Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas

Cannabiz

Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Dining Review

The Root's the rage

July 19, 2018
The Root's the rage
Just like Grandma's house — if your grandma is Michael Pollan. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Viva cassettes!

July 18, 2018
Viva cassettes!
Joey Lucas of Little Rock's Sleepcvlt talks tapes. /more/

To-Do List

Satia Spencer & Friends at Wildwood

July 19, 2018
Satia Spencer & Friends at Wildwood
Elephantom at Stickyz and other things to do. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

The Malvern connection

If you read the daily newspaper or the Arkansas Blog you might have seen reporting on activities of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System. /more/

Ernest Dumas

No sense of decency

July 16 had all the attributes of the day when Donald Trump approached that "tide in the affairs of men" where they take the fateful step that leads on to either good fortune in life or misery. Good fortune, you sense, is not going to be the outcome this time. /more/

Gene Lyons

Outmatched

It's almost proverbial to say that every bully is a coward at heart. But that's wishful thinking. In politics, many strongmen are like Vladimir Putin: ruthless, cunning and sadistic. As the world witnessed in Helsinki, a posturing blowhard like Donald Trump is simply no match for the Russian dictator. /more/

Movie Reviews

Skoggang

July 19, 2018
Skoggang
In 'Leave No Trace,' exile's not for everyone. /more/

Pearls About Swine

7s and 2s

July 19, 2018
When you consider that about one-sixth of the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision coaching jobs turned over for the 2018 season, it is not that surprising that Chad Morris' ascendancy to the job in Fayetteville has been somewhat beneath the proverbial radar. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas

Cannabiz

Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Arkansas Blog

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 16:24:00

The Mondo Trumpe open line

click to enlarge LOVING TRUMP - REUTERS
  • Reuters
  • LOVING TRUMP

Anybody remember "Mondo Cane," the '60s drive-in hit documentary movie about unsettling  and bizarre happenings around the world? Somehow it leaps to my mind for tonight's open line after news that the new WSJ/NBC poll shows Trump approval ratings up after he played Putin's poodle in Helsinki. At this point in the presidency, only one president has scored a higher approval rating among members of his own party, George W. Bush.

/more/  

 

Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 08:25:00

University pay ranking puts UA System chief at 57

MOVING UP: UA System President John Bobbitt makes substantialy more than his predecessor, B. Alan Sugg.
  • MOVING UP: UA System President John Bobbitt makes substantialy more than his predecessor, B. Alan Sugg.
The Chronicle of Higher Education recently released its survey of pay of top public and private university leaders in 2016-17. Donald Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas System, checked in at No. 57 on the list of 251 public university leaders.

/more/  

 

Saturday, July 21, 2018 - 16:16:00

Winds, race and an open line

click to enlarge DON'T DO THIS: Entergy distributed this photo on Twitter today to make the point that Bradford pear trees shouldn't be planted near power lines. - ENTERGY ARKANSAS
  • Entergy Arkansas
  • DON'T DO THIS: Entergy distributed this photo on Twitter today to make the point that Bradford pear trees shouldn't be planted near power lines.

Power crews are working to restore service in big chunks of Little Rock hit by last night’s storms and city crews have tree removal work galore. But other life goes on for this open line.

/more/  

 

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Rock Candy

Friday, July 20, 2018 - 13:50:00

Less Cowbell: Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult at Magic Springs

click to enlarge JIM HARRIS
  • Jim Harris

A dozen years or so separated visits to the
Timberwood Amphitheater for me and my son. But one thought was the same, and at the same time reminded me that a dozen years of watching your kid grow up flies by like a flash. That thought: Man, I wish Little Rock had an outdoor music site like this.

Yes, Little Rock has had Riverfront Amphitheatre over those years and more. That venue, which originally was never intended for anything much more than a place for the Arkansas Symphony to play outdoors, somehow found a way into be a pretty great outdoor rock venue for a short time in the 1990s (remember the Soul Asylum, Screaming Trees and Spin Doctors show, for instance?). Then they built all kinds of crap in and around it, ruined some pretty nice sightlines, shrunk the workable seating areas down by several thousand, made parking for the masses a real pain and, well ….).

I’ll revisit this, but we know Little Rock is in pretty much in the same shape for outdoor music venues as it was 12 years ago, around when Magic Springs Theme and Water Park in Hot Springs was opening its outdoor amphitheater to add one more attractive feature that would boost season ticket sales. See, then as now, you buy a season ticket to Magic Springs for the summer for around $60 and you get access to a summer Saturday night lineup of shows, and something will suit your fancy – country, classic rock, Christian rock, modern and heavy rock, Disney pop. The plan appeals to more than just the swimsuit crowd hanging around the water park in high-90-degree weather all day, too; we encountered several folks from Little Rock and beyond last Saturday night who were eager to see ‘70s rock bands Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult and who drove over just for the show (when asked by the emcee, several hundred people raised their hands to indicate they were season-ticket holders to Magic Springs, but you can buy entrance just to one show).

My son, now 16, was enthused enough to mention more than a month ago that he wanted to go to last Saturday’s twin bill of classic rock. Flash back 12 years ago: As entertainment editor of the Times, I’d brought home a demo CD of a Boston-area band of Berklee College of Music seniors, the now defunct Click Five, talked by their manager into adopting sort of a Dave Clark Five look and a somewhat throwback sound of ‘60s influenced pop. Then 4-year-old Scott loved it (figures, right?). So, one of his first shows in his young life was seeing The Click Five with a few hundred other curious fans at Timberwood.

Now, 2018, we’re among several THOUSAND graying, wrinkling rock fans and their kids and grandkids to see two bands I grew up with. The place was packed, all reserved seats had been sold and the comfortable green lawn hill in back was filled with fans on blankets or in canvas folding chairs.

Scott plays the guitar and, while he hasn’t added Foghat’s “Slow Ride” to his playlist yet, he’s long gotten “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” down pat. Getting to see Buck Dharma of BOC play it live still probably meant less to him than it did to me. “Who’s Buck Dharma, dad?” he wondered, leading up to the show, when I expressed excitement about the prospects of not only seeing the band play, but getting to meet them backstage (one of the perks of some ticketholders as well as winners of a few contests at the park on Saturday was getting meet-and-greet passes – Foghat’s original drummer, Roger Earl, and his three newer mates seemed more genuinely interesting in the “greet” portion than Buck and BOC did, to be honest).

While each band had their three or so definitive hits that still get regular spins on the area’s classic rock radio, their musical approaches for hour-long sets vastly differed. Foghat boogied and rocked out on its bluesy, slide-guitar dominated song list. Charlie Huhn nailed all the vocals as the late Dave Peverett would have. Guitarist Bryan Bassett, an enormous guy compared with the other musicians, made his guitars look like something my son started out with at age 7 (Fender Mini Squier, that is), and he played them like a toy. He was spectacular. My son the occasional guitarist was wowed.

And this was before he got to see that Buck Dharma was more than just a guy who created one of the most famous arpeggio riffs in the rock era for “The Reaper.” Dharma and the band’s most virtuosic number was brilliant “The Vigil,” which conjured memories I was keeping to myself of what I might have been doing while kicking back to “deep album tracks” in the ’70s. The funniest moment to us was co-guitarist/co-vocalist Eric Bloom, Buck’s lone original bandmate remaining in BOC (though the “newer” others have been in the outfit for decades), pretending to bang the cowbell to the opening of “The Reaper.” Even the band seems to embrace the "more cowbell” irony of the Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell/”Saturday Night Live” skit about the band’s recording of the mega hit. Frankly, it didn’t need cowbell; the vocal harmonies on this and all of Blue Oyster Cult’s songs were impeccable.

“That was a great concert,” was the 16-year-old’s assessment on our way to a filled and quickly emptying parking lot. The old man concurred. A pretty good bonding moment was had, too. There aren’t a lot of drawbacks to Timberwood Amphitheater, unless you detest the idea of having to go into a theme and water park to watch a show there. Granted, if this were solely an amphitheater on its own surrounded by tall pines and carved out of a hillside and not surrounded by a theme park and next to the ever-present clickity-clack Arkansas Twister roller coaster, there would probably be easier access to bathrooms and even more concession areas than the ones in back and another on the right side of the grass area. There would probably be nicer reserved seating than the ballpark-like aluminum rows in the front. You might have something a little on the lines of the fabulous Walmart AMP in Rogers, which for the past several years has had some pretty fantastic shows covering all genres of music.

Which, naturally brings us back to here, Little Rock. We don’t know if we’ll even have another renewal of the second-generation RiverFest, or something else like it, in the future. We have the wonderfully modernized Robinson Center Performance Hall and the various incarnations of setups that Verizon Arena can manage for indoor concerts year-round, but the summer outdoor scene is terribly lacking here. You can’t tell me that for a season ticket of all-encompassing summer music shows, or for $20-$25 one-time admittance to one that suits a music fan’s fancy, a fairly easily accessed outdoor amphitheater in the woods of West Little Rock/Chenal/Roland/Crystal Hill et al. wouldn’t be just the ticket for an entertainment boost in the capital city. I guess it just takes money.

Until then, our choices are to drive elsewhere. We suggest taking in Timberwood Amphitheater at least once. Upcoming are such shows as Seether, followed by Skillet.

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 19:50:00

Cardi B, Toby Keith, Gucci Mane, George Clinton, Sammy Hagar headline El Dorado's Musicfest

click to enlarge Cardi B - JORDA FRANTZIS/ATLANTIC RECORDS
  • Jorda Frantzis/Atlantic Records
  • Cardi B

In a pair of announcement parties tonight in Little Rock and El Dorado, the Murphy Arts District announced the lineup for its 31st annual Musicfest, to take place October 18-20.

Last year marked the beginning of a reinvented downtown El Dorado, with the creation of a two-phase development plan that would transform the former boom town into a hub of art and culture in south Arkansas.

Here's the full lineup:

click to enlarge 37336510_1916138545114628_5859751541245739008_n.jpg


Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, July 20, and can be purchased at eldomad.com or by calling 870-444-3007.

click to enlarge 37293817_1916138538447962_9084249649476272128_n.jpg

 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 16:38:00

Garrard Conley memoir adapted for film

click to enlarge Joel Edgerton in "Boy Erased" - IMDB/FOCUS FEATURES
  • IMDB/Focus Features
  • Joel Edgerton in "Boy Erased"


Arkansas native Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir “Boy Erased” has been adapted for film. The trailer — released this week — is already generating buzz as a potential Oscar contender. Lucas Hedges ("Manchester by the Sea," "Lady Bird") stars alongside Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as Jared, the gay son of a Baptist pastor in Arkansas whose family sends him to conversion therapy to “cure” him of his sexuality.

The Focus Features drama, directed by Joel Edgerton (“Loving,” “Midnight Special,” “The Great Gatsby”) is to be released in theaters on Nov. 2.

For more about Conley’s work, visit garrardconley.com and check out our Q&A with Conley at arktimes.com.



 

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Party with the stars

July 19, 2018
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At Best of Arkansas: Hollywood Nights. /more/

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