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GiGi's opens with soul food and 'old school R and B vibe'

GiGi’s Soul Cafe and Lounge at 10840 Maumelle Blvd., where the Nashville Rockin Grill was located, opened July 28 and co-owner Darrell Wyrick the restaurant is “bringing back the spirit of some of the places that have gone, like Porter’s and The Afterthought” with its soul food and “old school R and B vibe.”

Restaurant inspections now online

The state Department of Health is now posting retail food outlets inspection information on its website, and has posted a video on its Facebook page explaining its food inspection program and how to use the online search form.

It's been long, but looks like John Daly's Steakhouse will open

John Daly’s Steakhouse in Conway has a new tee time: Sept. 1, according to the Log Cabin Democrat.

Dining Review

Simple and solid

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Simple and solid
At YaYa's. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

The Fly's Eye

August 17, 2017
The Fly's Eye
Buckminster Fuller's work of genius at Crystal Bridges blends 'nature's geometry' with economy and environmentalism. /more/


Max Brantley

Charter secret

These are hard times for those who believe in traditional public schools, run by democratically elected representatives, open to all on equal terms. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Klan's president

Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans. /more/

Gene Lyons

On Charlottesville

Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot. /more/

Movie Reviews

Rom-com remix

August 3, 2017
Rom-com remix
'The Big Sick' subverts genre. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Arkansas Razorback 2017 football review, part 2

August 17, 2017
Halfway through the Hogs' 2017 football season, which now will undoubtedly be played out in the memory of J. Frank Broyles, Pearls has the team sitting at 4-2, 1-2 after back-to-back road defeats against South Carolina and Alabama. /more/

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Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 18:21:00

Police announced beefed-up patrols

click to enlarge ON THE STREET: Chief orders more patrosl.
  • ON THE STREET: Chief orders more patrosl.

With the homicide rate on the rise to near record levels, the Little Rock Police Department announced this afternoon an increase in patrols.

The release:

Due to continued increases in violent crime throughout the city, Chief Buckner has initiated a plan to increase patrols during peak times. The increased patrols will take effect on Friday, August 18 and will go until further notice. The highlights of the plan are listed below:

 15 additional officers per Division will be mandated to work during peak times seven days a week. This will result in 45 additional officers per day.

 The additional officers will be assigned in areas identified through intelligence led policing data.

 All officers working will be instructed to provide high visibility, constructive contact, and address crimes committed in their presence.

 The Field Services Bureau Commander will meet daily with Patrol Commanders to make necessary adjustments.

 We have requested additional support from the Arkansas State Police to provide high visibility in the major thoroughfares within the city. 
Many questions, but they'll have to wait because, as I've told you, the person hired to manage police communications won't respond to my e-mails and because he won't comply with state law on FOI requests.

Questions: The department is short some 60 officers (more than 70 counting non-uniform positions). What will this do to other services? Does it mean overtime? What will this do to police budget? Where will the city get the money?

Will the police continue their stepped up enforcement on homeless people lining up on sidewalks to get an evening meal?

Will some of the non-responsive communications people be put back on the street?

Why was there no "constructive contact" previously?

What are peak times?

What are targeted neighborhoods?

Where are the patrols? You don't need much data to know that the central city — 12th and Roosevelt corridors and the university district — are prime areas of need.

Will the orders cover the dozens of white officers who don't live in Little Rock and get to drive city cars home for free commutes of as much as an hour or more each way, under the theory they are on call for emergencies?

If you detect I'm sore about city and police responses you detect correctly.  If there wasn't a mayor's race this year, do you think we'd be getting jargon-filled news releases like this?


Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 16:51:00

Free streetcar service extended through December

click to enlarge FREE RIDES CONTINUE: On streetcar line. - LITTLE ROCK SOIREE
  • Little Rock Soiree
  • FREE RIDES CONTINUE: On streetcar line.
Rock Region Metro says it will extend free service on the River Rail streetcar lines through December

Good idea.

Here's the release:

Based on the success of its Rock the Rails promotion, Rock Region METRO is extending its fare-free streetcar rides September-December to encourage riders to skip the hunt for parking during lunch breaks, special events and other downtown happenings. The METRO Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the promotion, noting its support from Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County leaders.

“Removing yet another barrier to frequent and regular use of the METRO Streetcar has been a boon to ridership,” said Jarod Varner, METRO executive director. “Our staff has been hard at work making sure more people, especially locals who live or work downtown, know how to check the streetcar’s schedule and use the free METROtrack mobile app to figure out exactly when the streetcar is coming. With the tools we’ve put in place, riders can better incorporate the streetcar into their weekly routines and share their knowledge with visitors.

“We’ve seen as much as a 33 percent increase in ridership after launching our fare-free summer promotion and hope even more people will continue to use the streetcar to explore downtown from a different perspective.”

Riders can learn more about the two streetcar routes (the Little Rock-North Little Rock Blue Line can easily be distinguished from the Little Rock-service-only Green Line as “blue” for “water,” meaning the Blue Line crosses the Arkansas River and serves both Little Rock and North Little Rock), streetcar schedules (streetcar service operates seven days a week, excluding six holidays per year, with later service Thursday-Saturday) and the free METROtrack mobile app at

This fare-free promotion period is not expected to cost the METRO funding partners any additional revenue, as the METRO Streetcar service is expected to end the year under budget. METRO is reaching out to riders about the fare-free promotion with updated signage and marketing and communications efforts.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 16:30:00

Jury rejects suit over robocalls featuring Mike Huckabee

A St. Louis jury Wednesday rejected a class action lawsuit over millions of robocalls, featuring the voice of Mike Huckabee, used to promote a flop of a movie, "Last Ounce of Courage."

The lawsuit contended the calls violated Do Not Call rules. Huckabee was initially a defendant but had been dropped, leaving a Texas doctor, James Leininger, who underwrote the movie as the defendant. His lawyer argued he didn't have sufficient control over the advertising campaign to be responsible for it, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here's some earlier coverage.


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Rock Candy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 14:39:00

GiGi's opens with soul food and 'old school R and B vibe'

click to enlarge gigi.png

GiGi’s Soul Cafe and Lounge at 10840 Maumelle Blvd., where the Nashville Rockin Grill was located, opened July 28 and co-owner Darrell Wyrick the restaurant is “bringing back the spirit of some of the places that have gone, like Porter’s and The Afterthought” with its soul food and “old school R and B vibe.”

The chef is Flint Flenoy, who is also executive chef at the Holiday Inn Express-Airport. The lunch menu includes burgers, beef brisket, meatloaf, hot dogs, smoked wings and more; the dinner menu adds, among other things, barbecue, burgers, pork chops, ribs, catfish and fried chicken. The house band, The Blue Candle, named for a jazz lounge in the Bay area that Wyrick’s wife, Helen Andrea Wyrick, used to visit, plays Friday and Saturday night. (Its four members are also part of SynRG.) In the future, GiGi’s may add nightly music and Wednesday night karaoke, Darrell Wyrick said.

GiGi’s is open for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., “depending on the traffic,” Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday).


Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 11:32:00

Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

click to enlarge Mavis Staples, coming to Robinson Auditorium. - HBO
  • HBO
  • Mavis Staples, coming to Robinson Auditorium.

Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.

The Robinson Center concert starts at 7 p.m.; tickets are $45-$65. There will a cocktail reception before the concert starting at 5:30 p.m.; tickets for the concert and reception range from $170 to $190. The concert is a fundraiser for the Little Rock Nine Foundation.

Here's what Staples said in a recent interview with NPR before the release of her latest album, "Living on a A High Note":

So before we let you go, I wonder if you have any thoughts for some of the artists coming up today who are singing about a lot of the same concerns that you had. I mean, "Why? (Am I Treated So Bad)" — somebody could have written that today.

Yes, that's true. And I tell you, I watch the news sometimes and I think I'm back in the '60s. It's all happening all over again. This kid Chance The Rapper, he's very good at explaining what's happening in the world today. There are very few; I wish there were more who would sing songs like "Respect Yourself," and "Reach out, touch a hand / make a friend, if you can."

Pops used to tell songwriters, "If you want to write for the Staple Singers, read the headlines. We want to sing about what's happening in the world today, and if it's something bad, we want to sing a song to try to fix it."
If only.

The performance is part of numerous events scheduled to mark the 60 years since Melba Patillo (now Beals), Carlotta Walls (now LaNier), Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray (now Karlmark), Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown (now Trickey), Terrence Roberts and Thelma Mothershed (now Wair) desegregated Central High after the President Eisenhower federalized the National Guard to escort them in past the white mob. The problem was not, as our current president would say, "on many sides." Thomas, who attended the 50th anniversary, is deceased.

Numerous events scheduled around the commemoration include the Arkansas Arts Center's exhibition "Will Counts: The Central High School Photographs," which includes one of the most famous integration pictures ever taken, the heckling of Eckford, on exhibit now; "The Surface of the Sky," UCA faculty member Blake Tyson's original composition for percussion commemorating the courage of the Little Rock Nine, to be performed at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies 6-8 p.m. Sept. 8; various ACANSA-related musical performances, like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band show; and many more, including multiple events Sept. 23 at Central High School, the outdoor stage at the Magnolia/Mobil Service Station across from the school and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center, and "An Evening with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Tania Leon: Turning History into Art" at Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus at Conway. Events run into next year, and include a book release of Beals' book "March Forward, Girl: From Young Woman to Little Rock Nine."


Friday, August 11, 2017 - 16:15:00

2nd Friday Art Night: Photographs from Rohwer, UA Little Rock

click to enlarge "Contiguity," digital photography by Jessica Frazier at HAM.
  • "Contiguity," digital photography by Jessica Frazier at HAM.

It's 2nd Friday Art Night downtown, and that means new art exhibitions to see and music to hear from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Read about the show "The Art of Injustice" at the Butler Center Galleries here and a summary of what's happening at the other participating venues here.

UA Little Rock provided us yesterday with a bit more information on the Historic Arkansas Museum exhibition “Identity of Us” by photography club "No-Type," whose members are both students and graduates.

Members of the club showing their work are Benjamin Deaton, Megan Douglas, Jessica Frazier, Robert Harpool, Trinity Kai, Rayna Mackey, Adrian Quintanar, Nathaniel Roe, Alecia Walls-Barton, Craig Wynn and Dylan Yarbrough.

The name "No-Type," Mackey explained in the UA Little Rock press release, reflects the fact that "no one specific type of photography is used with mediums ranging from digital to analog to alternative process photography.”

It is the club's first exhibit, and runs through Oct. 8.


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