Kelley Bass is one of those LIttle Rock mainstays who knows the best of Little Rock: where to eat, who to listen to, where to go...So it's no surprise so many people are visiting the Museum of Discover these days.
1. Name, occupation, years in LR, neighborhood: Kelley Bass, CEO of the Museum of Discovery for one year (following 18 in print journalism, nine in corporate communications at Acxiom and 4.5 as assistant dean for external affairs in the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UALR). I've lived in Little Rock all my 54 years except four falls/springs at Rhodes College in Memphis and 3.5 years as sports editor and then assistant managing editor at the Springfield News-Leader (in Missouri) between my tenures at the Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Times. My wife, Ashli Ahrens, and I have lived three years in a condo in Lafayette Square in downtown Little Rock, which we absolutely adore. We couldn't imagine NOT living downtown.
2. What is the best live show you've ever seen in Little Rock? Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Robinson Auditorium in May 1976. Despite having appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek following the August 1975 release of "Born to Run," the Boss drew only 500 or so in Little Rock. I had been turned on to Springsteen in June 1975 when I went to summer school at the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. This was the only time among the hundreds of concerts I've seen (and covered) where I was completely mesmerized. I lost all sense of place and time. I wrote an article for Soiree about getting to relive the experience when, as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the release of Born to Run, a DVD of a November 1975 concert from the Hammerschmith Odeon in London--largely the same exact show I'd seen and thought so much about all those years ago--was released. Runners-up are many. Here are a few: Warren Zevon at Juanita's, the Band at S.O.B., the Rolling Stones at War Memorial Stadium AND Verizon Arena, and most recently Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Verizon Arena.
3. It's a Sunday -- what's on your agenda? Chillaxing with Ashli ... reading the Democrat-Gazette ... listening to the Wake-Up Sets on the Loft, Sirius-XM Channel 30 ... toasting a couple of slices of Boulevard baguette or ciabatta ... reheating some Wright's bacon from the freezer ... whipping up some creamy scrambled eggs with grated sharp cheddar ... striking out on a long walk with Ashli ... showering ... doing some laundry ... heading out to Boulevard Wine and Spirits (where I'm a partner) to count money and do weekly paperwork ... then having a light dinner and going to bed fairly early. I love nothing better than feeling refreshed Monday morning and ready dive headfirst into the week.
4. If you could only eat at one local restaurant for a month, what would it be? If I could eat at only one Little Rock restaurant for a month, it would be Loca Luna. It's been near the top of my list since it opened (I wrote the first review of it for Arkansas Times way back when), and while there are single items at other restaurants (like Cafe Bossa Nova and the Pantry) that I might prefer to a single dish at Loca Luna, if I'm going to eat somewhere for a month, it needs to have a broad, diverse menu that is well executed. From gourmet plate lunches to amazing shrimp-brie quesadillas to Voodoo Stew (like jambalaya meets paella) to an amazing Sunday brunch, Loca Luna could keep me happy and not bored for a month. And I haven't even mentioned the city's most outstanding meal-sized bowl of chicken tortilla soup with a whole other plate for the stuff you throw IN the soup.
5. Finish this sentence: I love Little Rock because...it has a much more well developed restaurant and arts-and-culture scene than most any city its size, its downtown is trending up (with a BULLET) and its people are warm, helpful, friendly and interesting.
Looking for something to keep those hamster wheels turning in your kid's noggin over spring break? Museum of Discovery has partnered with Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) to bring Sid the Science kid to the museum on Thursday, March 27, and Friday, March 28. For more information, contact 501-396-7050 or visit museumofdiscovery.org.