Arts & Culture News

A Cursing Mayor, a Tweeting Six-Year-Old and Other Highlight From A Way with Words, Live at Lakewood Theater

There was nary a nose ring in site at last night's A Way With Words event at Lakewood Theater. The grammar geeks filed in cheerfully, dressed in springtime pastels and pausing just long enough to order Malbec doubles at the bar.

Yes! A Way With Words Comes to Dallas was the hyper-liberal's version of a gawdamn rock show, and someone there probably had a Hemingway tattoo. Now, let's crowd surf through the night's highlights.

My Eyes! NPR celebs Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett did some awkwardly bookish dancing to Cameo's "Word Up." Which was more painful to watch than the original video, featuring lead singer Larry Ernest Blackmon in a red leather codpiece.

Grant Barrett's Son is Adorable and Now Everyone Knows It Words co-host Barrett gave an impassioned speech in defense of grammatical mistakes, which continually wrapped back to his thesis: This Is How We Learn. Using excerpts from drawings, notes and a Twitter account devoted to his six-year-old's grammar growing pains, Barrett doled out adorable kid wisdoms, via his offspring.

Favorites: "Watch and Learn. You don't know much about being a boy." "I want to break some rules. Please?" "I have excellent climbing skills but I cannot unclimb."

So yeah. I'm now following a kindergartener on Twitter whose tagline is "I'm going to be a firefighter puppeteer." Dear God, my heart just melted.

Mayor Rawlings is a Good Sport with a Bad Mouth He hammed it up during the one-on-one interview with Krys Boyd and still brought his talking points to light, pinning down statistics on local poverty and illiteracy rates. He played along with The Ticket's Mike Rhyner and Dallas Morning News' Jacquielynn Floyd for a word-rich version of Jeopardy. But when he found out he'd be asked a series of questions about pizza, he replied simply, "Oh shit."

Boyd quickly chimed in, "It's a way with four-letter words!" Jacquielynn Floyd gets better hate mail than I do When lobbed a question about which feedback is more meaningful, negative or positive, Floyd, Rawlings and Rhyner aligned with their detractors. Then Floyd mentioned her best piece of hate mail, which stated simply "You suck, liberal feminist clown." She smiled. "It's almost like a haiku."

Martha Barnette nearly failed Greek, much like everyone else. Few received the volume of applause Barnette did when she announced having to drop Greek in college. However nerdy this crowd, nobody there enjoyed arm wrestling with Platonic dialogs.

The Words co-host went on to explain how she later fell in love with it. The journey involved a seven year tutoring session with an eccentric linguist; together they went through Oedipus Rex, one word at a time, drawing its origins from a world of languages. Aberg Center for Literacy Does Great Work in Dallas and Needs Volunteers They fight to improve literacy in a city where one in five currently cannot read a newspaper. The center operates on limited donations, so volunteers are always needed. Check out how they're helping our neighbors and find out more about this non-profit on their website.

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin