SL Jones Back in Little Rock, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 18, 2013.
When Bryan “SL” Jones unleashes his adept rhymes and liquid beats at Vino’s Brewpub in Little Rock on Sunday, it will be only his second performance in the city he labels home, despite being born in Flint, Mich., and living in Atlanta. Skinny and smoothcheeked, Jones says he’s 23, although, according to court documents, he was born in 1979.
Marathon Merrymakers, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 11, 2013.
“We have stilt walkers, roller derby girls, brass marching bands, music acts, gospel choirs…”
Immigrant Physician Riffs on the American Dream, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 10, 2013.
Meet Dr. Jayant Deshpande. He has an enviable position in a wellranked American hospital, but as a child, he lived in a walk-up tenement in what is now Mumbai, India. He encountered TV for the first time in a London hotel room, en route to join his father in America. After earning his M.D., Deshpande completed two residencies, an internship and two fellowships. He married, had kids and enrolled them in prep school. At an age when some people retire, he trimmed his workday to 12 hours to fit in more vegetarian dinners with his wife.
Frac Sand Mining Comes to Arkansasas, Arkansas Times, Jan. 23, 2013
It is five days before Christmas, and the storefronts in Calico Rock are dark. The night before, a windstorm took out electrical lines, and now only the hardware store stirs, as people pay for propane they’ve loaded on pick-ups out back. Carlson is walking this reporter through Peppersauce Alley, the only ghost town in America located within city limits. She points out an old cotton gin, mentioned in a couple of John Grisham novels. The conversation turns to Evergreen.
Notes from Hell, Arkansas Times, Oct. 24, 2012.
Every fall for four days, the population of Jasper nearly triples, from 458 to about 1,200, as rock climbers come to town for the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, one of the biggest endurance rock climbing competitions in the United States.
Without the All-American Red Heads, there would be no WNBA, Arkansas Times, Nov. 7, 2012.
It’s 1966, early winter, on a desolate stretch of Western highway. Ben Overman thinks it’s time for “roadwork.” He pulls the white limousine to the shoulder. Seven doors open in near unison, as seven young women — all willowy redheads — groan at the first blast of icy air.
Musing over Miss Arkansas, Arkansas Times, July 18, 2012.
My favorite to win the crown — especially later, after being named highest academic achiever — is Mullinax, the classically proportioned, auburn-haired opera singer, who holds a master’s degree in communication from UA. She seems to tear up easily, but somehow she’s poised even as her eyes stream. She’s well-spoken, has excellent posture, a tasteful wardrobe and an elegant stage presence that is devoid of melodrama and unnecessary flash (read: she never runs, squeals, bootie-dances or tosses sorority gang signs).
Starring Monica Staggs as the Death Doll, Arkansas Times, July 11, 2012.
For the next half hour, she sips a Rock Star and lobs self-deprecating recollections of her “redneck” childhood and the trashy beauty pageants of her teen years, alongside more recent anecdotes about being a “death doll” in that “100 mile high school” out west. In half an hour, she’s managed no less than five edited-for-radio beeps and titillated the crowd by labeling Quentin Tarantino something entirely un-airable. Later, at the Hillcrest bar, she’s forgotten that she said it. “I didn’t call him that, did I?” she groaned. “OK, well, they’ll bleep it out, won’t they?”
Vets on Main, Arkansas Times, March 21, 2012.
“I honestly think this is no different than 1957,” said Morris. “I want to call Satchmo and say, ‘Can you look up Ike up there, let him know that we’ve still got problems in Little Rock, and we need some help?’ “
What the hell is going on in Bryant, Arkansas Times, Feb. 22, 2012.
She’s about 5’4″ with blonde-streaked hair and, on some days, bottle-tan skin. She supports conceal and carry rights, touts Christianity on Facebook, makes public appearances in polyester blend and employs phrases like “gotcha” when presiding over city council meetings. Once she juggled a dual management role, overseeing both her daughter’s swim team and her husband’s business. She spends her days composing termination letters for directors of city departments and peppering city hall with GOP figureheads. Dollar Store buzz is she’s got her sights on the mansion. No, not the Hurricane Lake mansion.
Colours of the Kalash, Express Tribune, June 26, 2011.
The midsized Kalash valley of Rumbur is the land that time — and electricity, mobile service and hot showers — forgot. It’s less commercialised than Bhumboret, the larger valley, and its population is almost purely Kalash, a tribe of Indo-Aryans who consider themselves the progeny of Alexander the Great.
Acting out with Living Newspaper, Express Tribune, May 22, 2011.
In her play, Mumtaz-cum-Angelina Jolie sits among heads of states and discusses post-flood foreign aid distribution. “I was in Pakistan and I saw with my own eyes the kind of lavish life styles these government officials enjoy,” she said. “The disparities in income in this country are unbelievable. They lead a lifestyle comparable to us Hollywood celebrities.” Later, Mumtaz as Mumtaz says, “Pakistani people deserve everything. We deserve electricity, we deserve water, we deserve a healthy happy lifestyle, but we don’t get it. So we are trying to make the audience aware.”
Mukhtaran Mai Case: why did this happen, Express Tribune, April 24, 2011.
“Shame on the nation that allows its daughters to be raped publicly, repeatedly.”
After the Floods: how one woman’s refusal built a village, Express Tribune, April 21, 2011.
The village of Jatti is blessed, at least in some regards. Out of 27 families, nobody drowned in the flood. And now a long lost, nearly native son, Martin Van Camp, has come from Belgium, checkbook in hand, to build them permanent house–houses that, unlike their original mud and wood structures, will withstand the raging waters, should they come again.
Jagged Little Hit Turns 15, Juxtapoz, July 6, 2010.
And I’m here to remind you of an iconic radio hit that invaded our fifteen-year-old imaginations once upon a summer, 15 years ago. It may seem a pedestrian sort of anniversary, but if you were among the nearly two million 15-year-old girls facing immanent banishment to suburban-American high schools, there was nothing pedestrian about Alanis Morissette’s post break-up rock enema, except that by late July 1995, it was everywhere. It’s statistically likely that you shouted the lyrics of “You Oughta Know” from your best friend’s car window on the way to your babysitting job, or casually chimed in from your bedroom while painting your toenails Manic Panic purple.
For those who have closely followed Jonathan LeVine’s D.I.Y. art-meets-street aesthetic, for those who were paying attention fifteen years ago when a 26-year-old kid first started organizing exhibits at New York punk spaces, Saturday’s show is a signifier of what Jonathan describes as “a generational shift.”
2010 at The Whitney, Juxtapoz, March 8, 2010.
Dear America, my lover, soldier, friend, parasite and judge, O-Say-Are-We-Doomed? The Bruce High’s contemporary “Desolation Row” offers cultural clichés and modern archetypes as evidence that we are, a narrative of broken ideals and paralyzed optimism.
Robin Pecknold is a Patient Man, When You Awake, August 14, 2009.
“Songs are just like, what you do after a certain amount of time’s passed in your life and stuff has happened to you, you write songs about it…”
United We Stand, Divided We Dance: Wilcox County Proms in Black and White, Columbia University School of Journalism, April 2009.
“It would be fun to have prom together. It would be.” John Wilson Gordon hesitates, casting a sidelong glance at Tyler McWhorter. The duo has traded Friday’s final class for their favorite underage lounge—the tailgate of McWhorter’s antique truck. Currently they’re parked in Gordon’s front yard, directly across the street from the high school. “But we just have never…I mean, that’s how they’ve always done it. Juniors this year aren’t going to break tradition,” he finishes.
A Filmmaker’s Journey: Lisa Russell, Brooklyn Rail, April 2009.
If you’re Russell, if you go to work and realize that, first off, you’ll need to comfort a teenage rape victim, if you’re faced with a girl, who just now through violence, learned the how-come of conception, if it’s your job to convince her that during her abortion, she’s not going to die–if something like this happens often in your typical workday, the notion that the universe bears any kind of divine logic must seem cruel and absurd.
A Fighting Chance, Jackson Free Press, June 23, 2008.
Naked Madonna is all over the dance studio. In one corner, she’s straddling a fish. In another, she’s kneeling in the surf, leaning against a bike, posing with a satellite dish in a So-Cal backyard. Clothed Madonnas are everywhere, too, stumbling in spiked boots, spilling cocktails on black corsets, tossing punked hair and dancing to themselves, with themselves, sultry-moving to a new sound called “Erotica.” It’s the first time for everyone to hear Madonna’s jazzy, house-inspired fifth studio album. People are digging it. Someone got an advance copy, and the release party in New York– the one where the real Madonna is playing Little Bo Peep– has nothing on the illicit festivities going down in Jackson, Miss., on this sticky Autumn night.
Barefoot in the Delta, Jackson Free Press, April 2, 2008.
Like an omen, Floyd Graham stands in a Coahoma field, backlit against a fiery Delta horizon. Fifty-something, chain-smoker, charismatic and self-admittedly privileged, he recounts the story of this field—one of many his family owns, one of many where, for decades, 20th-century plantation owners exploited African American tenant farmers.
Tweaking Twiggy, Jackson Free Press, Jan. 16, 2008.
A week into January, 27-year-old Jason “Twiggy” Lott leans back in his faux-Swedish chair, running his fingers through close-cropped hair and casually tossing one denim-clad leg over the other. In the flawless glow of bright wood and industrial metal, Twiggy is pondering issues as cliched as his place in the world, and as weighty as the coiled potential of 2008.
What’s in a Label, Jackson Free Press, Oct. 17, 2007.
It’s a Thursday evening in late August. The AC’s on the fritz, but who cares? Hal & Mal’s Red Room is slammed. Through open doors, overflow—sound and people—puncture the imaginary breeze. Kids fling sweat from unwashed hair, clambering on benches to glimpse the stage.
Stumbling Upon the Blues, Jackson Free Press, July 11, 2007.
Jody and I struck up a conversation, and he pointed out the Blue Front Cafe, well-known from Bentonia Blues lore. The shack sat unobtrusively between the railroad tracks and a rusted cotton gin. “Come back June 16,” Jody said. “Come back. That’ll be a day.”