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Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

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Music, art and eats in Arkansas


Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Dining Review

Poke vs. poke

February 15, 2018
Poke vs. poke
Poke Hula and Ohia Poke open; everyone wins. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

In the margins

February 15, 2018
In the margins
A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight. /more/


Max Brantley

Love, Ark Blog

Things you might have missed if you don't read the Arkansas Blog: • If you /more/

Ernest Dumas

Conley's plea

Even with his facial stubble, Garrard Conley looks and acts like a diffident teenager, not a 33-year-old man who is a leading exponent of the "gay agenda," as right-wingers refer to the movement to gain equal treatment for sexual minorities. /more/

Gene Lyons

Out of control

Unlike now infamous White House aide Rob Porter, I didn't have a Harvard professor and presidential confidant for a father. My old man was a New Jersey Irish working stiff, who taught me most of what I know about being a man. Among the enduring lessons he'd learned during his service as an artillery sergeant was that ethnic tribalism could be a trap. /more/

Movie Reviews

Mixed feelings

February 8, 2018
Mixed feelings
Within (and about) 'Phantom Thread,' Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-bound period piece. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Up and down

February 15, 2018
Arkansas's hyper-frustrating basketball team sorely needed a week with two home games against lesser teams to get out of a potentially season-killing swoon. Dutifully, both South Carolina and Vanderbilt obliged, and permitted the Razorbacks to press back to a .500 SEC record with the Hogs rolling to by far their easiest two wins of calendar year 2018. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas


Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 19, 2018 - 15:21:00

Governor will call special session on pharmacy dispute

click to enlarge TALKING SPECIAL SESSION: Gov. Hutchinson today. - KARK
  • KARK
  • TALKING SPECIAL SESSION: Gov. Hutchinson today.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said this afternoon he backed putting pharmacy reimbursement managers under Insurance Department regulation to address pharmacists' complaints about money-losing reimbursements for prescriptions filled under the Medicaid expansion health coverage provided by private insurers.

He said he'd put that proposal on a special session call, as legislative leaders had suggested, along with at least one other housekeeping item to preserve use of a $12 million in categorial federal highway funding for general use. This presumes a consensus exists to pass the proposal quickly.

Working out a deal with pharmacists should at least allow passage of most parts of the governor's budget in the regular budget session. Will it provide what's needed to continue the Medicaid expansion money budgeted in Human Services?

Benji Hardy has more to report

Guns will not be on the special session agenda, Hutchinson said. As if ...


Monday, February 19, 2018 - 15:10:00

George Washington's open line

Happy birthday, George. Here's an open line in your honor.


Monday, February 19, 2018 - 14:35:00

Friends of the Arkansas State Archives rally support

The Friends of the Arkansas State Archives has produced this measured video plea of support for the agency, roiled recently by the resignation of long-time archivist Dr. Lisa Speer who found, as others have, it difficult to work for Heritage Department Director Stacy Hurst. Hurst's agency took over supervision of the archives after Asa Hutchinson took office.

The video merely asks people to encourage elected officials to pick a good archivist (there's concern that hiring rules promulgated by Hurst will allow her to waive a previous requirement of a Ph.D. for the director). It also asks for full staffing and budget support. Hurst has argued the agency suffered no loss of money under her administration, but her defense also overstated support for the archives from a sales tax that goes to parks, tourism and preservation efforts.


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Rock Candy

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 16:26:00

No Small Talk Ep. 6: Point Break and even more Musicians Showcase

click to enlarge no_small_talk_1.png
This week's "No Small Talk" features continuing coverage of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase plus a preview of "Point Break," the next movie in our film series at Riverdale.

As always, we've got the links you need to follow along:

*Here's the most recent Musicians Showcase update on Round 3

*You can grab more information from our To-Do List about the Arkansas Times Film Series screening of "Point Break." (Or grab tickets on Riverdale's site.) The To-Do List also has the information you need on what to do this week — including Stephanie's move for the weekend, a reading with Molly McCully Brown.

*The Riverdale film series that's going on throughout 2018 is online here; it includes "The Room," "Blazing Saddles," "Clockwork Orange."

*Dig into light pollution info, courtesy of Omaya's recommendation.

*Listen to "A Very Fatal Murder"

*And you must, if on Android, follow in Stephanie's footsteps with the live earth background.

Happy weekend!


Friday, February 16, 2018 - 11:47:00

Sabine Valley wins round three of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

And Round 3 of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase goes to: Sabine Valley!

We've got another great lineup for Round 4. You can check out the schedule here. And come out this Thursday, February 22 to Stickyz, to see who will join The Rios, Couch Jackets and Sabine Valley at the finals at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9.

The winner of that final round receives: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at Patio on Park Hill 2018, live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more.

Here's a rundown of last night's show with comments from our four judges; Sarah Woolf of the "Follow the Woolf" series, Robert Locke of Shindig Music, J. Bradley Minnick of KUAR's "Arts & Letters," Drew Pickens and our guest judge for the night, host of the latest "Nasty Women" comedy showcase, Willow Wheeler.

Sabine Valley

Judge's comments:

"Lead singer owns it. Fugazi, Garbage, Pavement-y."

"Jesus, these kids are how old? Very impressive."

"Nice crowd enthusiasm and support."

"She owned the stage and possibly the night."

"That lead singer is a live wire and I am loving it. Gives me Sleater-Kinney meets Bikini Kill vibes."


Judge's comments:

"Solid, dark metal."

"These guys have earned their place in the Central Arkansas music scene. So influential and respected."

"The introduction of a synth into a genre that would otherwise shun it is a great touch."

"These guys just scared half the crowd. Somewhere the Devil is proud."

All the Way Korean

Judge's comments:

"P.I.L. Public Image Limited. Commanded the stage with cool bass lines. Points for suits."

"Best showmanship of the night."

"Professional musicians. These guys know and love what they're doing."

"Spa City dance punk with a late 70s London filter. Nice."

Deep Sequence

Judge's comments:

"Hella groove. Vintage tones."

"Can't wait to be out on a festival field this summer in the sunshine, cold drink in my hand dancing to this band."

"This is definitely something I could jam to. I think if you made it a little more synth heavy and experimental you could have done something nobody has ever heard before."

"Tight. Funky. Solid at every turn."


Friday, February 16, 2018 - 10:39:00

Arts Center to reveal architectural plan — finally

click to enlarge concept-design-presentation-postcard-invite_for-building-page.jpg

The architectural firm designing the renovated Arkansas Arts Center will reveal its concept at the Arts Center starting with champagne at 6 p.m. and the presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. Jeanne Gang, whose Studio Gang Architects firm of Chicago has been working on the design, and Arts Center Director Todd Herman will preside.

The reveal was first set for October 2017, but was canceled when it was decided that the original $46 million budget given the architects wasn't quite enough to come up with an Arts Center the public — which is giving up $37.5 million in tourism taxes to bond the project — would necessarily embrace. There are so many infrastructure issues with the Arts Center that improvements under the old budget might not have been immediately apparent.

Herman said in January that he was "cautiously optimistic" that fundraising would meet the needs of an increased budget, though he declined to say how much more money would need to be raised. Presumably, that will be revealed along with the new concept next Tuesday.

The new Arts Center is slated to open in 2021.


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Locked away and forgotten

February 14, 2018
Locked away and forgotten
In 2017, teenagers committed to rehabilitative treatment at two South Arkansas juvenile lockups did not receive basic hygiene and clothing supplies and lived in wretched conditions. /more/


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Arkansas Reporter

Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers

February 19, 2018
Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers
On Monday afternoon, Governor Hutchinson said he would call a special session of the Arkansas legislature to address low reimbursement rates provided to pharmacies by middleman companies called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. /more/

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