In the Clubs
Just a few days ago, we got the very sad news that the OPO and the Urban Table have closed. The owners of the restaurant and live music club worked their butts off to get a viable business going in the historic “Old Post Office” building that sits in the middle of the town square. Their willingness to give local bands a chance when the musicians couldn’t get booked at some of the other clubs was much appreciated in the music community. The community overall will suffer the loss of the positive energy these fine folks brought to NWA.
This news comes just a few months after another fine club, Green Door, that was owned and managed by some other super nice folks closed. The Green Door was popular with a slightly older crowd and was a big room that offered musicians the opportunity to jam on a regular basis, creating another niche that will now be missed. In addition to being a warm, friendly spot for locals, from blues busters to singer-songwriters, the club occasionally hosted some big names like everybody’s favorite, Levon Helm.
Despite the loss of these two clubs, the music scene is far from slowing down. George’s which runs an incredible number of acts through its doors on the two stages each week, continues to offer a good mix of local and touring acts ranging from old favorites to emerging bands. This next week is huge at George’s. On Wednesday night the North Mississippi All Stars will be in town, followed by Cross Canadian Ragweed and Mike McClure on Jan. 15. Later in the month catch Lucero and Cory Branan and the hot Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Folks, that’s just for this month. In addition to all these big name acts, George’s is booked with local big name acts, too. George’s has been around, for what, some 80 odd years? That probably makes it one of the oldest continuously operating clubs in the U.S. It’s a legend.
Down the street at the fairly new Froggy’s things are taking shape. The club has a nice line up of locals booked for the month in a variety of genres ranging from the jazzy funky The OneUps on Friday night and mix-master Will Gunselman on Saturday night. Others booked for January range from favorites like the Joe Giles band, Indiana & the Byrds and One Oz. Jig to songwriter Ben Rector who may be “the next big thing” to come out of the south.
Next door to Froggy’s and behind Jose’s, a new venue has just opened that seems promising. The Smoke and Barrel, a whiskey bar in the old Toothpicks spot, is booking some good shows, some of them early starts. Friday night vocal powerhouse Tiffany Christopher will be joined by multi-instrumentalist Sid Simons. Check it out and make a resolution to support live music in 2009 by getting out to all the clubs.

Art in NWA
Fayetteville is establishing itself as an art community. There are several galleries in the downtown Fayetteville area and several coffeehouses and restaurants also show art by local artists. Things are picking up to the north as far as the art scene goes as well. And, as opening day for Crystal Bridges gets closer, things should really begin to pop.
This month there are several new shows opening including Nanci Ballew’s show at Arsaga’s on Crossover and Phillip Leonard’s show at the Zephyr Blevins Gallery at the Rogers Little Theater in Rogers.
Ballew may be best known for her whimsical pottery animals, but for the Arsaga’s show, she will be showing her paintings in an exhibit entitled “Pearl of the Continent.” The show is up through January.
Leonard, a Fayetteville, artist, who works in oils and watercolors, will show “Off to the Races” an exhibit of horse racing paintings with some still lifes and landscapes. The show will run through Feb. 17. You can meet the artist at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 13. And while we’re at it…make a New Year’s Resolution to buy at least one piece of art by a local artist this year. You’ll be glad you did when you proudly display it in your home or apartment and you’ll also be helping keep NWA an art community.

Categories: Legacy Archive