News and Features

Independent Spirit Awards Spotlight North Texas

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Categorized Under: Film and Television

The Independent Spirit Awards are shining a spotlight on North Texas. Nominations for the Oscars of the indie film world were announced this week, and movies with local ties are all over the ballot. Dallas Buyer’s Club bagged acting nominations for Matthew McConaughey and Jaret Leto, and directors and producers from Dallas and Fort Worth were also chosen. Also noteworthy is how two local filmmakers share a nomination for working on a movie that introduced them to one another.

  • KERA Radio story:

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Director Shane Carruth shot his film Upstream Color in and around Dallas. Scenes were captured on DART trains and along downtown Dallas streets. The Richardson native knew he had a treasure trove of arresting images. He just wasn’t sure what to do with them.

“I was struggling to get the editing done every day, in conjunction with production and stuff, and I was falling further and further behind,” he said.

That’s partly because Carruth’s vision for Upstream Color was unconventional to say the least. On the surface, it’s about a man and woman struggling to sort out their lives after a thief takes control of their minds through a parasite. Carruth’s characters say things like: “I have to apologize. I was born with a disfigurement where my head is made of the same material as the sun.”

But lying beneath the sci-fi setup is an exploration of how our pasts inform our futures.

At his wits end, Carruth called a fellow North Texas filmmaker – Dallas’ David Lowery – to ask for help. The two had only briefly met, but Carruth had heard good things about Lowery’s deft editing touch. It turned out Lowery was busy editing a film by first time director Amy Seimetz, who just happened to also be the lead actress in Upstream Color. The film world can be a pretty small place at times.

“So I asked him to please take a look at what we had and take a stab at it,” Carruth said.

For Lowery, the idea was equal parts intriguing and intimidating.

“I knew how demanding he was and how exacting he was and just how smart he was, and I was worried that I wouldn’t actually be able to make something that he was happy with,” he said. “And so I told him, ‘The minute that this stops being productive, tell me, and I will happily walk away’.”

But when Lowery got his hands on the footage, he says Carruth’s vision for the film was clear. All that needed to be done was stitch it together.

“As an editor, you look at the footage that has been culled together by the production team and you think, ‘OK, why did they shoot this, and what was the intent,” Lowery said. “You just start putting it together, and it all made sense to me in a very pragmatic sort of way, and he was speaking my language in terms of what I want to see in terms of cinematic storytelling.”

The result is an engrossing movie-watching experiences – the kind where you can’t wait to talk to someone else who’s seen it so you can both take a crack at putting it all together.

That’s certainly how members of the indie film community felt. Carruth and Lowery learned this week that they’ve been nominated in the best editing category for this year’s Independent Spirit Awards. Carruth is also nominated for directing Upstream Color, and Lowery earned another nod for writing a movie called Pit Stop, which was produced by a team that includes Fort Worth’s James Johnston and Dallas’ Eric Steele.

The nominations cap off a particularly fruitful year for collaboration among local filmmakers and prove that Hollywood has an eye on the North Texas scene.

The Independent Spirit Awards will be handed out in March. But even if Lowery and Carruth don’t hear their names called, it’s clear that they’ve each found a potential collaborator for their blossoming film careers.

“I think he’s a genius. I don’t use that term lightly,” Lowery says of Carruth. “He makes the movies he wants to make, makes them the way he wants to make them, and his films are 100 percent unique.”

Carruth says consider the feelings mutual.

“I guess I just didn’t know how good he was until I saw how good he was. He’s just amazing. He saved my life, and it was truly collaborative, which is sort of stunning,” he said.

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The Nasher XChange Paints a Better Picture for Dallas

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Categorized Under: Uncategorized, Visual Arts

Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is leading the Nasher XChange community and private bus tours through February.. The next tour is December 21.

I am a better person because of the Nasher XChange. I was lured first by color and fun and shopping. By a rainbow painted pier, a bubble-gum pink arrow, a game of giving and a food and art festival. I critiqued the art, researched the artists and tasted the food, but I was hungry for more. I found that this hunt of ten public art projects really did offer a treasure.

The XChange seduced me with the fun of the hunt. With my map and Nasher XChange APP, I searched for the installations of the ten commissioned artists who were invited by the Nasher to help celeb rate the Center’s tenth Anniversary. The artists chose sites compatible with their practice and with the community’s history.

I realized, to paraphrase artist Alfredo Jaar‘s title of his XChange work (video above) installed in the Nasher garden, “Music (everything I know I learned the day my son was born), that ..many good things I know I learned from the Nasher XChange. After spending much inspiring time at the Jaar exhibit, listening to the cries of newborns, I now know that perhaps we spend too much attention on the last breath, and we should pay more attention to the first breath. And I am reinforced with the belief that the children of the world, whose cries do not reveal color or gender, are our future, and much else is of lesser significance.

nasher bridge

“dear sunset” by Ugo Rondinone

I am a better person now knowing the tumultuous history of West Dallas, the plight of the housing dilemma of the disadvantaged and the resources provided by the Dallas Housing Authority, owners of Fish Trap Lake, where Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone chose to install his  Nasher XChange work, “dear sunset”, a colorful rainbow painted pier to peace, a remembrance  of wrongs righted and an indication of that pot of gold at the end of  a rainbow.

And I will be revisiting  artist Charles Long’s”Fountainhead“, which seems to refute  Fountainhead author Ayn Rand’s premise that man can be independent and stand alone.  Long’s virtual 21st century waterless fountain, installed in NorthPark Shopping Center, midst the conspicuous consumption of diamonds and designer gowns, compels us to pause and pay the piper for our good fortune …with a credit card. The computerized fountain emits a virtual splashing sound when a donation is made. No funding. No fooling. No splash. I will return to assuage my guilt and give.

And I will give my time and clothing and canned goods to Vickery Meadow, where a multitude of service organizations and religious institutions help with food, clothing , shelter and schooling for the 30,000 immigrants who speak 27 different  languages in the 3 square mile area.  Nasher XChange  artist, Rick Lowe’s project, “Trans.lations” , a continuing community conversation, has created a dialogue within that diversity and organized monthly Vickery Meadow street festivals to share and sell, encouraging outsiders to help.. by shopping.

The NasherXChange has seduced me with Art to look to the past and help paint a better picture for the future.

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VIDEO: Renzo Piano Pavilion Opens Today: Read Reviews; Watch Piano

Get your first look inside the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum today.  The Pavilion, across the lawn from Louis Kahn’s classic building, opens at 10 a.m., with a ribbon cutting ceremony, The first 1,000 folks through the door will receive a commemorative gift. To warm up, check out our video edited by KERA’s Dane Walters .

Piano visited Fort Worth last week, and it was clear that people there are curious about his work – more than 2,800 people showed up to hear the Italian architect speak. Architecture critics have already been inside and their reactions are  a bit mixed. Few are trashing the Pavilion. (Kahn’s hometown paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer,   gave perhaps the harshest review.) But even critics who praise the building say that Piano’s deference to Kahn’s original work went too far, resulting in a bland facade. Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks called the Piano a “pleasure house,” but said “the external lack of presence is the weakest part of Piano’s design.”

Here are some other reviews from around the country:

  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial, “The Kimbell Art Museum: A New Pavilion, But A Timeless Legacy”
  • New York Times, Andrew Marton, “The Kimbell’s Stylish, Sustainable New Edition”
  • Wall Street Journal,  Lee Rosenbaum, “How the Kimbell’s Piano Pavilion Interacts With The Art”
  • Washington Post, Philip Kennicott, “Kimbell Art Museum’s New Building Provides Perfect Accompaniment to Kahn’s Classic”
  • Dallas Morning News, Mark Lamster,”Renzo Piano’s Kimbell  Expansion Is Generous to a Fault”
  • Bloomberg News, James Russell, “Kimbell’s $135 Million Expansion Has Light, Needs Soul”
  • Denver Post, Ray Rinaldi, “Renzo Piano Addition at Kimbell Art Museum: Complementing A Master”
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The Big Deal: The King’s Singers Christmas At The Eisemann Center

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Music

The King’s Singers are one of the world’s most celebrated a cappella ensembles.  The six-man group has been around since 1968 and is a British Institution. The ensemble returns to the metroplex just in time to perform their holiday program spanning hundreds of years with new arrangements of Christmas songs. For this Big Deal we have a pair of tickets for their Dec. 3 performance at the Eisemann Center.

Don’t forget to check out our two other Deals this week – tickets to The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, The American Musical at the Winspear Opera House and free admission to see NT Live: The Habit of Art at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas or Plano.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then you can subscribe here, then sign up below for this Big Deal, tickets for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Celebration.

UPDATE:  We have are winners! Thanks for playing.

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The Big Deal: ‘The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, The Broadway Musical’ At The AT&T Performing Arts Center

Does the winter weather have you longing for a little sultry Summertime? If so, then sign up for this Big Deal. Lexus Broadway Series will present the legendary work of American Theater, The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, The Broadway Musical.  The revival of this collaborative work by George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose and Dorothy Heyward will run at the Winspear Opera House Dec. 11-22 and Art&Seek has tickets for opening night.

And in case you curious about our other Big Deals this week we also have tickets to the King’s Singers Christmas show at the Eisemann Center and free admission to see NT Live: The Habit of Art at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas or Plano.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then you can subscribe here, then sign up below for a chance to win tickets for The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess at the Winspear Opera House.

UPDATE:  We have are winners! Thanks for playing.

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The Big Deal – NT Live: ‘The Habit Of Art’ At The Angelika Film Center

The Habit of Art, will have an encore screening as part of this year’s National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations.  The play written by English writer and actor Alan Bennett stars the late Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour.   Win tickets to see the National Theatre Live’s 2010 broadcast of the live performance at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas on Dec. 5, or in Plano on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

And while you have you are signing up for this Big Deal peruse our other two offering this week – tickets to The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, The American Musical at the Winspear Opera House or tickets to the King’s Singers Christmas show at the Eisemann Center.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then you can subscribe here, then sign up below for a chance to win this Big Deal.

Sign up here for a chance to see National Theatre: The Habit of Art at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station in Dallas on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

UPDATE:  We have are winners!

Or sign up here for a chance to see National Theatre: The Habit of Art at the Angelika Film Center at the Shops at Legacy in Plano on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Thanks for playing.

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The High Five: At Kimbell Art Museum, Piano Pavilion Makes Its Debut Today

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the “X” is back, the Piano Pavilion opens, and have you met Stormy, the cute puppy found in a storm drain?, and more:

  • The Independent Spirit Awards, which honors independent filmmakers, have a Texas flair. And there’s an emphasis on Dallas. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports: “Behind the camera, Eric Steele was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award for the best feature film made under $500,000 for ‘Pit Stop.’ The film was directed by Austin’s Yen Tan and written by Dallas’ David Lowery. And speaking of Lowery, he was also nominated for editing ‘Upstream Color,’ which was directed by Richardson native Shane Carruth, who was also nominated for co-editing and directing the film. Moving on to Fort Worth, Toby Halbrooks and James Johnston are nominees for the Piaget Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite limited resources, demonstrate ‘creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films.’ Also receiving nominations were Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for their roles in ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ And expanding our reach a little ways down Interstate 35, Austin’s Jeff Nichols was another big winner, earning a nomination for directing ‘Mud.’ That film was also given the Robert Altman Award, which honors a film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast. Did we miss anyone? No? Good. The awards will be handed out in March.”
  • The “X” is back. Last week, just days before the 50th anniversary commemoration of the President Kennedy assassination, Dallas street workers removed the white “X” that marked the spot where JFK was shot. We figured it wouldn’t take long for it to return. And, this week, the “X” returned to Main Street in Dealey Plaza. The city has never officially marked the “X” – it’s believed that vendors around Dealey Plaza have been responsible for placing the “X” on the street and updating it through the years. [The Dallas Morning News]


  • Meet Stormy, the cute puppy rescued from a West Dallas storm drain. The puppy was cold and hungry, stuck for several days in the drain. His yelps could be heard in the neighborhood. His mother had been spotted pacing near the drain. On Monday, several city workers arrived at the drain and rescued the pup. And now he has a name: Stormy. He’s attracting plenty of media attention. On Tuesday, TV crews were interviewing the terrier at Dallas Animal Services. He’ll be put up for adoption on Sunday. We expect a lot of interest. Learn more about Stormy from KERA.


  • An album featured on includes a Dallas-based band. NPR’s First Listen profiles Music For Shut-Ins, a new two-disc compilation of this year’s vinyl-only releases from L.I.E.S. Records. TX Connect’s “Primal Rage” is featured. To hear more from TX Connect, click here. Or check out TX Connect’s Facebook page. NPR Music reports: “While electronic dance music remains best experienced in public and out on a dance floor, [Producer Ron] Morelli and his roster of “outsider house” producers still sound most comfortable holed-up in their studios, hunched over analog gear, trapped in their own heads. But it’s a space you won’t soon want to escape.”
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Flickr Photo Of The Week

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts


Congratulations to Justin Drabek, of Dallas, Texas, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest!  Justin is a first-time winner; he follows last week’s winner, Joseph Haubert

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.

Title: Beliefs

Equipment: Canon t2i

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Rudolph comes to Dallas

Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou  is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as Assistant Director of UT-Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.

Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance – See more at:
Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation. – See more at:
Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation. – See more at:

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

had a very shiny nose.

And if you ever saw him,

you would even say it glows.

Every wonder who makes that red nose glow? Well, I have the answer for you (at least an answer anyway, because this little lady still believes in that Christmas magic). It’s Kathy Kreuter, puppet designer and fabricator for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical.

This stage adaptation of the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, promises to become a holiday favorite in its own right, at least that is the hopes of freshman production company, Wishing Star Productions. The inaugural production opens on opens November 29 at the Majestic Theatre.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ©™

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ©™

With this show, parents and grandparents who grew up anxiously awaiting to see Rudolph, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius once a year, can now share that same excitement by gathering the family together to experience this once-a-year event, where incredible costumes and amazing puppetry bring all of the iconic characters to life.

Kathy Kreuter (Puppet Designer & Fabricator)

Kathy Kreuter (Puppet Designer & Fabricator)

While she was busy putting the final touches on the puppets for the show, I had a brief conversation with Kathy about her background in puppetry and this holiday favorite.

Danielle Georgiou: What drew you to puppets? Was this always a passion of yours?

​Kathy Kreuter: Jim Henson’s Muppet Movie! I was in awe of it as a child. It didn’t occur to me then I could make them though. I loved to make anything and everything, but puppets came later.​

DG: Did you always have an interest in the theater?

KK: I got into theater in college. I was recruited to paint the sets, then I did carpentry, sculpting, costumes, etc. I loved it all, the behind the scenes.​​

DG: Do you ever see yourself stepping away from the design and working the puppets yourself?

KK: I don’t know. I’m not a puppeteer actually. I just love to make them, but I am not a performer.

DG: What inspired your designs for this production? Obviously, Rudolph is a story that we have all come to know and love, what did you do to make your designs new and different?

KK: The designs for this production were challenging because of the desired sizes. Each puppet has its own set of issues and possibilities. Balancing the limitations with the desired functions was always the goal.​​

DG: What was your favorite part of the research?

KK: Finding out how my childhood memory of the show differed from my adult perception.​​

DG: In puppetry, as well as all theater, there is always a healthy amount of invention. In this production, is there anything in particular that you had to invent for the first time?

KK: The King Moonracer puppet is probably the most unique puppet in the production for me. Luckily I saved him for last so I had the most time to work him out; lots of exploring the best options for him.​​

DG: What is next for you?

KK: I am not yet allowed to let that out of the bag!​​


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Musical from Wishing Star Productions, and in association with the AT&T Performing Arts Center runs from November 29-December 29 at the Majestic Theatre.

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Art&Seek Jr: ‘The Nutcracker’ Super-List

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.

If Facebook has made me aware of anything, it’s the passion that can ignite between friends over certain hot button issues. I’ve learned that if you want to avoid the fire-storm of remarks that lead to cyber-screaming, name calling and “unfriending” it’s best not post anything involving these three topics: religion, politics or…when you plan to put up your Christmas tree. That’s right, Facebook has made me keenly cognizant of the battle between the “It’s-Only-November!-What-About-Thanksgiving?” camp, and the “Yay!-Halloween-Is-Over-Time-To-Break-Out-The-Mistletoe!” faction. The Novemberers will steadfastly refuse to hang even one piece of tinsel until the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone and find the Mistletoers hugely annoying. Sadly, the Mistletoers don’t know how maddening they are because they’re too busy trolling Pinterest for ideas on how to make reindeer ornaments out of kitty litter, pretzels and corks from last night’s Chardonnay.

I had these two groups in mind when I picked this topic a few weeks ago. I knew the Mistletoers would positively burst into song when they spied a list of Nutcracker productions. But I mainly wanted to give you Novemberers out there a heads up. Yes, I know the yuletide season doesn’t officially start for you until December 1, but if you want to see snowflakes dance, and rodents duel you’re going to have put the principles aside and get those tickets now while the gettin’ is good. Some of the productions of the ballet start as soon as this weekend.

So, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a cornucopia of upcoming Nutcracker productions in the North Texas area. They’re  listed in order by date so you won’t miss a single dancing snowflake. Read More »

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