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Eat Arkansas

Heights Taco & Tamale eyeing early 2015 opening

Heights Taco & Tamale Company, the new Tex-Mex restaurant from Yellow Rocket Concepts, the restaurant group behind Big Orange, Local Lime, Lost Fort Brewing and ZAZA, is planning to open February 2015. The restaurant is located at 5805 Kavanaugh Boulevard in the former home of Browning’s.

Meet us At the Corner, in January

It used to be, “Let’s go to The Hop.” Now, the Hop is closing, and new song will be, “Let’s meet At the Corner,” when Kamiya Merrick opens up her “modernized” diner at 201 E. Markham St. the first of January. The Hop will close Nov. 26.

Get some Pie Shop pie into your face right now

Don't wait, don't hesitate. There's pie at Terry's, and you need to eat some of it.

Dining Review

The good, the bad and the rubbery

November 20, 2014
The good, the bad and the rubbery
Fantastic China all over the map. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Rediscover Petit Jean

November 20, 2014
Rediscover Petit Jean
A new guide to the state park's trail system doubles as a digestible science lesson. /more/

To-Do List

Thollem Electric comes to White Water

November 20, 2014
Thollem Electric comes to White Water
Also, Knox Hamilton at Juanita's, John Kilzer at South on Main, Third Friday Argenta Artwalk, The Idle Class release party at Vino's, Arkansas Arts Center museum sale at Clear Channel Metroplex, Big Piph at Ron Robinson and Chase Bryant at Revolution. /more/


Max Brantley

French Hill: the pope's man from 2nd District

French Hill, the Republican banker just elected to Congress from the 2nd District, is no Vic Snyder. We knew that, but an article in the latest Arkansas Catholic, news organ of the Diocese of Little Rock, indicates that he's a conservative outlier in his own church. /more/

Ernest Dumas

GOP's new Obamacare attack

It was inevitable. The long crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has pivoted from a battle against socialism to a populist war against big business: The program known as Obamacare is now supposed to be merely a feed trough for the captains of industry, not a government program to force health care on the undeserving poor. /more/

Gene Lyons

Dog life

As I write, the love of my life is off to the state penitentiary. I expect her back at the farm in late afternoon. She's a volunteer with "Paws in Prison," an organization that matches homeless dogs with inmate trainers. /more/

Movie Reviews

Somewhere between terrible and hilarious

November 20, 2014
Somewhere between terrible and hilarious
A few laughs in 'Dumb and Dumber' sequel. /more/

Pearls About Swine


November 20, 2014
Forgive the beleaguered, moonlighting Hog columnist if he scratches out this week's Pearls About Swine in much the same way Bret Bielema rejoiced Saturday night: a smidge teary-eyed and a bit unshaven, and with a robust, impromptu smooch for the wife. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 13:34:00

Federal hearing underway on Arkanas same-sex marriage bans

click to enlarge marriagemap.JPG

Benji Hardy and Brian Chilson are at the federal courthouse where a hearing is underway in Judge Kristine Baker's court on the federal lawsuit challenging the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage on U.S. constitutional grounds.

Jack Wagoner,
who joined Cheryl Maples in the state challenge, filed this lawsuit and has had assistance from others. He says his argument on a motion for summary judgment includes a Power Point display of the march of cases across the United States that have overturned state bans. The map above gives a look at the dramatically changed landscape in a country where, 10 years ago, one state's legalization (Massachusetts) prompted a flurry of state legislation in opposition, pushed by right-wing evangelical political groups.

The state is asking that Wagoner's suit be dismissed. I'd make a sizeable bet that is ONE outcome not likely after today's hearing. The plaintiffs include people wanting to marry in Arkansa and people already legally married in other states but denied protection of laws that benefit married couples.

Updates to come. There's no time limit on the hearing as there was in oral arguments this morning in the state challenge.


Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 12:15:00

Lunatics run the asylum: Jonesboro edition

click to enlarge TAINTED: Because nonprofit has Bloomberg link, some in Jonesboro don't want its money.
  • TAINTED: Because nonprofit has Bloomberg link, some in Jonesboro don't want its money.
Jonesboro is growing and prosperous and it's starting to make Bentonville look like a bastion of progressivity.

Jonesboro is home to Debbie Pelley, commander of the Black Helicopter Squadron, who finds a communist plot behind every mile of bicycle path. Voters there have swept out a cadre of plain vanilla conservative Democratic legislators in favor of Tea Party style reactionaries.

And now, get a load of the City Council. It has put the brakes on a $30,000 grant to clean up blight because it doesn't like the politics of the person who helps fund the organization. That dreadful New York Republican Michael Bloomberg is the financial angel behind the grantmaker, Cities of Service. Bloomberg is a supporter of abortion rights — currently legal in these United States. He also favors more gun safety legislation. The nutters, of course, want no limitations of any sort on guns.

But the money for Jonesboro has nothing to do with abortion or guns.

Reports Talk Business:

Jonesboro grants director Heather Clements said the grant would be used to implement a program similar to one created in the north Jonesboro area.

That program, called the North Jonesboro Community Initiative, works on issues like community revitalization, clean-up of blighted areas as well as supporting economic growth.

No matter. The Bloomberg taint was too much for some Council members.

“I can’t sell my soul for $30,000,” council member Gene Vance said. 

...Council member Chris Moore, who presided over the meeting due to Mayor Harold Perrin attending a mayors meeting in Austin, Texas, said he and Vance simply wanted more information about the group’s ties to Bloomberg.


Moore said he did not believe the “average citizen in Jonesboro” would support Bloomberg’s views on the issues and that the city should not accept funding from groups with any political ties.

If Gene Vance is so principled, he shouldn't take tax money from liberal Democrats, either. And does he know that Helen Walton once was a major backer of Planned Parenthood? Best not take any filthy Walton money should it turn up in Jtown. I suppose money from the Kochs is OK, though. They only oppose a minimum wage, environmental regulation, taxes on rich people and other stuff like that. You want to sell your soul, take THEIR money.

Really, is Jonesboro this nuts? What do they know that Pittsburgh, Missoula, New Orleans, Chicago and a lot of other cities don't know in taking money from Cities of Service? From the website:

Cities of Service is a coalition of nearly 200 cities whose mayors are committed to using volunteer service to solve local pressing challenges. Many cities hire chief service officers to drive and increase the reach and impact of their efforts. From helping to decrease high school dropout rates to increasing energy efficiency in city buildings, coalition members work together, learn from each other, establish and replicate best practices to improve lives in their cities, across the United States, and around the world.

Terrible stuff. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:19:00

Report: Walmart uses loopholes to avoid $1 billion in federal taxes

click to enlarge Screen-Shot-2014-11-19-at-11.06.39-AM-e1416446129568.png
A new report from the Americans for Tax Fairness concludes that Walmart is avoiding $1 billion in federal income taxes through loopholes and avoiding taxes on $21 billion in profits by holding the money outside the U.S.

The report says the company spent $32 million in a year on lobbyists who work to make the tax system more advantageous to the Arkansas-based retailer. It has also put $6.1 million into political campaigns since 2009.


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Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:18:00

James Bonner watercolor giclee sale benefits HAM

click to enlarge december_snow_james_bonner.jpg

The Historic Arkansas Museum is selling giclees of a watercolor by James M. Bonner, "December Snow," to raise money for its unique living history program. The watercolor is of the door to the Hinderliter Tavern, the historic building at the corner of Third and Cumberland where many of you have picked up pawpaws and put 'em in your pocket with director Bill Worthen, and it will remind you of the fun. The giclees are $250, and the edition is limited to 250. Call 324-9351 to buy one.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 14:19:00

Why one curator left Crystal Bridges: Kevin Murphy explains

click to enlarge Kevin Murphy, formerly of CBM, now at Williams College.
  • Kevin Murphy, formerly of CBM, now at Williams College.
Lee Rosenbaum, who blogs as CultureGrrl, reveals an interview she had with former Crystal Bridges Museum of Art curator Kevin Murphy, in which he said he regretted what he saw as a desire to put on popular, contemporary shows rather than delve deeper into the early American collection, his area of expertise. 

She talked to him last year, but has written about it now because of the upcoming departure of CBM President Don Bacigalupi, who will leave in January to become the founding director of George Lucas' museum in Chicago, due to open in 2018.

Murphy's observations, in part:

It was an amazing experience—being able to help build the collection, install it and shape how people in Arkansas, many of whom hadn’t experienced a big museum, were going to experience a narrative of American art that went from the 18th century through contemporary.
But I sensed the focus of Crystal Bridges was changing to being much more contemporary exhibition projects. The museum feels that it has a Bilbao Effect. But I was getting a sense that in order to maintain that Bilbao Effect, it was going to be contemporary art that was going to do it.
I wasn’t going to be able to do an 18th-century exhibition, because that would have been too boring. I think the management of Crystal Bridges felt, “Who would come and see that?” It had to be Rockwell—some big, light show.

The former curator, who is now the Eugenie Prendergast Curator of American Art at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., described Bentonville to Rosenbaum as “the Afghanistan of curatorial posts.”

With Bacigalupi's leaving, all of the museum principals — first director Robert Workman and first curator Chris Crosman, and senior curators David Houston, Matt Dawson and  Murphy — have left, with the exception of Manuela Well-Off-Man, who was promoted to curator earlier this year.

Who knows for sure, besides Alice Walton and Bacigalupi's family, why he's leaving CBM for a museum of "narrative art." Here's how the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art explains narrative art:

"There are countless forms of narrative in the world," wrote French literary theorist Roland Barthes in An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative. “Among the vehicles of narrative are articulated language, … pictures, still or moving, gestures, and an ordered mixture of all those substances; narrative is present in myth, legend, fables, tales, short stories, epics, history, tragedy, … comedy, pantomime, paintings, … stained-glass windows, movies, local news, conversation. Moreover, in this infinite variety of forms, it is present at all times, in all places, in all societies; indeed narrative starts with the very history of mankind; there is not, there has never been anywhere, any people without narrative…"

click to enlarge Work by R Crumb, in George Lucas' collection for his yet-to-be-built museum.
  • Work by R Crumb, in George Lucas' collection for his yet-to-be-built museum.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 13:33:00

Thanks to everyone who turned out for 'Who is Dayani Cristal?' at RRT last Friday

click to enlarge rrt.jpg
Last Friday, the Times hosted the second installment of our new monthly film series with the Little Rock Film Festival, “Who is Dayani Cristal?” This particular event was also sponsored in collaboration with El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center, a grassroots nonprofit in Central Arkansas. (I sit on El Zócalo’s board.) Outside, we had tacos and steaming hot champurrado for sale from La Herradura, a local food truck. 

Ron Robinson Theater manager Elizabeth Strandberg estimated that about 150 people turned out to enjoy the film. Well, "enjoy" might be an imprecise word, considering the volume of sniffling coming from the crowd towards the end. The point of “Dayani Cristal” is to humanize the suffering of migrant workers, thousands of whom have died in the deserts of the American Southwest in recent years while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s an intriguing story and beautifully shot, but it contains some candid shots of real human grief that are tough to watch.

To twist the emotional knife, we had a post-film discussion with two women from the immigrant community in Arkansas who talked of crossing the border decades ago and making their homes here in the state in the years since. These are stories that are difficult to hear, and, for many of us, difficult to register as being real – but they are real, and so are the tens of thousands of immigrant families in Arkansas who have lived those experiences. We’d especially like to thank our two guests for sharing their personal stories.

The film was free thanks to El Zócalo and donations from two other sponsoring nonprofits, the Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Conyers Institute of Public Policy, but generous donations from the crowd totaled more than enough to cover the cost of purchasing the film. El Zócalo's executive director, Sara Mullally, also joined us for the discussion afterwards.

The Times will soon be announcing a date for our December film screening – it won’t be a documentary, nor a tearjerker – so stay tuned.


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