Spanish Lake Tells a Story about Race That's Familiar in Dallas, Ferguson and Everywhere

Categories: Film and TV

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Facebook.com/SpanishLakeFilm
A scene from Spanish Lake, a new documentary about race in a suburb near Ferguson, Missouri.
During a recent evening rush-hour, KERA was serving commuters one of its usual panels of NPR experts talking about the news, in this case the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot dead by a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. The talking heads all agreed: America needs to have a good heart-to-heart with itself about race.

Are we really ready for that conversation?

If so, Matt Smith has just the thing to break the ice. He's a producer of a new documentary in which residents of Spanish Lake, a St. Louis suburb near Ferguson, speak candidly about race, white flight and the government's role in creating divided communities very much like Ferguson. Or, for that matter, very much like those in Dallas, where the film Spanish Lake gets a special showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the AMC NorthPark. (Tickets, $11, are available only online through Tugg.)

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Dallas Theater Center Kicks Off with a "Kickass" Rocky Horror Show

Categories: Theater

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Dallas Theater Center
The wonderfully weird cast of Rocky Horror Show.

Dan Domenech wears jeans and a casual blue hooded sweater as he sips a root beer. Standing over 6 feet tall, it's easier to imagine him dribbling a basketball than wearing fishnets and eyeliner. His dark brown eyes light up in sheepish amusement when he admits that he walks around his hotel room in heels to rehearse for his role in Dallas Theater Center's Rocky Horror Show. But it's not wearing the heels that he finds embarrassing; it's the possibility he won't be comfortable enough in them. As the show's Frank-N- Furter, he'll need to nimbly slink across the boards if he doesn't want to be booed offstage.

"It's not my first time wearing heels. I did that in Rent years ago," Domenech says with a laugh. "But I'm training a muscle I don't normally use. I have to do a lot of strutting."

Plus, he wants to do the part justice, because hundreds of die-hard Rocky Horror fans will be in the audience and Domenech has iconic heels to fill.


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Podcast: Why Did So Few People See Sin City 2?

Categories: Film and TV

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Very few people saw this movie.

Why did so few people see Sin City: A Dame to Kill For over the weekend? That and other topics are discussed in this week's edition of the Voice Film Club podcast with the Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek, joined as always by Amy Nicholson of the L.A. Weekly via the magic of the Internet.


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CineWilde Glams Up the Texas Theatre with Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert

Categories: Events

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Cinewilde

In 1994, Priscilla, Queen of The Desertchronicled an outrageous road trip story about three drag queens that provided one of the first positive portrayals of gay and transgender people in major media, and took home the Oscar for achievement in costuming. Obviously.

For those who don't know much about the plot of the film, just imagine a couple of Australian drag queens and a transgender woman traveling across the Australian Outback in a giant tour bus named Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It's a heartwarming story, replete with plenty of snarky drag queen comedy. If you haven't seen it, there's no time like the present.


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Is Swimming in a Dumpster Art? Sure. Why Not?

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Rhombi Survivor

It was unbearably hot on Saturday. A friend of mine says people shouldn't be allowed to complain about the weather in August. "It's supposed to be hot in August," he says. "If it's this hot in December, then you can complain." You know what I have to say about that? He can go swim in a Dumpster.

At the Design District Market Saturday, several hundred people sought solace from the fierce rays of Texas sunshine in the air conditioning of the Dallas Contemporary or outside in the tepid waters that filled a Dumpster pool. It was an odd sight; adults hanging over the side of this trash receptacle lookalike. I stood on wheelchair ramp outside the art space, sipped a Topo Chico and watched the public swimming. Is this art?


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The Year of the Rooster Is Another Tired Story About a White Man and His Cock

Categories: Theater

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Upstart Productions
Brian Wickowitz (right) bets big on his bird Joey Folsom in The Year of the Rooster.
For centuries, white male narrators have dominated storytelling. We're talking everyone from Homer's Odysseus to Shakespeare's Hamlet to America's Rick Perry. Western cultural mythology is steeped in white male hegemony. And at the center of most of those stories is a tricky little devil known as ego. Whether characters are pursuing love, war, power, fame or money, they will be battling an ego along the way. It's a simple metaphor for manhood, or a male's need to seek fulfillment outside of himself. Basically, it's all about the penis.

That we haven't moved into a more sophisticated, gender-friendly world in 2014 is enough to send a modern woman into the doldrums. And to ask her to sit through an extended metaphor about a man and his cock on a Friday night might inspire the filing of a metaphorical restraining order. But what almost saves The Year of the Rooster from theatrical regression is its Dickensian self-awareness, even using the daily routine of male fowl to emphasize that there truly is nothing new under the sun.

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Put Away the Ice Bucket and Try the Tacos and Beer Challenge for Abortion

Categories: Buzz

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Like we needed another reason.
If you haven't been inundated with the "ice bucket challenge," then obviously you're not on Facebook (congratulations) or perhaps dead. For the past few weeks, thousands of people, including some of your favorite celebrities, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Patrick Stewart, have been pouring buckets of water and ice over their heads and posting videos of it online to raise awareness and money to research a cure for ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

And it's worked out pretty damn well, at least in the short term. According to the ALS Association, more than $70 million dollars has been raised by the viral campaign, and donations continue to flood in. Initially, if you chose to dump the bucket of ice water over your head, you were supposed to donate $10 to ALS research. If you refused, you donate $100.

Which left feminist, journalist and former Observer staffer Andrea Grimes, now a senior political reporter at RH Reality Check, a little confused. "After watching the ice bucket challenge, I kept seeing videos that never mentioned ALS and asking people about it who didn't know why ice buckets were a thing," she said via email. Then, she decided to spin off the idea to raise money for a cause that is close to her heart, abortion funding -- with one major twist.

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100 Dallas Creatives: No 65 Writerly Wit Noa Gavin

Categories: 100 Creatives

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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.

Dallas Comedy House performer and writer Noa Gavin started her comedy career by creating the popular comedy blog community Oh Noa! and the League of Fuckin' Bitches as an outlet for her sense of humor that she couldn't showcase in her original job as the co-operator of a chain of marital arts stores.

Since then, she's earned a spot on the DCH roster of long-form improv comedy club regulars who helped create one of its most signature groups, Atlantic Pacific Billy -they reenact movies - and one of its first sketch shows Various Artists. She also writes regularly for the NickMom humor blog and recently started a short story project with fellow APB members Nick Scott and Alicia Sherrod. We got the lowdown on how she pulls creativity out of herself and why comedy is better (and cheaper) than therapy.

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Audacity Solo Salon Offers Early Glimpses at Three Solo Stage Works

Categories: Theater

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Steve Young, ElizaBeth Bontley and Van Quattro will present works in progress at Audacity Solo Salon.
In May, Brad McEntire and Audacity Theatre Lab brought eight artists and eight solo shows to town and stacked them all together inside the Margo Jones Theatre. For the first festival of its kind here, Dallas Solo Fest went well. So well, in fact, that McEntire has devised a quarterly workshop event, the Audacity Solo Salon, to foster an environment that provides ongoing support for Dallas solo performers.

With the Solo Salon, audiences and artists are given a chance to see solo acts present their works-in-progress, providing a front-row seat to the development of the pieces. Things could go terribly wrong, actors could fall flat on their asses or things could go terribly right and you have the chance to catch a beautiful moment in creative history.

"This will be a way for solo artists to rehearse, experiment and develop their work in front of supportive audiences. The Audacity Solo Salon artists have the opportunity to perform and try out new work in a safe and informal setting," McEntire says. "It is my hope that it will serve as a gathering place so solo artists and their audiences can meet and inspire each other, maybe cultivating a collaborative network of solo performers, playwrights, directors and so on."

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If You're in Dallas Saturday Afternoon, Meet Artist Liz Glynn

Categories: Visual Art

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Nasher 360 Speaker Series

The Nasher Sculpture Center gets a lot of things right. Jeremy Strick runs a tight artistic ship, with impressive exhibitions and thought-provoking programming. One of the most underrated programs is the 360 Speaker Series, which gives the microphone to world-renowned artists across a variety of disciplines. On Saturday at 2 p.m. this series turns its attention to LA-based installation sculptor, Liz Glynn.

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