News and Features

The Big Deal: Disney’s ‘Beauty And The Beast’ AT The AT&T Performing Arts Center

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One thing for sure you can say about those Disney folks is that they certainly do know how to write a catchy tune. So when their animated film Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991 it was, of course, accompanied by great lyrics and music provided by Academy-Award winning Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.  Even though it was an animated musical, the musical numbers worked so well it was an easy leap for Disney to see how the film could translate into a Broadway staged production. Now Beauty and the Beast is back for a second run and Art&Seek has tickets, thanks to our friends at AT&T Performing Arts Center. Sign up win ticket to see this tale as old as time on opening night April 15, at the Winspear Opera House.

And don’t forget we have other Big Deals this week you might want to peruse – tickets to Fort Worth Opera’s Cosi fan tutte at Bass Performance Hall, or passes to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park now exhibiting, The World’s Largest Dinosaurs.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for your chance to see Lexus Broadway Series present Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing. Come back next week for more Big Deals.

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The High Five: Celebrate National Poetry Month With A Poetry Reading

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: President Obama visits Fort Hood today; Wichita Falls issues a bird warning; what’s a Dallas bro?; and more.

  • Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Collin College hosts its second annual National Poetry Month event at 5 p.m. today. It’s called “Off the Page and On-Campus: A Celebration of National Poetry Month” and it’s taking place at the Preston Ridge Campus’ conference center. Today’s event will feature the poetry of R. Flowers Rivera, author of Troubling Accents, and Leslie Richardson, whose poetry has been published in The Paris Review.
  • Leaders of a North Texas city have warned about the expected return of pesky egrets after a bird strike brought down a military jet last year. A statement from the city of Wichita Falls says “noisy, messy” cattle egrets are likely to return in the next few weeks. Cattle egrets carry mites and make a mess with droppings. Wichita Falls leaders are urging residents to make noise to scare away the foot-tall creatures or contact city officials to help amid health and aviation concerns. Investigators at Sheppard Air Force Base determined a cattle egret strike last July caused an $8 million training jet to crash. Two pilots suffered minor injuries when they ejected. [The Associated Press]
  • One week after the deadly shooting at Fort Hood, a memorial service will be held today – and President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend. It’s at 2 p.m. at Fort Hood’s Sadowski Field. Last Wednesday, Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three soldiers and wounded 16 others before he committed suicide. The Houston Chronicle notes: “The visit is the second the president has made to Fort Hood in 4½ years to remember the victims of shootings that took place a mile apart on the post.” Obama spoke in Fort Hood following the earlier shooting spree in 2009, when 13 soldiers and civilians were killed, and 32 others were wounded. Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan said he waged jihad that day against his fellow soldiers. A jury sentenced him to death.
  • Did you know that since 1999, there’s been a live-streaming webcam that captures Dealey Plaza? Now it’s in high-definition. The Dallas Morning News reports: “On Monday EarthCam upgraded the unblinking eyeball onto Elm Street, prompting this exclamatory tweet from the folks who are always watching: ‘Our Dealey Plaza cam is now HD! We teamed up with @SixthFlrMuseum to offer the only view from the #JFK sniper’s perch.’” Some aren’t pleased: “Seriously, turning an assassination into sport?” and “Sick and wrong.”


  • Yo – what’s a bro? And how is a Dallas bro different from other bros? Let’s let Jezebel explain: “A bro is a young, usually unmarried, often immature guy who just does what everyone else his age seems to be doing. He’s not necessarily a bad guy, he’s not necessarily worthy of derision … He’s just figuring life out and trying to enjoy himself in the process.” But each city has different bro standards. So Jezebel breaks it down. Here’s a field guide to the Dallas Bro: For his uniform, “the Dallas (or Houston) Bro is a hybrid of many bro styles; a frankenbro if you will. Like the Mid-Atlantic bro, the Dallas Bro enjoys boat shoes without socks and pastel shirts. Like the Midwestern bro, the Dallas Bro loves a good pair of comfortable shorts and the occasional visor. Like the Red State bro, the Dallas bro sometimes wears gingham button downs. And like the Country Bro, the Dallas bro appreciates the value of a good pair of leather Redwing boots.” A Dallas Bro works in oil, gas, real estate or insurance. He drinks brown liquors. His secret shame? He wants to find a wife by the time he’s in his late 20s. His celeb “brospiration?” “Matthew McConaughey, obviously.” Read up on the other city bros at Jezebel.
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Art&Seek Jr: 5 Hippity Hoppity Easter Bunny Happenings

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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 weekend the KERA/KXT/Art&Seek gang participated in ArtsPark at NorthPark Center. It was great meeting everyone who came out to say hello and chatting it up with our friends from the other arts organizations in our area, but I have to say the best part of the day for me was escorting our special guest Daniel Tiger around ArtsPark. For those of you who don’t know, Daniel Tiger is the star of the PBS animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. He’s also, without doubt, a rock star among the preschool set.  To the adults at the event, he was just some poor guy stuck in a cat costume for the day, but to the wee ones, well, he was the real deal and boy did they show their enthusiasm. Olaf the snowman would be jealous of the number of warm hugs given to Daniel on Tiger on Saturday. That’s was I love about preschoolers; they believe in fairies, and unicorns and all things magical. You can see it in their eyes when they come face to face with one of their heroes. They really believe with every fiber of their tiny little bodies the 6-foot cat in a red sweater and sneakers isn’t just some guy in a costume, that’s Daniel the Tiger himself in the flesh.

Of course the Easter Bunny falls into the category of all things magical. Here are a few ways for you and the tinies to catch up with that wascally wabbit this weekend.

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The High Five: What Are Dallas’ Emerging Neighborhood Hotspots?

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: UConn wins in Arlington; former presidents to gather in Austin for a LBJ summit; what are Dallas-Fort Worth’s emerging neighborhoods; and more.

  • Trinity Groves, Oak Cliff and Lakewood are among the Dallas neighborhoods often mentioned as local hotspots. How did they develop that reputation – and will they be able to keep it? A panel by the Dallas Architecture Forum at 6:30 tonight focuses on “Dallas’ Emerging Neighborhood Hot Spots: Will They Survive?” Marcel Quimby, a principal of Quimby McCoy who’s involved in Dallas’ preservation community, is the moderator. The free event is at 6:30 p.m. at 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 100. A reception starts at 6:15 p.m. No reservations are needed. The topic is also the subject of the 1 p.m. hour of “Think” with Krys Boyd on KERA 90.1 FM. Or listen online. Learn more about Trinity Groves, a 15-acre restaurant incubator that’s helped transform West Dallas. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao recently explored the area.


  • The Dallas Historical Society says the city is home to many dozens of historically significant houses of worship. Learn about them at noon Tuesday as part of the society’s Brown Bag Lecture Series. Bob Jaeger, president and co-founder of Partners for Sacred Places, will “explore the rich history and significant impact of Dallas’ sacred places.” Partners for Sacred Places is “the only national, nonsectarian, non-profit organization dedicated to the sound stewardship and active community use of America’s older religious properties.” The free event is at the Hall of State at Fair Park, 3939 Grand Ave., Dallas.


  • Jerry Jones’ suite at AT&T Stadium was packed last night with bold-faced names catching the NCAA Final Four championship game. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat next to each other – and the former presidents were captured on the stadium’s gigantic video screen for the 79,000 folks in the stands to see. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo popped up at the bottom of the screen – the photobomb of the night.
  • For those of you interested in the score, here’s a recap. KERA’s Rick Holter was at the game: The University of Connecticut capped off the first North Texas Final Four in 28 years last night by winning the NCAA men’s basketball title. The Huskies topped Kentucky 60 to 54. UConn has made it to the championship game four times, and has come away with a title in every one. Monday night, the difference-maker was senior point guard Shabazz Napier. He scored 22 points, leading the experienced Huskies past Kentucky’s five freshman starters. The key statistic? Foul shooting: Connecticut was perfect in 10 tries; Kentucky missed 11. A downpour that started just before gametime couldn’t stop more than 79,000 people from jamming into AT&T Stadium — the largest crowd ever to witness an NCAA title game.


  • The former presidents will be in Austin later this week. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin is hosting a civil rights summit this week, highlighted by a keynote address by President Barack Obama. The three-day conference, which starts Tuesday, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, signed into law by Johnson. Three former presidents will also deliver remarks at the summit: Jimmy Carter on Tuesday; Bill Clinton will speak on Wednesday; and George W. Bush will speak on Thursday. Panel discussions will look back at the civil rights movement and address current topics such as immigration and gay marriage. LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove said he hopes the summit will mark a turning point in Johnson’s legacy, moving it away from the Vietnam War to the domestic policies Johnson pushed that transformed civil rights. The ceremony is a chance to reconsider Johnson’s presidency. The New York Times reports that his family and friends argue that his legacy has “been overwhelmed by the tragedy of the Vietnam War, and has failed to take into account the blizzard of domestic legislation enacted in the five years Johnson was in the White House.” [The Associated Press]
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DTC’s Next Season: Bigger, Newer, Older And Football-Related

963The Dallas Theater Center has announced, next season, it’ll premiere a new musical and a new drama about a UT football player. It’ll also expand its season offerings from seven shows to nine. But KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports, more than half of the shows will be presented in the Theater Center’s old home, the Kalita Humphreys Theater.

  • KERA radio story:
  • Online story:

It can look like a retreat, the Theater Center moving most of its season into the Kalita, only five years after moving into its new home, the Wyly. But the decision wasn’t based on money, which is what the theater community has been speculating the past two weeks. In fact, artistic director Kevin Moriarty says the Kalita doesn’t actually represent that much of a cost savings to run than the Wyly.

“No, certainly not in any general way,” he says. The fee for the the Kalita is lower than the Wylie’s, but with the Wylie, you’re paying for everything, including the ‘front-of-house’ expenses, like ticket takers. At the Kalita, you pay less but have to provide the front-of-house staff yourself. Plus, there’s no on-site costume shop — or most of the other amenities the Theater Center enjoys at the Wyly. So the Kalita has some built-in expenses and inconveniences the Wyly doesn’t.

“The way in which the Kalita is cheaper,” Moriarty adds, “is if you were to do a big musical or a big play. There is just less possibility for scenery and you can’t put a big orchestra there. So the space at the Kalita limits how much you can spend.”

Then – why five shows just in the Kalita? Not too long ago, that’d be an entire season for the Theater Center.

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Men in Tights: The Trocks Do Dallas

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Strong in their centers, long clean lines, leaps that soar, and turns that would make anyone envious. Obviously, I went to the ballet over the weekend. You might think that I’m describing the prima ballerina of a company and her soloists, but I’m not. I’m talking about men here. Strong and sturdy men. Some of the best male dancers I have ever seen. And, some of the best female performers I have ever seen.

I’m talking about Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the 34-year-old institution of professional male dancers who perform a full range of ballet and modern dance repertoire, including renditions of classical and original works with beautiful comedic twists. They are more than just dancers, they are superb actors and comedians, who bring a new life to some old favorites. They performed this past weekend at the City Performance Hall to a theatre full of laughter and much-loved and welcomed encore.

Forgive this history lesson, but a quick look back at the beginnings of ballet provides a point of entrance for the Les Ballets Trockadero (or the Trocks as they are fondly known). In 1661, Louis XIV established the Academie Royale de Danse, which was a professional organization for dancing masters (or, as we’d say today, professional dancers). Here, all the dancers were men, and men in masks dancing women’s roles. For nearly 20 years, the Academie only employed men; it wasn’t until 1681 that women began to dance professionally. What Louix XIV was exploring was the old clowning and pantomime ways of Greek theatre and commedia dell’arte. He was testing the boundaries of comedy, and what the audience would allow and expect to happen. The work was physical, demanding, and fun. But it was a form of theatre that we watched disappear and become more of a underground art form—particularly the drag element, as it quickly became a parody of itself.

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Yet, what the Trocks do so brilliantly is flip a classical art form thought to be traditionally for women, take it to its roots, and put a drag show on the main stage. Make it large scale and take it on tour, showing the talent and technique of the male body and the comedy that underlies every single ballet.

But they always start from the original intent of the ballets they restage. When they learn a ballet, they learn it step by step, variation by variation, and in its original format. They work with an experienced ballet mistress who rehearses all of the technical skills, so as to maintain the integrity of the pieces. And that is extremely important to the company. The dancers are interested in presenting a repertoire that stays true to the tradition that has influenced them and has been the reason they have careers.  But they also want to entertain.

They perform with great sense of grace, and yet, there is a casualness to the performance. Room for improvisation and simply, room for fun. They make every cliché about male dancers, and female dancers, a joy to laugh at. As a dancer myself, it was a great catharsis,  being able to laugh at myself, because I saw all my habits up there on stage, mirrored back to me.

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Photo by Sascha Vaughn, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

Further, they don’t try to hide their statuesque builds as other drag artists do. They actually play up their “manliness.” As you watch them whip through a combination of fouettés and pirouettes with such ease, you can’t help but be in awe of both their technique and rippling muscles. It’s almost a ridiculous sight to see what looks like a prima ballerina with legs the size of a tree trunk. Legs that contain such power and skill that gently perform traditionally “female steps.”

And, once you become enveloped by the spectacle and suspend belief, you forget you are watching “men in pointe shoes.” Men in size 15 pointe shoes! Because, all you are really watching is incredible dancing. You came to the ballet, and you better believe, the Trocks deliver.

I spent the whole show in awe of their technique and comedic timing, and of their feet. Seriously, I would trade mine for any pair of theirs any day!

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The High Five: What Do Art Critics Think Of Former President Bush’s Paintings?

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Former President George W. Bush's self-portrait (Photo Credit: Lauren Silverman/KERA News)

Former President George W. Bush’s self-portrait (Photo Credit: Lauren Silverman/KERA News)


Five stories that have North Texas talking: Bruce Springsteen sang – and sang – and sang; NASCAR got delayed, thanks to Mother Nature; the Dallas Museum of Art joins a national art competition, and more:

  • The artist formerly known as President George W. Bush unveiled his world leader portraits Friday – and the reviews are starting to roll in. Roberta Smith wrote in The New York Times: “Mr. Bush has an uncanny ability to translate photographs into more awkward images enlivened by distortions and slightly ham-handed brushwork. His skill may be disconcerting for people who love painting and dislike the former president, but still, everyone needs to get a grip, especially those in the art world who dismiss the paintings without even seeing them. If Mr. Bush’s portrait of Mr. Putin were an anonymous find in a thrift shop, most of us would happily snap it up. That these works are by Mr. Bush makes them more complicated, and useful as another lens with which to examine the personality and legacy of a man who may remain the greatest known unknown of his own presidency.” KERA’s Lauren Silverman talked with two art critics to get their thoughts on the former president’s artistic style.
  • Sunday’s rain wasn’t going to stop the Boss. Bruce Springsteen jammed all night long at the free NCAA March Madness Music Festival. He bodysurfed. (You know he’s 64?) And he pulled a few people on stage at the show, performed at the former Reunion Arena site in downtown Dallas. Of course, he performed all sorts of hits. Patti Scialfa, his wife and member of the E Street Band, played her first full show since September 2012, according to The Star-Ledger. The New Jersey newspaper reported: “Since the festival is part of a basketball tournament, Bruce and the E Street Band came out to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown,’ which is the theme music for the Harlem Globetrotters. Then Bruce and Nils Lofgren had a jumpball at center mic as guitar tech Kevin Buell (from Ocean Township) was wearing a referee’s shirt and tossed the ball up. Nils won.” The Dallas Morning News declared Bruuuuce’s performance was “epic, magical and unforgettable. Those hardy souls who braved the cold drizzle — sadly, far fewer than the 40,000 organizers said the grounds could hold — can mark this off their to-do list: Attend the Best Bruce Springsteen Show Ever.” Watch parts of Springsteen’s Dallas performance here.
  • It’s been called one of the unlikeliest championship games ever. Kentucky and Connecticut face off at 8:10 tonight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for the NCAA Final Four basketball championship. No.7-ranked Connecticut stomped all over No. 1 Florida, 63-53, on Saturday night to advance to the Big Dance. No. 8 Kentucky defeated No. 2 Wisconsin, 74-73. If you’re not one of the 80,000-plus folks watching the game in person, you can catch the championship on CBS.
  • What’s up with Mother Nature when North Texas hosts big sporting events? (You recall the massive ice storm during the North Texas Super Bowl in 2011.) Then, over the weekend, during the Final Four and the NASCAR, Mother Nature dumped a lot of much-needed rain on Dallas/Fort Worth – enough to postpone the Duck Commander 500 to 11 a.m. today. Texas Motor Speedway gates and suites will open at 9 a.m. Fans with Sunday Duck Commander tickets will use the same ticket for admission. But the rain didn’t stop the Guinness Book of World Records from finally declaring the speedway’s TV screen as the world’s largest high-definition LED video board. It’s called “Big Hoss” and it’s 218 feet wide and 95 feet high – and it’s bigger than the one at AT&T Stadium, which at one point was the world’s biggest. “It is amazing what technology and money will accomplish,” TMS president Eddie Gossage said. “It’s the biggest – no period, no qualifier – the biggest, baddest TV on the planet.” Philip Robertson, the Guinness adjudicator, described the screen as “colossal and fantastic.” [Associated Press]
  • The Dallas Museum of Art is teaming up with four big museums across the country to display art in public places across the country. The DMA and the other museums have chosen 100 works of art that represent American history and culture. The public gets to decide which 50 works will be shown across the country – they’ll be displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway posters, and other places. It’s called Art Everywhere US. The Final 50 will be revealed on Aug. 4 in Times Square. DMA director Max Anderson explained to KERA’s Krystina Martinez: “We’re a nation of immigrants, so we have the beauty and the extraordinary breadth and variety of talent, imagination, cultural influences that inform a nation of a third of a billion people.” And in true American fashion, deciding which art will go up will be a democratic process – you get to vote online: “It’s kind of like ‘American Idol’ – you can go on in and make your voice be heard,” Anderson said.


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DMA Joins ‘Art Everywhere’ – Largest Outdoor Art Gallery in US

DMA_EdwinChurchEdwin Church, The Icebergs, oil on canvas, 1861 – one of the DMA paintings included in Art Everywhere

Online favorites contest and Top 10 lists are the internet’s ways of drawing traffic when, you know, actual content won’t.  But now art museums are in the game with a big new populist stab at ‘bringing art to the public’ and ‘becoming part of the conversation.’

Its being billed as the “largest outdoor art show ever conceived.” How big, exactly?

Coast-to-coast, every state, Times Square, Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles” is how DMA director Max Anderson puts it. Oh yes, and that includes North Texas, too. The DMA is teaming up with four major museums around the country — from the Whitney in New York to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — to bring “Art Everywhere.”

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Showing Us The Crown Of Her Head

photo_1d0An artist’s practice is often inspired and informed by what makes her head ache — be that a political stand, a gender issue or a medical concern. It is often an ache which is chronic and persistent. For the Dallas Art Fair’s featured artist, Paula Crown, the ache is actually in her head. Genetic migraines have pervaded her life and art. Hence, “Inside My Head: A Contemporary Self Portrait,” now at the Dallas Contemporary. Her video can be seen here.

Beginning with the MRI scans of her brain, Crown uses digital technology to enlarge, embellish, enhance and manipulate those images. Using Photoshop and an open-source program processing, Crown can change perspective and more 2-D drawings into 3-D images.

Since “In My Head” combines science and art, I invited two physicians, Dr. Norma Melamed, a neurologist, and Dr. Jeffrey Glass, a psychiatrist-photographer, to walk through the installation with me. Although a few of the brain images are obvious, both doctors agreed that they would not have recognized several of the manipulated scans as brains. Most appeared as nebulous, organic shapes resembling planets or spiderwebs. Crown provides no titles to offer a hook for non-personal interpretations.

The artists says it is not important that we know the pictures are her brain — or any brain. “I view them as abstract forms and topologies that could be micro or macro in size.” Although Crown has said that landscapes capture her attention and she researches topologies and maps, there is not narrative or symbolism to her work. It’s the various shapes and patterns that interest her. My work is “just a connection between what is happening in our bodies and what is happening in the larger world,” she says. Interestingly, she has said that one picture might resemble a planet with waves. To Dr. Glass, the scan did look like a planet, but he also thought he saw the remains of truncated muscles and nerves from the original scan.

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The Big Guy’s Coming Back.

phpceBjV4PMBen Heppner as Capt. Ahab  in the Dallas Opera production of Moby-Dick. Photo credit: Karen Almond. Photo credit outfront: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

The Dallas Opera is bringing back its world-premiere production of Moby-Dick. Six years after it debuted to acclaim at the Winspear Opera House, the Jake Heggie-Gene Scheer opera will return – for a limited engagement, November 4, 2016. Of course, he’ll just about have circumnavigated the world by then, having spouted in San Francisco, Canada and Australia and appeared on PBS. It’ll be a somewhat different cast, though (no Ben Heppner, above, as Ahab, but a number of the originals will return).  And this time, the Dallas Opera’s new music director, Emmanuel Villaume, will be at the helm.


Here’s the full release:

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