News and Features

Track by Track: Nervous Curtains


“Track By Track” appears every other week on Art&Seek. During the podcast, Texas musicians play their new albums and discuss what went into making them with Paul Slavens, host of The Paul Slavens Show Sunday nights at 8 on KXT, 91.7 FM.

You can download and subscribe to the podcast right here.

Paul’s previous podcast featured Denton’s Bridges and Blinking Lights discussing the band’s current release, Heroes, Guns and Snakes. This week, Paul talks with Dallas’ Nervous Curtains about Out of Sync With Time, the band’s debut release.

Click the player below to listen to the podcast:

Also, be sure to check the Art&Seek blog during The Paul Slavens Show this Sunday as Paul blogs live during the broadcast.

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The Paul Slavens Show: February 28, 2010 – LIVE BLOG

Hey Hey Hey,
It’s Sunday night, time for some cool music!
This is where you can leave your polite comments and wonderful suggestions for music, new, old, strange and familiar.

New to me this week:
Field Music
Kashmere Stage band
Poncho Sanchez


Maxine Sullivan “Ac-Cent-Uate the Positive” The Very Best Of Maxine Sullivan

The Notwist “Propeller 9” Neon Golden

Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston “First Day at Work” It’s Spooky

Kurt Weill Ensemble Modern “Kanonensong” Die Dreigroschenoer CD 1


Field Music “Choosing Numbers” Field Music (Measure)

Kashmere Stage Band “Scorpio” Cold Heat

Antsy Pantsy “Vampire” Juno Original Soundtrack

The Alan Parsons Project “To One in Paradise” Tales of Mystery and Imagination-Edgar Allan Poe


Poncho Sanchez “A Night in Tunisia” The Concord Jazz Heritage Series

Fiona Apple “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” Extraordinary Machine

Secret Chiefs “Assassin’s Blade” The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend


Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis “Caldonia” Two Men With the Blues

Stereolab “Motoroller Scalatron” Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Duke Ellington “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” CD 1: The Jungle Band


Nico “These Days” Chelsea Girl

LCD Soundsystem “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” LCD Soundsystem CD 1

Estrella Morente “Tangos de Pepico” Mi Cante Y Un Poema


Nervous Curtains “White Van Scam” Out of Sync with Time

Gene Pitney “24 Hours From Tulsa” The Very Best of Gene Pitney

Magnetic Fields “It’s a Crime” 69 Love Songs


Funkadelic “Back in Our Minds” Maggot Brain

PJ Harvey “Send His Love to Me” To Bring You My Love

Herb Albert “Spanish Flea” Greatest Hits Album

Flaming Lips “The Spiderbite Song” The Soft Bulletin


Beck “Broken Drum” Guero

Kate Bush “An Architect’s Dream” Aerial

Mark Mothersbaugh “Let Me Tell You About My Boat” The Life Aquatic Soundtrack

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Exceptional Cellist Highlights FW Concert

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Categorized Under: Culture, Music, Uncategorized

This weekend’s concerts by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra are introducing an exceptionally gifted young German cellist, Daniel Müller-Schott. His forceful and clean technique, warm tone and impeccable artistry made Dvorak’s cello concerto one of the season’s highlights on Saturday night. Here’s hoping the Dallas Symphony signs him up soon.

His conductorial collaborator, Giancarlo Guerrero of Costa Rica, was not as impressive, though the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was in good form. Guerrero makes bold musical statements, but the orchestral sound lacked the warmth that Müller-Schott projected.

A minor point, but Guerrero’s Littonesque podium bounces were a little distracting; he even invented a few dance steps that haven’t yet been seen in the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.

Still, you can’t accuse him of being boring; Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, Strauss’ Don Juan and Liszt’s Les préludes were given vivid performances.

The program will be repeated at 2 p.m. Sunday in Bass Performance Hall.

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This Week in Texas Music History: Beethoven Mannerchor

Beethoven2-200Art&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 looks at a singing group that was founded in the 1800s but still performs today.

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:

On Feb. 24, 1867, German Texans living in San Antonio founded the Beethoven Mannerchor, a men’s choral group. As with other German-Texas singing societies, the Beethoven Mannerchor was intended to help preserve and celebrate German heritage through music. The group performed regularly throughout Texas and constructed its own concert hall in 1895. When that burned down in 1913, it built the Beethoven Hall, which is still in use today. The Beethoven Mannerchor eventually expanded to include a women’s choir and children’s choir. Despite widespread persecution of German Texans during both world wars, the Beethoven Maennerchor and several other German singing societies managed to survive and continue to perform at festivals and other events throughout the state.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a poor farm boy who became a “king.”

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Saturday Spotlight: Children's Theater

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Categorized Under: Local Events, Visual Arts

In the Saturday Spotlight, we’re taking the kids to a show. A pair of local children’s theater productions open this weekend in North Texas. Theater Arlington presents Seussical Jr., featuring Seuss favorites Horton and the Whos of Whoville. Meanwhile, Dallas Children’s Theater will stage Hansel & Gretel, a puppet version of the classic German fairy tale. And if that weren’t enough, the Sesame Street Live tour stops by Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie.

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Open House on Saturday at La Reunion TX

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Categorized Under: Local Events, Uncategorized

Guest blogger Sarah Jane Semrad is Executive Director of La Reunion TX.

trestle at La Reunion TX

Photo: Travis Williams

If you’ve never been out to La Reunion, this is your chance!  La Reunion is in the business of providing unique opportunities for artists to work with nature in a gorgeous outdoor studio space and gallery.  We believe that the creation of new works is important.  And even before we design and build the housing we will someday have, it is imperative to begin dialogue and collaboration with the community.

Join us for a reception and open house celebrating “Make Space: Installation” featuring the site specific works of Kevin Obregon, Scott Horn, Nicole Cullum Horn, Annie Albagli, Brad Ford Smith, David Blood, Oliver Bradley and Sandra Groomer.

Where: La Reunion TX

When: Saturday from 2-4 p.m.

Cost: $5 per person suggestion contribution

RSVP for directions.

We’ll have both design books we have published on Saturday, including the Make Space for Artists : Design a Studio catalog we created alongside the Dallas Museum of Art and Art & Seek.  Come on out and support this unprecedented program in North Texas!

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Museums: Attendance Up, Money Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that in tough times, Americans head to museums — children’s, science, history or art museums. One good reason for that you won’t find until the bottom of the article:  “Many museums’ admissions fees remain free or are relatively inexpensive. … The average price of admission was $7, the same as in 2008.”

According to the the American Association of Museums, 57 percent of all museums  saw a jump in attendance in 2009.  Science and technology museums saw the broadest gains, with 81 percent reporting an increase, while half of art museums said they saw visitor growth.

But bigger crowds didn’t necessarily mean a financial windfall for museums. About half reported a decline in total revenue in 2009, according to the survey. And 18 percent of museums described their financial condition as “very severe.”

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Teo Castellanos: One-Man Miami, One-Man America


  • KERA radio story:
  • Expanded online story:

Teatro Dallas has been presenting its 14th annual International Theater Festival this month. Theater artists have come here from Mexico, Spain and Belgium. Teatro Dallas wraps up the festival this weekend at the Latino Cultural Center with a solo performance artist from an exotic, faraway land.

Miami, Florida.

Actually, Teo Castellanos’ one-man performance is about just one street in Miami – Northeast Second Avenue, which is the title of Castellano’s stage show.

CASTELLANOS: “Since it goes all the way from downtown to North Miami Beach, it’s a great, you know, thoroughfare. But it also has changed demographically over the past couple of decades.”

So Second Avenue cuts through Haitian neighborhoods, Cuban, Jamaican, Puerto Rican and African-American neighborhoods. Second Avenue is also where a private transit system runs. It’s a small Caribbean bus known as a jitney. The show follows the jitney, its driver and passengers as they interact with a wandering white tourist who’s lost.

JIM OneCastellanos himself is Puerto Rican-born but Miami-raised. NE Second Avenue is partly drawn from his own life. But he also researched Latino history and sub-cultures — even dance moves. Castellanos never really trained as a dancer, he says. But the lean, muscular performer picked up steps from gay bars and Latin nightclubs. More than most performance artists, he delineates his different stage characters through the ways they move.

He also conducted interviews that went straight into his show.

CASTELLANOS: “This is an example of an interview. I walked into an African boutique. I think I went to buy a kufi [an African cap]. And I saw a bucket of flags – you know, there’s the Jamaican, the Haitian, the Ethopian – [interview fades out as Castellanos’ stage performance comes up] – black power flag, Cuban, Puerto Rican flag, Nazi flag, KKK flag – right next to the cowrie shells and the African mask!


Now what’s wrong with that picture?

[Music kicks in.]

Obviously, NE Second Avenue is about more than just a street in Florida. Otherwise, who would care about it outside of Miami? But after developing the show in Florida in 2001, Castellanos took it all the way to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. It won the Fringe First Award. In the eight years since, the writer-actor-director has developed group shows with D-Projects, his hip-hop dance-theater collective. He also offers workshops to prisoners in detention centers and to students. While in Dallas, he did both — at Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet, for instance, he taught teacher Elly Lindsay‘s playwrighting class (below)


But he’s continued to tour NE Second Avenue throughout Europe and the United States – to places that may never have encountered a Rastafarian.

CASTELLANOS: “Well, I’ll quote Victor Hugo: ‘Speak of your village, and you speak universally.’ We all have immigrants in our neighborhoods and in our nations. You know, we all face the same issues. Really, what the piece is more about is our commonalities, at our deepest roots and our spiritual highest. I always say that because [laughs] that’s the truth.”

In the past 20 years, performance artists like Eric Bogosian, John Leguizamo, Anna Deavere Smith and North Texas’ own Fred Curchack have perfected the solo show, stage performances in which a single actor plays all the roles. With their quicksilver changes of character, such pieces can be a chance for an actor to show off his chameleon talents. They also can be explorations of the different sides of a single psyche. But in NE Second Avenue, Castellanos wants to embody an entire city: gay, straight, male, female, Latino, black, Christian, Muslim, Jew.

Miami becomes our hybrid, mulatto American culture – even our human condition.

CASTELLANOS: “That cross-pollination exists throughout the U.S. Whether it be inter-racial marriage, whether it be Cuban Jews — they don’t only exist in Miami and in Cuba – Rastafarians and Jamaicans. You know, we Miamians are all over the world! [laughs]”

[Conga drum kicks in.]

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Friday Morning Roundup

A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION: One of the world’s most recognizable classical musicians stopped through town Thursday night for a concert with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. But the critics are sharply divided on Itzhak Perlman’s performance. Chris Shull had a blast. “Perlman’s performances exude warmth and joy. The ease and excitement of his playing project a conviviality — a sharing — that attracts listeners,” he writes in his review. But Scott Cantrell was too distracted by a lack of conviviality between guest and orchestra. “Perlman didn’t help by too often pushing the violins at the expense of lower voices, sometimes to harsh effect,” he writes in his review about the playing in Dvorák’s Serenade in E major. “There were also too many wince-inducing spots where the players just weren’t secure in the notes.”

READY FOR LIFT OFF: Grapevine’s Bryce Avary of the Rocket Summer fame is having a pretty good week. His band’s fourth album, Of Men and Angels, briefly topped the iTunes album download charts. And the Rocket Summer will unveil songs from the new disc at a show tonight at the Granada. Avary’s been making the local media rounds to promote the new album; you can read what he has to say about it on dfw.comDC9 at Night and

BIGGER AND BETTER: The This Week in the Arts podcast, produced by Fort Worth theater types Justin Flowers and Dana Schultes, is expanding in leaps and bounds these days. This week’s guests include La Reunion TX co-founder and A&S blogger Sarah Jane Semrad; Dallas actress Lindsey Holloway; and D.C. Anderson, part of the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

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A Conversation with boom Director Christie Vela (Interviewed on Google Chat)

Guest blogger Lee Trull is Associate Artist with the Dallas Theater Center and a member of the Kitchen Dog Theater Company.

For weeks now, I’ve been wanting to interview my friend – and fellow Kitchen Dog Theater and Dallas Theater Center company member – Christie Vela about directing boom at Kitchen Dog. But she’s just too darn busy to nail down. So I pretended to be having an innocent conversation with her on Google chat. I will now publish it on Art & Seek without her permission! Below is the transcript – without the use of spell check:

Me: hello, Christie!
Christie: hi! i am not going to use capital letters.
me: you’ve been a busy girl these days, huh?
Christie: yes. very
me: you’ve been directing boom at Kitchen Dog and rehearsing the role of Helen in Fat Pig at DTC. Are you still alive?
Christie: just barely. No! I live for this.
me: well, tell us about boom
Christie: i love boom. what do you want to know? i don’t want to give away too much. i can tell you it’s the most produced play in the country this season, and the playwright is going to be BIG baby!
me: is it a comedy? drama? soft core porn?
Christie: all of those. it’s a play about the end of the world, and accepting that sometimes, we don’t have much control over our lives and coming to terms with that. even finding comfort in it.
me: sounds hilarious…
Christie: it is hilarious! and a little bit sad. but mostly hopeful and very laughy. it has some goos actors in it.
good actors.
me: Dallas audiences know Jenny’s work and Kitchen Dog hard cores love Karen. Who’s this Eric Steele?
Christie: Eric Steele is a hometown boy, who’s been laying low for a while. He’s been doing a lot of work in film, but luckily for us decided it was time to get back to his theater roots.
me: Final question — I want your political opinion: intermissions — good thing or bad?
Christie: mmm…
I like plays that feel like dangerous adrenaline rush rides at the amusement park.
I don’t like letting the audience off the hook.
Sent at 3:22 PM on Thursday
Christie: Hey! Peter will be in town o Friday!
me: When the playwright’s in town everyones happy…except the actors. See you soon, friend.
Christie: Bye!
Sent at 3:24 PM on Thursday

boom runs NOW through March 13 at Kitchen Dog Theater!

Eric Steele and Jenny Ledel in boom at Kitchen Dog Theater photo by Matt Mrozek

Eric Steele and Jenny Ledel in boom at Kitchen Dog Theater Photo by Matt Mrozek

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