The High Five
11:52 am
Wed January 2, 2013

How 'Dallas' Will Dallas Be In 2013?

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Dallas' changing grandeur, Texas' take on the fiscal cliff, The Perot Museum's smashing attendance numbers and more.

Dallas and Dallas – making connections between the city and the show that bears its name is irresistible, especially to folks who spent their formative years in these parts. The latest example comes, strangely enough, from The Paris Review.

Writer Edward McPherson links the city’s history, especially the JFK assassination, to the rise of J.R. and the Ewing family, especially “Who Shot J.R.” It’s a fascinating, and funny, look at both histories: McPherson points out the irony that viewers would stand for a whole season of Dallas turning out to be a dream. “Unspeakable tragedies” erased by the revelation of nonreality – that, he writes, is telling for how the city has handled the haunt of an assassination. (And here's part 2 of his lengthy post.)

Last summer, the Texas Observer featured a similar recollection, albeit with a few more teeth, by another Dallasite who moved away. Julia Barton’s piece was titled “Myth City.” Her take, in part:

“Two decades on, our shiny buildings are looking a little dull, and our need for “world-class” structures has drained the city’s coffers. It’s easy to be larger than life on the small screen. In real life, it means making choices. In shuttered pools, crumbling roads and strained schools, you can see what choices Dallas has made.”

There’s a lot of truth to both interpretations. But neither writer really dives into what’s happened in this city over the last decade or so – the rise of an eye-popping arts district, the way DART’s helped the region breathe, the re-energizing of neighborhoods within Oak Cliff and Denton fueled by a new DIY-meets-urban spirit. 

Our Art&Seek team got at a few of those elements in its “Hot Tickets In 2013” series over the last week. Jerome Weeks profiled the full-time conservator the Dallas Museum of Art has hired (and plans to put on display in a glass-walled lab). And Stephen Becker took a look at an upcoming documentary on North Texas’ icon of mid-'80s kinda-counterculture, the Starck Club.

This is the kind of film shown at the Texas Theatre, where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and that’s now restored as a noirish haven for short films and documentaries. And that fact may show us where the city is headed. Maybe we need the occasional dream sequence to get us through hard times, and maybe, for Dallas, part of the answer is seeing our city through the lens of art.

  • In case you haven't heard ... the fiscal cliff standoff is finally over. But the deal that ended the U.S. budget crisis late last night got thumbs' down from all but a handful of Texas Republicans in Congress. Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions was one of four who voted for the compromise. NPR’s Two-Way blog has a handy breakdown of the deal. And the Dallas Morning News breaks down the Texans' votes.
  • The Perot Museum of Nature and Science ran out of space for eager visitors over the holiday break (makes sense, as the museum’s first month saw 116,000 comers). Hopefuls who saw “sold out” signs on the curb were assigned timed admission in half-hour blocks. Good news is, there's solid Mexican food next door to wait with. Art&Seek director Anne Bothwell reports that Meso Maya’s new downtown location is a prime spot to kill time and dine – besides blocking out a peculiar brightness now famous in the Arts District, Bothwell, who's lived in Mexico, says she really dug the food. [DMN]
  • Plans for another tower in the Arts District are now official. Developer Craig Hall filed a permit to build a 16-story office tower on Flora Street across from the Meyerson. The project will sit on one of the last large properties open for development in the neighborhood. [DMN
  • The F-35 fighter planes made by Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin are debuting in the U.S. military. It’s the most costly fleet in history for the institution, and officials say the addition heralds a sweep of improvements in military operations. [NPR]
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