Well, we're sort of zeroing in, slowly, on the answer to my question: Who paid for that "One More Thing" promotional video about Dallas shown to the city council yesterday? You know: scenes from around the city with exciting Dallas celebrities, like city council members, doing goofy dances, put together in a video for the members of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), a national group that was in town till yesterday looking over Dallas's convention and meeting facilities. It's been seen thousands of times since Unfair Park first noticed the video Tuesday morning. Sample YouTube comment: "Looks like an underfinanced high-school senior-class video."
Why do I care who paid for it? What business is it of mine? I'm nosy. It's my business if I say it is. And middle-aged office pinkies doing the boogie on TV make me nervous. Sorry. If you don't like it, pay my shrink bill, why don't you?
Phyllis Hammond, executive vice president of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, told me yesterday that the video was paid for by the "PCMA Host Committee." I told her I didn't now what that was, and I wanted to know if any city money was involved. I also asked how much the video, produced by DCVB chair Don Freeman Jr.'s company and shot by local filmmakers, cost to make.
Hammond responded: "About 15 people comprise the Host Committee -- a combination of Dallas CVB members, volunteers throughout the community and bureau staff -- in addition to multiple subcommittees, all of which met regularly over the last year. The overall budget was approximately $2 million for the conference, largely in-kind and sponsor contributions. (For instance, the final event [Tuesday] night in the Arts District along Flora Street was basically covered by in-kind services donated by industry members -- it was deemed that important to the city's future). If we would have had to pay for those services, the conference budget would have easily doubled. Out of that came all costs, including the video. There were no city funds involved."
I am writing back to ask, "Were there any Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau funds involved? Can you tell me how much the movie cost?"
Somewhere out there on the far horizon of our cultural future, there is a moment when a middle-aged city council member somewhere will turn to a movie producer and say, "What? Me do the boogie on TV? I'm sorry, but far from making me look like a good sport, I think that would make me look like an ass, and therefore I must refuse."
For now, however, democracy requires that we all look like asses. Most of the time.