‘Best Small Town In America’ Gets Lit | KERA News

‘Best Small Town In America’ Gets Lit

Nov 30, 2012

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Denton lights up holiday nights, the Perot Museum lights up the Arts District, love lights up the man with with first face transplant and more.

Denton’s annual Holiday Lighting Festival is tonight. This is a most proper night to endear yourself to the city named Best Small Town In America by Business Insider. But long before the BI folks took notice, the idyllic scene in the Town Square with children singing, seniors tap dancing and free wassail -- yep! --  was known as the closest North Texas will ever get to the fictional Stars Hollow, where the Gilmore Girls spent Christmases balancing a cheerful mix of Stockholm syndrome and well-decorated goodwill.

KXT’s Paul Slavens will perform in an 11-piece orchestra alongside members of Midlake and others. Check out this time lapse video of last year's huzzah by former townie Patrick Flaherty. 

For city kids, the Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade is Saturday in downtown Dallas.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

The Big Cube (A.K.A. Perot Museum) Cracks Open This Weekend

Clues to the Perot Museum’s strange and fascinating contents have been coming for months. And it’s been a real tease: A ride in the escalator protruding from the building’s facade was a trip via Jerome Weeks’ story for Art&Seek; we followed KERA's Rick Holter through the media preview as he reported its finer details live from the inside. And finally, the museum opens to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m.

What will you see? For one, the oldest known prehistoric bird -- check our Shelley Kofler’s piece on the Carrollton fossil hunter who found the 95-million year-old artifact. It’s the doing, though, that defines the newest place to get smarter in Dallas, as Shelley modeled with wings out as she tried the build-your-own-bird flight simulator. Here’s her story on the interactive action.

The price for all this? Tickets for non-members range from $10 for the youngest kids to $20 for adults seeing a 3D movie. If you become a member, ticket prices plummet, in some cases to the magical "free." Buy tix here.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

First A New Face, Now A Fiancee

Dallas Wiens, who had the first ever full-face transplant in the U.S., found more than a support group for burn victims at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He found his wife-to-be. The Fort Worth resident plans to marry Jamie Nash of Garland, whom he met while they both were recovering last year, on March 30. Sherry Jacobson of the Dallas Morning News has the story.

KERA's BJ Austin reported on Wiens' first comments after emerging from surgery, and Shelley Kofler interviewed the surgeon. Wiens’ entire face was burned away after hitting a high-voltage power line while he was painting a church, leaving him blind.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

A New Musical, ‘Black Spurs,’ Completes The Story Of The West

If there’s a place that knows how diverse cowboys are, it's Fort Worth, home of the Cowboys of Color rodeo. So its no surprise that Jubilee Theater is putting on what’s believed to be the first musical about black cowboys.

In his Art&Seek piece on Black Spurs, Jerome Weeks wonders why the only black cowboy in a popular leading role has been Cleavon Little in Mel Brooks’ Western spoof Blazing Saddle. Jubilee’s camps tells him the new musical is just inserting the characters back where they belong, in the true story of 1875-era Western lore.

-- Lyndsay Knecht

Here's A Gym Where You've Gotta Be Overweight To Join

Downsize Fitness, which has just opened a Dallas gym, has an interesting take on the weight-loss biz. You can’t become a member unless you need to lose at least 50 pounds.

The gym’s facilities were crafted for the overweight, replete with equipment for the heavier-set, frosted glass and privacy mirrors. The Dallas location opened in September and is one of only three in the nation.

The owners contend that other gyms scare away the clients that need the most help. This CNN story has more.

-- Justin Martin