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Photo courtesy of Speak As One

Mental health apps are so alluring, but once you’ve recorded your two-week streak and things are feeling a little more organized, it can be hard to keep going. It’s hard enough to keep up with journaling and a great bedtime routine, and many lovely self-help tools also lose their effectiveness when the novelty wears off.

A smart company might harness that novelty as its hook — and an easily distracted self-helper won’t fall off the wagon. Like many other companies in the mental health space, Speak As One will work on a subscription model, but this one won’t languish, unused on a credit card statement. The service, which plans to launch during SXSW 2023, delivers boxes of tangible mental health tools, inspiration, games, and even sensory objects that act as a monthly nudge to try something new, and curiosity takes care of the rest.

A sample box included:

  • Stress balls with short inspirational phrases by MindPanda
  • An Emotional First Aid Kit containing advice for situations as they come up, like sleeplessness and feelings of inadequacy
  • Tiny colorful putties at different resistances by Flint Rehab
  • A notebook, and two books: Athlete Mental Health Playbook and 1000 Unique Questions About Me
  • Other small items

It’s more than packing and shipping out a few toys each month. The boxes are curated with help from a licensed therapist, who leaves a personal note along with tips on how to use the items inside and additional resources. There is one type of box right now that aims to “reduce anxiety, increase mindfulness, and promote peace and balance,” but for further customization (for $10 more), the team is working on boxes tailored to first responders, veterans, athletes, and people in “recovery.”

Speak As One emphasizes community stories in its branding outside the delivery box, and uses inspiration from “influencers” (less content creators and more so people who can embody a relatable story) to build the specialty boxes. The company’s YouTube channel shares dozens of interviews with founder Julie Korioth, a former board member for Austin’s SIMS Foundation, a well-respected mental health resource for members of the local music industry.

“With hundreds of millions of people struggling with mental health, and COVID making the issue much worse, society continues to ostracize those who openly discuss mental health issues,” said Korioth in a release. “I founded this company so we can change the way the world sees, discusses, and supports mental health. Our goal is to promote empathy, connectedness, acceptance, and thoughtfulness with an innovative toolkit that caters to specific needs."

In addition to offering a nudge, these boxes could make great care packages for a loved one who is feeling introspective or going through a significant life event. It is possible to buy gift boxes, if presentation is your thing, but it’d be just as easy to repackage a box that comes before the receiver ready to appreciate the items at home.

The cost of one box is manageable at $49.99 (especially considering the retail value of products included, which the sample box far exceed), but for many subscribers this adds up fast. Luckily, there is no pressure to continue a lengthy commitment — subscriptions last between one and six months, so users have plenty of time to reconsider and sit with the items that have already been delivered.“

The goal is to meet our audience at any phase of their mental health journey,” said Korioth. “We’re creating change and a global life-long support system for children and adults dealing with mental health challenges. We simultaneously highlight businesses, the tech community, athletes, and artists doing wonderful work in this space.”

The company plans to partner with corporations to connect with employees and provide boxes to individuals the company chooses, and will turn some content into session albums with sales proceeds dedicated to mental health research.

More information and links to preorder are available at speakasone.com.

Dallas Arboretum Children’s Garden presents IF/THEN Ambassador Meet & Greet - Women in STEM Live

Thirtteen of the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors will visit their life size 3D printed statues on display at the Dallas Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The Ambassadors will greet guests, talk about their STEM careers, and facilitate activities for all ages.

Guests can enjoy cookies, activities including a scavenger hunt, and demonstrations from these women leaders in STEM representing a variety of careers from robotics engineering, to cosmetic chemistry, to wildlife conservation, to aerospace engineering, and more.

A total of 50 statues from #IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit are on display at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden through December 31.

Perot Museum presents IF/THEN Ambassador Meet & Greet - Women in STEM Live

Thirteen of the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors will visit their life size 3D printed statues on display on the plaza outside of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The Ambassadors will greet guests, talk about their STEM careers, and facilitate activities for all ages.

Guests can enjoy cookies, activities including a scavenger hunt, and demonstrations from these women leaders in STEM representing a variety of careers from ocean conservation to astronomy, to neuroscience to anthropology, archeology, and more.

A total of 40 statues from #IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit are on display at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science through November 12.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science presents "The Science Behind Pixar" opening day

Ever wonder what goes into the making of a Pixar film, particularly how character favorites like Buzz Lightyear, Mike, Sulley, and Dory are created and brought to life? Making its Texas debut at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, “The Science Behind Pixar” offers a unique look into the Pixar process.

Exploring the almost 10,000-square-foot exhibition, visitors will learn about the science and technology needed to create their most beloved animated films and characters. “The Science Behind Pixar” embodies the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) thinking skills needed to create compelling films.

Presented in English and digitally in Spanish, guests can engage in dozens of hands-on activities, listen to firsthand accounts from members of the studios’ production teams and come face-to-face with life-size recreations of cherished Pixar characters such as Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Ian Lightfoot, Edna Mode, and WALL•E.

Presented locally by NexPoint, the exhibition will be on display through September 4, 2023.

Photo by Shelley Neuman

An expert's trail guide to the 2022 Texas Tribune Festival in Austin

Everything is Political

Believe it or not, politics can be fun, even if it’s all you talk about for days. The Texas Tribune is proving that once again with incumbent CEO Evan Smith’s last Texas Tribune Festival. From September 22-24, this long-standing annual event will bring together more than 350 influential speakers for more than 100 panels, from politicians in office to journalists and cultural wave-makers.

“It's become a major part of the Tribune's brand,” says Smith. “An important person I respect said to me in 2019, looking around the festival that year — the last year we did it in person — that we used to be a news organization with a festival, and we're becoming a festival with a news organization. And I thought, I'm actually okay with that.”

Smith announced his impending departure from the Tribune in January 2022, in a simultaneously wistful and tongue-in-cheek farewell address that acknowledged his “sentimentality and nostalgia.” He will be finished with his tenure by December, but will continue through 2023 as a senior advisor to his yet-unnamed replacement.

“I will be sentimental about it being my last. Of course, I'm also nostalgic, and I'll be nostalgic about the early days of the festival,” says Smith. “But one of the great things about leaving the Tribune now is that everybody here is in the best possible position to carry the important work that we've been doing forward to the next 13 years. And so I'll be watching like everybody else, with a lot of pride.”

This year, the festival broadened its scope from 2021 and earlier to include even more interests tangential to politics, aiming for the same bullseye as the Tribune always does: the average reader. The festival is always as jargon-free as possible, this year including topics like Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner’s memoir and 50 years of cultural change, retired top tennis player Andy Roddick’s opinions on the duties of nonprofits, and singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett’s experience as a Texas legend.

To help attendees start building their itineraries (or give keen readers at home some things to research), Smith selected the following must-attend events for CultureMap readers to keep on their radar.

Thursday, September 22
Thursday is a shorter day with “a couple of sessions to get peoples’ appetites going,” according to Smith. Of the 10 events, he chose two not to miss:

A Conversation with Katy Tur
9:30 am - 10:30 am

The MSNBC anchor will discuss journalism with Smith himself, with special attention to her recent second book that stretches all the way back through her childhood, Rough Draft: A Memoir. This chat will be in-person, kicking off the festival.

One-on-One with Anthony Fauci
10:30 am - 11:30 am

This prerecorded conversation is only available virtually. Smith interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the U.S. president, about the “layered” public health emergencies of COVID-19 and monkeypox as it emerges.

Friday, September 23
This mid-size day has 43 scheduled sessions. Smith chose one from each time slot:

One-on-One with Glenn Youngkin
8:45 am - 9:45 am

The Virginia governor is, in Smith’s words, “one of the big Republican success stories of the last couple of years,” and will be interviewed by senior correspondent David Drucker of the Washington Examiner. Some speculate that Youngkin will run for president in 2024.

The Forward Presents: One-on-One with Deborah Lipstadt
10:15 am - 11:15 am

U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt is talking about the issue nationally and worldwide, interviewed by Forward editor-in-chief Jodi Ruth Warren.

One-on-One with Walter Isaacson
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tulane University professor Walter Isaacson discusses Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and his current work with Elon Musk. He is interviewed by Pushkin Productions CEO Jacob Weisberg, former editor-in-chief of the Slate Group.

One-on-One with Hillary Clinton
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is interviewed by New York Times podcast host Kara Swisher about progressive values in the United States. Swisher runs the Vox Media Code Conference, and is no stranger to the stage.

One-on-One with Ben McKenzie
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Austin-born actor and writer Ben McKenzie is one Austinite speaking out on a large scale about “the case against crypto” as the city grows more and more entangled with it. He is interviewed by Bloomberg Digital executive editor for news Joe Weisenthal.

Saturday, September 24
The longest day of the festival, Saturday hosts 68 sessions. Smith chose one for each time slot:

After Roe
8:45 am - 9:45 am

This panel addressing one of the hottest topics in recent politics is run by Ana Marie Cox of The Cut, and features Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, Texas state representative Donna Howard, and former state senator Wendy Davis, famous for her abortion filibuster.

One-on-One with Annette Gordon-Reed
9:00 am - 10:00 am

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard professor Annette Gordon Reed discusses the legacy of slavery and the morals of studying history. She is interviewed by Errin Haines, editor-at-large for The 19th, founded by former Tribune editor-in-chief Emily Ramshaw.

One-on-One with Ted Cruz
10:30 am - 11:30 am

U.S. Senator and Texan Ted Cruz is slated to talk on Saturday, although he hasn’t yet been matched with a conversation partner. He’ll talk about tension with the Biden administration, the “soul” of the Republican party, and a possible reprisal of his 2016 presidential campaign.

One-on-One with Chris Bosh
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

NBA Hall of Famer Chris Bosh is interviewed by ESPN commentator Kirk Goldsberry on sports, being retired, and voting. Bosh has spoken out about social justice, and always ties it to a message of using one’s voice to create change.

Below the Line
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm

Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and urban development Julián Castro joins former mayor of Stockton, California, Michael Tubbs and ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative reporter Vianna Davila to discuss Texans living disproportionately below the poverty line.

One-on-One with Gavin Newsom
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

California Governor Gavin Newsom takes a leadership role, telling MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner about what the rest of the United States can learn from his state. The Democratic governor leans toward messaging about innovation and creating precedent-setting big change.

Tickets for the Texas Tribune Festival ($269 general admission) from September 22 to 24, both virtually and in venues across Austin, are available at texastribune.org.

Texas readies for historic return to moon with new NASA launch date

go for launch

Space fans across Dallas who are eagerly anticipating America’s historic return to the moon now have a new date. Artemis I will now launch on Saturday, September 3, with a two-hour window beginning at 1:17 pm CDT, NASA has announced.

Viewers can tune into the livestream of the rocket and spacecraft at the launch pad on the NASA Kennedy YouTube channel. Additionally, live coverage of events can be found on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

This comes after the initial August 29 launch was scrubbed. At that time, teams were not able to chill down the four RS-25 engines to necessary temperatures. Teams also caught and quickly managed a hydrogen leak on one of the rocket’s components.

NASA reports that teams are currently addressing and testing both issues in advance of the Saturday launch. Another important component for flight windows — weather — is currently favorable. Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 forecast favorable weather conditions for Saturday. Though some rain showers are expected, they are predicted to be sporadic during the launch window, per NASA.

Artemis I is the first flight test of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System rocket (dubbed SLS), and the ground systems at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation to extend human presence to the Moon and beyond,” NASA notes in a news release. “The mission will demonstrate the performance of the SLS rocket and test Orion’s capabilities over the course of about six weeks as it travels about 40,000 miles beyond the Moon and back to Earth.”

Given the gravity of the launch, NASA planned considerable fanfare for the broadcast, including celebrity appearances by Jack Black, Chris Evans, and Keke Palmer, as well as a special performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Josh Groban and Herbie Hancock. A planned musical performance featured “America the Beautiful” by The Philadelphia Orchestra and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Representatives from Johnson Space Center had not received an update on the Saturday broadcast program when contacted on Wednesday, August 31.

Texas and lunar missions have been inextricably tied since NASA’s first launches. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy boldly declared that America would go to the moon before the end of the decade in front of a packed Rice University football stadium.

On July 20, 1969 – a commitment to the late President Kennedy’s directive — Apollo 11 marked its arrival to the lunar surface with a statement heard around the globe from Commander Neil Armstrong, who would take mankind’s first steps on the surface: “Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.”

And the city has (somewhat tiredly) been the source of a ubiquitous sentence — that is actually a paraphrasing — uttered by Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” The adjusted “Houston, we have a problem” declaration was later immortalized by Tom Hanks (as Lovell) in the blockbuster Apollo 13.

What will be the next iconic phrase sent back to Texas when NASA’s manned mission readies to land on Earth’s sole satellite? The countdown is on.

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A-list fashion stars align at Dallas’ most stylish black-tie awards gala

FGI Night of Stars

It's been called Dallas' version of the Met Gala. More than 300 of Dallas' chicest packed the Thompson Hotel ballroom for the Fashion Group International of Dallas (FGI Dallas) Night of Stars 2022 gala on Friday, November 18.

They included fashion luminaries, celebrities, socialites, philanthropists, business owners, and influencers — all there to raise funds for scholarships for aspiring fashion designers and professionals.

Event chairs Ken Weber, Richard Rivas, and Cristina Graham presided over the glamorous evening, which was emceed by James Aguiar, the VP Fashion and Creative Director for Modern Luxury. Besides being a chic soiree, the event is also an awards extravaganza, honoring the best and brightest stars in fashion.

This year's honorees were:

House of Pierre Cardin, represented by Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Fashion (presented by Karen Katz). "Founded and led by Pierre Cardin in 1950, [the brand's] bubble dresses, along with celebrity ties such as actress and model Lauren Bacall, launched the brand into the ethos of the 1960s," event organizers said. "Throughout the decades House of Cardin established itself as an avant-garde fashion house often evoking a 'Space Age' quality to the garments."

Palmer//Harding's Levi Palmer, a Dallas native, and Matthew Harding received the Career Achievement Award in Design (presented by Jan Strimple).

And Fern Mallis, regarded as the "Godmother of Fashion" and creator of New York Fashion Week, was honored as the Icon of Innovation (presented by Ken Downing).

The style highlight of the evening was a fashion show presentation by House of Pierre Cardin and palmer//harding, produced by Jan Strimple Productions.

In total, the organization raised over $45,000 toward student scholarships.

Spotted in the crowd, looking fabulous and enjoying the evening, were numerous patrons and guests, including Amy Van Cleave, Maxine Trowbridge, Nerissa von Helpenstill, Kameron Westcott, Carey Deuber, Leeanne Locken, Kendra Tillman, Lynae Fearing, Laura Harris, Patrick Means, Maryanne Grisz, Holly Katz, Michael Buss, Ashley Anderson Smith, Steve Rahal, Natalie Harden, Holly Quartaro, Chuck Steelman, Gail Bass Good, Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor, Heidi Dillon, Steve Lopez, Darren Deville, Steve Hoyle, James Turner, Jessica Jesse, and Susan Posnick.

FGI Dallas is part of Fashion Group International, Inc., a global, nonprofit, professional organization with more than 6,000 members representing all areas of the fashion industry. For more information about the organization, visit the website.

Photo by Thomas Garza Photography and Danny Campbell

Osé Azenabor, Sylvie Enoh, Maribel West, Esé Azenabor

These are the 13 can't-miss shows in Dallas-Fort Worth theater for December

Theater Critic Picks

This is, in my opinion, the best time of the year to go see a show. There are so many family-friendly offerings just begging to become traditions, and lots of new interpretations of holiday classics.

Plus, there are always one or two non-holiday themes shows, if you need a break from all the tinsel and holly.

Because there were so many holiday shows that opened late last month, they are included again here for easy planning.

In order of start date, here are 13 local shows to watch this month:

My Fair Lady
Broadway at the Bass, through December 4
Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed? The musical boasts such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “On the Street Where You Live.”

Jesus Christ Superstar
WaterTower Theatre, through December 11
The iconic rock opera, featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar."

Twas the Night Before...
Cirque du Soleil, through December 11

Cirque du Soleil’s spin on the beloved Christmas tale is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production is a flurry of Christmas cheer and rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil.

Christmas with Nat and Natalie
Casa Mañana, through December 17
Cozy up in the Reid Cabaret Theatre for an “unforgettable” evening with holiday favorites from Nat King and Natalie Cole. The father-daughter duo separately recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts.

Crystal City 1969
Cara Mia Theatre, through December 18

Inspired by a little-known event in Texas history, Crystal City 1969 is based on the true story of Mexican-American students in South Texas who walked out of their school and into civil rights history. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best.

Black Nativity
Bishop Arts Theatre Center, through December 18
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes' retelling of the Nativity story.

A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana, through December 23
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. This show is suitable for all audiences.

A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center, through December 24
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future that annually delights audiences across North Texas. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul?

Head Over Heels
Uptown Players, December 2-18
An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, Head Over Heels is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery, all set to the music of The Go-Go's.

Six
Broadway Dallas, December 6-25

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take the mic to remix 50 years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power.

Handle With Care
Stage West, December 8-January 8
A young Israeli woman on holiday with her grandmother in the United States is confronted by an unexpected turn of events. Now, she finds herself stranded in a motel room on Christmas Eve with an oddball delivery man. Is their meeting an accident, or is it destiny generations in the making? Hilarious and tragic circumstances culminate in a heartfelt romantic comedy about what you can find when you feel lost.

The Dimension of Death
Pegasus Theatre, December 29-January 22

The world premiere of the 22nd Harry Hunsacker adventure by Kurt Kleinmann finds us in the year 1955. Harry, Nigel, and Foster have been dispatched to a Top Secret Air Force base in Nevada where a matter of the highest level of National Security awaits them. They’d heard rumors about Paradise Ranch but the reality of what they saw exceeded their imagination. In no time, however, the bodies start piling up and our trio finds themselves trapped in The Dimension of Death.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Theatre Three, December 29-February 18
Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Robert’s musical is headline the grand opening of Theatre Too, the intimate downstairs space that has been closed since 2020. Directed by Joel Ferrell and music directed by Vonda K. Bowling, this comedy takes on the truths and myths behind what it means to love, date, or lose someone. The run includes special performances on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, complete with holiday-focused perks like champagne, chocolates, and flowers.




New Nashville hot chicken restaurant in Frisco adds a Lebanese twist

Fried Chicken News

A new Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant has debuted in Texas with a unique twist. Called Crimson Coward, it's a California-based concept that has opened its first Texas location in Frisco, at 3246 Preston Rd. #510a, serving tenders, wings, and sandwiches.

Crimson Coward was founded in the Los Angeles area in 2018, with the first location in Downey, and has opened three more in the southern California, including Long Beach and Garden Grove.

The menu includes tenders, wings, boneless breast, and chicken sandwiches, served on a brioche bun, topped with slaw and pickles. For those who want to skip the chicken, there's a grilled cheese sandwich on toast.

They just introduced an innovative "bunless" Nashville hot chicken sandwich, in which chicken is wrapped in a tortilla, then pressed and grilled, like a Cuban sandwich.

Sides include mac & cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, fried pickles, and fries. There's a decadent item called Joey Eat Fries, a loaded fries dish topped with chicken, slaw, pickles, and melted cheese.

The chicken can be ordered in the usual array of heat levels, starting with no heat and ending with one that cautions diners about its fiery effects.

The twist is in the unique mix of spices, including a heady dose of garlic, that reflect the chain's Lebanese-American heritage.

The Frisco location is from Hassan Bawab, an entrepreneur and founder of Magic Logix, a digital marketing agency. Bawab had done all of the marketing for Crimson Coward and decided to open after location after witnessing its integrity and popularity.

"The feedback from customers was so positive and heartfelt," Bawab says. "I also liked the brand and the quality of the food. I know there are other Nashville chicken places out there, but most are like fast-food, with frozen and pre-made ingredients."

"Crimson Coward uses fresh ingredients, and makes the food to order," he says. "It's not sitting in a warmer. Sides are made fresh daily. It's also 100 percent Halal."

Bawab is already working on a second location in Dallas. He's also related to Crimson Coward's founder, Ali Hijazi, who is his brother-in-law. It's all in the family.

"It's not a corporate franchise," Bawab says. "We put a real focus on the food, the spices, the breading."