With 2014-15 Season, Dallas Chamber Symphony Occupies Important Place in City's Arts

Categories: Music Notes


Named Best Classical Music Addition of 2013 by Dallas Observer, Dallas Chamber Symphony (DCS) is gearing up for a new season. At just 4 years old, DCS has quickly become one of the most exciting and innovative professional performance ensembles in North Texas, and a lot of that has to do with artistic director and conductor Richard McKay's foresight. He saw that something was missing from the Dallas music and arts scene, and he had an idea of how to fill that empty hole.

"While most major cities have chamber orchestras, Dallas did not," says McKay. "So in 2011, we started DCS, and by 2012, we were in full operation. Then with the opening of the new Dallas City Performance Hall, we had an opportunity not only to fill a void in the Dallas arts community, but also to present our concerts at a gorgeous new hall."

The goal is to present alternative chamber music events unlike those that patrons are generally accustomed to seeing and hearing, and DCS is well on its way to achieving that mission. First, by creating an orchestra of over 40 musicians; second, by performing standard and underrepresented chamber repertory. This year, DCS ups its game by collaborating with the Bruce Wood Dance Project in September, and enters into a new partnership with the Video Association of Dallas in October.

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The Meyerson Symphony Center Turns 25. You're Invited to the Party!

Categories: Music Notes


The Dallas Museum of Art was first to the downtown neighborhood we now know as the Dallas Arts District. Quickly thereafter, the Meyerson Symphony Center opened its doors, becoming one of the city's most elegant buildings and one of the finest concert venues in the world. Designed by I.M. Pei and occupying the corner of Pearl and Flora Streets, this stunning building is about to celebrate its quarter-century birthday, its managers are throwing quite the bash. And you're invited.

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Casey Gray Updates the Baroque With Emojis and Spray Paint at Circuit 12

Categories: Visual Art

Casey Gray

In much of Casey Gray's art, there's a humorous tension between message and medium. Imagine if the 17th century Flemish painters had worked in spray paint. Conversely, picture Peter Paul Rubens on a skateboard. See? Funny. This was the crux of much of San Francisco-based Gray's early work, in which he explored the subject matter of Baroque still life using a complex method of layered spray paints and stenciling.

"I decided to start at the beginning with what is Art 101, like still life painting," Gray says. "I wanted to see how I could paint an apple, part of that also has to do with challenging the idea of tradition with non-traditional techniques in the face of artistry. But more so it was about developing an entirely visual language."

Lately, his work is a bit more true to his daily life, with beach scenes and digital media. It's these motifs that will be on display in his first Dallas solo exhibition at Circuit 12 Contemporary, Of Land and Sea, opening with an artist reception at 6 p.m. September 6.

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13 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, August 28- September 1

Categories: Dallas Stories

Lonestar Film Society
Scream Your Way Through the Weekend

Six by Hitch
Lonestar Film Society pays tribute to one of film's master directors all weekend by screening six of his best films at The Modern in Fort Worth. Starting Thursday with a screening of one of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest films, Blackmail, this weekend walks through his career presenting classics, as well as some of the more rarely seen works. For Blackmail, which screens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, pianist Robert Edwards will provide musical accompaniment in the suspenseful Hitchcock fashion. This six-part showcase of the director's work runs through August 31; tickets to each film are $8. Find more information at themodern.org.

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Alamo Drafthouse Announces Third New Location in Las Colinas

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse
An artist's rendering of the new Alamo Drafthouse location in Las Colinas' Music Factory complex

Dallas/Fort Worth is getting a third Alamo Drafthouse movie theater to fulfill the needs of the Metroplex's more hardcore and addicted cinephiles.

The theater chain announced earlier today that it plans to open a third location in Las Colinas in the new Music Factory shopping and entertainment complex located at State Highway 114 and Fuller Drive, according to a released statement.

James Wallace, the DFW programmer for the movie theater chain, says the theater will officially break ground for the new movie theater this Saturday during their "Rolling Roadshow" screening of the Steven Spielberg classic Raiders of the Lost Ark, which answers the question "Why the hell are they doing an outdoor screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in an open field in Las Colinas?"

"We knew the announcement would hit this week and we obviously needed to announce [the Raiders] event earlier to start promoting it," Wallace says. "We had to announce it and it kind of worked in our advantage to grease the rumor wheel."

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 64 Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia

Categories: 100 Creatives

Part of 40-photo essay about all the possible ways this hat may be worn, which showed at Conduit Gallery for TepeQuetzalandia in 2013
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email lauren.smart@dallasobserver.com with the whos and whys.

No matter the medium, the work of Roberto Munguia seems riddled with mystery. It's not that it's enigmatic, although interpretation is often difficult, it's that he creates complexities. Throughout his career, Munguia has worked in numerous media from ink drawings to encaustics to clay. Simultaneously he been investigating language, sculpting words into poetry. And he's done much of this artistic inquiry in Dallas.

He remembers a time when the Dallas Museum of Art was still in Fair Park and the gallery scene was next to non-existent. He belongs to the city's artistic old guard, but his work continues to be fresh. I've long been an admirer of Munguia's work and it was nice to put a face and a story, with his rich, varied approach to art.

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A Complete Guide to the Companies Performing at Dallas DanceFest This Weekend

Categories: Dance

Sharen Bradford
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Rep II
"The Dallas DanceFest is very timely. Dance is surging forward...and it's exciting because there are more emerging dance companies than ever before," says Gayle Halperin, Vice President of Development for the Dance Council of North Texas (DCNT) and Chair of the Dallas DanceFest Committee (DDF).

Returning after a 10-year hiatus, the festival that began with only outdoor performances is moving into a new era and a new space, the Dallas City Performance Hall. This new and improved Dallas DanceFest is determined to expand its previous reach by looking for ways to include the local community and raising the dance stakes by introducing our city to regional and national artists, such as MET Dance (Houston) and Chado Danse (Kansas City).

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Spanish Lake Tells a Story about Race That's Familiar in Dallas, Ferguson and Everywhere

Categories: Film and TV

A scene from Spanish Lake, a new documentary about race in a suburb near Ferguson, Missouri.
During a recent evening rush-hour, KERA was serving commuters one of its usual panels of NPR experts talking about the news, in this case the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. The talking heads all agreed: America needs to have a good heart-to-heart with itself about race.

Are we really ready for that conversation?

If so, Matt Smith has just the thing to break the ice. He's a producer of a new documentary in which residents of Spanish Lake, a St. Louis suburb near Ferguson, speak candidly about race, white flight and the government's role in creating divided communities very much like Ferguson. Or, for that matter, very much like those in Dallas, where the film Spanish Lake gets a special showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the AMC NorthPark. (Tickets, $11, are available only online through Tugg.)

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Dallas Theater Center Kicks Off with a "Kickass" Rocky Horror Show

Categories: Theater

Dallas Theater Center
The wonderfully weird cast of Rocky Horror Show.

Dan Domenech wears jeans and a casual blue hooded sweater as he sips a root beer. Standing over 6 feet tall, it's easier to imagine him dribbling a basketball than wearing fishnets and eyeliner. His dark brown eyes light up in sheepish amusement when he admits that he walks around his hotel room in heels to rehearse for his role in Dallas Theater Center's Rocky Horror Show. But it's not wearing the heels that he finds embarrassing; it's the possibility he won't be comfortable enough in them. As the show's Frank-N- Furter, he'll need to nimbly slink across the boards if he doesn't want to be booed offstage.

"It's not my first time wearing heels. I did that in Rent years ago," Domenech says with a laugh. "But I'm training a muscle I don't normally use. I have to do a lot of strutting."

Plus, he wants to do the part justice, because hundreds of die-hard Rocky Horror fans will be in the audience and Domenech has iconic heels to fill.

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Podcast: Why Did So Few People See Sin City 2?

Categories: Film and TV

Very few people saw this movie.

Why did so few people see Sin City: A Dame to Kill For over the weekend? That and other topics are discussed in this week's edition of the Voice Film Club podcast with the Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek, joined as always by Amy Nicholson of the L.A. Weekly via the magic of the Internet.

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