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Courtesy of Lighthouse Immersive Studios

A family-friendly immersive experience coming to Dallas will let Disney fans feel like they're part of their favorite films. "Disney Animation: Immersive Experience" will make its Dallas debut at Lighthouse ArtSpace Dallas (507 S. Harwood St.) on April 20.

It's from the same team that brought "Immersive Van Gogh" to cities around the world, including a highly successful run in Dallas.

According to a release, the new experience promises to bring to life Disney classics like The Lion King and Aladdin, as well as newer favorites such as Encanto, Frozen, and more.

"Like so many of us, I have a life-long love of Disney films,” says Lighthouse Immersive founder Corey Ross in the release. “I’ve grown up with them since childhood and so has my family. The work lends itself brilliantly to the immersive experience and I am confident this program will give our guests the opportunity to be engulfed in the world of Disney, making them feel like they’re standing next to their favorite characters and seeing the world through their eyes.”

Ross describes how it begins:

“Just imagine journeying through Zootopia with Judy Hopps, diving to the ocean floor with Ariel, flying on a magic carpet with Aladdin, and stepping into Casita with Mirabel and the family Madrigal. This is where the 'Disney Animation: Immersive Experience' will take you.”

According to the release, additional interactive features include responsive floor projection design that "moves" with the audience and custom bracelets that light up in sync with the projections and based on the audiences’ movements. A particularly show-stopping moment, organizers say, is when the Gazillion Bubbles special effects team fills the 500,000 cubic feet of galleries with bubbles.

Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Dale (2018 Best Picture: The Shape of Water) is leading the creative team on the production, a collaboration between Lighthouse Immersive and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“Trailblazing in a new medium is always exciting, and this is truly going to be the most challenging and rewarding project of my career," Dale says in the release. "Being entrusted with Disney’s rich archive of animation is a great honor, but also a tremendous responsibility. With such a wealth of material and a treasure trove of memorable characters, it will be a thrill to bring the work of all the great Disney animators and performers to life in a 360-degree immersive environment.”

Dallas' opening date is April 20, and and tickets (starting at $29.99) go on sale March 23 at https://lighthouseimmersive.com/disney/.

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New burger joint in McKinney with chef toppers and full bar is a sizzler

Burger News

McKinney has a new burger joint that is already lighting up the Collin County foodie scene. Called Loyo Burger, it's part of the Local Yocal empire, and is newly opened in downtown McKinney at 216 W. Virginia St. #102, in the space next to Sugarbacon that has had some turnover (it was one a location of the Mad For Chicken chain).

The Local Yocal empire starts with Local Yocal Farm to Market, the artisanal butcher shop founded by rancher Matt Hamilton in McKinney in 2010. That was followed Local Yocal BBQ and Grill, a steakhouse and BBQ restaurant he opened in 2018.

Now comes Loyo - an abbreviation culled from Local Yocal - featuring a chef-driven menu of burgers with bold toppings, and featuring patties made from a blend of Wagyu ground beef, supplied by the butcher shop.

According to the restaurant team, Loyo was inspired by the best selling burger at Local Yocal BBQ & Grill. It's a gourmet cheeseburger with Tillamook cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and sauce - but with ingredients made from scratch including house-made pickles and house-made sauce.

Loyo is similar to "better burger" concepts like Hopdoddy Burger Bar, with a lineup of burger options, most made from beef but also chicken, salmon, and veggie, as follows:

  • Spicy Vaquero with jalapeño, caramelized onion, tortilla strips, tomato, smashed avocado, ghost pepper jack, and chi mayo
  • Berry goat with a mixed berry bacon onion jam, goat cheese, and arugula
  • Cowboy breakfast with bacon, fried egg, smashed tots, American cheese, and charred jalapeno/tomato jam
  • Wagyu Yaki, with coffee rub, grilled pineapple, Tillamook cheddar, fried onion, arugula, bourbon teriyaki, & Fresno Chile mayo
  • Crispy chicken thigh sandwich with pickles & Nashville hot sauce
  • Salmon patty with roasted tomato, capers, kalamata olive, arugula, and dill mayo
  • Dan burger, a quarter-pound patty with mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, & Duke’s mayo

The name of their veggie burger is amusing: It's called “Necessary Evil” and consists of a housemate patty with avocado, tomato, Bibb lettuce, and crispy onions.

Sides include fries, garlic & sea salt tater tots, sweet potato fries, onion rings, fried pickles, and pork rinds. Fries are hand-cut, not too thick but not too thin, and onion rings are large and crunchy.

To get an idea of how exacting it all is, here's the description for their fried pickles: "Housemade Fried Pickles - Kirby cucumbers pickled in-house, breaded in a scratch-made batter, fried and served with our housemade ranch."

There are also two salads, a house salad and a Greek, with an ice cream sandwich for dessert.

Prices run from $11 to $14 for the burgers, and sides are $3 to $5. They also have a full bar, although a spokesperson says that for now, they have cocktails and beer only; wine is still TK.

It's a handsome space with a rustic vibe featuring wood tables and shiplap on the walls. Service is streamlined: You place your order sy a kiosk and they bring the food to you.

Queens of the Stone Age add 8 dates to winter tour including Dallas

queens of rock

Calling all Teenage Hand Models, Little Sisters, and Carnavoyeurs. Queens of the Stone Age are coming to town.

Joshua Homme and his bandmates have added eight new stops to their “The End is Nero” tour and that includes the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving on December 10.

They'll also stop at the Moody Center in Austin on December 8 and Houston’s 713 Music Hall on Saturday, December 9. British rock band Spiritualized will open.

QOTSA is touring behind its latest album, In Times New Roman. Released in June, the album went to number one in four countries, including six charts in the U.S. — Vinyl, Independent, Alternative, Digital, Rock, and Hard Music album sales charts. Hailed as a return to the band’s hard rocking roots, it deals with such light-hearted subjects as Homme’s divorce from Distillers founder Brody Dale.

The tour launched on August 3 in Michigan and has the band criss-crossing the U.S. before heading to Europe for the month of November.

Judging by intel from the band’s recent stops, fans should expect a setlist that pulls from QOTSA’s entire, 20-plus year history, including fan favorites such as "No One Knows," "Little Sister," and "A Song for the Dead."

Tickets go on sale Friday, September 22 via livenation.com. Various pre-sales are also available.

Newly announced dates for The End is Nero Tour include:

12/05/23 - Phoenix - Arizona Financial Theatre
12/06/23 - El Paso - Abraham Chavez Theatre
12/08/23 - Austin - Moody Center
12/09/23 - Houston - 713 Music Hall
12/10/23 - Irving – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
12/12/23 - Albuquerque - Revel ABQ
12/15/23 - San Diego - Viejas Arena
12/16/23 - Los Angeles - Kia Forum

Dallas choral group Verdigris Ensemble promises multi-sensory new season

Season Announcement

A mere month after announcing the hiring of its new executive director, acclaimed choral group Verdigris Ensemble is lifting the curtain on its seventh season.

It centers on the theme of “Regrowth,” with each multi-sensory performance telling a Texas-based story focused on both challenges and opportunities for environmental justice and community renewal.

To actually walk the walk, every ticket purchased this season will support Texas Trees Foundation’s planting efforts in the state to deliver on the promise of regrowth.

The season opens with The Endangered, a synergistic collaboration between Verdigris Ensemble and Dallas Contemporary Museum of Art.

This vocal and orchestral experience combines with movement and projections to look honestly and compassionately at natural preservation. The work is firmly planted in Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for The Endangered, with a libretto by poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows.

Text from five Dallas poets is set to music by five regional composers. It runs October 27-29, 2023, at Dallas Contemporary.

The second performance series, Beautification, continues at the Dallas Contemporary December 1-3, 2023, and celebrates a unique collaboration inspired by site-specific work with visual artist Bianca Bondi.

Commissioning 8-10 composers, this work weaves together a narrative of Ladybird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act and the native flowers of Texas. The Act was passed in 1965 and created restrictions on highway billboards that detracted from the natural beauty of Texas landscapes, and seeds of native flowers were distributed to bring native beauty to road travelers.

Projections of individual flowers envelop audience members in an experience much like driving a car on a highway. Iconic audio pieces of Ladybird’s speeches make the program a cohesive experience.

Dust Bowl, the season’s third performance, combines a unique medley of bluegrass band, video projection, and choreographed movement. The work shares stories from the period of the Dust Bowl through previously unexplored mediums and confronts questions of what caused this ecological disaster and what was learned from it.

This fan favorite debuted in 2020 and returns to Dallas in 2024 with an original libretto and added musical material.

The Dust Bowl began in 1931 and lasted for almost a decade, displacing entire populations in the Southern Plains region of the United States. Setting texts from newspaper articles, diaries, and oral accounts of survivors, the work pieces together a period of human struggle, hopefulness, and perseverance in the face of constant catastrophe. It runs February 23-25, 2024, at the Wyly Theatre' Potter Rose Performance Hall.

The season finale, Mis-Lead, is composed by Kirsten Soriano and premieres featuring 16 vocalists and basic percussion instruments found in factories that resonate throughout the production.

In 1934, a lead smelter was opened in West Dallas, resulting in toxic byproducts being dumped into nearby landfills and around people's homes. For over four decades, residents suffered consistent symptoms resulting in chronic diseases and death due to higher-than-normal levels of lead in their bodies.

This artistic piece brings attention to these communities, documenting the facts to prevent similar events in our future, while fostering human connection from all sides of the cultural spectrum. It runs April 5-7, 2024, at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Founded in 2017, Verdigris Ensemble is a Dallas-based professional choir dedicated to bringing choral music to the modern audience through creative concert programming, unconventional use of space, and collaboration.

Focusing on story-driven musical narratives, Verdigris Ensemble commissions new works, collaborates with interdisciplinary artists, inspires new audiences, and invests in the next generation of musicians.

Tickets may be purchased at www.verdigrismusic.org. Discount pricing is available for students.