Dallas skyline, photo (c) 2012 by Peter Orozco
Cool People & Things
Be sure to check out the following events and people in the Dallas area. If you currently host or run a regular event such as an open mic, or you provide a space for events, are a locally owned/operated business, artist, or photographer, or provide some other service that benefits the local arts scene in some other way, and are willing to cross-promote, be sure to contact me.
Bill's Records & Tapes Bill's Records, Dallas A longtime denizen and supporter of the independent music scene, Bill Wisener and Bill's Records & Tapes have been fixtures of the Dallas community for over thirty years. After cutting his teeth working the flea markets and swap meets, Bill opened his first record store in 1973 on Lower Greenville Avenue. In 1981, he moved the store to its former location at Spring Valley and Coit Road in North Dallas, and from there he proceeded to build one of the largest independently owned and operated record stores in the country. Over the years, hundreds of acts played or made personal appearances inside his hallowed walls, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Radiohead, Suede, Weezer, and Bill's close friend, Ben Harper. Beginning in the summer of 2002, Bill's Records & Tapes also became a popular venue for local poets and spoken word artists, and it was the site of a weekly open mic that ran from 2002 until January 2006. In March 2007, Bill moved the store from its home of 26 years to its present location at 1317 S. Lamar Street, just south of Downtown Dallas. The move was necessitated by the pressures of internet competition and the property management's desire to exploit the changing demographic of the Spring Valley / Coit retail area. Now situated next door to Poor David's Pub and just across the way from the old Sears building (now the South Side Lofts) and the Absinthe Lounge, Bill's Records & Tapes continues to be an integral part of the Dallas arts scene, one of the few remaining places in town where you can get to know the owner and enjoy a mom-and-pop atmosphere. Bill and Bill's Records were forever immortalized in the 2005 Jeff Liles documentary The Last Record Store, and the store was the host venue for the Lost Art Open Mic on Sunday nights at 8 PM.
Curtain Club / Liquid Lounge Curtain Club, Liquid Lounge The Curtain Club. . .what can I say? In a very real sense, it was the place that launched my career documenting the Dallas music scene. It was one of the first venues I ever went to and the first one I frequented regularly as a fan of local music and local music performers. It played host to all of my early favorites, many of whom (Holy Diver, Mod Effect, Reverent, SiK, and With These Words, among others) I saw for the first time during a Curtain Club visit. The first time I ever photographed a live band performance, it was there, and it remains one of my favorite venues at which to shoot or just to hear good music. The sound system is top-notch, and it's relatively easy for a band performing there to obtain a recording of the night's set. Curtain supports local music, and the interior is covered with posters, stickers, and plaques commemorating bands that have played there. The sister venue to the Curtain Club, the Liquid Lounge, is a smaller and more intimate venue which generally hosts smaller, more acoustic acts. Both clubs feature a full roster of mostly local performers on most Friday and Saturday nights beginning around 8:00. Cover is typically seven to ten dollars, and credit cards are accepted. Curtain and Liquid are located at 2800 Main Street in Deep Ellum.
No single form of artistic media can fully express the will of the composer. Media must be combined with other forms to create a complete expression of the composer. Composers must acknowledge the inherent sexual and violent elements to all art. Experimentation is the foundation to all creative endeavors. All artistic work must challenge societal norms.

Performance artist Kurtz Frausun creates his Dark Ambient/Gothic/Industrial music/films and composes experimental videos that utilize religious, historical, horror themes and social issues both on stage and online. He draws inspiration from bands such as Dead Can Dance, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Death in June and film directors Leni Riefenstahl, Fritz Lang, David Lynch, as well as the literary works of Rumi, Nietzsche, and William S. Burroughs. Unconventional tones are utilized, including screams from a mad house, Latin invocations, classical strings, and ambient chants, with hard beats and noise assault.

"My inspiration is as varied as the elements in our music. A pounding Industrial beat will be mixed with a Call to Prayer and sitars. A blend of the organic and electronic." When Frausun takes stage, he brings not only music, with live experimentation and effects, but unique guests: BDSM performers, burlesque dancers, painters, poets, torture and shock talents to make every show a totally unique experience. "Our shows become Total Environments: Billowing incense, hypnotic videos, subliminal audio/video messages, etc. to draw you into this dark world."

Visit the Frausun website at www.frausun.com.

Kalachandji's Kalachandji's If you're looking for a unique vegetarian cuisine served up with a generous helping of atmosphere, or your're just a lover of foreign dining experiences, look no further. Kalachandji's has been a fixture in East Dallas since it opened its doors in 1982, and has been recognized far and wide throughout the Dallas area as a premier vegetarian eatery. Numerous personalities have passed through the doors of the temple, including Todd Rundgren, R.E.M., and B.B. King, among others. These and other celebrities are pictured on the wall by the buffet entrance, but the palace does not exploit the value of these names to draw in visitors. It doesn't need to - rather, it is Kalachandji's itself that draws people to it, to come in and dine, frequent the gift shop, or to attend services at the Hari Krishna temple. A friend introduced me to the restaurant in the late 90's, and I have been a patron ever since. On Sunday evenings, when I'm not going to a show or hanging out with a friend, you can often find me there for the Sunday buffet. $12.95 gets you into the door, and it's all you can eat from that point. The menu rotates and features Indian dishes as well as various other dishes done over Indian style. The restaurant features an enclosed courtyard with a fountain, numerous tables, and booths with heaters fixed overhead for use during the winter months. Kalachandji's is located at 5430 Gurley Ave in Dallas, two blocks from Samuel Blvd. and Hwy 78 (East Grand Avenue).
Mad Swirl Open Mic Mad Swirl Option 1:  what : who : where : when : why : you - what is mad swirl? mad swirl recognizes the madness of creation, of life, of art, and we work to get the whole mad swirl of it all into as many minds as possible. who is mad swirl? mad swirl is a diverse collective of poets, writers, visual artists and performers that we could gather together in one mad place. where is mad swirl? mad swirl is located between a front & back cover, a www & a dot com and on stage at dallas's absinthe Lounge. when is mad swirl? mad swirl open mic is every 1st wednesday of the month. madswirl.com is twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five. and every once in awhile mad swirl gathers together a print issue. why mad swirl? mad swirl recognizes the madness of creation, of life, of art. mad swirl is an outlet... an electronic, print & live-wired creative outlet. you & mad swirl? have we piqued your interest? do you wanna see your mad ideas, words and art come to life? then visit madswirl.com for more information. Option 2: Mad Swirl is a platform, a showcase and a stage for the many artists in this mad, mad world of ours. Mad Swirl is the collection of as many poets, painters, writers, illustrators and photographers that we could gather. Mad Swirl takes the many sides of art and showcases it between a front and back cover, a www and a dot com and on stage at Absinthe Lounge in Dallas. Mad Swirl recognizes the madness of creation, the madness of life, the madness of art and tries to get the mad swirl of it all into as many heads as possible. Basically, Mad Swirl is an outlet... an electronic, print and live-wired creative outlet. Got'ya interested? Wanna see your ideas, words, art, photos, rants, cartoons, scribblings come to life?

-- Johnny O.

Mochalux Open Mic Mochalux Open Mic Originally started by singer/songwriter Alexcie Ewbanks, whose spirit is still felt, the open mic at Mochalux has been going strong for over four years. Paul Sexton is the main force behind Mochalux, assisted by Devorah Titunik. The open mic meets every Saturday night starting at 8 PM and runs until the coffee house closes at 11. The mic is open to all and generally features a combination of music and poetry, but has also had the occasional stand-up comedian. Often there is a featured performer, and they have hosted several book and CD release parties.

Mochalux is a great place to start if you've never read or performed in public before. Other than the occasional sound of the blender, it is quiet and the people friendly and supportive. That's really the best thing. Everyone who's been coming to Mochalux for any length of time comments on the "family" feeling there. We have been very fortunate in that. The artists who participate have a great deal of appreciation of each other's work. We have had some great artists through our venue. Some have moved away and others have become well known and can't come out as often, but still come when they can and always speak fondly of coming home to Mochalux. We love to see new faces and hear new talent come through our doors. Without that we wouldn't have been able to remain fresh after being there so long. It is really all about the people who show up and how they contribute. Each Saturday night is unique because of the people that bring their own gifts. I hope you will come and check us out! Mochalux is located at 1101 E Bardin Rd, Ste 101, Arlington, TX 76018 (817) 376-9886.

-- Mochalux Open Mic

Paperbacks Plus / Lucky Dog Books Paperbacks Plus, Dallas One of Dallas's premier used bookstores, this fixture in the local literary community first opened its doors in 1976 in the Lakewood Shopping Center off Gaston and Abrams in East Dallas, moving down the street to 6115 LaVista Drive in 1994 and then to its present location at 10801 Garland Road in 2012. The sister store of the original Paperbacks Plus in Mesquite, Texas, Lucky Dog Books in Dallas has been owned and run since the beginning by Marquetta Herring and John Tilton. Whether you're a student of literature, an avid poet, a fan of a good mystery or romance novel, or merely a passerby who happens to be in journeying through East Dallas, this is the place to stop and visit. You can find and browse just about any type of book on any subject you can think of, and if you're on a budget (like most of us poor readers, photographers, and artists are), you can take advantage of the generous trading policy to save up to 50% off the price of nearly anything in the store. Many a starving poet and artist have found a haven within the store's hallowed walls. And if you're looking to check out the local literary scene, this is the place to go. While the main body of the store houses room after room packed full of books, magazines, movies, and music for sale, the events room plays host to various events, readings, and literary gatherings. The headquarters of the Writer's Garrett is located there, and the store itself is situated within easy reach of historic East Dallas and nearly a stone's throw away from the White Rock Lake area. Paperbacks Plus has a special place in my heart as it was there that I was given the first job I ever had, and the one I stayed at the longest (1994 - 2003), not to mention having been the place that gave me my entrée into the world of poets and open mic artists. Paperbacks Plus and Lucky Dog Books are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are from 10 - 9 Monday through Friday and from 12 - 7 on Sundays and holidays. The Mesquite location, opened in 1974 and the sister store to the Dallas location, is at 108 E. Davis Street, right outside the old town square. A second Dallas location, located at 633 W. Davis Street in north Oak Cliff, opened in April 2012.
Scotty Mankoff Scotty Mankoff Who is the Crazy Picture Guy, Scotty Mankoff? This guy is the busiest and most prolific photographer I know, with literally tens of thousands of photos to his credit. Chances are, if you've been to any major local event in the past year, he's been there. A freelance photographer available for hire, he is seen just about everywhere anything is happening, and even many places where it isn't - Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville, The Vampire Lounge, The Skillman Street Pub, The Granada Theater, the new Bill's Records, the Town Square Project, the AFI Film Fest, the Kettle Art Gallery, Studio Fling, Absolute Rehearsal, and everywhere in between. His photos and articles have appeared in Harder Beat, Lit Monthly, Envy, Metro ANE Magazine, and on countless MySpace profiles far and wide. Some of his photos have been featured in art shows at the Kettle Art Gallery in Deep Ellum. He is an accomplished musician who has sung and played guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, harmonica, and kazoo in several bands over the last twenty years. Over fifty Scotty Mankoff original compositions are registered with BMI and the Library of Congress. And speaking of music, you can often find him on the radio as a DJ or commentator, as he has been involved with radio since 1987 and has been affiliated with multiple stations. He has conducted video interviews of musicians and artists, some of which can be seen on YouTube, and is a member of Model Mayhem and BMI as a singer/songwriter. And as if all that weren't enough, he is currently at work on a book which will feature the best of his hitherto unpublished photo work. Like I said, this guy is everywhere and has done everything to help promote and support the local arts and music scenes. Check out his site at ScottMankoff.com. And if you see him at a show or an opening sometime, remember to say hello and to thank him for all he has done for the arts in Dallas.
Spiral Diner Spiral Diner, Dallas If you're looking for vegetarian / vegan friendly fare outside of Austin, your choices are often rather limited. Even places that advertise "vegetarian" dishes often have hidden non-veggie ingredients added into the mix, or cook the non-meat foods in the same oils as the meat dishes. Or maybe, like me, you just don't want to consume certain products such as eggs. If this is you, then the Spiral Diner is the place for you. Spiral features a completely non-animal, non-dairy menu, using organic ingredients whenever possible. With two locations in Dallas and in Fort Worth, it's one of the only completely vegan friendly restaurants in the area. Drop in some time and you might be surprised at how tasty the food served there is. Everything in their food is listed right there on the menu, so you know exactly what you are getting when you order, and if you have any food allergies or preferences, you can inform the staff and they will do their best to accommodate you. The Dallas location features a relaxed, casual dining atmosphere in Oak Cliff only a short drive from Downtown. Hours of operation are 11 - 5 on Sundays and 11 - 10 Tuesday through Saturday. The Dallas restaurant is located at 1101 N. Beckley Avenue, and the Fort Worth restaurant is at 1314 W. Magnolia Avenue. The prices are a bit on the high side for the portions, so come prepared.
MediaElement.js MediaElement.js The problem of audio and video on the web is a longstanding one, with various competing solutions and formats having come into vogue over the years (RealPlayer, Windows Media, Quicktime, Flash, OGG, MP3, etc.). The HTML5 specification includes what are intended to be a more permanent solution to these problems in the way of the new (audio) and (video) tags. Unfortunately, support is as yet patchy and incomplete due to the number of different browsers and operating systems currently in use, and the number of competing multimedia formats and incomplete support for each across systems. The MediaElement.js player acts as a solution to this problem. For systems and browsers supporting the new HTML standards, MediaElement.js provides a convenient (front end) and consistent user experience across all. For those not yet supporting the HTML5 video standards, the system provides Flash and Silverlight based fallback allowing the use of both the same UI and also the same HTML and Javascript code across all compatible browsers. There are any number of HTML5 players available on the web, many of which also include Flash fallback support, but MediaElement.js is free and also includes plugin support for Drupal, Joomla, jQuery, and BlogEngine.NET, as well as being part of the WordPress core. The MediaElement player is used for most of the video and audio embeds throughout this site and can be found at www.mediaelementjs.com.