Dallas Filmmaker Jeremy Snead Captures the Video Game Industry on Film

Categories: Film and TV

Video Games: The Movie
Who knew this would lead to Call of Duty?

Dallas-based Jeremy Snead has a hot commodity on his hands these days. He's the director, writer, and producer of Video Games: The Movie, a documentary on the history of video games. With his production company MediaJuice, he successfully raised over $100,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, got Zach Braff to be its executive producer, got Sean Astin to narrate it, and he interviewed many of the pioneers of the industry for it. Coupled with interviews by high profile people like Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton, the documentary has a panache beyond regular people talking about video games.

Snead had two screenings of the film this past week at the Texas Theatre, but it's already available as a digital download through iTunes and game systems. We caught up with Snead and talked about how the film came together over three years of work, how he got so many people for interviews, and what he hopes to do next with the project.

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Alika Herreshoff on his Addiction to Painting: the Discipline That's "Died so many Deaths"

Categories: Visual Art

Alika Herreshoff

Alika Herreshoff is addicted to painting. It's the art form he can't let go of and he's not planning to try anytime soon.

In the early 2000's, Herreshoff was a member of Dearraindrop, an art collective that was based at that time in Virginia Beach. He worked alongside the other members to create works with different forms of media, using an aesthetic he describes as "a tidal wave of psychedelic and cartoon imagery."

Today, Herreshoff works alone. After traveling extensively and exhibiting throughout the world, his studio landed in Houston and he's earning a reputation as one of the notable painters in the state. Earlier this year, he was one of five Houston artists in a show at Ware:Wolf:Haus that was one of the better painting shows we've had this year, and certainly the most contemporary, which is where he connected with RE Gallery, which hosts his first Dallas solo exhibition this weekend.

His work in The Imp of the Perverse draws inspiration from literature to painting, to comics and psychology, referencing both Edgar Allan Poe and Rene Magritte. His use of vivid colors and fluid figures is tantalizing, which is why we wanted to peek into the studio. In anticipation of the opening at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 26, we chatted with Herreshoff about where he's from, how he uses inspiration, and what keeps him painting.

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Fun House Theatre and Film Puts Theater Critics in the Spotlight

Categories: Theater

There's a running joke among critics that the reason they are given aisle seats is that they are statistically more likely to die during a play than another audience member. On the aisle, the dead critic is more easily removed from the theater.

The death of the critic is something many actors have wished for, if only in jest. Conversely, there are plays that have made critics wish for their own swift demise. Critic as villain is a theatrical trope. For decades, playwrights have written critics into plays only to mock them, and occasionally kill them. Because before the Internet, the critic's pen was strong enough to shut down a show in a week.

In Jeff Swearingen's new play Stiff- which opens at Fun House Theatre and Film August 1 - the producer at Tin Box Theatre finds Mickey Blake, the city's most powerful critic, dead after a show's opening night. The producer, director and playwright don't want the critic to have died in their show, so what ensues is part Bullets Over Broadway, part Weekend at Bernie's.

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Our Five Favorite Pictures from the Austere Inferno Fashion Show

Categories: Fashion

Scott Mitchell

I'm not sure how you spent your Friday night, but we sent our photographer Scott Mitchell into the nine circles of hell, which apparently look like a fashion show, meets performance art meets a zombie cocktail party. The hybrid art collective and digital publication, Austere Mag's event featuring the work of designers from DFW, Austin, New Orleans, or Portland. The event bore this warning: "violence and hypersexuality." If you weren't in attendance, not to worry, we're here to indulge your inner voyeur.

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The Dallas Dance Fest Is Back, Bigger than Ever

Categories: Dance

Serkan Zanagar

The Dallas DanceFest is back. After a 10-year hiatus, the festival that began with outdoor performances at the Annette Strauss Square returns with the same premise but a new venue, the Dallas City Performance Hall.

Its original debut in 1985 started off small, featuring only three companies: Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and the now defunct Dancers Unlimited and Ballet Dallas. These were the main players in the city back then, with Dancers Unlimited being the starting place for many modern dancers and choreographers still working and creating now, and Ballet Dallas was the training ground for many dancers still performing today.

The festival grew to include the similarly growing dance community, and involved regional and national companies who were members of the Dance Council of North Texas - each group subjected to the same application and jury process. The festival quickly became a Labor Day tradition, had a name change in the middle of its growth spurt (you might remember it as The Dallas Morning News Dance Festival), and operated for 20 years, before calling it quits in 2004.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 80 Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel

Categories: 100 Creatives

Travis Aitken

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.

As a kid Jeremy Bartel's mother made him and his two brothers dress alike. He never found out why, but needless to say, their family photos are pretty spectacular. Bartel called it quits on twinsies when he was in kindergarten. Up until that point he didn't mind, but once he was surrounded by kids his own age, he was over it. And that's the story of Bartel, or at least the arc - he does what he wants. But not in a Willy-Wonka-Veruca-Salt kind of way. More in a matter-of-fact, I'm-going-to-go-try-this-now sort of way.

Bartel is a local commercial and film director who's been obsessed with moviemaking since childhood. He's on one of the most unique career paths you can imagine, which was sparked by a sense of curiosity that never quits and a frankness that, as trite as it sounds, is incredibly refreshing.

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Late Spring Wins Over the Crowds, Jury at 2014 Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Late Spring
See what you missed?

It was another good year for the Asian Film Festival of Dallas. In its 13th year, AFFD is the pre-teen of local film festivals, with enough action, drama, and comedy to exhaust even the most ardent devotee. Audiences packed in to see new releases, like Samurai Hustle, and animated classics like Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro. And on Thursday - the festival's final day - the AFFD jury selected its choices for festival winners.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No. 81 Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner

Categories: 100 Creatives

Robert Hart
Mark Lowry & Michael Warner

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 Mark Lowry was contemplating the launch of a website covering regional theater he didn't have a whole lot to go on. In 2009, when TheaterJones.com launched, blogs were still a relatively new phenomenon. Even more rare? A blog (or anything for that matter) dedicated to regional theater coverage.

But when you know, you know. Lowry and fellow Theater Jones founding partner Elaine Liner (you may knew her as the Dallas Observer theater critic) saw what was happening at newspapers around the country; they and fellow arts critics were the first round of writers to get the ax in the battle between print and online media. Lowry and Liner did not plan on going quietly.

They wanted a venue for smart, regional arts writing that wouldn't live or die at the whim of corporate ownership. And Theater Jones was born under the belief that consistent conversation about the arts is vital to a local scene (and maybe just a little bit out of a selfish, and perfectly understandable excuse to keep writing).

It's probably not surprising that for the first few years the website wasn't making much money, if any. But eventually they saw a return on a risky investment. Almost six years after the website went live, Lowry now makes enough money from the site to pay not only himself and business partner/developer Michael Warner, but also his writers and photographers (who used to work for free), and in the process has pioneered the creation of a sustainable online model for local arts coverage. No small feat in today's competitive online marketplace.

Lowry, ever modest, would probably downplay his role in the continued viability of the Dallas performing arts scene, but ask anyone involved in Dallas arts - they all read Theater Jones.

Get to know Michael and Mark, the duo giving the Dallas performing arts a foothold on the Internet.

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These Eyes Have Seen the New Doom (Not Doom 4, It's Just Doom) at QuakeCon

Categories: Geek-Offs


QuakeCon is one of the most beloved video game conventions in the business, but the last six years must have carried an air of longing among its many, many attendees.

Way back in 2008, id Software promised its fans that it was working on a new Doom game. Each QuakeCon came and went with practically nothing to show for it. The various studios under QuakeCon's umbrella premiered and released some great games, but none of them had a chainsaw wielding spaceman slicing up greasy abominations from the depths of hell. Every year, the fans consumed an entire Thanksgiving meal without barely a whiff of the turkey.

This year, id knew it had to make up for six years of heartbreak and longing. The company is closer to a fourth Doom game than any point in the last six years and knew it'd have to deliver more than just a couple of sketched designs and a teaser trailer that they threw to the piranha schools attending E3 who would gobble down anything.

They would have to deliver a demo.

So last night at the Hilton Anatole, id Software kicked off the 19th annual QuakeCon with the first live demo of the next Doom game, and it was pure heaven that looked like total hell.

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Dallas Playwright Jonathan Norton Receives $15,000 Grant for Mississippi Goddamn

Categories: Theater

Classi Nance
A reading of Mississippi Goddamn

Jonathan Norton almost didn't apply for the Artistic Innovations grant twice. But the third time was the charm for the local playwright, who was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance this week. Of 137 applicants, Norton was one of 15 recipients of the grants, "awarded to support the creation and presentation of new work."

Norton was awarded the grant for his play, Mississippi Goddamn, a fictional account of the events surrounding civil rights activist Megdar Evers. He's been workshopping the play for the past year, thanks to a Diaspora Performing Arts Commission from the South Dallas Cultural Center and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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