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Concert Review – The Lonely Forest at Club Dada 03.14.11

15 Mar

Photo Credit: Terrible Photo Courtesy of Brandon Hancock


Last night at Club Dada in Dallas, TX the few people brave enough to venture out to Deep Ellum on a post St. Patty’ Day Monday night were treated to what amounted to a private concert by a currently-breaking-out band from the Evergreen State.  The Lonely Forest put on an amazing pre-SXSW show for what couldn’t have been more than 15 people at the recently resurrected Deep Ellum institution.

Both the band and Dallas music fans were put in a tough spot with this show.  The Monday night concert, 11pm set time for The Lonely Forest, was sandwiched between one of the biggest party weekends on the Dallas booze calendar (and a full concert weekend to boot) and SXSW which might be the biggest event for music lovers in Texas as well as nationally.  In fact, the band admitted the Dallas show was put together somewhat last minute and booked mainly to help pay the gas bill to and from Austin (the band will be playing a number of shows at SXSW, including garnering a huge headlining gig at Baeble Music’s Tuesday party).

The show also lacked any sort of organized publicity which definitely helped keep the crowd numbers light. I myself flirted with the thought of not attending Monday night and instead opting to see them later in the week at SXSW, a strategy I know a few Dallas music fans decided on. After the momentary lapse in judgement, I made the decision to head out to Club Dada on Monday night, and I’m glad I did.

With all the excuses laid out above, The Lonely Forest could have easily phoned in their performance last night and no one would have blamed them for choosing to save their voices and energy for the grueling week ahead at SXSW, but they more than delivered to the faithful few that made it out to see their Dallas debut (a November 2010 opening gig for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin at House of Blues Dallas was canceled so the band could beat an impending snow storm over the Rockies and make it back to their home base in Anacortes, WA for Thanksgiving).

The band started out their roughly 45-minute set with a surprising amount of energy considering they had no crowd to feed off and instead had to generate it all by themselves up on stage.  The band raced through songs from their forthcoming new album Arrows (released 03.22.11), their 2010 EP The Lonely Forest, and even a song or two from their self released 2007 album Nuclear Winter.

Highlights from the show included Coyote, Turn Off This Song and Go Outside, Live There (I Don’t Want to Live There), We Sing in Time, and the very strong but seldom played Let It Go. In fact Let It Go is so seldom played that when requested (by yours truly) lead singer John Van Deusen hesitated as he asked his band mates if they remembered how to play the song live.  Van Deusen even forgot a few lyrics in the middle of the song.  Let It Go is one of their best songs and would be great to see on a future album as well as put back into the live concert rotation.

After the group’s final song, the band members jumped off stage and personally came up to each person individually and thanked them for coming out.  They seemed genuinely thrilled that a handful of people in Dallas came out to see them on short notice.  It was a cool gesture for a band that had recently played sold out shows on the west coast in front of audiences as big as 1,500 fans. Even though they had to hit the road for Austin, in a final act of appreciation the band stayed around and had a few drinks with the remaining fans until the staff at Club Dada literally started to turn off the lights at the venue.  I’m convinced the band would have stuck around as long as the venue would have let them.  I’m also convinced that during their next swim through town, getting a ticket won’t be as easy, nor as cheap.

Band Details:


New Album Arrows will be released 03.22.11

Upcoming Shows:

March 15 Austin, TX SXSW-PureVolume House
March 17 Austin, TX SXSW-Klub Krucial
March 17 Austin, TX SXSW-Maggie Mae’s
March 19 Austin, TX SXSW-Waterloo
March 19 Austin, TX SXSW-Austin Convention Center

After SXSW the band will be starting a 23 city tour in support of their new album with The Joy Formidable that will take them coast to coast and into Canada through April 29.

A slideshow of more poor quality photos follows after the jump. I will remember to bring a real camera next time.


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Concert Alert: The Lonely Forest, Tonight! @ Club Dada

14 Mar

Quick note to pass along, another late concert notice, but do yourself a favor and check out The Lonely Forest tonight at Club Dada. The Washington State based band is making a swim through Dallas on their way to Austin for SXSW, and it would be great if Dallas can show them some love.

No excuses! The band is great, the cover is cheap ($8), the venue is solid, beer selection is good and when I visited Club Dada last week I was pleasantly surprised how nice everyone working there was. They were genuinely grateful for the patronage. Help keep Authentic places in Dallas open and our music scene growing by going to concerts like tonight, you’ll come away a Lonely Forest fan.


Also, come back tomorrow and get the details for Authentic Dallas’ SXSW 2011 plans.


Sad Weekend for Downtown Dallas – Demolition of 807 Elm

13 Mar

Credit: Harry Wilonsky & The Dallas Observer

This blog can’t be all about cocktails, restaurants and music, occasionally we will be moved to explore deeper issues that effect the intangible qualities and places that (could) make Dallas Authentic.  This weekend, the Dallas Observer (among others) brought the news of the demolition of a vacant, circa-1925, former warehouse near the entry to the West End District in Dallas.  Most have probably never noticed the building, and if they have might advocate for its demolition anyway.  But that would be the exact type of thinking that took our downtown from a dense, walkable and livable downtown to a parking lot filled, pedestrian unfriendly mess that we have seen evolve over the past 50 years.

My history with 807 Elm

I looked at this building (actually a portfolio of three buildings that was foreclosed on, and is now owned by Park Cities Bank) approximately 12 months ago and was able to tour 807 Elm.  I was looking at possibly using Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to rehab one or all of the buildings in the portfolio.  It was evident fairly early that even if the bank was to give the building to me for free, there was no way a for-profit real estate developer would be able to rehabilitate the property and generate a return anywhere near what would be required by his/her investors.  Chief among the building’s issues were no parking for the site as well structural and environmental (asbestos, lead paint, etc.) issues.

Why save the thing if it is such a bad investment?

It is very important for us as citizens of Dallas to save these precious few remaining buildings that survived from the early 1900’s.  In the very simplest terms they vary the downtown landscape and make it more architecturally diverse and  interesting.  They also hearken back to a day where buildings addressed the street, sidewalk and pedestrian in a much more direct and friendly manner.  We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to study ways to make downtown more pedestrian friendly and one of the simplest answers is to bring the building to the pedestrian at a human scale, which is the epitome of 807 Elm.

The Solution?

I see two ways of averting this type of destruction in the future.  One scenario is philanthropic driven and the other is market driven.  The first scenario I call the philanthropic angle.  We have great people in this city that give millions to build museums, bridges, performance venues and parks, but these monuments are only small parts of what make a city great.  Think about if all the money that was spent on the arts district, signature bridges and new museums were put into a fund to make downtown more walkable, add work force housing (for teachers, first responders, recent college graduates, service industry employees, etc.) and rehabilitate the vacant infrastructure already in place?  That fund would have done more to make Dallas a livable city than the aforementioned projects could ever hope to achieve.

That is the pie-in-the-sky scenario and those philanthropists are more than welcome to spend their money however and wherever they see fit.  This brings me to the reason for this post…where are the “next level philanthropists” in this city? By next level, I mean the mere millionaires.  The 30-something who sold his software company for $10 or $20 million, the app developer who made a few million off an iPhone app that makes a smiley face, the restaurateur who has launched a few successful concepts and sold off the company for $8million, or for the ultimate Dallas stereotype, the plastic surgeon who is 40-something and pulling down seven or eight figures a year as he peals a year or two off the bodies and faces of old money Dallas.

I saw 807 Elm as a great live/work space for a forward thinking restaurateur. Use the bottom floor as his/her restaurant, create a penthouse on the top floor or two as their living space, and either use the remaining floors as office space for his/her company, rent it to other tenants, or sell those floors as condos to other people.  This would be hard to pull off for someone like me who needs to generate a certain return for my investors, but becomes much more economical for someone who is looking to occupy and profit off the use of the space as opposed to someone who needs to generate a return off the real estate alone.  This is what I mean by “next level philanthropist”.  Someone who is not just writing off their money as a donation, but someone who is making an investment in our city and may profit from their venture, but who can also write off any losses because they see the greater benefit to the city and look at their investment as a contribution to downtown.

What Can You do?

If you’re not a millionaire, trust fund baby, or software genius (if you are contact me, we can make magic) the second, market driven, scenario is for you. It can cost as little or as much as you choose.  Participate in Downtown!  If you have the means to buy or rent downtown, seriously consider doing so.  Eat downtown, shop downtown, drink downtown.  If you are the decision maker at your company, consider moving your office downtown.  If you can’t do any of the above, just visiting downtown, walking around or using the parks makes a huge difference.  Having people on the streets is as important as having storefronts filled with boutiques, coffee shops, delis and bistros.

The idea behind the market driven scenario is to make it economically feasible to re-purpose and redevelop the old and vacant buildings, but more importantly make it an economic disincentive to create, maintain or own a surface parking lot.  Surface parking lots are a cancer to downtown and need to be removed.

We’re making steady improvements in Dallas, but real progress will have been achieved when we are talking about ground breakings and not demolitions.  For more information, read one of the authorities on urban Dallas over at Walkable DFW.  Here is a post that compliments what I have written here.


Credit: Harwood Historic District -


Local Band Alert: “The Hope Trust”, Tonight!

4 Mar

Good Local Stuff

VERY late notice, but I wanted to pass along that Authentic Dallas will be at Club Dada in Deep Ellum tonight for The Hope Trust Dallas CD Release party.  I heard these guys on KXT 91.7 a week or two ago and have been very impressed with the new album, Light Can’t Escape (preview entire record at this link).

Doors open tonight at 8, first band goes on at 9pm and The Hope Trust is scheduled to take the stage at 11pm.  Other bands performing tonight in order of appearance include: Sloan Automatic (9pm), Lo Fi Chorus (10pm), and Here, In Arms (12am)

If you can’t make it tonight, suppot a local band and record store and pick up the new album at Good Records on Lower Greenville.

You also have a chance to catch them next week in Denton at the 35 Conferette on Thursday March, 10 at “The lab” at 10:50 (I assume it is pm). At this time, Authentic Dallas will not be at this years 35 Conferette as we are saving our energy for SxSW in two weeks (more on this later), but we won’t turn down a free wristband if anyone has a hookup.

Enjoy the Show!


Authentic Dallas Super Bowl Guide

1 Feb


Copyright NFL


Authentic Dallas would like to welcome the masses to Dallas for the Super Bowl.  Now that you’re here, you are probably wondering what to do in our great city?  I’m sure you’ve been told to visit  The Galleria and Northpark Center, but with apologies to NorthPark (which is truly a great shopping mecca both architecturally and with its lineup of stores), if you’ve been to one big city mall, you’ve been to them all.  I’m also sure your to-do list includes a visit to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum which should be at the top of your list, but what to do with the rest of your days leading up to the Big Game?

Have no fear!  Authentic Dallas is here to steer you to authentic and unique activities, events, restaurants, and bars.  Due to the city moving to ICE FORCE 2!, this list will trend heavily towards eating and drinking, but at least that will keep you warm!

(Note: You might want to call ahead to these places, especially the bars and restaurants, and make sure they are not closed for private parties this week.)

Coffee Houses

Speaking of keeping warm, lets start out with where to grab a great cup of coffee (or tea) without having to visit the ubiquitous Starbucks.  Visit the following places for a unique brew and authentic atmosphere.

Crooked Tree Coffeehouse – 2414 Routh Street – Website
  • Central location in Uptwon Dallas, walking distance from The Crescent, Hotel ZaZa, Ritz Carlton and Downtown Hotels.  It’s also near a bunch of great restaurants and bars.  Chances are if you’re staying in Dallas, you’ll be in Crooked Tree’s orbit early and often.
Murray Street Coffee Shop – 103 Murray Street – Website
  • Murray Street is located in Deep Ellum which is an area with bohemian shops, interesting museums, and some of the best restaurants in the city.  See my previous post on Deep Ellum for some suggestions.  Back to Murray Street, this is probably my favorite coffee house in terms of location, feel, and the actual building.  Murray Street is easy to get to for those staying Downtown or traveling in the Uptown/Downtown area.
Espumoso Caffe – 408 North Bisjop Ave – Suite 105 – Website
  • Negative points to Espumoso Caffe because it isn’t truly authentic to Dallas (they have a location in the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel), but positive points for being in the most authentic area in Dallas, The Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff, and major points for being (to my knowledge) the only place in Dallas that serves Acai Bowls, which is perhaps the greatest thing on earth.  Learn more about Oak Cliff and how to get there below.
The Pearl Cup Espresso Bar – 1900 N. Henderson Ave. – Website
  • The Pearl Cup is located in another great authentic dining and shopping corridor known as the Knox-Henderson neighborhood.  More on the neighborhood below, but if you like a good restaurant and bar scene, you’ll be familiar with the area by Super Sunday.  Henderson Ave is a 5 minute cab ride from Downtown and Uptown hotels and is worth the short trip.

Jump for our list of bars, restaurants and things to do…

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New Posts Coming!

27 Jan

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to really get this blog humming. This is to let you know Authentic Dallas is alive and well and I have a lot of ideas flying around which will hopefully bear some fruit real soon.

New content coming soon…in the meantime, check out this great blog post from one of my favorite bloggers.  If you feel widening this road Downtown is a big mistake,  let Angela Hunt know or post this hashtag to her twitter account @AngelaHunt


What Makes Oak Cliff, Oak Cliff & Being a Cliff Dweller

30 Sep

Good article in the Dallas Morning News today by Kael Alford about living in Oak Cliff.

OaK Cliff - A Short Commute

I’m planning on doing a post about the most authentic coffee shops in Dallas, so send me an email or post a comment and let me know what your favorite java hut is.

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Weekend Plans: Saturday College Football @ SMU, Sunday Funday Go For BBQ in The Cliff

9 Sep

Sorry for the gap between posts, busy few weeks, but I can now get back to bringing you Authentic Dallas things… starting with two great events this weekend.

Saturday – Tailgating, Everclear and Football!

Head over to the Hilltop at SMU to take in a college football game and join in on one of the best tailgate scenes in the country.  SMU hasn’t always delivered on the field after they received the Death Penalty in the late 1980’s (though they seem to be headed in the right direction with 8 wins and a bowl victory last season), but since they moved their home games back on campus and into the new Gerald J. Ford Stadium in 2000, there is little doubt the tailgating scene is worthy of a top ten ranking.

View of "The Boulevard" looking towards Mockingbird.

Unlike most colleges who host tailgaters in hot parking lots or open fields a mile from campus, SMU opens up the ample, tree lined median of Bishop Blvd. that cuts right through the heart of the campus giving fans a respite from the weather and making it a short walk to the stadium.  The location also gives tailgater’s one of the best settings for eating, drinking, and checking out the scenery around them.


Bishop Blvd. Pre-Tailgate

The best part about The Boulevard is it truly has something for everyone.  You want to imbibe, soak in the atmosphere, and watch the other big games on that day?  Then bring a cooler full of beer and let the good times roll.  Most, if not all regulars have great setups and are more than happy to share their food and  lend a chair for you to watch the games on their multiple TV setup.

Looking for more of a family atmosphere?  The Boulevard offers that too.  They typically set up games and activities for kids near the flagpole at the North end of Bishop.  You will also see kids running around playing games and tossing footballs in and around The Blvd.  You and your kids can also spend some time with Peruna, SMU’s official mascot, as he walks up and down The Boulevard.

Peruna making the Blvd. rounds dressed as a ref.

Details You Need to Know:

This week SMU plays UAB, gametime is at 7:00 pm

Ticket and season ticket information is available here

Free Tickets! To commeorate 9/11, SMU is giving away free tickets to first responders and military personnel for this weekend’s game.

The Blvd. is free and really starts hopping about two and a half hours before game time, although people will be out there much earlier. Bring what you want to drink, but more than likely you can find people willing to feed you.  If you’d rather not mooch, I recommend Goff’s Hamburgers right across Hillcrest from SMU and a two minute walk from the heart of The Boulevard.

Parking: Take DART to Mockingbird Station and hop the free game day shuttle to campus, or park at the Mockingbird DART station and take said shuttle, all for free.  The shuttle will drop you off steps from the action.

What was that about Everclear?: Everclear, yes that Everclear (and this, this and this), will be playing The Boulevard at 5:30pm Saturday.  Come for the free show and stay for the game.

Sunday – BBQ in Oak Cliff

After you get done celebrating SMU’s win and clear the cobwebs from Blvd’ing and Everclear…Sunday Funday brings us to Oak Cliff for Blues, Bandits and BBQ.

The first annual shindig will feature, you guessed it, BBQ and Blues (not sure if we will see any bandits).  The festivities will span from Davis to Tyler Street with bands indoors, outdoors and all around.  The meat used in the BBQ competition will be grass fed and from sustainable ranches, so pat yourself on the back for being so green.  Below is most of the details you need to know, but also check out Go Oak Cliff for all the pertinent info:

EATING: Staying up all night to smoke a hunk of beef may not be your idea of a good time, but you can still come out and enjoy all this tasty grass fed, sustainably produced beef, pork and chicken. We’ll be selling wrist bands that will entitle you to taste the brisket, chicken, pork ribs and homemade sausage of each competitor! Information about pre-purchasing the wrist bands will be posted here in the coming weeks.

The BBQ teams will start cooking at noon on Saturday, September 11 in the grassy area behind The Kessler Theater (1230 W Davis Street, Dallas TX 75208) and the cooking will continue all night long. The judging and tasting starts at 11:30am on Sunday, September 12. You are welcome to come up and chat with the teams while they cook on Saturday – there will be beer for sale and lots of fun before things really get kicked off officially on Sunday.

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Visit Deep Ellum for the First Time…Again

12 Aug

A nod to Deel Ellum's past


but don’t tell anyone.

I’ve loved Deep Ellum since my first visit to Dallas in the late 90’s.  Purists would say that Deep Ellum was past it’s prime by then, but I was enamored after that first visit and I thought the neighborhood had everything I always pictured a downtown entertainment district having.  Lots of street activity, a nice mix of bars, live music, and street food.  Unfortunately, every consecutive visit paled in comparison to the last, and by the early aughts Deep Ellum was an after thought when I was deciding where to hang out.

I still returned sparingly, for dinner at the Green Room or Monica’s, or lunch at Angry Dog.  I even returned for the very infrequent night out at Adair’s (mostly before or after a concert in the Cedar’s or Downtown), but the neighborhood was a former shell of itself, and frankly depressing for me and whoever I could bribe to come down to the district with me.

But now Deep Ellum is Back, and what’s great is the organic nature in how it’s happening and that most people don’t knows its going on, at least not the fickle trend setting crowd.  It is being sustained by the staying power of aforementioned Monica’s Aca Y Alla, Angry Dog, Adair’s as well as others such as St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin.  It’s being revived by the reincarnation of favorites such as Trees and Green Room.  It’s being reinvented by newcomers such as La Grange and many others.

When You Go…

Go by Dart and utilize the two new Green Line stations, including the one with the best public art in the city…

"Traveling Man" Courtesy of Matt Clarkson

The Future

I’m very excited to see how the area evolves and hope it is slow and steady so that this renaissance has staying power.  The business I am most excited to see open is the Deep Ellum Brewing Company.  I’ve been clamoring for years for a craft brewery to open in Dallas proper (Franconia is a great brewer, but they are in the ‘burbs), and I’ve even dreamed about opening one myself, in Deep Ellum no less.  I hope this is the first of many Dallas breweries and we can get a healthy scene going.

Plan Your (re)Visit to Deep Ellum

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Benefit Alert: Restore the Roots of Hope

29 Jul

Wanted to pass along the following on a benefit for Hope’s Door and the vicitms & survivors of domestic abuse happening at Sweet 200 in Oak Cliff on August 7th.  There will be a silent auction, raffle drawing and cocktail party.  Jump for contact info and how you can get involved by contributing an item to the silent auction or purchasing a raffle ticket.

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