News and Features

Saturday Spotlight – The Denton Arts & Jazz Festival is a Celebration of the Arts

 

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For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re off to Denton’s Quakertown Park for the annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival. The day’s events include games, rock climbing, and face painting as well as a children’s art area. You’ll find jewelry, paintings, and other art by regional artists as part of a juried art show. And of course, the music. Seven stages host bands including Ricki Derek with the Vegas Six and Dr. John and the Night Trippers, and you’ll also find roving musicians strolling the grounds.

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A Tupperware Party That’s Lasted Eight Years Stops In Fort Worth

dixie Fort Worth Performance (Lauren Silverman) (2)

“Dixie’s Tupperware Party” at McDavid Studio. Photo: Lauren Silverman.

An ongoing Tupperware party recently arrived in Fort Worth, Texas is drawing quite a crowd – hundreds of people a night. Okay, so this isn’t your average Tupperware party…its part improv, part satire, and part drag show. KERA’s Lauren Silverman went to the show that’s kept plastic “burping lids” in the spotlight for eight years.

Dixie’s Tupperware Party isn’t classy – instead of a red suede curtain on stage at McDavid Studio, there’s a tower of plastic products. Forget the playbill on your seat, instead there’s a Tupperware catalog and a pen.
“My name is Dixie I’m your Tupperware lady, I’m so excited to be here today I could ride a mechanical bull with no panties.”

Dixie Longate is prancing around in five-inch, gold polka dot heels and a blue flowered ’50s apron. Her red curls pulled back by a headband, her raunchy humor bursting out. She’s here to entertain, but also to sell.

And she starts off the 80 minute show with her favorite item. Tupperware product number 1511…

“My rectangular cake taker,” she says.

Yes, you can use the cake taker to carry cupcakes to church, Dixie says, but there’s also her preferred, less virtuous use…

“If you take off this cover, 34 jello shots fits right on the other side. Becomes your little jello shot caddy! Now think how great going to church is!”

Campy humor, real sales

The stereotypical southern belle in drag shtick works – especially in the state where the show Greater Tuna was born. Dixie has sold more than $1 million dollars of Tupperware products. The whole thing started when Kris Andersson, who’s a man, began dressing as Dixie and hosting Tupperware parties in people’s living rooms. By 2004 he was one of the country’s top sellers and hit the road.
In a sit-down interview, Andersson stays in character as Dixie, with silver hoop earrings and turquoise eyeshadow. This flamboyant personality is partly what keeps people coming back.

“The reason I think it lasts so long is I think people just want to have a good time, they want to laugh,” Dixie says.  “Ima burp in a minute, I can feel it coming up. (She burps.) I’m so sorry! I had Mexican for lunch.”

Her humor can be a bit campy and the trailer park sex jokes might make you cringe… but attendee Mary Churchman thought it was ‘darling.’

“I loved it,” says Churchman. “I had more fun, and actually I do remember Tupperware parties!”

She even stood up during the performance to give a “Tuppermonial.” Yes, that’s when people talk about how a piece of Tupperware changed their lives. Churchman swooned over a potato peeler.

“It is without a doubt the best potato peeler you can find,” she says.

“We’re going to buy a lot of bowls”

At a typical Tupperware party people are invited, attendees here paid $40 dollars to watch Dixie sell, take part in a raffle and learn the true story of Tupperware hero Brownie Wise.

Wise didn’t create Tupperware, that was Earl Tupper in 1946. But she put the product on the map by taking the pastry sheets and snack sets out of retail stores and into women’s homes. Dixie has taken the product out of women’s homes and brought it to the theater. And she’s done it more than 1,000 times. After the show, people stock up on electric blue tumblers, neon green pitchers and gravy shakers.

Dixie with Kinn Kinney and his wife Jane (Lauren Silverman)

Dixie (center) with Kinn Kinney (left) and his wife Jane. Photo: Lauren Silverman

“We were looking forward to this opportunity to replenish all of our Tupperware. We’re going to buy a lot of bowls,” says Kinn Kinney. He and his wife Jane live in Haslet; they’re in their 40s. But they’re no Tupperware amateurs

“I gave her a budget of $1,000,” Kinn says.

Wait, you’re going to spend $1,000 here?

“I’m sure she is.”

Dixie earns a commission off anything she sells, just like the rest of Tupperware’s salesforce of 2.9 million people.
The secret to staying relevant all these years? Hooking the audience. Here’s plastic ware veteran Mary Churchman:

“Anytime you can involve the audience, you’ve got it made.”

Dixie splay outside theater (Silverman)

Tupperware for sale outside the show. Photo: Lauren Silverman.

 

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Come See Where The McKinney Avenue Contemporary Is Headed

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Claude Albritton in the ‘Big MAC’s big room. Photo: Jerome Weeks

Tonight, beginning at 6 p.m., the McKinney Avenue Contemporary is holding an open house at what will be its big new digs in the Cedars area. The Austin-based Warren Hood Band will provide the music.

In case you didn’t know the MAC was moving from its Uptown home, here are all the details from our January visit to its sprawling destination, an old brick-and-wood compound built in 1914 as an auto-and-tractor repair shop and dealership. Basically, Uptown has gotten too pricey and high-taxy for the MAC to run a gallery and theater space there — and besides, Uptowners are typically found in the area’s eateries and clubs. They’ve never really supported the MAC’s home company, Kitchen Dog Theater, even though it’s one of the best stage outfits in North Texas.

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Parsons Dance Company Keeps Things Hopping – Even After 30 Years

Photo by Paula Lobo, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo: Paula Lobo. All images courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Parsons Dance Company returns to Dallas with a program that proves why it’s one of the longest-running and most stable in the dance world. On the heels of the announcement that the popular Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is closing its doors, it’s uplifting to see this company celebrate 30 years of work — and look forward to the future.

On Saturday evening, the company will present a varied program, and it’s one reason the organization has flourished: Artistic director David Parsons likes to take his audience on an emotional roller coaster, with twists and turns at every corner, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

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Arthur Peña Makes Some Noise In His Vice Palace

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Arthur Peña. Photo: Jerome Weeks.

Painting is the most important thing to Arthur Peña. The Dallas artist has an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Contemporary. But for the past year, Peña has also hosted a series of pop-up performances under the name Vice Palace.


What is Vice Palace?

“Vice Palace is a DIY roving music venue that exists in spaces such as galleries, warehouses, established venues such as Texas Theater. Vice Palace is interested in cultivating new ideas, creative ways and experimentation within music performances, from musicians in this city. And on top of that say hey, let’s think of a way you can engage the audience differently. You don’t have to stand on the stage, let’s put you in the middle of the floor. Lets bring in one ton of sand and have some weird performance with dance groups and collaborators. Let’s think about how we can push this further. Those are the same questions I ask as a painter, that any artist in the city asks of their work.

This week’s first anniversary show features 6 bands and 2 fashion shows.

Lili Taylor is an amazing vocalist. Almost operatic, very dreamy. And with her husband Sean Miller’s projections on top of her, they are an act that really serves as an example of performance as art and music collapsed into one event.

$caduf is an interesting young talent who comes out of Pleasant Grove.  And Pleasant Grove is a place that can be rough. $caduff is part of that community and is born out of that. His lyrics, like on his song “40 Oz. And A Burger From Big B’s,” highlights his neighborhood as well as tells a story of who he is, the environment he comes from, and really, where he wants to go.” [Find the video here.]

Others on the bill: Tony Q & Plain Jane; iill, Rat Rios. Fashion show by Charles Smith II and Jim Duran kicks off the show.

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$kaduf, from his video, “40 oz and Big B’s Burger”

 

Finding musicians and acts to work with.

I just go to shows.  I will say that I do have a bias, I am into a certain attitude with the work, a certain, I’d call it darkness, within the music. That may be because my own personal artwork is so embedded with this idea of temporality and the morbid.  Whether or not you get that from it, when I’m making those paintings, I’m thinking about dying all the time.

You’re seem like a happy, fun guy. So it’s interesting that you think about death when you’re painting.

Well, it’s sort of more the idea of the absurd. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m super happy because I’m super happy to be here. I’m super happy to be alive. But every morning, every morning, I tell you Anne, I wake up and the first thing I think of is, Oh my God, one day it’s just all going to be gone. And there’s just nothing you can do about it. I just don’t know when or how it’s going to go down. But you know it will. That’s just the way it is. So in the meantime, I’m just here trying to do something cool, something that can maybe make a difference in someone’s life.

vice palace year oneI’m from Oak Cliff. I saw my first dead body when I was six years old. Somebody got murdered at my elementary school. It’s one of these things, very early early on, you understand the temporality of all this.  But also just the violence in the streets and growing up in this neighborhood and gangs. And all of the stuff that goes along with growing up in a violent neighborhood. And all the while, my family was there and taking care of me, and being nice.

But eventually, you know what happened, when I was in high school at Skyline, I got into graffitti. And started making artwork that way. And I started catching the bus every day, every summer when I  was 16, I started catching the bus to the DMA. I would get off downtown and walk to the DMA. Which was crazy because I had work at the DMA two years ago.

I saw art work, I saw my first Picasso. I knew that Picasso was important, I just didn’t know why. I would sort of go there and see a bunch of artwork. And come home and go to house parties at night, just regular house parties. And I think man, if there was something like Vice Palace when I was younger, that had a program that exposed me to really cool people and really awesome music and something weird, that I just wouldn’t have come across, maybe because of cultural borders or socio-economic borders….if there was something around when I was younger, you know, maybe I could have gotten into art a lot earlier. I could have done a lot more weird things a lot younger. I wouldn’t be in my 30s trying to catch up with these young people who are out there doing awesome awesome things and they’re like 21 years old.

On finding a balance between painting and music:

There really isn’t one. When I’m not working on Vice Palace shows, which honestly, don’t take that long to pull together – It’s a couple of emails, some  phone calls, and making sure things go right. My painting practice, it’s so much harder than anything else I will probably ever do. And I’d have to say, that if anything were to ever get in the way of my painting practice, even Vice Palace, I would have to stop. I don’t think about anything – other than death – more than painting.

On his musical talent:

The only instrument I ever played in my life was in middle school it was the trumpet. I played it for three years. And I quit.

BUT me and my buddy Kevin Jacobs, who runs Oliver Francis Gallery, started this band called Tracy Yemen. Which is a play on  the British artist Tracey Emin. He’s on drums and he’s a phenomenal drummer. And I have a mini handheld tape recorder that I record different sounds on.

During our performances, I’m just basically rolling around on the floor with this cassette player to the microphone, screaming and making noises, or crawling on top of audience members.

And Kevin is playing these crazy double metal beats to this whole performance and it lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. We’ve performed about four times.

Sounds legendary.

And we’re thinking about getting the band back together! It’s just fun times. And whenever I get a chance to perform in any way, I’ve noticed that I take it.

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KERA Wins 6 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, Including Top Honor

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Categorized Under: Culture, Music, Uncategorized
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Photo: Shutterstock.com

KERA has earned six regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, including the top honor, overall excellence. That award is a first for the station, and the total of six doubles the station’s previous high.

At Art&Seek, we are particularly thrilled that Jerome Weeks’ work on Secrets of the Meyerson was recognized with the award for best writing. (And no, we did not know when we aired the series’ final chapter yesterday and this morning, that this was coming.)

The awards were announced this morning. KERA competed against large-market radio stations, both commercial and public, in the Radio Television Digital News Associations region 6, which covers Texas and Oklahoma.

Other winners of overall-excellence honors in region 6 include Marfa Public Radio (small market radio), WFAA-Channel 8 (large market TV), KOKI-Channel 23 in Tulsa (small market TV) and the Texas Tribune (non-broadcast outlets).

The winners in the 14 RTDNA regions now move on to the national Edward R. Murrow competition.

KERA received awards for best newscast, best series, best writing, best use of sound, best website and overall excellence.
Newscast: North Texans React To Ebola Diagnosis In Dallas –Listen to the report.
Use of Sound: Haunted Houses: The Science Behind The Scare – Listen to the report.
Series: The Broken Hip – Listen to the report.
Writing: Secrets of the Meyerson –Listen to the report.
Website: KERANews.org
Overall Excellence: KERA (Entries included: Decisions On The Border; At One Dallas Church, Ebola Becomes Personal;Helping Kids Learn English – And Spanish, Too; The History Of The Meyerson Symphony Center; Haunted Houses: The Science Behind The Scare; The Broken Hip: The Quick Decline; The Indictment Of John Wiley Price; North Texans React To Ebola In Dallas

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Secrets Of The Meyerson: A Conversation With Mort Meyerson

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Morton H. Meyerson. Photo: Dane Walters

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Meyerson Symphony Center — which was hailed as a signal achievement in concert hall design when it opened. Last September, we marked the start of the celebrations with a digital project, Secrets of the Meyerson. 

Now, the end of the DSO’s regular concert season is approaching and the new Soluna Festival debuts next month. It’s time for our final chapter of Secrets of the Meyerson. In his home, we sat down with Morton H. Meyerson, the man who successfully headed up the concert hall building committee for ten years — even though he had no experience with city government or major building construction. The man who — our interview subjects repeatedly said — held things together, found consensus with disputing factions, pushed for solutions when major roadblocks came up and kept the whole, complex, political, musical, organizational, architectural effort moving forward. Read More »

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The Big Screen: High Kicking With The Rangerettes

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BIG SCREEN LOGO FOR POSTThe Kilgore College Rangerettes have performed at presidential inaugurations, New Year’s Day parades and events across the globe – all in their signature red, white and blue uniforms. A new documentary looks at the history of the world’s first drill team and follows high-kicking hopefuls who hope to continue the tradition. This week, we talk to its creative team.

Sweethearts of the Gridiron screens at the Angelika Film Center on Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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It’s All Things Tech At Season-Ending State Of The Arts Thursday.

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Jeff Whittington.

How is technology changing innovation and creativity in the arts? That’s the topic for State of the Arts at the Dallas Museum of Art Thursday night. KERA’s Jeff Whittington will host the conversation. He recently spoke with artist Alison Jardine, one of  panelists, about her project on Twitter – collaborating with hundreds of others to manipulate an image of one of her artworks.
“I sent out an image of one of my oil paintings and asked people to capture it and send it back to me over Twitter,” Jardine says. “I then selected an image based on my aesthetic preference as the fittest to survive to the next round.”
Jardine also talked about the increasing presence of digital technology in the practice of art.

Alison Jardine.

Alison Jardine.

“It’s the first time that the tools artists use and the way the artwork is viewed or experienced is the same medium – the same device…digital technologies are the paint, the canvas, the wall, the gallery all rolled into one.”
Explore more of Jardine’s artwork; hear from Dale Carman, the founder of animation and film studio ReelFX; and learn from Dan Kohl how the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is using technology to innovate the museum industry tonight at 7 at the Dallas Museum of Art. Art&Seek is happy to be a partner with the DMA to bring you this series. It’s the last one of the season. Come join us.

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Huge Portraits of Dallas Faces Adorn Downtown Facades

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Categorized Under: Public Art, Visual Arts

The largest street photography exhibit in Dallas history will celebrate what best distinguishes one city from the next as well as any other city from Dallas—its architecture, its public art and most of all, its people.

Local photographer Richard Andrew Sharum created Observe Dallas last summer as a public art installation project to inform and remind the city of its own design and existence through large-scale photographic portraits that span the exteriors of staple downtown buildings.

All eight of the prints were shot in Dallas between 2006 and 2014 and portray familiar yet unique Dallas scenes, like the working class downtown and a family in Klyde Warren Park. The prints will be displayed week-by-week until Sunday, May 31 at different downtown locales. The third print, titled Ronnie, went public Monday at 550 S. Ervay St.

The first print, called One Main Place, was installed on Friday, April 10 and will be on display at 211 N. Ervay Street until April 2016. The black and white photograph portrays a homeless citizen sitting on a bench downtown and looking upward on a bright, sunny day.

One Main Place

One Main Place

This print is one of two featuring homeless Dallasites—a decision Sharum hopes will contribute to a more diverse depiction of the city’s makeup and inspire solutions to the growing homelessness in the area, according to a press release.

“I truly believe observation is the key to empathy and education, two ideals that are important to the progression of mankind,” Sharum says in a press release. “I want these images to inspire people to pay attention to their surroundings, whether it’s addressing the homeless issue, something I find people are afraid to talk about, or simply creating their own works of public art. Everyone is equal in these photographs.”

Sharum also hopes to capture the city of Dallas in its present state and to employ downtown as his own gallery for the public to experience, according to a press release.

“Downtown Dallas is beautiful and its architecture is historic. By photographing these people and buildings as they are now, I can do my part in documenting the history of the city as it is now,” he says in a press release.

Here’s the schedule for the spring exhibition:

April 10 – April 2016: One Main Place, 2014 at 211 N. Ervay St.
April 13 – May 25: Metro Bar, 2006 at 800 Main St.
April 20 – May 11: Ronnie, 2014, at 500 S. Ervay St.
April 27 – May 18: Father and Daughter, 2006 at 325 N. Saint Paul St.
May 4 – May 31: Father and Son, 2014 at 601 Elm St.
May 11 – May 31: Homeless Woman, 2014 at 500 S. Ervay St.
May 18 – May 31: Woman at Crosswalk, 2014 at 325 N. Saint Paul St.
May 25 – May 31: Immigrant Reform Protest, 2006 at 800 Main St.

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