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Preview: Arkansas Times: Rock Candy

Rock Candy, Arkansas Times



The Arkansas Entertainment Blog



Published: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 00:00:01 -0500

Last Build Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 10:00:00 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2018 Arkansas Times. All rights reserved. This RSS file is offered to individuals, Arkansas Times readers, and non-commercial organizations only. Any commercial websites wishing to use this RSS file, please contact Arkansas Times.
 



Bob Dorough dies at 94

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 20:11:00 -0500

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Word comes late this afternoon that Arkansas native Bob Dorough died today, at age 94. The jazz pianist and arranger from Cherry Hill (Polk County) was responsible for some of the most beloved tunes on the cartoon series "Schoolhouse Rock!," as well as decades of original material, collaborations with Sugar Ray Robinson, Blossom Dearie and Nellie McKay.

I had the pleasure of talking with Bob Dorough ahead of an appearance at CALS Ron Robinson Theater last May. Here's that conversation, in which he explains his middle name (Lrod), sings an unreleased song about the square and admires Igor Stravinsky's work ethic.



No Small Talk, Ep. 14: Jasmine Blunt of "The Influence"

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:42:00 -0500

This week, we talk with Jasmine Blunt about her work on The Influence, touch base on a few pieces of news and festival lineups in the area and make some recommendations for the next couple of weekends in the Central Arkansas area. First (1:25), a little arts and entertainment news: The Rev Room is still going strong with shows from Hurray for the Riff Raff and Waxahatchee, Big Dam Horns, Keller Williams and Amasa Hines coming up, as well as a benefit for the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance this Sunday at 2 p.m., but the venue will close the restaurant portion of its business to make room for a new buyer. Sorry, taco lovers. Heads up, nerds! Spa-Con, to take place Sept. 21-23 in downtown Hot Springs, announced the first of its special guests: Sean Maher, Arvell Jones and Nightengale Vixon. Stay tunes for more announcements from them. The very first King Biscuit Blues Festival without Sonny Payne (1926-2018), longtime host of "King Biscuit Time" radio, announced its lineup, too. That's Oct. 3-6 on Cherry Street in downtown Helena, Arkansas. The acclaimed and elaborate touring Broadway production of "The Lion King," designed by Julie Taymor (the same mastermind behind one of Omaya's favorite Shakespeare adaptations, "Titus"), opens this week at Robinson Center Performance Hall. Also, the traveling Czech That Film Festival lands in Little Rock April 27-28, in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society. Finally, we got word of a nonprofit working to revitalize public basketball courts as social hubs, The Blacktop Project. There's a Northwest Arkansas chapter soliciting designs for a court at Walker Park in Fayetteville. Neat! Next (16:54), we talk with Jasmine Blunt of The Influence radio, a self-described "full-service media company specializing in radio, events, and brand management for the aspiring artist, entrepreneur, and creative. Through innovative ideas, collaborative works, and supportive efforts; We strive to be a platform for the Arkansas creative youth and an outlet to ensure their craft, ideas, and dreams are no longer unnoticed." Download The Influence Radio app on iTunes or your Android platform. It's all Arkansas-connected music, 24/7, and there's even a "song history" tab so you can see what you missed and chase those artists' music elsewhere. Blunt talks about how she got started, what artistic and communication needs she was responding to when she and her team created The Influence, and we put her on the spot to name a few favorite artists. Here's a sampling of a few [NSFW, depending on where you W] songs from Arkansas artists they played while we were writing this blog post: At (27:49), Omaya gives a glimpse of the screenings coming up May 1-6 at the Bentonville Film Festival, our sponsor for this podcast. Finally, at (28:33), we make some recommendations: Omaya fills us in on the Oxford American's "50 Years of True Grit" lineup this weekend, including screenings of both the 1969 and the 2010 film versions, as well as concerts, a variety show, lectures and a sweet afterparty at the White Water Tavern with Wussy and The Paranoid Style.  Stephanie recommends you get tickets to hear poets Molly McCully Brown and Seth Pennington with musician John Burnette at Potluck and Poison Ivy next Thursday, April 26. Jasmine recommends the "all Arkansas, all dopeness" on The Influence Radio app, available on iTunes and Android platforms. And (31:36) The Move for the week: catch drag artist, LGBTQ advocate and cannabis activist Laganga Estranga at Club Sway this weekend. She does a killer "death drop" and a song called "Hot Box," and she's here to celebrate 4/20 weekend with the Club Sway contingent, hosted by the stars of the club's Fresh Fish All Stars competition. [...]



Gallery guide: New shows, Argenta Art Walk

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 13:50:00 -0500

Tonight's the third Friday of the month, which means that you can see lots of art on and off Main Street in Argenta, which is holding its after-hours Art Walk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Read more about Art Walk and see collaborative art by Chris Swasta and Matthew Castellano here.

Also new in Arkansas galleries:

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (401 President Clinton Ave.) is has opened "Howard Simon: Art and Illustrations," a show of work by the woodcut artist who was for a time the husband of and illustrator for author Arkansas author Charlie May Simon.

Boswell Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd., opens an exhibition of new work by Arkansas artists Kellie Lehr and Elena Petroukhina tomorrow, April 21. There will be a reception for the artists from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hearne Fine Art Gallery, 1001 Wright Ave., is showing "Then and Now," mixed media and illustration by Frank Morrison, in conjunction with the Arkansas Literary Festival. There will be an artist's reception for Morrison at 5:30 p.m. April 26.

M2 Gallery, 11525 Cantrell Road, is showing work by artists from Austin, Texas, in a show called "ATX2LR."

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville opens two shows tomorrow, April 21: "The Garden," about the intersection of art and nature, and "The Beyond: Georgia O'Keeffe and Contemporary Art," work by O'Keeffe and 20 other contemporary artists. One of the artists in "The Garden," Jessica Pezalla, has spent the week installing a large-scale paper floral work at Crystal Bridges.

The Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. Third St.) has opened a show of photographic works by Esther Nooner, Kristoffer Johnson, Helen Maringer, Kaia Hodo and Grace Ann Odem called "The Medium is the Message: Experimental Photography in Arkansas."

UA Pulaski Tech's 10th annual "Student Art Competitive" goes on exhibit today in the Center for Arts and Humanities.

Up in Mountain View, John Kirkpatrick will give a demonstration of his woodworking skills from 10:30 am. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, April 21, at the Arkansas Craft Gallery, 104 E. Main St.

The Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville is featuring work by the members of the artist's collaborative group The Fenix.







Guitarist Ed Gerhard's lyricism lands on spellbound ears at The Joint

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 10:50:00 -0500

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Acoustic guitarist Ed Gerhard played for a full house at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse last night as part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series. Essentially, once a month, fellow guitarist Steve Davison brings an acoustic guitarist of renown to the Argenta venue where he or she can be heard with minimal distraction in a small room that's acoustically outfitted for intense listening. I've been in the audience for formal classical recitals that were less hushed and still.

Gerhard's delivery is au naturale; he sits in a chair atop an elevated riser, surrounds himself with his guitar, his Weissenborn and a few accoutrements - a small mixer, an electronic tuner, a hot microphone and a nail file for mid-show maintenance of the long, acrylic-capped fingernails that double as picks on his right hand. He's too bereft of pretense to have a shtick, really, but if he has one, musically speaking, it's to take tunes like "The Water Is Wide" and render them in sweet, meterless phrases, stretching silences and giving shape to each line. He's consummately musical in his approach, landing on the next note in the phrase just a millisecond before the last one's done ringing, creating a seamless legato. He does not noodle. He does not make a habit of playing lots of notes in quick succession.

We caught the second half of his concert, in which he applied that lyricism to "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live," with a shout out to Ry Cooder for his version and a nod to fellow guitarist David Lindley for having done the piece before Gerhard could get around to it; a medley of The Beatles' 'If I Fell" and "In My Life" introduced as "a couple of old British ballads"; Gerhard's own "On a Pennsylvania Hill" and others. His stage patter is intimate and clever; he introduced his version of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" by admitting that though he was not especially religious, he was assuredly "sky-curious."

Appreciated: a fleeting reference to "Beavis and Butthead" that nobody in the audience seemed to get, his writerly description of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series as having created a "nice fire in a wet world," the way he floated his hands above the Weissenborn (an acoustic Hawaiian lap slide) as if he were charming notes out of a theremin. Unappreciated: his cheap shot at hip-hop, which went over swimmingly with the baby boomer contingent nonetheless. For me, too, I missed the bite and strum of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" when rendered by Gerhard (and I'd swear I heard the first two chords of Mitchell's "Amelia" before he started in; bait-and-switch!) Judging by the enthusiastic applause for "Both Sides Now," though, I was clearly in the minority.

Gerhard has the ear and the finesse to reach up and adjust a tuning peg mid-song, he can quote Leo Kottke ("The only thing you'll get from a tuner is an opinion") and ancient Chinese poetry in the same breath and he can do otherworldly things with six strings. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out the rest of the year's lineup.



Revolution to close its restaurant, but music continues

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 14:10:00 -0500

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Owner-operators Chris King and Suzon Awbry announced yesterday that they will close the restaurant portion of Revolution, the live music venue and "Taco & Tequila Lounge" at 300 President Clinton Ave. in downtown Little Rock's River Market area.

The Rev Room music venue will remain open, and for the time being, King told us, "we just operate inside of the actual music venue." The river-facing patio and restaurant side of Revolution had been for sale for a few years, King told us, and a buyer had been found.
 
No word yet on who that buyer is, but we'll update this post when that information becomes available.

King added:
"We are very thankful that we were able to operate in that space for 12 years, and we appreciate all of the love and support. Looking forward to working hard on continuing to bring great concert events to the area."  




Food Truck Friday feeds start this week

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 15:46:00 -0500

(image) Food Truck Fridays, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership's project to use food to lure folks to enjoy the Creative/Technical Corridor on Main Street, kicks off its season Friday, April 20, at Fifth and Main streets. Hours are 10:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Food trucks will continue to serve at the spot every Friday through May 18.

The DLRP also announced the 2018 Food Truck Festival will be Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a new food truck event, the East Village Street Food Jam, will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 16 on the lawn of the Clinton Presidential Center.





Sculptor Kaminsky is new Arkansas Living Treasure

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 14:26:00 -0500

Sculptor and jeweler Hank Kaminsky, 79, of Fayetteville, has been named the 2018 Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council. Kaminsky is perhaps mostly known for his spherical bronze "The World Peace Prayer" fountain sculpture in front of the Fayetteville Town Center, just off the square. Kaminsky will be honored at a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 1 at the town center, 15 W. Mountain St. Experience Fayetteville is co-sponsor. Reservations are required; email faye.croy@arkansas.gov or call 501-683-4365 by April 23. Read more about Kaminsky in the following news release. LITTLE ROCK, AR — The Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, is pleased to announce that 79-year-old Hank Kaminksy of Fayetteville, an award-winning sculptor and craftsman, has been selected as the 2018 Arkansas Living Treasure. His 60 years of artistic accomplishments, along with his dedication to teaching his craft, have earned him this distinguished title. Kaminsky will be honored at a free public reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, at the Fayetteville Town Center on 15 West Mountain St. The reception is co-sponsored by Experience Fayetteville. Space is limited; reservations are required. RSVP by April 23 to faye.croy@arkansas.gov or (501) 683-4365. Now in its 17th year, the Arkansas Living Treasure program recognizes an Arkansan who is outstanding in the creation of a traditional craft and has significantly contributed to the preservation of the art form. An independent panel of craft and folk art professionals selects the recipient based on the quality of work, community outreach and overall contribution to the field of traditional crafts. “We are thrilled to honor a man who has enriched the lives of so many Arkansans through the creation of his innovative and thought-provoking sculptures,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “It is a delight to see his public art pieces throughout the state. Arkansas is fortunate to have such a talented artist who also gives back to the community by teaching his craft to future generations.” Since the age of 19, Kaminsky has made a living as a full-time sculptor. He creates abstract sculptures, portrait busts, plaques and medals, as well as jewelry, belt buckles and pendants, most of which are inspired by landscapes. He is probably best-known for his commissioned public art pieces, which are scattered throughout Arkansas, as well as Texas, California and Pennsylvania. The majority of his work focuses on universal themes, such as finding world peace and discovering the secrets of life. He begins most of his sculptures in clay and casts in numerous metals, including zinc, bronze, brass and aluminum. “The most interesting technique I have used is sand casting, one of the most ancient crafts in the world,” Kaminsky said. “I sculpt because I want to discover form. My method yields a product, but I’m often surprised at what comes out.” Though sculpture is his passion, he almost chose a different path. As a young man, Kaminsky considered a career in engineering. Born and raised in New York City, he spent a lot of time alone in his home laboratory exploring science and the world around him. “I wanted to be a scientist, and my parents encouraged that by providing toys like chemistry sets and tools that lead to the discovery of ideas.” "I was very good with electronics,” he said. “When I graduated high school at the age of 16, I was hired by a company that made computers and radar units. He continued to study science and work in the field of science, but realized that it wasn’t as fulfilling as he had envisioned. In 1959, while attending Queens College in New York City, he changed his major from physics to art after he made his first clay sculpture. “An artist friend of mine enco[...]



Ciao on the river: first Italian Food & Cultural Festival is Saturday

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 12:00:00 -0500

(image) We do Greek; we do Jewish; we do Indian. So it’s about time that Arkansas held a citywide festival celebrating all things Italian.

Starting at 4 p.m. Friday, April 20, the first Arkansas Italian Food & Cultural Festival will bring food, Baggo and bocce tournaments (for cash prizes!), food, a grape stomp challenge, food, an Italian car exhibition, food, and live entertainment to the North Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock.

The event, which benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas, actually kicks off Thursday night, April 19, with a double feature of romantic movie “Moonstruck” and documentary “I sopravvissuti (Survivors),” at the Clinton School for Public Service. Southern Table will cater; tickets are $25 (reserve at www.aritalianfestival.com/film).

Is that all? No it’s not. There are also soccer tournaments for children and adults; a sauce and gravy competition; and music by DJ Nick Hud, David Adam Byrnes, Nerd Eye Blind, Jersey Boys and the Big Dam Horns. Relyance Bank is the sponsor; Patrick Presley is the founder. The festival continues 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5; kids 5 and under get in free.




The freeze comin' open line

Sun, 15 Apr 2018 18:06:00 -0500

Over to you.



Painter Barry Thomas channels "Pastorale" at ASO's Beethoven concert

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 23:57:00 -0500

There is a version of 55 degrees Fahrenheit that feels sunny, fresh and exhilarating, and another version that nips sharply at you as you walk, rattling flagpoles and whistling through alleys. Tonight’s version was the latter. Despite that biting wind, patrons dug out the fleece jackets and long sleeves for the street party in front of Robinson that opened Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s “Beethoven & Blue Jeans,” (7:30 p.m. Sat., April 13 and 3 p.m. Sun., April 14) with music from the Episcopal Collegiate School Steel Band, bratwursts and a craft beer tent. And why not? We turn up for football games in far, far worse conditions without thinking twice.  After the street party, the most dogged (and the most bundled-up) caught the show for free on the lawn of the Arkansas Arts Center, where a screen simulcast the concert to a couple dozen people perched in camp chairs or reclining on blankets. In a change to the program sequence, the ASO began with Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose” Suite (“Ma Mere l’Oye”), the kickoff for this concert’s installment of the Canvas Festival, a series funded by an ArtWorks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s a little strange to hear the hum of cars along 9th Street alongside the mysterious climbing stairs of the “Tom Thumb” movement, but it worked; here’s hoping the weather this time around doesn’t dissuade the ASO from offering more of these free public simulcasts in the future. The stunner here, though, was the final movement of the Ravel suite; lush and towering, as if the orchestra had been instructed to save all of their energy for release in these final, mammoth strides. People went nuts for the soloists when the last note ended, and hearing the whole thing through huge speakers might have been just as impactful — or more so — than hearing it in the concert hall. ASO’s Composer of the Year Adam Schoenberg took the stage afterward in what he called his “first time ever in blue jeans on a ‘subscription’ stage.’“ In introducing Schoenberg, ASO Conductor Philip Mann counted him among the “stalwart, staunch pillars of new music” that the ASO had hosted as resident composers in years past; Jennifer Higdon, Dan Visconti), and Schoenberg’s “Finding Rothko" made it clear why. This listener headed back to the concert hall for the second half, where 39-year principal contrabassoonist Ray Hankins was acknowledged for his tenure (“the first time in classical music history that a contrabassoonist has ever gotten a curtain call,” Mann quipped). Then, painter and former Razorback football defensive end Barry Thomas took the stage in a beret, slyly mimicking a cue for the first note of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (the “Pastorale” symphony) with his paintbrush as a baton, then swiping a streak of lime green across his canvas, projected onto a screen on stage behind the ASO. Over the course of the next forty or so minutes, that swath of green disappeared and reappeared under pockets of reds and oranges as the orchestra drifted through this piece's silky webs. Mann dubbed Symphony No. 6 “a hundred years ahead of its time” when it premiered as part of a monumental 1808 concert in Vienna, ushering in the eventual arrival of painterly impressionism. The work is remarkably light on horns, save for some well-placed French horns and judiciously employed trumpet and trombone. Because of that sparse brass, the oboes and clarinets seemed almost declamatory and metallic in context. Thomas' accompanying painting was, by agreement between the[...]



On second thought, no Afterthought renovation, Mylo announces

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 15:07:00 -0500

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Mylo Coffee Co. put a notice on its Facebook page today that it has abandoned its project to redo The Afterthought space adjacent to the bistro. From its statement:

"While we have made every effort, and sacrifices the general public may never know, to fulfill our promises regarding our renovation and reopening of The Afterthought, we would like to make it known that we have been unable to achieve our ultimate goal. After many months and rent payments, estimates, demolition, meetings, enduring righteous frustration from our beloved neighborhood, and changes in our family dynamics — all while maintaining our first Hillcrest business Mylo Coffee Co. — we recognized that we will not be able to restore The Afterthought to what it once was."
The Afterthought restaurant and bar closed in 2016. Mylo Coffee had plans to make it an entertainment venue.

The company also said it had been meeting privately with potential buyers of The Afterthought LLC, but had had no luck. Interested parties may contact Mylo at info@mylocoffee.com.



No Small Talk, Ep. 13: "Fitzcarraldo" and Florence Price

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:18:00 -0500

This week on "No Small Talk," we talk about Werner Herzog's opus "Fitzcarraldo," the next film up in the Arkansas Times Film Series; Little Rock native composer Florence Price's legacy; and check in on new music from Silver Anchors, Pallbearer and The Uh Huhs. First up (0:43): "Fitzcarraldo," the next film up in our Arkansas Times Film Series, was Werner Herzog's 1982 film about an opera-obsessed, would-be rubber baron, and it came to be symbolic of the director's own obsessive tendencies toward the completion of the film. We talk about Herzog's inspiration for the film (ancient stone structures), leading man Klaus Kinski, Les Blank's "making-of" documentary "Burden of Dreams" and about the film's ideas about exoticism, cultural imperialism and the madness of genius. Join us this Tuesday night at Riverdale 10 Cinema and catch it on the big screen, which is surely the way God (or Herzog) intended it be seen. Next (19:19), we chat about Little Rock-born composer and educator Florence Price, and this week's news that a teachers' organization that had once denied Price membership honored her with a Foundation Fellow award at a ceremony in Orlando in March. More on that here. And dig this whimsical recording of Price's rediscovered "Violin Concerto No. 2" from violinist Er-Gene Kahng and the Janacek Philharmonic, under the baton of conductor Ryan Cockerham. Next up (30:42), we got wind of the trailer for "American Animals," a heist film from director Bart Layton ("The Imposter"). It's based on a wild but true story about how a bunch of college kids managed to steal around $10 million, and though we didn't catch sight of him in the trailer, Little Rock's own John Burnette acted in the film! At (34:38), we shout out to some new music from Pallbearer, The Uh Huhs and Silver Anchors, linked below. Finally, at (36:33), Omaya and Stephanie make some recommendations. First, Omaya suggests you go see "Fitzcarraldo," of course, with us Tuesday evening for the next installment of the Arkansas Times Film Series. He also recommends that you mark your calendars for next Thursday, April 12 for The Yarn's #metoo: True Stories of Sexual Assault.  Thanks to the folks at The Yarn for bringing these stories to the forefront! Stephanie suggests you tune in to KABF-FM 88.3 for "Over/Underground," a consistently stellar rock backdrop for your Saturday tinkerings and projects, with lots of women rockers at the forefront. "The Move" for the week (39:12): Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's "Beethoven and Blue Jeans," in which the symphony plays Adam Schoenberg, Beethoven (duh) and Ravel's "Mother Goose" suite with live painting from Barry Thomas projected on the screen behind them, a street party with brats and beer and an accompanying (FREE) simulcast Saturday night on the lawn of the Arkansas Arts Center. [...]



Florence Price posthumously honored by music teacher's association that once denied her membership

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:43:00 -0500

Florence Price (1887-1953) – Little Rock-born composer, educator, pianist and subject of the film “The Caged Bird” – was denied membership in the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association sometime between 1917 and 1927, and because she was African American. A hundred years later, the national branch of that same organization is naming Price as a Foundation Fellow, as Angelita Faller's release from UA Little Rock yesterday details. "An excerpt from Price's biography in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas contextualizes the denial within Price’s life and her subsequent departure from Arkansas. While in Little Rock, Price established a music studio, taught piano lessons, and wrote short pieces for piano. Despite her credentials, she was denied membership into the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association because of her race. Worsening racial tensions in Arkansas in the 1920s convinced the Prices to move to Chicago, Illinois, in 1927. There, Price seemed to have more professional opportunity for growth despite the breakdown and eventual dissolution of her marriage. She pursued further musical studies at the American Conservatory of Music and Chicago Musical College and established herself in the Chicago area as a teacher, pianist, and organist. In 1928, G. Schirmer, a major publishing firm, accepted for publication Price’s At the Cotton Gin. In 1932, Price won multiple awards in competitions sponsored by the Rodman Wanamaker Foundation for her Piano Sonata in E Minor, a large-scale work in four movements, and her more important work, Symphony in E Minor. UA Little Rock Professor of Music Linda Holzer, a pianist who’s advocated for Price’s legacy in Arkansas, accepted the award on behalf of Price at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida in March. “Most of the current members of ASMTA were unaware of the history,” Holzer said. “Board members were supportive of the idea and were understandably dismayed to learn how Price had been treated in the early 20th century. So 2017 was the year to put the proposal forward formally, and the board voted in June 2017 in favor of my nomination of Florence Price for an MTNA Foundation Fellow.” “Florence Price was a determined, tremendously talented musician,” Holzer said. “She did not let the discrimination slow her down. She went on to achieve so much as a composer and pianist and organist and teacher. I think about the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ that came out last year about accomplished but hidden women in math and science working behind the scenes at NASA. Similarly, I feel like Florence Price’s contributions were minimized during her lifetime.” “I am thrilled that the ASMTA wants to redress the injustice committed during a different time in our nation’s and ASMTA’s history," said Gary Ingle, CEO of the Music Teachers National Association. The MTNA honored Price with a certificate and pin, which Holzer has donated – along with the conference program – to the University’s Center for Arkansas History and Culture for preservation. Holzer said: “I heard Florence Price’s music on a recording that had been released in the early 1990s by the African-American concert pianist Althea Waites. I was very impressed by the beauty and dramatic power of the music, and this is what led me to study her piano works for my doctoral dissertation.” For more on the revival of Florence Price's music, check out our talk with violinist Er-Gene Kahng, who performed Price's lost "Violin Concerto No. 2" with the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra earlier this year. [...]



Historic Arkansas Museum teams with Mary Beth Ringgold on colonial Arkansas-inspired cuisine

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 11:09:00 -0500

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Mary Beth Ringgold, chef and restaurateur behind Cajun's Wharf, Capers and Copper Grill, was the latest chef to participate in the Historic Arkansas Museum's "History is Served: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series." Ringgold cooked food that colonial Arkansans might have found familiar.

Chefs Michael Selig and Gilbert Alaquinez of 42 Bar and Table at the Clinton Center did food inspired by Quapaw cooking at the first instalment of the series in February.

HAM has a Q&A with Ringgold on its blog.

What did you serve?

Working through the menu, the first course was the crawfish bisque, and crawfish was available at the time. I don’t know who the first person was to look at a crawfish and say, ‘I wonder if you can eat this?’ Probably a very hungry person, I suspect. Somebody eventually cooked it or boiled it and decided how to eat it. But we didn’t do it a rustic way. They didn’t run it through a sieve, they didn’t have blenders back then.

The second course was rabbit, and we weren’t really developed as farmlands at that time. We were trappers, we had guns, there were ducks available, pheasants available, rabbit, any kind of wild game. So we chose a rabbit loin, which we pan seared and finished in the oven. We served it with some stone ground grits and a mushroom demi-glace and it was very, very tender, something that people really enjoyed. The [guests], they scraped their plates. We always pay attention to the dishes that come back in.

For the entrée—you know they had hogs, wild hogs back then. But they had no diet, just what they could forage. Our hogs are on grass and grain. Back then they might have killed a hog at 80 or 90 or 100 pounds, but our hogs fill out at almost 300 pounds, or heavier than that. So we did a big thick bone-in pork chop but they would not have had that back in the day, they would have had a baby pork chop.

So with the dessert, it’s called ‘pan perdu,’ and we did it with fresh blueberries. And it’s a course of a bread pudding; there were a lot of French influences and the French loved their breads; that was their staple. They had bread and butter for breakfast. So [bread pudding] is a great thing to do with remaining bread, like wholesale bread or leftover bread. And we finished it with caramel. 
The next dinner will be in July, but no other details have been determined. Those interested in knowing more can contact Ellen Korenblat, 501-324-9304.



Styx, REO Speedwagon and Don Felder at Verizon Arena: A Review and Slideshow

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:48:00 -0500

I’m a sucker for outfit watching, especially at classic rock concerts. Last night, Verizon Arena swarmed with normcore looks, with the occasional epic rattail and white denim Madonna jacket. I pondered the display of careful confidence before me, soaking up the beauty that is the fashion of The Arkansas Dad and the tweens he dragged along with him. The bands never disappoint on the fashion front, and this was especially evident in Don Felder’s tight leather pants. As he strummed his double-neck guitar during “Hotel California,” the conforming pants did their job of showing each muscle used to demi plié while squeezing all the oomph out of those lilting riffs. Overall, I thought his set was a little slow yet still a real crowd pleaser. He played the songs all 3,632 of us knew and loved (or knew and didn’t love but couldn’t seem to shake, knowing all the words and singing right along anyway.) I had never really come to terms with the fact that I’m a 29-year-old bonafide Styx fan until I caught myself scream-singing “Lady” at the top of my lungs along with Lawrence Gowan. I guiltily looked around at my nodding neighbors when James Young asked the crowd if we remembered Clyde Clifford of the Chicago Little Rock radio station KAAY, who was the first to play the band on air in 1973. It doesn’t matter, though, that I wasn’t alive in the '70s to discover Styx in their heyday, because they had me feeling like both a freak and a geek during “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade” and Tommy Shaw belting their newest tune, “Radio Silence.” A personal best for me during the night was then Lawrence Gowan paid tribute to Queen and asked the crowd singers for help with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” My eyes lit up, I delightedly answered his request and my heart was full. I'm mentioning Lawrence Gowan a lot; last night as he was prancing and twirling with reckless abandon I realized that we are kindred spirits, he and I. I hope I can take this newfound epiphany and go forward in my everyday life with as much zeal as his stage persona effected. One thing left to be desired from Styx’s set was “Mr. Roboto.” It would have been nice to hear the bizarre tune and do the dance I spent most of yesterday prepping to do. The night rounded off with REO Speedwagon, whose energy was not as electrifying as Styx, but a smooth finish to a great night nonetheless. There’s been a resurgence of cool 80s rock recently and I was not so surprised that my fellow millennials seated behind me were singing along to “Keep on Loving You,” “Take It On The Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling.” I won’t stop going to classic rock concerts, and I’m lucky to have such a great venue for them here in Little Rock. I attribute my love for classic rock to being reared on radio stations; Magic 105, The Point 94.1. I’ll leave you with a question: is it any wonder I’m not crazy? Is it any wonder I’m sane at all? [...]



Marty Stuart and LANCO to play Toad Suck Daze in May

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 10:30:00 -0500

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Bluegrass master and mystic Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and rising country rockers LANCO will headline the 37th annual Toad Suck Daze festival this year, to take place May 4-6 in downtown Conway.


In addition to the Friday night concert from LANCO and a Saturday night performance from Stuart, festivities include a Toad Suck Tinkerfest, which "will turn a downtown city block into an interactive learning environment for kids of all ages," a press release says, "Museum of Discovery 'Awesome Science' shows, a Conway Symphony Orchestra 'Instrument Petting Zoo,' PBS Kids characters, and 'Kids Shakespeare Improv' from Arkansas Shakespeare Theater."

The Toad Suck Daze committee also announced a series of monetary gifts, including $35,000 to Arkansas Preschool Plus, $20,000 to the Conway Downtown Partnership, $3,500 to Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, $2,000 to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, $1,500 to the Blackbird Academy of Arts, $2,000 to the Conway Symphony Orchestra and $1,500 to the Red Curtain Theatre, as well as $15,000 in scholarships to seven Faulkner County students.











No Small Talk, Ep. 12: Osyrus Bolly, Bill Kopsky, New Music Roundup and Bentonville Film Festival

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 15:12:00 -0500

This week, we check in on new music from Or, Ghost Bones, Spirit Cuntz, Colour Design and Couch Jackets, look over the panel lineup for the Bentonville Film Festival and talk with Osyrus Bolly and Bill Kopsky about their work at the Arkansas Public Policy Panel. First up (0:54), Arkansas Public Policy Panel Executive Director Bill Kopsky and musician/thinker Osyrus Bolly talk about the APPP's work helping people across the state, particularly in South Arkansas and in rural communities of color, "get involved and make their communities stronger." They're honoring some of the women in Arkansas that keep the wheels of community-focused advocacy work turning with "Celebrate AR Women" Tuesday, April 10 at The Root, featuring sets from Osyrus Bolly and Yuni Wa. Here's a look at what Osyrus has been up to on the musical front. Osyrus also clued us in to a forum Thursday, April 12, 5:30 p.m. at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center called "Know Your Rights," a collaboration between Arkansas Youth Coalition for Social Change, Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign, Citizens First Congress and the JBM & Associates PR Agency, where a group of legal experts will be on hand to educate young people about their rights. Next (22:40), we talk gender and representation in film, and take a look at the panel lineup for the upcoming (and inclusion-championing) Bentonville Film Festival, to take place in Northwest Arkansas May 1-6. Other news (33:44): "The Organizer," a film depicting the story behind Wade Rathke and ACORN in Arkansas and beyond, screens May 12 at CALS Ron Robinson Theater. Also this week, a revived Riverfest announced a partial lineup of headliners. At around the 37:13 mark, we talk about a few favorites on the new local music front, some of which we've linked to here for your listening pleasure: Ghost Bones: Or: Colour Design: Spirit Cuntz: Couch Jackets: Finally (43:13), Omaya recommends the Film Society of Little Rock's new free screening series on the patio at Crush Wine Bar, the first of which is "Predator," to be shown at Crush 8 p.m. Thursday, April 12. And Stephanie recommends making the trek up to Stage Eighteen and Fenix Fayetteville in Northwest Arkansas sometime in April for one of the events surrounding "Intersections," a full month of art and performance in support of women. It's born of a partnership between a bunch of badass women creators in the Northwest corner (NastyWomen NWA, Inverse Performance Art Festival, Of Note/Trillium Salon Series, ArkansasStaged) and partially benefits Brave Woman, a grassroots organization that partners with abuse survivors. The Move for the week (46:03): Bermuda Triangle is playing at Hendrix College courtesy of the campus radio station, KHDX. (Do they still call it the "10-Watt Tower of Power?") Tickets are $15, and you need to email activities@hendrix.edu with your name and how many tickets you would like to reserve. You pay at Will Call the night of the show. [...]



Young Thug, Young the Giant, Margo Price among Riverfest headliners

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 14:33:00 -0500

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After calling it quits in July 2017, just after celebrating its 40th anniversary, Riverfest has been revived by a Memphis-based group called Universal Fairs of Memphis, responsible for fairs, consumer trade shows and festivals across the U.S. and, it states on its website, has "a proven track record of rejuvenating established events."

Event director Jack Daniels said in a press release:
RiverFest is a long-time tradition of celebrating music. Each day will feature curated support from 50+ acts across two stages with more headliners to be announced in the coming weeks. Attendees can expect to groove to their favorite bands as well as discover new artists and genres.
The rebirthed festival, to be sponsored by Oaklawn Racing & Gaming, and to take place over Memorial Day Weekend May 25-27, is to feature a "Ford Family Fun Zone.....for kids of all ages with carnival rides, a Baggo tournament, a banana derby and talented performers and artists, such as street performers and magicians. Disney star Skai Jackson of the hit series Jessie and BUNK’D will be at the event to meet fans."

The following headliners were announced:

Young Thug
LANY
Young the Giant
Margo Price
Levelle Davison
Kip Moore
Highly Suspect
Jamie Johnson
Rachel Potter & Steel Union Band
Echosmith


Tickets range from $45-$490 online, and are available here.




Design Loblolly's new solar-powered ice cream truck

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 15:07:00 -0500

(image) Loblolly Creamery and design agency Few are teaming up for the Few Design Challenge, a competition to determine the new look for Loblolly's solar-powered ice cream truck. Part One of the challenge takes place online; design contenders may submit their designs at loblolly.few.io until noon on Friday, March 30. Five finalists will be announced at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at the Bernice Garden in SoMa, where Lost Forty Brewing and the Katmandu Momo food truck will be on-site. Visitors who pay a $5 admission fee will be equipped with a Sharpie for "F*ck Up the Truck," during which they can draw their own design on the old Loblolly Ice Cream Mobile.



Poke OK for the Heights

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:54:00 -0500

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Poke Hula, the restaurant serving up the classic Hawaiian raw fish bowls at 415 E. Third St. in downtown Little Rock, is opening a second location in The Heights at 5621 Kavanaugh Blvd., the spot formerly occupied by yogurt shop Red Mango.

Owner James Moix says the spot is set to open in late April. Hours of operation and menu offerings will remain the same as Poke Hula's downtown (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). Moix said that because the counter at the new Kavanaugh location is larger than the one at Poke Hula’s downtown spot, it will likely offer fountain drinks in addition to bottled beverages, “more veggie options as toppings and maybe a noodle for a base.” Moix also said a Conway location is in the works as well; an opening date has not been determined.



President Bill Clinton and James Patterson speak at Statehouse Convention Center

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:51:00 -0500

(image) Novelist James Patterson has co-authored best-selling books with a number of collaborators: Candice Fox, Ashwin Sanghi, Maxine Paetro, and the latest addition to that list is former President Bill Clinton, with the forthcoming novel, "The President Is Missing."

Clinton and Patterson are scheduled to visit the Little Rock on Saturday, June 9 to discuss the thriller as part of the Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series.

A press release from the Clinton School states:

"The President is Missing" marks the first time a president has collaborated with a bestselling novelist on a work of fiction. The result is a powerful, one-of-a-kind thriller filled with details only a president could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.

The program begins at 6 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center. The program does not include a public book signing, but copies of the book pre-signed by both authors will be available for pre-order from Wordsworth Books & Co. beginning April 6.





Kat Robinson dishes again

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:06:00 -0500

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Kat Robinson, food blogger and author of several books on Arkie eateries, has used her encyclopedic knowledge of where to find good homemade pie in Arkansas to publish a second book on the subject, "Another Slice of Arkansas Pie." The book will be available at WordsWorth Books in the Heights and Honey Pies bakery in West Little Rock, or you can order it online from Amazon and other book distributors for a mid-April delivery.

The book, subtitled "A Guide to the Best Restaurants, Bakeries, Truck Stops and Food Trucks for Delectable Bites in the Natural State," features 400 places to procure pie, with tales of the pastry chefs and other stories.

Some will want to buy the book for the 33 recipes it includes from all regions of Arkansas, such as the Bradley County Pink Tomato Pie, Greenhouse Grille’s Bourbon Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie Recipe (the Fayetteville restaurant has closed, but you can make the pie), the Oark Country Store's Oatmeal Pie, the Williams Tavern Restaurant Cushaw Pie and Robinson's own Brown Sugar Pecan Pie. There cannot be enough recipes for pecan pie, in my opinion.

Warning: The pie pictures and write-ups will make you throw your diet to the wind and head to the nearest pie shop, the directions to which you'll find in this book.






Art of Fashion: Merline Labissière

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 12:15:00 -0500

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Merline Labissière, a designer who has appeared on Lifetime's Project Runway, will talk Thursday night about her nonprofit Provoke Style Fashion Camp Corp. at the Arkansas Arts Center, as part of the Arts Center's Art of Fashion series.

Provoke Style, created in 2014, is a program to provide inner-city Miami youth instruction in fashion principles, techniques and design. Labissière holds an associate of arts degree in architecture from Miami Dade College and a bachelor of fine arts degree in fashion with a minor in architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

There will be a wine reception at 5:30 and the talk will follow at 6 p.m. It's free to members of the Arts Center and $10 to nonmembers.





Mendelssohn, marimba and Nintendo NES: ASO's chamber series charmed at the Clinton Center

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 11:27:00 -0500

Framed by the ever-darker blues of the western sky over downtown little Rock, members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra delivered (brilliantly) a program in the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center that was as demanding as it was quirky, with works from Mendelssohn and living composers Eric Ewazen and Charles Hawthorne, the latter of whom was in attendance. The concert, part of the ASO's River Rhapsodies Chamber Series, is a continuation of the Canvas Festival which, a press release in advance of the concert said, "combines visual arts with the performance of live symphonic music, allowing both art forms to influence the experiences of audiences and musicians," and is made possible by an ArtWorks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Works by Bryan Frazier, Daniella Napolitano, Larry Crane and Daniel Adams were displayed in the lobby outside the Great Hall prior to the concert. First up was Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, which cellist Ethan Young introduced by describing the various tactics composers like Mendelssohn used to carve out a place for themselves in the long shadow cast by Beethoven who, he pointed out, had "raised the bar to dizzying heights." Dance-orchestra analogies are tired, I know, and we probably invented ballet so we could go ahead and materialize them instead of fumbling around with them in the world of words, but hearing the Rockefeller String Quartet play this Mendelssohn piece was like watching two tango partners who knew exactly when to dip this way or that way in complete unity of purpose. The brilliance of this ensemble is their collective sense of where the stronger beats are not in each measure, but in each overarching phrase. The engine room of the chamber outfit — Young's cello and Katherine Reynolds' viola — formed a rhythm section that could, at turns, tiptoe or march according to Mendelssohn's suggestion, and they allowed violinists Trisha McGovern Freeney and Katherine Williamson to glide and flutter around gloriously on top. Interesting, too, was what this hall's acoustic did for the lower instruments. At times, Reynolds' viola came across as almost hornlike in its clarity of direction, and Young's cello broadcast a dozen colors and tones that we often miss out on hearing in the context of larger orchestral works. After intermission came the 8-bit fireworks. Wearing a T-shirt with the Nintendo NES controller symbol and the caption "Classically Trained," ASO Principal Percussionist Blake Taylor introduced the world premiere of "Hero's Ascent for Marimba," a duet between marimba and electronics that Charles Hawthorne composed by using the same software used to render music composed for Nintendo NES. "This was finished.....last week," Taylor explained, and Hawthorne had traveled to Little Rock from Dallas to be in attendance, getting waylaid and eventually catching a plane into Fayetteville and driving down for the occasion. (He made it.) And, as Taylor explained, the "hero" bit in the title may be indicative of what's required to play the thing at all; as he put it, the musical limitations of humans and machines do not exactly overlap in convenient ways. Taylor got a laugh from the crowd when he looked down at his marimba and noted the tempo at which the NES software requires "Hero's Ascent" to be played, adding dryly, "And there's nothing I can do to c[...]



Root Cafe team to open Dos Rocas Beer & Tacos

Sat, 24 Mar 2018 22:26:00 -0500

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A new Latin American street food restaurant is coming to South Main Street. Jack Sundell and Corri Bristow Sundell, who own The Root Cafe, will partner with longtime Root kitchen manager Cesar Bordon-Avalos and his wife, Adelia Kittrell, to open Dos Rocas Beer & Tacos sometime this summer, Jack Sundell said. Luis Vasquez, who was born in Honduras and has been the breakfast cook at The Root, will run the kitchen as Dos Rocas.

Construction is already underway at the future restaurant at 1220 S. Main St., space formerly occupied by Piano Craft and, before that, used as a party room by Juanita's. It's adjacent to Electric Ghost. The 2,750 square foot restaurant should be able to seat about 60. There's already a large, poured concrete bar leftover from the Juanita's days.

"Dos Rocas," which means "two rocks" in Spanish, is a nod to Little Rock and Bordon-Avalos hometown in Paraguay, Itá, which means "rock" in the indigenous Guaraní, which the majority of the South American country's people speak.

Sundell said the restaurant "would be sort of like an indoor taco truck," a place to get "simple, authentic Latin American street food." Bordon-Avalos and Vasquez' influence will be everywhere: In addition to street-style tacos, Dos Rocas will serve pupusas (especially popular in Honduras); empanadas (especially popular in Paraguay); fajita-style nopales (cactus); yucca fries; and pastel de mandioca, a yucca hand pie filled with  seasoned beef, bell peppers, onions and egg. Sundell said there would also be nachos, queso, guacamole and other menu items that folks more accustomed to Tex-Mex will find familiar. He also said he expected there would be regular specials of other Latin American favorites, like arepas and tamales. Like The Root, Dos Rocas will use only locally raised meat and as much locally grown produce as it can, Sundell said. The plan is to make tortillas in-house.

Dos Rocas will open with 16 taps at the bar dedicated to the flagship beers of Central and Northwest Arkansas breweries. It will also serve house made margaritas, mojitos caipirinhas and several wines. There'll be a pool table. Sundell said he wants Dos Rocas to have a casual, family-friendly atmosphere.