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September 9, 2010

Vol 37 • No 1

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Fall into some music

From local mainstays (The Moving Front) to divisive megastars (Nickelback), cult favorites (Times New Roman) to bona fide American icons (B.B. King--twice!), here's our rundown of the best live music of the season.

My blues heaven

With a big assist from B.B. King, Dr. John and Taj Mahal, Munnie Jordan has the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival on the right track.

Theater fix

The Wicked Witch of the West, Eva Peron and Alfred Hitchcock inspire some of the season's most anticipated stage plays.


Highlights of the best fests, plays and fairs from around the state.

"Retro" on the news

KTHV aired a piece this a.m. on the show at Laman Library.

Elliott campaigns in shadows

Former President Bill Clinton is in town today, as you know, for a string of money-raising events for Democratic candidates — Joyce Elliott (2nd District Congress), Carolyn Y. Staley (state rep.), Chad Causey (1st Dist. Congress) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Clinton offered some good advice for Democratic candidates.

Wednesday: 'Dona Barbara,' RazorRock Spirits, 1999

The 1943 romance "Dona Barbara" screens at UALR as part of their Mexican Film Festival, 6:30 p.m., free.

Motion to fire lottery boss fails

Comp time on top of high executive pay supposedly justified by long hours of important work?

The mean streets of West LR

Road rage. Shot fired.

She's a diamond

'Evita' shines at The Rep

We're on the downhill

And the Wednesday line is open.

John Boozman is a liar

For the record: The John Boozman is a Razorback ad just aired on Channel 7 at 6:27 p.m.

Greening Main Street

Mayor Mark Stodola has announced some help from the EPA to do some planning on the revitalization of Main Street.

School choice: Little Rock hangs on

Despite new charter school options and the usual torrent of bad publicity, Sept. 3 enrollment figures for the Little Rock School District are mildly encouraging against the yardsticks by which urban districts are traditionally judged.

New trial may hinge on DNA statute

McDaniel 'dodging and weaving' on law, attorney says.

Saving hunters from the anti-hunters

That's Amendment 1's goal.

Photos, paintings, beads and aprons

Friday night will a busy one for gallery goers.

Then there were 8

After Minnijean Brown Trickey confirmed Jefferson Thomas' death, she mused, would the Little Rock Nine now be the Eight?

Jim Keet takes cake, drops ball

This column was writing itself all over the floor of Jim Keet's campaign headquarters.

Irish eyes are smilin'

Hibernia a foodie find.

Abe's Old Feed House

As the years have groaned on, we've come to realize something essential: that in life, love and food, quality is far superior to quantity.

Meet Tim Griffin

Who said the Bush Justice Department would never investigate injustice in its own ranks? Maybe it was me.

Watch your fingers

When a Little Rock civic leader asked, "How can we stop Tim Griffin?" we thought of the monkey that's been terrorizing central Japan, biting residents in large numbers and escaping all attempts to capture it.

Eye on Arkansas, Sept. 9

Orval, Sept. 9


I tried Adderall for the first time recently. Today, actually. To write this column.

In Brief, Sept. 9-11

Hammock, Daryle Singletary, "Luxe"

Verizon job loss

The company has given a number of higher-tier workers an ultimatum: relocate to other Verizon hubs out of state or face the ax.

Tarball Yodda Yodda

Friday night football is back again, and I don't want to let the season pass without another appeal to update our team names and mascots.

D-G obsession

The Democrat-Gazette has seen fit to assault U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln three times in less than a week on their editorial page. This level of repetition surpasses a mere pattern and might be deemed an obsession.

Heads will roll

In Mexisploitation 'Machete.'

The Observer, Sept. 9

The Observer and Spouse spent the Labor Day weekend painting Junior's bedroom. Did The Observer mention how much we hate painting?

Times that try men's skoals

Given the bleak election outlook, liberals have a good reason to turn to drink.

Petrino kicking the tires in Hog debut

Coach Petrino might as well be wearing a lab coat and safety goggles on the sidelines. He's tinkering with a machine.

The To-Do List, Sept. 9-12

"Crumbs from the Table of Joy," "Disfarmer," RazorRock, Lucero and more.

The Televisionist, Sept. 9

On 'Terriers' and 'Nikita.'

The Week That Was, Sept. 9

Good week: Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. Bad week: UCA, State Rep. Bill Abernathy, Shiloh Christian, Jefferson Thomas.

What's Cookin, Sept. 9

Half Off Depot is offering coupons for 1620, Juanita's, Starving Artist Cafe, Red Door, Loca Luna, Capi's, Trio's and more.

Words, Sept. 9

"Coach hopes for better from fraught receiving corps." Fraught with what, one might ask. Butterfingers?

Candidates, not just party, count

More polling from Talk Business examines the recent polling that shows Republican preferences among Arkansas voters when your only choice for a particular office is a generic Republican or Democrat.

Talk is cheap, Mayor Hays. But not a parking deck

North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette yesterday that he didn't envision dipping into the city budget to pay for a dreamed-of parking deck for a new hotel that he hopes to encourage with a swap of city land with that owned by private developers.

Huckabee TV tryout ratings weak

Various bloggers are reporting that a tryout of a syndicated TV show for Mike Huckabee in seven markets produced low ratings.

How many will pay?

Somebody wondered what the impact of raising taxes on the wealthy (those making more than $250,000 a year) would be in Arkansas.

Housing sales plunge

As forecast by national figures released earlier, housing sales in July plunged in Arkansas by more than 31 percent compared with the same month a year earlier.

I was telling you about this burger...

this really, really big burger just across the river in Memphis. This one folks eat to compete. Not I, not my photographer. But we did sample it and take home the rest. Check out the Kookamonga Burger at the Kooky Canuck.

Meat and more meat

It's not all that's on the menu at El Dorado's Good Times Grill. But you will find a lot of steaks and burgers amongst the appetizers, salads, pasta and Mexican dishes you can order.

Clinton stumps for Lincoln

Times photographer Brian Chilson was on hand at last night's event to rally support for Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Thursday: Three Bad Jacks, Zoogma, Seasons of Evil

Rockabilly revival veterans Three Bad Jacks (above) grease down their hair and swagger into Hot Springs alongside Little Rock's Josh the Devil and the Sinners for a night of driving juke joint punk, 9 p.m., $8.

Kris Allen, Albert King, more into AR Entertainers Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame inducts their 2010 class, including Kris Allen, Lisa Bluont, Albert King and more.

Coyotes on the prowl

Hillcrest weathered some cat-snatching coyotes several years back. Now it's North Little Rock's turn.

Coming to the Bernice

Five artists' work to be unveiled.

Outlaws in Bentonville

Easy riders documented in Danny Lyons' photos.

Wine and dine

The 13th Annual Wine and Food Festival at Wildwood Park for the Arts pairs 150 wines, some of Arkansas' favorite chefs and you.

BREAKING: Koran burning off

Headlines are popping that the Florida crackpot is calling off his scheduled 9/11 Koran burning.

College enrollment surging

The University of Arkansas today reported a big surge in enrollment this year — a record one-year increase — following reported increases at other colleges public and private.

Teach your children well

We teach our children to read and write, how to interact with others and how to behave. But do we also teach them to eat the wrong foods?

Fayettevillian turned Liverpudlian

Fayetteville artist Megan Chapman has a collaborative work on view abroad.

Living legends

Harry King, Wally Hall and Jim Bailey (L to R) were honored today with inclusion on the War Memorial Stadium Commission's new Wall of Honor for sports journalists.

The night is young

But the line is open.

Neighborhood grocery news

An e-mail this morning says Edwards' Food Giant will open in the Tanglewood Shopping Center at 9 a.m.

A victory for equal rights

The federal court ruling yesterday that says military discrimination against homosexuals is unconstitutional is important in the military context, but it's more important in the broader context, as the New York Times notes.The decision is among a number of recent rulings that suggest a growing judicial skepticism about measures that discriminate against homosexuals, including rulings against California’s ban on same-sex marriage and a Massachusetts decision striking down a federal law forbidding the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.

Dems whistle past graveyard

Some Clinton-era Democratic political players are quoted here as saying the situation isn't as desire in 2010 as in 1994 when Newt's contract on America swept the Democratic majority out of Congress.

Weekend: Hammock, Hogs, Daryle Singletary

FRIDAY 9/10 Denton's Trotline in Benton brings a big show to Saline County when country and western star Daryle Singletary cranks it up on the back porch; he's joined by the steadily-gigging country young gun, Ryan Couron, 9 p.m., $30.

Weekend To-Do: 'Crumbs from the Table of Joy"

"Crumbs from the Table of Joy" runs through September at The Weekend Theater.

2nd Friday Art Troll

The Bernice Garden is the newest 2nd Friday venue.

Weekend To-Do: 'Evita'

The Rep's production of "Evita," the Webber/Rice musical, begins its run this weekend.

Friday To-Do: "Disfarmer"

"DISFARMER"7:30 p.m., Cabe Theatre, Hendrix College. Free.

Friday To-Do: RazorRock Rally

The RazorRock week lands in the Rivermarket Amphitheatre for a pep rally leading up to the Hogs' Little Rock opener against University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Saturday To-Do: Lucero

Lucero returns to town with their full lineup, this Saturday at The Village.

Here come the Swift Boats

An outfit called the American Future Fund has bought almost $60,000 worth of TV ads to tie Chad Causey, the 1st District Democratic candidate, to Nancy Pelosi and better health care for Americans.

Saturday To-Do: 'Pinnacle of Music' Festival

"PINNACLE OF MUSIC" FESTIVAL11 a.m., Pinnacle Mountain State Park. $10.

Justice Corbin has lung surgery

Associate Justice Donald Corbin of the Arkansas Supreme Court had part of his lung removed during cancer surgery Thursday.

Lincoln-Boozman debate

The Lincoln-Boozman debate will air here during the noon hour. Follow Twitter accounts here.

2nd Friday: HAM

Laura Terry's "Southern Landscapes" at the HAM.

Devin the Dude to The Village

Devin the Dude slated for an October 23 show at The Village

Trout Fishing in America leaves the kiddie table

Trout Fishing in America returns to form with "Lookin' at Lucky," their first adult album in 11 years.

HSDFI leaking 2010 lineup

The HSDFI have released the first 11 chosen films for their 2010 festival.

Boswell-Mourot tonight

Boswell-Mourot Gallery opening is tonight.

Free schools mean what?

A lawyer who follows school issues calls my attention to an article today in the New York Times about a lawsuit filed in California over textbook, test, course and other fees being charged there to make up for budget shortages.

Stay in the spirit, at Cantrell Gallery

Painter Hicks and potter Noebels featured.

Friday follies

The line is open. For the obsessive-compulsive: I did make an FOI request for University of Arkansas documents related to Helmetgate, the Hog-logo-sporting John Boozman commercials that stirred a dustup this week.

A plea for community care

As testimony continues in the federal lawsuit over the operation of the Conway Human Development Center, I have a letter to share from parents on the side of more community treatment for people with developmental disabilities.

Quarterbacking man Ryan Mallett

Just in time for Hog football in Little Rock, the New York Times profiles quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Money talks in charter school debate

Money is pouring into legislative races in New York from supporters and opponents of charter schools.

Tax cuts: Who needs facts?

Politics will determine the issue of the Bush tax cuts, even though a decade of proof testifies to their ineffectiveness as economic stimulus.

An early line

It appears quiet, not counting the crush of traffic headed to War Memorial. Another mob scene: new Food Giant in Tanglewood.

Sunday To-Do: Jimmy McKissic

Famed, Pine Bluff-born pianists, Jimmy McKissic, plays a recital this Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Rosy time for Republicans

Brummett's current assessment of political fortunes are nearly all good for Repiblicans (well, not Jim Keet.)

Four dead in crash near Conway

State Police report a quadruple fatality on Interstate 40 that sounds, if not a road rage incident, something akin to it.

Day of rest UPDATE

Sory. I"ve been engrossed today in a book by Wilbert Rideau, the convicted murderer from my hometown who spent 44 years in Angola, many of them as an award-winning journalist, before finally winning his relief.

Last night: Lucero

The crowd at last night's Lucero/Glossary show was probably a little smaller than some expected due to the Razorbacks game, but judging by the Hog fan contingent that still managed to stumble in, fresh off of drinking since around 10 a.m., that might have been a good thing.

Raising the retirement age

Rep. John Boehner, among others, has talked about raising the retirement age to 70 to strengthen Social Security.

Sex and the military

Another potentially groundbreaking case goes to trial today with an Air Force major challenging her forced discharge because she was revealed to be lesbian.

Burglar targets churches

The Little Rock police report three church break-ins early this morning and the theft of cash from at least one of them.

Cameras come to court

The Arkansas Supreme Court tomorrow will announce plans to begin live webstreaming of oral arguments before the court.

Advanced Placement test scores up

Arkansas students are taking more Advanced Placement tests and the pass rate on the test is improving, the state Education Department announced today.

The ousted U.S. attorneys

Five of the U.S. attorneys ousted in the Bush administration's political purge of the Justice Department are scheduled to appear for a panel discussion at noon Monday, Sept. 20, at the UALR Law School.

That's no lady, that's an alderman

Saline Courier reports that a Bauxite alderwoman, Deborah Purifoy, was arrested Saturday for assaulting a police officer.

True Blood: As worthless as tits on a turtle

Despite the mid-season promise of a battle royale between vampire royalty, Sookie's suitors and werewolves, not only did none materialize in the season finale of "True Blood," just about every plot turn was unsatisfying or downright dumb.

Lincoln's final days

I think today's Democratic Party news release finally boils down the last days of Sen. Blanche Lincoln's long-shot attempt to hang onto her Senate seat.

Walton Arts looking to aqcuire the Arkansas Music Pavilion

Missed this last week. According to the Fayetteville Flyer, the Walton Arts Center facilities committee voted unanimously last week to recommend to the board of directors that the WAC purchase the Arkansas Music Pavilion, the large outdoor venue adjacent to the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville.

Jawbreaker - "Kiss the Bottle" (Vino's, June 15,1993)

Ear Candy Vino's week #1: Jawbreaker - "Kiss the Bottle" (1993)

The sound of music on Main Street

A formal announcement is set tomorrow on a plan to turn a vacant building at 315 Main into a jazz club and apartments.

Those devilish details

I get copies of quite a bit of the e-mail correspondence among Little Rock School District administrators and school board members.

New standards for charter schools

The State Board of Education met today. Details here, including a vote to declare the Helena-West Helena School District in fiscal stress and a discussion of new standards to evaluate new applications for charter schools and evaluate existing charter schools.

Ernest Withers: FBI informant

A blockbuster of a story in the Commercial Appeal today: Ernest Withers, the famous black photographer who captured images of historic moments in the civil rights movement, including in Little Rock, was an FBI informant during the civil rights era.

Monday line

It's open.

The glorious goodness

I'm a pie fan, just about any sort of pie, whether it's a crusted pie, a cream pie, a custard pie, a tart, a savory cheeselet, a fruit-filled, even a fried pie. You can find any manner of pie out there at one place or another. But finding really, incredibly good pie? Leave it to Hunka Pie and the man who opened the pie shop in the furniture store.

Extremist John Boozman

John Brummett today rises to the defense of Rep. John Boozman over Sen. Blanche Lincoln's debate effort to cast him as an extremist on abortion for his vote on a Democratic effort to amend sweeping federal parental consent legislation.

Jesus spotted

Thanks to Channel 4 for another miracle Jesus image sighting — this one on a rock in Newton County.

Just say yes to the rich

After a moment of sanity, the Republican Party is getting its act together again . Key senators are vowing not to approve tax legislation that doesn't preserve extraordinarily low rates for the wealthy (that's really worked wonders for the economy these last 10 years, hasn't it?)

Racial disparity in school suspensions

The New York Times reports today on a Southern Poverty Law Center study that shows black middle school students — boys and girls — are three to four times more likely to be suspended than white students.

UCA: Higher education or hotel?

Shelby Brewer, a UCA graduate, calls my attention to her Facebook post on news that the University of Central Arkansas is paying $11,000 for an automated service that students can use for a wakeup call.

Once more to the well

How many candidates for lieutenant governor (teats on a boar hog if ever there was) has made job creation a platform?

On football, race and Little Rock

The Wall Street Journal today has a sparkling review of Little Rock native Jay Jennings' new book, "Carry the Rock," using the 2007 Central High football team, Little Rock School board politics and an assessment of the city 50 years after the crisis as a measure of modern race relations.

Cop injured in ramming

Little Rock Officer Carl West suffered back injuries when his police car was rammed by another car he intended to stop at Cantrell and Southridge early this morning.

Lincoln one-ups Boozman on debates UPDATE

During Friday's Fox 16/Talk Business senate debate, Rep. John Boozman suggested a town hall-style debate in which he and Sen. Blanche Lincoln would take questions from the audience - no notes, just microphones - even though Boozman had declined no less than seven debate offers from the Lincoln campaign.

The Supremes, Live!

Here are the details on state Supreme Court webcasting of oral arguments, beginning Thursday. For your web "favorites," here's the link.

Here, blue dog

Win a Rodrigue, promote the arts.

Spying in Arkansas? Surely not

A Pennsylvania newspaper reports — shades of the bad old civil rights days — that the Homeland Security agency in that state is monitoring environmentalists.

So you think you can paint

Artists get in the act with Bravo reality show.

Opposition continues to Hays' deal

Frank Fletcher, owner of North Little Rock's Wyndham Hotel, earlier had told me he might attempt a referendum campaign if Mayor Pat Hays persuaded the City Council to swap private developers four downtown parcels for the old Rye Furniture property.

Fayetteville mayor decries wage theft

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan has made the city the first to express opposition to wage theft, according to a release from the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center.

Threat to sue over voter rolls

A conservative lawyer has written letters threatening lawsuits again 16 states, including Arkansas, for failure to adequately purge voter rolls of ineligible voters.

Money swap aids school construction

Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters today that federal stimulus spending could be applied to existing jobs in Arkansas and that way free state money for construction projects.

Tuesday: Outstanding Red Team, Make No Mistake, karaoke everydamnwhere

Outstanding Red Team, featuring members from Loch Ness Monster and San Antokyo, play cheap beer night at White Water Tavern with local singer-songwriter Michael Witham, 10 p.m., donations.

Green Day - "Knowledge" (Aug. 17, 1991)

Vino's week continues on Ear Candy with a clip from Green Day's 1991 show. It's their cover of "Knowledge" by Operation Ivy, which appeared on their "1,039/Smoothed Out Happy Hours" EP, released just weeks earlier.

Church burglary count increases

Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings now says police believe as many as five churches were hit by a burglar Sunday night.

Pine Bluff bust snares 29

U.S. Attorney Jane Duke announced in Pine Bluff today that 29 people had been charged in state or federal court with drug and weapons charges as a result of a two-year investigation known as Operation Hog Wild.

Main Street apartment plan

Arkansas Business has a full report on the news conference about plans to turn the old Blass building at 315 Main into 30 apartments and a jazz club.

The overnight line is open

Your comments here. Late note: Former Supreme Court Justice John I. Purtle has died at 87.

More tax woes for Keet

Another day another Democrat-Gazette story about a tax problem for Jim Keet. This time the Republican candidate fo governor failed to assess personal property at his restaurant.

'Do right,' send Mike Huckabee money

Mike Huckabee, the P.T. Barnum of American politics, has a great new gimmick, I'm informed by a newsletter from the Huck PAC.Huck PAC has obtained 1,000 copies of my book, “Do the Right Thing.” If you contribute $35 or more, I will send you a signed copy — and if you make a donation of $100 or more, I will personalize the message when I sign your copy.

Rebel flag still waves in Highland

KAIT in Jonesboro reports extensively here to debunk a rumor that an order had come down to do away with Highland High School's rebel mascot and to end the flying of Confederate flags at Highland games.Highland graduates like Billy Yates who used to carry the flag at football games; were understandably up in arms.

Update: Bro tats live on

Breaking news from the blog that broke the bro-love tattoo scourge sweeping the practice spaces of Little Rock: Jack to the Future, drummer/frontman for Life Size Pizza juked the Travis McElroy tat tradition by getting Brian Lovell, unofficial Thick Syrup Records mascot, host of the label's podcast, Texan (we'll let that one slide), all around wild man and one of my favorite dudes ever tattooed in his arm.

Jonesboro shooter's sentence upheld

The Arkansas Court of Appeals today upheld a 12-year sentence given to Mitchell Johnson that took into account his juvenile record as one of the shooters responsible for the Westside School massacre in 1998, when he was 13.

What wondrous monstrosities await...

State Fair time is almost upon us again. What strange, unusual or just plain weird foods await us behind the gates? Kat Robinson examines what's planned for this year's Arkansas State Fair... and what she might encounter a week earlier in Texas.

Coffee with Joyce Elliott

A $100 fund-raising coffee is set from 8-10 a.m. Friday at Cafe Bossa Nova for Sen. Joyce Elliott, the Democratic nominee for 2nd District Congress.

Sheriffs love Mike Beebe

The Beebe re-election campaign today announced endorsements by 73 of the state's 75 sheriffs.

Wanted dead or alive

The Little Rock police sent word today that a wanted "dead or alive" flier that's been circulated in the city is not the work of the police.

Crystal Bridges: A work in progress

Leslie Peacock is in Bentonville today for a work-in-progress media tour of the Crystal Bridges museum. No opening date yet.

Wednesday: The Academy Is, "Committed to Freedom" benefit, Poison Control Center

Hot Topic rock acts The Academy Is and Polyphonic Breakdown play emo-pop tonight at Downtown Music, 6:30 p.m., $10.

The bathroom wall

There's still a debate going on in the comments section of a blog post that John Tarpley wrote nearly one week ago about whether or not American Idol Kris Allen's brief musical career warrants his inclusion in the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.