News and Features

Flickr Photo of the Week

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts

Congratulations to  Jon Breazeale of Richardson, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest! This is Jon’s first victorY in our contest. He follows last week’s winner, Teresa Rafidi.

If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took previous to 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.

Now here’s a bit more from Jon:

Jon Breazeale

Title of photo: Island of the Mist

Equipment: Canon  EOS 350D

Tell us more about your photo: This was taken at Kimball Bend State Park on the Brazos River. There was a nice fog over the river at the time. The friend I was with, also a photographer, just had to stop and get some shots.

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Asian Film Festival of Dallas Announces Complete Lineup

Films from 10 countries will be included in the 2010 edition of the Asian Film Festival of Dallas. The includes 33 features and 21 shorts for the event, which runs July 23-29 at both the Magnolia and Angelika Film Center in Dallas.

Keep reading for the news release, a full list of films and a schedule of events:

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Tuesday Morning Roundup

DREAM ON: Dreamgirls is in the middle of a nearly three week run at the Music Hall at Fair Park. If you’ve only seen the movie, the onscreen moment you probably remember most is Jennifer Hudson as Effie ripping into “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” – the song that pretty much won her the supporting actress Oscar. So how does the tour’s Moya Angela handle the role? Lawson Taitte says she “drives the audience wild” but that, “The most distinctive thing she brings to the role, though, is her forthright, sassy sex appeal.” Still, the role is largely about that one big song. And Mark Lowry says there comes a point where more is just more. “When she stands up and really rips into it, her physical reaction is a conniption fit,” he writes on “She convulses so much through the song that some of the words are lost, and she loses control of a major moment in Effie’s life. Her performance is not one of rage that stems from heartbreak. It’s forced and bordering on crazy.” Dreamgirls runs through July 18.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: The New York Times reports that a number of major orchestras are looking to fill spots. Included in that list is the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which has three open positions. (The story doesn’t say which spots are open; I’ll see if I can’t run that down later.) So why all the help wanted signs? The Times says there are a few reasons: a) some groups have left positions unfilled to save money during the economic downturn b) some outgoing music directors have left the seats unfilled so that their replacements at the top can make the decision and c) auditioning for an orchestra is a long process. The part of the story that details that process is pretty interesting.

MORE THAN JUST BOOKS: If you’ve been to a library lately, you know that lending books is only one service that they provide. And the Los Angeles Times says that we need to consider just how important these institutions are. Marilyn Johnson, who wrote the column, goes so far as to say that libraries are, “one of the most effective levelers of privilege and avenues of reinvention — one of the great engines of democracy.” Just something to think about as local library hours continue to dwindle.

UPDATE: The open positions for the DSO are all due to retirement. The orchestra is in need of a concertmaster, a violin and a cello.

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Scenes from the Class Struggle in the Park Cities

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Categorized Under: Books, Culture

“With more shopping centers per capita than any other place in the country, is Dallas the most American city? Shopping is the primeval activity here in the Queen City of the Southwest . . . ”

North Texas author Ben Fountain (Brief Encounters with Che Guevara) reported on the  local, trendy, upscale retail economy for The New York Times’ opinion page July 2. He first visited Rich Hippie, the two-mom-founded, woman’s clothing boutique on Lovers Lane which seems to be doing well enough with its independent, non-designer-label fashions and its practical business model. Then he toured Highland Park Village and heard lots of happy news but saw few customers.

But as my fashion-sensible daughter told me as we stood outside Ralph Lauren admiring the psycho-preppie window displays, you can’t expect hordes of customers in the high-end shops: “Different market, Dad.” …  Meanwhile, average debt per Dallas resident ranks second in the country, with the lowest consumer credit quality of the nation’s largest metro areas.

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Monday Morning Roundup

STILL CHASING THE WHALE: After years of work on his Moby-Dick opera, which the Dallas Opera debuted in the spring, you’d think Jake Heggie would be tired of Melville for a while. But the opposite seems to be the case. Heggie has been commissioned to compose a new work – tentatively called Ahab Symphony. It’s all part of his being named artist-in-residence for 2010-11 at the University of North Texas. He’ll be taking over the position from filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga. “I have been wanting to expand the journey of Moby-Dick,” Heggie tells, “to broaden it and really look at some of the Ahab monologues I was not able to include in the opera. I want to create a symphonic work that is in the universe of the opera, but is new material.”

BROADWAY IS WATCHING: I’ve been wondering if The New York Times was going to take an interest in the Dallas Theater Center’s It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman. With all the talk of it possibly heading to Broadway one day, it seemed like the sort of thing The Times would take an interest in. Well, Sunday, it finally did. If you’ve been following the show’s path to the stage and the many local features and reviews over the past few months, there’s not much in the way of new information in this story. But it is worth a look for the slideshow, which gives you a pretty good idea of what the production looks like.

ON THERE OWN: While we were busy celebrating our independence from Britain this weekend, Mexico is busy for all of 2010 celebrating its independence from Spain. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence, and the Dallas Museum of Art is recognizing the occasion with a pair of exhibitions: “José Guadalupe Posada: The Birth of Mexican Modernism” and “Tierra y Gente: Modern Mexican Works on Paper.” Gaile Robinson of took in the shows and was most impressed by the work of Posada, a political cartoonist. If you’ve ever seen the art from Mexico that features those cartoonish skeletons, Posada is largely to thank.

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The Paul Slavens Show: Live Blog for July 4, 2010

Happy 4th everybody!
Well, I never do themes, but in order to make sure I keep with my no-theme rule, that means that I must sometimes do a theme, lest my no-theme actually becomes a theme.
So, with that explained, tonight we will have a considerable amount of music about America. Then, in celebration of six years on the radio, I will play some of my all-time favorite music. Hope you enjoy – leave comments and suggestions for future shows and have a great night.

Tonight’s setlist:

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This Week in Texas Music History: Kris Kristofferson

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman honors a Texan who was a Rhodes scholar, a janitor and a helicopter pilot before becoming an award-winning songwriter and movie star.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KERA radio’s 90.1 at Night.

  • Click the player to listen to the podcast:
  • Expanded online version:

Kris Kristofferson was born in Brownsville, Texas, on June 22, 1936. In 1958, he won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. In 1965, he moved to Nashville to become a professional songwriter. As a janitor at Columbia Records, he managed to pitch his songs to other artists. He also spent time as a helicopter pilot in Louisiana, flying workers to and from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. By the late 1960s, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Janis Joplin and others began scoring hits with such Kristofferson tunes as “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” Kristofferson also is a successful actor, appearing in dozens of films with Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson and others. In 1985, Kristofferson joined Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash to form the country super group, the Highwaymen.

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Saturday Spotlight: Independence Day

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Categorized Under: Local Events

In the Saturday Spotlight, we’re celebrating the red, white and blue. Independence Day falls on Sunday, but a lot of the celebrating will take place on Saturday. We’ve done our best to roundup the many 4th of July events happening this weekend in this handy post.

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Mark Your Calendars: Aug. 17 is Arts Advocacy Day

Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is a dance lecturer at the University of Texas Arlington. She also serves as assistant director of  UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble.

With the upcoming Dallas City Council decision to be made regarding a proposed 55 percent cut in direct funding for arts programming, the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition (DACAC) is calling for patrons of the arts to come together and make their voices heard.

Not sure how? DACAC has a few recommendations:

  1. Attend several budget town hall meetings and urge your friends to also attend one or more meetings. You can attend any of the meetings, not just those in your district.
  2. Fill out the city’s questionnaire regarding public art and make support for arts and culture your No. 1 priority.
  3. Write or e-mail the mayor, city manager and Dallas City Council. Place special emphasis on your council member.
  4. Attend Arts Advocacy Day on Aug. 17.

Last year, the support of the citizens of Dallas helped to keep the Office of Cultural Affairs alive and kept it a free-standing organization. The great attendance at last year’s Arts Advocacy Day helped to increase awareness of the relevancy of the arts in Dallas and showed the city how much they mean to its livelihood.

Presented by the Cultural Affairs Commission, City of Dallas and the DACAC, Arts Advocacy Day is an opportunity for everyone interested in the arts to learn more about effective advocacy and the economic impact of the arts. This year’s event features two seminars: one on the efficacy of advocacy – the do’s and don’t’s – and one on how to use the media for effective advocacy. The keynote speaker is Dr. Ray Perryman.

Perryman is a noted economist and author of a definitive economic impact study on the arts in Texas, “The Arts, Culture, and the Texas Economy.” Arts commentators and political writers, including myself (his study was the basis for the Texas case study in my book The Politics of State Public Arts Funding), have cited his work. He was recently honored by the Texas Legislature for his “tireless efforts in helping to build a better Texas” and is a wealth of knowledge and advice when it comes to public advocacy of the arts.

A focus of both Perryman and other Texan arts advocates is the economic impact of cultural heritage tourism. The state has been developing this specific type of tourism by incorporating the efforts of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Commission (THC). One of the major considerations behind the aggressive promotion of tourism, and the building of new arts centers, is the fact that arts tourists, on average, spend significantly more than other types of tourists. In Texas, cultural and heritage tourists are  spend approximately $103.50 per day, compared to the $81.20 per day spent by general leisure travelers.

The arts do contribute to the health of a city’s economy, specifically by increasing an interest in tourists. To keep visitors coming to the Big D, the arts have to stay alive, and they need funding and public support to do so.

The 2010 Arts Advocacy Day is at the Winspear Opera House. For more information, contact Joanna St. Angelo, President of the Dallas Area Cultural Advocacy Coalition, or call 214.520.7789.

Only 150 tickets are available for the event and it is expected to sell out, so tickets may not be available at the door. The DACAC recommends reserving tickets in advance. They are currently available online and only cost $35 (which includes lunch and all seminar materials).

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Friday Morning Roundup

THE DSO IN VAIL: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra opened its 10th residency at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival this week. On the bill is a bit of a polarizing figure – soloist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.  The violinist was part of the DSO’s season opener this year and was called out by some of the local critics for her wild gesticulating. And it sounds as if maybe she’s taken some of that criticism to heart. In Vail, she played Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin. “Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg gave a richly warm reading of the solo part of the work that largely avoided the mannerisms that have come to detract more and more from her artistry,” writes Wes Blomster on

MUSIC BITS: It’s been rumored for a few weeks now, but now it’s official: the Lilith Fair tour stop in Dallas has been canceled according to a news release that landed in my inbox last night. That means no homecoming for Erykah Badu and Norah Jones. … The Old 97’s are offering up a free three-song live EP. (DC 9 at Night) … Fort Worth’s Cityview talks about how its old lineup became its new lineup. (

AMON CARTER GOES MODERN: The current big show at the Amon Carter is called “Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s.” Just about every medium is represented, including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing and film. And Christina Rees says get thee to it. “The exhibition is the best of its type: there is something for everyone while the work is never dumbed down,” she writes on D‘s Front Row blog. She gives an extra high five to curator Mary Kate O’Hare, who put the show together with lots of material from her home institution, the Newark Museum. You can see Jerome’s interview with O’Hare for Think TV here.

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