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Making Dallas Even Better

Belle and Sebastian Salutes Dallas

I was at the KXT Summer Cut Festival on Saturday night at South Side Ballroom to see Scottish band Belle and Sebastian perform in Dallas for the first time since 2006. Back then they played the Granada, which frontman Stuart Murdoch remembered as a “rockin'” place. (I was there then too, and it was a great show. By comparison, I found the sound quality at South Side a disappointment.)

Midway through their set, in lieu of the usual introduction of band members, they played a video inspired by the opening credits of Dallas. It was a nice way to have them acknowledge that they knew where they were, beyond the typical “We love you, fill-in-the-blank-city!” shoutout.

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The Convention Center That Ate Dallas

A couple of weeks ago, after reading that the taxpayer-funded Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau apparently wanted to lend us the letter “D” from their “DALLAS” logo to replace the City of Dallas’ existing letter “D” logo, I got to thinking once again about the outsized influence the DCVB wields over municipal affairs.

Late last year, after Philip Jones, the DCVB’s president, tossed out a plan to have taxpayers pay for a $300 million addition to the convention center, I took a look into the finances and found that it lost $37 million per year before debt service and $54 million after interest expense — amounts that were virtually identical to its losses prior to the opening of the half-billion-dollar city-owned Omni Convention Center Hotel in 2010 (one of the primary justifications for building the hotel was that it would drive more business to the convention center and stop its losses). Some of the most interesting observations, however, came from reader comments to my post. Former city council member and the executive director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Lill, made the following observations:

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Ecstasy, Steve Nash, the Starck Club, and a License Plate

Perhaps you read the Variety story about Steve Nash executive producing a movie about rave culture and the ’80s ecstasy scene in Dallas. Perhaps you read Robert Wilsonsky’s followup wherein Wade Hampton says the movie isn’t about the Starck Club. At least one alert FrontBurnervian had those two stories in mind when, over the weekend, he saw the above license plate frame.

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Is the Lakewood Theater Under Attack?

UPDATE: And, of course, Fingers of Fury has more details, including confirmation that crews are not demolishing the murals, etc.

On Friday Jim Schutze stopped by the Lakewood Theater, allegedly mid-donuts run, and noticed that work crews were busy inside the historic theater. He ducked in and, before being kicked-out, noticed that interior demolition work was going on. This was after Robert Wilonsky posted about the demolition shots that were clogging his Facebook page, including a disheartening photo of a dumpster filled with the theater’s seats. This morning, my Facebook page has also been inundated with updates about the renovation/demolition work. There are apparently TV news crews now on the scene.

But should we be freaking out about the Lakewood’s presumed demise?

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Last Week Tonight Broadcasts Episode on Televangelists With All Sorts of Dallas Connections

Take a few minutes to watch this segment, below, of HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. Not only does it feature some Brett Shipp reporting on Kenneth Copeland from way back in 2007, but it will catch you up with the current status of Robert Tilton, who turns out to be a pen pal of John Oliver’s. It was all produced with help from Dallas’ own Trinity Foundation.

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Legendary Newsman Dan Rather on JFK, Mark Cuban, and the New Film About His CBS Downfall

Today we bring you a very special episode of EarBurner, the D Magazine podcast. Longtime CBS newsman Dan Rather stopped by the Old Monk with his grandson Martin to promote a new prize they’re offering for great ideas to improve Texas education.

The Rather Boys proved delightful guests, with Dan holding forth upon his time covering the JFK Assassination, speaking about his professional relationship with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and indulging Tim and Zac’s usual brand of tomfoolery.

A few notes to enhance the listening experience:

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Family Visit to Dallas Results in Nightmarish Vision of Roving Gang of Pegasuses

Travel blogger Kari Haugeto writes today on the Huffington Post site about her recent family trip to Dallas. She’s complimentary of our city’s friendliness, skyline, decorative sidewalks, and walkability. (Yes, really: “Dallas is a walking city.”)

Granted, her trip was confined almost exclusively to downtown, aside from a jaunt out to the Texas Horse Park. Which also explains why she devotes a good amount of attention to our local fascination with the Pegasus, including the nightmarish photo illustration that her family composed (seen above).

You know, the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s campaign of setting up giant “B”s and “G”s for folks to pose for photos with is pretty well played out. I suggest they begin building giant, demon-eyed winged horses to stand beneath as the creatures glower down menacingly.

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New Podcast: Matt Tobin of the Blind Butcher and Goodfriend Plays iPhone Roulette

It’s an entertaining chat with the co-proprietor of Lower Greenville‘s Blind Butcher and East DallasGoodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, on the latest episode of EarBurner. But if you’re short on time, at least jump ahead (somewhere after the 36-minute mark) to hear Tobin face up to the challenge of iPhone roulette. If you’re easily embarrassed on behalf of other people, as I am, you’ll need to gather your fortitude before giving it a listen. It’s worth it.

Now, notes on the show:

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Should DFW Airport Be Renamed For Writer David Foster Wallace?

Of course not. But some Brooklynite writer clickbaitingly makes the case for rechristening Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport:

DFW is there like a gift from the literary gods, held in place by two great American cities with downright fantastic-working initials.

Some people would say such a change is outside of the realm of possibility — we know; we ran this idea past them, and they used that exact phrase in a bit of a huff. But then, logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. The IATA usually doesn’t change airport codes, due to inertia. Switching codes confuses employees and travelers alike. Such is not the case with DFW. The real hurdle is convincing the airport’s board of directors of the merits of sharing the name with an American author. That seems, to us, quite surmountable.

John Tilton of Dallas’ own Lucky Dog Books humors the writer by pretending to the take the proposal seriously:

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Leading Off (7/27/2015)

Popular Park Cities Personal Trainer Killed By Car. Michele Albanese was crossing the street at Travis and Armstrong, near the gym where she worked, around 12:30 pm Friday afternoon, when she was struck by a car going north on Travis Street. Police say Albanese was not at a crosswalk, failed to look both ways, and was talking on her phone when she was killed. The police have not released details about the driver of the vehicle. Very sad.

Dallas Makes Garth Brooks Feel Our Love. We’ve missed him in the two decades since the country singer last stopped by. It’s going to take seven shows at the American Airlines Center to accommodate the demand for tickets.

Boy Scouts End Ban On Gay Leaders Today. That’s the good news from the Irving-based organization, which will also ban discrimination based on sexual orientation for its paid positions. The bad news is that the new policy will still “allow church-run units to pick leaders who agree with their moral precepts,” according to the Morning News.

You Can All Officially Complain About The Heat Now. Dallas-Fort Worth achieved its first 100 degree day of the season over the weekend.

So Long. And thanks for all the fish. This is my last Leading Off, and after many years, my last day with D is this Friday. The September issue will be my last as the magazine’s managing editor. It’s been a fun and instructive ride, and I will remember you all with fondness. Mostly. It’s likely you’ll still see my byline here and there, so nobody worry too much.

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Leading Off (7/13/2015)

New Criminal History Monitoring Program Introduced at DFW Airport. The TSA has chosen DFW and Logan Airport in Boston to test an FBI pilot program called “Rap Back,” which is part of the Bureau’s massive biometric identification database. Rather than relying on just a one-time background check, the Rap Back program will use the fingerprints provided when an employee starts a job to continuously scan for future “felony-level” offenses. Per the Morning News, “other types of employees, such as teachers, doctors, nurses and even Little League coaches, may eventually be scrutinized by the program.”

Standoff At Omni Hotel Ends Peacefully. A man staying at the downtown hotel barricaded himself in a room Saturday afternoon, and allegedly told a friend who brought him a drink that it would be the last time that friend saw the man alive. The friend had noticed a gun in the hotel room, and alerted hotel security. SWAT was called, and streets surrounding the hotel blocked off. Happily, the man was taken into custody without incident.

Jordan Spieth Wins Again. He beat Tom Gillis at the John Deere Classic to go in to The Open in Scotland on an even higher note.

Greg Hardy’s Suspension Reduced To Four Games. The Cowboys’ defensive end had originally been suspended 10 games after the NFL found that choking and smacking his girlfriend was against the league’s personal conduct policy. But now his 10-game sentence has been reduced to four games, equal to the punishment of Tom Brady, who is suspended for deflating some footballs.

Jac Alder’s Memorial Is Tonight. Celebrate the life and work of the late founder of Theatre Three at Dallas City Performance Hall. The parking lot under the building with be free for the event. Doors open at 5:15, and the memorial starts at 6 pm.

Podcast: Comedian Paul Varghese Talks Dallas Mavs and PC Culture

This one kind of got away from us, folks. With Tim vacationing, Eric Celeste stepped in to co-host alongside Zac at the Old Monk yesterday. The guest was comedian Paul Varghese, and while this trio generate an undoubtedly entertaining conversation, the talk did veer somewhat into territory unbecoming a family podcast.

So our more sensitive listener may want to be on guard against a bit of coarse language, and possibly just turn the episode off once the third segment — “Rocket Ships and Other Stuff” — begins.

Now, what you might want to know:

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