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Indomitable: African American artists in 'On Their Own Terms' at UA Little Rock

January 14, 2019
Indomitable: African American artists in 'On Their Own Terms' at UA Little Rock
UA Little Rock is, once again, proving the folly of ignoring African-American art, with the exhibition “On Their Own Terms,” which opens Jan. 17 at UA Little Rock’s Windgate Center of Art and Design. /more/

Columnists

Gene Lyons

Of Freud and foolishness

I’ve been suspicious of psychologists bearing theories ever since my graduate school "Eureka!" about Freud and Dostoyevsky. /more/

Movie Reviews

'Vice' is daft, dark and dadaistic

January 4, 2019
'Vice' is daft, dark and dadaistic
Bale's Cheney is a quiet, calculating emperor on the rise. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Terrible showing from Hogs

January 10, 2019
Terrible showing from Hogs
Young basketball teams — we’ll routinely exclude those at Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and the like, which feature top-tier talent at every position — really struggle to find cohesiveness. Arkansas’s 2018-19 men’s squad is often described as the “youngest team in America” because there are no seniors and only a single scholarship upperclassman (junior forward Adrio Bailey) on the roster. /more/

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Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 16:11:00

Also on the legislative agenda: Implanted microchips

images.jpg
Also in the bill hopper today, legislation by Rep. Stephen Meeks to prohibit employers from implanting microchips in employees without their written consent and prohibiting making implantation of a chip a condition of employment.

/more/  

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 15:58:00

The legislative shop of horrors: Kim Hammer's campus speech bill

click to enlarge LET US PRAY: Sen. Kim Hammer, shown here to the left of - Sen. Jason Rapert at the unveiling of the 10 commandments monument. The legislature has allowed only Christian viewpoints to be displayed at the Capitol. Hammer today introduced legislation nominally said to encourage free speech.
  • LET US PRAY: Sen. Kim Hammer, shown here to the left of Sen. Jason Rapert at the unveiling of the 10 commandments monument. The legislature has allowed only Christian viewpoints to be displayed at the Capitol. Hammer today introduced legislation nominally said to encourage free speech.

The latest in the parade of horrors in legislative bill filing is a proposal by Sen. Kim Hammer that purports to protect free speech on campus. Its point is to usurp control of campuses as a reaction to the widespread, but not particularly well-supported belief that liberal political correctness is running rampant on campus.

/more/  

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 15:46:00

Rep. Nicole Clowney on education, disagreements and who runs the world

click to enlarge NICOLE CLOWNEY
  • NICOLE CLOWNEY
Freshman Rep. Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville) took time out of her schedule recently to answer a few questions about her expectations of others, the biggest problem facing Arkansas today and what she's listening to as she prepares to represent District 86.

/more/  

 

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 14:44:00

Crystal Bridges gets spacy before 'Men of Steel' launch

click to enlarge Robert Pruitt, "Altitude Determines Attitude," charcoal and mixed media on paper. - ARTADIA
  • Artadia
  • Robert Pruitt, "Altitude Determines Attitude," charcoal and mixed media on paper.

Robert Pruitt, whose striking charcoals of African-American figures go on exhibit Thursday at UA Little Rock ("On Their Own Terms") and Feb. 9 in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's "Men of Steel, Women of Wonder" show, will talk about his work at the Crystal Bridges' "Art, Space Travel and Beyond with Robert Pruitt" roundtable starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18.

Pruitt — who according to a Crystal Bridges press release plans to launch a work of art into space via balloon — will be joined at the "Drinks and Discussion" event by Joel Gordon of the Amazeum, who'll about the design of a balloon the museum will launch; Darrell Health and his collection of meteorites; Dr. Ross Carroll of Arkansas Balloon Space Missions, whose 6-foot-tall high altitude balloon is used to launch objects; and Bruce McMath, who'll talk about what the International Dark Sky Association is doing to protect against nighttime light pollution.

The event is free; find more information at 479-657-2335.

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 12:25:00

Arkansas Times Film Series screens "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" tonight

click to enlarge Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  • Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

We destroy the things we love. At least that's the suggestion of the opening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," George Roy Hill's 1969 western about the outlaw duo who robbed banks and trains before making their way to Bolivia. The movie opens in a pair of sepia-toned scenes — one depicting Butch (Paul Newman) in a bank, with bars on the teller windows and armed security.

“What happened to the old bank?” he asks. “It kept getting robbed,” he’s told. “But it was beautiful.”

As Butch and Sundance (Robert Redford) make their way back to their hideout, the film shifts back into full color. They continue to try their hand at robbery, but things are different now. Law enforcement has caught on their old tricks and are in constant relentless pursuit. Members of the gang they're in are locked in a power struggle. Eventually, they decide the only thing to do is pack up and head to Bolivia.

The film is part of a group of westerns in which, in addition to fighting a human antagonist, (in this case, the law), our protagonists are also fighting against the forward march of time; depicted in this film as the bicycle. At the end of a sequence characterized by the tune "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," Newman’s Butch tries to toss it away, telling it to “go back to where it came from.” But you can’t turn back the clock.

But there’s another point in that bicycle sequence. Though some found the use of modern pop music odd in a period western, the song emphasizes that, no matter what happens, Butch is able to maintain his trademark optimism. At its core, it's a feel-good movie, and arguably the first buddy comedy.

So join us at 7 p.m. tonight for our screening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," presented as a collaboration between Film Quotes Film, the Arkansas Times and Riverdale 10 Cinema. 

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 11:55:00

'True Detective' episode 1 and 2 recap: Bottling up ghosts

click to enlarge true-detective-season-3-review.jpg

Even if you know nothing about “True Detective,” the HBO crime series that just debuted the first and second episodes of its third season, you might know the fanboy-ready phrase that a tripped-out Matthew McConaughey said early in the series: “Time is a flat circle.” That first season, set in Louisiana, was a triumph of Southern noir; season 2, set in Los Angeles and involving seemingly three times as many characters, was moody but congested. Now we’re back in the South, in Fayetteville, where the show’s Louisiana-born creator, Nic Pizzolatto, earned his MFA at the University of Arkansas. Set and shot in Northwest Arkansas, where virtually nothing else on TV is set or shot, and slimmed down to a single protagonist — Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as State Police Det. Wayne Hays — it’s back to feeling moody, reserved and unstuck from time.

We veer between 1980, 1990 and 2015. In ‘80, the crime: A young brother and sister get on their bikes late on a November afternoon and pedal off to see friends. Their dad Tom Purcell (Scoot McNairy) waves goodbye, then calls police when they don’t return after dark. In ‘90, a reckoning: Hays is being deposed after the conviction in the old case is being challenged, and we’re picking up new facts that shade the past. In ‘15, the aftermath: Hays, grayed and struggling with his own memories, and with the effects of the case on his family, is being asked to relive his investigation. Interviewers from a show called “True Criminal” are in his home, and the hall of mirrors starts giving that flat-circle feel, as Hays has to reflect on his reflections, and you hustle to keep up with facts that bend over the years.

If you’re looking for a catchphrase, so far the pick might as well be Hays’ pithy, “General rule is everybody’s lying. Period,” presumably except for him. Ali plays Hays as a mostly upright, reserved veteran from Conway comfortable standing just outside the action. When he and his partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff, blond here and seemingly always itching for a fight) kill time at the dump drinking beers and taking idle potshots at rats, he swats down his friend’s pistol just as he’s about to shoot a fox. Sure, call it Hays’ spirit animal here: He was tracker and a pathfinder in ‘Nam who, early in their getting-to-know-you phase, tells Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), the English teacher who becomes his wife, that he spent a lot of time alone in the jungle. That Ali is black in an overwhelmingly white part of the state, under an all-white police command, adds to the sense that he’s working alone, even when he isn’t.

Hays’ trajectory, and the whys of how this case haunted him, are so far more interesting than figuring out what happened in the case itself. In some ways, two hours of TV is too early to start playing whodunnit when there are still six to go, but we can start crossing some suspects off the list. The fictional town of West Finger is obviously a nod to West Memphis and a wink at West Fork, the real town between Fayetteville, where Hays lives, and Devil’s Den State Park, where some dark early plot points turn. Early on, three shaggy teens sit drinking in a purple VW bug, scowling at the two kids bike past. Hays and West grill one of the teens over his choice of Black Sabbath T-shirt, and an early “Blair Witch”-like clue ties the crime to Halloween. The undertones of the West Memphis Three and “satanic panic” aren’t subtle if you lived through the ‘90s.

Still, aside from a sweet drone shot of the Christ of the Ozarks standing head and shoulders above the treetops of Eureka Springs, there's not a lot of religiosity on display. Nor do you get more than a passing reference to the U of A. Rather, the kids’ metalworker father represents this version of 1980 Northwest Arkansas: blue collar, miserable with a wife he shotgun-wedded during her first pregnancy, now devastated without the kids. This is actually how you can tell a director doing a true crime story about Northwest Arkansas knows the area by more than reputation alone: When he doesn't plant a family Bible beside every front-porch rocking chair.

This is where you’ll appreciate Pizzolatto making TV, especially if, like me, you happen to be a Fayetteville native born in the ‘80s. His 1980 Northwest Arkansas carries the washed-out look of our leafless, dead-grass winters. Boaty Detroit-built coupes and 1960-something pickups sit in front of yards bordered with chain-link fences. I’ve already seen writers describe the milieu as “poverty-stricken,” and something feels off about that read, especially if you lived it. (A fun game to play if you grew up in Arkansas is trying to figure out, in hindsight, whether you or your friends were ever “poor,” however you define that term. It’s harder than you think.) If you’ve ever eaten a meal out in Fayetteville, you’ll also recognize Herman’s and Hugo’s, forever both stuck in time.

There’s a talent in capturing a place that changed as quickly as Northwest Arkansas has during the past 40 years and nailing the seams there that have held fast. Story’s already spooky enough on its face, and here’s Pizzolatto bottling up ghosts on the side.

*Local notes: That was Arkansas acting legend Natalie Canerday ("Sling Blade," "Shotgun Stories") playing the feisty mother of Tom Purcell. Jonesboro native Jennifer Pierce Mathus was the daycare worker where the pedophile worked. I thought her husband, musician Jimbo Mathus, was one of Tom Purcell's factory co-workers, but it was just a Northwest Arkansas bizarro, I later confirmed. North Little Rock's Corbin Pitts, a veteran of The Rep and Murry's Dinner Playhouse, played Mike, the kid who tells Hays that the Purcell girl got one of those creepy corn husk dolls during Halloween trick or treating. Former KARK anchor Jancey Sheats is all permed-up as a TV anchor, and KATV's Alyson Courtney's voice as a TV anchor can be heard at one point. Times contributor Autumn Tolbert has pointed out her sister's big appearance. Who else did you recognize?

 

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The year in Central Arkansas in photos

December 27, 2018
The year in Central Arkansas in photos
Here’s a look at the year 2018 in Little Rock through the lens of Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson. /more/

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Kathy Webb wants to talk about the ‘good things’ happening in Little Rock

January 15, 2019
Kathy Webb wants to talk about the ‘good things’ happening in Little Rock
As Kathy Webb enters her fifth year as Ward 3 city director her priorities include improving public safety; working to reduce poverty, hunger and homelessness; and making Little Rock a more sustainable city. One of Webb’s greatest concerns is the way in which the public image of the Little Rock School District impacts its students and teachers. /more/

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