100 Dallas Creatives: No. 54 Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens

Categories: 100 Creatives

img_6523.jpg
Undermain Theatre
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.

Katherine Owens has made her mark on Dallas as founder and artistic director of the critically acclaimed Undermain Theatre in Deep Ellum, the culmination of a lifelong passion for the arts. This passion began when Owens was a girl growing up in Odessa, Texas, where her father encouraged her creatively.

"My father was a big reader and lover of painting and music, particularly opera," she says. "Where I grew up, that was a little bit unusual. At first I wanted to be a painter. He tutored me and helped me to recognize the styles and names of the paintings. I always drew. It was something that you could do in a private world of your own, which seemed logical in Odessa."

However, by the time she was twelve, her interest in the arts had drifted to the stage. Owens saw Life with Father at the The Permian Playhouse and her dedication to a life in the theater began.

"It was so captivating to me," she says. "The theater just seemed like the only place to be." Soon after, she started working at Odessa's very own replica of the Globe Theatre. "If you could catch a ride down there, they'd put you to work," she says. "I started working there as a spear carrier, dresser and assistant director."

More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 55 Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick

Categories: 100 Creatives

shannonkayli.jpg
Oil and Cotton
Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick are the chic chicks that run Oil & Cotton.

Kayli House Cusick met Shannon Driscoll at a volunteer meeting for the very first Better Block Street Festival in Oak Cliff. They immediately clicked. And for that year's fest, they wanted to fuse Shannon's background as an art conservator and leader of adult craft workshops and Kayli's work as a children's arts curriculum writer. So, they took over an old warehouse to create a "pop-up" art studio. And Oil & Cotton was born.

Now, they run a space at the corner of 7th and Tyler Street where kids and adults alike can take classes in everything from printmaking to sewing. Their "make do with what you got" philosophy inspires creativity not just in their own lives, but in the lives of everyone who visits their studio. They're teaching Dallas residents to be expressive and resourceful, and they're making the art of making fun.


More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 56 Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio

Categories: 100 Creatives

thomasriccio.jpg

About once a year, the city of Dallas is treated to the offbeat, immersive theater of the Dead White Zombies. Seeing one of the troupe's shows is unlike any play you've seen before. You don't settle into a plush, comfortable seat. There's nothing comfortable about the shows at all - that fall into a category between traditional theater and performance art. Most prominently, the group mounted T.N.B. (typical nigga behavior) in a former drug stash house in West Dallas. That show -about, among other things, the black male experience -was filled with guns, drugs, sex, and violence. Walking out the response varied from "WTF" to "Awesome!"

At the helm of the self-described Pirates of Dallas theater is Thomas Riccio. A theater professor and scholar, whose studies have taken him all over the world, Riccio's primary interest is in the ideas of ritual and the immersive narrative that is everyday life. We once called him "The Weirdest Theater Mind in Dallas" - a reputation he continues to uphold. See it for yourself when the Zombies invade Dallas in November with a play called, Karaoke Motel, the details of which have not yet been announced.


More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 57 Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry

Categories: 100 Creatives

ValCurry.jpg

"I don't know if I've made any significant contributions other than following the advice of an early mentor to 'keep making art'," says Val Curry, sculptor and installation artist about making art in Dallas.

But he's probably wrong about that. This guy is one of the most interesting people you will meet in Dallas. He just keeps making art that has people talking, whether it's the giant outdoor cat sanctuary he has built in his backyard, his window installation with Robert David Reedy at Urban Outfitters Mockingbird Station, or his recent show at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary that displayed his view of the Universe--and it's one that's full of spirals and waste--Curry has a unique take on the world, and it is through his art that he communicates it.


More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 58 Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz

Categories: 100 Creatives

Edward111Ruiz.jpg

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.

Edward Ruiz. Confetti Eddie. The man with the giant dinosaur outside of his studio. You might know him by any of these names, but did you know that Dallas is Ruiz' hometown? Well, it's true. The Oak Cliff-born visual artist, now a fixture in Exposition Park, has cemented himself as a magical force to be reckoned with. Drawing on his art, design, and theatre background, Ruiz has learned to fuse the technical and the entertaining to perform his art and illusions. And he just wants to share it with all of us.


More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 59 Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks

Categories: 100 Creatives

toby-7.jpg
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.

"Sorry if the reception's bad, I'm headed into a national sequoia forest," Toby Halbrooks says, answering the phone in California. The musician come filmmaker is currently in the golden state to work on his latest venture with fellow Dallas darling, David Lowery. This time it's a project for Disney, a remake of the 70's children's film Pete's Dragon. They are writing the script together, and Lowery will direct.

The pair, along with producer James Johnston, forms the team Sailor Bear. Sailor Bear's first release, a short film called Pioneer, won the Grand Jury prize at seven film festivals and catapulted Halbrooks headlong into the world of independent film. Prior to that, Halbrooks had been working as a commercial producer and director.

"David and I started working together in 2006. I met him on this commercial and we became fast friends after working all night on the job," he says. "Within a couple of weeks we were writing together. I never set out to be a film producer. It just happened. James has known David for even longer and when we all met we decided to do Pioneer together."

More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 60 Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings

Categories: 100 Creatives

MICHELLE.jpg
Courtesy of the artist
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.

Michelle Rawlings is one of the emerging Dallas-based painters we'll be able to say "we knew her when." She's one of a young group of artists working in this city who studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and just years into a promising career, she's exhibited at the Dallas Contemporary, Oliver Francis Gallery, Hello Project Gallery in Houston, and several other galleries nationally and in Europe.

Her interests are not limited to any one medium -though she is a masterful painter - and each piece seems like an attempt to tell something to the viewer about the artist, like a gentle whisper in a game of telephone. And it's this elusive playfulness that makes her work mesmerizing. Her work is delicately obtuse, balancing self-portrait with obscuration. Currently, she is the (FEATURE) artist at Goss-Michael Foundation, where her work leaves you the pleasant sense that you would get along swimmingly with the artist.

More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 61 Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch

Categories: 100 Creatives

landson_6744.jpg
James Bland
The couple that plays together, makes Dallas better.
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.

Classical music. It seems as though we've had a love/hate relationship with it over the past several decades as we continuously debate its ever impending demise. Mark Landson and Patricia Yakesch think they have a solution.

Fed up with the solitary experience of the concert hall and its seeming inability to draw in a new, 21st century audience, Mark, the classical musician, and Patricia, his marketing brain, are the brains behind Open Classical with an open mic at Buzzbrew's three years ago. It took some time but over the last few years the two have built a dedicated community of students, professionally trained musicians and just plain music lovers, and their network, and programming schedule, just keeps growing. Oh, and somewhere along the way they fell in love.

This year the classical couple are branching out even further, with new programs, free shows and more.

"Essentially, we are creating an alternative universe for classical music, both in terms of audience experience and professional opportunities for musicians," Mark tells me.

We chatted with both to gauge the temperature of the Dallas classical music community, their Open Classical mission and what's next.

More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 62 Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson

NathanOlson.jpg
What do you think, ladies? Beard or no beard?
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.

When I meet him for coffee, Nathan Olson is sporting a new look -- a thick dark beard he grew "mostly out of laziness" over the summer. He's actively soliciting advice on whether or not to keep it or go back to the boyish, clean-shaven look he usually sports. So far he's gotten mixed reviews. I get the sense that, like most 20-somethings who are indecisive on matters of facial hair, he wouldn't mind if a pretty girl told him decisively which look suits him best so that he'd know whether or not to shave.

In this and other ways, Olson comes across as completely accessible and, well, a pretty normal 27-year old. He plays in a couple of indoor soccer leagues with friends and dabbles in tennis and racquetball to stay fit. He rented an apartment in uptown when he moved here three years ago, but just bought a townhouse off of lower Greenville and is excited to explore his new neighborhood. He loves sports, is strongly opinionated about LeBron James and the Miami Heat (he used to live in Cleveland) and, when it comes to dating, like most of us, he's still "figuring that out."

All of this makes it easy to forget that Olson is an exceptionally talented, successful classical violinist. He started college at 15, completing his undergraduate degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music at 19 and his graduate degree at 21 (also at CIM). At 24, Olson won the job of co-concertmaster at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

If you go to the Meyerson Symphony Center on any given night to hear the DSO, you'll be able to spot Olson seated front and left of center, dressed in a black suit, doing what he does best.

More »

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 63 Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi

Categories: 100 Creatives

KelseyLeighErvi.jpg
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.

When Kelsey Leigh Ervi graduated from Baylor University, moving to Dallas would've been an obvious choice. Quite a few alumni of the theater department land in Dallas, fine tune their mechanics and fly away to a bigger city. And local theaters are happy to be used as a launching pad for the careers of these aspiring actors, comedians, director. But moving to Dallas was a redirection for Ervi, but one she says gave her a home base she plans to keep for quite some time.

Just a few years into her career, she's made her professional directing debut at WaterTower Theatre, where she also has a day job as the Assistant to the Producing Artistic Director. More important, she's found a community. She's adding a fresh perspective to the theater scene here and proving that young people can get jobs -and good ones! - in the theater.


More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Health & Beauty

Loading...