This past weekend in Dallas, you couldn't turn a corner without hitting a valet stand or a liquor sponsor. Between the Dallas Art Fair, the Dallas International Film Festival, and the ongoing calendar of concerts, weeklies and openings, I hope you found yourself at the open bar of at least one of the many events going on.
This year, those folks at Rio Room took notice the activity and put together an impressive line-up. Touted as "Big Week," they kicked off their late-night offerings with Flight Facilities on Thursday, adored Belgian DJ Aeroplane on Friday, and a Saturday night grand finale featuring Dallas darling Erykah Badu and the Cannabinoids.
In addition to concluding Rio's own stellar string of programming, Badu's Saturday performance served as the after-party for The Dallas Museum of Art's annual Art Ball. The Art Ball is consistently one of the city's most unique and talked about philanthropic events, and since Art Ball 2012 counted Headington Companies, that of Tim Headington, Joule Hotel and Rio Room owner, as a presenting and after-party sponsor, it was clear this was the place to be Saturday night.
I broke in some new heels, grabbed the arm of a handsome date and slipped in to Rio just before midnight. Curious if the Art Ball set would really swing through, I was tickled to be surrounded by tuxes and ball gowns, mixing with Dallas hip-hop heads and a few deemed by Bravo as our most eligible. Hennessy, one of the night's sponsors, clearly had the crowd buzzed but the Rio cocktail waitress infantry was busy delivering sparkler-topped champagne all night, with a signature smile.
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Badu and the gang of producers that make up the Cannabinoids took the stage at 12:30 a.m. sharp. "Dallas, can I call you Dallas?" she flirted. Those expecting a DJ set from alter ego Low Down Loretta Brown were instead treated to an incredible 90-minute concert. Those lucky enough to catch their January Granada Theater performance know Badu delivers a transformative experience. Saturday night was no different, and every reflective surface in Rio Room's packed club seemed to shine brighter in her presence.
A minor key version of "On and On" segued into samples from "Push It," then seamlessly into a triple-time version of "Appletree." Those musical highlights don't even address the Cannabinoids' original material. Saturday has me craving more full bands in this setting.
Matthew Giese, the brains behind Big Week, stood surrounded by the impressive party he and his team brought to fruition. His smirk suggested there are only more tricks up his tailored sleeve. Quit rolling your eyes about lounges and submit your schedule, sugars.