News and Features

The Big Deal: KXT’s Summer Cut The Happy Funtime Fest!

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, KXT, Local Events, Music

Do you have your tickets to KXT’s Summer Cut yet? You don’t! Well, you better hurry. The Happy Funtime Fest is going down Aug. 15 at the Gexa Energy Pavilion at Fair Park. But before you slap down the plastic to purchase your tickets sign up here first for your last chance to win not two, but four tickets to the bash through Art&Seek.

By now you’ve probably heard that Death Cab for Cutie, Iron and Wine, The Hold Steady, the Oh Hellos, The Wild Feathers, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, The Unlikely Candidates, The Orbans, and Valise will be performing. Whew! But have you heard the Art&Seek’s Artisan Village will be back with trailers full of hand made goods and delicious food from seven different food trucks? I thought so.

And after signing up for this Big Deal do not stop there. Hands down you’ll want to sign up for our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see Ten Hands at the Kessler Theater or tickets to WaterTower Theatre’s production of Dogfight, A New Musical.

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 four tickets to have a happy funtime at KXT’s #SummerCut The Happy Funtime Fest!

UPDATE:  We have our winner. Thanks for playing!

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The Big Deal: WaterTower Theatre’s ‘Dogfight, A New Musical’

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Theater
Zak Reynolds and Juliette Talley Photo: WaterTower Theatre

Zak Reynolds and Juliette Talley
Photo: WaterTower Theatre

WaterTower Theatre is producing the regional premiere of Dogfight, A New Musical. The story is set in November 1963. The night before taking off for Viet Nam, a group of marines make a cruel bet on who can bring the ugliest girl to a party that night. Things get complicated for marine newby, Eddie Birdlace when he meets an awkward but soulful waitress named Rose. Dogfight is based on the 1991 indie film that starred River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. This musical adaptation is written by the composing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote A Christmas Story, The Musical. Dogfight runs now through Aug. 17 at WaterTower Theatre in Addison. Win this Big Deal and receive a pair of tickets to the Aug. 14 performance.

And for you music aficionados don’t miss signing up for our other Big Deals this week – tickets to KXT’s Summer Cut The Happy Funtime Fest!, or tickets to see Ten Hands at the Kessler Theater.

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 your chance to win a compassionate of theater with tickets to see Dogfight, A New Musical.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing!

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WaterTower Theatre in Addison Hosts ‘Dogfight’

Kyle Igneczi, Zak Reynolds, Matt Ransdell, Jr. Photo: Karen Almond Photography

Kyle Igneczi, Zak Reynolds, Matt Ransdell, Jr.
Photo: Karen Almond Photography

San Francisco, November 21, 1963. A nation on the edge of war. And three guys shipping out in the morning who have no idea that they should be scared. Just ready for one last night of no regret.

“Dogfight, A New Musical” is based on the 1991 movie of the same name starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor. A group of marines on their last night stateside hold a contest – the guy who brings the ugliest girl to a party wins a cash prize. Eddie Birdlace – a Marine played by Zak Reynolds – picks up a waitress at a diner.

Of course he ends up falling for her. But the show is about more than that. After all, the action takes place on the day before JFK was assassinated. WaterTower Theatre’s production is directed by Terry Martin, and he explains that significance.

“I think that it metaphorically just sort of was a turning point not only for this country, but certainly for our innocence as a country and the fact that it sort of matched these young men’s loss of innocence. I think it affected me in my telling of the story.”

Zak Reynolds and Juliette Talley Photo: Karen Almond Photography

Zak Reynolds and Juliette Talley
Photo: Karen Almond Photography

“It’s on the edge of all this change,” says Juliette Talley. She plays the adorably eager Rose, a genuine flower child, the waitress who melts the heart of Eddie Birdlace.

“They realize there’s so much more for us, and the change is about to begin.”

“Dogfight” had a short run Off-Broadway in 2012. It’s playing Off-West End in London now.

So why bring this new musical here to North Texas now?

Martin thinks that the intimacy of WaterTower’s 200-seat theater only adds to the experience the company has to offer, and it’s the perfect place for new work. He’s also especially interested in the two guys who wrote this show.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics for Dogfight. They also wrote music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “A Christmas Story” and for the second season of the TV show Smash. Martin thinks you’ll be hearing a lot more from them.

“There’s hope for new musical theater out there, and it’s really exciting to see two guys like this who really get it. You know, they really get it.”

Terry Martin and WaterTower Theatre continue to look for new stories to tell, and they are staying true to that mission with the first production of the next season –  the professional regional premiere of the new musical “Bonnie and Clyde.”


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The High Five: Vanilla Ice Says The New ‘Ninja Rap’ Is Too Corporate

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Vanilla Ice has something to say about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ rebooted rap, the NBA gets its first female assistant coach in history, Frisco snuffs out e-cigarettes in city parks, and more.

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Art&Seek Jr: Stage Struck – 7 Can’t Miss Kid-Friendly Shows


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.

Animals and theater--the perfect combination!

Animals and theater–the perfect combination!

Rose and I had a serious discussion about careers the other day. She reported that according to the wise and well-informed kids in her summer program, fourth grade is when you pick your career path, and oh by the way– it’s set in stone. No changies allowed.  She told me that she’d given it a lot of thought and decided she wanted to be a veterinarian/famous actor –not JUST an actor, mind you, but a FAMOUS actor. No paying your dues for years doing dog food commercials, dinner theater or off-off-off Broadway for Rose, no siree bob. Straight to the top of the heap is the game plan here. In her mind, if all those silly kids on the Disney channel can get their own shows, how hard could it be? I reminded her that most veterinarians are tied down with a practice and patients, so it might be hard to jet off to a location shoot with Brad and Angelina. After carefully considering this she concluded that the best course of action would be to pursue a career in traveling veterinary medicine. That way, she could treat furry patients in her dressing room while she’s doing a Broadway musical, or in her trailer while she’s working on a film. Actors have loads of free time between shots, right?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at her career choices. She’s a huge animal lover (what 9-year-old girl isn’t) and she’s been a lover of theater almost since before she could talk thanks to all the wonderful plays she’s seen here in North Texas.

I say it over and over, but we really are lucky to live in an area that has such great theater available to us. And by “us,” that includes children. No longer do parents have to sit through mind-numbing “kid shows” for the sake of their toddlers. There’s a whole range of theater out there for every age group that’s fun for parent’s, too.

Here are our picks for some shows you and your little thespians should catch this weekend.

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The World’s Largest Art Show – Thanks, In Part, To The DMA

art everywhere times sqArt Everywhere US, the sticking-beloved-artworks-on-billboards-all-over-America project, launched yesterday. Fifty-eight works were chosen by popular vote from five US museums: the Art Institute of Chicago; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The month-long gallery on some 50,000 static and digital billboards across the country began yesterday in Times Square. Here’s the full release:

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The High Five: Listen To Sarah Jaffe’s New Album

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North Texas’ Sarah Jaffe, pictured in 2010, is featured on NPR’s First Listen and will perform in Dallas later this month. (Flickr/Olivier Bourgi)

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Celebrate your pet by launching its remains into space; poverty in the suburbs has doubled over the past decade; George W. Bush and his wife to be featured at a White House event; and more.

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Remembering Filmmaker Robert Drew

Robert Drew, Anne Drew, Ed Carter, Grace Guggenheim

Robert Drew

Robert Drew passed away July 30 at the age of 90. Most people have never heard of him but he had a major effect on modern cinema.

Robert Drew is credited for inventing the modern form of what might be called direct cinema, Cinema verete, or observational cinema. Before Drew, documentary films existed but they mostly featured talking heads. In those days documentaries were thought of as educational films. Documentaries were informative, but boring. One problem: heavy, bulky cameras made shooting difficult.

Drew was working at “Life Magazine” and got one of those prestigious Neiman fellowships, which sent him to Harvard, to study how he could make a reality film more interesting. In an interview in 1962, Drew said he was looking for a form of documentary that would “drop word logic and find a dramatic logic in which things really happened.” It would be “a theater without actors; it would be plays without playwrights; it would be reporting without summary and opinion; it would be the ability to look in on people’s lives at crucial times from which you could deduce certain things and see a kind of truth that can only be gotten from personal experience.”

After his fellowship,  he formed Drew and Associates, and set about putting his vision into practice. He needed two things to get the films he envisioned: Smaller cameras and cameramen who could get what he was looking for. His ideas hit at the right time.  Smaller cameras could be adapted to help make a shooter less obtrusive.  These cameras (like all 16 mm cameras) shot 11 minutes of film and then need to be reloaded.

Drew also got a crew that went on to become the all-stars of early documentary filmmaking. Al and David Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker and Richard Leacock. Drew’s revolutionary idea was that the camera and sound men (they were mostly men in those days) would observe what they saw, be a fly on the wall, shoot a ton of film, and find the drama in the editing.  It would be heresy to ask a subject to move or repeat a line. This is a far cry from today’s reality TV or Ken Burns’ films or contemporary films that have animation and re-creations. Robert Drew got us to see what was there; there was a pureness in that.

His major work included “Primary,” which followed JFK in his bid to win the Wisconsin primary. It is the first political film where you really see what is happening. We observe Kennedy having his picture taken, talking at a rally and waiting for the results. We had never witnessed these moments before so closely, so intimately.

His next hit was “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)” which followed the crisis of two African Americans trying to enroll in the University of Alabama. It followed JFK in the white house and George Wallace in the governor’s mansion. It had high drama, a story unfolding in front of the audience. Documentary films had not done this before. There is a great moment in “Crisis” where Bobby Kennedy, at home in Washington, is talking on the phone to Nicholas Katzenbach, his assistant attorney general in Alabama. It was amazing that cameramen were able to get it. The two are talking about the problem when one of Bobby’s kids picks up the phone and asks Katzenbach what the weather is like there – a real human moment in the middle of a crisis.


Another of Drew’s great films was “Faces in November,”  a short film of the memorial after Nov. 22, 1963. While other people were shooting the action and the majestry of DC, Drew’s cameramen only shot close-ups of everyday people showing their pain.

Over the years many critics and filmmakers have treasured Drew’s contribution to cinema, but to the public, he is mostly unknown. This has to do with the cult of the director. Drew was not a director or shooter; he was a producer. His disciples did go on to fame. The Maysles made “Salesman,” “Grey Gardens”and many other important works.  D. A. Pennebaker (known ans Penny) went on to make “Don’t Look Back,” “Monterrey Pop,” and “The War Room” among others. The basic aesthetic principal for all these films comes from Drew.

He will be missed.





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The High Five: Czech Stop Kolache Documentary Is In The Works

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A documentary about kolaches at the Czech Stop in West is in the works. (Credit: luna 715/Flickr)

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Mark Cuban on making a lot of money; an update on the Fort Worth doctor with the Ebola virus; a documentary about kolaches is in the works; and more.

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Crystal Bridges Selects 3 From N. Texas For “State of the Art” Show.

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Categorized Under: Culture, Visual Arts

Three North Texas artists have been selected for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s mammoth “State of the Art” show.

Kim Cadmus Owens, Gabriel Dawe and Dornith Doherty will all show at the museum, in Bentonville, Ark.

Two Crystal Bridges Museum curators set out on the ultimate art road trip. They crisscrossed the country, visiting more than 1,000 artists in their studios and  logging 100,000 miles. The aim was to create a survey of the most compelling art being created now, in all regions of the US.

The result, “State of the Art,” is set to open on Sept. 13 at the museum, with works from 102 artists – 6 from Texas.

“The exhibition is a glimpse into the state of art in our nation at this moment,” said Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi, in a statement. “By examining a wide range of works by artists from across the country, we can gain insight into our nation as a whole: our collective passions, challenges and concerns.”

A New York Times piece  emphasized the curators’ quest to make sure little-known artists were not overlooked in their exhibition. But Dawe, Owens and Doherty hardly qualify as obscure.

Owens is a painter and associate professor at University of Dallas. Her diptych, “Coming and Going,” will be in the show.

crystal bridges kim

“Coming and Going” by Kim Cadmus Owens

Here’s Owens at State of the Arts in 2013.

Doherty’s “Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden #2″ was also selected.

crystal bridges dornith2

“Millennium Seed Bank Research Seedlings and Lochner-Stuppy Test Garden #2″ by Dornith Doherty.


A photography professor at UNT, Doherty became captivated by seed banks around the world after reading an article in the New Yorker. She developed a process to magnify, x-ray and photograph samples from the banks. She explains in this episode of  Think TV.

And Dawe’s  contribution, “Plexus no. 27″ has already been installed at the museum. Dawe, originally from Mexico City, earned his MFA at UT-Dallas, and was a resident at Central Trak. He makes large, site-specific installations using sewing thread. You can see his work inside the 2100 Ross building just outside the Dallas Arts District.


“Plexus no. 27″ by Gabriel Dawe







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