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The guide to Arkansas entertainment
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On art in Arkansas
A view from Northwest Arkansas
Talking grain sorghum, the hidden hero of Arkansas eats.
Trio's is getting a face lift just in time for its 29th birthday!
Pizza, beer and trivia come to Damgoode Pies on August 27th.
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/
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hmmm, I have some yard work that he could do and two or three Bibles…
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