{ BUSINESS }
Gnome on the Range
For the record, Travelocity CEO Michelle Peluso is tired of gnome gifts. Ever since her online travel company adopted the bearded garden dweller as its globetrotting mascot, Peluso has been barraged with gnome calendars, gnome watches, and assorted gnome desktop accessories. “Please stop,” she says with a laugh. “A nice spa certificate would work really well.”

Industry insiders scoffed when the 33-year-old launched an $80 million ad campaign based on the 2-foot-tall figure. But this fall Travelocity, which is based in Southlake, posted its first profitable quarter. After taking over last December, Peluso has given the company a mega-makeover, dumping the fussy old web site and ratcheting up the company’s hotel business.

Travel seems to be in Peluso’s blood. Her Wharton-anchored résumé—spiced with philosophy studies at Oxford—includes stops in Senegal, England, and Vietnam. In 1999 she founded the online travel site Site59. Three years later she sold it to Travelocity for $43 million in cash.

These days Peluso is almost constantly on the move. Prospective boyfriends must adapt to a schedule that might find her in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, New York on Saturday, and Dallas on Monday. “The guy has to have a great passion for life and adventure,” she says. “My life isn’t exactly the most normal.”

But does she know any good gnome jokes?

“No, he’s my friend,” she says. “I can’t risk alienating him by telling some cheap gnome joke for D Magazine.” —Kevin Brass

Photo by Joshua Martin

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{ THE BIG SHOW }
Fight Club
One of Deep Ellum’s most (in)famous moments, relived.
by Brian D. Sweany

If you’re of a certain age, then you know what happened October 19, 1991, at the venerable Deep Ellum club Trees. That’s the night an unknown band named Nirvana roared into town—and Kurt Cobain got his butt kicked onstage.

A few grainy snippets of the fight popped up on the web, but rumors of a full-length tape of the show were just that. “I’d never seen the video,” says Brady Wood, a co-owner of Trees, “but I’d always heard that it existed.” So this fall, when a stranger showed up at Wood’s door, he was shocked at what he heard. “You don’t know me,” the man said, “but I want you to have this.” It was a DVD of the entire performance, fisticuffs and all.

The stranger was Paul Pierson, a local collector who designs gardens for a living. Years ago, Pierson had landed a VHS cassette of the show, but you know how that goes: he loaned it to a friend, the friend’s brother accidentally tossed it out, and the tape was lost. But last year, Pierson stumbled across a collector who had some Nirvana DVDs. The two traded, and Pierson landed his prize, even if the credits say the show was filmed at “Tress.”

So what exactly happened that evening? Well, things soured after Cobain, fueled by the spirit of rock ’n’ roll and perhaps a few controlled substances, smashed a soundboard. “This was right after we had bought Trees,” Wood recalls, “and we were thinking, ‘Who is this punk from Seattle who came into our club and destroyed our soundboard?’” Cobain later dived into the crowd and started kicking some speakers at the front of the stage. A bouncer named Turner Scott Van Blarcum put his hand in Cobain’s face, and Cobain responded by smashing him over the head with his guitar. Van Blarcum, dazed and bloodied, nailed Cobain with a right hook, then kicked him for good measure. Chaos ensued. In no time, Nirvana would be the most famous band in the world.

As for Wood and Pierson, the story ended well enough. Wood has his DVD, and Pierson landed some work on Wood’s home. “I just love turning people on to things,” Pierson says, “and that show was like the pinnacle of everything.”






 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Final Round
For 15 years, a humble bar on Yale Boulevard known as the Green Elephant has brought comfort and good cheer to its patrons—many of them SMU students. Its owners recently learned that the building had been sold and that the new landlord wants the bar gone by December 15. As of press time, the future of the Elephant was uncertain. The news makes us sad and brings to mind what we think is the best last call this town has ever heard. For the past five years, co-owner Brad Carney has ended most evenings by saying the following words over the PA: “That’s right, the Green Elephant is now closed. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. If you’ve left your parents’ credit card at the bar, please pick it up now.” So here’s to the Elephant: may it land on its feet and may Carney’s call continue for another 15 years.

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{ AN OPEN LETTER }
Dear Scott Murray,
Please stay away from the Cattle Baron’s Ball.

We love you, Scott. Really, we do. You know almost as much about sports as Dale Hansen, and your hair is always perfect. But there’s no easy way to say this. You have a problem. An emceeing problem. And you need to get help. What you did in October at the Cattle Baron’s Ball was dreadful. Scott, you knew you weren’t the emcee that night. Yes, yes, you emceed the ball every year for a decade. But this time the Cattle Baron’s Ball didn’t even give you tickets. (You know why, and there’s no need to go into all that now. We’ll just say, “Shame on you, Scott, for not making good on your promises.” And we’ll leave it at that.)

So what did you do? You finagled your way in, and as if that weren’t bad enough, you got up on the main stage, grabbed the microphone, and hijacked the live auction. What on earth possessed you? You knew that Tracy Rowlett and Karen Borta were supposed to be the emcees. How do you think that made them feel, seeing you onstage, your hair just so? As you were introducing Jim Turner and Willie Nelson, the ball’s organizers were scrambling around, trying to figure out what you were doing and how to get the mic out of your hands. It was awful.

Listen, when you “resigned” last year as NBC Channel 5’s sports director and you cried on the air, we all knew it was going to be tough for you to step out of the limelight. You used to brag about making upward of 600 appearances a year. But now you work for a bank, Scott. A bank. It’s time to move on. No more emceeing. Please. Before someone gets hurt.

Again, we still love you and always will. But you can’t get better until you admit that you have a problem.

Best wishes,

TIM ROGERS

P.S. Say hi to Carole and the kids for us.

Photo by Mark M. Hancock/Dallas Morning News

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Dissed Jockey 
Okay, we made a mistake. It’s not like we concocted something about George W. Bush’s National Guard service, but in October’s 30th anniversary issue, we repeated the following rumor: RON CHAPMAN said that if D published a 12th issue, he’d eat it. A wee bit of reporting would have revealed that he actually said that he’d write for the magazine if it survived a full year. (It doesn’t help matters that in July 1986 we set the record straight for the first time and published Chapman’s piece about radio ratings.) So we thought we’d take this opportunity to apologize—and to dispel a few other rumors that have plagued Chapman through the years. 1. On Fridays, he does his show in his underwear. 2. He once challenged Tom Joyner to a knife fight. 3. He has a barbed-wire tattoo on his right arm that reads “KVIL.” 4. Had that tattoo changed to “KLUV.” 5. He didn’t like the story he wrote in July 1986, so he ate it.

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{ TELEVISION }

OH, BOY: Nick Oram hosts Q on the Move, one of the programs Firestone helped
produce.
Fabulous Fort Worth
A local company sends strong signals to the gay community.
by Adam McGill

No, you aren’t imagining things: Fort Worth just got a little gayer. First, Q Television, a subscription network that targets the gay and lesbian community, announced in September that it was moving its satellite signal to Fort Worth, which is the home of Firestone Communications. Now Firestone has agreed to produce several shows for the new network.

Firestone is sort of a one-stop shop for all your television network needs, from programming to producing to satellite uplinking. It already provides the signal for some specialty networks, and it owns ¡Sopresa!, a Hispanic children’s network. This spring Firestone’s president, Michael Fletcher, read about the launch of Q Television in a trade publication and offered his company’s services. Q Television had already chosen to base its main satellite connection in New Orleans, but signal difficulties forced Q Television to find a new home. That’s when Firestone stepped in.

In the process of “getting to know” Firestone, however, Q Television asked if the company would be interested in producing some programs. “So we put together a pretty comprehensive package to do an enormous amount of television production for them,” Fletcher says.

In two new studios at the 43,000-square-foot headquarters, Firestone will produce three daily, live programs for the network. One is a sports show. Another is a newscast that’s focused on global issues that affect the GLBT community. (That’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, for you straight folks.) The third is Internet Cafe, a show in which viewers call in via webcams. Firestone will also produce a number of documentaries and a View-like talk show called Women on Women.

Q Television, already airing in San Francisco, New York, and Boston, with Chicago, Philadelphia, and other markets on the horizon, is not the only network looking to target the educated, affluent GLBT audience. MTV Networks will launch LOGO in February 2005, no doubt seeing the same Simmons Report data that Q Television founders read. The GLBT community is estimated to be 35 million strong with a combined purchasing power of $500 billion.
When it comes to network television, that community has been served predominantly by shows like Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, stereotyping shows aimed at straight viewers. Q Television will not stereotype.

“It is lifestyle programming,” Fletcher says. “It’s very different than what the straight community might consider lifestyle programming, but it’s not porn.”

Photo Courtesy of Q Television

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Cell, Cell, Cell
Dallas’ Hobo Co. sells quirky t-shirts, but its owner never guessed that Martha Stewart would be so good for business. On the day the domestic detainee took up residence at Alderson Federal Prison Camp for women—affectionately known as “Camp Cupcake”—Hobo Co. released its newest offering (right). Within the first 72 hours, the company was receiving an order every few minutes, and demand is still high. “It has been our biggest seller to date,” says Erik Herskind, the company’s founder. “We haven’t sold 10,000 shirts yet—but we might by the time this story comes out.”

Photo Courtesy of Hobo Inc.