The Culturalist

A month's worth of libations, lectures and literati

Farm-to-table dinner by Superior Bathhouse Brewery & JV Farms at Garvan Woodland Gardens | April 20

HOT SPRINGS |  Here’s how the sausage got made: A couple years back, Rose Schweikhart was still rather new to town, a home-brewer hocking root beer at the Historic Downtown Hot Springs Farmers Market, telling the vendors from JV Farms that she wanted to open a brewery along the town’s main drag. Four years later, she’s done just that—and in doing so, cemented her role as a cornerstone in the local food scene, both by providing a home for local farmers’ wares (one need only look to Superior’s menu, where chef Jenny Lively is doing wonderful things with beer-boiled brats and sausages from the aforementioned JV Farms, specifically tailored to Rose’s libations) and giving back. Like, tons. Like, literally. Each week, those same folks from JV Farms haul just about a ton of spent beer mash to feed to their pigs. Which, again, is how it gets made. This month, the collaborators will set the supper table at Garvan Woodland Gardens, with plans to plate center-cut pork chops and a spring medley of veggies alongside brews from Rose. (

Jazz in the Park at Riverfront Park | Every Wednesday in April

LITTLE ROCK | Now that there are actually a couple of hours of daylight left after the workday ends, put some swing in your spring evening with an al-fresco libation and a side of jazz. Highlighting both stalwarts of the Little Rock jazz scene and a couple of newcomers, the free concerts at Riverfront Park are held semi-annually, with a fall series produced in September. Now in its fifth season, the spring series will kick off April 5 with Jazz in the Park newbies The Funkanites, an eight-piece ensemble specializing in Afrobeat, soul and—as their name suggests—a healthy dose of funk. Fellow newcomer to the series Ramona will perform the following week, and the season will round out with returning favorites Tonya Leeks & Co. and Sounds So Good performing on April 19 and 26, respectively. No coolers are allowed, but wine, beer, soft drinks and water will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Art Porter Music Education Inc., which helps to further the education of talented Arkansas music students by providing scholarships and promoting community service. (

Distinguished Lecture: Lisa Perry and Yvonne Force Villareal | April 20

BENTONVILLE | Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art regulars are likely already familiar with the name “Villareal”: After all, artist Leo Villareal’s enormous LED-illuminated Buckyball installation on the front lawn is kinda hard to miss when you pull up to the museum. But it’s the artist’s wife, Yvonne—co-founder of the Art Production Fund, which commissions thought-provoking public art projects across the country in the name of reaching new audiences and breaking down barriers to contemporary art—who’s in the spotlight at the museum this month. She’ll join friend (and big-time fashion designer) Lisa Perry on stage in the organization’s latest lecture-series installment for a conversation about all things style, sartorial inspiration and the intersection between fashion, art and philanthropy. (

Jar the Floor | March 29 – April 16

LITTLE ROCK | The numbers just add up, folks: It’s University of Massachusetts prof Gil McCauley’s eighth time to direct a play at The Rep (his other theater credits include the likes of D.C.’s Arena Stage and the Seattle Repertory Theatre), and his fifth time to work on Jar the Floor, which brings together four generations of African-American women as they gather to celebrate the birthday of their nonagenarian matriarch, MaDear. It’s a laugh-out-loud comedy—a peek into the inner workings of a (hilariously) dysfunctional unit of mothers and daughters—but one that’ll leave you reflecting on familial mores ranging from guilt to neglect to stinging disapproval. And McCauley’s familiarity with the piece, we expect, will only make its true-to-lifeness that much more palpable when played out on our local stage. (

14th annual Arkansas Literary Festival | April 27-30

LITTLE ROCK | With more than 70 featured authors and presenters on the roster for this year’s Arkansas Literary Festival—journalists, poets, scientists, stand-up comedians, artists and musicians among them—the variety of topics up for discussion spans the gamut from classic literature and science fiction to social commentary and religion. Fan of Nabokov? Head over to Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam’s discussion of Lolita followed by a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film adaptation of the novel. Fascinated by the current political climate? Don’t miss acclaimed journalist Chris Whipple discussing the toughest job in Washington, detailed in his extensively researched book The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency. Or see them all at once by purchasing tickets to the “Author! Author!” cocktail party on the 28th, where you can rub elbows with the festival’s award-winning literary talent. (

Gloria Garfinkel: Vibrancy of Form | April 21 – June 18

FORT SMITH | If you were to go looking for information about Gloria Garfinkel, particularly those write-ups published in the past few years or so, you might find in the tangle of PR blurbs and near-identical show previews and synopses a rather curious tidbit that, at first blush, might seem like a typo: “Gloria Garfinkel, 85.” Further investigation would reveal that Ms. Garfinkel is, in fact, well into her 80s—though, frankly, you’d never guess as much in looking at her work. In this 50-odd piece exhibition at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, for example, there are shocks of bold colors and patterns set side by side in stark juxtaposition—a smattering of media that, by melding and meshing the dissimilar in approach and aesthetic, refuse any preconceived notions one might bring as a viewer. On the offhand chance you need any further convincing, we’d suggest spending five minutes watching the documentary she commissioned for a previous show ( Why? Because to hear her speak about the interplay of color, the importance of movement, the permanence of observed imagery, you get the impression these principles aren’t limited by the artist’s age in any sense—that really, if anything, they’re timeless. (