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Making Dallas Even Better

Ellen DeGeneres Sends Kid to Meet George W. Bush

Yes, Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talker is one of the season passes on my Tivo. No, I didn’t set that season pass. But I do occasionally see some of the show, and this week Ellen sent one of her kid correspondents — a presidential history trivia expert from Kansas — to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

She even got to paint with the former president himself. Things get meta when he plays with young Macey’s George W. ventriloquist’s dummy. Watch for yourself.

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The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 4 Recap

For the past week, my family and I haven’t been able to live in our house, which was, as you know from my Episode 3 recap, flooded by a burst washing machine supply hose. We moved back in yesterday, and what should I find waiting in the mailbox? Our new property appraisal, up by a shockingly unfair amount. Not your problem! All you want is your recap. A friend of mine gave birth last night. I was texting her husband during her labor, seeing if Mom was doing okay. “She’s fine,” he said, “and she’s anxiously awaiting your Real Housewives of Dallas recap tomorrow.” It’s more important than childbirth! So let’s tackle Episode 4, “Mouth of the South.”

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Will Ousting of Dallas Summer Musicals Honcho Impact Fair Park’s Future?

Michael Jenkins’ name is synonymous with Dallas Summer Musicals. For 21 years, Jenkins has been president of the Fair Park-based arts organization that has been bringing touring Broadway shows to Dallas for 76 years. Jenkins’ career with DSM started as an usher when he was 14. At 17, he became assistant to the managing director. As an investor in Broadway productions, Jenkins has earned nearly two dozen Tony Awards. So it is a bit of a surprise to hear that he is leaving the organization not amidst the fanfare of a retirement farewell, but because, the Dallas Morning News reports, he was fired.

The story is a little fuzzy. In an interview he gave the DMN a week ago, Jenkins described his ousting as “a palace coup,” and said through tears that he felt unfairly dismissed because of his age and an unpaid loan the former DSM-chief made to the organization. In a statement from Dallas Summer Musicals published on the website Theater Jones, the DSM board says they are looking for a “new generation” of leadership, citing the desire to find a bridge builder who can create partnerships within Dallas’ arts community and maximize the use of the DSM’s home, the Music Hall at Fair Park.

From Jenkins’ loan to the DSM press release’s repeated references to squeezing more revenue out of the Music Hall at Fair Park, it is not too difficult to read between the lines in both of these statements.

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Whatever Happened to That Di Suvero Sculpture Near the Meyerson?

You’ll recall that Mark di Suvero’s 60-foot Proverb sculpture had to be taken down last year when the DSO sold a chunk of land on which an office tower is now being built. An alert FrontBurnervian has discovered where Proverb wound up. It now stands in a canyon on a Montana ranch. And now you know [beat] the rest of the story.

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Podcast: LeeAnne Locken of Real Housewives of Dallas on Her Carny Past and the Show’s Future

Despite all that Tim has written in each of of his episode recaps of the first three installments of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Dallas, series star LeeAnne Locken was game to appear at the Old Monk on Thursday afternoon to chat about the show — and game enough for another cringe-inducing (for me anyway) game of iPhone roulette.

Before you listen to what turned out to be the second-longest episode in the illustrious history of EarBurner, please note:

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The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 3 Recap

Once again, my personal problems are of no concern to you. How bored would you be by the story of my house being flooded by a burst washing machine supply hose? What do you care about my hardwoods and the army of fans deployed throughout my house, making an infernal racket, forcing me to turn up the volume on my TV to watch The Real Housewives of Dallas to the point where my wife had trouble hearing the insurance adjuster on the phone? All you care about is the recap. I understand. I am here to satisfy you — much like the cowboy ecdysiasts at LaBare that we meet in Episode 3, titled “Making Frenemies.”

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Leading Off (4/26/16)

Jury seated for Mexican drug cartel murder case. A jury in Fort Worth will hear opening statements today in a trial of the men charged in the murder of a Mexican drug cartel lawyer. Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda and Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes are on trial for gunning down Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa in 2013 in Southlake. They were charged with interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Johnny Manziel indicted, will plead “not guilty.” A Dallas County grand jury voted to indict Manziel on misdemeanor domestic violence charges. The indictment will become official today, and Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, says that his client will plead “not guilty” to assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.

Mavs done in playoffs. A 118-104 loss to Oklahoma City yesterday means that the Mavs have stopped short of the second playoff round for the fifth year in a row. The combined injuries on the team added up, and their efforts just weren’t enough to surpass the Thunder. But I’ll always be hopeful for the coming year.

This afternoon brings severe weather threat. Storms are expected later today throughout North Texas with the possibility of hail and tornadoes. Stay safe out there.

Kinky Friedman Brings His Irreverent Satire to The Lodge

It was an eclectic group that gathered at The Lodge last night to mark the establishment’s 20th anniversary with a special appearance by Kinky Friedman, the iconic, irreverent Jewish Texan singer/songwriter/novelist and sometime political candidate. There in a private back room at the “classy gentlemen’s” club were people like the Lodge founder and CEO Dawn Rizos, Robert Wilonsky and Gromer Jeffers Jr. from The Dallas Morning News, The Ticket’s Mike Rhyner, and Ruth Buzzi. Ruth Buzzi, the Laugh-In lady who’d whack the old man with her purse? Yep; turns out she and her husband Kent Perkins are old friends of Friedman’s, and often put him up at their ranch near Stephenville. It’s a good thing all these people in the private room understood and appreciated Kinky’s offbeat brand of satirical humor, because some people at the upscale strip club didn’t.

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The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 2 Recap

I won’t bore you with a full recounting of the trouble I had last night with my DVR and how that forced me to get creative to watch the show in a way that allowed me to pause and rewind it. Nor will I vent my spleen over having to miss the Mavs’ improbable 1-point Game 2 victory over the Thunder so that I could instead watch a show about women wearing hats. No, no. I am here to serve. You want nothing but a recap of Episode 2. Or should I say Episode Number 2? Because the theme last night was decidedly and unrelentingly scatological. Though, to be fair, semen did play a minor role, too.

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Leading Off (4/19/16)

Continental Avenue bridge might be renamed. Soon, the pedestrian bridge might be called the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, after the former Dallas mayor. The name change will be voted on next month.

Dallas not doing well in water conservation contest. Two years ago, the city won a national water conservation contest. Now, we’re ranked 12 out of 26. It’s true that water was more scarce then than it is now, but still.

Judge will rule on Exxxotica case. Was the City Council within its rights to ban the sex expo from the convention center? U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater will decide. If Fitzwater rules in Exxxotica’s favor before the end of the week, the expo could still happen. If not, it would be too late this time. We’ll have to wait and see.

How ’bout them mavs? Their 85-84 victory over the Thunder in Game 2 yesterday was pretty crazy after the previous game’s intense humiliation. The rookies had a big night, and defense was strong. It’ll be tough to keep this going in the next game, but, hey, the Mavs have surprised us before.

State Fair of Texas Willfully Ignorant of Its Economic Impact on Dallas

The Morning News has taken a closer look at the “fuzzy math” that the nonprofit State Fair of Texas uses to assure Dallas that it remains a tremendous boon to the local economy. Numbers ranging from $200 million to $600 million have been thrown around, but all of them are pretty much meaningless because the fair doesn’t track its attendance:

As a private organization, the fair can use whatever measures of success it prefers, [State Fair president Mitchell] Glieber said. Estimating attendance is too difficult, he said, noting that not every gate has turnstiles and some admit carloads of people.

“Accounting for the accurate number of people is not critical to us,” he said. “If somebody wants to say it’s 2.3 million or if someone wants to say it’s 3 million, it doesn’t really impact us.”

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RIP, Merle Haggard

I wasn’t expecting it to, but Merle Haggard’s death on his 79th birthday last Wednesday knocked me for a loop, because he’d been such a big influence on me (and millions of others) for so many years. There’s going to be a private funeral for him today on his property in Palo Cedro in Northern California, and wouldn’t you know the ruggedly independent country singer/songwriter and musician preplanned his own service.

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