News and Features

The Big Deal: ‘The Monuments Men’ Advanced Screening At The Kimbell Art Museum

Can’t wait to see The Monuments Men when it comes out in theaters in February?  You won’t have to, if you win this Big Deal. The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth will host a special advanced screening of the movie starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett. The screening will be the first film shown in the new concrete and glass Renzo Piano Pavilion auditorium.

The film is based on the best-selling book by Robert M. Edsel and tells the true story of the group of architects, curators, art historians and other non-soldier types, whose mission was to protect and return artistic and cultural treasures stolen by Hitler and the Nazis during WWII. Clooney not only stars in the highly anticipated film but he also directed it. I know I can’t wait to see it.

This is a Kimbell Art Museum members-only event, but you only have to be an Art&Seek e-newsletter subscriber for a chance to win tickets for the Jan. 19, 1 p.m. screening. That’s this Sunday so everybody be sure to check your inbox Friday afternoon. You do not want to be reading our email first thing Monday morning.

And while we have your attention, you might also want to peruse our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem at Bass Performance Hall, or tickets to see Pleasant Grove with Crushed Stars at the Kessler Theater.

If you are not an Art&Seek e-newsletter subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see The Monuments Men at the Kimbell Art Museum.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Don’t forget to check your email before you leave today!

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The Big Deal: Pleasant Grove With Crushed Stars At The Kessler Theater

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Music

pleasant grove bigThey’re back! After a “sort of” hiatus Pleasant Grove is back, says co-front man Marcus Striplin. Hear the alternative-country band Pleasant Grove when they take the stage at the Kessler Theater. The band named after the southeast Dallas neighborhood will be joined by another local favorite, Crushed Stars. Two lucky Big Deal winners will receive general admission for two to see the show gratis on Jan. 24.

And before you put that pen down, don’t forget to sign up for our two other Big Deals this week – tickets to see the Dance Theatre of Harlem at Bass Performance Hall, or tickets to the advanced screening of  The Monuments Men at the Kimbell Art Museum.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. So if you are not a subscriber you’ll want to take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see Pleasant Grove with Crushed Stars at the Kessler Theater.
UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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The High Five: At The Dallas Museum Of Art, Beloved Pets Transform Into Works Of Art

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: employees differ on whether a Six Flags passenger was sitting safely in her seat; Dallas-Fort Worth is on a mountain cedar high; pets star as artwork mashups at the Dallas Museum of Art, and more.

  • The Dallas Museum of Art had some fun Tuesday, also known as Dress Up Your Pet Day. The museum did some mashups of employee pets featured in various artworks. “We not only love our art, but we also love our animals,” declared the museum’s Uncrated blog. “We couldn’t resist combining some of our favorite works from our permanent collection with some of our favorite pet pals.” George Costanza, a West Highland White Terrier, did his best imitation of George Washington, who was featured in a Rembrandt Peale portrait. “Like George Washington, George the Westie is courageous and fearless in the face of danger,” wrote Amanda Blake, a DMA employee. “He is an alpha dog and has been known to keep much larger dogs in line. Plus, I thought that he would look very handsome in a colonial costume.” Take a look at the whimsical depictions here.
  • Rangers Captain earned a dubious honor Tuesday: He’s one of the five creepiest Major League Baseball mascots. Regarding the Texas Rangers’ mascot, summed it up this way: “Tight pants on a horse-man. An unspoken horror of mascots is that their mouths are always agape. Stare at people with your mouth closed, and they’ll feel uncomfortable. Stare at people with your mouth open, and they’ll call the cops. No mascot, though, employs the horrible open mouth to better effect than any other mascot in baseball. …There’s probably a reverse-Godfather component to Rangers Captain freaking me out, too, like he’s going to wake up in bed with Nolan Ryan’s severed head.” It could be worse. The Cincinnati Reds’ Mr. Redlegs was deemed the creepiest: “It’s unbearable. It’s the eyes.”
  • There are more developments regarding last summer’s death of a rider who was thrown from the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. Court documents filed this week show differing accounts as to what happened to passenger Rosa Esparza, The Dallas Morning News reports. A Six Flags Over Texas roller coaster operator claimed she didn’t believe Esparza’s lap bar was properly secured. Despite those concerns, she didn’t stop the ride to check Esparza. But a ride attendant contradicted the operator’s statement, saying in a deposition that he made sure that Esparza’s lap bar wasn’t loose. A Six Flags spokeswoman declined to comment on the latest news. A park worker had told police the safety restraint was “a little high, or not as tight as it should be” on Esparza, The News reported. Esparza, a grandmother, plunged 75 feet to her death.
  • The husband of a pregnant North Texas woman on life support is suing the hospital to have her removed from life support. A lawsuit filed Tuesday in state district court asks a judge to order John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to remove life support for Marlise Muñoz, a Haltom City woman who fell unconscious in November while pregnant. Her husband, Erick Muñoz, says a doctor at the hospital told him his wife is considered brain-dead. Doctors informed Erick Muñoz that his wife had “lost all activity in her brain stem, and was for all purposes brain dead,” the suit states. But hospital officials say Texas law prohibits them from following Marlise Muñoz’s wishes because she is pregnant.
  • Mountain cedar is baaaack – and it’s bad this season. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “A recent warming trend — Sunday’s high was a spring-like 74 degrees — coupled with strong southerly winds has awakened a seasonal monster.” University of Tulsa biology professor Estelle Levetin, who issues pollen forecasts, declared: “We could tell it was going to be a doozy.” Blame warm weather and high winds – it’s a bad combination. The pollen count reached 279 in Fort Worth on Monday, the highest for mountain cedar this season. But it could be far worse: The count has been in the thousands in Austin and San Antonio. Try to stay indoors on bad cedar days and take over-the-counter medications such as Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin before the cedar strikes.

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JR Asks Us To Face Up

Inside outwideJR’s “Inside Out” at Dallas Contemporary. Photo credits: Jerome Weeks (above), Gail Sachson (below)

Guest Blogger Gail Sachson, former Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and Vice Chair of the Dallas Public Art Committee, owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is leading the group bus tours for the Nasher XChange Public Art Project. Because of their popularity an additional tour has  been added for February 8. Contact Ester at the Nasher: 214- 242-5178

JR is the thirty-year-old French graffiti artist, filmmaker and photographer, whose larger-than-life paper portraits installed in public places all over the world have won for him the 2011 TED Prize (see his TED talk here).  To celebrate the opening of his show, “Inside Out,” JR held a conversation last week at the Dallas Contemporary.

Inside Out” is a variation of earlier projects in which he took photos, usually of the downtrodden of the world, in the Middle East, South America, Hong Kong and even the North Pole, printed them poster-size and pasted them, often under darkness, in buildings, on walls and on whatever unconventional surfaces he chose. “We were not supposed to change anything”, he said. “These were just art projects. Not social justice projects. We never forecasted the outcome. Art is the only job you can fail at,” he said, “yet still feel  successful.” The process itself was rewarding, and JR feels he got more than he gave. Yet he gave the voiceless a voice and a larger-than-life public identity.

The  surprising locations of these oversized portraits –  on rooftops, in half demolished buildings, on staircases and sidewalks — the incongruous pairings,  the  searing stares and the warmth of the subjects’ unexpected smiles often inspired others to a cause. Or at least were cause for reflection to passersby.

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Dallas Theater Center in Time Magazine: One of 10 Shows To Watch This Year

dtc-shows2This week, Time magazine listed 10 theater productions outside of New York City that bear watching this year. Number six is the musical adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s bestselling novel, The Fortress of Solitude, which will makes its world premiere  in March at the Dallas Theater Center before it heads to the Public Theatre in New York next season.

Fortress is about two boys, one white and one black, growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘70s. Their friendship is expressed through comic books, graffiti art and music. Playwright Itamar Moses is a longtime friend of Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty — the DTC staged Moses’ baseball drama, Back, Back, Back, in 2009. That’s how Moriarty heard about the adaptation and when he saw an early workshop, he said he’d do anything to produce it in Dallas. Turns out, the Public Theatre was interested, too — so the two companies joined forces, as they have previously on Giant and The Good Negro.

But Moriarty heard about the Time story the way many of us do these days: through social media. “Between Facebook and Twitter,” he says, “I suddenly felt like something had exploded. And I looked down at my phone and saw, Oh my goodness, we have one of the pieces that people across the country want to see this year.”

The Theater Center opens Fortress of Solitude March 7th – and novelist Lethem will be reading at the Dallas Museum of Art on Feb. 13th.


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Art&Seek Jr: 4 Places To Experience The Great Outdoors This Weekend

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.

After last week’s cold snap, most of the liddle kiddles in our area were more than ready to enjoy Sunday’s warm temperatures. True, we didn’t get piles of snow like our friends in the north did, but playing outside has been curtailed for longer than they would have liked and most have kiddie cabin fever about now. If you’re older than three, you know that Texas weather is fickle and it can change in the blink of an eye. When a beautiful day comes along, we get outside while the getting’s good.

If the weather sites are to be believed, more glorious weather is headed our way this coming weekend.  Here are a few tips to help you and the kiddos make the most of it. Read More »

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The High Five: Is Some Of The Country’s Best Theater Happening In Dallas?

Five stories that have North Texas talking: some of the country’s best theater is happening in Dallas; the Dallas Architecture Forum discusses the art of communication; Plano police investigate a 2-year-old’s suspicious death, and more.

  • Some of the best theater is happening way off Broadway – in Dallas, in fact. Time magazine came up with a list of the 10 best plays and musicals happening in 2014. It listed Fortress of Solitude, an upcoming musical at the Dallas Theater Center. It opens March 7. Here’s how Time describes it:Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed 2003 novel, about two friends, one white and one black, growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s, may not seem the most obvious subject for a musical, but some formidable theater creators are giving it a try, including busy director Daniel Aukin (Bad Jews,The Winslow Boy) and composer Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). It’s a collaboration with New York’s Public Theater, which plans to mount the show next season.”
  • The Dallas Architecture Forum is kicking off its first panel discussion for 2014 tonight. An informal reception starts at 6:15 p.m. and the panel starts at 6:30 p.m. The free event is at the Dallas Center for Architecture, 1909 Woodall Rogers Freeway, Suite 100. Architect Joe McCall will be the moderator, and the panel includes Michael Malone, principal of Michael Malone Architects. The topic: “The Art of Communication … Architectually Speaking.” “This will be a look at the technology and effectiveness of the many mediums – spoken, written and visual – through which messages are sent and received.”
  • A 2-year-old girl’s suspicious death Sunday is being investigated as a homicide. Grace Ford was found unconscious Thursday afternoon at a Plano apartment, and was transported to Children’s Medical Center. She was pronounced dead Sunday, just days away from turning 3. Plano police aren’t releasing many details. But a website set up to raise money for the girl’s medical expenses and funeral says that duct tape was placed on her face, cutting off oxygen. Child Protective Services is investigating. A spokeswoman told The Dallas Morning News that the agency investigates any time a child dies from abuse or neglect, but declined to release details.
  • Why did a Southwest Airlines plane land at the wrong airport in Missouri Sunday? The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the mistake. Meanwhile, Dallas-based Southwest said it has placed the two pilots involved on paid leave. Both have more than 10 years of experience with the airline. Flight 4013 from Chicago Midway was to land at the Branson Airport, but instead landed about 7 miles north at Taney County Airport, which has a much shorter runway. Southwest brought another plane to Branson for passengers who were continuing to Dallas Love Field. Scott Schieffer, a Dallas attorney who was a passenger on the flight, told The Associated Press that the pilot on touchdown “applied the brake very hard and very forcibly. I thought ‘Well, this is a very short runway, and this must be how he has to land.’” [USA Today]
  • The case of the Haltom City pregnant woman on life support has generated international attention – and stirred a political debate across Texas. The Texas Tribune reports: “A pregnant North Texas woman being kept on life support against her family’s wishes is stirring political debate in a state immersed in competitive primary races, and fresh off a legislative session in which lawmakers had tense debates over when life begins and how it can end.” Marlise Munoz collapsed in November and has been at John Peter Smith Hospital. The family says it’s been told she’s brain-dead, and wants her taken off life support. But the hospital says she isn’t dead. A doctor told the family she couldn’t be taken off life support since the state doesn’t allow doctors to cut off life support to pregnant patients. The Tribune reported that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading Republican nominee for governor, declined to give his opinion on the case, saying it wouldn’t be “appropriate to interfere with a comment.” State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, calls the case “an incredibly tragic situation and an intensely private matter for the family.” She said it’s a private decision that should be weighed by the pregnant woman’s family, in consultation with her doctors. Among the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, incumbent David Dewhurst was the only one to weigh in on the case, saying that one life has already been lost and it “would be tragic to lose another,” the Tribune reports. ‘We recognize the tragic and painful situation the family faces,’ Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said in an email. ‘We must also remember a young life is at stake here and that state laws protecting that life must be followed.’”
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An Obie Award-Winning Playwright At Home With The Undermain

zobellPlaying tonight at Sister Fleeta’s Dollhouse: Michaela Krantz, Rhonda Boutte, Stefanie Tovar  in Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie: Final Reel at the Undermain Theatre. Photo credit: Susan Kandell

Playwright Len Jenkin, an Obie Award winner, has had a 24-year relationship with Dallas’s Undermain Theatre — beginning with Poor Folk’s Pleasure in 1990. This weekend, the Deep Ellum company opens its fifth Jenkin play – the world premiere of Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie at the City Performance Hall. And like the others, this show was designed by SMU grad and Tony Award-winner John Arnone, KERA’s Jerome Weeks spoke with Jenkin in the Undermain’s basement space.

  • KERA radio feature:

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  • Excerpts from the conversation with Len Jenkin. What did he make of the Undermain’s atmospheric but inconvenient basement space when he first saw it?

“I loved it. That basement has a lot of history in it. It’s got 30 years of theater-making going on in it. Look, it’s obviously a really challenging room. It’s got these damned columns in the middle of it. And I would like it if the ceiling was 15 feet higher. That would be nice [chuckles]. But it’s just got a nice feeling to it.”

  •  Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie — with its old man who’s just had heart surgery trying to get back to the beachfront boardwalk where he’d worked as a teenager and videotaping everything as he goes — certainly echoes Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape.

“Absolutely! I was halfway through and I realized that it had echoes of Krapp’s Last Tape. And I was nothing but pleased. I mean, Krapp’s Last Tape is someone sitting at a table, right? And there’s one voice. Here, there’s, like, there must be 30 voices, and it’s someone moving through a varied landscape. But the core effort, which is a kind of coming to terms with certain memories, with certain kinds of loss, that same thing is present.”

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Redhead Rebellion? “Being Ginger” Documentary Screens Thursday

gingerA film is holding its American premiere in Austin Monday night and is screening Thursday at the Angelika Dallas. It’s a documentary called Being Ginger and it’s all about what it’s like to be a redhead – or as they say across the pond – a “ginger.” Texas Ex – and redhead – Scott Harris directed, produced and stars in the film. The premise of “Being Ginger” is a redhead – Harris – looking for love. Harris says he wanted to make the documentary because of some of the strange, even disturbing experiences he’s had that were based solely on his hair color.

  • KUT-Austin interview:

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  • On Some of His Strange “Ginger” Experiences:

“I was walking down the street one night… and these two, random drunk girls come out of a club and they start calling me ‘ginger’ and sort of harass me – it’s playful harassment – but it was a little harassment and I ignored it and I kept walking. And eventually they caught up to me and one of them eventually says, ‘You’re quite sexy for a ginger.’ And I was standing there thinking, ‘Is that even a compliment, what do you mean for a ginger?’ And then while I was thinking about it she said, ‘Do you wait to kiss me?’ And I was like, yeah, sure so we kissed for about two or three seconds in the street and then she walked off with her friend going, ‘I kissed a ginger, I kissed a ginger.’”

  • On Scotland (Where He Made the Film and Earned His Master’s Degree) as a “Mecca” for Redheads:

“Percentage-wise, there are more redheads in Edinburgh than in any other city in the world. There are more redheads in Scotland than there are any place else in the world. And it’s confusing, I think, that that’s also the place where redheads get teased by far the most. And I think it’s because they’re common enough to be everywhere but they’re still rare enough that it’s a little bit different.”

  • On the Film’s Theme of Bullying:

“I’d wanted to make a film about bullying and about the long-term impact that bullying has on people for a long, long time and didn’t know how to do it. And, while I was making this film, it kept coming up as a theme. And I eventually realized this was my opportunity to tell the story I really wanted to tell.”

  • On the Combination of Comic and Tragic Elements in the Film:

“There are a couple of moments in the film… where the shift is quite raw. That was intentional. I was hoping the audience would be laughing, laughing, laughing and then I’ll hit them with something and it will give you pause to think about things that you’ve done and the way that you’ve treated other people.”

  • On the Film’s Target Audience:

“People say when I describe it to them, ‘Oh, I’ve got this redheaded friend, I’ll tell him about it.’ And I say, ‘No, it’s for you too.’ It’s for everybody. It’s not just for redheads and I can’t seem to get that across.”

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The High Five: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Was A Big Winner At The Golden Globes

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: a permit to hunt a black rhino has sold; “Dallas Buyers Club” does well at the Golden Globes; the Dallas Stars mark their 20th anniversary in North Texas, and more.

  • “Dallas Buyers Club” was a big winner Sunday night at the Golden Globes. Matthew McConaughey won his first Golden Globe as lead actor in the film, as did Jared Leto for supporting actor in the film. Matthew McConaughey plays an HIV positive man named Ron Woodroof, who decides to fight the death sentence the disease promised to those who contracted it in the 1980s, finding creative ways to get medication to those who needed it. McConaughey dropped 45 pounds for the role. KERA explored the movie in a recent “The Big Screen” segment. NPR featured Woodroof in this story. “Dallas Buyers Club” is getting lots of Oscar buzz, so Sunday night’s haul might be a preview of what’s to come.
  • The Dallas Stars are marking their 20th anniversary in North Texas. In that time, the team’s won a Stanley Cup and helped develop a generation of kids who play hockey in Cowboys country. Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites spoke with KERA’s Stephen Becker about the team’s impact on North Texas. Lites is a big fan of Mike Modano, but not a fan of NHL players participating in the Winter Olympics.
  • Did you hear about the guy who drove on the arches of a bridge? A man decided to take his bike on the arches of the new West Seventh Street bridge in Fort Worth Saturday afternoon. He identified himself to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as Mat Olson and said he’s a professional BMX stunt rider. “It seemed like I was on top of a mountain,” Olson told the newspaper. “It was all windy and crazy when I was up there. It was pretty exhilarating, that’s for sure.” A small crowd cheered him on. Police officers questioned him and told him that they could have written him several citations – instead, they let him go with a warning, the Star-Telegram reports. How did he do it? “Immediately before his ride, his helpers placed support planks Olson had made from plywood and 2-by-4s over the meeting points of the bridge’s six north-side arches. The south-side arches couldn’t be used because modifications had already been completed to prevent such access, perhaps because skateboarders and pedestrians tried to scale or ride down portions of the bridge, Olson said.” A professional film crew taped him from five angles. KXAS-TV (Channel 5) reported: “Olson’s had plenty of warnings about how dangerous his career choice is.  He’s suffered 13 concussions, had three knee surgeries, a ruptured spleen and had his front teeth (and replacement front teeth) knocked out seven times.” Watch the video here.
  • A controversial permit to hunt an endangered African black rhino sold Saturday night for $350,000 at a Dallas auction held to raise money for conservation efforts but criticized by wildlife advocates. The Dallas Safari Club declined to name the buyer. Bob Barker, the legendary game show host, chimed in on the club’s auction, asking the group to call off the event. The club had hoped to raise as much as $1 million to protect the rare black rhino by auctioning off the right to hunt one. Club members have been receiving death threats, and the FBI investigated. The group says that 100 percent of the money raised is going toward conservation efforts. [The Associated Press]
  • Forty years ago today, DFW International Airport opened. It had three runways, three terminals and 66 gates and it marked a new era of cooperation between Dallas and Fort Worth. Today, DFW is the world’s eighth-busiest airport and has fueled North Texas’ growth. The Dallas Morning News explored the airport’s beginnings in a special section in Sunday’s newspaper: “In the years since the shotgun wedding, the airport has turned into an ‘aerotropolis,’ a catalyst for dynamic economic growth for North Texas. For sure, Fort Worth and Dallas had different dreams about the airport of the future. Love Field was the choice of Dallas, while Fort Worth favored Greater Southwest International (a.k.a. Amon Carter Field). The rivalry was fierce. Fort Worth, seeking compromise, changed the name of its airport to Dallas-Fort Worth Field. Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, who preceded Jonsson, replied: ‘It’s unethical to use the name of Dallas on any shanty in Fort Worth.’”
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