Neo Camerata tunes up Deep Ellum, a Highland Park socialite hosts a "garage" sale, and John Wiley Price and Maurine Dickey step into the ring.

As the faint sounds of orchestral music drift through Club Dada, the emcee jokes, “Neo Camerata is theorizing its music right now.” As if on cue, the quintet appears onstage, wearing boots and jeans. From the first strike of bow to strings, it’s clear that the group’s Average Joe appearance belies the layered and rhythmic quality of the music. The audience is transfixed. The brains behind the experience is Mark Landson (far left), a viola player who studied at New York’s Eastman School of Music before migrating to Dallas in 1995. Feeling constrained by his genre, he experimented with what he calls “a new kind of classical music”—a pop- and rock-influenced variation of the traditional chamber sound. He teamed up with his brother, cellist John Landefeld (far right), and violinist Vesselin Demirev (center). They later added Jennifer Choi, a violinist, and Jeanne Schumann, a pianist. A national tour followed, and this month they will start recording their first major release. But you can still catch them on June 17 at the Majestic Theatre. Their music should be properly theorized by then. —STACEY YERVASI

Photo: James Bland


Garage Sale of the Century
When a Highland Park socialite cleaned out her closet, I went on a quest for the perfect Chanel handbag.
by Laura Kostelny

Regular people do not generally rely on press releases to get the word out about a garage sale. Brooke Aldridge, the well-dressed socialite and sticky fingers who pled guilty to shoplifting approximately $1,800 worth of stuff from Neiman Marcus in 2003, is anything but regular. And so it was that we were invited to her $1.2 million Highland Park manse for the chance to wade through her old Prada bags and Ferragamo shoes.

I arrived 45 minutes early and was the first one there. And yet, somehow, within 15 minutes, I was 20th in line on the lawn. Take note: there is nothing ladylike about the ladies of Highland Park when it comes to garage sales. Cute little soccer moms clad in Marc Jacobs and Lilly Pulitzer elbowed past me to jockey prime line position for used wares. Keep in mind, most of the women drove up in vehicles that cost more than I make in two years. Before taxes.

We prepared for battle in our own ways. Some people nervously snickered about Brooke’s shoplifting scandal; others gabbed about what they had planned for later in the day. I focused on assessing whether I could take out the lady in the running shorts if she happened to go for “my” item. I felt like Indiana Jones. I was searching for the Holy Grail: a Chanel purse for $100. I was prepared to duke it out if necessary.

Finally, the hired help opened the doors, and we filed in. There was no mayhem. No fights broke out. I saw no tears. And here’s why: Brooke was clearly purging items that were very, very, very worn or very, very, very out of style. Shoes had dark footprints in them ($90). Purses looked as though they had been carried for several years and then run over ($265). Clothes, once stylish back in the 1990s, dejectedly hung from their hangers ($25-$300+).

With the exception of “running shorts lady,” who seemed to grab anything anyone even looked at, we all milled about empty-handed, sizing up Brooke, her house, and her goods. And when we tired of that, we silently dared one another to attempt a five-finger discount. In the end, I left honest and with money in my pocket, which was good. As it turns out, my “Chanel bag fund” was also my “rent fund.”


Peter Mayhew
, the 7-foot-3 Englishman who plays Chewbacca in the Star Wars saga, lives in Granbury with a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Oscar, a long-haired Jack Russell named Alice, two cats named Emmy and Bertie, and a flock of blue and gold macaws. We caught up with him as he prepared for the premiere of Revenge of the Sith, which opened May 19.

So, what’s a nice Wookiee like you doing in a small town like Granbury?
“One word: love. I met my wife at a [Star Wars] convention, and we eventually got married. She’s a Texas native and from this area. We picked Granbury because it’s such a nice little town and close to the Metroplex, er, the airport.”

Photo: Courtesy of Lucasfilm, LTD.


How on earth Hollywood can crank out a film based on the Dukes of Hazzard and leave Dallas twisting in the wind is beyond us. But after more starts and stops than the Tollway during rush hour, J.R. might soon return to his old boozing, conniving, and womanizing ways. Australian director Robert Luketic, whose credits include Legally Blonde, reportedly has signed on to the big-budget project, which is so hush-hush that the script was printed on special paper that won’t allow the ink to be copied. That was enough to send the oddsmakers at paddypower.com scrambling to guess who will play J.R. Here are the early faves:

Burt Reynolds

Billy Bob Thornton

George Clooney

Simon Cowell





Slides Rule
A new water park in South Dallas makes a big splash.
by Adam McGill

URBAN OASIS: “Let’s make history,” says Pastor Yancy, the general manager of the nation’s first inner-city water park.

As drivers head south from downtown Dallas on Highway 67 and approach the Hampton exit, they will perhaps turn their heads westward to take in the towering waterslides and colorful signage of Bahama Beach Water Park. Unless these drivers are lost, such a sight will surprise them. South Dallas isn’t supposed to have a water park—South Plano, maybe, but not South Dallas.

Starting May 25, South Dallas will. HFE-Horizon, makers of water parks, opens Bahama Beach in conjunction with Dallas’ Parks Department. Bahama Beach is the company’s 17th park nationally and third locally, joining Hawaiian Falls in Garland and The Colony. “We’ve been in business for 32 years, and we don’t know of another park that’s been built in the inner city of a community. Usually they go to the nice, affluent, populated suburbs,” says David Busch, president of HFE-Horizon.

But land in the suburbs is expensive, more expensive than the city’s Parks Department could afford, even for the mere 6 acres that a water park of this size needed. The site at Thurgood Marshall Park in South Dallas started to make sense. The city owned the land, it came with a parking lot, and the nearby highway provided good visibility and access.

Opening a water park in an urban environment is a risky venture. But the gamble seems to be paying off. A month before Bahama Beach was set to open, the park already had 22,000 advance bookings—including reservations from the Potter’s House—for group events and special activities.

“[The community is] almost out in front of us,” Busch says. “We can barely keep up.”

Photo: Joshua Martin


Woe to the person who commits “capital littering”—that is, trashing our roads while committing another dastardly offense. That was the case during a recent rush hour as we were driving north on the service road off Central Expressway, just south of the George Bush Turnpike. An Oldsmobile Aurora registered to a certain Brad Henderson pulled up next to our vehicle, hit the gas, waited for the slightest opening, then cut us off without so much as a blinker or a wave. Then, as if to punctuate his impudence, he flicked a cigarette butt out of his window as we slammed on the brakes. That’s the shame whose name we dare not speak.


Sponge, Worthy
A local mom cleans up with Miss Oops.
by Ruth Ihde

OUT, DAMN’D SPOT: Higgins says sales have tripled since last year.

Two years ago, Jennifer Higgins was a stay-at-home mom on a quest. After what seemed like an endless search for the perfect dress, she finally zeroed in on something she loved, and she pounced on the only one in her size. Ecstatic, she slipped on the dress, then discovered horrible white deodorant streaks all over the material. But before she could let out a silent scream, a store employee calmly took the foam from the hanger and wiped away the marks. Higgins had her dress. Even better, she had an idea that would make her rich.

After discussing the incident with her mother, Terry Goodwin, the pair went on a foam crusade to create a similar product that would do the same thing but wouldn’t harm fabrics. “We didn’t know anything about chemicals or foam, but we quickly became experts,” Higgins says. Within a year, she and her mother formed Dallas-based Easy Industries LLC and had patented and marketed Miss Oops Dry Sponge, which is safe for all types of clothes and lasts for months, “depending on your Oops factor.”

Soon enough, Miss Oops became more popular than SquarePants. Jessica Simpson and Debra Messing sang its praises, and last year Redbook named it one of the Most Valuable Products in its beauty awards. Though Higgins and Goodwin won’t share specific figures, they say sales tripled since last year and are on track to double this year.

Now they’ve added two more products. Miss Oops Blemish Gel dries out blemishes without drying out the skin. Pedicure in a Bottle pampers and primps your toes so they feel like silk instead of sandpaper. Both products can be found at Off the Shoulder, Tootsies, and Byzantine.

But the dressing room isn’t the only place inspiration can strike. Higgins once received a phone call from a man who had a dilemma with chalk marks from his suit fitting and asked if they made a “Mr. Oops.” That gave her another idea. Soon a men’s line will hit stores.

Photos: Dave Shafer


Few fights this year have been as ugly as the feud between county commissioners John Wiley Price and Maurine Dickey. Luckily, our judges have been keeping score. Here’s a round-by-round review:

John Wiley “Coyote” Price


Maurine “Short Rib” Dickey




6’3”, 230 pounds


5’7”, 135 pounds

20 years


five months

Questioned the credentials of Dickey’s road and bridge appointee, Mike Pappas—on her first day.


She held firm, despite a Morning News editorial questioning her judgment.

Stood with his back to the audience when Dickey invited her friend Betty Culbreath to give the invocation

at a meeting.


Dickey stayed above the fray, saying she didn’t notice. “Oh, my gosh,” she later told the News. “That’s so disrespectful.”

Sued Dickey and two other commissioners for violating the Open Meetings Act when forming a committee.


She responded that she is “richly aware of the Open Meetings Act.” So there.

Jumped on Dickey for taking her road crew off a project in his district and putting them on a job in hers and one in Collin County.


Replied that Price was like someone who’d argue that because “he’d gone through the third grade three times, that made him three times as smart as me.”

DECISION: Tie. But does Dickey have the legs to go the distance?



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