Intimate evenings with Ally David, what happened with that wreck in the West End, and Il Mulino’s sad departure from the Dallas dining scene.

Let’s Get Intimate

A while back, ALLY DAVID got the idea to book a musician to play a yoga workshop she was leading at her Bend Studio. Austin’s Ian Moore took the unusual gig, and the show went so well that the music venue “took on a momentum of its own.” Today Bend Studio is one of the best live music venues in town, and this month David celebrates her second anniversary as a concert promoter.

“The main feedback I get from artists is that people are actually listening to them,” she says. “And it’s very intimate so it’s more of a dialogue that develops.”

Each show is called an Intimate Evening. As in, an Intimate Evening with Rhett Miller, or an Intimate Evening with Alejandro Escovedo. About 90 people sit on the studio’s bamboo floor. You can bring your own wine and beer, but no smoking. And summer shows start at 8:30. In other words, they’re concerts for adults.

“Charlie Sexton played,” David says. “Charlie said it was absolutely his best solo experience ever.

“We’ve obviously filled a niche. And I’m really happy it turned out that way.”

For details on the July 1 anniversary show and other July concerts, visit www.bendstudio.com. —PAUL KIX

Photo by James Bland


CLOSER: Joseph Palladino says the pasta was too dear for Dallas.

Il Mulino, R.I.P.
After a gala debut on the Dallas dining scene, the upscale New York restaurant closes its doors. Is Bice next?

By the time you read this, il Mulino will be closed. Sure, you had to shell out $55 for ravioli in champagne truffle sauce, and all desserts were $18. But the closing still stinks. Dallas diners have proved they will not line up for anything other than Mexican food and steak. White-tablecloth Italian apparently doesn’t satisfy our palate. So Il Mulino, the popular New York City restaurant that two years ago was the biggest splash in the Dallas dining scene, died from what general manager Joseph Palladino calls “price point.”

Simply put: “We just didn’t do enough business to make money and pay the owners,” he says.

Palladino needs to get Bice on the phone. It’s the Italian stallion from Milan that recently opened in the Crescent Court. This upscale chain has already opened and closed in Los Angeles, Scottsdale, and San Diego. Bice, too, has white tablecloths and expensive pasta and osso buco. Will it be able to stand against the stampede of (very expensive) steakhouses set to invade Dallas? Like Chef Tom Colicchio’s famed Craft Restaurant, home of the $125 porterhouse and the roasted bluefoot chicken for $65, in the new W Complex? Or N9NE, the posh steak and seafood joint opening in October just around the corner at the W?

Dallas, dust off your Cattle Baron’s duds, slip on your boots, and scoot out to make reservations. Your red sauce days, few though they were, are over. —NANCY NICHOLS

Photo by Dan Sellers


Snap Judgments

THUMBS UP: As we were going to press, the Mavs were headed to the finals against the Heat. No matter how the series turns out (we predict Mavs in seven), congrats to Avery Johnson. In his first full season at the helm, the NBA’s coach of the year surpassed everyone’s expectations and gave the city a thrill ride it won’t soon forget.

THUMBS DOWN: Four weeks after Arlington Police arrested Mike Jackson, the teenager behind the vicious underground Agg Townz Fights videos, he was still selling them on the Internet. And, thanks to the publicity his arrest generated, he was able to raise the price. Arlington’s finest did eventually get the site shut down, but at press, Jackson was still boasting of his exploits on his MySpace page. Can it be that tough to pull the plug on a site linked to criminal activity?


Reasons to Hope

Lois Parrott ———————> Leigh Ann Ellis
Teodoro “Ted” Benavides ——->  Mary Suhm
Terrell Bolton ——————–>  David Kunkle
Waldemar “Bill” Rojas ——> Michael Hinojosa


The Secret to Eternal Youth

When the News recently launched a Metro blog, columnist Jacquielynn Floyd got her photo taken with her cohorts (at left). So who’s the babe in her mug shot?


Radio Pirate
People accuse Rick Snider of the strangest things.

Rick Snider is not the transmitter of a pirate radio station in Dallas. He just has paraphernalia atop his North Dallas home that looks as though it could transmit a radio broadcast. But it’s not him—honest—sending conspiratorial, anti-government propaganda over the very weak signal at FM 95.7. (Stray too far from the area near the intersection of Royal and Greenville, and the broadcast breaks up.) This is at least what Snider tells us. “I am a wireless Internet provider both in Dallas and in the Austin area,” Snider writes via e-mail. Nothing more. And some of that equipment, he says, “is at my Dallas home.”

But others would beg to differ. Chief among them is VideOchik, a frequent contributor to the message boards at Radio-info.com, a web site for the radio industry. VideOchik’s real name is Melissa—she wouldn’t give D her last—and she’s a broadcast engineer who took her Potomac Fim-71, which tracks broadcast signal strength, and found that the signal was strongest at Snider’s home. She took pictures of Snider’s antenna and posted them at Radio-info.com. “It’s an antenna that’s made for transmitting,” she says. Steve Eberhart, a veteran broadcaster now with ABC Radio, saw the pictures online, too. “There’s no doubt he’s transmitting,” he says. 

The coolest part about the whole thing? If Snider is transmitting, he’s doing it less than two miles from the Federal Communications Commissions building on LBJ Freeway. So if they haven’t already, the men in black will probably soon come knocking on Snider’s door. Remember: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not after you. —P.K.


Hummer Haven

A Hummer says something about its owner that few other cars can even approach. What, we’ll leave to you, but in Dallas the statement is everywhere. So if you think you’ve seen a lot of the boxily proud H2s and (smaller) H3s on the streets lately, you’re right. According to GM’s Hummer division, in 2005 Dallas-Fort Worth ranked fourth in nationwide sales of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s favorite ride last year, with 2,104 sold. (If you’re wondering, 1,456 Priuses were sold here that year.)

1. Los Angeles 4,994
2. New York 3,857
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale 2,394
4. Dallas-Fort Worth 2,104
5. Detroit 1,842

Photos: Hummer: Courtesy of Hummer; Prius: Courtesy of Toyota


What a Wreck
When a West End warehouse is razed, the city calls its lawyers.

So. There was that long, low-slung, 30,000-square-foot warehouse in the West End. Historically significant. Landmark Commission protected. Everything. The owner, Transcontinental Realty Investors, had it knocked down one recent weekend, when no one was looking, without a permit to do so. You read all that in the paper.

What you don’t know is that Transcontinental is operated by Basic Capital Management, a Dallas company owned by a trust for the benefit of the children of Gene E. Phillips. If that name sounds familiar, it should.

In 1973, a real estate company associated with Phillips filed for a $30 million bankruptcy, reportedly the largest real estate Chapter 11 case in South Carolina history. In the 1980s, Phillips went to work for a former creditor and bought a real estate investment trust (REIT). Phillips called it Southmark. Southmark filed for bankruptcy in 1988—at the time the biggest real estate bankruptcy case in U.S. history, with $9 billion in assets. But Phillips would return. In 2000, the Feds indicted Phillips on racketeering and wire fraud charges that linked him to the mob. He fought those charges, and in 2002, he was acquitted.

Now the city has sued Transcontinental. “I hope [Phillips] enjoys being in court. Because that’s where he’s going,”says Councilwoman Angela Hunt, whose district includes the West End. “Good times. I’m thrilled about the lawsuit.” —P.K.

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin


THREE AMIGAS: Casey Thompson, Lynae Fearing, and Tracy Rathbun are  making Shinsei family friendly.

Sushi Chicks
Shinsei is making a big splash in the Dallas restaurant scene. And why not? The owners are named Rathbun and Fearing.

The news spread faster than a grease fire in the kitchen: Rathbun and Fearing, names synonymous with fine dining in Dallas, joining forces to open a new restaurant. But how could two super-chef egos fit into one kitchen?

Easily, it turns out. Tracy Rathbun, wife of Kent, is partnering with Lynae Fearing, wife of Dean, on Shinsei, a pan Asian sushi restaurant that recently debuted in the former Yamaguchi spot on Inwood Road.

The wives of the famous chefs have been “talking for years” about doing their own thing, they say. And when Tetsuji Yamaguchi closed his restaurant—a favorite of the Fearing and Rathbun families—the twosome snatched it up. Still, “the boys were hesitant,” Tracy says. 

For good reason. Each woman had small children. And neither had restaurant experience. To combat this, Tracy and Lynae hired more women. Like architect Jessica Stewart, who gutted the building to the rafters and created a warm, Asian-inspired atmosphere. And Casey Thompson, a former sous chef under Dean Fearing at the Mansion, now the head chick at Shinsei. And Tammy Schupbach, a longtime waitress at Yamaguchi and friend to anyone who has ever sat at one of her tables.

“We’re going to make it work because we are making it a place where we can be together with our kids,” Lynae says, referring to the playroom they’re building in the owner’s office. “What man would have ever thought of that?” —N.N.

Photo by Paul Schiefer


Out of Bounds
A review of T.O.’s book without having read it.

This month brings us Terrell Owens’ new book, T.O. Presumably it will be about his blowup last season in Philadelphia and his signing with the Cowboys. We say “presumably” because we don’t know for sure. In an odd move, Simon & Schuster did not release review copies to the media. But that won’t stop us from offering our opinions:

The chapter about the war in Iraq felt out of place in a book about football. More discussion of the “horse collar rule,” less jeremiad about the “poorly executed colonization of the Middle East.”

Regarding the graph on p. 72: it would have been helpful if the “y” axis had been labeled.

What’s up with all the pictures of bunny rabbits?

Given the atmosphere surrounding professional sports these days, and considering how kids idolize the men they see scoring touchdowns on Sunday, we would have preferred a Palatino font, rather than Times.

Finally, the prose was turgid. —TIM ROGERS


No Solitude in the Stacks: Lonely No More in the Dallas Library

With the prowess of the Internet, who needs the library? Lots of people, apparently. Circulation at the Dallas Public Library’s flagship location is up 20 percent this year. Throughout the rest of the Dallas branches, there’s a 13 percent gain. The newest of the lot is the state-of-the-art Paul L. Dunbar Branch at Lancaster-Keist (wireless-ready, as all facilities will soon be). Two more branches are planned, too, funded in part by a 2003 city bond package. It’s not just Dallasites who consider the libraries au courant either. The Central Library downtown is host to the First International Book Fair, emphasizing Latino works and authors, July 14-16. Check out that and more library info at www.dallaslibrary.org. —-ROD DAVIS


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