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Music, art and eats in Arkansas


Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Dining Review

Poke vs. poke

February 15, 2018
Poke vs. poke
Poke Hula and Ohia Poke open; everyone wins. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

In the margins

February 15, 2018
In the margins
A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight. /more/


Max Brantley

Love, Ark Blog

Things you might have missed if you don't read the Arkansas Blog: • If you /more/

Ernest Dumas

Conley's plea

Even with his facial stubble, Garrard Conley looks and acts like a diffident teenager, not a 33-year-old man who is a leading exponent of the "gay agenda," as right-wingers refer to the movement to gain equal treatment for sexual minorities. /more/

Gene Lyons

Out of control

Unlike now infamous White House aide Rob Porter, I didn't have a Harvard professor and presidential confidant for a father. My old man was a New Jersey Irish working stiff, who taught me most of what I know about being a man. Among the enduring lessons he'd learned during his service as an artillery sergeant was that ethnic tribalism could be a trap. /more/

Movie Reviews

Mixed feelings

February 8, 2018
Mixed feelings
Within (and about) 'Phantom Thread,' Paul Thomas Anderson's Oscar-bound period piece. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Up and down

February 15, 2018
Arkansas's hyper-frustrating basketball team sorely needed a week with two home games against lesser teams to get out of a potentially season-killing swoon. Dutifully, both South Carolina and Vanderbilt obliged, and permitted the Razorbacks to press back to a .500 SEC record with the Hogs rolling to by far their easiest two wins of calendar year 2018. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas


Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:57:00

Downtown bank branch robbed

click to enlarge KARK
  • KARK
A man handed a teller a note demanding money and made off with an undetermined amount in a robbery of the U.S. Bank branch at Capitol Avenue and Broadway about 3:15 p.m. today.

KARK reports.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:49:00

SWEPCO announces agreement on wind energy project

click to enlarge MAKING WIND: At farm in Oklahoma. - SWEPCO
  • MAKING WIND: At farm in Oklahoma.

Southwestern Electric Power, which serves customers in Arkansas, has announced an agreement with Arkansas parties for the Wind Catcher Energy Connection to deliver power generated by wind on Oklahoma wind farms to customers in Arkansas.

The parties in the deal include the Arkansas Public Service Commission staff, the Arkansas attorney general, and Walmart Stores and Sam’s West. They ask the PSC to approve a $4.5 billion project to acquire a 2,000-megawatt wind farm under construction and build a 3670-mile generation line to the Tulsa area for connection to the existing energy grid. SWEPCo will own 70 percent of the project and Arkansas customers will shoulder $607 million of the cost.

SWEPCO has agreed to provide a cap on costs and other stipulations.  From a news release:

“We are extremely pleased with this settlement agreement because it recognizes the tremendous opportunity the Wind Catcher project provides for clean, low-cost energy and long-term savings for SWEPCO customers,” said Venita McCellon-Allen, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “Our customers are looking to us to provide clean, reliable and cost-effective power. Wind Catcher will help companies, universities, cities and other customers meet their sustainability and renewable energy goals,” McCellon-Allen said.

"Walmart has a goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, and sourcing from wind energy projects — like the Wind Catcher project — is a core component in the mix," said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart. "The energy procured from this project represents an important leap forward on our renewable energy journey.”
SWEPCO says the project will save money on fuel — $4 billion over 25 years — and reduce purchased power costs while also qualifying for federal tax credits.  The project also will require manufacturing jobs for equipment made in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

When completed, SWEPCO will increase the amount of renewable energy it produces from 8 to 26 percent. It is a unit of American Electric Power, once the utility most reliant on coal. That's changing, Mr. Trump, "beautiful" as coal is.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 14:25:00

Candidates respond to Little Rock suit to block mayoral fund-raising

The city of Little Rock's lawsuit aiming at using a city ordinance to limit fund-raising by two men challenging Mayor Mark Stodola gets legal responses from the challengers today.

They've already said it's nonsense. Legal filings today will make it official.

As we've gone through before: The city has an ordinance that prevents fund-raising for office this year before July 1. Mayoral challengers Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott came up with a legal workaround that's received a stamp of approval from the state Ethics Commission. They set up "exploratory committees" that can raise money two years in advance.

Mark Stodola cried foul, though he himself is in violation of the same city ordinance by  keeping a carryover fund from previous campaigns of more than $70,000. He said state law overrode THAT part of the ordinance, but not the part that prohibits his challengers from raising money.

This is 1) clearly a situation that needs fixing; 2) clearly motivated by Stodola and incumbent members of the City Board protecting themselves; 3) a waste of city time and money, and 4) not particularly helpful to Stodola in political terms.

In any case, Sabin's official response says 1) an exploratory committee is legal under state law; 2) the Ethics Commission has said as much and 3) the city of Little Rock can't sue the state (the Ethics Commission is a defendant). He also says the courts shouldn't be used to hear political arguments.

Scott's response is not yet on file but he assured me earlier this week that he'd be seeking dimissal of the suit as Sabin has done.


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Rock Candy

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 16:26:00

No Small Talk Ep. 6: Point Break and even more Musicians Showcase

click to enlarge no_small_talk_1.png
This week's "No Small Talk" features continuing coverage of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase plus a preview of "Point Break," the next movie in our film series at Riverdale.

As always, we've got the links you need to follow along:

*Here's the most recent Musicians Showcase update on Round 3

*You can grab more information from our To-Do List about the Arkansas Times Film Series screening of "Point Break." (Or grab tickets on Riverdale's site.) The To-Do List also has the information you need on what to do this week — including Stephanie's move for the weekend, a reading with Molly McCully Brown.

*The Riverdale film series that's going on throughout 2018 is online here; it includes "The Room," "Blazing Saddles," "Clockwork Orange."

*Dig into light pollution info, courtesy of Omaya's recommendation.

*Listen to "A Very Fatal Murder"

*And you must, if on Android, follow in Stephanie's footsteps with the live earth background.

Happy weekend!


Friday, February 16, 2018 - 11:47:00

Sabine Valley wins round three of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

And Round 3 of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase goes to: Sabine Valley!

We've got another great lineup for Round 4. You can check out the schedule here. And come out this Thursday, February 22 to Stickyz, to see who will join The Rios, Couch Jackets and Sabine Valley at the finals at The Rev Room on Friday, March 9.

The winner of that final round receives: cold hard cash, an in-studio showcase at Capitol View Studio, a live spot at Patio on Park Hill 2018, live spot at the Arkansas State Fair Bud Light Pavilion, a live spot at Musicfest El Dorado, a live spot at Low Key Arts' Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs, a Thursday Night Live performance at Griffin Restaurant in El Dorado, eight hours of artist development at The Hive Studio, a PRS SE 245 Standard 22 Electric Guitar from Sunrise Guitars and more.

Here's a rundown of last night's show with comments from our four judges; Sarah Woolf of the "Follow the Woolf" series, Robert Locke of Shindig Music, J. Bradley Minnick of KUAR's "Arts & Letters," Drew Pickens and our guest judge for the night, host of the latest "Nasty Women" comedy showcase, Willow Wheeler.

Sabine Valley

Judge's comments:

"Lead singer owns it. Fugazi, Garbage, Pavement-y."

"Jesus, these kids are how old? Very impressive."

"Nice crowd enthusiasm and support."

"She owned the stage and possibly the night."

"That lead singer is a live wire and I am loving it. Gives me Sleater-Kinney meets Bikini Kill vibes."


Judge's comments:

"Solid, dark metal."

"These guys have earned their place in the Central Arkansas music scene. So influential and respected."

"The introduction of a synth into a genre that would otherwise shun it is a great touch."

"These guys just scared half the crowd. Somewhere the Devil is proud."

All the Way Korean

Judge's comments:

"P.I.L. Public Image Limited. Commanded the stage with cool bass lines. Points for suits."

"Best showmanship of the night."

"Professional musicians. These guys know and love what they're doing."

"Spa City dance punk with a late 70s London filter. Nice."

Deep Sequence

Judge's comments:

"Hella groove. Vintage tones."

"Can't wait to be out on a festival field this summer in the sunshine, cold drink in my hand dancing to this band."

"This is definitely something I could jam to. I think if you made it a little more synth heavy and experimental you could have done something nobody has ever heard before."

"Tight. Funky. Solid at every turn."


Friday, February 16, 2018 - 10:39:00

Arts Center to reveal architectural plan — finally

click to enlarge concept-design-presentation-postcard-invite_for-building-page.jpg

The architectural firm designing the renovated Arkansas Arts Center will reveal its concept at the Arts Center starting with champagne at 6 p.m. and the presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. Jeanne Gang, whose Studio Gang Architects firm of Chicago has been working on the design, and Arts Center Director Todd Herman will preside.

The reveal was first set for October 2017, but was canceled when it was decided that the original $46 million budget given the architects wasn't quite enough to come up with an Arts Center the public — which is giving up $37.5 million in tourism taxes to bond the project — would necessarily embrace. There are so many infrastructure issues with the Arts Center that improvements under the old budget might not have been immediately apparent.

Herman said in January that he was "cautiously optimistic" that fundraising would meet the needs of an increased budget, though he declined to say how much more money would need to be raised. Presumably, that will be revealed along with the new concept next Tuesday.

The new Arts Center is slated to open in 2021.


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Locked away and forgotten

February 14, 2018
Locked away and forgotten
In 2017, teenagers committed to rehabilitative treatment at two South Arkansas juvenile lockups did not receive basic hygiene and clothing supplies and lived in wretched conditions. /more/


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Arkansas Reporter

Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers

February 19, 2018
Special legislative session could make Arkansas first to regulate pharmacy benefit managers
On Monday afternoon, Governor Hutchinson said he would call a special session of the Arkansas legislature to address low reimbursement rates provided to pharmacies by middleman companies called pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. /more/

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