Chicks on skates; Rob Allyn, not a racist; a new coin-operated dog wash in Plano; the improbable star; and more.

Hot Rollers

Roller derby is back. The banked-track version was a craze in the 1970s and a staple of very-late-night television. Now A&E has a show called Rollergirls that follows a derby league in Austin, and Dallas has not one, but two flat-track all-girl roller-derby leagues: the Dallas Derby Devils and Assassination City Derby, both formed just over a year ago. After a year of exhibition matches in 2005, the Derby Devils are ready to break bones and a few hearts along the way in their inaugural season, which begins this month. “Women don’t have traditional roles in this sport. You get to get out all this aggression and beat the crap out of somebody,” says JUNE CARTER CRASH of the Suicide Shifters (pictured). “You also get to create and live out this different persona.” Indeed. In a sport where your competitors have names like Pummela Slamderson and Bebe Gunns, it’s nice to know that the personas are as colorful as methods used for taking each other out. By night on skates, she’s June Carter Crash. By day, she’s a nice girl who works for a magazine publisher. For more info, check out www.dallasderbydevils.com and www.assassinationcityderby.com. Utter the phrase “bitch on wheels” at your peril. —BILLY HUTCHISON

Photo by Doug Davis


The Improbable Starlet
Sarah Shahi isn’t just another great-great-granddaughter of an Iranian shah.

ON THE RISE: Watch out, Angelina. Shahi’s on your tail.

Sarah Shahi grew up thinking Lorne Michaels would come to Dallas, recognize her comedic genius, and make her a star on Saturday Night Live. Instead, Robert Altman came to Dallas, recognized her poised beauty, and thought she should give Hollywood a try. Such is the life of Sarah Shahi: the improbable becomes probable, and then easy.

Take The L Word, the Showtime drama that launched Shahi’s career a couple of years ago. She read for a casting director, was told thanks for her time, and a few days later heard she had the part. No second audition. No third or fourth or even fifth read-through. Just “We need you on a plane to Vancouver. Filming starts Monday.”

Or take her move to Los Angeles when she was 19. Here Shahi was, the great-great-granddaughter of a former shah of Iran (yeah, we know, improbable). She was on an academic full ride at SMU, cheerleading on Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys, and fully intent on graduating with degrees in English and broadcast journalism. Then Robert Altman came to town and used some of the Cowboys’ facilities for Dr. T and the Women. Shahi introduced herself. Twenty minutes later, Altman had her convinced to move to LA. So Shahi gave up the cheering, the full ride, everything. Even had her mom help her find an LA apartment. Says Mom, “My arguments were flimsy in the face of such determination.”

Next month, Shahi appears in her first network sitcom. Teachers will air on NBC. It’s executive-produced by Scrubs and Will & Grace alumni. Consider yourself warned: the show will be an improbable hit. —PAUL KIX

Photo Courtesy of Showtime


It’s a Living

Who’s worth more? The CEO who oversees a one-year, 136 percent climb in his company’s stock (John Wilder)? Or the small forward with the crossover dribble that’s as slow as an IRS audit (Keith Van Horn)? The numbers >>



Talking Point

“You can smell it. It’s like bad art. You know it when you see it.” —ROB ALLYN, on racism. The Dallas political consultant has been picketed and received nasty calls and e-mails—one labeling him “disgusting and treasonous”—for taking a $720,000 contract to do PR for Mexico.

Photo Courtesy of Allyn and Co.


Dallas’ Next Billionaire

Welcome TREVOR REES-JONES to the club. The reclusive 54-year-old Rees-Jones is CEO of privately held Chief Oil & Gas, the third-largest producer of the Barnett Shale—the lucrative natural gas field that begins in Tarrant County and spreads west. Rees-Jones named Chief after his dog 12 years ago and has recently put the company up for sale. Industry insiders say it could fetch more than $1 billion. To which we can only say: nice.

Photo Courtesy of Chief Oil and Gas


Art Prostitute
Seriously. Are you not going to read a story with a headline like that?

DYNAMIC DUO: Brian Gibb and Mark Searcy will set up shop in Deep Ellum this summer.

First, there’s the name. Art Prostitute. Nothing subtle about that. But it works. The name has gotten the attention of everyone—from Dallas, from Los Angeles, from New York City—to this ever-growing, ever-more-expensive art magazine published in Denton for nearly three years. It’s now on newsstands in SoHo and in SoCal and in many art galleries in between. (So you know, “art prostitute” describes how fine artists find ways, through commercial endeavors, to afford food.) The magazine has allowed for a profitable, well-trafficked web site—www.artprostitute.com—and, more important, a gallery in Denton a block off the city’s downtown square, where some of the nation’s best artists have displayed their work for a year and a half.

Problem is, the Denton space got too small. So this summer, the magazine, web site, and gallery will move to Commerce Street in Deep Ellum. The Art Prostitute guys, Brian Gibb and Mark Searcy, four years ago University of North Texas grads, are thrilled. “It will be like us realizing the dream,” Gibb says.

This month, on March 11, Art Prostitute will put on its last show in Denton. Chicago artist Jay Ryan will display his silk-screen gig posters, monoprints, and drawings. Denton’s own Baptist Generals will play at 10 pm. It will be a celebration of how far the guys have come. And where they’re headed. —P.K.

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin


Shame Shame Shame

It seemed all of North Texas was ablaze. Gov. Rick Perry was warning that the entire state was a tinderbox. He asked for a federal disaster declaration to speed relief to areas hit hard by grass fires. Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher issued an executive order temporarily banning the use of all combustible materials outdoors. We were southbound on the Tollway, near Royal. That was when we saw a cigarette butt fly from the passenger window of a Mercedes CLS 500 owned by DARRYL JAMES TYSON, of Boerne, Texas, a small town north of San Antonio. Public records indicate he was born in 1953 and that he shares his address with Jillian Tyson, born in 1987. Nothing shameful about that. But for letting his passenger litter, or for loaning his car to someone who let his passenger litter—essentially throwing a match into the North Texas tinderbox—we heap shame on Darryl. Shame on you, Darryl. Shame!


Buy Deep Ellum

We’ve got a theory about Deep Ellum: it has too many owners. Some of the landlords don’t care about the district’s long-term health and rent to unsavory, irresponsible operators who draw troublemakers. So why not buy Deep Ellum? All of it. Or most of it, anyway. One owner, with one plan, could get the thing headed in the right direction. Based on property values assigned by the Dallas Central Appraisal District, it’s relatively affordable.

GRAND TOTAL:  $47,790,160


Better Than Bacon

Out this month from Dallas-based BenBella Books is THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SIMPSONS: D’OH!, a collection of essays by well-known psychologists. Among other essays, editor and SMU psychology professor Dr. Alan Brown brings us David A. and James Rettinger’s “From Santa’s Little Helper to Duff Beer: (Mostly Bad) Decision Making in The Simpsons” and Wind Goodfriend’s “For Better or Worse? The Love of Homer and Marge.” Whatever. Where’s “Why The Simpsons Stopped Being Funny in 1998”?
Photo Courtesy of Benbella Books


A Social Club We Won’t Soon Join

Don’t ask us how. But the existence of the SANCTUARY FOR LIFESTYLE ARTS recently came to our attention. Excerpts from the Dallas club’s web site:

“The Sanctuary is a social facility like no other. Created for the leather enthusiast, this spacious … facility is wrought of thousands of experiences and BDSM scenes. Oh yes, there are over 50 stations, hoists, equipment, private rooms, music, couches, a premiere gallery, decorations, and all kinds of kinky stuff. … At 7,500 square feet, it is one of the largest dungeons in the country.”


DIY Meets Dog
The area’s first indoor, coin-operated, self-serve pooch spa opens in Plano.

SUPER SUDS: Bentley’s co-owner Katrina Wollenberg gives Bailey a good scrub.

Those of us who take a do-it-yourself approach to dog maintenance don’t necessarily enjoy getting soaked, straining the back, wrestling with the hose, clogging the drain, or any of the other “pleasures” associated with keeping Spot spotless. Enter the newly opened Bentley’s in Plano.

The concept is simple. Give dog owners great equipment, great decor, and great music, and they will wash. “It’s an upscale, artsy place that makes washing your dog fun and easy,” says co-owner Katrina Wollenberg. Not bad for a place where dirty dogs come clean. 

The owners spent $10,000 on each of the “private” washing bays. They offer a giant red tub (complete with tether, in case Fido’s feeling less than cooperative); vet-approved “product” (that’s a fancy word for shampoo); and a groovy, retro dial that counts down as you lather, rinse (and repeat, perhaps), and dry off your four-footed fur ball. Four of the tubs are waist-high with doggie ramps. The other two are down low, in case your dog’s a big one or the washer’s a little one. The cost of these fancy baths: $4 to $18.

You know, people dress up their pups in Burberry and bejewel them like hairy little royalty. So why wouldn’t they wash them in the lap of canine luxury? “We’re planning weekend wine and cheese happy hours,” says co-owner Michelle Musallam. Can doggy debutantes be far behind? 3013 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano. 972-964-9274. JENNY BLOCK

Photo by Elizabeth Lavin


TV Is More Popular Than Ever! 

Local TV execs have been quivering in their boots awaiting the changeover from Nielsen’s old diary method of tracking viewers to the new people-meter version. They can relax. Neilsen reports the new method has miraculously discovered a 14 PERCENT INCREASE IN TV VIEWING IN DALLAS over what was previously thought. Er, make that, over what Nielsen previously thought. Let’s see, how many ad dollars is that?


Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.