100 Dallas Creatives: No. 39 Literary Framer Karen Weiner

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Kevin Todora
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
When Karen Weiner opened the Reading Room in Dallas, she turned a new page for the gallery scene, creating a project space unlike anything else that exists here. Her snug little spot in Exposition Park hosts everything from book swaps to art exhibitions to readings, with topics running the gamut from history to the current exhibition that makes a case for the mailman with clever, hand drawn post cards.

Weiner's background is in bookmaking and photography, and she spent years running the UTD artist residency program with Rick Brettel, which was originally in the South Side at Lamar building. (Now the residency program is known as CentralTrak and is right down the street.) Both Weiner and her Reading Room are two staples on the Dallas arts scene, equally charming and intellectually stimulating. Words and art collide regularly, but with the Reading Room, Weiner found a way to collapse them - to frame them.


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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 40 Festival Orchestrator Anna Sophia van Zweden

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In front of a piece by Jessica Warboys at an art fair in New York.
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

Earlier this year, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra unveiled its secret weapon. While Jaap van Zweden builds a top level orchestra, his daughter has been at work behind the scenes helping him strategize how to bring in younger audiences. She's chaired the annual gala, planning a fun after party that stretches late into the night. And it was announced in April that she will serve as the Director of Festival Advancement for the Soluna Festival, which is set to launch in May 2015.

Her multi-disciplinary background, primarily in visual art and museum studies, has allowed her to approach the festival in an inclusive way, pairing international visual artists with the DSO, inviting dance companies to participate, and working the Dallas Museum of Art to program performance art. And that's just a tiny piece of what's to come. We're excited to see how it all comes together, but with Anna Sophia orchestrating its first year, we're expecting great things.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 41 Emerging Veteran Actor Van Quattro

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Karen Almond
Van Quattro in Second Thought Theatre's A Behanding in Spokane
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

"I tend to play wacked-out characters, but there's no reason I couldn't play doctors and lawyers." Actor Van Quattro, a favorite among DFW theater directors and critics, is frustrated. He's been auditioning for a lot of TV and film work lately and getting beat for roles by younger actors "playing older."

"Lately every role I go up for, I lose to some actor who was in [the HBO series] True Detective," says Quattro. "They're 10 or 20 years younger than me and we're up for the same part."

Quattro, 60, already has a resume any professional actor would envy. Before moving from Los Angeles (where he was born and raised) to Fort Worth 14 years ago, he had appeared in big TV series including Millennium, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences and General Hospital, and had good roles as mean cops and psycho killers in films such as Fight Club and End of Days.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 42 Anachronistic Musician Matt Tolentino

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Catherine Downes

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
When Matt Tolentino was eight years old, and most of his peers were shooting each other with Nerf guns, he was writing a strongly worded letter to then mayor Ron Kirk. Tolentino had visited the Bank of America building with his grandfather, and from the vantage point of its 40th floor, he had looked down on the Wilson Building and noticed it was in need of repair. So he went home and got out a pencil and paper. "I told him, 'I think the roof of the Wilson building really needs some attention,'" Tolentino says. To his surprise, Mayor Kirk wrote back, thanking him for raising the issue and for taking an interest in Dallas' historic architecture at such a young age.

The precociousness and appreciation for history that is evidenced by that story reflects Tolentino's character to this day. Now 29, he has merged his passion for the old world with music, as the leader of an 18-piece band, The Singapore Slingers. That band, founded in 2008, has a repertoire composed of American popular music from 1895 to 1935. Tolentino is an incredibly versatile musician, playing accordion, clarinet, tuba, piano, and saxophone, among other instruments. In addition to The Singapore Slingers, he heads up several smaller bands, including The Matt Tolentino Band and The Royal Klobasneks.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 43 Multi-Talented Director Tre Garrett

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Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

In years past, the Dallas-Fort Worth theater scene was in desperate need of diversity. In response to largely wealthy-and-white theaters, smaller niche companies began filling in the gaps with a varied and diverse slate of works from writers of all races, genders, and sexual identities.

In Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre has been a hub for African-American theater in the metroplex since 1983. Over the decades, Jubilee Theatre's company has evolved from a small-scale "gypsy theater," performing in lobbies and bars to hosting professional actors in a beautifully renovated theater in Sundance Square.

Since 2011 Tre Garrett has been at the helm of Jubilee and has proven to be a dynamic and multi-talented artistic director. In his tenure at Jubilee, Garrett has been responsible for a broad program of works highlighting under-represented facets of African and African-American culture to nearly-unanimous rave reviews from the critics.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 44 Artistic Integrator Erica Felicella

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Courtesy Erica Felicella
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Erica Felicella is endlessly likable. That she would be a driving force behind one of the city's coolest art events comes as little surprise after spending an afternoon with her. This executive director of Art Conspiracy is intelligent, grounded, and friendly. And she really cares about the community.

In all aspects of her life, she's invested in engaging both local artists and the general public. But nothing seems forced. Her work as a performance artist is brave and thoughtful, and she is one of the biggest cheerleaders of Dallas and its arts scene. She chatted with Mixmaster in anticipation of this weekend's Art Con X, and this interview is excerpted from that larger conversation.


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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 45 Absorbing Artist Jeff Gibbons

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Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
The art of Jeff Gibbons defies definition. His work is anything but straightforward, often subduing any obvious meaning in its layers of media. His art spans genres and takes on an interior life that requires a patient viewer -and in its complications, his work can be either revelatory or unsettling. But it's this promise of reflexive engagement that pulls visitors in anytime his name, or that of his collaboration with Justin Ginsburg, Apophenia Underground, is on a show's flyer.

In his time here, Gibbons has been a part of some of the more interesting installations at galleries including Beefhaus, and CentralTrak - where he is currently an artist in residence. He also teamed up with Ginsburg to organize Deep Ellum Windows, a series of pop-up exhibitions in abandoned buildings. He's added layers to the local art scene, not just with his own work, but with his projects throughout the community that have inspired myriad interactions. We're lucky to have him in Dallas for however long we get to keep him.


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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 46 Purposive Chef Chad Houser

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Stanton Stephens
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
Chad Houser loves his job. The former co-chef-owner at Parigi in Oak Lawn is living his dream, and giving the same opportunity to disadvantaged youths everyday, as Executive Director and Head Chef of Café Momentum. And to ask him, it's only getting better.

After hosting more than 40 pop-up dinners over the course of three years, Café Momentum will finally be lighting the burners of a brand new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the beginning of 2015. Houser and his crew are looking to make the new restaurant more than just a place to enjoy a quality meal. They want Café Momentum's new home to be a place of hope for the community.

Café Momentum is doing more than merely training juvenile offenders in the culinary arts. Houser and company are giving these kids a second chance, and changing the way Dallas looks at food every day.

In the meantime, Houser is hard at work preparing for the opening, but we were lucky enough to get a few minutes of his time while he was moving boxes of glassware out of storage. There may be no rest for the wicked, but in Houser's case there is no need for rest at all.


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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 47 Progressive Playmakers Christopher Carlos & Tina Parker

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Courtesy Tina Parker
This is a pic of Chris & Tina at Halloween a few years ago... they don't always look like this...
Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

Christopher Carlos and Tina Parker often soak in the spotlight. No strangers to the stages of local theaters and frequently illuminating the televisions, these two keep busy with acting and directing gigs. And that's when they're not co-running a theater company.

The cunning minds behind Kitchen Dog Theater, a company that consistently tops must-see and best of lists, they're not just theater makers, they're innovators. Kitchen Dog Theater hosts one of the more robust new works festivals in the city; the company is a founding member of the National New Play Network, an alliance of nonprofit companies committed to developing and producing new plays; and they take risks on new work, delivering to Dallas the regional, or sometimes world, premiere of edgy, new plays. They keep the local theater scene on its toes and they seem to have a lot of fun doing it.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 48 Technological Painter John Pomara

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Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

John Pomara exhibited artwork before the Internet. With degrees in studio art, and exhibitions on his resume dating back to the 80's, it was more than a decade into his practice before he took an interest in technology. Now, he brings a painterly eye to the digital world, focusing much of work on the intersection of painting and new media. He magnifies images, incorporates computer stenciling, and focuses on the capacity for human error in the technological world. It's savvy abstraction, and it's a visual delight.

If he's not in his studio, manipulating images or shaking up a can of spray paint, he's investing in the future of art, instructing young artists at the University of Texas at Dallas. His most recent work can be seen at Barry Whistler Gallery through November 24.

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