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Making Dallas Even Better

A Concise Review of Last Night’s Best of Big D Party

If you joined us last night at the Bomb Factory for the Best of Big D party, you’re probably moving a little slowly this morning. Get some coffee. Have a Dirty Dusty at lunch. You’ll be okay.

If you didn’t join us, you’re probably wondering how it went. To satisfy your curiosity, I offer you the above picture of Brendan Higgins, former CBS Channel 11 morning anchor. As everyone knows, the severity of a thunderstorm can be judged by ABC Channel 8 weatherman Pete Delkus’ shirtsleeves. The higher up his arms he rolls them, the worse the weather will get. A similar phenomenon occurs with Higgins’ clothes. The lower he unbuttons his shirt, the better the party. Last night, as you can see, was a three-button party.

Thanks to everyone at D Magazine and the Bomb Factory who made it happen. And thanks to our sponsors, too: Ben E. Keith, See’s Candies, and Topo Chico. Congrats to all the Best of Big D winners. Let’s do it again next year.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Does Dallas Value Its Past?

That pontificating whippersnapper Simek got me thinking yesterday about the fetishism of the past to which a surprising number of you folks cling. A mediocre sub-urban fish joint shuts its doors and that boy waxes rhapsodic about — well, by his own admission he’s not precisely sure what. Lordy!

You want Dallas to return to its imagined heyday of 1906? You soft-shelled ninnies wouldn’t last a minute back then. Why the pungent odors wafting from the great, relatively unwashed mass of humanity alone would knock you flat before you could scamper across Main Street. Even if you could manage the feat, enjoy wiping the paste of dust and well-ground equine excrement from your soles when you reach the other side. And the heat! My god, the heat! No artificial refrigeration to ease summer’s onslaught, no sir.

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Leading Off (7/30/15)

Rangers Trade For Cole Hamels. The deal for the Phillies ace might be too late to get them in the playoffs this season, but it sets up the team well for 2016. In exchange, they gave up Matt Harrison and a package of prospects, most notably catcher Jorge Alfaro. There is a lot of cash involved, too, so the commissioner’s office hasn’t approved the deal yet. So I guess there is a chance to Rangers could still get DeAndre Jordaned. Yes, we’re saying that now.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 15 Years For Sex Trafficking. LaDestro Douglas was pimping out underage runaways, and got what he deserved. This has been a signed editorial comment by Zac Crain.

Zoo Employees Mourn Kipenzi. Yeah, this still punches me in the gut.

Duncanville Teen Arrested After Video Shows Him Beating Up Other Teens. A few lessons here: 1) Don’t assault other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 2) Don’t have someone film you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 3) If you don’t have someone filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, assume someone is filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 4) Definitely do not — and I really can’t stress this enough — post or let anyone post that video of you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, to any social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. Actually, you can post it to LinkedIn.

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Canadians Make Texas Highway Spoof That’s Uncomfortably Close to Reality

The Canadian radio show That is That is basically an audio Onion. In this week’s episode, in addition to reporting on a family in Washington State that is allowing its child to self-identify as whatever species it would like, the radio jokesters report on a new luxury freeway in Texas.

The conceit of the joke: Texans love to drive and a lot of them are rich, and so a few would probably be willing shell out extra $65,000 to drive on a road from Dallas to Houston that is reserved for people who can buy their way into an elite motorist clique. “Just feels good to get out there and drive with like minded people, I guess,” one interviewed character says. And another: “I take great comfort that everyone on the road has insurance.”

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Dallas Has the Most Christians

A Pew Research study of America’s religious landscape shows that of the country’s largest metropolitan areas by population, Dallas-Fort Worth has the largest percentage of people (78 percent) who identify as Christian and the fewest people who claim no religious affiliation (18 percent). Also we’ve got the most evangelical Christians (38 percent), plus the least Catholics (15 percent) anywhere other than Atlanta.

Of course, it’s another matter all together asking how many of those folks you’re actually going to see at church this Sunday.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: July 29

D Magazine (that’s us) is throwing a party tonight to celebrate the Best of Big D. Tickets for this little shindig at the Bomb Factory will run you $55, which is about how much a ticket to D’Angelo cost. But the D’Angelo concert didn’t have food from Carbone’s, El Corazon, East Hampton Sandwhich Co., Braindead Brewing, Luscher’s, Uchi, Pecan Lodge, Gemma, Sundown at the Granada, Knife, Cane Rosso, Neighborhood Services, Mesa Veracruz, Lavendou, Tei-An, Remedy, and Henry’s Majestic. D’Angelo didn’t have something called a Flipbook, and another something called SloMo. D’Angelo didn’t have Sarah Jaffe on the decks. D’Angelo didn’t have staff members from your favorite magazine.

On the other hand, no one at D has written a song as good as “Untitled (How Does It Feel?).” Best of Big D Party: Almost as cool as a D’Angelo show.

The circus is in town, which may or may not pose an ethical dilemma for you, and a bunch of hippies are invading the Verizon Theatre. Here are some things to do tonight.

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The History of Dallas Urbanism in the Story of a Seafood Restaurant

Perhaps this is more of a Ghosts of Dallas thing, but I just thought I’d share with you some findings from a rabbit hole I slipped into this morning.

It began with this article about the closing of Vincent’s Seafood in Plano. I’ll be honest, I never heard of the place, which is why when the headline announced that it had been open for 117 years, I was really taken aback. How did a century-old restaurant escape my Dallas history nerd-o-meter? And how is it possible that a restaurant in a bland, concrete strip mall in Plano could be such a historic establishment? I started to dig.

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Leading Off (7/29/15)

Dallas Zoo’s Baby Giraffe Died. Kipenzi was born in April, with millions of people watching. She died yesterday, after running into something in the exhibit as the zookeepers were shifting the herd into the barn for the night. “It’s never easy to lose an animal that you know and have worked with,” said Harrison Edell, the zoo’s senior director of living collections. “It’s especially difficult when it’s an unexpected death and it is very much like losing a family member. It’s a rough day.” Katie, Kipenzi’s mother, stood guard over the calf’s body. Damn.

Mayor Rawlings “Deeply Concerned” About Upcoming Sex Expo. He said he is worried “that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women.” That would be the same city where started. (By the way, I wrote about the 2008 Exxxotica expo in Miami. It gets pretty crazy, and concern is warranted.)

Video of Reporter Confronting Woman Who Stole His Identity Goes Viral. Fox 4’s Steve Noviello, the station’s consumer reporter, got the chance to confront a woman who used his credit card number to book a hotel room. It’s delightfully awkward. Now the video is working its way around the internet.

Grand Jury Hearing Case Against Ken Paxton. Special prosecutors allege that the state attorney general violated securities laws. Those prosecutors have apparently been presenting that case to a Collin County grand jury this week.

Plano Teen Still Missing. The car Jeorgina Gonzalez was last seen in was found abandoned yesterday in Garland, but there is no trace of the teenager. She was last seen with a couple: Saul Cenobio Lopez and Nohemi Lemus Guerrero (aka Nohemi Lopez).

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Can Somebody Explain to the Mayor That Plano Isn’t in Dallas?

I know this is well-trod territory for us, but again — watching the month-old video that Wilonsky posted about yesterday — we witness the disconnect that persists in the mind of Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Early on in a panel discussion that Rawlings took part in during the Atlantic‘s City Makers Summit last month in San Francisco, he alludes to wanting to do more for the state of southern Dallas and expresses his concern about Dallas being the city with the highest level of kids living in poverty.

But mostly he trots out the Chamber-of-Commerce-ese about how “fabulously well” Dallas-Fort Worth has done over the last decade. All the jobs being added, how Toyota “moved here.”

Only, of course, Toyota didn’t move here. They moved to Plano. Dallas has a lot of great neighborhoods, but Plano isn’t among them. And might the continued migration north of the best middle-class jobs have something to do with the too-long stagnation of the southern corridor? So why is this something for the mayor of the city of Dallas to tout?

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: July 28

The first season of Denise Lee’s cabaret reclamation project wraps up tonight at Fair Park with Too Old, Too Fat, Too Black – Songs I’ll Never Sing On Broadway. The Dallas diva is taking cabaret back from the strip club, and has been doing so for a few months now as the force behind the monthly cabaret series at the Women’s Building in Fair Park. Lee herself will close out the season. As far as nights out go, it’s much less expensive (it’s free) and much less depressing (it’s downright uplifting) than a trip to a strip club. Motown the Musical starts its run at the Winspear, and a masterpiece of Spanish court portraiture is on display at the Meadows.

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The One Glaring Omission in the DMN’s Dick Bass Obit

In Leading Off this morning, I pointed folks to Dick Bass’ obituary in the Morning News. A FrontBurnervian with a good memory noticed something odd about the obit. If you read it and are unfamiliar with the marital history of Dallas society, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dick and his wife, Alice, had four children (one of whom is married to the publisher of the News, Jim Moroney). That’s because nowhere does the obit mention that Dick was married from 1952 to 1974 to Rita. She’s the mother of the children. She married Bill Clements the year after she divorced Dick. Perhaps that’s the reason she doesn’t appear in the obit?

In any case, here’s a fun story about Dick Bass that Jeff Bowden wrote for us in 2000. Definitely worth a read, if only for the opening anecdote, which is amazing.

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Leading Off (7/28/15)

Jerry Jones Gets a New Hip. This David Moore story about the Cowboys owner is funny. Read it closely and it sounds a little like we’re reading about Putin in a Russian newspaper. “He has undergone hip replacement surgery but it won’t keep the Cowboys owner away from training camp. He won’t even need a cane to walk off the plane in Oxnard. This is just like when he had shoulder surgery and only missed one day of work. He is a fifth-degree black belt and has been known to engage three-day, nonstop lovemaking sessions.”

Police Looking for Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Women in Far North Dallas. Safety tip: if you meet a guy and he asks if you’ll let him give you a massage because he’s studying to be a masseur and needs to practice for a test, be a little suspicious.

Rowlett Cop Saves Toddler’s Life. Solid work by Officer Patrick Ray. But this Fox 4 story calls his actions heroic. Let’s be careful with that word, people. The girl had a coin stuck in her throat. He cleared her airway. It is possible to save a life without being heroic.

Hinojosa To Be Permanent DISD Super? Michael Hinojosa is the interim superintendent for the district, but this story says, “FOX 4 has learned that a majority of school board members are open to considering him for the permanent job.” I’m a little confused, though. Because only one trustee is quoted in the story. And there’s no mention of the reporter having surveyed the rest of school board. But whatever. Let’s go with that.

Dick Bass, R.I.P. The oilman and first person to climb the tallest mountain on all seven continents died Sunday night. He was 85. Read his obit.

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Goat Ranch Driving Range Coming to East Dallas

Ever since the Hank Haney driving range in Uptown became not a driving range, I have longed for a near-downtown spot to hit a lunchtime bucket of balls. Yes, Topgolf is great, but it’s too far. Well, it looks like we’ll have a new spot this fall. It’s called the Goat Ranch. It’s from the folks who brought us Bowlounge, and it’ll be on Haskell. From their site:

With 15 hitting bays, customers will hit into a fully-enclosed netted field. The field will not be your usual driving range targets but fun and creative targets, that make loud noise when you hit them.

The bar and event space is an old converted freezer building built years ago with lots of character. Surrounded with glass dock doors overlooking the driving range, the bar will offer a huge selection of mixed drinks and draft beers.

If you’d like to work there, this comes from the Craig’s List post announcing “a new bad ass concept in Dallas!!!”: “We need servers and bartenders. Preferably girls, not completely saying no to dudes, also tattoos welcome!!!”

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