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Stories by Lara Hightower

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Bernice & Bryan Hembree

Subscriber onlyIt almost seems like fate that Bernice and Bryan Hembree met. The voices behind the popular and critically lauded musical duo Smokey and the Mirror blend beautifully while harmonizing, as though meant to be. As two-thirds of the team behind the Fayetteville Roots Festival -- their friend and partner Jerrmy Gawthrop is the other third -- it's obvious they work exceedingly well together. And the way they met was one of the most "small world" moments imaginable: A young man with whom Bernice attended high school in Mena met Bryan at Oxford while he was on a Fulbright Scholarship in England. Continue reading...

Louder And Prouder

‘Vox Femina II’ gives voice to women

Subscriber onlyArts Center of the Ozarks will be featuring the exhibit "Vox Femina II" through March 28. This will be the second time Autumn Brown and Eve Smith, ACO's director of visual arts, have co-curated an all-female art exhibit. Both women agree that increasing exposure for female artists is crucial. Continue reading...

As Many Giggles As Scares

Subscriber only"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is coming to Arts Live -- but director Jason Suel says the story of the eerie headless horseman might lack just a little of the scare power it has packed in other renditions of the legendary tale, thanks to Mark Landon Smith's witty adaptation. Continue reading...

The Virus Of Fear

New theater company debuts in Fayetteville

Subscriber only"In the Middle of Nowhere," a play written by former University of Arkansas professor and theater department chairman Kent Brown, "really struck a chord" with Terry Vaughan and Tim Gilster, the husband-and-wife team behind the newly formed theater collective, The Smokehouse Players. Continue reading...

Fate Versus Free Will

Classic from 17th century asks relevant 2018 questions

Subscriber onlyUniversity of Arkansas Theatre's Jeremiah Albers is directing the department's production of the 17th century Spanish classic "Life Is a Dream," written by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. It's something he never would have predicted upon his first reading of the play as an undergraduate: He hated it, he says, finding it "too talky" and "heavy-handed." It wasn't until he was cast in a production of the Spanish Golden Age drama several years later that he fell in love with the work. Continue reading...

Four Minutes, Four Questions Stephen Karam

Subscriber onlyWhen Stephen Karam's "The Humans" debuted on stage in the fall of 2015, it created quite a sensation: The New York Times called it a "haunting, beautifully realized play," and it won four Tony Awards -- including Best Play -- and was a Pulitzer Price finalist. Karam helped bring the show to Northwest Arkansas' TheatreSquared, and we had an opportunity to ask the playwright a few questions about his work. Continue reading...

Beyond barriers

Black History Month events expand in scope, area

Subscriber onlyEfforts by individuals and organizations in Northwest Arkansas are under way to make sure that Black History month -- a celebration whose roots stretch back to 1926 -- is properly recognized and serves as an educational opportunity to encourage diversity and inclusion in the community. Continue reading...

Suzanne Clark

Thinking fast, looking forward

Subscriber onlyFayetteville attorney and Arkansas Bar president-elect Suzanne Clark has a history of making careful decisions with an eye to the future. It's a habit that stretches back to her teenage years, when she decided not to run for senior class president -- despite having served as president her junior year -- because she didn't want the responsibility of organizing class reunions years down the road. Continue reading...

Classic Albums Live peforms 'Rumors'

Subscriber onlyThe 1977 album "Rumors" -- a brutally honest, tumultuous musical history of the romantic entanglements of the members of Fleetwood Mac -- remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, with sales reaching over 45 million worldwide. Fans of the album who live in Northwest Arkansas will be in for a rare treat when the Walton Arts Center hosts the Classic Albums Live production of the beloved album tonight. Continue reading...

A natural photographer

Bentonville man’s work graces cover of magazine

Subscriber onlyBill Petrunich and his wife, Phyllis, of Bentonville have willingly put themselves in the path of Alaskan brown bears and wild African animals -- all in the name of art. Bill Petrunich is a nature photographer, a title that has been nearly six decades in the making, but one he now can wear proudly. Nearly 40 of his photographs have been published in 13 issues of the publication Nature Photography. In fact, his photo graces the cover of the fall and winter, 2017-2018, edition of the magazine. Continue reading...

Psychological Thriller

‘Butcher Holler’ ‘a poetic, hallucinatory experience’

Subscriber onlyWhen Fayetteville audiences sit down to watch Aztec Economy's production of Casey Wimpee's "Butcher Holler Here We Come," they'll be watching a well-honed, cohesive piece of theater that has been around the block a time or two. Continue reading...

Padma Viswanathan

Words carried her to destiny

Subscriber onlyFor someone so gifted in and limber at the art of writing -- she's been a journalist and a playwright, has published works of fiction and nonfiction and has several literary translation projects on the way -- Padma Viswanathan realized her gift relatively late in life, well after she had been out of school for some time. Perhaps part of the reason why was because, as an adolescent in Edmonton, Canada, Viswanathan felt as though she had to hide her considerable intelligence under a bushel basket or risk being branded an "outsider." Continue reading...

Tantalizing, Tasty

‘Illusionist’s Table’ promises to amaze minds, mouths

Subscriber onlyBuckle up, Northwest Arkansas: You're about to be treated to a theatrical experience like none you've ever seen before. Continue reading...

When The Animals Take Over

Arts Live tackles challenge of Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’

Subscriber only"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others," reads the most famous line from the novel "Animal Farm," George Orwell's 1945 attack on Stalinism. Beginning Jan. 25, Arts Live is tackling this lively, allegorical tale that details what happens when farm animals wrestle control of a farm from its human owner. Director Jules Taylor says it's long been one of her favorites. Continue reading...

Something For Everyone

Fort Smith’s Young Actors Guild plans 2018

Subscriber onlyFort Smith's Young Actors Guild's production of "Wonderland: The Real Story" opens on Feb. 15 and will mark the first show of the company's 2018 season. Executive Director Missy Gipson says YAG -- the oldest youth theater in Arkansas -- has worked hard to put together a season that has a little something for everyone. Continue reading...

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