News and Features

Win Tickets To Get WRECKED With Art Conspiracy

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Categorized Under: Giveaways, Music, Visual Arts


Art Con presents WRECKED featuring 40+ curated artists who have been challenged to stretch their talents to create a themed piece based on the inspiration of deconstructed/reconstructed ordinary objects. Completed works will be presented for two live auctions starting at $50, raising money for this year’s Art Con X event.

Art&Seek has tickets to give away to the event happening this Saturday, June 7 at Life in Deep Ellum.  Sign up below to win tickets  and you’ll be able to catch live music by Dark Rooms featuring Daniel Hart, French 75 with DJ Mouth Mold, featuring Jencey Keeton from Smile Smile (CD Release), and Ronnie Heart, from Neon Indian. And of course, there will be local food trucks to serve up an eclectic mix of cuisines (Nammi, Easy Sliders, and Say Kimchi) with drinks available at the bar. Yum!

UPDATE:  We have our winners. Thanks for playing.




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The High Five: Texas Authors Featured At BookExpo America

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: gifts of money in envelopes will be left in Victory Park tonight; Texas authors are represented at a big national book expo; Dallas is the most chivalrous city; and more.

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KXT’s Summer Cut! And The Headliner Is……

2014SummerCut2014v1 no ObserverDeath Cab for Cutie!

That’s who’ll be headlining KXT’s Summer Cut, the annual multi-stage concert brought to you by KXT 91.7 FM and Live Nation.

Who else is playing? So glad you asked: Iron&Wine, The Hold Steady, The Oh Hellos (a brother-sister duo!). The Wild Feathers and  Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. Of course there will be acts from North Texas too: The Orbans, Valise and The Unlikely Candidates.

Tix on sale June 6 at 10 a.m. at

Stay tuned for more info about special stuff that will put the Happy Funtime Fest in Summer Cut.



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Review: “Booth” from Second Thought Theatre

STT's BOOTH - Austin Terrell, Drew Wall, Montgomery Sutton - wide by Ellen Appel

Austin Terrell as Samuel Mudd, Drew Wall as Davey Herold and Montgomery Sutton as John Wilkes Booth in Second Thought’s Booth. All photos credit: Ellen Appel.

Dozens of novels and films, even stage plays, have been written with Lee Harvey Oswald at their center. But with John Wilkes Booth, the number’s closer to zero (David Stocton’s fine but forgotten novel, The Judges of the Secret Court, is a rare exception).

There’s a simple reason: Oswald remains a smirking enigma, a kind of historic black hole sucking in all the meaning we can throw at him. He was the wrong man at the wrong time, a self-proclaimed Leninist who defected to the Soviet Union, then defected back. Writers will be finding material in those knotted motivations for decades.

But Booth? Booth we know all too well, even if we know only the basics. He was a Confederate fanatic. He was a dashing peacock, the handsomest of the famous actor Booths but the least respected.

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Saturday Spotlight – A Bluegrass Battle

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DHV-website-BandPic2 For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re going to the Front Porch Showdown at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. It’s a bluegrass battle as ten bands compete, and you get to vote for the winner. The kids can make musical instruments and play along, and the night ends as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band plays Beatles songs with a twang.

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Friday Conversation: Steven Walters, Writer/Director of “Booth” At Second Thought Theatre

BOOTH - Brandon Sterrett Montgomery Sutton Drew Wall - by Ellen Appel

Montgomery Sutton plays John Wilkes Booth in “Booth” by Second Thought Theatre. Photo: Ellen Appel.

What motivated the man who killed Abraham Lincoln? Dallas actor Steven Walters was fascinated by the question. His new play, Booth, examines the conspiracy to assassinate the president and the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth. In the Friday Conversation, he tells KERA’s Anne Bothwell that there are plenty of parallels to  our post 9/11 world.

Walters is a co-founder of Second Thought Theatre. He’s also a member of the Dallas Theater Center’s resident acting company. You can see him next in the DTC’s production of Les Miserables, which opens June 27.

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

steven walters

Steven Walters

On why Booth caught his attention…..Well there was so much I didn’t know about John Wilkes Booth. But as my story partner and research partner ERic Archilla and I really delved into it, there was this whole other side of Booth that opened up to me. The idea that he was a spy,that he was employed as part of the Confederate underground   A network of spies that operated out of Canada, at the behest of Jefferson Davis and the confederacy.

When I began to think of him as a double agent, as an actor living in the north, it just opened up a new world to me.

Why Booth has been neglected.…As Americans, I think we like simple answers to complicated questions. And with John Wilkes Booth, it’s easier if we accept the premise that he was a deranged redneck who came out of the wilderness and committed this emotionally motivated act of terror.  I think when you see it was calculated and there were political consequences to it, it just becomes way less simple.

Parallels between this story and our current political climate…Given everything that’s going on in a post 9/11 world, with the Patriot Act and the NSA wiretaps, when I think about those things and I look back on the 1860s equivalent of that,  [Secretary of War Edwin] Stanton and his people, they seized letters, they seized documents, they detained innocent people without naming their crime or charging them with a crime….     They did all of those things, of course, in the name of protecting us. Just like now our government presumably is doing all the things they are doing in the name of defending us against terrorism.

I think those parallels are clear and I think it’s out of curiosity that I write the play, and not out of feeling certain about one way or the other.

On the pressures of acting v. writing and directing…I would have to say that the process of writing is very relaxing to me, because it’s autonomous. I’m alone; I can work at my own leisure.   The process of acting is terrifying, the rehearsal process, because you’re entering into this thing, and you don’t even know what the thing is.   You’re just this tiny component part to the bigger picture and you’re just trying to make sure you’re not the one who messes it up.

But then, once you get beyond rehearsals, those two things flip. As a writer/director watching your own work, it’s terrifying  because you can no longer control the outcome night to night.   But then in the process of performing, it’s exciting and palpable, because  you get to interact with the audience and you get to feel that pleasure of knowing that you’ve done your job right.

Harder to get an acting gig or a play produced? …….I think that there are currently not as many opportunities for playwrights in Dallas. But I think that’s changing. When you look at institutions like TACA and funds like the Donna Wilhelm Family New Works fund, they are making a huge difference, in terms of opportunities for local playwrights.

For the past 10 years, it’s probably been slightly easier to be an actor. But I think that pendulum is swinging back the other way.   I hope the trend continues. There’s so much new work in Dallas right now.




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The High Five: Sriracha Hot Sauce Company Staying Put In California

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: a Dallas Starbucks drink order goes viral; prominent choreographer Bruce Wood has died; Sriracha is staying put; and more.

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Kudos To Dallas Biennial Creators; Next Time Let’s Pay More Attention

db14 MB billboard 24x12

DB 14’s billboard art, by Math Bess, appears at West 10th & Taylor Streets in Fort Worth through May 31.

Intro:  Dallas Biennial 2014, a multi-staged exhibition blanketed Dallas this spring and recently hit Fort Worth.  Follow Joan Davidow as she presents an overview of this highly orchestrated affair….

Two energetic artists, Jesse Morgan Barnett and Michael Mazurek, invented the Dallas Biennial two years ago.  This year, they presented DB 14, a wild concept showing 50 artists in twelve exhibitions during four months in Dallas. The host sites went from the familiar –Goss-Michael Foundation– to wildcards, like offices in a 1980s building on Stemmons Freeway.

This adventurous pair cobbled together quite an endeavor.  They researched artists they like, finding them on-line or from their former UT-Arlington art classes.  They focused on challenging artists they wanted to expose.

Two years ago, they launched DB 12, an intimate showing of mostly videos and small works in Oliver Francis Gallery’s tiny back room near Fair Park.  That biennial was primarily online with video works on their website.

They expanded their concept for this year’s DB14.  In fact, it was on steroids with way too many venues for visitors to manage.  They opened the event showing Scottish artist and California professor Thomas Lawson.  Twenty of his splashy figurative paintings showed at Goss-Michael gallery in early February.  Barnett and Mazurek knew Lawson’s essay that had inspired their art awareness.

Shows at ten other venues followed, opening lickety-split in almost bi-weekly intervals.  The kookiest site, an unassuming office building on Stemmons Freeway, featured area artists positioned in funky places.  Dallas artist Lucia Simek’s piece landed in a closet-sized room.  Acknowledging its odd-placed windows, she humorously covered the walls in floor length drapes.

The “big show” hit the streets in early May in a dilapidated industrial building on Singleton Avenue in West Dallas.  A dozen artists filled a dark, expansive area and small offices with videos, photographs, sound works, project pieces, paintings and sculpture.  One artist who traveled from Switzerland created impactful sculptures of plaster-coated burlap that resembled a human-sized Stonehenge.

Bravo to these two smart, committed artists turned curators, turned directors.  They single-handedly developed a challenging program in Dallas with little funding and big imaginations.  This type of spunky creativity mirrors the spirit required for a metropolis to succeed.  In addition to traditional museums and galleries, today’s vibrant city must support raw spaces for budding talents.  DB14 redefined “places” for art:  one of its last venues was the art magazine Semigloss.

Sadly DB14 garnered little of the public attention it deserved:  no magazine coverage, barely any newsprint, with some respected on-line attention.

You can briefly see the last of it, on a billboard in downtown Fort Worth by a mysterious California artist Math Bass.  It features cartooned German buildings influenced by an Adolf Hitler painting.

I commend this significant underground effort.  Dallas deserves to see experimental, challenging work from its young community and from national and international talent.  These two hard-working, sassy guys did what no other entity in Dallas has done.  When it comes again as DB 16, a bigger audience, press, collectors, and the art-curious must show up.

Joan Davidow is the former director of the Dallas Contemporary. She teaches contemporary art at SMU.



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Bruce Wood, Prominent North Texas Choreographer And Dancer, Has Died

3_em-ZPT2dGm92wt2ArYIdWGk0Lb12cC_5Y8H2orzpIBruce Wood, right, rehearsed with his dancers at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

A major creative force in North Texas has died. The founder of the Bruce Wood Dance Project, perhaps the most esteemed choreographer in North Texas, died Wednesday of complications from pneumonia and heart failure. He was 53.

His death was unexpected — he had just finished work on a new piece, created a duet and was preparing a show in mid June.

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Live Operacasts (At Texas Stadium, At Booker T)? They May Not Be Winning A New Audience

Massimo-Giordano-Tosca-Cavaradossi-Tenor-Tenore-Catherine-Naglestad-Dallas-Opera-Massimo-Giacomo-PucciniThe Dallas Opera’s Tosca from 2008 with Massimo Giordano and Catherine Nagelstad.

The English Touring Opera and London’s Guildhall School of Drama and Music conducted a survey of 230 participants or so, all of whom had attended live screenings in movie theaters in 2013. The opera offerings ranged from modern satire (Shostakovich’s The Nose) to grand warhorses, both comic and dramatic (Verdi’s Falstaff, Puccini’s Tosca). Afterwards, some seventy-five percent of the attendees reported they felt no different about possibly attending a live production in the future. Ten percent felt less motivated.

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