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The smoked meat pleasures of Naaman's

February 1, 2019
The smoked meat pleasures of Naaman's
A pitmaster with a cult following prepares to move his joint across the street — and into another state. /more/

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Gene Lyons

Northam, Virginia and the benefit of the doubt

It’s not astonishing to me that a Washington Post poll reveals that Virginia’s African-American voters favor giving Gov. Ralph Northam the benefit of the doubt by 58 to 37 percent. They’ve been dealing with history’s brutal ironies for 400 years /more/

Pearls About Swine

A signature Hog win against LSU

February 3, 2019
A signature Hog win against LSU
Arkansas fans, you may well have witnessed SEC and Arkansas history on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. /more/

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Saturday, February 16, 2019 - 11:21:00

Democrats call for GOP Rep. Brandt Smith to apologize for racist remark

click to enlarge REP. BRANDT SMITH: There he goes again. His latest provocation was a racist remark about a fellow legislator. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • REP. BRANDT SMITH: There he goes again. His latest provocation was a racist remark about a fellow legislator.

State Democratic Party Chair Michael John Gray has called on Republican state Rep. Brandt Smith of Jonesboro to apologize for a "blatantly racist attack" on House Minority Leder Charles Blake, following Blake's introduction of legislation to change the law that explains the meaning of symbols on the Arkansas state flag.



Saturday, February 16, 2019 - 08:01:00

Accountability: The future of the Little Rock School District hangs on a test. At charter schools on the other hand ....

HIGH STAKES: Scores on a test to be administered in two months apparently will spell the future of local control of the Little Rock School District.
  • HIGH STAKES: Scores on a test to be administered in two months apparently will spell the future of local control of the Little Rock School District.

It appears local control of the Little Rock School District will come down to a single standardized test to be administered in April. Optimism wasn't much in evidence during a discussion of the issue Friday before the state Board of Education. And while we're talking school accountability, hang on for a charter school discussion.



Saturday, February 16, 2019 - 06:50:00

A century after the Elaine Massacre: remembrance and talk of reparations

click to enlarge screen_shot_2019-02-16_at_6.44.47_am.png

A panel of speakers gathered Friday in the small Delta town of Elaine for remembrance of the September 1919 Elaine massacre in which racial tension and concerns over labor organizing led to the mass killing of hundreds of black people, one of the worst episodes of its kind in U.S. history.



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Saturday, February 16, 2019 - 07:05:00

"True Detective" Crew Spotlight: A Q&A with Tom Wallace

click to enlarge "True Detective," Season Three, Episode One
  • "True Detective," Season Three, Episode One

With season three of HBO’s “True Detective” out now, Northwest Arkansas is abuzz spotting familiar locales — a dimly lit Hugo’s with Mahershala Ali among the shadows, for example. (Perhaps a little nostalgia was at play considering that creator Nic Pizzolatto was working on his MFA in creative writing at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville that decade?) Although the 200-plus cast and crew was made up of many TV/film veterans who moved in to shoot on location in the Arkansas Ozarks, HBO also recruited locals to participate. Tom Wallace, a 73-year-old retired Air Force and railroad worker who makes his home in Little Rock, was the first hire in the state of Arkansas, as a location scout. His first task: find office/studio space for the entire cast and crew.

We asked Wallace about his experience behind the scenes — and discovered Wallace's ties to the Apollo moon missions along the way.

click to enlarge Tom Wallace - CAROLYN WALLACE
  • Carolyn Wallace
  • Tom Wallace

What was it like to work as part of the cast of "True Detective"?

Working with them was truly amazing. There were so many talented people that had done so many other things like Jurassic Park, The Wire, Deadwood, Game of Thrones. I was surrounded by people that had done all these fantastic shows so it was very rewarding. But it could be pretty stressful at times too. My main charge was to scout locations. They furnished me the scripts for the show and I read the scripts and I went out and developed locations for what the script was calling for.

What are some examples of places you scouted?

We had over 200 locations total for the series and one of them was an old abandoned fire tower that played a big part in the series. Another was the state police headquarters that was up in Springdale. A lot of them were homes in Northwest Arkansas. We filmed in peoples’ residences and that required us to get contracts signed, and pay people for the use of their properties.

From what you’ve seen of the show, is there a vivid moment of a location you scouted?

The fire tower was really a high priority because they didn’t have a way to reproduce a fire tower. It’s in the run-up to the show at the very first, they have some different places they show in the intro. It’s just amazing to see how they photograph it with drones and booms and all the camera equipment. It’s really interesting.

click to enlarge TOM WALLACE
  • Tom Wallace
Where is the actual fire tower?

The fire tower is supposedly part of the Devil’s Den complex. We used to have towers all over the state but since they have the satellites and all that looking for forest fires, people have bought the towers. They’re privately owned and dismantled so there’s only two or three of them left in the state so fortunately we were able to locate one that was close by so we could use it in the series.

I’m wondering how your previous career helped prepare you for film scouting.

I was in the photo squadron when I was in the Air National Guard, so there were some similarities. I have a longtime love of the outdoors and have always been involved with photography since I was 18 or 19. When I first got married I worked for a professional photo finisher in Dallas, a photochrome developer. They did professional photographs for people all over the United States. They actually had a contract with NASA and we processed all the film from the Apollo moon missions. So I’ve always been involved in photography and this was just another way to branch out on using my cameras and my expertise.

Now that it’s out, what is it like to watch the series?

I used to watch movies and take it for granted but now I’m constantly looking at all the different locations and how they set the cameras up. And I think about the time. I may have spent four or five days looking for a location that gets five seconds in the series. You just look at it totally differently once you’ve been involved in it and see the places you’ve actually found for them to do their filming. When you go out on set there’s all the people. There’s probably 200 people out there, doing so many different things like electric, makeup. It’s a very involved process.


Friday, February 15, 2019 - 15:13:00

Tonight: Argenta Art Walk

click to enlarge Theora Hamblett's "Backdoor Jumping," at Greg Thompson Fine Art.
  • Theora Hamblett's "Backdoor Jumping," at Greg Thompson Fine Art.

Chocolate-making demonstrations on this post-Valentine Argenta ArtWalk are on tap tonight at the Innovation Hub, 201 W. Broadway in North Little Rock. The Innovation Hub is also exhibiting collagraph prints by Christine Geunard, hosting an indoor artist and maker "mini-market" and making "oobleck" (aka slime). ArtWalk hours at The Hub are 5-7 p.m.; other venues will be open until 8 p.m.

Over on Main Street, Greg Thompson Fine (429 Main) Art is hosting its 24th anniversary exhibition of work by regional artists and the Argenta branch of the Laman Library (420 Main) is showing "Past Lives," photographs by Vincent Griffin. Barry Thomas Fine Art (711 Main) will also be open for ArtWalk.

At 8 p.m., The House of Art hosts its weekly "Poets Be Like ..." spoken word event, $10.


Friday, February 15, 2019 - 14:51:00

Adventureland wins Round Four of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase; Willowack wins "wild card" spot

click to enlarge Big Red Flag - STEPHANIE SMITTLE
  • Stephanie Smittle
  • Big Red Flag

The last semifinal round of the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase brought bouncy literary rock with mad drum fills, a band that very well might be the only Little Rock ensemble that boasts two accordion players, clever commentary paired with mandolin and reimagined reggae from Fayetteville.

The winner of round four? Adventureland, a trio that won hearts with three-part harmony, infectious exuberance and seamless instrument switch-offs, musical-chairs style. Here's a snapshot of what our panel of judges, along with guest judge/powerhouse vocalist Charlotte Taylor said about the evening's performances, and [coming soon] some photography from our very own Brian Chilson.

Join us at the Rev Room Friday, March 1 to hear Adventureland, Illusionaut, White Mansion, The Mad Deadly and the "wild card" band, determined by the top-scoring runner-up across all four semifinal rounds. That band was Willowack, who scored the highest among the runners-up across all four rounds of competition in the scoring categories: originality, musicianship, songwriting and showmanship.

(A footnote of showcase history: Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo were the "wild card" band in 2018, and ended up winning the entire competition.)

Willowack joins the four winners from each semifinal round to faceoff for a robust prize package, including a performance spot at Low Key Arts' acclaimed Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, a performance spot at Thursday Night Live at the Griffin in El Dorado's revitalized Murphy Arts District, a performance spot at Jacksonville's FestiVille, a performance spot at the Arkansas State Fair, eight hours of studio time and artist development at The Hive Studio, a gift certificate from beloved farm-to-table eatery Trio's Restaurant, cold hard cash and more.



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Flash Point: Race, fire, police and Little Rock's new mayor

February 1, 2019
Flash Point: Race, fire, police and Little Rock's new mayor
Can the city's first elected black mayor heal the racial divisions that have long plagued the city's fire and police departments? /more/


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Gene Fortson opposes end to at-large city directors, won't run again in 2020

February 6, 2019
Gene Fortson opposes end to at-large city directors, won't run again in 2020
Also says infrastructure problems need to be addressed. /more/

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