News and Features

The High Five: Denton To Go On A Hot Date With Sriracha Hot Sauce Company

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Denton officials to meet with Sriracha officials; a Rangers fan’s act of kindness goes viral; a local student who struggles in college is profiled in The New York Times; and more.

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Undermain Theatre Goes ‘Round The World And Into The Future for Its New Season

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street signeditThe plays being offered include a life of Mary, the mother of Jesus — as written by an Irish novelist — a modern Russian fairytale, a world-premiere look at the future by a steampunk author and a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about the ‘last picture show’ in Massachusetts.

In short, a typical Undermain Theatre season.

Here’s the fine print:

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Saturday Spotlight – Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival

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55560  For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re headed to the Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival at Galatyn Park Urban Center in Richardson. This three day event includes a songwriting competition, a battle of the bands, and a petting zoo. You’ll also keep busy with art activities, strolling entertainers, and music by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and others.

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Creating A Legacy – And A Gallery – For Late Artist John Wilcox

wilcox bluing

“Bluing” By John Wilcox

John Wilcox painted diligently up until his death, from AIDS, 2 years ago. Now, his brother has converted the small studio in Exposition Park where Wilcox lived and worked into a gallery to show his paintings – and celebrate his legacy.  KERA contributor Joan Davidow paid a visit.

  • The studio-gallery at 824 Exposition Avenue No. 9 will be open Saturdays in May through June 7 from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • John Wilcox paintings are also on view at Barry Whistler Gallery in Deep Ellum.

Listen to the report that aired on KERA FM:

John Wilcox lived a reserved, private life as a committed artist.  After he died, his brother David decided to pay tribute to his work in the same quiet, respectful way John lived.

David Wilcox is taking a year sabbatical from his child psychology practice in Boston to tell John’s story. He’s collecting his brother’s writings and cataloguing his work. And he’s inviting friends from the art world to curate shows of John’s work.  Barry Whistler, the artist’s gallerist, curated the first exhibition, and David plans to select the next one. 

Critic and UT Dallas professor Rick Brettell curated the current exhibition of intimate works from the early 1980s.  Imagine full canvases of broad fields of one minimalist color, maybe imbedded with a simple floating image or a single word.  John Wilcox tediously spent months making his paintings; he delicately painted, one stroke at a time, to get broad fields of color, rich in their layering.  Texas minimalism with a twist; simple paintings with hidden secrets. The more you look, the more you see.

David Wilcox recalls finding work he’d heard about but never seen.  It was shown in New York at Fawbush Gallery, but never before in Dallas until the recent Dallas Art Fair.

I’m thinking of one piece,  “Bluing.”   It was in this little tiny storage room; And I’ll never forget  it was hot, in the summer, I pulled other paintings back & looked at it & was astounded by its simplicity & complexity. Again, that kind of duality John always had.

 

One large canvas on display in the gallery is called “Sane.” It depicts a spiraling orange shape floating in a field of shimmering bright blue.

wilcoxSane

“Sane”. By John Wilcox

Brother David found notes and a photograph in one of John’s sketchbooks. “I also found a Polaroid of a little flue handle for the fireplace in the bunk house and it’s a spiral shape just like this. So John had taken a very simple object and used that to build on in making this painting. And the reason they have these flu handles shaped like this, in a spiral metal fashion, is to dissipate and diffuse the heat. I think the title of this work, it’s all about, how do I stay sane? How does anyone stay sane? We have to diffuse the heat of life.”

This new attention makes John Wilcox work come alive in ways that sadly never happened in his lifetime.  He was a quiet man, and very private.  I sweetly recall how John appeared at Dallas Contemporary, wanting to volunteer regularly so he could mix with people.  He helped me install exhibitions and sweep gallery floors.

That privacy extended to his long struggle with AIDS.   He didn’t speak about it; he just kept painting.  Another young artist the disease took from us far too early.  His career ended at what should have been its midpoint.  But his brother David is making it possible for John Wilcox’s work to live longer in the public domain and maybe inspire others to initiate the public exhibition he deserved.

 

 

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The High Five: Dallas Comic Con Takes Over Downtown This Weekend

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Get ready for Comic Con; meet a traffic buddy named Conezilla; St. Vincent to appear on “Saturday Night Live;” and more.

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Fort Worth Symphony Returning To Spain In 2016

Vadym Kholodenko11Vadym Kholodenko, Van Cliburn gold medalist

It’ll be going on tour with Cliburn gold medalist (and the FWSO’s new artistic partner) Vadym Kholodenko to five cities: Madrid, Oviedo, Alicante, Zaragoza and San Sebastian — with a possible sixth city to be arranged.

International touring, musical director Miguel Harth-Bedoya says, is just what the orchestra has needed. The last time the FWSO toured was in 1989 — also to Spain.

Here are the details:

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Review: “Sherlock Holmes” At The Dallas Theater Center

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 Dr. Watson (Keiran Connolly) is not actually using a butter knife to threaten the great detective (Chamblee Ferguson), but it might be more interesting if he did. All photos by Karen Almond

When it comes to content and style, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure is very much in director Kevin Moriarty’s gas-lit, steam-powered wheelhouse. The signal trait Moriarty has brought to Dallas Theater Center productions is a boyish enthusiasm for gee-wow theatricality in general and the expanded staging capabilities of the Wyly Theatre in particular. Recall the opening airliner crash in The Tempest or the mobile seating arrangement in The Wiz, the one that had audience sections rolling around the stage like bump-em cars.

This is the Theater as Great Big Toy, whether it’s up-to-date digital projections or a wind-up retro feel. The Final Adventure, for example, comes with a proscenium facade, painted and lit to look like an ornate, old-style London theater. It also has a pipe-and-vent-filled factory, a much simpler version of the Victorian workhouse Moriarty had hissing and clanging away in A Christmas Carol.

Orson Welles once described the RKO movie studio as ‘the biggest toy train set any boy ever had” — and Welles’ cinematic achievements are evidence of the tinkering creativity this outlook can unleash. But the results can also be sterile and clattery, so much geeky gizmo-love. The Wiz, after all, wasn’t very good. The lumbering seat sections were mostly a distraction, a slow kiddie ride at the amusement park.

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Artist Seeks Bexar Street Village Community Stories For New Public Artwork

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Categorized Under: Public Art
A sample of Leticia Huerta's work. The bridge at 28th St. and Decatur Ave. in Fort.   (Photo Ralph Lauer)

A sample of Leticia Huerta’s work. The bridge at 28th St. and Decatur Ave. in Fort. (Photo Ralph Lauer)

The Bexar Street neighborhood is about to get some brand new public art in the form of a 477 foot street-scape located on a brick wall along the 6300-6400 block of Bexar Street in South Dallas. Residents of the community will be able share their ideas and stories for the artwork and meet the artist, Leticia Huerta, at a public meeting on Saturday, May 17 from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. at the Turner Courts Recreation Center in Dallas.

The full press release after the jump.

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Artists! Liven Up Our Cityscape – With Hip, New, Um, Yes, Parking Meters!

shutterstock_45067537Image from Shutterstock

You know, one of those things. It’s hard to imagine anyone actually liking a parking meter, except  the rare one you find that’s still got 30 minutes left on it. They’re like telephone poles, power lines, freeway overpasses or all those dreary-yet-overpricey apartment towers flooding the area around West Village — but smaller, so perhaps we can make some of them marginally less, y’know, blight-like.

That’s where you come in — yes, you, local visual artist or reader with an inflated sense of personal design. The Office of Cultural Affairs has put out a call for submissions for a “Public Art Project” involving the transformation of parking meters in three locations throughout Dallas. The re-do is temporary, though (six to twelve months), so your “creative interventions” are limited to “enhancements” to the exterior of these things (decorative paint, removable graphics, yarn bombing, etc.). No giving the meters wheels, weaponry and a collective robot consciousness. This is about a low-cost pilot project in prettying up the cityscape, not bringing down SkyNet and Judgment Day.

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The Big Screen: Big Thoughts On ‘Particle Fever’

BigScreen_logoSMALLFor 40 years, physicists worked to identify the Higgs particle, which would help them to better understand the formation of the universe. That quest is the subject of the documentary Particle Fever. And, as you may remember, that discovery almost happened in North Texas.

Particle Fever played at the recent USA Film Festival and opens Friday at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas. Particle physicists from SMU and UTA will discuss the film at the Angelika following the 8 p.m. screenings on Friday and Saturday.

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

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