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Little Rock Film Festival preview

Little Rock Film Festival preview

May 16, 2013

Vol 39 • No 37

Read the print version

Ten to watch at the Little Rock Film Fest

Films not to miss.

Locally made at the Little Rock Film Fest

The latest from Daniel Campbell highlights LRFF Arkansas program.

More to watch at the Little Rock Film Fest

The rest of the best.

Little Rock Film Festival schedule

The LRFF offers three festival pass options. Entry is granted according to pass priority.

A guide to the 2013 Little Rock Film Festival

With film picks, a survey of the Arkansas program, a complete schedule and more.

A downtown dream realized for Little Rock Film Festival

Screens straddle the river.

Tabriz haul: $550,000

The biennial Tabriz auction of the Arkansas Arts Center will net at least $550,000 for the Arts Center's coffers, which will wipe out the current year's budget deficit of $216,280.

UPDATE: State college scholarship cuts run deep

Earlier, I mentioned an on-line petition by a father unhappy to learn recently his child might not receive the expected state aid to enroll next fall in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.

Ron Fuller to leave ABC Board

Ron Fuller, a Little Rock lobbyist and former Republican legislator, is resigning from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board after 16 years as an appointee of both a Republican and a Democratic governor.

City Director Erma Hendrix unhappy about bike lanes

UPDATE: Quite a stir produced in the neighborhood. Hendrix sent a long a letter she'd received about the comments reported here.

Kevin Kresse sculpture added to Riverfront Park

City officials this morning dedicated the latest addition to the sculpture collection in Riverfront Park — "Breaking the Cycle" by Little Rock artist Kevin Kresse.

UPDATE: IRS harassment not limited to Tea Party

This is NOT by way of excuse, but it's important context. The IRS hasn't limited harassment of nonprofits to Tea Party and related groups.

Little Rock park, Little Rock artist: Kresse

Bronze sculpture "Breaking the Cycle" is dedicated.

Buffalo River Watershed Alliance asks revocation of hog farm permit

The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance has written to Teresa Marks, director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, asking her to revoke the permit issued for the C&H factory hog farm at Mount Judea, near a major tributary to the Buffalo River.

'Short Term 12' kicks off Little Rock Film Festival tonight

Director Destin Daniel Cretton's "Short Term 12," which won both the Audience and Grand Jury prizes at SXSW, opens the Little Rock Film Festival.

Drilling resigns from Tech Park board

Ed Drilling, the president of AT&T Arkansas and the nominee of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to the board of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority, has resigned from the board.

Thursday To-Do: Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich will read at the Oxford American's South on Main Thursday.

Thursday: Justin Furstenfeld and more

Justin Furstenfeld is at Juanita's Thursday night.

UPDATE: The missing elements of the IRS scandal story

David Cay Johnston, the veteran tax beat reporter, has an article at Columbia Journalism Review that ought to be required reading for anyone covering the story.

Judge refuses to dismiss suit challenging new 12-week abortion limit

Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has denied the state of Arkansas's motion to dismiss the ACLU-backed lawsuit challenging the new state law, passed over Gov. Mike Beebe's veto, to prevent most abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy.

The hog manure open line

Evening roundup: The dangers of foaming hog manure; a new college in Little Rock; warm review for Randall Woods' biography of William Colby.

Film fest, witness protection, news you can use

What's in the latest weekly edition of the Arkansas Times.

Defending 'The Dog Whisperer'

"What mighty contests," wrote 18th-century satirist Alexander Pope, "rise from trivial things." The poet had sex in mind, although something similar could be said about Americans and their pets. If you think people get worked up about politics, say something "controversial" about dogs or cats. Then prepare for action.

Listen, UA

Any public-university trustees considering merger of their tax-supported teaching hospital with a Catholic hospital should ponder these wise words from Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Forlorn GOP turns to Benghazi

If you are a beltway Republican, no antidote for the blues matches extended congressional hearings on a real or imagined national horror — that is, if it might heap dishonor on a Democratic administration. If Hillary Clinton will be the dishonoree, so much the better.

Partisan justice

I had a nice visit with Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood last week.

Where or when

"Two women were arrested and charged in a robbery where one of the suspects is accused of carrying pepper spray as well as her 10-month-old child."

Book report

'Gatsby' goes 3D.

The Journey

The Libras play White Water

Also, Coolio comes to Discovery.

It was a good week for medical shopping

It was also a good week for a Tech Board reality check, homicide, a new candidate and a shooter. It was a bad week for Pulaski County Special School District, college students and school teachers.

Health consequences post-spill

As a physician from a small community in South Louisiana, I believe that I can speak for my fellow citizens when I state that our most sincere sympathies go out to the residents of Mayflower with regard to their environmental plight.

Jim Something

Back during grad school, way down in Louisiana, The Observer met a man who — and we're a solid 85 percent sure on this one — was probably in the witness protection program. We can't remember his name anymore after all these years, but we do remember that it was a name as white as mayonnaise. John Something. Or maybe Jim Something. The last name wasn't anything as milquetoast as Smith or Jones, but we do remember that it was beige and forgettable, hence our forgetting, and hence the reason we suspect it may have been selected for him.

Tom Keifer at Revolution

Also, 'J Dilla Change My Life' at The Joint, Nathaniel Rich at South on Main, Good Time Ramblers at Stickyz, 607 Presents: Block Monster Party at Revolution, Running of the Tubs in Hot Springs and 'Buzz-B-Q' at the North Little Rock RV Park.

Fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss raises millions for Heifer

His love of Heifer has morphed into a fundraising juggernaut with a life of its own.

Out of whack Arkansas hospital charges

How is it that a "major and small bowel" procedure at National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs is billed at an average $333,470, but only $19,740 at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro? Or that "infectious and parasitic diseases with OR procedures" are billed at $257,369 at National Park and $44,446 at St. Bernards?

An A for E's Bistro

Fine dining at bargain prices.

Efficiency program from Entergy Arkansas could save you money

It often provides thousands in repairs to your home at no cost to you.

Huge fire damages Forest Place apartments

Top news this morning is the enormous fire that broke out not long after midnight at the Forest Place apartments on North University Avenue.

Guns and fetuses: A legislative review

Crazy Davy Carter, the House speaker who is a potential Republican candidate for governor, won headlines all over today for remarks at a legislative conference in Hot Springs that Republicans need to move beyond guns and abortion to focus on issues more important to average Arkies.

Introducing The Little Rock Pie Cycle: Taking sweet to the street

The Pie Cycle is a truly wonderful addition to our mobile and street-side dining scene, and it’s certainly something worth tracking down. It’s an experience, and a real pleasure meeting young people with big dreams and the creativity to make them happen. The Pie Cycle is destined to brighten the day of anyone fortunate enough to get their paws on some of their lovely creations.

Good news for Arkansas lottery

No winners of the big prize in yesterday's Powerball drawing, which means the jackpot Saturday will go to $475 million, which would be the second largest.

Friday To-Do: Good Time Ramblers

The Good Time Ramblers play an album release show at Stickyz Friday.

Arkansas graded F on independent political spending disclosure

The least surprising news of the day, but useful confirmation nonetheless. A new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics about most states' failure to require meaningful disclosure of independent spending in state political races.

"Best of the South" at Greg Thompson and more

Women's luncheon at noon, panel discussion Friday on Southern Regionalism.

Friday: The Libras, ImprovLittleRock and more

"The Paris Letter" runs Friday and Saturday at The Weekend Theater.

Massive resistance to Obamacare produces results

Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post's Wonkblog disputes those who think serial votes by the U.S. House against Obamacare are meaningless political theater.

Friday: Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Revolution

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band plays at Revolution Friday.

James Lee Witt endorses Mike Ross for governor

Does the endorsement of James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's FEMA director, now a bigtime lobbyist/consultant, help Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross?

The forgotten in Exxon County, Arkansas

State takes over Mineral Springs School District

State Education Director Tom Kimbrell has ordered state takeover of the Mineral Springs-Saratoga School District, including dissolving of the school board, because of money problems.

Michigan pipeline whistleblower John Bolenbaugh visits Mayflower

Citizen journalist John Bolenbaugh, the Michigan oil-spill-clean-up-worker-turned-whistleblower-turned tar-sands gadfly, spent the last week in Mayflower.

New study finds no water contamination by fracking in Arkansas

A study by Duke University and U.S. Geological Survey participants has found no contamination of Arkansas groundwater by gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing.

This weekend: Intl. Greek Food Festival

A foodie must-do this weekend is the International Greek Food Festival, which kicks off Friday, May 17 at 11 a.m. at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 1100 Napa Valley Drive in Little Rock.

OA's SoLost goes behind-the-scenes of 'Mud'

The latest from the Oxford American's SoLost series is from footage series director Dave Anderson got last year during the shoot for Jeff Nichols' "Mud" in south Arkansas.

The death and taxes open line

The line is open. Closing out: * THERE THE GOP GOES AGAIN: The Arkansas Republican Party is in all-out assault mode on U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, today pounding him for saying seven years ago that he supported permanent repeal of the estate tax (dishonestly called a "death tax" by the Republicans) but joining in recent bipartisan approval of what is now a dramatically lower estate tax.

This week on Arkansas Cooks

Eat Arkansas blogger makes radio debut with a local sweet treat favorite.

Women's rights in court this morning

Leslie Newell Peacock will be in federal court for us this morning for the preliminary injunction hearing on the lawsuit challenging the new state law prohibiting most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Guns and the governorship: Asa Hutchinson continues to front for NRA

In for a penny .... Asa Hutchinson, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, seems happy to be indelibly branded as the NRA's front man on guns as the calendar rolls toward the May gubernatorial primary.

UPDATE: Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, Bill Clinton on lawyer suspension list

On March 8, the Supreme Court suspended the license of state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson for nonpayment of dues.

Saturday To-Do: 8th Annual Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs

The 8th Annual Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs is Saturday in Hot Springs.

Saturday To-Do: 607 Presents: Block Monster Party

JLaur performs Saturday night at Revolution.

Davy Carter won't make race for governor

It was fun while it lasted. House Speaker Davy Carter won't make a Republican race for governor.

Arkansas unemployment rate dropped in April

The Arkansas unemployment rate in April was 7.1 percent, down from 7.2 percent the month before.

Saturday To-Do: 9th Annual Buzz-B-Q

The 9th Annual Buzz-B-Q is Saturday at North Little Rock RV Park.

Saturday: Coolio, Thick Syrup anniversary show and more

Coolio will be at Discovery Nightclub Saturday.

The 2013 legislature closes quietly

The House and Senate convened briefly this morning and adjourned the 2013 General Assembly sine die.

'Short Term 12' folks are really good at Vine

If your first reaction to Vine, the new-ish Twitter app that allows users to post 6 second video clips, was, "This is worthless," you need to check out the Vines "Short Term 12" director Destin Cretton and actor Keith Stanfield did while they were in town for the Little Rock Film Festival.

'Stand your ground' laws increase homicides

Count me unsurprised that enhanced legal protection for opening fire on people results in more gun deaths.

Republicans hit Pryor on IRS union contribution

Easy score. Arkansas Republican Party says U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor should return political contributions he's received from the union that represents Treasury Department employees, which include IRS workers.

Video blogger Joseph Birdsong teaches you about Arkansas

Arkansas is full of talented people, and we ran across yet another one of them last night: the thoroughly-hilarious writer and video blogger Joseph Birdsong.

Judge Wright issues injunction against abortion law

The word from the federal courthouse is that federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new Arkansas law that was meant to bar most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy.

Angela Davis Johnson at Gallery 360

Reception for artist is tonight.

Faulkner jury awards $5.2 million in nursing home negligence case

A Faulkner County jury returned a unanimous verdict last night that the Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had been negligent in treatment of Martha Bull, 76, who died at the nursing home April 7, 2008 after staff failed to act on a doctor's orders to get her transferred to a hospital emergency room for treatment of severe abdominal pain.

Two judges disciplined for courtroom behavior

The State Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today announced disciplinary actions against two judges for unethical behavior.

Davy Carter: 'I don’t know if the Republican party in a primary is willing to elect a guy like me'

House Speaker Davy Carter is not running for governor, which took a significant amount of sizzle out of his speech at the Political Animals Club today (Carter himself told reporters “I had to give a different speech than I had planned”).

Galusha, Krannichfeld, Thornhill at M2 Gallery

Reception tonight.

LaToya Hobbs at Hearne Fine Art

"Beautiful Uprising" reception tonight, talk by artist Saturday.

Friday finish — An oldie but goodie for legislature? A rebuttal for Tom Cotton

A new school leader in Mineral Springs, a political rumor from Fayetteville and a deconstruction of Rep. Tom Cotton's slam of Obamacare.

The Injunction, Crazy Davy Comedy Hour Edition

The first of what’s sure to be many legal challenges of new laws passed by the Arkansas General Assembly, Davy Carter opting not to run for governor, the environmental movements coalescing around the Mayflower oil spill cleanup and the factory hog farm in Mt. Judea in the Buffalo River watershed and bike lanes on South Main in Little Rock — all covered this week.

Food Feedback Friday: midnight snack edition

Late night edition, tell us where you're eatin' this week.

Crisis at the NLRB

If left to the Republican Party, there'd be no National Labor Relations Board to look after employee rights in the workplace.

Remember Jon Hubbard? He hasn't mellowed

Remember Jon Hubbard, the former Republican legislator from Jonesboro whose views proved too extreme for voters in 2012, though not for the Republican Party of Arkansas?

Practicing law with Bro. Rapert

Sen. Jason Rapert, author of the patently unconstitutional bill to ban most abortions in Arkansas at the 12th week of pregnancy, took heart yesterday at Judge Susan Webber Wright's indication that she was inclined to uphold the part of the law that requires women seeking an abortion in the 12th week of pregnancy or later to have an ultrasound and to be shown the results of that test.

Pissaladiere, the acceptable early morning pizza

Mylo Coffee Co. does savory just as well as sweet.

Partisan justice: Court candidate Wood gets tout from GOP's Curtis Coleman

I've written here and in last week's column about the lingering taste of partisanship in supposedly non-partisan Arkansas judicial races, as exhibited recently by Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood, who's expected to run for the Arkansas Supreme Court next year.

See a movie open line

The line is open. Nothing to say but to add to Lindsey's endorsement on our podcast this week of the Little Rock Film Festival.

UPDATE: FBI confirms State Treasurer Martha Shoffner's arrest, apparently for official misconduct

The shoe drops. This mug shot of Democratic state Auditor Martha Shoffner appeared on the Pulaski County sheriff's office jail intake page late this afternoon.

Sunday morning: IRS, Kochs and movies

Not much new to report this morning. If all goes well, I'm going to catch at least three movies today at the Little Rock Film Festival.

It Could Happen to You: the open line

The day's not done, but I've seen two excellent films at the Little Rock Film Festival.

A perfect sausage from Butcher and Public

Travis McConnell serves up the good stuff at the Bernice Garden Farmers Market.

Little Rock Film Festival 2013 award winners

"Bayou Maharajah," "These Birds Walk," "Short Term 12" and "Dirty Wars" are this year's big winners.

Martha Shoffner's day in court

State Treasurer Martha Shoffner will lead the news today, though Sunday provided few new details about the FBI;s somewhat unusual arrest of her Saturday afternoon for a weekend in the Pulaski County jail.

Martha Shoffner buzz

Does Martha Shoffner have any friends? Former employees with unhappy tales of their time in her office would be surprised.

Johnny Cash mashed with Jackson 5, Steve Miller

Here's what you get when you combine "Rockin' Robin" with "Folsom Prison Blues" and "The Joker." What say you — abomination or finger-snapping good time?

UPDATED: Shoffner charged with pie-box delivery of kickbacks from securities salesman; released after hearing

The details of the federal charge against Martha Shoffner have been released in a criminal complaint from the FBI: I'll pass along as quickly as I can my notes from a reading of the complaint over the phone.

Robert Keenan says no link between his firm, salesman and charge against Martha Shoffner

I've already mentioned this in the main item about the charge against Martha Shoffner, but I thought it was worth a separate mention given rampant speculation on who the government's confidential source in the securities business was that made payments to Shoffner and then wore a wire to gather incriminating information.

Greek week continues: Little Greek Restaurant UPDATE

Coming to the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.

Shoffner's late arriving legal help

I've now confirmed that State Treasurer Martha Shoffner had no legal representation until her Saturday arrest.

Judicial races begin

Judicial candidates may not formally begin campaigns until one year before an election. That's today for 2014 judicial elections, held the same day as party primaries with runoffs, if necessary, in November.

Chris Thyer: Informant in Shoffner case will eventually be identified

David Koon reports from the news conference this afternoon by U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer of the Eastern District of Arkansas, who brought the charge against state Treasurer Martha Shoffner, and Western District U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who buttressed the message that the feds are looking for corruption statewide.

Watch Sens. Boozman and Pryor talk about the Internet econmy

Roby Brock will moderate the Google+Hangout on how Arkansas's faring in the Internet economy. The video conference starts streaming at 3:30 p.m. It's part of the Internet Association’s Internet on Main Street tour.

Rep. Broadaway won't make race for attorney general

Weird day. The line is open.

The piegate open line

Weird day. I've been consumed with Martha Shoffner's favorite pie.

Botanas bar The Fold opens

The Fold, the new taqueria and cocktail bar from Bart Barlogie and Wilson Brandt, opened this weekend in Riverdale.

Stormy morning: Shoffner, hospitals, abortion

A morning report as Arkansas watches the stormy skies: * THE STATE TREASURER WATCH: Can Martha Shoffner really return to work today as state treasurer, overseeing billions in state investments, after admitting to FBI agents that she wrongfully accepted a pie stuffed with a cash kickback from a securities salesman she inordinately favored with state business?

Will Tom Cotton help Oklahoma or hold it hostage to ideology?

Here's a list of the Republicans who voted against disaster aid for areas hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Sources identify Steele Stephens as informant in Shoffner case

I hinted earlier that evidence was mounting that the securities salesman who provided confidential information to the FBI was Steele Stephens, the broker who began enjoying a huge share of Treasurer Martha Shoffner's bond business in 2010.

A case for the new Public Corruption Task Force?

At the announcement yesterday of the charge against Martha Shoffner, U.S. attorneys announced a public corruption task force for the state.

A call for Buffalo River protection on float, hog farm tour

State legislators have an interesting twofer today and tomorrow — a Buffalo River float trip and a visit to a mass hog feeding operation that conservationists fear holds peril for the pristine national river.

NLR woman dies after fiance sets her on fire

Worst local story today so far is from Fox 16: A North Little Rock woman has died after her fiancee poured gasoline on her and set her on fire.

Shoffner watch: She won't be in today

Debbie Rogers, chief deputy state treasurer, said Treasurer Martha Shoffner will not be at work today, but otherwise it was "business as usual" at the treasurer's office.

Airport audit brought to board

The muddle in accounting at the Bill and Hillary National Airport that meant no checks could be cut for “quite a length of time,” L. Cotton Thomas & Co. CFO Chad Miller said, were outlined to the full commission this morning by the auditing firm.

Two shot at Verizon Arena this morning

Officers with North Little Rock police responded to a call about a shooting at Verizon Arena this morning around 11 a.m. and found two people shot.

Appeals court strikes down 20-week abortion ban

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the Arizona law that put a ban on abortions beginning with the 20th week of pregnancy.

Jarod Varner picked to lead Central Arkansas Transit

Jarod Varner, who's been vice president of transit operations for the Denton County (Texas) Transportation Authority, where he's worked since 2005, has been selected to be the executive director of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority.

Got a great cocktail recipe? It could win you tickets to 'Jersey Boys'

The Times is giving away a pair of tickets to "Jersey Boys."

The guns and Bass Pro Shops open line

The University of Arkansas president recommends that campuses remain gun-free. Bass Pro Shops is under construction in Otter Creek.

Martha Shoffner resigns as Arkansas state treasurer

Martha Shoffner, facing federal prosecution in a kickback case, has resigned as Arkansas State treasurer.

Escaping traffic in America: The remotest place in Arkansas

From up East comes a link from a former Arkie about a website, Remote Footprints.

Morning report: ExxonMobil caught; city directors get big pay raise; the return of Ken Starr

Interesting post on Daily Kos about documents obtained by Greenpeace through a Freedom of Information Act to the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Cowboy up at Sonny Williams

Sitting down at Sonny Williams is a real pleasure. They're doing justice to thick, meaty steaks. Worth a visit for any in Little Rock.

Jennifer Granholm to headline Democratic dinner in June

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be the main speaker at the Arkansas Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner June 15.

Thursday To-Do: Mary Gauthier

Mary Gauthier performs at White Water Tavern Thursday.
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