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VAL's "As Above, So Below" Exhibit: A Critical View

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Pmoulard87 on 2015/8/20 5:40:00 (242 reads)

By Philip Moulard
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Saturday, August 15 2015, the Visual Art League (VAL) debuted their fall exhibit, “As Above, So Below”. The large exhibit features numerous works from six different University of North Texas alumni, present and former working with drastically different artistic mediums. Though lacking a concrete theme, “As Above, So Below” displays many works that share a familiar essence and all pay homage to the modernist movement.

Daniel Baeza presented an archival pigment print collection that showcase highly detailed and zoomed in photographs of soil and mineral deposits. Baeza’s “Untitled - Fragment 5” highlights ridges and indentations in the soil, depicting a very organic and isolated display. Small sparse floral buds appear throughout the piece giving patrons a sense of hope.

David Villegas presented a collection of silk screen prints that cover a large variety of art types. Highlights include his expressionistic take on the Virgin Mary simply titled “Mary,” and his visceral “Subject-Woman/Lamb” showcases the graphic reality of the life cycle with an open lamb carcass, while the top frame displays a silk screened and blurry depiction of a naked female form, retaining a sense of beauty from the piece despite the harsh gory realities depicted.

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Food Reviews: Pita Houzz

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Pmoulard87 on 2015/8/13 20:31:44 (581 reads)

By Philip Moulard

Pita Houzz
The Marketplace at Highland Village, 3090 FM407 #330, Highland Village, TX 75077
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Mediterranean food is a popular form of cuisine due to its complex herbal flavors and simply prepared dishes. A gyro sandwich, while basic in nature, contains many ingredients that make the convenient package a small wonder. Pita Houzz in Highland Village takes the simple-yet-deep approach of the cuisine and applies it to a contemporary dining experience.

The menu style at Pita Houzz reminds one of Chipotle, from the large step-by-step instructions to the pricing and layout. Pita Houz takes Chipotle’s successful formula and applies it to Mediterranean cuisine. This gives the restaurant a familiar and welcoming feel for those unaccustomed to Greek or Lebanese food.

A very informative and accommodating gentleman named Q rang up my reasonably priced $9.00 plate and I made my way to a large picnic table. As I selected ingredients for my gyro wrap, I was drawn to the detail and freshness put into even the most basic items. The tzatziki sauce, for example, had large sprigs of dill and the falafel was fluffy and cake-like in appearance.

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35Express: Short Term Closure of the Southbound Interstate 35E Exit Ramp to Corporate Drive in Lewisville

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Runfellow on 2015/8/7 10:10:21 (986 reads)

Open in new windowFrom a submitted report:

Lewisville, Texas - As crews continue work in the Lewisville area, the southbound I-35E exit ramp to Corporate Drive will be continuously closed to traffic beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9 through 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. During this closure, crews will reconstruct the ramp and continue widening the mainlanes.

While the ramp is closed, traffic will exit I-35E at State Highway 121 Business and continue south along the frontage road to access Corporate Drive.

Also on Sunday, Aug. 9, various lanes of southbound I-35E approaching the Corporate Drive exit ramp will be closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. At least one lane of traffic will remain open. A flagging operation along the southbound I-35E frontage road will be in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9. Law enforcement will be on site to assist with traffic control during the nightly closures.

This work is related to the 35Express project, an expansion of I-35E between U.S. Highway 380 in Denton County and I-635 in Dallas County. All closures are subject to weather conditions and may be postponed, if necessary.

For more information on the 35Express project and to sign up to receive text alerts, please visit www.35Express.org or call 214-483-7777.

For a detailed PDF map, see below:

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Updated: City Council to Vote on LED Light Strip Ordinance on Monday Night

Blogs and Columns
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2015/7/31 19:00:00 (2228 reads)

Open in new windowUpdate - 8/3/2015:
The City Council rejected this on a 2-3 vote, even after a grandfather clause was added by Councilman Brent Daniels as a compromise. Daniels and Ferguson voted in favor, with Tierney, Gilmore, and Vaughn voting against. City staff assures the Council that there will be an opportunity in January to consider something that might be more based on an objective measurement of the output of light from these. We'll have more later.

Update - 8/1/2015:
The Lewisville City Council will consider an ordinance at its regular meeting on Monday, August 3rd. The proposed ordinance makes it an offense to use LED or other continuous or connected series of lights in order to outline individual windows, outline an individual occupancy in a multi-tenant building, or outline any vertical features of the building separate from the roof line. It would also be an offense to outline any accessory structures; except outside patios, trees, light poles and other similar appurtenances.

Update 7/7/2015:
The City Council did determine in workshop that there was enough consensus to ask staff to draw up an ordinance and come back at a later date. The ordinance would be modeled after Carrollton's ordinance, but would contain exceptions for things like outdoor seating areas of restaurants, and other types of string lighting that are acceptable. It was also clarified that any ordinance of this type would not apply to holiday lighting or neon, which is covered elsewhere in the city ordinances.

Mayor Rudy Durham was opposed to the measure, and Councilman Leroy Vaughn thought it didn't go far enough, and would like to have seen additional verbiage regarding the timing of lighting use after hours for energy efficiency.


Original Story - 7/6/2015
Monday night at 5:45 p.m., the Lewisville City Council will hear a presentation regarding the popular LED strip and rope lighting that is seeing increasing use in local storefronts. The presentation by staff is at Deputy Mayor Neil Ferguson's request.

Ferguson thinks the strip lights that can often be seen outlining the windows of businesses look bad, and are not in keeping with the spirit of the city's overhaul of outdoor signage regulations three years ago.

Aesthetics are not the only reasoning though. The lights create a glare around windows that Ferguson says can make it hard for police to see through the windows and see whether anyone is in the business. The excess and non-directed light source at night can also contribute to light pollution or light trespass, according to the presentation included in the agenda backup packet.

The City of Carrollton outlawed the strips or ropes of LED and other lights for usage in outlining windows, or outlining individual occupancies in strip centers, accessory structures, signs, light poles and appurtenances, and vertical features. Carrollton does allow lights that outline only the roof line of any building.

Lewisville City staff have identified 31 businesses that utilize the strips locally. If the council were to ban the use of these lights, businesses would likely be given a period of time to comply. In Carrollton, businesses were given 90 days to remove the lights when their ordinance passed.

No action is scheduled for this item Monday night, other than a workshop to discuss options and get a consensus from the council. If the council agreed that action was necessary, then city staff would draw up a proposed ordinance that could be voted on in a future meeting. The workshop begins at 5:45 p.m. and is open to the public.

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Food Reviews: VertsKebap

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Pmoulard87 on 2015/7/30 18:28:22 (1334 reads)

By Philip Moulard

VertsKebap
859 TX-121, Lewisville, TX 75067
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Growing up in the United States, it is easy to forget that many of the food dishes we have eaten regularly throughout our lives originated in a different part of the world. Many staple American fast-food items are a Frankenstein’s monster of different culinary dishes unique to the many countries our ancestors came from. Though many do not realize it, Germany stands as the biggest contributor to our fast-food staples, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

Enter VertsKebap, a fast-food establishment started in Austin, Texas and providing the United-States with it’s first chain to serve Germany’s much loved street food item, the döner kebap. Originating from Turkey and utilizing the stacked meat design commonly seen in gyro sandwiches, döners, as they are commonly called, have become one of Germany’s most widely eaten fast-food items in recent years.

Walking into a VertsKebap, one is immediately hit with unique sense of European flare. Traditional fast-casual industrial designs are met with very subtle warm European lodge-style decor. The splashes of red and white decorate the interior, making the environment pop. Walking further in, my eyes were drawn to the large poster on my right: A large and informative banner explained the proper way to hold this strange, new type of food. Before I could react, a very helpful young gentleman asked what I would like to eat. Without hesitation, I ordered my Original Beef Kebap with the house Falafel.

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This Isn't Really About Cosby. You Know That, Right?

Blogs and Columns
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2015/7/30 8:00:00 (1050 reads)

Open in new windowBy Dixie Westbrook

No, this situation isn't really about Cosby. This situation where 46 women so far have come forward to tell their stories about being drugged and/or assaulted by Bill Cosby isn't about the man at all. It is really about us.

When I was raped in 1990, I was told something significant by a police officer. I have never forgotten his words. He said in the days just past my assault, "We have a hard time catching rapists. They are harder to catch than anyone other criminal because they work alone, in the shadows. They don't talk about what they do because they are ashamed of what they do. Other criminals -- car thieves, burglars -- they are easy to catch because they talk about what they do. They have to sell what they steal. They work in rings or networks. They brag about what they have done. All we have to do is get those other people to talk."

At the time, I believed him. It was my only rape experience. I was 28, it was a stranger lunging in through an open window in my house before I closed it. He was alone. And I was the easiest rape victim to sympathize with in the world. In fact, the Lewisville police were incredibly wonderful. They used me to help them in the case. They believed in me. They told me they "never forget their rape victims. Ever." I believed I was empowered through working with the police. At the time, I was unaware of other survivors. I felt very much alone in my experience. But this aloneness was an illusion. The reality was that I was surrounded by survivors. One by one, they came to me and spilled their stories out. They came because I was empowered to tell my story first. I was safe.

Then I learned the awful truth. My experience with rape -- being raped by a stranger -- is the most uncommon kind of rape there is. Roughly 80% of all sexual assaults occur by those we already know; family members, friends, acquaintances, current or former partners. And the vast majority go unreported. It isn't for selfish reasons that rape victims do not tell and report. There are myriad reasons why. And the overwhelming majority of those reasons are because the rapists led them to believe that their outcries would get them nowhere. Most of the time the rapists doesn't even need to threaten them, physically or verbally. The victim just has to look around the culture the rapists has created and know that he or she is right. Be quiet. No one will believe you.

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Food Reviews: Old House BBQ

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Pmoulard87 on 2015/7/19 18:50:00 (1359 reads)

Open in new windowBy Philip Moulard

Old House BBQ
380 Lake Park Rd, Lewisville, TX 75057

Texas barbecue is a culinary delicacy that is well-known throughout the rest of the country. Though Tennessee is nationally recognized as the premier state for smoked meat, Texas has always sat comfortably as number two. With a heavy influence from our Central American neighbors from the south, Texas barbecue is referred to by many as some of the most unique and flavorful in the United States. Though each region of our beloved Lone Star State brings their own unique traits to table, the one shared factor between them are wood smoking and rubbed spices. Small wooden barbecue shacks are the temples of this culinary religion. Despite the popularity of the food and the many corporate chains that have since formed, small wooden barbecue shacks are the temples of the trade.

Driving down Lake Park Road - now separated from FM 407 by the I-35 construction - the sight of Old House Barbecue demands your attention. The combination of the aged wooden building and the wood fired grill will convince even the most stubborn of passers-by to stop and investigate. I walked through the front door and was immediately greeted with an all too familiar Texan theme. Dark wooden floors and fixtures danced with the longhorns and stars spread throughout dining area in front of me. To my left was a very familiar cafeteria line set up one would typically find in a chain establishment such as Dickey’s. On the wall adjacent to the food line, a large full color-photo menu was painted upon its surface.

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Movie Review: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl

Blogs and Columns
Posted by DougLane on 2015/6/28 19:00:00 (460 reads)

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Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (June 2015)
Written by Jesse Andrews & Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Starring Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke & Ronald Cyler II
Rated: PG-13
Review: 9/10

Trailer
Open in new window By Doug Lane

Last summer, I wrote a pretty forgiving review of “The Fault in Our Stars,” claiming that its conventional (and at times, manipulative) narrative didn’t subvert, but rather wandered within its movie boundaries well. And while I still stand by such a statement, I must confess that I've become somewhat jaded with such critiques. While there's nothing wrong with being perfectly adequate, movies should take risks when dealing with tough subjects, even if they are adolescent-oriented. This is why I loved “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” so much:, another wonderful summer film getting lost within the big-budget blockbuster scene.

Greg Gaines (played by Thomas Mann), ‘Earl’ (Ronald Cyler II) and the ‘Dying Girl’ Rachel (Olivia Cooke) may seem like indie-movie stand-ins, but the film does a great job to make sure each character actually has depth. Greg is a loner, preferring to remain aloof than participate in the high school social structure; he calls Earl his ‘co-worker’ because of their working relationship (they cleverly remake classic movies together) despite being friends since childhood. He scoffs at the idea of visiting Rachel, despite his parents (a wonderful pairing of Connie Britton and Nick Offerman) telling him of Rachel’s leukemia diagnosis.

Adapted for the screen by the book’s author Jesse Andrews and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, the movie’s biggest upside is its frankness. Mann, Cooke and Cyler II all mesh perfectly together, with each actor playing to the other instead of themselves, even when the narrative prefers to focus on Greg. What we get is an enduring friendship between the three that’s both beautiful without the dousing of sentimentality that plagues most coming-of-age movies. For the most part, Gomez-Rejon’s style plays well with the actors, creating a Wes Anderson-esque vibe without all the emptiness that sometimes accompanies Anderson films.

However, the most striking thing about this film is the structure. From the start, Greg frames the movie through the writing of an essay (much like “The Spectacular Now," another wonderful coming-of-age film), which creates both an intriguing and, at times, infuriating framing device. Greg’s internalizing of Rachel’s death is a little off-putting upon first glance. But think back to the structure: Greg is attempting to recreate this narrative in a way that makes sense not only to him, but to an external audience. One of the first lines in the movie is Greg musing how he “doesn’t even know how to tell this story.” As he relives the experience in his mind, mediating it before putting it to screen and thus, to the audience, he’s attempting to make sense of something that, at times, doesn’t make any sense.

In this light, Greg’s internalization of Rachel’s sickness makes the third-act much more honest than the dishonest third act from “The Fault in Our Stars.” The movie doesn’t move outward, but inward, as Greg attempts to thrust all his feelings upon himself, since no other way makes sense for him. So while it might seem unfair to focus on Greg instead of Rachel, it shows how selfish one can be in the face death: instead of coming together, we turn away, preferring to trivialize rather than accept the truth.

Even after passing the precipice of grief, Greg can’t help but think upon himself until the very last scene of the film. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a definitive, powerful scene that will linger around for days to come. All the quirkiness from the first-two acts subtly blend together into a scene that encapsulates the word 'bittersweet.' It's a scene I wish was in "The Fault in Our Stars," but one that I simply conceded was too mature for such a film genre to pull off. I'm glad I've never been so wrong.




Doug Lane is a Lewisville resident, where he just graduated from the University of North Texas. Lane also graduated from Lewisville High School, where he wrote movie reviews for the Farmers Harvest
Copyright 2015, Doug Lane - Licensed to the Lewisville Texan Journal

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LHS wins One-Act Play State Title

Blogs and Columns
Posted by LewisvilleTexan on 2015/6/15 20:40:00 (512 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowLewisville High School won its first One-Act Play state championship on May 28, placing first among eight schools that reached the University Interscholastic League Class 6A finals held in Austin on the campus of The University of Texas.

In addition to winning the overall championship as a company, Lewisville garnered four individual acting awards. Senior Joshua Wallace was named Best Actor for the third time this spring, and also received the prestigious Samuel French Award as the top overall performer in the competition. Senior Adrienne Lee was named to the All-Star Cast, and senior Julian Johnson and junior Desirae Rubio were named to the Honorable Mention All-Star Cast.

“This experience has been incredible,” said Brad Durio, in his first year as head theater director at LHS and his fifth time overall to take a team to the state competition. “These students went to Austin to tell a beautiful story and did just that. The performances were honest and true. This company will forever hold a special place in my heart.”

The LHS company advanced through five qualifying competitions since March to reach the state finals, including the Region I contest in Arlington in late April. It marked the first time Lewisville had reached the state level in One-Act Play since 1991.

UIL started holding the One-Act Play championship in 1927. During a One-Act Play competition, student theater companies have seven minutes to place technical equipment and set/props, 40 minutes to perform, and seven minutes to strike the set. Exceeding those times disqualifies the company from judging.

Lewisville’s contest entry featured scenes from “The African Company Presents Richard III” by playwright Carlyle Brown. It is a dramatic retelling of a little-known event in 1821 in New York City – 40 years before the end of slavery in the U.S. and 50 years before black Americans earned the right to vote. The first black theatrical company in the country, the African Company of New York, was putting on plays in a downtown Manhattan theater to mixed-race audiences, but faced significant obstacles and even violent opposition.

The LHS cast included (in order of appearance) Tallon Coxe (Stephen Price), Adrienne Lee (Sarah), Desirae Rubio (Ann Johnson), Joshua Wallace (James Hewlett), Julian Johnson (Papa Shakespeare), Andreon Watson (William Henry Brown), Nate Courtney (The Constable-Man), and ensemble members McKenzie Cloud, Destinee Gines, Mae Adela Reiland and Philip Robinson.

Technical crew members were Keegan Brown, Marily Gonzalez, Kalee Grimsley, Macy Kunke and Nicole Smalls. Company alternates were Nicole Renteria, Rachel Millaway and Ruby Adame.

Faculty directors are Durio, Laura McNary, Wendi Brozek and Wendy Barrett.

From a submitted report

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Food Reviews: Mill Street Diner

Blogs and Columns
Posted by Pmoulard87 on 2015/6/2 16:10:00 (886 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowBy Philip Moulard

Mill Street Diner
727 S Mill St, Lewisville, TX 75057

Traveling around the United States, one may witness a multitude of regionally unique places, but none are as memorable as the first time dining at a southern café. Down-home southern cafes offer a rustic, comfortable, and soothing atmosphere that is unlike anything offered in the northern parts of our beloved home land. Mill Street Diner is the quintessential southern diner. Inviting local photography, retro wall décor, and calming plants, all come together to offer a unique and relaxing atmosphere to dine in.

Pulling up to Mill Street Diner, the antique wooden building fills you with a feeling of nostalgia. Walking inside the diner, the yellow walls and fish tanks bring back memories of an elderly family member’s home during Sunday dinner. A primarily elderly demographic, tell a story of an establishment with a deep history and strong relationship with its community. A lone warrior hostess serves double duty as a waitress. She sits you at a table with red and black color schemed table and chairs. She makes jokes and offers suggestions on the daily changing, extensive menu. You place your order of hamburger steak and a salad and then glance around, taking in all the down-home southern charm happening around you.

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