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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

Meaty Potbelly impresses

November 27, 2014
Fast, cheap, good. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

2014 holiday gift guide

November 27, 2014
2014 holiday gift guide
A Christmas catalogue for the discerning (or desperate) Arkansan. /more/

To-Do List

Lil Flip comes to Club Elevations

November 27, 2014
Lil Flip comes to Club Elevations
Also, Punksgiving at Pizza D, North Mississippi Allstars at Revolution, Sebastian Bach at Juanita's, CALS crafting workshop in the Arcade Building and 'Chained for Life' at Vino's. /more/


Max Brantley

The fear factor at Arkansas Capitol

Surely you've read the recent articles about research that indicates conservatives are, on average, more fearful than liberals. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Benghazi goes way of other GOP scares

One more fear-mongering diversion sidetracked, but how many more to go? /more/

Gene Lyons

Sorting through Ferguson evidence

Here in the United States of America, we're not supposed to have political show trials. People should be put at risk of felony conviction only if evidence clearly supports a criminal indictment — not to solve political problems, provide weeks of suspenseful cable TV news programming, or to pacify mobs. /more/

Movie Reviews

Sticking to the story

November 27, 2014
Sticking to the story
Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater' is no screed. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Here come the expectations

November 27, 2014
The Bielema Bandwagon pit crew has done some hellacious work getting the wheels road-worthy again. Now it may take the installation of a governor under the hood to keep everyone rational after two historic, emotionally gratifying games have pushed expectations toward the stratosphere for the rest of the season and years beyond. /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, November 26, 2014 - 16:17:43

UPDATE: Duggar-based appeal raises $5,000 for homeless LGBT youth

click to enlarge Screen_Shot_2014-11-26_at_6.31.22_AM.png

I'm late in reporting an effort I've already cheered on Facebook and Twitter. But here, from the Bilerico Project, is happy news about how the Duggars anti-gay work in Fayetteville has been used to help gay youths in Arkansas.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, they of many children and a reality TV show about same, have contributed heavily to the campaign to defeat Fayetteville's civil rights ordinance because of their support for legal discrimination against gay people. The Duggars don't live in Fayetteville, but they and others of their political stripe have tried to foment a panic about transgender people using restrooms that match their identity.

Scott Wooledge of Memeograph Studios created the image you see at top and it's been going around the Internet via Twitter and Facebook as a tool to raise money for Lucie's Place, an organization in Little Rock that helps homeless LGBT youth. It operates on a shoestring. That money has included some support from a private foundation board in which I participate, so I can vouch for its good intentions and work.

And of course I should have mentioned this earlier.

Give to Lucie's Place. It's already received an unexpected $1,000 from people who want to demonstrate they view the world through a kinder lens than the Duggars. Here's the website. They use PayPal and have an Amazon subscription plan, too. I charged it to my credit card. It was easy.

UPDATE: Make that total $3,000 and still rising. You, go, Duggars.

UPDATE: Make that almost $4,000. 

UPDATE: Make that more than $4,300. Come on, Duggars. A nice round $5,000 would be perfect.

UPDATE: They've topped $5,000. Thank you, Duggars, for helping gay people.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 15:44:00

UALR law professor criticizes LR police chief on post-Ferguson statement

click to enlarge ADJOA AIEYTORO: UALR law prof says LRPD statement post-Ferguson decision was insensitive.
  • ADJOA AIEYTORO: UALR law prof says LRPD statement post-Ferguson decision was insensitive.
Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, a member of the faculty at the UALR law school who began her legal career as a staff attorney in the civil rights division of the Justice Department, apparently shares my low opinion of the statement issued by Little Rock police via Twitter following the no-indictment decision in Ferguson, Mo.

It said the department would "allow" peaceful demonstrations but not tolerate unlawful conduct. I indicated at the time that it seemed, at least, superfluous. Also authoritarian. Also condescending. Also I got no response to a question I sent to the department's nominal press spokesman about why it was issued in the first place.

Back to Aiyetoro. She sent the following letter to new Chief Kenton Buckner:

Dear Chief Buckner,

I turned on Channel 11 News yesterday morning at 6:30 to see their report on the grand jury’s decision in St. Louis County, Missouri on the indictment of Officer Wilson. My colleague and friend, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Felecia Epps provided a legal analysis of the decision. I was dismayed to see the LRPD’s statement on the screen indicating you would “allow” a peaceful demonstration; however, the LRPD "would not accept or tolerate destructive unlawful conduct."

I was dismayed for several reasons:

(1) Your message was not supportive of the Little Rock community and rather, came across as a threat and an act of intimidation of those who may choose to demonstrate.

(2) I have been in Little Rock for more than 10 years and know of no instance where there has been a violent demonstration. So your message, in the context of Little Rock -the city over which you and your department have police authority- seemed to have no basis and thus only increased its intimidating and threatening nature.

(3) Your message appeared to lack an understanding of the United States Constitution that guarantees no government interference with the right of free speech – the First Amendment to the Constitution. As several participants in the recent National Bar Association Town Hall Meeting at Allison Presbyterian Church (co-sponsored by the W. Harold Flowers Law Society and the UALR Bowen School of Law’s Black Law Students Association), said in response to a comment you made about protests after the indictment, peaceful protests are our right. It is a right allowed by the U.S. Constitution and one that you and police departments throughout the country have a duty to protect.

(4) Finally, the LRPD statement did not reflect any compassion for or sensitivity to what young black men may feel after this grand jury decision. A young black man who was identified as a student at UALR spoke well on this point. He indicated that young black men had always been fearful of being a target and that this grand jury decision only increased that fear.

It is my view there was no need for the LRPD to issue a statement at all. However, since you felt compelled to do so, the statement should have confirmed that there is no target on the backs of young black men in Little Rock and that your officers will protect the right of people to engage in a peaceful demonstration.


Adjoa A. Aiyetoro

Buckner has made a show of increasing community communications. He got a ton of TV this week for distributing free turkeys. But the reality of the new regime has been something else. We know less about police operations than we've ever known. Police radio traffic is no longer available to the public in real time. Police reports are harder to come by. Response to questions to the designated press spokesmen are rarer. The Little Rock record remains marred by police brutality that — if not always a product of malicious behavior — is sometimes a result of incompetent police action by officers who haven't learned from past mistakes.

Who decided the LRPD needed to issue the statement on Ferguson? If there was a potential for violence in Little Rock — though I saw no evidence of it and no violence occurred — I'd hazard a guess that a finger-shaking letter distributed by Twitter wasn't the best antidote. If this represents cutting-edge community outreach, we're in for a bumpy ride.

UPDATE: Lt. Sidney Allen got back to me today after I requested a response to the letter and he said this was his response to my question Monday about why the statement was issued:

The statement was released to reduce the number of requests for a response.

He said there'd been no threats of violence at that point.

UPDATE: Lt. Allen also sent me a response to the letter from the UALR professor.

Dr. Aiyetoro, as indicated in my letter, Little Rock has shown itself to be a shining example of how disagreements can be resolved peacefully.

As the Chief, I understand that many people will disagree with my decisions and leadership. I will continue to try to build constructive relationships and move our city forward.

I pray that our great city will continue to focus on our common interest and respect our differences.

Happy Thanksgivings to you and your family.

Chief Kenton Buckner
Little Rock Police Department


Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 14:17:35

The Thanksgiving eve open line; also Zoo jaguar exhibit reopens

Here's the open line and today's video, last until Monday.

* JAGUARS ARE BACK: KATV reports here that the Little Rock Zoo jaguar exhibit has reopened, with some new warning signs. A child fell into the enclosure and was rescued by employees using fire extinguishers to drive back the cats. A study concluded that the exhibit met safety standards.


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Monday, November 24, 2014 - 14:43:00

No Laman Writers Fellowship this year

click to enlarge The Argenta Branch: Has proven costly to operate.
  • The Argenta Branch: Has proven costly to operate.
I have had the privilege of being a judge for the past several years for the Laman Library Writers Fellowship, a $10,000 grant awarded authors in all genres. Grif Stockley, Kevin Brockmeier, Mara Leveritt, Davis McCombs and Hope Coulter have all been named Laman Fellows.

This year, however, because of the library's financial straits, detailed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday (subscription required) and apparently brought on by cost overruns at the Argenta Branch, the library will not name a fellow. Mary Furlough, the interim director at the library, has informed the judges that she hopes to be able to award the fellowship again some time in the future.


Friday, November 21, 2014 - 16:26:00

Ann Patchett, Robert Wyatt, graphic design, poetry and more

click to enlarge Ann Patchett
  • Ann Patchett

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

My wife Grace recommended Ann Patchett's "State of Wonder" to me. Here is what Grace said on her blog: "This book has everything I like a book to have: an original and complex female character, intrigue, and weird science. Don’t want to give away the plot, so I’ll just say this: Amazon rainforest, hallucinogenic mushrooms, pregnant women." Sounds promising, so I gave it a whirl and it is indeed a doozy. I happen to know that most of the dozens of you reading this now are hankering for page-turner literary fiction. Some of my favorite books are slogs; some sweep my off my feet. This is a sweeper. Like you'll wake up in the morning and grab it and not get out of bed for breakfast, even if you're hungry. It's a dreamy caper, a heady trip. — David Ramsey

The future of music is very obviously (and literally) holograms. Like Hatsune Miku, one of the most famous pop stars in Japan, who "has been 16 for the past seven years." This doesn't mean it isn't sometimes fun and engaging to commemorate our collective past, in which music was performed by living humans. That's what Domino Records has done with their new release, "Different Every Time," a compilation of songs by Robert Wyatt, the former drummer for Soft Machine who began a solo career in the 1970s.

Maybe Wyatt's best and best-known and most powerful album is 1974's "Rock Bottom." At a party the previous year, he had fallen out of a fourth-floor window and been paralyzed from the waist down. In the wake of that, he made this — a really gorgeous and expansive, but also neurotic and unsettling record. It sounds like nothing else. Or that's not true: It sounds like reading Lewis Carroll while running from a swarm of bees. Or like "Dark Side of the Moon" played from memory by Aleister Crowley and Hal from "2001: A Space Odyssey." It reminds me of what having a fever feels like. But good. — Will Stephenson

After years of wishing and false starts, Little Rock's cruddy North Main Street is finally seeing much needed improvements. Meanwhile, South Main is a growing strip of chic shoppes, and formerly-sad Midtown has a Chipotle! All this gentrification is enough to make my head spin, given that I'm old enough to remember when the hottest thing going on Main Street was the occasional fistfight over a bottle of ripple.

The only problem with all these businesses is that they need a hip and with-it name to draw in the sweet "I'm quirky and own a glue gun" cash. With that in mind, I direct you to The Hipster Business Name Generator. Selling throw pillows screenprinted with pulp novel covers? How about Anchor & Throne? Running a two-barrel craft brewery? Nothing says beer like: Pocket & Ash. Finally getting that vegan cupcake shop off the ground? How's Writer & Wrench grab you? Or try this one on for size, like a pair of your granddad's north-of-the-belly-button corduroys: Saddle & Spool! Mind blown? They're all there for the taking, kids. Just keep clicking that button until your find one that speaks to your heart (and which will look good platen-press printed in typewriter font on brown paper), - David Koon

click to enlarge PastedGraphic-2.jpg

You may be a professional graphic designer. And you may make a good living from it. But perhaps you sometimes ask yourself, “I sure do a bunch of design, but how come I feel like I don’t know anything about it and consequently so hollow inside?” It may be that you are designing without context. You don’t know your roots, what made you and your colleagues what you are today. If that is the case, I recommend reading "Design Literacy" by Steven Heller. It is exactly what it sounds like. Be warned, there are more words than pictures, no how-to's, and a lot of straight-up history. That is part of getting literate, designers. — Bryan Moats

I recommend reading the poetry of Annie Dillard, who's probably best known for her exploration of nature in 1974's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek." I haven't read that book, although I did read this Eudora Welty review of it, in which Welty noted (with a mixture of praise and slight reproach) that, "there remains something about her wishes which is not quite related to the human world." Definitely so.

It is true that she's wild and opaque, but it pays off. Try "Bivouac," from her first collection, "Tickets from a Prayer Wheel." The poem is a cascade of primal imagery, disconnected and weird — the sort of predator-prey dream-stuff rippling beneath our conscious minds at the most prosaic of times. There's no home to be found in the churning world of nature, she seems to be saying — "nature" in the old sense of everything material, not just leaves and deer and stuff but everything everywhere, mankind and all its institutions included. There are no lasting solutions in life, except death. There's only the occasional rest, and meanwhile the beauty of being alive and kicking, filled with hot blood and all the hungry energy of your mammalian powers of perception. — Benji Hardy


Friday, November 21, 2014 - 10:27:00

Tav Falco on his new Arkansas-set film, 'Urania Descending'

click to enlarge tav.jpg

Though he's most often associated with Memphis, Panther Burns frontman Tav Falco grew up in rural Arkansas, out in the country between Gurdon and Whelen Springs. Falco has announced that he'll be releasing a new album, "Command Performance," in February, and a photography book, "Tav Falco's Wild & Exotic World Of Musical Obscurities," as well, but he's also just premiered his new feature film, an Expressionist epic called "Urania Descending," that he says was inspired by Fritz Lang and set in both Little Rock and Vienna.

He discusses the film in detail in a new interview with The Quietus:

I thought, it's going to be an intrigue, and it's going to take place in America and Vienna. It can't be just an ordinary intrigue, it has to have a poetic aspect. I thought, look at the muses and look at the muse Urania, the muse of the heavens, the muse of the stars and celestial movements, and of her avatar as she comes to Earth. She has not been exploited and mined so deeply in the literature of the world. Urania comes to Earth in the most unlikely form of a disaffected young American woman in the southern region of America on the Arkansas river in Little Rock.

And in another recent interview. with Louder Than War:

These days in America, you have to dig to find something interesting. Even the cosy neighbourhoods, the small town America is drying up. The town where I grew up in Arkansas, there are no more cars on the street, it’s almost a ghost town, the cinema’s been closed for years, the train doesn’t stop there anymore, it looks like the remotest part of Hungary. It depresses me.


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Arkansas Reporter

Little Rock trans people and the police

November 27, 2014
Little Rock trans people and the police
LRPD Chief Buckner issues new policies regarding interactions with transgender citizens. /more/

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