News and Features

A Decade of Innovation in the Arts: Part I

This week, Art&Seek will look at some of the biggest innovations in the arts over the last decade. We’ve asked local experts to blog each day about a significant advancement in how art is created or consumed. By the end of the week, we think you’ll see that things have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years.

Our first post comes from Dean Terry, the Director of the Emerging Media + Communication Program and MobileLab at the University of Texas at Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter @therefore.

The winners of the last decade on the Internet were YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. All of these are all social networks where the content is 100 percent created (or repurposed) by the participants – not by some official content producer, publisher, broadcaster or curator.

It’s old news that we’re all curators now in an interwoven, multilayered dialogue rather than a monologue. But publishing and promoting our own work has another side. People have changed their expectations about how they participate with the arts. They no longer expect just to be consumers of art and content – they are also producers, and at the very least want to talk back.

A growing 24 percent of social net users are creators themselves and contribute their own work right alongside that of long established artists and institutions. People do not want to be simply talked at or presented to. Publishing or presenting without some form of participation, in the emerging networked environment, comes off as something like yelling over someone in a conversation. Broadcasting, presenting or publishing something is just the beginning, not the end.

This is not a technical evolution but a cultural one – there are changes in the way people create and interact with art, but also with the creative process itself.

The Internet, and specifically the social tools that have come along more recently, facilitate an ability to collaborate in ways that were simply not present before. And the idea of the solo genius and singular voice as the principal model is breaking down. It’s still there, still important, but now there are new ways to work with others. The notion that art comes solely from a solitary mind, often in isolation, is not the only model.

Some projects do not work well with conventional collaboration or multiple authors, though this may change. Recently, a major problem in mathematics was solved collaboratively on a blog. Might we see this approach widely adopted in areas previously thought the domain of the solitary artist? Even where this is difficult or impossible, it does not mean that work cannot benefit from input via a (hopefully carefully crafted) social network. This is especially true when the process, often carefully guarded, is exposed (or, in the language of our times, shared).

Some artists are now sharing their process on a daily basis, creating a much more active feedback loop with their audience. Former receivers of completed artistic output are now often participants in the creative process in terms of how they influence the work. So, while many artists still control the content, none of them control the conversation around it.

When I was in graduate school, everyone had their own private studio. The idea was that you would go in and not come out until your latest solo creation was complete. The process was invisible, and often obsessively secretive. Process was discussed in frequently stiff, wordy “artists statements.” Now, happily, we have the opportunity to share our creative problems and process with others. It’s ongoing, open and iterative. With practice – and this is an evolving model – it should result in richer experiences for everyone.

All of these changes in the arts and the new possibilities in collaboration and process sharing are just beginning. They are accelerated and will be changed even further by emerging mobile technologies. The current and near future wave of the mobile Internet will mean a substantial evolution in the way we connect and relate to people, places and information. This new mobile Internet ecosystem presents radical new ways to think about how the arts can evolve. And the voice part of your phone, if you still use it, becomes an afterthought. Welcome to 2010.

Dean Terry will write about how mobile technologies affect the arts in a future blog post.

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Monday Morning Roundup

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Categorized Under: Music, Uncategorized

THE YEAR IN LIVE MUSIC: The music critics for the local major dailies have unveiled their picks for the best concerts of 2009. Topping Preston Jones’ list is Leonard Cohen’s marathon show at the Nokia Theatre in April. Meanwhile, Mario Tarradell loved Raphael Saadiq’s set last month at the House of Blues. The only shows making both lists: Paul McCartney at Cowboys Stadium in August and Metallica at the AAC in September.

WEIGHING IN FROM AFAR: While we’re on a listy streak, a couple of out-of-town critics have trained their eyes on Dallas. First up, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times installs Jaap Van Zweden atop his Faces to Watch: Music list. The DSO maestro makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut on April 4. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone isn’t quite sure if you’ve heard of a little outfit called the Old 97′s. The band’s Satellite Rides makes the magazine’s list of the decade’s best under-the-radar albums. It’s a safe bet that if you show up at Sons of Hermann Hall tonight, you’ll hear a few cuts off of that one.

MISSING: ONE GUITAR: Imagine the thing you value most in the world. Now imagine it’s gone missing. That’s the state that Arlington musician Jordan Mycoskie is in. His one-of-a-kind Seagull acoustic guitar was stolen last week – the only guitar he’s played for the last 10 years. And it should be pretty easy to spot – Mycoskie has taken to drawing all over it with a Sharpie. Fort Worth Weekly has more details on the search. Keep your eyes peeled if you’re headed to any pawnshops.

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This Week in Texas Music History: Little Esther Phillips

phillips2Art&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 meets a woman who became the youngest singer to score a number one hit on the R&B charts.

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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Little Esther Phillips was born in Galveston on Dec. 23, 1935. When she was still a child, her family moved to Los Angeles, where Phillips sang in the church choir and began competing in local talent shows. A popular Los Angeles bandleader named Johnny Otis heard Phillips perform and signed her to a recording contract when she was only 14. Her 1950 hit song “Double Crossing Blues” made her the youngest R&B singer to top the national charts. Little Esther Phillips toured for a while with Otis and continued to produce hit records. In 1954, she moved to Houston. Although she struggled with drug addiction and a slump in record sales, she managed to revive her musical career in the 1960s. Phillips recorded a string of minor hits and had several high-profile performances, including a 1965 BBC TV show with the Beatles and subsequent appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Phillips earned a Grammy nomination in 1973 for Best R&B Performance by a Female Vocalist.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll learn about a folk songwriter who became a somewhat reluctant pop superstar.

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The Paul Slavens Show: December 27, 2009

Hope you all are having a great holiday season.
This is where you can help me find out about great music and pass it on.
Leave your polite comments and suggestions for music to check out.
If you can leave a link to where the music can be bought that is great.
Ho Ho Ho, lets go !

Bettye Lavette “We Got to Slip Around” Anti-Sampler

The Fratellis “Whistle For The Choir” Costello Music

Astor Piazolla “Los Mareados” Ciclos ’85

Crosby, Stills & Nash “Helplessly Hoping” Greatest Hits

———————-

Vic Chesnutt “Cutty Shark” Drunk

Sleep Whale “Ferry Whistle” Houseboat

Charlotte Gainsbourg “Heaven Can Wait” Heaven Can Wait

Mance Lipscomb “Shake,Shake,Mama” Best of Mance Lipscomb

————–

Latin Playboys “Same Brown Earth” Latin Playboys

Sun Ra “Interplanetary Music” We Travel the Spaceways

Shivaree “Would You Lay With Me” Tainted Love: Mating Calls and

Fight Songs

Michael Nesmith “Joanne” Magnetic South

———————–

Gorillaz “November Has Come” Demon Days

Rev Chalie Jackson “You Better Run to the City of Refuge” Wade in

the Water

Stereototal “Schon von Hinten” Stereo Total

Gram Parsons “I Can’t Dance”  Grievous Angel

—————–

Nouvelle Vague “Blister In The Sun” 3

Serge Prokofiev Op. 52 Prokofiev plays Prokofiev-Great Pianists

Serge Gainsbourg “Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus” Forever Gainsbourg

Clyde Moody “Six White Horses” Roots Of Rockabilly Volume 1 1950

———————

Daniel Folmer “Skin & Bones” The Roaring Twenties

Raymond Scott “The Penguin” The Music Of Raymond Scott – Reckless

Nights and Twilights

Shoukichi Kina “Jing Jing” Asian Classics 2: Peppermint Tea House -

Best of Shoukichi Kina

Yeasayer “Tightrope” DARK WAS THE NIGHT

———————-

Cibo Matto “Clouds” Pom Pom: The Essential Cibo Matto

Doug Burr “The righteous Will Rejoice” The Shawl

The Wolfgang Press “Kansas (remix)” Everything Is Beautiful / A

Retrospective 1983-1995

Harry Nilsson “Me And My Arrow” Nilsson – All Time Greatest Hits

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Saturday Spotlight: Holiday Shows

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Categorized Under: Theater

In the Saturday Spotlight, we’re clinging to Christmas. Santa has come and gone, but several holiday shows are sticking around. Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol at the Kalita Humphreys Theater. The Rockettes take the Nokia Theatre stage for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. And Stage West continues its holiday show, A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol.

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Art&Seek Q&A: Jazz Drummer Jack Allday

Jack SweaterThe first time I heard Jack Allday’s name was from my father. The two attended Highland Park High School together in the 1950s. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, on occasion (usually special occasions), we’d go over to Dick’s Last Resort in the West End to watch Jack’s band perform.

Jack Allday was an all-star athlete throughout high school who went on to perform with some of the greatest regional bands during the 1950s and ’60s. He is also a highly regarded media and creative consultant as well as the Department Chair, Advertising and Marketing Studies at Northwood University in Cedar Hill.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon enjoying Jack Allday’s Swing Shift Band at Lakewood Bar and Grill. The place was filled with fun and enthusiastic fans, and Jack warmly met each one of them at the door.

In a recent e-mail conversation, Jack talks about his musical beginnings, as well as the bands he’s performed with and more in this week’s Art&Seek Q&A:

Art&Seek: Tell me about how you got started playing the drums, and what led you to perform mostly jazz.

Jack Allday: My mother was a wonderful, self-taught, two-fisted piano player. She was very musical. I was born in 1941, so for the first 10 or so years of my life, we had radio, but no TV. On Sunday nights my parents and I would listen to WWL in New Orleans (a Clear Channel station, so it came in clearly in Shreveport, where we lived at the time) and a two-hour block of jazz. Then, for my 15th birthday, they gave me a set of drums and I quickly taught myself to play, mostly by watching other drummers. Jazz was and is always my first love.

Art&Seek: Who have been you influences over the years?

J.A.: My musical influences would be Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Buddy Rich and a wonderful but not-so-famous drummer named Jack Sperling. There are lots of others – Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Rushing, Joe Morello. Non-musical influences would be my parents and two of my coaches – Tugboat Jones (football) and Ernie Kennedy (baseball).

A&S: If you could sit in with any band in the world, which one would that be (living or otherwise)?

J.A.: I would love to sit in with the Count Basie band, though I don’t read music and would be way, way over my head.

A&S: Tell me about the days you were in The Nightcaps. Do you still keep in touch with those guys?

J.A.: We had a little band at Highland Park called The Atmospheres that had a record called Fickle Chicken that did fairly well regionally. I remember when I was about 16, The Atmospheres were booked to play a party, and we got paid. It was a life-changing experience. You mean people will pay me to do something I love to do anyway? When I was a senior I joined The Nightcaps, which were just getting started. I decided to go to SMU. It was expensive, but I lived at home and between The Nightcaps, touring summers with dance and show bands and working at the YMCA, I paid every dime of my college education and always had money in my pocket. The Nightcaps was a hell of a band. We sort of invented what came to be called the “Texas Shuffle.” We put a shuffle beat behind many of the songs we did, which made things swing and also made us an easy band to dance to. “Wine Wine Wine” was a big hit, as was “Thunderbird.” Our album still sells today, and the music holds up well. Yes, I still stay in touch with the guys and occasionally will play a gig with Billy Joe Shine and Gene Haufler – the only two original Nightcaps still playing.

A&S: Aside from The Nightcaps and Tommy Loy’s band, what other bands have you performed in?

J.A.: When I was 19, I quit college for one semester and toured with a show that billed itself as Roland Drayer, His Golden Voice and His Orchestra, featuring Kurtis and His Marionettes. We played country clubs, Elks’ clubs, officers’ clubs on military bases, all over the West and Pacific Northwest. I later toured with Big Jim Lawrence and the Treasure Ford Show, and a rhythm and blues band out of Wichita Falls called Kenny & The Volcanoes. Touring was educational, as I saw a lot of the country, and it was tons of fun. But the road is for the young. I wouldn’t want to do it today, though good bands today either fly or travel in fancy buses or motor homes. As a drummer, I backed acts like Jimmy Reed, Lightning Hopkins, the Mamas and the Papas, Sonny & Cher, Ben E. King, the Diamonds, Sid King, the Harmonicats, Brother Dave Gardner and many more.

A&S: Tell me about the band members you play with regularly these days, and how structured are your gigs? If you get together to rehearse, where does that usually happen?

J.A.: We never rehearse (you couldn’t tell?). The band today includes Donnie Gililland (guitar), Dale McFarland (piano) and Mark Wilson (bass). We have all known each other for probably 30 years and played together off and on much of that time. As to the structure question – no structure to speak of whatsoever!

A&S: Are there certain musicians you particularly enjoy performing with?

J.A.: I enjoy all the guys in my band – they are all solid musicians and inventive and always surprise me. Plus they are all really good guys and we get along really well. I enjoy playing with so many of the good players and feel privileged to be able to play with them. I always love to play with Bill Briggs, who you heard yesterday. He is an inspiration – the guy is about to turn 86. Also love a sax player named Chris McGuire, bass player Chris Clarke, so many piano players (Steve Sonday, Dave Zoller) and Sandra Kaye and Drenda Barnett are two of my favorite singers.

A&S: What’s the atmosphere like at a typical show?

J.A.: We try to always make the atmosphere fun, and to get the audience to feel like they are part of the show. When that happens, an energy builds that makes us play better and the audience enjoy themselves more. We feed off of each other. When that all clicks, there isn’t a better place to be in the world than on the bandstand (the kids today call it a stage), playing with good players, for an appreciative audience.

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Thursday Morning Roundup

THE YEAR THAT WAS: Over the last week or so, dallasnews.com has been looking back at the best of 2009. Most of the countdowns so far have been of national arts stuff like television and pop culture. But now we’ve got a review of the year in classical music and opera and (I think) a review of visual arts and architecture. The list is called Year in Review: Dallas Arts District, which curiously includes shows from the Kimbell at Nos. 3 and 4. Any who … it’s still a good reminder of some of the top notch fine art happenings from the last year. I might have included the George Segal show at the Nasher and the Philip Haas show at the Kimbell, but it’s hard to argue too loudly against what made the list.

MUSIC BITS: The Dallas Observer has ranked the best DFW albums of 2009. Topping the list: Telegraph Canyon’s The Tide and the Current (DC9 at Night) … Fort Worth’s Hentai Improvising Orchestra refuses to practice so everything stays nice and improvised. (FW Weekly) … KXT has in-studio videos of recent vintage from former Slobberbone frontman Brent Best and Fort Worth’s Maren Morris. (kxt.org).

SIGNING OFF FOR NOW: Just a note to let you know The Morning Roundup will be too covered in wrapping paper tomorrow a.m. to deliver the usual look at the day’s local arts news (which is just as well, as I predict a slow news day). So we suggest you take a break, too, and meet back up with us on Monday. Until then, I leave you with my favorite rendition of this Christmas carol. Try slipping it on the stereo when everyone’s opening gifts and see if anyone notices.

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Chatting with Larry

larry3Over on Frontburner, a long-held complaint against writer Larry McMurtry was lodged once again, understandably so, given his NPR interview with Linda Wertheimer this morning. He’s a relucant interview subject at best; at worst, he’s grumpy and borderline insulting. During my tenure as book critic at the Dallas Morning News, I’d heard the stories. And I was given several terse ‘nos’ to my own occasional request for an interview with McMurtry — in person, over the phone, whatever.

Sure enough, when McMurtry and his partner Diana Ossana appeared on KERA’s Think with Krys Boyd last year, he was so silent that Ossana kept leaping in to fill the dead space — leading to a pretty unsatisfying radio interview.

So I wasn’t looking forward to talking to them that same evening for the Nasher Salon series. But it turned out very differently. McMurtry doesn’t care much for Hollywood, so he’s generally tired of all the questions about his movies. He’s pretty ambivalent about a lot of his novels, especially the ones that everyone seems to know and/or love. And as he’s repeatedly indicated in his non-fiction (and what should be clear from his Westerns anyway), you can forget about the subjects of ranching or ‘Old Texas’ and all its myths.

But I was lucky: His memoir about reading, book buying and collecting had just come out, and those, it turns out, are what he loves to talk about. He couldn’t have been happier — during a public interview, at any rate. When receiving an award in LA earlier last year, he’d reminisced about the many antiquarian book shops in LA he’d once loved, stores that no longer exist. He practically broke down.

So that’s my tip for any future interviewer. Get him started on his book collection or his bookstore in Archer City. Those are his passions.

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Local Rockettes Reflect on Life on Stage

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Categorized Under: Dance, Local Events
The Falling Soldiers is one of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular's show stoppers.

The Falling Soldiers is one of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular's show stoppers.

The touring version of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is in the middle of a monthlong run at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie. KERA’s Stephen Becker talks with a pair of local dancers in the show about what it takes to be a Rockette:

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If there’s one thing the Rockettes are known for, it’s locking arms in a straight line, smiling wide and knocking out those perfectly precise, eye-high kicks.

Addie Hoobler, who’s performed thousands of those kicks as part of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, says the key is putting all the pieces together.

a_hoobler

Addie Hoobler

ADDIE: “The hardest part of them is that our jump kicks are really fast, and they do have to be eye-high, so we’re all on the same level and all on the same count. The main thing is you have to hold your core, and you use that the whole time. You kind of rebound through your feet and go through them. Jump kick your left, jump kick your right. You really have to use your hamstring to pull it down. … So for all of us to stand in line and do that at the same time is really challenging…”

Addie learned the technique behind those kicks taking dance classes while growing up in Richardson. She joins second year Rockette Emily Sears on stage. Emily grew up in Denton and attended SMU.

And like Addie, Emily’s foundation in dance began at an early age.

e_sears3

Emily Sears

EMILY: “My mom put me in ballet and tap and tumbling when I was 3. But as I grew up, once I was in middle school and high school, I focused primarily on ballet and did a lot of ballet all the way through college.”

The competition to become a Rockette is fierce, with more than a thousand dancers auditioning for the 200 or so spots among the touring versions of the show.

To make the cut, you’ve got to be well-versed in ballet, tap and jazz.

And you’ve got to have the stamina to fire off 300 of those signature high kicks per show.

When you consider that the Rockettes perform as many as four shows on some Saturdays, the kick count can reach into the thousands.

EMILY: “I always sleep really well on Saturday nights.”

ADDIE: “Don’t want to wake up on Sunday mornings, that’s for sure…”

But wake up on Sunday mornings they must – there are shows at 1, 4:30 and 7:30.

In all, the Rockettes will perform 30 times during their stop in North Texas. And when you consider the show has been in rehearsals since October, it’s easy for the dancers to feel like they’ve permanently moved to the North Pole.

ADDIE: “It’s not like the build up to that one Christmas Day, because every day’s Christmas here!”

That’s where Addie and Emily’s hometown advantage kicks in.

They live in a hotel near the theater, but they are able to hang out with loved ones on their precious few off days. And with the show dark on Christmas Day, they can have a real family Christmas at home.

Until then, they have several chances to perform for friends and family.

Addie says she enjoys picking out people she knows in the crowd; Emily prefers not to know where they are sitting. But they agree that just knowing that they are performing for familiar faces provides a boost.

EMILY: “You want to do well for the family members or the friends. And obviously you always want to do well, but it really does give an extra little…

ADDIE: “Kick?”

EMILY: “Yeah…extra kick [laughs]”

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Flickr Photo of the Week

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Categorized Under: Visual Arts

bookwithwings

Congratulations to … we’re not sure. We’ve yet to hear back from this week’s winner, but we’ll post his very nice photo of Anselm Kiefer’s Book with Wings at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Last week’s winner was Wade Griffith of Dallas. You can see his photo here.

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 another 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.

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