The Trailer Park Boys (and Hopefully Conky) Are Coming to Town Next February

Categories: Comedy

The Canadian comedy trio known as the Trailer Park Boys are something of an anomaly in my pop culture family. My brother and I became absolutely obsessed with the drug dealing antics of Nova Scotia's most famous white trash as soon as we saw our first episode buried deep in Netflix's streaming service. My parents, however, have trouble getting over the fact that the boys live such desolate lives in pockets of bliss.

Plus, they use more blue language than a drunken longshoreman.

Still, it's funny enough to keep our parents watching and even quoting it right along with us.

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles (and hopefully Conky) are so popular that they've even come back from the dead countless times to record new seasons and specials for Canadian TV and Netflix after they swore they had done their last episode. Now that they still have a huge fanbase and a ninth season in the works, they are going on the road, and that includes a stop in Dallas.

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Five Art Exhibitions To See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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RE Gallery

Peter Ligon
It would be difficult to dig up someone who doesn't like Peter Ligon's landscapes. Even if you're not keen on landscape painting generally, there's something about Ligon's emotive, messy pieces that don't scream of photo source material. The painter captures every Dallas scene from trees in winter to the East Dallas' MSG-Palace, the Egg Roll Hut. His pieces are at once entirely specific and completely vague, more Impressionist than Realist. His use of light is inspired. And he's a longstanding member of the scene, with a history at the Shamrock Hotel studios. See his work in exhibition at RE Gallery (1717 Gould St.) at the opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday. More information at regallerystudio.com.


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Nine Holiday Shows To See in Dallas

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Karen Almond
Dallas Theater Center's A Christmas Carol

Most of the shows on this list require little to no explanation. You've likely seen A Christmas Carol before, but the holidays return every year and with it, the same shows, the same music, and the same garland your mother's been hanging on the bannister for 30 years. So Scrooge will probably come to appreciate Cratchit and the ghost of Christmas future will arrive before Tiny Tim is able to say "God Bless Us, Everyone." But how can you be sure unless you see it again? Besides, you don't want your daughter to be the only 4th grader who doesn't get the joy of telling her teacher, "Bah Humbug!" I'm sure other versions will pop up around town, but you'll want to see Dallas Theater Center's A Christmas Carol. The show is onstage at the Wyly Theatre November 25 - December 27. Tickets are available at dallastheatercenter.org.

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

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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.

100 Dallas Creatives: No. 42 Anachronistic Musician Matt Tolentino

Categories: 100 Creatives

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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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Cydonia Gallery's The Depth of Now Prompts Reflection, If No Revelation

Categories: Visual Art

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Julieta Aguinaco
To My Daughter

It's a simple conceit. You can almost hear the artist thinking it to herself: I'll wear my mother's dresses. Entering Cydonia Gallery's new exhibition by Mexican artist Julieta Aguinaco, The Depth of Now, I found myself jealous. At least her mom kept hers. My mother forever interested in discarding. Yearbook notes from college boyfriends? Gone. Bellbottom jeans from her teenaged disco years? Gone. Heaven forbid she keep 10s of outdated dresses. It wasn't a matter of sartorial embarrassment, but an obsession with keeping it simple. So to see the series of photos of Aguinaco in her mother and grandmother's dresses isn't just about her art and a statement about swiftly changing cultures; "To My Daughter" became about me and my mother.

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8 Holiday Tree Lightings In Dallas and Nearby

Categories: Events

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Galleria Dallas
Now that cold weather has finally arrived, we're officially moving full-throttle into the holiday season. Thanksgiving is next week, and that can only mean that Christmas will be here well before you're ready to deal with all your weird relatives. Still, the holiday season can be pretty magical, especially when you're staring at a massive tree with a bunch of twinkling lights.

If you find yourself in need of any holiday cheer, these eight tree lightings across the area should help get you geared up for the season. All eight of these events are free and family friendly, making them a perfect weekend activity for those of you with holiday-burdened budgets and stir-crazy kids. Sure, they're cheesy, but isn't that what the holidays are all about?

Downtown's Holiday Festival
Saturday, December 22
Main Street Garden in Downtown Dallas
Free

Downtown's Main Street Garden has an impressive tree, and they've planned a fun slate of free events to celebrate its lighting. Starting in the afternoon on December 22, you can buy gifts from holiday vendors, see a performance from Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorio, and hear Christmas carols from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra before Santa comes out to light the tree.


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How Reality TV Went From Launchpad to Dumpster

Categories: Film and TV

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A Season 1 Kardashian
BY INKOO KANG

Minor spoilers for the second episode of The Comeback's sophomore season.

It's no mystery why The Comeback, which returned for its second season this past Sunday after a nine-year hiatus, never became a big hit for HBO. Other mockumentaries like The Office, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family have thrived, but Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King's Hollywood-based cringe comedy centers on a protagonist who's uniquely difficult to relate to: a middle-aged, out-of-work actress whose career depends on eating shit with a polite grin, and who doesn't mind making certain other people eat shit too when she's in the position to do so.

The Comeback's eight-episode sophomore season is powerful and amusing and sad, and Kudrow is astoundingly good as Valerie Cherish, the gratingly chirpy has-been sitcom star barely suppressing her enormous desperation and rage. Season 2 finds Valerie signing up for a co-starring role in an HBO drama that's written by and based on the experiences of her hateful ex Paulie G. (Lance Barber). Valerie plays Mallory, a misogynistic caricature of herself, while omnipresent cameras hired by the actress film her every move and humiliation, like being told by a network exec that she "still look[s] real," i.e., old. 

It's telling, though, that these eight new episodes take their aim not at reality TV (like the first season did) but at the testosterone-fueled, sexually exploitative, auteur-driven cable dramas that HBO's proudest offerings comprise. The season premiere does feature cameos from RuPaul, Top Chef's Carla Hall, and Beverly Hills Housewives cast member Lisa Vanderpump, as well as name-checks of other Housewives Bethenny Frankel and Teresa Giudice. But as anxious and reckless as Valerie is with her professional choices, even she's over reality TV: "I was there at the beginning [of the genre] with The Comeback [Valerie's reality show]. Back then, it was just me and people eating bugs on Survivor." Cameras still follow Valerie around everywhere, but it's no longer for a shot at Bravo's schedule; rather, they're creating behind-the-scenes footage for Valerie's new show, Seeing Red.

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Second City's 55th Anniversary Tour Shows It Still Knows How to Create First-Rate Comedy

Categories: Comedy

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Kristen Miccoli, courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center

One of the biggest regrets of this comedy nerd's life was not taking the opportunity to see The Second City during my only two visits to Chicago.

The first missed opportunity took place during a Boy Scout trip when landmarks like the Museum of Science and Industry and Comiskey Park were deemed more appropriate places for a "morally straight" teenager to visit. The second took place when I could afford my own travel expenses to visit friends in Illinois. Unfortunately, they lived outside of the city and viewed venturing into Chicago in the same way that the apes from Planet of the Apes viewed wandering into the Forbidden Zone without a permission slip from Dr. Zaius.

Fate corrected that mistake by finally bringing some of the Second City's rising stars to my vicinity with the Second City 55th Anniversary Tour, which premiered the first of three shows last night at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

As they explain in their show, the goal of their sketches and scenes aren't just to make you laugh. They are mini-monuments to the art of human relationships and reflections on this insane world that we pretend to view as normal or "the way things are."


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Russia Casts a Spell on the Fairytale Life of Playwright Meg Miroshnik

Categories: Theater

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Undermain Theatre

In the second act of The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls, our protagonist, Annie, realizes that her fairy godmother is a blue-haired prostitute. Studying abroad in her native country, the American-raised Annie doesn't believe in evil eyes, and she doesn't believe in witches. Which is a shame, because she might be staying with one.

Meg Miroshnik's play is not your mother's story. Undermain Theatre's basement space has transformed into the seedy underbelly of Russian folklore, a vivid world filled with colorful characters and stories. A lot of stories. Tales Miroshnik grew to love while living in Russia in 2005.

"Baba Yaga was the starting point for me," says Miroshnik. "I was predisposed to be fascinated with the Russian fairy tales. They bring back the excitement of being a kid and going to the theater or listening to a story. And the Russian fairy tales are fascinating. Like Baba Yaga, who feels like a witch but is much more nuanced."


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