Pump the brakes on your letter writing campaign, you who see graffiti and immediately think "defacement." You won't find our cover image on the back of some downtown building. The walls are props courtesy of The Rep, and the painting, done by Jose Hernandez, happened inside Dedicated, the gallery and venue he runs on the corner of Seventh and Spring. When we featured Dedicated in the Times earlier this year, Hernandez explained his motivation for the space: "I just want to paint. And I want to see other people paint. I want to see people do what they love, whether it's music, art, writing, whatever ... and teaching about it, so that kids can see that there's alternative ways to getting a job, working all your life for nothing." That plan seems to be going well. The night before our photo shoot, interpretive dancers contorted to improvised music from members of the local band Ginsu Wives, while artists spray-painted eight-foot stretches of Saran wrap in the middle of the warehouse performance space. Other times, Hernandez says, skateboarders might take to the half-pipe at one end of the space, while DJs spin and muralists work. Mixed media always, he says. Check it out, art-y types. There's nothing else like it in Little Rock.
If you're the type who can't countenance an empty moment without whipping out your smart phone and hurling some furrowed-browed birds at pigs or angling for a triple-word score against your "friends," consider a new iPhone game from Mobile FWD, a new mobile app development company based in Northwest Arkansas. It's called Trivi.al, and it's habit-forming. Particularly when it's played as it's intended—against people you know. Think Words with Friends, but trivia. Or if you're ignorant of mobile gaming, think a lightning-round of Trivial Pursuit played on your phone against people you know. Trivi.al just launched a couple weeks ago, so to get the fullest experience, you'll need to recruit some friends to play. We've already got an intra-office grudge match going. One of us, who prides himself in knowing more inane trivia than your average "Jeopardy" contestant and isn't shy about telling everyone, is getting destroyed by the quiet guy in the office. But not for long!
If you're not into recreational pharmaceuticals, this award has to go to Mount Magazine State Park, which sits atop the highest point in Arkansas (2,700 feet!) and looms over the tiny hamlet of Havana in Yell County. With truly amazing views, a stunning, multi-million-dollar lodge complex or romantic private cabins, hiking, biking, flora and fauna, it's a great escape. BONUS: It's about 15 degrees cooler at the top of the mountain at any given time, making it the perfect destination in the wilting season of summer.
Best local boy made good
For literary types like us, that's gotta be Bryan Borland, who started the Alexander, Ark., Sibling Rivalry Press on his kitchen table a few years back and has since grown it into a powerhouse in the niche of gay/lesbian/transgender literature. In an era when we regularly hear that print is dead, Borland is actually making a profit publishing poetry, and is expanding rapidly into the world of fiction as projects present themselves. As an added bonus, Sibling Rivalry is home to the journal Assaracus, which is — if you can believe it — the only journal dedicated to poetry by gay authors in the U.S. Something tells us that if you informed the literati in NYC or San Fran that the only gay poetry journal is America is headquartered in a guy's spare bedroom in Alexander, Arkansas, they'd solemnly dump their crantinis into the gutter, cast down their black turtlenecks, and resolve to rethink their life choices.