News and Features

The Big Deal: Lone Star Film Society’s 2014 Lone Star Film Festival

Lone star

The Imitation Game

Taking place over the course of four days in early November, the Eighth Annual Lone Star Film Festival will screen approximately 40 feature films, including narratives and documentaries, rediscovered classics and shorts and the most celebrated specialty releases of the year.  Screenings will be held primarily within Sundance Square in Fort Worth. The Modern Art Museum will be the home for Christopher Kelly’s Modern Cinema program.

The lineup of films for the festival include: The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley; Mr. Turner, the biopic that earned star Timothy Spall Best Actor at Cannes; and another big winner at Cannes, the Turkish production, Winter Sleep. Win this Big Deal and your two Festival Passes will provide you and your buddy access to all screenings, panels and events including Opening and Closing Night films. Does not include the LSFF Ball and Filmmaker Awards Dinner.

Mr. Turner

Mr. Turner

And while you are at, don’t miss your chance to sign up for our other offerings this week – tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra present Hitchcock! at Bass Performance Hall, or tickets Circle Theatre’s Fellowship! The Musical Parody of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to win Festival Passes to the Eighth Annual Lone Star Film Festival presented by the Lone Star Film Society.

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The Big Deal: Circle Theatre Presents Fellowship! The Musical Parody Of ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’

BD fellowship cast

Photo: Circle Theatre

J.R.R. Tolkien’s story about a diminutive Hobbit and his posse of fellow warriors fighting the evil Dark Lord Sauron was first a best-selling novel series. Then it became a wildly popular adventure movie franchise. With all that doom and gloom, those menacing Black Riders, bone-crunching Orcs, and dire world-ending prophecies it wasn’t long afterwards when somebody came up with the idea, “Hey, let’s make a musical out of this!” Well apparently, it worked. After numerous awards and sold-out runs in the Los Angeles area and New York the long-running musical is coming to Middle Earth, or at least here. Enter this Big Deal and win a pair of tickets to see the musical parody, Fellowship! at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth on Halloween, Oct. 31.

While you are signing up for this Big Deal, go ahead and take the opportunity to sign up for our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Present Hitchcock! at Bass Performance Hall, and Festival passes to the 2014 Lone Star Film Festival in Sundance Square.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see Fellowship! The Musical Parody of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring.’

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The Big Deal: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Presents ‘Hitchcock!’

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Image: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Just in time for Halloween, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra invites you to experience the musical anthology of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest thrills and chills! (Cue the eerie violin strings.)

Hitchcock was a master of weaving music, sound and images to squeeze and wring the absolute most amount of tension in a scene to the point it leaves the viewer anxiety-ridden and exhausted. Under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya, the Fort Worth Symphony will perform some of those spine-tingling film scores while scenes from some of Hitchcock’s classic thrillers are projected on the movie screen at Bass Performance Hall. Win this Big Deal and you and a companion will receive tickets to the Nov. 7 performance of FWSO’s Hitchcock!

And if signing up for this Big Deal leaves you wanting to see more films then sign up for our other Big Deal this week – Festival passes to the 2014 Lone Star Film Festival in Sundance Square, or tickets to Circle Theatre’s Fellowship! The Musical Parody of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring.’

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to win tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra present Hitchcock!

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Daniel Laabs: Making Personal Films

This week on Frame of Mind, we’re highlighting two of the top shorts from this year’s SXSW Texas Shorts.

  • Tune in to KERA TV on Thursday at 10 PM to catch this week’s episode!
Jeff Walker and Brennen Bliss in Easy, a short film by Daniel Laabs. Photo: Noe Medrano Jr. and Jan Brandt

Actors Jeff Walker and Brennen Bliss in “Easy,” a short film by Daniel Laabs. Photo: Noe Medrano Jr. & Jan Brandt

The episode will feature two shorts:

  • “Easy”, by Daniel Laabs - A character study about the relationship between two brothers, one on the verge of becoming an adult, the other becoming a teenager, and impact each others choices have on one another.
  • “Molly”, by Craig Elrod - After a breakup with his girlfriend Molly, Byron and his best friend organize a complicated breakdown.

I spoke with Daniel Laabs, the director of “Easy”:

On the idea behind “Easy:”

Prior to making the film, I came out to my family as gay.  I had known since I was 10 years old, so that was 17 years that I had not talked to them about it.  I think a lot of what kept me from wanting to come out was just interpersonal relationships within my family.  I had made another film prior to “Easy” in which I noticed that when I said things in my films, my family was very keen and receptive to them and the ideas, and so when I set out to make “Easy,” I just thought that I’d like to make a film that communicates some ideas with my family, maybe not just about me, but about a lot of things that were on my mind and that we don’t talk about as a family.  It really opened up a lot of those pathways, which is exactly what I had hoped it would.  To be more concise, I typically approach films with one or two people in mind and make it with the idea that they will watch it some day.  So for “Easy,” I approached making it with the idea that I could watch it with certain members of my family.

On the process of creating “Easy:”

We did open casting with this film, so we found all of our actors from just people who showed up.  My producers and I really didn’t have a clear idea of who the people were that we needed, so we wanted to see a lot of different types of people.  From there, we found actors that I wanted to work with, that I felt like I had a good rapport with and then rewrote the script around what those actors were really good at doing.

On his biggest challenge:

With this particular film, the most challenging part was editing.  I think the film became a lot more personal and exposed a lot more o my own personal experiences during editing.  It became more of an honest film than I had intended it to be, not that I wanted to make it a dishonest film.  The more we cut away the frivolous stuff, the more it was about these really personal things.  It was very difficult to get over myself and let the film be about something really personal.

Dallas filmmaker Daniel Laabs. Photo: Jan Brandt

Dallas filmmaker Daniel Laabs. Photo: Jan Brandt

On being a filmmaker in Texas:

Well since I’ve never made a film anywhere else and don’t know what that’s like, I can’t compare Texas to LA or anything.  The biggest thing that I’ve noticed is a lot of peers that I look up to and really admire are always from out of state, either in New York or Chicago or Seattle or New Orleans, or just somewhere else.  But what’s funny is that whenever I think that I feel isolated and that there are so many people making such great films in New York or something, they always turn around and say that’s what they always say about people in Texas.  They always see people making films in Texas and say things like “Woah! We can’t believe they’re making those films in Texas!”  I think it’s a very subjective thing to make a film anywhere because you get caught up in your head and in your own little world, but I think it’s the same everywhere.  I can’t imagine it being any different making an Indie film anywhere – if you want to make a film, you just make it.  If you don’t have any money to pay anybody, then shoot the film yourself, steal locations, and just break the rules.  Then again, there are no rules.  I don’t think making film in Texas is any different from anywhere else.

On his favorite Texas filmmaker:

I think Richard Linklater is a super outstanding filmmaker.  David Gordon Green is from Texas and I really like a lot of his films and I admire all of the work that he’s done in comedy and drama.  When I was a young filmmaker, people like David Lowery, James Johnson, Clay Liford, Yen Tan, were very influential to me.  The four of them were very inspiring to me and showed me that I could make films about anything – I didn’t have to make films that my peers were making in film school, I could make whatever I want.  When you’re in film school, you have a very insular community, and if everybody’s making horror films, then you make an even better horror film.  I was never really interested in that, and those guys were making films that were very personal and dramas and simple and experimenting in how to tell a story, or what constitutes a story and I thought that was very interesting.

On his future as a filmmaker:

I’ve got like a million short films that I want to make.  And I guess the cat’s out of the bag, but I’m in casting for a feature film right now that’s going to shoot sometime next year.

On being included in Frame of Mind:

This is my third time being included on Frame of Mind and every time I’m always surprised and honored.  Bart has been a supporter of my work for many years.  If it wasn’t for organizations like the Dallas Video Fest, I don’t know if I would have kept making films, because it’s really important to have organizations like that go out of their way to fight for your work.  They are that for so many different filmmakers and it’s incredible.  I’m always thrilled to be a part of Frame of Mind and every time it feels fantastic.  I never expect it and it’s always a true privilege to be a part of that.

On where to find more of his work:

All of my short films are now available on Fandor.  You can sign up for a free week and watch all of my films.  I highly recommend that people sign up for this service, especially if they like the films similar to those shown on Frame of Mind, independent films in general, or challenging documentaries, Fandor is way better than any other streaming service.  I’ve had it for three months now and I don’t know how I could live without it.

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Bonnie and Clyde Musical Is Back Home Where it All Began


John Campione as Clyde Barrow, Kayla Carlyle as Bonnie Parker. Photo: Karen Almond Photography

The musical Bonnie & Clyde played on Broadway. But now, for the first time, it’s being performed on the infamous North Texas couple’s home turf. WaterTower Theater in Addison balances historical facts about the outlaws with legend and romance.

WaterTower’s production opens in Depression-era West Dallas. Clyde Barrow meets Bonnie Parker. They’re a dirt poor couple with big dreams. But honest jobs are hard to come by.

Petty crimes quickly escalate to bank robbery and murder. The Barrow Gang’s infamous crime spree spans the southwest, spikes up north to Minnesota, and ends in an ambush in Louisiana.

The action moves fast, recreating the frenetic lifestyle of the lawless lovers. But it’s the period photos and newspaper clippings, projected on screens above the stage, that help move the audience through the story.

This wasn’t exactly a fresh idea – the projections were included in the original Broadway production – but set designer Sarah Brown did extensive research at the Dallas Public Library to flesh out the original concept.

Brown says, “They have the original news from the Dallas Morning News and several others. And they also have, which was really cool, is Sheriff Schmidt’s scrapbook of newspaper clippings, and that’s where I found a lot of the newspaper clippings that you saw on the screens.”


Bonnie and Clyde in March 1933 in a photo found by police at their Joplin, Missouri hideout. Photo: Wikipedia

Bonnie and Clyde grew up in tents and shacks in West Dallas. Back then, the area was known as the Devil’s Back Porch. Director Rene Moreno is from Dallas. He finds it intriguing that Bonnie and Clyde once drove the roads he drives today.

“You go into West Dallas and those cement factories are still there,” marvels Moreno. “Maybe more modern versions than they were in the 20s and 30s. And the whole idea of what West Dallas is, obviously that is totally changing now. It’s fascinating to still find those places where Bonnie and Clyde probably drove down these streets.”

Local playwright Vicki Cheatwood provided extensive research on who the characters were and what their lives were really like. She too is captivated by the local connection

“Just driving down those streets and going ‘Oh my gosh, that’s where the Barrows’ gas station was.’” Cheatwood adds, “When I saw the picture of that building I thought, ‘I’ve driven by that a thousand times and had no idea that that was Clyde Barrows family’s place.’”

She hopes the musical will spur an interest in Dallas history: “I would love it if especially younger generations come and see the show and then want to learn more about it.”


John Campione and Kayla Carlyle. Photo: Karen Almond Photography

While the musical is more factual than the 1967 film, it IS still a musical. And the focus is on a love story. Moreno says he likes to wonder what Bonnie and Clyde might have been had their circumstances been different.

“Yeah, you know how it’s going to end. But hopefully people will cheer them on and hope maybe for a different ending. What if? What if they had survived? What if they hadn’t done all these awful things and achieved fame in some other way? I still find them fascinating. And I’m glad they’re from Dallas. It’s a crazy thing to say, but I am!”



The cast put together this music video on their downtime. It’s not music from the show, but it sure is fun!


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Review: ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ At The WaterTower Theatre

KAP_3532AeditOh, so that is a pistol in your pocket. Kayla Carlyle and John Campione as the title characters in WaterTower Theatre’s Bonnie & Clyde. Photos: Karen Almond.

  • Shelley Keneavy’s feature on the historical research in the WaterTower show.

John Dillinger dismissed Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker as little more than kids stealing candy money. Truth was, when it came to robbery, they were inept, unlucky, two-bit criminals. The vast majority of their holdups netted them a couple days’ gas money, that’s all.

So why are the two of them — as portrayed in the musical Bonnie & Clyde currently at the WaterTower Theatreso  defiantly right when they sing the show’s signature declaration, “This world will remember us”? Why do these two Texans still loom as legends? Yes, the obvious answer is Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, but Bonnie and Clyde were national obsessions long before Arthur Penn’s 1967 film, the director’s celebrated, ground-breaking hymn to good looks and machine-gun fire.

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Art&Seek Jr: Grab Your Little Ghoul And Have Some Last Minute Halloween Fun

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Glinda--The Reluctant Witch of the North.  photo: Therese Powell

Glinda–The Reluctant Witch of the North. photo: Therese Powell

I’m going to come straight out and say it. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Here’s why. No awkward family get-togethers, no rushing around buying presents, no teensy-tiny Valentine envelopes, and most of all, no melt-downs waiting in line for Santa, the Easter Bunny, George Washington, or Punxsutawney Phil. Nope, Halloween is none of that, it’s just scary fun, candy, and best of all–  costumes! Sadly I’ve reached an age where getting dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood or Miss Kitty is frowned upon (no one wants to be THAT mom), so I do what every lover of Halloween dress up does in my situation. I live vicariously through my child.

Like Svengali, every year I talk my unsuspecting and agreeable child into donning a costume that’s more to my liking than hers. She prefers simplicity and freedom of movement, I like poufy and complicated.  Case in point, a couple of years back she wanted to be a cat, but I persuaded her what she REALLY wanted to be was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Sadly for Rose, it turned out to be an unseasonably  warm Halloween. She wound up being sweaty and uncomfortable as a reluctant participant in a costume contest at the school carnival. And later when she was trick or treating, she nearly had a heat stroke as she ran from house decked out in 7 yards of tulle, a huge crown and plastic pumpkin with 5 pounds of candy. Yes, she was mad at me, but it was worth it, she looked so gosh darn cute.

I think the gig is finally up. This year she’s going to be a cat.

Put the costume negotiations aside and celebrate this last official weekend before Halloween with one of these super fun, family friendly events. Read More »

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StoryCorps MobileBooth is Coming to Dallas

mobilebooth_side-webGot a great story you’d like to share for the ages? StoryCorps wants to hear it.

The popular feature heard regularly on KERA during Morning Edition is parking its MobileBooth – an airstream trailer with a recording studio inside – at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. They’ll be here from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20. If you’d like to share a story with them, make a reservation starting at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6 by calling 1-800-850-4406 or visiting Additional appointments will open up on Nov. 21.

“For more than 10 years, StoryCorps has given voice to people from all walks of life and shares their stories with the nation,” says KERA President and CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff. “By archiving these personal interviews at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, StoryCorps also is preserving an oral history of life in our times.”

The set up is usually the same: two people who know each other are recorded interviewing each other. There are guides to help you through the process. At the end of the interview – it takes about 40 minutes – you’ll get a CD of the session. StoryCorps will also ask you for permission to share your story in the archive.

Hope you’ll join KERA in welcoming the StoryCorps team to Dallas! Details at KERA’s StoryCorps site and after the jump.


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Flickr Photo Of The Week

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Congratulations to Braulio Lazon-Conden of Hillsboro, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! Braulio is a first time winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest.  He follows last week’s winner,  Bryan Garner.

image2If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took earlier than the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Tuesday to Monday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Friday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through FlickrMail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Tuesday.

Now here’s more from Braulio.

Title of photoHelens
Equipment: IPhone 4s
Tell us more about your photo: I took this picture of our chickens eating (all of which are named Helen). We moved to Belly Acres organic farm back in May of this year in order to pursue our dream of sustainability, creating our own food source and permaculture.

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Dallas Demographic Arts Data Reveals, Yep, We’re Richer, Whiter, Older

shutterstock_cutImage: shutterstock

… richer, whiter and older, that is, than the national averages from the National Endowment for the Arts. And Dallas artsgoers are richer, whiter, older than the Dallas city population. In fact, we’re a bit more akin to the population makeup of North Texas.

Maura Sheffler, community relations manager for TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) presented a breakdown of results from the inaugural year of  TACA’s program, the North Texas Cultural Co-op. She spoke today to an audience primarily of arts managers gathered at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Forty-one non-profit member organizations provided the data on households, ticketbuyers, age groups, etc. from 2008 through 2014.

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