Restaurant Week Awaits Diners' Decisions

by Joy Donovan on August 10, 2013

Steak is but one item from the menus of more than 100 restaurants participating in Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant Week.

Steak is but one item from the menus of more than 100 restaurants participating in Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant Week.

Decisions, decisions.

It’s time for diners to make their selections for North Texas’ popular summer food and wine event, the 16th annual DFW Restaurant Week presented by Central Market, which begins Sunday.

With a new name and pricing options to spotlight the stellar lineup of participating restaurants throughout the Metroplex, DFW Restaurant Week will again benefit the North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope Home. Diners must decide which restaurants they’ll choose from the list of this year’s 125 participating restaurants and menus detailed at DFWRestaurantWeek.com.

Diners can enjoy a different scene and cuisine every day as they select from top restaurants offering  three-course prix fixe dinners for $35, the $45 level at select restaurants or the Cadillac Lunch Experience featuring three-course lunches for just $25 at many locations.  Twenty percent from each meal purchased will be donated to charity partners, the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas or the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth.

Formerly knows as KRLD Restaurant Week, the dining event serves as a major charity fundraiser supporting the regional community, raising a record $760,000 last year for the charities. Those funds represented a 9 percent increase in funds raised over the  previous year. 

“DFW Restaurant Week is one of our most popular and important fundraisers,” said Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of theNorth Texas Food Bank.  “It’s an ideal way to enjoy a fabulous meal at a deal, while also putting food on tables for children, families and seniors in need.”

Todd A. Landry, executive director, Lena Pope Home, says DFW Restaurant Week makes an enormous impact on funding and awareness for the organization’s work helping Tarrant County children and families.  “We love the excitement of Reservation Day when the restaurants are revealed and our supporters begin to tell us where they will be dining for DFW Restaurant Week.”



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REVIEW: Deep Ellum Scene of Party of Opposites

by Joy Donovan on June 14, 2013

Los Amigos Invisibles

Los Amigos Invisibles

The clock on the wall at Trees in Deep Ellum may have been off by more than an hour, but everything happened right on time on a recent Thursday night in Dallas.  After an eclectic disc jockey set that shifted from Bob Marley tunes into 1990s house music, Los Amigos Invisibles turned the club into quite the syncretic party.

Los Amigos Invisibles didn’t begin its set with a bang; rather, the New York-based Venezuelan funk and disco act began in darkness with a simple hand-off from the DJ to the band’s keyboardist.  Layering in guitar, drums and a team of percussionists, Lost Amigos Invisibles took off with the audience and didn’t stop until the last song of their encore.

With a high-energy stage presence (and a guitarist with seriously high-energy hair), the band seamlessly ran the gamut of Latin American rhythms and European or American dance-pop.  Numbers such as “La que me Gusta,” the lead single from the group’s latest album, have a decidedly 1980s-in-Argentina feel, while the wild disco of “El Reino Animal” is a direct descendant of 1970s American disco.  From the unexpected reference to the surf rock standard “Misirlou” to the searing merengue finale, Los Amigos Invisibles had an excitable crowd dancing into the wee hours of the morning.

This was not the typical Latin pop or even rock en español concert. Los Amigos Invisibles leans quite a bit more toward straight-ahead funk and disco and away from the seductive grooves and melodies of other Latin fusion groups.  This is not to say that the band lacks romantic crooning or hip-shaking rhythms; those aspects are just blended in with the funky keyboard lines and disco-beat drumming.

Whether whistling in harmony, inciting the audience members to respond back to their calls or simply vamping in their unique blend of Latin music and funk, the band onstage had just as great of a time performing music as concertgoers did listening. Los Amigos Invisibles surely accomplished all that they had set out to do.

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REVIEW: Who Says Disco's Dead?

by Joy Donovan on May 23, 2013

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Love the night life? Want to boogie?

Then you’ll love “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

The fab production spotlights one fun disco song after another. Beginning with “It’s Raining Men” sung by three high-strung divas and rolling on with such tunes as “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Go West” and “Boogie Wonderland,” this show is a bell-bottomed romp down memory lane, musically speaking. The thin plot focuses on a road trip through the Australian outback, but the story line is just a backdrop for the fun. It’s not Shakespeare because it doesn’t take itself nearly that seriously.

The musical numbers don’t so much steal the show as they are the show. The eye-catching co-stars are the costumes, which won a 2011 Tony Award, and they’re wild, colorful and silly.

Gender-bending performers take the stage, and they proved they could dance, they could sing and when the microphones messed up, they could ad lib a funny line or two. “Priscilla” offers plenty of comedy–some of it fairly raunchy–and the actors drop a few F-bombs so even if it’s a light comedy, it’s really not family fare.

But with “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Love the Nightlife” mixed with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and a few other choice hits, the show’s perfect for girls’ night out, disco dancers, platform shoe freaks and afro-loving guys. Be there before this happy Dallas Summer Musical presentation closes May 26, so you can shake your groove thing. Yeah, yeah.

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Casa Manana Brings Plaid to Cowtown

by Joy Donovan on May 8, 2013


The 2013 Casa Manana Gala will be held at the Fort Worth theater.

The 2013 Casa Manana Gala will be held at the Fort Worth theater.

“Forever Plaid” is the theme for the 2013 Casa Manana Gala (www.casamanana.org/gala), set for 6 p.m. May 31 at Casa Manana Theatre, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave.

A full evening of entertainment is planned. A live auction and dinner provided by The Ashton Depot will follow the cocktail hour. Curtain is set to rise at 8:45 p.m. on a Broadway production performance of the musical comedy “Forever Plaid,” and then the group Trey and the Tritones will entertain at the post-performance party.

Shirlee and Taylor Gandy have been named honorary chairs, with Becky Renfro Borbolla and Janet Hahn serving as co-chairwomen. Attire for the evening is plaid or early 1960s cocktail. Tickets for the fundraiser range from $400 for an individual seat to $10,000 for a VIP table of 10. More information is available at 817-321-5005.

Founded in 1936 as an amphitheater, Casa Manana was an idea of Amon G. Carter who hired Broadway producer Billy Rose to launch it. In 1957, the city of Fort Worth orchestrated the building of the theater complex, which was last renovated in 2004. Today, Casa Manana brings Broadway theater, professional children’s productions, arts education and outreach programs to Tarrant County.

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Keith Anderson Headlines 2013 Art in the Square

by Joy Donovan on April 23, 2013


SOUTHLAKE _ Art in the Square, the annual outdoor festival sponsored by the Southlake Women’s Club, will open to the public at 4 p.m. Friday in Southlake Town Square (www.SouthlakeTownSquare.com).

With the theme “Art for All Ages,” the event will be open free to the public from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Organizers are expecting 150 artists at the juried art show (ArtintheSquare.com), and the family event also will include food, beverages and continuous entertainment on two stages. Featured entertainer for the event will be Grammy-nominated recording artist Keith Anderson, who will appear on the main stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in a free concert.

Southlake Women’s Club launched the festival in 2000. Since that time the organization has raised more than $1,700,000 for charities serving families in northeast Tarrant County

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REVIEW: No Need For Sugar at Fair Park Music Hall

by Joy Donovan on April 17, 2013

Mary and Bert sing among the roof tops.

Mary and Bert sing among the roof tops.

No need for a spoonful of sugar. “Mary Poppins” doesn’t need to be any sweeter to be gobbled up as a pleasant time at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

The Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org) presentation of the North America tour is filled with the catchy, hum-worthy songs actress Julie Andrews made so popular in the 1964 Walk Disney film. From “A Spoonful of Sugar” to “Feed the Birds” to “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” the well-remembered songs are all there, along with a few new additions.

The production still centers on the tale of a new nanny appearing for the Banks family. The most recent Broadway revival, which premiered the new musical numbers, opened on Broadway in November 2006 and received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical. The show’s true delights remain its big production numbers. Leads and chorus team up to make “Step in Time” a show stopper, and the spring-like park set with bright costumes were visual candy.

Con O’Shea-Creal steals the show as Bert the chimney sweep. He’s charming and equally talented at singing and dancing, even when upside down. Although she looks the part of the mostly no-nonsense, practically perfect nanny, Madeline Trumble doesn’t have the voice quality Julie Andrews spoiled us with. The Banks children, played alternately by matched sets of child actors, are cute but a little too robotic.

The term “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” doesn’t really apply to this “Mary Poppins,” and it’s not really super, either. But it is fun, filled with jaw-dropping stunts, happily familiar ditties and some high-kicking choreography. And as always, “Mary Poppins” brings an element of fun.

Next from Dallas Summer Musicals will be the return of “Wicked,” opening April 10 and playing though May 5.

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Boots and Bling Bring Chesnutt to Cowtown

by Joy Donovan on October 17, 2012

Mark Chesnutt will entertain at the Cowtown Ball, set for Nov. 3 at River Ranch.

FORT WORTH _ Country star Mark Chesnutt, famed artist behind eight number-one hits, will be the featured entertainer at the 20th anniversary Cowtown Ball, the annual western-style gala benefiting the American Cancer Society (cancer.org).

Chesnutt’s first album, “Too Cold at Home,” produced five straight top-10 country hits. His chart-toppers include “Longnecks & Short Stories,” “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” “It Sure is Monday” and “Gonna Get a Life.”

The 2012 Cowtown Ball, with the theme “Boots & Bling,” will be held Nov. 3 at River Ranch in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Tickets are available by calling 817-570-0633.

The western-styled gala has raised more than $5 million the past two decades for the American Cancer Society in Tarrant County. This year’s event will again feature dinner, dancing, casino games, auctions, midway games and more.

As the nation’s leading non-profit funding source for cancer research, the American Cancer Society works to eradicate cancer, the second leading cause of death in the U.S.

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REVIEW: Musical Treats in Time for Halloween

by Joy Donovan on October 7, 2012

'The Addams Family' musical haunts the Music Hall at Fair Park in time for Halloween. Photo courtesy Jeremy Daniel.

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Talk about perfect timing-”The Addams Family” musical makes it to Dallas in time for the holiday–Halloween, of course. That would have to be the high holy days for this show based on the bizarre, twisted family first created by cartoonist Charles Addams in the 1930s.

Yes, the creepy, cartoonish Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Wenesday and Pugsley have hit the stage at the Music Hall at Fair Park for the north Texas premier of the national tour. The musical comedy with a look on the dark side of life gives those in the mood to celebrate this month of spookiness a festive alternative to haunted houses.

This musical features the Addams Family, once the subject of numerous cartoons and a 1960s TV show, in a bit of a family dilemna. Daughter Wednesday has fallen in love with a boy who is–gasp–rather normal. He’s from middle America, and his mother dares to wear yellow, shocking to the Addams, a family entrenched in black.

The show is clever with its sometimes dark, sometimes PG-rated humor. Cortney Wolfson is adorably kooky as Wednesday with a great voice. Douglas Sills as Gomez, who remains smitten with his shapely wife, and Blake Hammond as the moon-obsessed Uncle Fester are terrific in their roles. The ghostly-spirits of the ensemble are great dancers who add a lot to the show. Sara Gettelfinger’s turn as Morticia is remarkable mostly for her ability to refrain from a wardrobe malfunction in a dress that is cut distractingly, scarily low.

“The Addams Family” opened on Broadway in March of 2010 and closed in December 2011. It was a popular show with audiences, but one without much critical acclaim. No Tony Award for this show, and neither does it boast a real toe-tapping musical number. So it’s fun like candy corn or popcorn balls–nothing too meaty but something that leaves you happy.

Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org) presents this spirited musical through Oct. 21. Bring your fingers to snap along with the overture, and you’ll open the door to more treats that creeps.

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Trail Drive Returns to Fort Worth Stockyards

by Joy Donovan on September 27, 2012

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will serve as honorary trail boss.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will serve as honorary trail boss for Rocky Top Therapy Center’s annual Great Trail Drive Oct. 6 in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.

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Rocky Top Therapy Center, a Keller non-profit organization, again will host  its annual Great Trail Drive and the evening event Denim & Pearls Dinner Dance Oct. 6 in the Worth Stockyards. Starting off early in the morning, the trail drive will head out down the Trinity River along the historic Chisholm Trail to downtown and back.  

A chuck wagon barbecue will follow the trail drive, presented by Cross Timbers from Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in Amarillo. 

Then doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for Denim & Pearls Dinner Dance  for an evening of food, entertainment and auctions.  Entertaining will be Dan Roberts, country western singer and songwriter. 

Rocky Top Therapy Center helps more than 400 mentally, physically and emotionally challenged individuals each week through therapy horses.  Staff members consist of physical and occupational therapists, mental health professionals, licensed social workers and counselors.  Proceeds from the “Great Trail Drive” event will benefit the center’s therapeutic riding and hippotherapy programs, including its educational and counseling program for at-risk youth and the “Horses for Heroes” program for returning military heroes and their families.

For more information about The Great Trail Drive, the Denim & Pearls Dinner Dance or Rocky Top’s programs, visit www.rockytoptherapy.org or call the center at 817-379-5717.

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Legacy Award Honorees Announced

by Joy Donovan on August 5, 2012

Actress Marlee Matlin will be the featured speaker at the 20th Annual Legacy of Women Awards Luncheon.

Winners have been announced for the 20th Annual Legacy of Women Awards, a competition sponsored by SafeHaven of Tarrant County (www.safehaventc.org).

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 The women from Arlington, Fort Worth and Northeast Tarrant County honored as outstanding in five different areas of expertise will be recognized at a luncheon Oct. 11 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Chairing the event will be Laura Laurence, Paige Pate and Brook Whitworth.

Actress Marlee Matlin, who won an Academy Award for her film debut in “Children of a Lesser God,” will be the featured speaker at the event. Tickets for the awards luncheon cost $125 and are available by calling 817-535-6462.

Award winners for 2012 are:06

  •  Arts: Patti Diou, Arlington; Suzy Williams, Fort Worth; Trish Biddle, Northeast Tarrant County.
  • Business: Grace McDermott, Arlington; Nancy Jones, Fort Worth; Lynn Stillman, Northeast Tarrant County.
  • Education: Linda Denson, Arlington; Laura Prestwood, Ft. Worth; Linda Burr, Northeast Tarrant County.
  • Health and Human Services: April Harris, Arlington; Lillie Biggins, Fort Worth; Rita Goodner, Northeast Tarrant County.
  • Volunteerism: Carol Zimmer, Arlington; Jean Roach, Fort Worth; Cecilia Monacelli, Northeast Tarrant County.

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