True story: I’m working my way through the acclaimed HBO series The Wire, and I’m most of the way through the third season. If you’ve seen the show, you know that’s there absolutely no way not to come away from each episode with one overriding question in your mind: Why the hell does anybody live in Baltimore?
Yesterday I put this very question to a member of the People Newspapers staff who used to live in Baltimore, award-winning reporter Bradford Pearson. He mentioned something about being able to afford living cheap in some sort of haunted mansion, and that there aren’t drug dealers on every corner, just most corners. I remained unconvinced.
But lo and behold, Bloomberg Businessweek has come out with a list of the best American cities to live in, and Baltimore is No. 29 of the 50 that are ranked. This is not, in itself, remarkable, except that our own fair city, Dallas, comes in at just No. 41. Among the other municipalities outdoing us are Lincoln, Nebraska, and Tulsa, Oklahoma? Truly?
Businessweek’s write-up on Baltimore mentions that it’s got a high unemployment rate (11.1 percent) and the fourth-worst crime rate on the list. And yet they’d still rather live there than here? Â I won’t bore you with what they wrote about Dallas, since it’s nothing that you haven’t read many times before (big stuff, glitz, fried foods, bull riding). How can they get away with judging us based on some silly TV show that wasn’t even on HBO?
Perhaps contributing to our underwhelming placement is the photo they chose to run, which seems to have been takenÂ mid-winter in some nondescript corner of downtown.
Our web team tells me that traffic has been really brisk lately, which tells me that there are likely a lot of new people coming to FrontBurner who are unfamiliar with our contributors. This post is aimed at acquainting you with us. From upper left, moving clockwise: that’s Zac Crain, Krista Nightengale, me, and Michael J. Mooney. Thanks for stopping by. And, as always, we welcome your comments.
Here’s a video to get you in the mood. It was a produced by a local outfit called Cinsay whose gig is developing the purchasing system that is built in to the video. Enjoy.
Are you ready for a solid three weeks of fried food, midway rides, and pig races? Good, because the State Fair Of Texas is here.Â And while it’s still the best excuse to stuff your arteries with things like fried pork wings, deep-fried jambalaya, and bacon cinnamon rolls this side of the Rio Grande, there are plenty of other things to do when the time comes to physically remove yourself from the food court. Jump for your day-by-day plan for this first week, and find a listing of recurring events at the bottom. One of these things is free Girl Scout cookies. Every darn day.
This is happening. Now. In our office. Best caption in the comments wins respect and admiration.
Videofest is here, yay hooray, and the State Fair of Texas is almost here. Look for a guide to the first week of fair craziness in a couple of hours. Peter will be along on FrontRow with Videofest reviews and previews, but things get started tonight with a screening of the documentary Ann Richards’ Texas.
Unfortunately, that screening is sold out (I hear they might add another, so if this particular film interests you, stay tuned). Despite that little niggle, there’s still a lot going on, including a few more documentaries (Sally Gross: The Pleasure of Stillness, about New York choreographer Sally Gross, and The Wildness, which captures the scene at Silver Platter, a staple of LA nightlife) and a narrative feature, The Playroom, about four children who play in the attic while their parents play their own drunken games downstairs. There’s also a program–The Program, actually, the Video Association of Dallas’ bi-yearly presentation of video art–in the courtyard called Iterations. Projections meld into real life as video is exchanged for live action. Artists include Nadav Assor, Andrew Blanton, Danielle Georgiou, Julie McKendrick, and Michael A. Morris.
Also this evening, Animal Collective is at the House of Blues, supported by Micachu and the Shapes. They have a new album, Centipede Hz, but I haven’t listened to the whole thing in its entirety yet. Seems pretty good, lacking the infectious tracks like “Brother Sport” or “My Girls,” but I’ll never forget the dark, crowded concert I went to the summer after my freshman year of college, listening to “For Reverend Green” in the middle of the lights and the haze. It was sort of a hazy night in general.
Over on the beautiful D Moms blog, I love Joslyn’s suggestion of bundling up the kids and heading to Blue Print, since the store has partnered with the Dallas-Haiti Project for a charitable evening complete with music (Les Petits Chanteurs, a Haitian boys choir) and a photography exhibition. There’s also a book signing for Andy Braner’s new book, Alone, and proceeds from the evening benefit his Ahava Foundation, the boys choir, and Dallas-Haiti Project. Just make sure to RSVP.
For more to do tonight, go here.
If you’ve ever been at Barley House, you’ve probably seen these two fellas. They are clever. Proof of this now lives on the internet here. (“Inchoate” means not fully developed, and I had no idea how to pronounce it until moments ago.)
Dallas County has already gone Democratic in recent elections. Will the state soon follow suit? The expectation often repeated is that as Texas becomes a Hispanic majority state – which seems certain to happen sometime this decade – it will go blue. This is because Hispanic voters overwhelmingly favor the Democrats.
But the Texas Observer argues that the matter isn’t so simple, thanks to our state’s poor track record of voter turnout:
In 2010, the Houston Chronicle, considering the Bill White gubernatorial campaign in light of Latino population growth, asked: “Is this the year? The year that the state’s soon-to-be-majority minority group begins to exert the power and political influence reflective of its formidable numbers? The year that long-beleaguered Texas Democrats climb aboard the demographic express and ride out of the political wilderness?”
It was not the year. White and the rest of the Democratic slate got smashed. No Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, a losing streak that encompasses 91 races. If Latino voters had turned out at anywhere near California’s rates, or even the national average, White might have had a chance.
In fact, if Texas Latinos participated in politics at the same rates they do in other Latino-rich states–California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona–then Texas would already be a swing state. Texas has about the same percentage of Latinos as California. If they had turned out at the same rates as Anglos in 2008, 1.2 million more Latinos would have voted, according to Census figures. McCain beat Obama in Texas by 951,000 votes.
I have two admission tickets to the Arboretum for the first person who can answer the following trivia question in the comments. Admission includes parking but is limited to Wednesday nights only through the end of October. The question:
If I carry a gun and I tell you that I’m a member of the black button club, to what am I referring?
Via the Star-Telegram, learned this morning thatÂ Playboy magazine ranked Texas Christian University as the ninth-best party school among the nation’s institutions of higher learning. (the University of Virginia was No. 1). Â ”Sex, sports, and nightlife” were considered in the ranking.
TCU failed to make the party school cut on the recent Newsweek ranking, but as the Star-T puts it: “when it comes to ranking party schools, who would know better,Â Newsweek orÂ Playboy?”
Tired of Solo cups of warm beer? At SMU, Dallas is your never-ending house party. The number of bars within Dallas County: around 2,000, including Idle Rich Pub, the campus hot spot that best describes the student body.
And this quote from a proud student:
“The bar scene at SMU definitely dominates everyone is all about going to the bar and balling out.” – Colton Moyer, International Studies, Class of 2013
Yep, SMU is Dallas’ team.
Mayor Rawlings Pays Visit to 911 Call Center. I’m sure he gave out so many high-fives when he was there.
Rangers’ Division Lead Narrows After Another Loss To A’s. They lead Oakland by three games with seven left to play.
Carl’s Jr. Employee Robbed At Gunpoint Says She Was Fired Days Later. Honestly, I don’t think there is anyone who would answer “Do you want to die for Carl’s Jr.?” in the affirmative.
Rowlett Man Robbed By Daughter and Friends. Dang, son.