Photo by Andrew Kaufmann / George W. Bush Presidential Center

Field trip alert: A new exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Center will display rare versions of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, and more historically significant American documents.

"Freedom Matters" opens Thursday, March 2 at the museum on the campus of Dallas' Southern Methodist University. It will run through December 31, 2023. The exhibition also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

"Freedom Matters" will encourage visitors to "consider the pursuit of freedom throughout history, how the work of extraordinary and ordinary people has impacted freedom for millions of individuals, and what we all can do in our everyday lives to advocate for the blessings of liberty and a free society," according to a release.

The documents and artifacts going on display - such as a 14th-century copy of the Magna Carta - were used to inform citizens in an era before mass media and social media, the museum reminds. Also showcased will be books by philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

The pieces come from the collections of the Harlan Crow Library and David Rubenstein.

“The 'Freedom Matters' exhibit will be a real treat for our visitors,” says Ken Hersh, Bush Center CEO and president, in the release. “The Bush Center is honored to celebrate democracy and fundamental freedoms. I can think of no better way to commemorate the Bush Center’s 10th anniversary than with a tribute to our Nation’s foundational values.”

Beyond just displaying documents and artifacts, the museum promises to take guests on "an interactive journey through the experience of freedom itself, including where freedom comes from, what it means, the characteristics of free societies, and the role of the individual in protecting and spreading freedom around the world," they say.

The exhibit builds on the themes of the evolution, understanding, and pursuit of freedom throughout history.

During a section called "American Experiment," for example, visitors will consider how the United States has sought to live up to the ideals articulated in the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents.

"Case studies through moments in history – including the creation of the United States, the Civil War and Reconstruction, women’s suffrage, the Indian Citizenship Act, Japanese American incarceration during World War II, the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and marriage equality — are centered on primary sources, including the documents themselves and narratives and perspective of people of the time," the release says.

Admission to "Freedom Matters" will be included with the purchase of tickets to visit the Bush Center’s permanent exhibit, which includes steel from the World Trade Center and a full-scale replica of the Oval Office.

George W. Bush Presidential Center "Freedom Matters"

Photo by Andrew Kaufmann / George W. Bush Presidential Center

Rare versions of historic U.S. documents on display in "Freedom Matters" at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

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Where to eat in Dallas right now: 8 best restaurants to grab lunch

Where to eat

The March edition of Where to Eat, our monthly feature recommending best restaurants in Dallas to check out, gives love to a meal that needs it: lunch.

Lunch has been on the skids since the pandemic, when COVID-shy workers stopped going into the office. Along came the work-from-home trend, and it was goodbye to lunch. Restaurants saw their lunch business, which kept many afloat, evaporate overnight.

In good news, that trend is starting to reverse. According to security company Kastle Systems, which monitors the work-from-home trend weekly, office workers are returning to the workplace. A recent survey of 10 of the largest cities in the U.S. found that office occupancy is at its highest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether you're a worker back in the office or still doing the WFH thing, it's time to get out and grab a bite at those restaurants putting out mid-day spreads.

Here are eight great places in Dallas for lunch:

Best salad: Bread Zeppelin
This Dallas-based chain takes an ingenious approach to salad, that lunchtime staple, by packaging it in an edible container: a crusty, artisan baguette which gets hollowed out and stuffed with your customized chopped salad drawn from 40 ingredient options. Or choose one of their signature selections such as the Shanhai with mixed greens, carrot, almonds, currants, Chinese noodles, Mandarin oranges, and choice of tofu or chicken in a carrot-ginger-lime dressing. The bread sops up just enough of the dressing but doesn't get soggy. It's portable, eco-friendly, and really good. They have six DFW locations including the original in Irving and one in downtown Dallas, and there's another opening later this year in Knox Park Village.

Best healthy bowl: Buddha Bowl at Modern Market
Healthy bowls make for a handy lunch, and none is more ubiquitous than the classic Buddha bowl, with its perfectly balanced combination of grains, veggies, and protein; Veganuary says the name was coined by Martha Stewart. The one at Modern Market is awesome, popular enough to inspire knockoff recipes on the internet. It features warm rice & quinoa, spicy roasted broccoli, carrot, citrus cabbage slaw, peanut, cilantro in peanut-mango sauce, topped with thick slices of sesame-glazed tofu that have the perfect creamy and dense texture. It's only $11.45 and Modern Market — which has five locations in DFW including one at Preston Hollow Village — makes lunch easy with its fast-casual ordering style and casual cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Best lunch with a buzzy chef: Parigi Restaurant
Oak Lawn restaurant from owner Janice Provost has always been a classic, and always a great destination for lunch. But for those who need an excuse, there's a new chef in the kitchen: Joel Orsini, who has earned acclaim in kitchens such asxxx, and who is turning out seasonally driven dishes such as a stunning pasta featuring leek top cavatelli, Hakuri turnips, baby carrots, sugar & snow peas, and confit chicken thighs. There's also Parigi's reliable assortment of incredible salads, sandwiches, and risotto, and great wine by the glass.

parigi pastaPasta with turnips, carrots, and snow peas from Parigi.Parigi

Best lunch buffet: DiMassi's
The lunch buffet was in peril during the fearful days of the pandemic, but that's all behind us — to the great relief of fans of this Mediterranean buffet concept, first founded in Houston in 1992, now with four DFW locations in Richardson, Grapevine, Irving, and Plano. Their menu of Mediterranean and middle-Eastern favorites includes four kinds of hummus, warm puffy pita bread in both plain and whole wheat versions, beautifully grilled vegetables, meats, and seafood, stuffed grape leaves, salads, and desserts like baklava. Some buffets are about excess, but this is a place where it's simply a variety of items, excellently prepared.

Best Indian lunch in Irving: Our Place
Irving's vibrant Indian community makes it one of the best places to find Indian food, with a bounty of restaurants. That includes this popular classic that's been dishing out all kinds of Indian cuisine — from north Indian and south Indian to Moghlai and Indo-Chinese — since 2005. They're proud of their time-tested skills with cooking Tandoori-style in a clay oven, and also their signature lunch buffet, served every day, with more than 40 items including a full salad bar, veggies, Halal meats, seafood, breads, desserts, and ice cream.

Best lunch for a work group: Terry Black's BBQ
Who'd have ever thought we'd feel nostalgic about the work-group lunch expedition? But it's one of those benchmarks of office normalcy, of life as it was pre-pandemic. Barbecue joints are a popular choice for so many reasons. You go through a line and pay for your own so there's no hassle over who's picking up the check. The food's all ready. You can get a sandwich or meat or just a side if meat's not your thing. Terry Black's, the Austin-based family chain that opened a location in Deep Ellum in 2019, is centrally located, has plenty of seating, and menu options from burgers to home cooking to Tex-Mex to sandwiches.

Best Tex-Mex combo lunch: El Jordan Cafe in Bishop Arts
This small no-frills longtime Tex-Mex right in the thick of things dates back to the days before Bishop Arts was an Arts District, when rent was still cheap, serving as a reminder of the neighborhood's original charm. It's also a reminder of the cheap and funky Tex-Mex joints that were once common but have faded away, where you can get a combo plate with taco and enchilada for $7.50 or a BLT for $4.50. They're not open past lunch but they are open for breakfast with migas, omelets, pancakes, and a breakfast special with eggs, bacon or sausage, and pancakes for $5.50.

Best for ladies-who-lunch: Cafe Pacific
Bless the ladies who lunch, making their valuable contribution to the restaurant lunch scene (and hopefully tipping more generously than the reputation that precedes them). Ground zero for this set is Highland Park Village, a neighborhood which surely boasts a higher per capita ratio of this diner category than other less fortunate parts of DFW. HPV has multiple dining options these days, but the longtime classic is Cafe Pacific, whose entree salads, French dip sandwiches, grilled seafood, elegant atmosphere, and doting service make it a favorite for the likes of Yvonne Crum, the one-time flight attendant, effervescent bold-faced name, and a gracious lady if there ever was one.

Dallas Opera dives into dramatic new season with world premiere and big artist debuts


Dallas Opera fans who've been waiting for the 2023-24 season announcement now have plenty to applaud: The DO's 66th mainstage season will feature a highly anticipated world premiere, plus three new-to-Dallas productions, big artist debuts, some annual family favorites, and the return of live-streaming.

"We are thrilled to bring three new-to-Dallas productions and a long-awaited world premiere to our audiences, both near and far, in the 2023/2024 Mainstage Season," says General Director and CEO Ian Derrer in a March 16 release.

Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca will open the season in dramatic fashion, featuring the debut of Joseph Calleja and his “honey-tone tenor” (as dubbed by The New York Times). Alongside Calleja as the lovesick namesake of the production is Ewa Płonka. Conspiratorial Scarpia will be played by Gihoon Kim, 2021’s Cardiff Singer of the World.

The director of the high drama (in his company debut) is Andrew Nienaber, alongside Dallas Opera Orchestra and Chorus music director Emmanuel Villaume. Sets and costumes are designed by Robert Perdziola. The production is by the Cincinnati Opera with original direction by Jose Maria Condemi. Tosca will run October 13, 15 (matinee), 18, and 21, 2023.

Following Tosca is the world premiere of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, led by Grammy-Award winner Lucas Meachem as Jean-Dominique Bauby. The star-studded cast is complete with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Richard Croft, soprano Deanna Breiwick, bass Kevin Burdette, soprano Andriana Chuchman, and tenor Andrew Bidlack.

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is the remarkable true story of a man whose determination leads to one of the most poignant memoirs ever written,” says Derrer in the release. “We are honored to bring this story to our stage for the first time anywhere.”

This based-on-a-true-story tale is composed by Joby Talbot and directed by Leonard Foglia, with Villaume conducting the orchestra. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly will run November 3, 5 (matinee), 8, and 11, 2023.

Villaume says that conducting this world premiere production is an “extraordinary and rare opportunity.”

In a glorious return after a quarter century, Richard Strauss’ Elektrawill take the stage for the second time in Dallas Opera history. The Opera’s 2002 Vocal Competition winner Marjorie Owens will make her debut in the titular role, with “operatic superstar” Denyce Graves also making her debut as Klytämnestra. Additional co-stars include soprano Angela Meade as Chrysothemis, Alfred Walker debuting as Orest, and company favorite Clifton Forbis as Aegisth.

Nick Sandys is making his company debut as director, Villaume as conductor, and costumes by John Macfarlane. Elektra runs February 9, 11 (matinee), 14, and 17, 2024.

A timeless, romantic classic will debut two of the most anticipated leads this season: tenor Long Long and soprano Golda Schultz as star-crossed lovers in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. In his Dallas Opera return, the legendary Donnie Ray Albert will star as Lord Capulet.

This new-to-Dallas performance is co-produced alongside the Houston Grand Opera and Atlanta Opera. Nicole Paiement will conduct the orchestra and chorus while Romain Gilbert makes his Dallas Opera directorial debut. It runs March 1, 3 (matinee), 6, and 9, 2024.

The final performances of all four mainstage shows will be livestreamed by the Dallas Opera on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.

"In an exciting continuation from last season, we will livestream the last performance of all four mainstage productions," says Derrer. "Our commitment to bringing world-class opera to audiences, wherever they may be, is as strong as ever. Making these performances available on a pay-what-you’re-able basis keeps our artform accessible to all viewers."

Familiar favorites making a return to the Dallas Opera’s 66th season include the annual free People’s Choice Concert on October 7 at 7:30 pm and the Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Family Recital on Sunday, January 24, 2024 at 2 pm.

The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors Showcase Concert will take place on Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 7:30 pm. It is the only program of its kind globally that highlights gender imbalances of leadership and advocates for women conductors worldwide.

Family Shows are also returning in the fall and spring of 2023-24 with The Billy Goats Gruff (October 14, 2023 and March 10, 2024) and Pépito(November 12, 2023 and March 2, 2024).

The National Vocal Competition will make its return this season, with finalists set to compete on March 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm.

Subscriptions will be available on Wednesday, April 19 with packages starting at $89 for all four operas. Single tickets go on sale Friday, July 21. The Opera’s newest membership initiative, Crescendo, is in its second season and is currently accepting new membership registrations ($60). The program includes two complimentary tickets for the upcoming season with additional discounts, special event invitations, and more.

More information about the Dallas Opera’s 2023-24 season and tickets can be found on their website.

National pickleball tournament relocates from Calif. to Dallas-Fort Worth

Pickleball News

A major pickleball event is making its home in Dallas-Fort Worth: The 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships is officially moving from California to Texas.

According to a release, USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport of pickleball, and the Carvana Professional Pickleball Association (PPA Tour), is relocating the 2023 USA Pickleball National Championships from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California — where they've been held since 2018 — to Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch.

The National Championships is the world’s largest pickleball tournament and facility, and the 2023 event is expected to be double the size of 2022, with more than 3,500 amateur and professional players playing on 65 courts.

The event will take place November 4-12, and will be presented by the PPA Tour.

PPA CEO Connor Pardoe says in a statement that Farmers Branch beat out other cities vying for this honor, which other cities he does not say.

"After a competitive bidding process that encompassed proposals from multiple city governances, Dallas and the Dallas Sports Commission presented the best combination to take the National Championships to the next level," Pardoe says. "Furthermore, Invited’s Brookhaven Country Club, as one of the state’s premier golf and tennis resorts for more than six decades and situated as it is in the City of Farmers Branch, which is an inner-ring suburb of Dallas, was marked as the ideal locale to host an event of this size and prestige."

USA Pickleball Board of Directors chairman Robert Quicksilver chimes in that the move to Dallas, which he calls "one of the great cities in the U.S.," will be more accessible geographically for their membership which exceeds 70,000 members.

They aren't yet revealing how much prize money will be doled out to the professional divisions, other than the fact that it will exceed the 2022 total of $150,000. Total event attendees are estimated to reach 25,000.

Amateur players will have greater opportunity to qualify due to the USA Pickleball’s addition of three new Golden Ticket events leading up to the championship:

  • the Selkirk Texas Open, May 31-June 4
  • the Baird Seattle Open, July 27-30
  • the Kansas City Open, August 24-27

Meanwhile, upgrades planned for the Championships include designating the street outside of Brookhaven Country Club as “Pickleball Boulevard” to make space for a stage, live music, and family-friendly activities with sponsors and local businesses.

Food and beverage vendors from all over Texas will be on-site as part of the “Taste of Pickle” exhibit that will give tournament attendees the chance to experience the local cuisine. Nightly musical performances are planned, plus interactive events they hope will make the fan and player experience unforgettable. A photo wall, maybe.