Aw, we’re blushing. Christopher Helman, the Southwest bureau chief for Forbes, writes on their blog:
Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons has been called the king of Superfund sites. His companies, like publicly traded NL Industries, have over the years reportedly polluted numerous industrial sites with toxic metals and radiation. And another of his companies, Waste Control Specialists, is in the business of cleaning the messes up. It’s such a clever strategy that Dallas’ D Magazine in an insightful profile last year, called 79-year-old Simmons Dallas’ “most evil genius.”
He concludes his post by saying:
[W]hen politically tainted commissions override the concerns of hydrologists willing to quit to make themselves heard, it’s probably time for Texans to demand an independent investigation of the true risks of Simmons’ nuke dump.
This is a thing that occurred.
You’ve got to hand it to Morgan Spurlock, the guy who downed all those Quarter Pounders in Super Size Me, for coming up with another thought-provoking documentary. The director’s latest, titled POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, explores the intersection of advertising, marketing and “product placement.” The film, screened Saturday at the Dallas International Film Festival and reviewed here by Peter, was financed entirely through product placement from different brands. It purports to show how creativity is affected by such placement, which Spurlock says he considers a worrisome trend.
“From a creative standpoint, as artists, we should be worried about it,” the director (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean) said Saturday, taking the red-carpet stroll for the festival at NorthPark Center. As for the bigger picture, he went on, “Do we really need to live in a place where everything is brought to us by a sponsor?” He recalled how New York City, where he lives, is pondering corporate naming rights just now for parks and playgrounds. “Do I want to go to the Pepsi Playground? We have to draw a line in the sand!” he said. But, isn’t the horse sort of out of the barn by now? “Sao Paulo, Brazil, banned [all outdoor] advertising … within the city limits,” Spurlock replied. “If they can do it there, why not here?”
The director behind the great new Norman Mailer documentary–part of the Dallas International Film Festival, and reviewed by Peter here–is a beefy, blunt-talking, middle-aged guy in a dark suit and tie who admires the late author but is also clear-eyed about his foibles. Joseph Mantegna, not to be confused with the Criminal Minds actor, calls Mailer the greatest writer of the second half of the 20th century, a “lover and a romantic” (he had five full-time girlfriends when he died), and the first true director of reality-TV films, like Maidstone. “Before there was the Kardashians, there was Mailer,” said Mantegna (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean).
Oak Cliff — and really, I suppose when I say Oak Cliff these days, and when you say Oak Cliff these days, I/you really mean North Oak Cliff — is not a secret anymore. Not to you, not to your parents, not to anyone. If I were to see you in the street and say to you, “Hey, cool s— is happening in (North) Oak Cliff” — because I tend to swear when I’m not on this blog, and certainly when I’m in the street — you would only think that was strange because I just randomly brought up that subject when we were having a conversation about hypothetical scenarios and grudges, my two favorite conversation topics.
So, what I am about to talk about is not new, but maybe is interesting. To streamline my wording here: FEEL FREE TO SKIP TO THE NEXT ONE.
There are a lot of great things about the Dallas International Film Festival. Most significantly there are still plenty of good movies to see between now and Sunday, some of which you may never again have the chance to view on the big screen.
But there’s one major flaw that’s become the bane of festival-goers. His name is Vittorio Vere.
He’s a character in the DIFF’s own promotional spot that plays before every film. I didn’t particularly find the ad funny the first time, but some other audience members chuckled, so fine. By my seventh screening of the festival (check out our team coverage on FrontRow), last night at 10:30 pm, I and much of the rest of the audience were ready to rush the projection booth to make it stop. There are other ads we’ve been forced to watch before every screening. It’s just that “Vittorio Vere” outdoes them all by its excruciating length. It’s too late for this year, but a much shorter cut or having a few different promos running on various screenings is the answer.
Meanwhile, I have a solution for right now. Before the aforementioned screening of the film Apart last night, a mesmerizing and hypnotic animated short called “Take Your Medicine,” featuring a song by the band Transfer, played. It practically upstaged the feature that followed. Â Plead with the makers of that short to let you scroll your festival sponsors’ names on the bottom of their film (since that’s the true purpose of “Vittorio Vere.”) And make “Take Your Medicine” the ad which you’re asking us to sit through over and over.
I realize the makers of “Take Your Medicine” (you can see some of their storyboards here) may not be agreeable, but a man can dream of a day without a Vittorio Vere.
Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had an excellent, fun-filled weekend. Me? I’m settling into my new place just fine, despite a lack of real person furniture. I have to say, not driving 30 minutes to get to work is truly a great thing.
With all the hubbub over the Dallas IFF, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that the Horton Foote festival is still trucking along. The Kitchen Dog Theater, right around the corner from my new place of residence, opened their trio of one-acts last week, and it’s a FrontRow must-see – unfortunately the next performance isn’t until Friday.
No matter. Tide yourself over with tonight’s discussion of the playwright’s life and work at the DMA, moderated by Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty. Foote’s daughter, Hallie, will be there, as will Foote’s biographer, Wilborn Hampton. Foote’s children have graciously shared their father with us for the past few months, allowing glimpses of not just the writer but the man. I studied dramatic writing in college, and there’s always a curious fascination over what makes a playwright tick – one good reason to show up tonight. But I’m especially interested in what Moriarty has to say, since he’s the one who convinced the lion’s share of Dallas theaters to agree to this first ever city-wide artistic collaboration. Tickets are still available online, which makes reserving your tickets easy-peasy.
For more things to do in Dallas this evening, including a concert featuring No. 14 on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, go here.
A co-working FrontBurnervian passes on the information that, through three home games, your American League champion Texas Rangers lead the Major Leagues in average attendance. Meanwhile, the Evil Empire has managed to fill only 86 percent of its seats.
Plus, with Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz on pace for about 162 home runs each this season, the year is off to a great start.
It sounds like a tagline from a Ford commercial:
“Welcome to America: The land of cold beer and warm women.”
In truth, it was the line of choice for a middle-aged man who spent last Thursday afternoon hanging out at DFW Airport. His name was Wolf, as near as I could tell. I say that because it was stitched onto the chest of his black Harley Davidson vest, a part of his ensemble that ceded focus only to the foot-tall Uncle Sam hat that rested on his head. Wolf was ultra-gregarious, chatting it up with everyone around him, though he wasn’t really there to make friends. He was there, at Terminal B, Gate 37, for the same reason as everyone else: to salute our men and women in uniform who were coming home from deployment for some R&R.
I’ve done six of the Things Every Dallasite Must Do, and I decided to do something for others when I crossed number seven off my list: welcome home the troops. Â By the time I made it to the gate a few minutes past 1 pm, there was already a collection of people waiting. It wasn’t a hulking crowd – maybe three dozen, by my count – but it seemed a solid turnout for the middle of a workday. Quite a few were there to greet a loved one. The rest were just there to show their gratitude. Everybody had an air of nervous energy about them. (more…)
The big game is tonight. Let’s check in on our brackets, shall we? Skippy3 picked Kansas to win it all, meaning he/she can only score a total of 86 points. If Butler wins, skippy3 will remain in the lead. If, on the other hand, Connecticut wins, My First Bracket will win the $150 gift card to Ozona. Krista will finish tied for 164 (Fighting Mennonites), I’ll finish tied for 47 (The Rogers Situation), and Zac fares the best of anyone on staff, tied for 37 (And Pitt Makes Me Sad). It was fun, people. Let’s do it again next year.
1. skippy3 (possible high score: 86)
2. My First Bracket (116)
3. Ghille (114)
5. pikit (79)
8. B-Bombers (78)
Last month we introduced you to the News’ very neat interactive map, which shows how African American growth has jumped in the Dallas suburbs.Â Two demographers have now done the research nationwide. Of the top 10 metro areas, Dallas ranksÂ last in segregation — by a wide margin. Of the top 50 metro areas, Dallas ranks 32nd and Fort Worth ranks 30th.
The authors note that the RustBelt cities of the North “have been the most resistant to change.” Walter Russel Mead sees a pattern:
Blacks across the North are fleeing the urban paradises of liberal legislation and high public union membership for the benighted suburbs…The failure of blue social policy to create an environment which works for Blacks is the most devastating possible indictment of the 20th century liberal enterprise in the United States.
Dallas City Council Redistricting Begins: In the wake of the 2010 census, the city has set up a redistricting commission to review and suggest new council districts that reflect changes to the city’s demographics. With Hispanics now making up 42 percent of the city, commission member Domingo Garcia says one of the goals is to create two new Hispanic-majority districts. The challenge, however, is that both the Hispanic and African-American populations are now spread more widely throughout the city than they were 10 years ago, the last time the city considered redistricting.
Complete Downtown Dallas 360 Plan Made Public: Let me help destroy your Monday productivity: the complete Downtown Dallas 360 plan is now available for download ahead of the city council’s vote on the recommendations, which will take place on April 13.
Sweep. It’s a long season, but this is not a bad way to start.