Loris Gréaud and What He Didn't Create for His Art Exhibition

Categories: Visual Art

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Courtesy Dallas Contemporary

Last Friday afternoon, I stepped into the Dallas Contemporary galleries with select members of the press to get an early view of Loris Gréaud's The Unplayed Notes Museum, an exhibition meant to fill the mammoth warehouse space -- roughly 26,000 square feet of emptiness for the artist to play in. And he created what he calls a "new kind of natural history museum," filling much of it with a taste for slick decadence. There were lacquered black paintings and oversized sculptures. In one room a herd of black, mutated sheep were frozen mid-motion, running past globular lights that seemed straight out of the many design boutiques on Dragon Street just a few blocks away.

In another room there was a video of a man and a woman having sex, but filmed with a thermal imaging camera. So, as Gréaud explains it, he hired "sex professionals" and asked them to attempt orgasm so he could film the way heat travels through their bodies. Then, he spins the image in strange ways to make it look artistic. Ah, yes, genius.

And this sort of interest in appearances runs throughout the space. In each room, the only thing binding it all together beyond decorative hollowness are books that line a small portion of the floor in each room, titled Encyclopedia of Irresolution." And in each room of really boring art, I have this urge to topple the statues and tear the art from the walls and throw it across the room, screaming, "ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?"

This is perhaps one of the few things I understand about Gréaud and this exhibition, because he also wanted to destroy it.

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Video Art Is Dialing Your Number. Answer the Call at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary.

Categories: Visual Art

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Dallas Medianale, an experimental film festival programmed by the Video Association of Dallas, has been going on at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (3120 McKinney Ave.) since January 9. I went to the opening night, which featured screenings and a series of intermedia performances, including an awesome display by a duo called Cracked Ray Tube, who assembled a tower of old TVs and synced audio to a kaleidoscope of images for a mesmerizing, trippy effect. The event was free, like all of the Medianale events, but I was still happily surprised to find the reasonably large black box theater at the MAC packed that night; attendees spilled out of chairs onto the floor.

This past weekend marked the opening of Call and Response, a video art exhibit in one of the MAC galleries that's co-curated by Charles Dee Mitchell and Danielle Avram-Morgan. Mitchell has curated events for the Video Association of Dallas in the past, and he decided to enlist a co-pilot for this Medianale exhibit, which features a number of iconic video artists including Bruce Nauman and Francis Alys. Mitchell knew Avram-Morgan from The Power Station, a non-profit promoting contemporary art projects in Dallas, and he invited her to choose half of the artists to be presented.


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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 13 Will Power, Playwright and Mentor

Categories: 100 Creatives

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Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Since Will Power arrived in Dallas he's been busy. With a background in performance, writing and education, he's not just creating his own work but he's investing in the work of future generations. Originally commissioned to be the Meadows Theatre Artist-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University, he also became the playwright-in-residence at the Dallas Theater Center. Which means that most of his days are filled with teaching, mentoring the young playwrights of Dallas, and writing plays and musicals of his own.

For Dallas Theater Center, he's been working on a new musical, Stagger Lee, which previews January 22 and opens January 30. It's a work that delves into the myths and legends of American folklore like Frankie and Johnny, and its namesake, Stagger Lee, whose story is of a man deep in the seedy underbelly of turn of the 20th century St. Louis. We talked to Power about this new musical, playwriting in Dallas, and where you'll catch him on a day off.

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A Group of Nerdy Adults Went to the Marvel Experience. We Learned It Is For Kids.

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Fighting my aging body there's an ungrown child who still wishes for magic of fairytales and superheroes. Although I've admittedly never been a comic book fan - I fell into the realism camp of childhood fantasies, with the likes of Nancy Drew/Encyclopedia Brown or Choose Your own Adventure books - I can still appreciate the nerdy enthusiasm for Spidey and Captain America. Which is why I found myself leading a motley crew of adult men into the Marvel Experience Wednesday night. There were five of us, so we assigned characters -- as the only girl, I was Black Widow, obviously. And we picked superpowers. My friends were excited on the point of giddy, although admittedly they had no idea what to expect. One of them even asked if this was the same thing as Marvel Universe Live! , which he saw a commercial for on tv. (It is not.)

No, the Marvel Experience is a small, traveling theme park that contains an array of video games, 3-d videos, one virtual shooting game, a laser maze, a climbing wall, and a simulator (a movie during which the chairs move a little bit). There is also a small food court, complete with hotdogs and Bud Lights, for the adults. The Bud Lights are the only things there for adults. Because the Marvel Experience is very much for children.


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18 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas this Weekend, Jan. 22 - 25

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Undermain Theatre
The Flick is one of the many shows worth seeing this weekend.

Sometime this weekend, in between your rush to catch up on the Oscar nominations, we'd like you to take a minute to notice how much live theater is happening in Dallas. And most of it is worth your time and attention.

Stagger Lee, a brand new musical at the Dallas Theater Center, about the eponymous folk legend.

The Flick at the Undermain Theatre is a contemporary tale that captures both the language and the zeitgeist of young America, a generation who lives their lives through movies.

Tru, a one-man show starring Jaston Williams about Truman Capote that theater critic Elaine Liner called a delight.

The Book Club Play at Dallas Theater Center, a comedy about a book club that explores friendships and supposed intellectual values.

The Explorer's Club, a comedy at WaterTower Theatre that revisits 19th century England where a scientific gentleman's society finds itself interrupted by a woman and her discoveries.

Why Things Burn at Margo Jones Theatre, which takes place in the early 20th century when a group of circus "freaks" attempt to start a new life.

Here are Mixmaster's other recommendations for this weekend:

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 14 Janeil Engelstad, an Artist with Purpose

Categories: 100 Creatives

Janeil.jpg
Courtesy the artist
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Janeil Engelstad is an artist. A photographer. A curator. An educator. A producer. A former Fulbright Scholar. A tea drinker. One of the busiest people in town. And she's turned that "busyness" into an asset. Engelstad knows everyone, and knows the people you haven't met yet, and wants you to get to know them.

How? Through her organization Make Art With Purpose (MAP), which was founded in 2010 as a resource center for creative projects that are meant to shape and transform our world in positive ways. The MAP website is an open-source, interactive, virtual resource center that includes how-to plans for people to replicate similar projects in their own communities. MAP partners with artists, NGOs, scientists, and others to produce projects, exhibitions, conferences, and other public programs that are rooted in consciousness and include ideas for positive environmental and social change. While it was founded in 2010, it was not until 2013 that Engelstad organized the first MAP festival, and we were lucky enough to have it in our city. It brought awareness to public art and local artists working with a community mindset; and it also brought national and international artists to Dallas to create original pieces of public art.

It is Engelstad's hope to one day have a festival of this magnitude once every three years in a new city, but for now, we're able to call Dallas the inaugural birthplace of the MAP Festival, and Engelstad one of our own cultural ambassadors.


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Alamo Drafthouse Reveals Plans to Conquer the North Texas Movie Experience

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Dallas Observer

Remember when we looked at Austin with a glimmer of envy? I'm writing this down to remind the children. The ones who will remember seeing The Lego Movie, chomping down on good pizza, while their parents guzzled adult milkshakes. The ones who won't remember movie theaters reeking of hot dogs and fake butter. The ones who will never experience the total annoyance of an asshole talking on their phone during a movie without recompense. The ones who will never remember a time when Dallas, or even North Texas, didn't have an Alamo Drafthouse.

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Theatre Three's Capote Play Is a Tru Delight

Categories: Theater

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Kirk R. Tuck

Suspend any expectation that the actor playing Truman Capote in the one-man play Tru, now on at Theatre Three, will attempt an impression of the author as accurate as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman did in his Oscar-winning performance in Capote.


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The Book Club Play at Dallas Theater Center Should Be Shelved

Categories: Theater

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Karen Almond
Let's do some basic forensics on how a thing as wretched as The Book Club Play got produced at the Dallas Theater Center. DTC is our big League of Resident Theatres professional showplace with a large staff dedicated to bringing top quality scripts, new and old, to audiences. There have to be valid reasons why The Book Club Play, two of the most bafflingly bad hours of theater ever wrought upon the Kalita Humphreys stage, came to be done there. More valid than "lots of other regional theaters are doing it."

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5 Art Exhibitions to See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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Jesse Morgan Barnett & Jeff Gibbons
It's a rare opportunity to see two of the smartest artists working in Dallas in the same venue. Which is why you'll want to head to the Goss Michael Foundation's exhibition openings from 6-8 p.m. Friday. Jesse Morgan Barnett mines his own life to create abstract sculptural installations. He fills the room with unassuming objects that relate meaningfully. Barnett's exhibition Personal Life will run concurrently with Auto Relativity Kinetotron by Jeff Gibbons -- an artist who works in numerous media and creates thoughtful, absorbing work. See both for free at Goss Michael Foundation (1405 Turtle Creek Blvd.) through March 6. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday. More information at g-mf.org.

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