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Gene Lyons

Buying way into the Ivies: What else is new?

If it’s news to you that social climbers see buying their children’s way into fancy, name-brand colleges as the functional equivalent of wearing Rolex watches or driving Maseratis, then I don’t know where to start. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Hogs flop in SEC tourney

March 15, 2019
Hogs flop in SEC tourney
Arkansas has had a curious history in the SEC men’s basketball tournament. The 1994 national champs were ousted from it by a stellar Kentucky squad, and when that happened, it seemed to provide a spark as the Hogs spent the next three weeks wiping out their competitors to claim the ultimate crown. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

Music, art and eats in Arkansas


Arkansas's guide to medical cannabis

Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 25, 2019 - 21:44:00

Battle lines drawn over school voucher bill

click to enlarge SUPPORTS VOUCHERS: Governor Asa Hutchinson - BRIAN CHILSON
  • SUPPORTS VOUCHERS: Governor Asa Hutchinson

Governor Hutchinson on Monday voiced enthusiastic support for legislation to create a school voucher pilot program in Pulaski County, calling it "the right model" for Arkansas.

Senate Bill 620, sponsored by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning) and Rep. Ken Bragg (R-Sheridan), would pay for an estimated 500 students from low-income Pulaski County families to attend private schools instead of public ones. The vouchers — called "Capital Promise Scholarships" — would run between $5,000 and $7,000 per student and would be funded with up to $3.5 million annually from the governor’s rainy day fund.



Monday, March 25, 2019 - 15:51:00

New Rock the Culture podcast: Back to the Future

In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on the LRSD’ hiring of a principal for the SouthWest High School, the City of Little Rock’s “A Bridge to Work” program to provide paid day labor to the homeless population, and Gov. Hutchinson’s support of the voucher program in Pulaski County. In addition, they provide rapid fire perspective on RockTopics. They also discuss the “Tales from the Motherland” with Crystal C. Mercer, executive director at Local First Arkansas.



Monday, March 25, 2019 - 15:31:00

The rich get richer in Senate tax bill

click to enlarge SEN. BART HESTER: Passes sales tax increase and corporate tax cut.
  • SEN. BART HESTER: Passes sales tax increase and corporate tax cut.
With virtually no debate, the Senate voted 27-3 today for the bill to collect sales taxes on Internet sales and cut the corporate income tax in several ways.



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Today's headlines: School vouchers, taxes and Trump

Rock Candy

Monday, March 25, 2019 - 12:00:00

No Riverfest in 2019

click to enlarge Riverfest 2017 - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Riverfest 2017

From Riverfest Arkansas this morning comes news that the riverfront festival is "taking 2019 off to restructure, reorganize and re-invent." The full release:


Event taking a reprieve in 2019

LITTLE ROCK, AR – RiverFest, Inc. announced today that RiverFest, an Arkansas tradition, won’t return in 2019 to Little Rock’s Julius Breckling Riverfront Park located on the banks of the Arkansas River.

“After much discussion amongst the voluntary staff of RiverFest, Inc, the event will be taking 2019 off to restructure, reorganize and re-invent. The next Arkansas RiverFest will tentatively take place in May of 2020.

RiverFest would like to thank the City of Little Rock, The Little Rock Visitors & Convention Bureau and all the other downtown businesses who hosted us during the 2018 RiverFest.

What we envision as a celebration of Arkansas’ art, music and talent is what we want to share with the community each year. We are so grateful for all the fans who attended in 2018, and we look
forward to making 2020 an even better experience.

In 2020 we plan to return to the roots of the festival, with an event entirely focused on the heartbeat of Arkansas: our talented communities and the things we love.”

The festival's future has been uncertain for a while now. After announcing in July of 2017 that Riverfest would call it quits, a Memphis-based event group called Universal Fairs took over the event for the 2018 festival, held last May over the Memorial Day weekend. 


Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 07:20:00

Alabama at Verizon Arena for 50th anniversary tour tonight

click to enlarge Alabama
  • Alabama

Wildcountry will play Verizon Arena Saturday night.

Sort of.

You may not recall that country super group Alabama was formed in 1969 in Fort Payne, Ala., as Wildcountry by singer Randy Owen, bassist Teddy Gentry and guitarist and fiddler Jeff Cook.

In 1977 the band changed its name to Alabama, and the rest, as they say, is history. “Mountain Music,” “Song of the South,” “Love in the First Degree,” “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band”), “The Closer You Get,” “She and I,” and, well, the list, like that 18 wheeler in one of their songs, rolls on.

So it’s Alabama that will be taking the stage in North Little Rock. The group’s 50th Anniversary Tour kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday with a performance by the Charlie Daniels Band.

For more music, check out The Salty Dogs at Four Quarter Bar, where they will be playing an unofficial afterparty for the Alabama concert from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Friday, March 22, 2019 - 15:37:00

New video from Conway native Johnny Darlin mashes up the church and the drag club

click to enlarge Michael Doshier/Johnny Darlin - CATHERINE B.
  • Catherine B.
  • Michael Doshier/Johnny Darlin

Keytar-wielding, Brooklyn-based musician Michael Doshier, who performs under the name Johnny Darlin, is the queer mastermind behind cabarets "Johnny Darlin: In the Closet" and "Johnny Darlin: Songs About Boys," and his work has been performed at the New York Fringe Festival 2016, the Prague Fringe Festivals of 2017 and 2018 and the New York FRIGID Queerly Festival 2018.

Doshier released a video today for his song "Way with Words." It's a sultry, glittering mashup of two of the places he considers most holy: the church and the gay nightclub. "The video features talent solely from Arkansas - actors, dancers, drag queens, and churchgoers," Doshier told us, "all unified under a holy roof to deliver this message."

Doshier chatted with us via email about the video, about its Rapert-adjacent inception and about his work more broadly — which, as Doshier states on his website, "reckons with reconciling spirituality and sexuality, the difficulty of cementing a sense of self-acceptance and finding love and beauty in the world along the way."



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Cover Story

Windgate Foundation draws attention to the arts, its benefits

March 2, 2019
Windgate Foundation draws attention to the arts, its benefits
It's become the Johnny Appleseed of Arkansas arts education. /more/


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Arkansas Reporter

Lundstrum pushes ahead on efforts to limit minimum wage hike

March 18, 2019
Lundstrum pushes ahead on efforts to limit minimum wage hike
Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs), despite opposition from Governor Hutchinson and the state Republican Party, is proceeding with her bills to undo significant portions of the state minimum wage hike approved by voters just last November. /more/


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