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Dining Review

Mex for the people

April 19, 2018
Mex for the people
Cantina Cinco de Mayo hits the right notes in downtown LR. /more/

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Ernest Dumas

Week That Was

After the wildest week of the wildest presidency in history, the clouded future suddenly unfolds more clearly and, yes, nearer. That includes the end of the Trump presidency. /more/

Gene Lyons

Trump and Comey

In the Bizarro World of the Trump administration, it's only fitting that the president serves as publicity director for James Comey's big book tour. (In the old Superman comics, Bizarro World was an upside-down reality where wickedness was virtue and vice versa.) Supposedly, Trump's stomping around the White House and various golf courses red-faced with anger, emitting smoke from his ears. /more/

Movie Reviews

'Isle of Dogs' unmistakably Wes Anderson

April 12, 2018
'Isle of Dogs' unmistakably Wes Anderson
The actors deliver their lines drolly, portioning out emotions in pinches rather than with scoops. The stories flirt with magical realism. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Consistency

April 19, 2018
Dave Van Horn has had some fine baseball squads in his tenure as Arkansas's head coach. He took over for the well-regarded Norm DeBriyn in 2003, had his overachieving bunch in Omaha the next spring, and then took the Diamond Hogs back to college baseball's Valhalla three more times over a seven-season span from 2009 to 2015. But what happened in 2016 might well have proved his genuine value to the athletic program at large. /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

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 16:46:00

Don't eat romaine lettuce open line

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The CDC has expanded its warning. Don't eat romaine lettuce, y'all, unless you get it from Lindsey's backyard.

Here's the latest from the CDC:
* Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

* Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

* Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

* Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.

* The expanded warning is based on information from newly reported illnesses in Alaska. Ill people in Alaska reported eating lettuce from whole heads of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
Over to you, what's cooking?

 

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 15:07:00

Second March for Science held in Little Rock

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Demonstrators gathered in downtown Little Rock this afternoon to march to the steps of the Capitol as part of the second annual "Arkansas March for Science."

The event was organized by the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club. There were hundreds of other similar events around the world this year, with many of them taking place last week, including a large event in the nation's capitol. It was held today in Little Rock to coordinate with Earth Day tomorrow.

A press release from the Sierra Club described the march's goals: "to demonstrate that science matters to all Arkansans, and to demand that Arkansas elected officials rely upon sound science in their public policy decisions."

Glen Hooks, Director of the Arkansas Sierra Club, stated the following in the release:

Today, we are calling on our elected officials to both support science and to rely upon science when making important decisions,. When it comes to air and water quality, or protecting hunting and fishing spots, or farming, or health care, decisions should be made based upon science—and not upon the platform of one's political party. Arkansans need leaders who respect science and govern with science in mind—not leaders who ignore science.
This year's march was focused on teachers and students in the state, the organizers said. The speakers included Katina White, a teacher at Sylvan Hills Middle School; Rachel Hendrix, Ph.D neurobiologist; Jazz Johnston, a teacher at Russellville High School; Derya Bracy, an emergency room nurse; Izzy Jones, a student at Jonesboro High School; and Derek Brooks, a chemist.





 

Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 09:12:00

Arkansas Advocates poll finds strong support for pre-k and earned income tax credit

A new poll this released this week by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families found strong public support in the state for public investments in education and health care and targeted tax relief for low-income Arkansans:

* More than three out of four (79%) Arkansans – including 79% of independents and 72% of Republicans – support enacting a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, a tax cut targeted to low- and moderate-income working people.

* Three out of four (76%) want Arkansas to invest in afterschool and summer programs across the state.

* About two out of three (67%) Arkansans support increasing state funding for pre-kindergarten.

* About two out of three (65%) Arkansans oppose cuts to Medicaid funding.

* When asked which is better for the state, Arkansans strongly prefer investing in programs that benefit many (51%) over cutting taxes for wealthier families (33%).
Here's the breakdown of the statewide poll of registered voters, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

I suspect you would wind up with different results if you polled the Arkansas General Assembly.

 

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Friday, April 20, 2018 - 16:42:00

No Small Talk, Ep. 14: Jasmine Blunt of "The Influence"

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This week, we talk with Jasmine Blunt about her work on The Influence, touch base on a few pieces of news and festival lineups in the area and make some recommendations for the next couple of weekends in the Central Arkansas area.



First (1:25), a little arts and entertainment news:

The Rev Room is still going strong with shows from Hurray for the Riff Raff and Waxahatchee, Big Dam Horns, Keller Williams and Amasa Hines coming up, as well as a benefit for the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance this Sunday at 2 p.m., but the venue will close the restaurant portion of its business to make room for a new buyer. Sorry, taco lovers.

Heads up, nerds! Spa-Con, to take place Sept. 21-23 in downtown Hot Springs, announced the first of its special guests: Sean Maher, Arvell Jones and Nightengale Vixon. Stay tunes for more announcements from them.

The very first King Biscuit Blues Festival without Sonny Payne (1926-2018), longtime host of "King Biscuit Time" radio, announced its lineup, too. That's Oct. 3-6 on Cherry Street in downtown Helena, Arkansas.


The acclaimed and elaborate touring Broadway production of "The Lion King," designed by Julie Taymor (the same mastermind behind one of Omaya's favorite Shakespeare adaptations, "Titus"), opens this week at Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Also, the traveling Czech That Film Festival lands in Little Rock April 27-28, in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society.

Finally, we got word of a nonprofit working to revitalize public basketball courts as social hubs, The Blacktop Project. There's a Northwest Arkansas chapter soliciting designs for a court at Walker Park in Fayetteville. Neat!

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Next (16:54), we talk with Jasmine Blunt of The Influence radio, a self-described "full-service media company specializing in radio, events, and brand management for the aspiring artist, entrepreneur, and creative. Through innovative ideas, collaborative works, and supportive efforts; We strive to be a platform for the Arkansas creative youth and an outlet to ensure their craft, ideas, and dreams are no longer unnoticed."

Download The Influence Radio app on iTunes or your Android platform. It's all Arkansas-connected music, 24/7, and there's even a "song history" tab so you can see what you missed and chase those artists' music elsewhere.

Blunt talks about how she got started, what artistic and communication needs she was responding to when she and her team created The Influence, and we put her on the spot to name a few favorite artists.

Here's a sampling of a few [NSFW, depending on where you W] songs from Arkansas artists they played while we were writing this blog post:




At (27:49), Omaya gives a glimpse of the screenings coming up May 1-6 at the Bentonville Film Festival, our sponsor for this podcast.

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Finally, at (28:33), we make some recommendations:

Omaya fills us in on the Oxford American's "50 Years of True Grit" lineup this weekend, including screenings of both the 1969 and the 2010 film versions, as well as concerts, a variety show, lectures and a sweet afterparty at the White Water Tavern with Wussy and The Paranoid Style. 

Stephanie recommends you get tickets to hear poets Molly McCully Brown and Seth Pennington with musician John Burnette at Potluck and Poison Ivy next Thursday, April 26.

Jasmine recommends the "all Arkansas, all dopeness" on The Influence Radio app, available on iTunes and Android platforms.

And (31:36) The Move for the week: catch drag artist, LGBTQ advocate and cannabis activist Laganga Estranga at Club Sway this weekend. She does a killer "death drop" and a song called "Hot Box," and she's here to celebrate 4/20 weekend with the Club Sway contingent, hosted by the stars of the club's Fresh Fish All Stars competition.


 

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

Gallery guide: New shows, Argenta Art Walk

Tonight's the third Friday of the month, which means that you can see lots of art on and off Main Street in Argenta, which is holding its after-hours Art Walk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Read more about Art Walk and see collaborative art by Chris Swasta and Matthew Castellano here.

Also new in Arkansas galleries:

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (401 President Clinton Ave.) is has opened "Howard Simon: Art and Illustrations," a show of work by the woodcut artist who was for a time the husband of and illustrator for author Arkansas author Charlie May Simon.

Boswell Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd., opens an exhibition of new work by Arkansas artists Kellie Lehr and Elena Petroukhina tomorrow, April 21. There will be a reception for the artists from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hearne Fine Art Gallery, 1001 Wright Ave., is showing "Then and Now," mixed media and illustration by Frank Morrison, in conjunction with the Arkansas Literary Festival. There will be an artist's reception for Morrison at 5:30 p.m. April 26.

M2 Gallery, 11525 Cantrell Road, is showing work by artists from Austin, Texas, in a show called "ATX2LR."

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville opens two shows tomorrow, April 21: "The Garden," about the intersection of art and nature, and "The Beyond: Georgia O'Keeffe and Contemporary Art," work by O'Keeffe and 20 other contemporary artists. One of the artists in "The Garden," Jessica Pezalla, has spent the week installing a large-scale paper floral work at Crystal Bridges.

The Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. Third St.) has opened a show of photographic works by Esther Nooner, Kristoffer Johnson, Helen Maringer, Kaia Hodo and Grace Ann Odem called "The Medium is the Message: Experimental Photography in Arkansas."

UA Pulaski Tech's 10th annual "Student Art Competitive" goes on exhibit today in the Center for Arts and Humanities.

Up in Mountain View, John Kirkpatrick will give a demonstration of his woodworking skills from 10:30 am. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, April 21, at the Arkansas Craft Gallery, 104 E. Main St.

The Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville is featuring work by the members of the artist's collaborative group The Fenix.




 

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 10:50:00

Guitarist Ed Gerhard's lyricism lands on spellbound ears at The Joint

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Acoustic guitarist Ed Gerhard played for a full house at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse last night as part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series. Essentially, once a month, fellow guitarist Steve Davison brings an acoustic guitarist of renown to the Argenta venue where he or she can be heard with minimal distraction in a small room that's acoustically outfitted for intense listening. I've been in the audience for formal classical recitals that were less hushed and still.

Gerhard's delivery is au naturale; he sits in a chair atop an elevated riser, surrounds himself with his guitar, his Weissenborn and a few accoutrements - a small mixer, an electronic tuner, a hot microphone and a nail file for mid-show maintenance of the long, acrylic-capped fingernails that double as picks on his right hand. He's too bereft of pretense to have a shtick, really, but if he has one, musically speaking, it's to take tunes like "The Water Is Wide" and render them in sweet, meterless phrases, stretching silences and giving shape to each line. He's consummately musical in his approach, landing on the next note in the phrase just a millisecond before the last one's done ringing, creating a seamless legato. He does not noodle. He does not make a habit of playing lots of notes in quick succession.

We caught the second half of his concert, in which he applied that lyricism to "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live," with a shout out to Ry Cooder for his version and a nod to fellow guitarist David Lindley for having done the piece before Gerhard could get around to it; a medley of The Beatles' 'If I Fell" and "In My Life" introduced as "a couple of old British ballads"; Gerhard's own "On a Pennsylvania Hill" and others. His stage patter is intimate and clever; he introduced his version of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" by admitting that though he was not especially religious, he was assuredly "sky-curious."

Appreciated: a fleeting reference to "Beavis and Butthead" that nobody in the audience seemed to get, his writerly description of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series as having created a "nice fire in a wet world," the way he floated his hands above the Weissenborn (an acoustic Hawaiian lap slide) as if he were charming notes out of a theremin. Unappreciated: his cheap shot at hip-hop, which went over swimmingly with the baby boomer contingent nonetheless. For me, too, I missed the bite and strum of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" when rendered by Gerhard (and I'd swear I heard the first two chords of Mitchell's "Amelia" before he started in; bait-and-switch!) Judging by the enthusiastic applause for "Both Sides Now," though, I was clearly in the minority.

Gerhard has the ear and the finesse to reach up and adjust a tuning peg mid-song, he can quote Leo Kottke ("The only thing you'll get from a tuner is an opinion") and ancient Chinese poetry in the same breath and he can do otherworldly things with six strings. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out the rest of the year's lineup.

 

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