A Daily Conversation About Dallas


New EarBurner Podcast: Odessa Jenkins Wants You To Take Women’s Tackle Football Seriously

| 2 days ago

You may ask why it’s necessary to add a gender qualifier to tackle football. This is football, after all, same as you know it, only played by women. Pose this question to retired running back Odessa Jenkins—who for years jab-stepped, weaved, sprang, leaped, and spun until she hit the end zone—and she’ll say, no, it’s absolutely necessary. Marginalized people need qualifiers when they’re entering new territory, she says. “So we say those things until they’re not necessary.”

Jenkins is the chief operating officer of the Women’s National Football Conference and the head coach of the Texas Elite Spartans, Dallas’ team. There are 16 total teams in the league—Dallas and Houston represent Texas—and the goal is to turn it into the first-ever women’s league in which the women actually get paid. They’re selling sponsorships to brands like Adidas, a stark difference from women’s leagues in the past that required the players to fork over somewhere north of $1,000 a year just to play a season. When their season kicks off in April, they’ll play at Prestonwood Baptist.

These women are good. Jenkins especially, when she was playing. They’re not in lingerie, and they want you to take them seriously. Show notes after the jump.

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Local News

New EarBurner Podcast: The Rev. Michael Waters Talks About Race and Dallas

| 1 week ago

A day before the Dallas City Council gathered to discuss again what to do about those Confederate monuments, the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters was sitting across a table from Tim, Zac, and me at the Old Monk. He was wearing a dashiki over a priest’s collar, with shredded jeans that confused Tim and his old man sensibilities. He wore a hat that bore the word “WOKE.” He drank water and asked us to call him Mike. And we had a lively discussion about this city and the decisions and systems—among them, redlining and the highway network—that have fueled segregation here along racial and economic lines, making this a city of high wealth and higher poverty.

Waters has been one of the most outspoken proponents of addressing these issues — in particular, removing our Confederate statues. They’re relics, honorariums to a cause that never was. Waters mentions all the meetings and discussions about race that occurred throughout this city after the July 7 downtown shootings. He viewed the decision about whether to remove the monuments as Dallas’ first true test that it had finally decided to reckon with its racist history. You know the story. It took a long while to get Robert E. Lee pulled off his plinth, and the five statues of old Confederate generals still stand near City Hall and the convention center, where we welcome business people from other parts of this country and the world. Some welcome. On Wednesday’s council briefing, there was talk of recontexualization, but it seemed the time had finally come for the Council to agree to remove them.

Senior Editor Zac Crain profiled Waters in the December issue of this magazine. It’s an important read about an important person in an important moment. We’ve been trying to get him on the podcast since, but he’s a busy man. We rectified that this week. It’s one of the most interesting chats you’ll hear about the city of Dallas, with one of the city’s finest and most passionate orators.

“Dallas has broken my heart so many times,” Waters said. “It is insane to me that it’s still a question about whether to remove these racist monuments.”

Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Pete Freedman Talks Seven Years of Central Track

| 3 weeks ago

It has apparently been seven years since Pete Freedman invited me to Black Swan to pitch me on his journalism startup. It would be called Central Track. It would compete directly with the Dallas Observer, where he was working at the time as its music editor. It would compete with this magazine, too, and the Dallas Morning News’ GuideLive. He wanted it to punch above its weight while giving young writers and photographers the chance to produce for their peers.

Say what you will about Central Track—and we have before—but seven years for a media startup is something to respect. It has produced talented writers like Obed Manuel and Mikel Galicia. You can find photographer Kathy Tran all over the city. It covers a ton of local music, more than any other publication in town. And, if you ask our Tim Rogers, the site assumes the mantle once worn by other of-their-time alt-weeklies that didn’t make it, like The Met, Tim’s alma mater. (This is a good read, especially if you’re looking to laugh at Tim’s past transgressions.)

And so here we are, in 2019, talking about Central Track with Pete Freedman at the Old Monk. To celebrate, and to fill what Pete sees as a void in this market, the site is launching its first-ever music awards on February 20 at the Granada. There will be two stages, and a whole lot of 15-minute sets from the locals. It’s free, but $5 guarantees you a spot and a free beer. I was going to scoop Pete on the lineup in this post, but I got caught up researching a highway expansion plan—something Central Track wouldn’t touch.

If you’re interested in the past and present of Dallas media, this is a good one. Show notes after the jump.

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EarBurner Podcast: Philip Hiatt Haigh Talks About The Loop

| 4 weeks ago

Are you aware that Dallas will soon complete a 50-mile loop of paved trails around the city? Cleverly enough, it’s called The Loop. Philip Hiatt Haigh’s job, as the new executive director of the Circuit Trail Conservancy, is to get the thing finished. Before you listen to this episode of the nationally recognized EarBurner podcast, you should probably read this story I wrote about cycling to work. Haigh mentions how funny and important it is. If reading it doesn’t change your life, it will at least increase your enjoyment when you listen to this episode, which will probably win another major award.

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New EarBurner Podcast: Clarice Tinsley on Her 40 Years at FOX4

| 2 months ago

Forty years ago, in 1978, Clarice Tinsley moved from Milwaukee to Dallas to anchor the 10 p.m. news for KDFW-TV, known today as Fox4. She came from a station that featured a puppet called Albert the Alley Cat, who would assist the meteorologist by dressing in attire appropriate for the weather. She found larger opportunities in North Texas. In 1985, she won a Peabody and a DuPont award here in Dallas, for digging into the city’s 911 call system.

A decade ago, local TV critic Ed Bark wrote that nobody locally could touch her 30-year, single-station career. Well, she’s lasted another 10 years, and Fox4 is dedicating a half-hour segment called “CT40” to her Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Tune in, and relive her career. She stopped by Table No. 1 at the Old Monk to talk about her career and answer some of the pressing questions most Googled by her curious fans: Clarice Tinsley’s family; Clarice Tinsley’s salary; Clarice Tinsley’s height; Clarice Tinsley’s age; Clarice Tinsley’s sister.

Alright, now that we’ve captured all that Google traffic—#CT40 will feature interviews with Tinsley’s husband as well as her coworkers, both current and past. It’ll include at least a half dozen hairstyles, if this promo video is any indication, and a nice snapshot of North Texas news through the ages. Bark calls her the “dean of DFW news anchors,” and she works hard to live up to that every night. Although she’s too humble to call herself that. Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Vernon Wells, Arlington Native and Retired MLB Player

| 3 months ago

Vernon Wells—Major League Baseball journeyman, Arlington native, winery owner—now lives in Westlake, near Herschel Walker. His life sounds pretty normal, or at least as normal as it can be when you call Herschel Walker a neighbor. Wells makes his kids lunch. He coaches their football and basketball teams. He takes walks around his neighborhood. He doesn’t travel as much as he’d like, particularly to the vineyard he bought in Napa Valley with his partner, former teammate Chris Iannetta. All of this sounds theoretically familiar, if elevated a bit.

Tim interviewed Vernon for the January issue of the magazine, ostensibly about JACK Winery, which now has four wines available for sale on its website. (If you’re wondering why I keep capitalizing JACK, it’s because it is an acronym for their respective children: Jayce, Ashlyn, Christian, and Kylie.) It’s been well received. Robert Parker Wine Advocate magazine rates the wines in the mid-to-high 90s. Wine Spectator has given them solid marks too, all high 80s and low 90s, but it looks like they haven’t tried the newer releases that Parker liked so much. This second act for Wells began after he retired from the league; he and Iannetta bonded over wine when sidelined with injuries, and both decided to get into the game to make something that would be at home in a steakhouse.

Wells, whose $126 million contract with the Blue Jays in 2006 was the 13th $100 million contract in major league history, retired in 2013 with 270 career home runs and nearly 1,000 RBIs. And he still thinks baseball is too slow. Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Writer and Dallas Legend Tom Stephenson

| 4 months ago

Readers of D Magazine and this very website probably recognize the name Tom Stephenson from our November cover story (on newsstands now!), in which he goes back to the scene of a grisly 1976 murder in Blue Mound. You should read his feature—Tom gets thrown in jail at one point, and there’s plenty of mind-boggling police incompetence. It ends with something close to a showdown in a trailer with an angry pit bull.

But Tom is more than one of D’s original writers. He sells ranches. He leads hunting trips and safaris in Africa. He started the Greenville Avenue Parade as a way to get people into his bar at the end of the street. He partied with Jake LaMotta and Evander Holyfield in a suite high above Atlanta. He was close friends with Blackie Sherrod, perhaps this city’s finest writer. He painted an elephant green. He once wrestled a bear. He dated Priscilla Davis. I’m not making any of this up, and I could keep going, but I’d probably be spoiling this podcast. But then again, hearing Tom tell these stories is way better than reading these pithy descriptions.

He talks a lot about that Blue Mound case, but there’s also a fair amount about his life. Both those things together make for a must-listen. Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis on TRE Vote, Beto Polling, Houston Rap

| 4 months ago

When I got to the Old Monk yesterday around 4:45 p.m., Tim began to cry after dad-rapping five bars about a tax increase, Zac was laughing maniacally, and Dallas ISD Trustee Miguel Solis looked really satisfied with himself. (Eric Celeste was there too, but he does less with this podcast than I do so his only mention will come inside these parentheses.) I had a long interview for a forthcoming feature story—that, in the biz, is what we call a tease—so I missed the whole thing. Solis told me that I “have the power,” because these show notes “determine whether someone listens to it,” which I think ascribes too much responsibility to these words. Or it was a sneaky way to build up my ego to get me to listen before I write this post, and I’m just not going to do that and let him win.

Look. This very podcast—EarBurner!—won a national Folio award this week for an episode that had non-traditional show notes. Am I saying this episode will win a national Folio award in a year or so? I’m not saying I’m not saying that. And do you have any evidence that it won’t? Anyway. Miguel Solis is a Dallas ISD trustee, husband, and father to young Olivia, who, as you may recall, survived a heart transplant and had a book written about her all before she turned one. She is also very, very cute.

I may not have been there, but I have some educated guesses as to what gets discussed at Table No. 1. Give us a pageview and a listen to find out if I’m right. (Strategic!)

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New EarBurner: Ken Bethea of the Old 97’s Wants to Find the Women Whose Lives He Helped Save, And Other Stories

| 5 months ago

Ken Bethea, the guitarist for the Old 97’s, is a helluva storyteller. And he has two for us to choose from. One has to do with poop. It’s so good that even David Sedaris maybe, probably, stole it. Or at least borrowed elements from it. The other one involves an awkward fight that lasted a half hour and ended with Bethea and some buddies saving the lives of seven young women on Good Lattimer in the late 1980s.

He would like to find those young women, so he told EarBurner that story. And then he told us the poop one, for good measure. Because he’s spent more than two decades pleasing crowds.

The Old 97’s were signed to Elektra in 1996 after a showcase at South by Southwest, a show in which all they really wanted to do was to blow Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown off the stage. They were already on Bloodshot Records—and happy—but they were, in Bethea’s words, a “Naomi’s, Bar of Soap, Barley House band.” That show launched them into the stratosphere. This month, they’re celebrating 25 years together. Bethea believes all they have to do to last another 25 is keep Rhett Miller alive.

He bellied up to  Table No. 1 at the Old Monk to tell a bunch of stories, including the closers mentioned at the start of this post. I’ll step aside and let Ken tell it. He’s the one who should. Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Kourtny Garrett From Downtown Dallas Inc.

| 7 months ago

Have we mentioned yet that we’re holding a symposium next week? No? Well, we’re holding a symposium on urbanism next week at the DMA. Check it out. Yours truly will moderate the first panel of the morning. The smart people talking: Patrick Kennedy, Chris Leinberger, Tillie Galán Borchers, and Kourtny Garrett, who is the CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. and this week’s EarBurner guest. We talked with her about how little she knows about sports, when downtown might get an elementary school, and, of course, scooters. Enjoy!

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New Earburner: Barrett Brown Talks His Totally Legal Pursuance Project

| 8 months ago

The last time Barrett Brown found himself at Table No. 1 at the Old Monk holding a microphone to his face, he was something like a month out of prison. This was January of last year, so he was writing weekly reports about the Dallas City Council for us, still unable to (legally) use a computer, still living at a halfway house in Hutchins. 

He’d work for us another half a year or so, until the feds re-arrested him that May on a specious claim that he violated some sort of Bureau of Prisons policy requiring halfway housers to get federal approval prior to doing any interviews with the press. Wick Allison, D’s owner and founder, got the lawyers involved, who threatened to take the matter before a judge and—poof!—Barrett was free. He gave us a few more columns and then left our employ.

So here we are today, just over a year past all that, and Barrett has a book deal (My Glorious Defeats is out in February) and is hoping to change how we all research and collaborate. The Pursuance Project is an open-source platform—or apparatus, as Barrett calls it—that will allow anyone in the world to help research and brainstorm a problem or a data set or probably other things that I’m not currently thinking of. It basically provides structure to the sort of Anonymous research and activism projects that were popular online five or so years ago. The sort of stuff that Barrett made his name on before he was sent to prison for essentially posting a link. (It is worth noting that Barrett, self-proclaimed man with “no gall,” says that Pursuance is “a totally legal thing that everybody should join and consider contributing to.” And, indeed, you can donate here. It’s just over halfway to its goal.) 

Anyway. Barrett can explain all this stuff much better than I can. So I’ll let him take over from here. Interview by Zac Crain and Tim “I Call Jail ‘The Joint'” Rogers. Show notes after the jump.

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New EarBurner: Preservation Boss Katherine Seale

| 8 months ago

In many ways, Dallas has Katherine Seale to thank for its relatively newfound interest in preservation. The former head of Preservation Dallas and the current chair of the Landmark Commission has spent years helping the city understand the importance that old buildings bring to a sense of place. That, when it makes sense, preservation is actually a public good. And when the public buys in, developers seem more likely to listen.

There’s the Meadows Building, near Central and Lovers, a mid-century modern treasure that will soon house the Dallas outpost of architecture firm Gensler. It wasn’t long ago that the Chicago company that bought the Meadows was contemplating tearing down part of it. Seale has helped preserve old homes and hotels and office towers and theaters. She’s helped the city approve a 45-day waiting period for developers who plan to tear down a building within downtown and parts of North Oak Cliff.

She came on EarBurner to share some of these stories. As chair of the Landmark Commission, 90 percent of its monthly cases are about buildings that are already designated—folks in North Oak Cliff wanting to build a carport, things like that. The other 10 percent is where it gets extra interesting; where should the city employ protective zoning changes? Can the commission move fast enough to save the Lakewood Theater after residents spotted some of its chairs in a Dumpster? (It can and did.) What about that old blue house in the Cedars that’s owned by Spectrum? Can it be moved? (It can.)

It’s an interesting chat. Show notes after the jump.

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