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Eat Arkansas

Sorghum is more than sweet at Trio's

Talking grain sorghum, the hidden hero of Arkansas eats.

Trio's to close briefly for remodeling

Trio's is getting a face lift just in time for its 29th birthday!

Pizza, beer and trivia with Damgoode Pies and KUAR

Pizza, beer and trivia come to Damgoode Pies on August 27th.

Dining Review

Skinny J's stands out

August 27, 2015
Skinny J's stands out
Jonesboro export fits in Argenta. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

'The presence of the past'

August 27, 2015
'The presence of the past'
A Q&A with poet Davis McCombs /more/

To-Do List

Pokey LaFarge comes to South on Main

August 27, 2015
Pokey LaFarge comes to South on Main
Also, the Fayetteville Roots Festival, Meshugga Klezmer Band at the Studio Theater, "Lights! Camera! Arkansas!" Seminar at the Old State House, Purple Rain Revisited at Revolution and Kyle Huval and The Dixie Club Ramblers at White Water Tavern. /more/


Max Brantley

Brantley: South toward home

A two-week cruise from Vancouver to Alaska was nicely timed for the August heat wave. It dipped into the 40s during my visit to the Hubbard Glacier, loudly "calving" with mighty booms of cracking ice. Here's a brief politically tinged travelogue. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Asa Hutchinson: trying to please

Mike Beebe is celebrated for the finesse with which he governed Arkansas with a legislature that for two years was effectively controlled by the other party and for his last two years with Republican numerical control as well. So what will they say about Asa Hutchinson, who must govern with his party owning lopsided majorities in both legislative houses? /more/

Gene Lyons

New York Times fails again

If one were of a low and suspicious nature regarding the New York Times' historically inept Washington Bureau, one might suspect yet another example of the "Clinton Rules" — that is, a shaky allegation unsupported by facts. /more/

Movie Reviews

Posthumous prophet

August 27, 2015
Posthumous prophet
Jason Segel dons the bandana for 'The End of the Tour.' /more/

Pearls About Swine

Arkansas 2015 football preview, part three

August 27, 2015
Two-thirds of the Hog schedule now behind us in our three-part, ritualistic, sometimes-self-immolating season preview, we turn to the final month of action. In both of Bret Bielema's two seasons here, this has been a pretty good month, or at least as good as a 2-6 record in those months can be. /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, August 27, 2015 - 16:18:00

Thursday's open line and news video: Also reclaiming local schools

Here's the open line and some video news headlines. Also:

* FIGHTING FOR LITTLE ROCK SCHOOLS: The group hoping to resume democratic control of the Little Rock School District released today a national report at how school takesovers in major cities have tended to disenfranchise black majorities, as in Little Rock, and with little to show for it. Here's the report. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 16:14:00

Judge charged in battery case suspended from bench

Cabot District Judge Joe O'Bryan, arrested last Friday night for an alleged drunken assault on his girlfriend, should be suspended from the bench while his misdemeanor case is pending, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission decided today.

The judge would be paid during the interim suspension. He didn't object to the motion. The recommendation goes to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which should make a decision this week or early next week.

He was charged with third-degree battery after his girlfriend said O'Bryan, 66, had argued with her because he wanted to leave the home while drunk. He grabbed her around the throat and threw her on a kitchen table, she told Lonoke police. Police said she had marks on her chest and neck. Police later found O'Bryan at his home in Cabot. He's scheduled for a court appearance on the domestic battery charge Nov. 3.

Rules of conduct allow interim suspensions when judges are charged in misdemeanor cases. (Note: No action has been taken in the case of Circuit Judge Wade Naramore of Hot Springs, under investigation in the heat-related death of his 18-month-old son, because no charge has been filed. A special prosecutor says that investigation continues.)

Also today, David Sachar, executive director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, confirmed an inquiry from KARK TV that he had been investigating Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann of Wynne on allegations that he had used defendants sentenced to community service for personal use. Sachar said he had referred his findings to a local prosecutor, but wouldn't elaborate.

Boeckmann was admonished by the Commission in 2011 over a phone call he made to Wynne police about a person stopped in a vehicle registered to Boeckmann's family farming operation. He asked when the driver would be able to go to work. The letter said:

"Your call made it unclear if you were acting as an attorney, a friend or in your capacity as judge," the letter said. "These actions actions made it difficult for others to determine your role and your authority. In the future you should avoid being involved in similar situations without clarifying your role and interest."

In that case he also was cited for helping return goods stolen by a part-time employee. "This led to a sitting judge handling stolen property, albeit in an effort to turn the property over to authorities," his letter of admonishment said. 

More details are to come from KARK's Marci Manley. The judge was in court when I called his law office.


Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 14:38:00

Buzzing about Miss Gay Arkansas

click to enlarge buzzfeed.jpg

The website BuzzFeed has devoted a serious amount of digital acreage to the recent Miss Gay Arkansas pageant, seemingly an oddity in this rural state except that this pageant has a long history and the first Miss Gay America was from Arkansas.

Perhaps this will serve as some counterpart to Arkansas's unfriendly image on LGBT issues given recent  legislation waved into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson that prohibits civil rights protection for gay people and also protects people who discriminate against gay people in employment, housing and public accommodations.


The current crop of Bible Belt queens takes the opportunity to represent their state at nationals very seriously.

“That’s who I’m going to be,” said Jonathan Neighbors — who goes by Blaze Duvall in drag — referring to the coveted title of Miss Gay Arkansas. “The pageant’s the scraps I was built from as a kid.”

Neighbors, contestant 5, started doing drag when he fled his small northeast Arkansas hometown as a teenager. When his twin brother, who was also gay, died at 16, Blaze decided to honor his brother’s life and come out to his father. Their father, a Baptist deacon, responded with: “I’d rather shoot a fag than see one” — and he was true to his word. Neighbors has two bullet wounds from the incident. Because his father’s a police officer, no report was filed and Neighbors left Arkansas for New Orleans.


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Arkansas news: A presidential candidate and Planned Parenthood

Rock Candy

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 14:29:00

New music from Goon des Garcons, Ten High, Pockets, Wolfy Mane and more

click to enlarge Goon des Garcons
  • Goon des Garcons

1. Goon des Garcons - "L.A.W.W.D."
The latest from Little Rock's Goon des Garcons — lately of Foredise Records and always of Young Gods of America — is a moody, energetic industrial anthem about pride and roots. Also check out his most recent tape "YOUNGDIRTYBASTARD." 

2. Ten High - "Cable Vision"
Fayettevile garage punk band Ten High is back with a new EP, "Cable Vision" — here's the title track, which reminds me of "Marquee Moon" and hating high school. 

3. Pockets - "Denmark"
Here's the intense, slow-burning new single from Little Rock indie rock band Pockets, which doubles as a hypnosis-aid (and which you should grab from iTunes). 

4. Lil Futa & Chuck - "Fuck Yo Life"
Here the rapper Chuck compares himself to Medusa, while Little Rock's Lil Futa calls himself "judicial" and imagines his brain on the floor. Not safe for the epileptic. 

5. Penis Grenade - "Saturn"
Conway's worst-named band returns with their most accessible release to date, a set of slow, sidereal ambient exercises titled "Heavenly Spheres." 

6. Wolfy Mane - "Chimera"
In which Vile Pack's Wolfy Mane proves he can brag about his DVD collection, threaten your girlfriend and compare himself to Jim Jones all at the same time, with Japanese subtitles. 


Friday, August 21, 2015 - 16:00:00

Staff Picks: Winning, Possums, an Arkansas Times 'End of Summer' mix and more

click to enlarge beach.jpg

Here is a short mix I made this afternoon inspired by the end of summer (still about a month off — I think about it all the time) and by something called the "Abilene paradox," which I read about on Wikipedia recently and have since found applicable to just about everything in life. Other recommendations this week:

1. Key and Peele: Outkast Reunion

2. "Hidden Water: From the Frank Stanford Archives" is out now via Third Man Books

3. "Japan: Moss-viewing excursions gain popularity"

4. Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski, and Wim Wenders on the set of "Paris, Texas"

— Will Stephenson

Apparently someone named James Harrison from someplace called Pittsburgh got the nation's attention this week by loudly and self-righteously returning the "participation" trophies his 6- and 8-year-old sons received in some sport or another. Said Harrison on Instagram, "I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better ... not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy."

Supposedly, this taught a valuable lesson to his sons, and, by extension, the rest of us sad, soft sheep bleating out our complaints here in the easy pastures of entitlement-land America.

If I were remotely invested in sports (which I'm not) and if I were a parent (which I'm not), I would recommend this short Deadspin essay by Albert Burneko in response to James Harrison, which begins by pointing out, "I do not think that the world is in any danger of running out of people who believe winning is the only thing worth feeling good about":

The big grown-up world is coming up behind my children—behind James Harrison’s kids and yours, too, if you have them. To sort them: those who will prosper, or falter; those whom the barbarism we have enshrined into our way of life will reward, and those it will devour; those who will strive with their whole selves to make their way in that grown-up world and then unknowingly choose to attend the same prayer meeting as Dylann Roof and be snatched out of it in violence and fear and confusion, whether they got trophies for participating in sports or not. Along the way it will beat them up and overwhelm them and punish or exploit what is best and bravest about them; it will make them feel small and lonely and bad about themselves, each and every one, because that is what the grown-up world does to all our little kids when they grow up into it.  
For now, for now, for as long as I can have it, the reason to do things —- to play sports, to do work, to get out of bed in the morning -— is because the privilege is a fucking miracle, because it might allow my children to be children now, now, today, before the least consideration of long-term goals and competition and getting ahead may intrude upon the impulse a little kid gets to put a balloon inside his shirt and make another little kid laugh. Before the world barges in with its repulsive notions of good enough and demands to know whether these two small people have earned their place in it. They earned more than the world can ever give them when they woke up this morning. So did James Harrison’s kids. So did you.

Since I don't have children, though, I'll just recommend this video of a bunch of possums eating bananas. — Benji Hardy

click to enlarge vampirelips.gif

I broke my kneecap a couple of weeks ago, which most annoyingly (at least for today) means that my ankle and foot swell throughout the day. The way to reduce swelling apparently is to rest your foot above your heart for an hour a couple of times a day. In my office that meant lying under my desk and reading whatever I could find ("Garner's American Usage") and screwing around on my phone. That's how I cam to download the Giphy Cam, a brand new iPhone app that turns selfies into animated gifs. I've never really gotten into selfies before, but I'm all about the idea of sending one of these to someone in a text like an emoticon. I tried out this one with my wife. Her response: "How do I delete this?"  — Lindsey Millar

Since the untimely death of Heartbeat 106.7 FM my roommate and I have been missing our oldies and throwback jams. Scouring the internet for quality throwback playlists my roommate stumbled across this 30 minute long compilation video of the hottest hip hop songs of the early 2000s. It's not quite the oldies but it has more than a few of our favorite baby makers, rump shakers and club bangers. If you're looking for something to do for the next 30 minutes or put off something else you should be doing, check it out. — Kaya Herron 


Friday, August 21, 2015 - 13:46:00

Psych of the South: Dutch Masters' 'The Expectation'

Harold Ott is the founder and primary researcher of Psych of the South, a record label dedicated to unearthing rare Arkansas pop history. 

“The Expectation” by the Dutch Masters has long been hailed as an amazing example of garage rock among record collectors, but the story behind the song has been elusive. I spoke to three original band members including Earl Denton, Buz Johnson and John Walthall, to shed some light on this Arkansas mystery.

The group began as The Breakaways at Forest Heights Junior High in Little Rock circa 1964. After several lineup changes, the group evolved into the Dutch Masters, a name inspired by groups like Paul Revere and the Raiders. Like that group, the Dutch Masters' front man Earl Denton wanted them to dress up like the guys on the famous cigar box as a gimmick to get attention.

click to enlarge dutch_masters_clarksville_hs_1968_edit.jpg

Earl Fox was the owner of E&M Recording Studio on Markham and took the band under his wing, letting them rehearse in the studio. He had a booking agency in the front office and kept the band busy playing all over the state. Fox wanted the group to make a record on his MY label, so they found a song on a compilation tape of Nashville songwriters called “Burnin' Up the Wires.” Blake Schaefer, rhythm guitar, and Denton wrote the flip side “Way-Down Feelin'." Fox released the single in February of 1967 and it was a hit at Henderson College in Arkadelphia.

Denton got married and had a kid shortly before heading to Vietnam in the Marines. The rest of the group left shortly after the record was released. This left John Walthall, lead guitar, and Schaefer to completely reform the band. They recruited Reagan Perry on organ and pitched in to buy a Hammond B3. They saw a group at Lake Nixon, a popular summer teen hangout in Little Rock, featuring Lemmie Ogles on vocals and his brother Terry on bass and asked them to try out for the band. Lemmie had previously recorded at E&M with the Mercenaries. Buz Johnson was in his early twenties and regularly worked as a drummer from the musicians wanted board at Boyd’s Music. Fox called him in to try out for the Dutch Masters with the Ogles brothers and they got the gig.

For the new group, Walthall and Schaefer wanted to follow through on the costume idea and Perry’s mother made the outfits. Johnson said the idea of wearing black panty hose, funny looking shorts, and a frilly shirt didn't strike him as being too masculine, but reluctantly agreed. He remembers one time when Schaefer forgot his costume shoes and the guys insisted that Johnson give up his and wear Schaefer’s boots, which were goofy looking high heel black swede. Johnson said that he almost quit the band right then over the absurdity of the outfits.

click to enlarge dutch_masters_photo_edit_b.jpg

To supplement the group, Fox added two black singers named Preston and Cheryl. When Fox booked the band, the client might ask for a R&B group, and he would augment the band with Preston, who did James Brown, and Cheryl, who did Aretha Franklin, making the Dutch Masters an early integrated group in Little Rock. Mike Boston, who was first chair trumpet at North Little Rock High, was added to the group as they played more R&B. He was accompanied by Walthall, who was first chair saxophone at Hall High, to form a small horn section. They also adopted a more conservative V neck sweater look depending on the gig.

However, Fox encouraged the band to do wild things to stand out and he loved the costumes. They dressed up and walked around downtown near Moses Melody Shop, the top record store in Little Rock. They were promoting an appearance on Moses Bandstand, a program on local megawatt AM rock station KAAY that featured live performances. They played on a flatbed trailer in front of Moses and had a whipped cream pie fight on stage. Schaefer threw a pie at Boston, but he ducked and it hit a girl in the front row and messed up her hair, which she had just gotten done. The band had to pay $35 to get her hair redone.

Another promotional gimmick that Fox suggested was to get a box and cover it in pink paper and put a big pink bow on it and set the box on top of the keyboard or somewhere on stage. The idea was that people would come up and ask what was in the box, and they’d say they didn't know. When people would ask if it would be opened during the show, they replied that it may be opened tonight or at the next show. In other words come back next time to see if we open the empty box. It was an effort to add some mystery and suspense to the group.

click to enlarge dutch_masters_old_mill_2_crop_edit.jpg

A session was booked at E&M to record two of Schaefer’s songs for a second 45. Schaefer had a collection of original material that he hoped to record in the studio to farm out to other groups. Johnson remembers the drum enclosure was made of old bed mattresses. The explosion sound effects in “The Expectation” were made by Perry shaking his organ’s spring reverb unit. Terry started playing a pattern that sounded like a backwards record so they added it to the end of the recording. There were no outside sound effects added, just the band.

Fox didn’t make a request for a psychedelic record, Johnson remembers that it just evolved that way. “You’re Nearby Me” featured a zither to produce an other worldly vibe. Fox released the Dutch Masters’ second 45 in September of 1967 and they played a big show at Henderson College to promote it.

The band evolved once again into the Cyrkus when Johnson, Schaefer, and Boston left the band. They were replaced by Donnie Brooks and Chris Nolan and adopted a hard rock sound. This band evolved into Blackfoot, who recorded “Bummed Out” at San American studio in 1970, housed in the same studio space once occupied by the defunct E&M studio.

click to enlarge dutch_masters_photo_from_john_walthall_edit.jpg


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