The year in Arkansas culture, A-Z 

The Arkansas arts and entertainment year in-review.

Argenta Film Series

The Little Rock Film Festival's monthly series launched in September, dishing out some serious red meat for insatiable film buffs. At least once a month, Argenta Community Theater hosts a screening and a Q&A with one of the film's principals, usually a director or producer. Thus far, the series has featured short films, documentaries like "Kassim the Dream" and "Marathon Boy" and buzzed-about indie features such as the fantastically demented "Bellflower." Filmmaker and LRFF co-founder Brent Renaud told the Times that "the idea is to bring the kind of programming we do at the Little Rock Film Festival year-round. As the local filmmaking scene has boomed, we want to offer another place for people to come together and network with other filmmakers from around the country and even around the world."

Beaker Street

Like some psychedelic AM signal beamed straight out of rock 'n' roll heaven, the long-running radio show Beaker Street had bounced around from station to station over the years, but wherever it went, listeners followed. Sadly, in February, Clyde Clifford's beloved and formula-defying show issued its final broadcast. Canceling Beaker Street was "a business decision," according to management at The Point, Beaker Street's home in the last few years.

Crystal Bridges

Is Crystal Bridges: A) a first-class art museum that could transform the cultural landscape of Northwest Arkansas and expose budding young minds to worlds they might otherwise never see? B) a first-class art museum that was tragically plopped in the midst of flyover country where it surely will be neglected by ignorant, overweight hillbillies who will never care about fine art? Or C) a first-class art museum that was created by a modern-day robber baroness on the backs of millions of low-wage workers around the world? While there might be more nuanced views of Alice Walton's close to $2 billion labor of love (and whatever your take, there's no question that Walton loves art), most folks' opinions are going to fit neatly into one of the above categories. So what's the only thing most people will agree on, at least at this early stage? That would be that Crystal Bridges is, indeed, a first-class art museum.

Doc fest

This year was the 20th anniversary of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. But the festival, which ran from Oct. 14-31, had only a few months earlier looked like it might not happen at all. The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute's financial house was a mess. It had $30,000 in debt and couldn't pay its bills and staff, and in April, the nonprofit's board voted to furlough the institute's executive director and three more part-time employees. Two board members resigned, and former director Dan Anderson stepped in to help right the ship. But the show went on, screening 110 films and hosting more than 40 filmmakers from all over the world, including "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's latest film about the West Memphis Three. The Times will follow up on the state of the festival in early 2012, so stay tuned.

Edens Edge

The 2006 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase winners went on to big things: the band moved to Nashville, signed to Big Machine Records — home to Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts, among others — and went on tour with Brad Paisley. And it was on that tour that the band got into what we'll call The Great Collegiate Door Mat Spat of 2011. Long story short: Edens Edge swiped Paisley's West Virginia rug and replaced it with one bearing a Razorback. Paisley retaliated by burning the Arkansas mat, an act which was filmed and broadcast to the entire Internet. As is their custom, Hogs fans in no way overreacted. They took Paisley's inflammatory antics in stride, offering nothing but sportsmanlike civility and entirely rational responses to the harmless prank.



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