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.
To soothe shattered nerves after the past several weeks of watching the horror show at the Capitol, and in honor of the fact that the 2015 legislative session will be remembered as the moment in the political history of Arkansas when the state finally emerged from the ruined chrysalis of late 20th-century Democratic populism to reveal itself as a carbon copy of our western neighbor, I'll recommend the Yo La Tengo cover of the Kinks' gentle, beautiful "Oklahoma U.S.A." If life's for living, what's living for? — Benji Hardy
My recommendation this week is for Roy Reed's superb 2009 book, "Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette: An Oral History." Based on interviews with over 100 former staffers of the Gazette, which closed in 1991 after being bought out by the Arkansas Democrat, it's a goddamn revelation of a book, instantly transporting a reader back to the smoky, clacking, sweltering, paper-strewn newsroom of one of the greatest Southern papers of all time, For a reporter who came of age in the era after the Internet had changed everything about journalism, Reed's careful weaving of history — scandals, human failure, old timers, hard-boiled police reporters, newsroom superstitions and funny lore — is a beautiful thing. — David Koon I recommend the movies of the Austrian-American director Edgar G. Ulmer, who came to Hollywood in 1926 and spent decades making the lowest of low-budget horror, Western and sci-fi films with titles like "The Man from Planet X," "The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll" and "Isle of Forgotten Sins." Ulmer specialized in what haughty French film critics would later call films maudit — "cursed films" — films that were really troubling or weird or subversive and so were overlooked or even actively suppressed by the industry.
And Ulmer was nothing if not troubling. Right after he made "The Black Cat," maybe his highest profile film (and a horror classic starring Béla Lugosi and Boris Karloff), he had an affair with a Hollywood producer's wife, which got him black-listed. So he worked on the periphery. He directed "Moon Over Harlem," a melodrama with all-black cast, in 1939. He made films in other languages, like Yiddish and Ukrainian. Mostly, though, he just became great at making cheap films. His 1945 noir "Detour" is a classic in the cheap films genre. It's also genuinely powerful and was the basis for a recurring nightmare I had for a couple of months in college. Before he died, he gave an interview to Peter Bogdanovich, and said, "I really am looking for absolution for all the things I had to do for money's sake." Which, who isn't, right? — Will Stephenson
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I don’t ride my bike to work near as often as I used to. There is a small hand full of reasons why, but a biggy was that I was often riding home past sundown, with only a few lights and some DIY reflection on my clothing. After a few too many close calls, an overly vivid imagination, and the undeniable desire to see my kids and wife again and again, I’ve talked myself out of riding in dark until I can become greatly more visible in it. So leave it to a car manufacture to develop a paint, called Life Paint that could change all that. I recommend checking out Volvo’s new luminous paint if you ride bikes at all. Invisible during the day, unmistakable during the night. — Bryan Moats
Learned something new, thought I should share: Lomography is an art movement started in Austria by university students. After discovering the LCA camera created by LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia, they created a student organization in Vienna, advocating for creative and experimental film photography through a traveling art exhibition. The students then became the Lomographic Society International . One of their creative and experimental methods is boiling film to produce a bubbled effect on developed photos. It's pretty neat. — Kaya Herron
Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, we recommend things related to time. /more/
Here's the Sunday night open line. I've included some video, done by shaky hand-held iPhone, during a reunion Saturday night at the Darragh Center of former employees of the Arkansas Gazette, which closed 25 years ago this month. David Pryor gave an eloquent talk on Arkansas newspapers /more/
Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. In anticipation of Arkansas Times' Festival of Ideas this Saturday at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, we recommend things that make us think. /more/
The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
by Will Stephenson, Bryan Moats, Kaya Herron and Lindsey Millar
World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.