Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lone Star stuff I've stumbled upon most recently


For its 30th anniversary in 2009, ESPN set forth on an ambitious enterprise — give several documentary filmmakers free reign to create films that represent an important team, person, event, trend, etc. that occurred since "the worldwide leader" first launched in 1979.

30 for 30 is the result. I've seen a handful of these docs (I dig "Pony Excess" and "The Birth of Big Air"). I just saw Sean Pamphilon and Royce Toni's "Run Ricky Run," which chronicled the roller coaster career of one of my favorite athletes of all time — Ricky Williams.

Ricky is a complicated dude, and this film goes to great lengths to show every side of the most fascinating professional athlete this side of crazy-ass Mike Tyson. From his glory days at the 40 acres to his high times and path to becoming a yogi, it's all here. I'm glad I finally have seen this film. And even though Ricky has officially retired (and been immortalized in bronze at DKR), I will continue to follow his inevitable twists and turns.

Wherever you grew up, it's likely you didn't truly appreciate that city or even hated it. But what happens when you mature from your life experiences and realize that home will always be home? And, in addition, what happens when your home town has done an admirable job of growing beyond its stereotypes? Well, you get this well-written story by Sarah Hepola.

While I can't relate 100 percent with Hepola's journey to loving Dallas, I find myself much in the same place. Dallas is a great city. That's something I wouldn't have said 10 or 20 years ago. But, at this point in my life, I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. Not because it's comfortable (although it is), but because I am encouraged by each new discovery and development — restaurants and bars, arts venues, performers, community events and enthusiastic people who are working hard to help Big D realize its potential.


Fact: There are countless places in the Lone Star State I will never visit. Fortunately, there's Chet Garner and this PBS show. On "The Daytripper," Garner (a UT and Baylor alum) visits well-known, touristy places and also obscure spots. The host is a charming cheeseball, and there's always just enough historical info to deem it worthy for public television.

The Beaumont episode (above) confirms that, sure, there's plenty of things to do in the city; but, unless I have an extremely compelling reason (I dunno, maybe becoming the CEO of Jason's Deli, which started in BMT), I most likely will never visit "Big Money Texas" to experience it first-hand.


I saw the Denton-based group at the Deep Ellum Art Festival on Saturday. Probably the eighth time I've seen them, they performed well. Minor gripes: short on new songs and long on terrible sound engineering. In related news, didya know violinist Chelsea also is a painter? You can peep her work here or at Jupiter House, where some of it is currently on display.

Dunno what Spec's is? Read "Inspecting Spec's."

Going strong since 1946, the Grammy-nominated University of North Texas jazz band is one of the true musical gems of the region. I've always intended on checking out the group, but have never made it to the One O'Clock's rehearsals or performances.

That's going to change on Saturday when the One O'Clock performs at 2 p.m. at Spec's. UNT's Tuba Ensemble (noon) and Steel Drum Squad (1 p.m.) also will perform at this Mean Green gala. Also, if you wear UNT green to the event, you will receive 5 percent off your purchases at Spec's.

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