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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Leading Off

Leading Off (6/20/19)

| 2 hours ago

Courthouse Shooter’s Family Thinks He Wanted to Be Killed. Brian Clyde’s family spoke publicly yesterday. “I ultimately think he didn’t want to hurt anybody,” said his dad, Paul Clyde.

Dallas Lost More Than 600 Trees in Storm. The crazy storm about two weeks ago claimed more than 600 trees in public parks. Director of the Park and Recreation Department Willis Winters said it’ll cost $1.25 million to replace the trees and it’ll take a few years.

Former Teacher at Coppell ISD Indicted on Three Charges. Julie Jenkin Brewer, former middle school teacher, was indicted for improper relations between educator and student, online solicitation of a minor, and sexual performance by a child.

Jim’s Car Wash Must Close. The place that South Dallas residents have called a crime magnet has to close in 30 days, per the Board of Adjustment. Dale Davenport, the car wash owner, will still own the property.

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Transportation

Bike Friendly South Dallas Gets a Home Base

| 17 hours ago

You might remember Alex Macon’s bike feature from last June, which skillfully examined our city’s hostility toward cycling while the tension over bike share riled City Hall and social media. It also illuminated the work of some committed cycling advocates. One of those advocates was Stan Hart, who started Bike Friendly South Dallas.

At the time, the organization’s primary means for reaching into the community was through pop-ups at parks and other public places, where folks could bring in bikes with bum wheels or other issues and get them fixed up free of charge. Bike Friendly South Dallas uses an “earn-a-bike” model, where volunteers who work on or remake donated bikes can walk away with their own set of wheels. Spend more hours volunteering, get a better bike.

Alex reported at the time that Hart was on the search for a building to set up shop. Today we bring an update, and some good news: Bike Friendly South Dallas cut the ribbon on a completely renovated place near Ervay and Al Lipscomb last week. It opens July 1.

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Religion

UTD Is Home to the First ‘Muslim Interest’ Fraternity; Now, It’s Expanding Beyond

| 21 hours ago

At a time when colleges and universities are barring Greek organizations from holding social events and serving alcohol, one seems uniquely fitted to weather the storm. Alpha Lamda Mu (AΛM) has championed the abstinence of drugs and alcohol since its creation about six years ago.

It was named with the three letters that start in several chapters of the Quran: Alif Laam Meem. The values the frat stands by are Islamic, but it allows in non-Muslims, too. It calls itself a “Muslim-interest fraternity,” not a “Muslim fraternity,” which allows it to accept others. They take in young students from all backgrounds and condition them to be better men under an Islamic atmosphere. It’s an outlet for men to be open about different trials and emotions with a healthy support system of fraternity brothers. And it started at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Greek life is a nearly 200-year-old American institution. The current national president of AΛM, Bilal Ayoub, respects fraternities for creating deep networks and bonds of brotherhood between men. He sees it as parallel to his Islamic values of brotherly love.

“However, some fraternities have become diluted and there are a lot of bad connotations and bad events associated with fraternities. Those environments can be toxic,” Ayub says. “AΛM take the best of what frats have in America and leaves out what nationally doesn’t align with our [Islamic] values.”

Co-founders Ali Mahmoud and Araf Hossain started the first chapter in 2013 at UTD. Mahmoud, now a med student, says AΛM began from a need on campus. Mahmoud and Hossain started recruiting other students and found a Muslim-interest fraternity was a popular idea. But no one had stepped up to organize and create it. There are plenty of colleges with a Muslim Student Association. But Mahmoud said he felt those organizations didn’t quite include the community aspect that people interested in Greek life are searching for.

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Pop Music

A’Keria C. Davenport Has a Cameo in Taylor Swift’s New Video

| 21 hours ago

Among the multitude of cameos in Taylor Swift’s new video for “You Need to Calm Down” is A’Keria C. Davenport as Nicki Minaj. Houston may now claim her, but Gregory D’Wayne grew up in Dallas and graduated from Oak Cliff’s Carter High School. And just look at her now, hanging by the trailer park pool with Katy Perry, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert, the Queer Eye guys, and–gasp!–Ryan Reynolds.

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Dallas Pride

Alyssa Edwards Will Be Lady Liberty in NYC Pride Parade

| 24 hours ago

Alyssa Edwards, our hometown RuPaul’s Drag Race star, will be riding on the Smirnoff float for NYC Pride at the end of the month dressed as Lady Liberty. I chatted with her on the phone from Los Angeles about what drag queen she’d want to have her back in a bar fight, her recipe for a tongue-popping cocktail, and where she hides those rainbow Jell-O shots.

It is an honor and a privilege to get a chance to talk to you. Well, thank you so much. I’m so very excited to be talking to D Magazine because I am a proud Dallas resident.

So that was one of my questions. You’re in Los Angeles now. You’re going to be on the Smirnoff float in the NYC Pride parade at the end of the month. You’ve been on the Werq the World tour. Are you planning to keep Dallas as your home base? I was asked yesterday at an interview, “What is your favorite place in the world you’d like to travel?” And I said, “There’s no place like home.” You know, I just purchased a home. We all got to see that on my Netflix series, Dancing Queen. And I tell you, it is a struggle for me to leave and travel because, you know, I was born and raised in Mesquite. I didn’t have the appreciation for the Dallas community until I traveled. And I’ve visited a lot of beautiful places, but Dallas is home for me.

How do you think Dallas Pride compares to others that you’ve been to around the country? Whenever I ride in the Dallas Pride parade and I see all the smiling faces and all the waving of  the fans and the flags, I know those people. I see those eyes, and I know that person.

And I think for me, there’s like an extra feeling of warmth and an appreciation of my community and the amount of support that has been selflessly given to me. I think that’s the biggest difference, you know? I think moving our Pride this year to Fair Park was such a great move in my opinion, because it gives us opportunities to really grow and to really elevate our Pride experience.

That’s good to hear. The one criticism I have heard is that you can no longer bring your Smirnoff rainbow Jell-O shots because it’s not in the gayborhood anymore. Well, listen. You weren’t supposed to bring those out on Oak Lawn either, right? Well if you’ve got a good handbag or a nice clutch, you throw those right in there and go on in. And you know, when people were talking about this, I’m like, “You guys, we couldn’t do that on the streets. We just did it anyway.” Right?

Right. Get that cooler and let’s all come have a good time and celebrate life.

Alyssa, what’s your favorite recipe for a tongue-popping vodka cocktail? Oh my gosh. OK, I’m put on the spot now. Here we go. A tongue-popping vodka cocktail recipe. Well, I am a classic martini kind of gal with a little bit of Smirnoff and some rainbow olives. However, I think I love the Red, White & Berry flavor with a little bit of Pop Rocks around the rim.

OK, this is turning into something good. And my God, OK, what can I have in it? A little bit of pink lemonade!

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Local News

The Neon Arches Are Returning to the West End

| 1 day ago

Next Wednesday, the neon arches will return to the West End. Sort of.

They won’t be the Dallas Alley connector between the now-shuttered West End MarketPlace and the old Coca Cola Building. And they won’t burn neon; they’ll be filled with tiny LEDs and controlled via a computer program, which will allow them to reflect the colors of the Dallas Mavericks or the Stars or whatever design a young artist might come up with. They’ll be under Woodall Rodgers at Lamar, the new pass-through between the West End and booming Victory Park.

“As long as I’ve been aware of the West End or if I’m talking to anyone who grew up here, you mention Dallas Alley and immediately people’s faces change,” says Jennifer Sanders, the executive director of the Dallas Innovation Alliance, which is leading the project. “There’s such a deep, nostalgic attachment to that and what it represented for the district.”

The arches have been under the freeway for at least a dozen years, but they’ve never been lit up. There’s a small painted walkway under them, but it doesn’t exactly help you forget that you’re walking under a freeway. Sanders hopes the new lights will encourage pedestrians to feel more comfortable walking between the West End and Victory Park, which, in the last year, has welcomed about a dozen new bars and restaurants. You’ll recall the Dallas Alley had a beautiful view of Bank of America Tower; our Catherine Downes said it reminded her of a neon-drenched Yellow Brick Road. It came down during construction of the buildings it bordered. Here is what it looks like now.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/19/19)

| 1 day ago

Dallas PD Institutes Online Police Reports. You’ll be able to fill out your own report online for low-level activity like theft or fraud. It’s an effort to keep the limited officer staff focused on things of greater importance, like the city’s current spike in violent crime. So far, 88 reports have already come in.

Changes to State Law Expected to Lower the City’s Budget by $9 Million. Two laws passed this spring did the damage, the red-light camera ban and a law that cuts back on city fees for telecom and cable TV providers. City Manager TC Broadnax tells the City Council the city “can’t do everything we’re doing today.” Meanwhile, that Council is trying to find more money for public safety, because of the current spike in violent crime.

Accused Fort Worth Kidnapper to Plead Guilty. Michael Webb is expected to enter that plea today. He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and up to life for allegedly taking an 8-year-old girl from her mother while the two walked through the Ryan Place neighborhood in daylight.

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Media

Ex-DMNer Bill Minutaglio’s Timothy Leary Book Will Be a TV Series With Woody Harrelson

| 2 days ago

Bill Minutaglio, the ex-Morning News writer and author, last year again teamed up with his friend Steven L. Davis to chronicle Timothy Leary’s years as a professor turned LSD advocate turned prisoner and fugitive. Their book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD, found a fan in Woody Harrelson.

Today, Yahoo! reports that Harrelson will executive produce a limited series of the book and star as Leary. Nuts and bolts below:

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Politics

Texas Monthly Shouts Out Good, Bad, ‘Cockroach’ North Texas Lawmakers on Annual List

| 2 days ago

Today, Texas Monthly posted its yearly feature on the best and worst legislators in Texas. As always, Dallas-Fort Worth is well-represented, in all kinds of ways.

Stickland

Bedford Rep. Jonathan Stickland has been on the bad side of TM’s list for two straight years. He’s been dishonored around these parts, as well. He tried to kill a bipartisan mental health bill on a simple technicality just last month. Par for the course. So TM decided to name Sticky their first “cockroach,” because he “accomplishes nothing but always manages to show up in the worst possible way.” On the bad list this year, McKinney Senator Angela Paxton gets a nod after filing legislation that could’ve helped cool the hot water around her husband, Attorney General Ken Paxton. And Plano Rep. Jeff Leach shows up for “cozying up to power” and pandering to voters.

There are a couple of high notes. We have Dallas Rep. Victoria Neave earning a spot for pushing Texas to reckon with its rape-kit backlog. Rep. Julie Johnson, also of Dallas, takes home freshman of the year. Johnson helped create the LGBTQ caucus and walked the walk by using a point of order to weaken what became the “Chick-fil-A” bill. Dive into the feature here.

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Urbanism

The NY Times Questions the Value of the Single-Family Home

| 2 days ago

It’s the bedrock of the 20th century American Dream: four-walls, a little lawn, and space for a family and personal equity to grow. Over the past 100 years, urban areas in the United States have doubled down on the single-family home as the de facto form of American life. And even with the romantic allure of city living that re-sprouted in the popular imagination in the 1990s—as the apocalyptic urban visions of Shaft and Taxi Driver gave way to the boho congeniality of Friends and Seinfeld—single family homes have remained the dominant mode of living. According to a (perhaps a little dated) 2011 study, 70 percent of Americans live in single-family homes, but 80 percent wish they did.

But cities are starting to alter their assumptions about single-family homes—a development that we’ve commented on before. Today, the New York Times deep-dives into the trend. The report is in response to several recent attempts to change the rules of urban zoning in order to discourage single-family homes and encourage more density. The Oregon legislature is considering a law that would end zoning for single-family homes throughout the state. California is looking to do the same. We’ve written about Minneapolis’ new zoning policy that forbids single-family zoning. And Democratic presidential hopefuls are also talking density.

The causes for debate are all the familiar talking points we hammer away on from time to time in this space.

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Immigration

Teens Turn Trip to the Border Into a Play About Immigration

| 2 days ago

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email with a link to a trailer for “Crossing the Line,” an upcoming documentary play about immigration co-produced by Cry Havoc Theater Company and Kitchen Dog Theater. It’s emotional stuff. (You can watch the trailer below.)

The eight actors are all Dallas-area high school students. Mara Richards Bim, Cry Havoc founder and artistic director, and Tim Johnson, managing director of Kitchen Dog Theater, took them on a pilgrimage to the Rio Grande Valley over spring break in order to collect first-person interviews. Those interviews will become the dialogue for the play.

This is the first co-production of Cry Havoc and Kitchen Dog, but this is not the first time Cry Havoc has tackled an issue of cultural relevance through documentary-style theater. Last year the theater company produced “Babel,” a play about gun violence derived from interviews with parents of children lost in school shootings, gun control advocates, and elected officials.

Johnson says this year’s show draws from more than twice the material. I sat down to talk with him and two of the student actors, M. Bandy and Leonela Arguello, about what the experience was like. Bandy is a recent graduate of W.T. White High School and will be heading to Bennington College in the fall; Arguello is a junior at Booker T. Washington High School. “Crossing the Line” runs from July 19 to August 4 at the Trinity River Arts Center. You can purchase tickets here.

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Local News

Leading Off (6/18/19)

| 2 days ago

The Latest on the Shooter. It’s not much, but here’s what we know about Brian Clyde. A soldier who served with him in the 101st Airborne Division said Clyde “struggled with the high stress of military life but was ‘kind and gentle.’”

R.I.P., Witten the Giraffe. The 1-year-old died at the Dallas Zoo while undergoing an exam that required anesthesia. Zoo vets tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate him.

AT&T to Cut Nearly 2,000 Jobs. About 400 of them will be in Texas. The company employs about 250,000 people. Meanwhile, Morningstar is bullish on the company’s stock.

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