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We're Denton Dammit - Aug. 10, 2017

Profile image for Lucinda Breeding
Lucinda Breeding

Denton Matters, a Facebook group that discusses and debates local politics and culture, had some fun with a photo posted by group member Ben Huttash. The photo depicted a sad scene. A wig -- or hair weave -- was discarded or lost smack dab in the middle of the road. The hairpiece was flattened by a Thermoplastic striping vehicle (probably deployed by the Texas Department of Transportation).

The puns were pretty good, though the best came from Hilari Oller, who simply observed: "Tumbleweave."

A wig or hair weave got striped with thermoplastic along with the street. Streets are usually striped by Texas Department of Transportation.
A wig or hair weave got striped with thermoplastic along with the street. Streets are usually striped by Texas Department of Transportation.

Texas Impact, the state's oldest and largest interfaith advocacy network, is adding its voice to Texas police departments, law firms and business owners on the issue of transgender bathroom bills in the state Legislature. The advocacy network has released four public service announcements titled "Y'all Means All." Houston pastor Jim Bankston and Austin Baptist minister Griff Martin declare their opposition to the proposed legislation, and Bankston, a Houston United Methodist minister, references "our transgender neighbors." Conservative Christian Kimberly Shappley, the Houston mother of a transgender girl, appears in one of the announcements with her daughter. The PSAs started appearing online this week.

Texas Impact executive director Bee Moorhead said the PSAs are part of the nonprofit's "Mainstream, Not Extreme: Texas Faith Community Against Discrimination" campaign to correct misperceptions about the faith community's stance on the legislation.

"Mainstream faith communities across our state, from the people in the pews all the way up to national denominational leaders, oppose these bills," Moorhead says. "A few extremist individuals who support this legislation have been working hard to convince legislators that they represent the unified voice of the faithful, but that's simply not the case."

Looking good: The Visual Arts Society of Texas looks to be on the tail end of a website redesign. The Denton-based nonprofit arts network always had one of the better websites we've used -- why does any group have a terrible website in 2017? -- but the new site is clean, readable and easy to navigate. In fact, it surpasses the redesigned and impressive Greater Denton Arts Council site. Take your own tour at http://vastarts.org.

Denton comedians and musicians are bummed to see another venue close. Lone Star Taps & Caps was mostly about selling craft beers, but the downtown Denton business ingratiated itself by programming comedy shows and live music. Founder Rick Ali said in a Facebook post that he closed the Denton location on July 30 because its profits were tapering, even as the company -- which has locations in Lewisville and Fort Worth -- is in growth mode.

Chase Ryan performs during Thin Line X, a music, film and photography festival, Thursday, April 20, 2017, at Lone Star Taps & Caps in Denton. DRC
Chase Ryan performs during Thin Line X, a music, film and photography festival, Thursday, April 20, 2017, at Lone Star Taps & Caps in Denton. 
DRC

Someone who goes by the name (or is it a title?) of Lord Morpheus sent us an invitation to a very special workshop this week. At first, Lord Morpheus caught our eye with what we thought was a misspelled word: "How To Be Knotty." But then we read on: "A Bondage Workshop." Sessions are planned for Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Phoenix later this month. Bring us the smelling salts, please. We'll pass on this one. Don't want to get tied up.

Since Denton is such a music city, we had to pass this along. Designer Dio Davies has fashioned an Edelweiss self-playing brand of piano, but instead of using wood, Davies has made the instrument out of transparent pink perspex -- which is clear plastic. Davies kept the traditional wood hammers and the typical keyboard. Davies added neon lights for a piano she says is inspired by sci-fi films Tron and Blade Runner. It even has a digital setup that can play music on an iPod, wirelessly. It's probably out of reach for most local musicians, though, at $50,000. The instrument, called Coral Piano, still looks really cool.

Designer Dio Davies was inspired by Blade Runner and Tron when she created this pink, transparent perspex piano. It has pink neon lights inside and is compatible with wireless iPod devices for self-playing mode.  It's also more expensive than some cars, priced at $50,000.Edelweiss Pianos
Designer Dio Davies was inspired by Blade Runner and Tron when she created this pink, transparent perspex piano. It has pink neon lights inside and is compatible with wireless iPod devices for self-playing mode. It's also more expensive than some cars, priced at $50,000.
Edelweiss Pianos

If you go to see Bonnie & Clyde, the latest musical by Denton Community Theatre, check out the edge of the stage. The company's technical staff made DIY footlights. Curved, scalloped shades aim bright lights from below. We can't remember seeing footlights in the Campus Theatre before, and these are one of those little details that make the historical space feel special. Don't be surprised if you see them again in a future show or special event.

Daniel Bryant-Gawne, right, is the new education coordinator of Denton Community Theatre. DRC
Daniel Bryant-Gawne, right, is the new education coordinator of Denton Community Theatre. 
DRC

Speaking of Denton Community Theatre and Bonnie & Clyde, director Daniel Bryant-Gawne was just hired to be the education coordinator of the theater company. Bryant-Gawne has taught theater arts in North Texas schools, and directed Aladdin Jr. for DCTedu, the company's youth program, last summer.

How did we miss this? Puppets for the Planet posted a claymation video, "Stop the Denton Gas Plants!" about a year ago. The scene shows clay figures demonstrating beneath coal-dusted clouds of smog and sewage-colored skies. Voices sing a song decrying the gas plants to the tune of The Flintstones. The figures carry off the gas-fired turbines and replace them with wind turbines. The sky turns blue and the figures celebrate.

Denton artist Jo Williams has probably taught more workshops than she can count. In November, Williams will teach a workshop at Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum.

Denton photographer Ed Steele announced Aug. 2 that he's resigning his post with Thin Line, a documentary film, music and photography festival in Denton. Steele was the key player in launching the popular photography festival portion of the event. His departure -- which comes so that Steele can focus more on his business and family -- has to sting a little, if not a lot, given his reputation for doing a metric ton of work with inimitable style and commitment. Steele accepted a nomination to a full term on the city's public art committee. He was already on the committee, but was finishing a term for another member who left the committee.

Denton photographer Ed Steele is pictured wielding the Infinity Gauntlet from Marvel Comics.Courtesy photo/file photo
Denton photographer Ed Steele is pictured wielding the Infinity Gauntlet from Marvel Comics.
Courtesy photo/file photo

Parting Shot

"Mix epic individualism with extreme religion; mix show business with everything else; let all that ferment for a few centuries; then run it through the anything-goes '60s and the internet age. The result is the America we inhabit today, with reality and fantasy weirdly and dangerously blurred and commingled."

-- Kurt Andersen,

"How America Went Haywire" in the September issue of The Atlantic

Denton Dammit is an old-fashioned gossip column about people, places and things in and around Denton. Send your submissions to Lucinda Breeding at cbreeding@dentonrc.com