René Moreno: The Tough Director

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

In the third-semester acting class he teaches at KD Studio, theater director René Moreno recently asked students to look at him and describe what they saw. "They were very polite," he says. "They called me handsome and described my shirt. And I said, no, you should say you see a Latino guy in a wheelchair. They were afraid to mention the chair.

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Ben Fountain: The Voice

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

When Ben Fountain published his first book in 2006, a collection of short stories called Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, the New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell promptly dubbed the attorney-turned-fiction-writer a late-blooming genius. Gladwell couldn't have known how long it would take Fountain to rebloom.

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Jaap Van Zweden: The Maestro

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

You might have seen his face on billboards -- intense eyes conducting the traffic below with precision -- or studied the back of his short, sturdy body and cleanly shaven head. But if anything, it's with your ears that you've encountered Jaap van Zweden's ability to draw excellence from the instruments of his charges.

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Maxwell Anderson: The Innovator

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Altering the focal direction of a long-standing institution like the Dallas Museum of Art doesn't happen overnight -- unless the person hired for the job is Maxwell Anderson.

He's a curious man -- equal parts museum celebrity and innovator -- who spent the weekends and summers of his youth in an upstate New York artists nook founded by his grandfather. Composer Kurt Weill and actress Lotte Lenya were neighbors; poets, artists and musicians lurked around every corner. But even there, in that lush garden of creativity, Anderson knew he'd never be an artist.

"Having absolutely no talent," he says, "I don't think that would have been a good idea."


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Merritt Tierce: The Sharer

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Think of her as a modern Artemis, Protector of Young Women. Though she is soft-spoken, measured and humble, Merritt Tierce is, in her bones, a fighter. She is ignited, and ignites, mostly through her prose, but she's an intriguing double threat -- triple if you count her ability to de-crumb a table.

Tierce, 32, worked as a secretary and waitress through her 20s, most notably at Nick & Sam's, the swanky steakhouse that provided the cultural and class observations for much of her fiction. After her first published story, "Suck It," appeared in the Southwest Review in 2008, Tierce attended the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop, and last fall she was named a 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award winner.


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Kevin Rubén Jacobs: The Believer

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

With so many large walls in need of decorating, an ornate painting of a park in autumn will fetch a hearty premium in Dallas, so long as the frame matches the end table and the creator's name is known, or at least pronounceable.

Let's be clear: That type of art doesn't interest Kevin Rubén Jacobs.


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Natalie Young: The Showstopper

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

There is a moment in the sexy Adam Rapp play Red Light Winter that could test the courage of the most confident actress. The only woman in the show, a three-character drama about an erotic love triangle, must disrobe in full view of the audience. Naked, she climbs into bed with one of the two leading men. They make love for several long, moaning minutes, as realistically as live theater allows.

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Jane Aldridge: The Princess of the Pumps

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

Jane Aldridge reaches for a life-sized white ceramic cat perched on one of her coffee tables and picks it up. "Her name is Gish," Aldridge says. She sets Gish, named after silent film star Lillian Gish, down on her dining-room table a few feet away and disappears into her bedroom. Seconds later she re-emerges with an armful of colorful shoes, which she clunks down on the table where the cat sat.

She's wearing a pair of strappy metallic silver Prada "smoking" heels, ornamented with hot pink patent leather lips that are smoking a cigarette. "We need more colors," the photographer insists, examining the shoes on the table. Aldridge disappears again, her heels clicking against the hardwood floors in the 20-year-old's 1960s Turtle Creek apartment.


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Jason Reimer, Erik Steele and Barak Epstein: The Reel Man

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

It's the movie house that Howard Hughes built, and the one a shlub named Lee Harvey forced into history books. But nowadays Oak Cliff's 81-year-old Texas Theatre is rewriting its legacy with uber-indies, cult classics on 35mm, musical showcases, plays and even its own film festival. If it wouldn't screen at another theater in Dallas, if it's just a little and maybe quite a bit weird, you can find it at the Texas Theatre.

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Nicole Stewart: The Memoir Wrangler

Categories: People 2012

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In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Mark Graham. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.

A little more than three years ago, Nicole Stewart was in Venice Beach, California, and she was heartbroken. She'd been pursuing acting since she was 14, including stints at Marymount London and Northwestern University's prestigious theater program. Then her agent dropped her.

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