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Think of it as a tasting menu, for movies.
Orchestrating a great film festival is an art form. It’s also a strategic and financial nightmare to pull off. From wrestling over film availability to reviewing (hopefully) hundreds of submissions; keeping a cohesive feel to it all while still showing timeliness and diversity. It’s a wonder how our area successfully supports even a half-dozen of these suckers.
It’s positively jaw-dropping that we’re home to 25 of them.
This weekend, film lovers across North Texas are invited to enjoy the riches of so much labor. Best of Fests serves as an experimental celebration of our area’s diverse film programming — think of it as a tasting menu, for movies. 22 of DFW’s 25 film festivals have submitted entries that best embody their programming vibe, so you can literally see what you’ve been missing.
“To have [so many festivals] come together in this way,” says Best of Fests co-publicist John Wildman, “I’m honestly not aware that this has ever been done before.”
The idea to create this cinematic sampler platter was born by Emily Hargrove and Michael Cain, who local film nerds know from their contributions to DIFF (Dallas International Film Festival), Dallas Film Society, and EarthxFilm fest, among others. The pair noticed overlapping programming schedules, little logistical things that split audiences and news media from focusing on one showcase at a time. So, they wrangled all of the area’s festival programmers into the same room.
First, an annual calendar was created so that each fest would have its own time to shine. Later, Hargrove and Cain proposed an even more radical idea: A chimerical showcase designed to raise all cinematic ships. And to make it interesting, each festival would share their distinct voice in one screening, be it a short or a feature. In addition to cross-pollinating the audiences of larger and smaller, religious and ethnic, or Dallas and Fort Worth festivals into all the available film festival offerings, it’s also the ultimate movie dare: What film sums up your programming’s personality?
Now that Best of Fests is a reality and set to run this Thursday through Sunday, we get to see what everyone chose to flex their form.
For example, DIFF, the area’s most robust film festival, has submitted Tejano, a film about a man who, in order to fund his grandfather’s care, breaks his own arm to smuggle a cocaine cast across the Mexico border. The film was shot largely in Texas border towns, world premiered at DIFF, showcased the work of a new voice (director David Blue Garcia), and won the festival’s audience award for narrative feature. It’s also a story relevant to this cultural moment in time, which is something DIFF’s programmers are diligent about tapping into. Thursday, 7:00 p.m. at Texas Theatre. Screens with the short film IMAGO by local filmmaker/producer Liz Cardenas, presented by Flicks by Chicks.
But each festival is different. From deep dives into forgotten historical moments (1950: The Nationalist Uprising, presented by Festival de Cine Latino Americano) to inspirational narrative works (Steps, by Denton Black Film Festival) to Larry McMurtry adaptations (“Lonesome Dove: Episode One”, presented by Crossroads of Texas Film and Music Festival) – there’s something here for you, your freaky best friend, your action-film-loving dad and your lion-hearted mom. Here are a few more that you might want to check out.
Over at Oak Cliff Film Fest, they’ve chosen Relaxer, the latest cerebrally layered piece by Michigander Joel Potrykus. The film tips a hat to Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel. But here, a gamer is trapped on a sofa, challenged to beat an unbeatable level of Pac-Man while Y2K looms. There’s milk chugging. Urine drinking. A sewage waterfall. And a truly sharp, surrealist take on shifting eras at the close of the century. It’s philosophical AF, and this is the only place you can see it until Oscilloscope’s March release. Sunday, 4:00 p.m. at Cinépolis, Victory Park. Screens with the short existential crisis/dying squirrel/teddy bear t-shirt/film, Bobby Miller’s End Times, also presented by the Oak Cliff Film Festival. *Might not be mom-friendly.
If Train to Busan left you feeling like you’d vaped Dexedrine and you want to feel that way again, see Asian Film Festival of Dallas’pick Rampant, which was born from the same studio. This Night Demon/Zombie/Kung Fu flick packs unrelenting action and some very cool hats into 129 minutes of running time. But more than that, it gives a universal entry point to AFFD’s style of programming and a chance to see this one the way it deserves: BIG. Friday, 10 p.m. at Alamo Cedars. Screens with Arianna Cadeddu’s short film, Only Child, presented by Pegasus Film Festival.
3 Stars Jewish Cinema will show a film that broke through to mainstream audiences in 2017 with The Last Laugh, the funniest film ever made at Nazis’ expense. It features interviews with dozens of Jewish comedians, each asked to find humor in comedy’s ultimate taboo, the Holocaust. Sunday, 6:00 p.m. at Cinépolis, Victory Park.
Dallas has relied on Bart Weiss’ Dallas VideoFest for exceptional documentaries that expose social injustice for 32 years — and he’s not about to disappoint here. Weiss’ Best of Fests pick brings local legislative corruption in to focus with The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress, a doc that examines the Texas Congressman’s criminal investigation and efforts to redraw congressional districts. Sunday, 7 p.m. at Cinépolis Victory Park.Screens with Lizette Barrera’s short film, Mosca, which is also presented by Dallas VideoFest.
Fort Worth’s Lone Star Film Festival brings The Last Whistle — “a big crowd pleaser,” according to BoF’s co-publicist John Wildman. Whistle centers around a high school football coach who’s drive to win isn’t softened when one of his players collapses on the field. “I don’t think you can watch that movie, unless you’re the toughest of cookies, without feeling something,” says Wildman. Friday, 5 p.m. at Alamo Cedars. Screens with Emily Miller’s short Louise, presented by Pegasus Film Festival.
Another interesting Fort Worth selection is Devil’s Path, by Q Cinema, our regional LGBTQ film festival. I’d like to point out that Q Cinema didn’t pick a squishy romantic film to express their style. They didn’t pick an important, but tedious, documentary to define them. Hell no. They picked a goddamn thriller about evil deeds on a cruising trail in the woods. Sweet. Save me a seat. [Saturday, 3 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill (35 & Northwest Highway). Screens with Ellery Marshall’s “bathroom bill” short, Transcending Politics, presented by Pegasus Film Festival.]
Women Texas Film Festival shows off its style with a true crime doc that reads more like fiction. Abducted In Plain Sight examines an Idaho family who’s 12-year-old daughter was taken by a close neighbor in 1974. Then, things get really crazy. There’s a plan for alien baby-making, cult-y deceits, and a whole lot of family secrets to unpack. Women Texas is the state’s only fully-fledged festival dedicated to showcasing work that is written, produced, edited or shot by women. Friday, 8 p.m. at Alamo Cedars. Screens with the short film Phonies, presented by Pegasus Film Festival.
EarthxFilm carves out its design with a screening of Matthew Testa’s The Human Element. This deep dive into mankind’s effects on this planet are shown through the lens of World Press Photo Award Winner James Balog. It’s a journey to show how our actions affect the world, and how unprecedented fires, poisonous air, struggling coal mines and rising water levels affect us in return. Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Alamo Cedars. Screens with Montana Brock’s short, The Last Spring, also from EarthxFilm.
If you’re a war movie lover, Sons of the Flag’s Stars & Stripes Film Festival has you covered with 2012’s Act of Valor. This festival is interesting in that they blend classic battlefield films with contemporary military films, all to help support military, veteran and first responder burn survivors and their families. So, see the film, and if you like what they’re about, get involved. Saturday, 12 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill(35 & Northwest Highway). Screens with short film No Name, by Pegasus Film Festival.
Additionally, you’ll find selections by Czech That Film, Denton Black Film Festival, South Asian Film Festival, Thin Line Film Festival, Dallas Jewish Film Festival, Deep in the Heart Film Festival, Festival de Cine Latino Americano, Flicks by Chicks, Fort Worth Independent Film Showcase, and Frame4Frame.
And, if you go all four days you’ll get to spend time in, and figure out your favorite snacks at, four different local theaters, beginning with the Oak Cliff arthouse staple Texas Theatre, then the Cedars branch of Alamo Drafthouse on Friday, up to Studio Movie Grill’s NW Highway/35 branch on Saturday and closing it out on Sunday at the still-new Cinépolis in Victory Plaza on Sunday.
Best of Fests runs from Thursday, January 10 to Sunday, January 13. See the schedule, make your movie plan and buy tickets at BestofFests.org. Individual tickets cost $10. Festival passes cost $50. And students with a valid ID get in free.
New Year’s Resolutions are flowing…Be sure to include your Home.
Here are some lovely ideas for a Re-Fresh!
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At the start of every year, we set goals for our health, well-being and even finances. But what about for the home?
These home-improvement resolutions will help make your home cleaner, more gorgeous and enjoyable in 2019.
Take the time post-holidays to clear items you no longer wear, use or love. Start room-by-room to keep it manageable, stay organized to avoid duplication and donate any excess to charity. Lightening your home’s load will make it look instantly cleaner and support less-fortunate families in your community with those items taking up precious living space.
Divvy up daily and weekly tasks for maximum tidiness. Complete chores daily, like dishes in the dishwasher, dirty clothes in the basket, clean clothes in the closet — everything in its place. Clean the entire house weekly with ease using a portable cleaning caddy stocked with supplies, an apron for easily accessible tools and focusing on one type of cleaning task at a time.
Safety + Efficiency
Ensure your home is safe by replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries. Don’t forget to test for radon and check bathroom, attic and dryer vents, also. Lower your bills and lessen your footprint by installing LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads, adjust or schedule thermostats, run only full loads of dishes and laundry, power down or unplug items not in use, water less and compost more — to name a few tips.
Rearrange to Entertain
Get a fresh new look for hosting friends with a few updates. Adding plants is a cost-effective update that also helps clean the air. Pick an accent color for your entertaining space and add it throughout with a vibrant rug or a stylish throw pillow. And, of course, the timeless trick of rearranging furniture brings new energy to any space.
Celebrate the holiday season in North Texas at one of these family-friendly holiday events. Happy holidays!
Want to find out more about the Great Happenings around the BIG D? Just contact us at 214.769.2142 – Let’s Chat!
Christmas in the Square at Frisco Square –Until Dec. 31
Take a walk through the Frisco Square and enjoy the largest choreographed holiday lights and music show in North Texas. The light show runs daily from 6 to 10 p.m. and there’s an outdoor ice rink where you can skate until your heart is content.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens’ The 12 Days of Christmas – Until Dec. 31
Celebrate the holidays like never before at the Dallas Arboretum’s extraordinary Christmas display. From 6 to 9 p.m. on select evenings, the Arboretum lights up with 12 elaborate Victorian-style gazebos inspired by the beloved Christmas carol. Each display is 25-feet tall and filled with beautifully detailed characters and animals.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Pops Concerts –Dec. 7 to 16
Complete your holiday bucket list at the DSO’s annual Christmas pops concerts featuring the Dallas Symphony Chorus. Head to the Meyerson Symphony Center to enjoy live renditions of your favorite holiday tunes.
Dallas Zoo Lights –Until Jan. 1
This Dallas Zoo spectacular has quickly become a must-see this season. After the animals head in for the evening, the zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with over 1 million twinkling lights illuminating ZooNorth throughout the holiday season. Discover realistic silk-covered lanterns in the shape of your favorite animals. You’ll also enjoy entertainment by local performers, crafts and tasty winter treats, including s’mores, hot chocolate and gourmet donuts.
Holiday Carriage Rides –Until Dec. 30
Take a tour of Highland Park and Plano’s Deerfield neighborhood with a festive carriage ride. Whether it’s date night or fun for the whole family, a leisurely ride to look at Christmas lights is a lovely holiday tradition. Different carriages are available to accommodate your party size and budget.
Holidays at the Heard – Dec. 14 and 15
Enjoy the beauty of the holiday season in nature at McKinney’s Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., enjoy lights and holiday décor along a half-mile nature trail, or stop for a photo with Father Christmas and Mother Nature. Grab a holiday treat and enjoy live entertainment at this family-friendly holiday event.
Mannheim Steamroller Concert –Dec. 28
Mark your calendars for a few days after Christmas when the widely celebrated new-age music group Mannheim Steamroller takes the stage at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. Tickets start at $49, and you won’t want to miss the one-night opportunity to hear your favorite modern renditions of classic Christmas tunes.
Panther Island Ice Skating –Until Jan. 14
Take a trip to Fort Worth’s only outdoor skating rink, Panther Island, to join in some “cool” holiday excitement. The rink operates seven days a week, including all holidays, and a $12 ticket includes skate rental and tax.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park – Until Dec. 30
Experience the magic of the holidays at Six Flags Over Texas during this year’s Holiday in the Park. Enjoy fun for the whole family with rides, story time with Mrs. Claus, live entertainment and visits with Santa.
Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker –Select dates inDecember
Take part in a beloved holiday tradition and enjoy a live performance of Texas Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker. This age-old ballet will delight you with a story of Clara and a dreamland filled with heroic battles and sweet treats. Performances take place Dec. 7 to 24 at Fort Worth’s Bass Performance Hall.
Welcome to our Spotlight Series where we will be sharing something FAB about cities in our great D.FW…starting from A-Z.
20th Stop: Irving – The Most Diverse US Zip Code with 6 Fortune 500 Headquarters!
Settlers came to the area that is now Irving in the 1850s, and communities such as Sowers, Kit Shady Grove, Union Bower, Finley, Estelle and Bear Creek sprang up in the last half of the century. The new town of Irving, founded in 1903 by J.O. Schulze and Otis Brown, eventually swallowed most of these settlements. Irving was officially incorporated April 14, 1914.
Schulze and Brown, who were employed by the Chicago, Rock Island & Gulf Railway, arrived in 1902 to survey a railroad route between Fort Worth and Dallas. Having decided that this area would be an ideal town site, they bought 80 acres from the Britian family in 1902. The co-founders sold the first town lots at a public auction on Dec. 19, 1903. The post office at nearby Kit was moved to Irving in 1904.
The City Council adopted author Washington Irving as the city’s namesake in 1998. Local historians believe that Irving co-founders Otis Brown and J.O. Schulze decided in 1902 to name the city after Netta Barcus Brown’s favorite author. Schulze, a graduate engineer from the University of Iowa and member of the Washington Irving Literary Society, also was partial to the name Irving.
For more information about Irving and other communities within our exciting Dallas Metro, contact us at 214.769.2142.
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In addition to showcasing some of Dallas-Fort Worth’s premier luxury properties on the market, the 26th edition of Grand Vieoffers a plethora of inspiring editorial content, including “Houses of Art,” featuring some of the area’s top cultural events of the season.
Like the changing of seasons, new exhibitions breathe fresh life into venues across Dallas and Fort Worth. Between approaching winter holidays and accumulated vacation time, ’tis the season to enjoy some of the best arts and culture North Texas has to offer.
The Town of Highland Park is located approximately 3 miles north of the center of Dallas.
The Town was incorporated in 1913.
The Town is 2.26 square miles in size.
Highland Park has approximately 8,900 residents.
The Town was named “Highland Park” because of its higher elevation compared to the surrounding area and because 20% of developed land was reserved for park space.
One of the oldest Christmas Traditions in Dallas County is the annual lighting of The Big Pecan Tree.
The Town is approximately 2 miles from Love Field Airport.
Highland Park is located approximately 30 minutes from DFW International Airport.
The Big Pecan Tree
A true treasure in Highland Park is the grand old pecan tree on Armstrong Parkway at Preston Road. This mammoth tree is approximately 75 feet wide by 75 feet tall and is over 140 years old.
In 1843, Dr. John Cole of Virginia and the first physician of Dallas County, acquired 410 acres as a headright from the Republic of Texas. He began buying additional acreage that included the area that would become Highland Park and part of University Park.
The pecan tree was discovered by Cole’s son Joseph Cole while planting corn, when he unknowingly plowed over a small pecan tree. The story goes that Joseph Cole, having come home from the Civil War witnessing so much destruction and killing, staked the tree up to protect it, and hand-watered the pecan tree as a testament to life. In 1888, Joseph Cole, sold 294.9 acres to the Philadelphia Place Land Association, with the understanding that the purchaser would continue to protect the tree. The land on which the pecan tree stands was acquired by John S. Armstrong in 1908, for $21 per acre.
When developing the town years later, it is reported that Hugh Prather, Sr. was offered a million dollars for a lot that would include the pecan tree. His sons-in-law, Edgar Flippin and Hugh Prather, hired the noted city planner George E. Kessler to design a parkway to protect the tree and provide it with a place of honor at the entrance of town
And because of the story, it became known as the “Million Dollar Monarch. The first lighting of the pecan tree occurred during the Christmas holidays in 1927. The tree has been adorned with lights every holiday season since, except during World War II and during the 1973 energy crisis. The lighting of the tree is recognized as the oldest community tree lighting tradition in Dallas County.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The first lighting of the tree occurred during the Christmas holiday season in 1927 to promote their new development, Highland Park West. The tree has been adorned with lights every holiday season since,except during World War II. and during the 1973 energy crisis. The lighting of the tree is recognized as the oldest community Christmas tree lighting tradition in Dallas County. The tree requires four men and almost one week to decorate with over 5,000 red, blue, orange, and green Christmas lights.
The Town of Highland Park will hold the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony for the “Big Pecan Tree” on Armstrong Parkway, just west of Preston Road, on the first Thursday of December.
Million Dollar Monarch
You can view KERA, executive producer Rob Tranchin’s Emmy Award-winning short story on the tree titled Million Dollar Monarch:
The walkability and safety of the city’s tree-lined streets, zealously patrolled by the town’s police force. And, of course, the private-school-quality education at public-school prices that Highland Park ISD provides its students.
GOOD TO KNOW
The western edge of Highland Park falls outside the boundaries of the Highland Park school district, which is why you’ll see home prices drop significantly from one side of the Dallas North Tollway to the other. Still ain’t cheap.
DON’T MISS TURTLE CREEK
A stroll and picnic along Turtle Creek in Lakeside Park, set among jaw-dropping homes, is a lovely option for whiling away an afternoon. Then marvel at how many photographers show up to shoot family portraits there in the twilight.
For more information about Highland Park and other communities within our exciting Dallas Metro, contact us at 214.769.2142.