Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things they’ve been enjoying this week.
My personal collection includes works by a number of young artists, and I’ve learned a thing or two about what to look for. You want to make sure the paint is acrylic (not tempera) so it has some staying power. The colors hold up pretty well outdoors and can give your flower beds year-round flair, but make sure to display your rocks in well-drained areas because standing water can melt the pigment right off. Most importantly, make sure each piece is signed by the artist. You never know when MoMA will come calling.
The most prolific Little Rock artist working in the medium right now is probably Suzy Jorgensen, age 6 ½. This first grade phenom’s pop-up rock sale last year raised $140 for the Little Rock Zoo.
Bang Up Betty’s art-history-inspired collection
Bang Up Betty does it again. The North Little Rock metalsmith behind the jewelry enterprise, Stacey Bowers, manages not only to make beautiful things, but to let them spring from her own personal list of delights and curiosities.
Truly, I don’t know where else I’d go and find a product description that ended with the sentence “I think people who can turn suffering into beauty as Van Gogh did universally captivate us.” So goes the blurb for the Van Gogh installment of Bowers’ art history-based series called The Gallery Collection. There’s a nod to Leonardo da Vinci’s obsession with cats, an homage to the stained glass in Notre Dame Cathedral and a painterly reference to the Biblical Judith slaying Assyrian general Holofernes like the badass scriptural lionheart that she is. When it comes to Bang Up Betty, we came for the “Don’t Tell Me to Smile” pins and the “Vote So Hard” stickers, but we’re staying for Caravaggio and Medusa.
(Oh, and for this sweet collaboration with Arkansas Foodbank, which was made using real Arkansas rice flowers from Cornerstone Farms in Altheimer, Arkansas. Buying a bronze necklace generates enough money to fund 58 meals for hungry Arkansans, and each silver necklace funds 67 meals. Go get ‘em!)
“Non so piu cosa son,” but make it fashion
Sometimes when Google notices you’ve been awfully attentive lately to things that involve RuPaul’s Drag Race, it will suggest other peripherally Drag Race-ish rabbitholes to go down, like this collaboration between Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and a British band called Steps. Anyway, some of Visage et al.’s dance moves reminded me of a thing I have not thought about in a long time. And that is this video for Cherubino’s first act banger in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” Enjoy.
David Holthouse’s “Sasquatch” series
If you love murder, weed and Bigfoot, this one is for you. It’s only three parts, so you aren’t stuck on the couch for over a day answering, “Yes, I’m still watching,” to all the questions the streaming services always ask. (As if they should judge me? They’re the ones who get us addicted to this shit.)
Remember “Murder Mountain” on Netflix? Well, “Sasquatch” takes place in the Emerald Triangle as well. Looking for missing people in the woods where the finest of all dope is grown. Of course, there are TONS of missing people. The whole gist of this docuseries is based on one night in 1993 (cue “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill) when Holthouse hears that Bigfoot — not the sweet Harry from “Harry and the Hendersons” — has killed three pot farmers. I actually found myself starting to believe in Bigfoot by the end of the first episode. Once I started telling my friends about the show, I got the, “Keener, you have got to stop watching shit like this… .” Whatever.
The next two episodes delve into more than Bigfoot and creepy folks from the area. If you’ve got three hours to spare, tune in and see if you find yourself starting to believe.
Lavender Meyer’s Clean Day/ant-free Girl Scout cookies
If you’re like me and you’ve been sharing your kitchen space with armies of ants since the first warm day of 2021, and your screeching pleas of: “Go outside, ants! It’s f’n nice out there! Please!” haven’t been working, I feel you. Personally, I like ants. They’re hard workers. They carry large boulders of crumbs for miles — in relation to their size — for the greater good of their community. I just don’t care to host never-ending ant parties in any of the nooks and crannies in my home. A few years ago ants ransacked a box of Savannah Smiles Girl Scout Cookies I’d just opened and barely got to enjoy. That was the last straw; ants were no longer somewhat welcome in my home.
Over the past few years, I’ve found that the liquid Terro trap ant bait stations work really well. A couple days after putting them out, the ants have disappeared. But, for whatever reason, they’re no use this year. I’ve put out five or six Terro traps and the ants just keep on coming. Even the guy that came out from Terminix was confused by it. So, a few days ago, desperate, broken, I reached under the cabinet for a bottle of lavender scented Meyer’s Clean Day multi-surface everyday cleaner. I went for the Meyer’s to send a message to the ants that they’re entering a clean place. As I was spraying around the window and other points of entry, I said something like, “Nothing for you here, ants, except cleanliness.”
They appear to have gotten the message. Not about cleanliness; they knew I was bullshitting about that. I just don’t think they care for the lavender scent, because since I’ve been spraying once a day, I’ve only been seeing one or two ants a day or none at all compared to the dozens I was seeing several times a day. I plan on continuing this experiment and simplifying it with lavender essential oils mixed with water. I might stash my girl scout cookies in the fridge, though; can’t take any chances with a treat that only comes once a year.