News and Features

This Week in Texas Music History: Jimmie Rodgers

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 remembers a giant in American music who considered Texas his second home.

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.

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Jimmie Rodgers, often called “the father of modern country music,” was born in Meridian, Miss., on Sept. 8, 1897. Rogers worked on the railroads, where he learned the blues from black laborers. Early in his career, Rodgers toured extensively throughout Texas, blending cowboy songs and southern hillbilly music with the blues he’d grown to love. By the late-1920s, such hits as “T for Texas” made him the most popular country singer in the world. In 1929, Jimmie Rodgers moved to Kerrville, Texas, hoping that the dry climate would slow his advancing tuberculosis. Although he died in 1933, Rodgers was a major inspiration to Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and countless others.

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Afternoon Delight: A First Look at Spider-Man

Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re back from lunch but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back Monday at 1 p.m. for another installment.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opens on Broadway this fall. The musical features music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge and a book by Julie Taymor and Glen Berger. Oh, and it cost $50 million to produce. So it’s never too soon to start selling tickets! With that in mind, Good Morning America previewed a song from the show this morning sung by Spidey himself.

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Saturday Spotlight: Fort Worth Gallery Night

In the Saturday Spotlight, we’re going on a gallery tour. The Fort Worth Art Dealers Association holds its Fall Gallery Night on Saturday night. Member galleries and museums will open their doors from 2-9 p.m.  Painting, sculpture, jewelery, photography and other media will be included, and several artists will be on hand to discuss their work. Admission is free. Click here for a list of participating museums and galleries.

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Art&Seek on Think TV: The Texas Theatre Re-Opening

The Oak Cliff Foundation, which owns the Texas Theatre on Jefferson Boulevard, had just about pulled the plug. The money was running out and the theater wasn’t bringing in any revenue, the foundation was only a few weeks away from closing it. Built in 1931 and  once the heart of Oak Cliff entertainment life, the Texas officially closed in 1989. Since then, there have been mortgage foreclosures, a five-alarm fire and various attempts to re-model it, restore it, even turn it into a historical museum (it’s where Lee Harvey Oswald hid after shooting police officer J. D. Tippit — and where he was caught by Dallas police).

But now it truly looked like the end of the road for the Texas. Then Aviation Cinemas, Inc. entered the picture (named for Howard Hughes, the Texas’ original owner). It’s a partnership of several independent producers and filmmakers:  Barak Epstein, Adam DonagheyEric Steele and former Baptist General songwriter/art collective founder Jason Reimer. Aviation offered to run the theater and turn it into a revival house or repertory cinema. Reimer was working for the Oak Cliff Foundation and he tells us in the Think TV interview that it was a happy match-up, a “symmetrical” opportunity.

We talk to Reimer about how a revival house might survive in a world of digital downloads, what films he hopes to program for the theater, will they transform the balcony into another screen and whatever happened to Lee Harvey’s seat.

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Friday Morning Roundup

KICKOFF I: When you major in music at UNT, you expect to play a few pretty significant concerts. But one in front of 30,000 people? That’s the plan for tonight, when the UNT Orchestra will play Cowboys Stadium as part of the big Tim McGraw concert that will kick off the countdown to the Super Bowl. The group will provide the live music for a video presentation of Cowboys highlights. Fox 4 spoke with some of the players about performing on such a big stage.

KICKOFF II: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra launched its 2010-11 season last night with an all-Beethoven program. Pianist Jeffery Kahane was scheduled to perform the Piano Concerto No. 4, but the DSO called an audible and went with Symphony No. 5 in C minor when Kahane called in sick. The switcheroo did little to dampen the evening, tough. Scott Cantrell called the night “exhilarating,” though he notes the under-rehearsed Fifth was a little rough. Our own Olin Chism didn’t mind so much, calling the performance of the piece, “taut.” Meanwhile, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs noticed quite a change in Jaap van Zweden’s conducting technique. “By eliminating extraneous motions, he has much more time to convey nuance, which he did most eloquently throughout,” he writes on theaterjones.com. “He delivered a truly great, and technically polished, performance.”

THEATER BITS: Artes de la Rosa’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof makes a seamless transition from Memphis to Miami. (dfw.com) … Casa Manana opens The Sound of Music this weekend. Ahead of the first performance, Steve Blanchard talks about playing Captain von Trapp. (theaterjones.com) … Next weekend, Dallas Children’s Theater begins its season with Miss Nelson is Missing! So what exactly makes for good children’s theater? The New York Times says the best work for kids also plays well to adults. (nytimes.com)

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Quick DSO Reshuffle Produces a Symphonic Success

All didn’t go according to plan when the Dallas Symphony Orchestra opened its new season Thursday night. But some quick reshuffling of the schedule produced a success anyway.

The problem arose when Jeffrey Kahane, who was to have played Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, showed up for rehearsal but didn’t get far before becoming ill. When he decided he couldn’t go on, and no replacement could be found on very short notice, conductor Jaap van Zweden dropped the Fourth and substituted Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

The Fourth Concerto is a lovely work and Kahane is a sensitive musician, so more than a few people were looking forward to his performance. But how can anyone but the most jaded listener complain about the Fifth Symphony?

Van Zweden and the orchestra gave it a taut performance, with some interesting details of interpretation, some beautiful solos and sectional work, and no sense that this was something put together in a hurry.

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, which was the other work of the evening, went ahead as planned. If Van Zweden didn’t quite make it seem fresh once more, he gave it a dramatic performance (including a hair-raising finale) and the orchestra once more was in top form.

There are some personnel changes this season. Most notably, concertmaster Emanuel Borok has retired and his place will be filled by a series of guests (there will be auditions for the position in November). Taking this key position this week (and several times later in the season) is Yuan-Qing Yu, assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, incidentally.

Other prominent members of the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the Indiana University faculty will be filling in later.

One new member of the DSO is principal timpani Edward Stephan, who played the drums in the Eroica Symphony Thursday night, after Doug Howard did the same — admirably — for the Fifth Symphony.

Thursday’s concert (with the Fifth Symphony) will be repeated in the Meyerson Symphony Center Friday through Sunday.

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Think Audio: Henry IV at Dallas Theater Center

Is Shakespeare’s Henry IV a faithful retelling of true events, or did the playwright make it sexier for audience appeal? On Thursday, Think host Krys Boyd examined the literary tug-of-war between art and history with Kathryne McDorman, Associate Professor of British History at Texas Christian University, and Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director of the Dallas Theater Center. Moriarty’s production of Henry IV opens Friday at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Wyly Theatre.

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Afternoon Delight: Pac-Man Attacks!

Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re back from lunch but not quite ready to get back to work. Check back tomorrow at 1 p.m. for another installment.

In November we pointed you to Guillaume Reymond’s amazing live-action version of Tetris, which was included in the Videofest program curated by UT Dallas EMAC students. Now, revel in Reymond’s equally enjoyable stop-motion Pac-Man.

(h/t The Daily What)

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OUT TAKES Dallas Closes its 11th Season Tonight

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.

Tonight at the Magnolia West Village, OUT TAKES Dallas will be screening the last of the films for its 11th season.

The mission of OUT TAKES Dallas is to enlighten, educate, enrich and entertain diverse communities about gays and lesbians through the medium of film and to contribute funds to organizations that seek to foster similar goals.

Role/Play

This month’s feature film is Role/Play. Directed by Rob Williams (Make the Yuletide Gay and Long-Term Relationship), Role/Play follows one hunky soap opera star who seeks refuge at an exclusive Palm Springs resort after he is outed as a result of a gay sex tape scandal. But quiet anonymity eludes him when a handsome marriage-equality activist checks in to escape the fallout from his own bitter divorce. As an undeniable passion begins to sizzle, the two men force each other to confront their professional downfalls and the firestorm each has created in the gay press.

Right before the feature, OUT TAKES will be screening the short One On One. I had the privilege to work with fellow UT Dallas graduate student Luis Fernando Midence on this film, and it was one of the most memorable times that I’ve had on a set to date.

An official selection of the New York City International Film Festival, One On One follows Alex and Trevor as they work out their relationship on and off the basketball court, after one of them asks the other to join a waltz class.

One On One

As the producer and choreographer, it has been a true pleasure to watch our film come to life. It started out as Midence’s brainchild and the opportunity to create a collaboration between UT Dallas and UT Arlington, but our “little film” has grown beyond belief. It has opened the eyes of many of my students, who were cast as dancers, and many audience members into a side of relationships not usually shown in gay films: the youth in relationships, and how they deal with society’s pressures. Both Luis and I are very excited to be a part of OUT TAKES and to show our film here in Dallas.

The show begins at 7 p.m. Stick around afterward to meet and talk with Role/Play lead actor Matthew Montgomery, as well as Luis Fernando Midence and myself!

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The Big Deal: Theater Center Season Tix, Backstage Access, Blue Man Group

It’s not too late to enter this week’s Big Deal. We’ll draw winners tomorrow.

Click here to sign up for two separate drawings:  A pair of Dallas Theater Center season tickets.  And a pair of tickets to see Henry IV, which opens the Theater Center’s season. Bonus note: The winner of the Henry IV tix will also get to go backstage for a behind-the-scenes  special experience. So don’t overlook that sign-up.

And click here to enter for one of five pairs of tickets to see The Blue Man Group’s new show at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Remember: To win, you must be a subscriber to the free Art&Seek e-newsletter. Go here to subscribe, and don’t forget to respond to the confirmation email you’ll receive.

Good luck!

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