News and Features

The High Five: Texas Officials Visit California To Try To Lure Sriracha To Lone Star State

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas is trying to lure Sriracha to the Lone Star State; Plano officials to vote to approve Toyota’s big move; changing attitudes about football in Texas; and more:

  • Today, Texas officials are on an important mission – they want the company that makes the Sriracha hot sauce to expand its operations to the Lone Star state. A delegation is in California Monday to meet with Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the producer of the popular product. State Rep. Jason 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 company says it isn’t interested in moving out of California, but could be open to expanding, NPR reports. The Texas Tribune reports: “[Villalba will be] joined by state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who represents the district where most of the chili peppers needed for the sauce are grown. San Antonio or a nearby city could be a good fit for the factory’s location. … State Rep. Hubert Vo, D-Houston, will also be in the delegation. Vo speaks Vietnamese, the native language of Huy Fong Foods founder and chief executive David Tran.”
  • The city of Plano is scheduled to vote on an agreement with Toyota on Monday that moves the automaker’s U.S. headquarters to the Dallas suburb. The city proposes a 100-acre reinvestment zone and a 10-year, 50 percent rebate on property taxes. The Dallas Morning News reports that in exchange, Toyota will agree to occupy at least 1 million square feet of office space and have up to 3,650 by Dec. 31, 2018. Toyota announced last month that it was moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Texas. Gov. Rick Perry said that Texas offered the company $40 million in incentives from the taxpayer-funded Texas Enterprise Fund. Toyota plans to break ground in Plano this year. [Associated Press]
  • Voters on Saturday overwhelmingly approved major city and school bond packages and re-elected some familiar faces in North Texas municipal elections. KERA’s Stella M. Chavez has a wrap-up: Frisco ISD voters approved a $775 million bond package that includes plans for 14 new schools, building renovations and technology upgrades. Voters in other cities also decisively passed spending plans. Arlington gets $663 million for schools — that’s the biggest bond package ever in Tarrant County. And Fort Worth OKed $292 million in city bonds. On the Dallas school board, Miguel Solis gets to keep his District 8 seat. In District 6 – Carla Ranger’s seat – Joyce Foreman and Bertha Bailey Whatley are headed for a June 21 runoff. In Irving, Mayor Beth Van Duyne handily defeated longtime rival Herb Gears.
  • Dallas officials said they expected to decide by last Friday which airline gets two gates at Love Field that American Airlines must give up since its merger with US Airways. But the city says it will take more time to make a decision. On Friday, the city said on Twitter: “At this time, a decision has not been made and we will provide an update as soon as more information is available.” The city also said that the city manager and city attorney continue to review and consider “all the relevant information” regarding the gates. The U.S. Justice Department says Virgin America should get the gates to increase competition at Love Field, where Dallas-based Southwest is the dominant carrier. In the meantime, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, stars in this YouTube video — a love letter to Dallas Love Field. Southwest is fighting back with a “What’s LOVE got to do with it?” campaign.  [Associated Press/KERA]
  • There are changing attitudes about football in football-crazy Texas. The New York Times reports that in the East Texas town of Marshall, the school board approved plans to “shut down the district’s entry-level, tackle-football program for seventh graders in favor of flag football. There was little objection.” The Times continues: “No one here considers the decision the beginning of the end of scholastic football in Texas. The sport remains wildly popular, and recreational tackle leagues are open to 5-year-olds. But because it is happening in Texas, an otherwise small move to end a seventh-grade tackle program reflects how the issue of brain trauma has begun to affect the football landscape. … Recent research has indicated that players as young as 7 sustain hits to the head comparable in magnitude to those absorbed by high school and adult players.”
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Get Ready to Get Wrecked With Art Conspiracy


The poster pretty much says it all. Art Conspiracy’s annual summer event will be held June 7 at Life in Deep Ellum. Tickets are on sale.

Art Conspiracy is a group of North Texas artists and creatives who band together to raise money for a different non-profit arts-related organization every year.  More than 40 artists have been invited to contribute works to the June auction. The theme is ordinary objects “deconstructed/reconstructed.”

This is ArtCon’s 9th year – hard to believe – and the group has raised more than $250,000 for small arts groups. As it grows, ArtCon’s working to develop a presence throughout the year.  For example, tonight will be the first “Living Room Series” concert. Fort Worth’s The Theater Fire performs.





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Saturday Spotlight – Fine Art and Flowers

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flowers-for-van-gogh-jeanne-forsythe For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re checking out Fine Art and Flowers at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Paintings from the museum’s collection have been re-created with flowers by members of the Fort Worth Garden Club. Each arrangement will be set up next to its inspiration.

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The High Five: At Lake Highlands Hardware Store, A Popular Rooster Rules The Roost

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Prince George is attracting a following at a hardware store; we’ll know today which airline will get the extra Love Field gates; more on the Parker County earthquakes; and more. 

  • A Lake Highlands hardware store owner isn’t surprised when new customers have their feathers ruffled over the shop’s mascot. Prince George, a Buff Orpington rooster, occupies a spot in the front of the Gecko Hardware Store and he’s proving to be a big draw. The store’s co-owner, Andrea Ridout, says foot traffic went up noticeably on the weekends when customers realized the rooster likes the attention. Ridout says Prince George started ruling the roost after a little girl returned him after she learned he wouldn’t become a hen. The rooster has occupied the top spot on the store’s pecking order for a year. Dallas officials have given the store an exemption to keep the feathered animal on the premises. Prince George also visits schools and senior citizen sites. [Associated Press]
  • The drama between Southwest Airlines and Virgin America is expected to end Friday when Dallas’s city manager decides which airline will fly out of the last two open gates at Love Field. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao looks at the last-minute jockeying: “The PR battle to win two gates that American Airlines must give up as part of its merger with US Airways has been theatrical. Sir Richard Branson, the English entrepreneur, who’s a minor investor in Virgin America, released a video love letter this week. Southwest Airlines, on its blog and Twitter page, asks “What’s love got to do with it?” Once Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez makes his decision, the real competition begins Oct. 13, when the Wright Amendment restriction ends.
  • A police officer shot and killed a 93-year-old in Hearne this week. Friends say 93-year-old Pearlie Golden still shopped at the grocery store in the small Texas town near Bryan-College Station. Now they and Hearne’s mayor want the police officer who shot and killed her gone. Texas Rangers are investigating what led to a Hearne police officer fatally shooting Golden at her home after responding to a 911 disturbance call this week. Hearne police have said in a statement that Golden “brandished a gun” when Officer Stephen Stem arrived Tuesday night. Prosecutors say a preliminary autopsy shows Golden was struck twice in her body and grazed once. Dozens of protesters Thursday marched to police headquarters in Hearne. Mayor Ruben Gomez greeted them and said he will recommend that the officer be fired at a city council meeting Saturday. [Associated Press]
  • There have been at least 300 minor earthquakes in Parker County, northwest of Fort Worth, since December. That’s according to new research released Thursday by SMU scientists. While that sounds like a lot, it doesn’t mean a big one is on the way. KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao reports: The latest Texas quakes recorded by SMU scientists are too small to even register at the U.S. Geological Survey. Paul Caruso, a USGS geophysicist, says small quakes, even a swarm of them, are not dangerous. The SMU report is an update on the ongoing data collection by seismologists. They’re trying to identify more accurate locations of the Parker County earthquakes. And they hope to learn whether there’s a link between seismic activity and injection wells that are used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling. Catch up on KERA’s earthquake coverage.
  • The Allen Arts Festival returns Friday through Sunday. The festival features gallery-quality work from local, state and nationwide artists displaying and selling paintings, woodwork, sculptures, glass, mixed media and other works of art. There will also be children’s art activities and live entertainment. The free three-day outdoor festival, which starts at 4 p.m. Friday, is at Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm.
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Sing-Sing, Bang-Bang: ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Musical In WaterTower’s New Season

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Categorized Under: Theater, Uncategorized

b and c 2Cool. Maybe WaterTower will get to re-use that old truck from its Grapes of Wrath. Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan in the Broadway production of Bonnie & Clyde.

This month is the 80th anniversary of the shooting deaths of West Dallas homies Bonnie and Clyde, ambushed by a posse in Bienville Parish, Louisiana May 23, 1934. So perhaps it’s not a coincidence that WaterTower Theatre has announced its new season will open this fall with the musical, Bonnie & Clyde. After trying out in La Jolla, the show closed quickly on Broadway last year — only 36 performances. But its music is by Frank Wildhorn, the composer who, in addition to writing the hit Jekyll & Hyde, has provided the music for several less-than-successful shows (Dracula, The Scarlet Pimpernel) that have found renewed life in tours and regional productions.

Other WaterTower shows include Manicures & Monuments, a new comedy by Dallas writer Vicki Caroline Cheatwood set in a nursing home. And the theater company will join forces with Fort Worth’s Stage West to co-produce the area premiere of The Explorer’s Club. It’s a spoof of an eccentric,  less-than-top-tier Victorian men’s club whose members persist in bringing their work with them (cobras, guinea pigs, etc.) and who promptly fall into crisis mode when a woman tries to join the fun.

Rounding out the season are a classic musical (Sweet Charity), a classic American drama (Arthur Miller’s All My Sons) and the regional premiere of The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical – a sequel to the original Great American Trailer Park Musical. And there’s, once again, WaterTower’s Out-of-the-Loop Fringe Festival.

Other good news: This is Terry Martin’s 15th season as producing artistic director, and there’s no price increases in either subscriptions or single tickets.

The full release:

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The Big Screen: A Dallas Native Goes Hollywood

BigScreen_logoSMALLDoug Mankoff grew up in Dallas and graduated from St. Marks. To fulfill his dreams, he moved to Hollywood, where he’s become an in-demand producer of indie films like Away from Her and Nebraska. This week, we talk to him about what it means to be a producer.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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The High Five: Sir Richard Branson Shows His Love For Dallas Love Field

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Severe weather is in the forecast today; have you seen the new ad that features a shirtless Dan Patrick?; who’s hungry for donuts?; and more.

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The New Face Of Literary Publishing In Dallas

evans 3editSome of the most acclaimed books in print today – the odds are, most Americans will never see them in print. That’s because they’re not translated into English. But one young Dallasite has just started a company to publish books from France, Russia and Mexico. KERA’s Jerome Weeks asks – what in the world is he thinking?

  • KERA radio story:
  • Online story:

The single question Will Evans is asked most often is: Why are you setting up a publishing company — in Dallas? It’s true, his wife’s a lawyer who got a job here last year. And Evans likes the idea of getting publishing out of New York City. Ninety percent of American books are still published in New York.

So Evans asks, why not Dallas?

“As you can imagine,” he says, “publishing is going through a period of upheaval and radical change, and so for that reason, it’s actually easier now to start a publishing house in Dallas than ever before.”

Evans’ new company is called Deep Vellum Publishing. Vellum’s another term for parchment, the name for the animal skins used to make books before paper was invented. Deep Vellum is releasing its first five books starting this fall, and though the firm is just a start-up, the books are by some big literary names. Mikhail Shishkin is the only writer ever to win all three major Russian literary awards. Evans is publishing his collected stories, Calligraphy Lesson. Carmen Boullosa has been called one of Mexico’s greatest writer-poet-playwrights; Evans is releasing her novel, Texas: The Great Theft -- about the relatively unknown invasion of the US by Mexico in 1859. Sergio Pitol is the winner of the Cervantes Prize, often called the Spanish-language Nobel. Deep Vellum is publishing The Art of Flight, the first novel in Pitol’s “Trilogy of Memory.” And Anne F. Garreta was one of the rare female members of OuLiPo, aka the “Workshop for Potential Literature,” the famous French experimental group that often applied mathematics to writing and included such notable authors as Italo Calvino and Georges Perec. Garreta’s 1986 novel, Sphinx, is the oldest of the contemporary novels Deep Vellum is publishing.

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Flickr Photo Of The Week

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts

flickr post 600

Congratulations to Jacob Rasmussen of Garland, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! Jacob is a multiple winner of our contest. His most recent win was last October and he follows last week’s winner, Lyn Caudle.

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.

jayrazNow here’s more from Jacob.

Title of photo:  Zing

Equipment:  Canon T2i

Tell us more about your photo:  This was shot on a friend’s land in East Texas, about 2 hours drive from DFW. We head down there about twice a year to go camping. Oftentimes when we’re there we’ll shoot off fireworks, which is what this photo is of.


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The Big Deal: Mark Grotjahn Exhibition And Lecture At The Nasher Sculpture Center

Untitled (Italian, Mask M30.c), 2013 Painted bronze, 52 3/4 x 33 1/2 x 38 in. (134 x 85.1 x 96.5 cm) Untitled (Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, Facing Left, Mask M31.a), 2013 Painted bronze, 47 7/8 x 31 x 39 in. (121.6 x 78.7 x 99.1 cm) Untitled (French, Mask M31.b), 2013 Painted bronze, 47 7/8 x 31 x 39 in. (121.6 x 78.7 x 99.1 cm) Courtesy Mark Grotjahn © Mark Grotjahn

From left: Untitled (Italian, Mask M30.c); Untitled (Study of a Figure Outdoors: Woman with a Parasol, Facing Left, Mask M31.a);
Untitled (French, Mask M31.b) Photo: Mark Grotjahn

The Nasher Sculpture Center will host the first museum presentation of Mark Grotjahn’s sculptural works. Grotjahn is primarily known for his large, contemporary paintings but in this exhibition vibrantly painted bronze sculptures will be on display May 31 through August 17. Win this Big Deal and you and a guest will be there for the opening day of the exhibition and have reserved seats for the artist lecture starting at 2 p.m.

This may also be the perfect time for you to sign up for our other two offerings this week – tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra present Pixar in Concert at Bass Performance Hall, or tickets to the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth’s Trio of Perspectives: Caviar & Bordeaux at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

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 be at the opening of the Mark Grotjahn Exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

UPDATE: We have our winners. Thanks for playing.


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