Tuesday, February 27, 2024 Feb 27, 2024
85° F Dallas, TX


A modeling agency on the move, a pizza girl in Playboy, a food fight at Eatzi’s, and more.
By D Magazine |

Have Models, Will Travel

Jeff McKinley is the man with the plan. If you’ve ever gone to a bar and found yourself watching women participate in untraditional bar-time activities—walking a runway in a fashion show, posing for a photographer, wrestling each other in a tub of baby oil—then there’s a greater-than-zero chance that McKinley made it happen. Along with his wife Jennifer Houseberg, McKinley (pushing dolly) runs Echelon Entertainment. The company’s stable of girls (and guys) has gone to Sipango for fashion shows, Divan Lounge for photo-shoot parties, and other clubs around town for promotional events, drawing customers on what would otherwise be a slow night. McKinley, whose background includes running a Christian record company, network marketing, and motivational speaking, says, “If you put on a regular runway show with boring, skinny models, nobody will pay attention. So we put on shows with body paint and nymphs and Adam and Eve. It’s a whole different feel.” —Adam McGill

Photo: Sean McCormick 


Food Fight
Disgruntled ex-bakers and allegations about inferior ingredients have put Eatzi’s on the edge.
by Nancy Nichols

FINGER FOOD: Customers might not notice, but former Eatzi’s bakers Rose and Peter Nyberg say quality has slipped at the Oak Lawn gourmet-to-go shop.

A battle over dough has erupted at Eatzi’s—not just money, but bread and the ingredients that go into it.nnn nnFirst the bakers left the kitchen. Rose and Peter Nyberg came to Dallas from Atlanta’s Buckhead Life Restaurant Group to open the Oak Lawn Eatzi’s in 1995. Rose became an executive pastry chef, Peter was head baker, and the Nybergs’ signatures appeared on the Eatzi’s bakery packaging. But in late 2002, corporate asked them to cut costs by downgrading the ingredients they used—lower-grade chocolate was substituted in some baked goods, and shortening was used in cookies. Worse yet, Rose says, “There were no real pecans in the orange pecan rolls.”

Unwilling to compromise—but still on good terms with Eatzi’s—the Nybergs resigned in June and moved to Vancouver to start their own bakery. Before they left town, they helped the company “transition the recipe changes.”

Then the focaccia hit the fan. Eatzi’s co-CEOs Rick Claes and Phil Romano asked the Nybergs for 100 days to go through the backlog of packaging that bore the couple’s autographs. In good faith, the Nybergs agreed without signing a licensing agreement. But the deadline came and went. And the Nybergs learned from their former coworkers that inferior products were still being sold under their names.

“They were no longer using our recipes, but they wouldn’t take our names off the bags,” Rose says. “They said they would change the packaging after 100 days, but each time a deadline comes up, they just keep asking to extend the deadline. They know we don’t have the money to sue them, so they are just stringing us along.”

Claes maintains that Eatzi’s has made no substantive changes since the Nybergs left. “They’ve heard rumor or third-hand information on what proposals we are working on. In fact, we are going back to more scratch cooking.”

Going back after nothing changed? No wonder the store’s in a tumult. It’s been that way since Eatzi’s changed hands in November 2002. Longtime employees watched their stock options become worthless; a select few, though, were reimbursed with generous severance packages. Hard feelings remain, and word on the street is that many Eatzi’s employees are looking for work elsewhere.

Back at the bread counter, the battle about the bags should end this spring. After receiving calls from D Magazine, Claes decided that it was in Eatzi’s best interest to settle with the Nybergs. The couple accepted an undisclosed payment for use of their names through February 29. Come March 1, we’ll see.

Photo: Irwin Thompson/Dallas Morning News



With the holidays and everything, we’ve been too busy to read all the books with local ties that have been published recently. So instead, we reviewed the dedications in those books.

The Tels (Novel Instincts), by Paul Black
Lowdown: Black lives in Dallas. In his debut novel, set in the year 2101, he writes about a guy with a gift that could change his life, and possibly the world, forever. Also, the Bioweapon is involved. Dedication: “For Trish.”
Review: For vagueness: D

East Texas Daughter (TCU Press), by Helen Green
Lowdown: Raised in poverty in East Texas, Green was the first black woman admitted into a Dallas school of professional nursing. She went on to have a distinguished career. This is her memoir. Dedication: “To my mother’s memory and her unending encouragement that directly influenced any accomplishments that I’ve made in my life, and to all those family members and friends who stood by me when there seemed to be no hope.” Review: If we had a nickel for every saccharine dedication to a dead mother we read, we’d have enough to buy TCU a BCS bid. D+

The Dog of My Nightmares (Yankee Cowboy Publishing), by Dave Lieber
Lowdown: This collection of stories by a Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist concerns a multitude of things, including his wife Karen and their dog Sadie. Dedication: “This book is for Karen Ann Pasciutti Lieber, the woman of my dreams, and for Sadie Denise Lieber, the dog of my nightmares.”
Review: We get it. You love your wife and your dog. D

Five Days in Dallas (Xlibris), by Mark Fadden
Lowdown: Detective Danny Cavanaugh must solve a murder mystery in this debut novel from a Dallas author. Dedication: “One person can make all the difference in this world. I would like to thank two people who did just that with their never-ending encouragement and support. To Mom: thank you for giving me a life. To Jennifer: thank you for helping me save it.” Review: To Mark Fadden: if you say one person can make all the difference, you may thank only one person. C



The Dallas City Council will consider a proposal to create a 6-foot buffer zone between customers and dancers at topless bars. According to city attorney Madeleine Johnson, “Performers have a right to erotic expression, but they don’t have a right to interactive performance.” At least one topless-bar owner is already preparing for the passage of the ordinance. The other night at his establishment, when he excused himself to comfort a dancer who’d just learned she’d flunked the MCAT, we stole his plans.



David Finfrock is the chief meteorologist at Channel 5 (NBC). In October, he debuted the new StormTrack 5 radar. With 1 million watts, it’s the most powerful radar system of any TV station in Texas.

D Magazine: Does it concern you at all that Channel 8 is rumored to be working on a 1.5 million-watt gaydar?

DAVID FINFROCK: Gaydar? Is that what you said? [laughs] The only radar I’m aware of that’s that powerful is the 1 million-watt weather radar. I don’t know of anything beyond that. As far as gaydar, that would be entirely beyond my realm of expertise.


Daddy’s Girl

Amber Campisi blossoms into womanhood, serves good pizza with smile.
by Christina Rees

FAMILY AFFAIR: Amber and Corky Campisi are both goodlooking. But Amber knows how to hold a pillow (see her picture featured in Playboy).

Wearing a long black coat and even blacker eyeliner, Amber Campisi sweeps into the busy restaurant looking more like a younger version of Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra than the daughter of a guy named Corky. “Is my dad here?” she asks in her deep, raspy voice. Dad Corky is, of course, Corky Campisi, of Dallas’ much loved and somewhat notorious Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. Earlier, when we asked for permission to interview his 22-year-old daughter—specifically about her nakedness in December’s Playboy and the commotion it caused in some Dallas circles—Corky barked: “She’ll do it. Because I’m her daddy, and she’ll do what I tell her!”

Within minutes, the proud papa and his willing offspring step up to the bar for their photo shoot, both smiling the wide, easy smiles of people who sleep well at night. Corky says that he himself entered Amber in the adult magazine’s hunt for its 50th anniversary playmate. But Campisi minds think alike. Amber had gotten the jump on him and entered herself first. (Corky also entered Gina and Tara, his 20-year-old twins, but they weren’t finalists.)

D Magazine’s photographer asks Amber to kiss her dad for the camera, and she practically rolls her eyes. How predictable, right? Right? “But I was more nervous today getting my picture taken than I was that day,” she says afterward, referring to the Los Angeles photo shoot that resulted in one very handsome and steamy picture of the SMU grad.

She’s already been invited back to Hugh’s world to do a centerfold spread. “I don’t know when or even if they’ll run it,” she says. “They won’t tell you anything.”

“Oh, they’ll run it,” Corky says, grinning widely.

If they know what’s good for them, they’ll run it.

Photo: Kris Hundt


Hector Goes Hollywood
Meet the man who kills Davy Crockett
by Tim Rogers

Hector Garcia has to be the hardest-working restaurateur in show business. You might remember him from his stint as the general manager of the dearly departed Riviera. Or perhaps you’ve seen him at the fabulous Iris on West Lovers Lane, which he helped open this year.

But Garcia leads a double life. He’s also an actor. Remember the Texas Lottery commercials featuring the walking balls? Garcia was the “0.” He guesses he’s been in about 225 commercials, all told. He’s done print and voice-over work. And he’s been in a few feature films, including Hexed, which he calls the worst film of 1991.

In April, Garcia will have biggest role yet, starring as a battery sergeant in Santa Anna’s army in The Alamo. And he’s not just any battery sergeant. Garcia is the man who kills Davy Crockett, known in the wonderful world of Disney as Billy Bob Thornton.

Garcia signed a confidentiality agreement that prevents him from revealing too much. But he can say, “It’s a lovely nugget of a role.” It’s a speaking part, and he has a scene with Santa Anna (Emilio Echevarría) outside the Alamo (or the replica built on a private ranch in Dripping Springs). And, of course, he gets to run Billy Bob through with a sword.

“The first time I met him, we were in boot camp, learning how to shoot flintlock rifles and such,” Garcia says. “And no one was talking to him. So I turned to him and said, ‘Hi, I’m Hector.’ He goes, ‘I’m Billy.’ He shook my hand, and I told him, ‘I’m the guy who kills ya.’ And he goes, ‘Well, somebody’s got to.’”


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