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There's a sign on the door of the much, much-anticipated River Market branch of the fried chicken mini-chain that says the restaurant will be serving tonight at 5 p.m.
Sitting down at Sonny Williams is a real pleasure. They're doing justice to thick, meaty steaks. Worth a visit for any in Little Rock.
The Fold, the new taqueria and cocktail bar from Bart Barlogie and Wilson Brandt, opened this weekend in Riverdale.
Photographs, architectural plans, furniture and a talk by design experts.
"Beautiful Uprising" reception tonight, talk by artist Saturday.
My overriding emotion about the fate of state Treasurer Martha Shoffner is sadness. /more/
Americans are instinctively wiser than their leaders when it comes to foreign policy, at least until their emotions are manipulated to support mindless war. /more/
The line is open.
Leslie Newell Peacock hopes to follow directly with a little something about a meeting today of Little Rock, Central Arkansas Water, ExxonMobil and other people over the Pegasus pipeline that runs through 18 miles of CAW's watershed, including along the shore of Lake Maumelle, the region's water supply. This was in response to a request from Mayor Mark Stodola for a little overdue info.
Among other things, the company has at long last come up with some ideas to better assure water drinkers about the safety of their supply. Leslie is getting a copy of the report. Somehow, I don't think it includes moving the aging line — currently not operating after it spilled Canadian tar sands crude all over a Mayflower neighborhood and wetlands near Lake Conway. ExxonMobil says it's still waiting, after several months, for the findings of an internal study of the structural condition of the aging line, more than 60 years old.
Back to you for the open line.
UPDATE: As of 6 p.m., CAW had not sent over the report. According to Mayor Stodola, who met with me after the unpublicized meeting, Exxon representatives said they had not had time to read the letter jointly sent them by Sens. Pryor and Boozman, Rep. Tim Griffin, Stodola and NLR Mayor Joe Smith, County Judge Buddy Villines and CAW chairperson Carmen Smith as "Lake Maumelle Governmental Shareholders." The letter asks Exxon to, among other things, take immediate action to analyze the integrity of the pipeline that crosses the Lake Maumelle watershed and "provide assurances that the pipeline is safe for operation" prior to the restart of the Pegasus line.
Stodola said he asked the Exxon officials, now represented by Bill Paschall of Paschall Strategic Communications, why the company had not gotten around to installing a third valve in the line in the watershed that CAW requested in 2010. Stodola said they claimed they were going to get around to it this summer, but they can't now, of course, because the pipeline is shut down.
Exxon told Stodola that it does aerial surveys of the pipeline in the Maumelle area twice a week, and walks the pipeline once every three years. The area is rugged and remote in places and the "shareholders" are concerned that should there be a break, Exxon could not shut down the pipes and get to the break before all of Central Arkansas's drinking water is fouled by Canadian crude.
A replacement for resigned Treasurer Martha Shoffner?
In the "next several days," Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters today. The appointee will serve out her term through 2014 and cannot run for the office. Though a sterling performance by the appointee could qualify that person for consideration for another office, Beebe has indicated he was leaning away from a politically oriented choice.
Here's a name to add to the mix of speculation:
Bunny Adcock. He's a Conway banker, a Beebe appointee to the UCA Board of Trustees and, for good bipartisan measure, served in the administration of Republican Gov. Frank White way back when. (And, Roby Brock notes, bank commissioner under Mike Huckabee.)
I heard yesterday that the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce is expected to decide in June whether to mount a petition campaign to put a "tort reform" constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2014. The plan to get that done in the legislature was stymied by a counterattack in the form of a water-muddying competing proposal by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who's a puppet for one of the state's most successful trial lawyers, John Goodson.
Talk Business has lots more background on the chamber's deliberations in an interview with chamber boss Randy Zook.
One factor they might consider: If the chamber moves ahead, plaintiffs' lawyers — rather than spend millions in simply attempting to defeat it — might resort to a competing amendment through petition that would be more protective of the rights of injured people. When proposed amendments have similar purposes, the one with the most votes wins. Pictures of grannies covered in bed sores — potentially limited by greedy businesses in seeking compensation for pain and suffering — are more compelling than the argument that big business needs more money to trickle down on the rest of us.
Murry's Dinner Playhouse just opened its production of the touching yet funny "Steel Magnolias," which runs 6 p.m.Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m. Wed. and 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sun., $15-$35.
Folk-rock singer/songwriter Ben Robbins plays a free show at Maxine's, 8 p.m.
FLOWING ON THE RIVER
5:30 p.m. River Market Pavilions. $35.
This looks to be a fine way to get yourself in the Riverfest spirit: A wine and craft beer tasting the night before things kick off. You can mill about the River Market Pavilions and sample from an array of beverages while experts, including Bruce Cochran of Custom Beverage, fill you in on all of the interesting tidbits and tasting notes of each beverage and their respective vintners and brewers.
And what would a booze tasting be without some delectable nosh to accompany it? Providing hors d'oeuvres will be Blue Coast Burrito, Your Mama's Good Food, Bray Gourmet, Brenda J. Majors Catering, Palette Catering, Newk's Express Cafe, Boscos, Cabot Cafe and Cake Corner, Sufficient Grounds Cafe, Cheers in the Heights and J&M Foods. FreeVerse Duo provides the live musical entertainment.
Also of note, this event is a fundraiser for Argenta Community Theater's upcoming ACTing Up Summer Camp, which will provide students in grades K-8 with the opportunity to learn about stagecraft, theater, film and filmmaking. There are a small number of scholarships available.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $20.
I've listened to and loved plenty of sadly beautiful music in my time: Leonard Cohen, Cat Power, Nick Drake, Townes Van Zandt, Jackson C. Frank. All of those folks have made timeless records that have resonated on a deep emotional level. I have never been as emotionally wrecked as I was after listening to Mary Gauthier's 2007 album "Between Daylight and Dark."
I fired the album up on the ol' Spotify, thinking, "OK, what's up next? Acclaimed folk singer/songwriter I've never listened to before. I'll check out some of her tunes, play a few of them from throughout her catalog and write up a To-Do. No biggie." What I heard stopped me from doing anything else other than listening and trying to keep my eyes from welling up, which had become a very tall order by the time the final strains of the last song, "Thanksgiving," were ringing out. I listened to the entire album start-to-finish.
The playing is masterful, the instrumentation full and rich but never overshadowing Gauthier's extraordinary voice, which is smoky and smoldering one moment, clear and high the next. And of course, the songs are just devastating. I started to listen to Gauthier's 2010 album "The Foundling," which has to be her most personal work. But by the time I got to the second song, "Mama Here, Mama Gone," it was frankly just too much to take. It's not maudlin, it's neither self-pitying nor over-the-top nor anything else that might diminish its power and thus make it easier to withstand. It's a simple, beautiful, utterly devastating song that becomes truly wrenching if you know Gauthier's backstory, of her troubled upbringing and how she finally made contact with her birth mother later only to be denied a meeting.
But Gauthier never wallows in misery. She faces down some of the most painful feelings imaginable with honesty and grace. A lot of very good singer/songwriters have come through in the last few years. Very few have been close to the stature of Mary Gauthier. I believe she deserves to be counted among the ranks of the great. This show is not to be missed.
Winnipeg native Scott Nolan opens the all-ages show.
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