Rick Steves on Israel, Palestine, and Smoking Pot

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ATTPAC

By Monica Hinman
"People used to say 'Bon Voyage", comments Rick Steves at the beginning of our phone conversation. It was a way to express excitement and adventure, instead of "Have a safe trip," which suggests fear and danger. Why such an ominous farewell?

Travel is safer than ever but when was the last time anyone wished you "Bon Voyage"? Has technology changed the way we think about travel and our world? To Steves' mind, the answer is yes. He suggests that today a sensationalist news industry capitalizes on crises and presents 'caricatures' rather than human beings, contributing to a sense that the world is a dangerous place. In his latest television special, The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today, Steves introduces the viewer to "average citizens, not radicals," attempting "to bring empathy for the people of this complex and confusing place."

And he'll be at the Winspear Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to talk about his latest adventures.

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Five Random Arty Things That (Maybe) Deserve Best Ofs

Categories: Best of Dallas

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Jason Acton
Our Best of Dallas 2014 issue rolls out this week. While we can modestly say it's the greatest, most comprehensive city guide ever created, Dallas is a pretty big place that's filled to the brim with best-ness. To cover all the good stuff we might have left out, Mixmaster will offer some tips about the other best things in Dallas.
It's not that we forgot about these things. No, forgetting is not what happened. Assigning the right superlative was just difficult. Sometimes the language required for Best Ofs can be limiting. Certainly these things aren't the "best" things in the art world, but they are a meaningful part of the city's artistic growth and, we believe, an integral part of the future of Dallas art, in one way or another.


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With Its Dallas Debut, Spectrum Dance Theater Proves that Dance Can Be Manly

Categories: Dance

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Nate Watters
Couples Yoga or Spectrum Dance Theater?

Donald Byrd has a dance career to would make anyone envious. For more than four decades, he has been living his dream of creating, performing, and educating. Oh, and he cut his teeth working for Twyla Tharp. His impressive career started in 1978 and includes prestigious credits like The Joffrey Ballet, and Alvin Ailey, to name a few.

But when he took over Seattle-based Spectrum Dance Theater in 2002, heads turned and jaws dropped. He had been known as one of the world's leading contemporary choreographers, but with this new position, he had the chance to breathe new life into a company entering a brand-new stage themselves, one that found them with the responsibility bringing awareness to dance in a city that didn't know about the gem in their own backyard. With Byrd's leadership, Spectrum Dance Theater has embarked on a transformation that has attracted world-class dancers and produced some of the most avant-garde works in contemporary dance. And they're bringing that magic to Dallas for the first time at 8 p.m. Saturday, with a performance at the Winspear Opera House, thanks to TITAS.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 54 Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens

Categories: 100 Creatives

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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."

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Podcast: In The Equalizer, Denzel Kills, Summarizes Hemingway, Kills Again

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Scott Garfield - © 2013 CTMG.
Denzel Washington in The Equalizer: "It's about a guy who is a knight in shining armor, except he lives in a world where knights don't exist anymore." He's talking about Don Quixote but he's really talking ABOUT HIMSELF.

As Bob McCall in The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays a regular Joe who turns into an eye-gouging, brain-drilling nightmare for Boston's Russian mob. At first Washington "toodles about a Home Depot-like store, helping customers, decked out in New Balance shoes and jeans so last-century you'll be looking for pleats," writes the Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl. That's before he turns DIY crime-fighter in Antoine Fuqua's latest crowd-pleaser. Scherstuhl, along with the Voice's Stephanie Zacharek and Amy Nicholson of the LA Weekly discuss that movie, along with kiddie-charmer The Boxtrolls, which will make you laugh, cower and think of Hitler, naturally. The trio also dive into the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin, Jimi: All is By My Side, plus Amy gives us the highlights from Fantastic Fest. It's all on this week's episode of the Voice Film Club podcast.


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13 Awesome Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend, September 25 - 28

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Amy Silverstein
I'm baaaaaack.

It's that time again. Fried food, bird shows, no bird shows (sad face), and a visit with your old buddy, Big Tex. The State Fair of Texas officially opens Friday, and as usual we've got your go-to guide of what to do when you get there. We've also got suggestions on which days NOT to go -- cough, Friday, cough. But whatever you do, make your plans now. You do not want to miss dipping your funnel cake in your Funnel Cake Ale. The fair stays open through October 19. General admission is $17. More info is at bigtex.com.


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Seven Outdoorsy Ways To Celebrate Summer's Last Hurrah

Categories: Outside

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FOE
90 degrees is plenty hot for a day at the pool.

Summer's over. Well, according to the calendar. For North Texans, the end of summer can be bittersweet. On the one hand, the mercury will finally drop to a tolerable level, but it also means no more days spent by the pool, margaritas in hand. There's nothing more exciting as a Texan, though, than spending those magical days at the end of September doing fun summer things that people in cooler climes across the country just can't do.

As Midwesterners and East Coasters break out their jackets and scarves for the advent of autumn, Dallasites should take advantage of summer's last hurrah by spending their time at these ten summery activities and experiences that will expire as soon as fall decides to make her belated appearance in the metroplex.

Waste an afternoon away at F.O.E.
Sure, it's crowded with hipsters and their occasionally well behaved offspring, but you have to go to F.O.E. before it is too cold to take a dip in the already-chilly pool. Take a day off from work to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap bar specials, and judge the tattooed crowds behind your sunglasses. Technically, the pool is open year-round, but you probably only have a few more weeks to take advantage of the optimal pool-lounging temperature.

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Addison Native Adam Hagenbuch Looks Like Ashton Kutcher, Played Him in a Lifetime Movie

Categories: Film and TV

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C'mon, you see the resemblance, right?

When The Brittany Murphy Story aired on Lifetime earlier this month, articles upon articles slammed the movie for its bad acting, bad wigs, and ultimately bad writing (surprise!).

But among all of the negative press, actor Adam Hagenbuch seemed to receive the most praise for his portrayal of Murphy's boyfriend, actor/producer/that asshole who used to "punk" people, Ashton Kutcher.

"That makes me feel good," Hagenbuch says. "It's nice to know that I brought something to it and when you do something like this where you're playing a character that exists in real life, you want to be as accurate as possible. And I definitely did some work on it and there's also the thing where, like, 'Do I look like this person?'"


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Open Stage Fosters Craziness, but Artistic Openness Above All

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Ed Steele

By Michelle Foster

On a suburban corner in Plano, across from a llama farm, Celebration Event Center and Ballroom is home to a bunch of oddballs called Circus Freaks who run Open Stage, a weekly romp of weirdness guaranteed to make you feel things.

Tonight's event is speakeasy-themed. Performers and guests alike are dressed to the nines in their fedoras and suits, shawls and silk gowns. At the box office, a treasure box sports a sign that encourages its readers to write down a word of inspiration for someone in need and to leave it in the box. Of course, if you happen to be a person in need of inspiration, the box is yours to peruse. The vibe is relaxed but buzzy, and I get the feeling that the slightly thrown-together nature of the event is intentional. All these people are friends who like to hang out and share their fun on Monday nights.


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Half Price Books Wants to Be "My Iconic Bookstore," No Matter Which Store I Shop At

Categories: Dallas Stories

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Sometimes readers send T-shirts.

Some weeks in this business feel like shouting upwind. This was not one of those weeks. In the cover story of last week's Dallas Observer, I posed the question, "Other cities have big, iconic bookshops, why don't we?" Apparently, you all have a lot of opinions about that.

It wasn't just about bookstores though. It was about a citywide investment in building the arts scene, while ignoring the literary arts and the libraries; it was about what it means to be an author in Dallas where the largest bookstore sells used books; it was about the efforts of a small number to grow Dallas book culture; and it was about the joy of reading and book buying. But when people read the headline on the website, "Where is Dallas' Iconic Bookstore?" a common knee-jerk response was, "Half Price Books on Northwest Highway, you *expletive* elitist idiot."


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