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A Glimpse Inside Texas' Other Music Festival In March: 35 Denton

35 Denton

Five stories that have North Texas talking: How events influence place, Plainview's march toward ghost town status after a major plant closed, the secret history of Dallas' black mayors and more.

There was a time when 35 Denton volunteers cheered a reference to the festival as "SXSW's baby cousin." That time is more than over. The large-scale event is unto itself, with headliners like Solange (Knowles, as in Beyonce's little sister) and the first Texas performance by Thurston Moore's Chelsea Light Moving. The fest began Thursday and runs through Sunday.

35 Denton has been like a call to relevance for Denton's businesses, academia and culture, nine years after it began as a SXSW day party representing the talent north of Austin on I35E. Though the target market leans younger, the festival's programming imposes a sense of discovery on the whole host city – and contributes a sizeable economic impact to the tune of $2 million in 2010 according to one study. Audra Schroeder reports on 35 D’s first full year of operation with two full-time employees and what it’s meant to the music scene and creative landscape for Art&Seek. (Full disclosure: I spent two years on the volunteer core staff for the festival, which was called both NX35 and 35 Conferette before the latest name change during my tenure.)

  • On the other side of the growth coin: Plainview’s heavyweight beef processing plant shuttered its doors and left 15 percent of the town’s workers without jobs. Could this be a bad omen for all of West Texas? Mose Buchele explores Plainview’s sleepy downtown and hears some fatalistic words from its people. [NPR]

  • Ron Kirk was Dallas’ first Black mayor, right? Not exactly, Kirk told Michelle Martin of NPR’s Tell Me More earlier this week in an interview about stepping down from his Cabinet post as U.S. Trade Representative. When Kirk was elected in 1995, he says, Dallas was “not a city that most people thought of at the time as the most progressive.” But:
“… People don't realize that Maynard Jackson, who later went on to become the mayor of Atlanta; Tom Bradley, who was the first black mayor of Los Angeles; Willie Brown, who was mayor of San Francisco; and Emanuel Cleaver were all either born in Dallas or within 30 miles of it. But because of Jim Crow, under which I grew up, they all fled Texas. [NPR]

Kirk may be a bit generous in his math (Bradley was born in Calvert, about 130 miles southeast of Big D), but his point’s legit: The roots of African American leadership run deep in these parts, no matter which cities benefitted.

  • Despite consumer criticism of the Public Utility Commission’s vote to raise the cap on electricity wholesale prices in Texas, PUC chairman Donna Nelson maintains Texas’ market is “arguably the most successful in the world.” Accordingly, the PUC could end up asking customers to pay for new electricity plants in a shift to what's called "capacity market." [KUT in Austin]

  • One Amarillo church is skipping the after-service donuts and coffee outreach. Instead, they’re inviting worshippers to meet regularly at an actual bar in lieu of traditional sanctuary. Beginning March 24, worshippers at Southern Hills Church of Christ can opt for “Bar Church” at Memories Country and Western Bar, according to Texas Monthly. What exactly will this look like? A less-official “emergent church” group called Kyrie in Fort Worth meets up at Zio Carlo Brewpub each Sunday. CBSDFW dropped in on a service in the church’s early stages when it met at Mambo’s.

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.