10 Lucky Dogs Will Win Spun Chairs From the Nasher Sculpture Center

Perhaps one of the most lovely art exhibitions in town this year was Provocations at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Featuring the design work of the UK's Heatherwick Studio, it featured small scale models, or bits and pieces of designs from around the globe, all of which demonstrated the company's humanistic approach to creation. Not only was it fascinating to see the spectrum of the company's work, it was also revelatory to get to know up close an architecture studio that emphasizes people and how they use the buildings or interact with the designs, rather than creating a formulaic recognizable standard.

But I'll stop bandying. One of the best parts of the exhibition was a simple one: a chair without a back that spins without throwing you out. They were displayed outside next to garden and they were a hit. Everyone went for a spin in the Spun Chairs, which is why you might be excited to hear the Nasher Sculpture Center is giving 10 of the chairs away to a few lucky Instgrammers. And just FYI, I'm only telling you about this to make the competition more fun. I plan to enter every day; if you want to win, I'm your obstacle.

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The Irving Convention Center -- Awesome Futuristic Concept or Super Fugly Building?

All photos by Jane R. LeBlanc
This week, we continue our hunt for Dallas' fugliest building. So far we've attacked the AT&T corporate office, the Dallas World Trade Center and the Turley Law Center.

But the next building on the list is so...out there, it proved polarizing even before this article was written -- the Irving Convention Center. "For the longest time, I'd see it out there in the field and think it was either some sort of industrial cooling tower or weird parking garage," said Managing Editor Patrick Williams. I can see why his mind went to HVAC. But not everyone had such utilitarian thoughts. "Oooo. I love that building," said Arts & Culture Editor Lauren Smart. "Looks like Steampunk meets Star Wars to me." I thought she was out of her mind. How can you love something that looks like a rusted box with wings taking flight? Not that it was always so rusty.

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City Announces Which Artists Made the Cut to Create Public Art in Dallas

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Lauren Woods
One of the pre-approved artists is Lauren Woods.

The end of October was the deadline for applications to participate in the city's Public Art Program, which is the initiative of the Office of Cultural Affairs to promote the commission of new public art. At the beginning of December, the OCA announced that they had narrowed down some 273 applications to select 50 artists who will be given the opportunity to potentially, maybe create public art on commission from the city.

Call me a cynic, but the artists on the pre-approved, totally official and closed for two years public art list defied my expectations. The ones whose work I am familiar with are some of the best artists in Dallas. And if I were an artist, I probably would've jumped at the chance to get my name on this list. So now, I'll be curious to see how it all plays out.

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Arts & Letters Live 2015 Schedule Includes Ina Garten, Billy Collins and Aimee Mann

Poetry Foundation

Confession: Billy Collins is the reason I'm a writer. As a community college student, I once met him during a poetry workshop my English 101 professor had organized. It was inspiring. His poetry is straightforward in its language, with beautifully precise revelations. There were no snooty sonnets or obscure, hundred-dollar words. I understood it, and I understood all of the things that writing could be. Last year, he came through town to speak to the Friends of the Public Library fundraiser and I wrote the only listicle for which I've ever felt pride. I could go on forever about why you should start reading his poetry yesterday. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled to see him on the schedule of speakers for the Dallas Museum of Art's Arts & Letter Live 2015, which was released today. Oh, and he'll be here with the wonderful Aimee Man.

Here's the full list.

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Win Awesome Girl's Night Out From Granada Theater, Mixmaster By Telling Us a Good Story

Granada Theater
C'mon ladies, look at that face.

Here on Mixmaster it's not often enough that we embrace our girly side. As your friendly neighborhood culture editor, I nerd out about art openings, must-see plays, and classical music on the daily, but it's far too rare that I bring you news of places to do your hair, or grab a new top. But if I'm going to toss out my budget it's going to be on a New Year's outfit or holiday plans and parties. Which is why I'm excited to partner with the Granada on this little big giveaway.

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Dave Chappelle Announces Second Night of Shows in Dallas

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Two nights, Dave? You're too kind.
Remember last week when we told you of Dave Chappelle's sneak attack show announcement? By the time we got wind of it and blew it down to you (don't overthink the metaphor), tickets were already in limited quantity. I imagine you dashing from our Web site to livenation.com, only to experience a screen devoid of ticket buying options.

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The Turley Law Center -- Yet Another Fugly Building, or Is It?

All photos by Jane R. LeBlanc
Turley Law Center
So far in our quest to find the fugliest building in Dallas, we've attacked the AT&T corporate office in East Dallas and the Dallas World Trade Center building. Two strong contenders for sure. But is the next one fugly enough to take top standing?

I'm talking about the ever-popular Turley Law Center off Central Expressway and East University Boulevard. 11 stories of wonder standing proudly in University Park, it's home to the Turley Law Firm, a few private law practices, a salon and more. There are even four spaces for rent, if you need to set up shop in Big D. The building certainly stands out among the sea of steel and beige surrounding it, so it's got that going for it. From the blue windows to the blood-red stripe around the top and down the corners, there's no way to miss it, even going 75 mph down the highway. But yesterday, I decided to actually pull off the highway and pay Turley a visit.

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Dave Chappelle Sneak Attacked Dallas with a Show Announcement Yesterday

Surprising his fans is kind of Dave Chappelle's thing. I'm not sure I fully understand the marketing strategy of announcing things out of nowhere, but it must be working for him. In 2012, he announced it day of, which meant swiftly canceling plans with anyone who didn't want to move their dinner party to the House of Blues. This year, he did us the favor of announcing more than a week in advance so we know which holiday party we'll be skipping. Chappelle will be in town for two shows at the House of Blues at 6 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, December 15.

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With ArtPrize Set to Launch in 2016, Did Dallas Just Buy a Franchised Art Event?

A detail of 'The Hair Craft Project' by Sonya Clark, winner of half of the split Juried Grand Prize.

Last week I found myself in a debate with an artist about the annual fundraiser Art Con. This artist has decidedly never participated in the construction of an art piece to be auctioned off in the name of charity because in his words, "the art is inconsistent." In my words, he takes it all a bit too seriously. I argued that it's more about the event than the quality of art (he nodded, "exactly") and that for many people it's a gateway to an appreciation of local art and artists. He said something to extent of, "If people are going to be introduced to art for the first time, I'd like it to be with a quality event."

I'm wondering if this artist will like today's news that the city of Dallas entered into a three-year agreement with ArtPrize - the citywide art festival that gives up to $500,000 to participating international artistsĀ - to debut in April 2016.

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Artopia 2015 Pre-Sale Tickets Go Live Today, Plus You Can Still Nominate MasterMinds

Rachael Watts
If you're reading this, you're invited to an art party. Artopia 2015 is just around the corner. Tickets for the general public won't be released until Friday, but as a reader of this blog you have access to the pre-sale tickets which arrive today. At 10 a.m. today ticket sales on the Web site go live, if you use the promo code: MIXMASTER.

If you're into parties, art, booze, or fun, you'd be wise to buy your ticket early, as the event sells out notoriously quick. And this year, we've dreamed up an awesome event for you. Musical acts include the enigmatic George Quartz and art displays from the MasterMind winners and other local artists. Speaking of MasterMinds, we still need you to help us pick who we will receive a chunk of $6000. We pick up to six local artists to spread the money to, based on nominations from anyone inside or around Dallas. Send us an email with the name of the artist, and a link to their work at masterminds@dallasobserver.com. Nominations are due Friday, November 21.