News and Features

KXT’s Barefoot At The Belmont Lineup Is Here

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Categorized Under: KXT, Local Events

BarefootLogoBack for its sixth year, KXT presents Barefoot at the Belmont – the award-winning summer concert series. This unique set of performances features the best in music from Texas and beyond set against the dramatic backdrop of the historic Belmont Hotel and the downtown Dallas skyline.

Barefoot at the Belmont is brought to you by KXT’s Barefoot “Budds” – Dori and Russell Budd. Check out the 2015 lineup below:

MAY 7: Knox Hamilton with Daniel Markham
Tickets on sale April 22 at 10am

MAY 21: Israel Nash with The Roomsounds
Tickets on sale May 6 at 10am

MAY 28: Kaleo
Tickets on sale May 13 at 10am

JUNE 4: Bobby Patterson with The Jack Kerowax
Tickets on sale May 20 at 10am

JUNE 18: Leon Bridges with Gollay
Tickets on sale June 3 at 10am

JULY 2: Rhett Miller with Salim Nourallah
Tickets on sale June 17 at 10am

JULY 16: Son Little with The O’s
Tickets on sale July 1 at 10am

JULY 30: Tor Miller and Holly Miranda
Tickets on sale July 15 at 10am

The Barefoot at the Belmont concerts take place on select Thursday nights May 7 through July 30, 2015, at The Belmont Hotel, 901 Fort Worth Ave., Dallas 75208. Doors open at 6 p.m. with opening acts beginning at 7 p.m. and headliners hitting the stage at 8 p.m. Due to overwhelming demand, season tickets are already sold out. Individual tickets can be purchased for $30, starting April 22 at 10 a.m. Seating is limited. If not already sold out, tickets available the night of the show will be sold at the door for the same price. Sponsors include Smoke Restaurant and The Belmont Hotel.

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The Big Deal: ‘Clouds Of Sils Maria’ At Landmark Magnolia

Juliette Binoche stars in Clouds of Sils Maria, as international actress Maria Enders. Maria is at the peak of her career when she is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her career 20 years earlier. But this time she is asked to portray the older female lead driven to suicide by a young antagonist, the role she originally created. Ouch! Troubled starlet Jo-Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz) is cast as the manipulative and much younger antagonist. Facing divorce, realizing she is taking on an older role, and staving off the unstable Ellis, Maria tries to find support from the only person close to her – her assistant Valentine played by Kristen Stewart. The lucky winners of this Big Deal will have reserved seating for the April 20 screening of Clouds of Sils Maria at the posh Landmark Magnolia Theatre in Dallas.

You might also want to take a moment now to peruse our other Big Deals this week – a family pack of tickets to catch The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes coming to an end soon at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park, or free admission for four to the Dallas Arboretum for Artscape, the Juried Art Show and Sale in the Garden.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to attend a free screening of Clouds of Sils Maria at the Magnolia Theatre.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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The Big Deal: Artscape, A Juried Art Show And Sale At The Dallas Arboretum

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

Photo: Dallas Arboretum

This year the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will once again host their annual juried fine art show and sale.  Artscape will  be filling the garden with music and nature-inspired artworks for two days.  Seventy five artists from 14 states will showcase their work for sale including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media pieces, photography and more. Artists from the Creative Arts Center of Dallas will also be on hand to demonstrate a variety of art mediums. Be inspired and sign up to win a family pack of 4 for free admission to the garden during Artscape,  April 25 and 26 at the Dallas Arboretum.

Don’t forget to sign up for our other deals this week – win a family pack of tickets to The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes coming to an end soon at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park, or attend a free screening of Clouds of Sils Maria at the Landmark Magnolia in Dallas.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to visit the Dallas Arboretum during Artscape, a Juried Art Show and Sale in the Garden.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing.


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The Big Deal: The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes At The Perot Museum of Nature And Science At Victory Park

BD sherlock holmes big

This week we have a special Art&Seek Jr. Big Deal. Win this Big Deal and receive a family pack of four vouchers to see The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes at the Perot Museum of Nature And Science at Victory Park. Take your little sleuths back to Victorian London to practice their deductive reasoning and learn investigative skills from the legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes. Vouchers are exchanged at the museum for tickets and are valid any day through May 10, when the exhibition mysteriously vanishes.

Also, take the time now to observe and study our other Big Deals this week – reserved seating to the film, Clouds of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart playing at the Landmark Magnolia in Dallas, and tickets to Artscape, the  Dallas Arboretum’s Juried Art Show and Sale.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to sharpen and test your crime solving skills with tickets to The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing.

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Art&Seek Jr: 5 Family-Friendly Events For A Rainy 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.

Car trips are the perfect time to ponder all sorts of puzzling questions with your kids. I learned this last weekend while on our yearly Easter pilgrimage to my brother’s farm in Brenham.

Normally when a child asks a nonsensical question, like, why don’t cats eat cantaloupe, for instance, you can just whip out the the old iPhone and let Google find the answer. But tooling along I45 at 75 mph with a string of big rigs on your tail, Googling is out of the question. You have to forgo the “correct” answer and go old school by voicing your queries aloud to each other and then batting possible answers back and forth. It can make for an interesting and highly entertaining  conversation. Rose and I explored such vexing questions as: Why do your fingers get wrinkled when you take a bath? Why don’t fish have eyelashes? And my favorite, how does the weatherman REALLY know there’s an 80 percent chance of rain next weekend? Where do these numbers come from? The best we could come up with was, the data he looks at must make him really, really confident. 

It’s looking as if the weather people are really, really confident again this weekend, because the likelihood of rain is way up close to 90%. Sure, that means outside activities are probably out, but there’s still a whole lot going on. Check out this week’s picks for rainy day adventures.

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A New, Young Texas Playwright Debuts On Broadway – With A Demonic Sock Puppet


Stephen Boyer faces off against Tyrone in ‘Hand to God’ by Robert Askins

Tonight, a rare show opens on Broadway. It’s not another jukebox musical or revival, not another British import, not another movie adaptation. It’s a new American play — which Broadway doesn’t see much anymore, to put it mildly. But this new one by a young Texas playwright is a comedy as raunchy as The Book of Mormon. Plus, it tops Avenue Q’s puppets because this time, that little sock may well be the devil. KERA’s Jerome Weeks spoke with playwright Robert Askins about what possessed him to create such a thing.

In the play, Hand to God, the first time we see teenaged Jason, he’s in a cheerfully-colored church basement with his mother’s Christian puppet ministry. Jason is timid and lonely. But the show they’re prepping for is only a week away, so his mom, Margery (Geneva Carr), pushes him into demonstrating his new sock puppet, Tyrone.

So Jason meekly, half-heartedly has his puppet sing “Jesus loves me, this I know” — and is promptly, brutally mocked by Timmy (Michael Oberholzer), the class bully.

OK, so no surprise: Pious, singing puppets are not much fun, especially for socially awkward kids. But playwright Rob Askins insists they were — when he was eight or nine years old, and his mother was indeed running a puppet show for their town church. “My mother was looking for a way to make her mark in the ministry,” he says, “and it seemed like a fun thing to do. And it was. You know, I had a lot of fun doing it when I was younger.”

robaskinsfullAskins grew up in Cypress, Texas – once a little town right along Highway 290 between Houston and Austin. His family was one of the German Lutherans who came down from Oklahoma for the lumber and construction opportunities there (it’s not called Cypress for nothing). Askins’ grandfather even built the house he grew up in. Then in the ’80s, oil company execs moved in and thoroughly gentrified it, turning Cypress into one of the wealthiest suburbs in the country.

Even so, puppetry, Askins jokes, could almost seem like the family business — not lumber. His aunt, Sally Askins, teaches costume design at Baylor University. She received her MFA at the Dallas Theater Center — back when it was connected to Trinity University. And Rob Askins says one of his first exposures to big-time, non-sock-related puppetry came when his aunt took him to see a show at the Dallas Children’s Theater — probably Dragon in 1990. He recalls his aunt brought him backstage to meet the show’s giant dragon puppet.

Despite all this, in Hand to God, puppetry, Christianity and suburban life — they all come in for an outrageous, comic beat-down as so much sad, sappy theater. Tyrone, Jason’s button-eyed, little Frankenstein, takes over his life — everyone’s life — by becoming a blasphemous and hilarious sock-terror. He propositions a female student (the terrifically deadpan Sarah Stiles), shouts down Timmy, the class bully. He goads Jason into trashing everything. Tyrone even drives the church pastor (Mark Kudisch) into desperately searching for any historical precedents for Lutheran exorcisms (there were some, back in the 16th century).

Amid all this wreckage, an anxious Jason asks the puppet, “Are you — the devil?”

“Are you?” Tyrone retorts.

“i dunno,” Jason says defensively. “I don’t think so.”

“Well, do you think devilish thoughts?”

“I — ”

“Uh, let me get that one for you. YES! Yes, you do!”

“Yeah, but I ain’t done ’em!” Jason protests.

“Oh, you’re right, you’re right. And what,” Tyrone spits back, “have you got to show for it?”

If nothing else, the Broadway production of Hand to God deserves a best-actor Tony nomination for Boyer, who doesn’t employ any ordinary ventriloquist techniques. You can see his mouth move, he makes no pretense that Tyrone isn’t a glorified glove. Yet Boyer makes this rather lizardy bit of knitting not only into a completely separate character from Jason but a truly frightening little fiend. There are times when one is convinced Boyer’s left hand is assaulting him, dragging him across the room, trying to strangle him. It’s a physically demanding and daring performance as much as it is a comic tour de force.

So just how autobiographical is Askins’ play? Did he ever have a puppet try to kill him?

“Ripped from the headlines,” he says with a laugh. “Ripped from the headlines. No, I was an angry young man. My father passed when I was 16 – and that threw my world out of kilter. It was very difficult to make sense of the well-meaning and well-adjusted world around me because it seemed as if everything was going to naught. And that engendered a lot of really self-destructive and really dark behavior.”

At Baylor, where Askins studied performance, he drank too much, smoked too much weed. But he eventually made it to New York, where he worked any job he could at the 88-seat, off-Broadway company, the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

“They really provided me the space to fail disastrously. And for me to stop trying to write like Sam Shepard,” he adds. He’s referring to an earlier play, Princes of Waco, which did, indeed, fail as a piece of pseudo-Shepard, tough-guy Texana.

jason and mom

Sulky teens are always a handful: Stephen Boyer and Geneva Carr in ‘Hand to God’

One could easily believe Askins then made a Faust-like deal with the devil. He’s written a dozen plays, but Hand to God is only his second ever to be produced. Yet here it is, opening at the Booth on 45th Street. This simply doesn’t happen in the American commercial theater. Hand got to Broadway because four years ago, when it opened at EST, Kevin McCollum — who produced Avenue Q and Rent — happened to see it and nursed it through a second, larger, successful, off-Broadway run at the Lucille Lortel. Of course, it didn’t hurt that, from the first, Hand was hailed in reviews as raucous as The Book of Mormon — with funny puppet sex like Avenue Q.

Yet Askins’ play is actually riskier and darker than both of those musicals. At its center is a damaged family that lost a father. It skids into some dangerous territory for a comedy — a teacher having sex with a minor — and it struggles with what we can only label ‘evil.’

Askins keeps the question open as to whether the puppet is a Jekyll-and-Hyde alter ego of Jason’s or is truly a devil of some kind. He plays with our doubts and — spoiler alert, sort of — actually offers something of a third choice. It’s an issue of taxonomy, he explains. Psychosis or Satan: We want to label “the darkness” in human life one thing or the other because that way, we contain it.

“Naming the darkness is not solving it,” Askins argues. “If we had the proper name and the proper model to fit the severity of the problem, we would already live in Utopia. And the split in the character is an attempt to reconcile his slowly rolling, dark understanding of the universe, to reconcile it with a religion that has been fairly bowdlerized. It’s been neutered. Christianity was built at a very tribal and dark time, but this American iteration is stultifyingly simple.

“I mean, this is a religion about nailing a man to a tree, and we forget that.”

Even so, one unusual aspect of Hand to God is that for all its Luciferian mockery of Christianity — this is probably the first Broadway show to give the devil his due since Damn Yankees in 1955 — the Lutheran pastor is not portrayed as a cardboard tool. Ultimately, for all the gleeful profanity here, there’s no cheap, easy, dismissal of faith.

“One difficulty in the modern, enlightened, atheist take on religion,” Askins says, “is that it ignores the utility and the nurturing of humanity’s best impulses through religion. We paint with a wide brush, and there are good people, good churches, out there, trying to do for the poor, for the lost souls in their communities.”

This is why Hand to God holds real promise for this playwright: Such thoughtfulness actually went into this funny, foul-mouthed piece of felt spewing drop-dead slanders. Now 34, Askins still bartends in Brooklyn — at a Tex-Mex restaurant, no less. (It provides a useful, daily lesson, he says, on the distance between myth and reality.) But this same bartender has yet another play opening off-Broadway this month: a kinky Christian comedy called Permission at the Lucille Lortel. He’s adapting a graphic novel for Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. And he’s flying to LA soon to pitch a new TV series.

And yes, his mother and sister, who also suffered through his father’s death, have seen Hand to God. The experience, Askins says, was an unadulterated joy. They’d given him ‘carte blanche’ to use the family’s suffering — to use it in whatever way he needed to in his play.

“So the ability to turn that pain into something is actually cathartic for all of us,” Askins says. “To hitch a horse to that cart and pull it somewhere. Because now my father’s death helps other people to understand what that moment was like for me, for growing up, for being in Texas in that period of time.

“And that, I think, is healing.”

Stephen Boyer and Sarah Stiles in a scene from the Broadway production of Hand to God.

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The Pin Show: 22 Dallas Fashion Designers And One Heck Of A Party


Finale at 2014's Pin Show.

Finale at 2014’s Pin Show.


You don’t have to be a fashionista to appreciate the Pin Show. Thousands attend the annual fashion show, and they are there for the party, as much as the runway looks.  The event features the work of 22 Dallas designers.  Organizer and co-founder Julie McCullough stopped by KERA to talk about slow fashion and the far-out influences of some of this year’s designers.

Excerpts from the conversation
Learning to sew

julie mccullough

Julie McCullough

I first learned to sew when I became interested in opening Make, which is a sewing studio in Dallas.

I’ve always been creative and quote-unquote artist, but didn’t know what my medium was. I became kind of obsessed with the ability to make things with fabrics, whether it be clothes, handbags or things from my home, and found that to be my outlet of creativity.”

What’s PIN Show like?

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Saturday Spotlight – Immerse Yourself in Art in Deep Ellum

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For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re enjoying art, music, and food at the 21st Annual Deep Ellum Arts Festival. More than 200 visual artists will be displaying their work at this block party including jewelers, sculptors, and wood crafters. We’ll hear live music all day as four stages host 100 original bands and a mix of genres. There’s also the ever-popular pet parade.

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Glasstire Top 5: CentralTrak, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts

Thinking about visiting some art galleries this week?  Glasstire’s Top Five in Texas includes two exhibitions in our area for you to check out.

At CentralTrak the installation by German artist Reinhold Engberding features head shots of men painted on bed sheets. SUDARIUM will be hanging around CentralTrak through April 11.

The sculptures and a video by Jonathan Schipper are on display at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, the satellite gallery of Art Galleries at TCU.  EXPLOSION will be erupting at FWCA through May 9.




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The Turner, The Pritzker And Now…The ($100K) Nasher Prize

nasher prizeThe Nasher Sculpture Center is creating an international award that will honor an artist – with a $100,000 prize.

The Nasher Prize for Sculpture will honor a living artist’s “significant body of work that has had a extraordinary impact on the understanding of the art form.”

The winner will be announced this fall. The artist will get the award in April 2016.

Jeremy Strick, the Nasher director, says the prize is “an exceptional moment for sculpture.”

“An international prize recognizing outstanding contributions to the field can bring focus and depth to the conversation, highlighting the achievements of the most important artists of our time, and adding to the understanding of the significance of their work,” Strick said in a statement.

The jury

A jury of museum directors, curators, artists and art historians will select the first winner. The jury includes:

Phyllida Barlow, artist
Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art
Okwui Enwezor, Director, Haus der Kunst
Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT)
Steven Nash, founding Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center and Director Emeritus of the Palm Springs Art Museum
Alexander Potts, art historian
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate

Public events planned

The Nasher plans on holding public programs tied to the Nasher Prize. This includes lectures, symposiums and family programs. They’ll be designed to “further extend the broader appreciation of sculpture,” the Nasher says.

Learn more

Here’s more from The New York Times.

D Magazine’s Peter Simek on what it means for the Nasher.

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