Best Of :: People & Places
Deep Ellum has pretty much always been a neighborhood covered in graffiti — beautiful street art, let's be clear, and pieces that are often commissioned by local business owners at that. Interesting, then, that the most uplifting of all the tags found these days in the neighborhood are its newest, blatantly unsanctioned efforts. In the wake of the death of 24-year-old Frankie Campagna on New Year's Day, spray-painted homages started popping up all around the neighborhood, honoring the young Deep Ellum native, bartender and frontman of the adored area greaser punk outfit Spector 45. Most simply read "45," referencing Campagna's "Frankie 45" nickname. Few, if any, have been taken down. Fitting: Campagna's father, Frank Sr., owns the Deep Ellum gallery Kettle Art and is himself responsible for a number of the other murals found on Elm, Main and Commerce streets. As much as his father, the younger Campagna was as an iconic figure in the small, close-knit neighborhood. Thanks to the "45" scribbles that still line the neighborhood walls, he remains one. More important is the message behind these marks: Deep Ellum has always been and forever will be a place that takes care of its own.
Forget the women up around Northwest Highway — the ones "working their way through college" or whatever. The best stripping act we've seen for years in Dallas came last year when Erykah Badu strolled up to Dealey Plaza and stripped with a purpose at the spot where John F. Kennedy was killed. Oh yeah, then she died (metaphorically, on film). The act was shot as the music video for "Window Seat," the lead single off of Badu's brilliant New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh, and the message was a simple stab at the world we live in: If we let society look through us, if we let others dictate our actions, if we're too scared to show our true selves to the world, then we're killing the best parts about us. The Dallas Police Department didn't think it was a very powerful statement: They slapped Badu with a $500 fine for disorderly conduct after a single complainant, after the video was released (and months after it was filmed), came forward. Our stance? Dallas could use more daring and provocative types like Badu. Progress shouldn't draw a fine.
"Hotel art" is a phrase that makes many cringe because, well, there's a whole lot of underwhelming abstract prints and landscape scenes to be seen in most hotels. But the Belmont is just too cool for bad art, and that's why the hotel displays art from local talents on the walls of the lobby in their Art with a View series. The hotel has always been a hip destination for poolside parties and now even pop-up shops, but Art with a View brings a certain refinement to the kitschy hotel.
We don't think we'd offend local NBC affiliate KXAS-TV news anchor Jane McGarry if we called her a cougar — mostly, we think, because she seems to know she is and embrace it. Such is especially true in the social media world of Twitter, where McGarry uses her fairly dirty mind to express herself — and pretty much never on the topic of news. Where would she find the time, between sending flirty tweets to KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket radio personality Gordon Keith and D Magazine editor Tim Rogers, and flippant innuendo after flippant innuendo? Not long ago she tweeted about a producer pointing out "poles" on the news set. Then she tweeted — and, for reasons we're not altogether sure about, with a winking emoticon — about somehow losing her skirt somewhere. Are we reading too much into this? We don't think so. And, before you accuse us, no, we're not jealous of the other media types getting her attention, either. We just prefer to watch.
They say Deep Ellum is Dallas' premiere neighborhood for music. Well, "they" must never travel down to the just-east-of-downtown neighborhood during the day. With its classic brick wall backdrops, splashy murals and — get this — buildings that are more than 10 years old, Deep Ellum's greatest export these days is most likely its wedding photography. Every single day, it seems, another couple can be seen, dressed in tux and white gown, following a hip-looking, camera-toting cat around the neighborhood, looking for romantic — yet undeniably urban — settings for their wedding photo collections. It's easy to understand why: Shooting your wedding photos in this setting says, "Hey, we're cool! We don't just get our music from Starbucks. Hell, we probably even have tattoos!" True or not, that's a sentiment people like to express about themselves.
Because it's The Mansion. What? You were gonna say something else? Let's hear it then. Didn't think so. Next.