Who Are These People?

New crew hopes to bring you more of what makes NWA awesome

Hi. My name is Becca, and I’m the new editor of The Free Weekly.

OK, so there’s nothing new about me. I’ve been writing about arts and entertainment in Northwest Arkansas since dinosaurs roamed Wilson Park — because Gulley Park didn’t exist yet! But the arts are my passion, and bringing them to Free Weekly readers is beyond exciting.

I’ll have some help, too. Many of you know Jocelyn Murphy, who has been writing about live music in the area for a couple of years. Lara Hightower, a talented writer of features and profiles, will also contribute. Both will be integral parts of making The Free Weekly something I hope is even cooler than it has been.

Jocelyn says about herself: “A friendly southern girl with a touch of a Midwest accent, I have fallen in love with the music, art and theater scenes in Northwest Arkansas over my seven years here. I’ve been lucky enough to write about all of them for the What’s Up! section for the past two years, giving me the perfect ‘in’ with artists, artisans and musicians whose work is inspired by the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains. When I’m not writing about our community’s influencers and change-makers, I can often be found taking in a show at the Walton Arts Center, enjoying a glass of red wine on my couch, or continuing my search for the best french fries in Northwest Arkansas.”

And Lara says: “Since accepting a job writing for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last July, I’ve learned more about the Northwest Arkansas area than I ever imagined I would — and I have enjoyed every minute of it. As the Profiles and Spotlight writer, I meet the people and organizations who give our community its reputation for generosity and heart; covering theater and other exciting cultural events gives me insight into the zip and sparkle that makes this such a special corner of the world. I’m looking forward to learning and experiencing more through my work with the Free Weekly!”

So what about me? Who am I?

Like literally thousands of other people, I moved to Fayetteville to go to the University of Arkansas — and never left. When I’m not sitting behind this computer screen, I’m the mom of a beautiful young woman with special needs and an actress and director in community theater. I’ve been a crew member on several films, I’m an occasional found-object artist, and I’m a big fan of all things weird and paranormal — ghosts, Bigfoot, you get the idea. I’m also a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, which re-creates the best parts of the Middle Ages (with air conditioning every chance we get) and a fencer.

I love the unique, cool, strange, beautiful things that make Northwest Arkansas what it is. I promise you’ll see that in what you read here.

A couple of things will change. (I know. I hate change, too. But bear with me.) The focus of The Free Weekly will still include the Dickson Street scene, but it expand to bring you more information about the arts across Northwest Arkansas and outside our borders, too. There will be more emphasis on what’s getting ready to happen in local entertainment because, well, what’s the point in telling you something wonderful happened if you didn’t get a chance to experience it yourself, right? We’ll also have some concert reviews, some theater reviews and, I hope, stories that require more than 20 inches to tell. We’ll introduce you to the people and the events that keep all of us coming home to Northwest Arkansas. And we’re really excited about that!

–Becca Martin-Brown