Quantcast
Courtesy of Texas Book Festival

With less than two months before the Texas Book Festival makes its fully in-person return this fall, the anticipation is building like your favorite thriller novel. After announcing the keynotes earlier this summer (including Arlington's Sandra Brown; Omar Epps, Angie Cruz, Michaela Goade, and more), the TBF has released its full author lineup.

Taking place on November 5 and 6, the 27th annual Texas Book Festival will feature nearly 300 national and Texas authors, including debut and bestselling writers, celebrated chefs, and more. Scattered along Austin's iconic Congress Avenue and surrounding the State Capitol, the event is a unique opportunity for attendees to both connect with favorite authors and meet new stars of the literary world.

As always, this year's lineup stretches across all genres, from cookbooks to thrillers and everything in between. Newly announced authors include Top Chef finalist Chris Scott and James Beard Award recipient Vishwesh Bhatt, University of Texas at Austin's H.W. Brands, New York Times bestselling author Xochitl Gonzalez, and many, many more.

A few new highlights to add to the radar include:

  • Gabino Iglesias, award-winning author, will present The Devil Takes You Home, a genre-defying thriller about a father desperate to salvage what's left of his family — even if it means a descent into violence.
  • Culinary legend and 16-time James Beard Award recipient Jacques Pépin will present Jacques Pépin Art of the Chicken, chock-full of recipes, humorous stories, and his own paintings.
  • Grammy-nominated Margo Price will debut her memoir, Maybe We’ll Make It, a revealing look at loss, motherhood, and the search for artistic freedom.

While the festival always attracts talent from across the country, the event also showcases the incredible homegrown talent from right here in the Lone Star State. Texas authors featured at this year’s festival include Robert Draper, Simran Jeet Singh, LaToya Watkins, Will Hurd, Leon and Tiffany Chen, May Cobb, Alex Kiester, Katherine McGee, Amanda Eyre Ward, Amy Kim Kibuishi, Lise Olsen, Evan Griffith, Natalia Sylvester, and (you guessed it) many more.

Don't leave the kids behind, either. Young adult and children's programming will be as robust as ever, featuring numerous YA and children’s book authors such as Maggie Stiefvater, Aiden Thomas, Natalia Sylvester, R. M. Romero, Carole Boston Weatherford, Michaela Goade, David Bowles, David Levithan, and Mac Barnett.

"We are eager to present authors and exhibitors in person again, for the biggest Texas Book Festival since 2019,” says TBF Literary Director Matthew Patin in a release. “An incredible slate of debut, emerging, and established literary talent from across the state and nationwide will be in Austin this November. And we’re looking forward to connecting audiences with writers they’ve long been fans of, and with those they’ll be lifelong fans of soon.”

For a full list of 2022 authors and to learn more about each one (read: to memorize their photos so you can spot them in the inevitably crowded festival atmosphere), head to the Texas Book Festival website.

University of Texas System invests $16.5 million for student mental health resources

What Starts Here

The motto at the University of Texas is: "What Starts Here Changes the World." The university's governing body, The University of Texas System Board of Regents, has backed that motto with a $16.5 million investment that supports the mental health of the very thing that starts at UT's 13 academic and health institutions — its students.

In a recent release, the UT Regents announced that the data-driven, multi-million investment over the next five years will build upon the institution's "long-standing commitment to student safety at all UT academic and health institutions."

In 2011, the university became the first system of higher education to approve an investment toward comprehensive alcohol prevention, education, and recovery programs at each of its academic campuses, and this latest investment will both further support and broaden the scope of those programs. The release detailed a special meeting held on June 28 to approve the $16.5 million investment for expanding and enhancing student mental health, student safety, and alcohol education resources at 13 institutions.

“Student safety is always top of mind for the UT System Board of Regents,” said chair Kevin P. Eltife in the release. “Our unanimous support of new funding speaks to the Board’s commitment to ensure the very best learning environments for all students across all UT institutions.”

Chancellor James Milliken said UT System leadership recommended additional investment in student mental health resources based on national studies and internal data that show a significant rise in the diagnosis and treatment of student mental health issues — including stress, anxiety and depression — over the past 10 years or more. Unsurprisingly, the release notes how the coronavirus pandemic and its associated challenges accelerated this trend, as the percentage of students at UT institutions who were diagnosed by and/or received mental health services from a professional increased from 20 percent in 2011 to 30 percent in 2021. During the same period, student counseling centers reported a 38 percent increase in psychiatric hospitalizations.

The total allocation of $16,500,000 will fund five initiatives, as well as the evaluation of their impact, for five years across the UT System:

  • Mental health crisis line
  • Expanding clinical mental health services to students via telehealth
  • Web-based alcohol education and sexual assault and harassment prevention for students; harassment, safety, and other training for faculty and staff
  • Faculty and staff training
  • Thrive at UT mobile app

“Student safety and wellness remain a most critical priority for UT institutions, and the Board of Regents’ newest investment will support, educate and treat students at all UT academic and health institutions throughout their journey toward a degree,” Milliken said. “Our campuses are grateful for the timing of these new resources that will allow them to expand and enhance the student services determined to be most effective over the past 11 years and during the pandemic.”

UT Austin student from Plano wins $250K grand prize in Jeopardy! college championship

Texas proud

KVUE — On Tuesday night, February 22, Plano native Jaskaran Singh, a senior finance and economic major at the University of Texas at Austin, won the final round of the Jeopardy! national college championship.

Singh walked away with a grand prize of $250,000 after facing off against Liz Feltner of Northeastern University and Raymond Goslow of Kennesaw State.

Singh dominated the night and found all six Daily Doubles.

The tournament started with 36 students from 36 colleges and universities from across the country during nine days of competition.

Singh won the February 11 quarterfinals with a question about Ukraine and earned $19,900.

He then advanced from the semis to the final round on February 18, earning $24,000 total after betting — and winning — all of his $12,200 total at the end of the Double Jeopardy round.

The 22-year-old said he first applied to be on the popular trivia game show when he was 13, thanks to his mom. He didn’t make it then, but he applied again last year and has now taken the $250,000 grand prize.

Singh says he’s been interested in trivia since he was in high school. He was on the quiz bowl team and won the national championship then. He’s also on the UT Quiz Bowl team, which is competing in nationals this spring.

Although he’s well-versed in trivia, Singh says there were some tense moments while competing.

“There was one category with a series of clues for phrases that have three words that rhyme. My brain was not working in that moment. Just the experience of being in a TV studio and having lights bearing down on you, and makeup put on you, that sort of gets to you,” he told UT.

His interest in trivia follows him into the classroom as well, where he studies more than finance and economics.

“Now I’m taking just one computer-science class to finish out my minor, Russian, as an adjunct to my economics double major, and a bunch of history classes I’ve wanted to take,” he told UT, which turned its iconic UT Tower orange in recognition of Singh’s win.

First recorded in November, the Jeopardy! national college championship semifinals began airing on Thursday, February 17 and Singh appeared on the final round of the show show on Tuesday, February 22 on ABC.

Singh was one of two students from Texas universities who competed in the national college championship.

He told UT News that he plans to return to DFW to further his career.

"I did an internship with Boston Consulting Group in Dallas, and they’ve brought me back full time, so I’ll start with them after graduation," he said.

---

Continue reading this story and watch the video on KVUE.

Just one Texas school hooks ranking among best global universities by U.S. News & World Report

on the hook

In the eyes of U.S. News & World Report, the University of Texas at Austin stands out as a global powerhouse.

In a ranking released October 26, UT Austin appears at No. 43 among the best global universities. It’s the only Texas school to land in the top 100.

To the surprise of probably no one, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, claims the No. 1 spot.

To compile its list, U.S. News evaluated more than 1,700 schools around the world based on 13 factors tied to reputation, research publication and citations, and scientific excellence. In the U.S., 271 schools made the list.

“These rankings stand out from our other education rankings due to their emphasis on academic research,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News, says in a news release.

In a separate news release, UT toots its own horn about the U.S. News recognition, citing the school’s lofty position among the “global elite” in higher education.

The school also notes the publication’s callout of academic subject rankings, with UT placing in the top 25 in the world for mathematics (No. 18), materials science (No. 23), arts and humanities (No. 24; tie), and geosciences (No. 24).

Elsewhere in U.S. News’ top 200:

  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas ties for 124th place.
  • The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston ties for 135th place.
  • Texas A&M University in College Station appears at No. 140.
  • Rice University in Houston appears at No. 167.

Dallas makes the honor roll as a top place to live after college

living it up

For many college students, it’s tough to imagine life after college when they’re cramming for exams and cranking out research papers. Yet the time does come when they’ll venture into the “real world” with their degrees.

Before graduation rolls around, college students often find themselves wondering where to start their after-school journeys. To help with this homework, real estate website Point2 has developed a list of the best places for life after college, and Dallas earns a ranking of No. 21.

Fort Worth ropes the No. 5 ranking, and Austin — home of the University of Texas — comes in at No. 1.

The website looked at an array of factors to come up with its ranking, such as population growth, business growth, median age, household income growth, poverty rate, and housing availability and prices.

Point2 considered only the 86 places that host the country’s 100 most successful colleges and universities, as rated by U.S. News & World Report.

Dallas — of course, home to prestigious University of Dallas, Southern Methodist University, and University of Texas at Dallas — was noted in Point2's study among America’s top most dynamic college towns in terms of population growth (no secret everyone's moving here!), increasing in number of housing units, growth of locals with higher education degrees, and especially, increase in number of businesses.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth — home to Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan, and Tarrant County College — was noted for its population growth, change in business establishments, and number of building permits.

Other Texas communities on the list are:

  • No. 17 College Station, home of Texas A&M University.
  • No. 24 Waco, home of Baylor University.
  • No. 33 Houston, home of Rice University.

“While education and innovation keep these educational institutions on the map, it’s the economic and social conditions in the city that convince students to pursue a career and build a life in their college town. That’s why household incomes, home prices, the number of businesses and startups, and even the city’s poverty rates weigh heavy,” Point2 says.

George Strait/Instagram

Texas music icons George Strait and Willie Nelson to share stage in historic performance

If it wasn't for Texas ...

On the cowboy boot heels of his acclaimed headlining performances at this year’s ACL Music Festival, the king of country music George Strait will not, in fact, ride away. He's returning to the stage with another Texas music legend, Willie Nelson, in a shared-stage performance that's happened just once before in the icons' storied careers.

Strait and Nelson will perform April 29, 2022 as part of the grand opening celebration of Moody Center, a new $338 million venue opening on the University of Texas campus in Austin.

The show, dubbed "Strait from Moody Center," bills Strait as the headliner, with special guests Willie Nelson & Family, and Randy Rogers Band noted as special guests.

Exclusive VIP packages and tickets for the grand opening show go on sale Friday, October 22 at 10 am on the Moody Center website. There’s no word yet on specific ticket prices.

“I’m so glad I’ll get to ‘sing one with Willie,’ and I can’t think of a better place to do it than Austin, Texas,” says Strait, who holds the unique distinction of having more No. 1 songs than any other artist in history. “Willie is an incredible musician and an even better person, so I know this will be a great night together along with our friends from Randy Rogers Band.”

The event, which will give many Texans their first opportunity to check out the new 15,000-seat music venue, also holds special significance in another way, as Texas treasure Nelson turns 89 years old the night of the show. And who doesn’t want to spend Willie’s birthday with the Red Headed Stranger himself?

“While planning our grand opening celebration, we knew we had an obligation to pay homage to the Lone Star State. George, Willie, and Randy are all Texas natives who have built legendary careers while having an unbelievable impact on the country music industry,” says Jeff Nickler, general manager of Moody Center. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

Strait from Moody Center is among several shows already announced for the venue’s first days, including planned performances from The Weeknd on April 19, 2022 (a move from its original April 18 date); John Mayer on April 20, 2022; and Justin Bieber on April 27, 2022.

Before tickets for the Strait from Moody Center show go on sale to the public October 22, American Express card members can score them Wednesday, October 13 at 10 am through Thursday, October 21 at 10 pm. Fans can also sign up for the Moody Center newsletter before Monday, October 18 to get venue pre-sale access from Wednesday, October 20 at 10 am until Thursday, October 21 at 10 pm.

Health and safety procedures for the show will follow guidance from public health authorities, and enhanced COVID-19 protocols may be added as the show date nears. Fans can get the latest COVID-19 info regarding Moody Center on the venue’s website.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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."