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Spring Arts

Spring Arts

March 14, 2013

Vol 39 • No 28

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Impending tunes

George Strait, Fleetwood Mac, Wakarusa and more.

Films in bloom

LR, Ozark film festivals highlight in spring.

Rembrandt himself, in Arkansas

The Arts Center lands "Treasures of Kenwood House."

In with the new

Big, poppy Broadway fare highlights the spring theater season.

Spring arts calendar

Music, theater and more.

Republican lawmakers don't buy that "private option" will be costlier than Medicaid expansion

The strangest part of the “private option” is that the plan grew out of pressure from local Republican lawmakers, and it was Republican legislators who had the loudest concerns about costs of the original Medicaid expansion.

Thursday: Willie Nelson, Gringo Star, Dirtfoot and more

Willie Nelson performs at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium Thursday.

Animal cruelty bills to be amended 'fairly dramatically'

Sen. Gary Stubblefield's SB13 and 14, which opponents say would weaken protection animals, will be amended "fairly dramatically," according to Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, the original sponsor of the bills, after Stubblefield met with the attorney general's office this morning, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sean Beherec reports on Twitter.

Missy Irvin's body modification bill: still unnecessary and intrusive

This week’s Reporter covers Sen. Missy Irvin’s body modification bill. I’ve previously covered the bill and why it’s a bad idea and why it matters.

Rahn: "Considerable uncertainties" at UAMS

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Dr. Dan Rahn has emailed UAMS employees a letter with links to the Deloitte Consulting study.

We don't need no stinking Arkansas history classes

The state's historians are deeply lamenting HB 1262, by Paris Republican Jon Eubanks, that, according to Arkansas History Education Coalition President Tom Dillard, "essentially guts the requirement for Arkansas history continuing education standards for teachers."

Voter suppression passes

The House Rules Committee said today that Sen. Bryan King's bill to require voter ID did not require a supermajority vote in the Senate, as Rep. Jim Nickels had argued.

Eats at Oaklawn are right on track

Fuel your warm weather track trip with these tasty treats.

White smoke! New pope!

We'll know who it is shortly.

Kaiser releases report on Medicaid and premium support

The Kaiser Foundation released an overview this morning on Medicaid and premium assistance. Lots to digest if you're feeling wonky, but let's quickly highlight their findings that are relevant to the Arkansas "private option."

Live from the Little Rock Tech Park board meeting open line UPDATE

Open line

Jesus visits Jason

Time for Valley of the Vapors

Independent Music Festival enters ninth year.

The people rule: looking ahead to 2014 initiated acts

Last week, a proposal by state Rep. Butch Wilkins (D-Bono) to raise the state's minimum wage was easily, and unsurprisingly, defeated in a House committee. However, thanks to Arkansas's initiative process, Arkansas voters may yet see the proposal again in the fall of 2014.

All boots on deck

"True, the turbulent nomination has wounded Hagel ... But he will eventually emerge stronger than ever. He already has authority with soldiers, having himself had his 'boots on the ground.' "

Arkansas lawmaker tries to ban tattoo-shop practices

Though Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) is a staunch advocate of small government, she has sponsored a bill banning certain body modification practices, leading some artists and consumers to complain that the legislation would restrict their freedom to make adult choices.

Rep expects bipartisan support for his 'tech privacy' package

State Rep. Nate Steel (D-Nashville) is concerned about the potential abuse of electronic intelligence gathering.

It was a good week for undocumented students

It was also a good week for Bill Clinton. It was a bad week for women, an escape, voter suppression and Weiner High School.

The Sequestrationator

Willie Nelson in El Dorado

And Gwendlyn Kay at Denton's.

Ledge-ends of the game

Members of the Arkansas General Assembly will move from zoning to zone defense, from co-sponsoring to double-teaming, from ... OK, we'll stop. It's the first annual Arkansas Legislative Hoops For Kids' Sake Game, pitting the House versus the Senate!

Hogs on the verge of 20 wins

This edition of Pearls will have scarcely nestled into newstands when the Arkansas Razorbacks try to pull off a minor miracle in the SEC tournament, starting with a game against Vanderbilt Thursday evening.

God done it

We get a lot of tips here in the office — good tips, bad tips, tips that turn out to be the truth even though you would have bet a dollar to a dogtick there was no way that could be true. Tips are the lifeblood of a news-gathering organization, along with coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and hard liquor after quittin' time.

Humans should be more humane

We thought things would be different. After years of fighting for the basic rights of "pets" in 2009 we finally reached a positive outcome when the felony animal cruelty bill was signed into law.


Video-game-style gunplay almost does in 'Dead Man Down.'


It seems early in the election cycle for scary political ads, but the reckless rich love the smell of money in the morning — or any other time — and nobody's richer and more reckless than the members of the "Club for Growth," a special-interest PAC now filling Arkansas airwaves with spooky messages about a black president and a member of Congress alleged to have been civil to him.


During the summer of 2005 I taught a religion and politics seminar at our regional camp for Jewish youth. In my class were nine teen-agers from across the South.

Deadline met

This was the scene outside the clerk's office Monday, the last day for legislators to file bills.


Arkansas has the diamonds, and now we seem to be acquiring a reputation as the state most resistant to the requirements of the U.S. Constitution.

More madness: ledge's gun bills

What do you call it when political leaders respond to what the public perceives as a crisis, like rising magnitudes of gun slaughter, by taking steps that fly in the face of reason, law and history?

Main Street Caribbean

Montego Cafe offers winning Jamaican fare.

'UK Dub Break' at Revolution

Also, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson, Cody Belew at Beebe High School, Se7en Sharp at Cornerston, Bernie Worrell Orchestra at Revolution, the First Ever 10th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Broken health care system

Sometimes the best journalism explains what's right under our noses. In Steven Brill's exhaustive Time magazine cover article "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," it's the staggeringly expensive, grotesquely inefficient and inhumane way Americans pay for medical care.

Friday: 'U.K. Dub Break'

The Frestylers perform at Revolution Friday night.

Artosphere 2013: Spiral Wetland, The Herd and Swan

Work by Tasha Lewis and Stacy Levy.

Friday: Gwendlyn Kay, 'One Night of Queen' and more

Gwendlyn Kay plays at Denton's Trotline Friday.

Review: 'Treasure Island' at Arkansas Repertory Theatre

"Treasure Island" runs through March 31 at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Tobacco agreement brings $22.7 million to Arkansas

Arbitration panel signs off on settlement of dispute between Arkansas and tobacco companies.

Details of "private option" deal emerge in DHS letter to feds

Charlie Frago reported this morning (paywall) that DHS has sent a letter to the feds outlining some of the details of the proposed "private option" approach to expanding healthcare coverage in lieu of traditional Medicaid expansion.

Stop the War on Women: March 23

Organizers of "Protest at the State Capital" are calling on women who are appalled at the treatment the Arkansas legislature has handed them this session to rally at the state Capitol at 3 p.m.

Tax cut and tax hike come out of committee; Pope Norquist says all is well

Good report from Roby Brock on the House Revenue and Tax committee meeting this morning.

Chew on this: Sausages from Edward's Food Giant

Not the first place you might think of for extraordinary sausages, but Edward's Food Giant delivers big. Lots of variety and unbeatable prices. A special gem in the Little Rock food scene.

Doc Channel blog: add 'Paradise Lost' to the National Film Registry

The blog of cable's The Documentary Channel has proposed a grass-roots campaign to get "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills" added to the National Film Registry.

Interior complains about hog farm OK near Buffalo

The U.S. Department of the Interior is not happy about the hog farm permit issued upstream of the Buffalo National River and has written the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency's state office, criticizing its Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact as "weak."

Bell: still has doubts on expansion even with "private option"

While no Republican has endorsed the "private option" plan for healthcare coverage expansion, key leaders are clearly taking ownership of the new framework (just don't say they're pitching it!).

Jason Aldean to Verizon Arena May 11

Jason Aldean is scheduled to play Verizon Arena on May 11.

Hamilton portrait donated to Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges and the Metropolitan Museum of Art will share John Trumbull's portrait of Washington's secretary of the treasury.

Grover Norquist: Republicans won't become severed rat heads if they support THIS tax increase

Grover Norquist, timber tax

Car wreck of a session open line: Tech park item update

A break from local legislators: Paul Ryan's slip of the tongue.

Went from Speaker's ball to ballers

Lindsey may delete that headline for search-engine optimization reasons, but I only have so many chances to fit an Outkast reference into legislative session coverage.

The shame of the Arkansas General Assembly

For someone like Rep. Ann Clemmer, a political science professor and a member of the House State Agencies committee who heard hours of testimony on voter ID, to have the gall to stand up in the well and not only refuse to acknowledge our not-too-distant history of egregiously suppressing the votes of minorities, but act indignant that Reps. Walker and Williams would suggest that a voter ID law would disproportionally disenfranchise minorities is shameful.

Sorry, "private option" still likely to cost a lot more than Medicaid expansion

In a post yesterday, I attempted to offer the perspective of Rep. Burris and Sen. Sanders—two of the key Republican leaders on a potential deal for expansion of healthcare coverage—quoting each at length.

Saturday and Sunday To-Do: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's 'American Songbook'

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents "American Songbook" this weekend.

Thank you Boston Phoenix morning line

FELLOW TRAVELERS: After "keeping Boston indie since 1966," the Boston Phoenix announced yesterday that it will cease publication.

Saturday To-Do: Cody Belew

Cody Belew plays at Beebe High School Saturday night.

Saturday To-Do: Se7en Sharp

Se7en Sharp plays its final show Saturday at Cornerstone Pub.

Rick Fahr launches his news drone

Rick Fahr, the new general manager and publisher of the online-only River Valley Leader, has posted the first video shot from the paper's unmanned aerial vehicle.

Saturday: Josh Abbott Band, Modoc, St. Patrick's Day Block Party and more

Modoc plays at Juanita's Saturday night.

Saturday art: Cefalo at Gallery 26

New paintings.

Anti-Obamacare lost causers bring in the Cannon

The D-G's Charlie Frago tweets that the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon will testify before the Senate Insurance and Commerce committee on March 19.

Food Feedback Friday: stock pots, grilled oysters, and big fun

Food Feedback Friday. You ate somewhere this week. Lay it on us.

Opening today: "52nd Young Arkansas Artists"

The annual exhibition of work by students all over Arkansas in grades K-12 opens today at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Matt McLeod, Southern women, Mike Spain

Matt McLeod's painting for Thea Arts Festival will be unveiled.

I pledge allegiance to Grover

We mentioned yesterday that Grover Norquist is giving Arkansas Republicans permission to vote for dinky tax increases even though normally voting for a tax increase will turn you in to a severed rat head floating in a bottle of Coke.

Get yourself a gander at the upcoming series 'Rectify' from Ray McKinnon

Ray McKinnon's new series "Rectify" premieres April 22 on Sundance Channel.

Sunday To-Do: Bernie Worrell Orchestra

Bernie Worrell performs at Revolution Sunday night.

Sunday To-Do: First Ever 10th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade

The First Ever 10th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade is Sunday in Hot Springs.

Expand-o-meter holding steady

Today’s chances of passing expansion: 75%Last week’s chances: 75%See here for previous entries on the Expand-o-Meter

Raw milk bill fails to mooooooove out of committee

Channeling Willie Nelson, Rep. Randy Alexander and Rep. Nate Bell united hippies and rednecks with their bill to allow the limited sale of raw milk.

Susan Santa Cruz at Laman downtown

The Laman Library sends a note saying that its downtown branch is again participating in Argenta ArtWalk and will feature works by Susan Santa Cruz tonight.

Vince Gill, Gatlin Brothers, Cash family to 2013 Johnny Cash Music Festival

Vince Gill will perform at the 2013 Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro.

'The Baby-Faced Killah' and the Ledge-Ends of the Game

The first annual Arkansas Legislative Hoops For Kids' Sake Game is coming up on Tuesday, and we're really, really excited here at the Times. So much so that we've wasted a couple hours making 10 basketball cards of participating members, replete with nicknames and scouting reports.

The Rat Heads in Coke Bottles Edition

Voter ID, taxes, ethics reform, expanding health coverage, newly filed bills of note — all covered on this week's podcast.

The weekend line

Open line

Raging against the dark night in Arkansas from Australia

It's a bright and sunny 80 degrees in Sydney, Australia, a gorgeous and progressive city that I'll depart in a few hours for a long and roundabout journey home, with arrival mid-afternoon Sunday, Little Rock time, after a leg to Tokyo, a leg to Dallas and one last jump north toward home.

Saturday night fever open line

It is REALLY nice outside. Take a break from the blog and go enjoy the sun.

Republicans' John Walker problem

More inappropriate remarks by Rep John Walker from the well. This is 2013.

No rain on St. Pat's parade

Brian Chilson checked out the St. Patrick's Day Parade through North Little Rock, held on sunny Saturday the 16th instead of dreary Sunday the 17th.

El Porton: come for the tacos, stay for the ceviche

Surprising finds at a chain restaurant.

Back in Arkansas

Well, I"m back in Arkansas, operating on some time zone other than Central Daylight Time.

Bill Halter's 'Arkansas Promise'

John Brummett blogs about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter's big idea — a free college education for all high school graduates with a 2.5 GPA.

What Donnie's been doing...

Donnie Ferneau, one of the most recognizable names in the Little Rock dining scene, shares some of his expertise in the kitchen with classes at his newest teaching ventures. The food is good, but the gab is definitely worth going for.

Hillary Clinton: 'Gay rights are human rights'

Add another important political figure to the growing group of people who think the time has come to end discrimination against gay people.

Kmart on Rodney Parham robbed Sunday night

A new wrinkle on the armed robbery beat perhaps. From the LRPD: An assistant manager of the Kmart on Rodney Parham reported he was robbed after closing about 9 p.m.

Arkansas unemployment rate rose in January

The monthly report: Labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and released today by the Department of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point from 7.1 percent in December to 7.2 percent in January.

Charge dropped in hit-and-run case; new suspect arrested

An important update on a case reported here earlier about a hit-and-run of a pedestrian at Kavanaugh and Beechwood.

Here are some photos of Willie Nelson at El Dorado Municipal Auditorium

Willie Nelson played in El Dorado Thursday, March 14.

Republican Party 'scary,' 'narrow minded' and 'out of touch'

Hold on now. That's not me talking.

The John McCain open line

Monday night session begins. Finishing up: * INTERPOSITION LOSES AGAIN: Another federal judge has held that yet another Republican legislature, this time in Missouri, can't legislative out of existence federal laws, such as the mandate to provide birth control coverage for women in health insurance policies.

Tonight: Arkansas Repertory Theatre presents staged reading of '8'

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre presents a staged reading of "8" Monday night at Argenta Community Theatre.

Pink to Verizon Arena

Pink is scheduled to play Verizon Arena Nov. 17.

Lottery director opposes spending mandate

Arkansas Lottery Director Bishop Woosley has issued a statement explaining his opposition to legislation that would require that 30 percent of lottery revenue be spent on college scholarships.

Tax cut bill benefits wealthy, no help to poor

Now comes Arkansas Advocates for Children with an analysis of HB 1585 by Rep. Charlie Collins, now pending in a House committee.

A call to arms on initiative legislation

Regnat Populus has issued a rallying cry for good government advocates to fight Sen. Keith Ingram's bill to make it far more difficult to qualify popular initiatives for the ballot.

Evening roundup

Some odds and ends have trickled in, so I'll round them up: * MARION BERRY: His family has sent a note to friends saying the former congressman went to UAMS with chest pains Saturday and had bypass surgery this afternoon.

Top o' the morning — or is it bottom

A slow start to the day. * THE WAR ON WOMEN: Thanks to a reader for a link to Mother Jones' article on the consequences of Texas' stripping of support from Planned Parenthood's health services for women.

Gunfire in Conway

From the Conway Log Cabin Democrat: According to a Conway Police Department incident report, police responded to a possible burglary in progress at a residence in the area.

Club for Growth continues campaign for Tom Cotton

The Club for Growth ("Club for Greed," Mike Huckabee calls the outfit heavily funded by Little Rock silver spooner Jackson T. Stephens Jr.) is out with some selective results from a Republican polling firm's soundings of Arkansas voters on the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

Supreme Court overturns Arkansas class action ruling

The United States Supreme Court ruled today on the side of business interests in a controversial case over handling of class action lawsuits arising in Miller County, Arkansas.

The myth of tax cutting and economic prosperity

Ernie Dumas this weeks elaborates on a favorite topic — the inordinate benefit that the wealthy will enjoy from pending Republican tax cut plans, both on regular and capital gains income.

The legislature rolls on

The House Public Health Committee approved a bill gutting water quality standards in Arkansas. HB 1929 by Rep. Andy Davis weakens federal standards, another sort of interposition of Arkansas interests against those of the federal government.

The readers take over

The Tuesday line commences. Finishing up: * BILL HALTER!: The two Teamster union locals have added their names to the list of unions endorsing Bill Halter's Democratic candidacy for governor.

DHS issues correction on projections; bottom line unchanged

DHS issued a correction to reporters today — the per-person, per-year numbers provided to reporters yesterday for Medicaid expansion are not accurate.