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.
Last week during our nightly reading ritual, Rose busted me in a big way. I was sneaking a peek at my phone while she was reading Matilda aloud to me. Besides a major finger wagging, I also got a mini lecture (a small tongue lashing delivered by a small person) on how reading time is more important than Facebook. Wow! Point taken. Right then and there we decided that in the future no electronics would interfere with our time together. Since we had just been talking about the New Year’s Day holiday, it was determined this would be the perfect resolution . Of course, we’ll see how resolved she is when I ask her to put down the tablet when I’m trying to make conversation with her in the car. It’s a two-way street, you know.
If one of your resolutions is to spend more time with the kids (and less with Facebook) here are a few activities to help you get started this week–before life gets in the way. Read More »
Five stories that have North Texas talking: a trip to the bar could cost you more in the new year; Nancy Brinker takes a big pay cut; musician Benjamin Curtis has died, and more:
- Benjamin Curtis, part of the Dallas music scene in the late ‘90s and 2000s, died this week in New York after battling cancer. He was 35. Curtis and his brother Brandon were members of UFOFU, a local rock group, the Dallas Observer reports. Then Curtis played drums for Tripping Daisy. In 2000, Curtis and his brother launched Secret Machines. “Their debut full-length project, 2004′s Now Here Is Nowhere, broke nationally to much critical acclaim,” the Observer reports. “It will long be remembered as a Dallas classic.” In 2007, Curtis formed School of Seven Bells. He announced his T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma diagnosis in February. “Musicians from Texas, Oklahoma and New York alike rallied around Curtis,” the Observer reports. “The Polyphonic Spree, The Strokes, and Devendra Banhart were just a few notable names who participated in fundraising events for Curtis this year.”
- “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a novel by Dallas author Ben Fountain, will be featured on today’s Reader Review edition of The Diane Rehm Show on KERA 90.1 FM. The book discussion, a rebroadcast, airs at 9 a.m. The show describes the book: “A deadly firefight with Iraqi insurgents caught on video by Fox News has transformed eight U.S. soldiers into media stars. Nineteen-year-old Billy Lynn is the lead character in a novel about the surviving men of the ‘Bravo Squad’ and their brief return home. As the squad mourns the death of a fellow soldier, they are sent on a two-week nationwide ‘victory tour’ to drum up support for the war. But their painful reality is obscured as they are honored during a Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game.” Fountain talked about his book in 2012 with Krys Boyd on KERA’s “Think.”
- A change in Texas sales taxes could cost you when you buy a mixed drink at a bar in 2014. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that changes enacted by the state Legislature that take effect Wednesday cut the taxes businesses pay on mixed drinks sold, from 14 percent to 6.7 percent. But purchasers of mixed drinks will pay a new sales tax of 8.25 percent — the same tax on beer and wine. Lawmakers said the goal of the bill is to “reduce hidden taxes and make the taxes on businesses that sell only beer and wine more equitable with those that sell mixed drinks,” the newspaper reports. Michael Klein, president of the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance, told the Star-Telegram the new system is more complicated and creates room for error. But Richie Jackson of the Texas Restaurant Association says he thinks vendors now have more flexibility. Jackson predicts restaurants will handle the tax changes differently, with some choosing to pass along slightly higher taxes to customers and some not. This is one of nearly 50 new Texas laws that take effect starting Wednesday.
- Nancy Brinker has taken a big pay cut. Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced Monday that Brinker has taken a $159,000 reduction. She’ll still be paid well – she’s getting $390,000 in the new year, The Dallas Morning News reports. Brinker had earned $549,000 in 2012 as the group’s chief executive. Brinker’s high salary had been criticized during the controversy created in 2012 when Komen canceled its funding to Planned Parenthood. (The funding was eventually reinstated.) None of Komen’s employees got bonuses in 2012 or 2013, The News reported. Brinker, 67, is now the group’s chairwoman of global strategy. “Brinker’s new salary went into effect in June, when Judith Salerno was named the nonprofit’s new CEO,” The News reports. “Brinker’s current focus is on building Komen’s global outreach, with an emphasis on the growing cancer crisis in developing nations. She also continues to raise money for the organization.”
- Which city has better internet service – San Antonio or Riga, Latvia? The answer might surprise you. The New York Times reports: “San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, a progressive and economically vibrant metropolis of 1.4 million people sprawled across south-central Texas. But the speed of its Internet service is no match for the Latvian capital, Riga, a city of 700,000 on the Baltic Sea. Riga’s average Internet speed is at least two-and-a-half times that of San Antonio’s, according to Ookla, a research firm that measures broadband speeds around the globe. In other words, downloading a two-hour high-definition movie takes, on average, 35 minutes in San Antonio — and 13 in Riga.” Oh, and internet service is cheaper in Riga – Riga’s service costs about one-fourth that of San Antonio. The Times continues: “The United States, the country that invented the Internet, is falling dangerously behind in offering high-speed, affordable broadband service to businesses and consumers, according to technology experts and an array of recent studies.”
Commentator David Okamoto works as a content production manager at Yahoo! in Dallas. His music reviews have previously appeared in such publications as Rolling Stone, ICE magazine and the Dallas Morning News.
2013 was a year of rebirth for many artists born or based in the Lone Star State. ‘80s Austin band True Believers reunited, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks emerged as a solo artist, and Norah Jones reinvented herself yet again, this time as one-half of the Everly Brothers on a tribute project recorded with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. My 10 favorite albums of the year followed this trend, staking out new ground and stretching the boundaries of “Texas music.”
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Photo by Christopher Blay
Christopher Blay, one of the founders of the Fort Worth photography collective Group f.8 and a curator of a Tarrant County College gallery, is the 2013 recipient of the Moss/Chumley Artist Award. The annual prize is given to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited for at least ten years and is a community advocate for the visual arts.
Earlier this year, the William Campbell Contemporary Art gallery reunited the disbanded Group f.8 for a show, and Art & Seek’s Stephen Becker profiled Blay as a “curator of people.” Blay typically uses photography or installation art with a large shot of humor. In a recent solo exhibition at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, his Machine Time featured antique salon hair dryers, clocks and photo projections. An excerpt from Time Machine was displayed at SMU’s Meadows Museum during the awards presentation on December 12.
A graduate of Texas Christian University, Blay began a community oral history project with the Fort Worth Public Library in 2006 and has created a series of tongue-in-cheek “Frank Artsmarter” videos spoofing critical theory and the “cult of celebrity” around artists. Earlier this year, he won an NEA grant for “Activating Vacancy” with the bc workshop.
Previous recipients of the Moss/Chumley Award include Noah Simblist, Bob Nunn, Tracy Hicks and Stephen Lapthisophon. The full press release:
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It’s happening in Chicago. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra just launched its own “online multimedia magazine,” called CSO Sounds & Stories. According to Philip Koester, the CSO’s vice president of marketing, “the CSO becomes the first major American orchestra to have a dedicated music journalism site.”
Why would it launch such a venture when journalism in general is in a state of upheaval and classical music itself is not exactly singing hallelujah?
Not surprisingly, self-interest: “Since publications now have fewer resources to devote to the arts,” writes Koester, “it is more difficult for the CSO to obtain media coverage, especially previews of coming programs.” Yet the CSO isn’t just pasting together puff pieces and some canned bios of performers and composers. They’ve actually hired several experienced journalists, notably the former classical music critic of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Even so, this new venture has prompted a serious appraisal from Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones — who concludes, also not too surprisingly, that CSO Sounds & Stories is not music journalism, period. But his is not a simple, blunt dismissal.
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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Ted Cruz says “No, Canada;” Harold Simmons has died; the Chinese Lantern Festival wraps up soon, and more:
- Hundreds gathered in Richardson over the weekend to remember Ray Price, the country singer and bandleader who died earlier this month. Price, who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career, was 87. He had pancreatic cancer. He died at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant in northeast Texas. Price had big hits like “Crazy Arms” and “City Lights.” NPR’s All Things Considered aired this remembrance. WFAA-TV reported from the memorial service: “Fort Worth country radio personality Bill Mack read a statement from Willie Nelson, who used to be a bassist in Price’s band. ‘Without a Ray Price, there wouldn’t have been a Willie Nelson,’ he wrote.” Mack said that Price had finished a record just before his death – and that he had never sounded better, WFAA reported.
- The Chinese Lantern Festival ends Sunday. The Fair Park show, which has been open since the State Fair of Texas this fall, features 25 scenes. They include a royal dragon boat and a 52-foot-tall porcelain pagoda made from 68,000 plates, bowls, spoons and wine cups. A team of more than 100 artisans put together the lanterns. The festival describes the scene: “Brilliant, glowing, artworks comprise 25 stunning displays in a kaleidoscope of color. Like stained glass in 3D, each lantern set is made of hundreds and thousands of individual pieces.”
- Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced he’ll be renouncing his Canadian citizenship. The Dallas Morning News reports that he has retained counsel, which is preparing the proper paperwork. He expects to complete the process in 2014, the newspaper reported. Cruz, who was born in Calgary, has dual citizenship. The News reported: “Under U.S. law, a child born with even one American parent is automatically entitled to citizenship, even if the birth takes place outside the country. Canada, like the United States, also confers automatic citizenship to anyone born on its soil, regardless of the parents’ nationalities.” In October, Cruz returned to Texas – catch up on his visit. Earlier this month, Cruz was featured in a children’s coloring book that was selling quickly in time for the holiday season. Catch up on his 21-hour talk on the Senate floor from the fall, when he read “Green Eggs and Ham.”
- Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons died over the weekend. He was 82. The Texas Tribune reports: “His support of conservative causes and candidates is decades deep, though he sprinkled in donations to Democrats from time to time. The Center for Public Integrity ranked him as the second-biggest overall political donor during the 2011-12 election cycle, giving $31 million by that organization’s count.” Simmons was born in 1931 in Golden, a small town in northeast Texas. The Tribune reports: “He worked as a bank examiner, then bought a pharmacy across the street from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, expanded that into 100 stores and sold it all to Eckerd Corp. That launched his career as a highly successful and often controversial investor. One of his companies, Waste Control Specialists, has been a frequent subject of legislative and state agency debates; it operates a low-level radioactive waste facility in Andrews, a West Texas town near the New Mexico border.”
For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re headed to downtown Dallas for the Main Street District Architecture Walking Tour. Starting at Main Street Garden, we’ll see and discuss the most important buildings in Dallas’ downtown including the Adolphus Hotel and the Magnolia Building. We’ll learn more about the architectural styles used in these buildings and hear about the people who made it all happen.
Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a bluesman who played in corner bars and at Carnegie Hall.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
- Click the player to listen to the podcast:
T.D. Bell was born on Dec. 26, 1892, in Lee County, Texas. He began his blues career in the 1940s, performing with piano player Roosevelt Williams, also known as the Grey Ghost. In 1950, Bell moved to Austin. With his band the Cadillacs, Bell helped build a thriving blues scene at the Victory Grill, one of Austin’s most popular nightclubs on the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit.”
During the 1970s, T.D. Bell took time off from music to run a trucking business. In 1987, he formed the Blues Specialists with Erbie Bowser, a local piano player. Together Bell and Bowser played venues throughout the Southwest, including Austin’s Continental Club. They also toured nationally and performed at Carnegie Hall in 1994.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll go home with the Armadillo, one last time.
Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas women impressed country music critics in 2013, the Lone Star Circus and the Dallas Children’s Theatre unleash “Charivari” this weekend, and more.
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Congratulations to Allen Sheffield of Grand Prairie, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! Allen has won our contest before; his last victory came in July of 2011. He follows last week’s winner, Revlimiter.
If 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 Monday to Sunday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Monday 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 Wednesday.
“My wife, Christine Lites, took this picture of me during our retirement trip to France in 2012″
Now, here’s more from Allen:
Title of photo: Spiderweb with Dew 1
Equipment: Nikon D5100 with a Sigma 70-300 mm macro lens and a monopod
Tell us more about your photo: My wife and I were staying in our little travel trailer at an RV Park on the beach in Galveston. This morning was foggy with no wind, so the 100% humidity made everything wet. It formed water droplets on the webs that were perhaps 100 feet from the surf.
F/8 at 1/250 sec
Focal Length 240 mm (equivalent to 35 mm focal length 360 mm)