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Dallas City Performance Hall Opens September 14, and The Relatives Will Christen It

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After much hand-wringing and chin-scratching over the Dallas City Performance Hall, we're excited to announce that, in conjunction with KXT and the Kessler, we're restarting our Triple Play series on the venue's opening night. Fans of Autechre, keep your chins up. It could still happen.

Friday, September 14, will feature Dallas gospel-funk act The Relatives, longtime local faves Pleasant Grove and Denton folk combo Seryn. Sarah Jaffe will be playing an earlier show in the venue, starting at 7pm, separate from that event. Tickets will officially go on sale next week, but DC9 readers can purchase now by entering "tripleplay" here.

The next night, they've got a concert devoted to the history of Dallas jazz. Beyond that, however, there's the question of what purpose the 750-seat hall will serve within the city's cultural cluster. As the third part of the Wyly Theater/Winspear Opera House Arts District triangle, the city-funded CPH is seeking out smaller arts groups without a space, and concerts that don't quite fit in the bigger downtown venues.

The Kessler Theater will be helping out with booking here and there, says Edwin Cabaniss. He's got a broader vision for what it could be, in terms of live music, at least: "As the building starts shaping up, we hope other non-profits get involved. We'd like to be able to have the whole scene [in there], from the arts crowd to the street-level concert-goers."

I thought about this as I joined David Denson, marketing coordinator for the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, for a walk-through on Wednesday afternoon. Denson described it architecturally as a "box, within a box, within a box," and the inside design indeed reflects that: tall, open, aesthetically symmetrical. It had that "new venue smell." A screen studded with LED lights hung in front of the stage; different artists will be commissioned to do "paintings" on the curtain.

It's a beautiful building, but right now it's still a blank slate. I ask Denson if it's feasible the crowds that go to the Kessler or the Granada might come here for concerts. "We want to contribute, not compete," he says, but also points out that the space is really one the community can shape to their needs. If the hall can appeal to the city's grassroots music, dance, theater and multimedia companies, it could be successful, but it's going to take a couple seasons to figure it out what shape it wants to be.

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