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Ben Stiller Invited Laura Bush to an Orgy

Ben Stiller told Stephen Colbert last night on the Late Show that he tried to get former First Lady Laura Bush to appear in a scene in his new comedy, Zoolander 2, which opens in theaters tomorrow.

Stiller had met Bush five years ago, and she’d told him she was a fan of the original Zoolander movie. So naturally he thought of her when he was looking to cast unexpected cameos in an orgy scene. You can see what he had in mind. The contrast of her squeaky-clean image with the surrounding debauchery might’ve played for a laugh. She declined.

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Dallas City Council Bans Exxxotica From Using Convention Center

Today’s title fight at the horseshoe — over the mayor’s proposal to ban the Exxxotica sex show from returning to the city-owned Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center — unsurprisingly centered on the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment vs. the desire not to contribute to the exploitation of women and girls.

The measure was approved, by a vote of 8-7. Those in favor were Adam McGough, Carolyn Arnold, Casey Thomas, Erik Wilson, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Mayor Mike Rawlings, Rickey Callahan, and Tiffinni Young. Against it were Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, Mark Clayton, Monica Alonzo, Philip Kingston, Sandy Greyson, and Scott Griggs.

Rawlings began the council’s debate by explaining that he proposed the resolution as part of his (self-described) duties as “chief brand officer” and said that he doesn’t believe the event is good for Dallas’ reputation.

He drew parallels between this potential legal fight and past fights the city has accepted even when it knew it was likely to be sued, as with denying gas drilling in a park or the (short-lived) plastic-bag ban. (Though, it should be noted, neither of those disputes centered on constitutional matters.)

Rawlings’ case was essentially that denying Exxxotica the use of the convention center is no different than restrictions the city is allowed to put on such things as the size and placement of billboards. There are many such decisions where the city has a right to determine to what length the freedom of speech extends.

“I read online that there’s a place [in the Exxxotica event] called the Dungeon, where women are tied up and whipped,” Rawlings said, his voice breaking with emotion. “There’s where it crossed the line for me.”

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Pizza Hut Didn’t Pay to Appear in People vs. O.J. Simpson Series

Last night’s installment of the FX miniseries The People vs. O.J. Simpson (recommended) featured a cameo by Plano-based (yes, Plano, again) Pizza Hut.

The episode centers on the famous low-speed chase of Simpson’s Ford Bronco that seemingly our entire nation stopped to watch one evening in June 1994. To illustrate just what a phenomenon the incident was, the writers show how a delivery pizza restaurant has been so inundated by orders from viewers glued to their TVs that it runs out of cheese. This segment is based on the fact that the day of the chase was reportedly Domino’s Pizza’s best day ever.

Yet the restaurant depicted (see the scene above) is Pizza Hut instead. Adweek reports that this wasn’t a case of paid product placement. Which is believable, since it could appear unseemly to promote one’s brand in the midst of a retelling of the most famous double-homicide of the 20th century. The chain merely granted permission for its logos to be used after Domino’s declined.

On another note, I’m gonna need a fact-check on a throwaway line of dialogue. One of the Pizza Hut employees can be heard asking if they’ve still got chicken wings. But, according to this Pizza Hut franchisee, the restaurants didn’t start selling wings until 1995, following Domino’s lead.

I’m sure that’s the only distorted fact in the entire production.

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Poll: Should Dallas Ban a Porn Convention?

I’ll be surprised if this isn’t a landslide result. On one side of the issue that the Dallas City Council will consider at Wednesday’s meeting are Mayor Mike Rawlings and billionaire Ray Hunt, who believe there’s an opportunity to block the return of the Exxxotica sex show to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

On the other, there’s city councilmen Philip Kingston and Lee Kleinman (who often disagree on other decisions), as well as future buddy-comedy co-stars Mike Hashimoto and Zac Crain, plus (probably) the United States Supreme Court and most of the Founding Fathers (not John Adams, who was a bit of a prude, but definitely Ben “Early to Bed, Early to Rise” Franklin.)

What do you think?

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City of Dallas Pushes to Keep Porn Out of Convention Center

But that pesky First Amendment made it impossible to do so last year when the Exxxotica Expo came to town. The city is apparently looking for a workaround:

[Ron King, executive director of the convention center] said he took the issue back to city attorneys when they started hitting “speedbumps” thrown in front of them by “people who said, ‘You shouldn’t have that in this facility.” He wasn’t more specific than that, but said that given the interest from the mayor’s office in the past, he thought it best to make sure Rawlings and the council knew what was coming.

“I suspect there will be some action this coming Wednesday,” said King. “I am awaiting what that action may be so we can move forward.”

[Exxxotica director J. Handy] said he doesn’t know what that would be. When asked if Exxxotica would sue Dallas if it’s not allowed in 2016 or simply move to another city, Handy said both options were, at this point, unfathomable.

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Remembering June Mattingly, Intrepid Dallas Arts Supporter

If you’ve spent more than five or ten minutes in a Dallas gallery, you’re likely to have met June Mattingly. Mattingly was a stalwart supporter of the Dallas arts, the author of a book on Texas contemporary artists, and a former gallery owner who introduced a number of this city’s more notable artists. The Dallas Observer reports today that Mattingly has passed away.

Mattingly’s creative roots in Dallas ran deep – all the way to one of this city’s most iconic sculptures. The original Pegasus that sat on top of the Magnolia Building in downtown Dallas was created by her father H. Harold Wineburgh’s sign company, Texlite. Mattingly was a tireless advocate for her father’s Pegasus, and it was restored and reinstalled outside the downtown Dallas Omni last year. In this interview from 2011, Mattingly speaks about her father and the Pegasus. In 2012, Mattingly sat for an hour long interview to offer her insight into the history of Dallas culture.

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Leading Off (1/29/16)

Dallas Schoolchildren Required to Play. The DISD board voted Thursday that all district elementary schools must give students 20 minutes of recess each day for the rest of this school year, increasing that to at least 30 minutes daily next year. Recess also can’t be withheld as a form of punishment in disciplinary matters. Trustee Dan Micciche, who brought the proposal to the board, cited studies indicating recess improves social and emotional health. Considering the gorgeous weather we’re expected to have today, I plan to make the same argument to Wick this afternoon.

Arlington Woman Awarded Millions For Awful Book. I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, unless you count Buzzfeed’s abridged, illustrated version. But millions have bought author E.L. James’ book that began as fan fiction published through a website co-founded by Arlington woman Jennifer Pedroza. A jury last year found that Pedroza’s partner had cheated her out of her rightful share of royalties from the work, and on Thursday a judge awarded the Fort Worth schoolteacher $10.4 million in royalties plus $888,643 in pre-judgment interest, as well as $1.7 million in attorney’s fees. So Fifty Shades has made so much money that a woman who didn’t even write the thing, and is splitting her royalty share with the other partners who worked to publish it, still looks to make $11.5 million? Jeez, you people like your S&M.

Dallas Police Chief Doesn’t Need Your Resume. Testifying as part of a civil suit filed against the city, David Brown explained the process by which he decided whom to promote to the rank of major within the department. His “intricate vetting process” has “little need for resumes, job interviews, detailed personnel histories or opinions outside of his command staff.”

Kennedale Smells Like Old Rotted Fish. Parts of Arlington too. Residents there are blaming recent changes at a landfill run by the city of Fort Worth. If I were better acquainted with Kennedale, I’d insert a cutting punchline here. But for all I know it was previously a veritable Garden of Eden, redolent of lilac and baby powder.

Jaap van Zweden and the Burden of Success

When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra introduced Jaap van Zweden as its musical director in 2008, he came to the city with high expectations and a certain amount of risk. Succeeding the 12-year tenure of Andrew Litton, the dynamic Dutch maestro promised a new look, feel, and energy for the symphony. Van Zweden had earned a solid reputation in Europe during his stints with the Residentie Orchestra in the Hague and the Netherlands Radio Philharmoic, but he had won his American gig based on a few guest appearances, particularly a 2006 string of concerts with the DSO. Essentially, the DSO was placing its reputation and its future in the hands of a conductor who was largely unknown to American audiences.

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Jaap van Zweden Named New York Philharmonic’s New Maestro

We knew he was a finalist for the job. Now the New York media says it’s his:

Mr. van Zweden’s tasks at the Philharmonic will include more than music-making. He will be the orchestra’s public face as it works to raise $360 million to renovate David Geffen Hall and to bolster its endowment; act as the leading artistic voice as the hall is redesigned; and be charged with making sure the orchestra manages to retain its audience when construction, which is slated to start in 2019, leaves it homeless for at least two seasons.

“It’s a challenging time, but it is also a time where I would say that there are an incredible amount of possibilities,” Mr. van Zweden said in an interview at his Midtown hotel.

He will be music director designate for the 2017-2018 season and officially begin his five-year contract in New York with the 2018-2019 season. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is releasing him a year early. His final season as music director at the Meyerson will be 2017-2018.

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A.C. Maceo High School Aims to Go Viral Again With ‘Good to Be Alive’

Last year, students at A.C. Maceo New Tech High School in Oak Cliff created their own version of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” that went viral, garnering national attention and (as of now) more than 13 million views. Their performance soon inspired local copycats, including a Dallas Museum of Art video that had Mayor Mike Rawlings in hair curlers.

Over the weekend, teacher Scot Pankey posted Maceo’s new effort: a lip sync rendition of Andy Grammer’s “Good to Be Alive.” So far: about 4,000 views.

(H/T NBC 5)

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Surprise Report: Is Jaap Van Zweden Bound for New York?

Jaap van Zweden could be close to bolting his job as music director at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. According to today’s New York Times, the Dutch-born celebrity conductor is one of two leading candidates to become music director at the New York Philharmonic. While the paper said a representative of the Dallas conductor declined to comment, the under-the-radar development came as a “surprise” to one observer who’s intimately acquainted with the DSO. The reason: reports of van Zweden’s “abrasive” treatment of some DSO musicians, which the observer assumed would have knocked van Zweden out of contention for the prestigious New York post. The music director’s contract with the Dallas orchestra runs through the 2018-2019 season.

UPDATE: Van Zweden is also music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Earlier this week, he was asked by the South China Morning Post about the New York Philharmonic job and replied: “Well, whatever is going to happen, I have a phenomenal relationship with that orchestra, and it’s the same type of relationship which I found when I came [to Hong Kong], this eagerness, this enthusiastic music-making of the highest level. And of course it’s such an institution, it’s one of the top orchestras in the world, and I’m very honoured that I’m being named in these [newspaper] articles. But we will see.”

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Investigation Discovery Dramatizes Lois Pearson’s Horrific Ordeal

I wasn’t aware until just now, when we saw a surge of weekday TV viewers visiting our June 2012 story about the kidnapping and torture of Lois Pearson in Corsicana, that the Investigation Discovery series Your Worst Nightmare produced an episode about the horrific tale.

“Neighbor From Hell” first aired on Dec. 23. Much of the episode comprises dramatizations of Pearson’s ill-fated interactions with Jeffrey Maxwell, but among the talking heads interviewed to offer commentary is our own Michael J. Mooney:

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How an $85 Million Auction House Acquisition May Impact Dallas’ Public Art Museum

Here’s a bit of art world news that may not seem to have much to do with Dallas, but may actually have a real impact on how this city’s art scene – and its public art museum – are perceived. Auction behemoth Sotheby’s announced that it is acquiring Art Agency, Partners, a boutique art advisory firm, for $85 million. One of Art Agency, Partners principals is none other than Allan Schwarztman. That’s a name that should be recognizable to anyone familiar with our local collector scene. Schwartzman has been Howard Rachofsky’s art adviser for some time, and he has been influential in shaping that collection into one of the most renowned in the world.

According to industry watchers, Sotheby’s acquisition is an attempt by the auction house to add new revenue streams to its business, particularly by expanding its role in private sales. Sotheby’s stock has been dipping, and auction results have trailed off of late. There’s also chatter of an art market bubble. That’s not surprising in light of a statement buried deep in the NYT article made by an asset manager who states plainly that “The two greatest stores of wealth internationally today — compared with gold in the past — are contemporary art and real estate.” All that equity plowing its way into the contemporary art market have led to years of record-breaking, headline-making auction events. One assumes the party can’t go on forever.

But here’s why this is all so interesting for Dallas.

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First Look at the Dallas of 11/22/63

If you’ve forgiven the Hulu adaptation of Stephen King’s novel — about a time traveler who aims to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — for snarling traffic downtown last October, you might want to check it out when it drops on the streaming site on Feb. 15.

Hulu today released the first full-blown trailer for 11/22/63. Of particular interest is its CGI re-creation of the Dallas skyline of 1963:

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Remembering David Bowie’s 1983 Las Colinas Sessions With Stevie Ray Vaughan

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around a world without David Bowie. The innovator, the legend, the icon — a man who belongs on a short list of the most important artists of the late-20th century — passed away from cancer last night at the age of 69. Amidst the many obituaries and tributes that are surely to come pouring out over the coming days and weeks, I thought I’d pass along 90 minutes of bootleg Bowie recorded at the Las Colinas Studios on April 27, 1983.

Let’s set the stage:

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