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A Big Goodbye To Big Tex (For Now)

Bill Zeeble

Five stories North Texas is talking about: Memorializing Big Tex, early voting, free beer for the creative class and more.

A strange wave of emotion continues to wash over the Lone Star Nation in the wake of Big Tex's fiery demiselast Friday. The latest incarnation: A memorial service.

Or, as Dallas' Golden Gate Funeral Home describes its hourlong 6 p.m. service today, a "Living Funeral." And technically, the Big guy is still alive -- or will at least be reanimated in time for next year's State Fair of Texas.

Exactly how should he be reincarnated? Well, Think host Krys Boyd makes a pitch for El Gran Tejano, to better reflect Texas' changing population.

And despite the worldwide reaction of grief -- NPR's John Burnett wrote a eulogy from Nairobi, Kenya, and talked to Jeff Whittington on Friday's Anything You Ever Wanted to Know -- fair organizers are mourning all the way to the bank. BJ Austin reports that that this year's fair edged close to record revenue: Visitors spent $36.6 million on food and rides.  That’s about $1 million less than 2010's all-time high.

-- Rick Holter

Sure, We Love Thrill Rides. But This Is Ridiculous

As if the fair didn’t have enough last-weekend challenges, a couple of dozen folks were stranded 200 feet above the ground when Stratosphere swing ride malfunctioned Friday night. But all’s well: The 24 were lowered to the ground, and got a bonus. As the Dallas Police put it, “State Fair officials have provided them with blankets and refreshments.”

Corny dogs for all!

-- Rick Holter

From Meme Event To Main Event: Debate Season Closes, Polls Open

Action first: Hey, Texas! It’s time to stop talking about the presidential race and get to the polls. Early voting begins today, and we can help. Whether you live in Wylie or West Dallas, our trove of area voters guides will direct you to the proper polling place and get you hip to peripheral local races.

Now talk: New voter ID laws set this election apart from the last. Tova Andrea Wang, who wrote The Politics of Voter Suppression, is entertaining what that could mean for the results on Think today in the first hour at noon. She distills the voter inclusion principle in this post for the Demos blog.

More talk: And, of course, President Obama and Mitt Romney have one last chance to spawn genius Tumblrs tonight (square off on foreign policy, rather) as the final presidential debate goes down. NPR’s Scott Neuman has five ways China could show up.

Watch at 8 p.m. on Channel 13, listen at 90.1, or stream audio at

And if you missed our senatorial debate Friday, check out the recap from KERA’s Bill Zeeble or see Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler hash it out for yourself.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Denton’s Lure For Creative Types: Free Beer!

Denton is the 7th fastest-growing city in the U.S. It’s also one of the most fun small towns in the country, according to Rand McNally and USA Today. So what’s the city of Denton going to do about this little-big dichotomy, probably partly responsible for turning three major real estate projects into roadside dirt in recent years? Invite young creatives to Oak Street Drafthouse where there’s free beer tonight, that’s what.

Denton City Councilmember Kevin Roden told us this summer about plans for an open call to photographers, graphic designers, computer programmers and the like -- the creative class Richard Florida’s been touting as the future of the economy for a decade. Roden’s trying to create an informal avenue for these people to meet leaders from the city and the Chamber of Commerce -- and to meet each other, if they haven’t already served one another coffee or burgers at their day/side jobs.

“And so the struggle really is, [creative] folks are wanting to stay in Denton,” he said. “And then it just becomes a matter of life and death for them economically as to whether or not they can.”

Michael Seman, Research Associate for UNT’s Center for Economic Development and Research and “rocker” according to Roden in the event’s promo materials, will speak briefly.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Fort Worth All-Ages DIY Venue Turns 10

About the time Florida began pointing cities to the way musicians and artists improve the quality of life, some Fort Worth kids were making their own utopia: paying rent on an all-ages venue, running a free store and putting up bands who drove in vans running on vegetable oil.

Underage vagabonds emptied their pockets of quarters upstairs at 1919 Hemphill for the suggested donation, and still the DIY venue and punk-ethos incubator has managed to survive for a decade -- 1919 celebrated its anniversary this past weekend.

A feature in the Fort Worth Weekly last year profiles the venue’s devotees and tracks the space’s history as a haven for activism and counterculture. Former KERA intern Rachel Watts talked to longtime volunteer Al Rios for the Dallas Observer on Saturday.

-- Lyndsay Knecht