Haven’t seen the Free Weekly yet? The ice storms that hit Northwest Arkansas this week included us in the swath of destruction. The Free Weekly office in Fayetteville and The Morning News office in Springdale where the FFW is printed lost power on Tuesday and we’re working to get things back to normal. We’ll keep you updated on the web until the FFW hits the racks, hopefully later today. We’ll have most all the stories up on the web later today. It’s just going to be a little slow.
Here’s an update on the storm from our point of view.
What we all know and love about Fayetteville– although it has grown from the sleepy university town of the ‘70s and ‘80s to the urban area it is today, there is still a sense of community and folks open their doors when a neighbor needs something. The people and businesses with power are reminding us what southern hospitality is all about.
We found out that the Bank of Fayetteville on the square was open until noon on Wednesday, so we went there to charge our cell phones and computers. I’m posting this from there today. On the other end of town, Panera Bread was giving away coffee, that most important drug to many of us. It helped us frozen zombies swing a little closer to normal as we worked through the day with chainsaws, handsaws and clippers cutting trees and hauling them to the curb so the traffic could move through and we could get out of our house.
Living in the older part of Fayetteville, has been particularly scary. On Tuesday night, there was no power and trees were popping like fireworks. You could hear the pop just before the ice covered limbs or the trees themselves snapped and hit the ground, a car or a house, which happened on our street. This combined with the occasional blue-green glow of transformers going out somewhere lit the sky like the Northern Lights and made for a very eerie night.
My partner Jim and I are hunkered in with our two dogs and four cats. The cats are curled up tight and look at us wondering why we don’t turn the heat on. The dogs are having a grand old time, competing with the birds for the black oil sunflower seeds that we put out. The birds are so hungry they’re eating right along side the dogs. The feeders are underneath a maze of ice covered honeysuckle so we had to put the seeds on top of the ice.
It is so icy bright here, that our tiny, ice covered solar panel that powers a few yard lights is still doing it’s job. We cleared a path from our front door to the street with the chainsaw and clippers and then joined our neighbors, Annie, Pat, Valerie, Lanita and John yesterday afternoon and cleared a downed pecan tree from the street so that traffic could get through. We called SWEPCO the power company and told them we were now ready and waiting. (Good Luck). Next we tackled a huge old redbud from Annie’s driveway so she could move her car. Then we went to the next block and cleared away most of another tree that blocked the street, but left the part that was blocking the road because a power line was hanging about three feet from the ground. Another power line was tangled in the downed tree. In that same block a tree had fallen on a duplex and another tree was on top of a car.
Around the corner Andy, Steve and some others cleared their street and John cleared the alley that connects the two streets. Power lines are down everywhere and it looks like a tornado came through and took the trees. Everyone is talking about the fact that we have lost much of our urban forest.
I heard on KURM radio last night that 80 or so power company trucks are in route from Kansas City. Jim saw about 50 or more bucket trucks and other utility trucks staged across from Baum Stadium, so help is on the way. Yippee…
Andrew Kilgore just said hello as I’m typing this. He said he’s bunking next door with young neighbors he’s never met, who are great cooks…chefs he said, musicians and have a trusty old floor furnace…remember those? In these conditions, they’re gold.
Okay, enough of the storm report.
Those of you in “Faytenam” who have power may want to know about the weekend and next week when the power’s restored, when the cabin fever has gotten to us all and we’ll all want to be taking to the streets. So here goes…
“Milk” is opening Friday in Fayetteville and the other films with Best Picture nominations and best actor nominations, including Slumdog Millionaire are already playing. The new Luc Besson (La Femme Nakita, The Professional and Transporter) film “Taken” is also opening here along with a French film with Kristen Scott Thomas “I Loved You So Much.”
Although most of the copy is locked into the office computer, since there’s no power for now, Highlights isn’t so keep reading for our picks of the week. We’ll get the rest of this week’s issue up on the web and on the stands, just as soon as we can. Thanks for bearing with us.
Two famous wordsmiths will be in Fayetteville this week, Ira Glass and Dan Savage, so we’re feeling pretty special here in NWA.
Ira Glass will be at the Walton Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday. His program This American Life premiered on Chicago public radio in 1995. Through his thought provoking inquiry into the looking glass of America today, Glass has elevated the story of the common man to Hollywood level. A feature film, Unaccompanied Minors, based on a story from the radio show was released by Warner Brothers in 2006. In 2007, the TV adaptation of This American Life premiered on Showtime and was nominated for three Emmy awards. This American Life has put out its own comic book, greatest hits compilations, a paint-by-numbers set and a “radio decoder” toy. Tickets are $20-$38.
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage, set the alternative newsweekly world on fire a few years ago when a handful of free weeklies began carrying his sex advice column, “Savage Love.” The f-word, the v-word and the prick word—you know, the words we all use when we talk about that sex stuff—are Savage standards. Yep, Savage is a bit raunchy, but he’s honest and wildly popular. What is there not to love? His column is carried in more than 70 newspapers and he’s now a hot ticket item on the speakers circuit. He’s coming to the University of Arkansas to speak at 7 p.m. Monday at the Arkansas Union Ballroom in the Arkansas Union. Nothing is off limits to Savage, so be sure and bring some doozies for the Q&A session. An 8:45 p.m. reception for Savage will follow in the Anne Kitrell Gallery in the Union. It’s all free.
Fayetteville Restaurant Week
Okay, we all know that here in NWA, just like everywhere else in the nation, many locally owned restaurants are shutting down thanks to the drearier than an ice storm economy. So what can you do to help? Get yourself out of the house and support your favorite joints and try a couple that you’ve never tried before. There’s an organized effort to get you out and you can read all about it at dineinfayetteville.com. Go there to find out about participating restaurants and the great specials that they’re offering. Restaurant week runs today through Feb. 5.
It’s another one of those crazy weeks in Fayetteville, when there’s so much music going on it will be hard to keep up the pace. Although the Hot Club of San Francisco shows at the Walton Arts Center are sold out on Friday, with all the crazy weather, some folks are likely to turn in their tickets, so call the WAC to see if tickets are available. Who would have guessed that the Django style quartet would be so popular in NWA?
Several other noteworthy shows are coming through town this week. George’s will be hopping with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey tonight, Boombox on Saturday night, Yonder Mountain String Band on Monday night and Jason Boland and The Stragglers on Wednesday night. Get your tickets now, as most of these shows will sell out.
For some fun, head to GoodFolk on Sunday at 3 p.m. for a Sing Party with Darlene. Darlene’s got range. She barks, she cluck and she sings like a bird. At her sing party, she will teach pitch, tone and harmony and vocal play. No experience necessary. Cost is by donation. Darlene will do a show with some very special guests Feb. 7 at GoodFolk.
Five more artists
The Art Gallery at 509 W. Spring in Fayetteville will host a reception Friday night to welcome five new artists into their tribe. Joining the 13 other artists in the collective are: wood sculpture Dwain Cromwell, painters Ruben Ruiz, Rebecca Johnson and Katie Russell and collage artist Caleb Slate. The reception will be from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free.
The Rabbit Hole
Theatre Squared will stage “Rabbit Hole,” the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama Friday through Feb. 15 at the Walton Art Center’s Nadine Baum Studio.