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Making Dallas Even Better

Is Anyone Else a Little Creeped Out By the Idea of a Homeless Concentration Camp?

Let’s get this out straight away: I don’t really know anything about homelessness. I haven’t read much of the literature. I haven’t studied initiatives in various cities around the country. And I tend to trust that most of the people who are engaged in all aspects of the fight against homelessness have their hearts in the right place. I think that places like City Square, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, and others are doing good work. I’d like to think the Bridge, which downtown residents love to hate, is also trying to do good work, even if it is easy to point to all of the problems Bridge residents create and see the Bridge as a magnet for trouble.

I also respect the neighbors downtown and in the Cedars who are faced with the brunt of what homelessness brings to a neighborhood: crime, petty theft, vagrancy, drugs, prostitution, irritating panhandling, and random ridiculousness like guys throwing rocks off overpasses. Those are the kinds of little crimes that can kill large scale, long term efforts to revitalize neighborhoods. And  I appreciate that neighbors can often feel at war with the very people who are trying to alleviate homelessness, like church-run soup kitchens that draw people through neighborhoods, creating makeshift pedestrian highways characterized by trash, petty theft, or worse.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: May 3

How does one make a documentary about the world’s most known unknown band? Very carefully. While Theory of Obscurity, a new film about the famed and famously anonymous Residents, doesn’t shed any new light on the group’s identity, it does do justice to 40-plus years of surreal head trips courtesy of the avant garde cult art collective. The Residents themselves will perform after a screening of the movie tonight at the Texas Theatre. A new exhibition at Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum explores identity from another angle, and at the DMA, Dave Isay talks about his plan to tell the stories of millions of Americans.

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The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 4 Recap

For the past week, my family and I haven’t been able to live in our house, which was, as you know from my Episode 3 recap, flooded by a burst washing machine supply hose. We moved back in yesterday, and what should I find waiting in the mailbox? Our new property appraisal, up by a shockingly unfair amount. Not your problem! All you want is your recap. A friend of mine gave birth last night. I was texting her husband during her labor, seeing if Mom was doing okay. “She’s fine,” he said, “and she’s anxiously awaiting your Real Housewives of Dallas recap tomorrow.” It’s more important than childbirth! So let’s tackle Episode 4, “Mouth of the South.”

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Dallas Street Stories Hopes to Give Voice to the City’s Homeless

Yasef was the first person we spoke to. After meeting him, I scribbled in my notes: “sad guy; red hat.” He was soft-spoken, downtrodden, and defeated. When I asked what he needed, the 6-foot-8-inch man said one thing: “clothes that fit me.”

We visited with a handful of other people in Tent City that day. And, when we left, Yasef and his group of friends called to us as we walked away. “Are you leaving?” one of the guys asked. “Yeah, but we’ll be back,” we promised. And then they all waved as we walked out.

I’ve lived and worked downtown for nearly six years. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of social media chatter about the homeless in my neighborhood. The homeless have been called aggressive, carpetbaggers, and freeloaders. This all led to a crackdown on panhandling.

That hasn’t been my experience with the homeless downtown.

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Mary Mapes on KERA’s Think Today at Noon

For the May issue of D Magazine, Mary Mapes wrote a story about a murder that gripped the city of Dallas in 1953. The victim, Venice Parker, was white. A black man named Tommy Lee Walker was put to death for the crime — though he had nine people who testified in court that they were with him on the night of the murder. One of those alibi witnesses was his girlfriend, who gave birth to their son that night. Tommy Lee rode in the ambulance to the hospital with her just hours after he’d supposedly raped and murdered someone miles away. None of that testimony mattered. District Attorney Henry Wade got his conviction just three months after Tommy Lee had been arrested. I encourage you to read the story and then listen to Mary on Think, with Krys Boyd, today at noon on 90.1 FM.

(Side note: the online version of our story is titled “When Henry Wade Executed an Innocent Man.” I love our talented web team. They work hard to optimize SEO and so forth. Nearly all of our headlines get rewritten for the web and nearly always for the best in that medium. But I much prefer the presentation of this story in print, with the headline “Who Was the Real Killer?” For what that is worth.)

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Leading Off (5/3/16)

Dirk won’t leave the Mavs. Yesterday, the Big German said he will opt out of the last season of his three-year contract in order to help put together the Mavs’ roster for the following season. But first, he plans to re-sign with Dallas this summer for two seasons. The bad news is that Dirk can’t play basketball forever. The good news is that, as long as he is playing in the NBA, it will be in Dallas.

Arlington murder suspect turns himself in. 22-year-old Ricci Bradden is accused of fatally shooting T.J. Antell outside of a Walgreens in Arlington yesterday. This is sad.

Tent city exiles may have another option. As Tent City, the homeless encampment near downtown, is set to close for good today, those residents without a place to go may be able to soon move to an old naval base near Grand Prairie. Cedars Neighborhood Association president Michael Sitarzewski has proposed a sanctioned campsite at Hensley Field that would include tiny homes and various living facilities. City Council members have yet to review the proposal.

Will Ousting of Dallas Summer Musicals Honcho Impact Fair Park’s Future?

Michael Jenkins’ name is synonymous with Dallas Summer Musicals. For 21 years, Jenkins has been president of the Fair Park-based arts organization that has been bringing touring Broadway shows to Dallas for 76 years. Jenkins’ career with DSM started as an usher when he was 14. At 17, he became assistant to the managing director. As an investor in Broadway productions, Jenkins has earned nearly two dozen Tony Awards. So it is a bit of a surprise to hear that he is leaving the organization not amidst the fanfare of a retirement farewell, but because, the Dallas Morning News reports, he was fired.

The story is a little fuzzy. In an interview he gave the DMN a week ago, Jenkins described his ousting as “a palace coup,” and said through tears that he felt unfairly dismissed because of his age and an unpaid loan the former DSM-chief made to the organization. In a statement from Dallas Summer Musicals published on the website Theater Jones, the DSM board says they are looking for a “new generation” of leadership, citing the desire to find a bridge builder who can create partnerships within Dallas’ arts community and maximize the use of the DSM’s home, the Music Hall at Fair Park.

From Jenkins’ loan to the DSM press release’s repeated references to squeezing more revenue out of the Music Hall at Fair Park, it is not too difficult to read between the lines in both of these statements.

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Is Downtown the New Uptown? A Chat With the New Head of Downtown Dallas Inc.

Kourtny Garrett has worked for Downtown Dallas Inc., the nonprofit that advocates for the businesses and residents of downtown and oversees programs to help keep it a clean and safe place, for more than 13 years.

In March it was announced that she has assumed the role of president of the organization and will take over as CEO come next January, when current chief executive John Crawford transitions into a new role as vice chairman.

After a recent visit to the Dallas Farmers Market blew my mind about how great that corner of the central business district is becoming, I asked Garrett to have a conversation (via instant message) about her unique vision for the future of DDI and the neighborhood. I share that with you now.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: May 2

The Ghosts of Presidential Elections Past convene at SMU tonight.While James Carville and Karl Rove rattle their spectral chains and talk about such spooky subjects as the Electoral College, the Alamo Drafthouse screens David Lynch’s Blue Velvet for the film’s 30th anniversary, and Theatre Three’s production of Memphis both razzles and dazzles audiences.

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Whatever Happened to That Di Suvero Sculpture Near the Meyerson?

You’ll recall that Mark di Suvero’s 60-foot Proverb sculpture had to be taken down last year when the DSO sold a chunk of land on which an office tower is now being built. An alert FrontBurnervian has discovered where Proverb wound up. It now stands in a canyon on a Montana ranch. And now you know [beat] the rest of the story.

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Best of Big D: Nightlife Voting Kicks Off Today

Do you have your thumb on the pulse of Dallas’ nightlife? Are you the go-to connoisseur in your group of friends on the newest lounges and best dive bars? Let your fellow Dallasites in on the best the city has to offer after dark by putting your expertise to good use. This week, we’re asking you to name your nightlife favorites, from delicious cocktails and dog-friendly bars to karaoke spots. 

You can vote for your favorites once every 24 hours. Cast your votes using your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

You may notice that we’ve switched things up a bit this year. Instead of voting for finalists, you have the option of writing in your nominees. For every category, tell us who you think is most deserving. For each category, the nominee with the largest number of submissions will be named the winner.

But keep this in mind: we’re only looking for locally-based entities. We want to celebrate the best of Dallas, so large, national chains (Starbucks, Chili’s, etc.) will not be considered. 

Throughout the next few weeks, you can vote for different categories. If you want to weigh in on the top restaurants, bars, and lawn care services, check out the schedule below.

Nightlife: May 2 – May 8

Food & Drink: May 9 – May 15

Services: May 16 – May 22

Vote for the best nightlife in Dallas here.

Leading Off (5/2/16)

Body Found on Central Expressway. All southbound lanes of Central were shut down last night after DPD responded to a fatality accident near Lemmon Avenue. Details are unclear but according to this, Sr. Cpl. Demarquis Black didn’t think the body was in a vehicle.

Stars Split First Two In Second Round. They fought back to tie the Blues in the third period yesterday, but a power play in the OT period took them down. Now it’s on to St. Louis, a phrase no one ever likes to say.

Another Attack in Oak Lawn. This one — a man out walking his dog early Saturday says he was called a gay slur and slammed to the ground — is the 17th since September.

11-Year-Old Kidnapped, Escapes During Attempted Rape. Corrine Allen Dunn, 34, allegedly lured the girl into his apartment. He was arrested Saturday afternoon. Good lord.

Plane Lands In Plano Backyard. A single-engine Mooney M20 was trying to land at the Air Park-Dallas airport, en route from Lubbock, when the pilot lost control. The pilot wasn’t hurt, and no one on the ground was either. I’m sure someone in the neighborhood got some good ‘grams out of it.

Cowboys Draft Players. One was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who probably would have gone at the top of the draft if his knee wasn’t turned into pulled pork in his last college game, and who some think might not actually play again. There were also some others.

FC Dallas Has Another Road Disaster. When FCD has lost this season, and it’s not been often, it’s been ugly. But they’re still tied for first in the league, and Kellyn Acosta made the USMNT’s 40-man preliminary roster for Copa America.

Zac Crain Defends Dallas on Thrillist

When someone from NYC-based Thrillist asked me who should write an essay for them about how Dallas really is a cosmopolitan city, I said, “Man, that’s a really tall order. Striking the right tone, not coming across as defensive, having a sense of humor — there just aren’t too many people here who could pull that off.” Mark Lamster was my first thought. Since moving here from New York, that guy has fallen head over heels in love with Dallas. I was walking through downtown the other day and ran into him. We stopped and had a conversation on a sidewalk within eyesight of the Robert Jeffress Fountain. Lamster went on and on about how much he digs Dallas and how it’s so much better than New York. He was so effusive that I almost felt embarrassed for him.

Anyway, I figured Lamster was too busy to write the essay, so I suggested Zac. He did a fine job.

‘There Is a 100 Percent Chance Mark Cuban Becomes President’

That’s what Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca, a former Google employee and sometimes co-star of Cuban’s on ABC’s Shark Tank, told CNBC this week:

Sacca noted that Cuban could be at least as successful as Trump were he were to campaign for leader of the free world.

“The minute you’re coined a billionaire in this country, everyone just takes everything you say as gospel. You can say no wrong,” Sacca said. “And that’s why we see Trump skating in. He says asinine things and everyone says ‘well, he’s a successful business guy.’ Cuban has all of that, but is not an idiot.”

So if we factor in a massive Trump flop this fall, and the Republican Party still trying to stitch itself together in the aftermath come 2020, then we’ll get two terms of Hillary Clinton.

Cuban 2024?

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