Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas

Dining Review

Kimchi's ginchy

January 18, 2018
Kimchi's ginchy
And Korean food is comfort food. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Can't miss CAMA

January 18, 2018
Can't miss CAMA
Central Arkansas Music Awards on Jan. 23. /more/


Max Brantley

Along the civil rights trail

A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights. /more/

Ernest Dumas

The Oval outhouse

One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance. /more/

Gene Lyons

Sex crusaders

Some years ago, a married woman of my acquaintance confided that a locally famous physician kept squeezing her thigh under the table at a dinner party. Actually, the fellow was famous for that, too. Removing his hand hadn't worked. She'd thought about stabbing him with a fork, but hadn't wanted to make a scene. /more/

Movie Reviews

'The Post' a powerhouse.

January 18, 2018
'The Post' a powerhouse.
It's likely to win big at the Oscars /more/

Pearls About Swine

On the bubble

January 18, 2018
Arkansas's basketball season has been mercurial to say the least. Two narrow wins at home and three losses in SEC play ranging from frustratingly close to inexcusably gross have set these Hogs on the bubble or near it, and that's not what fans expected after this team shot its way up the national RPI and into the Top 25 for a fleeting moment. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 15:27:00

Piazza gets off city campaign finance case

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has recused from hearing the city of Little Rock lawsuit against the state Ethics Commission and two mayoral candidates, Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott Jr., over their use of exploratory committees to raise money to prepare for a race for mayor against Mark Stodola.

The Ethics Commission has found no wrong in exploratory committees, allowed two years before an election by state law. The city contends the candidates are prohibited from raising money by city ordinance until June 1. The city also claims that this same ordinance no longer applies to Mayor Stodola in its requirement to give away excess campaign money within 30 days of an election. Stodola has $78,000 he's prepared to spend held over from 2014.

Circuit Judge Tim Fox has now drawn the case assignment. Can the state Ethics Commission be sued any more in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling reversing precedent that allowed some lawsuits against the state. Fox this week dismissed a case against the Geology Commission for that reason, that the state now enjoys total immunity from lawsuits.

Piazza didn't give a specific reason to get off the case. He wrote: "The Court on its own motion and for good cause shown does hereby recuse from the above styled case. "


Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 14:45:00

Tuesday: Open line and the daily video

Here's the open line. Also the news roundup on a deadly day.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 14:40:00

Another school shooting, more dead

click to enlarge duo8yxcvmaanltq.jpg

A 15-year-old student opened fire
after entering a Kentucky high school today, leaving two students dead and a dozen wounded. The shooter is in custody. Motivation not yet known, but it was the ninth school shooting in 23 days of 2018.


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Today's headlines: A deadly day

Rock Candy

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 13:40:00

Ben Dickey and 'Blaze' draw strong reviews after Sundance premiere

click to enlarge 'BLAZE': Ben Dickey and Alia Shawkat star. - SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • 'BLAZE': Ben Dickey and Alia Shawkat star.

"Blaze," the new bio-pic-ish feature film about cult singer/songwriter and Arkansas native Blaze Foley, and its star, Little Rock native Ben Dickey, are earning critical praise after the new film debuted Sunday at Sundance. Dickey is a musician, well known by folks who were paying attention to the local scene during the late-Towncraft era, when he played in Shake Ray Turbine. Later, in Philadelphia, he formed a vintage-y rock band called Blood Feathers. More recently, he's been working solo to great effect. The movie, directed by Ethan Hawke, is his first acting work. But it sounds like he nailed it:

From the Hollywood Reporter (which also has a video interview with Dickey, Hawke and the rest of the cast):

A belated but heartfelt eulogy for a songwriter who didn't live long enough to drink himself to death like his most famous friend, Ethan Hawke's Blaze will be the first introduction most viewers have to Blaze Foley. A contemporary of Willie Nelson and the other "Outlaw" country artists, Foley was troublesome even by their standard — belligerent and (at least according to the film) frequently kicked out of clubs for performing drunk. Hawke goes in search of his tender side and finds it in a big way, thanks in large part to a charismatic lead performance by musician Ben Dickey, a first-timer who doesn't look it.

From Variety:

Benjamin Dickey’s performance is gnarly and true: His Blaze can be a charmer (especially when he’s beguiling truck drivers with his long joke about a coffee enema), but he can also be a sullen lout, and when we meet his father (Kris Kristofferson), who can’t do much but grin and ask for a cigarette from his institutional bed, we see why Blaze, in his way, is so broken. His dad was a drunk who hit him and threw away the family’s food money on bottles of Thunderbird. Maybe that’s why Blaze is so…unconnective. He’s damaged goods, though that links him up to any number of the haunted country and blues singers of the past. His songs ring out because he knows that pain.
The vagaries of film distribution make it hard to predict the future of indie films with buzz, but you'd think that this would likely make its way to the Arkansas Cinema Society one of these days. Dickey is longtime pals with ACS executive director Kathryn Tucker.


Monday, January 22, 2018 - 08:50:00

Alan Jackson at Verizon Arena: "It's Been A Crazy Bunch of Years"

click to enlarge NELSON CHENAULT
  • Nelson Chenault

The federal government was shut down and the flu bug was hitting hard all over the nation, but a little after 10 on Saturday night, it was “five o’clock somewhere” and all was right at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock thanks to a country music legend and a song that’s come to represent taking a little time to grab a drink and relieve some stress.


Hey, maybe that’s what America needs right now.


It certainly worked for the 10,849 fans who sang along to the rowdy leaving-work anthem “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” as scenes from the video featuring a tiki bar played on a big screen. Hall of Famer Alan Jackson, saving one of his best for late in the evening, can still thrill a crowd, and he seemed to enjoy doing so with that No. 1 smash hit from the summer of 2003.


It was immediately preceded by two more crowd favorites, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Remember When,” on Jackson’s Arkansas stop on his aptly named "Honky Tonk Highway Tour." In fact, it was an outright honky-tonk Saturday night as he delivered plenty of traditional country music while also sharing memories and anecdotes from a career that since his signing with Arista in 1989 has produced 35 No. 1 hits. “It’s been a crazy bunch of years,” he said of his almost 30-year career.


With a white cowboy hat and that big smile, Jackson had strolled onto the stage and launched into “Gone Country” over an hour earlier, the first of hit after country hit. Along the way, he did exactly as he’d promised the crowd early on when he said, “I’m just gonna play y’all some real country music.”


Other highlights included his cover of Charly McClain’s hit “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” that he sent up the charts as well, the tribute to his father “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” the always respected salute to 9/11 “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” and the just-plain-fun "Chattahoochee."

click to enlarge NELSON CHENAULT
  • Nelson Chenault


Lauren Alaina opened the show with “Georgia Peaches” and proceeded, as her Daddy tells her in “Three,” to “sing her heart out.” At the end of her seven-song set, she seemed to relish performing “What Ifs,” her duet with Kane Brown that hit No. 1, as well as “Road Less Traveled,” which also was a chart-topper for the former American Idol runner-up.  

click to enlarge NELSON CHENAULT
  • Nelson Chenault


Friday, January 19, 2018 - 11:15:00

No Small Talk Episode 2: CAMA, The Post and Beth Ann Fennelly

click to enlarge no_small_talk_1.png
On week two of "No Small Talk" we've got: a Central Arkansas Music Award (CAMA) rundown,  discussion about "The Post" and lots of recommendations.

For our 'Post' banter, Jacob, Stephanie and Omaya welcome in Arkansas Times staff writer David Koon to talk about the latest Spielberg film and a love of Linotype. He reviewed the film for us last week.

If you're interested in CAMA, check out our A&E feature on it.

We made recommendations too. Here are some links:

* Alan J. Pakula's films (After struggling to pronounce this on the podcast, embarrassing myself, I looked it up and it's PAUL-KA-LA; so if you want to make the recommendation too sans blundering over the name, there you go. )
* PALLBEARER preview
* Our own Stephanie Smittle interviews Beth Ann Fennelly on Jan. 25. You can buy Fennelly's new book of micro-memoirs here.
* Showtimes for "Call Me By Your Name" and "Phantom Thread"


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Cover Story

Arkansans of the Year: Women

January 18, 2018
Arkansans of the Year: Women
Trumpism stirs Arkansas women to action. /more/


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Arkansas Reporter

A home for the visual arts: UALR's WCAD

January 4, 2018
A home for the visual arts: UALR's WCAD
Thanks to the Windgate Charitable Foundation. /more/

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