I WENT TO THE DALLAS CITIZENS COUNCIL MEETING TODAY, AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS BLOG POST

Yes, it was that time of the year again. Time for the Dallas Citizens Council (no web site) to have a big luncheon at the Fairmount. Today’s speaker wasn’t a speaker; it was a special, 11-minute video about Dallas called Coming Soon. More details after the jump.

First, a big thank you to FrontBurnervian Amy for inviting us to the shindig and suffering through our investigative questions during it.

Now, as for the lunch proper: I screwed up. People Newspaper Person Peter and I were the first to arrive at our table, No. 74 stuck in the back left corner. I had 10 seats to choose from. I picked one based on sight lines, so my back wouldn’t be turned to all of the hot action on the dais. But the one I picked forced me to straddle the table leg in an uncomfortable manner. I soldiered on. It’s what I do.

Tim and Paul showed up late, even though they insist they were on time. Outgoing Chair Elaine Agather had already given her opening remarks (“A lot has happened since I started: some good, some really good, some not so good. Thanks to all of you who supported me over the past two and a half years. Etc.”) when the duo sauntered in. Paul kept his sunglasses on top of his head. He does that a lot.

First course was a tomato cream soup with a parmesan-flavored pastry top. Tim and I noticed that it was the same pastry top as served at the last DCC meeting, but different soup. The pastry top is tasty–and practical, keeping the soup warm as the waiters dish out about 750 servings. Main course was blackened sea bass (I think), wild rice, and a vegetable medley consisting of a ring of red bell pepper, a stalk of broccolini, and a carrot. You want presentation? The carrot had a slit cut in it, with the broccolini stuck through. Tim not surprisingly said something almost dirty.

Food mostly finished and Agather’s progress report reported, it was time for the movie. We’d asked the marketing FrontBurnervian at our table a bunch of questions before its premiere: how long was it? (Eleven minutes.) Why did the DCC make it? (For this very luncheon.) Really? It’s not going to be showed again? (It might, but they don’t know where or when.) Sorta like that 1984 Apple commercial during the Super Bowl? (Um… sure.) Is there a narrative, or is it a bunch of MTV-style jump cuts? (The DCC is a tad more conservative than MTV-style anything.) Is it scary? (No.)

The movie was not scary. In fact, it was encouraging. It highlighted the multitude of Big Deal Projects going on in Dallas, some stuff everyone knew about, some stuff not so widely known. Much time was spent on the progress of downtown: Agather, Ron Kirk, and Ray Nasher talked about the Arts District as the heart of the city, bookended by two corporate headquarters. Victory is going to be huge, says Ross Perot Jr., and the partnership with the future home of the Dallas Natural History and Science Museum, says Nicole Small, will be a winning one. Jody Grant talked about covering Woodall Rogers. Don Williams and Cecilia Edwards talked about the revitalized Frazier nieghborhood, where a low-income ghetto is being transformed, thanks in large part to the success of Frazier Elementary. (Did you know Frazier is the only school in DISD where 100 percent of the third-graders passed the third-grade exam on the first try?) Councilman Gary Griffith talked about the $360-million redevelopment of Five Points, the area at Park Lane and Greenville Avenue, including two elementary schools and a high school, which will supposedly give the area’s residents a sense of community. Councilman Bill Blaydes and former city manager John Ware talked about South Dallas’ future as a major port, thanks to rail and the NAFTA highway. Chancellor Lee Jackson was on the site of the future UNT Dallas campus, noting that they have more land on Hampton Road than the university originally had in Denton. And, of course, there was the Trinity River, with Laura Miller saying something to the effect of “Never will there be a postcard of Dallas that does not have a picture of a Calatrava bridge.” (Note to all: if all’s we wanted was purdy postcards with bridges in the picture, there’s this thing called “Photoshop.” If visitors complain, “Where’s the bridges?” we all just play dumb and continue to collect their tourist dollars.) And that was about it for the video. It was well done, and, from what I understand, done on a very, very tight schedule.

So then Tom Dunning, incoming Chair of the DCC, gave a few remarks. He recognized the efforts of many in the audience: Don Williams, Walt Humann, Mike Boone. And then, awkwardness. He was trying to thank Elaine Agather for her work as DCC Chair and said something to the effect of: “Elaine, I know you’ve got gingerbread feet … er… gingerbread shoes and tiny feet, but you’ve left me with big shoes to fill.” It was odd, to say the least, and the adjourned masses were still confused by the remarks as they hit the escalators on the way out.

Come to find out (thanks to that patient, marketing FrontBurnervian), Agather’s footwear inspired Dunning: “her shoes were brown with a pink bow and squiggly white piping, making them look like gingerbread cookies.”

Oh. That’s about all to report for the luncheon, except Paul’s car was stolen at some point during it. Bummer for him.

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