Save the Dance

If you want to write something down, you need a language in which to do it. In choreography, that language is called “labanotation,” and it’s a rare one indeed. In the entire country, there are but 38 Certified Professional Notators. SMU’s PATTY HARRINGTON DELANEY is one of them. “It can notate anything that moves. They’ve even notated animals,” says the associate professor. For every movement, position, gesture, pose, weight shift—anything movement related—there is a notation. “There’s even a symbol for stillness,” she says, “because stillness is more than standing still.”

With funding from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Delaney most recently notated Alraune (1975). The ground-breaking piece was choreographed by members of the world-renowned dance troupe Pilobolus. Watching Alraune is like experiencing human evolution. Two bodies join and separate, shift and exchange, stretch and pull, arch and balance. The results are surprising, even disconcerting.

Alraune co-choreographer and Pilobolus co-artisitc director Alison Chase visited SMU in February to help Delaney complete the score, working with students rehearsing the piece to get the notation just right. Once completed, a copy of the score will go to the Library of Congress, which thrills Delaney. “You don’t want the intuition of the movement to get lost,” she says. She has preserved the spirit—not just the steps—of the dance so it can thrill generations to come. Performances April 5 through 9 at the Bob Hope Theater, SMU. 214-768-2787. —JENNY BLOCK Photo by Tadd Myers

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Packing (More) Heat

Dallas cops need bigger guns. “What we’ve been facing the last few years is patrol officers shooting from 20 to 30 yards with a shotgun, while the criminals have been shooting from 100 to 150 yards with assault rifles,” says Sergeant Paul Stanford. “Carrying the AR-15 evens out the playing field.” Currently 250 officers carry the rifle, and 250 more will have one by the end of the year. But the department still needs another 850, at a cost of $850,000. —JORDAN PARRILLA

Click HERE to view the AR-15.

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Say This Three Times Fast
Baywatch babe Brooke Burns has brush with death but believes she’ll break big with new broadcast.

Brooke Burns, the Dallas native and Baywatch alum, hurts herself in the new WB comedy Pepper Dennis after attending a “certain kind of house party with a certain type of toy,” she says. Contractual obligations keep her from revealing more. Suffice it to say that Burns’ Kathy Dinkle, crazy kid sister to Rebecca Romijn’s aspiring television anchor, Pepper Dennis, must wear a neck brace for a while.

Talk about art imitating life.

Brooke Burns broke her neck last November. The light at the bottom of her Los Angeles pool was out. It was nighttime, and she dove in against her better judgment. A friend was with her that night, a paramedic. He pulled her out and stabilized her neck until an ambulance crew arrived. Burns is still grateful; without her friend’s help, she could have injured herself more. “Doctors told me I was literally a millimeter away from being a quadriplegic,” she says.

They replaced her fourth vertebra with a titanium plate. Four screws in the front of her neck, 10 in back. “I had to wear a neck brace for three months,” she says. Burns decided to decorate it with jewels. And that’s when she realized how “totally fitting” it would be for her character in the show to decorate her own neck brace.

Pepper Dennis premieres April 4. Look for the jewel-encrusted brace—Burns’ real-life memento—in episode eight or nine. —PAUL KIX Photo Courtesy of the WB

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DR. SHRINKER, DR. SHRINKER: Meier (pictured in 1996) hawks liquid vitamins (below), Christian-based counseling, and e-mail therapy.
You Suffer, He Prophets
Dr. Paul Meier earns $550K at a money-losing nonprofit. Then there’s the company he keeps.

At first glance, Richardson’s Dr. Paul D. Meier, 60, appears the sort of God-fearing Christian who will reap a happy harvest in the hereafter. He’s written a slew of helpful books, including Miracle Drugs, You Can Measure Your Spiritual Health, and The Money Diet (Biblical Prescriptions for Financial Success). He founded a nationwide chain of counseling centers called the Meier Clinics that offer Christian-based therapy. And he sells elixirs that help people lose weight. The guy has appeared on Oprah, for heaven’s sake.

But a recent Securities and Exchange Commission investigation has us fearing for Meier’s soul. Here are three questions he might want to prep for prior to meeting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

1. What’s the deal with your shady friends? Meier developed a line of liquid vitamins and “weight management” supplements called To Your Health with two friends, Dwight Johnson of Garland and Robbie Gowdey of Frisco. Meier promotes the supplements (some of which cost $80) on radio appearances and on the Internet, claiming they help the body and mind function as God designed them to. But To Your Health is Johnson and Gowdey’s baby (state records indicate the latter owns it; a company rep says the former does). And Johnson and Gowdey run an unrelated business, Atlas and Jericho Productions, that the SEC says was part of a $36 million Ponzi scheme. The SEC filed a complaint in December. At press time, the assets of Atlas had been frozen, but neither Johnson nor Gowdey had filed a formal response.

2. How come you’re so rich? We have no idea what Meier makes from his book or vitamin sales. But the Meier Clinics operate under a nonprofit foundation with 501(c)(3) status. That means they don’t pay taxes, and some of their records are public. In 2003 (the most recent year available), those records show that the foundation had revenues of $11.4 million but ran expenses of $11.9 million. As the foundation’s secretary, Meier made $550,411. His sister Nancy Brown, who lives in Illinois, is president of the foundation and made $173,550. Meier tells D the clinics provide help on a sliding scale, basing the cost of care on a patient’s financial hardships. He says, “We lose money every year.” Indeed.

3. Do you provide therapy via e-mail? Seriously? The Meier Clinics’ web site encourages a “patient” to write a journal entry and then submit it to a licensed therapist who then provides counseling. The service costs $80 per e-mail, and wordy patients be warned: there’s a 5,000-word limit. Brown says the service is available only for a maximum of six sessions. If, after spending close to $500, the patient still needs help, he is encouraged to seek it from more traditional sources, Brown says. The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors says e-mail is not an acceptable medium for therapy, and Meier himself says he couldn’t imagine not physically seeing a patient. In fact, until D asked him about it, he said he was unaware that his clinics even offered e-mail-based therapy.

Whether St. Peter will buy that answer remains to be seen. —LAURA KOSTELNY Photos: Meier: William Snyder/Dallas Morning News; Vitamins: Elizabeth Lavin

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Snap Judgments

THUMBS UP: Frank Ribelin is a Dallas art collector who let the Metropolitan Museum in New York have it. Years ago, he gave an Eduardo Chillida steel sculpture to the Met. The museum tried to sell the piece recently at Sotheby’s in London without contacting Ribelin first. Ribelin thought the move uncouth—aside from being a violation of Met policy—and called the New York Times. The Met withdrew the piece from the auction.

THUMBS DOWN: Twice in one week, the Morning News editorial board endorsed political candidates without thoroughly checking their backgrounds first. The paper endorsed Amir Omar in the GOP primary in the 30th Congressional District, only to report, a week later, that Omar hadn’t “bothered to vote in any election during his almost decade-long tenure in the Dallas area.” Worse, though, the paper endorsed Tom Malin for State House District 108. Then the paper had to report that Malin used to turn tricks as a male prostitute.

THUMBS UP: DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa likes to see for himself how his schools are operating. His predecessor too infrequently ventured beyond the cozy walls of the district’s HQ on Ross Avenue and only then after making a big, public spectacle of it. By contrast, Hinojosa’s MO is to show up at a school unannounced and without an entourage. If you’re going to win a war—in this case, against ignorance and poor performance—you need facts on the ground. Hinojosa has ’em, first hand.

Photo by Darin Dean/Dallas Morning News

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The Guy With the Tattoo of Angelina Jolie’s Kid

Andy Bowling, 42, wants to be clear: he does not have a shrine dedicated to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at home. But he does have a tattoo of Maddox Jolie, their adopted Cambodian child, on his right forearm. The tattoo, Bowling’s 17th (he’s up to 21 as of press time), was inked by Obscurities artist and co-worker Mike Tidwell.

Why Maddox with his tongue sticking out? “Because nobody else is going to have this tattoo,” Bowling says. “He’s the Alfred E. Newman of our generation. He’s the ultimate ‘What, me worry?’ kid. He doesn’t have a care in the world. It was just a pop-culture reference point.”

When In Touch magazine brought news (and a picture) of the Maddox tattoo to the gossiping masses, Bowling’s reasoning fell by the wayside, and Internet bloggers were less than kind. They called him a stalker, a creep, a weirdo, and more. “I mean, I may be some of those things,” Bowling says with a laugh. “But they don’t know that.” —ADAM McGILL

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Indictment of the Month
Did an HP lawyer bilk investors out of $1.7 million?

Highland Park’s Todd Lindley is a lawyer and, according to a 35-count federal indictment, a swindler. Lindley moonlights as a developer of nursing homes—or so he says. He stands accused of soliciting investors, promising to build a retirement home in Richardson, and instead using the money for his own gain, “among other things, to finance his prosecution of personal injury litigation,” reads the indictment. The retirement home was never built. Lindley has pleaded not guilty.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Floyd Clardy alleges that Lindley told investors he was the president of Veranda Richardson Senior Communities, and it was his goal to build a 4.6-acre, $11.7 million retirement center in the city. He received about $1.7 million from investors between 2000 and 2003 to do so. The government says Veranda was nothing more than a “fictitious name”; its address is the same as that of Lindley’s law office. Calls to Lindley’s lawyer, Michael Gibson, of Burleson, Pate & Gibson of Dallas, were not returned. But Gibson told Texas Lawyer that the charges against his client are the result of a “very nasty” disagreement between the investors and Lindley.

As of press time, the trial date was set for March 20. —P.K.

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Message to Frustrated Lawyers: Bug Off!

Listen, we want you lawyers to have hobbies and purpose-driven lives and all that. But what’s up with all you guys wanting to write? That’s what we do—for a living. You don’t see us filing briefs or taking depositions in our spare time, do you?

Recently, there was Mark Gimenez. He was a partner at the now-defunct Shank, Irwin & Conant in Dallas. Then he quit to write novels. So far, he’s completed four. The first published, in October, was The Color of Law. It peaked at No. 28 on the New York Times fiction bestseller list.

Now comes Charles Geilich. He hasn’t left his firm, Dallas Mediation. But he has published his first novel, Domestic Relations, about Dallas divorce lawyer Norman Spiczek and the hardest case he ever handled. (Side note: the heretofore anonymous cover model is none other than noted local dance instructor Shella Sattler, of Dallas Power House of Dance fame.) And the book ain’t half bad, either. For one written by a lawyer.

But all you legal eagles can put down your pens now. If your soul screams out to do something more satisfying than padding your billable hours, take up philately or learn to needlepoint or grow your hair long so you can donate it to outfits that make wigs for chemo patients. Whatever. Just leave the scribbling to us. —TIM ROGERS

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin