The idea for Hey Buddy, a vending machine for pet products, was born out of sympathy on a Miami park bench. That’s the spot where Dallas model Carlotta Lennox, who lived there at the time, took a break from her rollerblading and noticed that dog owners were searching for sticks to keep their pets’ interest and pouring bottled water on the concrete to slake their pets’ thirst. “I felt sorry for the dogs,” she says.
After seven years of development, Lennox unleashed the first machine in October in Bark Park Central, the dog park between Deep Ellum and downtown. There, pet owners can find flea collars, toys, folding water bowls, dog treats, and more. Lennox (pictured here with her brother’s dog, Toto) has plans to expand Hey Buddy and tailor its offerings for different apartment complexes, hotels, and veterinary clinics around the city and, eventually, the country.
Toto could not be reached for comment.
Photo: Elizabeth Lavin
Dust-up at the Turtle Creek Chorale
The choral group’s hands-on artistic director rubs some board members the wrong way.
|SEELIG THE DEAL: TCC’s artistic director upsets the group’s board. Like he cares.|
Ken Morris says, Look to the numbers. The numbers tell it all.
In a little more than a month, six board members of the Turtle Creek Chorale resigned, including Morris, the board chair. They resigned, Morris says, for the same reason: Tim Seelig, who has been described as a manipulative, sometimes megalomaniacal leader. Seelig has been the chorale’s artistic director for the last 19 seasons.
“That’s the only complaint I’ve heard about them leaving,” Morris says.
Board members have tried for years to disassociate Seelig from the business side of the chorale. It never works, Morris says. Seelig wants his hands in every facet of the nonprofit organization. Conversely, Seelig allegedly withheld the fact that he would receive royalties for a song he wrote that made it into the recent critically acclaimed documentary of the chorale, The Power of Harmony. And there are complaints about the documentary itself, too. When it was first screened, it didn’t include Seelig’s life story. When it premiered in September at the Angelika, it did. Morris says some board members wondered if Seelig had jawboned his way into the film.
“No way,” says the documentary’s director, Ginny Martin. She says the chorale saw a rough cut of the film. “I had always intended to put Tim’s story in there,” she says.
Seelig says he had nothing to do with the film’s content. And as for the royalties—$325 if the DVD sells 2,000 copies—he says that’s his concern and not the board’s, as his contract doesn’t bind him to report all sources of income.
As for the resignations and rumors—not facts, he says, but rumors—Seelig says they have him at a loss for words. “And,” he notes, “I am seldom without words.” —PAUL KIX
Library Needs Home
As of press time, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura have yet to pick a future site for his presidential library. However, the site selection committee had named four finalists, all in Texas. The library, estimated to cost between $200 million and $300 million in private donations and open no sooner than 2013, would be a badge of honor for its prospective university and a tourism boon to its host city. We take a look at the finalists’ chances.
THUMBS UP: Heidi, Happy, and Heather Beaumont, three Dallas sisters who opened the hip, vaguely European Gachet Coffee Lounge in April, have signed a letter of intent to open a second spot next-door to Victory Park’s W Hotel in June 2006. Put that in your latte, Starbucks.
THUMBS DOWN: State Senator Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) loves billboards. Why else would she vote down HB 2051? The bill would have established a scenic byways program in Texas, one of the few states in the country not to have one. In effect, such programs limit the number of billboards cluttering views along scenic and historic roads. The bill lost in committee 20-11, one vote short of the 21 necessary to become law.
Location, Location, Location
Oillionaire, corporate raider, and noted animal lover T. Boone Pickens and his new wife, California horse breeder Madeleine Paulson, bought this Preston Hollow house in September. The sellers, Cappy McGarr and his wife Janie, daughter of Annette and Ted Strauss, are said to have gotten $5 million for the 8,215-square-foot home, despite its location. It sits three doors down from Mark Cuban.
Photo: Pickens: Dallas Morning News; House: David Woo
Alan Powell puts the Dallas hip-hop scene on the national stage.
|RAP IT UP: (left to right) Trini Delgado, George Lopez, and Alan Powell are players, not haters.|
He comes on brash, this behemoth of a man, talking about Dallas’ hip-hop scene and how big it can be—no, will be, with his help. Thing is, for all his bluster, Alan Powell is probably right. He’s the one, after all, who brought six Dallas rappers, Dirty South Rydaz (DSR for short), to the attention of execs at Universal Records. He’s the one who pushed their six-album, multimillion-dollar deal through in October—the biggest-ever contract in Texas. And he didn’t stop there. He set up a Universal subsidiary in Dallas called T-Town Music, whose job it will be to find every other DSR, not only here but across Texas and, heck, maybe the entire South, and bring them fame. Ergo, Dallas hip hop will be huge.
In the ’90s, working for the LA-based management company the Firm, Powell put Korn on BET, appeared on morning shows with the Backstreet Boys, and had Fred Durst on speed dial. But then he gave it up. He was tired, he says, of managing big acts. He wanted to find new ones and help them grow. He worked in Louisville, Kentucky, for a time, then thought about Dallas and why, for all its size, for all its night life and pro sports teams, there wasn’t an accompanying hip-hop scene. “I kept saying to myself that there has to be something in Dallas to put this city on the map,” he says.
There was. DSR. George Lopez produced the group’s efforts and, soon, Lopez met with Powell and told him about the group’s impressive sales. They’d sold 350,000 units in places as far away as Virginia.
Powell, who moved to Dallas less than a year ago, phoned people he knew at the major labels. “Universal is heavy on research,” says Imran Majid, an artist and repertoire representative with the label. DSR, he says, got 200 retail requests a week—unheard of for an independent. “Signing them was a no-brainer for us.”
Thanks to Powell, Majid says, “a lot of pieces fell into place at the same time.” —PAUL KIX
Doug Christie’s Gestures Explained
For those fans unfamiliar with new Dallas Maverick Doug Christie, the former Sacramento King uses a series of hand signals to communicate with his wife Jackie, who is nearly always in attendance, at home or away. (She often travels with the team.) After careful viewing, we think we’ve decoded a few of those signals:
The Green House Effect
A pair of developers builds downtown condos for the granola set.
|BID BUZZ: Will Pinkerton (left) and Zad Roumaya want to put you on a moped.|
After living in cities such as Los Angeles and New York, Texas-born Zad Roumaya quickly realized when he settled in Dallas what most developers already know: downtown is still best for working, not for living.
“One day the light bulb went off, and I realized I didn’t want to commute anymore,” Roumaya says. “And I figured other people probably felt the same way.”
So Roumaya enlisted the help of fellow Texan Will Pinkerton, the business-minded yin to his creative yang, to help him turn the grassy lot next to his Akard Street art studio into a new kind of development.
“We wanted to create a densely populated community with a sense of connectedness to Uptown and downtown,” Pinkerton says. But most important, they wanted it to be eco-friendly.
Thus, Buzz was born: 49 condominiums close to downtown yet inexpensive to own. But don’t think “condo.” Slated for completion next December, Buzz will offer a long list of environmentally conscious amenities, like energy-efficient appliances and an electric moped for each tenant. The features will help not only the environment but also owners’ pocketbooks. Roumaya and Pinkerton claim the “green” features—like the shaded overhangs and the rain-collecting roof that feeds the irrigation system—will mean lower electricity and water bills.
“We wanted to offer things that people could actually use, and, hey, maybe while they’re at it, help the environment a little bit, too,” Roumaya says.
With half the units already reserved before Buzz’s groundbreaking this month, it seems Dallas residents are willing to live green to save green.—JESSICA JONES
Fairways and Bankrolls
Less than a decade ago, there wasn’t a single golf club in North Texas where you could expect to shell out six figures for the initiation fee—assuming, of course, you were important enough to be invited to join. Now millionaires have plenty of places to hook, slice, and spend.—ART STRICKLIN
“This is obv a really hard day for me, I was super excited about being a Justice. I was looking at my very first blog post and it made me cry. But this day isn’t about me. It’s about all of us. And I have to say… Thank You.”
—A quote from harrietmiers.blogspot.com, a satirical web site about the former Supreme Court justice nominee Harriet Miers