A Daily Conversation
About Dallas


BraBurner Podcast: Brenda Gomez and Tammy Theis on Discovering Sara Grace Wallerstedt

| 13 hours ago

Wallflower Management may be smaller than most, but it is no shrinking violet. Founded in 2009 by Tammy Theis, a former fashion reporter and stylist for the Dallas Morning News, and Brenda Gomez, formerly of Neiman Marcus and Page Parks, the modeling agency now counts a Vogue cover model and rising international star, Sara Grace Wallerstedt, among its ranks. After Holland Murphy spent the day with the Bedford teen as she prepared for prom, the details of which are included in her excellent profile in the September issue, we wanted to know more about her discovery. So we sat down with Theis and Gomez on the velour sofas in the back of Shoals Sound & Service and talked about what it was like to spot the freckled phenom from on high, how they convinced her to sign on the dotted line, and how to keep your cool when you find It. Streaming player and show notes for your pleasure:

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Local News

Q&A: Exploring Refugee Resettlement in Dallas With the International Rescue Committee

| 14 hours ago

In the past two years, Texas’ cities and its statehouse have been at odds about what to do with refugees seeking safe haven here. The state’s largest municipalities have welcomed them with open arms. Houston has resettled more refugees than anywhere in the world. Dallas’ city and county leaders have made remarkably public statements of support—County Judge Clay Jenkins declaring that Dallas would house 2,000 refugees fleeing violence in Central America if needed, Mayor Mike Rawlings declaring it “the spirit of Dallas” to resettle the Syrian refugees who Gov. Greg Abbott had attempted to bar from entering the state.

The politics eat up the headlines, but there are groups on the ground in Dallas doing the work to help those who have been certified by the United Nations refugee agency. Fewer than 1 percent of the world’s 20 million refugees get the OK, and they must be placed in a city where relatives live or where there exists a community that shares a common language and culture. The International Rescue Committee helps build those communities like Vickery Meadow, which has been referred to in these pages as “Dallas’ own United Nations.” Its members greet refugees at the airport, provide them a furnished place to stay, and help connect them with jobs and basic services like healthcare. Two years ago marked the beginning of the GenR—Generation Rescue—chapter of the IRC here in Dallas, a volunteer organization made up of young professionals who help provide those services to the people being resettled. There are about a dozen chapters across the country.

It’s grown to include close to 100 members, and tonight marks its second annual Force For Change dinner and fundraiser. It’s sponsored by Slow Bone, AirBnb, Samuel Adams, TripAdvisor, and more. I caught up with Michele Villarreal, the head of GenR and the IRC’s development and external relations coordinator. It’s been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Frisco Pitches Itself to Amazon With Snappy Little Video

| 16 hours ago

When asked earlier this month whether Frisco would join the scramble of Collin County cities vying for Amazon’s affections, a spokeswoman for the city said she could neither “confirm or deny any level of involvement in any potential economic development projects.”

A cute new video hosted on the city’s social media pages seems to dispel that mystery. Over highlights of the Cowboys’ flashy new home base and Jamba Juice, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney works to charm Amazon into building its second headquarters in the North Texas boomtown, where people “live, work, and play by our motto [hands up, all together now]: progress in motion.”

We’re left with a few questions, and a comment:

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Local News

Leading Off (9/21/17)

| 18 hours ago

About 100 Harvey Victims Making Dallas Home. The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund, now up to $1.2 million after a surge of donations, will help cover the cost of everything from bus fares to kitchen supplies so those who lost everything can start a new life here. If you’d like to help replenish the fund, click here.

Jason Lowe Found Guilty of Girlfriend’s Death. The gruesome details and tall tales were shocking, the jury’s decision is not.

John Battaglia Deemed Mentally Well Enough to Die. Battagilia likely faked or exaggerated mental problems to avoid execution (he said “the KKK, child molesters, and homosexual lawyers” were conspiring against him). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his sentence. A new execution date will be set for the Deep Ellum resident who shot his young daughters as they were on the phone with their mother in 2001.

Sexual Predator Accidentally Set Free in Tarrant County. Due to a bureaucratic error, the Tarrant County jail mistakenly freed a man recently convicted of sexually assaulting a child. The victim’s mother received messages about his release via a phone app and quickly alerted authorities. He turned himself in to Johnson County and all is well, but good grief let’s not do that again.

Frisco Heritage Kids Take Cute Pics, Go Viral. The group of friends enlisted a mom to take their homecoming pictures inside Ikea and the internet is loving it.

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Politics & Government

Dwaine Caraway Is ‘Pissed’ at Philip Kingston, Threatens to Derail His Mayoral Run

| 1 day ago

Back in May, when Philip Kingston won reelection and Dwaine Caraway returned to the Council, the two appeared on Inside Texas Politics. It was a love fest. If the segment had gone just three minutes longer, I think Kingston would have sat in Caraway’s lap.

Something has happened since then. The first sign of trouble that I saw was on August 9, when Kingston suggested on Facebook that Caraway was the mayor’s puppet. He wrote: “Video of the LGC debate is up! Check out Dwaine Caraway looking to the mayor every time he has to decide whether to amend his motion. Do you think his butt hurts from having a hand up it?” Kingston quickly took down the post, but here’s a screen grab. I talked to Kingston at the time, and he swore it was no big deal. He and Caraway were just fine.

But now comes today, and I do not believe the two councilmen are fine. At today’s briefing, Kingston made a motion to take $65,000 away from the Youth Commission, something Caraway is passionate about. So passionate that he slammed his fist on his desk, said repeatedly that he was “pissed” (as the mayor tried to calm him), and then swore to take every District 14 item off future consent agendas so that he could debate the items and keep money from flowing into Kingston’s district. It was really quite something.

Here’s the video. It starts with Kingston’s motion and then Caraway erupts:

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Video Games

Dallas Gets a Sports Team for Nerds

| 1 day ago

Dallas is getting a new sports franchise, albeit one whose star players look more like the members of a high school AV club than superstar athletes.

Team Envy is a leader in Overwatch, an online multiplayer video game from Blizzard Entertainment. In the game, fast-fingered players control a variety of characters on opposing teams, combatants in a sci-fi world of colorful mayhem and bloodless PG-13 gun violence. How the playing of a video game has escaped the domain of living room tournaments with friends and entered the realm of multimillion-dollar franchise deals remains a bit of a head-scratcher for those stuck on the image of basement-dwelling Dungeons and Dragons types firing up an Atari. But in short: a lot of people play video games, and a lot of people like to watch other people play video games. “Nerdy” is cool, video games are mainstream, down is up, cats and dogs are living together.

That’s how some top-ranked eSports players pull in salaries big enough to make me wish I’d spent even more time in college playing video games, and it’s why Kenneth Hersh and his Hersh Interactive Group bought a significant piece of Team Envy, precipitating the gamers’ upcoming move from Charlotte to Dallas. The team will play in the new Overwatch League, which counts New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft among its investors and recently announced franchises in Houston and Philadelphia.

Why would a Dallas oilman send a rumored $35 million toward a bunch of joystick jockeys? It’s possible that Hersh, a director of the Texas Rangers and longtime George W. Bush satellite who now leads the former president’s center at SMU, is a hardcore gaming enthusiast, someone who spends his free time watching Twitch streams and flexing his fingers to work on his APM. It’s more likely that Hersh has a good nose for investments, and eSports absolutely reeks of money — Goldman Sachs valued the industry at $500 million last year, a number projected to increase over the next few years.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (9/20/17)

| 2 days ago

Task Force Wants Robert E. Lee Statue in Museum. The mayor’s Task Force on Confederate Monuments said yesterday that the Lee statue should be moved to a museum from storage. It could be given as a gift or a long-term loan. The Cultural Affairs Commission and City Council will have to figure out the details.

Jury to Start Deliberations in Jason Lowe Murder Trial. Today a jury will begin to discuss the fate of 28-year-old Jason Lowe, the Richardson man charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jessie Bardwell. He testified yesterday that he had sexted with a few other women while Jessie lay dead in his SUV for a week. He also said she died after falling in the shower. If convicted, Jason will face up to life in prison. His story sounds, at best, shaky.

Theaster Gates Wins Nasher Prize. The 44-year-old was awarded the third annual Nasher Prize for sculpture last night. His work couldn’t be more relevant.

Megashelter for Harvey Evacuees to Close. The downtown megashelter for Harvey evacuees at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will close today. The remaining 200 evacuees there will move to a shelter at Oak Cliff’s Tommie M. Allen Recreation Center, the final Harvey shelter open in Dallas.

Dallas County Votes, Keeps Tax Rates the Same. Commissioners voted yesterday to keep tax rates the same for county government and Parkland Memorial Hospital, even though property values have been increasing. Their reasoning for not cutting county tax rates was to fund raises for employees and fill in a budget hole of $13 million.

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The Real Housewives of Dallas, Ep. 6: Tea Sandwiches, Scones, the F-Word, and Vagina Doctors

| 2 days ago

Watching LeeAnne Locken as a motivational speaker has been a little disappointing. Sure, her friends think it’s bass ackwards and fake that she would talk a bunch of trash all day long and then get behind a podium and tell people inspirational things like, “Now, I want everyone to stand. Give yourself an applause. Nothing can stop us unless we let it.”

But personally, I wish she would take it even farther. I wanna see LeeAnne do a motivational speech like David Brent from The Office. Bust out a boombox and let’s get this motivational party started. Play “Simply The Best” and get people to jump around. Or go for something even more powerful and make a badass set of motivational tapes like Kenny Powers.

Point is, plenty of jerks do motivational speeches. It’s not a new idea to be a complete turd in your regular life and then try to get up on stage and pretend you’re someone else. That’s why stages were invented. That’s literally what they’re for.

The real thing I learned from LeeAnne’s motivational speech segment was that when fancy people don’t like your outfit, they say, “How gorgeous do you look?” It’s perfect. It’s a question that counts as a compliment. Thank you for serving that up, Kameron. I’mma use that on my friends. I’ll sound like a stuck up Fancy in no time! See, Haters. This show has real value.

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Please Help Me With My Stinky Jeans

| 3 days ago

Tonight I’ll attend the Nasher Prize reveal at The Warehouse. Though I’ve never gone to one of these gigs before, I imagine it’ll be the sort of social setting that will make me so nervous that I’ll slam three glasses chard and drop vulgarities into casual conversation in an ill-advised attempt to appear relaxed. And this jeans problem I’m having certainly won’t help. Let me explain.

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