Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Dallas Opera prepares to debut a new season – and a new director, watch a cool video featuring the Aurora festival, Camelot mania is here, and more:
- New opera director prepares for debut: The Dallas Opera opens its season on Friday with Carmen – and with a new musical director. Emmanuel Villaume is the well-regarded conductor who served as director of the Spoleto Festival USA from 2001 to 2010. He’s only the third musical director in the Dallas Opera’s 56-year history. Theater Jones caught up with Villaume. The publication describes him as “a vibrating mass of positive energy.” Villaume told Theater Jones: “The cast is a joy to work with and they could be in a production in any major house in the world. The chorus and orchestra are also excellent. So, my overall impression is completely positive. Everything is in place for a great night.” KERA’s Jerome Weeks reported on Villaume’s appointment last April.
- Light bright in Dallas Arts District: You’ll want to check out this video of Friday night’s Aurora, a festival that bathed the Dallas Arts District in bright light and attracted about 30,000 folks.The exhibition included lights, computer images, video projections and performances that took over buildings, inside and out (and on the sides of buildings, too.) About 90 artists participated. Organizers hope to make it an annual event. KERA’s Dane Walters shot and edited the video (scroll down to see it). KERA’s Jerome Weeks attended Aurora and offers his thoughts.
- Camelot mania: The 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination has “unleashed Camelot mania,” Politico reports. There are books, movies, documentaries, TV specials, public events – and digital content. The goal is to be respectful about what happened at Dealey Plaza in November 1963, yet find a new angle and stand out. “The public just can’t get enough,” said Shana Capozza, the director of marketing and publicity at The Globe Pequot Press, which is promoting three new JFK books. “There is an entirely new generation to be introduced to the Kennedys, and it may be through all of the exhibits, books and movies that will spring up,” Jayne Sandman, principal at BrandLinkDC, told Politico. Last week, KERA’s “Think” discussed the upcoming PBS American Experience documentary JFK with producer/director Susan Bellows and executive producer Mark Samels.
- Undefeated: Aledo’s football team is crushing its competition left and right. It’s undefeated. On Friday, Aledo stomped all over Fort Worth Western Hills. What’s the problem? The team is averaging 69 points a game. Friday’s score? 91-0. (The closest game this year: A 44-3 nailbiter.) This year, Aledo has defeated its opponents, 485-47. The coach is embarrassed. “I’m upset about it,” Tim Buchanan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I don’t like it. I sit there the whole third and fourth quarter and try to think how I can keep us from scoring.” He’s even pulled his starters. But Aledo has been No. 1 in The Associated Press’ statewide Class 4A poll since early September. Buchanan told the Star-Telegram he received notice Saturday that a Western Hills parent filed a bullying report, although the Western Hills coach says that Aledo did nothing wrong. He says his team simply “ran into a buzzsaw.” If only the Dallas Cowboys played like Aledo …
- Public meeting closed to the media: Dallas TV stations were shut out of a community meeting Monday night featuring Dallas Police Chief David Brown and residents concerned about neighborhood crime, as well as a shooting in which a police officer shot an unarmed mentally ill man. After complaining to Dallas City Hall about not getting into an open meeting, the media were let in. Dallas police opened a criminal investigation and placed the officer on indefinite administrative leave. A police report said Officer Cardan Spencer fired on 52-year-old Bobby Gerald Bennett in Rylie after he walked toward police with a “knife raised in an aggressive manner.” But surveillance video showed a different story – Bennett wasn’t armed and was at first sitting, then standing. Brown says he won’t say anything about the video until an investigation is complete. Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News interviewed police training experts who questioned the tactics that the officer used during the incident.
OK, onto the Aurora video: