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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

August 17, 2017
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/

Columnists

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/

Blog Roll

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

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 10:37:00

Death penalty foes object to execution of Jack Greene

JACK GREENE
  • JACK GREENE
The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty is urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson not to set an execution date for Jack Greene,  sentenced to die for a 1991 slaying in Johnson County. He's exhausted appeals and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asked the governor to set a date.

The article notes his defense counsel's description of Greene as mentally ill. Said the Coalition.

Apparently, our Governor and Attorney General have learned nothing from the horrors our state faced during their April plan to execute 8 men in 10 days. Please stand with us by calling the Governor, at 501-682-2345, and asking him to refrain from setting an execution date for Jack Greene. Jack Greene is not competent to be executed, and capital punishment should not be used on vulnerable people like the severely mentally ill. Tell the Governor that Arkansans are tired of these killings and the international shame that it brings on our state!



 

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 10:20:00

Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

click to enlarge THE HOT SPRINGS MONUMENT: The site of lynchings 12 and 21 years before the monument was erected. - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • THE HOT SPRINGS MONUMENT: The site of lynchings 12 and 21 years before the monument was erected.

Editor's note: A group has received a permit from the Hot Springs National Park Service to hold a rally in support of preserving Confederate monuments from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, on the Arlington Hotel lawn. Guy Lancaster sends along this piece about the dark history behind the Hot Springs monument the group wants to preserve.

The stone Confederate soldier stands with his hands gripping the barrel of a rifle whose butt rests on the ground by his foot, and he is equipped with a bedroll, canteen and bullet pouch. The sculpture is 6 feet high, set upon a base 12 feet high, so the soldier can easily overlook the plaza bounded by Central, Ouachita, Market, and Olive streets in downtown Hot Springs. This simple monument bears the years “1861–1865” on its north face, above the words “CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS.” The Hot Springs chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy began raising funds for the monument in 1907, but these efforts lagged until 1929, when the chapter received the promise of $1,000 from the statewide UDC, payable at $200 a year. In 1933, the city council passed an ordinance allowing the UDC to place the planned monument at what was then still called the CoMo Triangle, and the monument was formally dedicated on June 2, 1934.

Hot Springs had actually been spared much of the direct violence of the Civil War. Worried that Little Rock might fall in 1862, Governor Henry Massie Rector briefly relocated state records there for just over two months, making Hot Springs the de facto Confederate state capital, but the city was never occupied by Union soldiers, while a Feb. 4, 1864, skirmish is listed in the official records with an asterisk indicating that no substantial reports are on file, meaning it was likely the most minor of affairs. No doubt, local men served in Confederate units, though the Ouachita Mountains region, not being so invested in the institution of slavery as other parts of the state, also lent many men to the Union. These men may have seen violence, but their town escaped rather unscathed during the Civil War.

However, during the early 20th century, Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today. Will Norman, a black man, was murdered there on June 19, 1913. Norman had worked as a servant for the family of C. Floyd Huff, a prominent man who had served as county judge from 1898 to 1900. After Huff’s daughter, Garland, was found stuffed in a closet with her head bashed in, suspicion immediately fell upon Norman, and newspapers prominently claimed that little Garland had “battled off the advances of Will Norman” despite the fact that no one had witnessed the attack and the victim was never able to relay her story before dying later that day.

According to the Arkansas Gazette, as news of the event quickly spread, “crowds began to gather, armed in open manner, and the woods were honeycombed with grim-visaged men,” numbering in the thousands, “determined to seek out and find the brute and silently acquiescing in a general scheme to make short work of him when he was found.” Two men found Norman outside of town, and upon their arrival at the jail, and a group of 500 men quickly surrounded their buggy and took Norman themselves. Judge Huff gave his boys permission to attend the lynching after they asked, “Father, may we go see that negro lynched, please?” At the intersection of Ouachita Avenue and Central Avenue, Norman was hanged and his body riddled with bullets, after which it was cut down and burned. By the following day, people were picking through the ashes for bones to keep as souvenirs, and ashes were being gathered into matchboxes and sold.

The next lynching in Hot Springs took place on August 1, 1922. Gilbert Harris, nicknamed “Bunk” or “Punk,” had reportedly shot Maurice Connelly, a young businessman and nephew of the county judge, during a botched robbery attempt the previous evening. Harris was quickly arrested, and an armed mob soon surrounded the jail. At the news that Connelly had died, the mob grew angrier, its members openly discussing plans to lynch Harris. The mayor and local circuit judge promised a speedy trial and condemnation, but later that morning, the mob broke into the jail and took Harris from police custody, dragging him to the CoMo Triangle, right in front of the resplendent CoMo Hotel that had been completed six years earlier and would have been filled with summer visitors. There, according to the Arkansas Democrat, “Harris was hoisted about 20 feet in the air while the great crowd yelled and cheered. He only lived a few minutes. The body was allowed to hang perhaps half an hour and then was let down. Negro undertakers came for the body, but the mob chased them away.”

According to one eyewitness, Roswell Rigsby, Harris’s body was dragged behind a truck until being cut loose in front of a “negro mortuary.” Connelly’s body, however, achieved a more dignified rest. Hundreds attended his funeral at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. At Hollywood Cemetery, where he was buried, stood about two dozen hooded and robed members of the Ku Klux Klan, lining the path from the cemetery gates to the gravesite. They filed to the grave following the bugler’s playing of taps, placed a floral wreath, and kneeled in prayer before departing.

In 1934, the lynching of Gilbert Harris was but a 12-year-old memory, while the lynching of Will Norman had happened only 21 years prior. Very likely, people in the crowd at the dedication of the Hot Springs Confederate Monument remembered the work of the mob in those two instances — and some may even have participated (3,000 to 4,000 men had reportedly participated in the hunt for Norman, which would have been a quarter of the town’s population at the time). Of course, people have typically been lynched in the same prominent public locations so useful for the installation of monuments, places with maximum visibility. However, what is relevant to the debate over the future of Confederate memorials is just how much history these monuments hide, and nowhere can this better be seen than in Hot Springs, where a stone Confederate soldier stands guard over the site of two lynchings, perhaps warning passersby to move on, not to investigate the real history of that plot of land. His very presence changes the story of the town in ways we cannot deny.

Dr. Guy Lancaster is the editor of "Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas, 1840–1950," forthcoming from the University of Arkansas Press.

 

Friday, August 18, 2017 - 10:15:00

Hearne Family Clinic to start certifying patients for Arkansas medical marijuana cards

click to enlarge mj.jpg
Hearne Family Clinic in Little Rock has announced that they are now certifying patients with qualifying conditions for Arkansas Medical Marijuana Cards. Patients will need a patient registry identification card to purchase medical marijuana when dispensaries are expected to open in February of 2018. Patients seeking a card can meet with Dr. Archie Hearne, a Medical Marijuana Certified Physician who must certify that the patient has one of the following conditions:

/more/  

 

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Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 12:42:00

'Sign of the Times': Political posters at CHARTS

click to enlarge reagan_sized.jpg_show_at_pulaski_tech.jpg

Hendrix College's Dr. Jay Barth will give a talk and sax player Dr. Barry McVinney and pianist Mark Binns will provide the music at tonight's opening of "The Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster" in the Windgate Gallery at UA Pulaski Tech's CHARTS (The Center for Humanities and Arts). The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The exhibition, from ExhibitsUSA, includes posters from 1844 to 2012, which are shown both as an example of poster art, the dawn of lithography, and to stimulate talk about the politics of the past. The exhibition tracks changes in styles, from the use of political artists like Ben Shahn and illustrator James Montgomery Flagg during the World War II to the "floating head" design of the 1950s and 1960s and beyond.

Here's more about the show from the exhibition news release:

Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844–2012 explores a variety of styles, design trends, and printing technology that will delight your eye, engage your imagination, and lead you to ruminate over past political commitments. The political campaign poster had its humble beginnings in the 1840s when the new lithographic printing process, largely developed in Germany, was developed to satisfy a growing demand for printed material. Hand-colored portraits of presidential and vice-presidential candidates were first printed for the 1844 race between Whig Party candidate Henry Clay and the eventual winner, James K. Polk of the Democratic Party. ...

The left-wing counterculture revolution of the 1960s was awash in civil rights, psychedelia and anti-war posters that culminated in the creation of some of the finest campaign posters, many of which appeared in the 1968 Democratic primary campaign of Eugene McCarthy. The George McGovern campaign that followed in 1972 was a virtual explosion of exciting political art. The offset printed poster was the more frequent, but many famous artists, such as Alexander Calder and Peter Max, screenprinted limited editions that helped fund campaigns. Hundreds of posters were created by well-known artists, illustrators, and often by inspired first time poster makers.

After the graphically exciting 1972 presidential campaign, future contests produced only a few outstanding posters in each election cycle. However, the Democrat’s nomination of Barack Obama in 2008 heralded a renaissance of the form, as many artists—insiders, outsiders, and the famous—jumped on the candidate’s bandwagon. In fact, in 2008 it looked as if the great American political poster had at last solidified its place in future campaigns. Unfortunately, it was not to be; in 2012 the creation of exciting innovative posters tapered off sharply from the previous presidential election cycle.

 

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 Sept. 23 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."

 

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    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.
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    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.
  • 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.

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The Arkansas Cinema Society's must-see 'Premiere'

August 17, 2017
The Arkansas Cinema Society's must-see 'Premiere'
The new outfit kicks off with Adam Driver "A Ghost Story" and more. /more/

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Arkansas Reporter

Youth lockups to go to contractors

August 17, 2017
Youth lockups to go to contractors
After takeover, governor cites improvements in facilities, but wants private companies to run them again.By Benjamin Hardy Arkansas Nonprofit News Network /more/
 

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