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Eat Arkansas

The dream of the 90s is alive with Pepsi

Sate your nostalgia for the sodas of yesteryear with the relaunch of Crystal Pepsi.

Come for the coffee, stay for the avocado toast

Get your morning off to a great start with Zeteo Coffee in Conway.

Petra, Fayetteville's delicious, unique lunch counter

Petra is the perfect lunch, hearty and satisfying without the 3 o’clock food coma.

Dining Review

Soul on Main

September 1, 2016
Soul on Main
Good feel, good food at Memphis export Soul Fish Cafe. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

The Rep goes big with Python parody 'Spamalot'

September 1, 2016
The Rep goes big with Python parody 'Spamalot'
It's an Arthurian absurdity. /more/

To-Do List

KABF celebrates with a Birthday Bash

September 1, 2016
KABF celebrates with a Birthday Bash
Also, Sounds in the Stacks at the Esther D. Nixon Library, the Hot Springs Jazz Festival, KUHS Birthday Fundraiser, Jointstock at The Joint and The Hot Springs Blues Festival. /more/


Max Brantley

News for the digital era

Arkansas news, clipped and spun for the short-attention-span era. Q: STATUS? A: QUO. To no /more/

Ernest Dumas

Obamacare works

If you read only the headlines you would think that Obamacare is on its last leg, a national train wreck even in Arkansas, where Republicans and Democrats preserved its biggest feature, assured medical care for the working poor. /more/

Gene Lyons

Boris and Natasha

Let's see now: One presidential candidate's campaign director resigns after being outed as a Russian /more/

Movie Reviews

Who's robbing whom?

September 1, 2016
Who's robbing whom?
'Hell or High Water' poses the question. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Hogs' first opponent, La. Tech, depleted

September 1, 2016
Both teams are trying to replace seasoned, and oft-maligned quarterbacks. /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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 16:21:00

Secretary of state clears signatures on medical marijuana amendment

click to enlarge THE DOCTORS ARE IN: Elders and Bledsoe talk about medical marijuana. - JACOB KAUFFMAN/KUAR
  • Jacob Kauffman/KUAR
  • THE DOCTORS ARE IN: Elders and Bledsoe talk about medical marijuana.

The secretary of state's office has certified that a petition drive to put a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot cleared the number of registered voters required.

Needing 84,859 signatures, the secretary of state's office said it had found 97,284 valid signatures and thus certified the amendment as Issue 6 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

It joins an initiated act for medical marijuana. There are differences between them, a chief one being the for-profit dispensaries envisioned in the amendment. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the ballot title on the initiated act. No word yet if the amendment will be challenged, though the same groups that oppose the act also oppose medial marijuana in this form.

Still waiting word on the office's review of signatures on petitions for an amendment to legalize three casinos in Arkansas, with ownership rights specified for backers of the amendment.

Speaking of marijuana: Jacob Kauffman of KUAR interviewed Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders on medical marijuana. Bledsoe says he favors full research to tap any benefit from marijuana as medicine, but opposes the two ballot measures. 

Says Elders:

If a doctor feels that smoking a plant, or chewing and eating a plant, or however they consume it is helpful for their patients with certain chronic diseases and it makes them feel better, why not? Why not let them be as comfortable as they could be for as long as they could be? To me that’s what medicine is about.
Love Dr. Elders.

PS: Lawyer Erika Gee has written an analysis of the two medical marijuana proposals for Arkansas Business.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 16:13:00

Conway Mayor Tab Townsell picked to lead Metroplan

After interviewing two finalists, the Metroplan board chose one of its long-time members, Conway Mayor Tab Townsell, to become director of the planning agency, succeeding the retiring director Jim McKenzie.

The board also interviewed Andrew Gast-Bray from Indiana.

The executive committee will work out terms of employment. Townsell is expected to finish his term as mayor, which ends this year, and assume the Metroplan job at the first of the year. 

McKenzie's salary is about $152,000. Metroplan has said it would pay the next director up to $165,800

Townsell has served on the Metroplan board since becoming Conway mayor in 1999.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 15:45:00

Wednesday's open line

The Wednesday open line, with the daily roundup of news and comment.


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Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 16:35:00

New Rep director John Miller-Stephany lands in Little Rock

click to enlarge jms.jpg

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre has had only two artistic directors in its 40-year history, a fact which spoke loudly to incoming director John Miller-Stephany.

Founding Artistic Director Cliff Baker introduced Miller-Stephany at a meeting earlier today, handing off his duties as interim director, a role he's played since the departure of former Artistic Director Bob Hupp. Miller-Stephany assumes his role in mid-October, and comes to Little Rock from The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where he served as artistic administrator and associate artistic director from 1996 to 2015. Citing the leanness and dedication of the company's staff and the breadth of programming at The Rep, Miller-Stephany related some of the reasons the job opening here caught his attention.

"That The Rep produced both 'Macbeth' and 'The Little Mermaid' in the same season spoke to me," he said.

Miller-Stephany talked about his childhood experience as a boy soprano at Eastman School of Music, and about his experience in musical theater and classical theater.

Pointing to this season's production of the Monty Python parody "Spamalot" being followed by a production of Arthur Miller's 'the Crucible," he also spoke about striking the balance necessary to keep theater relevant to an audience with widely ranging interests, and about his inclination to not only enlighten audiences, but to engage, even if it means inviting a bit of controversy. "I love full houses, but that doesn't mean you have to pander, or insult anyone's intelligence. You can do really successful populist work, but you have to make it accessible."

Miller-Stephany emphasized the importance of The Rep's status as a "resident theater," a term which he says he prefers over "regional theater" because it better communicates the artistic work's placement within the community, he didn't shy away from clarifying the core of the company's purpose. "We shouldn't be the 'big house on the hill,' and theater is a social service, but we are not a social services organization. We can't be all things to all people, and we are first and foremost an arts organization." 

When asked about the relationship to the nonprofessional corps of playhouses in downtown Little Rock, Baker was quick to point out a testimony he'd received from a colleague of Miller-Stephany's in Minneapolis, who told Baker that any night [Miller-Stephany] was not working at the theater, he was out seeing other productions. "That's how he operates, on inclusion, on knowing what's happening around the corner," Baker said. Miller-Stephany followed by professing his love for community theater, noting that he'd recruited local talent for The Guthrie in such a manner, and joked about the welts he'd inflicted by pinching himself on the thigh to stay awake during some particularly horrendous productions. "This is a professional theater. We don't want to be elitist, it's just the difference between the major and minor league. But, God bless the minor league!"

Miller-Stephany will spend the upcoming months getting to know the staff at The Rep and developing relationships in Little Rock, focusing on what he called "the human factor," saying "Theater is all about human connections, and the human connection I made on that first visit made me think that this could be a good artistic home for me."


Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 13:22:00

CALS holds Banned Book Week Writing Contest

click to enlarge "Arabian Nights," longman Green & Co., 1898. - GABINETTO VIEUSSEUX
  • Gabinetto Vieusseux
  • "Arabian Nights," longman Green & Co., 1898.

In celebration of Banned Books Week (Sept. 25-Oct. 1), the Central Arkansas Library System announced a writing contest for Pulaski and Perry county residents based on “A Thousand and One Nights” (or, “Arabian Knights”), a collection of South Asian and Middle Eastern tales collected between the 8th and 13th centuries that’s prompted debates over freedom of speech as recently as 2010, when a group in Egypt, Lawyers Without Restrictions, called for the book to be banned based on its eroticism.

The contest is open to residents of Perry and Pulaski counties, and stories must contain either Sindbad the Sailor or Scheherazad, the storyteller of legend who kept herself alive by relating the 1,001 tales to which the title alludes. The winning story will win a grand prize of $300, and three $100 Honorable Mention prizes will be awarded. 

For more details, visit


Friday, August 26, 2016 - 14:29:00

V.L. Cox's 'Murder of Crows' travels to New York

click to enlarge V.L. Cox, "Stained," Bible pages, tea, acrylic, wax.
  • V.L. Cox, "Stained," Bible pages, tea, acrylic, wax.

Little Rock artist V.L. Cox is sending her installation "A Murder of Crows, The End Hate Collection" to to New York for exhibition Sept. 9-Nov. 11 at The Center, which serves New York's LGBT community.

"A Murder of Crows," which was shown in Little Rock at New Deal Studios, features such sculptural items as "Stained," an American flag constructed of tea bags that Cox made out of pages from the Bible; "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," a 1939 Coca-Cola cooler lid shot through with ammo and a Bible; and "No Vacancy," a metal steeple combine with a wooden cross that blinks "No Vacancy" in neon-like tubing.

Cox's description:

The End Hate Collection is a narrative body of work that looks at the history of past and present discrimination, gender issues, and social culture. The powerful pieces convey messages that are aggressive, violent, disturbing, irreverent, and even humorous, but all show us as a society where we’ve been before and where we can’t allow ourselves to go again. Cox’s goal in the End Hate series is to engage viewers responsibly in a dialogue no matter how uncomfortable. She believes that by truthfully looking in the mirror at ourselves, we take the first step in accepting the fact that we are all part of the link that needs to be repaired.

The show opens with a reception from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 9 at the gallery, 208 W. 13th St.
click to enlarge V.L. Cox, "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," Coca-Cola cooler lid, Bible.
  • V.L. Cox, "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," Coca-Cola cooler lid, Bible.


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