Photo by Tamytha Cameron

The morning after watching her husband, Keith Urban, open the ACM Awards show in Frisco with an electrifying performance, Nicole Kidman turned up her own star power as the keynote speaker for Genesis Women's Shelter & Support's 30th annual Luncheon.

About 1,500 guests gathered at Dallas' Hilton Anatole on Friday, May 12 for the beloved spring fundraiser.

It was "take two" for Genesis and Kidman. She had been scheduled to headline the organization's 2020 luncheon, which got canceled due to COVID and pivoted to a virtual conversation with the Oscar-winning actress. Luckily, she could come back in person.

Kidman first posed for photos with VIPs at a reception before the ballroom opened for lunch.

After guests took their seats, the DeSoto High School Choir - under the direction of Grammy Award-winning choir director Pamela Dawson - kicked things off with a rousing performance of “Revolution.”

Genesis chief development officer Amy Norton and luncheon co-chairs Monica and Brent Christopher welcomed visitors and acknowledged special guests, and the Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson gave an invocation before the three-course meal was served.

The highlight of the afternoon was an on-stage conversation between Genesis CEO Jan Langbein and Kidman. Besides being an award-winning actress and global superstar, Kidman has been a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women for 17 years.

They discussed a variety of topics including Kidman's involvement with the UN and her desire to fight for women’s rights globally; how her parents shaped her perspective on life; notable roles she has portrayed that show the complexities of womanhood; and how she balances her professional life with her home life.

Some highlights of Kidman's interview:

On how to help each other in the fight against domestic violence: “Reach out for help…because a lot of times I think the loneliness and the isolation [can feel like] ‘where do I go for help?’ There are helplines and there is solid available help, so reach out. And even reaching out to a friend, and then as a friend going, ‘I know what to recommend for you to do right now.’”

On why she selects some of the more intense roles she’s portrayed: “Half the time people don’t want to see those stories, but if they actually go through [the story] and see it, then they build compassion and they build understanding, and somehow I do believe that helps the world. So I seek out these roles not so you go and torture people, but so you create a connection and go, ‘How do we move in closer to each other and understand each other and what we’re all going through?’ Because we’re all going through things – very different things, but there’s enormous tragedy in life, as we all know, there’s enormous joy, and we’re on the journey together. We can help each other.”

On how she approached her character Celeste’s mindset toward abuse in Big Little Lies: “I think the thing with so much abuse is even acknowledging it, the awareness that it is abuse. I think for Celeste, and this is something that I learned, is that there is so much self-blame and a lot of times disassociation where ‘it’s not me that’s in an abusive relationship – it may be that person or that person is, but I’m not.’”

All told, the 30th annual event raised $1.1 million for Genesis, which annually serves thousands of women and children at its emergency shelter, transitional housing apartments, and nonresidential counseling office.

Notable attendees included Boots Nolan, Nancy Best, Sheila Grant Kenneth Aboussie, Kamela Aboussie, Barbara Smith, Sheree J. Wilson, Sheree J. Wilson, Mary Bowman Campbell, Sally Dutter, Yvette Martinez, Leigh Anne Haugh, Michael Horne, Marissa Horne, Justyna Oymerska, and more than 1,400 more patrons, supporters, and guests.

Genesis Luncheon 2023, Nicole Kidman

Photo by Tamytha Cameron

Jan Langbein, Nicole Kidman

For more information about Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, visit the organization's website.

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Prominent Hill Country winery cracks open new tasting room in Fredericksburg

Winery news

One of the most prominent names in Hill Country wines has uncorked a new tasting room in Fredericksburg. On September 22, Grape Creek Vineyard’s owners, Brian and Jennifer Heath, cut the ribbon to their latest property, Invention Vineyards, at 4222 S. State Hwy. 16.

Heath Family Brands has used the name for some time, first as a vintage from the Grape Creek portfolio. A 2022 purchase of Slate Mill Wine Collective cleared the way for Invention to be born as its own estate label.

Under longtime winemaker Jason Eglert, Invention crafts mostly Texas blends. The line also includes several single-varietal wines, focusing on Old World grapes like Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, and Viognier.

The property echoes that approach. The tasting room is on the former 35-acre site of Pioneer Flour Mills founder Carl Hilmar Guenther’s original mill. The entrepreneur did business in Fredericksburg for eight years before volatile weather conditions prompted a move to San Antonio.

A handful of Guenther’s original stone buildings still stand near the entry to Invention, but new construction houses the brand’s tasting room and state-of-the-art production facility. Nodding to the original structures, the rustic-industrial facility utilizes weathered brick and a corrugated roof.

Though the business has been open during the build-out, the grand opening marked the first opportunity for guests to see the completed compound.

For hours, memberships, tastings, and more, visit the website.

Cidercade cider and games venue opens mega-facility in heart of Arlington

Cider News

Cider and games are coming to Arlington with the opening of Cidercade, a new entertainment venue opening at 500 E. Division St. in the heart of Arlington on September 29.

Cidercade has hundreds of arcade games, shuffleboard, pool tables, and more, all available for playing with a single admission fee, as well as dozens of drinks on tap. It's all ages during the day then turns 21+ at 8 pm.

Arlington is the fifth location in Texas, following existing Cidercades in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston, and is the largest yet with a huge space spanning 25,000-plus square feet.

It houses more than 300 retro and modern arcade games, pool tables, ping pong tables, shuffleboard courts (a Cidercade first), party rooms, and event spaces for groups of all sizes.

In a statement, co-founder and CEO Joel Malone says that with Arlington's reputation as an entertainment destination, he knew they had to build "something awesome."

"Cidercade Arlington is not only our largest location yet, but it includes a much larger variety of games and experiences," he says.

Cidercade customers pay an admission fee of $12 and get unlimited play on all the games and activities once inside. Cidercade also offers a $20 monthly membership that includes unlimited admissions as well as discounts on drinks and merch.

Beyond the games, multiple bars serve a big lineup of adult beverages on tap, all made by Bishop Cider, and soft drinks from soda machines with unlimited refills.

Customers are allowed to bring their own food or have it delivered from nearby restaurants.

In addition to the Arlington expansion, Bishop is also relocating the Dallas Cidercade to a new site near Love Field Airport, where it will be expanded dramatically to 79,000 square feet, nearly 10 times larger. It will feature concepts, games, and activities that aren’t offered anywhere else in Texas, and will open in 2024. The current location will remain open until then.

Malone and and his wife and partner Laura Malone initially founded Bishop Cider as a quaint 704-square-foot cider bar a decade ago. The company has since grown into a leader in beverage manufacturing and beverage experiences comprising four brands:

  • TexBev, a co-packer for carbonated soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, wine, beer, and RTDs.
  • Cidercade, the cider and game venue
  • Bishop Cider, the hard cider company
  • Wild Acre Brewing, a brewery and beer garden venue in Fort Worth that produces seasonal brews and year-round core beers like Texas Blonde, Juice Slinger IPA, and Sundance Wheat.

Dallas can now rent pickleball and tennis courts in people's backyards


Dallas-Fort Worth pickleball and tennis lovers can now play on courts that were previously inaccessible: in people's backyards.

The service is from Swimply, the online provider that has previously let homeowners rent out their private pools by the hour. They've now expanded their services to include courts.

Swimply says in a release that other backyard spaces for rent were the "logical next step" -- especially given the popularity of pickleball.

"Pickleball is a phenomenon and there aren't enough courts to meet demand," the release says."Tennis, likewise, has historically been an exclusive leisure activity where people pay upwards of $100 an hour at private clubs for court time."

In addition to tennis and pickleball, basketball courts will also be listed for rent on the site, beginning at $25 an hour. There are currently nine pickleball courts for rent in the DFW area and one tennis court, spanning from Allen to Aubrey to Mansfield to McKinney. (The DFW service has just started and will surely amass more options.)

These join 200 spaces in Austin, and 300-plus available across markets in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles.

Swimply founder and CEO Bunim Laskin says this new launch is a "game changer" for communities whose members want greater accessibility to recreational spaces.

"We're excited to offer this new opportunity for families and friends to have fun, exercise, and connect with each other in a safe, affordable, and convenient way," Laskin says. "Our mission has always been about democratizing access to exclusive spaces and creating positive social impact, and we believe that court rentals are a natural extension of that vision."

It won't stop there: Swimply is looking into expanding their recreational offerings to include backyards for events, music studios, and more.