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Making Dallas Even Better

Leon Bridges Played Deep Ellum Last Night

Leon Bridges is a good person. He was the surprise guest at last night’s best of Big D party at the Bomb Factory. After Tim Rogers got on stage to thank sponsors, crack Philip Kingston jokes, and say all the things you have to say when you’re the tux-toting editor of the city magazine hosting the party, he asked Bridges to join him. Spinderella’s birthday is this week, and before the DJ brought the evening to its finale, Bridges was to surprise her by singing happy birthday.

Bridges looked sharp, of course. He wore a crisp grey suit, a white collared shirt with a skinny black tie, and black patent leather shoes. He took the mic, led the crowd in a brief acapella rendition of “Happy Birthday,” waved to his fans, and exited stage right. He was a good sport to make an appearance for us, especially in light of his ever-busy schedule, which saw him performing in the UK last week and will bring him to the West Coast later on this week.

But that’s not why Bridges is a good person.

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NY Times: Jaap Mentioned in Search for New Conductor at New York Philharmonic

Late last year in the Big Apple, guest conductor Jaap van Zweden led the New York Philharmonic in some bang-up performances that were met with “rowdy enthusiasm.” But, was he so good that the New Yorkers decided they want him full-time? According to a report today in The New York Times, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra music director is among those who’ve been mentioned in a search to succeed Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert when Gilbert steps down in 2017. Says Denise McGovern, the DSO’s communications director: “There’s nothing to say right now about what they’re doing. There have been reports speculating on a lot of different things. I don’t have any information about that. He’s here, and his contract with us is through” the 2018-2019 season.

New Gaston Light Single, ‘Wake Up and Fight’ Is Best Song in the History of Recorded Music

The Dallas band Gaston Light (aka Jason Corcoran) dropped a new single yesterday. You can listen to “Wake Up and Fight” with your own ears and learn about the inspiration for the title right here. God’s honest truth: it is the greatest song ever recorded. And I’m not just saying that because Corcoran asked if he could use for the single’s art a nighttime picture I took of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

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Is the Dallas Opera the Best Run Opera Company in the United States?

Okay, that headline is going to take a little more to answer than what I have here to back it up. But let’s just put it this way. Last year the New York City Opera went bankrupt. Earlier this year, the head of the Metropolitan Opera in New York said the seminal institution could be facing a “bankruptcy situation in two to three years.” Here in Dallas, after the Dallas Opera flirted with young dynamo George Steele, the kind of up-and-coming hot shot you’d expect Dallas to hire (and the man who eventually marched the New York City Opera out of existence), they opted for a more conservative approach, bringing in the San Francisco Opera’s COO/CFO Keith Cerny. Cerny cuts the profile of corporate accountant. As Willard Spiegelman has written:

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Can Indie Music Drive Economic Growth, Transform Neighborhoods?

The Washington Post has a story today that looks at how independent music scenes can transform local economies, focusing on Omaha, NE, where the city invested in an indie rock club with the hope that it would kick-start the economy.

It’s an experiment in arts investment for other mid-sized cities to watch, a government-backed indie rock weapon against urban decay.

At the center of the research behind the story is Michael Seman, a “music geographer” who is a senior research associate at the University of North Texas’s Center for Economic Development and Research. Seman is also a singer and guitarist in the Denton band Shiny Around the Edges. In a accompanying interview on the Washington Post‘s website, Seman talks about his field (music geography) and how music can help struggling towns and economies. A taste:

Music scenes can act as branding agents, spur urban redevelopment and emerge as industries in their own right. I’ve also found that music scene participants are civic-minded and often become involved in philanthropic pursuits, run for political office, and seek employment in city departments.


A Less Than Complete Recap of Last Night’s ‘Best of Big D’ Party That Includes an Appearance by Pat Green

A good time was had by all, I believe, at last night’s Best of Big D party at the Rustic. DJ Sober and Sam Lao were great. The drinks flowed freely. Much food went into many mouths. And so on and so forth. But I will tell you this: before the front moved through, it was a little steamy. The meteorological conditions occasioned my favorite moment of the night:

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Here Is Why I Will Not Attend the ‘Best of Big D’ Jackopierce Concert

After a year-long hiatus, this year we are once again hosting a “Best of Big D” party. It’ll be at the Rustic July 23. You can buy tickets here. For $50, you get adult beverages and food from some of the best restaurants in town. DJ Sober will feed your ears. For another $15, though, you get to stick around for a Jackopierce concert, which starts at 9:30. Me, I will be gone by then. “Why is that?” you ask? Because I have been boycotting Jackopierce since June 1996. Here is a column I wrote for the dearly departed Met on that month:

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DBU Student Sings ‘Let It Go’ as 21 Different Disney Characters, Internet Craters

Brian Hull, who grew up in Mansfield and is now a senior music major at Dallas Baptist University, set the Internet afire this weekend with his rendition of the hit song “Let It Go” from Frozen. He’d heard about a contest where the best cover of the young-girl anthem won a $100 Disney Store gift card, and thought to himself, hey, I’d like a hundred bucks. So he sang the song as different Disney characters. As of last night, the video had nearly 5 million views and climbing. I have sources in Mansfield — never you mind who — and they put me in contact with Hull for a quick Q&A. 

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Happy Birthday, Charley Pride

Today is Charley Pride’s 76th birthday. The legendary singer is still touring regularly. He’ll be making swing through Canada soon. He’s still working out each spring in Arizona with the Texas Rangers, a team he became a part owner of when the Nolan Ryan-led group purchased the club in 2010. And he still hasn’t gotten the same level of recognition as some of his country music contemporaries, nor as much love as he maybe deserves. He’s seen the film adaptation of his life story, originally announced in 2006 with Oscar-nominated actor Terence Howard attached, get stuck in years of “development,” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson taking over the role (if it ever gets made).

When Pride’s 70th birthday came and went without a reissue of one of his classic albums or a handsomely packaged anthology of his greatest hits, our own Zac Crain was incensed enough by the music industry’s lack of an observance of the milestone in Pride’s life that he decided to write what became the lovingly observed profile published in the June 2008 issue of D Magazine. It’s one of the 40 greatest stories we’ve ever published. You really need to read the whole thing.

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Things to Do in Dallas This Weekend: Dec. 6-8
(The Ice-pocalypse Edition)

First off, we’ve got a slew of weather-related cancellations. The AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Holiday Festival, “Reliant Lights Your Holidays,” has been moved to next week. The Children’s Medical Center annual holiday parade on Saturday isn’t happening. The Dallas Museum of Art is closed today. And, really, if you have tickets to any show at any theater or venue in town, it’s probably best to call ahead to find out whether the show will go on.

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Joe Jonas Opens Up About Life As Joe Jonas

If you ever want to know what it’s like being Joe Jonas, aka one-third of the Jonas Brothers, New York magazine has published a pretty fascinating as-told-to piece. In it, the erstwhile Westlake resident (he has a home there I think he still lives in, or maybe at least one of his bandmate brothers still does, or his parents and youngest brother do) talks about being part of the Disney machine, losing his virginity, and smoking pot with Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus.

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Radney Foster on Record Sales, Merle Haggard, and Why Tom Petty Is Wrong About Country Music

Appearing at a backyard fundraiser Friday at the Preston Hollow estate of Anne and Steve Stodghill, Del Rio-born singer/songwriter Radney Foster hit the final licks on an acoustic version of his 1993 song, “Easier Said Than Done,” then leaned into the microphone and told the rapt crowd: “That’s country music, y’all.” You could forgive him […]

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