BEHIND THE SCENES: It’s a big night for openings around town. The Dallas Theater Center opens King Lear (more on how DTC staged it twice in a year in my story from Wednesday). And Dallas Children’s Theater opens Goodnight Moon, the adaptation of the popular kids book. For a behind-the-scenes look at the show, check out the video above.
MOVIE MUSIC: This weekend, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents “Oz with Orchestra,” during which the orchestra will perform the Wizard of Oz score as the movie is shown. (As a friend said earlier this week, it’d be really interesting if they played Dark Side of the Moon live. Maybe next time.) Ron Spigelman will conduct the orchestra during the performance. He says there are are plenty of tricky sequences in the movie, none trickier than when Dorthy’s house is picked up by the cyclone and dumped on the Wicked Witch of the East. “The music starts with the dream sequence, builds and builds in a fantastic way, and then I have to hit last note when the house lands,” he tells theaterjones.com. “But, just to be safe, I have the percussion ready to do another crash if I get to Oz ahead of the house.”
DANCE LOCAL: The newest edition of Dance! North Texas is available for your perusal. Pretty much everything going on in local dance between now and April is covered in there in one way or another. A highlight is the preview of Dance Planet 17, featuring national talent returning home for the event.
This week, Art&Seek’s Stephen Becker and Dallas Morning News movie critic Chris Vognar talk about the documentary West of Memphis. And we begin our look at the major Oscar categories with a breakdown of the best supporting actress field. Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen podcast on iTunes. Stream this week’s podcast below or download it.
For a shortened version of our West of Memphis review:
There’s been some public rancor over how the planned events surrounding the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination have looked stage-managed by the Dallas establishment. It’s supposedly an effort to control and polish the city’s image on the world’s media stage, keeping the entire occasion out of the muck and noise of conspiracy theories and all the memories of Dallas’ days as the ‘City of Hate.’ If we open things up too much to the public, the cautionary thinking goes, Dallas will look, once again, like a home for crazies.
Perhaps. But now, two Brits are developing a project that bypasses both the conspiracy furor and the Dealey Plaza crowd control. It goes directly to individual Dallasites to shape and express a tribute to the slain president and the ideals he represented to many people. They want Dallas residents to deliver the speech, word by word, that Kennedy never did on November 22, 1963. He was scheduled to speak at the Dallas Trade Mart at 1 p.m. He was shot to death in Dealey Plaza half-an-hour before he got there.
Dallasites would deliver the speech, not by speaking it, but through photos of themselves holding up (or outlining or spelling out) the individual words of the speech, all 2,549 of them. The Brits will then pull the images and videos together into a single video, which they estimate will be around 40 minutes long.
Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to knuckle down to work. Check back weekdays at 1 p.m. for another one.
Tonight through Sunday, Yefim Bronfman joins the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for an all-Mozart program. Bronfman is a pretty big deal in the piano world, and this performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 shows why.
Using Kickstarter, Indie GoGo or another fund-raising web site to pay for films, CDs and art projects isn’t new. And lots of North Texans have successfully realized their campaigns. But it’s not usually as easy as making your video, posting your project, and relaxing while the money rolls in. Bart Weiss, head of Dallas VideoFest, mentioned recently that getting attention for your campaign while it’s running, constantly reminding your social media friends to contribute, can be a full-time job.
Which brings us to Aurora, the the sound/light/video installation project that uses the buildings in the Dallas Arts District as its canvas. (Here’s Stephen’s piece on the 2011 installment.)
The artists and organizers behind Aurora (that’s Joshua King in the video above) are launching their IndieGoGo campaign this week to pay for some of the most expensive costs associated with their project. (Think electric bill and generators.) And they’re kicking off the campaign with an ambitious project that goes beyond the usual Facebook campaign: three different art shows, each featuring three artists, at a separate venue each night, including one show at the Omni Skywalk. All are 6-9 p.m.
Tonight: Clay Austin, Chris Lattanzio and JoMar Da Collective at BuyLEDS Showroom, 2522 Irving Blvd.
Friday: Jeremy Mckane, Shane Pennington and Don Relyea at the Omni Skywalk.
Saturday: Wanda Dye, Edward Ruiz and Mari Hidalgo at WAAS Gallery.
Will Aurora make its $30,000 goal? We’ll keep you posted. Meantime, a good excuse to check out interesting work.
Gamers crowded around a handful of games during a recent Tiny Thumbs meet-up held in conjunction with the DMA’s January Late Night event. Photo: Stephen Becker
A new organization is looking to build awareness of North Texas’ independent video game scene. The group, called Tiny Thumbs, recently hosted its second pop-up arcade, and we paid it a visit.
KERA Radio story:
Bobby Frye is playing a diabolically hard game called Super Hexagon.
“What I do here is I control this little triangle as I move around a hexagon that’s rotating in space. I just died. And I’m dodging squares that are coming in toward the center,” he says. “Now, if I was a better player, you would see as I get further on, the hexagon would turn into a pentagon … eventually going to a point as the game gets harder and harder.”
Instead the air is filled with a familiar refrain: “Game over.”
Frye is playing the game at a meet-up of Tiny Thumbs, a group dedicated to building awareness around the indie game scene in North Texas. He’s a Ph.D candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas, and he formed Tiny Thumbs with Kyle Kondas, who teaches there. This is the club’s second event, and dozens of gamers have stopped by to sample a handful of games created by independent developers. All of them are delightfully analog, throwbacks to the 8-bit ’80s.
IN THE HOUSE: It makes sense that a chamber music group would perform in a house – that’s where the idea got its start. So that’s what the Hall Ensemble decided to do. “We were looking for a niche that would not tread on other people’s territory. And the house-concert concept had not really been developed here,” Kevin Hall, the FWSO’s principal bassoonist and a founder of the ensemble, tells dfw.com. The group performs Friday and Saturday at the Thistle Hill mansion in Fort Worth.
LOCAL MUSIC BITS: Nathan Adamson, who operates Deep Ellum’s FourReelz Records, talks about his concept of recording and releasing an album in one day. (DC9 at Night) … Oil Boom plays KXT’s Summer Cut concert in June. Dugan Connors and Ryan Taylor talk about what it means for the band to play such a big show. (dallasnews.com) … Dallas hip-hop duo A.Dd+ talks about how they hope to “set the tone for what Dallas hip-hop should be.” (dfw.com)
IT’S GOOD FOR YA: Has the doc told you you need to get that blood pressure under control? Instead of writing you a prescription for beta blockers, he or she might recommend you pick up a musical instrument. A new study shows that playing music can be good for the heart. “Our study suggests that active music making has some training effects that resemble those of physical exercise training,” the researchers say.
Every iconic magazine has a central story to tell — a time and a place when it couldn’t have existed otherwise and which it still draws on even as it has moved on. Playboy and the sexual revolution. National Geographic and the late-Victorian urge toward empire and exploration. Rolling Stone and the baby boomer rise of rock ‘n’ roll.
Over the years, Texas Monthly‘s basic story has always been how a dirt-poor, insular, segregated state of ranches and farms, a state with a far more resonant mythic presence than similar states around it, has been turning into a big-city, big-money, oil-and-art-and-microchip, multi-cultural anywheresville that clings to its favorite, cinematic self-images.
So the magazine’s current themed issue (“Welcome to Big City, Texas!”) devoted to the state’s urban centers actually just foregrounds what every issue has detailed in some form, among the violent crime features, the listings for upscale barbecue joints and the photo essays on beautifully barren, Big Bend landscapes. Increasingly, the problem for the magazine has been balancing fawning Tex-celebrity profiles (if it can find one whose face on the cover will help sell copies) with any photogenic remnant of authentic cowboy life it can locate amid our cancerous freeways and suburbs.
Actually, in his essay, former editor Greg Curtis declares that Texas’ rural past does remain with us. It’s that “strain of country obstinacy and willful unenlightenment” he sees in a state government bent on dismantling our educational system and the vast array of social programs that have helped poor Texans become less desperate. (Unfortunately, a quibble: Curtis misplaces the ‘mother ship’ of Half-Price Books on Lovers Lane when it’s on Northwest Highway.)
One of the smart things editor Jake Silverstein did was get Larry McMurtry to revisit his essential collection of Texas essays from 1968, In a Narrow Grave. For decades, when people I knew moved here, I’d hunt down a copy and give it to them as a welcome-to-Texas gift, the best, single-volume introduction to the state (before Lonesome Dove made McMurtry permanently well-known, the book was often out of print). Read More »
Congratulations to Laura Diaz-Martinez of Dallas, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! This is Laura’s first win in our contest. She follows our previous week’s winner, Aaron Majors.
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.
And now, here’s more from Laura:
Title of photo:Dallas Sunrise
Equipment: Nikon D3100 digital SLR
About the photo: This is a view of downtown taken from the top of a bridge on Hampton Avenue. I drive on that bridge every day to go to work, and one cold morning I saw the thick white fog covering the Trinity River as the sun was rising. I didn’t have my camera with me that day, but the image kept popping in my head. So I decided to go back the next morning, determined to get that photo. The next morning at 5 a.m. I grabbed the camera, my tripod and a heavy jacket and made the trip back to the top of the bridge to see that beautiful image again. I was very lucky to also have wonderful company during the shooting, since my girlfriend and our dog decided to tag along. Although they both regretted it once they figured out we were going to be standing in the freezing cold for a good hour! But if you ask me, it was worth it.