Video: Behind the Scenes at Shakespeare in the Bar

Categories: Theater

Jourdon Aldredge

"This isn't your English class' Shakespeare," Katherine Bourne says in our new video of Shakespeare in the Bar, the wildly popular theater series at Wild Detectives. She's right about that.

We've told you how much fun we've been having at these pop-up theater performances at the bookstore/coffeeshop/bar in the Bishop Arts District, now we're giving you a behind the scenes look, courtesy our videographer Jourdan Aldredge. Watch it here.

100 Dallas Creatives Down, Thousands to Go

Categories: 100 Creatives

Thumbnail image for 100CreativesCollage.jpg
Collage by Tracie Louck/Photos courtesy artists
Clockwise from Top Left Sarah Perry, John Pomora, Shay Youngblood, Jonathan Norton, Celia Eberle, Heyd Fontenot

Last May I sat staring into my laptop and a blank document stared back. One hundred can seem like such a daunting number. But some of the Observer's sister papers in cities like Phoenix and Miami had come up with 100 creative people to feature in an ongoing series, so Dallas could too.

Initially, the struggle was explaining what we were trying to accomplish. First to ourselves, and then to the people we were planning to feature. It wasn't an award -- we have the annual Mastermind awards for creative types -- and we had no precedent for it to be any kind of honor. They were just interviews, opportunities for the writer and the reader to peek behind the curtain in the life of someone whose work we admire. When you're in a job like I have, you feel pretty lucky to have an excuse to knock heads with some of the city's greatest minds.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 1 Shay Youngblood, Writer About Town

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy Shay Youngblood

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Shay Youngblood is an artist of several varieties. An author and playwright with numerous publications to her name, Youngblood began to write by reflecting on her tumultuous childhood and the women who raised her, or her "Big Mamas," as she calls them. Throughout her adult life, she has traveled on fellowships everywhere from Saratoga Springs, New York to Toyko.

But Youngblood has the drive to see life from all perspectives. She's also a painter, and is interested in collaborating on an opera, a graphic novel, and animation. She's an innovator. When she wanted to see Dallas as a visitor, she became the Dallas Museum of Art's first Writer in Residence. She's figured out how to keep her craft alive, and balance it with life. In her current day job, she works as a career advisor for creatives. We can hardly think of anyone else more qualified to offer that kind of advice.

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Six Free & Cheap Culture Events This Week

Categories: Events

Don McCullough

See the lighter side of drones on Saturday.We have finally made it to spring, which gives everyone in Dallas a sort of cabin fever that's different from the one when you're cooped up in crappy weather. Now, everyone wants to get outside and enjoy the sunshine at temperatures that won't actually burn your entire face off. As such, that means that you should get out and see what your community is doing to help make this "world-class" city a more cultured place.

This week, there's everything from fancy shopping to drone fighting that can keep you occupied when you're not slaving away at your boring corporate job. Think of these six free and cheap culture events in Dallas as your way of flexing those creative muscles, even if you don't really have any. Besides, most of these places have beer.

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Zhulong Gallery Explores Mark Tribe's Unreal Natural Landscapes

Categories: Visual Art

Zhulong Gallery
Mark Tribe creates landscapes you'll get lost in.

What is reality? How do we build the one we live in? Have you ever asked yourself this? How real are the places you visit? What about the places you haven't been? You'll never see all of the natural world, and you'll only really know the places you've been. The rest? Someone has made them up for you, relayed them back, with photographs, stories and maps.

The rain forests? The mountains? Are they there before you arrive? Are they different now that you've seen them? Will they be there tomorrow when you're gone? How will you remember them? Will they look different in your memory? Will your memory become your sketchbook? Your photographs? Your dreams?

When a tree falls, when the night comes, and you're not there to see it change, did it happen? Even in nature, what is real? In Mark Tribe: New Landscapes at Zhulong Gallery, these questions of authenticity seem at the forefront of an exhibition that attempts to "reframe the pictorial traditions of landscape art through contemporary technology."

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Comics T.J. & Dave Want You To Know That This is All Made Up

Categories: Comedy

Courtesy of Dallas Comedy House
Improvisors T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi

For the last 15 years, T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi of the comedy duo of T.J. & Dave have started their shows with the same, simple method. They walk out on stage, introduce each other and assure the crowd, "Trust us, this is all made up."

Some music plays, the lights come up and the two are either standing or sitting on stage with no script or storyline to protect them from the harsh judgment of an audience. All they have is their wits and each other. They don't even ask someone in the audience for a one-word suggestion, their favorite color or something they would bring with them if they had to spend a year in Antarctica to kick off an idea for a scene. They literally know just as much as the audience does about what will unfold on stage.

Anyone with the balls to stand under a spotlight knows that the silence in those first few moments after the lights go up and the realization that a quiet crowd is waiting for a reason to laugh can be one of the scariest experiences of their existence.

"When those lights first come up and I haven't really thought about it this way, so forgive me if this idea is half baked is there is a little bit of free fall there," Jagodowski says. "It's almost like when someone jumps out of a plane, there's a little bit of free fall and if you start freaking out, you're going to tumble and keep falling the rest of the way but if you trust that improvisation is going to start showing you what's already there, then there's some sense of being taken care enters into there."

The magic of any improv comedy group is watching how they tangle with or toss away those fears about the unknown and let the unfolding events create comedy that can't be written before they walk out on stage or recreated once they leave it. Every show is unique to the room and the moment. It exists in an ether that can't be bottled and inhaled ever again and TJ & Dave perform one of the purest improvised shows an audience can witness. T.J. & Dave will perform two such sold out shows this Friday and Saturday at the Dallas Comedy House as part of the 2015 Dallas Comedy Festival.

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It's the Final Countdown at Rover Dramawerks' One Day Only Play Festival

Categories: Theater

Courtesy of Rover Dramawerks

It's often been said that writers and artists work best when they have a gun to their head. A theater in Plano will provide five casts with that kind of motivation, and since this is Texas, we should probably mention that it will only be a proverbial gun.

Rover Dramawerks will present five short plays at 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, all of which were written, rehearsed and produced in the previous 24-hour period as part of their 24th annual One Day Only short play festival.

The production of these plays will start at 9 p.m. Friday at the Plano theater. Carol M. Rice, the executive artistic director for Rover Dramawerks, says that the cast will consist of five directors and writers and a cast of 30 or so actors and actress. They'll start with a brainstorming session and throw those ideas into a hat for the playwrights to choose. The writers will get their play topics and spend the entire night writing a script for the actors and directors to block out and rehearse right up until the opening curtain at 8 p.m. Saturday.

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Disney On Ice: Frozen Puts Elsa in Ice Skates, and Parents Everywhere Let Go of Their Wallets

Categories: Events

Disney on Ice
The cold doesn't bother her anyway.

By Jennifer Davis-Lamm
The minute we turned onto Field Street on our way to the American Airlines Center for Disney On Ice: Frozen, I knew I was in trouble. My four-year-old, who had been told only that she was going to get to stay out past bedtime for a surprise, suddenly rocketed forward in her car seat: "MOM! LOOK! They're all in Elsa dresses!" And indeed, hordes of small children were walking down the street in aqua-blue polyester gowns--one of which hangs in my daughter's room, 15 miles away and decidedly not on her body.

I catch myself feeling kinda bad about this oversight. Despite the fact that repeated viewings of Frozen incite me to fantasize about installing a flux capacitor in my mommy SUV and heading to a time when Arendelle was just a glimmer in a Disney exec's eye, I've come to accept Anna and Elsa as frequent interlopers into our household. I've also been suckered into more merch than I care to admit.

Luckily, my kiddo has gamely decided that the lack of an Elsa dress is not going to hamper her evening...particularly since the entire arena is filled, packed, and brimming with all the Frozen goods you could ever conceive of. We explain that she will be allowed to pick out one souvenir from the evening, and her head swims with possibilities as we find our seats--which were graciously comped by the local company promoting the event.

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19 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, March 26-29

Categories: Dallas Stories


We've been looking for the pinball tables in Dallas for months. It seems they've disappeared from some of our favorite spots. But this weekend, we'll get to use our flipper fingers on the hundreds of pinball tables that will be at the Texas Pinball Festival up in Frisco. It kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday and lasts through Sunday, stretching late into the night most nights. One-day passes start at $25; weekend passes are available for $60 for adults and $35 for kids. More information at

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Dallas Gets a British Invasion this April by Artist Michael Craig Martin

Dallas Public Library
Michael Craig Martin Won't Be Coming to Dallas quietly.

This year for its annual charity fundraiser MTV:REDEFINE, taking place on April 10, the Goss-Michael Foundation, in keeping with its educational mission, has adopted a more public attitude. The exclusive fundraiser that auctions off work from artists the likes of Mario Testino, David Salle, and Julian Schnabel will stay fancy and exclusive. But surrounding the main event, the foundation has teamed up with everyone from the Dallas Museum of Art to the Dallas Public Library to publicly display work from this year's featured artist, Michael Craig Martin.

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