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ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, 201 EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $150 for one year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current singlecopy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.




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ACLU to sue

The American Civil Liberties Un ion’s Reproduct ive Freedom Project and the ACLU of Arkansas have filed notice in Pulaski County Circuit Court that they will appeal citations issued by the state Board of Health against three Arkansas abortion clinics. The citations were imposed under a state law prohibiting physicians from collecting payment during a 48-hour waiting period after the patient’s initial visit, part of a slate of measures aimed at shutting down Planned Pa renthood clinics in A rka nsas via unnecessary requirements and imposing cumbersome protocols on their patients. The ACLU will argue that the state law regarding the waiting period is unconstitutional and ask that the citations be dismissed and the law be invalidated.

Peace Links, a group that sought to encourage friendship between American and Soviet women. VIA ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARKANSAS (1985)

Buffalo pollution

Former first lady Betty Bumpers dies

Former Arkansas first lady Betty Bumpers died Nov. 23. She was 93. Before her husband, Dale Bumpers, became governor, she worked as an elementary school teacher in Charleston (Franklin County), where she played a role in the desegregation of the Charleston Public School District. It was the f irst school district in the South to integrate all 12 grades after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954. Bumpers used her position as first lady to launch a groundbreaking campaign to have every child in the state immunized against childhood diseases. After Dale Bumpers won a U.S. Senate seat in 1974 and the couple moved to Washington, Betty Bumpers teamed with U.S. f irst lady Rosalynn Carter to expand the immunization program nationally. As the Cold War heated up in the early 1980s, Betty Bumpers founded 4

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Preliminary results of new federal and state studies have found increased pollution in the groundwater of the Buffalo River watershed, as well as algae growth that now affects nearly half of the 150-mile river, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this week. The research come s f rom U. S . G e olog ica l Survey, the National Park Service and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Groundwater pollution was among concerns raised by activists opposed to the presence of C&H Hog Farms, the 3,000-hog feeding operation sit uated on a tributary of the Buffalo. However, the preliminary findings have not proven a direct link between the pollution, algae and the presence of the hog-feeding operation. The studies are ongoing and could take years to conclude. The ADEQ denied a waste disposal permit for C&H last week. That decision is being fought in court by C&H, which continues to operate

despite the expiration of its permit two years ago. ADEQ denied the permit for disposal of liquid hog wa ste ba sed upon its rev iew of evidence of environmental risk due to the underlying karst geology, which can allow waste to seep through and contaminate groundwater, as well as the impacts of land-applied waste washing into the nearby Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo, and eventually into the Buffalo itself.

Little Rock seeks bikeshare program

The city of Little Rock has issued a request for proposals to bike-share service providers. Bike sharing allows people to pay a minimal fee to use bikes between locked stations. It is unlike the city’s program several years ago that put free bikes in the River Market district for people to borrow. Those bikes cycled off into the sunset; there was no way to keep them from being stolen. The RFP, which has a response due date of Dec. 11, is for a threeyear contract with a bike-sharing company that would put a minimum

of 200 bikes at 20-25 pay stations in the River Market district and downtown next year, and add 100 more bikes at the end of 2019. The city will invest in the first three years of a six-year pilot program, but “the equipment, operations, and other System expenses will primarily be funded through sponsorships or other funding sources secured” by the bike-share company, the RFP says. The city could use its dollars to match grants to purchase equipment or with “sponsorship investment” could fund operations and equipment in a “lease-to-own” model, the RFP says, or the bike-share company cou ld ret a i n ow ner sh ip of t he equipment. The city wants the bikeshare company to be responsible for day-to-day operations but give the cit y oversight of the system. The first phase of the city’s pilot program will target the River Cities Center (the city bus depot), areas of high-density parking, areas of highdensity employment, the Clinton Center and restaurant/entertainment areas, the RFP says. City Manager Bruce Moore will appoint a team to score the bids according to a score sheet attached to the RFP.


Of the people


n a recent video posted to Instagram, U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran as a Democrat in New York’s 14th Congressional District and is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, walks in front of the United States Capitol. The camera pans from her face to the building as she says, “Here it is. Where the community sent me to advocate for them.” She isn’t wearing a fancy suit or accompanied by a camera crew or group of staffers. She is alone, wearing headphones, her hair blowing, and filming on her cellphone. Her simple acknowledgement, “Where the community sent me to advocate for them,” is so refreshing in its difference from the smugness and paternalism from so many in Congress. Compared to the usual canned, calculated drivel we often hear from politicians, her willingness to talk candidly about the financial difficulties of running for office and renting an apartment in D.C. while waiting on her salary to kick in resonates with those of us who have ever been worried about mak-

running for office: polished and guarded. To see her with that guard down, comfortable and smiling, and in casual clothing ing ends meet, espewas a rare treat. The next woman who cially when movruns for president will be better served AUTUMN ing from job to job. by being more like Ocasio-Cortez than TOLBERT I cannot get enough Clinton. Rather than expensive high heels of her openness and a la Sarah Palin, working women would her willingness to share her excitement rather see the worn-out canvassing shoes to be elected as the youngest member Ocasio-Cortez posted after winning the of Congress. She films and photographs primary. The past two years have seemed seemingly insignificant things like her bag like a lifetime in politics and the increased with her new secure phone and tablet, the involvement by women and younger peofolder containing orientation materials, ple has rapidly changed what is desirable and the room where she had her photo and effective in a candidate. More Beto ID made. It is as if she is talking directly to O’Rourke skateboarding in Whataburger me and pulling away the curtain of secre- parking lots would be a good start. tive government institutions. Apparently, None of this “normal” behavior will many across the country feel the same way. cheapen the institutions of government. Ocasio has almost a million followers on What it will do is make the institutions Instagram despite Fox News’ obsession more accessible to those who have prewith making fun of her. viously been shut out. Instead of old men We’ve seen similar glimpses of nor- concerned with decorum who tend to malcy from politicians here and there. answer to their large, corporate donors and When Hillary Clinton was photographed avoid town halls unless the attendees and after the 2016 election walking her dog in questions are carefully vetted, maybe we the woods while wearing leggings and a will soon have a Senate and House full of fleece coat, the internet went nuts. Clin- women and people of color who interact ton played the only game she knew when directly with their constituents through

Prelude to war


resident Trump’s casual disinterest in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia’s leaders, a crime he once abhorred, may be only the final repudiation of America’s ancient obedience to human rights, but what if it is much more? What if it is a prelude to war? With prosecutorial and congressional investigations closing in, Trump may soon need the distraction of more American troops dying on foreign fields, which never fails to arouse our patriotic impulses, but that is not what I mean. It is not a calculated step toward a wider and deadlier conflict in the Middle East — Trump never seems to think far ahead on anything — but shuffling off the butchery of the old journalist, the father of three U.S. citizens, betrays an unholy allegiance to the royal leaders who have in mind just such a war, between the United States and Iran, the Saudis’ religious and secular rival for hegemony in the turbulent Muslim world. Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran at the Saudis’ urging, and his men are threatening to overthrow the regime that negotiated

the nuclear deal and has a tenuous hold on the ERNEST DUMAS democratic wing of the Iranian government. When Khashoggi’s slaughter in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a government murder squad came to light, Trump said he didn’t like it “even a little bit.” He was going to get to the bottom of it and severely punish everyone who was responsible. But when his intelligence agencies told him the evidence was irrefutable that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered it, the president changed his tune. He said bin Salman told him he didn’t order the murder and cover-up and he believed his friend, not the evidence. It was time to move on because he was not going to jeopardize U.S companies’ sale of billions of dollars of armaments that bin Salman uses in the three-year bombing of the people of Yemen to oust the ruling faction allied loosely with Shiite Iran. The day before Khashoggi’s murder, Trump’s intelligence agencies intercepted a plan from the Saudi palace to lure Khashoggi into a trap and they passed the information on to the White House. It isn’t known whether

it reached the president or whether anyone tried to warn Khashoggi in Istanbul or his daughters in the U.S. Why would the president be averse to punishing the murderers of a U.S. resident and those behind it? He once bragged that the Saudi royalty had helped him make a fortune. “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them,” he said at a rally in Alabama in 2015. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million a year. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” At another rally, he said: “I make a lot of money from them. They buy all sorts of my stuff — all kinds of toys. They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.” Now he says he never had any financial connections to the country, only a recognition that the world’s biggest oil producer is a great ally, even if it is one of the world’s absolute tyrannies and enemies of human rights. Trump and his State Department denounce Iran as the world’s leading exporter of terrorism, a title that belongs exclusively to Saudi Arabia, which spawned Osama bin Laden and provided 15 of the 19 hijackers who killed 2,997 Americans and injured 6,000 on 9/11. The Bush administration blocked an inquiry into the Saudi royalty’s role in the 9/11 attacks. When Trump banned travel from “terrorist

social media during breaks between meetings and votes. Turns out former presidential candidate Ross Perot wasn’t too far off with his idea for “electronic town halls” in 1992. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are making easy communication between politicians and constituents a reality. Another trend being ushered in by Ocasio-Cortez is the influence of the Democratic Socialists of America and other progressives on the Democratic Party. I recently attended a local meeting of the DSA and was relieved to hear the conversation center around student loan debt, health care and how to clothe and feed the homeless in our community rather than which values we need to abandon to try to reach the ever elusive “centrist” voter. But first, the country needs to be convinced that “socialism” is not a dirty word. Maybe wider exposure to Democratic Socialism through people like Ocasio-Cortez will help do the trick. Seek her out on Instagram or Facebook and watch her journey as a newly elected member of Congress. She is poised to be the voice of young progressives in the federal government.

countries” after taking office, he omitted Saudi Arabia and the other three countries that provided the Sunni hijackers and spawned the ISIS brigades that U.S. troops have been fighting in Iraq and Syria. Trump the campaigner insinuated he would never engage in the religious and secular rivalries in the Middle East, as previous administrations had done. He was unaware of the depth of that history, which runs all the way back to 1953, when President Eisenhower acceded to pleas from Winston Churchill and sent the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was threatening to nationalize the predecessor to the British Petroleum Co. We gave Iran the dictator Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the revolution of 1979. Retaliating for giving the country 26 years of tyranny, student revolutionaries held American diplomats hostage in 1979-80. Under a secret arrangement with agents for Ronald Reagan, the Iranians freed the Americans at the exact moment Reagan was sworn in as president. He repaid them with multiple shipments of arms. Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani said recently that Trump was going to overthrow the Iranian government. “It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years,” he said. “But it’s going to happen.”

Follow Arkansas Blog on Twitter: @ArkansasBlog NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Dems on deck

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NOVEMBER 29, 2018


uch of what I know about politics I learned from sports. If you want to know what’s going on in a baseball game, for example, you’ve got to know not only the score, but the inning, number of outs, what runners are on which bases, who’s batting, who’s pitching, who’s on deck, and who’s warming in the bullpen. I could go on. Baseball’s endless complexity is part of what serious fans love about it. Some of us can be great bores on the topic. But bear with me. Sometimes, too, things get really simple and obvious to even the most casual observer.    It helps to understand the rules, and also to be able to count.   So I went to bed on election night somewhat puzzled. TV pundits were portraying early results as pretty much a wash. (This is still the Trump administration/Fox News’ party line. I’m sure it’s also what they’re saying on RT, the Russian state network.) Were these characters watching the same scoreboard I was? Evidently not. Democrats were alleged to be demoralized by their seeming failure to prevail in Texas, Florida and in the Georgia governor’s contest. No doubt some were disappointed. Elsewhere, the fact that Trumpism was taking a beating in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and the Ohio Senate contests wasn’t seen as terribly significant. Because it was expected, the fact that Democrats were winning nearly every seriously contested congressional race from East to West was also downplayed. And the California results hadn’t even come in yet. So let’s just take the big simple stuff first: That Texas, Florida and Georgia races were so competitive was bad news for Trumpists. In Texas, charismatic Democrat Beto O’Rourke cut Sen. Ted Cruz’s margin of victory from 16 to 2.6 points. Enthusiasm about his candidacy drew much higher turnout among urban voters that helped flip a Houston congressional seat and helped to elect numerous Democrats down ballot. Anyway, don’t look now, but Texas could be a swing state. Also Arizona. Maybe Georgia, too. As I write, Trump has hustled down to Mississippi to haul a seg academy cheerleader across the finish line. Mississippi! This too: How did Hillary Clinton win 3 million more votes than Trump but lose in the Electoral College? By losing Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Also, no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. All of these results were on the scoreboard before I turned in on election night. Nobody was saying so, but President Trump’s re-election chances had taken a bad


hit. Having campaigned nationwide calling the election a referendum on him, the president had laid what baseball fans call a gooseegg. More like an ostrich egg, actually. Over the ensuing weeks, it’s become even clearer how badly things went for the GOP. Democrats didn’t merely take back the House of Representatives. They did so, Nate Silver points out, “with exceptionally high turnout. Turnout is currently estimated at 116 million voters, or 49.4 percent of the voting-eligible population. That’s an astounding number; only 83 million people voted in 2014, by contrast. … Democratic candidates for the House will receive almost as many votes this year as the 63 million that President Trump received in 2016.” Trump’s rural white base turned out, too, but there just isn’t enough of it. Rural voters, too, shifted left, helping to re-elect Montana Sen. John Tester despite Trump’s several campaign rallies there. They also helped defeat Trump “voter fraud” fraud Kris Kobach for Kansas governor. Nationwide, congressional districts shifted an average of 8 percentage points from Republicans to Democrats. Women voters voted Democratic, yes. But minority and younger voters, the so-called Trump “resistance,” also turned out in great numbers. Silver, who as a baseball analyst studies box scores and ponders statistics — as I do not — warns Democrats not to get cocky. Presidents Clinton and Obama both lost the House in mid-term elections, and were subsequently re-elected. But he also thinks it’s clear that Trump’s “base alone will not be enough to win a second term.” Flexibility helps, but a politician can’t adjust if he refuses to admit error. Besides, my own suspicion is that one way or another, Trump won’t be on the ballot come 2020. And what will congressional Democrats do with their newfound power? I agree with Nancy Pelosi: investigate yes, impeach no. Not without ironclad evidence, anyway. Leave that to Robert Mueller. Indeed, Leader Pelosi wrote a Washington Post column on Democrats’ plans without mentioning the president’s name. She promised to “abolish partisan gerrymandering and push a new Voting Rights Act,” to lower health care costs and runaway drug prices, to “rebuild the United States’ infrastructure, raise the minimum wage” and “advance common-sense, bipartisan solutions to prevent gun violence.” Not if Sen. Mitch McConnell can help it, of course, and he surely can. But comes 2020, Republicans will have to answer to an aroused electorate again. 


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NOVEMBER 29, 2018



he postmortem on the 2018 Arkansas football season need only be characterized by a flood of unwelcome superlatives: most anemic, least disciplined, farthest from national relevancy and ... well, just plain worst. The 38-0 whitewashing at the hands of Missouri, which has made a habit out of getting fat on Hog blood the past three Novembers, drove home the other insulting nail in this metaphorical coffin. The Tigers bear large responsibility for Bret Bielema’s ultimate ouster: In 2016, the Hogs were coming off a rout of Mississippi State at Starkville, and at 7-4, were poised to end an uneven season in a grand fashion by bumping off a Mizzou bunch that, in Barry Odom’s first year as head coach, was floundering badly. The Tigers were 3-8, 1-6 in SEC play, and Arkansas was licking its chops after dutifully marching to a 24-7 halftime lead. After that promising first half at Faurot Field, things started to go belly-up for Bret, and fast. Quarterback Austin Allen was turnover-prone in the third and fourth quarters, and Missouri started to string together stops and drives. The Razorbacks didn’t score in the second half, losing 28-24, and then things crashed even harder in the Belk Bowl as they blew a 24-0 halftime lead to Virginia Tech and lost that one, 35-24. From November 2014 all the way up until the Missouri debacle in 2016, Bielema had turned things around at a rate that was pretty damn phenomenal. After starting his Hog coaching career ignominiously with a 7-14 mark, including an 0-13 record in SEC games, Bielema righted the ship nicely to post an 18-10 record over the next 28 games, and that included 10 conference victories. Mizzou put the brakes on all that progress with its win the day after Thanksgiving in ‘16, and Bielema would only win four of his final 14 games, with the last loss being the finale against the Tigers last year. For this purported rivalry game, it has gone lopsided fast, and Arkansas’s one win over Missouri in the past five years since the “Battle Line” tag was appointed to this game came against Gary Pinkel’s last team in 2015, which incidentally finished 1-7 in SEC play. The other four games have progressively gotten more aggravating, but nothing will top Friday’s dispirited performance to cap off Chad Morris’ memorable-for-thewrong-reasons debut campaign. Arkansas let the Tigers score early, then couldn’t move the ball against a Missouri defense that didn’t exactly fashion itself as world-beaters when it yielded 30-plus points to five straight opponents throughout late September and October. But as

with the 2017 bunch, which started 1-5 before cruising to six consecutive wins to BEAU WILCOX get Odom to a bowl in his second season, this Missouri group improved markedly as the season wore on, letting senior quarterback Drew Lock make plays with his legs as well as his arm, and turning loose a defensive line that, naturally, features a Fayetteville product (Akial Byers) who made some impact plays and even fell on a loose football for one of the Tigers’ five touchdowns on a wet, windy day in Columbia. Missouri is, incidentally, mirroring the trajectory that Bielema’s earliest teams had. The first team was a bit hapless, but competitive, and Lock got a lot of valuable work under duress. Odom’s 2017 squad went 7-6 with a Texas Bowl bid against the Longhorns, which is precisely what happened to Bielema’s second team as well (Missouri lost to the Longhorns, however). Now, as with the 2015 Hogs, the 2018 Tigers have notched some nice wins, been reasonably competitive in most losses, and hit the eight-win plateau. That’s program growth. And it’s coming from a place with far less enticing and expensive football facilities and a less zealous fan base. Just due south, Arkansas fans are now left wondering if Morris, who counts among his first-year results a humiliating pair of nonconference losses to Colorado State and North Texas, an inability to close out floundering Ole Miss in a genuinely winnable game, and consecutive touchdownfree efforts against mid-level bowl teams in the last pair of games. The Razorback football program had never experienced a 10-loss season before, but that badge of infamy is now plastered upon the 2018 team, which wasn’t overly snakebit — they had some injuries, naturally, and a lack of depth to rely upon — but was listless and uncommitted as the season wore on. And make no mistake, losing is hard business for young kids who have traditionally tasted success on an individual or team level. But Morris can only decry this performance as “unacceptable” for so long. As the head coach who plunked down nearly $4 million on his house in Northwest Arkansas despite having yet to acquit himself and prove himself worthy of the job, he has to recognize what was similarly beyond the realm of tolerance as far as his coaching was concerned, and remedy that immediately. Because the next record he sets may well be the permanent Hog coach with the shortest tenure in that capacity in the modern age.

Long December



hanksgiving in the rearview, ing forward to getting clothes. We used with all the leftovers either to be positively bullish on December. consumed or thrown out to But as you get older, something funny the dogs and/or opportunis- happens. December stops looking like tic raccoons, we slide, inexorably, into the last chance to reflect before a new December. year’s beginnings and starts looking like As all you literature majors can prob- the end of another year — maybe good ably tell from us sticking that “inexo- and maybe bad, but definitely one you’ll rably” in there, The Observer is not never get back. That’s true for all of us, really a fan of December, even though we suppose, from the young to the old, it contains both Junior’s birthday and but when the gray starts creeping into Christmas. The Observer, long a sad your beard and the hair starts getting sack and Depeche Mode listener of a bit sparse up top, it’s tempting to see some renown, is one of those folks for time as a personal affliction instead of whom the twinkling lights and tinsel of something that wallops us all eventuthe season always manage to be a bum- ally, fair and square. Too, there’s just the mer, the lights too bright and the gold fact that old bones don’t like the chilly too brassy, the sugarplums a little too months and never have, and we’re not sweet and the kiddies a bit too loud in only talking about our own. Ever wontheir excitement over the impending der why the oldest of old-timey literainbound of Santa. Maybe we think too ture eventually gets around to telling much or too little — scratch that, as we us “The King had ruled for 30 winters definitely do both — but Yours Truly is in peace”? They put it like that because prone to seeing the yearly Black Friday once you’ve been king for a while, you brawl over billboard-sized TVs as much start to feel every damn one of those more indicative of humankind’s values winters. As any old fart can tell you: The and moral condition than some child only weatherman in the world with 100 who may or may not have been born in a percent accuracy is an achy hip. Tells manger in the desert a couple thousand you when a cold snap is coming better Black Fridays ago, though probably not than Ned Perme ever dared. — spoiler alert! — on Dec. 25 or even in And so, The Observer prepares for December. December. Fuzzy socks and double-thick To quote a story that actually made hoodie. Earflap hunting hat that isn’t so Christmas cool again: Bah, humbug. much Holden Caulfield anymore as it is Halloween! Now that’s a holiday: con- “Vermont crank.” We’ve had our electrosidering mortality and the darkness of blankie, probably giving us some exotic life, the unseen and the unnoticed, plus cancer as we speak, on the bed for over free candy and costumes? What’s not a month now, cranked to “HI”, the conto like? Definitely better than the holi- stant warmth stupefying the cats to the day that has become all about eating too point they become unresponsive puddles much, buying too much and putting hot of hair and making it even harder for cocoa kits and five-gallon pails of fla- Yours Truly to climb out bed and face vored popcorn on your credit card for the mirror on chilly mornings. Popsy and Nana. They’re way too nice to Fine: December, then! We will bellylet you know they hate that shit. Given ache about it, mutter and gripe about it, our druthers, we’d make Halloween last but there’s nothing to be done except from Sept. 1 to Jan. 1, after which would tough it out. The Bahamas are too expenbegin the two frigid months of Midwin- sive, California is on fire and Florida is ter Gloomsween, when Krampus stalks full of Floridians, so we will remain. Perthe long nights, scooping up rambunc- haps at some point in the next four weeks, tious children. What a treat! Three Spirits will rouse us from our elecYours Truly wasn’t always a Decem- trically heated bed and show us the true ber hater, we must confess. We loved meaning of the season, with stops at Tiny December as a child, of course, back Tim’s house, the joyful home of some ol’ during our prime gift gettin’ and candy hot tamale from college who got away, scarfin’ years. And we loved it even more, and the late Observer’s windswept and somehow, when Junior was a lad, until unmourned grave. We can hope. Maybe he stopped wanting toy trains and trucks it’ll take The Observer’s mind off the fact and pogo sticks and started actually look- we can’t feel our feet.

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et in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are “anybody” come to have their hair done, centered around six women, filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy. The sudden realization of their mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength and love which makes the characters truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.

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ith Education Commissioner Johnny Key assigning blame for low-performing Little Rock School District schools on LRSD teachers by moving toward seeking a waiver to the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, I would respectfully ask that he step back and consider the larger issue of disproportionate resources distributed among our public school students. I’m speaking here as a parent of a LRSD student but really want to speak on behalf of other public school parents who don’t share the same privileges and resources that many of us have. The state of Arkansas has a law that allows for the disbursement of award money to schools that “experience high student performance, student academic growth, and for secondary schools, high graduation rate.” The amount is around $100 per student for those in the top 5 percent of achievement and growth (two separate categories) and around $50 for those in the top 6-10 percent of achievement and growth. This year, the Department of Education gave almost $7 million to 175 schools having received these performance, growth and graduation awards. Twenty-eight of these schools earned both a performance and a growth/graduation award. This award structure is nothing new, as it stems from the carrotand-stick approach taken by the No Child Left Behind law passed in 2001. The message was simple then: Your school performs well, you get money. If your school performs poorly, your school loses money. The recently reauthorized education legislation (Every Student Succeeds Act-ESSA) took away the stick and left the carrot. This seemed to be a wise move from the Obama administration, as it never made sense to punish schools already lacking in resources and morale because of low test scores. The doling out of awards, the carrot if you will, to schools performing exceptionally well on the state measures of achievement may seem like a good thing in theory. Reward high-achieving schools with cash incentives. Who wouldn’t love that? In practice, though, this law may further widen the already alarming gap between students of different

races and levels of poverty. Consider this. Let’s say I worked at a factory, and manMICHAEL MILLS agement told Guest Columnist me they would pay me a bonus if I could produce more widgets than anyone else and then pay me another bonus if I can increase the number of widgets than I produced last year. Sounds like a great motivation, until we extend the metaphor further. What if I worked in a factory that had a faulty machine press or an outdated operating manual or lack of adequate training to operate the machine press? How would I overcome these difficulties to earn that incentive money? What if there were another factory on the other side of town with updated machinery, modernized facilities and resources to help better create widgets? Which factory do you think will have the better chance of producing the most widgets? Before answering that, consider that this is a flawed metaphor. The truth is that our teachers do not build widgets. Teachers help students discover who they want to be or how they will contribute to society and then help them learn the varied skills to make that reality a possibility. They give students opportunities for creativity and problem solving and help them plan for a world that is ever-changing. Unfortunately, all of this is not comprehensively assessed using the ACT Aspire test, which is the primary measure for awarding schools letter grades and financial incentives. But still, the question lingers: If one group has better access to resources than another, how is any comparison truly fair? Out of the nearly $7 million awarded by the state, $3.9 million went to schools for achievement performance and $3 million went to schools for growth/graduation rate performance. Measures of growth performance generally make sense: Improve based on what was expected, and you have shown growth. Many schools can benefit from this model in general terms because the model is essentially a measure of a school’s impact

on student learning and on measures 1.80%): $126,000.53 of student engagement (e.g., graduation, promotion). # Two or More Races (2,230, Measures of overall academic 2.69%) $188,577.97 achievement, however, will invariably favor schools that are already at And here is the breakdown of all the top. It’s not likely that a school in public school students in Arkansas the bottom 50 percent will ever have (2017-18): a chance to actually get into the top 10 percent of schools with high acaDemographic (# public school demic achievement measures, even students in Arkansas, Percentage) if they can increase their growth. This, of course, all hinges on the White students (292,716, 61.08%) quality of school facilities, the level of culturally responsive teaching Black students (96,886, 20.22%) specific to the students in the school, research-based reading instrucAsian students (7,863, 1.64%) tion, the presence (or lack thereof) of a media center and appropriate Latino students (62,385, 13.02%) resources, purposeful mobile technology use, and so on. American Indian (3,072, 0.64%) Did you know black students only had a 6.9 percent share of all award Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (3,917, money given out this past year, even 0.82%) though they make up 20 percent of all public school students in ArkanTwo or More Races (12,419, sas? To put that into perspective, if 2.59%) we were to achieve true parity repHAND PRODUCT OF ARKANSAS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PleaseEnjoy Enjoy Responsibly resentative of the black student popThis inequity bears out when we Please Responsibly ulation, their portion of the award group not only by race, but also by money should have increased by poverty. So, let’s put schools in one HAND CRAFTED PRODUCT OF ARKANSAS PRODUCT OF ARKANSAS nearly $1 million (6.9 percent share of five categories, based on the perW W W. R O C KTO W N D I S T I L L E R Y. CO M UNITED STATES OF AMERICA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Please Enjoy Responsibly Please Enjoy Resp is $479,478.52, but a 20.2 percent centage of students in poverty. This share is $1,415,101). White students can go from Extremely Low Poverty account for approximately 61 per- (fewer than 20 percent students in cent of all Arkansas public school poverty) to Extremely High Poverty students but received 70.2 percent (more than 80 percent students in of the award disbursements. Frankly, poverty). Using these categories, we I don’t see how this in and of itself end up with the following breakisn’t a violation of the Lake View down for award disbursements: decision regarding equitable funding. Here is the breakdown of the Extremely Low Poverty (fewer students representing the awarded than 20% students in poverty) schools in 2017-18: Makes up only 3.1% of the populaD e m o g r a p h i c ( # s t u d e n t s tion but received 11.7% of the award awarded, Percentage) Approximate ($818,919.78) Portion for Demographic Low Poverty (21-40% students White students (58,112, 70.20%): in poverty) $4,914,189.76 Makes up only 15.2% of the popPRODUCT OF ARKANSAS Black students (5,670, 6.85%):PRODUCT ulation but received 32.76% of the HAND CRAFTED OF ARKANSAS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Please Enjoy Responsibly Please Enjoy Responsibly $479,478.52 award ($2,293,084.90)

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Asian students (2,313, 2.79%): $195,596.79

Moderate Poverty (41-60% students in poverty)

Latino students (12,344, 14.91%): $1,043,859.42

Makes up 31.1% of the population and received 30.03% of the award ($2,101,857.20)

American Indian (618, 0.75%): $52,260.62


High Poverty (61-80% students in poverty)

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (1,490, CONTINUED ON PAGE 38



Arkansas Reporter Two-man race THE

Baker Kurrus and Frank Scott Jr. face off for Little Rock mayor.





n the end, Little Rock’s mayoral runoff election on Dec. 4 will be decided by turnout. Only a fraction of the voters who showed up for the general election on Nov. 6 can be expected to return to the polls four weeks later to vote for either Baker Kurrus or Frank Scott Jr. But as the runoff approaches, it’s not clear which candidate’s base is more motivated — and which will be most successful at picking up supporters of Warwick Sabin, the third major mayoral hopeful, who was narrowly eliminated in the November contest. Over the past two months, two related issues have come to the fore of Little Rock politics: crime and police DOWN TO THE WIRE: Mayoral candidates Baker Kurrus (left, meeting Belinda Stilwell) and Frank Scott have similar goals, misconduct. The city appears to be different approaches. experiencing another surge in homicides, with six people shot to death just in the weeks since the general election. (The overall number of murders for 2018, 33, remains significantly believe the selection of the next chief as evidence he can represent all parts either remaining candidate’s direction lower than it was in 2017, however.) At of police — who will replace Kenton of the city, including neighborhoods in the runoff. Or, some might simply the same time, the Little Rock Police Buckner, who left for a job in Syracuse, that have long been neglected. Kur- stay home. Department is under renewed scrutiny N.Y., on Nov. 16 — will be crucial to rus, a lawyer who has worked in land Here’s a brief look at a few after recent reporting in The Washing- repairing race relations within the development and served as the pres- d i f f e r e n c e s i n a p p r o a c h t o ton Post that claims the LRPD misuses force, between police and the com- ident of an automobile dealership, change in the two candidates: “no-knock warrants” to stage violent munity and among Little Rock resi- emphasizes his years of service with raids of citizens’ homes in search of dents. The candidates differ in how the Little Rock School District to prove POLICING drugs, among other alleged abuses of to achieve better community policing. his dedication to the public good. He power. The turmoil at the LRPD — includ- was a member of the school board for In mid-October, The Washington Both issues are inseparable from ing the decision by the unpopular many years and later served as super- Post published an investigation of the race relations. Scott is black and Kur- police chief to seek work elsewhere intendent. LRPD’s narcotics unit and its use of rus is white, and the expectation is that — is symbolic of divisions citywide. The Scott won his spot in the runoff no-knock raids to blow the doors off both candidates will earn the lion’s past year has seen some public calls with 37 percent of the vote and Kur- the homes of city residents suspected share of their votes from people who for changing city government, such rus took 29 percent, narrowly edging of drug crimes. The Post focused on look like them. Even so, the contest has as ditching the at-large city director out Democratic state Rep. Sabin’s 28.5 the story of Roderick Talley, a young not been primarily defined as black vs. positions, a system which tends to percent. (A candidate needed to cap- African-American man whose homewhite, but by the question of who can dilute the voices of residents in lower- ture 40 percent to win the election out- video footage appears to contradict the do the best job of getting Little Rock income wards. Kurrus and Scott both right and avoid a runoff.) That means official story of the LRPD; he’s suing back on track. Age is perhaps as big a want to shake up city hall, though in Kurrus and Scott are now vying to win the city. In the wake of the Post story, factor as race, with Scott, 34, expected different ways. over Sabin’s supporters. Those who Scott called for a federal investigato perform well among younger voters Both say education and neighbor- liked Sabin’s strong progressive posi- tion and reiterated his plan to create a and Kurrus, 64, appealing to a cohort hood revitalization are key to a pros- tions on certain issues — most nota- Little Rock Community Review Board that skews older. perous and safer city. Scott, a banker bly, his opposition to the 30 Crossing to hear citizen complaints of police Kurrus and Scott are both business- and former member of the Arkan- widening of the interstate downtown, misconduct and brutality. (The board men, and they can often sound more sas Highway Commission, touts his which both Scott and Kurrus consider would be appointed by the mayor.) alike than different on the issues. Both upbringing in Southwest Little Rock a foregone conclusion — could break in Kurrus expressed concern about the 12

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


LISTEN UP Tune in to our “Week In Review” podcast each Friday. Available on iTunes &


Inconsequential News Quiz:

BIG Hooterville headcount PICTURE


Play at your rural home, very slowly, on dial-up internet.


2) The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission reported some good news the other day. What was it? A) A historic peace treaty has been brokered between the Fouke Monster and the White River Monster. B) The ivory-billed woodpecker has been located in Desha County, and was reportedly delicious. C) Thanks to a concerted lobbying effort by the NRA, any person with a yearly income less than 120 percent of the federal poverty rate can now be hunted for sport. D) The state added almost 6,000 acres to the wildlife management system in 2018 thanks to federal Wildlife Restoration Act funds.  

3) The U.S. Census Bureau is reportedly concerned that a factor that is common in rural areas of Arkansas could cause the state’s population to be undercounted during the 2020 Census. What’s the issue? A) The state’s plentiful supply of yokels who assume anybody from the gubmint is a Revenooer. B) A recently enacted state law, sponsored by state Rep. Thad Peckerdrink (R-Merkin Fork), which makes

“possession of any pail, bucket, lidded pot and/or unoccupied hat” qualify as having “indoor plumbing” for the purposes of the Census. C) A new state statute, championed by Governor Hutchinson, which counts any resident receiving Medicaid benefits as negative one person. D) A lack of broadband internet access in rural areas, which could make it difficult or impossible for up to 1 in 4 Arkansans to respond to the Census questionnaire online.

4) So the 2020 Census count is off by a couple hundred thousand people. What’s the big deal?    A) According to the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at UA Little Rock, for every person not

counted by the 2020 Census, the state will lose around $900 in federal funds. B) The AEDI also estimates that undercounting the population of the state by 1 percent could cost Arkansas $750 billion in federal funds by 2030. C) The poorest counties in the state, which rely most heavily on federal funds allocated through the Census count, also tend to be the counties with the least access to broadband internet. D) All of the above.

5) The University of Arkansas announced the suspension of two Razorback football players before the team’s final game of the season against Missouri. Why were the two players suspended? A) They embarrassed Coach Chad Morris by actually developing a cunning plan to win one. B) They took Razorback mascot Tusk out on the town and got him a little ham hock, if you know what we

mean. C) They insulted a wealthy Razorback booster by neglecting to pick up the envelopes full of cash he “accidentally dropped” in front of them. D) They reportedly flirted and took photos with cheerleaders from Mississippi State before the Razorbacks’ humiliating 52-6 loss in Starkville on Nov. 17.

Answers: D, D, D D, D

facts contained in the story but was more equivocal in his response. An internal investigation was the place to start, he said. On Nov. 14, the story took another turn. Talley, who was fleeing a Cross County sheriff’s deputy to avoid failure to appear on a warrant, allegedly struck the deputy with his car and was arrested. That prompted the mostly white Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police to stir the pot by posting a photograph on Facebook showing Scott shaking hands with Talley. The FOP — which has endorsed Kurrus — said it wanted the “citizens of Little Rock to know that candidates who align themselves with fleeing felons fail the qualifications for any public office.” Both Kurrus and Scott expressed distaste at the post and encouraged the FOP to take it down. In addition to the creation of an independent review board for the LRPD, Scott says he’ll increase the police force to 700 officers over the next four years, at a cost he estimates at $10 million to $15 million. He says he’ll do it without raising taxes. Scott claims that city dollars can be spent “according to priority,” and if the desire is to spend more on police, the budget can adjust accordingly. He also said the LRPD needs to recruit more Spanish-speaking officers and hire a liaison for the LGBT community. He wants to create “gun courts” in collaboration with the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney, add lighting and cameras to highcrime areas, and review the city’s Youth Intervention Program, a grant program for services to at-risk youth that draws fire every year from city directors. Scott said he’d been hearing people express a desire for “more opportunities for our youth so we don’t lose them to the streets,” and identified poverty and poor education as root causes of crime. Kurrus, who calls crime the biggest problem Little Rock faces, does not support the creation of an independent review board, saying the mayor

1) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will be in Little Rock on Dec. 6. Why is Huckabee coming to town? A) One last jewel heist before he goes legit. B) Asshole-off at Barton Coliseum between Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kanye West. C) A staging of his one-man show, “Gomer Pyle: The Later, Fatter Years.” D) A forum with former Gov. Mike Beebe to celebrate 20 years of the state’s Center for Health Improvement. NOVEMBER 29, 2018


2019 MUSICIAN SHOWCASE Submission Deadline:


To Enter: Send streaming Facebook, ReverbNation, Bandcamp or Soundcloud links to and include the following: 1. Band Name 2. Hometown 3. Date Band was Formed 4. Age Range of Members (All ages welcome) 5. Contact Person 6. Phone 7. Email All musical styles are welcome.

Acts must be able to perform minium of 30 minutes of original material with live instrumentation. 14

NOVEMBER 29, 2018



ALL MIKED UP AND READY TO GO: Daniel Craig at Capitol View Studio in Little Rock.


Brian Eno described the recording studio as an instrument unto itself. Tom Waits described recording as a form of time travel. Aretha Franklin said it’s something she’d never grow tired of. However you describe the process, to hear a musician’s studio recordings is to hear the entirety of his or her sonic palette in an ephemeral, frozen snapshot — aesthetic choices, style choices, instrumentation choices. We paid visits to some of the people who guide those choices for Arkansas musicians — Capitol View Studio and Ferocious Productions in Little Rock, Blue Chair Recording Studio in Lonoke County, Haxton Road Studios in Bentonville and East Hall Recording in Fayetteville. Our list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a glimpse into the community of local experts devoted to marrying beauty with meticulous technology, and into a handful of the foam-padded, electrified rooms from whence they churn out the sound of The Natural State. NOVEMBER 29, 2018




Lonoke County sanctuary Blue Chair mines ‘ridiculous talent’ from small-town Arkansas. By Andrew McClain


lue Chair Recording Studio has been one of Stribling found on eBay and brought back to Austin the most reliable places for Central Arkan- from Philadelphia in a rented box truck. sas musicians to get a professional-quality “I’m very old school. Even though I use ProTools to recording made for as long as this reporter record, I try to get the best analog sounds going into the can remember. Adam Faucett, Kris Allen and Elise Davis computer. The old analog preamp really determines have all recorded there. It’s been the documentarian of whether or not you’re going to get a good drum sound.” country, metal, bluegrass and the Arkansas River ValStribling, doing several takes with the bassist from Malley sound — Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, Some Guy vern alternative rock band Exit From Dark, operated ProNamed Robb. Tools in a surgical manner, going back to specific spots in the “The most interesting thing about this job,” Blue track that needed work. “That one was a little slow — let’s go Chair’s Darian Stribling said, “is that one day it’ll be back to the beginning of the second verse,” he told the bassist. metal and the next it’ll be bluegrass. You have to know Stribling’s role in the studio changes with every artist. The how to adapt and get the sounds they’re looking for — younger bands, he said, are often looking for guidance, so adapting so quickly from one day to the next. … It’s not he gives them a lot of feedback. “The seasoned bands have easy and it takes a long time, but that’s the challenge more of a vision. It’s all about communication. Some people and it keeps it interesting.” want me to play guitar or come up with parts. Sometimes Stribling records in an unassuming one-story build- I even sing and offer harmonies if no one else can do that.” ing in Austin (near Cabot). A native of the Cabot area, “I’ve recorded almost everything,” Stribling said. “A Stribling first rented the property from his brother-in- pistol was shot outside the studio, and we strung enough law and built a small building on it in 1997. “After nine mic cables out of the studio out into a field to record a years, we were eventually busy enough for me to buy gunshot. I’ve had bands that wanted the sound of lighting him out and build a new building.” a match and a “cigarette.” The studio has every amenity, including a small liv“We’ve recorded a didgeridoo, anything you could think ing space for bands who want to stay there, a dedicated of that someone would want to put on a song. Artistic peocontrol room, isolation booths for recording vocals and ple think outside of the box sometimes. Grand Serenade drums, numerous guitars, an electric piano and a vintage needed a part to kick in strong, so we recorded light bulbs Hammond organ. In terms of hardware, the studio’s being thrown on concrete. It sounds great. You hear this crown jewel is a vintage Neve 5116 mixing desk, which sound, and you’re not sure what it is. With Adam Faucett, 16

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


we took a rake outside and hit it against the AC unit and put a bunch of reverb on it.” The difficulty of carving out a niche as a professional musician was no surprise to Stribling, who grew up playing in various bands in Arkansas and as a teenager worked nights and weekends at Jacksonville Guitar. “I figured out in high school that music was the one thing that I felt I was good at,” Stribling said. “It came to me naturally, so I wanted a career in music no matter what.” Stribling sees fewer young bands coming to the studio hoping to record the demo that will get them signed to a major label. The reality of the music industry has changed, and the goal for many is simply to document their music to sell at shows. That attitude reflects the difficult nature of a world where music is essentially free to most consumers. “I don’t really care so much about trying to do albums that are going to land someone a record deal,” Stribling said, “or recording successful bands already on a label. What I enjoy more is recording someone who lives out in Nowheresville, Arkansas, some country boy with a killer voice, or church groups with one girl, like, ‘Holy cow, her voice is as good as anybody out there.’ Ridiculous talent from small places. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who gets to hear that. They record an album and pass it around to their friends and family and that’s all that comes out of it.”


LITTLE ROCK’S GO-TO: Ferocious is widely respected for his hip hop and R&B production.

Love is the ingredient Ferocious talks 20 years of beat-making. By Stephanie Smittle


ittle Rock native Dondrae Vinson — known mostly to his friends as Dre and to his clients as Ferocious — doesn’t have to look far to see evidence of his early days honing his craft, days of scrimping and saving for each new piece of audio equipment. That’s because there’s a closet at his studio, Ferocious Productions, that offers testament to those memories: “I literally have every single drum machine I’ve ever purchased since I was 15,” Vinson said, passing a couch covered in throw pillows designed to look like Akai MPC 2000XLs and pulling their electronic equivalents from a clandestine cranny in the production room. It’s a long history to archive. Vinson, now 35, sold his first beats when he was 15 years old. A friend of his older brother heard Vinson’s experiments on a Sony Playstation program, “MTV Music Generator,” and accompanied Vinson to what was then called Second Street Studios, where Vinson found himself welcomed — and subsequently mentored — by an older generation of Little Rock audio engineers. Now, his in-home studio, tucked away in a neighborhood just south of War Memorial Stadium, is the incubator for sounds from 607, Big Piph, Gina Gee, Duke Stigall, Arkansas Bo, BJ

Soul, Bijoux, Dee Dee Jones, The Ridah God, Nex2C, Candysoul, Charlo Campbell, Lil Le, Dion Jonez and others. Vinson’s resume includes collaborations with R&B singer Case, Bishop Lamont and the late Pimp C of UGK, and he leads educational workshops on the four pillars of hip hop for kids at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and around the country. Vinson uses a Studio One software setup now, complete with a MIDI controller and a mixing board, but before 2010, he recorded with almost exclusively analog equipment. Certain artists still ask for that styling — local emcee O.T. Ray Vizza, for example, “a real hip-hop head,” Vinson said. “He appreciates the retro sound.” That sound seems to ooze from the ’70s-era wood-paneled walls in an adjacent vocal booth, where a Slate VMS microphone stands on shag carpet. A wall hanging nearby reads “Love Is the Ingredient.” There’s a vocabulary you’ll hear a lot from audio engineers, a sort of preference for staying out of the way and letting the live sound remain as unadulterated as possible. Despite ringing endorsements from clients who employed Vinson in hopes of couching their verses in Ferocious’ signature production style, Vinson says that practice of noninterference applies equally to what

he does as an engineer and production coach. “Since I listen to a lot of old music, I try to get as close to the finished product in the recording process. Some people will record and it’s real raw, and they’ll be like, ‘We’ll fix it in the mix.’ ” Vinson mentions Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes as exemplars. “It’s really about just making the artist comfortable. To me, that’s the biggest part — getting them into the creative zone they need to be in, and then capturing the best performance. And then it’s really just about choices. Sound selection, certain breaks, things like that.” I asked if there was anybody in the recording world who, for him, serves as exemplar. “Quincy Jones,” he answered, without a beat or a blink. “That’s probably so cliché.” It isn’t, but it does make me wonder why, equipped with a skill set that includes multiple instruments, lyrical flow and a knack for sound styling, Ferocious isn’t working from the other side of the microphone. “I think I’m too much of a fan, if that makes sense. I’m too much of a fan of singers and performers to be one myself. … It’s kinda like if an artist just decided one day, ‘OK, I wanna produce.’ That might offend some people who really take it seriously. I just respect the craft too much. I know how much work it takes.” NOVEMBER 29, 2018



The Cross Street sound Capitol View Studio will narrow its focus in the new year. By Rebekah Hall


hen Bryan Frazier opened Capitol View Studio in 2017, the 2,300-squarefoot space was a multipurpose performance and visual arts space as well as recording studio. But the studio will narrow its focus in 2019: Frazier plans to expand to a full-service recording studio with infrequent, if any, live shows. The building’s Big Room, as Frazier calls it, is home to the recording studio, which consists of a control room and an isolation room for recording vocals. Frazier, 18

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


who lives with his girlfriend in the apartment in the rear portion of the building, also works on his screenprinting projects in the space. There have also been a few live shows in the Big Room, which boasts acoustics meticulously crafted by Mark Colbert, the studio’s audio engineer and producer. But, according to Frazier, the way forward for Capitol View will not be as a venue. “I’m seriously scaling back on the live shows because I don’t want it to be a venue,” Frazier said. “We’re kind of coming to that point where things need to start going

their own way, [with] the studio being only a recording studio and very focused.” In addition to Capitol View Studio, the building is also home to the Arkansas Music & Arts Foundation (AMAF), a nonprofit fundraising organization that, according to Frazier, advocates for the visual arts and music. The organization, coupled with Frazier’s use of the space for his screen-printing project, helped establish Capitol View as a source for artists of many different mediums.

‘THE KEY INGREDIENT’: Capitol View engineer Mark Colbert (right) and musician Daniel Craig.



FRIDAY DEC. 7 9PM According to Frazier, hosting shows in the Big Room was an effective promotional opportunity for the studio. “It was great for promotion because artists wanted to see it, music fans wanted to come see a show, and the shows sounded amazing in there,” Frazier said. For the future of the studio, Frazier said he envisions the control room, which is now in the front of the building, in the back. The space at the front of the building would be used as a “dry” drum room — a space to record drums with very little reverb — and the apartment in the rear of the building would serve as a lounge or green room for artists. “It’d be really great for an artist to come and actually live there for a week and record. … [It’s] in a pretty cool space that’s right downtown, and kinda hidden at the same time,” Frazier said. Frazier said the studio is able to produce a warm sound, one that can largely be attributed to Colbert’s vintage preamps and rack-mounted gear. “There’s a richer sound to the way he produces these records,” Frazier said. “Sometimes it’s a little difficult to describe a producer’s style because some people are producers, some people are engineers, [and] Mark really is both. He’s a great engineer, he’s really knowledgeable, and the guy’s a bona fide electrician. He could wire a building if he needed to because he does live sound. He’s done live sound forever.” The studio uses a Pro Tools HD rig in its control booth. Colbert, in addition to his role as Capitol View’s primary audio engineer and Frazier’s business partner, runs live sound at the Rev Room. Frazier said Colbert brings his history as a professional drummer and accomplished producer in Los Angeles to Capitol View. “He’s an integral part of the studio,” Frazier said. “I would never run the studio. I just wouldn’t do it. I don’t have

the skill set to do it, I’m more the artist type, and Mark really is a business partner when it comes to that. He’s the key ingredient to the studio. And he does most of the recruiting. It helps that he runs sound at a popular venue, so he talks to everybody.” As a result of some of that recruiting, Capitol View has produced several albums and EPs, including Mark Currey’s album “Tarrant County,” Sumokem’s “Warning/Emerald” and Townsend’s “Show Me Home.” All the live drum tracks on Dazz & Brie’s 2017 album “Can’t Chase Girls & Your Money Too” were produced by Capitol View and engineered by Colbert, and Big Piph’s “Anarchy,” an NPR Tiny Desk Contest submission, was recorded at Capitol View. “We’ve been fortunate to work with artists we know, and friends that we love, and music we really enjoy recording,” Frazier said. “Some studios have to record and produce and mix and listen to music they don’t care for, and we’ve been lucky to produce music we really enjoy listening to.” Capitol View recently finished a track as part of a project with Nashvillebased nonprofit Operation Song, a songwriting therapy program for veterans and active duty military. After a weekend retreat in August at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Frazier co-wrote his first song with a veteran, and he said he’ll help launch the website and social media for “Operation Song: Little Rock.” Frazier said Capitol View is looking forward to maturing as a studio and continuing to serve musicians in the coming year. “We’ve got some great records under our belt, I think we have a focused plan, and it’s going to be a great year,” he said. “It’s going to be a new year in Little Rock in many ways, and we’re all really excited about it.”

John Neal, one of the most talented singer/songwriters of the Arkansas music scene, is back at South on Main and ready to get you on your feet and dancing to his country, gospel and blues. Concert begins at 9 pm. Purchase tickets in advance for $8 or pay a $10 cover at the door. Tickets do not guarantee you a seat. To reserve a table, please call (501) 244-9660.

1304 MAIN STREET LITTLE ROCK, AR 72202 501-244-9660




‘PERFECT IS BORING’: Delia the cat and Chris Moore’s East Hall Recording studio.

Born in a dorm room Fayetteville’s East Hall Recording has been a slow build. By JT Tarpley


here’s a secret spot stashed off of a loping, scenic road on the edge of Fayetteville. An anemic gray wooden building that sits aside a wet dirt spur of road and behind a shaggy gate of hickory trees is mysterious enough to make you reckon it’s hiding something really cool, possibly magical, inside. It’s a regional hotspot for musicians of all stripes, and stepping into it can bring on a sensory assault of instruments and good vibes. Inside, surrounded by 40-year old Ampeg bass cabs, Odyssey Arp synths and a newly restored 1970 Ludwig drum kit, the red-haired and squoosh-faced master of the studio dawdles, indifferent to spending another day in this arsenal of gear-head gold. But we’re not here to talk to Delia the cat; we’re here to talk to her human, Chris Moore, the owner/operator/head engineer at East Hall Recording. “The studio started back in the early ’90s on that,” Moore said, pointing at a Tascam recorder, “in my door room at East Hall in Hendrix College.” The quartercentury history of East Hall Recording has steadily leveled up from dorm room to bedroom to garage to “half 20

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


East Hall’s long tenure means that its audio hard drive doubles as a multidecade archive of Arkansas bands. That’s why, in 2016, I was so excited when Chris Moore offered up what he called “the cream of a very large crop” — a five-volume retrospective of the studio’s recording sessions, available for free at Each volume fits on a CD, if that’s your medium of choice, with tracks from Terminus, The Chads, Witchsister, Arkansauce, The Good Fear, Ten High and Shawn James & The Shapeshifters. In the digital liner notes, Moore sends the listener off thusly: “While I’m immensely proud of the body of work we’ve put together, I also recognize that any claim I have to being good at my job is directly related to the skill and talent of the musicians that walk through these doors. Their support has made it possible for me to do what I love for over a decade, and I hope we can continue making music together for many years to come. … I hope you find some new favorite music that you don’t know how you’ve lived without, and seek out and support the artists you like.” — Stephanie Smittle

my house … but it’s always kept the vibe of a bedroom The central nervous system of the operation is studio.” Here, a warm energy circulating in the studio Moore’s latest and largest addition to the ongoing East does make it feel like a friend’s home, sure, but larger Hall Recordings project: a 1995 Jade Soundtracs console. and more soulful, like the physical manifestation of an Forty-eight channels, 96 inputs, all manner of dynamalbum produced by Jimmy Miller or Steve Cropper. ics, compressors and gates, and more knobs, buttons But enough about vibes; what about details? Moore and sliders than anything I’ve ever seen on one piece tracks the band to tape through the definitive tape of machine in my life.  machine, a two-inch, 24-track Mara Machines work“I decided a few years ago that this was the board that horse with “Perfect Is Boring” lettered onto its wooden I wanted because it worked perfectly in the workflow faceplate. That business gets transferred into ProTools I had going and the workflow I wanted to get to. So I to splice and overdub before bouncing back to analog watched for it. And in March, this thing showed up to mix and master. It’s an alchemy of tape compression for sale in Houston. So, the next day I rented a U-Haul and audio warming that’s instinctual and difficult to nail cargo van that was six inches longer than this board down in language. “It just glues everything together. and drove down and picked it up. Every time it moved There’s an intangible quality to it that just sounds right. it took 10 or 12 people.” “I like the workflow. We’re not staring at a computer After a few months of refurbishing and rehabilitatscreen. It forces everyone to listen to what they’re ing the board to its full power with direct guidance and recording instead of looking at it. When we’re on tape, dead stock parts from one of Jade’s designers in the U.K., we’re not going to do edits immediately. We’re not it’s sitting large and in charge in Moore’s control room, going to punch in in the middle of a guitar solo. We’re where it captures some of the best music in Northwest focusing on full takes of the full band playing together. Arkansas ... when not being used as a warm nap spot It’s a better vibe that way.” for Delia the cat. NOVEMBER 29, 2018


From cocktail makers to stocking stuffers, these local shops have you covered for the holiday season!

Pop it like it’s hot this season! Spread holiday cheer with gourmet popcorn �ns from POP POP SHOPPE! Choose from a magnificent selec�on of sweet and savory popcorn flavors, including Hot Chocolate, Red Hot Cinnamon, or Christmas Cheer! Gi� a fun, fes�ve treat to someone you love! Delicious popcorn �ns star�ng at 19.99.


NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Ar�san jeweler Brandy McNair makes gorgeous, unique pieces like The Escala, or Ladder necklace, which features natural stones on a silver or gold plated chain. Currently available in 3 color ways. From BELLA VITA JEWELRY.

For the whiskey lover, cocktail maker in your life how about these these local batch yummies from ROCK TOWN DISTILLERY.

Handcra�ed, natural wood cu�ng boards, Ar�st Paul Gillam, Blue Mountain Woodworks

Cri�er cups! Wheel-thrown stoneware, microwave proof, oven safe, dishwasher safe. Ar�st: Judi Munn. Price: $35 each.

Bridal Suite” white topaz and pink tourmaline pendant and earrings. Ar�st: Ryan Rathje. Price: $500.

Find locally sourced, hand-cra�ed gi�s like these at the 40TH ANNUAL ARKANSAS CRAFT GUILD CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE, November 30 through December 2!

WORDSWORTH has a great selec�on for young booklovers this holiday season, including these four!this sounds lame.

OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY has a unique gi� op�on for music lovers this Christmas: the KALA Ukulele Learn to Play Starter Kit for $69.95 or the KALA Shark, Dolphin, and Waterman Models, $39.95-$52.95. NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Have that difficult man in your life to buy for? Every man loves to be able to build a good fire. These wood chips and chips soaker make the perfect staple for a great outdoor RHEA door o fire! e! FFrom rom ro mR HEA DRUG OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY makes it easy to enjoy the great outdoors with your dog with these items: the ultralight, collapsible, waterproof Ruffwear Bivy Bowl for $24.95 and the Ruffwear every-day Front Range Harness for $39.95. This harness has an ID pocket that keeps dog tags quiet and easily accessible!

Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay Ken is $12.99 and the Crown Royal 750 ml Gi� Set $ is only o $22.99 at WAREHOUSE LIQUOR.

FFor the th whiskey hi k enthusiast, th i t try t one off these th (or ( alllll four!) f !) whiskeys from COLONIAL WINES AND SPIRITS!

Let EDWARDS FOOD GIANT at Tanglewood take the hassle out of your holidays. Not only does Edwards Deli have your party trays for any occasion, they can also make your Holiday Dinner as easy as picking up the phone. Their side items are homemade right in the store. Order your holiday sides at Edwards. Stay out of the kitchen and enjoy your holiday! 24

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


How to do

CARDBOARD RECYCLING Right! During the holidays, we’re using more and more cardboard boxes due to the increase in online shopping and shipping. So, this holiday, do cardboard recycling right by breaking it down, flattening it out, and fitting it inside your curbside recycling cart.


ARKANSAS CRAFT GUILD CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE Arkansas State Fairgrounds Nov. 30: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Dec. 1: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Dec. 2: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS 14800 Cantrell Rd., Li�le Rock, 868.5279 675 Amity Rd., Conway, 205.1940 4600 Silvercreek Dr., Sherwood, 819.0192

OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd. 664.4832

POP POP SHOPPE 416 S University Ave., #130 904.5765 12800 Chenal Pkwy., #7 747.1575

Three Easy Steps 1. Break down all cardboard boxes. 2. Flatten out the cardboard pieces. 3. Make sure the pieces fit inside your curbside recycling cart.

For details on alternative drop-off locations in Pulaski County, go to

Thanks for doing recycling right!

RHEA DRUG STORE 2801 Kavanaugh Blvd. 663.4131

COLONIAL WINES & SPIRITS 11200 W Markham St. 223.3120

ROCK TOWN DISTILLERY 1201 Main St. 907.5244 rocktowndis�

RHEA DRUG STORE 2801 Kavanaugh Blvd. 663.4131

WAREHOUSE LIQUOR 1007 Main St. 374.0410

EDWARDS FOOD GIANT 7507 Cantrell Rd. 614.3477 other loca�ons statewide

WORDSWORTH BOOKS & CO. 5920 R St. 663.9198

300 Spring Building • Ste. 200 Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 501-340-8787 • NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Arts Entertainment SCOTT C. WOOD


THE STUDIO BENTONVILLE NEEDED: Neil Greenhaw runs Haxton Road Studios.

BEYOND ONES AND ZEROES Haxton Studios aims for analog warmth. BY KATY HENRIKSEN


orthwest Arkansas could be sketched out with a handful of descriptors: global retail, chicken, the trucking industry. Neil Greenhaw, a 36-year-old native of Harrison, wants to add “music industry” to that list with his analog-heavy Haxton Road Studios in Bentonville. This one-time professional guitarist-for-hire, who spent 240 days out of the year on the road and the rest in Nashville studios as a session musician before founding Haxton Road in 2010, lights up when describing what magic happens in a recording session. 26

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


“I just fell in love with the production aspect of walking into a room with a group of strangers sometimes, or other times your best friends,” Greenhaw gushed in his soft, lilting, country-boy accent. “A few hours later and you’re going, ‘Man, what just happened? Where did the time go?’ Then you’re sitting here listening to this song that just sounds absolutely amazing, and that happened from creative humans coming together and pouring their heart and their art and craft into the song. And then you walk away with this mosaic of them, a piece of themselves in this song.” Greenhaw left his flourish-

ing Nashville musician career in 2007 when his wife accepted a job in Northwest Arkansas. Although neither Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art nor the extensive bike trail corridor that connects Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville had been built, the area was on the precipice of massive change. Greenhaw decided that growth meant the region needed a quality studio. That was how he could invest in his rapidly growing community. In an era where digital reigns supreme — and cuts operating costs — Greenhaw eschews the endless combinations of ones and zeros for a warmer sound that physically trav-

els into what, to his knowledge, is the only Solid State Logic console in the entire state, a 48-channel SSL AWS 948 Delta. Greenhaw said he’s often asked about that nondigital focus: “ ‘Is it really that different? Why would you be using old things versus operating with the newest technology?’ I say we’re in the best of both worlds.” “The second you walk in here, you’ll see that we value analog equipment,” he said of the dimly lit two-story studio decked out with vintage gear from the 1950s and ’60s. The studio features high ceilings and a Steinway piano right by the entryway and a case of collectible


HAXTON: Collectible guitars, analog gear.

Gibson, Gretsch and Martin guitars that musicians can use when they record their tracks at Haxton. There’s gold-plated wiring and an endless choice of cables running from A to Z. Upstairs, there are isolation rooms, a VIP green room for artists and vocal booths. Then there are the microphones. “We have the top three vocal mics [manufactured] in history,” he said. There’s a 1959/1960 Telefunken ELAM 251, a 1960s Telefunken U67 and a 1957 Neumann U47, known as the “Frank Sinatra mic” — the same model used on countless Bob Seger records, which Greenhaw said is also good for recording string sections and kick drums. “You hear the quality in every aspect of the sense,” he said. “If the artist has a great song and a great performance, we’re literally hearing it live, saying, ‘This sounds almost

like a finished record.’ We’re not having to go in and fix stuff digitally, create artifacts and Band-Aid the stuff that was done wrong. If they’ve got it, you hear it, and we’re in there all grooving. It’s super close. All we have to do now is sweeten it up and get the levels right.” Earlier this month, Haxton partnered with Bentonville’s Bike Rack Brewing for “Bike Rack Records, Vol. 1,” a compilation of music by 10 local artists who cut singles at Haxton Road. Each track is a gift to the musicians — sweet duos like Melody Pond and Smokey and the Mirror, vampy rocked-out Jamie Lou and the Hullabaloo. They own the song so that they can license it if the opportunity knocks. “We absolutely love the musicians. We love music,” said Jeff Charlson, CEO of Bike Rack Brewing Co. “Music goes with beer extraordi-

narily well. There’s nothing that’s a better fit than beer and music. “One song can change someone’s life. So, for us, it’s ‘let’s get the ball rolling.’ The arts scene is extraordinarily important. Live music is crucial. Let’s make this happen. Nothing happens if you don’t get going.” In addition to growing the quality and opportunity for local musicians, Greenhaw has plans to launch into music publishing early next year. For him, music is unlike anything else. “When you look at the world and this chaos that’s happening now and the divisions, it’s a time more than ever for when faith in music is needed,” he said. “It brings people together, drops barriers, transcends culture differences. Music is about love. It’s about feeling good. It can save somebody. I truly do believe that.” Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies NOVEMBER 29, 2018








DON’T FORGET IT: An evening with Steve Martin and Martin Short on Friday at the Robinson Center.

M2 GALLERY GRAND (RE)OPENING: Robin Tucker’s trompe l’oeil painting and performance art involving gunpowder by Jay Sage will be among the offerings as M2 Gallery celebrates the opening of its gallery at 1300 Main St. in SoMa with a reception from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. M2, formerly located in West Little Rock, represents regional and Arkansas artists, including Tucker, John Allison, Catherine Nugent, Bryan Frazier, Neal Harrington, Marcus McAllister, Lisa Krannichfeld, Cathy Burns and others.

NEW DEAL OPEN HOUSE: Ceramics by Stephen Driver (such as the serving dish above), Hannah May and Logan Hunter and weavings, tapestries and scarves by Louise Halsey will be on sale at New Deal, 2003 S. Louisiana St., 5-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. Halsey, named an Arkansas Living Treasure in 2017, and Driver operate the Little Mulberry Gallery at Oark.

FRIDAY 11/30


8 p.m. Verizon Arena.


‘ANNUAL HOLIDAY SHOW’ RECEPTION 6-9 p.m. Boswell Mourot Fine Art.

Anais Dasse. Jeff Horton. McCanns Dennis, Connie and Jason. Keith Runkle. Cynthia Kresse. Kathy Bay. Andy Huss. Michael Warrick. Diana Ashley. Delita Martin. Kyle Boswell. Melissa Cowper-Smith. Eleanor Dickinson. Alice Andrews. Matthew Lopas. David Bailin. Ray Parker. Louis Watts. Kellie Lehr. Elizabeth Weber. Yelena Petroukhina. Laura Carenbauer. Brad Cushman. Susan Goss. Danny Broadway. Donala Jordan. Luis Garcia Nerey. Donnelle Williams. Susan Chambers. John Sykes. Eugen Tenander. Gayle Batson. Sheila Cotton. Nancy Wilson. Robin Hazard. Hamid Ebrahimifar. Marleen De Bock. Carla Davis. Need we say more? Through Jan. 5. LNP


NOVEMBER 29, 2018


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Two out of Three Amigos are on tour together, roasting each other in the way that longtime comedy compeers are wont to do, billing the successive shows as “An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life.” Steve Martin and Martin Short — the closest a comedy duo bill will ever come to being a palindrome — take the stage at Verizon Arena, reviving a Vaudevillian broad comedy sensibility and peppering it with reciprocal jabs and Martin’s bluegrass banjo. Another supergroup — folk trio Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, who play together under the name I’m With Her — opens the show. SS


THURSDAY 11/29 The Meditations bring time-tested reggae harmonies to the Rev Room, 9 p.m., $10-$15. The Studio Theatre kicks off its production of “A Christmas Story,” 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun., through Dec. 16. Author and community advocate Kathy Izard gives a talk, “The Hundred Story Home,” about her work with the homeless, 6 p.m., Sturgis Hall, Clinton School of Public Service, free. Hendrix College Choir’s Candlelight Carol Service enchants at the Conway campus’ Greene Chapel, 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun., free. Jocko plays a happy-hour set at Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., free, and later, Jet 420 takes the stage, 9 p.m., $5. The Pocket Community Theatre in Hot Springs stages “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat. 2:30 p.m. Sun. through Dec. 9, $15.


LOW KEY: Guitarist Gurf Morlix will follow a White Water show on Thursday with a performance in Hot Springs on Friday.

FRIDAY 11/30



6 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $20.

Little wonder that the guy responsible for bringing some of the finest fingerstyle guitarists in the world to a tiny theater in Argenta is a fine player and composer himself. Steve Davison curates the Argenta Acoustic Music Series every month at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse, and only on occasions like the release of “The Best of Friends”— recorded by Davison and collaborators at Blue Chair Studio — are we reminded of how much his programming choices are an extension of his own study. The album babbles as sweetly and placidly as the waterways after which its tunes are named: “Dancing Rabbit Creek” and “White Water Suite, Redux.” The latter, as the name suggests, is a revision of the suite with which Davison closed his 2010 album. If tranquil, contemplative guitar with swirling violin is your thing, check out “Lord God Bird” — a track the internet tells me is named after the ivory-billed woodpecker, but which I think much better describes the leggy blue herons that hang out on the banks of Arkansas lakes, the ones that make your breath catch in your throat for a split second when they take flight with those impossibly wide wings. Davison is joined Thursday night by Danny Dozier on lap steel, Micky Rigby on guitar, Tim Crouch on stringed things, Irl Hees and Kenny Loggains. The Dozier Hill Band opens the show. SS

FRIDAY 11/30


8:30 p.m. Low Key Arts, Hot Springs. $10.

If guitarist Gurf Morlix’s name has come to the forefront of your mind in the last few months, perhaps it’s because of “Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream,” Morlix’s tribute album to the Malvern native whose legend is experiencing a revival following Ethan Hawke’s 2018 biopic, “Blaze.” Fair or not, it wouldn’t be the first time Morlix was mentioned by way of association; his marriage of intuition and technique has long borne fruits for his more famous collaborators, including Lucinda Williams and Warren Zevon. If you know him best as a sideman, check out “Deeper Down,” the track that opens 2017’s “The Soul and the Heal” with swampy organ and menacing candor: “You’re right/I’m down here in a hole/I dug it myself with a shovel I stole … You’re so perspicacious/So quickly you grasp my situation/You perceived in an instant my lack of elevation.” If your weekend dance card’s full or doesn’t warrant a Friday night trip to Hot Springs, catch Morlix Thursday night at the White Water Tavern in Little Rock’s Capitol View/Stifft Station neighborhood. SS

FRIDAY 11/30-SUNDAY 12/16


7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun. The Weekend Theater. $12-$16.

The loveable characters of Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” will once again occupy Truvy’s Beauty Salon in Chinquapin, La., as The Weekend Theater opens its weekend run of the play. Duane Jackson directs the story of six bold and brassy Southern women who gather each week in the salon to talk about their lives and their neighbors’ lives, and to support each other through grueling tragedy. Jane Morgan Balgavy portrays M’Lynn, the dedicated mother of Shelby, played by Ivy McGrew. Shelby’s headstrong presence in the shop is in strong contrast to the meekness of new arrival Annelle, played by Angela Morgan. Roben Sullivant portrays Truvy, the wise shop owner and a manifestation of the Southern truism “the higher the hair, the closer to God.” The combatant and brash Ouiser is played by Kandy Jones, and her cheerful, gossiping counterpart, Clairee, is portrayed by Donna Singleton. Tickets are available online at RH

YouTube mogul/comedian Kountry Wayne goes for laughs at Robinson Performance Hall, 8 p.m., $28-$48. “A True Definition of a B.A.D. Chic” goes up at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., $34-$50. Maxine’s in Hot Springs gets loud with straight-ahead rock sets from DeFrance and Stephen Neeper & The Wild Hearts, 9 p.m. The Big Dam Horns entertain at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming’s Silks Bar & Grill in Hot Springs, 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., free. Comedian Reno Collier lands at The Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $12. Groovement takes the stage at Four Quarter Bar, 10 p.m., $8. Kent Skinner conducts soloists Suzanne Banister, Diana Salesky, Drew Seigla, Gregory Pearson and the Arkansas Choral Society in excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah,” 7:30 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church (5700 Cantrell Road), $20. The Main Thing continues its sketch comedy musical “A Fertle Holiday” at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. through Jan. 12, $24. Critical Mass opens for Behind the Noise at Thirst N’ Howl Bar & Grill, 8:30 p.m., $6. Adam Tilley kicks off the weekend at Cajun’s Wharf, 5:30 p.m., free, or come later for a set from Tragikly White, 9 p.m., $5. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre presents “Jack Frost in Santa Land,” 7 p.m. Fri. and 2 p.m. Sun., through Dec. 16. South Carolina rockers The Artisanals take the stage at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, 9 p.m., $10. The UA Little Rock Wind Ensemble performs “Under the Cover of Night,” 7:30 p.m., Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.Brae Leni & The Evergreen Groove Machine kick off the weekend at Smoke & Barrel in Fayetteville, 10 p.m., $5. The Randy Rogers Band takes its anthemic country set to George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, 9 p.m., $20-$23. The Cody Martin Band plays a set at Kings Live Music in Conway with Chris Tarkington, 8:30 p.m., $5. Against the Grane plays a free show at Markham Street Grill and Pub, 8:30 p.m. The Matt Treadway Trio takes its jazz fusion set to Bar Louie, 8 p.m., free. The

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies NOVEMBER 29, 2018








7:30 p.m. Center for the Humanities and Arts, Pulaski Technical College. $25-$55.

The cabaret aesthetic is an exercise in dualities. Comedy and tragedy are presented as a unified idea. Levity is made out of very dark subjects, and subjects of levity are made into ghastly caricatures of themselves. I think it’s that duality that Puddles Pity Party taps into so dexterously. On its face, what could be more of a gimmick than a towering crooner interpreting Lorde’s “Royals” from behind a full clown costume, right? Gimmick seems to transmogrify into something more like an ancient Greek prosopon, though, when Mike Geier — the 6-foot, 8-inchtall clown in question — opens his mouth. Paradoxically, the egregiousness of the adopted persona lends Geier sincerity, and the entire idea of presenting a song as one’s authentic self is parodied by way of an excruciatingly beautiful baritone voice. See for tickets. SS


‘BLOOD MOON’ 7 p.m. Arkansas Repertory Theatre. $10.

John Haman — playwright, wealth management adviser for Northwestern Mutual and a former reporter for the Arkansas Times — lives on a homestead with dairy goats, chickens and bees, and his new play “Blood Moon” draws directly from that barnyard experience. Conceptualized while one of Haman’s goats gave birth, “Blood Moon” is set in an alternate version of 1959 in which Project Horizon, the real U.S. military plan to build a manned U.S. base on the moon before the Soviets did, actually came to fruition. The central character, June, is the wife of a Project Horizon aeronaut. As she grapples with her diminishing identity, she falls in with a group of Soviet spies. “What I’ve done is created an alternate reality story where a woman creates her own alternate reality within that story,” Haman told us in October. “That’s really what I was going for — a story about a person who decides to change their reality in order to live a different and more exciting life. And it just happens to be that I’ve ripped history apart in some interesting ways to make it possible.” This performance of Haman’s work goes up at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre as part of a pilot series called “Plays In Progress,” in which lightly staged readings of new works provide “Plays in Progress” founders — Haman, Judy Goss and Werner Trieschmann — a chance to connect, share new work and receive helpful edits and feedback on projects. “It’s the process of sanding away the splinters so you’ve got a smooth experience,” Haman said. “In an intimate audience like this one is going to be, you can hear in the way people breathe, whether they’re feeling the beats in your writing or not, whether they’re following you, whether they’re shocked or dismayed. Ninety-five percent of what you need, you can hear from the audience, and you can’t hear it without the audience. It’s a big step up from actors reading things at a table.” RH 30

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


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Varying times. Historic Arkansas Museum, Old State House Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Free.

OK, the Thanksgiving leftovers are et up and it’s officially time to go whole ho-ho-ho hog with the kiddos. HAM, OSHM and MTCC are throwing parties that celebrate both the holidays and the museums’ missions. At HAM (1-4 p.m.), there will be hot cider and ginger cake, living history on the grounds, dancing, blacksmithing demonstrations and pioneer games a la 19th century mode, and the museum store will be open for a little Christmas shopping. At the Old State House (1-5 p.m.), musicians will sing carols while children make holiday cards and enjoy other activities in the state’s original capitol. Mosaic Templars (2-5 p.m.) has the tasty “Say It Ain’t Say’s” sweet potato pie contest; visitors can sample and judge pies by professional and amateur contestants in this event named for Little Rock’s Black Santa Say McIntosh; there will be music and a dance performance, too. The Governor’s Mansion will be receiving from 1-4 p.m. for tours of its public rooms decorated in the theme “An Arkansas Natural Christmas.” Then head for home to light the candles of the menorah in celebration of the miracle of Hanukkah, which starts at sundown and lasts until sundown Dec. 10. LNP

IN BRIEF, CONT. Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff holds its fundraiser for student art programs, “Beers and Cheers,” 7 p.m., $60.

Not-QuiteHoliday Film Fest





Wonder why Arkansas’s health insurance marketplace rates were stable over five years until a significant leap in 2017? The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement can answer that question — because President Trump ended federal subsidies to insurance companies — and more about health care in Arkansas and nationally. The ACHI was founded in 1998, during the Huckabee administration, and since then has focused on initiatives from obesity to access to health care and insurance. Governor Hutchinson will welcome his predecessors to this discussion of Arkansas health care policy, ACHI Director Dr. Joe Thompson will moderate and awards will be presented to UAMS oncologist Dr. Kent Westbrook and retired St. Bernards Healthcare CEO Ben E. Owens Sr. of Jonesboro. Will the subject of requiring people in a state ranked 46th nationally for internet access to apply for health insurance online come up? Let’s hope so. LNP



6 p.m. Clinton Presidential Center. Free.

Three nationally known artists whose work is part of the “White House Collection of American Crafts: 25th Anniversary Exhibit” at the Clinton Center will talk about their work during a panel discussion led by Betsy Broun, a former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. Panelists include glass artist Sonja Blomdahl of Seattle, whose luminous vessel “Crimson/Green Blue” is in the exhibit; ceramic artist James C. Watkins of Lubbock, Texas, whose double-walled stoneware vessel “Ritual Display” is in the exhibit; and sculptor Zachary Oxman, whose cast bronze menorah “Festival of Light” is in the exhibit. RSVP at LNP

6:30 p.m. • $5 Ron Robinson Theater

The Ben Miller Band takes its signature gadgetry and stomp to the stage at Stickyz, with Big Red Flag, 9 p.m., $10. Catch Groovement at Kings Live Music, with Ryan Hinman, 8:30 p.m., $5. The B-Flats Band entertains for a dinner at the Little Rock Club (400 W. Capitol St., top floor) in support of the Arkansas Chamber Singers, 5:30 p.m., $125. John Patitucci and his electric guitar quartet give a concert at Walton Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $30-$50. The Federalis share a bill with Turtle Rush and Fort Defiance at Maxine’s, 9 p.m. The UCA Reynolds Performance Hall hosts a holiday swing show, “Rat Pack Christmas,” 7:30 p.m., $27-$40. Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin share a bill at Verizon Arena, 6 p.m., $25-$80. The Rev Room hosts “The Depeche Mode Experience” with tribute outfit Strangelove, 9 p.m., $15. Deltaphonic performs at Four Quarter Bar, 10 p.m., $7. TJ Ashley & The Backroad Band take the stage at Thirst N’ Howl, 8:30 p.m., $6. Vocalist/saxophonist Pamela K. Ward returns to Cajun’s, 9 p.m., $5.

Library Square, 100 Rock St.

Edward Sissorhands (PG-13) Tuesday • Dec. 4

Trading Places (R) Tuesday • Dec.11

Love Actually (R) Thursday Dec. 13

Die Hard (R)

Tuesday • Dec. 18

Gremlins (PG-13)

Thursday • Dec. 20 The Not-Quite-Holiday Film Fest is sponsored by 106.7 The Ride and The Point 94.1.

SUNDAY 12/2 Kalu and The Electric Joint mesh neo-soul and boogie at Stickyz, 8 p.m., $8. Over at Four Quarter Bar, the Robert Mabe Band gives a free performance, 9 p.m.

Big Jingle Family Matinee

MONDAY 12/3 Design collective Few screens Gary Hustwit’s new feature-length documentary, “Rams,” CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 6 p.m., $25$100.



Sat. • Dec. 1 • noon • $5

ages 12 & under free

TUESDAY 12/4 The Diamond Empire Band kicks off the dance party at Stickyz, 8 p.m., free. The Conway Men’s Chorus gives a Christmas Holiday Concert at Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus in Conway, 7 p.m., free. Saxophonist Merlon Devine takes his smooth sounds to South on Main, 8 p.m., $15 advance, $20 at door. Ron Robinson Theater screens “Edward Scissorhands” as part of its Not Quite Holiday Film Fest, 6:30 p.m., $5.


WEDNESDAY 12/5 “Untold Arkansas: An Anthology” gets a book launch party at the White Water Tavern, 6 p.m. Sketch comedy troupe Red Octopus Theater puts up its for-adults-only holiday show “Pagans on Bobsleds XXVII: Pre-Existing Tradition,” 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., $10. Authors Mel and Joan Gordon discuss the life of Gen. Casimir Pulaski in “The Forgotten Hero,” noon, Ron Robinson Theater, free. Bottoms up: Dizzy 7 provides the soundtrack to South on Main’s prohibition Repeal Day Bash, part of a month of “Sessions” concerts curated by pianist/songwriter John Willis, 8 p.m., $8-$10.


Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies NOVEMBER 29, 2018


HOT SPRINGS HAPPENINGS december 2018 in Hot Springs For a complete calendar of events, visit SPONSORED BY OAKLAWN

for 6:30 p.m. in downtown Hot Springs! This year’s theme is “Christmas Vacation.”Themed float entries are now being accepted from area groups, businesses, and organizations. Parade entry fee is $50 or $25 for pageant winners. Proceeds go to support Garland County charities and provide scholarships to local high school students. For more info or to complete a parade float entry form, visit


DECEMBER 1 – DOWNTOWN DERBY DOLLS PRESENT YULETIDE BASH UP Downtown Derby Dolls present women’s Live Roller Derby with special guests Juvenile D’Rinkrats Roller Derby of Cabot at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Bring a new or gently used children/youth coat to be entered into a drawing to win a gift prize from local businesses. 1 coat = 1 ticket entry. Ticket sale proceeds benefit Camp Radford of the Garland County Girl Scouts Service Unit.

NOVEMBER 30 – I-GADGET GIVEAWAY AT OAKLAWN NOVEMBER 30 – DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY LIGHTS DISPLAY The downtown Christmas Lights will be turned on November 19 during an event on Exchange Street. Enjoy a stunning display of lights in celebration of the holidays on Arlington Lawn. DECEMBER 1 – HOT SPRINGS NUTCRACKER BALLET The Hot Springs Children’s Dance Theatre Company presents The Nutcracker with performances at Lake Pointe Church. Tickets are $10 for students, $20 for adults for general seating. Visit for more information.

DECEMBER 3 – 2018 CHRISTMAS PARADE The 2018 Oaklawn Rotary Christmas Parade is scheduled

For one night only, well-behaved dogs on a short leash will be allowed admission to Holiday Lights! Enjoy a parade around the Great Lawn of Garvan Woodland Gardens beginning at 5 p.m., as well as pictures with your pooch and Santa from 6 – 8 p.m. Each Jingle Dog will also receive a sweet treat from Santa himself! $5 per dog, $15 for adults, $5 for ages 4-12.

DECEMBER 3, 10 -13 - SANTA NIGHTS! See Santa in the most magical setting around! Santa will hear all of the children’s wishes from 6 to 8 p.m. at Garvan Woodland Gardens and professional photographer Rebecca Peterman will be taking photos which can be purchased on her website for a reasonable fee at a later date. No reservations for Santa so come early and tell the kids to bring their wish lists!



DECEMBER 31 – APOCALYPSE NEW YEAR’S EVE! You’re invited to a New Year’s Eve party like no other! There will be live DJs, a red carpet, a cash bar, a light show and more at Hot Springs Central Theater, 1008 Central Avenue. Tickets are $15 in advance so purchase yours today at $20 at the door. Party starts at 8 p.m. Free champagne will be served at midnight! DECEMBER 31 – OAKLAWN NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY Oaklawn will host a New Year’s Eve party featuring live music in both Silks Bar & Grill and Pop’s Lounge. Susan Erwin, a fan favorite, will be back at Oaklawn and will perform in Pop’s Lounge from 6 p.m. to midnight, while Mayday by Midnight, one of the mid-South’s hottest bands for local live music, will ring in the new year from 10:15 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. in Silks Bar & Grill. 21 and over!

CLASSICAL CHRISTMAS CONCERTS End the year on an elegant, peaceful, ethereal and uplifting note, with the “Voices of Angels” concerts. Tickets are $35, purchase online at Students, teachers and artists are admitted FREE!

DECEMBER 8 – QUAPAW/PROSPECT LUMINARIES Each year, the residents and friends of the Quapaw Prospect Historic District gather to set up Luminaries that line the streets in the Quapaw/Prospect historic district. This year’s display will feature 5,000 luminaries, a Christmas display for the community to enjoy! Head over at dusk to see them.

DECEMBER 15 – AAA STATE CHEERLEADING The Arkansas Activities Association State Spirit Championships are coming to the Hot Springs Convention Center! Enjoy this showcase of the technical, athletic, and competitive excel-

HOLIDAY LIGHTS The most celebrated outdoor light display in Arkansas for the holiday season opens the Saturday before Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Eve. The Gardens will be aglow with nearly 5 million lights in a myriad of natural settings. Features include the 50-foot tall Holiday tree which plays holiday tunes animated to a light show and traditional holiday scenes in the woodlands. Conclude your walking tour with free hot chocolate! The Chipmunk Café is open nightly until 9 p.m. serving soups, sandwiches and snacks. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly. Free for members, $15 adults, $5 ages 4-12, fee ages 0-3. Purchase online or pay at the door. NOVEMBER 29, 2018

DECEMBER 27-29 – SPA CITY SHOOTOUT Calling all basketball fans: high school basketball teams will be competing in a round-robin tournament at Bank OZK Arena! Admission is $5. For info, call 501-321-2277 and ask for Craig or Brian.




lence of Arkansas high school spirit teams! Admission is $6. For more information, call 501-955-2500.

THROUGH DECEMBER 9 – “YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS” The Pocket Community Theatre presents the compelling story of eight-year-old Virginia and a young newspaper editor in this heartwarming play, just in time for the holiday season! 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Admission is $15, $5 for children under 13.



From 6 to 10 p.m., winners will be called every 15 minutes for great gift cards and at the finals on December 28, two lucky players will win a $3,000 Lowe’s Gift Card! Also new in December, Oaklawn introduces the Blackjack Party Pit, with beads, drink specials and chances to win Free Play bonus bets. Plus, singles can possibly find the perfect partner to spend the holidays with during Speed Dating from 6 to 10 p.m. in Pop’s Lounge!

Live Music Calendar

10:25 a.m. Sunday, Kollective Coffee + Tea


DECEMBER 1 (SATURDAY) Big Damn Horns @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Downhill Fast @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 5 (WEDNESDAY) Josh Stewart @ The Big Chill Steve Malec Band @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 6 (THURSDAY) Dave Almond @ The Big Chill Clyde Pound Trio @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 7 (FRIDAY) Brent Frazier Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Earl & Them @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 8 (SATURDAY) Brent Frazier Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Earl & Them @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 12 (WEDNESDAY) Steve Malec Band @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 13 (THURSDAY) Craig Gerdes @ The Big Chill Clyde Pound Trio @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 14 (FRIDAY) Wesley Pruitt Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Grant Pierson, Joe Hall & Steve Duphnrenes @ The Big Chill

The Starlite has karaoke every Wednesday and live DJs on Friday and Saturday nights!

DECEMBER 15 (SATURDAY) Wesley Pruitt Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Grant Pierson, Joe Hall & Steve Duphnrenes @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 19 (WEDNESDAY) Josh Stewart @ The Big Chill Steve Malec Band @ The Ohio Club


DECEMBER 20 (THURSDAY) Clyde Pound Trio @ The Ohio Club

f ind t his place.

DECEMBER 21 (FRIDAY) John Calvin Brewer Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Mister Lucky @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 22 (SATURDAY) John Calvin Brewer Band @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn Mister Lucky @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 26 (WEDNESDAY) Steve Malec Band @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 27 (THURSDAY) Steve Malec @ The Big Chill Clyde Pound Trio @ The Ohio Club DECEMBER 28 (FRIDAY) Shotgun Billy’s @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn DeFrance @ The Big Chill DECEMBER 29 (SATURDAY) Shotgun Billy’s @ Silks Bar and Grill, Oaklawn

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa has live entertainment and dancing every Friday and Saturday evening from 7-11 p.m.! 1-888-SPA-CITY. ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT

NOVEMBER 29, 2018 33


The demolition necessary to create one space from two has begun in the former Afterthought space at 27212723 Kavanaugh Blvd. for the El Mezcal Mexican Grill and Bar. Vincente Hernandez, a partner in the business, said the restaurant could be open by the beginning of March.Hernandez said El Mezcal will serve authentic Mexican food, “totally different” from other local Mexican restaurants. Arturo Hernandez and Ernesto Limon will man the kitchen; Vincente Hernandez said they are coming “straight from Mexico City.” The full bar will serve drinks made from the agave spirit mezcal, along with other spirits and fine wines. (Mezcal is making a splash in Little Rock; it’s featured prominently on the menu at Dos Rocas downtown as well.) Ramiro Valadez, the owner of the Cantina Cinco de Mayo restaurants in Little Rock, is another partner. After The Afterthought closed in 2016, the owner of neighboring Mylo Coffee Co., owner Stephanos Mylonas, announced he would expand his coffee shop into the space. Mylonas, however, announced in April that he had abandoned the project. Community Bakery, 1200 Main St., is using some of the solar energy it’s generating to offer its own trendy toast, called SoMa toast. That’s toast dressed up with avocado and eggs and tomatoes and such. Also new at Community Bakery: It’s partnered with Rocktown Distillery to offer the Rocktown Torte, using the distillery’s Four Grain Sour Mash Bourbon; offers fried pies from Flywheel Pies of Prescott, which gives jobs to the developmentally disabled; and serves Guillermo’s Gourmet Coffee’s Velvet Hammer. About that solar energy: The bakery has been generating electricity from 102 solar panels on its roof for about a month. Over a year’s time, it could save $3,600 or more on its electricity bills, owner Joe Fox said. The panels, which can generate 23 kilowatts on sunny winter days, but should get 35.7 kW in summer, are projected to supply 15 percent of the bakery’s power needs for a year. On Thanksgiving Day, when the bakery was closed, the panels actually produced surplus energy, putting 19 kW hours on the grid. At 7.7 cents a kilowatt hour, that surplus would be enough to buy a donut “or three cookies” at the bakery, Fox said. The system cost $80,000, but tax credits and depreciation mean the bakery would break even in 30 years. “I’m not sure I’m going to make it “but even at 10 years, [the rate’s] around 6 percent, and that’s better than I can get on money in the bank.” 34

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


TABLE-FILLING: The venerable Pancake Shop has almost 80 years experience in making breakfast right.

Breakfast heaven

At The Pancake Shop.


e aren’t ones to wait in line to eat, but look at us — it’s Saturday morning in downtown Hot Springs, a perfect day for a hike, and here we are, waiting. The hostess tells us that six two-tops will flip quick, that we’ll be eating in no time, and the way she says this we can’t tell if she means five minutes or 50 minutes (she means 50 minutes). There’s no room inside for all of us waiting our turn. We spill onto the sidewalk. We spill into The Savory Pantry next door for free coffee. We wait again on the sidewalk, one hand pocketed, one holding that sacred second cup, and listen to tourists try to determine exactly what is a duck tour. The hostess runs out, shouting that Esther’s table is ready — but Esther never answers, which means Esther gets bumped and we get seated. We don’t grieve for Esther. The Pancake Shop was established in 1940. Its walls are full of horse racFollow Eat Arkansas on Twitter: @EatArkansas

ing and celebrity photos. The decor has been virtually unchanged for decades: wood-laminate tabletops, green vinyl chairs and orange vinyl bar stools at the small counter. We sit down and the waitress asks if we’re ready for the coffee to start flowing. We are. Coffee ($1.95, never-ending refills) in diners like this is a heaven unto itself; you can never tell how much you’ve had because a constant stream of fresh and hot java is constantly flowing. Just try to see the bottom of your cup. You won’t. Order an orange juice ($2.65 small/$3.25 large) to balance out the buzz. They squeeze it fresh every morning. We order a double stack of the namesake pancakes in two varieties: blueberry and apple ($5.15). One of us orders two sausage patties (made in-house); the other doesn’t eat pork but orders a sausage ($2.85 for one/$4.45 for two), anyway.

Next to us a couple of locals get their breakfast. The old man pours syrup on top of his pancakes and it runs onto the table. The waitress teases him: “You’ve been coming here how long and you don’t know how to eat a pancake without making a mess?” She tells us to pay attention, too: “Butter each pancake first and then cut a hole in the middle. Pour your syrup in there.” The one of us that’s not eating pork (but is today) isn’t paying attention, eyeing our neighbors’ ham steak instead. The eyeing turns to dreaming and the dreaming turns to sheepishly asking to add one to our order, a small one ($7.45 small/$8.45 for large). We order lots to make Fido back home happy. Before the food comes, the accoutrements arrive: warm maple syrup; a pat of butter for each cake, toast (white, wheat or rye) or English muffin; a dish of grape jelly; and, yes, a dish of apple butter (also made in-house). The coffee is persistent as ever, and servers and bussers are a


Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas

Little Rock’s Down Home Neighborhood Bar Join us for live music, good times and more! (501) 375-8400 • 2500 W 7th St • Little Rock, AR 72205 parade between the tables. Still, we feel like we are our server’s entire universe. When the food comes, there’s not enough table space for all the plates. We pile all the pork together and follow the instructions we learned back in Pancake 101 to a T. No mess here. The waitress is proud. The pancakes are plate-fillers and have a single tell: one slice of apple or a couple of blueberries on top. Cut into them to find fruit bursting out, staining your plate purple or smearing it with cinnamon. There’s no hunting down the best bite; the best bite is every bite you eat. The one who doesn’t eat pork, but is eating pork today — let it be known, no regrets were had, except in ordering a small ham steak instead of the large, not to share with his dog, but to selfishly snack on throughout the day. The sausage, too, was excellent. Handpressed patties with a robust blend of spices folded in. We spread the apple butter across everything pork. We spread happiness. We ask the couple, “So you’ve been coming here a while, but it’s Saturday. There’s always a wait on weekends … ” and before the question is even asked, the old man says, “I saw you take on that ham steak. You know why we come here.” He looks at his near-clean plate. He looks at his wife. “It’s so beautiful.”

The Pancake Shop 216 Central Ave. Hot Springs


Quick bite

The entire menu can be made in a flash, and on weekdays there’s seldom a wait.



F nGetOne50% OF dayTi i BuyOneHol s er f uf ngSt ocki 6PackPopcornSt ) e u l a v 4 $2 99( For$9. zes! s gge tPopcornSi 25% OFFBi


6 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. daily.

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ChocoP DEC.5 BuyOne

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e. yAv t i s er v 6SUni 41 7 e. t 2800ChenalPkwyS 1

Merlon Devine




Corner of 6th & Collin • Across from Rebel Kettle Antiques to industrial equipment…we have it all!

WE BUY TOO! STOP IN TODAY! 501-258-7122

• Electronics • Furniture • Items in Storage Areas • Supplies • Industrial Goods or Off-Site Buildings •

a! t veaways,andSan Games,Gi



Tuesday Dec. 4 8PM

Join us for an evening of jazz with Merlon Devine. Intriguing, soulful, innovative and soothing describe the urban contemporary jazz styled music Merlon is known for. His latest single “The Platform” is currently being played on national and international stations! Show starts at 8 pm. Purchase $15 tickets in advance or pay $20 at the door. Tickets do not guarantee a reserved seat. To reserve a table, please call (501) 244-9660.

1304 MAIN STREET LITTLE ROCK, AR 72202 501-244-9660



MOVIE REVIEW INSIDE THE INTERNET: Ralph, algorithm Yesss and Vanellope in cyberworld.

Same song, darker verse ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ lacks the joy of its predecessor. BY SAM EIFLING


hen “Wreck-It Ralph” landed in 2012, the Disney animation felt like a valentine to a bygone era of arcade gaming. In it, an ’80s video-game villain tries to become popular among his fellow game characters, and the result was a film that felt both fresh and nostalgic, and in that surprising tension, funny. The sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which just opened to a near-record Thanksgiving box office, returns John C. Reilly voicing the lummox Ralph and Sarah Silverman as his best friend, a candy-flecked racing game driver named Vanellope. It manages to strike many of the same keys — video games, digital culture, in-jokes for adolescents of any age — without hitting many of the same notes. Like an accidental Twitter binge, it’s a lot of clatter and color without much joy. We begin in the old-school arcade where Ralph and Vanellope chill in 36

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


a power strip each night before the arcade owner opens for business. Ralph, outwardly contented, loves his life: wake up for work inside his game, knock off for root beers, hang out with his friends, repeat. Vanellope needs a bit more action, and her saying so leads to Ralph trying to help, and womp-womp, a kid breaking her game. A broken steering wheel on an old arcade game turns out to be a broken leg on a race horse, and the two friends have to upload themselves to the internet to buy an IRL replacement before old man arcade owner melts down Vanellope’s game for scrap. To earn money, they first try breaking into a “Grand Theft Auto” homage called “Slaughter Race” to try and steal a car from a character voiced by Gal Gadot; they settle on making viral videos for a platform called BuzzzTube and converting those to actual human dollars. The highlights of this romp are

two: the detour into the outlandishly violent “Slaughter Race,” and a dip into a Disney site where a virtual sorority of princesses deconstruct Disney princess life. That directors Phil Johnston (“Zootopia”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “Zootopia”) manage to tweak both madefor-tweens Disney culture and ratedM-for-mature gaming with equal deftness is actually a helluva feat. But at some point your opinion of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will come down to how you feel about that selfsame internet. When a character, early on, describes it to the oldschool arcade characters, he begins his description as a place where people shop, and no matter what your online habits include, you have to feel a twinge of depression, hearing a line in a Disney movie define the internet as a consumer engine. Once Ralph and Vanellope actually bust into the glassy, glossy futureworld of the internet — it looks a bit like “The Fifth Element” in there — you see the landscape defined mostly by giant brands, like the intro to “Silicon Valley” cranked up to the size of a metropolis. You do see some exchange of ideas in a rolling comments section (of course, they’re brief, and mostly nasty) and a nod to Twitter, but it’s chiefly a utopia (maybe?) of unfettered commerce, with the most recognized brands online (Amazon, Facebook,

Google, Snapchat, eBay, Pinterest, on and on) occupying huge skyscrapers. The meta jokes around gaming and online culture amount to virtually an entire movie’s worth of Easter eggs. You don’t have to have played “Street Fighter II” to get a kick out of a catty discussion of Zangief’s manscaping habits, but it doesn’t hurt. At one point Ralph plunges to the dingy underfloor of the internet and finds Y2K prep jokes and a massive nautical wheel straight from the Netscape logo. You can see in the fossilized internet some vision of a future we veered away from when we colonized our shared worldwide conversation with a galaxy of pop-up ads. The depiction of how real-world human users interact with Ralph’s videos on BuzzzTube is depressingly droll: understimulated office workers looking through half-closed lids to give a heart in exchange for a li’l chuckle. Ralph’s videos themselves are the closest thing we get to real incisive satire. Ralph takes every suggestion that the algorithm Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) gives him and spins them all into videos — cooking vids, animal vids, weird punny meme vids, hot pepper eating vids. This is where you look at Ralph making a spectacle of himself and think, “Yeah, I probably clicked on that already. (Heart.)” And soon enough, nearby, there’s something else to watch.


Hey, do this!



Food, Music, Entertainment and everything else that’s


DECEMBER 1-2, 6-9, 13-16








RAT PACK CHRISTMAS UCA Reynolds Performance Hall





TREY JOHNSON South on Main




DECEMBER 1, 7-9, 13-16 STEEL MAGNOLIAS The Weekend Theater

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS Arkansas Symphony Orchestra


9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY MUSIC AT THE ARSENAL CONCERT MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History









VOICES FROM THE FIELD The Yarn Storytelling


JOHN NEAL South on Main

FINDING NEVERLAND Robinson Center robinsoncentersecondact. com




THE LEGENDARY TEMPTATIONS CHRISTMAS TOUR First Financial Music Hall at the Griffin SECOND FRIDAY ART NIGHT Including Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Historic Arkansas Museum, Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery, Bella Vita Jewelry, and more.

The Center for Humanities and Arts at UA Pulaski Tech has two upcoming shows: Puddles Pity Party and Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn! Tickets will sell out so get yours soon! All tickets at There are only a few spots left for ELF THE MUSICAL at Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, showing through December 31, so reserve yours now! Call 501-562-3131!


12/1: Jimmy “Cadillac Crumb” Davis 12/8: Josh Walker 12/13: Blackstrap 12/15: Dave Almond







12/20: Eskimo Brothers 12/22: Chris Loggins 12/27: CS Dubb 12/29: Monty Russell NOVEMBER 29, 2018



NOVEMBER 29, 2018





Makes up 36.1% of the population but only received 18.31% of the award ($1,281,859.20)

This may be why black students are vastly overrepresented in D and F schools. Did you know 48.3 percent of all black students in Arkansas pubExtremely High Poverty (more than lic schools were in D or F schools in 80% students in poverty) 2017-18? Nearly one out of every two black students is in a D or F school. Makes up 14.6% of the population Addressing this staggering inequity but received only 7.2% of the award should be the highest priority of the ($504,242.54) next legislative session. Here’s a full breakdown of the numI was thinking about this lopsided ber of public school students in each breakdown while reading a recent edi- demographic that attended a D or F torial that appeared in the Arkansas school in 2017-18: Democrat-Gazette, which celebrated this annual disbursement. The edito7.1% of all white public school sturial writer lauded Don Roberts Ele- dents (20,710) mentary in Little Rock for being the school for earning the most award 48.3% of all black public school stumoney ($183,681). Notably, this is dents (46,782) partly because the awards are given based on how many students a school 6.4% of all Asian public school stuhas. Roberts is the largest elementary dents (500) school in the LRSD (second largest in the state behind the eSTEM Elemen11.5% of all Latino public school stutary Charter School). Roberts also has dents (7,150) the distinction of being in the top 5 percent for both academic achieve7.3% of all American Indian public ment and growth. school students (224) The Democrat-Gazette editorial writer said we need to “bottle what’s 1.4% of all Hawaiian/Pacific Islander going on at Roberts Elementary, Cabot, public school students (53) and Bismarck” because of their academic rankings. 11.3% of all public school students Let’s keep in mind, Roberts Elemen- of two or more races (1,402) tary, Cabot School District, and Bismarck School District have black stuIt’s unfair to blame lack of achievedent populations of 20.65 percent, 2.49 ment on the failure to just do what othpercent and 1.33 percent, respectively. ers are doing. Schools do not operate I know firsthand that Roberts Ele- on a level playing field, and the game mentary is a great school, with fantastic often seems to be rigged against teachteachers and a strong parent-teacher ers and students who are doing their organization. I know because my son best with what they’ve got. attended that school and had dedicated, If we’re going to bottle anything, certified teachers and access to innova- let’s bottle culturally responsive teachtive programs like EAST. However, I’m ing practices, inclusive schools zones, also cognizant of the smaller non-white increased accountability for adminispopulation that Roberts Elementary trators, research-based reading instruchas compared with other LRSD schools. tion, modernized buildings, purposeful So, my question is what should we bot- mobile technology, more school countle up? What are the characteristics of selors, smaller class sizes, transparent these majority white schools that we enrollment and retention policies for could bottle up and apply to schools all publicly-funded schools, and so on. with more minorities? The answer to Scapegoating hardworking teachers that rhetorical question is not simple. does not help. Having the will to proMinority students are much more vide resources and a long-term comlikely to received harsher discipline mitment does. than their non-white counterparts, Oh, I’d like to have my democratiand non-white students often face sys- cally elected school board back in Little temic underrepresentation in gifted Rock. That would be awesome. programs, lack access to innovative programs, and are even less likely to Dr. Michael Mills is an associate prohave certified teachers in their class- fessor in the UCA College of Education. rooms. They also don’t receive the same He is speaking as a parent of an LRSD resources, like updated textbooks or student, and his views do not necessarpurposeful mobile technology. ily ref lect those of UCA.


ARKANSAS TIMES MARKETPLACE should be accountable to the public its board — and the city board voted without the need for such a board. down such a proposal by City DirecKurrus also said Scott’s notion that he tor Erma Hendrix this year — he said can find millions in the budget without he would seek a referendum on the raising taxes is “nonsense. … That’s not change. how budgets work.” He noted that as Scott would also create a city superintendent of the LRSD, he had “economic development corporato work with a budget that was larger tion” that would seek to “cut the than the city’s. He wants the force fully red tape” and restructure how staffed and adequately funded, and business is done in Little Rock. he wants response times shortened. EDUCATION CITY GOVERNMENT City government has no direct control Little Rock has an unusual hybrid over affairs in the Little Rock School system of government in which an District, but both candidates say the elected mayor shares leadership duties mayor should be advocating for a with an unelected city manager. Crit- return to local control of the LRSD. ics of that system say it creates confu- The district was taken over by the sion about who’s really accountable. state in 2015, ostensibly because of low Kurrus maintains that the current academic performance at a handful of system is workable as long as the right campuses. It’s remained under state person is in the mayor’s seat. He cites control ever since, though state law the 2007 ordinance that created Little says it must be returned to a locally Rock’s “strong mayor” system, saying elected school board in the next year he’ll be calling the shots and longtime or so. City Manager Bruce Moore will act at Kurrus was appointed as LRSD his direction. “The mayor is the chief superintendent not long after the executive officer, period. You can put state took over the district. But, after an exclamation point after that,” Kur- serving for about a year, he was terrus said in an interview Monday. He minated by state Education Comsaid he’ll collaborate, but he intends missioner Johnny Key in 2016, likely to “change the way we operate imme- because Kurrus expressed public diately.” opposition to the expansion of charKurrus also said there are “too ter schools in Little Rock. The firmany people in the administrative ing generated an outcry from puboffice,” and he will reduce the may- lic school supporters. Kurrus is now or’s budget by attrition. He promises calling for a community-wide school to have a city budget ready by Jan. 1, plan, an idea he first expressed as dis2019, that will include savings in many trict superintendent. The school plan areas. He cited vehicle maintenance as should be comprehensive, long-term an example, noting $180 oil changes and include input from public colleges in the current budget. as well as schools. “It’s not, ‘Let’s get Scott wants to overhaul Little together over a club sandwich once Rock’s governance. Rather than pre- in a while,’ ” he said. serving the hybrid system, he wants Scott has called for an $11 million Little Rock to adopt a straightforward city investment in after-school and mayor-council form of government. summer programs in literacy and acaHe also says the city should eliminate demic subjects. Kurrus has also taken at-large board positions (at-large seats that position to task as an expense that are elected citywide, rather than the city can’t afford now, especially by ward) and add more wards. If he as it duplicates existing school procan’t change the way the city elects grams.


Conway, AR

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Pulaski Heights Christian Church


Hanging of the Greens on Sun, Dec 2 at 10:30 a.m. Special Jazz Service on Sun, Dec 16 at 3:00 p.m. 4724 Hillcrest Avenue, LR, AR 72205 • Phone: 501-663-8149 Find us on facebook

All are welcome.

Follow @MovingtoMac on Twitter and Like Moving to Mac Facebook for news and deals.

Call Cindy Greene Satisfaction Always Guaranteed

MOVING TO MAC • 501-681-5855


“This church defends no doctrine but Christ, preaches no gospel but love, and has no purpose but to serve.” *There will be no morning service on 12/16.

TO: LLOYD GONZALEZ LITTLE ROCK ARKANSAS By Order of the Court for Service by Publication dated 29th day of October, 2018 RAYMOND ADAM VAN DALEY, filed a lawsuit against you for termination of parental rights and Petition for Step-Parent Adoption of CRISTINA LIANI NELSON, a minor child. You are required to file with the Clerk of Superior Court at P.O. Box 1661 Darien Ga 31305 and to Serve upon Petitioners Attorney Andrew H. Lakin, 3596 Darien Hwy Ste#2 Brunswick Georgia 31525 an Answer in writing within thirty days of the last day of publication of this Notice and meet the requirements of O. C. G. A.  § 19-8-12. NOVEMBER 29, 2018


December OAKLAWN 100 WIN 100

Saturday, Dec. 1 • 6-10 pm

At Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs, we’re in for a December of Fun!

DIFFERENT guests will win  Free Play

GIFTS: Win one of two $3,000 Lowe’s gift cards in our Winner Wonderland event.

We are hosting a massive party where all are invited!

GIVEAWAYS: Redeem points for prizes like a set of luggage.

Mondays • 3–7 pm

GALAS: Don’t miss our fabulous New Year’s Eve Party December 31! And all of this December excitement is close by in Hot Springs National Park. Are you in?

NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY Monday, Dec. 31


Mondays starting at 5 pm


 catfish dinner in Lagniappe’s

LUGGAGE GIVEAWAY Wednesdays & Sundays

Redeem  points earned either day for items

HOLIDAY HOT SEAT Thursdays • 5–9 pm

Win Free Play just for playing on your card anywhere in the game room

$1.99 PRIME RIB DINNER Thursdays

Redeem with  points earned Tuesday-Thursday

WINNER WONDERLAND Fridays • 6–10 pm

Qualify for the finals on December  for a chance to win one of two Lowe's gi cards


Saturdays & Sundays • 12-10 pm Drink specials

Visit for more details. GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-522-4700. 40

NOVEMBER 29, 2018


Profile for Arkansas Times

Arkansas Times | November 29, 2018 | The Music Issue  

Arkansas Times | November 29, 2018 | The Music Issue