If you missed it, here’s yours truly on Good Day with the great Tim Ryan. I worked a little blue this morning. Hope that’s okay with you.
Imagine this bizarre scenario: the Dallas Country Club has itself a membership crisis. Swine flu sweeps through the city this winter and kills off all the older members. The DCC can’t replenish its numbers with enough new members because anyone serious about golf knows that Lakewood, Dallas Athletic Club, and Brook Hollow all have better tracks. Whatever. Just work with me here.
Here’s the question: what would the remaining members get for their 118 acres and the clubhouse and all the rest? Does $15 million sound low to you? That’s the current valuation placed on the club’s property by the Dallas Central Appraisal District — and the DCC thinks that’s too high. Over on Unfair Park, Robert Wilonsky, the 10th-most powerful person in Dallas, has posted a lawsuit filed by the DCC to get that valuation lowered. The members apparently felt the previous valuation of $10 million was more fair.
Two things about this. First, as Wick pointed out a while back (and as Wilonsky was kind enough to link to), treating the DCC’s 118 acres as tax-exempt real property amounts to subsidized racism. That’s no good. But forget the land under the club. Let’s talk about the buildings themselves. The DCC is currently undergoing a huge renovation. I’m told, in fact, that the wrecking ball is scheduled to swing in about a week. This sort of work requires the filing of much official paperwork that should give DCAD a fairly precise gauge of what the structures are worth and will be worth when the project is completed.
I rule in favor of DCAD.
Did you miss episode 2 of Big Rich Texas, Style Network’s latest jab at the DFW area? The recap is here.
A lot of people are moving a little slower today after three days at the Mayborn writer’s conference, held this weekend in Grapevine. There are plenty of entertaining anecdotes from the event, some of which I’ll put up in a later post. (Teaser: A multiple-Pulitzer Prize winner smoking pot, the dark world of reptile smuggling, and one Texas Monthly writer digging glow-sticks out of the trash at 2 a.m.) My favorite tidbit from the weekend though may have come from legendary — and dapper — sports writer (and HBO Real Sports correspondent) Frank DeFord.
It seems some time ago DeFord was in Dallas, working on a story about Jerry Jones. They were out at a bar and Jones was, in the words of DeFord, “going on and on,” when a waitress approached with a request. “She proffered up her breast,” DeFord said, and asked Jones to sign. Jones, agreed, so the story goes, but only if she would let DeFord sign the other. And did he? “Of course I did!” he told the audience after someone posed the question. “A writer doesn’t get a chance like that every day.”
I love the library. When I was little, the weekly trip to the library in the summer to get more books was the thing I looked forward to almost the most – the most would be the twice-weekly trips to the pool. Our car didn’t have AC, so I always associate libraries with the feel of cool air, the smell of bound print matter, and hushed tones of mothers whispering to their children as they hurried them toward the children’s section.
And now, as a grown up, I enjoy the library in my neighborhood. But as a grown up, sometimes I have issues making it back to the library on time to return a book before it’s due. Or I don’t have time to go look and see if my branch has a particular book. And then I found (and yes, some of you have probably had this app on your phones forever and will duly chastise me for wasting your time) the Dallas Public Library iPhone app. Seriously. If you have a library card, you can use the app to look for books, request books from other branches, and even renew books you have in your possession. It even stores the barcode on your library card, in case you forget it.
And frankly, I find it more user friendly than the library website, which doesn’t remember your card number.
So, besides D Recommends, what are some of your favorite Dallas-related apps?
The city’s film commission and the producers of the TNT reboot of Dallas set to air next year have issued a casting call for North Texas locations to be used in the show.
To submit your property, please email email@example.com with “Dallas TV Series Locations” in the subject line.Â Be sure to include your phone number, email and street address, along with photos, a brief description of the property, and why you’d like to participate.
We have some suggestions.
Monday, Monday. It just keeps showing up. And with the sort of heat that makes the wing walk (you know, arms and elbows up for maximum cooling effect) a necessity by 9 AM.
What’s on TV tonight? Not much, except for an early Freaks and Geeks rerun that I would obviously be into. So instead of sitting at home and blasting your A/C, head to the Texas Theatre and allow them to run up their electric bill for you. They’re showing The Apple, probably one of the most awesomely awful movie musicals of all time, on 35 mm. Which doesn’t exactly sound like a positive endorsement, but hear me out. In the wake of Amy Winehouse’s recent death and the speculation that comes along with it, the film’s plot (two naive kids trying to make it in the music business get dragged into some sort of drugged up underworld) might strike some as less than appropriate. But it’s so far out there that it’s just funny, one of those “so bad it’s good” things with the bizarre cult following to match.
I love Cool Out, and I love Shelley Carroll at the Amsterdam. But last week, I ended up at the Pussycat Lounge (I know, I know) with a small group of old friends, listening to the Funky Knuckles do their neo-soul jazz jam for a few hours. One of these friends, who, in my incredibly unbiased opinion is an extremely talented percussionist, was my prom date way back when. And turns out he’s still a great person to know. Jonathan pointed out the keyboardist as a guy who produced tracks for Beyonce’s latest album, and the drummer as one of his favorites in Dallas. Instruments and musicians rotate throughout a set that lasts until they’re all ready to quit. Which isn’t until very, very late.
Three fair warnings before you go. First, if you go with music nuts, you’ll probably witness a totally obscure game of “name that song.” I only got one, and it was Herbie Hancock. Two, the Pussycat charges a dollar for tap water, which annoyed me even though I end up tipping that for water anyway. Three, the weird nameless club around the corner from the lounge may or may not try to lure you in with the promise of “cool kid stuff.” Cotton candy? A game of Chutes N’ Ladders? It’s a real mystery.
For more to do around town this evening, go here.
This Thursday evening we’ll continue FrontRow’s latest film series, entitled “Dallas, Outlaws, and the American Dream,” with a screening of Wes Anderson’s debut film, Bottle Rocket. Doors open at 6 p.m. and before the screening, there will be live music from Kevin Deal and Miles Penhall.
Now, assuming you have all seen the comic masterpiece commonly referred to as “the best movie ever made in Dallas” (because if you haven’t, you need to be there Thursday), ask yourself:
When was the last time I saw Bottle Rocket on a big screen?
When was the last time I saw Bottle Rocket with a live audience?
When was the last time I hung out at a restored movie theater/music venue, caught performances by a pair of Texas singer-songwriters, and then watched one of the funniest movies ever made, which just happens to star Dallas’ own boy wonders, Owen and Luke Wilson, not to mention the great Bob Musgrave and James Caan?
Never? Been a while? Â Right. See you Thursday.
During Friday’s game between the Rangers and Blue Jays, broadcasters Dave Barnett and Tom Grieve said the Ballpark was hosting a rehearsal dinner. Both men said they couldn’t remember hearing of another such event at a big-league game.
That got me wondering about whether the wedding party dined on hot dogs and garlic fries, and where the actual rehearsal happened. The upper-level concourse? The centerfield pavilion? Barnett and Grieve didn’t provide those details, but they did mention that the groom was Stephen Howard of UNT’s sports information office. So I emailed him to get the scoop. Even though he was hours away from tying the knot, Howard was kind enough to send this response:
My fiancÃ© and I had a suite at the Ranger game following our wedding rehearsal at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Keller.
She and I are huge Rangers fans and this was the best/only way we could think of to celebrate our special day.
My wife wasn’t that much of a Rangers fan when we got together. But now? We’ll probably renew our vows at a game next year.
The front-page story (sub. req.) in today’s paper is about the shooting at the Grand Prairie skating rink. Accompanying the story is the photo you see here, run large enough that it extended below the fold. The caption reads: “An employee of Aftermath, Inc, a crime scene and trauma cleanup service, works at the Forum Roller World in Grand Prairie after Saturday night’s shooting rampage.”
Am I the only one who thinks that running this photo is this fashion was a bad call? Five people are gunned down at an 11-year-old’s birthday party. Their blood is still on the floor. A man in a hazmat suit is cleaning up that unspeakable mess, and you catch him with the joyful “Happy Birthday” sign as background. It’s a striking picture. But does it belong on the front page of the newspaper? To me, the picture feels appropriate for a DVD box set of Dexter, but not a front-page news story.
Shooting in Grand Prairie A Grisly Tale of Domestic Violence: There’s more than enough to read about the senseless shooting over the weekend at a Grand Prairie roller rink. The Morning News’ (sub. req.) describes gunman Tan Do as “too calm” before he opened fired on his wife and four of her family members. The Star-Telegram reports that Tan Do’s wife had filed a protective order against her husband last December because he threatened her with a gun three times. Trini Do also filed for divorce before withdrawing the request. And while the Grand Prairie nightmare dominates the headlines, this piece (sub. req.) reminds us that under the radar domestic violence incidents occur at an alarming rate: three per hour in North Texas, according to police reports.
A Decade Later, Have TAKS Tests Worked? Texas education officials point to a steady increase in student performance on TAKS exams since they were introduced ten years ago, but national exams indicate that TAKS didn’t produce any real educational gains. “In some categories, the performance of Texas students has remained absolutely flat as TAKS scores climbed.”
Warren Leslie, Writer Who Implicated Dallas In Kennedy Guilt, Dies: Warren Leslie was a Dallas Morning News reporter who later was spokesman for Neiman Marcus, a job he held when he wrote Dallas Public and Private: Aspects of an American City, which, four months after the Kennedy assassination, implicated the city in those terrible events. From the book:
“They feel their worst enemies are other Americans who disagree with them. They are not equipped to deal with contradictory evidence; when it appears, they boo it and hiss it to make it go away.”
Do these words still accurately describe our city — or did they ever?