Pulse of the City

Frank Gehry’s downtown Dallas debut, hometown girl Jill Marie Jones makes it big, name changes at the Byron Nelson, Veterans Day stats, and more.

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Bad Match
Does Dallas need another celebrity architect like Frank Gehry to add to the Arts District mishmash?

The selection of Frank Gehry, 72, as the architect for a proposed Natural History museum in the arts district follows a Dallas tradition: hiring out-of-town architects with outsized reputations to build monuments to themselves with Dallas money.

Gehry is famous for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. His most recent construction, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, has not been so well received. Even Morning News architectural critic David Dillon, who’s rarely seen a modernist building he didn’t like, called it “soulless” and “disjointed.”

If approved—and that’s a big if considering that no Natural History museum has ever been contemplated for the arts district—Californian Gehry would join New Yorker I.M. Pei and Chicagoan Edward Larrabee Barnes as the district’s principal designers. Unfortunately, Pei’s boxlike Meyerson Symphony Center and Barnes’ cool, low-set Museum of Art do not lend a welcoming presence to the neighborhood. “The overall impression that’s communicated,” says one out-of-town architect, “is that these are temples, and the laity is not welcome to enter.”

If his past work is any indication, a Gehry addition would be more exciting than either of these existing buildings, but that may present another problem. Asks one local critic, “When will someone figure out that buildings are supposed to interact, that human beings are supposed to walk from one to another, and that in an arts district, encouraging people to wander around is more important than encouraging some famous architect to express himself?”

Proponents of a new $100 million Natural History museum are using the Gehry hire as a lever to pry themselves onto the project list for the 2002 bond election. That may be heavy lifting. A long-discussed performing arts center is at the top of the list, and considering the relative national standing and local popularity of the Dallas Opera—which the center is mainly intended to accommodate—other projects can expect to take a back seat, even with a Frank Gehry signed up to design them.

top 10 jury awards

2000 Jury Awards in Texas

1 $351,957,402

AT&T v. Qwest International Communications: Qwest cut AT&T’s fiber optic cables.

2 $268,680,000

Martin v. Children’s Advanced Medical Institutes: Doctors prescribed too many meds.

3 $224,000,000

Stewart Rahr and CIC v. R. Dale Sterritt: Sterritt et al. were nailed for fraud.

4 $122,000,000

Danny Torres v. Coastal Corp.: An explosion at Coastal Refining injured the plaintiffs.

5 $102,300,000

Timely Adventures v. Coastal Mart: Plaintiff bought property contaminated by leaky storage tanks.

6 $100,300,000

Star Produce and Elmore and Stahl v. E. I. DuPont: DuPont’s fungicide ruined Star’s melons.

7 $83,600,000

Sellers v. Daimier Chrysler AG and Daniels & Frye Motor Co.: The Sellers’ bought a lemon and had an accident while hauling horses.

8 $68,700,000

AutoBond Acceptance v. Dynex Capital: Dynex breached its contract.

9 $82,000,000

Norman, et al. v. American Honda Motor: Karen Norman drove her Honda into water and drowned because of a defective seatbelt.

10 $65,000,000

Rigby, for the Estate of Underwood v. Dr. Keith L. Rapp and LaPorte Healthcare Center: Rigby walked in on a 72-year-old nursing-home resident sexually assaulting her 98-year-old mother. The deviant had a history of assault.

Source: Texas Lawyer


quotables

“I hate you.”
—Singer LeAnn Rimes to her father Wilbur Rimes after a judge refused to let her out of the long-term contract he negotiated when she was 12.

 

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Keeping Up With Miss Jones
Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader lands lead in sitcom.

Duncanville native Jill Marie Jones has been in LA for only two years, but she has already landed her first prime-time role. She is the star of UPN’s new series Girlfriends, produced by veteran television actor Kelsey Grammer, which airs on KTXA-TV Channel 21 Monday nights at 8:30. The 26-year-old actress graduated from Duncanville High School in 1992 where she performed on the school’s drill team. After attending Texas Woman’s University, she cheered on “America’s team” as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader for two years and then entertained fans as a Mavericks Dancer for one. A performer at heart, Jones always knew she wanted to be in front of the camera. “It’s all because of Erica Kane,” she says laughingly of the soap opera icon on All My Children. “I absolutely love Susan Lucci, and I used to repeat her lines in the mirror.”

But achieving her dream hasn’t been as easy as it seems. “This didn’t happen overnight,” she says. “I had to work really hard for this, and I feel very blessed. It’s a wonderful thing to do what I love and get paid for it.” Part of her climb to the top involved modeling for the Campbell Agency in Dallas and training with acting coach John Kirby in LA. By the looks of it, that work is now paying off.

On the show, Jones plays Toni, a materialistic real estate agent who is best friends with a character played by Tracee Ellis Ross (yes, that’s Diana’s daughter). “Toni is so opposite of what I am like,” she says. “It would be boring to play someone just like me all day.”

Jones makes it back to Dallas as often as possible to visit family and friends in between shooting. Her family and hometown keep her grounded. “I love Texas. My mom, dad, and grandmother are still in Dallas. In an ideal world, I would commute every day from Dallas to LA.”

 

TWENTY QUESTIONS

A look at phenomena in Dallas that we’ll never understand.

Why not just take down the speed limit signs on the Tollway and put up a sign that says “Whatever?”

 Why does Southwestern Bell have that ear-splitting screech to signal that the number is wrong or disconnected? Wouldn’t peaceful chimes or a little Bach be just as effective?

Why do judges—who were incensed when Commissioner Jim Jackson tallied up their working hours because it violated their “security”—drive cars with special license plates that proclaim “state judge?”

Do oriental rug companies running “going out of business” sales ever go out of business?

 Who is Norman F. Whitsitt, and why does he have a parkway in Plano named after him?

Why is traffic on LBJ worse on the weekends than it is during the week?

 Why is the “Dallas White House” made of red brick?

Why do homebuilders on the M Streets squeeze 3,000-square-foot homes onto lots that can only comfortably accommodate 2,000-square-footers?

 Why does the media keep telling the public we’re having a recession when we’re not?

10  Why are bingo halls taking over East Dallas?

11  Does Highland Park have more police officers per resident than any town in America?

12  Why do all the historic and funky movie theaters keep closing?

13  Why would parents even consider leaving an infant in the car alone?

 14  Why is every other Dallas DJ endorsing that night-time “wonder” diet? 

 15   Why do the security guards at Tiffany’s have earpieces like they’re in the Secret Service?

 16  Why is P.F. Chang’s at NorthPark so dark?

17   Do people who wear cargo pants ever put anything in the cargo pockets?

18  Why does it cost $1 to dial 1411 and only 50 cents to dial 411—when you get the same information from both?

 19   Who turned off the lights around Robert E. Lee’s statue at Lee Park?

 20  After construction on Preston Road is finished, is Hillcrest next?

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The Name of the Game is Golf?

When the groupies gather at the Byron Nelson, there will be a new logo on the pavilion.

When Nelson sponsor GTE changed its name to Verizon last year, no doubt the result of millions spent on logo designers and focus groups, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas started scrambling. The Club’s been putting on the Nelson since 1967. Overnight, all of the Nelson’s uniforms, signage, and advertising had to be scrapped—about $100,000 worth. “When you stop and think about it,” says Paul Pulliam, chairman of this year’s Nelson, “the tournament revolves around its name like any other business.” And a big business it is. Pulliam oversees 83 committees and 1,500 volunteers. This year, the Nelson expects to raise $10 million, $6 million of which will be donated to the Salesmanship Club’s youth and family centers. The rest is given out in prize money to the players.

stats

memorial day

10
Number of living  Dallas Veterans of World War I

28,420
Number of living  Dallas Veterans of World War II

21,980
Number of living  Dallas Veterans of   the Korean War

55,840
Number of living  Dallas Veterans of   the Vietnam War

16,450
Number of living  Dallas Veterans of   the Persian Gulf War

149,530
Total number of living Veterans in Dallas County

Source: Texas Veterans Commission

It took three months to come up with a tournament logo that satisfied Verizon and the Salesmanship Club. “Incorporating the Verizon checkmark and extended ‘Z’ onto our clothing was probably the biggest challenge,” says Pulliam.

What about those snappy red pants that Salesmanship Club volunteers wear during the tournament? “We went ahead and got new ones for this year,” Pulliam says. “Microfiber.

What People are Reading

golfers reading

Tim Gamso was sitting out a lightning delay in a shelter at Barton Creek when we reached him. Gamso is the club champ at Dallas Country Club. He’s played in the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur. He also collects golf books. “I counted the other day,” he said, “and I have 309 books on golf.” Gamso is reading Butch Harmon’s Playing Lessons. “The book is basically how to play a golf hole.”

Randy Smith’s office is filled with autographed photos of his prize pupil, Justin Leonard. Smith is the head pro at Royal Oaks Country Club. “What have you read lately?” we asked. Smith thought about it, then mentioned Largemouth Bass in the 1990s. Good luck catching a copy. It’s out of print. Fortunately, Smith also had Final Rounds on his shelf. “I’ve heard it’s excellent,” he said.

Ronnie Nash is the caddymaster at the Brook Hollow Golf Club. He grew up over at the Tenison Golf Course. “To be a caddy you’ve got to learn the breaks in the greens,” he told us. “You’ve got to be quiet, too. And you can’t get in front of the golfers.” Nash reads mostly golf magazines. “If it doesn’t involve golf, I’m not reading it,” he said. He recently read Harvey Pennick’s Little Red Book. “Pennick was probably one of the top three teachers in the world of golf. He was Ben Crenshaw’s teacher.”

*These Books are Available from Amazon.com

 

quotables

“Who would you rather have represent you,  a beautiful woman who is a former mayor—or   an Aggie?”

—U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, about the mayors who want legislators to redraw the lines of his district so that their cities are in the district of Rep. Kay Granger.

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