Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Disney signs on with JC Penney to open children's shops in its stores next fall - Dallas Morning News (blog)

J.C. Penney Co. plans to open Disney children’s boutiques in its stores next fall.

Women’s Wear Daily got a jump on the story and reported this morning that at least 520 Penney stores will be getting the shops in time for next year’s back-to-school season.

While Penney and other major retailers including Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Kohl’s sell Disney licensed products, the goods stocked in Penney’s Disney shops will be made by Disney Consumer Products exclusively for Penney and its own Disney stores and theme parks.

Penney chief merchant Liz Sweney told fashion industry publication WWD that the 750-to-1,100 square foot shops “will command prominent space.”

The Disney shops will sell costumes, plush toys, figurines, footwear, sleepwear, underwear, backpacks, lunch totes and apparel for boys, girls and babies. The products will also be sold on

Disney operates 200 stores in the U.S. Its stores in the Dallas area are at NorthPark Center in Dallas, Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, Hulen Mall in Fort Worth. There’s also a Disney store outlet at Grapevine Mills.

Other children’s shops coming will be branded by Carter’s and Giggle. This month, Penney added children’s apparel to stores and online designed by Cynthia Rowley and Tori Spelling. The Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that Dallas-based Haggar and Levi Strauss’ Dockers are each getting men’s apparel shops in Penney’s stores next spring.

Penney stores started adding shops in August as part of CEO Ron Johnson’s plan to become a specialty department store fill with 100 branded shops and category boutiques. Penney started adding Sephora shops in its stores in the mid-2000s followed by MNG by Mango women’s contemporary apparel shops and those have been successful. But Wall Street turned skeptical after Penney reported 20 percent decline in sales through July and lowered its expectations for the rest of the year.

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The family of Deanna Cook, who was choked to death during 911 call, sues the ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

Vickie Cook, second from right, is comforted by a friend at the gravesite of her daughter, Deanna Cook, who was buried at Laurel Land Cemetery last month. Funeral services for Deanna Cook, whose murder was apparently recorded on a 911 call, were held Friday, August 24, 2012, at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. (Mona Reeder/The Dallas Morning News)

Deanna Cook’s family has called a 9:30 a.m. press conference, during which they will undoubtedly discuss lawsuit you will find below. It was filed this morning in Dallas federal court, one month after Cook was slain during a 911 call to police â€" a call so mishandled Dallas Police Chief David Brown was forced to fire one 911 operator and suspend another after apologizing to Cook’s family.

The 29-page suit provides its own moment-by-moment account of what attorney Aubrey “Nick” Pittman says occurred on August 17, as the 32-year-old mother of two was “screaming at the top of her lungs in fear, begging for assistance from the 9-1-1 Call Center” while being attacked in her home. Says the suit, myriad 911 call center employees mishandled the call, not just those disciplined by Brown. The suit names them as defendants, as well as the Dallas Police officers who went to Cook’s home on August 17, couldn’t find her and then “left without performing any additional investigation of Ms. Cook’s whereabouts, her residence, or her 9-1-1 call.” Cook’s body was found two days later.

Deanna Cook in a photo taken from her Facebook page.

The suit contains myriad allegations that transcend this single incident. For instance, the complaint alleges that “upon information and belief, the CITY OF DALLAS has a policy, practice, or custom of law enforcement that provides less protection or assistance to female victims in high crime and predominantly minority-race neighborhoods than to victims in other neighborhoods.” And it says, in short, that by allowing Cook’s call to go unanswered, the city and DPD violated her constitutional rights. Says the complaint:

Defendant CITY OF DALLAS, as applicable, failed and refused to implement customs, policies, practices or procedures, and failed to train its personnel adequately on the appropriate policies, practices or procedures regarding the handling of 9-1-1 domestic violence and bodily harm calls. In so doing, Defendant CITY OF DALLAS knew that it was acting against the clear dictates of current law, and knew that as a direct consequence of their deliberate decisions, the very situation that occurred â€" i.e., death to the 9-1-1 caller â€" in all reasonable probability would occur.

The family is asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages covering everything from actual loss to “loss of affection, consortium, comfort, financial assistance, protection, affection and care.” No doubt we’ll have more from the morning press conference; till then, the suit is below.

Deanna Cook Lawsuit

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Eight Ways DTC's Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity Will Feel Like the Real ... - Dallas Observer (blog)

Chad Deity cast2_opt.jpg
Elaine Liner
The cast of Chad Deity.
Dallas Theater Center's next main event sounds like a knockout. Or, more accurately, it hopes to bring the "white heat."

Kristoffer Diaz' Pulitzer-finalist play The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, opening October 19 for 26 performances at the Wyly Theatre, is set in the world of professional wrestling, where "white heat" means a boisterous audience response to the matches. Directed by Jaime Castañeda, the show looks at the art and the business of televised wrestling, with characters playing the heroes who win and the professional "heels" paid to lose. It's all a metaphor for politics and class warfare, says DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty -- topics that couldn't be timelier.

See also
- Holy War Horse There's a Lot of Great Theater Opening in Dallas in the Next Week

At a meet and greet with the cast and crew this week, Moriarty and Castañeda revealed some intriguing moves the theater is making to create an authentic atmosphere for the action-packed production. Here are the top eight:

1. Reconfiguring the Wyly to place 423 audience seats around a wrestling ring in the middle of the space, designed by scenic artist Tak Kata. "I want the audience to feel like they're at a sporting event, not a play," says Jaime Castañeda. It will take five days to construct the ring inside the theater. Rehearsals are taking place in a ring built temporarily onstage at Kalita Humphreys Theater, DTC's former home.

2. Using four Jumbotron-like screens during performances, beaming the live action as it happens in the ring.

3. Employing confetti cannons and loud music, just like the WWE.

4. Making video biographies of the wrestler characters, shot on location in Dallas, that will introduce them just like on Monday Night Raw.

5. Splitting sections of seats electronically during the show to make way for the splashy entrances of the wrestlers.

6. Casting Jamin Olivencia, a former professional wrestler, to play several characters and to choreograph all the wrestling moves in the play. (There's only one local actor in the five-man cast, new DTC company member Michael Connolly. The others are imports from NYC.)

7. Allowing approximately 840 students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to observe rehearsals from day one as part of DTC's Project Discovery program. (They're hoping the show is a big hit with younger audiences.)

8. Offering free tickets at two matinees, October 27 and 28. Any unsold tickets at the 2 p.m. performances on that Saturday and Sunday will be given away on a first-come basis, starting at 1 p.m. each day at the Wyly box office. (Regular tickets top out at $70 each for ringside seats.)

9. Putting the PowerBomb video game on the DTC web site to allow an "interactive experience" with characters in the play.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity plays October 19-November 11 at the Wyly Theatre, ATTPAC, 2400 Flora St. For tickets, 214-880-0202 or

Downtown Dallas skyscraper from the 1970s was once a trendsetter and could ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

Two Dallas Centre had two hexagon-shaped towers planned but never got off the ground. One Dallas Centre was started in 1977 and sits at the back of the block. The smaller building was to be a hotel or residential. (DMN files)

New plans to redevelop Downtown Dallas’ 34-year-old Patriot Tower show just how quickly property market trends change.

Encore Enterprises intends to turn the top two-thirds of the 30-story Bryan Street office building into residential space. The bottom floors will be remodeled as offices for HKS Inc. and Greyhound.

The City of Dallas’ economic development committee approved support for the deal on Monday and it’s headed to the city council for a final vote next week.

So far there’s no plan to dramatically change the exterior of the building, which was designed by I. M. Pei & Partners principal Henry Cobb.

Cobb also designed the nearby Arco building (now Energy Plaza) and Fountain Place on Ross Avenue.

I’m glad that the exterior of Patriot Tower â€" originally One Dallas Centre â€" won’t be destroyed.

The metal and glass-clad, diamond-shaped building helped set a trend in downtown Dallas starting in the late 1970s to use world-class architects.

Original architectural drawing for One Dallas Centre. (DMN files)

Dallas Centre was conceived by developer Vincent Carrozza, a thoughtful and creative commercial builder who is largely forgotten these days.

A New Yorker who came to Dallas in the 1950s, Carrozza worked on local landmark projects including One Main Place and Energy Square. And he was a tireless supporter of the Dallas Museum of Art.

But his grandest project was Dallas Centre, which was to take up a huge block at Live Oak and St. Paul Street.

After Pei designed Dallas’ new city hall, Carrozza hired the firm in 1977 to work on this big project.

Original plans called for two office skyscrapers, a hotel and residential space with ground floor retail. The $200 million project was planned with unique building shapes â€" a big change from the boxy skyscrapers than dominated the city’s skyline.

“Our American cities have become filled with retangular boxes,” Cobb said before ground breaking. “We have deliberately used the tower concept here to show a high-rise does not have to be rectangular.”

A second even larger tower designed by Cobb was to be built in a chevron shape.

While One Dallas Centre opened to great success, the vagaries of the real estate market derailed the rest of the project.

In 1982, Carrozza unveiled a revamped version of the second phase â€" a 52-story tower designed by architect Araldo Cossutta. This skyscraper had two hexagon-shaped towers joined at the middle like a giant “H.”

Carrozza obtained financing for the $215 million building, but another real estate downturn hit before he could start work.

And so One Dallas Centre became a singleton.

Carrozza sold out of the project years ago.

In recent years the tower had a harder time attracting tenants away from newer projects in downtown and Uptown. And in 2011 lenders foreclosed on the building.

With support from the City of Dallas in tax incentives and an economic grant, the current redevelopment plan will keep the project going for years more.

Would someone please change the name back to Dallas Centre?

Carrozza (left), Cobb and urban planner Vincent Ponte at the 1977 announcement of the Dallas Centre project. (DMN files)

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Is Venomous Maximus "The Maleveller of Houston"? - Dallas Observer (blog)

This weekend, Houston's Venomous Maximus will bring the metal to the mostly punk Riot Fest, featuring Rise Against, the Descendents and more. Sonic brothers with Dallas' own Maleveller, we talked about dubbed cassettes, worst show experiences, and what their parents think of their music.

Venomous Maximus was described to me by Brian Smith of Maleveller as "The Maleveller of Houston." Is this the first time you've heard such a comparison?
Gregg Higgins (vocals): We call them the VM of Dallas. We all listen to the same bands, grew up with similar lifestyles, but Maleveller are the Saviors of the Texas.
Christian Larson (guitar): I have heard it a couple times. Maleveller is fucking heavy and one of my favorite bands to play with in Texas. I still wanna see them do a show all in robes like on the back of their new record.

See also:
- Riot Fest expands from Chicago to Dallas

What came first: getting a dubbed cassette from a friend or relative, or buying a cassette from the record store? Either way, who was the artist and what was the album?
Higgins: I grew up in the country, so if I didn't hear something on the radio I didn't know about it. My older sister had this one friend who came from a broken home and she would always come and stay with us. She would bring over her cassette tapes in the tall black cases with the rows. Now that I look back on it, that chick was hip as shit. She turned me on to a lot of bands like The Cult, Danzig, Depeche Mode, The Cure and [Metallica's] Ride the Lightning.
Larson: The first metal record I got was from one of my dad's friends' son that was visiting from Norway. They came down here to visit when I was 12. I swear he bought every album he could get his hands on. He let me hear Master of Puppets and I was hooked. I had never heard anything that sounded like that and my parents didn't approve so it made it even better. Can't ever get enough of that record and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" was one of the first songs I leaned on guitar.

Have you ever played VM for your parents? If you have, what did they think?
Higgins: Yes. My mom checks us out on Facebook all the time. She likes VM way more than any other band I have been in, due to the fact that the singing isn't harsh.
Larson: My dad tends to pretend that I don't play in bands and I don't know if he has ever heard the band. My mom, on the other side, really likes it and I assume looks at our stuff online because she's always asking questions about what's going on and asks about updates we post.

Any fond memories of the first VM show?
Higgins: No!
Larson: Our first in theory went well. It was supposed to be with Torche and Nebula, but Nebula broke up on the way to the States for the show, so they never showed up. Good for us, I guess, because we got to go on later. I remember we got some shirts made and were gonna sell them but somehow we ended up giving a bunch out and only getting about ten bucks for it all.

So far, what's the worst onstage moment that you've had? Breaking a string, forgetting lyrics, drummer is too drunk to play, etc.
Higgins: I don't know about a worst moment other than seeing your enemies walk through the door and being forced to entertain them.
Larson: Worst moment I had on stage was in San Antonio. We went on late and I had a little too much to drink. I ended up pulling it off until I came unplugged during the last song and when I looked down there were chords all over the stage and I couldn't find mine. Supposedly it was hilarious and they won't let me live it down.

Venomous Maximus plays Riot Fest on Saturday, September 22 at Gexa Energy Pavilion.

Gexa Energy Pavilion

1818 First Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

Denny's waitress stabbed in argument with estranged husband, reports say - Fort Worth Star Telegram

A Denny's waitress was stabbed repeatedly early Tuesday while working her shift after speaking with a man in the Irving restaurant, police said.

Several Dallas-Fort Worth broadcast news stations were reporting that the man was her estranged husband, but Irving police did not release any information on the relationship between the two.The woman, who is in her 60s, was cut in the upper body, Irving police said. She was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas in serious condition. News reports say she was cut in the chest and arms. Her current condition was not available.Her suspected attacker was arrested shortly after the assault as he fled the scene, police said.The attack occurred at the Denny's on Airport Freeway near Esters Road in Irving about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.Police reported that the man and woman spoke before he pulled out a knife and stabbed her."They knew each other," said Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz on Tuesday.After the attack, the man dropped the knife and fled, the news reports stated. The knife was recovered by authorities, according to KDFW/Channel 4.Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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Classical music review: Dallas Chamber Symphony debuts at City Performance ... - Dallas Morning News

The brand-new Dallas Chamber Symphony made its debut Tuesday night in the brand-new Dallas City Performance Hall. If neither orchestra nor hall realized its full potential, clearly each has the makings of real quality.

Led by artistic director Richard McKay, the ensemble comprised 19 strings plus winds, brass, piano and percussion as needed. The sound had no problem filling the 750-seat hall, only half of whose seats were occupied.

Raised in Plano, McKay has a doctorate in conducting from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Compact and boyish, he led with clear beat and cues. The very young-looking ensemble included a handful of players from the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras and the Dallas Opera Orchestra. The performances sounded well rehearsed, although with a few too many split horn notes.

Relaxed to a fault, McKay was clearly in control, but he didn’t communicate much sense of the music’s drama. One needn’t flail about on the podium, but a conductor does need to engender a feeling for musical tension and release.

Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture was briskly dispatched, but with little shaping of phrases, and strings sometimes swamped crucial wind parts. Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony was plausibly paced, but McKay relied on volume more than management of tension to create excitement.

He ticked right through major transitions that wanted more “give.” One hopes he’ll learn the structural and expressive power of a delayed downbeat here and there.

Falla’s El amor brujo Suite, too, wanted more snap and crackle, more than well-drilled efficiency. The mezzo-soprano solos don’t require the most honeyed tones, but I longed for more warmth, less earthiness, from Laura Mercado-Wright. She repeatedly disappeared in the sound of the orchestra.

Clearly, the new group will have to learn to play with the new space. Musicians used to 2,000-seat halls need to reduce intensities here, and adjust balances. In the Beethoven, violinists were bowing as aggressively as they would in a Shostakovich symphony at the Meyerson Symphony Center down the street. That needs to change.

The adjustable acoustics in the hall were overdamped, too. The sound improved a bit in the second half, when I moved to the balcony, but ears still craved a little more “ring.” This, too, will need experimentation.

For classical-music concerts, audiences should have at least half-light for reading the program. Printed texts and translations were supplied for the Falla, but in microscopic print hardly readable in bright sunlight.