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joelle storet / big piph / ONYX COFFEE LABS


The Fashion Issue FEATURING: Esque by Leslie Pennel Hess Clothing BonnerBell Lucy Pearl The Independent Missy Lipps: Real Label Proposals Black Cherry Vintage



18 movement & shape

28 building a legacy

Fayetteville artist JoĂŤlle Storet is quickly building a name for herself as one of the most talented and prolific painters in Arkansas.

Hip-hop artist Big Piph talks about his plans for his music and helping underprivileged youth.



32 going down south

38 artistry at the edge of craft

The Little Rock Film Festival enters its 7th year with a great selection of features & documentaries.

Springdale’s ONYX Coffee Labs is out to revinvent what we think about coffee.

Illustration: Beth Post


EDITOR'S NOTE Right now, it’s raining outside. I’ve been working on this issue for so long that I can’t see straight. The devil is in the details and this magazine has plenty. Now I’m wrapping up the last one--my letter to you. I’m tired and have drank over a half gallon of tea to no avail. While I long for sleep, deep down I know that I’ve got it good. Why? Because after several months of work, I’m about to wrap up our second issue. The response to our first issue was phenomenal; I’ve seen only a handful of copies left at our distribution points. On behalf my staff, contributors, and myself, we greatly appreciate the love that you’ve shown our magazine. We hope you continue to let us know what you like and, occasionally, what you don’t. This is a work in progress. Issue 2 focuses on fashion. A few of the designers are old friends of mine who have always impressed me with their work ethic and creativity. I wanted to showcase them along with some of the other creative individuals in our state who devote themselves to making sure we all look dapper and sexy. Also, I’d like to thank Joëlle Storet for letting us feature her art this month. She’s incredibly talented and her work is affordable. Get one of her paintings before she becomes famous. Once again, I’d like to thank my staff and contributors along with all of the businesses who were willing to support us financially for the second issue. I don’t have a trust fund so this magazine exists because they believe in us. Go show them some love. I hope you enjoy this issue. We’ve worked hard on it. It’s late now and I’m going to bed before the rain stops. See you this summer for issue 3. Kody Ford Editor/Publisher Twitter: @theidleclass Tumblr:



RIOT ACT MEDIA, LLC P.O. Box 4853 Fayetteville, AR 72702 EDITOR/PUBLISHER Kody Ford MANAGING EDITOR Andrew McClain CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marty Shutter Katie Wyatt CONTRIBUTORS Colley Bailey David Biggs Heather Canterbury Megan Clemence Kayla Gruenewald Taylor Gladwin Jaime Holland Catherine Hotaling-Donnelly Steve Hintz Beth Post Heather Robideaux Byba Sepit Lee Wyatt COVER “Japanese Tendencies” by Joëlle Storet




THE RIGID, WOODEN SEATS OF THE LECTURE HALL never bothered her. The drab, aged walls never became overwhelmingly dull. Not even the droning lecture on peptides and nucleotides took its toll. During those long days in chemistry lecture, Leslie Pennel had found a way to keep herself entertained. An aspiring pharmacist, she spent the class period sketching molecular structures as prints on clothing. “Everything about science was art to me,” Leslie says. “My obsession with science and counting out pills was all because it looked pretty. Making creams with the mortar and pestle was an artistic process. The act of creation itself was more beautiful than my love of medicine.” After realizing she was displaced, she immediately went to the Apparel Studies department at the University of Arkansas to see what was offered and changed her major shortly thereafter. This was the beginning of her career, but not her break; that came later. A fan of the DIY scene, Leslie began creating cardstock stencil designs for bands and her favorite movie at the time—Amelie’. Using spray paint, she began creating t-shirts, which became the precursor to the Esque line. One day, she went into work at Snapdragon, a store on Dickson Street at the time, and the owner asked if she’d like to sell them. She said, “yes” and Esque was born. Once Esque t-shirts began to sell at Snapdragon, Robin Atkinson, President of Art Amiss at the time, came into the store to asked if she’d be interested in featuring her work in one of their shows. Estatic to have her first show, Leslie seized the opportunity and became involved with fashion shows around town. Eventually, she served as the Fashion Director for Art Amiss. Later, she constructed a five-piece collection for “A Night in White,” a benefit for the Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Agency. Afterwards, Becca Russell, owner of Maude Boutique, approached her and asked to carry Esque at her store. Leslie agreed and their rela-

tionship continues to this day. Finding her inspiration in designers like Coco Chanel and Hubert Givenchy as well as music, including Broadway shows, Leslie continued to develop her line moving past t-shirts to dresses and accessories like infinity scarves. Along the way, she learned the difficulties of the creative life. “I’m still learning the hard way everyday,” Leslie says. “A major struggle I have had is allowing people to help me in any part of the process. I’m a control freak and feel I have to have my hand in every step of the process from concept to production to adding the tag to sending it out. Unfortunately this just cannot be as Esque continues to grow. It’s something I’m working on daily. However, when the day comes that more and more things get outsourced— I will never allow for the quality to decrease. Perfectionism is a double-edged sword.” Leslie has long been an artist, always sketching and even making Barbie clothes when she was young. Despite her creative nature and current occupation, she does not feel that fashion is definitively an art form. Certain criteria exist. “Fashion can be an art form, but certainly is not always,” Leslie says, “especially with the fast fashion movement that has been going on for sometime now. All designers and brands following the same pantone colors for the season. Designer pieces hit the runway and a very similar version is available at the mall and/or big box stores within the week. I think fashion can be art when there is a true skill behind the piece — when there is a story to be told — when hours of labor, talent, and expertise have been spent on the piece.” In the last few years, Leslie has grown her business and participated in several shows such as Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week. In 2012, she introduced the Black and White Collection. Later that year, she participated in Solestruck’s Déjà vu show in Portland, OR, at the insistence of the assistant creative director Anna

Black Cherry Vintage Merchants of fine vintage clothing for women. Located in the Heart of Fayetteville at 434 N. College Ave. 479-283-3844 Tuesday thru Friday 12-6 and Saturday 12-5.

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"I think fashion can be art when there is a true skill behind the piece - when there is a story to be told when hours of labor, talent, and expertise have been spent on it." 6

Branch, who wanted Leslie to participate in their zine First Time: The Connected Issue. To attend Solestruck, Leslie reached out to her friends in the community. She raffled off $10 tickets to win an Esque wardrobe—a wrap dress, convertible dress, cape tee and head wrap. The community support felt humbling. “I appreciated it so much,” she says. “I knew they believed in me. Whether it was by someone coming up to tell me personally that they did and good luck or just by buying one or more raffle tickets, it was very encouraging. It warmed my heart and lit a fire underneath me, for sure!” The show went well and Leslie left town with some new fans. This year Leslie once again participated in NWA Fashion Week, but she took a more artistic approach. For her 2013 Esque Collection, Leslie chose a sustainability theme, revisited her early DIY aesthetics and developed her line out of recycled newspapers and other paper products. “It was a real challenge and great learning experience trying to make newspaper behave as fabric; to move on and with a model down a runway,” she says. Consistency was another issue that she faced during the creation of her new line. Sections had to be cut. Five main prints ended up being used: “downtime,” “the funnies: black and white,” “the funnies: color,” “crossword puzzle/sudoku” and “immersion.” Most of the bodices were paper maché casts in front with woven “cages” in back. She had a couple of “pod” skirts made from the paper maché process, as well. Both skirts were made with “the funnies” and covered with a high-gloss epoxy resin finish for a nice comical touch and created an interesting shape and movement. Her other favorite pieces were a paper maché bodice and two floor length gowns with tapered layers, which she calls the “fan” dresses. Currently, Leslie is taking some downtime to study fashion and plan her next move to further her career. She has ideas and willpower — a potent combination for an artist and businesswoman. “I want to keep Esque reasonably small, I think,” she says. “I would like to have a few more stores that stock Esque nationwide. In the next 5 years, I think I’d like to have at least 10 stores.” Currently, Esque by Leslie Pennel is available exclusively online through Maude Boutique.


Megan Baureis, O.D. Holly Andersen, O.D. 100 E. Joyce Blvd Fayetteville, AR 72703 479.966.4232

When you’re feeling a bit more casual, visit our brand new Denim & Essentials shop on the square in Fayetteville to satisfy all your denim needs with brands like Jean Shop, Imogene & Willie, Baldwin, AG, and J Brand.

The Independent Denim & Essentials 15 S. Block St. Suite 101

On the Fayetteville Square



HESS CLOTHING WORDS / KODY FORD PHOTOS / HEATHER CANTERBURY & David biggs CHRIS HESS SAT PATIENTLY IN FRONT OF THE computer, waiting for the online auction to end. Only a few more minutes and the vintage LA Marathon t-shirt would be his. A longtime collector of retro belt buckles, boots, jeans and,of course, t-shirts, Hess knew this piece had to be his. He clicked refresh and waited. Only a few more seconds left. And then… Outbid. He moved quickly to raise his bid, but not fast enough. He’d lost the shirt. Rather than feel defeated, Hess took matters into his own hands. He drew up the design himself and, using the experience he’d gained in college while designing t-shirts for Greek organizations, he had that LA Marathon t-shirt in no time, and all without having to pay for shipping and handling. This spark led Hess down his current path to being the chief designer and CEO of Hess Clothing. “I majored in Business and Art in college so it was something I really enjoyed,” Hess says. “Art is my passion. When I printed the shirt I went ahead and made some extra ones, which ended up selling right away. With the money I made I turned around and designed more shirts. I was just doing it for fun at the time. My goal was to open up my own live music bar and an art gallery, not a clothing line.” Having long been a fan of music, fashion, and art, the evolution felt natural for Hess. Anyone who’s spent time in Little Rock will surely recognize Hess’ curly locks and penchant for rock star attire. His years spent serving drinks at Juanita’s have exposed Hess to a variety of bands, musical styles and merch designs, all of which have left


their mark on his artistic expression. “I think getting to see bands and meet the members from all walks of life, all 50 states and different countries has influenced some of my designs,” says Hess. “Every band can have their own unique style that can be influential in some sort of a way. Traveling to other cities, countries, and soaking in their culture has played a big influence in my designs as well.” Before launching Hess Clothing, the Little Rock native painted and reconstructed denim from old pairs of jeans into something new and edgy. This love of transformation carries over into his clothing label as he transforms art into articles of clothing in an attempt to recreate lost or allusive moments in time. He says, “Hess Clothing is for anyone who wants to be creative, expressive, eccentric, and an individual. [We’re] here to alleviate numbness from your basic fashion clone. It’s about being unique, not afraid to be yourself, having confidence and always believing in your dreams.” For the first few years after its inception, Hess Clothing felt like a hobby for its founder. He considered enrolling in a fashion design school to take things to the next level. However, his scrappy, proactive side won out. Now he has an online store, sells his work at Section 8 in Little Rock and blogs about his passions—music, art, fashion and the outdoors. Many up-and-coming musicians have given Hess exposure since he’s always willing to hook his favorite bands up with free gear when they play Juanita’s. He’s also taken a cue from his rocker friends and regularly attends music festivals in most major cities to set up a booth for Hess Clothing. “It’s a great way to get your brand out there in a short period of time to people from every state and city,” he says. “It’s nice because whomever buys a shirt goes home and the people in their home town ask where they got it and are referred to my website where they can purchase one themselves. It’s all a big snowball effect. Plus it’s really cool getting to meet so many different people and growing relationships with friends from all over the world.” Over the years, Hess has learned hard lessons about being a designer and a businessman. He’s the first to admit that there is no magic formula for success, but he has learned a few lessons that help guide him. “I’ve just stuck with my guns of what I’ve believed in and have taken advantage of positive windows that have opened up for me,” Hess says. “The world has a funny way of calling you; you’ve just gotta pay attention and believe in it with all your heart. You’ll never succeed in your dreams if you have the attitude of being too scared and or never believing in yourself. [Then] you’ve already failed without even beginning.” You may purchase Hess Clothing at Section 88, located at 15617 Chenal Parkway in Little Rock.



bonnerbell words / Kody ford Photos / greyline creative THE GLITZ AND GLAMOUR OF THE ACADEMY Awards can inspire more than just filmmakers and writers. The red carpet serves as an unofficial fashion show for Tinseltown’s elite. As a child Wayne Bonner Bell, founder of the clothing label BonnerBell, let his imagination go wild during the Oscars as he sketched out clothing designs in his notebook. Once he got older, he discovered the art of fashion through VOGUE and W magazines. In 2011, he decided to take the plunge and become a full-time designer himself, by launching BonnerBell with the help of his husband, Daniel. He began sewing in his home before moving the operation to downtown Fayetteville in January 2012. Currently, BonnerBell employs a full-time and part-time seamstress along with an intern. Such phenomenal growth would be a blessing and stressor for most people. Wayne also balances BonnerBell with his career as a communication instructor at local colleges and a contributor to Ozarks at Large on KUAF 91.3 FM (NPR). “It takes a lot of patience,” Wayne says. “It has been a learning curve to achieve balance in my life. I also


have a home life with my other half, two dogs, and a house. It’s a challenge.” Being an entrepreneur comes with a unique set of trials such as business issues and finances. Forecasting trends and design have also improved with experience for Wayne. Much of his design acumen has been forged from trial-and-error of testing concepts in various patterns, fabrications and fits. The creative process is when Wayne comes alive. First, he creates a theme for a given collection and then sketches for a bit before trying to pattern out his ideas. Once a pattern is drawn, it is translated into muslin (an expensive cotton) to test for fit and design. Finally, when all changes are noted, he creates it using the actual material. Certain articles of clothing stand out as wardrobe essentials in Wayne’s opinion. “I think that a fantastic dress is a must for women because it can be dressed up or down, day or night; a great classic shape has tremendous versatility,” he says. “For men, I think a great suit is a quality investment. You can split the pieces up to get even more out of purchase. The key to all male clothing is fit, and

therefore, I would suggest that all guys should invest a few dollars into a tailor.” Wayne cites Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs as two of his favorite designers and dream collaborators.“I think that they are great models of American designers who having amazing presence around the world,” he says. “Ford redefined Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent before he left. With regards to Jacobs, he has had great success with his own brand, and as creative director of Louis Vuitton. I love Vuitton, Tom Ford, Elie Saab, Chanel, Prada, and American designers like Rodarte and Oscar de la Renta.” BonnerBell recently completed their Spring/Summer companion and while everyone is enjoying summer, they will be planning Fall/ Winter. He finds planning ahead for the next season’s collection to be a challenge at times, but understands its part of the job. In the future, Wayne plans to expand BonnerBell to more stores in the region and increase their online sales through their website. Wayne cites the personal connection between himself, store owners and private clients as an aspect of his job that makes it worth enduring the frustrations of being a new business owner. He also feels fortunate to have a job that challenges him personally. “I think that it’s important to have creative expression,” he says. “I am very lucky to incorporate that into my job. However, if I lost that, I think it would be of utmost importance to express myself in some other way, creatively, though I’m not sure what that would be.”


pressroom Espresso cafe featuring Kennedy roasted coffee, microbrews, 30 wines by  the glass, specialty martinis, and mixed drinks. A fun assortment of fresh,  unique sandwiches, small plates, and cheese plates.

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121 W. Central Ave. Bentonville, AR (479) 657-2905 Photos by Novo Studio\thepressroom • twitter: pressroomcoffee • instagram: pressroomcoffee

Lovers, Lies & Butcher Knives available on iTunes.



Lucy Pearl by Grey Dog Vintage


WORDS / KODY FORD PHOTOS / JAIME HOLLAND THE AIRSTREAM TRAILER REVOLUTION HAS spawned many boutiques around northwest Arkansas. One of the originals, Grey Dog Vintage, recently moved into a storefront at 824 N. College Avenue in Fayetteville. They specialize in European, Japanese, and American vintage that has been altered to mirror the silhouettes of today. Currently, Molly Clark and Laura Mullins of Grey Dog are gearing up for the launch of their fashion line, Lucy Pearl, named after their beloved ’73 Airstream trailer where it all began. “Lucy Pearl will consist of classic, yet modernized, vintage silhouettes that we feel every gal should have,” Laura says. “Each season we will use vintage pieces as inspiration to design limited runs of a dress, a top and a bottom. There will be a variety of prints in each style, all from salvaged vintage fabrics.” Laura and Molly will select the items to recreate, working with local designer and seamstress Becca


Rosser, who will produce each piece in-house. Lucy Pearl will be sold exclusively at Grey Dog Vintage and on their website. Laura cites quality and choice as the inspiration for launching the line. “As vintage lovers, we know how special it is to wear a one-of-a-kind piece, however we also know how heartbreaking it can be to find a vintage garment that doesn’t come close to fitting,” she says. “We’re excited to create a vintage-inspired line that offers a variety of sizes in each style. For the most part, modern clothing isn’t made as well as it once was and we’re dedicated to design and produce a line where love, quality and thought has gone into each step.”


building the perfect pair MEN’S WEAR STORE THE INDEPENDENT STAKES ITS CLAIM WITH A NEW DENIM LINE COMING THIS SUMMER. WORDS / KODY FORD PHOTOS / JAIME HOLLAND FOR THE INDEPENDENT DENIM & ESSENTIALS, their name is their guiding philosophy. Founded in 2012 after Donny Hubbard dissolved his relationship with Baumans of Little Rock, the store focuses on quality tailored and bespoke menswear for the Arkansas jet set in Rogers and Little Rock before opening their Denim & Essentials store in downtown Fayetteville. Now the store is continuing their expansion with their upcoming denim line. Judson Lee, manager of the Fayetteville store, felt the move to a natural progression. “It’s easy to find a quality Selvedge jean for over $200, but we wanted to do the same thing for under $150,” he says. “And, of course, it’s an opportunity for us to really lay a marker down and share a special sense of what we’re all about with our customers through a key part of every man’s wardrobe.” To shepherd in the launch, they turned to denim virtuoso Chip Foster, of Chip & Pepper denim, who brought high-quality jeans to stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. His attention to detail and infectious energy sold The Independent crew. Their initial production will include a slim-straight and a standard straight fit in raw, raw stretch, and three different washes. It will be all Japanese Selvedge denim. Foster is bringing his eye for detail to add distinction to the new line by balancing trend with refinement.

Judson Lee & Donny Hubbard of The Independent. Judson offered some tips for making perfect denim. He says, “First is the denim, obviously. Japanese or American Selvedge created on vintage-style shuttle looms is preferred. After that is the exact construction itself: chain-stitched, clean lines, and a fit that you can always rely on.” All three stores will carry the new denim line, which launches in July.



missy lipps real label

FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS MISSY LIPPS HAS not only focused on the creative aspect of fashion design when working on her self-titled clothing line based in Little Rock, but she also has made a point to be environmentally conscious. She also gives back portions of her sales to non-profit organizations. This type of approach to fashion puts her at the forefront of innovative design. Her feminine, classic style of clothing and jewelry design has even caught the attention of a top 50 boutique, TAVIN, in Los Angeles, who now carries her line on the West coast. For Missy, “fashion is expression and art in motion” and the most important part of being a fashion designer is “being mindful of where [her] materials come from”, as well as resourcefulness and sustainability. The line--Missy Lipps, Real Label--maintains an eco-friendly status by utilizing organic cotton blend of threads. Missy also uses local artists when purchasing materials in order to support her community. When I asked Missy what her favorite part about conceptualizing a design was, she answered, “The part I love...when I get to see it in my mind for the first time [and] when the idea and the inspiration make sense.” Missy revels in the freedom of the creative process and that, combined with what she would call “insane courage,” has manifested itself into a fashion line that is both clever and truly a work of art. You can find her clothing and jewelry at TAVIN in Los Angeles. Locally, she hopes to get her work back into one her favorite shops, The Box Turtle. PHOTO16 BY JILLIAN BOGY

words / KAYLA GRUENEWALD Photos / lily darragh

BOUTIQUES of note Proposals 5913 Kavanaugh Blvd, Little Rock, AR 72207 (501) 661-4696


f your wedding is approaching, Toni Tucker has you covered for the big day. And every day after that. Proposals has been the gold standard for bridal boutiques in central Arkansas for years. Now, under Toni’s ownership, the store is expanding its reach to cover ready-to-wear contemporary clothing. “We carry a wide variety of dresses ranging from casual for an outdoor shower and cocktail for a rehearsal dinner,” Toni says. “We also carry dresses for all ages, so we can dress a mother and daughter in one stop.” Their contemporary wear can be worn for a night on the town or a rehearsal dinner. Proposals carries a variety of brands including Nicole Miller, Kendra Scott, Ali Ro, Teri Jon, Monique Lhuillier, Watters and Watters, and Kay Unger. For the summer season, Toni recommends an Aztec peplum dress or a black and white sheer top with white jeans. Toni feels that expanding their selection makes the store a one-stop shop for brides-to-be, their friends, and their family. “We feel that branching off from just wedding gowns enables us to help a bride throughout the entire wedding process,” she says. “We can help her mom with a mother-of-the-bride dress, help her find the perfect rehearsal dinner dress, and even help her find something fabulous to take on her honeymoon.”


PHOTO: Heather Canterbury

Black Cherry Vintage 434 N. College Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72701 479-283-3844


PHOTO: MGB Photo HAIR/MAKE-UP: Bo Senesomxay

eea Lee has loved fashion since she was a child. Once she reached adolescence, she discovered the punk rock scene in Fayetteville and became entranced by the vintage and rockabilly fashions. “Ever since I was little I’ve been in love with retro and vintage clothing,” she says. “I love that it is timeless; you can dress vintage up any way and still have a look that no one has.” In 2012, Leea opened up Black Cherry Vintage in Fayetteville. The store brings a high-end, edgy look to vintage fashion in NWA. She follows trends in urban areas, particularly the West Coast, introducing them into the local scene. This summer she says to be on the lookout for maxi skirts, crop-tops and hair accessories. Neon and pastel colors come highly recommended by her as well. Leea says they sell a lot of clothing through social media and plans to expand the online presence for Black Cherry Vintage by launching a website this summer.


Instagram: @BlackCherryVintage 17




Belgian-born & Arkansas-raised, JOËLLE STORET cements her reputation as one of the state’s most prolific & verstatile artists. “CLub bizarre: Self-portrait”


COMIC BOOKS AFFECTED JOËLLE STORET MORE than other children. As a child, she flipped through her late grandfather’s collection of Tintin and Asterix, two staples of her native Belgium. Her family taught her to read using comics and the artistic influence can still be seen in her paintings today. Beginning at age three, she would gather her mother’s doodles of women and accessories that she’d drawn while chatting on the phone. While attending kindergarten and elementary school in Belgium, Switzerland and Austria, she continued drawing and pushing the limits. “I wasn’t the most studious but my creativity made me exceptional,” she says. “I took drawing courses but I had a tendency to bend the rules when it came to class projects. Some teachers really enjoyed it; some did not. But in the end it was very clear that I had developed a gift at a very young age.” In Vienna, Austria, her teacher Mr. Brugiere at the French Lycee would read comic books that she wrote in spare time and commissioned her to be an illustrator for the School Newspaper Le Petit Curieux. The paper was written and edited by older students, but nine-yearold Joelle was in charge of the artwork. Her illustrations even got published in the junior high edition. She continued to focus on drawing until she turned 12 and began to paint. Around this time, her family left Europe and settled in Fayetteville. When Joëlle arrived in Fayetteville, she acclimated well and became involved in athletics like volleyball and martial arts and academic pursuits such as Odyessy of the Mind and Gifted & Talented. After finishing at Fayetteville High School, she attended the University of Arkansas and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Cultural Anthropology, French Studies, and German studies. Growing up, Joëlle found herself exposed to various cultures through her comic book collection and her

family background—Congolese and Belgian. Although she has no German relatives, she felt a strong influence of Germanic culture due to her time in Austria and Switzerland and speaks the language fluently. The Expressionistic Movement in German art and culture strongly affects her work today. Like many artists, Joëlle finds inspiration from different mediums, particularly film and music. Her parents possessed a passion for movies and music, which they shared with their children. At an early age, she loved a variety of films such as Jurassic Park, Gladiator, Schindler’s List, E.T.. The cognitive effects of such dramatic tales found their way onto the canvas. “There is just something about tragedy that truly influences me when I draw,” Joëlle says. Her parents also owned film soundtracks and played them around the house along with various pop music. Their eccentric tastes poured from the radio in the house and the car; everyone from John Williams to Barry White to Pet Shop Boys inspired her as an artist. Often, Joëlle chooses actors and musicians such as Nicolas Cage and David Bowie as subjects. Joëlle’s style appears spontaneous, yet controlled. She mixes the best elements of Andy Warhol and Bansky with a dash of Todd McFarlane. Her compositions are colorful with a dash of humor; blue often finds itself as the dominant hue of her paintings. She says, “The color blue has so many meanings. It’s associated with sadness, happiness, masculinity, melancholy, drunk state, social status, in 50 percent of the flags of the world. It is truly one of my favorites and [one of the] most hypnotizing colors in the world. I am highly envious of people with blue eyes.” Joëlle has an eye for detail and she paints both freehand and with a grid system. About her technique, she says, “Every shape, every movement can be interpreted with lines and circles. [A grid] is the best and easiest


“Mystic fishing” (Recycled canvas with John Constable’s “The Hay Wain”) tactic I use. Drawing is more or less a translation of an object based off your depth perception...or imagination.” When asked to describe her current style, she replied, “Absurdist, Expressionistic, Hyperrealistic, Surreal. I don’t really know... Joëlleish?” Music festivals are one of her favorite pastimes. In 2009, she took a canvas to Wakarusa and began painting. Soon people began asking her to paint their bodies. This new source of income allowed her to combine two of her favorite pastimes - music and art.

Joëlle’s penchant for body paint was on display at Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week this year when she participated in the Art Amiss show. Each model in her show had been dressed and painted to showcase various cultures of the world. Fashion Week is a stressful time for all parties involved, but Joëlle managed to handle the pressure - with a little help from her friends - and create a successful show. “The fashion show turned out amazing,” she says. “Everyone was being extremely supportive and I trained myself not to stress about it. I have made friends locally

“I paint out of boredom, but I do perform exceptionally better when I am heartbroken or sad. You can really get a good idea of a tragedy on canvas.... I never have artist’s block; if I do it usually means I’m in a good mood.” 20

and internationally in the fashion world and have been studying more or less what the eyes want to see. I wasn’t allowed to paint at the hotel for obvious reasons, but I was very fortunate to have friends willing to help me resolve that situation. We ended up borrowing a friend’s living room who lived close to the hotel. I cannot thank him enough for his support. All the models looked beautiful and I hope they enjoyed this experience as much as I did. I would love to do it all over again especially if proceeds go to charity.” Besides bodies, Joëlle paints murals. She began doing this in high school and has adorned the walls of Dickson Street bars like Brewskis and Ryleigh’s. At the urging of her friend Adam Driver, a glass artist at Ink and Glass Shop in Fayetteville, she began putting her touch on old thrift store paintings and prints. This snowballed into regular commissions of painting random objects, everything from family photos to Darth Vader helmets. A prolific artist, Joëlle seems to turn out a new painting every few days. Such high output could lead to burnout, but for the act of creation is more natural and guided by emotions. “I paint out of boredom, but I do perform exceptionally better when I am heartbroken or sad,” she says. “You can really get a good idea of a tragedy on canvas. Once the piece is finished, I feel relieved. This is nothing foreign from what writers and musicians feel. I never have artist’s block; if I do it usually means I’m in a good mood.” Her work has hung in galleries across Europe and the United States. Currently, she is being featured at the Art Center of the Ozarks. Her can be purchased at Ink & Glass Shop. In the future, Joëlle wants to use her art to raise awareness for causes that she is passionate about such as Alzheimer’s research. Teaching and fashion design are two other goals that have recently come to the forefront of her mind. She offered some parting advice for aspiring artists. “Paint what you want to paint. But be mindful of the audience,” she says. “I think painting from the heart or the memory is most vital. I used to be afraid of painting the things that amuse me the most. Usually the absurd. But once I realized I was good at that, it didn’t matter anymore what other people thought.”

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shannon wurst THE TALENTED SINGER/SONGWRITER MAKES MEDICINE FOR THE MASSES ON LIONHEART LOVE. WORDS / TAYLOR GLADWIN SINGER, SONGWRITER & GUITARIST SHANNON Wurst is as innovative as they come. Inspired by the desire to learn and share her songs with other people, she’s keeping up her momentum of her burgeoning career with the recent release of her new album, Lionheart Love. Shannon spent the last year crafting her songs and getting them ready for the studio. Lionheart Love is a 10-song wonder that highlights Shannon’s sharp and striking voice which rings clear as a bell, with a bit of a twang. Each song pays tribute to events, relationships, and memories in Shannon’s life. Having played music for the past thirteen years, she sees music as medicine, which is the takeaway philosophy of her new album. “These songs are meant to be medicine. I really think that is what music is supposed to be working towards. If there’s no particular straight forward medicine I just want the songs to make people


feel good as they’re listening to it,” Shannon said. Each song on the album stands out as a particular experience in Wurst’s life. The album covers a wide spectrum of emotions, human interactions, and personal memories that have triggered her growth. Many of the stories heard in her songs are relatable, like the upbeat melody of “Here In Your Arms,” a song about the thrills of experiencing new love, or in the tender yet heavy rhythm of “Breakdown,” a song appropriate after you’ve just run into your ex. Lionheart Love also pays tribute to Wurst’s love for the Natural State. One of the album’s most stand-out songs is River Song. With its slow, soulful melody and clear but breathy vocals, the song adds a haunting diversity as its praises the serenity found in some of nature’s most sacred features. The dark twang guitar of Edith Opal brings the album a sense of mystery as it describes a controversial character from Wurst’s hometown of

“These songs are meant to be medicine. I really think that is what music is supposed to be working towards... I just want the songs to make people feel good as they’re listening to it.” Alma. Growing up with a father who plays southern rock music and a step-father that she used to sing bluegrass with as a child, it’s an understatement to say Shannon has been influenced by the people in her life. Part of being a great musician, Wurst recognizes other great musicians, and has picked a great backing band to accompany her on the album. Women in music are what influence her today. The very words lion, heart, love, have a sweetly fierce and feminine effect to them. Women like Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Bonnie Raitt are some of her female influences, “those ladies who have paved the way for ladies playing music now,” as she puts it. With the release of Lionheart Love on New Year’s Day, Shannon has started the year with quite the creative bang. Driven by “the urge to create” (create being her word for 2013), Shannon has completed her 5th album, thrown a successful CD release show, and has manifested an original folktale for children’s theatre. She’s spent the past few months writing all the music for a new children’s production called Bear State of Mind. “We built the folktale from the ground-up using different characters that are based in Arkansas,” Shannon said. One of Shannon’s creative outlets is storytelling. Her participation with Bear State of Mind stemmed from her curiosity to write children’s songs. Her album Green and Growing is comprised of roots music for kids developing environmental initiatives. “I thought it would be a fun alternative to playing regular folk music. Not that it has to be, but often times folk music is heartfelt and really serious and I wanted to explore the lighter side of that,” Shannon said. For Shannon, the creative process is something to

be harnessed, as opposed to waiting for inspiration to strike. She enjoys researching something she knows nothing about and writing a song about it. “The idea is not to write a really great song but just to get songs flowing, with the idea that the more songs you write the better a few of them are going to be,” Shannon said. There are a lot of ways to write a song. For her the best way is, “just to do it.” Shannon’s endurance is admirable. She’s made music her career since 2007 when she quit both of her jobs and decided to book shows full-time while promoting her first album. Her light-hearted attitude has paid off in her musical journey over the past six years. “I think the take away from being courageous is really just doing something and worrying about one thing at a time,” Shannon said. After recording multiple albums, touring for weeks at a time across the country, and winning musical awards, like the Walnut Valley New Song Contest, Shannon is happy to finally be at a point in her artistic journey where she is able to give back. She has always been a singer, and has no plans to stop. “Whatever you put your time into you can do. It’s all possible,” Shannon said. When asked what the best line she had ever written was, Shannon replied, “I haven’t written it yet.” You can purchase Lionheart Love and all of Shannon’s music on her website.



Building a

Legacy HIP-HOP ARTIST BIG PIPH focuses on music & giving back


LITTLE ROCK’S CHANE “BIG PIPH” MORROW is an ambitious rapper with a big heart for humanitarian work and the desire to tie it all back into hiphop. His music is just one facet of his work, which seems to be an endlessly organized scheme to leave an impact on those around him. Most artists have the itch to leave their mark on the world, and they do it through their art, but Piph’s desire is so strong that he seems intent on diversifying his legacy, and serious enough about it to call it his “Legacy Project.” The Idle Class caught up with Piph to talk about his Legacy Project and the music he’s working on. IDLE CLASS: What are you up to? PIPH: Just got off the phone with my new PR team. IDLE CLASS:: Tell me about this program you’re currently working on. PIPH: Yeah, so it’s called Global Kids – a four week program in the summer where underserved high school students learn about global policy, international relations, and the first two weeks are in Little Rock, and the second two weeks they send them abroad. IDLE CLASS:: Where are you sending them? PIPH: Yeah, so we’re working on that – based


on what we’ve done in the past it’s probably one of four locations: Dominican Republic, Brazil, Haiti or Costa Rica. It’s just part of the new campaign and something I got passionate about when I got back from Africa the first time last year. IDLE CLASS:: Who did you go with? PIPH: Well, I went twice – I went with the US Embassy – I’ll give you the short-long story: About three years ago I had a partner from school hit me up, she was working in the industry, she was like, “You wanna come down here and teach kids hiphop culture?” and I was like, “Bet,” you know. I ain’t hear from her for like three years, and then out of nowhere on Facebook she hit me up like, “Hey, I’m in the Gambia, you wanna come teach hip-hop culture, perform, and work on some music?” and I was like “Yeah, man, if y’all cover it.” So we worked out all the details and I went over there for like two, two and a half weeks in March, did about 20 classes and put together a program for that where artists make new music and performed in front of like 7,000 people. Then I came back, and then they shouted out to like, other embassies in Africa and in Mauritius and Seychelles and they hit me up like, “Hey man, we want you to come back over here during Daniel

Pearl Music Month and do the same thing.” So then I went out to Mauritius and Seychelles for like three weeks and did a similar program. [I]n between, I went on sabbatical, and also I was like... whenever someone goes out the country and does shit a little bit deeper than touristy, it’s like, you gotta come back, cause it kinda shifts your paradigm about who you are in relation to the rest of the world when you go back home. So I got on the phone with a friend who works for the U.N. and she’s all about sending students abroad – it’s her life’s passion – so she told me about this program, Global Kids out of D.C. and New York. It’s pretty much a year-round program, but she mentioned the summer program, and I was like, “Alright, what’s necessary to bring that to Little Rock?” and she was like, “Man, if you can put it all together and raise the money for it, that would be dope.” So that’s a big part of what I’ve been doing. IDLE CLASS: I was actually just hearing someone today talk about what a huge difference it can make on your resume if you’ve done some kind of study abroad program, not to mention the change in perspective. PIPH: Yeah, man. And it makes sense... I was really blessed to travel a lot when I was young – not so much abroad – but man, the more people can do it, it has a great positive world impact. IDLE CLASS: Tell me about what you teach in hiphop classes. PIPH: I try to go over a few things: one, teaching them how the discipline from the culture of hip-hop

can and should be implemented in their everyday life from work to school. Also, I share my backstory and certain portions of which as means of encouragement in overcoming obstacles. Lastly, I try and let them dabble with a little hands-on experience through making a rhyme or production. Honestly, overall though it’s to encourage them to take a stance for themselves in whatever they do. IDLE CLASS: What have you been up with your music? PIPH: Yeah, so the next project I’ve got coming out is with a guy named Arkansas Bo, and it’s called “Epoch. It started because we been on the same label and been friends for a while, and initially we just wanted to work on a few songs, then it turned into a whole project. My five-year project I’m calling “The Legacy Project,” and I’ve broken it down into different seasons, and this is kinda like the whole pre-season, pushing this new music out, as well as different ideas about what I want to do with it. My goal now is to have the music as a part of the project, not as the main goal of the project, so this is kinda like the first of the things. So I set five... pillars, I guess you could say, like five necessities for each project, and “Epoch” is the first one. IDLE CLASS: Sounds like you’ve got a real strategy PIPH: Yeah, yeah – that’s kinda always been the thing with me, I’ve always been real strategic, besides that, every project you still learn from the last one, so

Photo courtesy of Big Piph


I say the three things for myself is like content, team, plan, and if you add those three things in order, then there’s a lot higher likelihood that you’ll hit your goal. I’ve got some real vast goals and I’m getting as strategic as possible and grindin’ it out. IDLE CLASS: I haven’t been to many hip-hop shows in Arkansas. How would you place yourself as far as a sound? What does Arkansas hip-hop sound like? Because, to me, you make about what Arkansas hip-hop should sound like, geographically speaking, in that it’s Midsouthern, like Southern hip-hop with a touch of Midwest. Do I hear some Chicago in there? PIPH: Yeah, that’s what’s kinda interesting about Little Rock. See, I’ve been here for a while and been part of the Arkansas rap scene for a while, and that’s the thing: there is no distinct sound, which is a blessing and a curse. You can find influences from all the surrounding areas that get meshed and form their own thing, but there’s a lot of stuff that sounds a lot more like the surrounding states like Texas and Tennessee, and even more so, Atlanta. And then you have this stuff that is, especially given the new trends, I call more like the “abstract” or “esoteric” feel, sparked by the Drakes and the Odd Futures and stuff like that, and then you have cats that just be doin’ like – Bo, the guy I rap with, he’s a lot more bluesy, folk/soul with a lot of singing, so this project is kinda like a blend of both of ours – and then you have myself, which I always say I’m kinda like if Lauryn Hill had a ménage with like 8Ball & MJG or something like that, so you have a good mesh. I think in terms of larger recognition it hurts us, because when every other city or state had a movement, they had a distinct sound to ‘em, whether it was Atlanta or St. Louis or Memphis, they definitely had a sound, and [laughs] there’s nothing you can really point to and say, “Man, that’s Arkansas” or “That’s Arkansas-influenced.” There’s more so now, because I know so many artists and can pick them out, but it’s not a distinct sound, which I actually like, but in a larger sense I don’t think works as sell-able for Arkansas. IDLE CLASS: But now you have the option of moving around some more, changing sounds – that’s the upside. PIPH: Yeah, the good part is we get to do what we like to do, just kind of making music that doesn’t fit a mold. IDLE CLASS: So are you planning a mixtape? A record? PIPH: Yeah, so after the project with Bo, I’m coming back with what I call my Season 1 and that’ll be a solo project. So I released my last project, Such Is Life last year, which was my baby if there ever was one, so I didn’t want to jump into another solo project just yet because I like living a little bit, then coming up with [material that relates to] where I am at that point in


time in my life, and then doing it. So I just now got to a point where I know what the next project is gonna be – it’s all based off my slogan, “I am not them,” and I call it a multimedia narrative – we’re working on an app and a video game for it, as well as an ebook. Yeah, it’s called “I Am Not Them” – I have some of the ideas in mind and some of the beats gathered up, but I’ll probably start recording in two or three months. IDLE CLASS: Do you do your own production? PIPH: [laughs] Man, I suck, so nah, I don’t do anything like that. I heard it said like this one time: I holla at people whose talent go [exchange with my needs.] So a lot of it is, I don’t do what people consider traditional production where I go in and actually make the beats, but I do instruct the beat that’s being made, saying “This is what I want, the sounds I want, more of this, less of this,” and then I also bring in artists – I look at myself more like a conductor, writing all the hooks, and then I bring it to somebody like Ferocious, who is a great vocal arranger, and I’ll give him the bare hook, and he’ll work with an artist to bring out the hook, and he’s worked with me long enough to know what I want. IDLE CLASS: You’re like an executive producer. PIPH: Yeah, yeah, so I don’t beat make, but I do produce, know what I’m sayin’? IDLE CLASS: Yeah, from what I understand, that’s how a lot of the super-famous production in hip-hop goes on – they outsource a lot of the hard labor. PIPH: That’s why I always say “no” when people ask me if I do produce because I don’t want people to be confused and think that I actually make the beats myself, in terms of actually getting on the MPC or the keyboard. Piph’s passion project, Global Kids Arkansas will work to ensure the youth have the knowledge, skills, experiences and values they need to succeed in school, participate effectively in the democratic process, and achieve leadership in their communities and on the global stage. Young people examine global issues, make local connections, and create change through peer education, social action, digital media, and service-learning, while receiving intensive support from GK staff. The first two weeks of the program will be held in Little Rock, whereas for the final two weeks the students will be chaperoned out of the country to continue their studies abroad. Upon returning, the students will be further mentored to initiate sustainable programs within their community. Big Piph is also planning a summer tour. Keep an eye out for Piph and his upcoming shows.








THE BANKS OF THE ARKANSAS RIVER WILL TURN into Little Hollywood from May 15-19 when the Little Rock Film Festival gets underway. This exclusive film event hits big screens all within walking distance from each other, making it a pedestrian event. The festival will screen more than 100 short and feature length narratives and documentaries from the state, region, country and world. Between screenings at what Moviemaker Magazine has coined one of the top 25 film festivals in the country “worth it’s entrance fee,” film goers can walk the river walk, stop in local restaurants hosting festival events and soak up Little Rock’s art district. No regional film festival would be complete without a shout to the local artisans, and Little Rock is no different. Now the centerpiece of the festival, the “Made in Arkansas” competition promises to bring you the very best film works being produced in the state. “After looking at the submissions this year, it’s clear that the local filmmaking scene in Arkansas has arrived. As a whole, these films make up the strongest line up we have seen yet,”reiterates Faith Chonko, LRFF ‘Made in Arkansas’ programmer. Some of the highlights of this year’s competition include a pair of documentaries zeroing in on local personalities. Matthew Wolfe’s The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain tells the story of former All-American Arkansas football player Mitch Mustain and his fall from grace, narrated by former Razorback Basketball coach Nolan Richardson. Master storyteller Larry Foley’s Up Among the Hills promises to unearth all of the unique characters that make up the history of Fayetteville and is narrated by former president Bill Clinton, himself a former Fayetteville resident. All in all, a brilliant complement to the global fare being served up by the festival’s directors. Other highlights of this year’s festival include a new emphasis on music. In addition to music acts playing prior to film screenings at the LRFF 2013,

Whitewater Tavern will also be hosting a number of after parties for the festival and featuring local music artists. This year also marks the first year of Heifer International’s Humanitarian award, a new film category offering a $10,000 cash prize to the best socially conscious film. The Oxford American Magazine will also offer $10,000 for the best southern film. Saturday, May 18, is Family Day and the festival will screen Diary of a Wimpy Kid with one of the child actors in attendance. The awards gala will be held at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. The Little Rock Film Festival was the brainchild of Executive Director Craig Renaud and Artistic Director Brent Renaud, both award-winning documentary filmmakers. Over the last few years, the festival has become a springboard for Oscar-nominated films like Winter’s Bone and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Other indie hits like Restrepo, Natural Selection and Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture have been screened. Tickets, schedules and more information can be found on the Little Rock Film Festival website.


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THE STACKS WORDS / HEATHER ROBIDEAUX PHOTOS / COLLEY BAILEY SHAWN JAMES & THE SHAPESHIFTERS KICK OFF THE FAYETTEVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY SUMMER CONCERT SERIES. THIS SUMMER, THE FAYETTEVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY launches its annual reading programs for children, teens and adults – which are packed with programs, prizes and fun for everyone. Part of the fun in recent years has been found in the summer concert events. The expanded concert schedule is completely free to the community. Shawn James and the Shapeshifters kick things off on Saturday, June 1. Their mix of folk and edgy blues creates a truly captivating sound. The summer music showcase continues throughout June and July with concerts for people of all ages. Each Sunday in June, the Mountain Street Stage music series highlights the best musicians working in northwest Arkansas. Now in its fifth year, it has evolved into one of the library’s premiere annual events. This year, the Mountain Street Stage is proud to present the Adams Collins Jazz Trio; Leah & the Mojo Doctors; East of Zion and 1 Oz. Jig. Mountain Street Stage schedules a wide selection of musical genres from world music, folk, bluegrass, and jazz to country, R&B, rock, and blues. More offbeat indie groups focusing on surfer music and video game music have also found their way to the venue.


This free concert series was developed in 2009 as a way to support Fayetteville’s thriving music scene and offer library patrons a chance to sample the musically rich and diverse community we share. Over the years, Mountain Street Stage has featured acts such as: The Walter Savage Jazz Trio; Opal Fly and the Swatters; RJ Mischo; the Sarah Hughes Band and many others. From the beginning, audiences have loved the performances. Susie Walker, librarian and Mountain Street stage coordinator said, “At times you could see folks stomping their feet, some even dancing in the aisles. Others were just relaxing in their seats wearing big old smiles! After that first year, we knew we had a winning program.” While all the concerts at the library are family friendly, the summer offers a wide variety of concerts with guaranteed kid appeal. Back by popular demand are Trout Fishing in America; Brian and Terry Kinder; Leonardo; the Non Toxic Band; 3 Penny Acre and the interactive, bilingual performance from Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres. Joining the library’s roster for the first time are performers Gustafer Yellowgold; Conductor Jack of the Zinhoppers and the Emmy award winning Farmer

Jason. Another group new to the library includes The Pop Ups, a favorite from the NYC independent children’s music scene. This Grammy nominated “kindie rock” duo incorporates music, unique instruments and stage sets, and puppets into their vibrant performance style. To expand music features this year, the Fayetteville Public Library received the America’s Music grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, the American Library Association and the Society for American Music, to host a six-week program that features a combination of concerts paired with scholar-led discussions and documentary film screenings exploring 20th century American music. On Wednesdays, University of Arkansas professor and music scholar Robert Cochran will screen music-themed documentary films and facilitate discussions on the cultural, ethnic, political and social influences that musical genres had on America. On the following Sundays, the library will feature live performances of the musical genres covered in Cochran’s discussions. The series will discuss American music styles like the blues, gospel, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, swing, jazz, bluegrass, country, rock, Latin influences and the rise of hip-hop. The America’s Music concert series will feature: gospel musician Ocie Fisher; the Broadway stylings of the Alma Young Actors Guild; the jazz creations of the Claudia Burson Trio; the country sounds of Fork and Knife; and a rock performance with The Great Scotts. A special Saturday event on August 3 welcomes hip-hop performers Brian Smallwood and Michael Corbin who will serve as the summer music finale. Melissa Lockaby, librarian and America’s Music Coordinator said, “We are hoping to catch the eyes and ears of new visitors to the library, as well as keeping our current patrons excited about the variety of music found in Northwest Arkansas. The America’s Music series provides our community an introduction to music or eras in music history that they might not know or understand.” So go beyond the books this summer by checking out an unexpected music venue at the Fayetteville Public Library. For more information, contact the library at 479.856.7250.



WORDS / KODY FORD NATURE AND ART WILL MERGE at the 4th Annual Artosphere Festival presented by Walton Arts Center. Events are taking place all across northwest Arkansas from Dickson Street to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to Eureka Springs. Artosphere lasts throughout May and June. Most events are free and open to the public while others remain low cost. Artosphere’s mission is to celebrate artists, influenced by nature, who inspire us to live more sustainable lives. Jodi Beznoska, VP of Communications at Walton Arts Center, says, “At its heart, Artosphere represents what makes Northwest Arkansas a great place to live and visit. The festival invites audiences to experience incredible art and reflect on our beautiful surroundings while engaging in a

dialogue about sustainability.” Some of the activities planned include The Herd & Swarm by Indianapolis-based artist Tasha Lewis. It lasts from May 2 to June 28 at various outdoor events around NWA. Lewis creates sculptural installations out of cyanotype-coated fabric that focus on re-imagined taxidermy and preserving life. The Herd is a collection of emerging heads and bodies of African grazers including gazelles, impalas and springboks. Swarm is a collection of cyanotype butterflies mounted onto magnets. Spiral Wetland, another public art installation, is a series of floating raft-like structures planted with native wetland species that will be installed on Lake Fayetteville near the dam. Inspired by Robert Smithson’s famous outdoor sculpture Spiral Jetty, Levy is creating artwork

with a specific ecological goal: to improve the water quality of Lake Fayetteville. On April 28 at 3 P.M., Levy will participate in the “Artists Collaborating with Nature” part of the Great Hall Lecture Series at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. One popular family-friendly event is the Trail Mix Concert Tour, which takes place on the bike trail in Fayetteville and the trails surrounding Crystal Bridges in Bentonville on May 4. In June, 80 musicians from around the world come to NWA for the acclaimed Artosphere Festival Orchestra under the baton of renowned musical director Corrado Rovaris. A full schedule of events is available online.



Vintage furniture & decor, incense, posters, & more.


427 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville between Lafeytte & Maple 479-856-6600 Open 7 days a week .



WORDS / STEVE HINTZ IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO LIVE in a major metropolis to be on the cutting edge of creative theatrical endeavors, think again. Enclaves all over the country spawn brilliance on a regular basis and for those folks living in northwest Arkansas, your enclave is getting more and more brilliant by the day. TheatreSquared, NWA’s premiere theatre company hosts their 5th annual Arkansas New Play Festival on June 14-15 at the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum studios in Fayetteville and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock. Every year for the past five years, Theatre Squared has held this showcase of cutting-edge writers, direc-

tors and actors in the midst of the creative process. Each of the plays is carefully selected through a referral process where directors across the country, familiar with the Arkansas demographic suggest writers and works that they’ve come across. Theatre Squared sifts through the plays at various stages of development and select the most promising ones, which are passed through a 5-6 day workshop with actors and directors who are brought in from around the country to help get the script to a point where it’s ready to showcase. That’s where you come in. Audience members engage in a conversation with the writers, actors and

directors to discuss which parts are working and which ones need to work their way out. The first two plays, Raw Vision by the University of Arkansas’ professor Les Wade, and If I Did This by E.M. Lewis top this year’s slate of works. The festival will present 4 staged readings at $7 a piece. The 24 hr. play festival, put on by the University of Arkansas’ drama department is going on the same weekend and costs $10 to get in. A pass for all five events is $30 and if you add on an additional $10, you can see all of the university’s new plays the previous and following weekends.


Representing Original Artwork from Artist across the Country

210 South First Street, Rogers, AR 72756 OPEN: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm 479-225-6758


Artistry at the

Edge of Craft

ONYX Coffee Lab searches for the perfect cup WORDS / MARTY SHUTTER PHOTOS / COLLEY BAILEY

“DO YOU THINK COFFEE IS BETTER NOW THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN?” *** Six or seven years ago I was on stage at Chicago’s Annoyance Theater. The show was improvised, and my character was downstage center. I was typing for some reason, and the scene was taking place in a J.C. Penney’s for some reason. Another reason had led my scenepartner, Carissa, into my office. We needed to talk. “You’re scaring the customers,” my character said. “I am?” she asked. “They come here, they want slacks. They go home, tell people about the slacks they got here. People expect this crap to be exactly where it is supposed to be. No surprises or you lose the masses. Now you’ve rearranged the store! They crumble inside when they come here and see their store in disarray. J.C. Penney’s are supposed to look like J.C. Penney’s!” “But I’m an artist!” “Well, here you’re a craftsman.” “What is the difference between an art and a craft?” *** THE ARTIST The space between a craft and an art is a place of questions born of quest and enterprise. Humanity’s knack for exploration makes artists of answerers to those questions. Those rockets may look like science, but the path to them is paved with the jazz of invention and ingenuity. Jon Allen, proprietor and guru of ONYX Coffee Lab, wets the grinds on a single-origin, microplot, freshly-ground pile of coffee. I’ve sat down across him for a lesson in ‘Third Wave’ coffee and a cupping of four different roasts. An hour into our conversation, Kody would

lean in and say, “Make sure you ask him what goes into making a perfect cup.” “That’s all we’ve been talking about.” Third Wave coffee is the beverages’ latest commercial and artistic manifestation. Where the first wave might have been the a thick cup of burned, stale roast in a tin can on some sailor’s table during our country’s violent beginnings, a cup in the second wave of coffee would be something from a large commercial roaster in uniform grind. Think: Flavor Crystals. A specialty coffee wave grew out of the ‘70s and ‘80s into the refinements across the bar from me now. Practitioners of Third Wave coffee hack at the elimination of variables from the production of a cup. Their task is real, and each turn produces responses that become methods, which become the common standards of a craft. Often beginning with a Direct Trade, Third Wave roasters balance the beans’ internal chemistry; they build a roast profile in steps until each coffee has its own unique, programmed roast cycle. Once ground, the brew method is tailored for each specific roast. Older methods of brewing--like the siphon brew, which is visually closer to a beakered science experiment, and the Japanese cold brew--emerge in Third Wave roasters’ stores updated for the times, sleek and in polished steel. The popular mantra of ‘farm-to-cup’ has been expanded in each direction as the newest generation of roasters attempt to orchestrate the process from seed to palate. Coffee, once known by country of origin, became known by regions and as coffee became specialized, regions have given way to the more determinate single farms, and on those farms are often heirloom varieties of single coffees. “Essentially what we’re trying to do is, instead of just getting from a region, we’re getting it straight from a farm, and we’re trying to get the actual day lot. Not only is this from the Guji farm,” Jon says of the beans, “this is also a micro-lot of the Guji farm, which means


Jon Allen of ONYX Coffee Labs chats with Marty Shutter. we only bought what was picked in one day and processed in one place, everything is in sync.” These single-origin coffees carry the clear and hard flavors of the bean, the soil and the farmer’s method. Third Wave roasters patiently develop relationships with farms, farmers and processors, creating over time a cycle of feedback that improves the coffee’s quality and in turn, its market viability. “What made you want to become the best?” I say. “[The] jack of all trades, master of none is kind of an old thinking mentality; especially when there are so many things out there, how


do you set yourself apart from the rest? I’m never going to have the advertising budget of one Starbucks store, but I could make a single cup of coffee that could beat out anything they ever do.” “Is that your philosophy in life? Do something, do it well?” “The craft scene has really taken off in general, like, micro breweries, craft beer; people are making their own furniture; there’s an olive oil shop opening in Rogers.” Jon pours 190 degree water onto the grounds, only wetting them at first. “Everyone is taking one thing and then sort of figuring out how to do it best. You don’t want to do every-

thing, less is more, you want to do one thing and do it really well.” He continues, “We do a lot of education, that’s one of our biggest points here. We teach people about coffee. Anything we can do to make people aware that coffee is a really important thing. Number one: it is the entire income of a ton of countries; it’s everything. People think they should get a cup for 50 cents, and to be quite honest, if they saw everything that went into making coffee from the forty starving families that handsort every bean to the processing plants, to the fact that coffee rusts have destroyed crops... the most

respect we can give is to take their product, roast it the best way possible, brew it and serve it the best way possible, educate people about it and then let them appreciate it.” Among Jon’s innovations is his artistic response to relating with “competition.” His answer to crippling supply prices is Anonymous Coffee, a company he founded to serve the coffee stores of the region. In a brilliant socialization of capitalism, Anonymous has taken stock of the coffee businesses’ most used items and built a warehouse for them where ordering in bulk, and offering a steep discount, has created a marketplace for business owners. “Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world behind oil,” he says. “In terms of financial markets, cupping, scoring--it’s definitely the biggest food product in the world.”

1404 N College Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72703 (near Ozark Natural Foods)

*** That night on stage with Carissa, I’ll never remember how we answered that old question about arts and crafts. But I have seen that wherever a craft is pushed beyond its accepted and expected definition, you find art. Onyx Coffee Lab is an art studio at the front of coffee’s ongoing unveiling. Jon’s efforts arouse a symphony of human effort into producing a cup of coffee, a drink whose story is currently being retold by artists like Jon. *** “Do you think coffee is better than it has ever been?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. ONYX Coffee Lab is located at 7058 W. Sunset Ave. in Springdale, AR.




Les Miserables WORDS / cynthia parker MATERIALS: • 3 skeins CEY Silky Alpaca Lace • US size 9 and US size 11 needles Gauge: Gauge not crucial Size: One size NOTES: This wrap uses dropped stitches to achieve the deconstructed look. The wrap is felted when the knitting is finished for strength and softness. It is important to keep track of your stitches. Stitches are dropped into a spot made by knitting two stitches together on either side of a double yarn over.


CAST ON: With size 11 needles, cast on 78 stitches. Purl 2 rows. Change to size 9 needles. Row 1-- 10 work in Stockinette Stitch. Row 11 – K1, *K13, yo 2 times, drop 2 stitches from left hand needle, K1* repeat until 13 stitches are left on left hand needle, K13. Row 12 – P13, *P2, K1, P13* repeat to last stitch, P1. Unravel dropped stitches. Row 13 – 22 – Work in Stockinette stitch. Row 23 – K1, *K12, K2 tog, yo 2 times, K2 tog* repeat to last 13 stitches, K13 Row 24 – P13, *P2, K1, P13* repeat to last stitch, P1 Row 25--30 – Work in stockinette stitch Row 31 – Repeat Row 11 Row 32 – Repeat Row 12 Row 33--42 – Work in Stockinette Stitch Row 43 – Repeat Row 23 Row 44 – Repeat Row 24 Row 45--54 Work in Stockinette Stitch Work Rows 11-54, Twelve more times. Wrap should measure about 84 inches. Work 8 rows stockinette. Change to Size 11 needles, work 2 rows Stockinette


Hand Held - A Knitting Gallery 15 N. Block Ave. Fayetteville, AR 72701 479-582-2910

BIND OFF: Bind off 1 stitch, Bind off 13 stitches, drop 2 stitches, Bind off 1 stitch* repeat to last 13 stitches, Bind off last 13 stitches. Weave in loose ends. FELTING: I like to felt this piece by hand. Due to the nature of the fiber, the edges like to marry to the body. Soak the piece in a sink full of hot water with 1/4 cup of vinegar for 10 minutes. Wear rubber gloves. Fill sink with hot water and a squirt of liquid detergent. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Rub and piece making sure edges do not fold into the body of the wrap. After 5 minutes plunge wrap into cold water and agitate it for a few minutes. Repeat this process of hot and cold 2 to 3 times. You will feel the wrap felt. When the piece is felted, roll it into a towel to blot excess water, hang it over a hanger and let dry. (c) Hand Held Knitting




WORDS / andrew mcclain PHOTOS / lee wyatt MATTHEW AND KATY HENRIKSEN JUST RELEASED the sixth issue of their literary journal, Cannibal. The 112-page volume was released in April in a limited run of 200 hand-bound copies. The journal’s ethos is centered around making a boutique item for poetry lovers. Katy screen prints each cover at home, while Matthew prints all the pages; a group of friends arrive when it’s time to fold, collate, hole-punch and bind the books. “The new issue of Cannibal has been a long time in the making,” said Katy. “When we had our daughter, we decided that we just couldn’t keep up with all the many projects we were involved in, so Cannibal was put to rest after Issue Five. Matthew decided to resurrect Cannibal and because of this, he had a huge arsenal of amazing poems and poets. Issue Six is an example of what’s thriving in contemporary poetry ranging from Graham Foust to Anselm Berrigan, plus a highlight on what’s taking off right here in the Ozarks. We’ve had several poetry friends from afar who’ve moved to Fayetteville in the last couple years for various purposes, including to study for a PhD or in one instance to buy land in the mountains. There’s a lot of energy here now for experimental poetics.” The magazine itself is a vehicle for innovation in form. Katy says, “It takes risks. It is charged. It draws immediate response. Because of the factors of the high quality of the work paired with the raw, handmade aesthetic, Cannibal has established itself as a magazine that has a devoted and loving following, and one that is connected nationally by a network of poets working both within and outside the academy. We love the Cannibal community and its velocity.”


And then I cut my bangs by catherine hotaling-donnelly


y grandmother was napping while I wandered around her apartment. I was four. There was no television. I watched the buses on Nostrand Avenue when I noticed a horrifying sound from down the hall. Trembling, I walked slowly toward her bedroom. I peered around the corner to see a dark maw where her mouth was supposed to be and thought it was a witch, then I saw the false teeth in a glass on the end table and knew she was just snoring. I went back to the living room and cut my bangs.


Photo / Jeremy Glover

Piura Chemical farmers re-enact the destruction of their features: faces strapped, cracked through a Peruvian past where doctors are fantasy, like Americans, Andes Astronauts, Days of Wine. Aging microclimates never meant to see your eyes, hear clamped teeth. Green training on the hows of choosing produce, pimping it, collecting dirt road angles cutting middlemen into pieces for a celebratory stew feeding the multifaceted multitudes lined against the walls of a no faucet dirt floored facility encircled by rail-thin puppies, newborn kittens, a chorus of striking children.

- jeremy glover


Trolley Line Books Used, Rare, Signed & Arkansas-related Books Located in Downtown Rogers 110 W Walnut St Rogers, AR 72756

(479) 636-1626

are you a member of the idle class? FICTION: 3,000 Words or Less POETRY: 3-5 Poems Submit your fiction and poetry. We publish online and in print. Beware of genre fiction. If it’s good, that’s one thing. If it’s Walking Dead fan fiction, save it for the forums.



Last true remnants of The States Absent fence slats expose a now paper-thin exterior: inside crumpled greying rooms stacked high, the slight crackling hiss of countless hourglasses drizzling time through once pulsating specimens balled-up scalps, finger tips, eyes irises, still bubbling semen all prescribed last grasp and gasp as a cure. Exits shut yet still seeping countless phrases turned by the proud few in faintest gathering light. Viewed from the prized inhabited asteroid nearby all seems a child’s puzzle of mortar, nostalgia, the obvious bodily fluids from throes of joy and ceasing left strewn haphazardly by no one still breathing.

- jeremy glover



A great film is made with love and time.

m ay 1 5 -1 9 , 2 0 1 3



The Idle Class - Spring 2013  

Celebrating the arts in Arkansas.

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