‘The Truth Has Changed’: Filmmaker considers science, fact, conspiracy, lies

‘The Truth Has Changed’: Filmmaker considers science, fact, conspiracy, lies
LARA JO HIGHTOWER/Special to the Free Weekly

On June 2 and 3, a huge field on the outskirts of Prairie Grove will hold the largest selection of open-air flea market booths in the Northwest Arkansas area. From polished antiques to funky vintage treasures to rusty farm finds, shoppers should be rewarded with just about anything they’re looking for at the Junk Ranch, which boasts 150 vendors and more than 200 booths.

We asked a few vendors what they’re bringing to the event, how they got involved in junking, and what their best find ever was.

Don Wilkinson

Don Wilkinson found his way to junking the way a lot of vendors do: he kept finding great stuff while shopping for his own collection of vintage Speas Vinegar bottles. So when he retired in his mid-50s after 35 years with the Arkansas Highway Department, he threw his hat into the flea market ring and got a booth at one of the largest flea markets in the country in Canton, Texas. After 10 years of selling at Canton, he moved up to an even bigger venue — Round Top, Texas, the Holy Grail of flea markets.

“It was a lot of work on my part,” he says. “We would haul seven or eight trailer loads down between shows, store them, and then we’d go down and set up and stay two weeks, selling. We sold to people from everywhere — California and everywhere. They got to buying from me, and they actually got to buying too much. It became too much of a job, and age took over.”

Wilkinson is 85 now, and he was thrilled when the Junk Ranch opened up so near his home in Mountainburg. Though the main product he sells are chicken laying houses — he estimates he’s sold around 30,000 over the course of his junking career — the booth he runs with his son is an eclectic mix of auction, estate and farm sale finds.

Wilkinson’s best find ever was deceptively simple: a box full of old bottle caps.

“I told my wife, ‘I found the Holy Grail,’” he remembers. “They were unused, cork-lined Dr Pepper bottle caps from 1907. The first bottle caps ever used on a Dr Pepper bottle.”

When he put them on eBay, he says, “people went crazy.”

Stacey Murphy

The Weathered Pearl

Stacey Murphy’s relationship with the Junk Ranch started off as a shopper.

“I loved the eclectic mix of old, used, collectible items and the vendor inspired pieces! I thought to myself, ‘I could do this,’” she recalls. “I applied the next year, and junk has been my livelihood ever since.”

Murphy advises yard sale shoppers to look for the signs with a torn piece of cardboard with the word “sale” scribbled across it as a marker.

“Often these sales are not advertised on social media, so it increases your chances of finding a hidden treasure,” she says.

She also hits the widely advertised sales, like the Oklahoma 100-mile Yard Sale. That’s where she found her favorite find: a 13-foot late 1800s banquet table discovered in a barn in Cleveland, Okla.

“I have done several shows all over Oklahoma and Arkansas, and I would say what sets the Junk Ranch apart from the others is the venue itself, the friendly vendors, the amazing shoppers, but most of all how well [Junk Ranch founders] Amy [Daniels] and Julie [Speed] have it organized,” Murphy says.

Tracy Davis

Rusty Heart Relics

“I have always loved old things as long as I can remember,” says Tracy Davis of Rusty Heart Relics. “My mama had an eye for the ornate and passed it along to me. We spent many a weekend traveling the roads for that elusive treasure.”

For her booth, she stocks a wide variety of items.

“I love vintage and antique garden items, primitive and antique furniture, and holiday decor,” she says. “I loved MCM before it was cool.”

Her favorite find is an antique child’s bedroom suite she found at the famed Texas flea market Round Top.

“It is a beautiful faded robin’s egg blue with a painted design, and it’s to die for,” she says.

Davis has had a love affair with the Junk Ranch since the first year.

“From the live music and food trucks to the mountains of treasures and lovely vendors, I knew this was the show that I wanted to be a part of,” she says. “Amy and Julie are the best and treat us like family.”



Junk Ranch

WHEN — 9 a.m.-3 pm. June 2; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 3; tickets go on sale at 8 a.m.

WHERE — 11195 Centerpoint Church Road in Prairie Grove

COST — $10

INFO — thejunkranch.net

“In this series, we’re going to go back throughout history and point out all those times when people didn’t know the truth, and it cost them their lives,” says climate change activist Josh Fox in a trailer for his documentary “The Truth Has Changed,” coming virtually to the Walton Arts Center on Oct. 7. “It was the difference between war and peace. And in the future, truth, science, facts — that may very well be the difference between a stable climate and total civilization collapse. We’ve got to know the truth, and we may just have to fight for it.”

Fox’s out-of-the-box performance piece is a multimedia extravaganza that is part monologue, part documentary film. Fox says he first devised the piece in 2017, when it was commissioned by an executive at HBO; though the executive then left the company, Fox completed it and took it on the road.

“The project was shown in places like the [Columbus, Ohio] Wexner Center, UCLA and the [Minneapolis-based] Walker — but it was also performed in Unitarian churches and back yards and small places like that where people were really struggling and needed a lift against the oil industry,” says Fox.

“At a time when methods of technologies for destroying the basis of truth in our society are stronger and more pervasive than ever, when algorithms are used to categorize and market information in a language specifically tailored to who you are and what will persuade you, how do we know what’s true?” reads the promotional material for the production, and, says Fox, that’s a question he’s uniquely qualified to answer. Fox says that, since his activism against the environmental destruction wrought by the oil industry — as well as his 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland,” which detailed the dangers of fracking by the natural gas industry — he’s frequently been the subject of smear campaigns and online harassment.

“As a person who went through all the smear, misinformation tactics of the largest and most powerful industry on the planet, I see those same tactics being used very frequently by the likes of people like Steve Bannon and Donald Trump and the Republican Party,” he says. “Watching that occur through social media without context, misleading people in very, very dangerous ways, bothers me a great deal. It strips our compassion away from each other. It makes us not understand and appreciate each other. The walled garden of social media leads us down our own narcissistic path over and over and over again, without us being able to see and appreciate the truth.

“The truth is something very difficult. The truth is hard to achieve. The truth is something that takes a great, great struggle to find and work in it — it never stays still, it requires active participation in the world,” Fox says. “What bothers me right now is that we’ve gone so far away from the path of science, we’ve become incredibly divided as a country, and we’re watching that become a very dangerous situation with respect to fascism, with respect to our own internal domestic terrorists. We see right now massive violence in the United States. We have a mass shooting practically every day. We have white supremacist terrorism being unleashed throughout our country.”

Ultimately, says Fox, he hopes “The Truth Has Changed” will not only open people’s eyes — he’s hoping it will open hearts, as well.

“What I hope is that people will start to understand and wake up,” says Fox. “We have to treat each other like human beings, we also have to embrace the truth, we have to embrace science, and we have to embrace the fact that we have to care for one another, we have to understand and live in a way that that is not going to devolve into violence.”


The New York Times has called Josh Fox “one of the most adventurous impresarios of the New York avant-garde.” His 2010 documentary, “Gasland,” was nominated for an Academy Award. (Courtesy Photo)


‘The Truth Has Changed’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Oct. 7

WHERE — Streaming via the Walton Arts Center

COST — Sold out

INFO — 443-5600

FYI — Josh Fox’s performance will be presented virtually for those already holding tickets. “While we generally prefer to present communal arts experiences, in this instance a virtual experience will provide an enhanced level of intimacy with the artist and the subject matter while also maintaining the original scope and production value,” says WAC spokeswoman Jennifer Wilson. “We believe in the artist and value the message of this performance and are eager to present both in a virtual format.”

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