Photo by Art Streiber

Country music icon Dolly Parton will grace the stage for the third time as host of the American Country Music Awards, and she's bringing along a newcomer: Garth Brooks. The two superstars will emcee the58th annual ACMstaking place, for the first time, at The Star in Frisco on Thursday, May 11. The show will stream on Prime Video.

“I am thrilled to return to host the ACM Awards, this time with my friend Garth,” Parton says in a release. “While I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with him throughout the years, I can’t believe we’ve never had the chance to work together. In addition to getting to see all this great new talent in country music, I am excited to have the chance to premiere the lead single from my upcoming rock album on the show!”

Adds Brooks, “Anyone with Dolly Parton makes a fantastic couple."

As Billboard reminds, Parton hosted the big awards show solo in 2000, and again last year with co-hosts Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett. It's Brooks' first time to take on co-hosting duties at any awards show. He's coming off a world tour that included a smash-hit show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in August 2022.

“We are elated to have beloved icon Dolly Parton return to co-host the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards alongside the legendary Garth Brooks,” says Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon and MGM Studios. “As we bring back the Emmy-nominated Academy of Country Music Awards to our global audience, we are thrilled to continue to showcase the power of Amazon to create what will be an unforgettable night of live entertainment experiences with Dolly and Garth at the helm of ‘Country Music’s Party of the Year.’”

According to Billboard, fans shouldn't expect a Parton-Brooks musical collaboration on stage. However, Parton - a recent inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - will be debuting a single from her forthcoming rock album, Rockstar, on the show.

The 2023 edition of the Academy of Country Music Awards will mark a return to Texas for the first time since the landmark 50th ACM Awards, which took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2015.

A limited number of tickets remain (starting around $400) via SeatGeek, organizers say.

As with any worldwide, Super Bowl-level event, there'll be many happenings leading up to it, including a benefit concert headlined by Morgan Wallen. The country music bad boy (and current superstar and reigning ACM Album of the Year winner) takes top billing on "ACM Lifting Lives LIVE: Morgan Wallen & Friends," a fundraiser for Lifting Lives, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music.

The show will be held at 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 10 on the golfing green at Topgolf in The Colony. Tickets ($350) for the benefit concert are on sale now through AXS.

Additional events plus ACM award nominees, performers, and presenters for this year’s show will be announced in coming weeks.

Photo by Simon Luna

Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott champions kindness at 2023 Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Mental health advocacy

What: Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon

Where: Omni Dallas Hotel

The 411: About 700 attendees gathered to cheer on Grant Halliburton Foundation's mission to support adolescent mental health - and to cheer on their favorite Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Dak Prescott, along with Solomon Thomas of the New York Jets, delivered messages of hope at the 14th annual fundraising luncheon on March 7.

Both players use their platforms off the field to raise awareness about mental health and suicide through their foundations.

Andy Adler, CBS 11 sports anchor and children’s rights activist, interviewed Prescott and Thomas on stage. Both shared the seemingly simple message to "be kind." They demonstrated why it's so important from their personal experiences.

Prescott has been open about his own mental health challenges. His Faith Fight Finish Foundation was established as a tribute to his mom, Peggy, who died of cancer in 2013, and its work also honors his brother, Jace, who died in 2020 by suicide.

"Depression and anxiety can overwhelm you. I realized that during the first month of COVID. Sunny days felt dark, and my big house and yard felt small and closed in," Prescott said from stage. "We have the obligation to take care of ourselves and neighbors. Help your neighbors and loved ones ... We have hope. React in a healthy way.”

Similarly, Thomas (a Dallas native) lost his sister, Ella, to suicide in 2018 and co-founded The Defensive Line with his parents, Martha and Chris Thomas (who were in attendance). Their organization focuses on mental health and suicide prevention.

"We must treat ourselves as human beings and others as human beings. Ask people not how they are doing, but how are you really doing," Thomas urged, adding, "Vote and identify candidates who care about mental health. We have to make sure our kids have support in schools. We didn’t see widespread support 10 years ago.”

Local students joined Prescott and Thomas on stage to ask questions before Halliburton Foundation president Kevin Hall presented theprestigious Beacon Award to both players.

Steve Noviello of FOX 4 News served as the master of ceremonies for the luncheon, which followed a champagne reception where guests took part in mental health activations, viewed and purchased raffle packages, and listened to DJ Lucy Wrubel keep the beat lively.

This year's luncheon chairs were the Conly family — Jeanie and Bert Conly and their children, Lindsey and Aaron Berg, Mark Briscoe, and Kendall and Luke Cagle; Barb Farmer is the founding luncheon chair. Vanita Halliburton spoke about the organization she co-founded after losing her son Grant to suicide 17 years ago.

For more information about the Grant Halliburton Foundation and resources they offer, visit their website.

Who: Kaileigh Johnson, Misaki Collins, Rama Vangipuram, Neera Truong, Judy Rawle, T.J. Griffin, Polly Campbell, Bev Berry-Vuckovich, Susan Griffiths, Lucy Witte, Sonya Parker Goode, Norman Goode, Julia Butler, Amy McCloskey, Dave Farmer, and hundreds more.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Beacon of Hope Luncheon, Dak Prescott

Photo by Simon Luna

Dak Prescott greets high school students during a backstage lunch before going on stage.

Photo by Pamela Springsteen

Willie Nelson receives prestigious honor and inaugural endowment at Texas university

Willie forever

Willie Nelson has earned countless awards for his seven-decade music career, but the legend is also well known for his activism — particularly in the areas of farming and food security. In recognition of his longtime advocacy work, the LBJ Foundation will present its highest honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award to Nelson this spring.

The award will be presented at a special gala tribute dinner on Friday, May 12, 2023, which in turn will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a release, the endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, Nelson organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise funds for struggling farmers, which has since raised over $70 million for those who own and operate family farms throughout the United States. He has also helped raise millions around disaster relief, for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and for veterans, as well as working toward environmental and animal advocacy, and voting rights. His Luck Family Foundation provides financial grant assistance and other resources to artists, organizations, and programs in need, donating proceeds from Luck Reunion events to Farm Aid and other longtime charity partners like the Texas Food & Wine Alliance.

“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans," says Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, via release. "A product of rural Texas, Willie has never forgotten where he comes from. His longtime efforts to raise money and awareness for family farmers through Farm Aid and numerous other endeavors to help those in need throughout his career make him a true inspiration.”

The dinner will honor Nelson's lifelong support for rural communities, embodying President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security. With their similar backgrounds as rural Texans, both President Johnson and Nelson shared a keen awareness of the struggles of those who work in the agricultural industry.

“The bounty of the earth is the foundation of our economy," President Johnson shared in a 1965 Special Message to Congress on Agriculture. "Programs in every aspect of our nation’s life depend on the abundant harvests of our farms.”


TV show hosted by Raising Cane's CEO visits Richard Rawlings in Dallas

Reality TV News

One of Dallas' hottest celebrities is being spotlighted in a new TV show. The show is called Secret Sauce, and it's hosted by Todd Graves, the multi-millionaire CEO of the Raising Cane's chicken restaurant chain.

On Saturday, March 25, they'll air an episode in which Graves interviews Richard Rawlings, founder of Gas Monkey Garage in northwest Dallas, and himself a television vet as host of Fast N' Loud, the Discovery Channel series that documented Rawlings and his crew as they bought, restored, and sold old cars.

Secret Sauce is a new show that debuted on the A&E channel on March 4. It follows Graves meeting people from all walks of life, profiling business owners and celebrities who share the "secret sauce” to their differing paths to success.

In the Dallas episode, Graves joins Rawlings at Gas Monkey Garage to talk about cars, careers, and making it in the TV industry.

It begins with Graves driving up to Gas Monkey Garage in a red Cadillac with a license plate "CANES 1" — a car that Rawlings' company restored.

They share Rawlings' trademark Lite beer while Rawlings talks about his early career choices and his relationship with his father.

In the episode, Graves also visits Mia's Tex-Mex where he interviews owner Mia Enriquez; then joins K104-FM radio host Lady Jade, to find out about her Project 16 nonprofit which teaches career skills to high school students.

At Mia's, he and Enriquez share an "Mia's Platter" appetizer plate, followed by an order of Graves' favorite dish, the brisket tacos.

His visit with Lady Jade stops in on an etiquette class where the kids learn how to tie a tie and the best way to eat soup in a restaurant. They use the skills at a meal at Al Biernat's North.

"I want to teach them real world skills," Lady Jade says.

In addition to Dallas, the show visits cities around the country including Chicago, Austin, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, LA and Nashville. Guest appearances include Snoop Dogg, Lauren Alaina, Kendra Scott, Jalen Ramsey, and Danny Trejo.


James Beard Award-winning forager plucks Texan plants for how-to talk at SXSW

instagram goes wild

To urban Texans, foraging may sound like an ancient, lost art or a complicated excursion, but it could be as simple as picking a backyard weed and eating it raw.

James Beard Award winner Alexis Nikole Nelson goes by BlackForager on social media, seeking out wild, edible plants, sharing recipes, and shouting into the camera. Her usual send-off: “Happy snacking, don’t die!”

On March 10, the first day of South by Southwest (SXSW), Nelson gave a presentation on foraging in urban areas, well-suited for complete beginners.

“But, loud lady,” Nelson says, imitating disempowered city folk, “I don’t live in the middle of the woods like it seems like you do.” Rest assured, there is no minimum rusticness required for foragers to ride this ride. She points out that she spotted some edible plants right across the street from the Austin convention center that went completely unnoticed by passersby.

Texans are unlucky to live in a state where collecting plants on public lands is generally illegal — not that police offers know that law, Nelson suggests. In fact, it's difficult to find those laws at all, even with a detailed online search. A debate circulates the Hill Country yearly during wildflower season, when rumors claim bluebonnets are illegal to pick, but news sources and blogs generally agree the activity is permitted in certain circumstances.

Nelson and many others (take fashion designer Ron Finley, who was legally threatened for planting a garden in a public area), have argued that restrictive laws around food sources were often — and still remain — a tool for curtailing self-sufficiency for non-landowners (including, but not limited to enslaved people). Even in her own yard, Nelson says she faced homeowners association fines for allowing it to grow naturally.

"It is an act of justice to put our hands to the earth to support ourselves," Nelson asserts in a video about why she chose the moniker BlackForager.

The SXSW talk also addressed other reasons to support foraging in marginalized communities and beyond: it provides nutritionally dense foods compared to the grocery store items that are selectively grown for taste and prolonged storage, gets people involved in their surroundings and land stewardship, and exposes a "new inherent value" even in seemingly less fruitful environments.

It’s possible to find snacks and seasonings in backyards, trees that were planted as decoration, and nature hikes — basically anywhere that it's not dangerous to consume plants. Nelson recommends staying away from the edges of sidewalks, houses that may contain lead paint, railroad tracks, golf courses, and other sites that are heavily fertilized. She also pointed out poison ivy along a creek trail.

Some plants Texans can forage, from Nelson's presentation (which covered a much wider geographic range), include:

  • Cherries: Some cherry trees are native to Texas, with edible blossoms and fruits (minus the pits). The blossoms can be used as a garnish or made into a fruity, almond-like syrup.
  • Serviceberries: The small fruits are delicious and come out earlier in the season than many. Their leaves are also edible. These are delicious fresh off the plant, but Nelson also likes making serviceberry jelly.
  • Magnolias: These trees are beautiful, and easy to find in many Texas neighborhoods. Nelson describes the flavor of the native varieties' flowers as "floral citrus with a little spice at the end," and uses the leaves as a bay leaf substitute.
  • Oak trees: One of the most ubiquitous symbols of Texas and the South produces acorns, which must be processed for snacking, but can also be made into a flour for baking.
  • Texas persimmon: Asian cultures value this fruit more than most, but Texans have their own native varietal. Fruits should be eaten only when ripe, when they will look black and taste sweet.
  • Yaupon: This holly tree is native to Texas and commonly thought to be toxic, although that's not the whole story. Although the berries are toxic when eaten in too high a quantity, the leaves have long been made into tea.
  • Dandelions: These weeds are not native to Texas, but grow basically everywhere, anyway. They are entirely edible including their roots. Dandelion greens, especially, can be found in grocery stores and even restaurants.
  • Horseweed: one of the most annoying lawn invaders is actually delicious, and even rumored to be used in a very popular soda. This is the plant Nelson saw across from the Convention Center. It tastes sweeter dried.
  • Thistles: These like dry soil (a Texas hallmark), and can be eaten as long as the spikes are not in the way. Artichokes are a type of thistle. The stems taste like celery.

Nelson shares recipes on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, along with general tips for foraging. There are many blogs and even some semi-official resources for foraging in Texas. Take a friend, and be completely sure of identification before tasting something.

Photo by Shelley Neuman

Willie Nelson proves age is just a number with latest tour coming to Dallas

Willie news

Willie Nelson is on the road again as the headliner of the 2023 Outlaw Music Festival Tour, which will stop at Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas on Friday, June 30.

The country music legend, who will have turned 90 by the time the tour starts, will travel to at least 16 cities over the summer, with more to be announced at a later date. The first leg of the tour starts on June 23 in Somerset, Wisconsin, and also includes a stop in The Woodlands on July 2.

Nelson will front a rotating lineup of performers that will be different at each stop. Performers in Dallas will include Willie Nelson & Family, Whiskey Myers, Flatland Cavalry, Brittney Spencer, and Particle Kid.

“I can’t wait to be on the road with the amazing group of artists joining us on this year’s Outlaw Music Festival Tour,” said Nelson in a statement. “It is always a great day of music and fun with family, friends and the incredible fans, and even more special this year in celebration of my 90th birthday.”

The tireless singer just released his 99th (!) studio album, I Don't Know a Thing About Love, comprised entirely of songs written by Harlan Howard, who gave Nelson his first job as as songwriter.

Tickets for the tour go on sale on Friday, March 17, at 10 am via OutlawMusicFestival.com. VIP packages including premium seats and exclusive festival merchandise will be available.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning on Tuesday, March 14, at 10 am until Thursday, March 16, at 10 pm through the Citi Entertainment program.


  • June 23 - Somerset, WI – Somerset Amphitheater
  • June 24 - East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
  • June 25 - St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
  • June 29 - Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP
  • June 30 - Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
  • July 2 - The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
  • July 28 - Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
  • July 29 - Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
  • July 30 - Darien, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
  • August 2 - Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
  • August 4 - Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium
  • August 5 - Philadelphia, PA – TD Pavilion at The Mann
  • August 6 - Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
  • August 11 - Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
  • August 12 - Pittsburgh, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
  • August 13 - Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

New adults-only roller rink skates into this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Hipster '80s-style roller skating rink to wheel into Dallas Design District. Roller skating is wheeling in to Dallas' Design District via Ride On, a new adult-oriented rink opening at 170 Pittsburg St., at the corner of Riverfront Boulevard, in fall 2023.

2. Busy Dallas hard rock music venue Amplified Live to close this week. A Dallas live music venue is shutting down: Amplified Live, which has been one of the city's most popular venues for live rock music shows for the past decade, has closed its doors. The final show was on March 31, featuring Exciter and Night Cobra.

3. Texas rises through the ranks of most innovative states, says new report. The Lone Star State has again taken a step up on an annual report that ranks the most and least innovative states in the country — this time cracking the top 15. Texas ranked No. 15 in personal finance site WalletHub's 2023’s Most and Least Innovative States ranking. It's a steady improvement for the state, which ranked No. 16 in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021.

4. Sexy and daring Magic Mike Live show comes to Frisco for one-month run. On the heels of Magic Mike's Last Dance, the first-ever tour of the stage show Magic Mike Live will make its debut in a custom-built venue at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, May 11-June 11. The show features professionally trained dancers delivering 90 minutes of sexy and daring dance routines, acrobatics, live music, comedy, and more in front of, above, and all around the audience.

5. This is how much money you need to live comfortably in Dallas-Fort Worth, new study finds. Whether it be the price of eggs or a new car, trying to have a financially stable life in one of America’s largest metropolitan areas is becoming more and more difficult. So, how much money do you need to make to live comfortably in Dallas-Fort Worth? A new report from SmartAsset has the answer.

Tetris blocks out a taut international story about popular video game

Movie Review

The term “origin story” is typically associated with superheroes these days, but a growing trend involves filmmakers taking a look back about famous consumer products came to be. In the next few months, Air (about Michael Jordan’s initial shoe contract with Nike), BlackBerry (about the now-defunct smartphone), and Flamin’ Hot (about the popular Cheetos flavor) will be released in either theaters or on streaming services.

First out the gate, though, is Tetris, which tells the highly complicated story of how the video game made its way from the USSR to players’ fingers worldwide in the late 1980s. The protagonist of the film is Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton), a small-time video game developer who sees an opportunity when he plays the then-unknown game at an electronics show.

Understanding its potential right away, he convinces a sales rep to sell him distribution rights in Japan, where he lives with his wife and children, and where – not so coincidentally – Nintendo is located. What seems to be straightforward at first turns quickly into a quagmire, with Rogers competing against English software company Mirrorsoft for various rights, including handheld video games, as Nintendo is about launch a new system they call Game Boy.

Directed by Jon S. Baird and written by Noah Pink, the film starts out relatively lighthearted, as the ever-optimistic Rogers bounces from country to country to convince a variety of people that his plans for the game will work. But the film gets more dramatic by the minute, with the second half – taking place almost entirely in the Soviet Union - taking on the feel of an international espionage story.

The filmmakers start with the premise that everyone watching knows Tetris and the immense popularity the game has enjoyed over the years, especially right after it launched. But even if somehow you aren’t one of those people, the film does a good job showing its importance, with multiple different parties fighting for its rights in four different countries.

Is all of what’s shown true? Probably not, but as with most movies that are “based on a true story,” there’s an understanding that the filmmakers use a good amount of dramatic license. On a pure filmmaking level, the story works because it shows the passion of Rogers for his business and the number of obstacles that stand in his way. It doesn’t hurt that one of those barriers is the USSR political machine, which practically has “evil” stamped all over it.

Egerton, known for the Kingsman series and playing Elton John in Rocketman, is a delight in this role. The somewhat shlubby character offers him a chance to utilize a different type of charm, and he knocks the part out of the park. Save for Toby Jones, most of the supporting roles are filled by lesser known actors, but all are enjoyable, especially Nikita Efremov and Oleg Stefan.

Tetris the movie could be viewed as just one big ad for the game that’s still popular, now in app form for smartphones. But the way the film is made, it’s easy to look past the commercial aspect of it and just enjoy the taut storytelling and interesting performances.


Tetris is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Nikita Efremov and Taron Egerton in Tetris

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Nikita Efremov and Taron Egerton in Tetris

New Hill Country wine school teaches Texans how to become aficionados


Texas wine enthusiasts and beginners wanting to test their skills or develop them further can now do so at a new Hill Country wine school led by an award-winning winery out in Hye, Texas.

William Chris Wine Co. has opened their William Chris Wine School with Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) classes and a one-of-a-kind ambassador certification course beginning in April. The school is offering these courses not only to educate fellow Texans about the intricacies of wine, but also to provide inspirational experiences that help ignite their passion for it.

“WSET courses are designed to inspire and empower anyone looking to develop their wine knowledge — regardless of prior experience, and from enthusiasts to professionals,” says Director of Education Kelsey Kramer in a press release. “So, we encourage anyone to sign up for our WSET courses no matter their current level of wine knowledge.”

WCWC is the first Texas winery to provide these educational courses to industry peers and enthusiasts. They’ll offer two WSET level tracks with multiple classes; their beginner-level WSET Level 1 classes are open for registration for April 15 and May 15. The WSET Level 2 Award in Wines courses are for more experienced aficionados, and are centered around trying new wines from all over the world while also educating on wine theory, grape-growing techniques, and more. The level two classes are scheduled for May, June, and July.

Kramer added that over half of the William Chris team has successfully passed the WSET Level 2 Award in Wines courses.

“Our ultimate goal, as always, is to increase the standard of knowledge for those in the Texas wine industry,” she says. “Anyone who participates in a course with us supports this goal and the future success of the industry as a whole.”

Though Texas wine is not included in the WSET curriculum, the wine school has their own solution for that. They are offering an exclusive Texas Wine Ambassador Certification program that focuses solely on wine-making and grape-growing in our own state. Their first certification class is scheduled for April 22.

More information about the William Chris Wine School and its classes can be found on their website.