Think back to the geeks in the camera club, hanging around the darkroom after school and arguing about their F-stops. So what if they weren't the ones carried off the football field in a giddy swarm of cheerleaders? Ten years later, we all know who the real cool kids turned out to be. And since Photopol.us came around, they even have a camera club of their own. Hosting shows in photo galleries around town, they're among the usual suspects you can expect to find with a booth at just about any über-hip Oak Cliff street festival, but the biggest network's online, with a mutual appreciation society built around a blog and a Flickr network for any and all shutter-lovers to trade photo tips like they used to do back in the darkroom.
Listen, Queen of the Lake: Don't think for one second that you've slipped one past all of us. We watched your video for "Window Seat," which came out right before the release of your latest opus, New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh, and we totally got the message you were putting out there in your low-budget clip about "groupthink" and the dangers that can come with being a member of the pack, rather than a lone wolf. We understood it. But we also saw you taking your clothes off in the clip until you were butt-ass nekkid, lying "dead" on the X that marks the spot where JFK got shot in Dealey Plaza. Sure, we took it at face value as an homage to Matt & Kim's earlier nude-in-Times-Square music video and a chance to pass along a message. But, more important, we knew that it was also a potentially incendiary offering—one the conservative political types in this town would too willingly jump all over. And boy did they: On the basis of a single complaint received by the cops (one that, for the record, came after the video's release, and not after its filming), you got smacked with a $500 fine for disorderly conduct. A shame, for sure. But, more than that, a small price to pay. No PR firm in the country could have given you that kind of national hype heading into your album release—and, if they could, they would've charged you at least 100 times that much. You turned a crappy situation around and made it work for you. For that—and, really, for a whole bounty of other reasons—we hope you know this much: In Dallas, Ms. Badu, you bow to no one.
Best Bit of Lawyering
When Judge Tena Callahan went full bore and ruled the state constitutional ban on same sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, lawyers for one of the gay men, known in court documents only as J.B., told the judge not so fast. Sure, it was great she was ruling in their clients' favor but perhaps there was a way not to do it on such broad constitutional grounds with all its my-Constitution-is-more-supreme-than-your-Constitution snootiness. J.B's attorneys, Pete Schulte of Dallas and James Scheske of Austin, argued that granting a divorce to a same-sex couple in Texas is not against the Texas law that bans same-sex marriage. On the contrary, it promotes Texas law because it ends a same-sex marriage. See, granting a divorce would mean one less same-sex marriage in Texas, which Texas would say is a good thing. It's an argument J.B.'s attorney made to the 5th Court of Appeals. Too clever by half you say? Well, maybe, since the 5th Court ruled against granting the divorce, but stay tuned. This isn't over yet.
Unfailingly elegant, except when he's playing the odd redneck slob, Dallas theater actor Regan Adair is usually the best reason to see whatever play he's in. Over the past year he's been on a roll of great roles, starring as a 1950s TV comedy writer in WaterTower Theatre's Laughter on the 23rd Floor (by Neil Simon), as a suave businessman in love with a chubby chick and as a dunderhead factory worker hellbent on treating women like chattel in Dallas Theater Center's trilogy of Neil LaBute's Beauty Plays, and as a 1940s movie studio exec in Circle Theatre's premiere of Bruce Graham's Something Intangible. Adept at accents (he was hilarious as Bertie Wooster in several theaters' versions of the plays of P.G. Wodehouse), Adair is a fave among directors who appreciate his professionalism and his ability to dig deep into characters' psyches. "He goes to that place every time," says Kevin Moriarty, who directed him in LaBute's Fat Pig, "even in rehearsals."
Dallas Theater Center returns to its old home at Kalita Humphreys Theater one more time this year for the last performances of its beloved version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Adapted by Richard Hellesen, with music by David de Berry, the show is a heart-melting, spectacularly staged run-up to the holidays. This year's production, directed by DTC company member Matthew Gray, will star Dallas actor Chamblee Ferguson as Scrooge (he's played Bob Cratchit before). Funny, scary, soul-stirring, this Christmas Carol has for many years been the most popular show in DTC's season. So to the cast of the farewell run of this old fave, "God bless you, every one!"
The collective known as the Dallas Family Band seemed to rise out of nowhere last summer, with at least one of its member acts—a formidable list that includes Jacob Metcalf, The Beaten Sea, The Fox and the Bird, Wheeler Sparks, Spooky Folk and Lalagray—popping up on nearly every folk-tinged bill in town. It's their guerilla supergroup performances as the Dallas Family Band that generate the most attention—you can find them busking at the occasional street festival or outdoor concert—but it's the group's irrepressible spirit and fervent commitment to songcraft (See the Beaten Sea's excellent debut album for further evidence) that really make them worth listening to. Sure, at times the Family Band sounds a little like a church camp sing-along that's about to bust into a spirited rendition of "Kumbaya" or "One Tin Soldier," but in our culture, a bit of positivism is a breath of fresh air.
2010 marked the first year that Dallas' pride and joy of celluloid and big screens left the AFI umbrella and adopted its own moniker: The Dallas International Film Festival. And it was a banner year thanks to the delicious programming talents of artistic director James Faust, senior programmer Sarah Harris and chairman of the board Michael Cain. There were roughly 30 films ranging from big budget to local indie, spread from morning to night over the festival's 10 days (and we didn't miss a one).That there were gems that still replay on our brain-screen some six months later says much about the quality of the selections: in particular, the lush, dramatic Italian-set I Am Love; the captivating, adventurous Korean spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad, The Weird; the comedic yet troubling doc The Red Chapel; the sinister yet sympathetic Lovers of Hate; and the absolutely uplifting Thunder Soul. DIFF2010 was safely some of the most gratifying (albeit emotionally exhausting) time we've spent in a theater seat.