Staff Picks: 'It Follows,' slow-motion cowboys, a guide to songbirds in Arkansas and more | Rock Candy

Staff Picks: 'It Follows,' slow-motion cowboys, a guide to songbirds in Arkansas and more


"It Follows"
  • "It Follows"
Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

A hearty recommendation for the very smart scare-flick "It Follows," in theaters now. Low budget, high concept, and simply the best American horror film I've seen since "The Blair Witch Project." I won't say too much, lest I give away the film's genuinely creepy premise, but I will say that it's a through-the-looking-glass story that owes more than a bit to films like "Ju-On" and other topsy-turvy-terrifying horror flicks of Asia. Thinly-veiled teenage sex angst and worries about venereal disease have never been so scary. Seriously: see it now. — David Koon

"I love the adrenaline, I love the challenge of riding unridable bulls, and I love the travel—always liked seeing what was over the next hill." This week, I recommend cowboys in slow motion. — Maxwell George

Day planners. I recommend using day planners. — Bryan Moats
I recommend this song by Doug Hream Blunt, Arkansas native and outsider funk legend. Also check out "Whiskey Man," which finds him singing "I got to be mellow" over and over  again. — Will Stephenson

This is the time of year when you must have your binoculars at the ready. It's spring migration, which means little songbirds are passing through Arkansas. They have grown their gonads back so they can sing to potential mates! Which is good, because you'll need to hear their songs to find them! So here's a quick guide to just a few birds you can see if you will just listen and look up. They're hear every spring. Maybe this will be your first to take notice!

Black and white warbler: This gorgeous, sophisticatedly-stripey bird sounds like a foreign car starting up. "WEEzee WEEzee WEEzee." 

Blue-winged warber. This blue and yellow bird — here only briefly! — has a very distinctive call. It sounds like a tenor bug: "Beee-buzzzzz." 

White-eyed vireo
  • White-eyed vireo

White-eyed vireo. A little yellow-headed bird with a white eye ring says (in Louisiana, at least) "the check, Pierre, the check!" 

Warbling vireo. A pale little thing up in the sycamores that says, according to the birder that I live with, "higgledy wiggledy higgledy pig." I don't hear that. So I'd go with "If I sees you; I will seize you; and I'll squeeze you till you squirt (to a caterpillar)"

Red-eyed vireo. Pale yellow below with a stripe through its — yes — red eye. The most common songbird in the woods! It talks to you: "Where are you? Here I am. I'm here. Are you there?" And it never shuts up. 

Scarlet Tanager
  • Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet tanager. This bright red bird with black wings is larger than the teeny warblers and vireos and stands out against the green leaves, so you don't absolutely have to hear it first, but it helps. Anyway, that red-eyed vireo with a sore throat that you hear? It's a scarlet tanager. 

Black-throated green warbler. It's not really green, but yellow-headed with a black throat, and very beautiful. Plus, it's song is distinctive; you'll find this little bird and you may not even have to look up that high: "Zee zee zee zooo zeee."

Northern parula
  • Northern parula

Northern parula: OK, now you are going to have to look way way up, and get warbler neck. The little parula, yellow with a blue necklace and a bit of orange blush on its bosom, perches high and sings out in rising tones "Bizz bizzz bizzz bizz bizilla"

There are so many more! Egg-yellow prothonotary warblers! Red, yellow and blue painted buntings! Common yellowthroats! Whipporwills and chuck-will's-widows! Wood thrushes! Chimney swifts! The first purple martins have been spotted! Get with it. — Leslie Newell Peacock

Spring is finally here, and for some of us that means the air we breathe is clogged with pollen, airborne spores that cause itching, sneezing, runny noses, and uncontrollable coughing. The birds are chirping, the winds rustling the leaves, and cool afternoon breezes, it’s beautiful, but that darn pollen gets everywhere! It covers your car, the windowsills, and even your hair. Anyways the point is, this stuff is everywhere and unpleasant for allergy sufferers like myself. You can’t always fight your allergies, but you can pack antihistamines for close calls and check before you leave for the day to avoid them. — Kaya Herron

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