News and Features

The Big Screen: ‘Believe Me’

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In the comedy Believe Me, four college seniors start a fake charity with the goal of bilking devout Christians out of money. This week, we talk to the film’s Dallas-raised director about why the story actually should appeal to a Christian audience.

Believe Me is in theaters and on demand on Friday.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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Hand-Made And Homeless, Framed And Videotaped

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Photo: Jerome Weeks

For 21 years, Willie Baronet has been buying the hand-made signs that homeless people hold up asking for money or help. First, he made them into art works. Now, after a cross-country trip with a camera crew, a book and documentary are in the works. KERA’s Jerome Weeks explains.

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The Big Deal: ‘Snow White And The Prince’ At Casa Mañana

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Composers and writers Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman adapt beloved children’s stories and set them to songs. You and your family may have caught Rapunzel, Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale, or the very popular How I Became Pirate on local stages recently. Vogt and Friedman’s latest musical is the retelling of the classic Grimm fairy tale of Snow White. The winner of this Big Deal can take their cozy little family of four to see Snow White and the Prince performed at Casa Mañana on Oct. 10.

And don’t forget to sign up for our other offerings this week – tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra perform the Emperor and Ravel with featured artist Simone Dinnerstein, or tickets to Keyboard Conversations with Jeffery Siegel: Miracle of Mozart at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see Snow White and The Prince at Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana.

UPDATE: Thanks for playing. We have our winner!

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The Big Deal: Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Presents The Emperor & Ravel

Photo: Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Photo: Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Simone Dinnerstein joins the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for an evening of Beethoven and Ravel.  The young American pianist has already topped the classical charts with five solo albums. For her Fort Worth debut, Ms. Dinnerstein will perform Beethoven’s majestic and heroic “Emperor” concerto. Two works by Maurice Ravel will complement the second half of the program.  The sole winner of this Big Deal will receive a pair of tickets for the Oct. 3 presentation at Bass Performance Hall.

While you are signing up for this Big Deal you might want to sign up for our other Big Deals as well – tickets to see Keyboard Conversations with Jeffery Siegel: Miracle of Mozart at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, and tickets to see Snow White and The Prince at Casa Mañana.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for your chance to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra perform the Emperor and Ravel with featured artist Simone Dinnerstein.

UPDATE: Thanks for playing. We have our winners!

 

 

 

 

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The Big Deal: Keyboard Conversations With Jeffrey Siegel: Miracle of Mozart

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Thanks to our friends at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson we have two pairs of tickets to Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Seigel: Miracle of Mozart . This Big Deal  is for both the seasoned listener, as well as the new-to-classical music listener. Jeffrey Siegel combines a concert performance with illuminating commentary to make classical music more meaningful and more enjoyable for his audience. Prior to playing a work, Siegel uses everyday language to deliver informative and entertaining insight about the music and the composer.  He then ends the evening with an engaging question and answer session.  On Oct. 13, Siegel will shed light on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Adagio in B Minor,” and “Sonata in A Minor.”

Now is also the time the perfect time to check out our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see Snow White and The Prince at Casa Mañana, and tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra perform the Emperor and Ravel with featured artist Simone Dinnerstein.

PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal.  If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Miracle of Mozart.

UPDATE: Thanks for playing. We have our winners!

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Sex, Drugs And Fine Dining In “Love Me Back”

As a single mother, Merritt Tierce worked in a high-end steak house in Dallas.  The Denton writer draws on her waitressing experience to create the character Marie, who lives in a numb world of sex and drugs in Tierce’s debut novel, Love Me Back. I spoke with Tierce about the bleak but beautifully written book. It was just published last week, but it’s already drawing praise from the literary world.

  • Listen to our conversation, which aired on KERA FM:

Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

Merritt Tierce

Merritt Tierce.

On main character Marie’s motivation…I think it’s both [Marie trying to feel and keeping herself from feeling]. She is trying to just figure out who she is and how to be. It’s a really extreme version of pinching yourself…to make sure you’re there somewhere and that it’s all really happening. But then…she also is trying to punish herself very explicitly.

On the ambiguity of “The Restaurant” mentioned in her book…I tried out different aliases for a place that has a lot in common with the real place where I worked. And the restaurant was actually just a placeholder towards the end of my writing of the book. I realized that I liked that a lot because it pointed deliberately at the universality of this culture. And something that’s important to me to point out is that this is not a book that is about that one place where I worked. That culture is somehow really consistent across a certain price point in fine dining. It’s a really intense, dark culture. I think a lot is expected of the wait staff and there’s always a lot of drugs and general wantonness and sex and there’s an effort after hours to recoup whatever humanity is suppressed to get through your shift.

On the dark side of being a high-end waiter:  It’s a stage, it’s a performance. You’re expected to provide a very specific experience for people who expect very specific things in their lives related to wealth. The more money you have, the easier it is to see people as tools. And you can create so much distance around yourself with your money that you forget that the people that are doing things for you are also people.

On the the idea of shame…I think that it is perhaps the most powerful emotional force out there. You could write any story or present any story in any form and posit that this character did this, whatever they did, because of shame and there’s really nothing I wouldn’t buy.

 

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UNT Alum Tops Both Billboard 200 And Gospel Charts

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Categorized Under: The High Five

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas and Houston-bred rapper Lecrae is the first artist to top the Billboard 200 and the gospel album charts, Fort Worth arts groups will help the Arlington school district develop two fine arts academies, and more.

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Art&Seek Jr: Welcome Fall With These 5 Family Friendly Festivals

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Heads up everyone! A quick look at the calendar will reveal that this week is notable for a couple of reasons. First, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Autumnal Equinox, or fall, as it’s known in these parts, arrived yesterday at 10:29 p.m. EDT. For those of us who were tired of the hot, sticky weather back in June, this day couldn’t come soon enough. True–highs are forecasted to be in the 90s for the unforeseeable future, but this “official” start of fall means we can at least get our lonely sweaters out of shortage and reassure them–”it won’t be long now my pretties.” If that isn’t reason for celebration, maybe this is: Friday is opening day for the great State Fair of Texas, which as everyone knows, marks the official kickoff of fall festival season. That’s right. For the next 35 or so days it’s all pumpkins, autumn leaves, harvest moons and everything fallish.

It’s a cram-packed inaugural weekend for the Autumnal season, so put on your comfy shoes, grab your favorite Teeny Tiny and have some fun with one of these family friendly festivals. Read More »

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Dallas VideoFest’s Ernie Kovacs Award Will Go To Harry Shearer

Harry Shearer’s voice is probably most familiar to people. But in addition to voice acting for memorable characters such as Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Ned Flanders on the long-running cartoon show The Simpsons, Shearer is an actor, comedian, philosopher, and political satirist. And he’s just been announced as this year’s recipient of Dallas VideoFest’s Ernie Kovacs Award, honoring innovation in television and media.

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Kat Candler: Catching the Love Bug for Texas Filmmaking

  • This week on Frame of Mind, we will be featuring a set of shorts created by Kat Candler, an independent filmmaker based in Austin, Texas.  This episode will include Love Bug, Roberta Wells, and Quarter to Noon.
  • Tune into KERA TV on Thursday, September 25 at 10 PM to catch this week’s episode.
Photo: Lauren Logan

Photo: Lauren Logan

On Love Bug:

I had written a one act play in college called The Spider in the Bathtub and my playwriting professor told me that I should think about turning it into a screenplay or a short film.  I hadn’t really thought about making movies – I had worked in a movie theater from the age of 15 all the way through college, but I didn’t really know how movies were made and that was one of my early thoughts of “Oh, maybe I should make movies!”

So when I moved to Austin, I decided to turn that one act play into a feature screenplay.  I tucked it into my writing folder and then years later, I got it back out and started rewriting it and then I got into this development program at Tribeca to try and get it off of the ground.  So as a sample from the feature, I pulled a scene and refashioned it into a 7 minute script.  That was how Love Bug came to be.

On Roberta Wells:

Photo: Kurt Volk

Photo: Kurt Volk

I was going through a terrible breakup and I had sworn off film for a little while and then I got the interest to make something again.  So I gathered up some of my friends and I kept thinking of my Great Aunt Urna, who had emphysema and had to carry her box around, and kept thinking about the elderly in my family and how in big gatherings, they become overlooked and a little bit forgotten about.  I wanted to take a slice of life and make something.  I gathered a bunch of friends for a really quick weekend shoot.

This was shot back in 2004 or 2003 so we were still back in the mini DV phase.  But I wanted it to have a kind of documentary style to it where you are questioning at first whether it is a documentary.  I also played with the idea of having two cameras filming from the beginning to the very end and following around these characters to see where they went.  So it was just a fun little experiment exercise to help me get back into filmmaking.

Photo: Kurt Volk

Photo: Kurt Volk

On Quarter to Noon:

I was working a desk job at an artificial intelligence software company at the time.  I had worked a day job all my life and it’s just sitting at a desk for 8-9 hours.  At that particular job I didn’t even have any windows in my office, it felt so isolated and cave like.  So I wanted to explore just getting out of that and following your dreams and your passions and what really makes you happy.

Making this film was actually really fun because it’s the only thing that I’ve ever done that had some kind of fantastical element to it.  So it was a lot of fun trying to figure out the design.  Also, because there’s no dialogue at all, I got to talk to my actors during actual shooting.  So I was actually able to talk to her through the whole thing, like “oh, what’s out the window?” or “oh, let’s go look.”  Things like that were really fun.  My sound designer and my composer were also really close friends, so they cooperated really well.  I also spoke with my composer about that Tim Burton-esque feel of magical realism.

 

On her most challenging short:

Quarter to Moon was probably the most challenging to make because it had more visual effects that we had to figure out and play with.  We literally brought this huge window into a park and had to set it up and figure out all of that.  That was in 2008 or 2007, it all feels like a really long time ago.

Photo: Rogelio Puente

Photo: Rogelio Puente

At the same time, Love Bug was really challenging because 9 year olds only last 4-5 hours and then they’re done.  You have to kind of squeeze in everything you can into the first half of the day and then they’re out and wanting to go play their gameboy.  But equally, they’re just a lot of fun and silly to hang out with and you get to do some really fun stuff with them.

On Indie filmmaking in Texas:

I think it’s something special.  I’ve grown up with so many of the filmmakers in Austin and Dallas, from the time we were making shorts and our first features, to now when so many of us are having successes over the last couple of years.  It’s been a really rewarding experience to share that with this many beautiful and unique voices from Texas.  Each person has their own style and voice and is very different and I think that’s something that makes Texas filmmaking and Texas filmmakers very unique.

On her favorite Texas filmmaker:

I have so many!  They’re all so great, from the Zellner brothers, to David Lowery, to Yen Tan, to Jeff Nichols, to the great David Gordon Green, to Heather Courtney, all of these folks are all really great storytellers who are taking interesting approaches to filmmaking; from the wacky kind of zany brand of humor, to the lyrical poetry of David Lowery, to the phenomenal storytelling of Jeff Nichols.  We all support each other and help each other out – David just gave me notes on a new script, and I’m actually going to lunch with David Zellner in a little bit – it’s a really tight knit group of folks and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the community.  There’s no competition either, which I feel like you may find in other cities, specifically in LA and New York, which is very rare.

On her future projects:

I had a short called Black Metal that was at Sundance in 2013 and I am currently expanding that into a feature right now.  I’m also reading a lot of books and writing scripts and trying to find something to adapt.

On being included in Frame of Mind

I think it’s awesome!  In Dallas, Bart Weiss and KERA have been a part of my growing up as a filmmaker for well over a decade.  I had a short in 2001 or 2002 that was on KERA, so it’s nice to go full circle and now have a collection of shorts to show as a full body of work.

 

You can find more of Kat Candler’s work on her website.

 

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