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Hourly news and comment

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The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

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Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Eat Arkansas

Central Park Fusion is fine dining worth experiencing

There was a time that I was jealous of the food scene in towns outside my home base of Hot Springs.

New Belgium Tasting at The Joint Thursday

North Little Rock has a growing beer scene, and one place that has elevated the brews they pour is The Joint. Did you think it was just for entertainment and coffee? Think again.

Join Colonial Wines and Spirits and Cocoa Rouge for a wine and chocolate tasting

Colonial Wines and Spirits brings in guest Cocoa Rouge for a wine and chocolate tasting event on May 6—just in time for Mother's Day. Sample wines hand-picked by Colonial's experts to pair with some of the best chocolate Arkansas has to offer.

Dining Review

A good place to pig out

April 30, 2015
A good place to pig out
Tusk & Trotter lives up to hype. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Talking technology, without technology, on the stage

April 30, 2015
Talking technology, without technology, on the stage
Young actors, writers make history with 'Project Élan' at The Rep. /more/

To-Do List

James McMurtry at Revolution

April 30, 2015
James McMurtry at Revolution
Also, 'Some Like It Hot' at Ron Robinson, the Argenta Arts Fest and Mini Maker Faire, Chicago in Rogers, Hurray for the Riff Raff at South on Main and the Bentonville Film Festival. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Asa's talk is cheap

Asa Hutchinson seems so much nicer about his belief in legal discrimination. But the result is more dangerous. You can be falsely lulled, as the national press has been, into believing Hutchinson is a moderate. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Christian soldier

When he announces next week that he is again running for president, Mike Huckabee will tap into one of the world's great traditions of political combat: religious fear. /more/

Gene Lyons

Clinton rules return

As a professional matter, I've been halfway dreading Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy. The 2016 Democratic nomination appears to be hers for the asking. Democrats enjoy a strong Electoral College advantage. And yet it's hard to imagine how she can overcome the unrelenting hostility of the Washington media clique. /more/

Movie Reviews

Cyber seduction

April 30, 2015
Cyber seduction
'Ex Machina' is sleek, smart sci-fi. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Life without Portis, Qualls

April 30, 2015
Life without Portis, Qualls
The reason college basketball fights desperately to recapture its erstwhile appeal, despite some excellent games in this NCAA tournament and those before it, is multifold. What happened to the Razorbacks' roster, for instance, is a tacit illustration of many issues coalescing in one hotspot. /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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 11:14:00

Jason Rapert has Huck Fever!

Mike Huckabee gets the vital endorsement from state Sen. Jason Rapert: 


click to enlarge Screen_Shot_2015-05-05_at_11.12.37_AM.png

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 10:02:00

Mike Huckabee is running for president

click to enlarge ORLANDO: He's got Huck Fever.
  • ORLANDO: He's got Huck Fever.
Livestream is here for Mike Huckabee's announcement that he is running for president. He served up plenty of red meat, demagoguery, and Real America cultural signaling. Hit all the Huck sweet spots we know so well: a mix of folksy charm and crazy talk that will rile up the base, anger liberals, and help make Huckabee, if not president, at least lots of money from the publicity.  Liveblog notes below. 

LIVEBLOG:

Tony Orlando is warming up the crowd. Heh. This has a pro-wrestling/Vegas vibe, doesn't it? Huckabee's base is best described as "people who vacation in Branson." 

This is actually even more schmaltzy than I was expecting. Real America!

BREAKING: Huckabee is from a town called Hope. 

Orlando plays an encore ballad, which he wrote for Huckabee, which I think was called "America is my hometown." Now Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes the stage. Gets less applause than Orlando. 

Hutchinson: "I saw Mike Huckabee go from a candidate to a leader to a governor to a great national spokesman on the national stage."

"We are here today to tell you that Arkansas is on your side," Hutchinson says. 

Janet Huckabee comes out to "This is my town." Lot of towns. She says that if you had a fantasy dinner party with the founding fathers you would have to tell them that the Constitution was being trampled and it would be a bummer. "Where is the passion?" she asks. Tells the crowd they need to have the passion of the nation's founders. She says, "America is a great story, but it can be greater."

Huckabee's video: he's going to defeat the evil of radical Islam, restore values to Washington D.C., and keep gubmint's hands off Medicare and Social Security. 

Huckabee comes out to "we want Mike" chant. Huckabee: "I always believed that a kid could go from Hope to higher ground." Says in Hope he learned the Pledge of Allegiance, the preamble to the Constitution, and the Lord's Prayer. He prayed all day long and concluded that America was so exceptional, it must be because it was blessed by God. And he says he spent a lot of time with guns and fishing poles. Big applause for mentions of God and guns. No mention of grits or gravy. 

Huckabee is funny and folksy. He's good at this. I expect he'll be able to rally the old base in Iowa at least.

"We were promised hope but it was just talk," Huckabee says of Obama. Says he's the real man to offer Hope. I guess because he's from a town called Hope. If you did a drinking game on the word "hope," you're now drunk. 

Huckabee taking the populist approach: talking about stagnant wages, student loan debt, housing prices, a fair shake for the working class. Of course, he says government programs are not the answer.

Strongly states that he will protect Social Security and Medicare benefits. This is the sweet spot for Huckabee: evangelical voters who want their retirement benefits. Opposite pole from the party's economic libertarian wing (the Club for Growth is vowing to fight Huckabee). 

Huckabee says Obama has been soft on terrorism and radical Islamists: "I wonder if he could watch a Western from the 50s and figure out who the good guys and the bad guys are."

Says if he is elected president "we will conquer Jihadism." He would deal with them as if they were "deadly snakes." He loves Israel. "Hell will freeze over" before Iran gets a nuclear weapon.

Huckabee affirms that he will "never, ever apologize for America."

Says we've abandoned "Biblical principles" and are now worshipping the "false God" of the courts. They cannot overturn "the laws of nature."

He'll push for term limits. Says holding an office should be public service rather than a lucrative endeavor. Ha. Huckster is just a humble servant, you see.  

"I've never been the favorite candidate of the Wall Street to Washington corridor," he says. Says he's the candidate of the working people, not the billionaires. "I grew up blue collar, not blue blood," he says. This whole thing is hilarious because he's not going to become president, but he'll probably make millions of dollars off of the publicity he gets from running. 

click to enlarge HUCKABEE: Loves God, guns, America, etc.
  • HUCKABEE: Loves God, guns, America, etc.

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 09:09:00

Insinuation marks Howard trial so far

click to enlarge Tim Howard - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Tim Howard
Ashdown — By the end of Monday, the sixth day of Tim Howard’s retrial, prosecutors had presented abundant and undisputed testimony that Howard was a close friend of the victims, used methamphetamine, and sold stolen goods. 
Prosecutors said from the start that their murder case would be circumstantial. But key pieces of it have yet to be connected.

On Monday, Kenny “Chicken” Fields testified that Brian Day, one of the two murder victims, was one of the meth dealers who worked for him and that Day died owing Fields about $2,000. When Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir asked, “Did you kill Brian Day,” Fields answered, “No.”

He then explained the economics of the meth trade that gripped Little River County in 1997 when the murders occurred.

Fields said that he typically fronted Day an ounce of methamphetamine from deliveries he received from Dallas, and that, of the four dealers who worked for him, Day “probably sold more than anybody else.”

Fields said he picked up his supply at weekly “chicken fights” in which he entered his own chickens in Vivian, La., where cock-fighting was legal. He said he’d bring his birds to the fight and purchase anywhere from four ounces to as much as four pounds of meth from his Dallas supplier.

According to Fields, Day typically picked up one ounce per week to sell, for which Fields expected payment within a week to 10 days.

He said he charged his dealers $1,600 per ounce and that they, in turn, charged their customers $100 per gram. Dealers could earn a profit of $1,200 per ounce if they sold all of it.

But several witnesses testified that at the time that Brian Day and his wife Shanon were murdered, they were both snorting a lot of meth, as was their friend, the defendant, Tim Howard.

Fields said that in the two weeks before the Days’ murders, he had fronted Day an ounce, for which Day came up $400 short when it was time to pay a week later. Nevertheless, Fields said, he fronted Day another ounce — a situation he said was not unusual — and that Day told him he would repay the entire $2,000 owed by 8:30 p.m. Friday — the night before the pair was found dead.

While insisting that he was not worried about the money, Fields acknowledged, that in the days just before that weekend, he went to the Days’ house once on Wednesday, twice on Thursday and again on Friday evening, “even though they didn’t owe me the money until the next Tuesday.” Asked if his wife had also gone to the Days’ house on Saturday, when Fields said he was at the cock fights in Louisiana, Fields said she did not.

When asked why he went by the house so often when the money was not actually due until the following week, Fields answered that he’d gone out of “concern for Brian.”

When Fields’ ex-wife, Lorri Fields, took the stand, she contradicted her ex-husband’s testimony, stating that, on the Saturday of the murders, she had gone to the couple’s house, at his instruction. When told that Kenny Fields had just testified to the contrary, Lorri Fields said, “I don’t believe he would say that.”

The testimony of Penny Grainger, a woman who testified at Howard’s original trial but who has died in the 16 years since, was read by a court clerk, with Benca and Chesshir reading the parts of Howard’s earlier defense attorney and the prosecutor at the time.

Prosecutors wanted Grainger’s testimony admitted because in it she stated that she was present when Shanon Day took an early pregnancy test, two weeks before the murders. “It come up with a positive,” Grainger said. She added that Shanon Day was “very, very upset by the result,” and said that Brian would be mad because the baby might be Howard’s.

Grainger further testified that Brian Day “owed everybody money” and that Shanon was “paranoid” around then and “talking out of her head.”

Another witness, Dennis Currence, gave a similar account of Shanon Day’s state of mind at the time. He said that on the Thursday night before the murders, he was with a friend, Phillip Bush, when Bush got a call from Shanon, who needed help fixing a flat tire.

When the two men got to Shanon’s car, Currence said they found the doors open and the Days’ seven-month-old infant in a car seat in the back and crying. “It was freezing cold,” he said. “The temperature was in the teens, and he was only in a diaper.”

Currence said Shanon Day was “in her own world and kept saying, ‘I’ve got to go to Texarkana.’” He added, “She seemed to be on drugs — bad.”

Currence said Shanon Day drove off and Brian Day arrived while they were still loading the jack into Bush’s car. Then the three men went to Bush’s shop, where they snorted meth.

At about 1 a.m., Currence said, Shanon walked in with Howard, who was holding the baby. Brian took the infant and cleaned his face, then Howard left, saying he had a truck to load. “After that, Brian and Shanon left,” Currence said. “It was the last time I saw them alive.”

Under cross-examination by Benca, Currence said that Brian Day had told him he owed up to $8,000 to “people up north” and that he had urged Brian to “get out of the dope game” because he was “worried about their lives.”
Currence and others testifying for the state have disputed Benca’s opening statement that the Days were preparing to move. Among those who said that were two brothers of Brian Day.

Lloyd Day testified that he and Howard were good friends until shortly before the murders, when, he said, his wife noticed that Howard had changed. “He got snappy,” Lloyd Day said, “like he was angry, bitter, mean.”

Lloyd Day, who was convicted of distributing drugs “six or seven years ago,” said that he went to his brother’s house the day before the murders “to see if he had any meth.”

“He told me some people were going to come by that night with a four-wheeler and some guns to sell,” Lloyd Day said. “He also said a gun of David’s [another brother] was missing.”

Under cross-examination, Lloyd Day said Brian and Howard “were like two peas in a pod,” but that, “the last time I saw Brian, he said Tim owed him money and stole his gun.”

Benca noted that, though Lloyd Day had given numerous statements to police about events at the time of Brian’s murder, this was the first time he had said anything about Howard owing Brian money.

Another brother, Kevin Day, said that in the weeks before the murders, Shanon Day “seemed real nervous, worried.” He testified that she believed someone was listening to or recording phone conversations, that Brian and the garbage man were signaling each other with flashlights, and that people were going into and out of their attic.

Kevin Day said he checked the attic but found it undisturbed, and that the Days did not have a working telephone at the time. He also said that he saw Shanon with some bruises around her neck that his mother told him Brian had put there.

 

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Friday, May 1, 2015 - 15:39:00

Staff Picks: Future, Kathryn Joyce, Philander Smith, Christian rock deep cuts and more

click to enlarge Jad Fair
  • Jad Fair

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.

As a cinema buff, my recommendation this week is a place I try to mention to every film-loving friend of mine sooner or later: the used DVD stacks at your local Game X Change store. I'm pretty sure nearly every DVD in the place is hotter than a fifteen dollar Stratocaster, all of them likely ripped off during burglaries and turned in for store credit (when the Five Finger Discounters cleaned out the home of Yours Truly a few years back, they made off with over 100 DVDs, leaving us to wonder what teenage hooligans were going to do with a seven-season box set of "The Gilmore Girls." Then we found Game X Change and it all made sense). That said, you can make someone else's loss your gain, with thousands of used DVDs for $4.95 each. They also have an excellent three-for-the-price-of-two deal, which has helped me restock my home collection in record time. It's not all copies of "Harry Potter" and "Die Hard 9: Die From an Erection Lasting More Than Four Hours" either, especially if you're willing to dig. There are quite a few classics mixed in, and it's all alphabetized so you don't have to paw through everything if you're looking for something in particular. Recently, for example, I bought a remastered super-deluxe bells-and-whistles edition of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" — regularly priced at north of $25 on Amazon — for less than the price of a latte at Starbucks. I'm probably shooting myself in the foot by being the John the Baptist of my secret stash, but I like to spread the love. — David Koon

Someday I hope to write a book detailing the shining gems in the otherwise treacherous and solemn story that is Christian music. That day may never come, so I’ll make do occasionally calling out the characters, albums, and events that make you say “For real this is?” Today I recommend listening to "Solid Gold Heart," the collaboration between Jad Fair and Danielson. I have a healthy surface knowledge of Jad Fair’s musical history. But my familiarity with Danielson (from my days running with the local, heavily-tattooed Christian music bookstore employees) runs deep and wide and I love this album. It’s funny, rocking, and dutifully quirky. Listen! — Bryan Moats
I recommend Future's "Codeine Crazy" both the song and the music video, a neon haze of wild horses and purple electricity. There is a world of sadness in the way Future pronounces the word "celebrate" here, on one of the loneliest and best pop songs I've ever heard about depression, addiction and altered states. He says he's "drownin' in Actavis suicide" (referring to the brand of codeine cough syrup) while wearing "diamonds colder than a glacier." He says, "I'm an addict and I can't even hide it." He says, heartbreakingly, "You thought I forgot about us?" It's the first rap song that's ever reminded me of Gus Van Zandt's "Last Days." — Will Stephenson

A few days ago, I read an article somewhere (bad journalism; I don't remember where) comparing recent fanfic-turned-novel-turned-movie juggernaut "50 Shades of Grey" with an older film, Steven Shainberg's "Secretary." I haven't seen "50 Shades," nor do I have any desire to see it, but the 2002 James Spader-Maggie Gyllenhaal film has long been one of my favorites. The story is hit-or-miss, but in terms of performances, I don't think either actor has ever been better (ditto supporting actor Jeremy Davies).

What I really love about the film, though, are the scenes shot in the law office in which the two main characters mostly interact: lush, dark wood walls, a reliance on old manual typewriters and the Spader character's meticulously-kept in-house orchid garden all give the entire movie an otherworldly, out-of-time feel that makes the atmosphere more fairy tale than erotica. Add to that one of the best uses of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" ever in a movie , and the result is a story less about sex and more about self-discovery. I'm sure that's how all these sorts of narratives would like to be known, but few sell it quite as naturally as "Secretary." Oh, and if you need some spanking and bondage, it's got that, too. — Michael Roberts

It is prom and graduation season — always an exciting time of year for pretty dresses, celebrations and family gatherings. I myself am graduating from Philander Smith College tomorrow with my Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. Graduation is bittersweet for me: on the one hand I'm glad I've accomplished my goal and am moving on, but on the other, I'm sad to see my college days come to a close. I've met some wonderful people, made good friends and networked with some of the best and brightest in Little Rock. It has been a whirlwind 4 years and an unforgettable experience. I'm so proud of what my classmates and I have accomplished and I'm excited to see what the world has in store for each of us. To Philander Smith College, my alma mater, you will always have a place in my heart, and to my professors, thank you for your dedication and counsel, you will be missed. Thank you to everyone who made my education possible and believed in me. I know now that I am capable of anything I put my mind to and I'm not afraid to try something new. Last but not least, congratulations to the graduating class of 2015, we are destined for greatness and we will change the world for the better. — Kaya Herron

click to enlarge childcatch.jpg

I recommend Kathryn Joyce's fantastic book, "The Child Catchers," which explores the underbelly of the international adoption system and its embrace by the evangelical community in the U.S.

The thing about international adoption is that it just sounds so unimpeachably good in the abstract. Orphans! Desperate kids in darkest Africa saved from the clutches of Joseph Kony and plopped down upon a tasteful sectional to watch Veggie Tales in an air conditioned living room in Huntsville, Alabama. Sometimes that's what happens — but sometimes, the salvation narrative breaks down upon closer inspection. A key problem is that many of the kids adopted to the U.S. from Guatemala, Liberia, Ethiopia and elsewhere actually have families of some sort back home. The reason they're given up for adoption is often less because they lack caretakers in their countries of origin, and more because of a combination of tragic factors: Crushing poverty, promises of monetary payments or other compensation to family members, pressure applied to birth mothers, outright deceit, differing perceptions of what "adoption" really entails across cultures, and more. And that's not even getting into the tragedies that sometimes result when kids who have been through terrible trauma in institutions overseas are taken in by well-meaning and utterly unprepared families in the U.S.

As Joyce puts it, "Despite the varied but largely altruistic motivations of evangelical adoption advocates, as a movement it is directing hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that already responds acutely to Western demand — demand that can't be filled, at least not ethically or under current law. What that can mean for tens of thousands of loving but impoverished parents in the developing world is that they become the supply side of a multi-billion-dollar global industry."

Another thing about Kathryn Joyce: She's now working for the Times on an investigative story, and she's a really nice person.

While we're on the subject of unhappy children, and Katherines, I also recommend one of my favorite short stories, "The Downward Path to Wisdom" by Katherine Ann Porter, which tracks the internal experience of a six-year-old child in the most unsentimental terms possible. No lurid tragedies — just the fearful, normal, day-to-day acid trip entailed by being a kid. I can't find the full text online, but I did find this brief audio clip of Porter reading the opening paragraphs, which gives you a sense of her language. Evidently, you can order the full recording on vinyl, if listening to a single short story over and over is the sort of thing you'd like to spend $45 on. — Benji Hardy

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 14:33:00

Tinkerers meet tie-dyers at Argenta Arts Festival and Mini Maker Faire

click to enlarge maker_faire_map.jpg


click to enlarge Raku by Morgan McMurray, at the Argenta Arts Festival.
  • Raku by Morgan McMurray, at the Argenta Arts Festival.
Argenta is the place to be Saturday, May 2, if you like baskets, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fabrics ... and robotics, flying things, power tool drag racing, trebuchets ... and good weather, music and food. The arts and science are strong allies, so it was a fine idea to combine the Argenta Arts Festival (formerly run by the Thea Foundation but now taken over by the city) and the Innovation Hub's Mini Maker Faire. 

On Main Street, find more than 30 artists working in crafts — in keeping with the Maker Faire theme — and arts demonstrations. At the Society of Printmakers booth, for example, Neal Harrington and Tammy Harrington will demo relief carving and printing, Catherine Kim and Mesilla Smith will demo intaglio techniques, and Daniel Adams will demo Coptic book binding. Pulaski Technical College will have a booth; they'll create tie-dyed scarves. The Cons of Formant, Caleb Patterson and Brown Soul Shoes will perform behind the Argenta branch of the Laman Library at 406 Main St.

Over by the Innovation Hub, at 201 E. Broadway, there will be 60 vendors where tinkerers and techies and entrepreneurs can gather, as well as presentations by folks like Josh Moody, founder and CEO at Innovis Labs; Wallace Patterson of MakerBot, and software developer Sam Mauldin. Entry to the Maker Faire is $10.

That's 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown North Little Rock. 

 

 

Friday, May 1, 2015 - 10:00:00

Psych of the South: Robin and the Hoods' 'Slow Down' (1966)

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

Usually my work involves a quest for long-forgotten information about Arkansas’ garage bands of yore. In this case, Jim Finch, the drummer of Robin and the Hoods, contacted me. He wanted to share a demo that his group recorded circa 1966, including this take on the Young Rascals' version of the Larry Williams tune "Slow Down."

Finch grew up in North Little Rock and went to college at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville in 1960. In the summer of 1962, he went to Houston and filled in on drums with the Triumphs, BJ Thomas’ group. There he met Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, who had a hit with “Sugar Shack," and Jimmy Clanton of "Just a Dream" fame.

When he returned to Fayetteville he formed his own group, the Morticians, with Rick Dykman on guitar, Bill Kennamer on bass and Larry Collard on keyboards. They were one of school's top frat bands and regularly played at the student union. During the Razorback’s undefeated national championship football season in '64, the group played outdoors to celebrate while class was let out. They filled the area around Old Main with thousands of kids and were featured in Scene Magazine.

click to enlarge The Morticians
  • The Morticians

Around this time, Finch’s roommate burned down their house while cleaning his MG carburetor, so he moved into the Iris Motel for $18 a week. He noticed his next door neighbors were weird characters, so he introduced himself. They were Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Richard Manuel of Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, who later became the Band. The Hawks would regularly stay in Fayetteville and would make the Iris Motel their home base while touring the area, including Oklahoma and Texas, in the earliest days of the Band. When Finch met them, they didn't have a car and were stuck there. Finch had a tri-power 1957 Pontiac and so they became fast friends and regularly went to the Rockwood Club, a legendary rock ‘n’ roll joint in Fayetteville that was owned by Hawkins.

After the club closed for the night, Finch would drive them there and open a keg. He sat in on drums with Danko, Manuel, and Hudson and jammed until the wee hours. Finch's late nights at the Rockwood with the Hawks happened a handful of times and he became a gopher for group as they emerged into the Band, regularly running errands and hanging out when they were in town. A short time later, of course, they became Bob Dylan's backing band on his first electric tour.

click to enlarge Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in El Dorado, Ark.
  • Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in El Dorado, Ark.

In 1966 Finch moved back to North Little Rock to form Robin and the Hoods with Phil Schlenker  and Kenneth “Brown” Williams on guitar, Larry Shelton on bass, Mike Scallion on vocals and Kelly Duke on keyboards. They needed a gimmick to stand out, so they decided to wear wrestling masks, or hoods, styled after the Great Bolo, which one of their mothers custom made for the group. The first gig with the hoods was suffocating and miserably hot. Scallion couldn't sing in his and the other guys tried to endure, but only played one more gig before dropping the costume.

They were setting up at the Tiki Club on the old Conway highway in North Little Rock when a friend of the group came by with a reel to reel recorder and wanted to make a demo for them. Finch liked what he heard and took it to Jaggars Recording Studio, where Steve Jaggars had an acetate cutter that could make some one-off demo records from the tape.

A memorable gig for the Hoods came with a trip back to Fayetteville for Finch, where Dayton Stratton operated the Rink nightclub. He remembered Finch from his groupie days with the Hawks and booked them sight unseen. As they were unloading their gear, Stratton insisted that they use the house PA, a state of the art $20,000 sound system. A little while into the set, the band blew the sound system and had to bring in their own gear to finish the show. That was their only Fayetteville performance.

click to enlarge Robin and the Hoods
  • Robin and the Hoods

Jim Porter ran a booking agency in Little Rock and represented Robin and the Hoods. He set them up in a warehouse on 7th and Scott St., which housed an artist’s loft and a practice space. Sometimes a small crowd would gather outside and dance in the streets. They would shut the windows and sweat it out, but the cops would dependably show up to tell them to turn it down.

The group was regularly booked at the Royal Knights Supper Club on 65th and the Raven Club off of 12th St. among others, and wound up playing seven nights a week. When the band parted ways in the late 1960s, Schlenker and Williams joined the Chaps, a group from Pine Bluff that had recorded for Shreveport’s Paula Records in the mid '60s and which later included local legend Mike "Burger" Scoggins on vocals.

After Robin and the Hoods, Finch formed the Holidaze, a popular club act featuring Paul Truett and Johnny Quattlebaum of the local garage band the Reknown, who recorded for MY records in Little Rock. The Holidaze had two female singers and were regulars at the Pink Pussycat club on Highway 10.

Finch followed the career of his old friends from the Hawks as they rose to fame with Bob Dylan and the Band. In the early 70s, Finch got backstage to visit them in Houston and was later invited to the Last Waltz, the Band’s grand exit immortalized by the Martin Scorcese film. When the Band reformed in the '80s without Robbie Robertson, they had a gig planned for Little Rock, but had to cancel when Richard Manuel committed suicide in 1986. They rescheduled and played at the SOB club, where Finch was invited to the show and mourned the loss of his old buddy.

click to enlarge Jim Finch in his short-lived hood.
  • Jim Finch in his short-lived hood.

 

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