Photo by Gittings

Executing the most athletic feat ever attempted in a ginormous white ballgown, 26 debutantes took their "Texas Dip" into society at the 37th Annual Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ballon February 11.

In grand tradition, each young woman was escorted onto the stage of the Meyerson Symphony Center by her father as the Dave Alexander Orchestra played a theme of her choosing. Dad then kissed her on the cheek, stepped to the side carefully (Don't step on the dress!) and looked on proudly as she walked forward.

Slowly, gracefully, purposefully, each woman curtsied all the way to the ground - arms out, head forward, head bowed, head to the side - all while clutching a floral bouquet. A member of the Honor Guard then assisted her onto her feet and carefully (Don't step on the dress!) escorted her off stage to relax.

While most in the audience politely applauded each performance, occasionally an entire cheering section of the young women's peers (mostly of college sophomore and junior age) would stand up and yell for their friends, as if at a sporting event. (The program specifically requested no air horns or cowbells.) A breach of etiquette, perhaps, but some added celebratory élan at the swanky formal affair.

The 2023 DSOL debutantes were: Britton Barcus, Margaret Bracken, Stephanie Ciarochi, Kate Clark, Sarah Crow, Elena Dewar, Gracie Dix, Natalie Duvall, Arden Eiland, Charlotte Esping, Kaitlin Ann Kelly, Celeste Lay, Ella Marks, Ellie Michaelson, Gigi Miller, Lydia Pigott, Morgan Potter, Sasha Schwimmer, Ellie Steindorf, Catherine Stiles, Elizabeth Thompson, Lucy Tilden, CeCe Tribolet, Danielle Ward, Paige Williams, and Nicole Zimmer.

The DSOL Presentation Ball is a time-honored tradition for many of Dallas' most influential and philanthropic families. For example (try to keep up here) ...

Gigi Miller made her debut, and brothers Vaughn andVance served as Honor Guards. Their grandmother, Tincy Miller, founded the event in 1987. Her son (their father) Vaughn Miller was among the first Honor Guard group in the inaugural year.

Then there is the Averitt family, who has been active in the event for 30 years. Members of the Averitt/Duvall families were present for the debut of Natalie Duvall. Her mom, Susan Averitt Duvall, made her debut in the inaugural presentation ball, and sister Madelyn Duvall was presented in 2020. Susan’s brother Mark Averitt was a member of the first group of Honor Guards, and other family members were involved, as well.

Several parents present had had debutante daughters in prior years, including Heather and Bill Esping, Megan and John Pigott, Dawne and Patrick Tribolet, and Michelle and Erik Ward.

During the onstage ceremony, emcee Stan Garner recognized this year's honorary co-chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, Presentation Ball chair Karen Cox, and DSOL president Cynthia Beaird. Legendary fashion show producer Jan Strimple was honored, as this was her final year as choreographer of the ball; she is handing the reins to Densil Adams assisted by Mia Davis.

After each young woman was presented, the audience scurried quickly into the lobby, where trumpeters lined the grand staircase in anticipation of the debs' procession. Escorted by Honor Guard members, the women were announced and ushered onto the dance floor for the traditional father-daughter dance.

Then patrons found their tables for a sumptuous seated dinner: spring greens bouquet salad with artistically presented red and yellow tomato, mozzarella tower; roasted filet mignon with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, baby carrots, and spinach; and a decadent flourless chocolate torte with brandied cherries and vanilla bean whipped cream for dessert.

Following dinner, Limelight Band took the stage, and the door floor filled for a high-energy after-party.

The Presentation Ball, which was first held in 1987, is the largest fundraiser for the DSOL. Over $14 million has been raised for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through the annual black- or white-tie event. Participation is open to all young women. Much like a sorority, participants pay fees and participate in parties, fundraisers, and other events throughout the year.

Founded in 1946, the DSOL's mission is to support the Dallas Symphony Orchestra through service, education and fundraising activities. Since 1998 the League has contributed over $21 million in support of the DSO's many community initiatives.

DSOL debutante ball

Photo by Gittings

Elena Dewar doing the Texas Dip

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Refined lounge to open in Dallas' West Village with star behind the bar

Fancy Cocktail News

There's a swanky new bar and tasting restaurant coming to the West Village: Called Colette, it will open in the former Pok the Raw Bar space at 3699 McKinney Ave. #306, with a seasonal menu of signature cocktails and small tastings.

The concept is from Brandon Cohanim, (Pok, Namo), who has partnered with Ruben Rolon, who previously served as head bartender at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Miami and Le Jardiniere Miami where he was awarded the 2022 Florida Exceptional Cocktails Award by the inaugural Michelin Guide Miami.

Their vision: an intimate space, an artisan aperitif destination offering a sophisticated and upscale experience that pulls inspiration from the bar and food culture of Europe.

According to a release, it'll open later this year.

Dishes could be an exquisite croissant savored during a morning stroll in Paris or a prosciutto and melon appetizer enjoyed in the streets of Parma.

Furnishings will be top-notch, from bespoke glassware to custom marble tabletops and designed floors.

The bar will focus on European spirits, with a "science-forward" cocktail process that includes ingredient preservation, fermentation, and clarification, as well as creating in-house chartreuse, vermouth, and bitters to accompany select spirits.

“Colette will be an establishment for a quality crafted cocktail that leaves guest nostalgic and fondly looking back on their experience,” says Rolon. “An ever-rotating menu will mean something new upon every visit and provide a sense of whimsy & wonder, like that of travels. While a destination can be visited multiple times each trip holds something new to be explored and we are delighted to offer guests this journey brought tableside.”

These are the 17 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

This weekend in and around Dallas is jam-packed with events, to the point that it was difficult to pare down the list. Choices that made the cut include five theater productions, a music festival, several big concerts, art openings, the annual Pride celebration, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events. Find some big food and drink events here.

Thursday, June 1

Josh Gates: An Evening of Legends, Mysteries and Tales of Adventure
Adventurer, television personality and author Josh Gates is the host and executive producer of the Discovery Channel series Expedition Unknown. The show follows Gates as he sets out on a global journey to explore archaeological discoveries, historic mysteries, and scientific breakthroughs. Gates immerses himself in each story, conducting his own investigations, showcasing the work of dedicated explorers while also highlighting vibrant cultures and fascinating destinations. He'll talk about his experiences during this event at Winspear Opera House.

Undermain Theatre presents The Way She Spoke
The Way She Spoke is a haunting and theatrical one-woman play which travels from the stage to the treacherous streets of Juárez, Mexico, where thousands of women have been murdered in an epidemic of violence that has yet to stop. The play is a raw and riveting exploration of responsibility: one playwright's journey to give voice to a city of women silenced by violence, fear and a world that has turned a deaf ear to their stories. The production runs through June 18 at Undermain Theatre.

Uptown Players presents Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical
In an epic game of cat and mouse, two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet, and vow to destroy anyone who gets in their way. Seduced by passion and revenge, this devious duo spins a web of dangerous liaisons and find themselves entangled in the cruelest game of all: love. Based on the cult classic film and featuring favorite '90s hits, the production runs through June 11 at Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Belle Sauvage presents The Last Flapper
Is she mad… or just angry? Alone in a mental hospital, Zelda Fitzgerald, icon of the Jazz age, asks the questions her doctor should have. Did F. Scott steal her words? Did he claim she was insane just to gain his freedom? Can a woman decide her own fate? In this poignant, playful and truthful one-woman show, Zelda finally gets to tell her side of the story. The historical play wrestles with issues that are not at all a thing of the past. The production runs through June 11 in Theatre Too at Theatre Three.

AT&T Performing Arts Center presents Poems for Broken Screens
Part of AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project series, Poems for Broken Screens is a transmedia performance art project spanning multiple genres and disciplines. It is an adventurous expression of 21st century poetry, broadly interpreted: the poem as sound, as image, as movement, as media. This ambitious project is an avant-garde interpretation of poetic forms translated through technology and experimental performance. There will be three performances through Saturday at Hamon Hall inside Winspear Opera House.

Theatre Three presents Next to Normal
The Goodman family is just a “normal” family: Dad's an architect, mom packs lunches and makes birthday cakes, and their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. Under the surface, their family is anything but. Next to Normal is an emotionally charged Tony-Award winning musical that explores a family’s raw and emotional journey with a mother struggling with chronic bipolar disorder as they navigate a world of therapists and medication. The highly anticipated production runs through July 2 at Theatre Three.

Friday, June 2

At Dreamhack, guests can participate in a variety of activities, including esports tournaments featuring Counter-Strike and Halo, cosplay contests, shopping expo, visiting with content creators, and more. The event runs through Sunday at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Stonebriar Centre presents Disney and Pixar’s Elemental Experience
Disney and Pixar’s Elemental Experience invites fans into the world of the new film Elemental, featuring fun film-themed activities like photo and video opportunities, a chance to draw with Pixar artists, a movie-ticket grab in a wind tunnel, plus giveaways and special film content. The event runs through Sunday at Stonebriar Centre ahead of the film's opening on June 16.

KHYI 95.3 The Range Radio presents Texas Music Revolution
KHYI 95.3 The Range Radio presents the 27th annual Texas Music Revolution, a two-day event featuring over 75 bands on 15 stages throughout downtown McKinney. Performers will include Charlie Robison, Kevin Fowler, Chris Knight, John Baumann, Shane Smith & the Saints, Robert Earl Keen, Adam Hood, Micky & the Motorcars, and more.

Spark presents Prismatic
Prismatic is a pop-up experience where visitors can immerse themselves in rooms decorated with one single color and theme, designed and built entirely by local high school students. Taking place on weekends through August 27, the event is open to all ages, but will also include a variety of adult-only nights.

Janet Jackson in concert
Janet Jackson comes to Dallas as part of her ninth concert tour, Together Again. The tour will celebrate Jackson's 50th anniversary in entertainment and spotlight milestones for two of her most critically acclaimed albums - 25 years of The Velvet Rope, and 30 years of janet, featuring her biggest chart-topping hits, plus new music. The concert will be at Dos Equis Pavilion.

Lady A in concert
What's in a name? Lady A has seemingly found out since shortening the former "Antebellum" part of their name in 2020. Prior to the change, each of their seven albums had reached No. 1 or 2 on the Billboard Country charts, and come in near the top of the Billboard 200. Their only album since the name change, 2021's What a Song Can Do, charted at No. 12 and 135 respectively, a far cry from their previous heights. And after playing at Dos Equis Pavilion in each of their three most recent visits to Dallas, they'll play the far more intimate Majestic Theatre this time around.

Rodney Crowell in concert
The soon-to-be 73-year-old Rodney Crowell has been a mainstay in country music since his debut album in 1978. Since then, he's gone on to release 22 albums, reaching his highest heights in 1988 and 1989, when all five singles off his album Diamonds and Dirt went to No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts. He'll play at Longhorn Ballroom in support of his new album, The Chicago Sessions. He will be joined by Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley.

Heather McMahan: The Comeback Tour
A beloved standup comedian, storyteller, and the best friend everyone wants, Heather McMahan has seen her popularity skyrocket with fans and the industry falling for her voice, wit and southern flair. Her podcast, Absolutely Not With Heather McMahan was named one of the 10 Best Podcasts of 2021 by Entertainment Weekly. She'll perform at Winspear Opera House on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, June 3

Arlington Museum of Art openings
Even though it's an art museum, music will be the centerpiece of two new exhibitions at the Arlington Museum of Art. Piggybacking on the recent visit by superstar Taylor Swift, they'll host Taylor Swift: "The Eras Tour Collection," curated by the museum from Swift’s own private collection and featuring original costumes, photographs, and concert videos drawn from her creative periods, or "eras." Also opening is "Girl in a Country Song: Women of Country Music," featuring intimate portraits of female country music legends like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Tanya Tucker, LeAnn Rimes, and others. Both exhibitions will be on display through September 24.

Dallas Pride Weekend
Dallas Pride Weekend is a two-day event that includes a music festival headlined by Allison Ponthier on Saturday, the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday, and other activities celebrating the LGBTQ community. The celebration takes place around Fair Park on both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday, June 4

Janet Jackson

Photo by Preston Meneses

Janet Jackson will play at Dos Equis Pavilion on June 2.

Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert
Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter debuted in the late 1980s, but she hit her peak in the 1990s with hits like "Passionate Kisses," "He Thinks He'll Keep Her," "I Take My Chances," and "Shut Up and Kiss Me." Those songs are more than enough to keep her relevant 30 years later even though she's continued to release new albums, most recently 2020's The Dirt and the Stars. Carpenter will play at Majestic Theatre.

Mississippi sisters debut perky Southern-chic boutique on Dallas' Greenville Avenue

Shopping news

When Allison and Anna Williams graduated from University of Mississippi in 2021, they didn't picture themselves owning a boutique on Lower Greenville in Dallas. But the twin sisters are the fourth generation of their family to run a retail store, and they're now having a ball immersing themselves in the fashion business in the big city.

The Williamses' new women's clothing boutique, Five 54, opened this spring at 1906 Greenville Ave., next to Clark's Barbershop, in the buzziest neighborhood in Dallas. The shop is filled with on-trend styles in perky prints, comfy knits, and breezy fabrics appropriate for hot summers. (As seen on their cute Instagram page.)

They stock about 40 different contemporary brands, including sundresses, skirts, and tops by Reset by Jane; denim from Hidden; and separates and dresses from Fate and Olivaceous. And they prioritize affordability: most pieces are under $75.

The shop's name, "Five 54," comes from their grandmother's street address.

From small-town Mississippi to Big D
While the Greenville store is the sisters' first Dallas venture, it's actually the second location of Five 54.

The summer after they graduated college, the Williamses opened their first store in the small Mississippi town where they grew up. With a population of about 3,500 people, Hazelhurst was the perfect testing ground for their concept, they say. The family owned the space they opened in, so they were able to operate rent-free. Renovating the space in Mississippi took a couple of months and cost about $40 for permit applications.

While neither sister studied fashion retailing - Allison majored in Hospitality Management while Anna's degree is in Integrated Marketing - they both have a love for fashion, and for shopping. Their family's furniture business meant they'd grown up attending Furniture Markets in High Point, North Carolina, so the transition to buying apparel wasn't a difficult one.

The sisters love their hometown and appreciate the experience they gained with their first boutique, but they both wanted to expand not only their business, but their life experience.

"We’ve always wanted to venture off from Mississippi," Anna Williams says. "We had college friends and we would always visit (Dallas). We just love the big city and all the people and all the action."

A weekend trip to Dallas in August 2022 took them on a commercial real estate tour, as well as a tour of the city.

"We had so much fun," Allison Williams says.

Things started moving quickly after that. By September, they'd signed the lease for the shop. They enlisted their mom's experience as an interior designer as they mapped out their vision of the store.

Still getting started
Renovations started in October, and they soon learned that permits and renovations in Dallas were significantly more stressful than in Mississippi. Renovations in Dallas took more than six months.

Though the shop has been open for a few months, it still doesn't have a sign - they're waiting on a permit.

Having a store in Dallas, though, has allowed the sisters to create a different kind of shopping experience, they say.

"For the most part, we’ve been able to pick up a few brands that are unique to Dallas - more unique pieces that we wouldn’t be able to sell in Mississippi," Allison says.

The vibe in the store is as fun as their life in Dallas; they love living in the neighborhood and walking to work, they say.

While they've put down new roots in Dallas, the sisters still travel to Mississippi every six to eight weeks to visit family and check on their Hazelhurst store. A manager handles that location full time now, and Zoom and FaceTime help keep them in touch.

Dallas is as far as they plan to venture for now, and any future expansion will be focused on e-commerce from the Five 54 website, they say.

Their Greenville store hours are 11 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday and 11 am-5 pm Sunday.