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JULY 2019

FEATURES

28 FROM NEWSPAPER TO TABLET NEWS

Walter Hussman goes digital. By Lindsey Millar

35 THE BEST

OF ARKANSAS

A tribute to poet Karen Hayes by Bryan Borland, a photo spread by Matt White, Rebekah Hall in the boudoir with Amber Lane, our readers’ choices and some of our own bests.

9 THE FRONT

Q&A: Joe Joyner The Inconsequential News Quiz: The sexually satisfied edition. The Big Picture: Arkansas ink. Orval: The most hated senator.

19 THE TO-DO LIST

Bonnie Montgomery and Summer Dean, Star Wars I-IV, Runaway Planet, Pallbearer, the Travs vs. the Naturals and more.

74 FOOD & DRINK Cooking at high altitudes with Rx pot. By Lew Gasnier

79 TRAVEL

36 hours in Northwest Arkansas. By Stephanie Smittle

89 HISTORY

The dicey days of Hot Springs. By David Hill

25 NEWS &

96 CROSSWORD

The state Supreme Court vs. Wendell Griffen.

98 THE OBSERVER

POLITICS

By Ernest Dumas

Beach books

66 CULTURE

Vicarious racing: Slot cars for grownups. By David Koon

ON THE COVER: Photograph

of T.J. Deeter by Kat Wilson. 4 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


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VOLUME 45 ISSUE 23 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each month 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 $60 for one year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is $5, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $5.00 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all 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. ©2019 ARKANSAS TIMES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

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THE FRONT Q&A

The Emperor’s New Viola

A 1938 instrument makes its way from Little Rock to the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

Between Tuesday, May 21, and Monday, May 27, 2019, a viola inscribed with the initials “IA” made its way from a quaint 1880s carriage house in Little Rock’s Quapaw Quarter to the hands of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, a gift from President Trump on the occasion of Naruhito’s ascent to the Imperial Chrysanthemum Throne. Joe Joyner, who operates the full-service Little Rock Violin Shop from within that carriage house, described the instrument’s diplomatic voyage as follows, in a post on his Facebook page: “On April 30, I heard a news story that Japan’s Emperor Akihito was stepping down and that his son, Naruhito, would be taking his place. Twenty-four hours later I received a call from the U.S. State Department seeking an American-made viola to give as a diplomatic gift. Shortly after this call, I began seeing news stories about Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito being a violist. … Nearly a month later, I can now say that last week I sold the Emperor’s new viola, an instrument made in 1938 by Ivan W. Allison of Charleston, West Virginia. The instrument was presented to Emperor Naruhito by President Donald Trump today. God I love my job.” We talked with Joyner about the viola and his shop’s work to prepare it for the imperial violist. How did you hear about the new emperor? Do you keep up with international politics? I was out running errands, and I heard this story and it kinda just went in one ear and out the other. And then the following day, I went in to work at 9 a.m. and my employee Wesley [Rule] said, “Hey, we got a call from the U.S. State Department saying they wanna buy a viola. Seems kinda weird, but here’s the number.” So I called, and sure enough, somebody answered and said, “U.S. State Department,” and I asked for the woman who’d left her name, and she said, “Hey, we’re looking for a viola to purchase as a diplomatic gift for a head of state.” And I happened to have a viola I thought met their requirements — that it was an Americanmade instrument and that it was within their budget. … Two weeks later, I got another call back saying, “Hey, we wanna get the viola,” and so we got to work trying to set the viola up — it had cheap student-level strings on it and needed a new bridge.

BRIAN CHILSON

Do you know how the State Department found you? I don’t. I never asked; I should have. I assume they found us through the website. We have a section on American violins and American violin-making. So I think if you Google “American violin-making,” we probably show up somewhere in there.

Name: Joe Joyner Birthplace: Austin, Texas Age: 37 Jobs: Owner/bow repair, Little Rock Violin Shop; viola player with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Hobbies: Cooking and hiking with his two longhaired dachshunds, Truffles and Omobono.

Is it fair to say you all specialize in American violins? I’d say it’s one of our areas of specialty. In this area, a lot of what you find are Americanmade instruments. You find a lot of German, French, commercial instruments that were originally sold out of Sears Roebuck catalogs, Wurlitzer catalogs. So that just happens to be a lot of what comes in through the doors here. And it is definitely something that I’m interested in. ... There was recently this American violin book that was published [points to a thick red volume on the bookshelf behind him] that’s like the first major reference that gives a historical overview of violin-making in America.

Tell me a little about the viola. What’s its provenance, and how did you come to know about it? What do you know about Ivan W. Allison? It was brought to us by a man named Rick Carver, and he owned an Ivan Allison violin for many years. … It sat in the case for, I would assume, all its life, which is why it was in excellent condition — and why it made a nice gift. I think it literally sat in the case since 1938. Is it preferable for it to have sat in the case? Is that the kind of instrument you want to see and work on? As a violin dealer and collector, the instruments that sit in cases for their whole lives are usually the ones you want. They usually have fewer condition issues, the varnish is usually in much better condition. You don’t have scratches and dings, or places where people’s hands have touched the instrument over and over. The downside with those instruments is that, oftentimes, they’re a little sleepy at first. It takes some playing to kind of wake up. Instruments have to be played regularly to sound their best, and if an instrument’s been dormant for years, you can hear that in the sound. — Stephanie Smittle ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 9


THE FRONT

THE BIG PICTURE

You Run Deep in Me I INK, THEREFORE I AM — FROM ARKANSAS.

As state shapes — and therefore, state-shaped merchandise — go, Arkansas got pretty lucky. Bless Michigan’s little heart, it looks a bit like a potholder gone wrong; not exactly T-shirt material. And you’d not likely know a Wyoming-shaped cookie cutter from a Colorado-shaped one. Because of Arkansas’s stately shape, it’s easy to wear your Natural State pride on your sleeve. Here, we highlight a few Arkansans who do that quite literally.

JASON TURNER “I travel a lot for my employment and I wanted something to represent where I’m from. I couldn’t think of a better way than an Arkansas tattoo with a diamond in it. Now I have my home state with me all the time, no matter where I am.”

AMBER PIRNIQUE “I was born in Arkansas and couldn’t wait to leave. Then I couldn’t wait to come home. … My roots are deep, and though the pull for adventure keeps me wanting to see more, I am grateful my pillow rests in the Natural State.”

ARLTON LOWRY “The artist is Caleb Pritchett. I got it when he was tattooing at Electric Heart in Hillcrest. The Arkansas state tattoo is part of a graffiti half-sleeve coverup. I love graffiti and I love our state. It just made sense to incorporate the two.”

SAGE MCCOY “I got my Old Main tattoo a few months before I walked for my bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas. The clock on the clock tower is actually set to 5:16, since I got my degree in May of 2016!”

TRACI BERRY “It signifies my love for this state. It’s so beautiful and diverse. We are a diamond in the rough ... people don’t understand how great Arkansas is until they come here. The compass signifies two things for me. Adventure and direction ... finding my way, on adventures and in life.”

MATT FLOYD “I got [the rebus, which spells out R-can-saw] at 7th Street Tattoos when Bill Conner, my best friend of over 27 years, was in town — We always get matching tattoos.”

10 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


BRYAN MOATS “I recall I’d been thinking of getting another tattoo around the time I’d cooked up this lightning bolt design for an unrelated Arkansas Times purpose. It did not get used for what I’d made it for, but shortly after, Lindsey Millar came to me asking if I knew anyone who wanted to get a tattoo that would also be the cover of the 2011 Best of Arkansas issue. I committed myself pretty much without delay.”

JP LANGSTON “I have a lot of pride in the Natural State, and I wanted to represent that by using the layout from the Arkansas state quarter. I like my tattoos to be original, and a lot of people have AR tattoos, but I’d never seen anyone use the quarter, so I wanted to take that and put it into the outline of the state shape for originality.”

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THE FRONT

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THE FRONT

INCONSEQUENTIAL NEWS QUIZ

Sexually Satisfied Edition

3) The Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control board voted last month to revoke the liquor permit for the Paper Moon, a “gentleman’s club” at 3310 Mabelvale Pike in Little Rock. What did undercover ABC agents who visited the club say they saw? A) Dancers allegedly soliciting patrons for prostitution. B) Dancers allegedly allowing patrons to touch their genitals and touching the genitals of patrons. C) Employees drinking on the premises, allowing illegal drugs in the building, and selling drinks to people who were clearly intoxicated. D) All of the above. 4) Julie McGee, an ex-girlfriend of former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock), delivered bombshell testimony in June in a pre-trial hearing related to federal charges that 14 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

5) Little Rock’s Josh Harris, 37, made an appearance last month on “American Ninja Warrior,” a game show in which contestants use their brains and brawn to take on a nearsuperhuman obstacle course. According to Harris, what were some of the things he did to prepare for the show? A) Overcame Lyme disease, which Harris said was “slowly wrecking my body.” B) Trained for five years and made a previous attempt to qualify for the show. C) Built homemade obstacles in his backyard that mimic those on the show, including a slackline, hanging rings and parallel bars set 9 feet apart. D) All of the above.

BRIAN CHILSON

2) The Little Rock Police Department recently announced a new policy concerning an issue that has been especially problematic for the LRPD in recent years. What is the new policy? A) A pilot program that allows Uber drivers to make arrests and transport suspects to jail, saving the city approximately $11 million per year. B) Any Little Rock unarmed resident who survives being shot by an LRPD officer will now receive a 50 percent discount on admission to Wild River Country. C) In an attempt to cut back on the number of police brutality claims and costly civil suits against the department, all LRPD officers will henceforth be required to undergo six hours of “How to Destroy the Evidence Better” training. D) The department is changing the way it approves “no-knock” raids on residences where drug activity is alleged to have taken place, apparently in response to critics who said the LRPD has overused the military-style SWAT raids in the past, often against those accused of relatively minor offenses.

Hutchinson misappropriated campaign funds for his own use. Which of the following is among the things McGee testified to in court? A) Though she was officially listed as a campaign worker, when asked by prosecutors whether she actually performed work for Hutchinson’s campaign, McGee responded, “If keeping him sexually satisfied is considered campaign work.” B) In addition to a previously revealed instance in which police said McGee walloped Hutchinson with a preserved alligator head, McGee alleged that Hutchinson broke her finger during a different physical altercation in 2012. C) McGee alleged twice during testimony that Hutchinson, who has positioned himself as anti-abortion, paid for her to have an abortion. D) All of the above.

6) Springdale behemoth Tyson Foods rolled out a line of products in mid-June, which it hopes will help it keep up with changing American tastes. Which of the following is a new Tyson product scheduled to be on sale this summer? A) I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pigs Feet. B) Squirrel Brain Gravy Clear. C) A limited-edition re-release of the 2011 hit product Petrin-Ohs!, meat patties shaped like former Razorback football coach Bobby Petrino and his crashed Harley. D) A line of plant-based “chicken nuggets” made from peas instead of poultry. 7) Doctor’s Orders RX, a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in May near Hot Springs, was sued in federal court in June. What’s the issue? A) A 93-year-old from Bella Vista got toked up on some OG Kush purchased at the dispensary and took her mobility scooter onto the freeway. B) A patient claims he paid for the chronic, got dank at best. C) Plaintiffs allege the dispensary deliberately sold Alaskan Thunder Fuck as Purple Monkey Balls, which just will not do, sir. D) Two pharmacies in Jefferson County have used the name “Doctor’s Orders” for years, and want the dispensary to be forced to change its name.

ANSWERS: D, D, D, D, D, D, D, D

1) Two women called the Garland County Sheriff’s Office in mid-June to report that a pair of unknown assailants had forced their way into the women’s home, shouting for a man named Mike and demanding payment of a debt. Why, according to police, were the two who allegedly perpetrated the crime so recognizable? A) They were 12-time Mid-South Wrasslin’ Tag Team Champions The Rock ’n’ Roll Express, accompanied by their flamboyant manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenon. B) They arrived and fled on a two-seater recumbent bicycle. C) It was Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, their criminality emboldened when Robert Mueller failed to refer them for indictment. D) They were identical twins. Eric Charles Norwood and Shawn Allan Norwood, 32 and from Malvern, were later taken into custody on several felony counts, including residential burglary.

BRIAN CHILSON

Play at home, while waiting for the inevitable no-knock warrant to be served.


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JULY 2019 15


THE FRONT

THE MONTH (OR SO) THAT WAS

High water on the Arkansas, deep trouble for an ex-legislator in court

A WITNESS, DISHING An ex-girlfriend of former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock), charged with spending $150,000 in campaign money on personal expenses and dodging taxes on $270,000 in income, testified about her relationship with Hutchinson during a pretrial hearing on the case. Julie McGee said Hutchinson had provided her with gifts, vacations and a fake job from his campaign funds. Asked if she had indeed worked for Hutchinson, McGee replied, “If keeping him sexually satisfied is considered campaign work.” The pre-trial hearing was over Hutchinson’s efforts to suppress evidence from a laptop McGee gave to the FBI in 2012. McGee said it was a gift; Hutchinson said she stole it from him. McGee went to the FBI to tell of Hutchinson’s alleged financial improprieties after one of their many disputes. Hutchinson faces separate federal charges in a bribery case in Missouri. 16 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

EX-SENATOR MURDERED A former Republican state senator met a gruesome end in June. Linda Collins, who served in the General Assembly under her married name, Collins-Smith, was found slain, her decomposed body wrapped in a covering, outside her Pocahontas home June 4, and a friend, Becky O’Donnell of Pocahontas, was later charged with capital murder and abuse of a corpse. At the prosecutor’s request, a circuit judge sealed documents in the case; police have not provided a cause of death or motive in the slaying. O’Donnell and her boyfriend, Tim Loggains, were on their way to a visitation for Collins at a funeral home when she was arrested. O’Donnell had testified in Collins’ divorce from retired Circuit Judge Phil Smith; testimony in the case revealed that Loggains had Collins’ power of attorney and had cashed and attempted to cash almost $500,000 in tax refund checks made out jointly to Collins and her ex-husband. O’Donnell did not enter a plea at her June 17 arraignment. GOV. HUCK II? Sarah Huckabee Sanders, known neither for veracity or warmth as President Trump’s press secretary, has left the White House to return to Arkansas and is expected to mount a campaign for governor. Trump tweeted she’d make a “fantastic” governor. It’s unknown what effect Sanders’ return to Arkansas will have on the gubernatorial desires of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin. Earlier this year, Sanders said she believed God wanted Trump to be president and that’s why he won. No word yet from God on Sanders as governor. NOT AS MANY ‘NO-KNOCKS’ The Little Rock Police Department, which has come under criticism for its “no-knock” warrants in drug raids, announced it will evaluate “threat assessment” before making no-knock raids and would vet its informants more thoroughly.

SWINE TO EXIT WATERSHED Governor Hutchinson announced that the C&H Hog Farm in the Buffalo River watershed in Newton County had agreed to end its operations there in exchange for $6.2 million. Most of the payment will be in state money, but The Nature Conservancy’s Arkansas chapter is also contributing between $600,000 and $1 million. The state will hold a conservation easement on the land, which will still be held by C&H in fee simple. FACTORY EXPANSION Lockheed Martin, which produces rocket systems and assembles missiles and other military products at its plant in Camden, announced it would expand the factory. The company said it would invest $142 million in the defense plant and expected to add 326 jobs over the next several years. It will qualify for state subsidies in the form of a 10 percent tax credit on investment and cash rebates, the specifics of which the Arkansas Economic Development Commission does not provide to the public. JUDICIAL ELECTION METHOD CHALLENGED The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund is suing the state in federal court over its method of electing judges to the Arkansas Court of Appeals and the Arkansas Supreme Court. The suit says the election process — statewide elections for the seven members of the Supreme Court and election by district for the 12 positions on the appeals court — has “denied black voters an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” Retired Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey, retired Court of Appeals Judge Olly Neal, UA Little Rock Children’s International Director Ryan Davis, the Christian Ministerial Alliance and Arkansas Community Institute filed the suit.

BRIAN CHILSON

HOW HIGH THE WATER Heavy rains in May produced record flooding along the Arkansas River. Thousands of acres of farmland, hundreds of homes and many businesses from Fort Smith to Pine Bluff were inundated. A major levee broke at Holla Bend south of Dardanelle; another near Conway barely held. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated. The halt in river traffic commerce was estimated to cost $23 million a day; Governor Hutchinson estimated infrastructure losses at $100 millionplus. The river crested at 51 feet in Pine Bluff on June 6, the highest recorded since 1945.


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18 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


the TO-DO list

and REBEKAH HALL

MICHELLE WAGGONER

By STEPHANIE SMITTLE

BONNIE MONTGOMERY, SUMMER DEAN

D ANSON BRODY

TUESDAY 7/2. WHITE WATER TAVERN.

In a transcendently twangy pairing, Texas-based singer/songwriters Bonnie Montgomery (above) and Summer Dean (left) are touching down at White Water Tavern as a stop on their “Queen of the Road” tour. The classically trained Arkansas native Montgomery — famed composer of “Billy Blythe,” an opera about Bill Clinton’s boyhood in Hot Springs — croons and trills through her 2018 album “Forever” with songs about love lost and found and the heart-hangovers in between. “No More” is a defiant, confident rejection of a no-good man, while “Comets” is a dramatic, poignant journey through the desert, carried by Montgomery’s impressive range. Here’s hoping she performs both. Montgomery’s elevated take on the honky-tonk genre is evenly matched by Dean, whose first EP, “Ladylike,” takes care to examine different forms womanhood can take in the South. Dean kicks off the EP with “A Heartache I Can Use,” demonstrating a voice as immediately familiar and full as that of Tammy Wynette or Patsy Cline; “Alabama (Can I Call You Hank)” is a high-spirited tale of romance on the music hall dance floor. Both artists are past winners of the “Outlaw Female of the Year” at the Ameripolitan Awards, a title decidedly earned. See whitewatertavern.com for ticket details. RH

A ROWDY FAITH

FRIDAY 7/26. 8 P.M., HIBERNIA IRISH TAVERN.

KATIE CHILDS

There are whispers of new recorded music to come from this vocals-forward duo, fronted by Alisyn Reid and Cate Davison, and that means fans in attendance at this Hibernia show (or at A Rowdy Faith’s bill with Willi Carlisle last month) may have a handful of melodies to add to the “stuck in my head, to my delight, for two weeks straight” pile. Davison and Reid’s voices blend as if there were DNA linking them together, and though both play deftly, the fact that they can call in kin like guitar guru Steve Davison to pepper in some banjo or percussion doesn’t hurt things a bit. For fans of Hestina or of Dana Louise & The Glorious Birds. SS

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 19


GUILLAME BLANJEAN

the TO-DO list

PALLBEARER

SATURDAY 7/13. 8 P.M. REV ROOM. $15.

Pallbearer — etchers of heavy sonic landscapes, hometown heroes — are back. A June 14 announcement on the ensemble’s Facebook page went as follows: “We’re coming out of our album-writing hibernation for some select shows in July. Two of these shows are in our home state and at those we’ll be performing Sorrow & Extinction + other selections from our history as well as bringing a new limited beer, a Czech-style Pilsner dubbed ‘The Legend’ that we’ve teamed up with our esteemed friends at Lost Forty Brewing to make.” For this listener, Pallbearer’s music is like a stratified outcrop of shale, or a high-end crepe cake: dozens of guitar layers on top of one another, rendered into an immaculately stacked whole by clever engineering, as if time and gravitational pressure had compressed them. There’s nothing like hearing that stratum live, and for this show, Pallbearer performs its monumental, crushing 2012 debut album in its entirety. See pallbearerdoom.com/tour for tickets and details. SS

ARKANSAS TRAVELERS VS. NORTHWEST ARKANSAS NATURALS

MONDAY 7/8-WEDNESDAY 7/10. 7:10 P.M. DICKEY STEPHENS PARK. $7-$13. Let’s face facts: Even if the Razorbacks were in the College World Series, baseball’s rarely exciting on TV. And the things that doom it and deem it to be that way are the very same things that make it so much more agreeable in real life, especially as compared to its pigskin counterpart: the pace, the collegiality, the dignity, the fact that the ticket price isn’t in the same neighborhood as your car payment. Here, Arkansas’s two minor league outfits face off on the banks of the receding Arkansas River. Monday’s game is Moix Monday Pup-Day game, which means not only are you allowed to bring your (well-behaved) dog to the park, you get in for $3 if you do. Wednesday’s game is $1 Hot Dog Night. SS

MAUNO, BANZAI FLORIST, ADVENTURELAND

HENRY ACTESON

FRIDAY 7/5. 9:30 P.M. MAXINE’S, HOT SPRINGS. $7.

20 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

As far as I can tell, the song of the summer is actually not a song at all; it is this show at Maxine’s from two of Arkansas’s smartest pop outfits plus Mauno (pronounced Mao-no) — a Halifax, Nova Scotia, quartet (at left) whose Audiotree session will make a permanent fan of anybody who’s into delicate yet wildly unpredictable weirdo pop. Adventureland made devotees out of the Arkansas Times staff at the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase with its deft instrument swaps and clean rhythms, and if you haven’t heard Banzai Florist yet, you’re in for an art pop lover’s dream. The band includes members of Couch Jackets and Ghost Bones, and it borrows oddball sensibilities from each of those groups and runs them through the ’60s girlgroup filter. Low Key Arts presents the bill; get tickets at the door. SS


RUNAWAY PLANET, RACHEL AMMONS

FRIDAY 7/12. 8:30 P.M. KING’S LIVE MUSIC, CONWAY. $5.

BRIAN CHILSON

Rachel Ammons (right) is a perpetual charmer — of electric cacti, of a violin held together by duct tape, of vocal/pedal gadgetry, of the imaginations of Ben Miller Band fans and the Tyrannosaurus Chicken cult. Here, vocalist/songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Ammons gives a guided tour of her solo material in a venue doggedly devoted to showcasing locals in a live setting, after which Runaway Planet provides proof of why they’ve been the fiercest, fastest traditional bluegrass ensemble in Arkansas for several years running. See kingslivemusic.com for tickets. SS

‘STAR WARS: EPISODE I’-‘STAR WARS: EPISODE VI’

NOVO STUDIO

THURSDAY 7/11-THURSDAY 8/15. CALS RON ROBINSON THEATER. $5/SCREENING.

NORTHWOODS TRAIL FULL MOON RIDE

TUESDAY 7/16. 6 P.M. NORTHWOODS TRAILHEAD, 300 PINELAND DRIVE, HOT SPRINGS. FREE. Hot Springs has a picturesque new network of multiuse trails embedded in 2,000 acres of lush forestation, the Northwoods Urban Forest Park. The bike trails therein are remarkably versatile; there are trails rated green for beginners and black ones with big jumps for the experts. Each month, the Northwoods crew has been hosting rides under the full moon, a beginner-to-intermediate group ride that lasts about an hour and ends with riders cooking out and listening to live music together at the trailhead. These are “no drop” rides, meaning that beginners can count on an experienced rider to stay with them. “We also encourage hikers, runners, road cyclists to join us as well,” Northwoods Trails Coordinator Traci Berry told us. “The more the merrier. It’s about creating community and getting more people out on the trails.” You’ll need a mountain bike in working order, helmet and water to hydrate. The ride takes place while it’s still daylight, but you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a front light (Berry tells us she rides with a simple, inexpensive one that burns at 750 lumens). And, if you don’t catch this ride, join the Northwoods crew for a Full Sturgeon Moon Ride on Aug. 15, the Full Harvest Moon Ride on Sept. 14 or the Full Hunter’s Moon Ride on Oct. 13. SS

There are a few ways to screen the “Star Wars” story — many stories, actually — in all its intergalactic glory, but debates about the sequence in which the movies should be shown get pretty fiery, fracturing alliances as swiftly and vehemently as in George Lucas’ space opera itself. Here, CALS eschews the release-day chronology (and spin-offs, and the soon-to-beconcluded “sequel trilogy”) for a series of summertime screenings, as follows: “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” July 11; “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” July 18; “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” July 25; “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” Aug. 1; “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” Aug. 8; “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” Aug. 15. If you’ve yet to see “Star Wars” on the big screen, or if you need a structured, weekly way to introduce your kid to the Force, mark your calendar. SS

LEWD AWAKENING REVUE

SUNDAY 7/14. 9 P.M. STICKYZ ROCK ’N’ ROLL CHICKEN SHACK. $10. If Foul Play Cabaret is the Audrey Hepburn of the Central Arkansas burlesque world, Lewd Awakening Revue is our Lucille Ball. The troupe’s gloriously bawdy variety show mashes up drag, sexuality and comedy, and makes a return to Stickyz this month — this time with a “food cravings” theme, featuring performers The Siam Fox, Myra Mains, Puss Powerbottom, Caerdwyn Adele, Sukie Pearl, Daddy Fox, Sparky Lugnutz and hostess Karma Kouture. And it’s on the Sabbath, no less, a day when, surely, we should be appreciating the vast array of flowers in the anatomical garden of delights humankind has been afforded by creation. See lewdawakeningrevue.com for more. SS

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JULY 2019 21


the TO-DO list

‘A CHORUS LINE’

WEDNESDAY 7/17-SATURDAY 7/27. ARGENTA COMMUNITY THEATER, NORTH LITTLE ROCK. $30. Earnest, tense and funny, “A Chorus Line” endures as a Broadway classic because of its ability to capture the individual within the ensemble, and perhaps for its ability to give musical theater fiends and aspirational performers alike a chance to watch their dreams acted out onstage. First produced in 1975, the high-energy show follows a group of Broadway IMDB dancers auditioning to be part of a chorus line in a musical, and the dancers’ inner lives and struggles take center stage as they regale the musical’s director and assistant with stories about difficult childhoods, sexuality, love, body image and sacrifices made in pursuit of fame. See argentacommunitytheater.org for times and tickets. RH

IMDB

ARGENTA READING SERIES: MELISSA SCHOLES YOUNG ARKANSAS TIMES FILM SERIES: ‘FOR ALL MANKIND’ TUESDAY 7/16. 7 P.M. RIVERDALE 10 CINEMA. $9.

When Arkansas Times and Film Quotes Films screen Al Reinert’s 1989 documentary “For All Mankind” on July 16, it will have been 50 years — almost to the day — since NASA’s Apollo Program first landed astronauts on the moon. Scored by Brian Eno, a fearless experimenter in his own right, Reinert’s film tells the story of the Apollo mission using astronauts’ voices and meticulously digitized extraterrestrial footage, said to have been mined from over 6 million feet of 16mm film. More importantly, though, it wields the power — through editorial and cinematic prowess — to help a contemporary viewer feel completely blown away by space travel, something she’s long taken for granted. For this screening, we’ve invited some panelists to talk shop with us: NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and UA Little Rock lab technician Darrell Heath; Bruce McMath of the Arkansas Natural Sky Association and Central Arkansas Astronomical Society; Dr. Tony Hall of UA Little Rock’s Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Dr. Linda Williams, former NASA employee and director of Science Cafe Little Rock. Omaya Jones, curator and director of the Arkansas Times Film Series, moderates the post-film discussion. Get tickets at the “Coming Attractions” section of Riverdale 10 Cinema’s website, riverdale10.com. SS

SATURDAY 7/20. 6:30 P.M. ARGENTA UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. DONATIONS.

Published in 2017, Melissa Scholes Young’s “Flood” follows the return of Laura Brooks to her hometown of Hannibal, Mo., 10 years after fleeing a devastating flood of the Mississippi River and her own fraught relationships. Young, a Hannibal native herself, now teaches college writing and creative writing at American University in Washington, D.C., and she’ll read from “Flood” for this installment of the Argenta Reading Series. The opening reader is author Allison Joseph, whose 2018 book of poetry, “Confessions of a Barefaced Woman,” is a nominee in the poetry category of the 2019 NAACP Image Awards. Raised in Toronto and in the Bronx in New York, Joseph now directs the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Southern Illinois University. ARS readings are free to attend, but donations are accepted, and boxed wine will be served. RH

STONE’S THROW BLOCK ON ROCK BIRTHDAY BASH

SATURDAY 7/27. 4 P.M. STONE’S THROW BREWING MACPARK. Musicians, artists, community groups, food trucks and brewery collaborations will come together July 27 to celebrate Stone’s Throw Brewing’s sixth year of business. The brewery, at Ninth and Rock streets, shuts down Rock for a block party benefiting Preserve Arkansas, a nonprofit that works to save and rehabilitate historic structures and places throughout the state. Stone’s Throw, which recently opened a second location in Stifft Station, will celebrate by slinging cold brews. The family-friendly event starts at 4 p.m. and runs into the evening. More information is available on the Block On Rock event page on Facebook. RH 22 JULY 2019

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NEWS & POLITICS

BRIAN CHILSON

L A Compromised Judiciary THE CASE OF JUDGE GRIFFEN. BY ERNEST DUMAS

ike its federal counterpart, the Arkansas Supreme Court has had a run of ill fortune lately, at least by the lights of founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton, who said public confidence that judges were impartial and free of partisan influence would be vital to preserving the democratic experiment. The judiciary’s duty, the founders thought, was to see that the popular impulses of the two political branches of government, which enjoyed the power of the purse or arms, did not overrun the rights and restraints enshrined in the Constitution. The basic doctrines of the separation and balance of powers in the national Constitution depended upon judicial independence. If people ever detected that the judicial branch followed the whims of a party, one of the other branches, or a powerful group rather than the law, society would be in deep trouble. It turns out that much of the public now expects and even wants judges, especially the appellate variety, to be partisan, at least as long as the jurists are sure to favor their point of view and their party’s, whether it is for or against a woman’s right to control her own reproductive organs, or any other burning issue of the day. Hamilton and James Madison just couldn’t foresee the need to do the most popular thing. The seven Arkansas justices faced the unusual humiliation this spring of having set out to destroy the career of a lower-court judge (perhaps only coincidentally a black man) who expressed passionate, uninhibited and often unpopular convictions, but then failing to get it done. They saw their own ethics office duck the task for two years and then backhandedly exonerate the judge. The justices even resisted testifying under oath about why and how they came to lodge the complaint against the judge, specifically whether it was at the behest of Republican legislators who were calling for the judge’s impeachment. It took the ethics office an embarrassingly long two years — so long that most people couldn’t remember what the fuss about Judge Wendell Griffen was all about. The investigation that the Supreme Court ordered could have taken no more than two ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 25


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hours, but the court’s ethics unit finally admitted in mid-June that it had to drop the whole matter because it and the Supreme Court had violated his right to a speedy trial. The absurd delays tell you how much the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission and its legal staff must have abhorred their assignment from the justices. Griffen, the first African-American lawyer at the state’s most eminent corporate law firm, where two presidents of the American Bar Association labored, had been in public life for more than a quarter-century, first on a quasi-judicial state commission and then as a state appellate jurist and circuit judge. He was known for sticking rigidly to the law, no matter its consequences. The head of the state AFL-CIO and a union lawyer once visited Gov. Bill Clinton to ask him to remove Griffen as a workers compensation commissioner because he ruled from time to time for employers when his sympathies were always supposed to be with workers. But Griffen also was an outspoken pastor who took his ministry public, in protests against racial discrimination and state and national policies. He was a disciple of Christ who was duty-bound to proclaim His teachings regardless of the consequences. It was separate from Griffen’s judicial work, and he was undaunted by fierce editorial criticism from the state’s big daily paper and from Republican lawmakers and state officials. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002, in an opinion by conservative Republican justices, struck down laws and rules that restricted the free speech of candidates for judge and, by implication, judges themselves. Griffen took it to heart. The state Supreme Court’s attack on Judge Griffen followed a quick hearing in April 2017 when he issued a temporary order requested by a drug company that wanted to stop the state from using its product to execute a prisoner. He ordered the state not to use the drug until he held a full hearing on the matter. Then the judge took off his robe and drove to the Governor’s Mansion to join Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clerics and parishioners for a Good Friday protest against the death penalty. He was garbed in a white robe and lay upon a cot. He went not as Judge Griffen, but as Rev. Griffen and he viewed it as an obligation to his church and to his parishioners. Griffen always acknowledged that he believed that both the Bible and the Constitution enjoined exe-

Griffen was an outspoken pastor who took his ministry public.

cutions by the state, but so have other justices and trial judges who still presided over capital-murder trials and appeals and followed the law. Republican legislators called for Griffen’s removal from office. The Supreme Court promptly suspended his order, barred him from ever trying capital cases and filed a complaint with the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which works under its supervision, asking that Griffen be investigated for violating canons that ensured impartiality or the appearance of it. If any expression of moral opposition to or support for executions barred a judge from ever sitting on a case, then any justice or trial judge who was ever involved in such a case could never sit on another, for they would have shown their partiality. Judge Griffen’s most ardent admirers quail at his insistence on proclaiming his convictions, even on the most hostile occasions. With Griffen, there is never any political calculation, one way or the other. I am quite convinced that several of the justices soon regretted their haste after Griffen’s temporary drug order (reaffirmed, by the way, by a second judge and also by the Supreme Court’s ethics director) and his imitation on the same day of Jesus at Calvary. But they insisted to the end that they would not answer questions under oath about any illegal ex-parte communications they may have had with legislators and others. For four years or longer, the court’s once fairly honorable reputation for independence from political persuasion has been on the decline, owing partly to the huge investment in Supreme Court races by secret donors but also for its cravenness on the matter of whether people of the same sex have an inherent right to get married. Both the state and federal Constitutions make it clear that they do, whatever anyone may believe about the morality or religious sanctions of such unions. The justices voted 6-to-1 in private conference in 2014 that couples had a clear constitutional right to get married, but secretly dithered for much of a year until the U.S. Supreme Court made their points of view moot. It is hard to arouse much admiration for such timidity. The subsequent election of two justices openly committed to Republican causes, such as the punishment of men like Wendell Griffen, couldn’t restore confidence in the institution.


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THE ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE MOVES TO STOP PRINTING AND DELIVERING A DAILY NEWSPAPER. BY LINDSEY MILLAR PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN CHILSON 28 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


PUBLISHER HUSSMAN: His medium is digital; the message is keeping the Democrat-Gazette in business.

WALTER E. HUSSMAN JR., the longtime newspaper publisher, has a reputation for making big bets in business that fly in the face of conventional wisdom. When his family purchased the Arkansas Democrat in 1974 and appointed him publisher, he was just 27. The Democrat was an afternoon paper with about half the number of subscribers of its rival, the Arkansas Gazette. Hussman’s previous experience was a reporting job at Forbes, a stint as general manager of the smalltown Camden News and a year as vice president and general manager of the family newspaper company. In his early years leading the Democrat, Hussman cut costs and worked to decertify the newspaper’s unions, but revenues remained flat. So he approached the Gazette with a proposal to combine business operations while maintaining competitive newsrooms, a somewhat common practice at the time made possible by a 1970 federal law aimed at preserving struggling newspapers. The Gazette declined. So Hussman went to war. He made the Democrat a morning paper. He gave away classified advertising. He hired reporters and editors and increased the number of pages and the print quality. He poured millions into the Democrat and weathered a decade of unprofitability. In 1984, the Gazette filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the Democrat — and lost. In October 1986, the Gazette’s local owners sold the newspaper to Virginia-based corporate chain Gannett. Against the largest newspaper chain in the country, Hussman continued to bleed money in order to compete. But ultimately, the latter years of the war boiled down to the difference between a family-owned business and a publicly traded one. Hussman had only to convince his family that continued short-term losses would pay off. Gannett had to keep its shareholders happy. In 1991, Gannett bowed out of the fight and shuttered the Gazette, selling the Gazette’s assets to Hussman for $68.5 million. The day after the Gazette published its last issue, Hussman attached the Gazette’s name to his newspaper’s flag and started a campaign: “The Best of Both.” In the early 2000s, when publishers everywhere rushed to capture ascendant digital advertising dollars by creating dynamic websites filled with free articles, Hussman was one of the few who instituted a hard paywall on his newspaper’s website, allowing access only to

subscribers. At the time, he admitted that his goal wasn’t to create a new revenue stream with digital subscribers, but to protect his print product, a position that earned him both praise and ridicule. Paywalls, often with limited free access, have now become the norm. (The Arkansas Times website, for one, instituted a paywall in 2013, but before then, the fact that the Democrat-Gazette put its content behind a paywall may have helped the Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Blog grow its devoted audience.) This year marks 200 years since the Arkansas Gazette was founded, and the Democrat-Gazette is embracing the anniversary as its own. At the conclusion of the newspaper war, Hussman said that the Gazette had ceased publication and made clear he had only purchased its assets. But he’s singing a different tune today. “I think the Gazette is probably the oldest business in Arkansas,” he told a Democrat-Gazette reporter in June. “It’s obviously the oldest newspaper in Arkansas as well as the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi. How many newspapers make it 200 years?” (The Democrat also has a long history. Its founding dates to at least 1878.) Former President Bill Clinton will speak at an invitation-only anniversary banquet in November at the Statehouse Convention Center. Meanwhile, the Democrat-Gazette is publishing what it’s calling a “200-day celebration” of the Gazette’s history. Each day, the newspaper runs an archival snapshot of an Arkansas Gazette front page; in total, it will publish one for every year since its founding. That every day reminder of the centuries-long history of a daily newspaper in Arkansas coincides with the 72-year-old publisher’s undertaking perhaps the biggest gamble of his career. By the end of the year, Hussman plans to stop printing and delivering the daily edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Other papers have undertaken print-to-digital conversion by gradually reducing print publication frequency and trying to redirect readers to their websites. Hussman is pursuing something different and more ambitious. The Democrat-Gazette is trying to ease its dedicated readers into the digital future with the help of a high-end gadget and a familiar format. To subscribers who agree to continue paying the current rate of $34-$36 a month, the Democrat-Gazette is providing a new Apple iPad so they can read an e-edition of the paper. Through

a Democrat-Gazette app — available for free download for the iPad or iPhone — subscribers get a digital facsimile of the print paper, or an “exact replica edition,” as Hussman calls it, delivered every day, usually before 4 a.m. The app allows subscribers to browse through sections with a flick of the finger, select an article with a tap and read a full-screen version. Stories, especially national reports from wire services, often include videos and additional pictures in slideshows. The newspaper’s digital conversion won’t be total; it will still print and deliver a Sunday edition to most subscribers. Hussman has said that the Sunday paper, with its advertising inserts, accounts for about 40 percent of the newspaper’s advertising revenue. Already, subscribers in nearly all of the state’s 63 counties served by the Little Rock newspaper have either seen the end of daily delivery of a printed newspaper or received notice that the end is near. (Subscribers in the 12 counties served by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which shares content with the Little Rock paper and is also owned by Hussman’s company, WEHCO Media Inc., will continue to receive a daily printed edition, at least for the near future.) In mid-June, the Democrat-Gazette had not yet notified some subscribers in Central Arkansas of the coming change, including those in Pulaski County, home to its largest concentration of paid readers. In March, a Pew Research Center survey found that 71 percent of Americans believe that “their local news outlets are doing very or somewhat well financially.” In the rollout of the Democrat-Gazette’s new plan, Hussman has told everyone who will listen that’s not the case. Print advertising has cratered. According to Pew, total advertising revenue for all U.S. newspapers was $48.67 billion in 2000. By 2017, it had fallen to $16.47 billion. The operation of a large daily newspaper — paying the salaries and expenses of reporters, columnists, critics, photographers, copy editors, assignment editors, designers — has always been expensive, but those costs weren’t reflected in the price when the majority of today’s newspaper readers first subscribed. Before the internet, mass market advertising represented as much as 80 percent of newspaper revenues; subscription rates merely covered circulation costs. As targeted online advertising siphoned ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 29


HUSSMAN HAS SAID IF HE CAN GET 70 PERCENT OF CURRENT SUBSCRIBERS TO CONVERT TO DIGITAL DELIVERY AT THE SAME RATE THEY PAID FOR PRINTED DELIVERY, THE NEWSPAPER WILL RETURN TO PROFITABILITY. 30 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


OBSOLETE: Once the newspaper goes digital, one-time purchase of weekday papers will no longer be possible.

away much of that revenue, newspapers were forced to raise the price of subscriptions and per-copy sales. Advertising revenue has declined at the Democrat-Gazette for the last 13 years. “And it’s not just us,” Hussman told me. “It’s everyone. All the advertising has basically gone to two companies: Google and Facebook. They’ve done a better job than anyone else at getting people to sacrifice their privacy. We don’t want people to sacrifice their privacy. We just want them to pay a subscription rate that allows us to keep a robust newsroom.” In 2012, the Democrat-Gazette raised its subscription rate from $16 per month to $28 and its per-copy price from 50 cents to $1 daily and $1.25 to $2 on Sunday. It was a tough time to lean on readers. The internet changed the value proposition of the daily newspaper. The web provided not just free news alternatives, but also no-cost options for sports scores, classified ads, TV listings and the like. In 2011, the Alliance for Audited Media reported that the Democrat-Gazette had an average of 142,000 daily print subscribers. Two years later, after the price increases had gone into effect, that number had dropped to 129,000. For the first quarter of 2018, when the digital replica conversion had just started, daily print subscribers had dropped to 86,000. Though profits had been declining for a decade, Hussman said the Democrat-Gazette lost money for the first time in 20 years in 2018. He said he had reduced expenses everywhere he could without undercutting the news operation. The Democrat-Gazette has laid off newsroom staff in recent years, but at a lower rate than other newspapers. Before the New Orleans Times-Picayune was sold to The Advocate earlier this year, its newsroom staff had declined from 175 in 2012 to 65. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis shed 75 percent of its staff over the last 12 years, according to its online staff directory. It had 138 in 2007; today, there are only 31. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s newsroom staff dropped from 340 two decades ago to 33 today. The Democrat-Gazette counts 106 newsroom employees today, far fewer than the 200 or so who worked there in 2007. But Ken Doctor, a media analyst who contributes to Harvard’s Nieman Lab, said the paper’s staff count remained higher than average relative to the Democrat-Gazette’s subscription base. Hussman said he considered saving money by halting expensive distribution to counties on the edges of the state, but ultimately decided it was important to continue as one of the last dailies in the U.S. covering and distributing the news across the state. “A statewide reader is really valuable to the state because there’s a real commonality of interest,” he said. “Everyone in Arkansas wants to know what’s going on with the legislature, what’s going on with the governor. What’s going on with Walmart, or Murphy Oil, or J.B. Hunt. Or what’s going on with the Razorbacks. ... If you don’t serve the whole state you really lose something that provides a commonality, or something that everyone can really focus on.” In 2016, the Democrat-Gazette began experimenting with converting print subscribers to digital delivery in Blytheville, perhaps the most far-flung community served by the Little Rockbased paper — and therefore the most expensive place to deliver a printed edition. When the newspaper showed its 200 or so subscribers in

Blytheville the replica iPad edition and asked if they would be willing to switch, it got no takers. Newspaper reps returned in early 2018 and pitched subscribers a special AT&T promotion that would provide them with an iPad at a deep discount of $99. Only four subscribers agreed to convert to digital delivery. Democrat-Gazette salespeople tried one last time: They offered readers a free iPad as long as they continued subscribing and provided oneon-one customer support to help those readers who were unfamiliar with the devices. It set up appointments at the local Holiday Inn and sent customer service staff to the homes or businesses of subscribers who couldn’t make it to the hotel. (The Democrat-Gazette discovered that offering continued delivery of a printed Sunday edition increased its conversion rate after it had ended daily delivery in Mississippi County and other distant counties. It may resume Sunday delivery to those areas in the future, said Lynn Hamilton, the Democrat-Gazette general manager and president.) “We had a 93-year-old man in Blytheville,” Hussman said. “He said, ‘Let me just tell you first, I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t have a computer. I don’t know what an iPad is. But I’ve been reading the paper for 60 years, and I want to keep reading it, so just show me what I need to do.’ We got him all set up, and he said, ‘I think I’ve got this.’ So he goes home and calls us the next day and said, ‘Worked at the Holiday Inn, doesn’t work at home.’ So we sent someone out to his house, and he didn’t have internet service.” He got internet service so he could continue to subscribe. Hussman has said if he can get 70 percent of current subscribers to convert to digital delivery at the same rate they paid for printed delivery, the newspaper will return to profitability and avoid cuts to the newsroom. The savings gained by eliminating the costs of newsprint, production and delivery will be sizable, but it remains to be seen how advertisers will respond once the newspaper completes the digital transition. Hussman initially said he’s willing to spend as much as $12 million to purchase iPads, which retail for $329. (Hussman has noted that the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City recently sold for $12 million.) But in late May, Hussman said his costs may be more like $10 million. Results thus far suggest that about 15 percent of subscribers who want to convert to digital delivery prefer to read it on their phone or laptop and decline the iPad. The expense of sending dozens of staffers across the state for extensive one-on-one sessions with subscribers at event centers and on home and business calls could amount to another $2 million in nonrecurring costs, Hussman said. Media analyst Doctor said he thought there was a certain group of older, monied readers who would embrace the iPad offer. “As part of a bigger strategy, I think it can work if it’s cost-efficient,” he said. But Doctor said he didn’t see it as an overall strategy to replace lost print advertising revenue. ____________________________ In late May, I met up with my mother in Searcy at a small event center tucked behind a Little Caesars restaurant. She was there to pick up her iPad. When I arrived, a young customer service person directed us to a table where she ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY: That’s what the newspaper is doing, its bumper stickers say.

presented my mom with a black, 9.7-inch iPad wrapped in an imitation leather case with the Democrat-Gazette flag embossed in gold letters on the front. “I’m going to show you the app and what it looks like,” she told us. It was preloaded on the iPad. The app looked like the newspaper. She clicked on a story. It got bigger. She demonstrated how one accesses photo slideshows or videos, which are built into articles. She clicked a front page story on President Trump. A video started playing of the president talking. “I don’t think I’ll ever push that on Trump,” my mom quipped. The rep demonstrated an option in each article that would trigger an audio version; a robotic voice droned. She showed us the button to print an article. “How would I connect this to my printer?” my mom asked. “Do you know if it’s wireless or Bluetooth?” the rep asked. My mom didn’t know. (It’s neither). We saw the puzzle page, which includes several crossword, Sudoku and Jumble puzzle options, but not the Cryptoquote. I asked if the company would ever provide my mother with an updated iPad. The rep said it would every two years. (Erasing most of your subscription revenue every two years by pur32 JULY 2019

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chasing thousands of iPads didn’t sound like much of a business plan, and when I checked with Hussman, he laughed and said, “No! I’d go broke doing that. I don’t know where that came from.”) I asked if the terms limited downloading certain apps or using it in certain ways. No, the rep said, this is yours to do whatever you want with. Will you monitor what she does on the iPad? I asked. “Why would we?” she said. “That’s just creepy.” For my mom, who is 68 and somewhat technologically savvy — she had an early model of the iPad and has long had an iPhone, which she uses to send text messages, sometimes even with emojis — the biggest point of confusion came when the Democrat-Gazette rep talked about logging into the Democrat-Gazette’s app vs. the Apple app store, which she would need to do if she wanted to download other apps (to take advantage of the capabilities of the iPad beyond the e-newspaper). My mom didn’t know her password for either and didn’t initially understand the difference. The customer rep had helpfully printed out the login information to access the Democrat-Gazette’s app, and my mom left with hope that she’d written down her Apple ID somewhere at home. I asked Hussman if his company was prepared to field customer support calls not just about the app, but on any iPad-related question: how to charge it, how to connect to email, how to add movies to Netflix. “We haven’t had much of that, but we do help people when they call because we want them to love their iPad as part of their subscription,” he said. “What we hope is that they use it for surfing the web, for doing emails, for listening to music, for creating photos and photo libraries. … We think it may reduce our churn, or how many subscribers cancel their subscriptions. In the past, we gave them a paper seven days a week with all that content in it. And now we’re giving them the exact same content and we’re giving them an iPad.

“So now when they call and say, ‘You know, I just don’t read the paper as much as I used to. I think I’ll drop my subscription.’ We say, ‘We’re sorry, I wish you’d continue. You’ll have to return the iPad.’ “ ‘Return the iPad? I don’t want to return the iPad. I use it for too many things.’ ” I asked Hamilton, the newspaper’s president and general manager, what happens if the iPad program doesn’t work. Is there a plan B? He laughed and said, “No. We’ve had the same conversation using the term ‘plan B.’ We don’t have one. We don’t know what happens.” Hussman, who remains publisher of the Democrat-Gazette, seems energized by the iPad rollout, but he’s increasingly placed the future of his media empire in the hands of relatives. He’s still the chairman of WEHCO Media, which owns cable and internet companies and 18 newspapers in Arkansas and neighboring states, but Nat Lea, his nephew by marriage, took over as CEO in 2016. Hussman’s daughter Eliza Hussman Gaines got a master’s degree in journalism and has followed a well-rounded newspaper-heir path, working as a travel editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, assistant publisher of the Democrat-Gazette, editor of the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record and now as vice president of audience development for WEHCO, a position she summed up as “making sure we’re providing the best content possible in the right format in the right places.” In a letter to subscribers printed in the May 18 edition of the newspaper, Hussman said the most popular feature of the digital edition was the ability to make the type size bigger. Doesn’t that, I asked him, suggest a bigger, looming existential problem? “Everyone knows that the newspaper subscriber base is older,” he said. “The one good thing about that is ... they’re all living a lot longer than anyone thought they were going to live. That’s sort of the silver lining in the cloud. There’s no question we’ve got to get more younger readers. I just think, today, a lot of younger readers are not going to pick up the habit of reading a print newspaper. But they are going to look at screens. They spend a lot of time looking at screens.” I told him that I suspected the Democrat-Gazette would have success at converting older, habituated readers with disposable income to digital delivery on the iPad, but I was skeptical that the facsimile edition — a slight update on a presentation style that’s been available since the early days of the web — would compel anyone 50 or younger to become a new subscriber. “As long as there’s the same content for free elsewhere, it’s going to be difficult,” Hussman said. “What we’ve got to have is unique, relevant content. If we do, I think people will pay for it.”


We were talking at the onset of the recent Arkansas River flooding. “Yesterday, we sent an airplane up the Arkansas River Valley, taking photographs,” Hussman said. “Now we’re doing something new, which is slideshows and videos. Instead of one photo, you’ve got all these multiple photos. This can be done in the exact replica version. But it can also be on the phone. The unique content is ‘what does the flood really look like in Toad Suck and Morrilton and Russellville?’ ” The photos and footage were impressive, but if you have a Facebook or Twitter account — or visited the free websites for local TV news stations, which have increased their daily online news efforts in recent years — you know flood pictures and videos were ubiquitous. I asked Hussman and Gaines why they thought people subscribed to the Democrat-Gazette. “It’s because we’re the most complete source of news information in the state of Arkansas,” Hussman said. He also talked about the paper serving as a watchdog. “Think about government,” he said. “We spend a lot of money on our taxes.” Is $34 a fair amount to spend for a watchdog to make sure the government is spending those tax dollars appropriately? he asked. Gaines said, “In the era of fake news, it’s really important to have a resource for unbiased news where opinion is not involved. We have bumper stickers that say, ‘Support democracy. Subscribe to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.’ If we’re not covering these things, who’s going to do it?” The newspaper has managed to recruit talented young beat reporters and retain a fair amount of veteran journalists with institutional knowledge. They provide thorough, informed coverage of municipal and state government, local schools, health care, the courts, and on and on. Their breadth of coverage is unparalleled in the state. That doesn’t mean they don’t miss things. Amid voluminous flood coverage, there was no mention of a 2,400-sow feeding operation in Yell County that was inundated before all the hogs were evacuated, likely sending dead hogs and hog waste from holding ponds into the river. That was first reported by the Arkansas Times’ Arkansas Blog. The news hole, too, often relies heavily on stories from other WEHCO newspapers, especially the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Hot Springs Sentinel-Record and Texarkana Gazette. A reader in Little Rock might not have much use for word of arrests or park projects in Texarkana or Bentonville, just as a reader in Mena may not care about Little Rock city budget fights. For years, the Democrat-Gazette printed a state and later Little Rock edition with content tailored to each audience and late-breaking news and sports scores in the Little Rock edition. That practice ended June 17; now readers in 63 counties will see the same newspaper. In his office, Hussman had a stack of other newspapers that he slapped down onto his conference table. He showed a Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer from last year compared to a Democrat-Gazette from the same date. “This paper is $50 [per month] and 20 pages,” he said pointing to the News and Observer (the Raleigh paper’s published rate is actually $100 every four weeks). The Democrat-Gazette that day was 36 pages. “Let’s find a newspaper that’s our size,” he said. “It’s not going to be in our size market.” He showed a 34-page Dallas Morning News compared to a 38-page Democrat-Gazette

on the same date. The monthly cost of the Morning News is about $70, double that of the Democrat-Gazette. But the other sections in the paper don’t quite command the same value as the news. The sports pages comprehensively cover the Razorbacks and includes capsule coverage of high school sports, though there’s increasingly online alternatives for consumers interested in that. The style section has seemed trapped in another time for years. It often devotes most of its space to cultural criticism of national figures and topics, a highly competitive landscape. Funeral homes run obits online; classifieds were long ago made obsolete by Craigslist, which now has competition from Facebook Marketplace. With his time less constrained by running a large company, Hussman has said that he’s involving himself more with the news and opinion departments. He writes editorials himself once or twice a month and makes suggestions for topics “once or twice a week, sometimes more often,” he told me. He said he makes “comments on news articles almost daily, either commending articles or making suggestions on how they could have made them better.” Some Arkansans might welcome the decline of the influence of Hussman and the Democrat-Gazette. The paper’s opinion page reflects his politics, which are conservative, disdainful of conventional public education and fulsomely pro-charter schools. Hussman, long one of the wealthiest people in the state, was instrumental in the founding of the growing eStem Public Charter Schools in Little Rock and is on the board of Arkansas Learns, a group that works to advance the charter agenda in the state. The opinion page columnists that don’t write about politics often delve into the mundane minutiae of their lives or in formulaic dispatches from small towns. The opinion section also might not be to your taste if you’re not old, white and male. (To be fair, the Arkansas Times has not had a great track record of running columns by diverse voices in print or online.) Some media analysts have suggested that there are no new local newspaper readers. But Ken Doctor notes that there are outfits beyond the big three national newspapers — The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post — that can serve as models for others. In May, The Boston Globe became the first local newspaper to have more paying subscribers in digital than in print. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has also been growing digital subscriptions and holding onto its core audience well, Doctor said. (Both newspapers happen to be owned by local billionaires.) The past few decades have been brutal for print publishing, and further disruptions surely lurk around the corner. No one has developed a formula for newspapers to follow to ensure survival. But if there’s a path forward, Doctor outlined what it might look like. “Ideally, you need capital to invest or reinvest. You’ve got to make sure your content proposition is good enough for the readers however it’s delivered, print or digital. You’ve got to have the products, especially the digital and mobile products, that deliver that content that’s state of the art. When you look at The Washington Post and The New York Times, they are doing that. You don’t need to have their resources to do it, but you do need to have their thinking. And you need to have the technology to convert those

readers who come to you on mobile, which is 65 percent of news reading. The last part of it is really skill. You need smart people to do this. In a declining industry, one of the big problems is that it’s hard to hire smart people because they see it as a dying industry.” Local publishers everywhere have had a hard time keeping up to date with digital offerings, but it often seems that the Democrat-Gazette especially struggles to stay relevant. On June 7, the Democrat-Gazette touted a “video editorial” on its front page and promoted it on its webpage. In the video, Rex Nelson, the newspaper’s senior editor, whose voice, my brother-in-law once memorably suggested, sounds like a hillbilly version of Jimmy Stewart, offers a grand introduction: “This is a first for the Arkansas Gazette, the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in the 200year history of the newspaper. It’s a video editorial.” A video of President Trump at a D-Day 75th anniversary ceremony in the United Kingdom plays. Then, Nelson, sitting in his office chair, reads an editorial on the significance of D-Day. ____________________________ The day I interviewed Hussman and his daughter Gaines, my 8-year-old son, who is intimately familiar with the kid-friendly offerings of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, asked me to explain the concept of a television “channel.” I struggled. But I realized I’d caught him in a moment of acquiescence, so I did the obnoxious “when I was your age” thing parents are obligated to do and told him about how I watched movies at home as a child: by pestering my parents to take me to a store where I’d browse physical videotapes that we would rent on the condition that we would return them in a few days. He didn’t understand what a videotape was, and my suggesting it was like a larger version of a cassette tape did nothing to clear that up. Then I told him that sometime later this year the newspaper would no longer be delivered to our house. In one of my favorite pictures of him as a baby, he’s in a high chair with a furrowed brow and holding the Democrat-Gazette open with two hands. He and his younger brother used to fight over who would gather the paper from the stoop in the morning. At breakfast, still, they stand in their chairs over their cereal bowls to get a look at a picture or read a headline that interests them. Confronted with the looming end of a printed daily newspaper, my son had about the same reaction as he did when he pressured me to explain where babies come from: big-eyed incredulity followed by, “Whaaaaat?” I’m 39, which means that I remember the analog past, so much of which has been thoroughly erased by new innovations, but I’m also young enough to have not yet been left behind by technology. My son’s reaction reminded me of my earliest memory of a newspaper being something that mattered: my parents bemoaning the death of the Arkansas Gazette in 1991. I’m sure my son and I identified the same thing: the end of something that we recognized, through daily ritual, as an institution. My now-deceased grandparents read the newspaper the same way every day. My parents read the newspaper the same way every day. I read the newspaper the same way every day. The next generation won’t. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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Maybe you asked. If you did, our readers answered. Where do I go to get rid of waterbugs? Bug Masters killed it, and we scratched out a note here on its advertising. Looking for a place to dance? Sway. Want a cute outfit from yore? Weep no more: Crying Weasel is here. Who takes the best photographs? Our readers say Matt White, and you’ll find the evidence in a photo spread. (Our writer Rebekah Hall focuses on photographer Amber Lane, too, whose boudoir shots tell intimate stories.) We also offer a tribute to best poet Karen Hayes, who receives her award posthumously with a story by Bryan Borland. Our annual issue names the best Arkansas has to offer in the way of filmmaking, music-making, teeth-cleaning, dry cleaning, politicking. The Times also makes a few suggestions of its own. Read on.

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 35


A PAEAN TO KAREN HAYES A POET WHO CHANGED THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.

AUDIENCES LOVED HER: Poet Karen Hayes, who said she had a “small book with my heart in it.”

P

ub or Perish, the Arkansas Times’-sponsored rowdy stepchild of the Arkansas Literary Festival, with its informal structure (read: tipsy audience) and focus on local talent (read: tipsy, local talent), has become a rite of passage for Arkansas poets. I took the stage for the first time in 2009, then watched over the years as writers like Randi M. Romo, Chris James, Crystal C. Mercer and Justin Booth earned infamy in the River Market district before leaving their mark on the larger literary world. In 2015, I was asked to host, and with hosting came the responsibility of curating the lineup. That’s how Karen Hayes came into my life. The first email came on Thursday, March 26, 2015: “Justin Booth told me that you might consider me for Pub or Perish. I’m interested. I am not young, beautiful, or particularly interesting, but I’m writing. A lot. I’ve read a few times at open mic nights. I like being able to see whether or not people get my stuff. In my previous life, I was married to Little Rock musician Bob Hayes. Bob had Alzheimer’s and died in September. He went fast. I’m sending you a mixed bag of my work because ... WTF ... I’m a mixed bag. I really appreciate your consideration. – Karen Hayes” Here’s a little secret about my life as a publisher and organizer of literary events. Every now and then, when folks send me work to consider, I don’t read it. That’s because, every now and then, there’s a story that precedes or accompanies it, or a reputation, or some celestial whisper that I can’t quite decipher that makes my body feel electric. When I read Karen’s email, I felt that electricity. I didn’t read her poems. This woman had a story. I said yes. Karen went first that night. She was a smallframed woman standing in front of a room full of strangers. There was a set of poems in her hands, but her eyes locked on each one of us and

36 JULY 2019

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never broke away. I learned later that her years with Bob taught her about working a crowd, and she was certainly working the crowd, but there was something more. We were witnessing both a shedding and a healing. On that stage, Karen was taking off the clothes of her “previous life” and putting on, one leg at a time, her new identity as a poet. Here was Karen Hayes, in those new threads, performing poems from memory about her experience with Alzheimer’s. About walking through it as a wife. About walking out of it as a widow. About walking away from it as a survivor. That night, Karen broke our hearts into a million little pieces, and then, through the tears (ours, not hers), she made us laugh. There have been very few times in my publishing life that I’ve offered someone a contract for a book on the spot. Before I introduced the second Pub or Perish reader I did just that. I could tell she was surprised, unsure of herself and her new, shaky legs. But more than anything, I could tell she was the real deal. As everyone was leaving the bar, I made a formal pitch. “You could help a lot of people,” I told her. The next email came the following Wednesday, April 29, 2015. “Howdy. I am thinking. Shit-oh-dear, I have a lot to think about. On your offer to publish me. Something you said hooked me in a way nothing else would: You could help a lot of people with this. I have been a frequent flyer at an Alzheimer’s Arkansas support group since October 2011. The idea of a support group is so not-me. But I went. I learned, I loved, and was loved. I owe. “When I think of myself as a writer, I think of a person who has been given a gift of time. I didn’t want my marriage to end this way, but the end of my marriage is not the end of my life. I’m 61. I have health and no ties. I’m not broke. I don’t want or need much. I’ve never written the

MARK HOTCHKISS

BY BRYAN BORLAND

way I have the past nine months. Daily. Everywhere. Scratching on envelopes and legal pads. Sitting at the computer as soon as I get up, with a nasty mouth and hair that scares the cat. Running on a gravel road and writing poetry, one voice memo at a time. Crazy shit. “When I think of myself as a writer, I don’t picture myself signing books at WordsWorth, or sitting on a panel at a festival, or reading a review declaring me an amazing voice. Not that I would kick any of that out of bed. What I see is a little movie in the not-too-distant future. I have a small book with my heart in it. I’m handing it to people who helped me. Those who did for me, for us, at support group, daycare, the dementia unit, the nursing home, hospice. People who continue to do for people like us. I see myself handing my little heart of a book to people who have been where I have been, or are about to go there. “That’s where I see myself starting. I don’t know what happens next.” What happened next: Karen wasn’t ready to publish. She wanted to wait, to perfect her poems, to get her hands dirty and throw herself into poetry. She began showing up at poetry readings. Formal, academic events next to tenured professors and major award winners. Spoken-word competitions next to poets who could rattle the windows with the bass of their voices. Saturday morning roundtable discussions with people who wrote poems purely as a hobby and didn’t care about book deals or prize money. Better than anyone I’ve ever met, Karen built bridges between these worlds. She set up her 1971 Olivetti manual typewriter and wrote poetry on demand for people on the street, at arts festivals, at LGBTQ pride events, at any event that would have her. She remained true to her early vision and became director of


MUSICAL GHOSTS

BEST MOVIE THEATER 2016 2017 2018 2019

BY KAREN HAYES A stray guitar pick hidden in the couch surprised me when I cleaned the house last week. It must have slipped away close to the end. You never lost a pick, but there it was. Guitars rest easy in their cases now. I know they’ll fight me for my winter clothes. They own the closet, still I slip inside, take two more shirts of yours to give away. I do not dust the pictures in your shrine: The Bayou Room, The Stardust, Cajun’s Wharf. The origami dollar bills from tips are now undone. I can’t keep everything. The stained glass blue guitar is moving south, its lovely twin a ghost upon the wall. The real guitar sleeps mutely in the dark. I cannot say the same is true of me. the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project-Arkansas and Poetry for Life. She steered poetry projects with the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, the Arkansas Arts Council and Alzheimer’s Arkansas. She received the Aging Mind Fellowship from the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She led workshops and performed her poetry all over the state. She was my go-to person anytime I put together a poetry event, because no matter the audience, Karen would win them over. “Think you don’t like poetry?” I’d ask before introducing her. “Just wait. This woman will prove you wrong.” Once I even witnessed her giving a near lap dance to former Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola while performing her signature piece, “Hot.” Karen always thought I was doing her a favor by including her. She was doing me the favor. Every audience loved her. The last time I heard from Karen was in a text message on Friday, Jan. 25. She wrote, “Y’all have been on my mind … I want to talk to you about the possibilities for a book of my Alzheimer’s poems.” My arms, again, were electric. Karen was finally ready. It was time to make that book together. Six days later, on Jan. 31, Karen died. There’s so much more I could say. There’s so much more so many of us could say. I have a grocery bag full of Karen’s poems next to me right now, trusted to me by her estate and her friends. There will be a book, and the Arkansas poetry community will champion it as if it were our own. We will make sure she’s never forgotten because she changed this world for the better. I have been lucky. I have traveled this country on the strength and power of poetry. I’ve met the most amazing, talented people, but I’ve never met anyone else with the strength and power of Karen Hayes. She was, quite simply, the best of us.

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BRIAN CHILSON

EDITORS’ PICKS

SOUTHERN STUDIO: A new place for creatives.

BRIAN CHILSON

Many in Little Rock mourned when Southern Table restaurant closed late last year. However, the owner, Al Hodge, recently reopened the site as Southern Studio, a DIY arts and crafts center. “I started college in art school,” Hodge said, “but soon discovered I couldn’t raise a family on what an artist earns.” While he collected and supported the arts during his 35 years in economic development finance, his retirement has come with a mission: “I want to teach people that art goes beyond the work of the masters; that even something simple can still bring pleasure to your life.” Southern Studio offers open work space for various arts and crafts, as well as classes with local artists. Hodge has also retained his kitchen and liquor license and will happily prepare some snacks or a glass of wine or local craft beer to facilitate inspiration: “The point is to enjoy yourself.” — Guy Lancaster

TOUR DE FIFTHS: At Rocktown Distillery.

BEST PLACES TO ENTERTAIN RELATIVES FROM A DRY COUNTY

My wife and I are homebodies, but recently we had to entertain for a weekend family members who wanted to experience the boozy delights of the big city. Fortunately, Rock Town Distillery offers tours three times a day (2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day but Monday). Each tour highlights how spirits are made and aged, followed by a tasting of 10 different delicious distillations. At a cost of $10 per person, you can’t beat the value. The next day, we drove them out to River Bottom Winery at BoBrook Farms in Roland, which makes wine from various fruits they cultivate (blueberries, blackberries) and also offers more traditional grape wines they make using juice sourced from around the world. The winery features a spacious deck where you can relax with a chilled bottle of something sweet while playing dominoes. The family had a blast and left with their car filled with booze. Mission accomplished. — Guy Lancaster 38 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

STEPHANIE SMITTLE

BEST PLACE TO GET YOUR CRAFT ON

RUBBED AND ROASTED: A holiday ham from JV Farms.

BEST WAY TO QUIT THE BIG BOX MEAT AISLES As a lifelong Arkansan who grew up on a chicken farm, spent a subsequent decade-plus as a hardline vegetarian and now loves the slow, delicate process of braising a pork belly as much as she loves the vegan offerings at Blue Sage in the River Market, my relationship with meat is, has been and probably always will be complicated. The reality is, most of us could stand to conduct our relationship with meat a little more thoughtfully, wherever we stand on the carnivore-herbivore spectrum. Maybe you’ve been a full-time vegan since the days when people would pronounce it “vay-gun,” and in that case, right on! If you and your household aren’t quite ready to take that plunge, though, there are other options. Are they available at the rates you find in the mass-mailed coupon inserts? No. Local farmers with small-scale operations need to make a living, too, and often lose out to the rock-bottom price points Sanderson Farms and Walmart’s Great Value brand shout from signs along the grocery store meat aisles. Suffice it to say, when it comes to linking up low-income families in Little Rock with alternatives to factory-farmed meat, we’ve got some work to do. A monthly farm share isn’t as cost-prohibitive as you might think, though. It’s certainly the most economical way to buy locally farmed meat and, as opposed to that fresh produce that comes with a CSA share, it’s not likely to go to waste during a busy week because local meat is usually packaged to go into your freezer. Make the rounds at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday morning or at Bernice Garden’s Sunday market and ask the farmers what their shares look like. Talk to Travis Short and his crew from Farm Girl Meats (Perryville), or to Jay and Valorie Lee of JV Farms (Bismarck). Some, like the share I’ve been getting for a few years now, offer a full share for around $100/month and a half share for around $50/month, with all sorts of choices: vacuum-packed pork chops, half chickens, spare ribs, ground beef, T-bone steaks, bacon, minute steaks, chicken legs and thighs, all manner of sausages and other thrifty cuts (like chicken necks for broth, and livers). You’ll reduce the miles your food traveled to get to you, you’ll be able to customize your share to fit your family’s palates and culinary-skill levels, and best of all, you’ll get to breeze past the meat aisle at the grocery store. — Stephanie Smittle


THANK YOU ARKANSAS FOR MAKING US #1!

THE WINNERS

BEST HARDWARE • HOME IMPROVEMENT VISIT OUR 6 LOCATIONS IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS!

5915 R Street 916-9677 900 South Main 604-7575

LUKAS DEEN

Photo courtesy of NRHA

BIG PIPH: The hip-hop artist at the top in his genre.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

7311 Baseline Rd. 14710 Cantrell Rd. 562-2345 868-8080 9815 West Markham 9728 Maumelle Blvd. 771-9229 227-4440

WWW.FULLERANDSON.COM

~ Celebrating 15 years as the Team you Trust ~ Criminal Defense and Related Issues State and Federal Courts Over half a century of experience representing Arkansans

Artist V.L. Cox Runner-up: Emily Wood Author Charles Portis Runner-up: Mark Barr Comedian Adam Hogg Runner-up: Jay Jackson Country band or artist Bonnie Montgomery Runner-up: The Salty Dogs Dance club

Visit our 6 locations in central Arkansas! 5915 R Street 916-9677

9815 West Markham 227-4440

900 South Main 604-7575

7311 Baseline Rd. 562-2345

14710 Cantrell Rd. 868-8080

9728 Maumelle Blvd. 771-9229

www.fullerandson.com

Lassiter & Cassinelli Attorneys at Law

813 West Third Street Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

Telephone: 501-370-9300 • Facsimile: 501-370-9306 www.lassiterandcassinelli.com

Club Sway Runner-up: Discovery DJ DJ Porterhouse Runner-up: G-force Filmmaker Daniel Campbell Runner-up: Graham Gordy Gay bar

Thank you for honoring Erin Cassinelli 2019 Best Lawyer in Arkansas

From Shabby Chic To Classic Antique Thanks For Voting Us The Best!

Club Sway Runner-up: Triniti Hip-hop artist or group Big Piph Runner-up: 607 Jazz band or artist Rodney Block Runner-up: Ted Ludwig Trio

BEST ANTIQUES FOR 11 YEARS!

Open 7 Days a Week Monday–Saturday 10am–6pm & Sunday 1–6pm 105 N. Rodney Parham Road (501) 223-3600 • midtownvintagemarket.com ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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EDITORS’ PICKS

HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS)

COUNTDOWN: To the demolishment of the White River Bridge.

BEST REASON TO HURRY UP AND VISIT CLARENDON

FROGWARTS FILM: Closeups of butterflies feasting on scat.

BEST OBSCURE (AND BEAUTIFUL) NATURE EMAIL It’s unpredictable, infrequent and fascinating: It’s “Field-Notes from Frogwarts,” close-up photographs of butterflies and beetles and dragonflies and frogs and other faunal beauties captured by Keith Newton. Newton is perhaps best known for his fine hand at woodworking, making custom tables and cabinets and detailed carvings (like his carved pear wood lidded vessel in the shape of a cecropia moth chrysalis). But he’s also a photographer, and down in Calhoun County, in privately owned woods surrounded by the Moro Big Pine Wildlife Management Area, Newton likes to capture in close-up (he uses a Canon PowerShot X50) the critters that live there, write about what he’s seen and share it to those who receive the Field Notes. Like a fishing spider catching a ride on the head of a water moccasin (“I suspected it was a robberfly, and was expecting it to drill down into its brain like they have been known to do with their normal prey … but it turned out to be a fishing spider just going for a joy ride.”) He heads out before dawn to catch the moths and such that don’t move until the air warms up. Like a Cyrano darner dragonfly on what appears to be a sassafras leaf. A close-up of that darner’s “beautiful blue and brown” compound eye. And a close-up of two orange and black pearl crescent butterflies “sharing a happy meal of coyote scat.” Now who else is going to send you photos like that? Where else are you going to see a golden-winged skimmer covered in dewdrops? You can also view Newton’s photographs from the field as well as images of his furniture and woodworking on his Flickr page, but getting a morning hallo in your email from Frogwarts is like finding a birdvoiced treefrog sitting by your keyboard in the morning. Or a lunamoth on your shoulder. Pure wonder. To find marvels in your email, send an email to keithnewton@sbcglobal.net with “Add me to your Frogwarts list” in the subject line. — Leslie Newell Peacock

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The beautiful and incredibly long U.S. Highway 79 Clarendon Bridge will be demolished by the Arkansas Department of Transportation, at a cost of millions, if an early June Arkansas Supreme Court ruling stands. Preservationists hope to adapt the bridge — which spans the White River and is surrounded by woods and wetlands — for pedestrians, cyclists and birders. The bridge, which is more than three miles long, was completed in 1931 and is still in good shape despite little renovation. Preserving the structure has strong local support as well as buy-in from officials in Monroe County and beyond. “Never in the history of the Arkansas Delta has such a huge business development opportunity been thrown away and demolished by an agency of our government, the Arkansas Department of Transportation,” Porter Briggs — a member of the Friends of the Historic White River Bridge at Clarendon board — said in an op-ed for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “And we will pay over $10 million to do it. It’s an insult to the state.” — Stephen Koch

BEST REASON TO LISTEN TO COMMERCIAL ROCK RADIO Arkansas Rocks started on local radio with a soft launch at the end of 2018, and it’s since become our favorite outdoor project soundtrack. Commercial rock radio has been a snooze for decades, playing the same few hundred songs over and over. It got to the point where the only fun we had with it was making a game of guessing the song title and band within the first five seconds of hearing a tune. But Arkansas Rocks keeps listeners on their toes. And, with our ears long having tuned to newsy public radio — and more musically challenging community radio — we forgot how much fun that can be. The “station” is actually several FM frequencies scattered across the state — Caddo Valley, Gurdon, Sheridan, Malvern, White Hall — and is also heard on the AM dial at 880 for a real blast from the past. It’s heard on 94.5 FM in Little Rock, 99.7 FM in Hot Springs, and at arkansasrocks.net. Yes, you’ll hear Foghat, but stuff like “Driving Wheel,” rather than another slog through “Slow Ride.” And you’ll hear bands that commercial radio long ago abandoned: Blue Cheer, the Raspberries and Uriah Heep (which gave an astoundingly energetic show at Little Rock’s riverfront June 1). Then, just as you settle in to that vibe, they’ll throw in a Reagan-era curveball like “Dance Hall Days” by Wang Chung, “Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo, or grunge or alternative rock from the ’90s. On the weekends, there’s Barry Mac’s Flashback Tracks and Tin Can Alley, giving us a real taste of what AOR (album-oriented) radio must have been like in its heyday. Thanks, Arkansas Rocks, for reminding us that Steve Miller Band and the Doobie Brothers have more than just a half-dozen songs apiece — and how fun, and even vital, rock ’n’ roll radio can be. — Stephen Koch


“I am honored and humbled for being recognized while having the opportunity to work with such great clients.”

Thanks For Voting For Us!

BEST CATERER

Mary Jon; Rick Lorence, Office Manager/Investment Advisor; Scott W. Daniel, Managing Partner; William McLemore, Director of Insurance/Investment Advisor; Gina Elder

DELI/GOURMET TO GO For more information visit www.wealthpath.net. 2228 Cottondale Lane, Suite 250, Little Rock • (501) 671-6690

BEST INVESTMENT ADVISOR

SCOTT W. DANIEL, AIF® MANAGING PARTNER, INVESTMENT ADVISOR

Hours: 9-6 Mon-Fri • 10-5 Sat 8121 Cantrell Rd. • Across from Pavilion in the Park 501-614-9030

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 41


COME SHOP FOR FRESH, LOCAL FOOD ON SATURDAY, YEAR-ROUND.

Fresh Fresh and and simple. simple. 32 Beers & 20 Wines On Sam’s Tap Open Kitchen | Wood Grills | Full Bar

Great Food! Good Times! We use only the freshest ingredients, vegetables and products from Arkansas.

Open Kitchen | Wood Grills | Full Bar

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH 322 Main St. (The Mann on&Main) 32 Beers 20 Wines On Sam’s Tap

THANK YOU for voting us

(501) 916-9613 32 Beers & 20 Wines On Sam’s Tap Open Kitchen | Wood Grills | Full Bar

Best Farmers Market!

Great Food! Good Times! We use only the freshest ingredients,

wGood w w. sTimes! a m s t avegetables p . c oandm products from Arkansas. Great Food! We use only the freshest ingredients, vegetables and products from Arkansas. We use only the freshest ingredients, vegetables and products from Arkansas.

BEST FARMERS MARKET

Summer Hours:

May-Sept • 7 to noon

322 Main St. (The Mann on Main)

2200 Kavanaugh Blvd • Hillcrest 501-661-1129

w w w. s a m s t a p . c o m

((501) 916-9613 501) 379-8019

322 Main St. (The Mann on Main)

(501) 916-9613

The crew at Black Tattoos w wCobra w. s a m s t a p .would c o m like to thank all of our amazing clients and Arkansas Times readers for voting us Best Tattoos 2019!

Thanks for your support!

BEST TATTOOS 6505 Warden Rd • Sherwood • (501) 834-2INK • blackcobratattoos.com LITTLE ROCK’S PREMIER TATTOO & PIERCING STUDIO 42 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


BRIAN CHILSON

MIDTOWN AFTER MIDNIGHT: The place to go.

Late-night spot Midtown Billiards Runner-up: Four Quarter Bar Live music festival Hillberry (near Eureka Springs) Runner-up: King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena-West Helena) Live music venue Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack Runner-up: White Water Tavern Local actor or actress Mary Steenburgen

Thanks for the Compliments! CAKES · PASTRIES DESSERTS BREADS · COFFEE

THE POINTE BRODIE CREEK

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre Runner-up: The Studio Theatre Movie theater Riverdale 10 Cinema Runner-up: Movie Tavern Museum Museum of Discovery

communitybakery.com

R THANK YOHUEFBOEST! VOTING US T BEST APARTMENT COMPLEX

Runner-up: Roger Scott Local theater

BEST BAKED GOODS

Downtown 1200 Main (I-630 & Main) 375-6418 West Little Rock 270 S. Shackleford 224-1656

BEST APARTMENT COMPLEX

THE POINTE BRODIE CREEK

BOWMAN POINTE BEST APARTMENT COMPLEX

THANK YOU FOR MAKING US YOUR HOME!

3400 S. Bowman Road, Little Rock 72211 501.221.3377 pointebrodiecreek.com 501-221-3377 | 3400 S Bowman Rd www.pointebrodiecreek.com

Check out our other apartment communities: Bowman Pointe • River Pointe North • The Pointe North Hills (Coming January 2020) 501-725-9055 | 3321 S Bowman Rd www.bowmanpointe.com

Runner-up: Arkansas Arts Center Neighborhood festival HarvestFest in Hillcrest Runner-up: Arkansas Cornbread Festival Performing arts group Arkansas Circus Arts Runner-up: Ballet Arkansas Photographer

BEST DIET/ WEIGHT LOSS CENTER

Matt White Runner-up: Katie Childs ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 43


LITTLE ROCK’S INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE!

BRIAN CHILSON

Thank You Arkansas Times Readers for voting us Best Bookstore! BEST BOOKSTORE

Open 10 AM - 6 PM Monday - Saturday, 12-5 PM Sunday 5920 R St, Little Rock • 501-663-9198 • www.wordsworthbookstore.com

BEST BRUNCH: Cathead’s Diner in the East Village is the winner.

Place for karaoke Town Pump Runner-up: Dust Bowl Lanes & Lounge Place for trivia Flyway Brewing Co. Runner-up: Flying Saucer Place to gamble Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs) Runner-up: Southland Casino Racing (West Memphis) Poet Karen Hayes Runner-up: Crystal Mercer Rock band or artist Amasa Hines Runner-up: Knox Hamilton Sports bar Twin Peaks Runner-up: Prospect Sports Bar

FOOD AND DRINK Arkansas-brewed beer Lost Forty Brewing Runner-up: Flyway Brewing Co. Baked goods Community Bakery

MORE THAN PRINT.

ARKTIMES.COM

Runner-up: Boulevard Bread Co. Bread Boulevard Bread Co. Runner-up: Old Mill Bread Brunch Cathead’s Diner Runner-up: Lost Forty Brewing

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THANK YOU!

We are one team focused on transforming the health of all children

in Arkansas and beyond. Your support is key to helping us champion children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. Thank you for voting Arkansas Children’s the BEST company to work for!

Want to be a champion? Learn more at archildrens.org.

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 45


EDITORS’ PICKS

BEST SUSHI

In the first few days of June we ran into Nate Coulter, the director of the Central Arkansas Library System, at the Main Library. He urged us to go “listen to the music” and he nodded a tiny bit nervously toward the mezzanine. He expressed a certain fear that he would get in trouble from some quarters for his new addition to the library. I had no idea what he was on about (music in the library?), but I thought it would be nice to get a tea from the Nexus Nook, the little sister to Nexus Coffee & Creative on President Clinton Avenue, and headed up to the mezzanine. That’s where I heard the music. A pretty piece — not elevator music, real music — was playing softly for the benefit of readers at the nook’s tables. A bookish bistro. Tea, music, a place to sit. Talk about alluring. Had I not been in a reportorial rush, I would have loved to sit in that soothing spot with a good read and maybe a turmeric tea and a good mystery, and bliss out, my savage breast charmed. — Leslie Newell Peacock BOOKS AND BARISTA: At the library, with

BRIAN CHILSON

DAVE BISCEGLIA, General Manager RICARDO RINCON, Chef de Cuisine HAIDAR ASSEGAF, Sushi Chef GILBERT ALAQUINEZ, Executive Chef

BEST PLACE TO DRINK COFFEE, LISTEN TO MUSIC AND BE SURROUNDED BY BOOKS YOU CAN’T BUY

Logan Garrett of Nexus. 2601 Kavanaugh Blvd. • Little Rock, AR 72205 (501) 660-4100 • KemuriRestaurant.com

Thank you readers for this great honor! CHECK OUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE 2019-2020 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT!

REANIMATION: Painter/collector Erin Pierce takes organic matter, living and expired, and transforms it into art.

BEST WAY TO BREAK THE ‘TAKE ONLY PICTURES, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS’ RULE

320 W. 7TH STREET

DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK WWW.STUDIOTHEATRELR.COM

@studiotheatrelr

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There’s awe and reverence — and probably a good dose of biochemistry — in the ways artist Erin Pierce transforms odds and ends from the Arkansas backwoods into collectible curiosities. Under the moniker Organized Chaos, Pierce collects and preserves bits of bone, quartz, leaves and flowers and turns them into stuff you can actually wear, or hang on the wall, or mount in the windowsill. In her hands, maple “helicopters” and bits of fern get suspended in clear resin inside an embroidery hoop. Spider webs made by orchard orb-weavers get preserved in mid-air and grafted into gothic brooches. (Not to worry: Pierce carefully places the loose end and the spider on a nearby tree, she says, before collecting the web.) Air plants fan out from the bottoms of vintage porcelain doll heads. Retired moths get pinned and framed delicately — or depicted in a hand-painted, framed illustration. “My ‘natural relic’ series helps us to cherish nature up close and pay attention to the small

things that make up everything around us,” Pierce told me. “Things we pass by or don’t even notice — or even see as nuisances — are actually important to the ecosystem and are beautiful, right here in Arkansas.” Put simply, Pierce takes the flora and fauna that most of us take for granted and elevates it into an art-nature hybrid. Pierce does custom work, too — paintings, custom flower presses or necklaces featuring specific flora. For brides, Pierce will soon be offering preserved wedding bouquets, collected after the ceremony, pressed in one of Pierce’s handmade flower presses and displayed in a shadow box for posterity. For anybody who’s fallen in love with the Organized Chaos collection at a pop-up (or at her Instagram account, @organizedchaoscollection), you’re in luck: Pierce just went brickand-mortar, with a portion of her collection now up at Electric Ghost and Phantom Palm at 1218 Main St. in SoMa. — Stephanie Smittle


Thanks for voting us

BEST NAIL SALON!

We couldn’t do it without you.

S

BEST RIB

009, , 008, 22 013 2007,02 ,201 ,126, 1 1 2 , 2010 14,2015,20 19 0 20 2 , 8 1 0 2017,2

Visit www.wholehogcafe.com for other locations throughout Arkansas! 2516 Cantrell Road Little Rock 664-5025

12111 W. Markham Little Rock 907-6124

5309 Hwy 5 North Bryant 653-2244

150 E. Oak St. Conway 513-0600

5107 Warden Rd North Little Rock 753-9227

Appointments and Walk-Ins Welcome Gift Certificates Available 301 Bowman Rd # 220 501-225-6551 • chicnailslittlerock.com

BEST MED SPA

www.drsmedspa.com

501-661-1234

We offer the most advanced non-surgical cosmetic procedures and the highest quality skin care products.

CoolSculpting® BOTOX® Cosmetic / Dysport® Dermal Fillers Laser Hair Removal FotoFacial RF™ IPL HydraFacial MD® Genius RF Microneedling ZO® Skin Care Products

8315 Cantrell Road, Suite 125 Little Rock | 501-222-1400 DrsMedSpa.com

Dr. Mimi Lee & Dr. Gene Sloan ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 47


THANKS FOR VOTING US BEST INVESTMENT ADVISER!

Thank you for voting us Best Residential Real Estate Agency! A 38 -Year Legacy of Service Little Rock Market Leader #1 in Luxury Sales Highest Dollar Volume Sold Independent and Family Owned The Gold Standard of Little Rock Real Estate JANETJONES.COM

BEST INVESTMENT ADVISER (501) 907-1993 2 Van Circle, Suite 4, Little Rock, AR 72207 www.aptusfinancial.com

BEST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE AGENCY The Janet Jones Company REALTORS®

BURNS PARK where memorable moments happen...

BEST PARK

BEST PLACE TO MOUNTAIN BIKE Explore Arkansas’s largest city park, featuring: • 17-mile Arkansas River Trail • Golf • Dog park • Playgrounds • Funland Amusement Park • Tennis

nlrpr.org

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• Disc golf • Equestrian trails • Mountain bike trails • Soccer, baseball and VRIWEDOOÀHOGV • Foot golf • Covered bridge • Archery range

northlittlerock.org


STRANGERS AND KIN

MATT WHITE’S PHOTOGRAPHY IS AN EXERCISE IN EMPATHY.

‘BRYANT’S GROCERY, MONEY, MISSISSIPPI’: White turns his lens to the Leflore County spot that sparked the murder of Emmett Till. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 49


S

ome photographs are worth revering because they imply a sense of motion. Matt White’s photographs are worth revering because they imply a pause. It might be a photo of his grandmother Ora Faye, sporting pearl earrings, a beauty-shop-fresh ’do and the gentlest of blue eyes. It might be the drum line for the Natchez Bulldogs, marching in blue and gold for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in southern Mississippi. It might be a dilapidated brick wall, on the verge of collapsing inward in an ill-fated communion of new kudzu leaf and old mortar. Whatever’s in front of his camera, White doesn’t “capture” a subject, to use a tired phrase, so much as he sits with it for a standstill of a moment, considers it, and then asks us to do the same. We asked White — photographer, documentarian and co-owner of the White Water Tavern — to let us showcase some of the work that earned him the “Best Photographer” spot in this year’s Best of Arkansas survey, so you can see for yourself.

LENS AND LIGHT: White’s work plays with perspective, as in “Portrait of Shawn Hood” (left) and “Phillips County Cross” (right).

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STARS, STRIPES: Whether White is photographing a familiar subject (“Portrait of Ora Faye,” left) or a new one (“Martin Luther King Day, Natchez, Mississippi,” right), empathy is the through line.

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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‘TODAY’S LUNCH’: FOX News sends out a transmission next to the daily specials board in White’s “Rest Haven Diner, Clarksdale, Mississippi.”

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BRIAN CHILSON

DOING BUSINESS OVER LUNCH: Samantha’s Taproom takes the win.

Business lunch

Ribs

Samantha’s Taproom & Wood Grill

Whole Hog Cafe

Runner-up: Raduno

Runner-up: Sims Bar-B-Que

Caterer

Salad

Catering to You

ZAZA Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co.

Runner-up: Trio’s Restaurant Cheese dip Heights Taco & Tamale Co. Runner-up: Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro Cocktail South on Main Runner-up: Petit & Keet Food festival

Runner-up: U.S. Pizza Sushi Kemuri Runner-up: Sushi Cafe

Runner-up: Star of India

Runner-up: Main Street Food Truck Festival

Runner-up: Zin Wine Lounge

Runner-up: David’s Burgers Happy hour The Pantry Crest Runner-up: JJ’s Grill Liquor store Colonial Wines and Spirits Runner-up: Legacy Wine and Spirits Milkshake Big Orange Runner-up: Purple Cow Onion rings Purple Cow Runner-up: Sonic Drive-In Outdoor dining U.S. Pizza (Hillcrest) Runner-up: The Fold Botanas & Bar

SUSHI SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! Daily happy hour 5-7!

The Root Cafe Wine list

Big Orange

Sushi Cafe - The Heights 5823 Kavanaugh 501-663-9888

Vegetarian

International Greek Food Festival

French fries

BEST SUSHI Sushi Cafe West 11211 Cantrell Road, Suite 120 501-954-7866

Petit & Keet

GOODS AND SERVICES Antiques Midtown Vintage Market Runner-up: Fabulous Finds Apartment complex The Pointe Brodie Creek Runner-up: Fountaine Bleau North Apartments (North Little Rock) Artisan Bang-Up Betty (jeweler) Runner-up: AR-Ts (T-shirts) Auto dealer Everett Buick GMC Runner-up: Landers Toyota Auto service Austin Brothers Tire & Service

BEST SPORTS BAR An upscale sports bar in The Heights

HAPPY HOUR

Monday-Friday from 3PM-7PM $2.50 Domestic Beers $4 Well Drinks 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd. Suite F-G Little Rock, AR 72205 • 501-603-0080

Runner-up: Discount Tire & Brake ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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45 years

of Growing Wonder!

BRIAN CHILSON

It’s been our honor to grow with you for the past 45 years & we look forward to many more!

Thank You

READERS’ CHOICE: WordsWorth wins for best bookstore.

Bank

Cosmetic dentist

Arvest Bank

DJ Dailey

Runner-up: First Security Bank

Runner-up: Bryan Austin

Barbershop

Family dentist

Jerry’s Barber Shop

Reid and Rhea Dentistry

Runner-up: Morrison’s Capitol Barbershop

Runner-up: Arkansas Family Dental

Bicycle shop

Garry Mertins

The Meteor Runner-up: Chainwheel Bookstore WordsWorth Books Runner-up: Barnes and Noble Car Subaru Outback Runner-up: Honda Accord Children’s clothing The Toggery Runner-up: Caroline’s Children’s Consignment Boutique Chiropractor Brady DeClerk (Omnis Rehab) Runner-up: Ben Pittman (Back to Life Chiropractic) Commercial art gallery M2 Gallery Runner-up: Gallery 26 Commercial insurance agency Meadors, Adams & Lee Runner-up: The Hatcher Agency Commercial real estate agency

THEGOODEARTHGARDEN.COM

15601 CANTRELL RD. LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS 501-868-4666

Newmark Moses Tucker Partners Runner-up: Hathaway Group Company to work for Arkansas Children’s Hospital Runner-up: Middleton Heat and Air

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Designer/decorator Runner-up: Larry West Diet/weight loss center Arkansas Health and Nutrition Runner-up: Curves Dry cleaners Hangers Runner-up: Schickel’s Cleaners Eyewear Kavanaugh Eye Care Runner-up: Burrow’s and Mr. Franks Optical Farmers Market Hillcrest Farmers Market Runner-up: Little Rock Farmers Market Florist Frances Flower Shop Runner-up: Tipton & Hurst Funeral home Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home Runner-up: Ruebel Funeral Home Furniture Hank’s Fine Furniture Runner-up: Furniture Row Garden store or nursery The Good Earth Garden Center Runner-up: Plantopia


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DOING WHAT I LOVE FOR P r o u d S u p pALMOST o r t e r o f 30 Symphony Designer YEARS... House XXIII

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! BEST DESIGNER/DECORATOR GARRY MERTINS

1 5 0 0 R E B S A M E N PA R K R O A D • L I T T L E R O C K 501-376-6600 w w w. g A R R y M E R T I N S D E S I g N . C O M

Frances Flower Shop Thank you for voting us Best Florist! It has been our pleasure to serve you for over 60 years!

BEST FLORIST 1222 West Capitol • Little Rock 501.372.2203 • Francesflowershop.com

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Proud Supporter of Symphony Designer House XXIII

1 5 0 0 R E B S A M E N PA R K R O A D • L I T T L E R O C K 501-376-6600 w w w. g A R R y M E R T I N S D E S I g N . C O M

Symphony Designer House XVIII Nancy Nolan Photography

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PIZZA, PLEASE: Alice Holland chows down during a relaxed shoot with Amber Lane Photo.

BOUDOIR PHOTOS FOR ALL BODIES IT’S AMBER LANE’S SPECIALTY. BY REBEKAH HALL

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mber Lane Roberts got her first camera when she was 7 years old and began shooting professionally at age 23, in 2009. Roberts says she’s shot “everything” — football games, events at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, weddings, families and newborns — but boudoir photography “always came the easiest” for her. She now focuses exclusively on boudoir, and in September 2017, after first shooting sessions out of her home, Roberts opened Amber Lane Photo on Commerce Avenue in downtown Russellville. Her office and studio are in a cozy two-story brick building, and her models gaze out to the sidewalk from photos hung in the front windows, along with a few houseplants and a tomato plant reaching for the sun. It’s immediately welcoming and approachable, and Roberts is no different.

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“I hug everyone who walks through the door,” Roberts said. “[People] get so nervous when they walk in the door, and I say, ‘You’ve done the hardest part. You walked in the door. You’re here.’ ” Boudoir photography, named for the French word for “bedroom,” is inherently intimate. Roberts’ subjects, most of them women, wear lingerie — and sometimes, nothing at all — in photos that celebrate their bodies, including boudoir-style maternity photoshoots. While stripping down in front of a stranger can be intimidating, Roberts said she and her stylist, Jasmina Norris, work to ensure their clients feel as comfortable and confident as possible. “I have an appreciation for all bodies. I find a lot of beauty in normal, mundane things, and I think that women especially are so gorgeous and so different, and I’m just in love with shoot-

ing them,” Roberts said. “Bodies all look different, and it’s really OK. People come in and apologize to me for the most ridiculous, normal things about their bodies. I’m like, ‘Wow, you’re really obsessing over nothing. Let’s not worry about this.’ ” Roberts said she only schedules one session a day so her clients can have her undivided attention. Each shoot lasts for about 4 hours. At least an hour of that time is allotted for Norris to do the client’s hair and makeup, which is included in the cost of a session. Roberts said she and Norris use this time to get to know the client and help boost her confidence about the shoot. “We’re very hype women, but [our comments are] genuine,” Roberts said. “You can tell it’s genuine, you can tell we’re not just saying it to say it. And if anyone says that to me, I’m just like, ‘Now listen. I actually don’t have to say any


Thank you for voting us the Best!

BEST HAIR SALON • BEST SPA

FEELING BLUE: Burlesque performer Maxie Fauna is a frequent model for Roberts.

of this. Do I look like a person who would waste my own time?’ ” Roberts keeps several kimonos, dressing gowns, boas, tiaras and “all the pearls in the world” on hand for her shoots, but clients are asked to bring their own lingerie and encouraged to bring other personal items, such as a favorite dress or pair of cozy socks, to add their own flair to the photos. “I like when people bring personal things,” Roberts said. “Bring your or your partner’s favorite band’s T. That’s you, you brought that in. I’ve had people bring in paintings, [and] someone [once] brought in a wrench and her husband’s mechanic shirt.” Roberts poses the client in a variety of outfits and positions. After the shoot, Roberts said she sits down and shows them a few unedited photos from the session. It’s these moments, during which clients begin to see themselves as Roberts sees them, that the photographer finds most rewarding. “You see that reaction where they’re like, ‘Oh, my God.’ It’s so validating,” Roberts said. “It’s so great, because I’ve seen it the whole time.” These back-to-back hours of undivided attention and encouragement often have a profound effect on Roberts’ clients, one that she says lasts long after the shoot. “It’s so great because it’s not just, ‘Come and spend some money and put makeup on and get pictures done.’ ” Roberts said. “It’s something that really carries over. It’s not something like, ‘Well, I only looked good in those photos because Jasmina is a magician wizard woman, and Amber knows how to pose you properly.’ … That person goes on and they feel better about themselves.” To perpetuate good feelings and provide a safe space for her clients and other feminine-identifying people to express themselves, Roberts created the private Facebook group “Amber’s Gems: Empowered Women of Arkansas.” She said she wants the group to be a positive place where women can share selfies and suc-

cesses and participate in a supportive community. “It’s like when you go to a women’s bar bathroom and it’s 1 a.m.,” Roberts said. “That’s the group 24/7. I ask them questions, little writing prompts, and these people get to talk about themselves.” Roberts has hosted parties and meetups for group members, and as a result, many of her “Gems” have become friends offline. Roberts says one of her goals for the next year is to throw more events and continue cultivating the Gem community, as it’s been “instrumental” to her business. Roberts also hopes to do more stylized photo shoots — including some “dudeoir” sessions, which involve more masculine takes on intimate photography. Ultimately, she just wants to keep going. “Really, I just want to maintain. This has blown up on me so quickly,” Roberts said. “When I was [shooting] out of my house, I would maybe shoot once or twice a month. Here, this month, I have four shoots every week. … It’s so crazy to me that so many people have been so receptive of it.” While Roberts is quick to issue confidence-boosting praise to her clients, she said it can be difficult to turn that positivity inward. “It’s easy for me to deflect [compliments] because it’s really easy for me to say, ‘But look at you, look at what you did.’ And then I don’t have to take the brunt of the ‘look-at-me’s,’ ” Roberts said. Though Roberts has bright green hair, she said she doesn’t “like as much attention as you would think.” Roberts said her care for her clients is at the root of what she does, and she understands this is what keeps them returning to her, session after session. “[Clients] just want to trust you, and they just want to have a friend that sees them and cares for them and shows them something that they haven’t seen before,” Roberts said. “Even the bubbliest people need that. It’s really cool, I’m really lucky, and I hope that I can keep doing this.”

Oribe Salon , Rand Co

Call now for an appointment. Follow us on

501-664-4RED (733) • redbeautylounge.com 1923 N. University Ave

THANK YOU,

Arkansas Times Readers!

BEST VEGETARIAN NOW SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH LOCAL FOOD Breakfast and Lunch, Tuesday - Friday: 7 am - 2:30 pm & Saturday: 8 am - 3:30 pm Sunday Brunch: 9 am - 2 pm Dinner: Wednesday - Saturday 5 pm - 9 pm Cocktails & Snacks: Friday & Saturday ‘til 10 pm

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JULY 2019 57


BEST LINGERIE • BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING

Naughty or Nice? At Cupids you can find something for every mood!

BRIAN CHILSON

Thanks For Voting Us The Best! Gift shop

HVAC repair

Box Turtle

Middleton Heat and Air

Runner-up: Moxy Modern Mercantile

Runner-up: Bob & Ed’s Heating & Air Conditioning Co.

Grocery store Kroger Local winner: Edwards Food Giant Runner-up: Whole Foods Market Hair salon Red Beauty Lounge Runner-up: Suite.102.Salon Hardware/home improvement Fuller & Son Hardware Runner-up: Kraftco Hardware and Building Supply Hip clothing Fringe Clothing

Lingerie Toys • Games Party Supplies Adult DVDs

Runner-up: Scarlet Clothing

COMING IN JULY Cupids – River Market, Downtown Little Rock COMING SOON Cupids – Springdale. www.ShopCupids.com 58 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

Internet service provider AT&T Runner-up: Hyperleap Investment adviser Aptus Financial Runner-up: Scott Daniel (WealthPath Investment Advisors) Jeweler Sissy’s Log Cabin Runner-up: Jones & Son Diamond & Bridal Fine Jewelry Landscaper/landscape design Chris Olsen

Hobby shop

Runner-up: Van Hoose Lawn Services (Benton)

The Water Buffalo

Lawyer

Runner-up: Argenta Bead Co.

Erin Cassinelli

Home entertainment store

Runner-up: Jenny Teeter

Walmart

Lingerie

Local winner: Arkansas Record & CD Exchange

Cupids Lingerie

Runner-up: Best Buy

Visit any of our Arkansas locations

SUITE SPOT: The Capital Hotel takes the honors.

Home, life, car insurance salespeople Chad Millard (Shelter Insurance, Little Rock) Runner-up: Matt Black (Allstate Insurance, Maumelle) Hospital

Runner-up: Seductions Massage therapist Massage Arkansas Runner-up: One Thai Spa Med spa (non-surgical cosmetic treatments) Doctors MedSpa

UAMS

Runner-up: SkinStar Laser Med Spa

Runner-up: Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Men’s clothing Baumans

Hotel

Runner-up: Greenhaw’s Men’s Wear

Capital Hotel

Mental health facility

Runner-up: The Waters (Hot Springs)

The BridgeWay Runner-up: Pinnacle Pointe Hospital


Blues

OUR ROOTS RUN DEEP

in the

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Arkansas Times Readers Choice for Best Mental Health Facility

Robert Jarvis, M.D. Medical Director of Adult Psychiatry

Tyler Bayles, M.D.

Medical Director of Substance Abuse Treatment for Inpatient Care, Intensive Outpatient Program and Partial Hospitalization

Jane Kang, M.D.

Staff Psychiatrist, Adult and Senior Psychiatry Inpatient and Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program and Partial Hospitalization

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Justin Powell, M.D. Staff Psychiatrist, Adult Psychiatry

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Medical Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient and Residential Treatment

21 Bridgeway Road — North Little Rock, AR 72113 | 1-800-245-0011 | thebridgeway.com ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 59


THANKSFOR VOTI NGUS BESTI N ARKANSAS!

EDITORS’ PICKS

501 3272255

WWW. MOI XRV. COM 1 21 3COLLI ER DR.CONWAY,AR INTO THE MOUTH FROM BABES: Flake Baby Pastry and The Bagel Babe make mornings delicious.

BEST HOMEMADE BREAKFAST TREATS

THANKS FOR VOTING US BEST GIFT SHOP! M-F 10-6 • SAT 10-5 2616 KAVANAUGH BLVD. LITTLE ROCK 501.661.1167 • SHOPBOXTURTLE.COM 60 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

I go through phases with my breakfast choices. I’ll spend a few months dedicated to toaster-oven waffles spread with almond butter and Nutella, or I’ll eat nothing but the Kroger-brand equivalent of the ambiguously-named Special K cereal with “Red Berries” for weeks at a time. But, really, what I’m looking for in a breakfast food is something that makes me excited to wake up. Two Little Rock bakers are making treats that hit that sweet spot for me, though I confess to eating their creations at all hours of the day. Flake Baby Pastry — @flake_baby_pastry on Instagram — is the cottage bakery business of Monica Chatterton, who offers homemade tarts that are light years better than any store-bought Pop-Tart you’ve ever eaten. I hesitate to even put the two in the same category. Chatterton’s flaky babies are rectangular pockets of buttery goodness filled with combinations of fruits, jams and curds, finished with different glazes and sprinkled with unique toppings. The flavor combinations speak to Chatterton’s baking prowess — think strawberry-rhubarb-basil “babies,” or strawberry-white chocolate-rose tarts, or cranberry-cardamom pockets, or ones filled with a grapefruit-campari curd and topped with a campari glaze and fresh thyme. These babies, and Chatterton, mean business.

For your carbohydrate needs on the more savory side of things, turn to The Bagel Babe, @bagelbabelr on Instagram. Baker Anna Connard cranks out several types of perfectly sized, perfectly holely bagels. There’s Connard’s everything bagel, with its signature combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds and onion flakes; and her cinnamon raisin bagel that, when smeared with cream cheese, feels like a dessert in its own right. The Bagel Babe’s original flavors also shine: Her cheddar jalapeno bagels, absolutely caked with cheese, offer a little heat, and every day since I tried it I’ve been thinking about her recent special, a honey-glazed bagel topped with smoked balsamic sea salt. Connard also whips up some tubs of specialty cream cheeses, including a roasted garlic-and-herb spread and sriracha cream cheese, available by request. The Bagel Babe’s creations could quickly become a breakfast staple in your household. You can keep up with Flake Baby Pastry and The Bagel Babe on their Instagram pages, where they can be contacted for custom orders. Both Chatterton and Connard also sell their treats at the Bernice Garden’s farmer’s market on Main Street, which is open, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays until it closes for the winter in early November. — Rebekah Hall


Mobile phone AT&T Runner-up: Verizon

BEST HOME ENTERTAINMENT STORE

Motorcycle dealer Rock City Harley-Davidson Runner-up: Riggs Outdoor Mover Brandon Moving & Storage Runner-up: College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving

Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 7pm 4212 MacArthur Drive, North Little Rock (501) 753-7877 www.arcd.com FREE $5 LP w/ Purchase! Just show us this ad in-store. Subject to Change. Exp. 7/31/2019

Music equipment Guitar Center Local winner: Jacksonville Guitar Center Runner-up: Sunrise Guitars (Fayetteville) Nail salon Best Nails Runner-up: Chic Nails Outdoor store Ozark Outdoor Supply Runner-up: Gene Lockwood’s Pawn shop Braswell & Son Pawnbrokers Runner-up: iPawn Pest control and termite service Bug Masters

Huge thanks to Central Arkansas for letting Blue Yoga Nyla love on you for the last 9 years.

STACEY REYNOLDS Registered Yoga Therapist

Love lives here.

Runner-up: Curry’s Pest Control Pharmacy The Pharmacy at Wellington Runner-up: Rhea Drug Physical therapist Charles Healy Runner-up: Exceptional Physical Therapy (Benton) Plumber

(best of winner logo)

Russell &Best LeMay Massage

Runner-up: Ray Lusk Plumbing

3801 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock 501.753.9100 • www.blueyoganyla.com Stacey celebrates over 19 years of serving “The Walking Wounded”

BEST YOGA STUDIO

As healthcare professionals, our focus is your wellbeing.

THANKS FOR VOTING US THE BEST!

(logo) Private school The Anthony School Runner-up: Pulaski Academy Public school Central High School Runner-up: Baker Elementary School Residential real estate agency The Janet Jones Co. Runner-up: The Property Group

400 W.Capitol Ave., Ste. 2848 | Little Rock 501-712-3075 | massagearkansas.com

BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 61


THANK YOU, AR TIMES READERS, FOR VOTING US THE BEST! Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa and Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina look forward to making memories with your families for many years to come.

Retirement community

LOCAL MEDIA

Woodland Heights

Blog

Runner-up: Good Shepherd

Arkansas Blog

RV/camper dealer

Runner-up: The Mighty Rib

Moix RV Supercenter (Conway)

TV meteorologist

Runner-up: Razorback Camper Sales (Hot Springs)

Todd Yakoubian

Shoes Warren’s Shoes

MOUNTAIN HARBOR

R E S ORT & S PA O N L A K E OUAC H I TA

Local winner: Rock City Kicks Runner-up: Dillard’s Department Stores Spa Red Beauty Lounge

B e s t Re s o r t & B e s t M a r i n a

Runner-up: One Thai Spa Sporting goods Ozark Outdoor Supply

I RON MOU N TA I N

LODGE & M A R I NA ON DEGR AY L A K E

Runner-up: Academy Sports + Outdoors Tattoos Black Cobra Tattoos Runner-up: 7th Street Tattoos & Piercing

Best Marina Members of Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts Family Owned and Operated

Toys The Toggery Runner-up: The Knowledge Tree Travel agency Poe Travel Runner-up: Sue Smith Vacations Vape shop Vapor World Runner-up: Rogue Vapors Veterinarian Hillcrest Animal Hospital Runner-up: Shackleford Road Veterinary Vintage clothing Crying Weasel Vintage Runner-up: Grey Dog Boutique (Fayetteville)

MountainHarborResort.com 870-867-2191 | 800-832-2276 Iron-Mountain.com 870-246-4310 | 800-243-3396 62 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

Runner-up: Kristen Kennedy Newspaper writer Max Brantley Runner-up: John Brummett Radio personality Heather and Poolboy Runner-up: Broadway Joe Radio station KUAR-FM, 89.1 Runner-up: KABF-FM, 88.3 TV personality Craig O’Neill Runner-up: Dawn Scott TV sports person Steve Sullivan Runner-up: DJ Williams TV station KATV, Channel 7 Runner-up: KARK, Channel 4 Website arktimes.com Runner-up: bluehogreport.com

PEOPLE AND POLITICS Athlete Daniel Gafford Runner-up: Hunter Henry Best Arkansan State Sen. Joyce Elliott

Women’s clothing

Runner-up: Aaron Reddin of The Van

Cupids Lingerie

Best Little Rock City Board member

Runner-up: Fringe Clothing

Kathy Webb

Yoga studio

Runner-up: Capi Peck

Blue Yoga Nyla

Best Little Rocker

Runner-up: Barefoot Studio

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. Runner-up: City Director Kathy Webb


Best Arkansas Brewed Beer

Jeff Rutledge (Arkansas rice farmer) & Grant Chandler (Lost Forty brewer)

GRAIN TO GLASS We’re proud to partner with local Arkansas rice farms to create a deliciously light and truly homegrown beer made in Arkansas, by Arkansas, and for Arkansas.

HOMEGROWN Every batch of 2nd Rodeo is brewed with locally grown Arkansas rice that is milled just down the road from the farm.

Well...

it ain't our first.

We’ve been around the block a few times on our quest to create an exceptionally easy-drinking beer for Arkansans to enjoy any time of year. 2nd Rodeo is our lightest beer brewed with just a few simple ingredients – like naturally pure Arkansas water and homegrown Arkansas rice – for a crisp brew that’s low in alcohol, low in calories, and refreshing anytime, anywhere.

Saddle up, light beer lovers.

12 pack of beer on-site at the Rutledge farm ARKANSAS IS RICE We’re thrilled to partner with the Arkansas Rice Council in their mission of shining a light on and supporting the farming community that makes our home state one of the largest producers of rice in the U.S.A.

Arkansas Rice Council community builders ONLY IN ARKANSAS Every can of 2nd Rodeo is made and sold only in Arkansas to ensure maximum freshness and highest quality.

Each batch made and sold only in Arkansas

SADDLE UP FOR SUMMER Look for 2nd Rodeo in six packs and in 12 pack boxes. Our boxes, our aluminum cans, and our can holders are all 100% recyclable to ensure we keep The Natural State pristine while enjoying its beauty this season.

120 Cals. | 4.1% Alc. by Vol. Taproom & Brewhouse open 7 days a week!

@LOST40BEER | Lost40brewing.com ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 63


EDITORS’ PICKS Worst Little Rock City Board member Erma Hendrix Runner-up: Lance Hines Worst Little Rocker Governor Hutchinson Runner-up: Warren Stephens

BRIAN CHILSON

FAMILY MOVIES: Bug Masters’ video tells a story.

TRESPASSER: The Ten Commandments monument on state property.

Celebrity Mary Steenburgen Runner-up: David Bazzel Charity Immerse Arkansas Runner-up: The Van Charity event Chocolate Fantasy Ball (Ronald McDonald House) Runner-up: Wild Wines (Little Rock Zoo) Conservative Governor Hutchinson Runner-up: Bill Vickery Liberal State Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) Runner-up: State Sen. Will Bond (D-Little Rock) Misuse of taxpayer funds/property Arkansas Department of Transportation’s 30 Crossing project Runner-up: 10 Commandments monument at the Capitol Philanthropist Rick Fleetwood Runner-up: The Frueauff Foundation Politician State Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) Runner-up: Mayor Frank Scott Jr. Worst Arkansan State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) Runner-up: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton 64 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

BEST NOT-YOURGRANDFATHER’S-PESTCONTROL-SERVICE VIDEO Bug Masters Exterminating Co., the Arkansas Times’ Best of Arkansas winner for pest control and termite service, has been doing the dirty and honorable work of ridding businesses and homes of all manner of pests and vermin since it began as Childress Pest Control in Des Arc in the late 1950s. Bug Masters is now based out of North Little Rock and serves customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri. In 2012, Bug Masters made a badass video to illustrate just how far the family business has come. To see the video, go to the Bug Master’s website; it’s within a miniature TV screen. The video takes us back to a simpler time. It’s 1959, as evidenced by the tracking lines, spots and sepia-tone imposed on the old-time- looking footage and the large “1959” that flashes in an old-time font at the beginning of the video. We’re traveling down a dirt road, seen through the windshield of a truck cab, while bluegrass music plays. An old Ford pickup with “Childress Pest Control” painted on the door pulls up to a cabin, and the homeowner gestures for the truck’s driver to come in. Once finished, the Childress Pest Control employee leans against the side of the truck, arms crossed, and nods in acknowledgement of a job well done. Then the bluegrass music fades, the sepia changes to color, and the humble truck is transformed into a time traveling machine. The wail of a guitar riff begins, and the truck sails through the decades. 1969, 1979, 1989 and 1999 fly by until we arrive in the year 2012 — as indicated by “2012” flashing over a shot of the current Bug Masters logo emblazoned on a new van — followed by three Bug Masters employees carrying their modern exterminating equipment as they walk in slow motion toward a job site. The rest of the video follows the Bug Masters crew as they inspect mattresses, put on rubber gloves, poke around in a dirty apartment, climb around on the roof an industrial-looking facility, and emerge from under a building with dead rats in hand. There’s also a gnarly shot of bed bugs crawling out of a mattress. The sequence ends as a Bug Masters employee leans against a work van and crosses his arms, the familiar gesture a signal to viewers that this is the very same employee who heeded a customer’s call in “1959.” The clincher reminds the audience that Bug Masters has stood the test of time, all while staying up to date on extermination technology and practices. Bug Masters both is, and isn’t, your grandfather’s pest control. — Rebekah Hall

RECREATION Cheap date Two Rivers Park Runner-up: Stone’s Throw Brewing Golf course Rebsamen Golf Course Runner-up: Pleasant Valley Country Club Gym/place to work out 10 Fitness Runner-up: Orange Theory Hiking trail Pinnacle Mountain State Park Runner-up: Two Rivers Park Marina Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa (Mount Ida) Runner-up: Iron Mountain (DeGray Lake) Park Burns Park Runner-up: Two Rivers Park Place to canoe/kayak/tube Buffalo River Runner-up: Little Maumelle River Place to mountain bike Northwoods (Hot Springs) Runner-up: Burns Park (North Little Rock) Place to swim Little Rock Racquet Club Runner-up: Greers Ferry Lake Resort Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa, Mount Ida Runner-up: Eureka Springs Treehouses Weekend getaway Eureka Springs Runner-up: Hot Springs


2019 - 2020

CHARTS

SEASON

SEASON PACKAGES ON SALE NOW! SINGLE TICKETS ON SALE JULY 22 www.uaptc.edu/char ts

SEPTEMBER 5, 2019

The Second Premier Improv City Comedy

NOVEMBER 18, 2019

Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE! OCTOBER 5, 2019

FEBRUARY 13, 2020

Dr. Tererai Trent Oprah’s “All-Time Favorite Guest”

Cult Classic B-Movie Hilarity

Lee Rocker

DECEMBER 7, 2019

Marty Stuart Is The Pilgrim

The Stray Cat!

FEBRUARY 15, 2020

Mary Wilson

of The Supremes

20th Anniversary Celebration

OCTOBER 10, 2019

MasterChef Junior LIVE!

JANUARY 28, 2020

FEBRUARY 29, 2020

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

TV Culinary Competition NOVEMBER 15, 2019

Inspirational Gospel Chorus

South African Chorus

Black Violin

Hip-Hop-Classical String Fusion

Mississippi Mass Choir FEBRUARY 7, 2020

Tab Benoit

Acclaimed Louisiana Roots Blues

TO PURCHASE SEASON PACKAGES, CALL CHARTS | UA-PULASKI TECH

3000 W SCENIC DRIVE

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Larkin Poe

Blues-Rock Sisters

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR 72118

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 65


CULTURE

In the Groove

THINK SLOT CARS ARE CHILD’S PLAY? LITTLE ROCK’S JIM CUNNINGHAM WOULD BEG TO DIFFER. BY DAVID KOON PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN CHILSON


FULL THROTTLE: Cunningham’s slot car track is built for cars that are almost a foot long, a far cry from the matchbox-sized, lightly detailed hot rods you might have played with as a youngster.

T

hough Jim Cunningham’s home near downtown Little Rock is packed with cool stuff — including a huge steel rack full of vintage racing bikes, the toy car he bought the morning JFK was killed in Dallas, and a hairless black cat with the loudest meow you’ve ever heard — it’s the big slot car track that draws the wows. The track writhes, black and sinuous, over pretty much the whole floor of Cunningham’s huge living room: 16 feet by 9 feet, with 65 feet of two-lane track poured into the space, wrapping in and around and through. Visually and technologically, it’s about as far as you can get from the little Tyco slot car set you may have received for Christmas as a kid.

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 67


Some of the aerodynamic wedge cars in Cunningham’s vast collection of racers can reach a speed of 160 mph and beyond.

IT’S IN THE DETAILS: Some of Cunningham’s cars were hundreds of hours in the making — perfect Lilliputian replicas of famous race cars, with opening doors and hoods, their frames and bodies all hand-built.

68 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


For one thing, though the mechanics and principle is pretty much the same — a miniature electric raceway where cars follow a groove (the “slot” in slot car racing) in the track, each car’s speed regulated by a pistol-shaped controller with a trigger style throttle — Cunningham’s track is built for bigger cars that are almost a foot long, not the matchbox-sized, lightly-detailed HO-scale cars you might have played with. For another, it’s a digital track, the next generation of slot car racing. Some of the aerodynamic wedge cars in Cunningham’s vast collection of racers can reach a speed of 160 miles per hour and beyond (though most of his cars have a top speed of between 35 and 65 mph). Push a button on the controller as you approach an x-shaped switch in the track and cars can make lightning quick lane changes to pass slower drivers. Depending on how the track is programmed, it can even simulate things like random tire punctures, which make your car desperately slow until you come into the pits for a simulated tire change. Robotic police cruisers can chase and block the racers, blue lights flashing. With another programming change, the track can even simulate fuel, including sputtering to a stop when a simulated gas gauge hits E, forcing drivers to periodically pit and pause for a few seconds while the car “fills up,” just like real racing. “In the real world, when your [race] car is light on fuel, it’s faster and the brakes work better,” Cunningham said. “This system electronically simulates that. When you pull into the pits and pull back out, you’ll find that the car feels heavier and is slower.” Since moving to Arkansas from Southern California a few years back, Cunningham has been on a mission to spread the word locally about the hobby that has been his passion for over 50 years, drawing in both seasoned slot car fans and creating new ones. His business, Nomad Raceways, rents out portable slot car tracks in 10 sizes, from tabletop to huge (one of Nomad’s portable tracks is currently on a global tour of real-life race tracks with car maker Acura, to help promote the new Acura NSX supercar). Cunningham also heads the Central Arkansas Slot Car Racers club, made up of around a dozen people of various ages who get together at his home or travel to the handful of other largescale slot car tracks around the state to hang out, show off their cars and race. For his part, Cunningham makes a convincing case that slot cars aren’t just kid stuff. Even without the fancy digital simulations his track can do, he says slot cars are a genuine motorsport, and quite possibly the safest and most affordable way to get the thrills and competition of real-life racing. A native of New Jersey, the slot car bug bit Cunningham early in life. In addition to over 100 cars he has built or bought over the years, displayed in acrylic cases that line the walls of his living room, Cunningham still has all the slot cars from his youth. As an adult, Cunningham moved from New Jersey to Southern California, where he built a brick-and-mortar slot car racing center with several tracks and over $100,000 in inventory. Simultaneously, he was building his reputation as one of the world’s most celebrated painters of high-end racing bicycles through his company CyclArt. In 2016, when CyclArt was purchased by Little Rock-

RICKY SIKES “Internal Landscape I” 48” x 48”, oil on panel, (above) KENSUKE YAMADA “Diver” 29.5” x 22” x 21”, stoneware, (left)

The Fine Art of Kensuke Yamada and Ricky Sikes Opening Reception Saturday, July 20, 6 to 9 pm Show runs through August 10.

BOSWELL MOUROT FINE ART

Fine Art from local, regional and international artists for the emerging and established collector.

Tues. - Fri. 11 to 6 • Sat. 11 to 3 and by appointment 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd • Little Rock, AR 72207 • 501-664-0030 • www.boswellmourot.com

ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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PART ENGINEERING, PART COMPETITION: Cunningham wants to inspire a new generation involved in the hobby he loves, both as fans and as competitors.

based racing bike builder HIA Velo, Cunningham moved to Little Rock and brought most of his slot car goodies with him. Though Facebook and word of mouth, Cunningham was soon able to tap into the small network of slot car fans scattered throughout Arkansas, and help others who once raced get involved in the hobby again. “When I meet someone locally who is familiar with slot cars, they almost always tell me that there used to be a place in Park Plaza Mall,” he said. “Apparently that was in the late ’60s. I have a couple of the club members who used to race there. But other than that, I don’t think there was much of a scene. I have connected with a few people who have tracks at home. One of our club members, completely independent of my influence, built a nice HO layout in his garage, so we go there to race. There have been a series of locations which have had a commercial track in a garage or someplace. They come and go.” Cunningham said the people involved in Central Arkansas Slot Car Racers right now are mostly men, with backgrounds that run the gamut. He sees a lot of architects, engineers, auto mechanics and others who are crazy about vehicles and like to work with their hands. Some raced real cars and motorcycles, but grew tired of the risk and expense of full-size motorsports. One thing he likes to see at Nomad events and club meet-ups are parents introducing their kids to slot cars, helping Generation Screen put down the phone or tablet and get hands-on. “If Dad plays a video game with [a child], that’s not a fair competition because the kid will slaughter him,” he said. “If you hand a kid a screwdriver, they may not know which end to use. But this is something that can bring them together. It’s a little bit engineering, a little bit competition, a little bit of a social event that’s not silicon-based. A lot of parents like it as an antidote to ‘silicon poisoning.’ ” 70 JULY 2019

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Though Cunningham has hundreds of hours in some of the cars he builds for shows and competitions around the country — perfect Lilliputian replicas of famous race cars, with opening doors and hoods, their frames and bodies all hand-built at a small bench huddled in the corner beside the track in his living room — he said most commercially available slot cars sell for between $35 and $75, either as a kit or ready to run. The cost-prohibitive part can be the track. The one in his living room cost around $20,000. But Cunningham is happy to share. “You can come here to have fun,” he said. “That’s what the club thing is all about. I miss the club racing scene in Southern California, and would like to build a core group here who want to play. They don’t have to build a $5,000 track. They can use mine.” One of those who rekindled their love of slot cars through Central Arkansas Slot Car Racers is Rodney Weber. Now 66 and retired, Weber bought a slot car in 1968 and raced for a few months at the slot car track in Park Plaza Mall. When the place shut down, he packed up his car and moved on to other hobbies. While moving to a new house a few years ago, he found the box containing his old slot car gear. “I put it on my bench and tested it out, and it still ran, so I thought: I’m going to look around for a slot car track,” he said. “I didn’t find anything until I found Jim’s phone number. It said he had a slot car track, but he was just down the street. I thought that address must be wrong, but I called the number and Jim said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a slot car track right in my living room.’ He invited me to come see it, and we’ve been friends ever since.” In addition to the camaraderie of the club, Weber said he likes the affordability and niche aspect of slot cars. “It’s kind of hard to get people involved in slot car racing, but once you find somebody who gets the bug, they get into it and


HOPE IS HERE Q

: Two years ago, my husband and I adopted a then ten-year-old little girl. My husband and I have done everything to make her comfortable in her new home.  She’s in school and participating in extracurricular activities that she enjoys.  In the past several months, however, she has been having extreme emotional outbursts.  She’s quick to become angry and has become withdrawn.  Her teachers mentioned at the end of the school year she was having issues paying attention and it seems her behavior at home was carrying over to school as well.  My husband and I are afraid she may be dealing with some previous abuse issues.  What options do I have to help her and to put my family back together?

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: These are certainly difficult circumstances especially in children so young. You’ve done the right thing by recognizing the issues and reaching out.  At Rivendell, we work with children and families every day who are facing difficult emotional and behavioral issues. We would suggest starting with a free, confidential assessment available 24/7 at our hospital or arranged perhaps with one of our mobile assessors who may meet you and your daughter at a safe place in your town. We are always available by phone as well to discuss options. After the assessment, we will offer you treatment recommendations based on your child’s history and present status. We can help you with a referral to outpatient care if inpatient treatment isn’t needed and assist with questions about insurance as well. Our number one goal is safety, and we will make every effort to ensure your daughter receives the care she needs.

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ARKANSAS TIMES

go all out,” he said. “The cars are cheap, the parts are cheap, everything is cheap compared to something like real car racing, bicycle racing or anything else. That would be one reason to get into it.” Another who has befriended Cunningham through their shared love of slot car racing is Chris “Big Daddy” Dunegan of Batesville, who owns and operates Batesville Slot Cars and Hobbies, one of just a few commercial slot car tracks in the state and one of only around 300 left in the U.S., down from a high of over 4,000 tracks in the 1970s. A slot car racer since the late 1990s, Dunegan opened his shop a year and a half ago. Inside, there’s a huge, eight-lane slot car track with a 155foot lap, and a 55-foot drag strip where 1:24th scale drag racers can top 80 miles per hour in under 2 seconds. Dunegan rents cars and controllers for $10 a day, and after you rent the same car seven times, you own it. Dunegan said Cunningham — who Dunegan calls “Mr. Jim” — usually comes to Batesville to race at least every other Saturday, and Dunegan has been to Cunningham’s track a few times. “He’s really been a huge help and a huge influence,” Dunegan said. “If I have any questions, I can call Mr. Jim and ask. He is definitely a slot car guy, and just a human encyclopedia. ... Jim has some things that should be in a museum, but if he’s got it, you can actually touch it and drive it. It’s very, very cool.”


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In addition to running Nomad Raceways rental business and building interest in the Central Arkansas Slot Car Racers club through social media, Cunningham has other ideas on how to spread the good news of slot car racing in Arkansas. One idea he wants to try is an event where competitors from all over the world attempt to set a new slot car land-speed record on a true quarter-mile track (an aerospace engineer friend crunched the numbers and told him a purpose-built land-speed slot car with that much room to run could theoretically go over 650 miles per hour if it didn’t fly apart first). Most of all, though, he just wants to get a whole new generation involved in the hobby he loves, both as fans and potential competitors. “For me, it really covers all the bases of art, science, technology, social engagement [and] collecting. It’s got all of that. I think it encompasses a lot of interests,” he said. “You can take a model train style approach, or you can take a pure speed approach. You can go small, you can go large. It’s really much more diverse than you might think when someone just says ‘slot car racing.’ Unfortunately, most people’s experience with slot cars is that little set they got for Christmas with a very inexpensive power supply and controllers and cars that were hard to drive. People don’t learn the basic things they need to know to get to the point of really enjoying it. It’s a very broad and rich hobby.”

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FOOD & DRINK & CANNABIZ

Buds in the Oven

PATIENTS IMPATIENT FOR ARRIVAL OF EDIBLES IN ARKANSAS: FEED THYSELF.

MAKE THE MEDICINE GO DOWN: By baking sweet cupcakes with an infusion of Sour Tangie.

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BRIAN CHILSON

BY LEW GASNIER


M USIC IN J ULY IN A RGENTA ! M

edical marijuana has arrived in Arkansas at last. But card-carrying patients who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without smoking the stuff will find their options are limited. As of mid-June, the state’s two operational dispensaries offered only a single edible product, a grape-flavored gummy. More edibles are sure to land on shelves in the coming months as more dispensaries open their doors and cultivation centers rev up production. Even then, don’t expect to find the spread of THC-infused candies and cookies now commonplace in states like Colorado. Arkansas prohibits selling medical marijuana products that “closely resemble foods or beverages that are attractive to minors … including without limitation candy, cookies, cakes, pastries, chewing gum and brownies,” according to a law passed by the legislature this spring. (The state Medical Marijuana Commission had already established a similar rule.) Fortunately, there are no such restrictions on what patients or caregivers do at home, and it’s easy (and fun) to make homemade edibles. All you need is medical marijuana flower, a few sticks of butter and a good chunk of time. Once you extract the THC from the plant matter, you’ll be left with “cannabutter,” which can be used in place of butter in just about any recipe of your choosing. If you wish, you can even make your confections “in the shape of an animal, vehicle, person or character” — another statutory no-go line for products sold in dispensaries. That being said, edibles are not to be taken lightly. Here are a few cardinal rules to follow: Take it slow and be cautious. Many people feel eating THC is healthier than smoking, but edibles come with one big risk: It’s easy to overdo it. Medical marijuana is potent stuff, and accurate dosing is difficult when it comes to homemade treats. So whatever you do with your cannabutter, test the most modest of portions to begin with. If you think a single cookie is a reasonable dose, first try a half of one instead, or even less. And don’t scarf down more if you don’t feel anything right away — it can take quite a while for orally ingested THC to kick in. Wait 90 minutes, then assess how you feel. Diving headfirst into a tray of unusually strong pot brownies probably won’t kill you, but it can be a tremendously unpleasant experience and may even spark a visit to the emergency room. Play it safe! Keep away from kids. This should go without saying, but keep any edible cannabis product well away from children and pets, as well as any adult who shouldn’t be indulging. Scott Hardin, a spokesperson for the parent agency of the Medical Marijuana Commission, confirmed by email that “a patient may create any product in the home. The only restriction would be the requirement that the product remain in a childproof container.” Be mindful of the law. Remember that the only people who can legally bake or cook with medical marijuana are card-carrying patients or their card-carrying caregivers. Only patients are legally allowed to ingest the finished product, of course.

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This rule is otherwise known as ‘don’t just dump a bunch of weed in some brownie mix.’ Follow the cannabutter recipe below. This rule is otherwise known as “don’t just dump a bunch of weed in some brownie mix.” If you put ground marijuana flower directly in your food, you’ll end up with something that both tastes terrible and likely won’t get you high. Making edibles requires carefully prepping the marijuana first, an hourslong process that’s as much chemistry as it is cooking. It’s not difficult, but it does need to be done right. Here’s how we made our first batch of legal Arkansas cannabutter — and what we did with it afterward: Cannabutter

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Strain Notes: We infused our cannabutter with a (legally obtained) eighth-ounce of Sour Tangie, a sativa-forward strain with a robust 29 percent THC concentration. (At the time we purchased the Sour Tangie, the strains offered by two medical marijuana dispensaries in Hot Springs ranged from 9 percent to 30 percent.) Green Springs Medical describes Sour Tangie as rendering a “creative, elevating buzz and strong citrus overtones.” 1/8 ounce (3.5 grams) legally obtained medical marijuana, ground finely 1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter 1 cup water Preheat oven to 245 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the ground marijuana evenly in the center in a thin layer. Bake the marijuana for 30-40 minutes, gently shaking the pan from time to time to ensure even exposure to heat. (This roasting process is called “decarboxylation”; suffice it to say it’s a necessary step and should not be skipped.) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, adding water once it begins to melt. Add the decarboxylated marijuana flower and simmer on very low heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and never letting the mixture come to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from heat and let the butter and water cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a glass bowl or other small glass container with a wide mouth to remove the plant matter. Refrigerate overnight. When it has fully cooled, the cannabutter should have separated from any remaining water in the container. Remove the disc of cannabutter, discard the water, daub off any residual moisture and refrigerate the cannabutter until ready to use.


Matcha Cannabutter Mini-Cupcakes Makes (and generously frosts) about 30 mini-cupcakes. We opted for simple vanilla mini-cupcakes with (canna)buttercream frosting for a few reasons. For starters, making cupcakes gives us not one, but two excuses to use the cannabutter — once for the cake and again for the buttercream frosting. And, unlike chocolate-based edibles, the vanilla-and-buttercream color palette let us showcase the green color with a little more flair, instead of hiding it in a batch of cocoa brownies. We amped up the color, in fact, with the help of some matcha (green tea) powder. Finally, because medicinal marijuana can yield such potent edibles, smaller portions are generally better. Mini-cupcakes lend more flexibility and control to your dosing — as opposed to, say, a slice of three-layer cake.

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1 cup (110 grams) all-purpose flour 1/3 cup matcha (green tea powder) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) cannabutter, slightly softened 1 cup (215 grams) granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup half-and-half Mini-cupcake baking sheet Mini-cupcake liners Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add flour, matcha, baking powder and salt in a bowl and sift together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar and cannabutter with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium-high speed (paddle attachment) until fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time on medium speed. Add vanilla; beat on medium speed just until combined. Add about half of the flour mixture and stir gently to combine. Add the halfand-half; stir gently to combine. Add the remaining flour and fold in gently until combined. Line a mini-cupcake baking pan with mini-cupcake liners and fill each 3/4 full. Bake 8-9 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean, or until just set. (Don’t overcook; the cupcakes will continue to cook in the pan as they cool down.) Rest cupcakes 10 minutes in the baking sheet, then cool completely on a wire rack until ready to frost. Cannabuttercream frosting 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) cannabutter, slightly softened 1 1/2 cups (165 grams) powdered sugar, sifted 1/4 cup matcha (green tea powder) 2 tablespoons half-and-half 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Sift together matcha and powdered sugar and set aside. Cream the cannabutter with an electric mixer or stand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar/matcha mixture 1/4 cup at a time until combined and smooth. Gently beat in half-and-half and vanilla. If not using immediately, refrigerate; restore the buttercream to room temperature before using.

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TRAVEL

Makings of a Mecca

THE CREATIVE HIVE IN ARKANSAS’S NORTHWEST CORNER IS BUZZING, AND A DESTINATION FOR ART, FOOD AND NATURE LOVERS.

THIRTY-SIX HOURS IN NWA: See compelling art at the 21c Museum Hotel (top left) and marvel at feats of aviation at the Louise Thaden Fieldhouse (top right), grab farm-fresh grub at The Farmer’s Table (bottom left) and sip the beer or the barley at Puritan Coffee & Beer (bottom right).

STEPHANIE SMITTLE STEPHANIE SMITTLE

IRONSIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

STEPHANIE SMITTLE

BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE

A

sk five Northwest Arkansans what they most closely identify with local culture, and you’ll get five different answers: Arkansas Razorback sports. Epic cycling trails. Walmart founder/regional benefactor Sam Walton, maybe, or the mighty Buffalo, America’s first national river. There’s a magnetism specific to the lush, sweeping southern Ozarks, where the Boston Mountains support rolling plateaus, and whatever has drawn people to them, it’s kept them there. Northwest Arkansas’s population, much of it lured here by the business interests of Fortune 500 companies like Walmart and Tyson Foods, boomed over the last three decades, and with that growth came artistic (and artisan) riches in all forms: world-class art, a regional symphony, creperies, chocolateries, High South culinary ventures, niche theater troupes and a proliferation of craft breweries. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 79


ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD MUSEUM

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SMALL BATCH: Onyx Coffee Lab caffeinates the Northwest Arkansas masses.

AESOP TO ZORA NEALE HURSTON: Dickson Street Bookshop (above) and Nightbird Books are a bookworm’s garden.

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ARKANSAS TIMES

Here’s a schedule for 36 hours in the Ozarks: FRIDAY IN FAYETTEVILLE Get lost in the stacks A tenth of a mile separates two of the best independent bookstores in Arkansas, both hefty on inspiration and light on the wallet. The stalwart Dickson Street Bookshop (325 W. Dickson St., 479-442-8182), a 40-year-old Fayetteville fixture on the main cultural thoroughfare in town, is a dusty, boundless labyrinth of used and rare finds where the bookkeepers are always ready to talk shop. Around the corner at Nightbird Books, (205 W. Dickson St., 479-4432080) you’ll find volumes of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Black Panther” series mere feet away from cookbook displays and a copy of Allan Zola Kronzek’s “Grandpa Magic.” Don’t overlook the floor-to-ceiling octagonal birdcage, the store’s namesake pets fluttering around inside. Sip on the bean or the barley A Friday afternoon on vacation is no time to waffle about whether to caffeinate or imbibe; Puritan Coffee & Beer (205 W. Dickson St., 479-301-2365) settles this debate. An elevated patio affords taproom patrons an eagle’s-eye view of bustling Dickson Street, and purist delights like espresso come with notes on bean origin, process method and the brew’s palate. Twenty-plus craft beers make up the ever-revolving draft menu, and rotate so quickly the taps are each flagged with a clip-on index card. Those bulging black vacuum-sealed cubes of coffee stacked on the Puritan shelves? Those come from Onyx Coffee Lab (2418 N. Gregg Ave., 479-444-6557), the mad scientists of

Northwest Arkansas coffee culture. Onyx takes its craft dead seriously: A Day of the Dead-style skull print in the restroom hisses the words “Small Batch,” and the origin story on the Onyx website is a stultifying 1,600-word manifesto. Check out the “Adventure” section of the coffee menu, where you’ll find brews accented with bone broth, activated charcoal and black salt. Dine at a beloved Fayetteville dive Anyone who ever lived in downtown Fayetteville long enough to have paid a month’s rent can likely still rattle off their go-to dish at Hugo’s (25½ N. Block Ave., 479-521-7585), the venerable below-ground cafe at the eastern end of the Campus Corridor. Once a typewriter shop and still a cavernous basement, Hugo’s specializes in dynamite Angus burgers cooked as rare as you fancy, hand-cut fries and house-made quiche. Let your eyes adjust to the red glow emanating from the neon signs on the basement walls, order something strong from the bar and finish things off with the minty Grasshopper Crepes. Or, if Razorback fans are swarming into town for a Saturday game and restaurant lines on Dickson Street are dozens of day-drinkers deep, consider paying homage to a Fayetteville institution, Herman’s Ribhouse (2901 N. College Ave., 479-442-9671). Since 1964, it’s been covering every inch of the joint’s red-and-white checkered tabletops with platters of criminally tender dry-rub ribs, behemoth bone-in ribeye steaks and shrimp remoulade, all accompanied by a dish of saltine crackers for dipping into the signature house salsa.


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MAJESTIC FOR MUSIC: The NWA music scene is blossoming, and George’s is one of its oldest live music venues.

Nightcap at the Smoke & Barrel Chances are you won’t saunter into the Smoke & Barrel Tavern (324 W. Dickson St., Ste. 2, 479-521-6880) by accident, given its off-Dickson real estate. With dirt-cheap drink specials, a 2 a.m. closing time and enough whiskey varieties to furnish a tasting session among friends (or to fuel a barrage of bad decisions), the clandestine pool hall is a favorite of employees of Fayetteville’s thriving service industry. Keep your eyes peeled, too, for posters advertising the live music schedule across the street at George’s Majestic Lounge (519 W. Dickson St., 479-5276618), a longtime platform for compelling performances from local and touring musicians alike and home to an archive of University of Arkansas yearbooks dating back to 1907.

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Dickson Street Inn, Fayetteville The 10-room Dickson Street Inn (301 W. Dickson Street, 479-695-2100) is a Victorian house built in 1894, expanded and reimagined as a boutique bed and breakfast as a cultural boom sprang up around it. A wrap-around front porch and a patio deck overlook Dickson Street, and consistently inventive programming from the Walton Arts Center (495 W. Dickson Street, 479-443-5600) is a few footsteps away. Chancellor Hotel, Fayetteville Quaint and quirky it is not, but The Chancellor Hotel (70 N. East Ave., 479-442-5555) is your best bet for maximum privacy and for any fellow travelers who might crave the creature comforts of upscale lodging: iPod docks, flatscreen TVs, a gym. Plus, it’s situated perfectly between the Fayetteville Town Square and Dickson Street, leaving more than an evening’s worth of destinations within walking distance. Flamingo Springs Trailer Park Resort, Prairie Grove You’ll have to duck south of Fayetteville for it, but a stay at the 21+ Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort (15475 Greasy Valley Road, 479-8241021) is a destination unto itself. Six vintage Airstream trailers, each with a different theme (one’s a pitch-perfect shrine to TV’s “Friends”), are situated around an Astroturf-surrounded swimming pool in the middle of 50 acres of woodland. On your way back into town, pick up the best chocolate croissant in the region at Briar Rose Bakery & Deli (28 East Main St., Farmington, 479-300-6027), a sunny Bavarian-style cottage where the coffee bar features canisters of freshly whipped cream and an entire oven devoted to cinnamon rolls. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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BEAN TO BAR: Kyya Chocolate’s Elm Springs tasting room is a must.

SATURDAY MORNING Eat Arkansas for breakfast Since it opened in 2014, Fayetteville’s The Farmer’s Table Cafe (1079 S. School Ave., 479966-4125) has garnered deserved praise from the likes of Pharrell Williams, The Food Network and lifestyle guru P. Allen Smith. Maybe it’s because its meticulously crafted menu is so inextricably tied to the soil around it, channeling a wave of retail dollars into the pockets of Arkansas farmers. Or maybe it’s because it’s delicious. The three varieties of pancakes — sweet potato, coconut almond or the “War Eagle,” your standard ’cake — are the fluffy stuff of dreams, and the Ozark Huevos are an invitation to wedge the restaurant’s celebrated organic pinto beans with bone broth into the breakfast hour. Pit stop for chocolate A scenic detour to Elm Springs’ Kyya Chocolate (278 N. Elm St., 844-281-4470) affords you a reprieve from the highway through rolling hills and pastoral farmland, but it’s also a chance to sample bean-to-bar wares like caramel bonbons and Ugandan chocolate bars infused with cinnamon, pretzel bits or Kenyan coffee. Take to the sky in East Bentonville In 1929, aviatrix and Bentonville native Louise Thaden broke the women’s record for endurance with a flight lasting 22 hours, 3 minutes and 12 seconds. Ninety years later, there’s Louise Thaden Field (2205 S.W. I St., 479-2540817), a sleek airfield alongside Lake Bentonville. The site is home to a flight school and a diner, and serves as a hub for the local flying club. Book a 30-minute “Discovery Flight” on a Cessna 150/172, stroll along the lakeside patio, or snap a photo with the candy apple red F2G-1 Super Corsair parked in the hangar lobby.

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STEPHANIE SMITTLE

KYYA CHOCOLATE

STEPHANIE SMITTLE

LET WOMEN FLY: The Thaden Fieldhouse pays homage to Bentonville native and aviation pioneer Louise Thaden.

PORCINE AND DIVINE: Tusk & Trotter makes no bones about celebrating the butcher’s process.

Grab a handheld Once a cult-favorite food truck, Bentonville’s Crepes Paulette (100 S.W. 8th St., 479-2501110) is now a brick-and-mortar spot near the Bentonville Town Square. Part eatery, part food performance, the creperie-side window lets you watch as the paper-thin crisps are formed on the griddle and then stuffed with things like Black Forest ham and Tillamook sharp cheddar — or, on the sweet side, apple butter, raspberry jam or Reese’s peanut butter chips. SATURDAY AFTERNOON Take the art trail to a world-class art museum Hit the Art Trail for a 20-minute walk from downtown Bentonville to one of the finest and fiercest museums in the American South, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (600 Museum Way, 479-418-5700). The 120-acre museum park boasts free admission to its permanent collection, with works from early American masters to modernists like Jackson Pollock and contemporary artists like Kara Walker, as well as temporary exhibitions designed to challenge and provoke the viewer. That’s to say nothing of the surrounding network of trails, or the museum’s architectural acquisitions — a Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright house and a 50-foot “Fly’s Eye Dome” by renowned inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, for example. In the unlikely event you leave feeling like you’ve not seen everything there is to see, head over to the Museum of Native American History (202 S.W. O St., 479-273-2456), where you’ll find a 14,000-year span of archives and artifacts.

SATURDAY NIGHT Embrace the hive mind at 21c Museum Hotel A 1962 Fleetwood Cadillac limousine covered entirely in coins and giant penguin figurines lead the way into this hybrid hotel, restaurant and art museum in Bentonville. Its restaurant, The Hive (200 N.E. A Street, 479-286-6575), is a two-forks, two-knives sort of eatery, with a modern bee-themed art installation. Dinner is accompanied by thoughtful touches — a housemade cornbread with sorghum butter alongside the meal, a whimsical tuft of cotton candy presented in a vase at the diner’s departure. Or, trade the hive for the holy and order up steak frites with chimichurri at The Preacher’s Son (201 N.W. A Street, 479-445-6065), a stellar upscale American restaurant situated within a former church. You’ll dine in light refracted by stunning glass from artist George Dombek, under a grid of 288 5-inch gold church bells. SUNDAY MORNING Go, hogs, go Your best bet for Sunday brunch in Bentonville is Tusk & Trotter (110 S.E. A St., 479-268-4494), a corner gastropub in downtown Bentonville that not only sources its ingredients locally, but makes no bones about celebrating the more visceral parts of the butcher’s process, with house-made pork rinds and a gargantuan mural of a pig fragmented into its edible parts. Order the house-made sodas, the Carrot Cake Waffle, or the brasserie’s That’s Belly Bovine, a set of braised pork belly cubes arranged atop a marrow-filled bone, with whipped potatoes, pickled vegetables and a smoked jowl/fig gastrique.


Arkansas Times local ticketing: CentralArkansasTickets.com

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Four Quarter Bar The Reverend Horton Heat

South on Main Sessions :: Jazz in July All Stars MarQuis & MOOD

South on Main Trap Jazz Giants

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South on Main Sessions :: Jazz in July All Stars Ted Ludwig Trio

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The Mixing Room Preservation Conversation: Roofing Historic Buildings with Bray Sheet Metal

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The Studio Theatre Mamma Mia the Musical

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South on Main SOMA After Dark featuring SeanFresh

Main Street Mall 80’s Mall Party

South on Main Sessions :: Jazz in July All Stars John Bush

South on Main Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound

South on Main Sessions :: Jazz in July All Stars Cameron Ross

South on Main Sessions :: Jazz in July All Stars Surprise Guests

Go to CentralArkansasTickets.com to purchase these tickets and more! Arkansas Times local ticketing site! If you’re a non-profit, freestanding venue or business selling tickets thru eventbrite or another national seller – email us phyllis@arktimes.com or hannah@arktimes.com – we’re local, independent and offer a marketing package!

LOCAL TICKETS, ONE PLACE ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 83


AARON BREWER

A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION BY OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT AND VISIT HOT SPRINGS

JULY 4TH

INDEPENDENCE DAY FIREWORKS SHOW

LOCATION: Lake Hamilton Highway 7 South Bridge The annual free public Independence Day fireworks display on Lake Hamilton will be held Thursday, July 4, at dark. The fireworks will be shot from the middle of Lake Hamilton from barges located on the east side of Highway 7 at the first state Highway 7 bridge opposite the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The fireworks will be synched with music again this year on radio station 97.5 FM US97 when you watch the display. Visit Hot Springs will sponsor the free show. Those who want to watch the pyrotechnics display from the water are urged to keep a safe distance from the launching area and keep watch for fellow boaters. In case of rain, the fireworks will be rescheduled for the evening of Saturday, July 6. 84 JULY 2019

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JULY 4TH

THE RED, WHITE & YOU PICNIC IN THE PARK­—FAMILY-FOCUSED OLD-FASHIONED PATRIOTIC PICNIC

Free admission LOCATION: Arlington Park, Hot Springs National Park Join this family-friendly, old-fashioned July 4th celebration in Hot Springs National Park. Come and enjoy the free entertainment! Buy a sandwich and a cold drink, cotton candy and a Sno-Cone. Nominal charge for bounce house, tattoos and face painting. No charge to attend, but donations are encouraged. All proceeds benefit the restoration of the historic areas of the last bathhouse.

ALL MONTH LONG

MAGIC SPRINGS CONCERT SERIES JULY 6 “Muddfest 2019”

JULY 20 “ROOTS & BOOTS 90’S ELECTRIC THROWDOWN TOUR” JULY 27 ”KING & COUNTRY” Magic Springs Theme and Water Park, 1701 E. Grand Ave.


THE 8TH ANNUAL HOT SPRINGS FISHING CHALLENGE

More money. More fish. It’s back and it’s going to be the biggest ever! Seventy-one fish were tagged and released into the lakes by Visit Hot Springs’ partner, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Andrew Hulsey Fish Hatchery.  The event, which began May 1, runs through 5 p.m. July 31, and anyone who catches one of the tagged fish stands to win a prize. Clues will be given out in July about Big Al if he has not been caught by then. The prize fish will include this distribution: $15,000-1, $5,000-4, $1,000-46, $500-20. For additional information, call 501-321-2277.

It’s All New! ARKTIMES.COM

ALL MONTH LONG IN JULY

EST. 1988

MOVIES AT THE MARKET

Movies at the Market is a free outdoor movie series that will be held every Thursday. The movies are screened at sunset in the Farmers Market, 121 Orange St., next to Transportation Plaza. Visit  weather.com for the sunset time each Thursday. The audience is allowed to enter the venue starting at 7:30 p.m. Picnics are welcome, but glass containers are prohibited. Popcorn, soft drinks, candy and other snacks are available for purchase. Movies at the Market is sponsored by Visit Hot Springs and the Hot Springs Young Professionals. 

MOVIE SCHEDULE June 27

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”

Sponsored by Diamond Gymnastics Academy July 11

“RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET” Sponsored by the Diamond Lakes Travel Association

BEST MEXICAN FOOD AROUND THE STATE (HOT SPRINGS) BEST MEXICAN FOOD (LITTLE ROCK)

Serving up the BEST MEXICAN FOOD in Central Arkansas year after year.

Little Rock • Benton • Hot Springs

lahamex.com ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION BY OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT AND VISIT HOT SPRINGS

JULY 16

NORTHWOODS FULL MOON RIDE

JULY 18-21

2019 VULCAN U.S. NATIONAL INDOOR PICKLEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

LOCATION: Bank OZK Arena The VULCAN U.S. National Indoor Pickleball Championships is a tournament for pickleball players of all levels and ages. With air-conditioned courts for tournament play, skill challenges and clinics available, this championship is the perfect competition to add to your vacation.

LOCATION: Northwoods Trailhead , 300 Pineland Drive Do you want to howl at the moon with the Northwoods crew? Shred Valkyrie and Blue Jay by the light of the full moon? Well, turns out you’ll have 10 chances to join us on a monthly FULL MOON GROUP RIDE in the Northwoods. Who: All mountain bikers/All skill levels What: Full Moon Rides Where: Northwoods, Waterworks Trailhead When: 6 p.m. How much: Free Why: Full moons are awesome and mountain bikes are, too. *Contingent on weather, follow Northwoods Trails —Hot Springs Trail Conditions group for weather updates!

JULY AT OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT

Oaklawn’s 28th Annual Spa Blast in Oaklawn’s Infield is Wednesday, July 3, at 5 p.m.

SILKS BAR & GRILL:

Live Music every Friday and Saturday 10 p.m.-2 a.m. June 28-29 The ShotGunBillys July 5-6 Mayday by Midnight July 12-13 Brent Frazier Band July 19-20 The Electric 5 July 26-27 Big Shane Thornton

GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME

LOCATION: Superior Bathhouse Brewery The thermal spring water we use to brew our unique craft beers at Superior Bathhouse Brewery took its sweet time getting to us and that’s why we think it’s the best water in Arkansas and makes the best beer. Each drop of mineral-rich spring water that we use has been on a 4,000-year journey before being carefully crafted into amazing beer. Every sip tells the story of this special place and its rich history. Come experience the best part of the journey for yourself and see why beer tastes better in the park! 329 Central Ave., Hot Springs National Park. 501.624.2337.

SQZBX BREWERY & PIZZA JOINT

The beer list at SQZBX is a perfect fit for the Arkansas summer that lies ahead! Beers are served in custom glassware: 1/4 liter ($4), 1/2 liter ($7), pitcher ($15), growler ($16, adding another possible stop to your list of Sunday beer purveyors in Hot Springs) or by the flight (four brews for $6). 236 Ouachita Ave., Hot Springs National Park. 501-6090609.

JULY 3: COUNTRY MUSIC ICON LEE GREENWOOD HEADLINES SPA BLAST Gates will open at 5 p.m. and Greenwood will take the stage at 8 p.m. Following his performance will be one of the region’s largest fireworks displays (approximately 9:30 p.m.). Sharing the stage with Greenwood will be Natalie Stovall and the Drive, who will perform at 6 p.m.

In addition to the live music, this free, familyfriendly event will feature food, drinks, a petting zoo, a gigantic Kids Zone with a rock wall and a misting tent. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, but no coolers or drones will be allowed. 86 JULY 2019

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CHICK-TAC-TOE at Oaklawn every Monday,

Wednesday and Saturday from noon-10 p.m. Guests can play Tic-Tac-Toe against a real chicken for 10 points the first time. Guests can earn additional plays for every 50 points with a max of 3 additional plays.

WELDON’S MEAT MARKET

This Fourth of July, go to Weldon’s Meat Market for the best meats in Arkansas. 911 Central Ave., Hot Springs National Park. 501-525-2487.


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2018

CAPO’S TACOS: BODY BY TACOS

Today the dream is a reality! Capo’s is a vibrant, fun place to hang out and eat awesome tacos, burritos, tortas or anything else on our menu, all made from scratch with premium ingredients like Angus ribeye, free-range chicken and homemade tortillas. Our tacos are a steal at around $3. Don’t forget to try our signature mixed drinks and ENJOY! 200 Higdon Ferry Road, Hot Springs National Park. 501-623-TACO.

“W e w ou ld like to tha nk ea ch a nd every one ofou r SEA FO O D ,PA STA D ISH ES A N cu stom ers for the la steightw ond erfu l yea rs.O u r fa m ilies look forw a rd to ha ving you enjoy m a ny m ore yea rs of m em ora ble fa m ily m om ents a tthe Bleu M onkey G rill ~”ZERS,SO U A PPETI “W e w ou ld like to t~haThe nkOeasegu chSEA a andFaFO ever ofSo er m ily OyDone ,PA s for the la steightw ond erfu l yea rs.O u r fa C o m e a nd enjo y o ucur Nst EWommer enu look f or w!a rd to ha ving you enj a ny meore yea r Toy hemUlt im at w ith a d d ed G lu ten Free o ptio ns FineM onkey G r m em ora ble fa m ily m om ents a tthein Bleu “W e w ou ld like to tha nk ea ch a 4253 Central Avenue (Next to La Quinta Inn & Suites) Fam ily Dining! ~ The O segu era cu stom ers for the la steightw ond e R E A D E R ’S 501.520.4800 • www.bleumonkeygrill.com C H O IC E C o m e a nd enjo y o u r N EW m enu look forw a rd to ha ving you enjoy B E ST w i t h a d d ed G l u t en Fr ee o pt o ns ! fa m ily m om ents a tTthe A P P E T IZ E R m em ior a ble he “W e w ou ld like cu stom ers forFam the 2 0 18 R E A D E R ’S C o m e a nd enjo y o u r N EW m enu look forw a rd to C H O IC E w ith a d d ed G lu ten Free o ptor io ns ! fa m il B E ST m em a ble A P P E T IZ E R

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We Have The #1 Customers In The State!

R E A D E AROUND R ’S THE STATE:C o m e a nd enjo y o u r N C H O ICBEST E BUSINESS LUNCH

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

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R E A D E R ’S C H O IC E

BEST RESTAURANT IN B E ST HOT SPRINGS 4253 C entra lA venue

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YOUR FOURTH OF JULY COOKOUT STARTS HERE! SINCE 1981

LA HACIENDA

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We have 11 lunch specials to choose from priced at $6.25 to $8.99 and made fresh just for you!! Tuesday’s imported beers are $2.50 all day and Wednesday’s margaritas are $5.99. 3836 Central Ave., Hot Springs National Park. 501-525-8203.

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’S MEAT MARK N O D EL“QUALITY TELLS, QUALITY SELLS” ET BEST BUTCHER AROUND THE STATE

EVERYTHING IS CUT TO YOUR SPECIFICATION, AND WE’RE BIG ON CUSTOMER SERVICE!

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3911 CENTRAL AVE. • HOT SPRINGS • (501) 525-2487

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THE PATIO IS OPEN!

Join Rolando’s VIP Club and get a half price appetizer. Text ROLANDOS to 51660. Stay updated on exclusive offers! Rolando’s has Martini Monday, any liquor for $6.75, and Wine Down Wednesday on the patio, any glass of wine for $5 and a bottle for $20! 210 Central Ave., Hot Springs National Park. 501-318-6054. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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Salsa Dancing

Tuesdays and Fridays

Starts with a one-hour lesson, no partner or experience required

Event Venue

Corporate Events, Weddings, Birthday Parties, Christmas Parties, And More

614 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock Facebook/club27lr www.club27lr.com

CARING FOR YOUR HEALTH…FIRST

Our doctors are all board certified in Gastroenterology and have created a healing medical practice with a caring atmosphere, informative staff and the latest in technology. At Premier Gastroenterology you’re not just a name on a chart. Medical expertise should go hand-in-hand with compassionate care, and we take great pride in providing you with the same type of personal attention we would want for our own family members. Premier is known for treating our patients with kindness, empathy and attentiveness - attributes that go a long way in putting you at ease and making your experience at Premier a great one. You’re going to love being part of the Premier family.

A PREMIER NEW LOCATION FOR OUR PATIENTS

Our new facility, Premier Medical Plaza, will open this fall at 10901 Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock and will be home to our clinic and our new state of the art surgery center.

10001 LILE DR., STE. 200 • LITTLE ROCK • (501) 747-2828 • WWW.PGALR.COM 88 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES


HISTORY

A Wired Hot Springs GAMBLING HAS DEFINED THE CITY SINCE THE 1920S. BY DAVID HILL

There was a wire running to the south which left the Ritter Hotel. The first tie-in was a Western Union pole, and then it proceeded down the alley on the side of the building riding the top of the Rumor Motel or hotel, and then there was a drop in there to the Blue Ribbon Club. We traced the Blue Ribbon Club wire from the inside to the outside tying into this wire. It went on down to the Citizens Club, which is approximately a half block, and then it crossed over the top of the buildings, crossing on the east side of Central Avenue, on the Spencer Building, which is, I believe, about four or five stories high. The wires went over the top of it. ‘We could trace it from the edge of the building over to the Pensioners Club, which is about a block, maybe, to the south...It crossed by hanging onto an old tin building, then onto Arkansas Power & Light Co. poles, then across from the depot, the Missouri Pacific depot tracks, I believe on three Western Union poles, then over to a Bell Telephone pole, then to the buildings, tracing up to Tim’s Place...It was twisted in a haphazard manner all the way through.

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his testimony from IRS agent Michael Connaughton in 1961 to a U.S. Senate committee investigating gambling and organized crime went on like this for many more minutes, describing how this wire was twisted around nails and wrapped around tree branches. Senators asked him about the type of wire that was used, how far it hung over the streets, and what kind of current ran through it. U.S. senators were fixated on the wire, which ran for hundreds of yards all over downtown Hot Springs in the 1950s and early 1960s, because they believed it was carrying information about the results of horse races and delivering that information to gambling shops. And while these shops were paying taxes to the IRS as well as the city of Hot Springs, they were possibly in violation of federal anti-gambling laws. And if they weren’t, then Congress was considering passing new laws to make it so they were. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

JULY 2019 89


LITTLE ROCK’S LEADING PEST CONTROL EXPERTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS

Time to treat for summer pests: termites, ants, spiders, cockroaches, fleas & ticks. FREE PEST CONTROL ESTIMATE Call Today! (501)753-2727 • www.arkansaspest.com

$9.00 RIVERDALE 10 VIP CINEMA 2600 CANTRELL RD

BOOKKEEPER POSITION

ARKANSAS TIMES is now hiring a full-time bookkeeper. The ideal candidate will have experience processing Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Payroll; and must have a working knowledge of basic accounting software and Excel. Duties will include the following: ACCOUNTS PAYABLE: 1) Coding, entry and filing of vendor invoices. 2) Processing weekly vendor checks. 3) W-9 and 1099 management.

REINERT’S 1989 DOCUMENTARY

FOR ALL MANKIND

TUESDAY 7/16. 7 P.M.

For this screening, we’ve invited some panelists to talk shop with us: NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and UA Little Rock lab technician Darrell Heath; Bruce McMath of the Arkansas Natural Sky Association and Central Arkansas Astronomical Society; Dr. Tony Hall of UA Little Rock’s Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Dr. Linda Williams, former NASA employee and director of Science Cafe Little Rock. Omaya Jones, curator and director of the Arkansas Times Film Series, moderates the post-film discussion.

501.296.9955 | RIVERDALE10.COM ELECTRIC RECLINER SEATS AND RESERVED SEATING

90 JULY 2019

ARKANSAS TIMES

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE: 1) Printing and mailing of customer invoices and statements. 2) Processing daily cash receipts. 3) Collection of past due invoices. 4) Customer and Media database management. PAYROLL: 1) Processing semi-monthly payroll. 2) Calculation and processing of monthly commissions. 3) Preparation of payroll tax returns – monthly, quarterly and annual. 4) New hire orientation. OFFICE MANAGEMENT: 1) Management of office supply inventory. 2) Minimal reception duties. Please send your resume to weldon@arktimes.com or call 501-375-2985 for more information.

In 2018, Arkansas voters approved a measure to bring full-scale, live commercial casinos to the state, as well as sports betting at those facilities. The first legal sportsbooks are likely to soon open at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs and Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis. With these two sportsbooks, Arkansas will join a wave of states that, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, have turned to sports betting as a way to bring in new tax revenue. It makes sense, given that some estimates put the amount of money Americans bet each year with offshore

Robert Kennedy tried to shut down the race wire. or local bookies in the hundreds of billions of dollars. That’s money that has only grown year after year, despite the U.S. government’s varied attempts to squelch illegal bookmaking with an effort that was perhaps at its most intense in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Robert Kennedy, first as counsel to a Senate committee and later as attorney general, tried to shut down the race wire, which he believed had largely fueled organized crime’s fortunes. He made shutting the wire down his mission, and that mission brought Kennedy and the FBI to Arkansas more than once. The wire was the direct line of communication between the racetracks around the country and the bookmakers in any city. The owners of the wire service paid the racetracks for exclusive access to the results of the races, or kept runners at the tracks near payphones to call in the results. Those results were sent out over leased Western Union telegraph wires that crisscrossed America. Local bookies paid big money, sometimes as much as $4,000 or $5,000 a week, for access to the results. The information was valuable because having the results instantly meant you could book more action in a day. Gamblers didn’t want to wait for the next day’s papers to come out to get paid. They wanted to know if they’d hit a race before making a bet on the next one. In a big city, you might have had a hundred bookies paying for that wire every week. It was a good business, and it wasn’t built by the mob. It was originally built by the newspaper tycoon Walter Annenberg. But the mobster Meyer Lansky was quick to understand how crucial the wire was to the gambling business. He believed the mob’s future lay in gambling, but rather than being bookmakers, the mob would control the bookmaker’s access to the information they needed. If they could do that, they would con-


5924 R Street • Little Rock • 501.664.3062

30-75% OFF!

30-75% IT’S OUR ANNUAL OFF!

trol the bookmakers themselves. Because once you controlled the wire, you could shut a bookSALE STARTS maker down by literally flipping a switch. From JULY 1ST Miami to Los Angeles and all the way down in SALE STARTS SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS STOREWIDE! JULY 1ST Hot Springs, that kind of power could make you the boss. And you didn’t need to pay off any judges or win any big city-wide elections. You didn’t even have to kill anyone. (Though they did need to kill a few people to get control of it.) EVERY ITEM After Annenberg died in 1942, the Chicago IN THE STORE IS EVERY ITEM IT’S OUR ANNUAL mob approached the man who inherited the IN THE STORE IS ON SALE! wire service, James Ragen, to see if he’d sell it to IT’S OUR ANNUAL ON SALE! them. He refused, and was later gunned down Shop early for the best selection. in his car in broad daylight. Ragen survived that Shop early for the 5924 R Street • Little Rock • 501.664.3062 SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS STOREWIDE! best selection. attack, only to die later after someone snuck SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS STOREWIDE! into his hotel room and jammed a fistful of bichloride mercury tablets into his mouth. Hot Springs had been a wide open gambling town since the election of Leo McLaughlin as mayor in 1927, and by 1961 had grown to become a bustling tourist resort with millions of visitors every year. In addition to over a dozen casinos operating in Hot Springs, there were more than has a position open in Advertising Sales. If you have sales experience half a dozen standalone sportsbooks that took bets on horse races and sporting events, all deand enjoy the fast paced, crazy world of advertising sales we’d like spite the fact that gambling was technically illeto talk to you. gal in Arkansas. But nobody in the state seemed to mind. Rich and powerful people in Arkansas frequented the city’s nightclubs and casinos to We have a variety of print and digital products as well as special focus watch entertainers from all over the world and SALE STARTS publications that we publish and that translates into a high-income rub elbows with famous people. JULY 1ST The sportsbooks of Hot Springs had always potential for a hard working advertising executive. Additionally we received their results from Annenberg’s wire service through an office in New Orleans. After have regular events (parties) that offer sales sponsorship opportunities, the mob took control of the wire they turned and a great way to connect to our community of readers and fans. the New Orleans office over to the mobster Carlos Marcello, who used it to try to muscle his way into the Hot Springs gambling business, We have fun, but we work hard. Fast paced and self-motivated the same as other mobsters had done in cities individuals are encouraged to apply. If you have ITEM a dynamic energetic all over America. But Hot Springs was being EVERY watched over by Owney “The Killer” Madden. personality, we’d like IN to talk to you. IS Once one of the most powerful crime bosses in THE STORE IT’S OUR ANNUAL New York City, owner of the famed Cotton Club ON SALE! and king of “Rum Row,” Madden was now 70 years old and living in near-retirement in the PLEASE SEND YOUR RESUME TO for the Shop early freewheeling Arkansas resort. He appealed to the top underworld brass in Chicago to back off best selection. PHYLLIS BRITTON, Marcello and his goons, and they did. Madden, SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS STOREWIDE! PHYLLIS@ARKTIMES.COM. in turn, built his own wire service, the handiwork of which was the subject of much congressional testimony in 1961. The bookies and gambling shops of Hot Springs paid Madden $150 a week for access to his results. He even supplied information to bookies in other parts of Arkansas, including to June Lytle, who was one of Little Rock’s top bookmakers, and to bookies as far away as Fort Smith. One Arkansas bookmaker that didn’t buy his results from Owney Madden in Hot Springs was Barney Levine. Levine was the owner of the Westwood Club, Little Rock’s finest underground gambling club, located on the outskirts of town toward the Hot Springs highway. In the back of the Westwood, he kept a wire room where he received his own results and a bank of telephones where he made and received bets. Pick up your signed copy of Only Levine wasn’t booking action with locals like June Lytle. Levine was one of the three top “layoff men” in the United States. He took calls from other bookmakers who were too heavily invested in one side of a bet, looking to balance at Wordsworth Books. their action with a big bet on the other side. Levine would oblige them with those big bets. Open 10 AM - 6 PM Monday - Saturday, 12-5 PM Sunday Because he was so attuned to where the money 5920 R St, Little Rock • 501-663-9198 • www.wordsworthbookstore.com was being bet all over America, he was an im-

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ARKANSAS TIMES

The Education of Ernie Dumas Chronicles of the Arkansas Political Mind

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OWNEY ‘THE KILLER’ MADDEN: Bookies paid the Cotton Club owner, in retirement at Hot Springs, $150 a week for access to race results.

portant asset to Leo Hirschfield, the Minneapolis handicapper whose morning lines on sports and horses were considered the gold standard and copied by bookies everywhere who paid to subscribe to his service. Hirschfield would check in regularly with Levine, and then use that information to sharpen his morning dispatch. After Winthrop Rockefeller was elected governor in 1966, he set out to shut down illegal gambling in Arkansas, something that had stymied nearly all of his predecessors. He hired a former FBI agent named Lynn Davis to run the State Police and to take charge of the operation. Davis succeeded in shutting down the gambling industry in Hot Springs by confiscating equipment, burning it and burying what was left 20 feet underground. In Little Rock, he raided the Westwood and arrested Barney Levine, but Levine’s charge was reduced by Circuit Judge William Kirby to a misdemeanor and Levine was released, a testament to the gambling bosses’ political capital in Arkansas, even in the late 1960s. Davis made an angry speech criticizing Kirby and the justice system for going soft on the gamblers and allowing the business to continue to flourish in violation of the law. Shortly after making the speech, Davis was hauled into Kirby’s courtroom himself and asked to name the informant that tipped him off about when to raid the gambling clubs. Davis refused, and Kirby had the officer thrown in jail for contempt. In the end, State Police Commander Davis spent more time in jail than any of the gambling bosses of Arkansas he arrested. It confounded even the governor himself, who remarked, “It seems rather odd to me that the only people who see the inside of our jails are the reporters who report the facts and the officers who try to enforce the laws regarding gambling.”

In December 1967, a 34-year-old named Zakar Garoogian was arrested in Texas for burglary, and he offered the authorities information he thought might get him out of a jam. He told them that gambling leaders in Arkansas had hired him to sabotage Governor Rockefeller’s private airplane. Garoogian passed a number of polygraph tests and the FBI got involved. Perhaps the story carried some resonance with law enforcement because in August of that year the governor’s plane nearly crashed in Memphis after some kind of bar was wedged into the landing gear to prevent it from functioning. Three months later during a routine inspection, another of his planes was found to have been tampered with. Rockefeller later called both of these instances “sabotage.” In the end, the wires all came down. Congress passed a number of laws throughout the 1960s to curtail the power of organized crime, including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. In Hot Springs, various club owners and local political leaders’ homes were bombed by rival gambling factions. Though Hot Springs was one of the last bastions of illegal gambling and considered by the U.S. government to be the “largest illegal gambling operation in the United States,” the club owners and bookmakers eventually saw the writing on the wall. If keeping the wires going meant surviving bomb attacks while having the juice to get the state police chief hauled in jail or the governor assassinated, then perhaps the cost of doing business had just grown too high. By the time Rockefeller died in 1973 (peacefully, in his own bed, of natural causes) the oncemighty illegal gambling racket in Arkansas had vanished. The wire’s switch had been flipped for good.


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BUZZ CUT

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100 Swimmer Torres with 12 Olympic medals 101 “____ miracle!” 102 Mideast land: Abbr. 103 Mideast land 104 Klutz 106 Easy question to answer 108 Stick on a Christmas tree 112 Actor with a famous side kick 114 Coat-of-arms border 115 Physics unit 116 Born 119 Additionally 120 “Our driveway has been incredibly slippery since the storm!”? 124 Shambles 125 Shaw of 1930s-’40s swing 126 Gawk at 127 Title role in a Christmas opera 128 “The Cherry Orchard” daughter 129 Hoarse 130 Blender sound 131 Small iPods

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Ruth Bloomfield Margolin, of Westfield, N.J., began constructing crosswords after having an ‘‘I can do that!’’ reaction to a puzzle she solved. It took some time (and a couple of what she calls ‘‘polite rejections’’) before she got her first acceptance. This is now her 10th crossword for The Times. In her nonpuzzling life, Ruth holds leadership positions on several community nonprofit boards and tutors in an adult literacy program. — W.S.

1 Mythical hunter 6 Curmudgeon 10 Famous Musketeer 15 Crack 19 Glowing reminder 20 Houston university 21 Bond-film staple 22 “Other people,” per Sartre 23 Facebook friends weighing in on the new bellybutton ring? 26 Gymnast Korbut 27 Flat pancake filling? 28 Custodian’s need 29 Woodwind category 30 Cellphone user’s choice 32 When something goes live 35 Fish dish 36 Dr.’s order 37 Princess who makes a plea via a hologram 39 Draw 40 Jacques of French comedy 42 Mozart’s “____ Pastore” 44 L’eggs brand bikini? 48 Typical fan of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” 51 Blue material 52 Arafat’s grp. 53 Nickname of a 2010s pop idol, with “the” 55 Valerie Harper title role 56 Extension of a chicken breast 59 “Git!” 61 “Interviewer” who asked Buzz Aldrin whether people on the moon were friendly 62 Scientific inquiry? 65 Family nickname 67 Bugs and Thumper 69 End of an ____ 70 Final scene of “Antony and Cleopatra”? 74 Speak lovingly 75 1979 World Series opponents of the 63-Downs 77 Big-spending demographic group 78 South end? 79 Lake in “Casino Royale” 80 Axes 84 Competitive video gaming 86 It routinely goes off when you’re out 88 Seethe 89 3-D measurement: Abbr. 90 Illusory illustration 94 Camper without a camper, say 96 Like a confirmed peacenik?

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1 ____ vu 2 Shock jock Don 3 Scrape 4 Marshal at Waterloo 5 It may be carried by the wind 6 Puzzling 7 Agua source 8 Honda line 9 Hat for un artiste 10 Anything but basic 11 Alternative to café 12 Brew made from apples 13 Famous grouch 14 Get the job done 15 Class with drills 16 Parent’s fervent prayer to the school nurse? 17 Fish-tank film 18 Vanilla 24 Loud 25 Katniss’s partner in “The Hunger Games” 31 Famed acting coach Stella 33 Animal with a prehensile snout 34 Reinforces, as convictions

35 Seneca, philosophically 37 Relative of Inc. 38 Ram dam 41 Police dept. alerts 43 New-joint joint? 45 “It depends on my schedule” 46 Actress Glazer of “Broad City” 47 Away 49 Job in media 50 Teases 54 Latin quarter 57 Provide essential info to 58 Group of mountains 60 Atomic clock timekeeper 62 One into jive 63 1979 World Series opponent of the 75-Across 64 Like a sick baby? 66 Ice-cream eponym 68 Greatest-hits opener 71 Tortilla española ingredient 72 Printer brand 73 Loudly commend 76 Main line 81 ABCs 82 Cry too much, say 83 Stitches

85 Nestle 87 Blend 91 Like the Kardashians, ethnically 92 Pioneer in color TV 93 Pin number? 95 Training wheels? 97 Mother-of-pearl 98 Part of a long travel day, maybe 99 Milk from una vaca 104 Author of the 2018 best seller “Becoming” 105 “The Wizard of Oz” composer Harold 107 Stiller’s comic partner 109 Permit 110 Sound on Old MacDonald’s farm 111 Mideast capital 113 ____ Nostra 114 Heed 117 NATO alphabet “E” 118 Slinky swimmers 121 Good thing coming to those who wait 122 Country music’s ____ Young Band 123 Singer Sumac


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THE OBSERVER

Beach Books

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nybody who knows The Observer knows that a personal hero of ours is John Douglas. He is the brilliant criminal profiler who created and managed the FBI’s serial killer-hunting Criminal Profiling Program, the elite group of detectives/warriors/monks within the FBI who attempt to understand and anticipate the worst crimes we’ve got a name for by getting inside the heads of the perpetrators and sloshing around in the snakes, centipedes and sticky, nightmarefuel thoughts that live there. The Observer was a weird little shit who has since grown into a weird old fart, and for several years there in our teens and 20s, serial killers happened to be one of the things in which we were interested — the real-life equivalent of the monsters that haunt the darkest fairy tales, and maybe even the original, unspeakable inspiration for the Big Bad Wolf and Rumpelstiltskin, the Wicked Queen and the Boogeyman, and all the other baddies that lurk in the darkness of closets and under kids’ beds when mom and dad say goodnight and the lights go out. Ask any cop or prosecutor why people kill, and you’ll hear about the sins human beings have been heir to all the way back to Cain, Abel and a stone: greed, rage or rivalry. But there are also those who walk outside the firelight, beyond the reach of simple motives and tidy classifications, those lurkers in the outer darkness who kill others because they feel compelled to do so. That quality makes them incredibly difficult to find and stop. We devoured every book we could lay our hands on about the subject in that strange, pre-internet world of our youth, when you actually had to work for your information instead of just Googlin’ it. As we did, Doug-

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las was one of the names we kept running across. The character of Jack Crawford, Clarice Starling’s boss in “The Silence of the Lambs,” was inspired by Douglas, if that tells you anything. In real life, Douglas spearheaded the FBI’s efforts to understand, lure out and catch a bloody roster of killers. He’d later go on to write “Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.” Half memoir and half procedural, the book details Douglas’ development of the monster-hunting techniques that have since been immortalized in film and pulp fiction. Right now, there’s a well-regarded Netflix show called “Mindhunter” that follows a character that’s a fictionalization of Douglas and his original partner at the FBI, the show tagging along as they travel the country on a tour of our finer Ironbar Hotels, interviewing and attempting to learn from chats with the worst of the worst. If you haven’t read the book or seen the show, and your constitution can bear it, you should. All this is related by way of explaining why The Observer went ahead and bought a rather raggedy paperback copy of Douglas’ “Mindhunter” from a used bookstore in Fayetteville when we were up there last winter, paying a couple of bucks for it before bringing the paperback home and adding it to the vast slush pile of novels, histories, mysteries and comedies in the parlor of The Observatory. We’ve been doing diligent pick-and-shovel duty on that pile for years now as we work at our quest to read every book on the planet or die trying, but despite our best efforts, the pile never seems to get smaller. A person without the itch to read and read some more might ask why we’d want to spend days of our finite life in the company of a book we’ve already read, albeit

years ago. Here’s the explanation: The words in the book don’t change, but The Observer does, and that changes the book. Magical, ain’t it? The paperback had worked its way to the top of the pile when The Observer and Spouse were on our way out the door to DeGray Lake a few weekends back, so we grabbed it and a few others and dropped them into the bag with the suntan lotion and our flip flops and towels. Arriving at the long, curving beach at Caddo Bend, where we’ll while away many weekend hours between now and September, we set up our chairs and our little six-pack ice chest and got ready to do nothing for a few hours other than drinking something cold in the sun while staring across the swimming area at the far shore, which somehow ranks in our mind as one of the world’s most pleasurable experiences. Sunglasses on and Spouse headed off to change, The Observer retrieved our paperback and cracked a cold one, then flipped open the book to dive in. And there, on a page just inside the cover, was a little paper label that had been signed by John Douglas, personalized to a doctor. We’ve since looked up Douglas’ signature online, and yep, it’s his, complete with Douglas’ standard autograph clincher of “Happy Hunting.” Sitting there in the sun, we stared at the surprise, The Observer thinking: Life is full of ugliness, but it is also full of pleasant little accidents that make the hurt worthwhile a lot of the time, you know? And then we turned the page and dropped in, finding again that pleasure of a book, the words simultaneously the same and different, unchanged but changed, as Yours Truly feels most of the time these days about a lot of things.


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