News and Features

The Big Deal: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Presents Bronfman Plays ‘Emperor’

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival commences on May 1. In the three weeks that follow, the orchestra will perform some of Beethoven’s most loved and heroic symphonies, concertos and chamber works.  Five fortunate Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers will win a pair of tickets when virtuoso pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the DSO’s to play the majestic “Emperor” Concerto. At the May 11 performance at the Meyerson Symphony Center, conductor Jaap van Zweden will also lead Beethoven’s thrilling Seventh Symphony and the explosive Overture to Coriolan.

After signing up for this Big Deal, you can’t help but be in the mood to sign up for our other Big Deal this week – tickets to see the staged reading of Antony and Cleopatra, part of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare series at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

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 a chance to see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Festival when Bronfman Plays “Emperor.”

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing!

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Making Some Major ‘Magic’ In Dallas

CB_RR_09wideThe most unusual book ever made by a North Texas artist is currently on display in a Dallas gallery. And it’s probably the most expensive one as well. KERA’s Jerome Weeks asks Dallas Art Fair co-founder Chris Byrne about his intricate little black box titled The Magician.

  • The Magician is on display at the Reading Room through May 17. Publisher Ed Marquand of Marquand Books discusses the book Thursday night at the gallery
  • KERA radio story:
  • Online story:

The gallery may be called The Reading Room, but this is the first time it’s ever actually exhibited a book. But then, the book is unlike any you’ve ever seen. Its component parts are laid out along a 16-foot long black table (above). At one end is the box that holds everything, painted like a miniature version of a stage prop, the kind of crate a magician would saw in half. At the other end is a video monitor showing a magician’s gloved hands demonstrating how to ‘operate’ each of the books.

Together, they make up a “complex, graphic novel,” says Reading Room owner Karen Weiner. “It is twelve separate books. There’s a children’s pop-up book, there’s an artist’s sketch book, a flip book, there’s an animation. It’s really a tour de force.”

The Magician isn’t a book so much as a mega-book, not just a wordless narrative but an encyclopedic compendium of bookbinding and printing techniques: longstitch binding, glue binding, cloth covers, letterpress. Each book, each mini-narrative, has its own style of illustration, layout and information delivery. There’s even a DVD. Unpacking all this does suggest a magician pulling birds and scarves and endless flowers from various pockets and sleeves.

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North Texan Gets Tony Award Nomination For ‘Hedwig’

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Categorized Under: Music, Theater, Uncategorized

tn-1000_hedwigpartywm2150160902 jpg pagespeed ce 8d0OMeditmPvYnDallasite Tim O’Heir has a history with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the musical about a transgendered East German rock singer which recently opened on Broadway (having premiered off-off-Broadway in 1998). O’Heir was the sound recording engineer for the 2001 film version of Hedwig (he’s frequently worked with Hedwig composer Stephen Trask).

And now the Boston native-turned-North Texan has got a Tony Award nomination for best sound design. Before all this Hollywood and Broadway stuff, O’Heir earned an impressive rep as the record producer/engineer for such indie groups as The All-American Rejects, The Rocket Summer, Superdrag and Sebadoh. He also recorded and mixed the soundtracks of such films as American Dreamz and Kids.

Oh, and this production of Hedwig is O’Heir’s first-ever stage show.

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A Mandala enCHANTS a Community


Students from the Notre Dame School of Dallas make a mandala at the Crow Museum. Photo: Gail Sachson

The chanting which stirred my soul last week at the Crow Museum of Asian Art was not what one would expect. It was not the sound of psalm reading or hymnal singing, but the sound of imagined crickets chanting in unison, as a team of  Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery scraped along  small protrusions on small metal funnels ( chak-pur) filled with colored sand. The vibrations activated the sand , made from crushed marble or dyed white stones ,  to flow like liquid out of the funnel onto a mandala , a spiritually designed space with symbols and designs  radiating outward from a circular center , less than an inch away from the tip of the instrument. The repetitive scraping sounds created a meditative ambiance for the audience and the monks, as well.

On the afternoon I visited, during the Monks’  annual week-long artist residency , an audience of about twelve gathered silently to watch  the Monks construct a Tantric Buddhist Mandala sand painting.  Crowds had previously gathered at the Crow to attend the opening ceremony and also to witness the closing 2,500 year old ritual of dismantling the thousands of grains of sand and then  dispersing them to the waters of White Rock Lake, thereby releasing the healing  powers of the mandala to the world, while stressing the impermanence of beauty and all that exists.

Having watched the Monks at work, I brazenly made my contribution to the Community Sand Mandala, where I happened upon several students from the Notre Dame School of Dallas, just a few blocks from the Crow. We all  tried our hands at following the lines outlined on the smaller sized mandala, with symbols and designs drawn specifically to refer to the Crow Museum. The chanting sound I produced was not first. It was more like erratic bird chirping than rhythmic crickets. Yet, as I relaxed , I could hear the imagined crickets. Body tension eased, and I had better control to follow the outline. The students proclaimed it “fun” and left with smiles.

You should prepare now for mandala making next Spring when the Monks will return. Join the lectures and classes scheduled every day as part of the Crow Museum’s Spiritual Art Wellness Program, offering lectures and workshops in yoga, meditation and tai chi. The meditative state seems to take much practice and energy and stamina.The Monks made it look easy.




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TCU Dance MFA Student stages first solo performance in Dallas

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Categorized Under: Dance, Fort Worth Arts

You might remember Alexandra Karigan (now Farrior) from a very special Christmas dance video that went viral in 2011. Or maybe you saw her on stage last year with Bruce Wood Dance Project. Or maybe you saw her in New York with the Amy Marshall Dance Company. Or maybe you just know her from around town, as Karigan Farrior is once again calling Dallas home. Well, Ft. Worth to be more exact.

Photo by Erik Carter

Photo by Erik Carter

Back from New York after working for a number of years with Amy Marshall, BODYART, and ModArts Dance Collective, Karigan Farrior is working toward a MFA in dance at the TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance. Tonight she will present her first Graduate Performance Installation, Seeing You Seeing Me, at 6:30pm at the Studio Theatre of Erma Lowe Hall on the TCU Campus. The original work being presented is the culmination of work done in the Graduate Performance Practicum course with project advisors Dr. Nina Martin and Roma Flowers.

Influenced by texts as part of the course, John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, Richard Schechner’s Performance Studies, and Henry Sayre’s The Object of Performance, Karigan Farrior uses the project as an opportunity to stretch her own ideas about choreography and performance that she has developed through her young professional career. There is a sense of experimentation in the work that she is interested in exploring further, so this is just the first step in a larger project-based work. She is also playing with videography and interactivity, as she is inviting the audience to walk around the studio space and interpret the performance from different angles.

Karigan Farrior and I emailed back and forth last week as she was completing the final preparations for her project.

Danielle Georgiou: How did you choose TCU for graduate school?

Alexandra Karigan Farrior: I found out about the program while I was on tour with BODYART and was won over by their amazing facilities and talented faculty and students! Plus, I wanted to return to Texas to be closer to my family. Going to TCU also allowed me to get involved with the DFW dance community directly and get to know the Ft. Worth scene.

DG:What did your experience in New York and dancing professionally teach you and how has that shaped your role as a graduate student?

AKF: My experience in New York was profound and priceless. It is truly a city unlike any other, especially in regard to dance. My time there taught me that public support and appreciation for art opens doors to limitless opportunities for creativity and expression. Now I am more determined than ever to help increase public support for the arts in North Texas and encourage greater collaboration between dance communities of DFW.

DG: What inspired this project?

AKF: This project is a culmination of work done in the Graduate Performance Practicum course with project advisors Dr. Nina Martin and Roma Flowers. It is influenced by texts used in the course: John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, Richard Schechner’s Performance Studies, and Henry Sayre’s The Object of Performance. I was inspired to explore notions of perception. The exploration helped me appreciate the process of pushing my personal conventions of performance and choreography.

DG: How was the collaborative experience for you?

AKF: It was phenomenal. Nina and Roma were such brilliant collaborators and advisors. Nina has helped guide and encourage me. Roma is such an amazing videographer. Both have been so engaged and excited about this project that it has been such a fulfilling and supportive experience! I’m certain there will be more collaborations in the future.

DG: What do you see you doing/producing in the future?

AKF: I plan to take advantage of my time in grad school to develop my creative toolbox in a supportive and constructive environment. I hope to then use the lessons I learn in grad school to contribute to DFW’s artistic landscape as a dancer and dance educator.

Seeing You Seeing Me is a one-night only show at the Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre, at the TCU Campus. Free admission. Limited seating.


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The High Five: Author Timothy Egan To Speak At Tonight’s Arts & Letters Live

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the Spurs beat the Mavs; Toyota is moving to Plano; what did Dallas look like in 1939?; and more:

  • Arts & Letters Live continues Tuesday with author Timothy Egan, who will talk about his book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. The Dallas Museum of Art explains: “Egan will discuss issues from his book, which are also seen in the work of Texas artist Alexandre Hogue in the museum’s current exhibition Alexandre Hogue: The Erosion Series.”  The event is at 7:30 p.m. Buy tickets here.

  • The San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 93-89 Monday night during Game 4 of their playoff series. The Mavericks and Spurs wore black socks at American Airlines Center to protest the racist remarks reportedly made by Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner. ESPN Dallas reports: “Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes the NBA would be a better league without Donald Sterling in it, but Cuban called the potential scenario of forcing the Los Angeles Clippers owner to sell the team in wake of the racist comments attributed to him “a slippery slope.”” The Dallas Morning News reports that Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs star, said on Sunday:  “I’m not sure if a guy like that is allowed to own a team in 2014.” But he said the league needs to do determine if the remarks were made. But he called the incident “disappointing.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has this game recap. Game 5 is Wednesday night in San Antonio.
  • Toyota is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Plano. Toyota said Monday that the new headquarters will bring together employees who are now scattered around the country. It will break ground this year. The move consolidates three separate headquarters in California, Kentucky and New York. Small groups will start working in Plano this summer, but the majority of employees won’t move until headquarters are finished in late 2016 or early 2017. Texas has offered Toyota $40 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund, Gov. Rick Perry’s office announced. Read more from KERA News.
  • Confused about the Dallas home-rule school proposal? On “Think” at noon on Tuesday, KERA’s Krys Boyd will talk about the pros and cons of home-rule with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and school board member Bernadette Nutall. Home-rule may be the most controversial education effort since state lawmakers approved charter schools 19 years ago. If supporters collect 25,000 signatures in the next few weeks, a commission would be chosen to write new rules dictating how the district would operate. That home-rule charter would then appear on November’s ballot. On Monday, KERA’s Bill Zeeble explored what supporters think. On Tuesday, he’s talking with opponents. “Think” airs from noon-2 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM or online.


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The High Five: Lake Highlands’ St. Vincent To Play On ‘Saturday Night Live’

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas officials try to lure Sriracha out of California; early voting is underway; St. Vincent to appear on “Saturday Night Live;” and more:

  • Lake Highlands native St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, will be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live.” She’ll appear on the May 17 show, the season finale, hosted by Andy Samberg. Catch up on her latest music here and here and here.


  • Is the end near for the art barn at the University of Texas at Dallas? Mark Lamster with The Dallas Morning News reports that administrators have initiated the process of closing down the barn, which opened in 1976: “UTD President David Daniel described the building as ‘near the end of its useful life.’ Current plans are to transform it into a storage center after the spring semester. … The Art Barn was designed by Lawrence Wood of the Dallas firm Fisher & Spillman. … With wide panels of vertical white siding, porthole windows on its southern flank, and a staggered profile to the north, it has a distinctive graphic profile amplified by the bright Texas sun.” Lamster also says that while Daniel is concerned about the building’s viability, many faculty, students and alumni are trying to save the building. They’re concerned about losing their principal gallery space. Lamster talked with Daniel, who “seemed to step back from the plan to decommission the building,” saying he hadn’t made a decision.


  • State Rep. Jason Villalba has announced he’ll be leading a delegation from Texas to California to try to persuade the maker of Sriracha hot sauce to move its operations to the Lone Star State. On May 12, he’ll meet with the chief executive officer of Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the company that makes the hot sauce. Joining Villalba will be Todd Staples, the Texas agriculture commissioner. In January, Villalba, a Dallas County Republican who happens to be a huge fan of Sriracha, sent a letter to Huy Fong, extending an invitation to move to Texas. The California plant that makes the sauce produces a strong odor. Neighbors aren’t happy. Huy Fong had to shut down part of its operation after the city of Irwindale, Calif., filed suit. The matter attracted headlines nationwide. The Texas delegation will include officials with the Texas attorney general’s office and the state’s economic development and tourism office. Villalba said in a statement: “I am deeply troubled that one of the fastest growing and universally beloved condiments in the world – made right here in the USA – could face such blatant obstructionism by a local city government.” The owner hasn’t indicated that he’s seriously considering moving out of California, but told Forbes he was open to expanding is business due to growing sales. Villalba’s campaign includes a strong social media effort, including the Twitter hashtag #BringSriracha2TX.
  • The University of North Texas may have misreported its finances by as much as $23 millionnews that generated headlines earlier this month. In an opinion piece, the student newspaper, the UNT Daily, tries to put it in context so the average college student can understand: How many $1.69 Doritos Locos Taco Supremes could you eat at Taco Bell with all that cash?Using UNT’s misplaced money, you could buy approximately 13,609,467 tacos — before taxes, of course.” And there’s more: “If you’re even hungrier, that amount would also buy 3,285,714 Chipotle burritos, or 1,916,666 buckets of chicken at KFC. If you cashed out the $23 million in $100 bills, you’d be carrying around 506 pounds of cash, which is the same weight of the average adult eastern lowland gorilla, the world’s largest living primate.”
  • Early voting starts Monday for the May 10 elections. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “More than 100 races throughout Tarrant County will be on the ballot, including a $292 million bond program for Fort Worth to improve everything from libraries and roads to parks and municipal courts and a $663.1 million bond package for the Arlington school district geared to boost fine arts, technology and transportation. There are contested council races throughout the county, such as the race in Fort Worth to choose a new council member for District 9, to replace the departing Joel Burns.” The Dallas Morning News reports that five candidates are competing to replace Carla Ranger on the Dallas ISD school board. Here’s a Dallas County sample ballot. As the Star-Telegram notes, Monday is also the last day to register to vote in the May 27 primary runoff election.


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Saturday Spotlight – DADA and Deep Ellum Spring Gallery Walks

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Categorized Under: Uncategorized

index  Today in the Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re immersing ourselves in art at the DADA Spring Gallery Walk and the 15th Semiannual Deep Ellum Spring Gallery Walk. Tour more than twenty galleries and check out special exhibitions including Booker T. Washington’s Senior Show at Norwood Flynn Gallery and the Bike Swarm which now features art cars! Get a list of participating galleries here.

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The High Five: Developers Are Suspending Efforts To Build Controversial White Rock Lake Restaurant

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Gov. Rick Perry gives a wide-ranging interview on national TV; developers for the controversial White Rock Lake restaurant have suspended their plans; Dallas takes the next step in trying to host the 2016 GOP Convention; and more.

  • Dallas officials and Republican Party leaders went out on a date Thursday: The city hoped to strut its stuff as it tries to land the GOP’s 2016 convention. The Dallas Morning News reports that Mayor Mike Rawlings met the GOP team for breakfast at SER Steak and Spirits at the Hilton Anatole. Then there was a security briefing at American Airlines Center, where GOP leaders dined on barbecue from Pecan Lodge. The group ventured to Arlington to see AT&T Stadium, which could host the opening or closing ceremonies. Enid Mickelsen, chairwoman of the site selection committee, told The News that Dallas is a “wonderful city with wonderful facilities” and noted how much Dallas has grown since it hosted the 1984 GOP convention. Dallas is competing with Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Learn more about Dallas’ bid from KERA News.
  • A spokesperson for developers Lyle Burgin and Rick Kopf says they have decided to suspend their efforts to build a restaurant on Boy Scout Hill in Dallas’ White Rock Lake Park. The announcement follows a raucous meeting Tuesday night with 500 vocal opponents, most of whom live near the park.  Many objected to giving up two-and-a half acres of open space and native blackland prairie for a moderately upscale restaurant and 160 parking spots. In a statement, the developers said: “We both firmly believe that the concept would be an excellent amenity for all of the citizens of Dallas, but the present time is not the right time. We thank all of the individuals and groups that have voiced their support.” Read more from KERA News.
  • Dave Neumann hasn’t been on the Dallas City Council since 2011, but D Magazine caught him parking his car in downtown with a City Council parking permit that entitles the driver to parking at any city facility. D Magazine even photographed his car and his permit.  The Dallas Morning News takes it from there, saying a city spokesman confirmed that Neumann has now returned the decal. The News was still waiting to get a comment from Neumann.
  • The annual Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival in Richardson has a performing songwriter contest – and the top 10 finalists have been announced. They come from all over the country. Each contestant will perform two songs at 11 a.m. May 17 at a stage during the festival. The top three performers win a $500 cash prize. Another finalist will receive a people’s choice award – and $500. Four of the finalists are from Maine. Three are from Texas: Robin Hackett of Frisco; Drew Kennedy of New Braunfels; and Libby Koch of Houston. Read more on KERA’s Art&Seek.
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Ronald Judkins: Two Oscars For Sound, But What He Really Wants To Do Is Direct


Ronald Judkins.

Ronald Judkins won two Academy Awards for his sound work on Saving Private Ryan and Jurassic Park. But these days, the SMU graduate is far more interested in writing and directing. His new film, “Finding Neighbors” screens at the USA Film Festival Saturday. The movie stars Michael O’Keefe as a once-successful graphic designer suffering a mid-life crisis. He befriends a young gay neighbor. Their deepening relationship helps each man overcome his challenges. Judkins told me that he drew on real life neighbors to create the story and shoot the film.

We also chatted about Judkins’ time in Dallas. His first job out of college was at KERA television, and he has fond memories of working with directors such as Alan Mondell, Cynthia Mondell and Mark Birnbaum.  A little digging on line turned up this goofy little gem, “Big D,” an early short that begins with a garbage collector finding a hat, then features a marching band trooping around Dallas and winding up, inexplicably, on top of the Southland building.

Listen to the interview that aired on KERA FM

Finding Neighbors screens at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Angelica Film Center. It’s part of the USA Film Festival.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On the inspiration for the film….”I was very conscious of trying to tell a story about a guy who was  later in life, trying to recapture his passion.  I wrote the script and I started showing it to people I knew and so many of them would call me and go,  “I’m that guy.”  And when I started getting that response, I started feeling “OK, I’ve hit some pay dirt here. Because I hadn’t seen a lot of movies about people in their mid ’50s, especially men.

You talk about menopause in women. I think men go through something similar. Some of it’s hormonal. Some of it’s depression. But it’s just this whole depressive cycle that I think people of a certain age get into and it’s so difficult to break out.”

On creative crisis v. mid-life crisis….I tend to work in an industry where there are a lot of creative people, I have a lot of friends who are artists, so I’m quite familiar with that creative crisis. I’m also a baby boomer. A lot of us have memories of being in our 20s in the early ’70s or late ’60s and we were part of this youth movement.

We did all think we were going to change the world. And then 30 years go by and you wake up and you go, what happened? What happened to that passion, to those things that were really important to me? How do we reestablish a connection with that passion?”

On the autobiographical nature of the film….A lot of the story is personal.  Just the whole set up of the story  is almost exactly the same as where we live in Los Angeles. On one side of us, we have a middle-age gay couple, and on the other side, we have a married couple, but she is very flirtatious. And the way the movie opens, one of the gay men comes over and accuses Michael O’Keefe of spying on them; that happened to me. And I’ve never forgotten it. So in that way it’s autobiographical.

And coming up against my own self doubt, you know, after getting to a certain age and not having hte success that I thought I would have or wanted to have in a certain area of my career….

On what was still missing, despite two Oscars…. Well, I really wanted to tell my own stories. I wanted to be my own filmmaker. In a way I was somewhat seduced by success doing this other thing. I have no regrets about that.  I’ve traveled the world, worked on amazing films with amazing  actors and directors. But inside, I still had a desire to do my own thing.

On screening his first film, The Hi-Line, for Steven Spielberg…  I was so intimidated when he wanted to see it. I go over to his house and he has a screening room. And I show it to him. But it was so fantastic afterward to have a conversation about the film as two filmmakers, as opposed to me just working on his film. That was fantastic.

On the relationship between creativity and intimacy….I definitely see a connection. Really the story, if I had to reduce it to a single sentence, it’s  about the power of love.  And how love can just unlock people. But it’s also about how you never know where that love’s going to come from. Additionally, when you give it, you never know where it’s going to go. But I just think it’s so transformative in the story, especially the primary relationship, it’s one that you wouldn’t expect, between an older straight man and a younger gay man. And how they do unlock each other.  And it goes both ways. It’s not just about Sam.







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