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Ang Lee To Direct Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

If you were sitting around today wondering what was up with the film adaptation of author and pool basketball enthusiast Ben Fountain’s fantastic novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, you are some sort of wizard, because today there is news: celebrated director Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm) has decided on it for his next project. The script is by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire).

In other words: just about as good a situation as anyone could have hoped for.

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Biggest Grammar Mistakes in Dallas-Fort Worth Signage

Automated proofreader Grammarly recently held a contest seeking submissions of photos featuring the most egregious grammar mistakes on signs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Above you can see the winning entry, and right off the bat I have a complaint.

That sign is obviously filled with purposeful misspellings intended to attract customers’ attention and underline the folksiness of people selling the produce. I think it should have been disallowed rather than given the prize.

Below are the other top entries from North Texas.

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Why Dallas Was Chosen the Best Skyline in the World

You may have seen, on any number of other sites accessible via the World Wide Web, that Dallas was chosen the best skyline in the world — let me repeat, the best skyline in the world — in a readers’ poll on USA Today.com. In other words, not only do we have a world-class skyline, we have the world-classiest skyline.

Here’s what the newspaper’s site had to say about that:

“Dallas became initially identifiable by the opening credits of an infamous ’80s TV show,” says expert Preston Kissman. “The contemporary Dallas skyline tells a story of big banking, big oil, big money, and the occasional big bust.” James Adams add, “Dallas has continued to stay flashy. Controversially, it has done this not with the height or style of its newest architecture, but rather through an internal race to adorn its existing and new icons with colorful interactive lighting that cannot be ignored.”

We’re among friends here, so I’m sure we can all agree that ranking Dallas the No. 1 skyline on the entirety of planet Earth is ridiculous. What about Chicago? New York? San Francisco? Sure, we beat the pants off places like Houston, Omaha, and Atlanta, but do we even belong in the top tier once you factor in locales in all hemispheres?

So how did we win?

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Death of a Poet

I’m going to spoil a pivotal event of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, but if you’ve not yet gotten around to seeing that brilliant, now 15-year-old film, then face up to the fact that you likely never will and don’t hassle me for spilling the following secret.

Magnolia tells a collection of interconnected stories of people in Los Angeles. There’s nothing too far-fetched about its plot lines about ordinary people moving about their fairly ordinary lives when, without explanation, it begins to rain frogs. By which I mean, full-sized frogs fall from the sky. There are apocalyptic, Biblical overtones, but no vengeful god appears to take credit for the act. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

The best explanation for the sequence that I’ve ever heard came from the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears in Magnolia as a nurse caring for a man dying of cancer. He said — and I’m sorry that I can’t locate the interview anywhere online, so you’ll just have to trust my fading memory  — the rain of frogs began to make sense to him when he thought about cancer.

Why we shouldn’t we accept the possibility of a downpour of amphibians when we’ve become accustomed to a plague like cancer? Cancer is your own body turning against itself for ultimately mysterious reasons. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Often comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

I’m sure that when, in 1976, 30-year-old Judith McPheron began to suffer an onslaught of clumps of tissue growth all over her body — a rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma — she could hardly have been any more shocked if she’d glanced out the window and seen frogs descending from the sky.

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Bill Bragg Still Really Wants to Be the Voice of Big Tex

Either that, or he’s realized he has no hope of ever reclaiming the job, because almost a year and a half after Bill Bragg was fired as the voice of Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas, he’s taking to his Facebook page again to decry the injustice of it all.

You may remember that Bragg’s contract for the gig, which he’d held since 2002, wasn’t renewed in March 2013. State Fair officials wouldn’t discuss the specific reasons for their decision, but they did imply that Bragg’s misuse of their trademark — presenting himself at other events as the voice of Big Tex — had much to do with it.

Well, now Bragg wants the world to know that the president of the Fair had no problem with Bragg calling himself Big Tex when it suited his own purposes:

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Poll: What One Word Best Describes Dallas?

Of course, it’s ridiculous to think that Dallas — bustling and vibrant, full of multitudinous contradictions creating the very friction that so often ignites inventiveness — could possibly be summed up in a single word. But let’s try anyway.

We put the question to eight of the Dallas 40 who appear on our 40th anniversary September issue. See for yourself what they had to say in this video, and then cast your vote on which you think encapsulates our city best.

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Billionaire Bites Back: Judge All But Tosses Dallas Art Collector’s Lawsuit

The tawdry tale of a multimillion dollar work of art, a widowed patroness, a powerful Mexican billionaire, and the little, red faced museum stuck in the middle of all of it took yet another turn in its four-year-long court battle. Dallas mega-collector Marguerite Hoffman’s lawyers convinced a jury late last year that debt baron David Martinez broke a confidential agreement when he sold at public auction a painting by Marc Rothko, which was sold to him by Hoffman in a hush-hush deal. Now, a judge ruled Friday that Martinez did not violate any agreement.

To recap:

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How Dallas Are You? This Quiz Will Find Out

By now you’ve met and read about the Dallas 40, members of this community who we believe represent some aspect of what the city has become and how it has transformed during the past four decades. These people represent the face of Dallas today.

But do you? Take this wholly certified, validated, and 100%-money-back-guaranteed quiz to find out.

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D Magazine Intern Lives Out Top Gun Dreams

This Saturday and Sunday, daring aviators from all over the world will perform death-defying maneuvers at the Texas Motor Speedway, the sixth of eight stops in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Instead of watching race cars whiz around an oval track for hours (kind of boring), the crowd on hand will look skyward as planes weave in and out of large pylons only 50-80 feet above the ground at 200-plus miles per hour.

Back in June, Texas native and world-class pilot Kirby Chambliss took me up to give me a taste of the sort of G-forces he and his competitors on the racing circuit must endure. First, an upright flat spin, where the airplane stalls and then descends down. From inside the steel contraption, I couldn’t tell where we were headed next. Up, down, jab right, then left. Why did I sign up for this? I thought to myself. Next we cartwheeled end over end three times, rolling the plane one-and-a-half times per second and then falling backwards at 90 mph. The cockpit filled with smoke from the tail.

My stomach is still in recovery, but it was worth it for the few minutes of getting to feel like Maverick from Top Gun. Check out the video evidence, and if you’re interested in going this weekend, ticket information is right this way.

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St. Vincent On Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back

St. Vincent, aka erstwhile Dallas resident Annie Clark, was recently interviewed by Andy Morris for GQ UK. The entire thing is entertaining, but I guess the relevant portion for our purposes is when she recommends Merritt Tierce’s new novel, Love Me Back.

Can you recommend a good book?
I just read a book called Love Me Back by a woman from Dallas, Texas called Merritt Tierce. It’s excellent. It’s fiction but it seems to be cut pretty close to her life: she talks about her life in the food service industry (which sounds like it could be a very boring premise) but it’s an awesome book. It’s especially poignant for me reading it because I knew every restaurant she was talking about in Dallas: they remind me of a time in my life. I remember when you were 14 and you’d used to go to Chillis [sic] to hang out on a Friday night and think it was very wild. All the tchotchke Americana on the walls: amazing!

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Help Us Celebrate Our Birthday Tonight at Saint Ann

D Magazine was first published in 1974, which makes 2014 our 40th anniversary. This is a fact that you can expect to hear a good bit more about in the coming weeks. For now, we’d love you to help us celebrate.

A Photomadic booth will be set up tonight between 6 and 9 p.m. at Saint Ann restaurant. We’ll also have one at the Texas Rangers game tomorrow at Globe Life Park and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Klyde Warren Park. Swing by, get your picture taken, and wish us a happy birthday. We’ll be running the images in the near future here on DMagazine.com.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Bowling For Dollars

There used to be a TV game show on which people — ordinary human beings like you and me — would hurl balls at pins in the hopes of winning cash. It was called, in the parlance of the day, Bowling For Dollars. Meanwhile, other human beings — also, presumably, like you and me — would have sent in postcards with their names on them in the hopes of sharing in the winnings if some lucky amateur bowler managed two strikes in a row.

I was going to write about the oddity of this format sustaining a daily program, but then I remembered that we live in an age of televised naked daters and naked survivalists, so who are we to judge? (After all, I know what you’re thinking at this moment: Why hasn’t naked bowling reached the airwaves yet?)

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John Oliver vs. Ace Cash Express and Other Payday Lenders

Last night on his HBO show, John Oliver did a 16-minute segment on predatory payday lenders, including Irving-based Ace Cash Express. Oliver rightly went on the attack against an industry that legally gets away with charging usurious interest rates and (as we’ve mentioned before) trains its employees in how to catch customers in a vicious cycle of borrowing.

He played clips from this explanatory video produced by Ace, which features a pleasant woman pleasantly describing how the company “will work with you” if you can’t get a loan paid back on time.

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Shawn Marion, Other NBA Players To Be On Terrible Rap Album

I missed this on Friday, and now I kind of wish I had remained in the dark. Erstwhile Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion is collaborating on a rap album with Big Baby Davis, Stephen Jackson, Carlos Boozer, and Juwan Howard, because those are the exact five people I would name if someone asked me which five current/former NBA players were working on a rap album. Judging from the snippets in the teaser video, it, well, it does appear to be a rap album.

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