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Eat Arkansas

Zangna Thai Cuisine in Little Rock

A mostly positive experience.

Nexus Coffee and Creative opens Saturday

Nexus Coffee and Creative, 301B President Clinton Ave., will open at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 15, becoming the third new downtown coffee house to open in as many months this year.

Viva Vegan Pop-up at The Green Corner Store

Vegan pop-up draws strong crowd.

Dining Review

Ready for Freddy's

July 20, 2017
Ready for Freddy's
Smashing burgers, shoestring fries. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

The edge of night

July 20, 2017
The edge of night
Next month's solar eclipse won't be total in Arkansas, but it still will be a spectacle to behold. /more/

To-Do List

Bob Schneider at Rev Room

July 20, 2017
Bob Schneider at Rev Room
Also, PopUp Argenta, Frances & The Foundation, "97" fiber installation at Bernice Garden, Jim Gaffigan, "Be Yourself" Poster Launch and more /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Football for UA Little Rock

Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college. /more/

Ernest Dumas

The ACA can be fixed

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened his 51 disciples in the Senate and his party with /more/

Gene Lyons

Turn to baseball

When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself. /more/

Movie Reviews

Live and let die

July 20, 2017
Live and let die
'Apes' reboot is satisfying, if not daring. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Five big questions for Arkansas football

July 20, 2017
Among them: Can Austin Allen get a better handle on the job and rein in his emotions? /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

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 15:35:00

Trump's ratings slide everywhere, but Arkansas remains in favorable territory

click to enlarge GALLUP
  • Gallup
Gallup has put together a 50-state assessment of Donald Trump's declining approval ratings, which the Washington Post summarizes here.

Are we to be comforted that only 17 states, including Arkansas, still have Trump in the plus column, with a favorable rating here of 50 to 54 percent? Trump's approval rating in Arkansas is 10th highest, at 53 percent based on the Gallup averaging of daily polling over his presidency.

Are we to be comforted that this is a sharp drop, including in Arkansas, and that 47 states have lower approval ratings than the vote Trump received in 2016.  (In Arkansas, almost 61 percent.)

It's perhaps a comfort to know Trump puts so much stock in such things as ratings and crowd attendance. But he's president. He's in charge and his appointees are laying waste to public education, the environment, the justice system, gay rights, women's rights, consumer protection against avaricious banks and lots more. If the election tomorrow, Trump still starts with a majority favorable rating in Arkansas against the unknown. Plug in a name the GOP machine can demonize and the record says Arkansas voters will lean Trump.

Not comforting.

 

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 13:15:00

'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film


Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

A Buzzfeed article recounts when Burks began helping AIDS patients:

It was the beginning of a years-long run helping AIDS patients whose biological families had shunned them. She would take them to the doctor, and help with their medications. In the Arkansas Times story, Burks — a childhood friend of Bill Clinton's from Hot Springs, Arkansas — said, "I was their hospice. Their gay friends were their hospice. Their companions were their hospice."

McGowan's Ruth, which runs just under eight minutes, shows that inceptive moment for Burks. When the vodka company Zirkova — which is sponsoring a series of short films through its We Are One+Together nonprofit — approached McGowan to direct the project she hadn't heard of Burks. But as McGowan researched her she became "fascinated and captivated by the story." Though Zirkova had sent McGowan a script, she rewrote it during an all-nighter.

 

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 09:36:00

Giuliani in the bullpen for Sessions?


click to enlarge POLITICO
  • Politico
When Donald Trump starts tweeting about "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions it adds credence to reports that Trump is looking to replace him with Rudy Giuliani.

Devil and the deep blue sea. No reports yet that Leslie Rutledge is under consideration.

 

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Rock Candy

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 14:29:00

Fayetteville, Fenix and art-making on Saturday

click to enlarge Gelatin print by Leilani Law
  • Gelatin print by Leilani Law
If you're in Fayetteville this weekend, you can drop in on several workshops being held by the Fenix Fayetteville artists' cooperative at the Walker-Stone House, 207 W. Center St. downtown.

There will be eight art stations, where you can watch artists work and then take part in making gelatin prints, sketch books and paper houses.

Participating artists and what they'll be working in include David Bachman (painting), Mary Collins (collage), Laurie Foster (mixed media), MM Kent (painting), Leilani Law (gelatin printing), Octavio Logo (bookbinding, sketchbooks), Sabine Schmidt (paper houses) and Steven Schneider (painting).

The free event is in conjunction with the Fenix & Friends Summer Art Exhibition at Walker-Stone House through Aug. 5.

 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 15:52:00

UALR artist Mia Hall is off to Penland: UPDATE

click to enlarge Mia Hall with her daughter, Fiona, beside Hall's 2016 Delta Exhibition piece, "Concrete Still Life." - UA LITTLE ROCK
  • UA Little Rock
  • Mia Hall with her daughter, Fiona, beside Hall's 2016 Delta Exhibition piece, "Concrete Still Life."

The Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina has announced the hiring of Mia Hall, of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock, as its new director.

Hall, who has served on the UALR faculty for 10 years and is interim department chair, is known locally for her sculptural work in exhibitions at the Arkansas Arts Center, UALR and Wildwood Park for the Arts, as well as in the Bernice Garden. She's also shown in the 108 Contemporary in Tulsa, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, N.C., and has work in private and public collections. She'll begin her job at Penland Jan. 1.

Hall is married to metalworker David Clemons, who teaches at Penland and is an artist-in-residence at UALR. I've sent an email to Hall to see if Little Rock is losing Clemons as well. The couple has a 10-year-old daughter, Fiona.

UPDATE: Yes, Little Rock will lose Clemons, too, at the end of the next academic year. He will then work on his art full time.


/more/  

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 14:32:00

Riverfest calls it quits

click to enlarge THE FESTIVAL BUSINESS IS HARD: Rain dampened the crowds this year. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • THE FESTIVAL BUSINESS IS HARD: Rain dampened the crowds this year.
The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. At its height, the festival drew 250,000 people to Riverfront Park in Little Rock, but this year's rain-soaked festival lost almost $300,000. A press release, published in full below, blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.

"The industry has just changed," DeAnna Korte, the nonprofit festival's longtime executive director, said. When Snoop Dogg headlined the festival in 2012, his rate was $75,000, Korte said. In advance of this year's festival, the rapper wanted upward of $300,000. Riverfest's budget this year for some 30 bands was $850,000. Streaming music's massive cut into album sales' revenue contributed to skyrocketing performer costs, Korte said.

The vast majority of Riverfest's $2.6 million budget was dependent on the event itself. Other than sponsorships, all revenue came from ticket sales and a percentage of sales of food and beer. That made it especially vulnerable to weather. Korte said that, traditionally, 85 to 90 percent of the festival's tickets were sold the week of the event. A bad forecast and rain that didn't let up until Saturday evening spelled doom for the music event this year.

Korte said she expected people to question the festival's decision to move from Memorial Day weekend to early June and to move away from nostalgia acts. That transition came in 2016, following a $200,000 loss in 2015 and significant losses the four previous years. In 2016, Riverfest spun-off the family-friendly Springfest and made Riverfest a music-only event with a lineup that included Chris Stapleton, Juicy J, Grace Potter and The Flaming Lips — at an increased ticket price.

Riverfest broke even in 2016. "We felt like the changes we made were heading in the right direction," Korte said. Advance tickets were selling better than last year's before the bad weather forecast came out, Korte said.

"It was too important to even risk another year and get halfway into it and have something happen and not be able to pay our bills," Korte said. A number of festivals have gone bankrupt around the country, leaving vendors in the lurch, she said.  

"We were never in this to make money," Korte said. "We wanted to give back. It was more about the economics of getting people downtown. People forget that."

/more/  

 

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