Fetara Amos

22, Little Rock


“For the most part, I’ve been super lucky to be really healthy. I was starting to have a feeling of, wow, I’m in my 40s — I couldn’t afford to do preventative care without health insurance. I couldn’t do things like get mammograms and things you’re supposed to be doing at my age. I do construction work and that was always in the back of my mind — what if I fall off a roof or cut my finger off? Through the power of Facebook, I know that just about everybody else I know thinks the ACA was a giant failure. Some people I know who went through had a way harder time, but here I’m having this great experience. I used the state website and everything went fine, super flawless, no glitches whatsoever. I’m not the person who’s super pro-Obama, but I really feel like a politician actually did something that affected my life in a positive way. A good thing happened in government. That’s shocking. I’m covered under Blue Cross. There’s nothing on that card that says I’m poor. I feel more comfortable using it.” I’ve gone to the dermatologist to get checked for skin cancer, had a gynecology appointment, and had a checkup, where they ran some blood tests and found some problems with my liver. I hadn’t been in a doctor’s office in so long.

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MAY 8, 2014


Cheers in the Heights

Chris Tanner, Derrick Richardson, Ray Rayburn , Steve Gray, Derek Jones, Kevin Case, Reggie Collier

another successful arkansas Times hog roast it was a huge crowd under beautiful sunny warm skies!

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Thank you To our CelebriTy Judges:

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MAY 8, 2014


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Charles Lott

of-pocket costs on top of that, they maxed out credit cards and eventually couldn’t make ends meet, leaving them no choice but to file for bankruptcy. They got back on their feet, but medical costs continued to be a challenge. Only after staying on COBRA for the full 18 months was Kaitlin able to qualify for the Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool (CHIP), a state-run health insurance program for high-risk Arkansans that was discontinued this year after the private option Medicaid expansion began. While CHIP gave her catastrophic coverage, the Lotts were still paying more than $5,000 a year (around $3,200 in premiums plus

a $1,000 deductible and a $1,000 out-ofpocket maximum). The Lotts’ finances were once again at a breaking point until they were able to sign up for coverage through the private option expansion this year (Lott is now covered by Ambetter; his wife was deemed medically needy and routed to the traditional Medicaid program). “Even working two jobs, we’re still not quite able to make ends meet,” Lott said. “But if we still had the $5,200 in medical costs that we had last year and previous years, we’d have to give up our house. We’d have to move in with family and we don’t have anyone with enough space for us, so


May 17, 2014 - January 5, 2015 Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori (detail), 2008

Charles Lott works two jobs, one working with developmentally disabled men and another in a maintenance and groundskeeping position at a school in Maumelle, making a total of around $30,000 a year to support his family of four. His wife, Kaitlin, has been unable to work because of health issues. “She should be on disability, but we haven’t been able to get her on it,” Lott said. Lott himself hadn’t had health insurance for five years before gaining coverage under the private option this year. Complications from Kaitlin’s diabetes have led to multiple hospitalizations, so they were desperate to keep her covered. “She was always declined for private insurance,” Lott said. “They’d hear she was Type 1 diabetic and they’d basically laugh her off the phone.” After Lott was laid off from a job with coverage five years ago, they kept his wife on COBRA continuation coverage (a federal health insurance program for employees who leave or lose jobs). Trying to keep up with expensive COBRA premiums they couldn’t afford, plus out-


27, Little Rock

it could have ended up splitting up the family.” In addition to helping his family’s budget, Lott, who has a number of physical ailments himself, also now has the peace of mind that comes with having coverage of his own. “It was stressful [when I was uninsured],” he said. “If something major happened, there would have been nothing my family could do.” Whereas before it was simply financially impossible for him to go to the doctor, this year he has been able to get treatment when he’s sick. “I’ve been in for strep throat, and I had to go in for a concern about a whooping cough outbreak,” he said. “Both times they got me medicated. I wouldn’t have been able to do that before.” Lott, whose children are 6 and 4 years old, said the new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act have “affected my ability to be a parent because it’s making me able to make healthier choices for myself so I can be there better for my kids. It’s providing very needed assistance to the families that need it the most. “I’m thankful that we have it,” Lott said. “I don’t want to think about what would have happened to my family without it. It would have destroyed my family.”

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MAY 8, 2014


Mara D’Amico of Little Rock, 26, is graduating this spring with a Masters in Public Service at the Clinton School of Public Service.

Dena Kemp 39, Little Rock

“My whole world has changed today,” said Dena Kemp last week, on the day that she found out she is covered by Ambetter under the private option. She had first tried to sign up in January but faced frustrating difficulties with the enrollment process. Kemp has Crohn’s disease, a severe and incurable immune-related disease that causes extreme diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, as well as a wide variety of additional symptoms outside the gastrointestinal tract. She has been without insurance for more than two years, after a short-term medical leave from a job at a Walmart warehouse ended and she was too sick to go back to work. Thus began a vicious cycle: Kemp couldn’t afford the care she needed to manage the disease. When things got really bad, she would be forced to go to the emergency room and be hospitalized (at her most sick, sometimes twice a month). She was working waitressing and janitorial jobs, but every time she got too sick, that meant lost hours of work — and the frequent hospitalizations made it hard to convince employers to keep her on. Meanwhile, the medical bills would pile up. Kemp said she owes more than $100,000. “Some they’ve written off, some they’re still trying to collect on,” she said. Twice, Kemp and her 8-year-old daughter have had to stay in a homeless shelter when they couldn’t make ends meet. “If I don’t have my regular meds, I can’t work,” she said. “I couldn’t pay my bills when I was sick. Not having insurance — that’s the main reason we ended up in a shelter.” Kemp has managed to keep a waitressing job at a Mexican restaurant since last August, where she works around 30 hours and makes around $250 a week. Her hours have been cut and they no longer schedule her on busy nights because of her hospitalizations. Now that she has coverage, Kemp is feeling hopeful.


MAY 8, 2014



“I’ve had a pre-existing condition, Type 1 diabetes, for 20 years. Because of the ACA, I could stay on my mom’s plan until I was 26. That was the first huge way that the law affected me. I just turned 26 last October, so I was going to be without insurance for the first time in my life. Because of the private option, I was able to sign up for a plan this year. Like most people, I couldn’t get through at first, but I needed health insurance, I knew I was going to sign up for it. So I was really persistent and finally got it to work for me. I qualified for the private option and signed up with Ambetter. One vial of insulin, which would last me about a week, would cost more than $200. With my coverage, it was $6. It’s things like that that make me so grateful that I qualify for insurance that covers my pre-existing condition and really is keeping me alive. It’s really reassuring knowing that I can take care of myself the way that I need to. I wouldn’t have been able to go to graduate school and pursue my professional path without health insurance. Financially, it wouldn’t have been feasible. I wouldn’t have been able to afford all of the medicine and the care that I need to keep myself healthy.”

“I would only go to the ER if I was dying,” she said of her years without insurance. “I couldn’t get treatment. They would give me enough nausea, anti-diarrhea and pain medicine for two or three days. Now, if I have my monthly meds, I can still go to work, I won’t lose my job. Now, I can be a mom, I’ll be able to take care of my daughter without help. I can finish school. It’s a whole different world.” Kemp is attending the Arkansas College of Barbering and is aiming to become a licensed barber in September. She has a job waiting for her at GoodFellas barbershop. In worst-case scenarios, Crohn’s can lead to colon cancer or a ruptured intestine, potentially fatal. It’s been an endless source of stress for Kemp

(which itself can exacerbate the disease) trying to manage the disease without the basic care she needed. Now that she’s covered, she is setting up an appointment with a doctor, eager to find out about a new medicine that came out last year (“there’s no way I could have afforded it before,” she said), as well as a GI specialist, who wouldn’t even see her without insurance. “I should have been to a GI doctor and gotten a colonoscopy four months ago,” she said, when the Crohn’s flared up and became active, “but I couldn’t. Now I can. Now I have peace of mind.” “For people like me, I don’t make the type of money to go buy my own insurance,” Kemp said. “For me to have affordable health care, it’s like life and death.”

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or mail check or money-order to: Arkansas times Crystal Bridges Bus 201 east markham, suite 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201 20

MAY 8, 2014


travel with the Arkansas Times to see paintings by great French masters and others in the “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism” at Crystal Bridges museum of American Art in Bentonville. the exhibit of 60 works from the CBs mogul’s collection features work by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Henri ToulouseLautrec and more contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon. the exhibition was organized by the museum of modern Art (momA) in new york.


‘THIS IS A JOB THAT WEIGHS ON YOU’, CONT. Continued from page 10 her house down and we knew they were going to before they did. I learned a long time ago that going to the scene of a crime puts everything in perspective, so I went to her house and sat in it for the longest time. I knew what was coming with the trial, and I knew that we were going to be asking the jury for the death penalty, and I had to allow myself to feel all that. But when it’s over, you just gotta put it away and not roll around in it, because it doesn’t serve any purpose. I don’t talk about my work a lot at home. That’s what work is for, and I try to keep my home separate. That’s a whole other compartment.  I remember once, my friends’ mom was talking about how a job changes you and I disagreed with her. I said I didn’t believe a job can change you. But I was wrong. I didn’t know it at the time. Now, I don’t know how it couldn’t change you. I think it would be wrong for it not to. You’d have to really be turning your back on everything for it not to change you. I don’t think that the people that work here can do as good a job as we do and remain immune, and be untouched.  When someone is killed, all the homicide files come through me. I get the last say on all the homicides. If we don’t file

it, I meet with the victim’s family, just because we feel like that’s something we owe to them: to tell them that we’re not going to charge the person who has done this. Those are the worst conversations. It’s one thing to be immersed in it and to do something about it. But when it’s over and you didn’t get a good result for the victim, or over before the thing even starts — before the fight even starts — those are the hardest times. Those are the moments people don’t see. We had a meeting last week where one of the biggest men we’ve probably ever had in the office was in there. It was a homicide, and when we told him that we couldn’t prosecute it, he squeezed his head so hard it sounded like wet rope stretching. You could hear it in his hands. You could hear the pain. With the victims’ families, everybody’s different. Some of them thank us. Some of them write letters, or they’ll talk to you after the verdict comes back and give you a hug. I used to sort of try to stay apart from that. That was wrong. It’s better to let people thank you. It’s more for them, and it’s something that’s important for the victim’s families: to show their gratitude. They feel so helpless, and that’s one of the hardest things for them, the feeling of helplessness. The flip side of all the bad is the

immense amount of good you see — the capacity to survive and carry on and forgive. I didn’t have any access to that at all before I started here. You have to be hurt to forgive. You have to be knocked down to have to survive. And I hadn’t seen anyone in my life with the sort of challenges that we come into contact with here. That’s the upside. I don’t buy the desperation argument. I do buy that people come from bad situations, and I do buy that that can shape how they are. But I’m a humanist, and we see and we meet many, many more people who overcome their circumstances, whether that’s financially or not. They don’t do what the slightest minority of people do.  There’s a kid who I prosecuted years ago who was 14. He got life without [parole]. He should be coming up soon for one of his hearings. But about three years ago, I got a letter from him. He was thanking me. He said that the judge and I are the most important men in his life. He said that, but for us, he’d be dead. What do you do with that? I didn’t write him back. I didn’t think that’d be right. I didn’t want to give him hope that maybe things could change for him.  It’s just stupid. It’s just a waste. In the big picture, a murder doesn’t add up to

anything. But in the finite sense that we deal with it, with the victims’ families, it accomplishes the retribution part. For them, that can’t be minimized. The hardest thing about a lot of the cases is that they’re just the manifestation of chaos, and it’s 360 degrees, from getting witnesses to come talk to you, to getting juries to care about your victim. Chaos to me is when the rules don’t apply. In that instance, the rule that you want to apply is to make people care what happened, to make them care that the laws are enforced to protect all of us, to make juries care about the belief in what we’re trying to tell them.  I think we win most of the battles, but maybe we’re losing the war. On a down day, you feel like that. But I don’t think you can get caught up in the big picture of it. If you do, the whole thing just washes over you. You’ve got to take it one case at a time, and just win as many as you can. Then, maybe, at the end of the day, it’s a better place. I haven’t lost my faith in humanity, because I don’t see “humanity.” I see individuals. It’s not a group. It’s not a block mentality. So no, I don’t think I’ve lost faith. I’ve gained hope, and my faith has more value now, because I can see the challenges in it. Blind faith? What good is that? If you’ve got faith knowing the darkness, that’s better.  


MAY 8, 2014


Arts Entertainment AND



The Little Rock roots of Brooklyn’s strangest record label. BY WILL STEPHENSON


MAY 8, 2014



The Body, an altered-states metal band originally based in Little Rock. In a blog post for The Fader, Sam Hockley-Smith wrote that the label “specializes in music that is basically the sonic equivalent of taking heavy psychedelics inside a fancy museum.” When I asked Werth about this quote, he laughs and said, “I relate very much to that activity.” Telling the story of his life, which is what he was doing on the phone as he



ot long ago, Little Rock-native Matt Werth, founder and proprietor of an unusual record label called RVNG Intl., was in Los Angeles trying to remember how to drive. “One second,” he said, while I waited on the other end of the line. “OK, I’m changing lanes. Fuck.” Our conversation was punctuated by nervous outbursts and GPS directions from his phone, though he wouldn’t tell me where he was going. He’d say only that he was tracking down a forgotten recording artist from the 1960s or ’70s, that it was a woman and that her music has “profoundly impacted” him. He had a bit of a drive ahead and could talk, he said, as “it takes hours to get anywhere here.” Werth spends most of his time in New York, where he runs RVNG and also manages another label, Software, which was started by Daniel Lopatin (who records music under the name Oneohtrix Point Never), but he spends about one out of every six weeks traveling on business. For Werth, this could mean anything from pursuing obscure musicians around the world, to organizing art events and dance festivals in Berkeley, London or Asheville, to filling in on bass for the seminal reggae band The Congos. “Generally, everything is busy,” he said. “How are things in Arkansas?” The RVNG roster, a direct reflection of Werth’s expansive taste and interests, has included insular noise musicians and mutant-dance DJs and avant-garde composers like Julia Holter and Holly Herndon (a doctoral candidate at Stanford). There is a compilation of early ’80s synthesizer music called the “Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1,” an album featuring electric-zither virtuoso and onetime Brian Eno collaborator Laraaji and, especially close to Werth’s heart, the new record by

drove around L.A. looking for the forgotten woman he declined to name, Werth spoke of moments of “drastic cultural immersion,” ruptures in his understanding of musical possibility that opened the door for new spaces, new phases and new sounds. The first of these moments, he said, occurred one night in Little Rock in 1992, when he got a ride to Vino’s in his friend Dave’s mom’s mini-van. The band they were going to see that

night was Econochrist, the hardcore punk group that had formed in Little Rock before migrating to the Bay Area. Also on the bill was the local band Paxston Quiggley, who covered Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” and especially impressed Werth and his friend precisely because they were local. The show was crowded and quick. “It was like walking into a different world,” Werth said, “a very appealing, genuinely alternative world. This culture I’d only experienced before through media.” Within weeks, Werth, who was still a freshman at Catholic High School, was making cut-and-paste Xerox zines, starting bands of his own with names like Otherwise and William Martyr 17 and playing illicit shows in the pavilions at Riverfront Park. He calls the city’s punk rock culture at the time “incredible vivid.” “There was this generation before ours’ that had cultivated this really amazing, fertile D.I.Y. scene. So it was actually quite an environment to walk into. I had the very fortunate privilege to not have to totally innovate something.” He remembers reading an article in those days about Burt Taggart, the slightly older, teenaged entrepreneur and scene mainstay who had started a record store in high school, and who, Werth said, “is and will always remain an incredible influence on me” (Taggart is now a partner in a local architectural firm, as well as the front man for The Big Cats and the founder of Max Recordings). The article focused on the novelty of Taggart’s youth coupled with his enterprising dedication to the burgeoning music community. “For me,” Werth said, “it was cool to think about the possibility of validation through punk rock.” Talking to Werth about these years, it’s easy to admire his boldness, his sense of conviction that he belonged, obviously, to this culture and that the culture had value that extended far beyond a few Little Rock concerts. It was, he said, “an ethics,” and he insisted on participating, going so far as to list his parents’ address in a punk magazine as a spot for free room and board for touring bands passing through. His family was patient. In a post on the website for the documentary “Towncraft,” which concentrates on the city’s punk scene, Werth’s father, Jay, remembers, “We may have been the only address in Little Rock that had a different well-used van parked at the front entrance every week.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

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its headliners and various stage lineups. Headlining the main stage will be local favorites Good Time Ramblers, Stephen Neeper and The Wild Hearts, and Swampbird. Other bands scheduled to perform include 607, Whale Fire, Mandy McBryde, John Willis, Moonshine Mafia, Whoa Dakota, Mark Stuart, Kish Moody and The House of Mel-

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

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

River and more. Also featured will be stunt performers, aerial silks, hula-hooping, magic, skateboarding, interactive art, live painting, yoga and workshops for all ages. Southern Gourmasian, The Waffle Wagon and Loblolly Solar Mobile will be on hand. Gates open at 11 a.m. and music starts at noon, with an after-party at Midtown Billiards. NOTHING SAYS SUMMER FUN like watching movies on the big screen outside. Movies in the Park, the free outdoor movie night at the First Security Amphitheater, announced its 2014 summer schedule this week. This year marks the 10th season, kicking off June 11. Movies play weekly at dusk on Wednesday nights, through July 30. Here’s the lineup: June 11: “Man of Steel” June 18: “Office Space” June 25: “Eat Pray Love” July 2: “Frozen” July 9: “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone” July 16: “The Hunger Games” July 23: “Friday Night Lights” July 30: “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial”

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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.


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MAY 8, 2014







5 p.m. Bernice Garden. Free.

“Weird Science” is a movie filled with great and troubling scenes. There’s the one where two teenage boys in blue jeans

take a shower with Steven Seagal’s wife. Or the one where Anthony Michael Hall and his computer-whiz friend accidentally hook an early ’80s PC up to a copy of Time magazine, in the process causing a Pershing medium-range ballistic

missile to break up a house party boasting an Oingo Boingo soundtrack and a clan of malicious mutant bikers. I hear Hollywood’s planning a remake. Until then, we’ll have to make do with the weird and almost definitely unscientific original,

which KABF-FM 88.3 will be screening for free this week as part of its “Movies in the Garden” series. Also, there will be popcorn and wine and couches (not free) and food trucks and live DJ sets by Bryan Frazier, Mike Poe, Chris Terry and others.




7 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $30.


9 p.m. Revolution. $10 adv., $15 day of.

When Bernie Worrell was 8 years old, he wrote a concerto. He lived in Plainfield, N.J., then, and took the piano seriously. Later, he met a singer named George Clinton who convinced him to take it a little less so. Worrell put in a famous stint with Funkadelic, beginning in 1970 with “Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow,” and went on to record and tour with the various P-Funk iterations and members (especially Bootsy Collins) for decades, along with other groups like Talking Heads (that’s him in the white vest and moustache in “Stop Making Sense”). He’ll bring his “orchestra” to the Rev Room Friday night, and the funkinclined among you are encouraged to take note. SING THE DELTA: Iris DeMent will be at the Ron Robinson Theater Saturday, 7 p.m., $30.

Little Rock novelist Kevin Brockmeier once wrote that Iris DeMent’s second album, “My Life,” was “one of exactly two albums I own that I wouldn’t hesitate to call perfect” (the other being Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks”). “When I say that I consider the album perfect,” he wrote, “I mean that I can’t imagine what change might be made to it that could improve it.” I can’t match that endorsement, or even really come close, but DeMent, a singer who’s collaborated with John Prine, Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris, has a voice that lends itself to literary exaggeration. She was also born in Paragould, and though she only lived here for three years, before her parents took her to L.A., those first few years are important.



8 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. $61.50-$102.50.

“My fans have always loved my metaphors,” R. Kelly told The Guardian in a recent interview, and I think he is correct but also understating the issue, a rare moment of modesty from a singer 24

MAY 8, 2014


who’s won three Grammys, written hits for Aaliyah and Michael Jackson and was a few years ago named by Billboard the most successful R&B artist of the last 25 years. His fans love his figurative language, but even more than that they love what he does with it: How he can skip from sappy sincerity to irony

to a kind of hyperactive sensuality over the course of one song. His fans love his voice, is the thing. He’s been embroiled in legal and ethical dramas that you can choose to involve yourself in or not; this has always been the dilemma of being a consumer of American popular music produced (as it has always

been produced) mostly by shady narcissists, from Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown onward. This is not to say that these issues aren’t important, only that they are not new. Kelly will share a bill with Tamar Braxton, Toni Braxton’s younger sister and a celebrated singer in her own right.



At 7 p.m. at the Argenta Community Theater, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will present “Pan’s Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a program featuring music from Debussy, Torke and more, $20. Anti-folkers Matt Pless and Francie Moon will be at the Afterthought with local math rock trio Fitra and singer-songwriter Mike Earl, 8 p.m., $4. Geriatric soft rockers REO Speedwagon (“Can’t Fight This Feeling”) will play the Robinson Center Music Hall at 8:30 p.m., $52-$88.50. Aaron Sarlo’s Duckstronaut, the local space rock band featuring electric dulcimer and a washboard player, will be at White Water Tavern at 9:30 p.m. with fellow locals The Coasts, who have a new record due out May 20, $5.


HAPPY VALLEY: The Little Rock Film Festival will kick off at the Ron Robinson Theater Monday, 7:30 p.m., $60-$300.



7:30 p.m. Ron Robinson Theater. $60-$300.

This year’s Little Rock Film Festival, which we’ll highlight in much greater detail in next week’s issue, will officially kick off Monday night with a screening of “Happy Valley,” directed by Amir Bar-Lev, the documentary filmmaker behind “My Kid Could Paint That” and “The Tillman Story.” The film focuses on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal and the reactions of and aftershocks throughout the Penn State community

that resulted, examining, as Variety explains, “the assumptions of an entire community, as well as the football-first culture that allowed evil to flourish in its midst.” Bar-Lev will be in attendance at the screening, which will be followed by the LRFF Opening Party at 9:30 p.m. at Ron Robinson Theater, featuring food provided by The Fold and music by Trey Johnson. Tuesday night’s schedule will feature three programs of short films, Shawn Christensen’s “Before I Disappear,” Kim Swink and Chris Spencer’s Arkansas-made “Valley Inn” and an

after-party at Stickyz featuring music by Randall Shreve and the Sideshow, The Salty Dogs, Amy Garland and others. Wednesday’s lineup includes Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’s “To Kill a Man,” Emilio Aragon’s “A Night in Old Mexico,” Zachary Wigon’s “The Heart Machine,” Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman’s “E-Team,” Robert Greene’s “Actress,” and more programs of Arkansas-produced short films, with an after-party at The Fold. We’ll devote next week’s issue to a preview of the rest of the festival.

ing the Seas of Cheese,” “Tales from the Punchbowl,” “Antipop,” “Suck On This,” “Miscellaneous Debris,” “Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People” and, maybe most importantly, “They Can’t All Be Zingers.” The history of the West Coast funk metal group is studded with Claymation music videos, appearances on the soundtracks for “Bill and

Ted’s Bogus Journey” and “The Beavis and Butthead Experience,” collaborations with Phish and Fred Durst and the nightmarish faux-country theme song for “South Park.” According to their Wikipedia page, they’re hard at work recording an album-length cover of the original soundtrack for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Godspeed.

musical called “Million Dollar Quartet,” about a jam session between Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, but only because of his decades of unassailable redneck-rock credentials as a co-founder of Nashville altcountry institution BR549. Mead, who was born and raised in Lawrence, Kan.,

has since struck out as a solo act, occasionally performing with his backup band The Grassy Knoll Boys. His new release, “Free State Serenade,” is a tribute to his upbringing, lined with regionally informed Western swing and honkytonk stomps like “Reno County Girl” and “Neosho Valley Sue.”



7:30 p.m. First Security Amphitheater. $32-$47.

An incomplete discography of the American rock band Primus, a list of titles that taken together could also conceivably serve as a poetic summation of the band’s ethos, would include “Sail-



9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $10.

It’s basically accurate but also misleading to say that Chuck Mead has spent his last few years on Broadway. He was enlisted as the musical director, arranger and supervisor for a hit

Tibetan Buddhist author Anam Thubten will give a lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 7 p.m., $10-$15, and will lead a meditation retreat on Saturday and Sunday at the Ecumenical Buddhist Society at 10 a.m., $75. The Little Rock-based record label Thick Syrup will kick off a string of anniversary shows Friday night at Stickyz featuring Bear Colony and The See, 9 p.m., $7 (there will be two more dates at White Water next week, followed by a show at Maxine’s on May 24). Funk-tinged New Orleans group Tyler Kinchen and The Right Pieces will play the first of a two-night stand at The Afterthought, 9 p.m., $7 (the second show will be Saturday night).


The Seventh Annual Women of Excellence Awards, presented by Sister Friends United, Inc., will be held at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, 6 p.m., $25. The Youth Poetry Slam, hosted by the Pulaski County Special School District with a $600 grand prize, will be at Philander Smith College at 6 p.m. Arkansas country singer-songwriter Matthew Huff will play at Revolution at 8:30 p.m. with Maybe April and Cheyenne Nicole, $10. Local favorites Amasa Hines will play a show to commemorate the vinyl release of their album, “All The World There Is,” at White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7.


“War in the ’60s,” the last film produced by the late Arkansas documentarian Jack Hill, will screen for free at the Ron Robinson Theater at 1:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion. Bluegrass singer-songwriter Rhonda Vincent, who’s collaborated with Dolly Parton and been called “the new Queen of Bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, will be at South on Main with her band The Rage at 3 p.m., $35-$45.


Continuing their “Arkansas B-Movies” series, local film collective Splice Microcinema will screen 1987’s “Stay Tuned for Murder,” a VHS non-classic shot in Little Rock, at Vino’s at 7:30 p.m., donations encouraged.

MAY 8, 2014


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

p.m., $10-$15. 1818 Reservoir Road. 501-225-1503.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. MacArthur Park 5K. All ages, proceeds benefit MacArthur Park. Followed by a lawn party with music by the Steve Giles Band. MacArthur Park, 7 p.m. 503 E. Ninth St.



Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $16-$51. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-9759001. Duckstronaut, The Coasts. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $5. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. www. Fitra, Mike Earl, Francie Moon, Matt Pless. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $4. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Funk Hammer (headliner), Chris Henry (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. “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. Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Dugan’s Pub, 7-9 p.m. 401 E. 3rd St. 501-244-0542. www. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Krush Thursdays with DJ Kavaleer. Club Climax, free before 11 p.m. 824 W. Capitol. 501-554-3437. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Michael Eubanks. Newk’s Express Cafe, 6:30 p.m. 4317 Warden Road, NLR. 501-753-8559. Open jam with The Port Arthur Band. Parrot Beach Cafe, 9 p.m. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Pan’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents music from Debussy, Torke and more. Argenta Community Theater, 7 p.m., $20. 405 Main St., NLR. 501-3531443. REO Speedwagon. Robinson Center Music Hall, 8 p.m., $52-$88.50. Markham and Broadway. www. RockUsaurus. Senor Tequila, 7-9 p.m. 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-224-5505. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Toby Mac, Skillet and Lecrae. First Security Amphitheater, 6 p.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. Wreckless Endeavor. The Joint, 9:30 p.m., $5. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205.


Lucas Bohn. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555. The Second City. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. www.


Art of Motion: Tango. Arkansas Arts Center, 7-9 p.m., $10 for nonmembers. 501 E. 9th St. 501372-4000. 26

MAY 8, 2014



“Sleeping Beauty.” Arkansas Arts Center, 7 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www.arkarts. com.



THE NEW QUEEN OF BLUEGRASS: Rhonda Vincent and The Rage will be at South on Main Sunday at 3 p.m., $35-$45.


2014 Taste of the Rock. River Market Pavilions, 5:30 p.m., $15-$20. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. Home Plate Heroes 2014. Sixth annual reception and live auction of painted “home plates,” with proceeds going to the Jim Elder Good Sport Fund. Provides scholarships and fundings for several charitable causes. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thea Foundation, 401 N. Main St., NLR. 501-7666444 or email Artistcrafted “home plates” can be viewed and bid on before reception at www.biddingforgood. com/homeplates.


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



Bernie Worrell Orchestra. Revolution, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $15 day of. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. Dance night, with DJs, drink specials and bar menu, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 1620 Savoy. 1620 Market St. 501-221-1620. Crankbait, The Lion’s Daughter, Mainland Divide, Apothecary. Vino’s. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $16-$51. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-9759001. Ghost Town Blues Band (headliner), Lance Daniels (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Mayday Parade, We Are The In Crowd, Transit, Divided By Friday. Juanita’s, 8 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Thick Syrup Anniversary: Bear Colony, The See.

Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707. Tyler Kinchen and The Right Pieces. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, May 9-10, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Lucas Bohn. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-2285555. The Second City. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. www.


Ballroom Dancing. Free lessons begin at 7 p.m. Bess Chisum Stephens Community Center, 8-11 p.m., $7-$13. 12th & Cleveland streets. 501-2217568. “Salsa Night.” Begins with a one-hour salsa lesson. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


8th Annual Collaboration of the Arts. River Market Pavilions, 6:30 p.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. 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. Lisa Krannichfeld Reception. Featuring hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and live music by The Funkanites. Thea Foundation, 6:30 p.m., $10. 401 Main St., NLR. 501-379-9512. Main Street Food Truck Fridays. Capitol and Main,11 a.m.


“Weird Science.” Movies in the Garden, presented by KABF-FM 88.3, with wine tasting, beer, food trucks and live DJ sets. VIP couch seating by donation. Bernice Garden, 5 p.m. 1401 S. Main St. 501-433-0088.


Anam Thubten. Unitarian Universalist Church, 7

Amasa Hines. Vinyl release show. White Water Tavern, 10 p.m., $7. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Brothers From Another Birthday Bash. Osyrus Bolly and El-Doran perform, also featuring 607, CBM, xP, Daddy Rooster, Big Ced DiBiase and more. 521 Southern Cafe, 9 p.m., $10. 521 Center St. 501-413-2182. Club Nights at 1620 Savoy. See May 9. Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After. Verizon Arena, 7 p.m., $16-$51. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-9759001. Iris DeMent. Ron Robinson Theater, 7 p.m., $30. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. ron-robinson-theater.aspx. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Karaoke. Casa Mexicana, 7 p.m. 6929 JFK Blvd., NLR. 501-835-7876. 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 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Matthew Huff, Maybe April, Cheyenne Nicole. Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $10. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501-823-0090. Pickin’ Porch. Bring your instrument. All ages welcome. Faulkner County Library, 9:30 a.m. 1900 Tyler St., Conway. 501-327-7482. R. Kelly, Tamar Braxton. First Security Amphitheater, 8 p.m., $61.50-$102.50. 400 President Clinton Ave. Singer/Songwriters Showcase. Parrot Beach Cafe, 2-7 p.m., free. 9611 MacArthur Drive, NLR. 771-2994. Taylor Made (headliner), Trey Johnson (happy hour). Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 and 9 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 9 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474. Tyler Kinchen and The Right Pieces. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 9 p.m., $7. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196.


Lucas Bohn. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.



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Youth Poetry Slam. Hosted by the Pulaski County Special School District, with a $600 Grand Prize. Philander Smith College, 6 p.m. 900 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive.


2014 NAMIWalk. Clinton School of Public Service, 9 a.m. 1200 President Clinton Ave. 501-661-1548. Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501664-1555. Peace, Love and Goodwill 5K. Murray Park, 8 a.m., $25. Rebsamen Park Road.


Customer Appreciation Day. Games and food to benefit the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Sunrise Motorsports, 10 a.m. 800 Truman Baker Dr, Searcy.


Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market. Bernice Garden, 10 a.m. 1401 S. Main St. “Live from the Back Room.” Spoken word event. Vino’s, 7 p.m. 923 W. 7th St. 501-375-8466. www. Meditation Retreat with Anam Thubten. Ecumenical Buddhist Society, 10 a.m., $75 (day), $150 (weekend). 1015 W. 2nd St. 501-376-7056. Quapaw Quarter Spring Tour of Homes. Governor’s Mansion, 1 p.m. 1800 Center St. 501-377-1121.


“War in the ’60s.” A film by Jack Hill, followed by a panel discussion. Ron Robinson Theater, 1:30 p.m., Free. 1 Pulaski Way. 501-320-5703. www.


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40th Annual Little Rock Farmers’ Market. River Market Pavilions, 7 a.m. 400 President Clinton Ave. 375-2552. 7th Annual Women of Excellence Awards. Presented by Sister Friends United, Inc. Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, 6 p.m., $25. 2 Riverfront Place, NLR. 501-371-9000. Argenta Farmers Market. Argenta Farmers Market, 7 a.m. 6th and Main St., NLR. 501-8317881. Falun Gong meditation. Allsopp Park, 9 a.m., free. Cantrell & Cedar Hill Roads. Heifer Hour. Learn about chicks, ducks and geese, with arts and crafts. Heifer Village, 11 a.m. 1 World Ave. 501-376-6836. 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. Meditation Retreat with Anam Thubten. Ecumenical Buddhist Society, May 10-11, 10 a.m., $75 (day), $150 (weekend). 1015 W. 2nd St. 501-376-7056. Mother’s Day Grand High Tea. The Empress of Little Rock, 3 p.m., $45. 2120 S. Louisiana St. 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. Quapaw Quarter Spring Tour of Homes. Governor’s Mansion, May 10, 5 p.m.; May 11, 1 p.m. 1800 Center St. 501-377-1121. Territorial Fair. Featuring beekeepers, cheese makers, urban chicken keepers and backyard gardeners. Historic Arkansas Museum, 10 a.m. 200 E. Third St. 501-324-9351.


Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After. Verizon Arena, 2 p.m., $16-$51. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501975-9001. The Icarus Account, Hyrda Melody. Juanita’s, 7 p.m., $8 adv., $10 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. 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. Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. South on Main, 3 p.m., $35-$45. 1304 Main St. 501-244-9660.

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Little Rock West Coast Dance Club. Dance lessons. Singles welcome. Ernie Biggs, 7 p.m., $2. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-247-5240. www.


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“Sleeping Beauty.” Arkansas Arts Center, 2 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.

Publication: Arkansas The Second City. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7 p.m., $35. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. www.

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Rebecca M. Stalcup, artistic director presents

Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 2:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555.


“Sleeping Beauty.” Arkansas Arts Center, 2 p.m., $12.50. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000.



Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Monday Night Jazz. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., $5. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Richie Johnson. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351.


Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, May 12-18, $60-$300.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 7:10 p.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

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AFTER DARK, CONT. The Millionaires, The Bunny The Bear. Juanita’s, 8 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228.


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



Brian and Nick. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Irish Traditional Music Sessions. Hibernia Irish Tavern, second and Fourth Tuesday of every month, 7-9 p.m. 9700 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-246-4340. 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. Kevin Kerby. White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Lucious Spiller Band. Copeland’s Restaurant of Little Rock, 6-9 p.m. 2602 S. Shackleford Road. 501-312-1616. Mark Kroos. Little Rock Frets, 7 p.m., $25. 10020

N. Rodney Parham. 501-223-3738. 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. Reverse Order, The Christian John Band. Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $10 adv., $12 day of. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. www. 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. 501372-0205.


“Latin Night.” Revolution, 7:30 p.m., $5 regular, $7 under 21. 300 President Clinton Ave. 501823-0090.


Little Rock Green Drinks. Informal networking session for people who work in the environmental field. Ciao Baci, 5:30-7 p.m. 605 N. Beechwood St. 501-603-0238. www.greendrinks. org. Tales from the South. Authors tell true stories; schedule available on website. Dinner served 5-6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. Call for reservations. Starving Artist Cafe, 5 p.m. 411 N. Main St., NLR. 501-372-7976. Trivia Bowl. Flying Saucer, 8:30 p.m. 323 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-8032. www.beerknurd. com/stores/littlerock.


“Ghostbusters II.” Market Street Cinema, 7 p.m., $8. 1521 Merrill Drive. 501-312-8900. Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, through May 18, $60-$300.


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



Acoustic Open Mic. Afterthought Bistro & Bar, 8 p.m., free. 2721 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-663-1196. Brit Floyd “Discovery World Tour.” Featuring music from all 14 Pink Floyd studio albums and a light and laser show. Verizon Arena, 8 p.m., $55. 1 Alltel Arena Way, NLR. 501-975-9001. Chuck Mead. White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., $10. 2500 W. 7th St. 501-375-8400. Drive-By, 870 Underground, 540. Juanita’s, 9 p.m. 614 President Clinton Ave. 501-372-1228. Jim Dickerson. Sonny Williams’ Steak Room, 7 p.m. 500 President Clinton Ave. 501-324-2999. Karaoke at Khalil’s. Khalil’s Pub, 7 p.m. 110 S. Shackleford Road. 501-224-0224. Leopold and His Fiction. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $7. 107 Commerce St. 501-372-7707.




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Live music. No cover charge Sun.-Tue. and Thu. Ernie Biggs. 307 Clinton Ave. 501-372-4782. Open Mic Nite with Deuce. Thirst n’ Howl, 7:30 p.m., free. 14710 Cantrell Road. 501-379-8189. Primus. First Security Amphitheater, 7:30 p.m., $32-$47. 400 President Clinton Ave. Steve Bates. Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m. 2400 Cantrell Road. 501-375-5351. www.cajunswharf. com. Ted Ludwig Trio. Capital Bar and Grill, 7:30 p.m., free. 111 Markham St. 501-374-7474.


The Joint Venture. Improv comedy group. The Joint, 8 p.m., $7. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501372-0205. Marc Ryan. The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m., $7-$10. 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road. 501-228-5555.


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 & Cleveland streets. 501-350-4712. www.littlerockbopclub.


Little Rock Film Festival. Downtown Little Rock, through May 18, $60-$300. Downtown.


Stephen Koch on Louis Jordan. Old State House Museum, noon. 500 Clinton Ave. 501-324-9685. CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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Rocktown Slam. Sign up at the door to perform in the competition. Arkansas Arts Center, 7-9 p.m., $5-$10. 501 E. 9th St. 501-372-4000. www. Wednesday Night Poetry. 21-and-older show. Maxine’s, 7 p.m., free. 700 Central Ave., Hot Springs. 501-321-0909. html.


Arkansas Travelers vs. Tulsa. Dickey-Stephens Park, 11 a.m., $6-$12. 400 W. Broadway St., NLR. 501-664-1555.

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Go Red for Women Luncheon. Sponsored by the American Heart Association. Little Rock Marriott, noon, $125. 3 Statehouse Plaza. 501906-4000.


“A Strange and Separate People.” The Weekend Theater, through May 17: Fri., Sat., 7:30 p.m., $12-$16. 1001 W. 7th St. 501-374-3761. “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer.” Recommended for ages 11 and up. Walton Arts Center, May 13-15, 7 p.m.; Sat., May 17, 2 and 8 p.m., $6. 495 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville. 479-443-5600. “Come Blow Your Horn.” Dinner and a performance of Neil Simon’s first play. Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, through May 11: Tue.-Sat., 6 p.m.; Sun., 5:30 p.m., $33-$35. 6323 Col. Glenn Road. 501-562-3131. “Into the Woods.” Conway Dinner Theater, through May 10: Thu.-Sat., 7 p.m., $17.50-$27.50. 2201 Washington Ave. Suite 12, Conway. “Listen To Your Mother” Reading. A live reading of original essays about motherhood. Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Sun., May 11, 3 p.m., $15$20. 601 Main St. 501-378-0405. “Ripped and Wrinkled.” An original rock musical about a world famous band from North Little Rock called The Dogs. The Joint, through May 31: Fri., Sat., 8 p.m., $20. 301 Main St. No. 102, NLR. 501-372-0205.



ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER, MacArthur Park: 53rd “Young Arkansas Artists,” artwork by Arkansas students K-12, May 9-July 27, family festival and award ceremony 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 10; “InCiteful Clay,” 35 ceramic sculptures that offer social commentary, through June 29, Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery, “The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South,” 70 paintings by the late Arkansas native, through June 1.” 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. 372-4000. BUTLER CENTER GALLERIES, Arkansas Studies Institute, 401 President Clinton Ave.: “Drawn In: New Art from WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome,” through Aug. 23; “Detachment: Work by Robert Reep,” through July 24; “2nd annual Arkansas Printmakers Membership Exhibition,” through June 28; “Southern Voices,” contemporary quilts by the Studio Art Quilts Associates, through May 24. Open 5-8 p.m. May 9, 2nd Friday Art Night. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 320-5790. COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 River Market Ave.: Arkansas League of Artists’ “Spring Members Show,” juror Kevin Kresse, through May, reception 5-8 p.m. May 9, 2nd Friday Art

Night. 918-3093. HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM, 200 E. 3rd St.: “Co-Opt,” work by UALR student artists Taimur Cleary, Jennifer Perren and Mesilla Smith, opens with reception 5-8 p.m. May 9, 2nd Friday Art Night, with music by Finger Food (Steve Davison and Micky Rigby); 41st annual Territorial Fair,” with pimiento cheese competition and a celebration of Arkansas food with beekeepers, cheese makers, urban chicken growers, backyard gardeners, also food from Lindsey’s Hospitality House and local food for sale, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 10; “Patterns from the Ozarks: Contemporary Ceramics, Quilts and Folk Art Painting,” works by Karen Harmony, Jo Smith and Blakely Wilson, through June 8; “A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America,” through June 22; “Arkansas Made,” ongoing. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9351. UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK, 2801 S. University Ave.: “Revision, Missing, Listen, Light, Fly: Drawings by David Bailin,” charcoal and mixed media drawings, Gallery II, through May 30, reception 6:30-8 p.m. May 15. WITT STEPHENS JR. CENTRAL ARKANSAS NATURE CENTER, Riverfront Park: Art by angler and artist Duane Hada, 5-8 p.m. May 9; exhibits on wildlife and the state Game and Fish Commission. 907-0636. HOT SPRINGS EMERGENT ARTS, 341-A Whittington Ave.: “Tohoku — Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers,” through May 30. 501-6550836 JUSTUS FINE ART, 827 Central Ave.: Tony Saladino, abstract paintings; also work by Matthew Hasty, Rene Hein, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Rebecca Thompson, Emily Wood and Taimur Cleary, through May. 501321-2335.


The Center for Artistic Revolution is seeking heart-shaped or heart-referencing works of art for its 10th annual “Corazon,” a benefit for the work of CAR. One entry will be used in promotional materials; deadline for application to be that entry is May 23. Deadline for other completed work is June 13. The event is set for 7 p.m. June 28 at Boswell-Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.


BOSWELL-MOUROT, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.: “New Works by Hans Feyerabend, Rod McGehee and Michael Warrick,” through May 10. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. and by appointment. 664-0030. BOULEVARD BREAD, River Market: Paintings by members of Co-Op Art, through June. CANTRELL GALLERY, 8206 Cantrell Road: “Painting Arkansas — Finale,” new work by John Wooldridge, through June 21. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. 224-1335. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 509 Scott St.: Paintings by Dee Schulten, Dr. Lacy Frasier and Sue Henley. 375-2342. CHROMA GALLERY, 5707 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Work by Robert Reep and other Arkansas artists. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. 664-0880. THE EDGE, 301B President Clinton Ave.: Paintings by Avila (Fernando Gomez), Eric Freeman, James Hayes, Jerry Colburn, St. Joseph Thomason and Stephen Drive. 992-1099. CONTINUED ON PAGE 32


A results-driven, comfortAble AlternAtive to big box heAlth clubs


With 24/7 aCCess for memBers

‘HAPPILY EVER LAUGHTER’: Adam Peacock, Nicole Hastings, Sarah Shook, Pat Reidy, Emily Walker and John Hartman star.

Second City slays at The Rep Historic comedy troupe brings its improv act to Little Rock. BY SIDNEY FUSSELL


he Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s two-week showing of The Second City’s “Happily Ever Laughter” Tour is a bracing and boisterous comedic feat. With a cast of only six performers, the roughly two-hour production is entertaining and unpredictable, rapidly shifting from skits to puppetry to audience interactions and the Second City hallmark: improv. The approach is similar in vein to “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” which itself has featured Second City alumni like Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles. “Happily Ever Laughter” was familiar enough that the audience on Thursday, May 1, instantly picked up its constantly shifting rhythms, yet it was inventive and weird enough that they were laughing in their seats the entire time. With over two dozen skits in its two hours, “Happily Ever Laughter” is as much a juggling act as it is a comedy show. The skits are thematically all over the board, from the surreal and satirical to the romantic and touching. Equally scattershot are the characters. In two acts we see everything from selfish office employees and mystical carnival workers to embittered roleplaying couples and even a few Arkansans. References to the Ozarks, the Razorbacks and Flying Saucer, among a few others, throw some casual ribs at the audience, which responded well. The real satirical bite is saved for politicians, whose loose ethics (“Sure, I’ll talk about the ethnics”) and love for political attack ads (“Is he against gay marriage? Well,

he did marry a woman.”) are skewered in a handful of left-leaning skits aimed at fans of fellow Second City alum Stephen Colbert. As all manner of oddballs, weirdos and social freaks are paraded and parodied onstage, it takes serious comedic lunacy for anyone to stand out. Enter one Sarah Shook. This woman is wholly committed to making a fool of herself onstage, be it as a “catfishing” victim whose face deforms into a sobbing sea creature, a raging death metal enthusiast or a Miley Cyrus-style “independent woman.” Shook and her captivating facial contortions are a consistent bright spot, even among a company of five other very strong performers. The closest one might find to weak spots here are the musical numbers. Little is offered in the way of vocal performances or choreography, but the lines are delivered clearly enough for each of the jokes to land. There are hardly any faults to be found in the improv, but considering how wide-ranging the topics of the skits are, it was mildly disappointing to see a later scene devolve into yet another innuendo-laden porno spoof. A minor misstep here or there? Maybe. But a full two-hour set without any real bum jokes and with a totally satisfied audience would make any Second City alumni proud. “Happily Ever Laughter” runs at the Rep through May 10 with performances at 7 p.m. and, on Friday and Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.

may 8

Bowman Curve 400 N. Bowman 353-0224

2nd Friday art night is

this Friday, may 9 ArkAnsAs CApitAl CorporAtion Group Butler Center GAlleries Copper Grill

Cox CreAtive Center Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro GAllery 221 & Art stuDios HeArne Fine Art HistoriC ArkAnsAs MuseuM olD stAte House MuseuM pAper sCissors little roCk strAtton’s MArket stuDio MAin

new Participant: Witt stePhens Jr. Central arkansas nature Center

Nationally recognized artist and trout guide Duane Hada will be exhibiting. In the River Market beside Clinton Museum Store



MAY 8, 2014


AFTER DARK, CONT. ELLEN GOLDEN ANTIQUES, 5701 Kavanaugh Blvd.: Paintings by Barry Thomas and Arden Boyce. 664-7746. GREG THOMPSON FINE ART, 429 Main St., NLR: “Southern Women Artists Exhibition,” work by Sheila Cotton, Louise Halsey, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Linda Palmer, Rebecca Thompson and others, through June 14. 6642787. HEARNE FINE ART, 1001 Wright Ave.: More than 40 illustrations on oil and canvas by author/ artist Kadir Nelson, through June 7. 372-6822. J.W. WIGGINS NATIVE AMERICAN ART GALLERY, Sequoyah National Research Center, 2801 S. University Ave.: “Art from Above the Arctic Circle,” Inuit basketry, prints, drawings, carvings, beadwork, pottery, wool appliques, Greenland tupilaks, through May 16. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 658-6360. MUGS CAFE, 515 Main St., NLR: Work by V.L. Cox, through May 13. 379-9101. STEPHANO’S FINE ART GALLERY, 1813 N. Grant: Bronze sculpture by actor/artist Tony Dow, paintings by Stephano, through June 1. 563-4218. THEA FOUNDATION, 401 Main St., NLR: “Home Plate Heroes,” the Jim Elder Good Sport Fund exhibition of artists’ home plates to be auctioned online in May. Reception and live auction May 8. 379-9512. BENTONVILLE CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, One Museum Way: “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism,” works by Paul Gaugin, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso and others, through July 7; permanent collection of American masterworks spanning four centuries. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon., Thu.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Wed., Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun., closed Tue. 479-418-5700.


CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM VISITOR CENTER, Bates and Park: Exhibits on the 1957 desegregation of Central and the civil rights movement. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. 374-1957. CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, 1200 President Clinton Ave.: Permanent exhibits on the Clinton administration. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. $7 adults; $5 college students, seniors, retired military; $3 ages 6-17. 370-8000. ESSE, 1510 S. Main St.: “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Handbags (1900-1999),” purses from the collection of Anita Davis, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sun., $10-$8. 916-9022. MacARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS M I L I TA R Y H I S T O R Y , M a c A r t h u r Park: “American Posters of World War I”; permanent exhibits. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602. MOSAIC TEMPLARS CULTURAL CENTER, 501 W. 9th St.: “Repurposed Wonders: The Sculpture of Danny Campbell,” permanent and changing exhibits on black entrepreneurship in Arkansas. 683-3593. MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY, 500 President Clinton Ave.: “Wiggle Worms,” science program for pre-K children 10-10:30 a.m. every Tue., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., $10 ages 13 and older, $8 ages 1-12, free to members and children under 1. 396-7050. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM, 300 W. Markham: “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”, the state’s ties to Hollywood, including costumes, scripts, film footage, photographs and more, through March 1, 2015. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun. 324-9685.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, chefs and mixologists for making this year’s event a success. PRESENTING SPONSORS


MAY 8, 2014



‘THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2’: Jamie Foxx and Andrew Garfield star.

Reboot man Spider-Man returns, like you’ve often seen him before! BY SAM EIFLING


he reboot of the Spider-Man franchise has been mostly an exercise in redundancy, as the redundant second movie of the new series, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” has redundantly shown. It’s a less compelling run-through than its immediate predecessor, for several reasons. For one, it’s weird to watch Andrew Garfield (b. 1983) as Peter Parker and Emma Stone (b. 1988) as Gwen Stacy graduating from high school, when they’re old enough, nearly, to have high-school-aged kids of their own. Jamie Foxx plays the doomed nebbish Max Dillon with a heaping dose of friendly pathos, which all implodes as he’s forced, through no fault of his own, to assume deadly freaky electric powers. Poor guy is constantly picked on, and seemingly schizophrenic, and for that he assumes the mantle of villain, when what he really needs is some dedicated therapy. This will be a favorite superhero flick for many a smaller kid, despite what can only be described as a convoluted plot — we get copious digital sequences of Spidey slinging webs and Tarzaning his way through New York, cracking wise as he goes. Spider-Man is a child favorite in part because that’s how kids roll through the world themselves: small, fast, caroming from wall to wall. But he also holds sway for teens, being a young adult himself. For as effortless as he looks to the world, SpiderMan still sweats his dating life. Haunted by the recurring sight of her dead father, Peter tells Gwen that he can’t keep seeing her — he gave the old man his word that he’d keep her safely out of his crimefighting

life. Peter’s emotional moment is that of a bunch of high school grads: the first time you actually give up something good voluntarily. We call those “adult choices,” kids, and they’re the pits. This leads Peter and Gwen through one of these are-we-or-aren’t-we breakups that have earned comparison to some of director Marc Webb’s earlier work (“500 Days of Summer,” to be specific). And it’s cute enough for what it is, even if Peter can’t help but act a bit stalky. Meanwhile his prep school buddy Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, convincingly) has taken the reins at the omnipresent OsCorp, but isn’t feeling well, and may in fact be leaning a wee bit criminally insane. Also, Peter’s haunted by the memory of his own father and mother running out on him: We know from a harrowing opening sequence that their lot ended nobly; Peter knows only that he felt abandoned. But, let’s be serious, all of this would seem paltry if he could just figure out whether he and Gwen are, like, still dating? Or just hanging out? At least this new incarnation feels truer, in a way. We’ve gotten past the burden of Great Responsibility that comes with Great Power. For this Spider-Man, doing good comes so easily it borders on the glib. Harder is that he also has to maintain a love life without getting his girlfriend killed. For a change, Peter Parker doesn’t have a problem being Spider-Man. Rather, SpiderMan has a problem being Peter Parker. For as much other silliness pervades this movie, that much, at least, feels like a new take on an old (and ever-aging) story.

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17 33

OFF THE GRID WITH MATT WERTH, CONT. Continued from page 22 Werth’s commitment didn’t go unnoticed by the scene’s older generation, and when Mark Dober, then running the local record label File 13, left town to go on tour, he asked Werth to take over while he was gone. The label had been started in 1989 as a way to document and distribute the increasingly vast and vivid network of Little Rock bands, and was passed down to successive generations as a kind of rite of passage. Werth threw himself into the role eagerly, and when Dober returned, he asked him to stay on permanently. From the age of 16 through the end of high school, Werth ran the label out of his childhood bedroom. “It taught me everything I know now,” he said. “It was a complete education in the fundamentals of not only putting out vinyl, but also establishing an identity, an aesthetic and a written and stylistic voice. File 13 had this very strong aesthetic when it was handed over to me, so I had to learn that inside out — learn how to speak the language of the label. And that has directly applied to the way I run RVNG. It’s about a distinct voice.” The transition from File 13 to RVNG, from a local punk outlet to an internationally renowned sonic free-for-all, came as a result of Werth’s next great “cultural immersion,” which arrived when he left Little Rock to go to college in Philadelphia. “By virtue of being in a larger, Northeastern city, there was a little bit more of a flux of music, a larger spectrum,” he said. “There were record stores that offered a different kind of selection sensibility. There were just more people, and they were listening to more music.” It was here that he discovered and fell in love with electronic music, a shift in his musical outlook that he calls a “realization that there were even more alternatives.” He started RVNG there in the early 2000s, initially as a mix series designed as a calling card for a series of parties called “Making Time” that he helped throw with the local promoter Dave Pianka. “I loved the party aspect of it,” he said. “It was a lot of fun for me, but I was missing the tactile aspect,

the nuts and bolts of putting together and almost anything else the label has released, film, but loved the soundtrack, became releasing a record. There was a void there it sounds “fried” and “melted” and “fucked entranced by it and spent years digging for from File 13, which wasn’t a part of my daily up.” “I hadn’t seen Chip or Lee in some time,” records by and information about its comritual anymore. It felt like a calling, a needed Werth said, “but I’ve loved their music from poser, K. Leimer. He eventually tracked shot in the arm to get back into this stuff.” afar. So it’s super special to be able to drop down the reclusive artist, who it emerged When he moved to New York in 2002, he them a line and ask them to go on a journey.” was from Seattle, and “thus began two years continued the mix series, by then called While the label seems primarily oriented of my life,” he says, “putting together this definitive, unheard collection.” The album, RVNG of the NRDS, and began releasing toward these types of forward-thinking full-length LPs as well, mostly by friends projects by younger musicians, Werth is “A Period of Review: Original Recordings and acquaintances early on, like Philly duo also passionate about paying tribute to older, 1975-1983,” is set to be released May 13. “Recognizing the importance of earlier Pink Skull. little-known artists whom he believes have I asked him to describe the sound of been overlooked or deserve some contem- generations of artists, learning from their the label and he said, “Honestly, I’ll take porary reconsideration. This is the impetus practices and processes, is pretty important whatever. It’s open to interpretation, and behind reissuing strange cult artifacts like to me,” Werth said. “So I don’t necessarily it’s about the personal experience. I don’t “Synthesist,” a gorgeous 1980 album by Krau- approach the reissues as relics. I want to cremind genres or parameters; I like that con- trock percussionist Harald Grosskopf, and ate a stage for them, to bring more interest also behind FRKWYS, a series of releases to their legacy or to inspire and encourage versation and think it helps. But I try to keep it really abstract, to be honest, because featuring intergenerational and often them to interact with a new audience and unlikely collab- a new generation.” I’m not so sure. I’m not trying to be Toward the end of our conversation, I clever, but if we’re orations. going to deal in The most asked an awkward question that neverthestratification I prominent of less seemed obvious: How can you make the FRKWYS any money at this? Werth hesitated for a don’t want to be records to the one creating beat before answering: “Just the other day date involved we were going through royalties for the those parameters. So I go Werth flying to year, and, you know, some projects did betwith things like Jamaica with ter than others. And some projects didn’t West Coast do so well. You can’t totally calculate this ‘fried’ or ‘melted’ experimental- stuff. I honestly don’t even maneuver it that or ‘fucked up.’ I know that’s a ists Sun Araw and M. Ged- way, for the sake of business decisions. It’s always just something I believe in, and you cop-out.” des Gengras to work with the Though iconic reggae group The Con- hope that other people understand or share the RVNG gos. “The Congos made one of that belief.” catalogue has my favorite albums ever,” Werth After another pause, he said, “You extended well beyond said, referring to their 1977 classic, “Heart don’t want to get into the practice of drophis web of friends, he still prefers to work of the Congos.” “To work with people that ping bombs, but really nothing is a bomb. with artists he has some personal relation- you admire and respect so much, to actu- Nothing is a failure.” Listen to “A Period of ship with, an approach that has led most ally get into the creative process and DNA Review” and you might understand what recently to his reunion with Lee Buford and of those artists, is just so incredible. It’s hard he means. No one, or very few people at any Chip King of The Body, two friends of his not to be awed.” rate, asked for a definitive compilation of K. “Walking into it,” he said of his time in Leimer’s music, but now one exists, and it’s from his days in the Little Rock punk scene. “We’ve kept in touch and seen each other Jamaica, “I didn’t know what we were get- beautiful. The album isn’t necessary, but it sporadically through the years,” Werth said, ting into or where we would end up. I guess has a quiet, minor importance that is unarguable and even poignant. “but as you get older and you’re geographi- I still don’t. I don’t need to know where it’s cally displaced, you don’t necessarily see going, it’s important not to have a grid. I A few days after our phone call, I emailed your friends as much as you’d like.” like being thrown into situations like that, Werth with a few follow-up questions and I The group’s new record, “I Shall Die where you don’t know.” get an automated response. Every time I’ve Here,” came out of Werth’s idea that the duo Another recent “archival” release was emailed him, for that matter, I’ve received should collaborate with the British producer inspired several years ago by a viewing of the an automated response. He’s sorry he can’t and musician Bobby Krlic, better known 1982 documentary “Land of Look Behind,” check his email and he’ll be back soon, it says, as The Haxan Cloak. It’s a dissonant and a portrait of the Rastafarian movement after but for now he’s “off the grid.” His sign-off ambitiously forbidding album. More than the death of Bob Marley. Werth liked the is one I’ve never seen before: “Be light.”

DUMAS, CONT. Continued from page 7 almost exactly the same as those of her Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert. But the Republican attacks worked. By 2010 her national ratings were 11 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval. Pelosi makes an unusual ogre. Her fairly brief sojourn as speaker will go down as one of the most successful since Sam Rayburn. She became speaker 34

MAY 8, 2014


owing to her ability to get things done with rambunctious Democrats from the right and left. When the Affordable Care Act becomes recognized as one of the great congressional achievements since Social Security, she should get credit for it, and not so much Barack Obama. When a Republican replaced Ted Kennedy in the Senate, depriving the party of a workable majority, and it was clear that the massive advertising

campaign against the emerging health reform bill had changed public perceptions of it, the White House adopted a new strategy: let health reform slide for a few years and work for small, doable goals. Pelosi told the president to buck up and show some resolve. It was finally the moment that a goal sought by leaders of both parties since Teddy Roosevelt could be achieved and he should not let it pass. She drove the House com-

mittees to finish their work, cobbled together the conflicting bills, pushed them through the House of Representative and forced the affable but bumbling Senate leader, Harry Reid, and the Finance chairman to follow suit. So, it should be called Pelosicare, although that would help Mark Pryor and the other imperiled Democrats very little. One bogeyman or -woman is as good as another.







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MAY 8, 2014


Dining WHAT’S COOKIN’ IF YOU WEREN’T AMONG the hundreds who attended the second annual Arkansas Times Heritage Hog Roast, you really missed out. Sixteen teams labored over outdoor pits for hours to cook up some seriously delicious whole hog. They used all sorts of procedures — from spits and China boxes to trailersmokers that looked like mini-crematoriums — to produce all sorts of pork delicacies: pork rinds, pork tacos, pork sandwiches, pork nachos. We’re getting full just typing here. Our celebrity judges — Rep. Eddie Armstrong (D-North Little Rock), Alice 107.7 FM DJ Adam “Poolboy” Dunaway, chef Lee Richardson, Eat Arkansas’s Michael Roberts and Chef and restaurant consultant Denis Seyer — selected Cheers in the Heights as this year’s winner. The Schlafly Tap Room came in second and Ristorante Capeo finished third. EAT ARKANSAS’S MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST is focusing on pictures of meat (or grilled vegetables). This month’s prize package includes a gift certificate and other swag from Hillcrest Artisan Meats. Visit Eat Arkansas, at, for more information.




1620 SAVOY Fine dining in a swank space. The scallops are especially nice. 1620 Market St. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-1620. D Mon.-Sat. ALL ABOARD RESTAURANT & GRILL Burgers, catfish, chicken tenders and such in this trainthemed restaurant, where an elaborately engineered mini-locomotive delivers patrons meals. 6813 Cantrell Road. No alcohol. 501-975-7401. LD daily. ALLEY OOPS The restaurant at Creekwood Plaza (near the Kanis-Bowman intersection) is a neighborhood feedbag for major medical institutions with the likes of plate lunches, burgers and homemade desserts. Remarkable chess pie. 11900 Kanis Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-221-9400. LD Mon.-Sat. ASHER DAIRY BAR An old-line dairy bar that serves up made-to-order burgers, foot-long “Royal” hotdogs and old-fashioned shakes and malts. 7105 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, No CC, CC. $-$$. 501-562-1085. BLD Mon.-Sat., D Fri.-Sat. B-SIDE The little breakfast place in the former party room of Lilly’s DimSum Then Some turns tradition on its ear, offering French toast wrapped in bacon on a stick, a must-have dish called “biscuit mountain” and beignets with 36

MAY 8, 2014


Igibon Japanese Food House

11121 N Rodney Parham Road #13A 217-8888 QUICK BITE Need to get your Japanese food fix but only have a limited lunch break? Grab one of Igibon’s popular combination Bento Boxes, which come with a variety of beef, chicken, shrimp or sushi items paired with soup, rice, a crab puff, vegetable tempura and two pieces of California roll. HOURS 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-10 p.m. Mon.Sat. OTHER INFO All major CC, beer, wine, sake.

FRESH AND FINE: Sushi at Igibon.

Sushi staple It’s all good at Igibon.


ity the plight of the landlocked seafood lover. Oh sure, we here in the Natural State have managed to work with what we’ve got, turning our rivers’ catfish into something of a local culinary religion — but being hundreds of miles from the nearest body of salt water really limits what can easily be gotten locally. But all is not lost for those who pine for protein caught in the briny deep. There are places in town that get fresh fish shipped in daily, flown and trucked quickly from the coast in order to maximize freshness. One of these places is Igibon Japanese Food House, a classic Little Rock eatery that has been the recipient of many awards over the years, most recently coming in as first runner-up for Best Sushi in our most recent Readers’ Choice poll. Igibon has weathered staff changes, management changes and even a change in ownership a few years ago, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is its attention to quality in every bite. So what’s good at Igibon? We’re tempted to make this the shortest review in Arkansas Times history by simply saying, “everything,” but we know you want more detail than that. We generally start

off our meal with two bowls of miso soup ($1.75), a rich tangy broth that cleanses the palate and prepares us for the feast to come. To give Igibon’s sushi chef time to prepare the mass quantities we normally order, we follow up our soup with plates of pan-fried gyoza ($4) or the similarly deep-fried age shumai ($4). Fans of nonfried fare are not ignored, though, as the chicken yakitori ($4.50) or seaweed salad ($4.50) also makes for a delicious starter to any meal at Igibon. When it comes to the main course at any sushi place, sometimes the names of the different rolls and other items can be confusing, and we’ve always appreciated Igibon’s detailed descriptions of its sushi. Of particular note is the Sakura roll ($9.95), a concoction of spicy tuna wrapped in rice, wrapped again in red snapper, and topped with roe, which, together, scratches every itch a landlocked seafood lover might have. For a less-busy roll, the classic tuna ($5) and salmon ($4) rolls are a delight, with the fresh, clean-tasting fish accented just right by the delicate rice and salty seaweed that encases it. To really get at the heart of how fresh

and good the sushi is at Igibon, be sure to order several pieces of the nigiri, which is sushi at its most simple: a thick slab of tender fish gently resting atop a pillow of rice. There’s really no way to go wrong here: The tuna ($5) is delightfully firm and fresh, and the salmon ($4) and red snapper ($4) are equally lovely. The best piece, though, is what the menu calls “super white tuna” ($6), a buttery and decadent albacore that we could eat all night. Each piece is a bite worth savoring, and we always feel a pang of regret when we’ve finished, which often results in ordering more. Where Igibon excels beyond its excellent fresh fish is with their rice preparation, something to which most Americans eaters don’t pay attention. Learning to prepare sushi is mostly learning how to make and work with rice, and Igibon hits the sweet spot: light, well-packed rice that isn’t too dense, and served just warm enough so that the subtle play of rice vinegar and sugar that makes the rice adhere comes through with a light, sweet note that seasons the fish better than anything else. The result is bite after bite of true artistry, all served up with Igibon’s signature friendly smiles and welcoming attitudes. There are other places to get good sushi in Little Rock, but we keep returning to Igibon because it has an intimate, homey atmosphere that’s the mark of an eatery that has been around long enough to become a vital part of the community. Couple that with the fresh flavors and great selection, and you’ve got a restaurant that never fails to please.

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.

lemon curd. 11121 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-716-2700. B-BR Sat.-Sun. BAR LOUIE This chain’s first Arkansas outlet features a something-for-everybody menu so broad and varied to be almost schizophrenic. 11525 Cantrell Road, Suite 924. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-228-0444. LD daily. BIG WHISKEY’S AMERICAN BAR AND GRILL A modern grill pub near the River Market with all the bells and whistles: 30 flat screen TVs, whiskey on tap, plus boneless wings, burgers, steaks, soups and salads. 225 E Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-324-2449. LD daily. BOBBY’S COUNTRY COOKIN’ One of the better plate lunch spots in the area, with some of the best fried chicken and pot roast around, a changing daily casserole and wonderful homemade pies. 301 N. Shackleford Road, Suite E1. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-224-9500. L Mon.-Fri. BOGIE’S BAR AND GRILL The former Bennigan’s retains a similar theme: a menu filled with burgers, salads and giant desserts, plus a few steak, fish and chicken main courses. There are big screen TVs for sports fans and lots to drink, more reason to return than for the food. 120 W. Pershing Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-812-0019. D daily. BOOKENDS CAFE A great spot to enjoy lunch with friends or a casual cup of coffee and a favorite book. Serving coffee and pastries early and sandwiches, soups and salads available after 11 a.m. Cox Creative Center. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501- 918-3091. BL Mon.-Sat. THE BOX Cheeseburgers and french fries are greasy and wonderful and not like their fastfood cousins. 1023 W. Seventh St. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-8735. L Mon.-Fri. BUFFALO GRILL A great crispy-off-the-griddle cheeseburger and hand-cut fries star at this family-friendly stop. 1611 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, CC. $$. 501-296-9535. LD daily. CAFE 201 The hotel restaurant in the Crowne Plaza serves up a nice lunch buffet. 201 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-2233000. BLD Mon.-Sat., BR Sun. CATFISH CITY AND BBQ GRILL Basic fried fish and sides, including green tomato pickles, and now with tasty ribs and sandwiches in beef, pork and sausage. 1817 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-663-7224. LD Tue.-Sat. CHEERS Good burgers and sandwiches, vegetarian offerings and salads at lunch and fish specials, and good steaks in the evening. 2010 N. Van Buren. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-6635937. LD Mon.-Sat. 1901 Club Manor Drive. Maumelle. Full bar, All CC. 501-851-6200. LD daily, BR Sun. CHICKEN WANG & CAFE Regular, barbecue, spicy, lemon, garlic pepper, honey mustard and Buffalo wings. Open late. 8320 Colonel Glenn Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-1303. LD Mon.-Sat. DAVE AND RAY’S DOWNTOWN DINER Breakfast buffet daily featuring biscuits and gravy, home fries, sausage and made-to-order omelets. Lunch buffet with four choices of meats and eight veggies. 824 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. $. 501-372-8816. BL Mon.-Fri. DAVID’S BURGERS Serious hamburgers, steak salads, homemade custard. 101 S. Bowman

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

Road. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-227-8333. LD Mon.-Sat. 1100 Highway 65 N. Conway. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. (501) 327-3333 4000 McCain Blvd. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-353-0387. LD Mon.-Sat. E’S BISTRO Despite the name, think tearoom rather than bistro — there’s no wine, for one thing, and there is tea. But there’s nothing tearoomy about the portions here. Try the heaping grilled salmon BLT on a buttery croissant. 3812 JFK Boulevard. NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-771-6900. L Tue.-Sun., D Thu.-Sat. FLIGHT DECK A not-your-typical daily lunch special highlights this spot, which also features inventive sandwiches, salads and a popular burger. Central Flying Service at Adams Field. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-975-9315. BL Mon.-Sat. HILLCREST ARTISAN MEATS A fancy charcuterie and butcher shop with excellent daily soup and sandwich specials. Limited seating is available. 2807 Kavanaugh Blvd. Suite B. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-671-6328. L Mon.-Sat. THE HOP DINER The downtown incarnation of the old dairy bar, with excellent burgers, onion rings, shakes, daily specials and breakfast. 201 E. Markham. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-2440975. KITCHEN EXPRESS Delicious “meat and three” restaurant offering big servings of homemade soul food. Maybe Little Rock’s best fried chicken. 4600 Asher Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-666-3500. BLD Mon.-Sat., LD Sun. LASSIS INN One of the state’s oldest restaurants still in the same location and one of the best for catfish and buffalo fish. 518 E. 27th St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-372-8714. LD Tue.-Sat. MADDIE’S PLACE If you like your catfish breaded Cajun-style, your grits rich with garlic and cream and your oysters fried up in perfect puffs, this Cajun eatery on Rebsamen Park Road is the place for you. 1615 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-660-4040. LD Tue.-Sat. MARIE’S MILFORD TRACK II Healthy and tasty are the key words at this deli/grill, featuring hot entrees, soups, sandwiches, salads and killer desserts. 9813 W Markham St. No alcohol, CC. $-$$. 501-225-4500. BL Mon.-Sat. MASON’S DELI AND GRILL Heaven for those who believe everything is better with sauerkraut on top. The Bavarian Reuben, a traditional Reuben made with Boar’s Head corned beef, spicy mustard, sauerkraut, Muenster cheese and marble rye, is among the best we’ve had in town. 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-376-3354. LD Mon.-Sat. SIMPLY NAJIYYAH’S FISHBOAT & MORE Good catfish and corn fritters. 1717 Wright Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-562-3474. LD Tue.-Sat. SLICK’S SANDWICH SHOP & DELI Meatand-two plate lunches in state office building. 101 E. Capitol Ave. No alcohol. 501-375-3420. BL Mon.-Fri. SPECTATORS GRILL AND PUB Burgers, soups, salads and other beer food, plus live music on weekends. 1012 W. 34th St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-791-0990. LD Mon.-Sat. CONTINUED ON PAGE 38



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hearsay ➥ CANTRELL GALLERY has a new exhibit, “Painting Arkansas – Finale” by John Wooldridge, which opened May 2 and will run through June 21. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Wooldridge is a native Arkansan with deep roots in the Ozark Mountains. Through his career at NASA, he has designed, built and operated systems in orbit around Earth and currently en route to Mars. He and his family currently reside in Maumelle. ➥ PLEASANT RIDGE TOWN CENTER presents “Wednesdays out West”, a special series of events from 5-7 p.m. May 7, 14, 21 and 28, all to benefit the ALS Association. The event, in partnership with 103.7 The Buzz, will feature live music, a cash bar, a silent auction and drawings for prizes. Attendees will also have the chance to score coupons and discounts from participating businesses in the center during the events. For more information, call 501-661-1037. ➥ OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY will host an evening with Appalachian Trail endurance hiker and 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis beginning at 7 p.m. May 13 at the Little Rock Climbing Center. ➥ As part of this year’s LITTLE ROCK FILM FESTIVAL, there will be an ARTISAN STREET FAIR 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 17 at the River Market near the festival’s main venue, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater. “LRFF’s Artisan Street Fair will pay homage to our Southern roots by bringing together a collection of Little Rock’s best vendors in a bustling downtown outdoor marketplace,” according to the festival’s website. “We will curate the finest artisanal food, vintage clothing, jewelry, crafts, home goods, drinks and much more ....” ➥ Two new shops will open soon in the SHOPS IN THE HEIGHTS strip center behind the Heights Kroger: LE POPS GOURMET LOLLIES and DOMESTIC DOMESTIC, a home and kitchen store by the former owners of Eggshells Kitchen Co. Le Pops will open in June and Domestic Domestic will open in May. ➥ LOCAL COLOUR GALLERY will host its Spring Fling on May 8 from 5-7. It is open to the Public. Call 265-0422 for more information.


MAY 8, 2014


SPORTS PAGE One of the largest, juiciest, most flavorful burgers in town. Grilled turkey and hot cheese on sourdough gets praise, too. Now with lunch specials. 414 Louisiana St. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-9316. LD Mon.-Fri. STARVING ARTIST CAFE All kinds of crepes, served as entrees or as dessert, in this cozy multidimensional eatery with art-packed walls and live demonstrations by artists during meals. The Black Forest ham sandwich is a perennial favorite with the lunch crowd. Dinner menu changes daily, good wine list. “Tales from the South” dinner and readings on Tuesdays; live music precedes the show. 411 N. Main St. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-372-7976. L Tue.-Sat., D Tue., Fri.-Sat. SUGIE’S Catfish and all the trimmings. 4729 Baseline Road. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-5700414. LD daily. THE TAVERN SPORTS GRILL Burgers, barbecue and more. 17815 Chenal Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-830-2100. LD daily. VICTORIAN GARDEN We’ve found the fare quite tasty and somewhat daring and different with its healthy, balanced entrees and crepes. 4801 North Hills Blvd. NLR. $-$$. 501-758-4299. L Mon.-Sat. WHITE WATER TAVERN Excellent, locally sourced bar food. 2500 W. 7th St. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-375-8400. D Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat.


BENIHANA JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE Enjoy the cooking show, make sure you get a little filet with your meal, and do plenty of dunking in that fabulous ginger sauce. 2 Riverfront Place. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-374-8081. LD Sun.-Fri., D Sat. CHI’S DIMSUM & BISTRO A huge menu spans the Chinese provinces and offers a few twists on the usual local offerings, plus there’s authentic Hong Kong dimsum available. 6 Shackleford Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-221-7737. LD daily. 17200 Chenal Parkway. No alcohol, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-8000. LD Mon.-Sat., D Sun. 3421 Old Cantrell Road. 501-916-9973. FAR EAST ASIAN CUISINE Old favorites such as orange beef or chicken and Hunan green beans are still prepared with care at what used to be Hunan out west. 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-219-9399. LD daily. FORBIDDEN GARDEN Classic, American-ized Chinese food in a modern setting. Try the Basil Chicken. 14810 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-8149. LD daily. FU LIN Quality in the made-to-order entrees is high, as is the quantity. 200 N. Bowman Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-225-8989. LD daily, BR Sun. IGIBON JAPANESE RESTAURANT It’s a complex place, where the food is almost always good and the ambiance and service never fail to please. The Bento Box with tempura shrimp and California rolls and other delights stand out. 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-217-8888. LD Mon.-Sat. KIYEN’S SEAFOOD STEAK AND SUSHI Sushi, steak and other Japanese fare. 17200 Chenal Pkwy, Suite 100. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-821-7272. LD daily. KOBE JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI Though answering the need for more hibachis in Little Rock, Kobe stands taller in its sushi offerings than at the grill. 11401 Financial Centre Parkway. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-225-5999. L Mon.-Sat. D daily. NEW FUN REE Reliable staples, plenty of hot and spicy options and dependable delivery. 418 W. 7th St. No alcohol, All CC. $. 501-664-6657. LD Mon.-Sat.

THE SOUTHERN GOURMASIAN Delicious Southern-Asian fusion. We crave the pork buns constantly. Various locations. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-954-0888. L Mon.-Fri. VAN LANG CUISINE Terrific Vietnamese cuisine, particularly the way the pork dishes and the assortment of rolls are presented. Great prices, too. Massive menu, but it’s user-friendly for locals with full English descriptions and numbers for easy ordering. 3600 S. University Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-570-7700. LD daily.


CAPITOL SMOKEHOUSE AND GRILL Beef, pork and chicken, all smoked to melting tenderness and doused with a choice of sauces. The crusty but tender backribs star. Side dishes are top quality. A plate lunch special is now available. 915 W. Capitol Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-372-4227. L Mon.-Fri. CROSS EYED PIG BBQ COMPANY Traditional barbecue favorites smoked well such as pork ribs, beef brisket and smoked chicken. Miss Mary’s famous potato salad is full of bacon and other goodness. Smoked items such as ham and turkeys available seasonally. 1701 Rebsamen Park Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-265-0000. L Mon.-Sat., D Tue.-Fri. FATBOY’S KILLER BAR-B-Q This Landmark neighborhood strip center restaurant in the far southern reaches of Pulaski County features tender ribs and pork by a contest pitmaster. Skip the regular sauce and risk the hot variety, it’s far better. 14611 Arch Street. No alcohol, All CC. $$. 501-888-4998. L Mon.-Wed. and Fri.; L Thu. HB’S BBQ Great slabs of meat with fiery barbecue sauce, but ribs are served on Tuesday only. Other days, try the tasty pork sandwich on an onion roll. 6010 Lancaster. No alcohol, No CC. $-$$. 501-565-1930. LD Mon.-Fri. MICK’S BBQ, CATFISH AND GRILL Good burgers, picnic-worthy deviled eggs and heaping barbecue sandwiches topped with sweet sauce. 3609 MacArthur Drive, NLR. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-791-2773. LD Mon.-Sun. SIMS BAR-B-QUE Great spare ribs, sandwiches, beef, half and whole chicken and an addictive vinegar-mustard-brown sugar sauce unique for this part of the country. 2415 Broadway. Beer, CC. $-$$. 501-372-6868. LD Mon.-Sat. 1307 John Barrow Road. Beer, All CC. $-$$. 501-2242057. LD Mon.-Sat. 7601 Geyer Springs Road. Beer, All CC. $$. 501-562-8844. LD Mon.-Sat.


KHALIL’S PUB Widely varied menu with European, Mexican and American influences. Go for the Bierocks, rolls filled with onions and beef. 110 S. Shackleford Road. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-224-0224. LD daily. BR Sun. THE PANTRY Owner and self-proclaimed “food evangelist” Tomas Bohm does things the right way — buying local, making almost everything from scratch and focusing on simple preparations of classic dishes. The menu stays relatively true to his Czechoslovakian roots, but there’s plenty of choices to suit all tastes. There’s also a nice happy-hour vibe. 11401 Rodney Parham Road. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-353-1875. LD Mon.-Fri., D Sat. STAR OF INDIA The best Indian restaurant in the region, with a unique buffet at lunch and some fabulous dishes at night (spicy curried dishes, tandoori chicken, lamb and veal, vegetarian). 301 N. Shackleford. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$. 501-227-9900. LD daily.


DAMGOODE PIES A somewhat different Italian/pizza place, largely because of a spicy garlic white sauce that’s offered as an alternative to the traditional red sauce. Good bread, too. 2701 Kavanaugh Blvd. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 6706 Cantrell Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 10720 Rodney Parham Road. Beer, Wine, All CC. $$-$$$. 501-664-2239. LD daily. 37 East Center St. Fayetteville. Full bar, All CC. $$-$$$. 479-444-7437. LD daily. GUSANO’S They make the tomatoey Chicagostyle deep-dish pizza the way it’s done in the Windy City. It takes a little longer to come out of the oven, but it’s worth the wait. 313 President Clinton Ave. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-374-1441. LD daily. 2915 Dave Ward Drive. Conway. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-329-1100. LD daily. JAY’S PIZZA New York-style pizza by the slice. 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. 501-313-8611. L Mon.-Sat. NYPD PIZZA Plenty of tasty choices in the obvious New York police-like setting, but it’s fun. Even the personal pizzas come in impressive combinations, and baked ziti, salads are more also are available. Cheap slice specials at lunch. 6015 Chenonceau Blvd., Suite 1. Beer, Wine, All CC. $-$$. 501-868-3911. LD daily. VESUVIO Arguably Little Rock’s best Italian restaurant. 1315 Breckenridge Drive. Full bar, All CC. $$$. 501-246-5422. D daily.


CASA MANANA Great guacamole and garlic beans, superlative chips and salsa (red and green) and a broad selection of fresh seafood, plus a deck out back. 6820 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-280-9888. LD daily 18321 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-8688822. LD daily 400 President Clinton Ave. No alcohol, All CC. $-$$. BL Mon.-Sat. CASA MEXICANA Familiar Tex-Mex style items all shine, in ample portions, and the steak-centered dishes are uniformly excellent. 6929 JFK Blvd. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-835-7876. LD daily. EL PORTON Good Mex for the price and a wide-ranging menu of dinner plates, some tasty cheese dip, and great service as well. 12111 W. Markham St. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-223-8588. LD daily. 5201 Warden Road. NLR. Full bar, All CC. $$. 501-753-4630. LD daily. ELIELLA You’ll find perhaps the widest variety of street-style tacos in Central Arkansas here — everything from cabeza (steamed beef head) to lengua (beef tongue) to suadero (thin-sliced beef brisket). The Torta Cubano is a bellybuster. It’s a sandwich made with chorizo, pastor, grilled hot dogs and a fried egg. The menu is in Spanish, but the waitstaff is accomodating to gringos. 7700 Baseline Road. Beer, All CC. $. 501-539-5355. L Mon.-Sat. THE FOLD BOTANAS BAR Gourmet tacos and botanas, or small plates. Try the cholula pescada taco. 3501 Old Cantrell Road. Full bar, CC. $$-$$$. 501-916-9706. LD daily. LA HACIENDA Creative, fresh-tasting entrees and traditional favorites, all painstakingly prepared in a festive atmosphere. Great taco salad, nachos, and maybe the best fajitas around. 3024 Cantrell Road. Full bar, All CC. $-$$. 501-661-0600. LD daily. 200 Highway 65 N. Conway. All CC. $$. 501-327-6077. LD daily. LAS DELICIAS Levy-area mercado with a taqueria and a handful of booths in the back of the store. 3401 Pike Ave. NLR. Beer, All CC. $. 501-812-4876. BLD daily.



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MAY 8, 2014


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