Sunday, March 12, 2017

Events in Little Rock March and April 2017

Pirates of Penzance 
     Pirates of Penzance will be performed 7:30 p.m. March 31 and 3 p.m. April 1 at Wildwood Park for the Arts.  This Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera has been a staple for audiences for decades, and it's just as funny today as it was at its debut in 1879.  For information, call Leslie Golden at 821-7275.

Jar the Floor
  Jar the Floor will be performed March 29 to April 16 at The Rep downtown.
       The ticket price is $30 to $65.  
    Four generations of black women gather to celebrate their beloved, outrageous matriarch’s 90th birthday. The trouble is, recently widowed MaDear would rather watch her soap operas and read her Bible than blow out the candles on her cake.

        Tempers flare and secrets are revealed, yet rollicking humor bites its way through the cycles of guilt and blame passed on from mothers to daughters. Fierce and funny, Jar the Floor is a heartfelt comedy that proves the ghosts of the past should not rob us of the moments we have together in the here and now.

Arkansas Made - Arkansas Proud
   Arkansas Made - Arkansas Proud will be held March 31 and April 1 at War Memorial Stadium. 
   The market showcases products made in the Natural State. On Friday night, there will be a private shopping experience with a silent auction. There will be shopping 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5. For more information, call Vickie Hart at 537-5227 or write 

    Springfest will be held 8:30 a.m. a.m. - 6 p.m. April 1 at Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in the River Market. This free festival includes activities for children, food trucks, a dog parade, races for short-legged dogs, special performances and fun with popular emcees Craig O’Neal and Roger Scott.
     This year’s theme for the Ruff on the River Pooch Parade is Saturday Night Fever with pups dressed in disco themes. There will be prizes for best costume, best stroller and best wagon. For $5, you can enter your pet into the fun. The Weenie Dog Derby will include races of  three size pooches - Beenie Weenies, Hot Dogs and Summer Sausage. 
     For more information, call Ashley Parker at 225-3378 or visit

Gladys Knight
      The Empress of Soul and seven-time Grammy Award winner will dazzle Little Rock 8 p.m. April 3 at Robinson Performance Hall. 
      Tickets are $43, $58 and $68.  Come and hear some of the songs that made the 1960s and ‘70s a great time for music lovers: Every Beat Of My Heart, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Midnight Train to Georgia, and more.

Curbside Couture 
     The sixth annual Curbside Couture, a delightful "green" fashion show, will be held 7 - 9 p.m.
April 2 at the Clinton Presidential Center.  It features wearable designs made of recycled materials
by youngsters grades 3 through 12.
     Before the event, students will have had the opportunity to attend mentoring sessions with
acclaimed fashion designers - including Little Rock fashion maven Connie Fails - and receive
feedback about their creations.  Cash awards will be given for the best designs in elementary,
middle and high school levels.  For more information, call Ms. Fails at 748-0405 or write her at

Jazz in the Park
         From 6 - 8 p.m. each Wednesday in April, music lovers can come together to enjoy live jazz and support Little Rock’s own musicians during Jazz in the Park in Riverfront Park. 
      For four years this free event has been held in the History Pavilion at the park. It is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.
       This year, the event will continue its partnership with Art Porter Music Education, Inc., which offers scholarships to talented Arkansas music students who wish to further their education while promoting community service and volunteering.  
         This is the lineup:
         April 5 - The Funkanites (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 12 - Ramona (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 19 - Tonya Leeks & Co.
         April 26 - Sounds So Good                    

       Coolers are not allowed at Jazz in the Park, but beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Art Porter Music Education’s scholarship fund. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.  In case of rain, the West Pavilion will be the alternate location.


Youth Home’s Eggshibition celebrates its 26th year April 7 at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Come on out and support the kids while enjoying live and silent auctions, original egg art, glass from James Hayes, live music by The Rodney Block Collective and delicious food and libations. 

     David Bazzel and Chris Kane are hosting, and Craig O’Neill is this year’s auctioneer. General admission is $50.  Patron access is $75.  Doors open for general admission at 7 p.m. A special VIP reception for patrons begins at p.m. For more information, visit

 Dead Poets Society

      Dead Poets Society will be shown 1 - 3 p.m.  April 8 at The Ron Robinson Theater downtown.  Admission is $5. Come enjoy the full movie theater experience complete with comfortable seating, wonderful picture and sound, and concessions, including wine and beer. For information, call Moriah Pedro at 320-5715.

Beethoven and Blue Jeans
   The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans will be held 7:30 p.m. April 8 and 3 p.m. April 9 at Robinson Center downtown.
   It will include Beethoven's Consecration of the House Overture, Sibelius's Symphony No. 2, and Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring Andrew Irvin on violin. Philip Mann will conduct. For more information, visit

Downtown Dash 
     The Junior League of Little Rock’s Downtown Dash will be held 8:30 a.m. - noon April 8 starting at the Junior League Building, 401 Scott Street.  It will include a 10k, a 5k and a special 1k for kids that will begin at 8 a.m. The cost is $10 - $40. 

   The race will feature Downtown Little Rock landmarks, such as the River Market, the Clinton Library and the Arkansas Arts Center. The race is also handicap and stroller accessible. For more information visit 

Pioneer Day Camp 2017: Settling Arkansas
       Each summer, pioneer day campers have fun as they explore what life was like in Arkansas more than 150 years ago. This year campers will take on the role of being new settlers in Arkansas. They will learn the fascinating steps involved in setting up home, including haggling over the price of land with the owner of a local land agency and surveying their newly-purchased land. They'll visit the blacksmith in his shop and see him make the nails and hardware for building a house. And they'll have the opportunity to “build a house” and then cook on the open hearth in a pioneer kitchen.
     The campers will enjoy crafts, pioneer games, and dancing. On the last day of camp, parents will be invited to watch the children dance the Virginia Reel in celebration of building a house.
     The dates are: June 12–16 for rising 3rd and 4th graders; and June 19–23 for rising 5th and 6th graders. The hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The cost is $85 per camper ($65 for museum members).  You may register online now to reserve your spot. Join the museum now to get discounted tuition. For more information, visit 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Art Group Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Town Center

                                        Stained Glass Forest - Louise Harris 
Art Co-op
      Don’t think you can afford original art?
     Yes you can - when you buy it directly from the artists at The Art Group Gallery in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, a co-operative effort of 17 very talented local artists.
       Holly Tilley, general manager of the gallery, said it doesn’t fit any typical gallery mold.  The artists, who are all part-owners, run the gallery. 
      “One of the owners is there everyday,” Mrs. Tilley of west Little Rock, said.

                                                    Cow Shoals - Bob Snider 
      The art is “wholesale,” Holly said, because there is no usual markup in price as found in typical art galleries, which she said can add 50 percent or more to the price of a canvas. (Although, the norm in Little Rock is 40 percent, according to some galleries contacted.) 
       “You are buying it directly from the artist,” Holly said.
      The art ranges from as little as $50 to $75 for small pieces up to the $500 to $750 range.  Many of the original works are priced at about $175 unframed.  Only a few very large canvases are priced above $1,000.

                                                Chimpanzee - Shirley Gentry 
                                               Lilies of the Nile - Patricia Wilkes      
     From the beginning, one of the goals of the group was to keep down the costs of running the gallery. “There’s no overhead, just rent and light, no personal cost,” Holly said. Her personal cell phone is the number for the gallery, so the group even saves on that expense.
       “We buy frames as a group. That way we are able to buy them more economically.  We have beautiful frames.”
       One of the great features of the gallery is that if you like a work of art, but do not like the frame, they will gladly swap it for one better suited to your taste. And all styles of frames are available.
       “We are starting our fourth year at Pleasant Ridge.  Fifteen years prior to that we started as an art studio in Maumelle.  One year we rented a ‘pop-up’ store here in Pleasant Ridge for a holiday art show. People received our art so well we just kept bringing more work.”
      Right after the very successful holiday show, the group decided to make Pleasant Ridge its permanent home and have a gallery instead of a studio. 
      “Everybody except one person came with us to start our new little business.
      “We’ve got a really great group of people.  We are a community.  We are constantly lifting one another up.”
      The shopping center has been a great location for the group. “We are really lucky to be there,” Holly said.
     By buying art from the group, you are help-ing the community, Holly said, because the gallery supports a number of different non-profits.  “All of us donate to every charity you can name.”
      It’s costly for the artists to do this, she said. “They have a lot of money invested on the front end. By buying the art, you are essentially helping us to continue to contribute to the community.”
       The gallery is unique in that it is a place that anyone in the community can come and paint.  “We have several stations in the back, and we actually teach lessons and host workshops and have workshops for us to take.”
      The gallery has also hosted a number of events for free.  It even had a wedding once. Events for non-profits are a way to give back to the community, and often people who attend will find art they must have.  So it’s win-win.  The gallery has hosted events for up to 200 people.  And many of the groups want an artist on hand to paint live for them, which turns out to be lots of fun all around. 
    Artists in the group work in oils, acrylics, water color and mixed media. Styles include impressionism, realism, and abstract.  
     The subjects are as varied as the artists, but there are lots of Arkansas-themed works, such as racing at Oaklawn, historic homes, farm scenes, and depictions of different lakes and rivers in the state. 
     The artists are a diverse group, but they have one thing in common.
     “We’d always rather be painting,” Holly said. “We love it that much.”
     The gallery is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 - 6 p.m. on Sunday. It is also open by appointment.  690-2193.

Art Group Gallery Artists 
Patricia Wilkes was graduated from Washington School of Fine Art in 1973 with a bachelor’s in fine art and has worked as a freelance illustrator. She enjoys painting still lifes, large florals and landscapes of her travels in Italy.

Marie Weaver is a beaming grandmother whose grandchildren have inspired some of her best work.  She uses varied methods and styles for her inspiring nature scenes and visions of children and adults at work and play.

Holly Tilley loves being outdoors, and this is   reflected in her paintings of landscapes, including favorites such as Lake Ouachita, old barns, trucks and cows. Great cows! She has studied with Bill Garrison, Barry Thomas, and Dreama-Tolle Perry. 

Bob Snider is a signature member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists and has served as its president.  His vibrant horse racing paintings can be found in galleries in Palm Springs, Vail, and Seaside, Florida. You can see his demos at

Vonda Rainey paints predominantly impressionistic oils and acrylics.  After raising her family, she returned to her love of art and studied at the Arkansas Arts Center and with several noted local artists.  She is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists. 

Ann Presley is a full-time artist specializing in oils.  She paints scenes of the Ouachita and Ozark mountains in her native Arkansas and scenes of her travels in the southwest. She has had paintings in juried shows in Texas and Arkansas. 

Susan Plunkett works in watercolor, oil and acrylic.  She has studied at La Romita School of Art in Italy and recently completed a workshop in Arles, France.  Plein air painting gives her much joy and inspiration.  She’s on the Arkansas League of Artists board.

Ned Perme began art instruction at the Mansion Art and Framing in 2003, and when it closed the next year, he and some of the other students formed The Art Group in Maumelle. He paints vivid Arkansas landmarks and bold, colorful abstracts.

Michelle Moore studies painting, pottery and printmaking at the Arkansas Arts Center and has consistently been one of the top sellers at Museum School sales. She paints and does printmaking at her studio in The Pyramid Place Building.   

Terri Haugen is considered one of America’s foremost batik artists, and her work is collected worldwide. She has lived in Paris and Italy and exhibited in galleries in the States and overseas. The Art Group Gallery carries many of her paintings in oil and mixed media. 

Louise Harris has always had a creative nature and an appreciation for all styles of art. After raising her children, she returned to art and studied under a number of artists, including Susie Patton, Patrick Cunningham, Emily Wood, and Matt Coburn.

Shelly Gentry is a member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and has served on its board for the past three years.  Her paintings have been in a number of juried shows. She was graduated from Hendrix College  and from the Harrington Institute of Design in Chicago.

          Fawn by Shelly Gentry, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 20x20 $450.00.

Lori Deymaz enjoys creating abstracts in which  color, or its absence, speaks to the viewer. “The beauty of the world is enhanced through various colors.  I embrace all of them, from the brightest pink to the most subtle gray, and I always love metallics.”

Dawn Bearden is the newest member of The Art Group.  Abstract modern art and urban contemporary mixed media are just some of the styles she works in, and over the years, this self-taught artist has been widely collected inside and outside of Arkansas.

               Blue Man Series 2 by Dawn Bearden, ink/resin on wood, 36x24, $500.00

Loren Bartnicke received her bachelor’s of fine art from Mississippi State University and is working on a master’s in fine art at Syracuse University.  Some of her bright, heavily textured pieces are almost three-dimensional.  She is a painter at Syracuse Stage.

                            City by Loren Bartnicke, oil on canvas, 36x48 $2,400

Shirley Anderson has a passion for plein air painting. She works in acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastels. Her landscapes have been in juried exhibitions in several states. She is a charter member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and served as its president.
    DeSoto Spillway by Shirley Anderson, pastel on sanded paper, 17x14, $375.00.

Ron Almond began taking art lessons from Matt Coburn at The Art Group after retiring from the Arkansas National Guard.  An Arkansas native now living in Maumelle, Ron uses brilliant colors in his landscapes and abstracts.
                       Aspen Glory by Ron Almond, oil on canvas, 24x30, $1,575.00

Monday, October 31, 2016

Shop The Freckled Frog and Support Arkansas
Artisans - Everything in the Shop Is Made Here

    Start your holiday shopping at The Freckled Frog, the delightful downtown shop that sells handcrafted items made exclusively by Arkansans.
    Sadie Nuffer, owner of the shop, said she has lots of new handicrafts perfect for gift giving.
     The shop has beautiful flame-painted copper jewelry by Miriam Quagliato, owner of The Gypsy Phoenix.  She makes her colorful designs on copper with heat from a torch.
     “We have coin rings made out of coins from different countries,” Ms. Nuffer said.  “I’ve seen these done before, but not this nice.  These are made by Gary Higgins of Alexander.”
     Larry Witherspoon of El Dubya Pottery creates some amazing pieces that look like museum art but function like your everyday dishes; they are dishwasher and microwave safe.  If you have a very special person on your list, a piece of pottery from Mr. Witherspoon would make a unique and functional gift. 
     The Freckled Frog carries a wide variety of t-shirts, many with Arkansas themes.  One of the youngest entrepreneurs is Kate Walters, 17, a senior at Central High School.  Ms. Walters started out selling her cat collars and other designs at the shop when she was only 10.  Now, she designs and cuts her own screens and prints her own t-shirts. 
    The shop has shirts from Hillcrest Water Bugs, the original maker of the “y’all” tees, and clothing lines from Homegrown Arkansas and Nativ.  It offers shirts by Tiffany O’Brien’s The Eccentric Dose, which are Arkansas themed. 
    Sadie said the shop’s location at 419 President Clinton Avenue has worked out well.
     “It’s really good.  We get tons of foot traffic.  We get people from all over the world, and it’s really fun to show off a good part of Arkansas.  We have lots of creative people around here.”
    The shop carries the work of about 70 Arkansas artisans.  
     Among them is Sadie’s sister, Rose Nuffer, who makes very fine leather journals.  Rose also gives free herbal classes every other Sunday at the shop. 
     The Freckled Frog has a great line of soaps, lotions and candles.
     “We have the most amazing candles ever.  They are made just for us.  They burn absolutely clean, they have an extremely long burn time, and they smell the same all the way to the bottom,” Sadie said. 
     The shop specializes in jewelry, with many pieces as low as $3.  Sadie makes a lot of the jewelry, much of which incorporates Arkansas quartz crystals. The shop offers framed art prints, scarves, hats, fingerless gloves and all manner of inexpensive, clever stocking stuffers.
     Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Goodnight Little Rock” by Emily Wyatt and featuring fantastic illustrations by Nathaniel Dailey.
    Gift wrap is free at the Frog.  514-2060.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Little Rock Brewery

The Buffalo Brewing Company 


Owner Nolen Buffalo, customer Claire Carothers of Sheridan, freelance brewer Andrew Teague, Buffalo Brewing manager and brewer Jack Higgins, customers Kimberly and Jerje Stoneman of Little Rock 

     Nolen Buffalo, owner of The Water Buffalo, has opened The Buffalo
Brewing Company as a great new extension of his store at 106 South Rodney Parham.
     His brewing company will make small batch beers and focus on about 
four different ones to begin with, Mr. Buffalo said.
     Other breweries in town have been excited to join in this new effort, he said.
      “We will have a bunch of different varieties with 12 different breweries represented.  We will have 16 taps represented to start with.”
     Among Buffalo Brewing’s beers is a red ale, a signature beer, which will be on tap regularly.
    “When it  gets colder, we’ll have a chocolate stout, an oatmeal stout and a pineapple wheat. 
   “The beer I am most excited about is Raspberry Honey Cream Ale.
We serve that at festivals, and it is always very popular.”
     The honey that is used in the making of the beer is made by bees
who feed on raspberry flowers. 
    “Every time bees are making honey, they bring back a little bit of that flower taste, a hint.  As the beer is fermenting, the sugar ferments out, and the honey flavor is left over with a little bit of raspberry.
      “It has raspberry color, raspberry tartness.  We put real raspberries on top right before we are ready to carbonate the beer. It’s pretty to look at, easy to drink.”
 A Beer By the People, For the People   
  Then there is the pale ale Nolen and his crew are “building by popular opinion.”
     They are starting off with a 5 percent pale ale, relatively hoppy and a reddish color. Then they are going to let the public decide whether to use a different hop, for example, or to make it lighter or darker, or with more or less alcohol.
     “We are going to build that beer to specifications, let the people decide - a beer for the people, by the people.”
      Nolen has been making beer for about 20 years as a home brewer.  As a professional brewer, this is relatively new territory for him.
     The brewery is an extension of The Water Buffalo store, which carries a wide variety of beer and wine making supplies.  It has lot of malted barleys, a variety of hops, and yeasts. It offers beer making kits, all the utensils and gadgets needed to make beer, and teaches lots of classes to both budding and experienced home brewers. 
      “This is an opportunity for us to show how to improve the quality of their home brew. It can expand someone’s palette, compare what they already made or want to make with a known quality product, and help provide a direction for where they want to go.
      Buffalo Brewing will not distribute its beer.  It will be make in small batches that Nolen expects to sell quickly.
     Folks are welcome to bring their own food, stay and watch a game or socialize.  Later, Nolen plans to provide a few snacks.
     “We will sell samples, pints and growlers to go,” he said. (A growler is about a half gallon.)
      “I am expecting brisk Sunday sales.”
     Nolan has had a very positive reaction from other area brewers.
    “The brew community is a very tight community. Everybody is excited about it.”
     Nolan wants other brewers’ beers on tap.  In addition to the arrangement with the initial 12 brewers, others want their beers on tap in midtown too and are going to produce more than usual so they can. 
 It will be nice chance for folks in the community to find quality brews in midtown, he said.
    “I want their beer on tap.  We have a saying (in the brew community), ’No crap on tap.’ It’s all good beer, small batch, craft beer.” 
      Buffalo Brewing will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays (hours later to be extended), and most likely hours for Sunday are noon to 7 p.m.

     For more information, call 725-5296, email or visit 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Events in Little Rock October 2016

                                              C. J. Duvall, Jr. and Dr. Chad Rogers 

Friends of Children Luncheon 
   The 2016 Friends of Children Annual Luncheon will be held 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. October 31 at the Doubletree Hotel downtown.  
   Tickets are $50. Proceeds benefit Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. The 2016 Friend of Children Awards will be presented to C. J. Duvall, Jr., and Dr. Chad Rodgers.  
  Mr. Duvall is a clergyman and a businessman who served as a senior pastor in the United Methodist Church and an executive officer in a Fortune 250 company. While Senior Pastor of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, he began a community gardening program for college students from Philander Smith College, and other local colleges participated. He supports a variety of schools and community focused organizations and is a full-time community volunteer supporting community gardening.
    Dr. Rodgers is a partner at Little Rock Pediatric Clinic and Chief Medical Officer for Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care.  Realizing that many of the issues that affect children’s health and well-being are not solvable in the exam room, he commits his time as an advocate for children and their parents through policy, social change, and the improvement of health care systems. He has served on the AACF board and twice as chair of Soup Sunday.
   Table and event sponsorships are available. To become an event sponsor, call Mallory Van Dover at 371-9678, ext. 107. For individual tickets, call Deanna Clark at 371-9678, ext. 103. Or visit

Arkansas Cornbread Festival
 The Arkansas Cornbread Festival will be held 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. October 29 on South Main Street.  Admission is $8. 
      The festival includes great food, live music, crafts, and vendors offering clothing, jewelry, home furnishings, and gifts. The cornbread competition will be judged by everyone attending who wishes to participate, as well as a panel of celebrity judges.  
      This year’s festival will benefit the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Our House, and studioMAIN. For information, contact Ann Owen at 960-0063 or ann.owen@sbcglobal. net.

Tales of the Crypt 
    The 21st Annual Tales of the Crypt will be held  at Mount Holly Cemetery, 1200 South Broadway, from 6 - 8 p.m. October 11. 
     Admission is free to the public, however donations to Mount Holly Cemetery are appreciated and aid in the maintenance of the cemetery.

     Held the second Tuesday of October, Tales of the Crypt is an annual Mount Holly Event.  Under the direction of Fred Boosey & Tamara Zinck, drama students from Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School are each given a person buried in the cemetery to research. They then prepare short monologues or dialogues they perform in front of the person's grave.  Award-winning local costumer Debi Manire will once again provide the wonderful historical characters' costumes.  Audiences are led through the cemetery from grave to grave by guides with candles. 

State Fair
    The Arkansas State Fair will be held October 14 - 23.  It opens at 11 a.m. daily.  Admission is 10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6 - 12, $5 for seniors, and free to kids ages 5 and younger.  Parking is $10.
     The fair includes beauty pageants, a rodeo queen competition, talent contests and competitions in wine, food, animals and crafts.  
     All concerts are outdoors and free with paid gate admission.  Premium concert seating is available for $15 and $25 in advance by October 13. This is the music lineup: Bret Michaels, 8 p.m. October 14; Trapt and Saliva, 6:30 p.m. the 15th; Mystical, 7 p.m. the 16th; Rick Springfield, 8 p.m. the 18th; Al B. Sure, 8 p.m. the 19th; Clint Black, 8 p.m. the 20th; Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 8 p.m. the 21st; Collin Raye, 6 p.m. the 22nd; and After 7, 6 p.m. the 23rd.

The Wiz 

    The Wiz will be presented On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays October 21 - November 13 at The Weekend Theater, 1001 West Seventh St.
    The price is $20 or $16 for seniors and students. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. 
    This popular Broadway musical sets Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz to a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel and soul music. It is directed by Danette Scott Perry with musical direction by Leah Thomas.  The cast includes: Sydney Williams as Dorothy, Zachary Hickman as the Scarecrow, Frederick Webb as the Tin Man, Braxton O. Johnson as the Cowardly Lion, and Chris Watkins as The Wiz. 

  For more information call James Norris at 374-3761 or visit 

Cupcakes for Goodness Sake
     Cupcakes for Goodness Sake will be held 2 - 4 p.m. October 23 at Bespoke-Southern Light Pictures Studio, 2207 Cantrell Road. 
     Admission is $25.  The event benefits CareLink.  It includes a baking competition, cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, and cupcakes.  Visit 

Pride Fest 
     The Little Rock Pride Fest will be held 1 - 6 p.m. October 16 at the Clinton Presidential Center.
     It includes live music, a beer garden, and entertainment by national and local performers.  The event benefits scholarships for LGBT youth.  For information, call Zack Baker at 404-8498.

 Light the Night
    The Light the Night Walk will be held 6 - 10 p.m. October 29 at River Market Pavilions. The walk is a fundraising campaign benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and its funding of research to find blood cancer cures.
    Walkers can raise money by participating as individuals or on a team with friends, family and co-workers. For more information or to sign up, visit

Winnie the Pooh
     Winnie the Pooh will be performed 7 p.m. on Fridays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays October 28 - November 13 at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.
   Tickets are $12.50, $10 for Arts Center members, $10 per person for groups of 10 or more, and free for children under age 2.  For information, visit

The Pumpkin Patch at Asbury UMC
    Come and get your pumpkins for fall at Asbury United Methodist Church and help support 
youth activities.  The patch will be open from October 7 to October 31 and features all
size pumpkins for carving, decorating or eating.  It will be open Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.  For more information, visit or
call Amy Bennet at 225-9231.

Arkansas Chamber Singers 
     The Arkansas Chamber Singers will present “in paradisum” 7:30 p.m. October 7 at St. Marks Church and 3 p.m. October 9 at First United Methodist Church.
     The program will include the timeless Allegri "Miserere," the exhilarating "Across the Vast Eternal Sky" by the Norwegian Ola Gjeilo with string quartet and solo piano, and the amazing "in paradisum" by the young Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. John Erwin is artistic director and conductor.

     The cost is $15.  Two different subscription packages for the three-concert 2016-2017 season entitled “For Heaven’s Sake!” are available at 


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Animal Options: Dr. Karen Hooks

Dr. Karen Hooks Veterinary Practice Focused On Acupuncture and Chiropractic Services
     “Empathetic.” “Gets results.” “A great eye.”  “Honest.” “Loves animals.” “Ethical.”
“Genuine.” “Love her.” “Fortunate to have her.” Those are some of the things folks who
have used Dr. Karen Hooks to care for their animals said about her.   
    The veterinary medicine practice of Dr. Hooks of Little Rock is focused on acupuncture and chiropractic services for animals of all species.  Karen has been practicing veterinary medicine for 28 years.  She has provided acupuncture and chiropractic services for 20 years and also provides physical therapy and rehabilitation.
     Her degrees and education are extensive, extending beyond veterinary, acupuncture and chiropractic studies.
       “I am the only veterinarian in Arkansas trained and certified to practice veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic.  I use these other modalities as extra tools to help diagnose and treat problems in animals,” she said.  
     “I very much enjoy what I do. My job is to make animals feel better.  I use a low stress approach to my practice to gain the patient’s trust.  I like making animals more comfortable and help them life.”have the ability to live a full life.” 
     Linda Bly of west Little Rock said Karen had been taking care of her animals for about 15 years.
     “She’s good.  She’s effective.  She’s empathetic.  And I have recommended her to other people over the years, because she gets results,” Ms. Bly said.
      Linda’s corgi, Trevor, and her basset, Roger, have been treated for the back problems endemic to such long-backed, short-legged dogs, as well as for a torn ligament and routine problems over the years.   
     “She treated both successfully. And she’s treated my horses.  They’ve had a variety of things wrong.”
    Linda has a mare named Doll that she trail rides with, and she does dressage with Bert, a gelding.
     “She’s done chiropractic and acupuncture on both of them.  There is no question that what she does is beneficial.”
     Linda, 65, has had horses since she was 13 and is attuned to their moods and problems.  She said Karen works well with them.
    “She has a great eye.  She can just watch a horse move and see where the problem is.
    “She is very honest and very ethical in her dealings.  If she doesn’t think she can help somebody, she says so up front.  There have been times when she’s come to the barn and looked at horses, mine and others, and determined that chiropractic or acupuncture wouldn’t be appropriate.  She’d say to get another vet to look at them or else say they were fine.  And she doesn’t charge.”
    Jennifer Bevans, owner of J & J Stables in West Little Rock, said Karen has been taking care of her horses for about 14 years.  Ms. Bevans once raised American paint horses and quarter halter horses for competitions.  “I have several retired world champions,” she said.
     “I’ve been raising horses for over 20 years.  Pretty much every horse I have had her work with, she’s totally helped them.  Most of the time, she can help a horse with one or two treatments.”
    One of her show mares that was exhibiting some lameness took a bit longer.  “Nobody could figure out what was wrong,” even after extensive  exams and an ultrasound.  However, after Karen was called in to look at the mare, she discovered an injured radial nerve in the mare’s neck that had affected the movement of her legs. Karen, working with Dee Dee Cravens, who provided physical therapy, healed the horse. 
    “Between the two of them, they fixed her.”
     Jennifer said she knows the acupuncture and chiropractic treatments have helped her horses time and again.  “Knowing your horses is kind of like knowing your kids.  I can read their faces.”
     Jennifer has another mare that is permanently crippled, and Karen provides her care for free.
     “She’s called Baby Doll, and Dr. Hooks always checks on her and never charges for her.  She is a super, super lady,  I count her as a friend. She loves the animals and has a genuine desire to help them, and if she can’t, she’s genuine enough to tell you she can’t.  She’s aboveboard in her standards of treatment.  She puts all of that first.”  
     Carol Sitlington of Kingwood said, “I love Dr. Hooks.”
     Ms. Sitlington said Karen had been taking care of her dogs for at least 12 years.  Right now, Carol has four Cardigan corgis, Ashes, Cairo, Gordy and Cricket, who get monthly chiropractic and acupuncture treatments.
    “They call these dogs ‘yard long” dogs, because their backs are so long.  It is important to keep their backs strong.  Dr. Hooks just has these hands that can feel the injuries on their
backs.  It’s incredible.
     “It keeps from having to give them pain medications that can cause so many side effects.  She keeps them healthy and noble and active.  She’s just wonderful, and I highly recommend anyone go to her.”
     Carol has another vet she takes her corgis to for medical problems.  For example, when Ashes got into rat poison, the regular vet treated her for that, and he gives them blood tests when needed.
    “Any orthopedic problem, I call Dr. Hooks first. She keeps them healthy and moving.  The acupuncture relaxes them.  They know it’s going to be a good experience.  My oldest, Cairo, has been known to doze while she’s doing it.  She usually does the chiropractic first, examines them, feels them.  It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for each dog.
     “I think it’s just wonderful, and we are so fortunate to have her.”
     Dr. Hooks, a resident of Leawood, has several animals of her own: Sailor, a 14-year-old mixed breed dog who rules the household; two horses, Fendi, 10, and Scottie, 24;  and a pet deer, Rosie, who is 15 years old. Over the years, she has had many other pets, including cats, a goat and Vizsla show dogs. Many of the dogs she works with today are performance animals. 
     Melissa Snell of West Little Rock has used Karen’s services for about five years for her champion show dogs, JoJo, a Coton de Turear, and Zap, a miniature poodle. 
     “They are performance dogs.  They do agility, obedience compliance and free style.  They are like little athletes. 
     “She does chiropractic and acupuncture.  I take them in before a really big competition to make sure everything is okay.  She really helps to keep them in top shape. She’s always great to work with.“
     Dr. Hooks sees pets, as well as working and show animals.
     “I see a lot of athletic dogs that participate in agility, Schutzhund, obedience, hunting etc., as well as dogs and other animals whose main job is as a pet or companion,” she said. 
     “I also see a lot of geriatric animals with subtle lameness and discomfort.  The horses I see are mostly athletic jumpers, dressage, racing, reining, and roping. 
     And, it’s not all horses and dogs.
    “I have treated everything from an elephant to a barred owl that was brought to me by a wildlife rehabilitation facility.” 
     Mary Jane Calhoun of the Heights said Karen had been taking care of her animals for
at least 20 years.
    “She’s very professional and knowledgeable,” Mrs. Calhoun said. 
     “I have a border collie, Sasha Belle, between 15 and 16 years old, and Chloe, a 
basset hound who is 14 years old. Because of Karen, I think my dogs are blissfully enjoying life in their senior years.  The border collie is elderly, but she plays and enjoys her life.”
     Regular acupuncture treatments have helped keep her dogs active and helped with pain issues.  “It helps.  I can see that it does.
    “And my husband has a few race horses with two or three other men.  He has not hesitated to recommend Karen Hooks to other horse owners.
    “Karen is direct and kind. And she’s honest with you.  I think that’s real important.  We are just lucky to have her.  We really are.”
    Karen is a licensed practicing veterinarian with a bachelor’s degree in  Animal Science from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  She earned a master’s in Public Health Epidemiology in 2013 from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  She earned her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University in 1988.  
     She was certified to practice Veterinary Acupuncture in 1996 and was a charter member of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncturists.  She was certified to practice Animal Chiropractic in 1998 and is a lifetime founding member of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. She is a member of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

    You can find her on Facebook, on the web at animal, or by calling 223-5400. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sabrina Zarco at Gallery 360

Sabrina Zarco Exhibit
Chicana Goddess in the Bosque:
Walking With Ancestors 
 Opening Night 7 p.m. July 16 

        Sabrina Zarco will be back in Arkansas this July for an exhibition at Gallery 360 that will be a mixture of embroidery work on painted canvas, small art quilts stretched on canvas and large mixed media pieces.
      Ms. Zarco, who lived in Arkansas for 10 years, is a past Grand Award Winner in The Delta Exhibition, and her work has been shown in solo and group shows around the world.  Sabrina, who now lives in Pecos, New Mexico, sees herself as a “visual storyteller.”
     “I use stories and life lessons as a way to connect, preserve, and promote traditional cultural stories and often marginalized stories.
     Her work often employs traditional symbols and colors of the Chicano movement of the 70s when she was young. They include the prickly pear cactus, various forest animals real and imagined, Aztec goddesses and Mexican symbols of spirit and community.
      “I also use the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Tonatzin, Aztec goddess and leader of the indigenous and oppressed people. Civil rights and justice work is also part of my storytelling process.”  
     “In the Guardian series, which are embroidered faces on painted canvas, I use birds as symbols of freedom and looking at the big picture as you fly above situations. Flowers and butterflies represent transformation and rebirth.” 
     Justice is the theme of her 2004 Grand Award Winner, Women of Juarez, which focused on the hundreds of murdered and missing women around the border town of Juarez. 
     Sabrina’s work is currently being shown in national and international shows, as it has consistently since she began her art career in the 1990s. She had a large installation and a number of mixed media pieces in Gallery 360’s first exhibition, Dia de los Muertos, in 2012.  
      “Thank you to Gallery 360 for the opportunity to come back home. I was part of their initial show years ago and it’s one of my fondest memories of Arkansas.  
      “I lived and worked in Arkansas for a little over ten years so its like a second home filled with amazing community I call my family.”
      Opening night for the new show,  Chicana Goddess in the Bosque: Walking with the Ancestors, will be 7 p.m. July 16. 

      “Intentions for this show are to remind viewers that we are more than just our day-to-day experiences. We are a part of nature and making time to slow down and observe and listen can be a healing experience for mind, body and soul. Even if it’s on the drive to work, eating lunch outside or a walk in the woods. All of these experiences are added value to your day. Breathing clear air,
listening to the wind in the trees, watching birds or noticing a flower in bloom can shift perspective and help to release the negatives in life. Kind of like a reboot for your personal operating system and can also be lots of fun.
     “This show focuses on telling the stories of my experiences in the forest where I live. The works speak to the visions, messages, renewal and healing and joy that can come from being connected to nature. 
     “In the case of the three women images in this show, they can represent traditional Mexican and Indigenous matriarchal families where community and mentoring of women is a rite of passage. These women images can also represent three general stages: young woman, middle time in life and elderhood, which is revered in our community.”
    Sabrina fell in love with fabric as a child. While her mother and grandmother worked at their sewing machines, Sabrina would pick up scraps of fabric to make dolls and other small items.
     “When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I went to the local seamstress’ home to learn to sew. While all the other girls made beanbag frogs in shades of green, I created a cotton stuffed black velvet frog with red and white printed underbelly and red pom pom eyes. I have always been thankful and dearly loved my teacher for allowing me the space to be different. The velvet frog sits in my studio as a reminder that I have always been a nonconformist.”
     Sabrina, who has been diagnosed as autistic, said her “neurology is different.”
    “Creating in some way is a respite from the exhaustion of navigating a challenging world for me because of my neurology. The creative process is essential for my well-being. 
     “I have explored different kinds of visual work over the years: beading, collage, clay, mosaics, embroidery, painting, printing, surface design, and recycling and repurposing materials. I found that I could use many of these processes in my art quilt work, which is the work I return to most often. I think it might be my sensitivity to textures and working with cloth, the first thing that touches our bodies when we arrive, that is always comforting to me.”

      An “art quilt” is an original exploration of a concept rather than the handing down of a “pattern,” according to the Studio Art Quilt Association of which Sabrina is a member. 
     “It experiments with textile manipulation, color, texture and/or a diversity of mixed media. It consists predominately of fiber or a fiber-like material with one or multiple layers, which are held together with stitches or piercing of the layers. In my work I draw and add paint, embroidery, beadwork, buttons, seeds, found objects, basically anything I can attach/add to the work to further the story.” 
     Sabrina draws inspiration from her home in Pecos, which is just outside Santa Fe.  It is an old hand-made adobe home isolated on a ridge.
     “I’m surrounded by towering Ponderosa and Piñon trees, boulders to climb, and an arroyo that, when the spring monsoon rains come, turns into a rushing creek. I can walk out my door and wander for hours and never see anyone and be reminded that we are all one with nature. I spent years as a workshop leader and community educator so this time is a great respite for me and I get to focus full time on my art.
     “My dog goes out with me on my adventures. It’s a great inspiration place and served as the primary inspiration for this show. 

     “At night I am under millions of stars and the sounds of coyotes echo in the valley. In the morning I watch sunrise over the mountains as ravens call out and rabbit, squirrels and deer move in the forest. There is always something to do and learn from the land, the trees, the rocks, and the wildlife all are a part of our history, our ancestors. The bosque, or forest, is filled with life lessons we only need to slow down, stop and listen. Some examples of reminders are to be resilient like the tree growing out from a crack in a outcropping. The determination of the creek flowing over and around boulders, and the reminder to fly above and look at the bigger picture from the ravens. And then there is the reminder of the power of the collective and community from the coyotes who travel the bosque together.”

      For more information about Sabrina, visit  She is working with Hueso Productions in Baja to have her work reproduced for sale as limited edition works, posters and cards.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Schickel's Cleaners

Schickel's Cleaners

      After almost a half century in business, Schickel’s Cleaners is the highest volume cleaners in the state, but, remarkably, it offers individual care for every single garment.  It uses pure clean solvent in every load, so no article of clothing is ever exposed to used chemicals, as is common with some other cleaners.  And its “the-customer-is-always-right” policy has ensured over the years that it has repeatedly been voted the Number 1 cleaners in polls by a variety of publications.
    “One thing that is very popular is our in by noon, out by 5 by request, and faster service if needed,” said owner Lou Schickel.  “Very few cleaners in town can do that.  Our four plants are all total package plants. That means we are complete plants, we do all of the work on site.  If the manager is there and you say I need something in 30 minutes, they are going to bend over backwards.
     “We’ve had people walk in and say, ‘Can I take this suit off and get it cleaned and pressed,’ and in 30 minutes they walked out (with it done).” 

     At Schickel’s Cleaners the customer never has to worry that contaminated solvent has touched their clothing.
     Ron Zimmerman, general manager of the cleaners since 1996, said that every garment is cleaned with 100 percent clean solvent.
     “Dirty solvent never touches the clothes.  It’s all pure clean solvent on every load. We started doing that about 7 years ago.  It’s pure solvent like it came from the factory.”
     That might not mean much to folks who are unacquainted with the way some cleaners run solvent through several different loads and even “filter” it after that to use it again. 
      “The thing about clean solvent, it costs money to do that.  People will skip that, they’ll cut corners.” Mr. Zimmerman said. 
       The cleaners also uses a process called “wet cleaning.”
      “It’s a process, virtually like you’d wash at home,” Mr. Zimmerman said.  “It’s very gentle and uses great detergents.  (Clothes) smell fresh, smell great when they come out.
       “It’s not exclusive to us.  We were probably the first people in Arkansas to do it, but we’ve upgraded the equipment several times since then.  It is a process that a lot of people on the coasts use, like New York City, San Francisco, the big cities, because they try to do everything with water, and you don’t have to worry about the environmental aspects of a solvent.” 
     Ron said it’s used on items ranging from delicate knits to large comforters.  “It is so much nicer if you run polo shirts through the wet cleaning system.”
Early Days
     In the late 1960s, when Lou decided to open a cleaners, he wanted to learn the business inside and out.  The Cornell University graduate with a civil engineering degree continued his education with classes given by the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute, the oldest certification institute in the field.
      “When I first got into the business, I had a serious interest in really learning the business and the technology,” he said.  “Today I am a certified garment care professional.”  
       He also served on the board of directors of the Southern Dry Cleaners Association for many years.
        The first Schickel’s Cleaners opened in1969.
       “We opened in the Southwest City Mall in 1969.  We moved across the parking lot in ’73 and built our own building.  The next store we opened was Highway 10 in ’78,  We remodeled it in 1996 and tripled the size.  In ’89, we did Bowman Curve.  And then we did Maumelle, our finest looking store in 2003, and we won several national awards for being the Number 1 dry cleaning plant built
that year,” Lou said. 
     “From the time I was a little kid, I had this yearning to be in business.  When I was six years old, I went in the neighborhood
and sold rock garden plants. When I was 15 years old, we moved to a little farm. I sold eggs.  I sold broilers.  I sold vegetables.  …  All these things I kind of made into business.”
     Building up the cleaning business was a far cry from those years of selling eggs, not to mention the multi-million shopping center and office building complex Lou built on Cantrell Road, including the posh Pleasant Ridge Town Center. 
Schickel’s Is Different
      Lou said that one thing that sets apart Schickel’s from other cleaners is its generous hours of operation. “Our hours are 7 to 7 Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 on Sunday.  We are the only plant that does that.
      “And all work is done on the premises.  Your clothes don’t leave the building.  We have fewer mistakes.”

       Over the years, a number of improvements have been made for the convenience of the customers.  Starting in 1996, conveyers were replaced by pipe racks, Lou said.
       Angie Janton, who has worked for Lou for 22 years and coordinates various aspects of his many business enterprises, said pipe racks are a great advantage, keeping a customer’s clothing in one location, so that it can be quickly found.  Conveyers have to
spin around, finding a shirt in one spot and spinning again to find a pair of pants in another.  In addition to the speedier service with pipe racks, multiple customers can be waited on at one time.
       Another innovation has been to add full-time employees to do alterations at each of the stores.
    Ron credits a good deal of the success of the business to long-time employees. 
      “I have one manager who has been there 25 years with us. I’ve got another manager who’s been 20 years with us.  Tom Dober has been with us 10 to 12 years.  He’s the best stain remover in town.”  
       Ron describes the cleaners as “full-service, full-price.  “We are not the most expensive in town, but we are not the cheapest. We are not a discounter.”
      Mrs. Janton said:   “What we are is the ‘tell us if you are not happy, and we’ll make it right’ cleaners. 
      “You can go into the discount cleaners and see a sign with 20 things on it as soon as you walk in the door about what they don’t do, what they can’t do and about what you can’t ask them to do. They are not liable for anything.”
      Lou agreed: “When somebody calls up and says ‘You screwed up my $1,000 suit, Lou.’  What do I ask them?  I don’t ask them ‘How do you know we did it?’ I say ‘How much do we owe you?  We’ll send you the check or bring it to you.’
      “If you go into most cleaners in town and you come in with a complaint, they send it to a lab that takes six weeks.  We did that for some years.  Nine times out of 10, the lab comes back and says it was the manufacturer’s fault or the customer’s fault, seldom the cleaner’s fault.  If you want to know how to lose a customer and all their friends, you tell them it was their fault and not yours.”
      Ron said most of their claims payouts are simply done in the spirit of “goodwill.” 
     “We want happy customers.  We’ll tear something or rip it every once in a while.  If we do, we’ll call ahead to tell them in advance that we boo-booed.”
     Lou said that Schickel’s Cleaners is the “highest volume cleaners total in Arkansas, and we’re the highest volume individual store in the state of Arkansas, which is Highway 10.”
     Ron wanted to emphasize that in spite of the high volume, each item of clothing is given individual treatment.
     “We handle every single garment, finish every one individuality. Pressing it, doing quality inspections.  Discounters do it by volume.  They’ll send it through a steam tunnel to get all the creases out.
     “You get what you pay for.“

This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt and appeared in the April/May issue of Shoppe Talk.