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Twitter/John Whitmire

Dr. Opal Lee, the treasured 96-year-old Fort Worth activist known as "The Grandmother of Juneteenth," now has her portrait hanging alongside other Texas heroes in the state Capitol in Austin.

Lee's portrait was unveiled in a ceremony in the Texas Senate chambers on Wednesday, February 8. According to reports from inside the chamber, the crowd gave her resounding applause.

Lee becomes just the second Black American whose portrait hangs on the walls of the state Capitol, behind Barbara Jordan, the first African-American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and first Black congresswoman from the South. It's also reportedly the first time the Texas Senate has hung a new portrait in the chamber.

"This will be a historic and significant day in the history of Texas and for the Texas Senate," State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) told Austin TV station KVUE. "Ms. Lee will forever be an example of a person willing to work tirelessly for a cause they truly believed in. She shows also that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams!"

Dean of the Texas Senate John Whitmire (D-Houston) tweeted photos with Lee at the unveiling and wrote, "A historic day in the Texas Senate celebrating a truly remarkable Texan. Opal Lee proves that one person can make a difference."

As for the woman affectionately known as "Ms. Opal" around Fort Worth, she told DFW's Fox 4 that she was humbled at the honor.

"I don’t know how to feel," she said. "I pinch myself to be sure it’s really happening, you know? My portrait next to Barbara Jordan’s in the Senate, in the Capitol!"

Juneteenth crusade
A recognition of Juneteenth is something Lee has dedicated much of her later life to. In 2016, a then-89-year-old launched Opal’s Walk 2 DC, a two-an-a-half-mile walk that evoked the two-and-a-half years it took for slaves in Texas to learn they were free. She gathered 1.5 million signatures on a petition to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

She was by President Joe Biden's side at the White House when he signed a law declaring Juneteenth a holiday on June 17, 2021. The Juneteenth National Independence Day, which commemorates freedom for the enslaved via the abolition of slavery in the United States, became the 12th legal federal holiday — the first new one since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983.

Lee also has worked to make Fort Worth home to the National Juneteenth Museum. It is planned for the Rosedale Street spot that currently houses Lee’s Fort Worth Juneteenth Museum, which has served the community for nearly two decades, including as a filming location for the 2020 movie Miss Juneteenth.

In 2022, Lee was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination letter, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth) wrote, "As an advocate, Ms. Lee’s hopes to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday went far beyond just recognizing the day that the final enslaved people were notified of their freedom. It is also a symbol of her hope that we as Americans can come together and unify against social issues that are plagues on our nation such as homelessness, education inequality, and food insecurity to name a few."

Photo courtesy of Stoney LaRue

Full lineup revealed for first-ever Fort Worth Music Festival at the Stockyards

Music fest news

The full lineup for the inaugural Fort Worth Music Festival & Conference at the Stockyards has been unveiled, allowing fans and industry insiders to set their schedules to get the most out of the event. Many of the names are Fort Worth favorites.

Designed to be a SWSX-style networking conference for aspiring agents, managers, promoters, and emerging local Texas-based artists, the festival - produced by Live Nation in partnership with Chef Tim Love and Larry Joe Taylor - will feature a variety of panel discussions, keynote speakers, networking opportunities, workshops, and live performances at multiple Stockyards venues over the course of four days, March 1-4.

Kevin Fowler will headline a contingent of four performers to kick things off on Wednesday, March 1 at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Fourteen more bands and singers will take the stage on March 2, featuring big names like Josh Weathers and a "Texas Independence Day Jam" starring Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster, Michael Martin Murphey, Deryl Dodd, Dave Perez, and Larry Joe Taylor. Also performing that day: Dusty Moats, Saints Eleven, Jacob Armitage, Race Ricketts, Midnight River Choir, Shaker Hymns, and Tejas Brothers.

The March 3 lineup will include 11 bands/singers, with notable performers Gary P. Nunn, Roger Creager, and Treaty Oak Revival. Also playing: Randy Brown, Jake Bush, Nick Brumley & Presley Hailie, Graycie York, Jake Castillo Trio, Prophets & Outlaws, Max & Heather Stalling, and Cameron Wrinkle.

Wrapping things up on March 4 will the largest group of the festival, a whopping 17 bands/singers led by Larry Joe Taylor, Stoney LaRue, and Mike Ryan. Also taking the stages will be Honey, Kerri Lick, Amanda Kate Ferris, Angel White, Jake Odin, Tommy Alverson, Jesse Jennings, Jack Barksdale, Courtney Patton, September Moon, Johnny Falstaff, Jarrod Morris, Davin James, and THEBROSFRESH.

Performance venues will include Tannahill’s Tavern & Music Hall, Tannahill’s Tavern Lounge, White Elephant, Atico Restaurant and Lounge, Love Shack, The Barn at Hotel Drover, and Billy Bob's Texas.

Fans can now purchase single-day tickets for the live performances on March 2-4, which do not include admission to the panel discussion side of the conference. The standing room only tickets range from $34-$39, with an option for a three-day pass for $79.

The March 1 performances are only available with a full festival badge or VIP all-in ticket, ranging from $199-$549.

The conference's keynote speaker will be Rick Lambert, of Miranda Lambert Management. Other panelists will include artists Josh Abbott, Radney Foster, and Larry Joe Taylor; chef Tim Love; Brendon Anthony of the Texas Music Office, and more.

The full schedule of performers, panels, and venues can be found at the festival website.


Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Texas' Matthew McConaughey in talks with Taylor Sheridan for 'Yellowstone' spinoff, report says

'Yellowstone' news

The Dutton family drama has come to Texas again - this time, off screen.

According to a February 6 report by Deadline, Matthew McConaughey is in talks with Taylor Sheridan for a Yellowstone spinoff. Neither the Austin-based actor nor the Weatherford-based series creator has confirmed the report, but Deadline typically gets its Yellowstone scoops right.

Exactly WHY McConaughey may enter the Yellowstone world, however, has whipped media and fans into a frenzy. Deadline says it "understands" that Sheridan will end the show after this season due to scheduling conflicts with star Kevin Costner. Costner just won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of family patriarch John Dutton but also is directing and starring in the Western series Horizon.

"For the second batch of episodes of the current, fifth season of Yellowstone, the actor ... only wanted to spend a week shooting," the magazine says. "This has been a source of frustration for Sheridan and it is understood to be causing morale problems for the other stars of the show."

Deadline's sources tell them that Paramount Network has declined Costner’s most recent proposal and "instead has made the decision to move on to the other show."

Enter McConaughey, the cowboy-hatted hero, riding in on his horse to save the day. Sheridan will write McConaughey in as the star of the new franchise; they're in negotiations now, reports say.

In response to Deadline's reporting, Paramount Network issued a "hold your horses" statement: "We have no news to report," they say. "Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner."

It's not known where the McConaughey-led series would be set, or where it would be filmed.

North Texans, of course, will vote for North Texas.

DFW is already the home of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount+ limited series about Bass Reeves, the once-enslaved man who became a famed federal marshal; the series is reportedly filming in Waxahachie later this month. Sheridan's Yellowstone prequel 1883 also was shot in Fort Worth.

Texas, as a whole, is home to five of the top 25 best cities for filmmakers, according to MovieMaker Magazine.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Facebook/Bryan Adams

'80s heartthrob Bryan Adams brings 2023 tour to Fort Worth with rock 'n' roll-icon guest artist

Summer of '23

Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, who's been entertaining audiences on stage and screen for four decades, is coming to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena - and he's bringing along a very special guest. Adams is teaming up with rock 'n' roll icons Joan Jett and the Blackhearts for his "So Happy It Hurts Tour," stopping in Fort Worth on June 29, 2023.

The U.S. tour kicks off on June 6 in Baltimore, Maryland, and ends August 3 with a show in Seattle. He'll visit just two Texas cities - Fort Worth and Sugar Land, outside Houston, for a show at Smart Financial Centre on June 28.

Adams is touring in support of his 15th studio album, So Happy It Hurts, which was released March 11, 2022 via BMG. The album is nominated for Best Rock Performance at the upcoming 2023 Grammy awards, taking place Sunday, February 5.

Adams also is riding the wave as the lyricist for Pretty Woman – The Musical, the Broadway musical based on the famed Julia Roberts-Richard Gere rom-com. The touring musical currently is on stage at Dallas' Music Hall at Fair Park (through February 5) and is coming to Fort Worth's Bass Hall, February 7-12.

Barrier-breaking rock 'n' roll badass Joan Jett is known for Top 40 hits such as "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," "I Hate Myself For Loving You," and "Crimson and Clover." Joan Jett and the Blackhearts toured last year with Def Leppard, Motley Crue, and Poison. Bad Reputation, a 2018 documentary about Jett's life, is now streaming.

Tickets for the "So Happy It Hurts Tour" go on sale at 12 pm Friday, February 3 via ticketmaster.com.

Beyoncé /Instagram

Global superstar Beyoncé rides into Arlington on highly anticipated world stadium tour

Worldwide concert news

Texas-born pop superstar Beyoncé is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth as part of her just-announced "Renaissance World Tour." She will perform at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on September 21.

And, fans who can't get enough can also catch Bey in her hometown of Houston, at NRG Stadium, on September 23.

Tickets for the world tour dates go on sale Monday, February 6. BeyHive members will enjoy an exclusive presale, while other fans can register now with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan technology here. Those interested can find tickets, schedules, and more information at beyonce.livenation.com and tour.beyonce.com.

Beyonce kicks off her world tour on May 10 in Stockholm, Sweden at the Friends Arena. She'll dot Europe with big stadium shows through June 27, where she'll play Warsaw, Poland.

Her North American tour starts July 8 in Canada, where she'll play Toronto's Rogers Centre. Beyoncé will trek the U.S. through the summer and into September; her Dallas and Houston shows are the sole Texas performances.

She will end her tour in New Orleans (Caesars Superdome) on September 27.

The world tour comes as Beyoncé is awash in Grammy glow: in November, she was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, tying her with her husband (neé Shawn Corey Carter) for the most nominations in Grammy history. The Grammys take place Sunday, February 5.

Critics and fans have lauded Renaissance, her first solo work since the wildly popular and deeply personal 2016 effort, Lemonade — even through its minor controversy.

Start packing and planning those trips. Here's the entire tour schedule:

Europe

May 10, 2023 – Stockholm, SE – Friends Arena

May 14, 2023 – Brussels, BE – King Baudouin Stadium

May 17, 2023 – Cardiff, UK – Cardiff Principality Stadium

May 20, 2023 – Edinburgh, UK – BT Murray Field Stadium

May 23, 2023 – Sunderland, UK – Stadium of Light

May 26, 2023 – Paris, FR – Stade de France

May 29, 2023 – London, UK – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

May 30, 2023 – London, UK – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

June 08, 2023 – Barcelona, ES – Olympic Stadium

June 11, 2023 – Marseille, FR – Orange Velodrome

June 15, 2023 – Cologne, DE – Rhein Energie Stadion

June 17, 2023 – Amsterdam, NL – Johan Crujff Arena

June 21, 2023 – Hamburg, DE – Volksparkstadion

June 24, 2023 – Frankfurt, DE – Deutsche Bank Park

June 27, 2023 – Warsaw, PL – PGE Narodowy

North America

July 8, 2023 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre

July 12, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field

July 15, 2023 – Nashville, TN – Nissan Stadium

July 17, 2023 – Louisville, KY – L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium

July 20, 2023 – Minneapolis, MN – Huntington Bank Stadium

July 22, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field Stadium

July 26, 2023 – Detroit, MI – Ford Field

July 29, 2023 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium

Aug. 01, 2023 – Boston, MA – Gillette Stadium

Aug. 03, 2023 – Pittsburgh, PA – Acrisure Stadium

Aug. 05, 2023 – Washington, DC – FedEx Field

Aug. 09, 2023 – Charlotte, NC – Bank of America Stadium

Aug. 11, 2023 – Atlanta, GA – Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Aug. 16, 2023 – Tampa, FL – Raymond James Stadium

Aug. 18, 2023 – Miami, FL – Hard Rock Stadium

Aug. 21, 2023 – St. Louis, MO – Dome at America's Center

Aug. 24, 2023 – Phoenix, AZ – State Farm Stadium

Aug. 26, 2023 – Las Vegas, NV – Allegiant Stadium

Aug. 30, 2023 – San Francisco, CA – Levi’s Stadium

Sept. 02, 2023 – Inglewood, CA – SoFi Stadium

Sept. 11, 2023 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place

Sept. 13, 2023 – Seattle, WA – Lumen Field

Sept. 18, 2023 – Kansas City, MO – Arrowhead Stadium

Sept. 21, 2023 – Arlington – AT&T Stadium

Sept. 23, 2023 – Houston – NRG Stadium

As always, As with previous tours, Beyoncé will create activations, programs, and giveaways via BeyGOOD, the foundation she created in 2013.

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Hill Country town puts a Texas twist on Carnival season for 18th annual Cowboy Mardi Gras

Cowboy Mardi Gras

New Orleans may be top of mind for Mardi Gras, but Texas has its fair share of Fat Tuesday festivities. While Galveston's may be the state's oldest celebration, San Antonio wins points for actual floats (courtesy of the River Walk), and Dallas-Fort Worth offers up King Cake alternatives aplenty, one little Hill Country town has put its own spin on the annual event for almost 20 years.

Known as the "Cowboy Capital of the World," Bandera hosts a three-day Cowboy Mardi Gras that attracts over 15,000 people from all over the world to the town of 839 residents. Featuring traditional Cajun bands, country music, a Cowboy Mardi Gras parade, costume contests, gumbo cook-off, and more, the 2023 iteration takes place from February 9 to 11.

Bandera is located a little over two hours from Austin, a pleasant 300-mile road trip for North Texans looking for a colorful start to Carnival season. This year's event honors James and Stella McGroarty, former owners of Bandera's 11th Cowboy Bar, who will act as the 2023 Cowboy Mardi Gras Parade Grand Marshals.

With a 20,000-square-foot bar and 70-foot stage, the bar is one of the largest music venues in the Texas Hill Country, housed in a historic wood-framed building with a porch out front and expansive outdoor venue area out back. James McGroarty acquired the bar in 2006, transforming it into the destination it is today and elevating the town's annual Cowboy Mardi Gras Parade to the party it is today.

In July 2022, D. Foster, Melinie Ivey, and Richard and Sasha Sutton purchased the bar from McGroarty, planning to carry on McGroarty's legacy.

"We are so honored to take on the tradition of the 18th Annual Cowboy Mardi Gras Parade," says Richard Sutton in a release. "Bandera is a remarkable town that knows how to throw one hell of a party and we're looking to carry on that tradition."

“James McGroarty has said that 11th Street Cowboy Bar is all about providing the best Country Western music experience in Texas and sharing drinks with good friends," adds D. Foster. "He wanted to make all things in Bandera bigger than life. This is why we bought the bar and we want to carry on James McGroarty's legacy."

This year's lineup of live music will feature a variety of artists including Deanna Carter, Gary P. Nunn, Dale Watson, Jake Worthington, and many more. Find a full lineup of music and daily activities at cowboymardigrasbandera.com, as well as ticketing information. Tickets for the festivities start at $75 in advance or $85 at the door.

Photo by Tessa Kolodny
The three day celebration brings over 15 thousand people from all over the world to Bandera.

9 heartwarming art openings in Dallas-Fort Worth this February

MUST-SEE ART

As our thoughts turn to love and Valentines Day, Texas artists get to show some real heart this February. Several exciting group exhibitions bring to life themes both familiar and novel. Meet the artists or simply view their work to warm your spirit as we wait for the arrival of spring. Here are nine must-see exhibitions to visit in February, in order of opening date.

28th Annual "El Corazón"
Bath House Cultural Center, through March 4
This longstanding tradition brings the work of local and regional visual artists to the Bath House Cultural Center each year in collaboration with Jose Vargas, who has been curating the exhibit for decades. Each work showcases an artist's individual interpretation of the human heart, and the show as a whole encompasses an eclectic collection of ideas, styles, and concepts.

"Out of the Fire"
Love Texas Art, through March 19
This group exhibition in the art lounge, gallery, and shop in Sundance Square brings the work of 17 ceramics artists into view. Each woman whose work is on display is based in Texas. With both traditional and modern references, works range from conceptual to utilitarian, demonstrating the varying perspectives of women's roles in life and art.

Grand Opening Event, "Roll up to The Rollup"
The Rollup, February 9 and February 11
The Rollup is a Texas-based artist incubator and art event producer, and its first show and sale is coming to Deep Ellum on Saturday, February 11. The exhibition will present painted skate board decks created by DFW artists. A pre-event VIP party will be held on Thursday, February 9 at 7 pm. Proceeds from both events will benefit 4DWN, a volunteer-fueled and skateboarding-centered Dallas area charitable organization.

"MVMTLS: Movement of Lone Stars"
South Dallas Cultural Center, February 10-March 24
South Dallas became a supporting character in this multimedia exploration of Black collective memory. Filmmaker Adriane McCray assembled a collection of interviews with South Dallas residents conducted during the pandemic lockdown of 2020. Each subject addresses childhood memories, with the assembled product a collage of home videos, aged photographs, collected archival footage, and present-day photography. The opening reception for the exhibit is Friday, February 10 at 6 pm.

"I'll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen"
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, February 12-April 30
One of the most anticipated exhibits of the season, "I'll Be Your Mirror" surveys the impact of the digital screen on art from 1969 to present day. The works of more than 50 artists explore themes of liminal space, connectivity, surveillance, the repository, digital abstraction, the posthuman body, automation and the loneliness epidemic, ecology, and turning a mirror on ourselves. Curator Alison Hearst brings together a show that's described as one of very few "presentations exploring art and digital technology in the past decade at this scale."

"Joaquin Soto: Mestizo"
Gallery 2960 at The Epic Grand Prairie, February 13-24
Joaquin Soto explores his deep connection to native and European traits, and how they have blended to be part of his Mexican background, in this exhibit of sculptural and wall-mounted art. The display will run through March 3 with an artist's reception on Thursday, February 16 at 5 pm.

JD Miller’s annual Valentine’s Day LIVE painting
Samuel Lynne Galleries, February 14
A favorite Valentine's Day event returns to Samuel Lynn Galleries, with Dallas artist J. D. Miller painting live in the gallery. Miller, the founder of Reflectionism, will bring together color texture and shape to create his perspective of a floral arrangement provided by McShan Florists while incorporating the energy of those assembled in the gallery. The gallery will raffle off a signed copy of JD Miller’s new artist book, JD Miller: Reflections from Dragon Street, and Miller will sign copies after the live painting. The event takes place from 6-9 pm, Tuesday, February 14 with Miller's live painting to begin at 6:45 pm.

Photo courtesy of Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Hito Steyerl, How Not to Be Seen

"Deep in the Art of Texas"
Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, February 18-March 25
Photographs from 29 diverse Texas artists make this show revelatory and undoubtedly eclectic. The photographs were taken as early as the 1940s to present day, and include landscape, documentary, portraiture, and abstract concepts. The opening reception for the exhibit is Saturday, February 18 at 5 pm.

"In the Shadow of Dictatorship: Creating the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art”
Meadows Museum, February 26-June 18
In 1966, artist and collector Fernando Zóbel opened The Museum of Spanish Abstract Art as the first museum in Spain exclusively for abstract art. Highlights from the museum's collection are making their way to the United States, many for the first time. Works in the collection represent a broad spectrum of abstract works created during Franco's dictatorship, 1930 to 1975.

Frontier Airlines clears cheap, unlimited travel pass for takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth

All you can fly

Cheap flights are at North Texas travelers' fingertips as Frontier Airlines offers its all-you-can-fly summer and annual passes. The “Go Wild” passes really do offer unlimited flights to unbounded destinations — both international and domestic — starting May 2.

Both passes are currently deeply discounted. The summer pass, which runs from May 2 to September 30, is available for $399 (compared with $999), and the year-round pass starting on the same day is going for $1,299 (formerly $1,999).

This deal is best for people who travel light and plan fast. Booking options allow domestic flights to be purchased one day in advance, while international gives a little more leeway, with 10 days, and neither include luggage allowances. Still, bags can be purchased as usual, and since the passes cost about as much as an average or slightly higher flight in their respective farthest reaches, it would only take a few uses to practically pay for itself.

Another consideration is blackout dates; not an insignificant number. There is at least one every month, with other, more restrictive months like March, 2024, blacked out on about a third of dates. The pass also auto-renews, so buyers will need to pay attention or be prepared to extend their travel marathon.

Frontier flies out of Terminal E at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. In November 2022, the airlines introduced new service from DFW to Baltimore (BWI), Orange County, Calif. (SNA), New York City (LGA), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), and Montego Bay (MBJ). With the new routes, Frontier now serves 19 destinations from DFW.

“Frontier’s consistent growth at DFW is a tremendous success story,” said Daniel Shurz, senior vice president, commercial, Frontier Airlines, said in a statement at the time of the announcement. “It’s clear DFW will serve a central role in the expansion of our network for years to come."

The straightforward all-you-can-fly deal prioritizes flexible travelers, but offers extensive usefulness to someone willing to work around common travel dates and spend a few extra dollars to pack comfortably. More information about the “Go Wild” passes is available at flyfrontier.com.