The Goldilocks State

This, I was assured by the friend who picked me up from the airport, is what just about everybody says the first time they reach the Queen City of the West. It may be a mile high, but it’s not actually balanced on top of the Rocky Mountains, or even perched on their shoulders. Nope,…

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Beyond Southern Hospitality

I arrive at The Pantry in West Little Rock just before the doors open for lunch at 11 a.m. Owner Tomas Bohm, 38, comes out from behind the bar, his smile broad, his handshake ready. “Thank you so much for coming!” he says as he shakes my hand, recognizing me immediately. “Can I get you…

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A Late Spring Rush

Dipping each blade of the paddle into the stream, you find your rhythmic strokes along the flat water. You have time to look around at the dense hardwoods lining the river, noticing the fat blue-belted kingfisher zigging from bank to bank across the stream ahead as you move with the flow. Then you hear the…

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Nothing but the Groove

It’s a simple-sounding recipe: Take a cigar box, add a stick, stretch some strings down it, and you’ve got a guitar. “It’s the groove, nothing but the groove,” Bill Jagitsch says of the appeal. “After playing all kinds of music—rock and roll, experimental, Frank Zappa—I started getting into the blues because of the feel of…

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The Keys to Success

Her given name, common in her native Ukraine, twirls across the tongue like a lilting melody. Perhaps it was clear at birth that music would be her destiny. Thirty-two years later, University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor and artist-in-residence Tatiana Roitman Mann has made the piano into more than her passion and discipline. It’s…

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Hearing to Heal

You’re sitting in the fourth-floor waiting room of a clinic in the Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, nervous about the treatment you’re about to have or the test results you’re about to get, and then you hear it: Someone playing that beautiful grand piano you noticed in the lobby.…

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Down on the Delta

It’s a place where rows of cotton shimmer in the noonday heat. Fields of rice grow greener than that of any Emerald City. Red-winged blackbirds flit off of fence posts to cling to tall weeds. Old barns are so rustic and colorful that you want to stop your car and take a portrait of your…

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