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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

Eat Arkansas

A six-pack of breweries I'd like to see in Arkansas

With another fantastic Arkansas beer festival season in our rear-view mirror, I've been reflecting on just how great of a year it was for our beer scene. This year great additions like Caldera, Founders, Summit and Mother's Brewing have begun fighting for our shelf space and dollars, making for the most exciting year ever for our fledgling scene. Who's next? What can distributors do to top this year? Well, I have some suggestions.

Non-traditional cakes, classic deliciousness

They say you can't bake a cake without breaking some eggs, but that's not necessarily true.

Brews to choose at the Times Craft Beer Festival

The Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival is upon us, and we've compiled a list of beers we think everyone should try.

Dining Review

The Pantry stocks up Hillcrest

October 30, 2014
The Pantry stocks up Hillcrest
Comfort food, homey feel fits the neighborhood. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Arkansas reading room

October 30, 2014
Arkansas reading room
A survey of some of the season's best local books. /more/

To-Do List

Nathan Englander comes to Hendrix

October 30, 2014
Nathan Englander comes to Hendrix
Also, Big Boo!seum Bash, Nathan Englander at Hendrix, Halloween Cover-Up at White Water Tavern, 'Topdog/Underdog' at the Weekend Theater, Slipknot at Verizon and Eternal Summers at Juanita's. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Election decisions

The Democratic Party candidates for top offices in Arkansas are centrists, with records of bipartisanship in public life. In each race, Republican opponents are from the extreme right end of the spectrum. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Romney's Obamacare

Since it's too late in the election cycle for much else, can we engage in a historical what-if? Specifically, what if Mitt Romney had peaked in the spring of 2008 rather than 2012? /more/

Gene Lyons

Naive cynicism

Upon first venturing to write about politics 20 years ago, I held naive views about political journalism. Specifically, I imagined that factual accuracy mattered as it did in the kinds of books and magazine pieces I'd written on non-political topics — opinionated, yes, but grounded in careful reporting. /more/

Movie Reviews

Keanu kills

October 30, 2014
Keanu kills
'Wick' better than expected. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Now to No. 1

October 30, 2014
Three debilitating losses in a four-week span made Arkansas a little sour for homecoming Saturday. UAB paid the iron price for all that misery. /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, October 30, 2014 - 07:28:00

The Democratic push for black voter turnout unsettles white Republicans

click to enlarge RALLYING VOTERS: A flier from Color of Change uses images from Ferguson, Mo. - NATIONAL REVIEW
  • National Review
  • RALLYING VOTERS: A flier from Color of Change uses images from Ferguson, Mo.
The New York Times reports today on a topic evident in Arkansas yesterday — the Democratic Party push to expand turnout among black voters, typically reliable Democratic votes.

Mike Ross, the Democratic candidate for governor, appeared with black legislative leaders yesterday. Republican Asa Hutchinson has a radio ad on black stations featuring anti-gay black baseball player Torii Hunter, a twofer in wedge voting issues with a black man carrying an anti-marriage equality message. The Republicans are trying to tear down Ross by raising a copyright claim (spurious, the Democratic Party attorney responds) about a radio ad Ross is playing on black stations that resembles a commercial featuring Michael Jordan years ago.

The UA poll this morning of "very likely" voters, with its broad support for Republicans, emphasizes the importance of a Democratic turnout effort among voters who typically aren't expected in big numbers in a non-presidential year. The tactics bring up racial issues in strong terms that Republicans find unsettling. Truth hurts.

In the final days before the election, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages — invoking Trayvon Martin’s death, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation — to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington.

The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression. 

Such efforts have surfaced in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, voters are opening mailboxes to find leaflets with images of the Ferguson protests and the words: “Enough! Republicans are targeting our kids, silencing our voices and even trying to impeach our president.” The group distributing them is Color of Change, a grass-roots civil rights organization.

In Arkansas, black voters, for fears of repression, need look no farther than the Republican-majority legislature, which passed a vote ID law over a veto of Gov. Mike Beebe, who said it was unconstitutional. A unanimous Supreme Court majority said that it was. Yesterday, Mike Ross said he'd fight to prevent impediments to voting, which that law constituted. Even Hutchinson, while defending a need for identification, in an interview with the Democrat-Gazette attempted to appear moderate.

"You want to expand voter participation. You don't want anything to interfere with that. If there are ways that we can make it better, then I am open to it to make sure it is not a burden on citizens. But it is essential for having integrity at the ballot box."

No Republican has yet proposed an ID law that didn't come with additional burdens. Which was the point of the law — to discourage poor voters (disproportionately minority) from voting.

Arkansas Republican media mouthpieces have been outraged at the campaign efforts. They don't get it. They've never been burdened with, for example, the dangers of driving while black.

For many African-Americans, feelings of persecution — from voter ID laws, aggressive police forces and a host of other social problems — are hard to overstate. And they see no hyperbole in the attacks.

“It’s not race-baiting; it’s actually happening,” said Jaymes Powell Jr., an official in the North Carolina Democratic Party’s African-American Caucus. “I can’t catch a fish unless there’s a worm on the hook.”

 

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 06:55:00

Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay

click to enlarge Screen_Shot_2014-10-30_at_6.53.49_AM.png
From CNN:

Apple CEO Tim Cook came out Thursday, announcing that he is gay in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.

"Let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," he wrote.

The appropriate response to such news should be "So what?" However. This is Arkansas. The ramifications of sexuality are as close as election season advertising. Maybe Arkansas Republicans can have an iPhone bonfire to rally the troops.

 

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 05:54:00

UA's Arkansas Poll shows broad Republican sweep at polls

click to enlarge Screen_Shot_2014-10-30_at_5.53.07_AM.png

The University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll was released early today and it showed broad Republican preferences among likely voters in major election contests, including Tom Cotton over Mark Pryor for Senate (49-36), Asa Hutchinson over Mike Ross (50-39) for governor and generic Republican preferences in congressional and legislative races.

On ballot issues, the poll also showed heavy opposition to the legislative ethics amendment and sale of alcohol, but strong support for an increase in the minimum wage.

The poll also found a pessimistic outlook on conditions, a low opinion of journalists and little changes in past preferences on such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.

I think I'll go drink hemlock.

The poll interviewed 747 people between Oct. 21 and 27 and has a 3.6% margin of error. The Arkansas Poll rarely delves this deeply into political questions. It posts its results on past questions and the results are generally good. You can get complete results here beginning at 8 a.m.

The margins reflected here are, in my recollection, outliers of outliers in dozens of polls on the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. David Ramsey wonders about the definition of "very likely" voter. Is that more likely than just a "likely" voter? Has the polling reached into base-level voting? I don't have a clue. Turnout of the less likely voters still seems an important factor. Also: The sample is 9 percent black, against a 13 percent black percentage in the voting population, a percentage the Democratic Party turnout effort hopes to increase.

 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 09:13:00

Garth Brooks coming to Verizon in December

click to enlarge garth.jpg

For the first time in 23 years, Garth Brooks is coming to Arkansas on his World Tour with Tricia Yearwood. He'll play two shows at Verizon Arena: 7 p.m. Friday Dec. 12 and Saturday Dec. 13. Tickets go on sale Friday Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. (or as the press release puts it: "10 a.m. sharp!") and will be available at ticketmaster.com/garthbrooks or 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are $73.25.

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 16:12:00

Ride with the Times to Dombek studio, 'State of the Art' at CBM

click to enlarge George Dombek studio, in Goshen.
  • George Dombek studio, in Goshen.

We're all set: On Nov. 8, the Arkansas Times' Art Bus will head out at 7 a.m. sharp to Fayetteville and then Bentonville for a full day's enjoyment of contemporary art, plus lunch and dinner, for only $109 per.

click to enlarge "Zenith," by A. Mary Kay, at Crystal Bridges
  • "Zenith," by A. Mary Kay, at Crystal Bridges
And I do mean full day. First stop: George Dombek's studio gallery in Goshen, outside Fayetteville, a beautiful spot where we'll see watercolors by Dombek and sculpture by Robyn Horn and, if we get lucky with the weather, enjoy our box lunch on the grounds.

Then it's off to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, where we'll see special exhibit "State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now," more than 200 works by 102 contemporary artists from all over the country selected for the show by CBM President Don Bacigalupi and curator Chad Alligood. Read a couple of previous Eye Candy posts about the show here and here for starters. There is, of course, Crystal Bridges' permanent collection to see as well.

Then, try leave a bit of time to go to 21c Hotel off the Bentonville
click to enlarge Kehinde Wiley's "Morpheus"
  • Kehinde Wiley's "Morpheus"
 square (a quick walk from the museum) to see its exhibit, "Dis-semblance: Projecting and Perceiving Identity," which the Huffington Post said offers a "not always comfortable reflection on ... race, class and gender" and which got rave reviews from Little Rock artist Delita Pinchback Martin, who was at Crystal Bridges last weekend to talk about her work in "State of the Art" and give a printmaking workshop.

Dinner will be at Arsaga's Depot in Fayetteville (another opportunity to see art: landscapes by Adam Campbell), and we'll be back in town by 10 p.m. To reserve a seat, call 375-2985 and ask for Kelly. 

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 09:37:00

Live Review: Nahko and Medicine for the People at Rev Room

click to enlarge nahko3.jpg

Thursday night, Portland, Ore.’s Nahko and Medicine for the People brought their “musical medicine” to Little Rock’s Revolution Music Room, a fitting venue for the socially-conscious music collective. Their uplifting medley of folk, urban and world music, as well as their hypnotizing videos, have enchanted activist-minded music fans across the world in the relatively short time they have been creating music together.

A new staple in the festival circuit, Nahko and Medicine for the People weave their activism seamlessly into their sound, with a lyrical subject matter ranging from responsible stewardship of the Earth and the importance of a strong community committed to spiritual awakening and the importance of spreading a message of love and harmony with all living creatures. Group leader Nahko Bear once said, “Medicine for the People is, I guess I would say it’s less a band and more a social movement.” And he isn’t kidding. Spending a good portion of his time volunteering with various activist organizations such as the climate change awareness group 350.org and promoting organic, sustainable farming as a co-owner of an off the grid farm in Hawaii, this isn’t your typical new age feel-goodery band that talks a good game, but turns a blind eye to luxurious excess once their feet leave the stage. Nahko and MFTP are the rare breed of musicians who actually bridge their message with their actions. I, for one, couldn't have been any more excited to see them live.

Dustin Thomas, affectionately referred to as “Little Buffalo” by the group, opened the show, blowing the audience away with a varied musical mix of beat-box and soul folk. While his beat-boxing was a welcome surprise, it was his soaring acoustic ballads and passionate monologues touching on topics like hydraulic fracking and protecting the Natural State’s precious waters and ecosystems that drew the largest accolades from the packed venue. Emphasizing the importance of conscious political and social activism, Thomas encouraged audience members to open their eyes a little wider and become active participants in this crazy, beautiful world we all live in in lieu of blissful ignorance, apathetic to the corruption and pollution that contaminates our minds, bodies, and souls. As he wrapped up his inspirational opening set, Thomas encouraged all present to become “a part of the revolution,” and walked off the stage to a roaring applause fit for a headlining act. Gazing upward at the never-more-fitting “Revolution” backdrop, you could feel the anticipation and energy that permeated the already excitable crowd, ready for Round 2 to begin.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have goosebumps.

click to enlarge nahko2.jpg

Shortly thereafter, Nahko and his backing group, Medicine for the People took the stage, along with collaborator Dustin Thomas— finding himself ardently welcomed back from the thrilled crowd. People all around turned to their friends and loved ones, their facial expressions exempting verbal communication from necessity. “I can’t believe we are here and this is happening” was the general theme of the exchange. To describe the atmosphere most succinctly at that moment, I only require two words: Good vibrations. They were everywhere. This palpable excitement was answered with a host of fan favorites, including “Black as Night,” “Budding Trees,” “Manifesto II,” and two of my favorites— “Warrior People” and, perhaps the most lyrically-poignant of the night, “My Country.” A play on “America (My Country, ’Tis of Thee),” the stirring ballad carries a seriously somber tone throughout, yet also showcases astonishing vocals that manage to stir an insuppressible urge to cry out in agony over the injustice that plagues a global community of oppressed and impoverished at the expense of the few and, in turn, speak truth to power to all who will listen. It is quite an experience, and with lyrics like these, who could blame us?

My country 'tis of thee
sweet land of poverty
for thee I weep.

Land where my mother cried
land where my father died
sweet land of genocide
pride of my heart.

My country 'tis of thee
sweet land of industry
we'll break your back.

Clean out your minerals
fill you with chemicals
we kill for what is profitable
oh, concrete world.

It was a beautiful night, full of beautiful music and beautiful people. If you missed it, I am truly sorry. Try to make it out next time they come to town - it will be and experience you won’t soon forget.

click to enlarge Screen_Shot_2014-10-28_at_9.06.20_AM.png

For more information and a closer look at the group’s fan community, “The Tribe,” head on over to http://nahko.com/community/.

 

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A third and fourth way

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