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Eat Arkansas

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

The good, the bad and the rubbery

November 20, 2014
The good, the bad and the rubbery
Fantastic China all over the map. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Rediscover Petit Jean

November 20, 2014
Rediscover Petit Jean
A new guide to the state park's trail system doubles as a digestible science lesson. /more/

To-Do List

Thollem Electric comes to White Water

November 20, 2014
Thollem Electric comes to White Water
Also, Knox Hamilton at Juanita's, John Kilzer at South on Main, Third Friday Argenta Artwalk, The Idle Class release party at Vino's, Arkansas Arts Center museum sale at Clear Channel Metroplex, Big Piph at Ron Robinson and Chase Bryant at Revolution. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

French Hill: the pope's man from 2nd District

French Hill, the Republican banker just elected to Congress from the 2nd District, is no Vic Snyder. We knew that, but an article in the latest Arkansas Catholic, news organ of the Diocese of Little Rock, indicates that he's a conservative outlier in his own church. /more/

Ernest Dumas

GOP's new Obamacare attack

It was inevitable. The long crusade against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has pivoted from a battle against socialism to a populist war against big business: The program known as Obamacare is now supposed to be merely a feed trough for the captains of industry, not a government program to force health care on the undeserving poor. /more/

Gene Lyons

Dog life

As I write, the love of my life is off to the state penitentiary. I expect her back at the farm in late afternoon. She's a volunteer with "Paws in Prison," an organization that matches homeless dogs with inmate trainers. /more/

Movie Reviews

Somewhere between terrible and hilarious

November 20, 2014
Somewhere between terrible and hilarious
A few laughs in 'Dumb and Dumber' sequel. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Victory

November 20, 2014
Forgive the beleaguered, moonlighting Hog columnist if he scratches out this week's Pearls About Swine in much the same way Bret Bielema rejoiced Saturday night: a smidge teary-eyed and a bit unshaven, and with a robust, impromptu smooch for the wife. /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

Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 07:56:00

Legislators seek more security for the state Capitol

click to enlarge SAFE ENOUGH: Legislators and the secretary of state's staff are talking about more security at the Capitol.
  • SAFE ENOUGH: Legislators and the secretary of state's staff are talking about more security at the Capitol.

Is it coincidental that a sudden interest in stepping up security at the state Capitol comes with the changing political landscape to solidly Republican?

Just asking. In any case, both legislators and officials in the secretary of state's office are suddenly talking about more security. The nominal secretary of state, Mark "Not the Race Car Driver" Martin, doesn't have much personal reason for concern. He appears at the Capitol only sporadically, spending a great deal of his time back home in Prairie Grove pursuing private engineering work. He's been in office four years and hadn't demonstrated strong feelings about more security until recently. Of course he's also been in office for four years without pressing for improvements in the state's dated election machinery, a concern of the office under the Constitution.

(PS: I'm still looking for details, but Martin's staff did shake up the Capitol maintenance department the day after the election, moving to fire three long-time employees, including a 14-year Capitol plumber for reasons that remain unclear. The plumber's dad appeared in a TV commercial for Mark Pryor, but that may only be a coincidence, too.)

If fear of security threats is high, perhaps it's time for a law to allow open carry at the Capitol. In fact, I'm not sure the law that prevents carrying of weapons in the Capitol is constitutional to begin with. What part of "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" don't lawmakers understand?

On a  less facetious note: If screening of Capitol visitors is a must, it has always been a problem that the elevator is in the ground floor vestibule, outside the screening station. If Capitol police aren't paying close attention it's possible to dash into the elevator without passing through the screening. I've been around long enough to remember when doors stood open on every side of the Capitol and there was a much smaller security presence. The worst damage was done by filmmakers who smudged the dome once with a fake rocket shot and, of course, by lawmakers doing all kind of damage to the body politic under cover of official legislative action.


 

Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 07:38:00

Sports memorabilia fraud story spotlights Arkansan

click to enlarge JOHN ROGERS: In his archives in 2012 photo. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • JOHN ROGERS: In his archives in 2012 photo.

More today from the New York Daily News
about the federal investigation of fraud in the sports memorabilia business and the involvement of John Rogers of North Little Rock in the probe.

Rogers has said he's cooperating with authorities and  recently  gave up much of his archival photo business to his wife in a divorce  settlement. The Daily News reports some details of what could be involved, based on court records in a civil suit:

Justice Department officials are usually reluctant to talk about ongoing cases, but a lawsuit filed earlier this year by San Francisco collector Mark Roberts provides a rare peek into the Chicago investigation: Court papers indicate Rogers is under scrutiny because he sold Roberts, a wealthy Bay Area resident, what were described as vintage and valuable photos of 19th and early 20th century baseball players that turned out to be reproductions worth far less than what Roberts paid for them.

The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, names Rogers and his photo archive company as defendants and claims the Arkansas businessman sold the photos to Roberts “at greatly inflated prices, at least 20 times their true value.”

The lawsuit says Roberts paid more than $2.5 million for almost 3,000 photographs between 2006 and 2010. Roberts bought the photos to display on “The National Pastime Museum,” a website dedicated to sharing baseball’s long history with fans. He learned there were questions about the photos’ authenticity in 2013, when the curator of the website, baseball historian Frank Ceresi, consulted with the FBI and experts from the New York Public Library.

...The lawsuit also raises questions about Rogers’ relationship with baseball memorabilia dealer Peter Nash, the former hip-hop artist who gained fame in the late 1980s as “Prime Minister Pete Nice” of the group 3rd Bass. The FBI, according to court papers and a source familiar with the investigation, questioned a longtime acquaintance of Nash’s this summer about the former rapper’s ties to what the Roberts lawsuit describes as a “not authentic” 1858 trophy ball.

The story has much more on the disputed property. Rogers and his attorney didn't respond to requests for comment. It said he had taken back much of the material sold to Roberts and agreed to a repayment of some of the money.

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 07:20:00

Big gas royalty case brewing in Conway County

John Lyon of Stephens Media reports on a class action lawsuit in Conway County that alleges that SEECO, the biggest operator in the Fayetteville shale, has been shorting royalty owners on payments for gas. The suit alleges excessive deductions from royalty payments and non-payment for gas used in the production process.

Millions are ultimately at stake.

 

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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.


 

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:18:00

James Bonner watercolor giclee sale benefits HAM

click to enlarge december_snow_james_bonner.jpg

The Historic Arkansas Museum is selling giclees of a watercolor by James M. Bonner, "December Snow," to raise money for its unique living history program. The watercolor is of the door to the Hinderliter Tavern, the historic building at the corner of Third and Cumberland where many of you have picked up pawpaws and put 'em in your pocket with director Bill Worthen, and it will remind you of the fun. The giclees are $250, and the edition is limited to 250. Call 324-9351 to buy one.

 

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