Photo courtesy of NorthPark Center

It's back to school time, which also means the annual freshening up of your kids' wardrobes. NorthPark Center is here to show you what's in and on trend, so no one ends up wearing anything that's — gasp — so last year.


Puffed and plaid
Quilted vests worn over plaid button-down shirts are preppy without being too precious. Janie and Jack poplin shirt in True Blue paid, $36; Janie and Jack quilted vest in Highland Green, $59.

Janie and Jack shirt and quilted vest
Photo courtesy of NorthPark Center
It's back to school time, which also means the annual freshening up of your kids' wardrobes. NorthPark Center is here to show you what's in and on trend, so no one ends up wearing anything that's — gasp — so last year. As an extra helping hand, NorthPark Center will be hosting the ABCs of Back-to-School Style Presentation on Saturday, August 20 from 10:30 am to 4 pm. This all-day extravaganza will include two presentations from Bookmarks, a fall fashion presentation at 11:30 with commentary from noted local bloggers, a performance from Power House of Dance, and the chance for kids to create their own masterpieces with ArtRocks!. --- Puffed and plaid Quilted vests worn over plaid button-down shirts are preppy without being too precious. Janie and Jack poplin shirt in True Blue paid, $36; Janie and Jack quilted vest in Highland Green, $59.
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Florence Pugh proves her stardom yet again in A Good Person

Movie review

The rise of Florence Pugh has been pretty astonishing to witness. After gaining acclaim for her film debut in 2016’s Lady Macbeth, the actor has gone back-and-forth between mainstream and art fare, starring in films as disparate as Fighting with My Family, Midsommar, Black Widow, and Little Women, for which she earned an Oscar nomination.

Now, thanks to her former romantic partner Zach Braff, she has another intense leading part to add to her filmography in A Good Person. Pugh plays Allison, a young, music-loving pharmaceutical rep who’s engaged to be married to Nathan (Chinaza Uche). One day, however, she’s involved in a car accident that winds up killing Molly (Nichelle Hines) and Jesse (Onwumere), her would-be sister- and brother-in-law.

The bulk of the film takes place a year after the accident, as Allison is still struggling with pain resulting from the crash and the grief/guilt over the deaths. Simultaneously, Daniel (Morgan Freeman) is doing his best to raise Molly and Jesse’s daughter, Ryan (Celeste O’Connor), and deal with his long estrangement from Nathan. A search for help with addiction for both Allison and Daniel leads them into a tentative friendship.

Written and directed by Braff (Garden State), the film touches on its serious issues in a deft manner. While Allison’s depressive state sends her down a bunch of tough roads for both her and the audience, the film is balanced with lighter moments, many of them courtesy of Allison’s mom, Diane (Molly Shannon). As much as the film is a meditation on how – and how not – to handle grief, it thrives on Allison’s various relationships, and scenes with each of the main co-stars build those bonds nicely.

Smaller details, like Allison riding her bike everywhere because she’s afraid to drive, pay dividends as well. Riding her bike causes her to show up sweaty and out-of-breath in multiple scenes, adding to the haggard and withdrawn look she maintains for most of the film. There can be a certain cliché in how someone acts when they’re trying to portray the state Allison is in, but Pugh, Braff, and the filmmaking team are able to subvert that trope with their choices.

If there’s one fault to the film, it’s that Braff can’t quite land the plane on each of the characters’ stories. All of the stories are related to one another, so it’s difficult to untangle them. After spending most of the film keeping them relatively separate, a decision to bring them all together in a late scene feels rushed and unsatisfying. It doesn’t ruin the film, but it does lessen it to a degree.

Written for Pugh by Braff when they were still a couple, the film hinges on Pugh carrying most of emotional weight of the story, and she delivers in a big way. She eschews histrionics in favor of more subtle acting, and the result is powerful. The 85-year-old Freeman hasn’t had a meaty dramatic role like this in a long time, so it’s nice to see he still has it. Shannon, O’Connor, and Zoe Lister-Jones also elevate the story.

Though it’s early in the year, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Pugh could snag an Oscar nomination for her performance in A Good Person. You could call it a star-making turn if she weren’t already a star; this just solidifies her place in Hollywood for years to come.


A Good Person opens in theaters on March 24.

Florence Pugh in A Good Person

Photo by Jeong Park / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures

Florence Pugh in A Good Person.

Whiskers and Soda is the new cat cafe that cats in Dallas needed

Cat News

A much-anticipated cat cafe is opening its doors: Called Whiskers and Soda Cat Café, it'll be a sanctuary in East Dallas for cat lovers to grab a coffee, and it's celebrating its grand opening on March 25, at 10320 Garland Rd.

The location also includes Griffin Rock Cat Retreat, a luxurious cat boarding facility open for up to 12 cats/cat families.

Both are owned by Lake Highlands residents Caroline and Rob Stovall, as a way to support their work in cat rescue with A Voice for All Paws (AVAP), a nonprofit cat rescue organization.

According to a release, their goal with Whiskers and Soda Cat Café is to provide a place for potential adopters to connect with cats. The cats will also be provided with veterinary care.

The café will feature the following amenities:

  • visiting area with beverages and pastries by local Leila Bakery
  • a one-of-a-kind sofa just for cats
  • shelves for cats to wander
  • more cat related areas
  • a kitten room for people specifically focused on kittens
  • a visiting room for those wanting to spend time with cats before adoption

You have to pay to visit the Cat Café - this is a charitable endeavor - with choice of a monthly membership or payment for a single visit, subject to availability. They're offering an opening promotion of $10-$12.50 a month.

Anyone who adopts a cat gets the hourly fee deducted, and other benefits will be provided.

Adjoining the cafe is the Griffin Rock Cat Retreat, the boarding facility which offers each cat or cat family its own private room, with space to run, toys, ramps, TV, and interactive camera/audio device.

As the release notes, Stovall is originally from the UK, and was shocked at the horrendous animal welfare laws in Texas.

"I've worked in a number of rescues in Dallas, but I finally decided that it was time to take the next step," she says. "Our team, along with volunteers, will run the cat café, cat retreat and adoption center. We will run it like a business with a coffee shop where people can work. We see these businesses as a means of funding our non-for-profit organization, too.”

When cats are found and don’t have homes, A Voice for All Paws covers spay/neuter, microchipped, deworming, medications, baths, vet exams, shots, and check for parasites. Getting kittens and cats socialized around people and other animals eases adoptions.

"Having a place where people can visit cats ready for adoption will be a huge benefit to AVAP," Stovall says.

Country music bad boy Morgan Wallen headlines ACM Awards benefit show in Dallas-Fort Worth

Country concert news

Dallas-Fort Worth will be the center of the country music universe on May 11, when the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards are broadcast from The Star in Frisco. As with any worldwide, Super Bowl-level event, there'll be many happenings leading up to it. First up: 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 "friends" taking the stage with him include reigning ACM Songwriter of the Year HARDY, reigning ACM New Female Artist and Song of the Year winner Lainey Wilson, ERNEST, Bailey Zimmerman, and DJ 13lackbeard.

The show will be held at 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 10 on the golfing green at Topgolf in The Colony. It will follow the Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On Fundraiser, presented by VGT by Aristocrat Gaming, taking place earlier that day; the concert is ticketed separately from the golf tournament.

Just what does Lifting Lives do? According to a release, "in addition to distributing more than $4 million to date through its Covid Relief Fund, ACM Lifting Lives provides critical support through the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund, significant annual commitments to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Music Health Alliance, and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, and individual grants to organizations that reach communities all across America."

Now in its fourth year (and first in Texas), the golf tournament brings together artists, industry members, and fans for a golf skills competition and an extended day of live entertainment.

"ACM Lifting Lives does great work providing aid in times of need to folks inside and outside of the music industry,” Wallen says in the release. “My band and I are excited to help them raise funds to continue doing this amazing work.”

Now, for the ticket details, per the release:

  • General Admission tickets to the concert became available to ACM Members, ACM A-List subscribers, 58th ACM Awards ticket holders, and Topgolf Friends and Family through an exclusive presale that started at 12 pm Thursday, March 23.
  • Remaining tickets will be available for a general public onsale beginning Friday, March 24 at 10 am through AXS.
  • Tickets to the benefit concert only are $350 plus service fees.
  • Those who have purchased bays for golf will be able to remain in their bay for the concert, with the bay serving as a suite to watch the show. A limited amount of VIP fan golf bays for the Topgolf Tee-Off and Rock On are available for purchase; email rockon@acmcountry.com.