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Eat Arkansas

Eat My Catfish surfaces in Little Rock

Eat My Catfish, which has locations in Benton and Conway, held its grand opening Tuesday in a jazzy new spot at 10301 N. Rodney Parham Road.

Pickled! Preservation Libations fundraiser is Friday

Drinks of the roaring ’20s will be bottoms up as Preserve Arkansas hosts its second annual Preservation Libations Master Mix-Off starting at 6 p.m. Friday, July 22, in the Albert Pike Masonic Temple. Set in the auditorium of the grand 1924 structure, guests will imbibe and vote on competing bartenders’ twists on historic cocktails, all of them delightfully quirky and plenty stiff.

The British are coming to Big Orange: Midtown, and they're bringing rum

Like sailors? Like 'em liquored up? Boy, have we got a holiday for you. And Big Orange: Midtown is the place to be.

Dining Review

More meat, less dough

July 28, 2016
More meat, less dough
Taco Beer Burrito shows promise, but needs to be tweaked. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

The return of Ben Dickey

July 28, 2016
The return of Ben Dickey
The Little Rock native comes to White Water behind his excellent solo debut. /more/

To-Do List

Brent Best comes to The Undercroft

July 28, 2016
Brent Best comes to The Undercroft
Also, Sumokem at Vino's, Animation Show of Shows at Ron Robinson, 'Passing of the Key: A Fundraiser for Lucie's Place' at Revolution, Block on the Rock at and near Stone's Throw Brewing and Charles Portis Weekend. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

1957 all over again

At historic Central High School, two former presidents and a former British prime minister /more/

Ernest Dumas

Trump-Putin 2016

Among the thousand bizarre aspects of the presidential campaign has been the Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin /more/

Gene Lyons

Hillary hit jobs

It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do /more/

Pearls About Swine

These Hogs won't be thin

July 28, 2016
This may be the strongest returning receiving corps that the Razorbacks have fielded in the post-Petrino days. /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, July 28, 2016 - 16:01:00

The waiting for Hillary open line and video


Trying out this Facebook Live thing again. Over to you.

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 15:51:00

Arkansas the goal line for Oklahoma coaches

click to enlarge Greg Werner, formerly with the Poteau Pirates, now at Van Buren.
  • Greg Werner, formerly with the Poteau Pirates, now at Van Buren.
What, you say, Arkansas wages are too low to attract folks from outside our borders to work here? Well, not surprisingly, that turns out not to be the case for athletics.

KFSM, Channel 5 reports that dozens of coaches have fled Oklahoma for Arkansas and quotes Roland, Okla., superintendent Randy Wood saying that coaches (and teachers) from Oklahoma haven't had a raise from the state since 2008 or 2007, "so when you can make a short move as close as we are to the border and make $10,000 as a teacher, $20,000 as a coach, that’s kind of a no-brainer." Among the Sooners who have taken flight from Oklahoma is Greg Werner, who left Poteau for Van Buren; he says whenever there's an opening in Van Buren, "half the applicants will be from Oklahoma."

Note that even in Oklahoma, the coaches make twice what the teachers make, if the Roland superintendent is accurate.

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 15:39:00

What's driving that 3.9 percent state GDP growth? Rice, says federal analyst

click to enlarge TOP OF THE CLASS: Arkansas's GDP stands out because of rice production, analysts say. - U.S. BEA
  • U.S. BEA
  • TOP OF THE CLASS: Arkansas's GDP stands out because of rice production, analysts say.

Yesterday, a federal report was released showing Arkansas's growth in gross domestic product outpaced that of every other state in the nation in the first quarter of 2016: The state's GDP grew at 3.9 percent in the first three months of the year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The majority of that rise was due to a boost in agricultural output, the BEA report said — 2.21 percentage points out of the total 3.9 percent rise.

In a story in the Democrat-Gazette this morning, reporter Brian Fanney raised some warranted skepticism about those ag numbers by talking to in-state experts. He spoke with the chief economist at the Arkansas Farm Bureau and a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas. Both expressed surprise about the BEA's figures and said they weren't sure where exactly that agricultural growth could be coming from. Forestry might account for some growth, suggested a professor at the the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, but it's not clear it would explain the overall surge.

I placed a call to the BEA this morning asking for more details on the report. This afternoon, I got a response from Thomas Dail, a spokesperson at the bureau:
We spoke earlier today. I tracked down the answer to your question on which sector was driving the 2.21 percentage point contribution to the 3.9 percent increase in state GDP for Arkansas: forestry, crops, livestock or something else?

Here it is:

Much of the increase in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting is coming from crop output. As you know, Arkansas is the top-ranked state for rice production. Nationwide, USDA is projecting rice cash receipts (sales) to increase 32% in 2016 after falling sharply in 2015. Our real state GDP data are adjusted for changes in prices. So if even if commodity prices fall, our GDP numbers reflect the higher crop output.
There you go. Now who's eating all that rice?

 

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Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 15:31:00

Power out at the Arts Center

click to enlarge Aerial view of MacArthur Park.
  • Aerial view of MacArthur Park.
The Arkansas Arts Center was closed today, due to a power outage in MacArthur Park, and the MacArthur Museum of Military History was likely closed as well. Phones at the latter were being answered by machines.

It's a good thing it was today and not next Thursday, Aug. 4,  when the Arts Center is holding an open house for architectural firms interested in applying for the planned renovation and expansion will be held. The Arts Center announced in June its Request For Qualifications for a design architect was ready for interested parties.

The RFQ puts the budget for "hard construction" at around $46 million (this figure is not set in stone, the Arts Center says). Taxes on hotel rooms will provide the revenues to issue bonds for the project, and private funding has been promised, though not announced. The RFQ also says the project includes 90,000 square feet in renovations and new construction of $40,000 for new construction and $35,000 for landscaping. The RFQ says that the renovation and expansion, which includes more exhibition space to display the Arts Center's collection and added curation space to take care of it, outreach to the community, more programming and promoting tourism, is crucial to the Arts Center's mission and necessitated by competition from Bentonville:
 
Through strategic planning initiatives, staff and board retreats, and community sessions with stakeholders and the public, it became clear that the state of the current facility was an obstacle to the AAC’s ability to fulfill its mission and vision and prepare for the future. It was also recognized that the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011 raised the bar for museum architecture in the state and increased awareness of the transformative possibilities of inspiring architecture.
Gallery space, according to the preliminaries put forth in the RFQ, would expand by 3,200 square feet, educational space by 9,053 square feet; the Chilldren's Theatre by 5,700 square feet; collections management by 10,555 square feet and administrative offices by 5,053 square feet.
(You can read the RFQ here.)

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 16:14:00

Amman Abbasi named among "25 New Faces of Independent Film"

click to enlarge amman-abbasi-copy-768x433.jpg

Filmmaker Magazine named Little Rock's Amman Abbasi, the son of Pakistani immigrants living in Arkansas, among "25 New Faces of Independent Film," noting the visual strength of Abbasi's debut feature film, "Dayveon," which tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who becomes involved with a local gang in rural Arkansas. "Dayveon" was conceived during Abbasi's time in Chicago with brothers Craig and Brent Renaud, who were filming a documentary on gang violence, and Abbasi brought those ideas home to Arkansas. 
“I had written a placeholder script just with archetypical characters and concepts of stuff that I‘d gathered in Chicago,” he explains. “Then, I workshopped the script with at-risk youth at the local boot camp here. I got their opinions on it, and slowly I realized a lot of it doesn't hold up and some of it does. Then I put their words on the page as to how their story should really be told.” 
In the rehearsal process, the film began to garner the attention of several production companies, Rough House, Symbolic Exchange and Muskat Filmed Properties, who eventually backed the film in collaboration. The film is expected to screen at festivals in 2017.

Abbasi could once be spotted working with his parents, Zahid and Shabnam, at Masala Grill + Teahouse, formerly in the River Market. He's a musician, too; he and his brother Yousef, as The Abbasi Brothers, scored two films, "Warrior Champions" and "The Wall," and recorded an album in 2008, "Something Like Nostalgia." 


Check out Abbasi's 2013 interview with the now-defunct Little Rock Film Festival below.


 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 13:37:00

Trans activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy to attend Kaleidoscope Film Festival

click to enlarge Miss Major being honored at "inside Out," the Toronto LGBT Film Festival.
  • Miss Major being honored at "inside Out," the Toronto LGBT Film Festival.

Little Rock Film Society’s Kaleidoscope Film Festival scored another notable guest of honor this week: Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a civil rights and trans activist who was at Stonewall the evening of the infamous raid, a survivor of the 1971 riots at Attica Prison, a chief organizer of medical care and funerals for Bay Area victims of the AIDS epidemic and longtime advocate for trans women of color, and for women of color who have been victims of police violence.

click to enlarge feature1-2-c472cceb7b1e99df.jpg

Major is the subject of Annalise Ophelian and StormMiguel Florez's documentary "Major!," all three of whom will be in attendance at the screening. "Major!" screens at 6 p.m. to close the festival, and will be followed by a "Champagne Goodbye" at The Joint. For more details on Kaleidoscope, or to purchase tickets, visit kaleidoscopefilmfestival.com


 

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July 28, 2016
Best of Arkansas 2016
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Arkansas Reporter

School's out forever

July 28, 2016
School's out forever
When the last school building in Altheimer closed in 2013, resources and student records were left to rot — despite the state Education Department being in control. /more/
 

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