Photo by Brandon Bell, Getty Images

A TCU faculty member has written a new play called For the Love of Uvalde: A Play Inspired by the Robb Elementary School, and it's premiering January 28 both in-person on-campus and online via streaming.

(Note: After the premiere, it remains available to watch here.)

Playwright Ayvaunn Penn, who is part of the Theatre TCU faculty, also wrote a play in 2020 inspired by the Botham Jean shooting by police officer Amber Guyger.

The premiere staged reading of For the Love of Uvalde promises a similar evening of art for social change, paired with a panel-led community discussion. This staged reading will feature select songs and monologues from the show.

The original play uses testimonies to explore the aftermath and varying viewpoints of the families, politicians, and medical professionals affected by the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last May. Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the deadliest shooting ever at a Texas public school.

Panel members for the discussion include Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, TCU Chief Inclusion Officer; James McQuillen, director of Theatre for Youth at Casa Mañana; Professor Lisa Devine, UNT Theatre for Social Change professor; and Shania Tari, M.S, LMFT-A & EMDR trained.

A collaboration between Theatre TCU, TCU School of Music, and El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, the event is free to attend, though tickets are required and may be reserved here. It begins at 6:30 pm at PepsiCo Recital Hall at the Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh Center for Performing Arts on the TCU campus.

El Progreso Memorial Library will also stream the event on YouTube so that community members may join and participate in the discussion and reflection.

Legendary composer John Williams writes new ESPN anthem for TCU-Georgia National Championship

What a score

Talk about a big score. In what is believed to be the largest-scale musical commission ever for ESPN, the sports network has commissioned Hollywood icon John Williams to compose a new anthem for the College Football Playoff National Championship between TCU and University of Georgia, Variety reports.

The game, which airs on ESPN at 6:30 pm Monday, January 9 from California's SoFi Stadium, will be preceded by Williams' new three-and-a-half minute theme called "Of Grit and Glory.”

The music will back up special visuals that convey “the feeling behind the night, fear and anticipation, triumph and failure,” ESPN co-director and producer Martin Khodabakhshian tells Variety. The magazine, which got an exclusive preview of the new anthem, says it "plays like a joyful overture, opening with fanfares and shifting seamlessly from martial urgency to anthemic splendor, all richly orchestrated and instantly memorable."

Williams - whose famous compositions include four Olympic fanfares - told Variety he was thrilled to be asked to write the theme for the championship.

"Intercollegiate football has been at the heart and soul of our nation’s life for so long that the opportunity to musically salute this great tradition has been a particularly meaningful joy for me," he tells the magazine. "The games themselves always raise the collective spirit and, in the end, the competition brings us all closer to a place where the concept of winners and losers dissolves into mutual respect and admiration. The invitation to write this music constitutes a great honor for me, and I feel especially privileged to make a small contribution to one of our country’s most treasured traditions.”

Williams reportedly recorded the theme with a 96-piece orchestra on the Sony scoring stage in a three-hour session on December 21. ESPN filmed it using seven cameras.

It remained top secret until game day, January 9.

The new music - the main anthem plus shorter snippets - will be heard throughout the TCU-Georgia matchup, but its use after the game is unclear, Variety reports.

A five-time Oscar winner, Williams, 90, is best known for his Hollywood film scores, including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Jaws.

Top TCU watch parties score in this week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 12 best Fort Worth bars to watch TCU Football in the National Championship. The biggest football game in Horned Frog history is happening Monday, January 9 as TCU takes on No. 1 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship (6:30 pm local time). There’ll be watch parties all over town as Fort Worth unites to cheer on the home team. Here are 12 of the best bars to do so. And if you're heading west to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the “Natty,” here's a guide to parties, parking, and more.

2. Famous Watauga gas station restaurant (and Guy Fieri favorite) will close. A restaurant made famous by Food Network's Guy Fieri is closing: Chef Point Bar & Restaurant, the restaurant-in-a-gas-station in Watauga, will close at the end of January after 20 years. The restaurant will close its location at 5901 Watauga Rd. on Sunday, January 29.

3. These are the 10 hottest stories that had Fort Worth talking in 2022. What was Fort Worth reading in 2022? We are so glad you asked. Readers craved news about a new, state-of-the-art McDonald's; Christmas light attractions; and visits from Yellowstone royalty and real British royalty. Here was our look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the previous year.

4. Travel + Leisure heralds Fort Worth among world's 11 best places to visit this January. A national magazine is proclaiming what Fort Worth residents already know - that the city is a pretty great place to be this month. A new report by Travel + Leisure has named Fort Worth one of the 11 best places to travel in the United States and around the world in January 2023. But the story has one big omission.

5. Yellowstone stars blaze into our 10 hottest Fort Worth society stories of 2022. As we looked back at the most popular society stories of 2022, a clear theme emerged: Yellowstone. Red-carpet and black-tie events featuring stars from Taylor Sheridan's hit show landed on the list three times. Fort Worth philanthropists also shined up their stilettos for the first Jewel Charity Ball since the start of the pandemic, donned their ballgowns for an elegant FWSO Gala, and slid on their cowboy boots and hats for Cowtown Ball.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

TCU fans' guide to tailgating, parking, and parties at the CFP National Championship in L.A.

Frogs in the Natty

Thousands of TCU fans will descend on the City of Angels this weekend to witness the Horned Frogs play No. 1 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The game itself is at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Monday, January 9 (4:30 pm Pacific, 6:30 pm Central). As Fort Worth fans scurry to secure flights, hotel accommodations, transportation, and those pricey tickets, details on the many festivities leading up the game may have been missed. Here’s a quick overview of fan-friendly events happening all weekend long, including tips on parking, tailgating (is there tailgating?), maps, and more.

Staying home for the game? Here are the 12 best watch parties at bars and restaurants around Fort Worth.

SoFi Stadium Quick Facts
The elaborate SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is the centerpiece of a district called Hollywood Park, a 300-acre sports and entertainment destination located in Inglewood, California. It’s the home of the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angele Rams NFL teams. Fun fact: the stadium is slated to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics. It can seat up to 100,000 people with expandable seating and is the largest stadium in the NFL.

At 70,000 square feet, SoFi’s Infinity Screen is the largest videoboard ever created in sports. It’s 120 yards long and holds about 2.2 million pounds of digital LED. It’ the only dual-sided, center-hung videoboard in the world. No matter where your seats are, you won’t miss one play.

Parking at SoFi for the National Championship
Parking is extremely limited with digital permits available for purchase only in advance for on-site and off-site lots. Stadium parking lots will open at 10 am and will remain open for two hours after the end of the game. Here’s a map for reference.

Another option is Inglewood Park & Go – remote parking with shuttle service that runs every 15 minutes. A bus rideshare service called Rally will also provide roundtrip transportation to the game from various districts around the Los Angeles area. A minimum number of riders is required.

To be clear, tailgating is prohibited for this game, so leave the coolers tents behind. (Apparently this is a College Football Playoff rule for the National Championship, not a rule of SoFi Stadium or California in general.)

But there is an official tailgate hosted by the College Football Playoff. Called the Allstate Championship Tailgate, the free event is open to all ticket holders. Running from 10 am-4 pm on game day January 9, the sponsored tailgate will be held in lots B and C outside SoFi Stadium. It will feature interactive games, sponsor activations, concessions, live broadcasts by ESPN, and performances by both TCU and Georgia marching bands. There’ll also be live concerts by Kelsea Ballerini and Yiera Kennedy.

TCU is also hosting a tailgate, but tickets are already sold out.

Playoff Fan Central
This three-day, family-friendly event, which runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am-6 pm daily, is free to attend and will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center South Hall. Go for games, clinics, band performances, special guest appearances, autograph sessions, and exhibits celebrating the history of college football. Note that TCU star running back and NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson will appear on Sunday at 11 am for a live podcast recording for "Always College Football" with football commentator Greg McElroy. Here’s the full schedule of appearances.

Extra Yard 5K
Looking to burn a few calories before the big game? Sign up for the College Football Playoff’s family-friendly 5K race (that’s 3.1 miles) to held at 8 am on Sunday in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Each participant will receive a t-shirt and a finisher medal. Registration is $50, or $40 for teachers and educators. Proceeds will benefit the College Football Playoff Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative. Registration ends Saturday night at midnight.

Taste of the Championship
If you don’t want to mess with dinner reservations and still get an exclusive taste of everything delicious Los Angeles has to offer, buy tickets for Taste of the Championship, happening 4-7 pm Sunday at a chic LA event space called Hudson Loft. The fundraiser event will feature gourmet food and drinks be prepared and served by local chefs via meet-and-greet stations. Proceeds from the $300 ticket will benefit the College Football Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative.

Other good things to know

  • Only clear bags are allowed inside SoFi Stadium and they should not be bigger than 12” x 6” x 12”. Small clutch purses are permitted, but they can’t exceed 4” x 6”.
  • There’s also a College Football Playoff app for those who want to keep updated with breaking news and game updates.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Help them bring home the biggest win of their lives.

12 best Fort Worth bars to watch TCU Football in the National Championship

Frog Fever

The biggest football game in Horned Frog history is happening Monday, January 9 as TCU takes on No. 1 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship (6:30 pm local time). But if you’re not heading west to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the “Natty,” not to worry. There’ll be watch parties all over town as Fort Worth unites to cheer on the home team. Here are 12 of the best bars to do so. Wear your purple, and all glory to the Hypnotoad. (If you know, you know.)

Fort Brewery
The brewery and pizza joint is all in on the Hypnotoad hype – so much that it brews a beer named after the mesmerizing meme mascot of TCU that’s been credited for “hypnotizing” opponents all season. Hypnotoad Haze will be $4 a pint during the game, which will be broadcast on Fort Brewery’s 12-foot big screen. There’ll even be a free pizza buffet. The party starts at 4:30 pm.

Panther Island Brewing
Wear purple and get your first Tailgater blonde ale for free during “Purple Out” watch party at Panther Island Brewing. The North Fort Worth brewery will also draw raffle tickets for prizes after every quarter. Smokin’ Cactus food truck will be on-site serving tacos, nachos, bowls, and desserts. Doors open at 5 pm.

Panther Island Brewing Tailgater Blonde Perfect beer for the game.Courtesy photo

Jon’s Grille
Longtime Horned Frogs know that the latest restaurant concept from chef Jon Bonnell isn’t the first “Jon’s Grille” to exist near the TCU campus. Jon Meyerson first opened his namesake burger joint in 1989 (in the current space of Dutch’s Hamburgers), where he fed students and fans for years before taking his life in 2001. Bonnell’s version – a tribute to Meyerson – sits on W. Berry St. and serves burgers along with barbecue, tacos, baked potatoes, and the Big Frog Dog. Visit during the National Championship for purple beers, purple shakes, and Hypnotoad Margaritas.

Buffalo Bros.
There are two locations of this popular spot for wings, pizza, and games – one right on the TCU campus and a newer, flashier outlet downtown in Sundance Square. The original on S. University Drive has long drawn Horned Frog fans for game-day gatherings. The Sundance Square location boasts a 360-degree bar with TVs inside and outside the perimeter. Speaking of TVs, there are more than 90 here, along with a private room with five screens and stadium seating. Snag a seat early as both venues will be packed.

Maple Branch Craft Brewery
The Foundry District brewery is normally closed on Mondays but will open for the National Championship game. Go for wood-fired pizzas and giant Bavarian pretzels and wash it all down with the brewery’s own Hypnotoad American lager. Doors open at 4 pm and the kitchen will be open until 10 pm.

Lot 12
Located on the rooftop of the Hyatt Place TCU, this open-air hotel sports bar is home to TCU’s “most elevated” tailgate scene. There’ll be a tailgate taco bar with $3 tacos, select $3 beers, and $4 Epic Western seltzers. There’s also an entire cocktail menu dedicated to TCU-themed drinks, including the purple-hued Frog 75 made with gin and sparkling wine, and the sangria-inspired Frog Fountain. Lot 12 will open at 4 pm.

Fred’s Texas Café
The game audio will be on loud at both locations of Fred’s Texas Café, where Fredburgers can be paired with Purple ‘Ritas during the game. While the spacious new Camp Bowie West location draws crowds for its bar and enclosed patio scene, don’t sleep on Fred’s Texas Western Center. Word is Frog fans came out in full force for the Fiesta Bowl at this popular North Fort Worth neighborhood hangout.

purple margaritas Love those Purple 'Ritas.Courtesy photo

The Rabbit Hole Pub
The popular college bar on White Settlement Road will run lots of watch party specials, including $2 domestic beers, $2.50 well drinks, and $5 Purple Toad shots just for fun. Also don’t miss Rahr & Sons berry flavored seltzer called Frog Water. There’ll also be a taco truck on site.

The Pub
Open since 1981, The Pub is perhaps the longest-running campus-adjacent watering hole. It’s where most Horned Frogs wind up at least a time or two, especially on game days. The Pub has created a custom National Championship pint glass and look for other “Natty” swag including stickers and shirts leading up to the watch party there on Monday. You can also find Fort Brewery’s Hypnotoad Haze on tap, along with lots of TVs and feisty Frog fans.

Neutral Ground Brewing Co.
The Race Street brewery and tap room will open up on Monday night for a watch party. Visit for $5 full pours on all brews, including Neutral Ground’s surprisingly refreshing King Cake beer, a favorite during Mardi Gras season.

Downtown Cowtown at the Isis
The historic movie theater in the Fort Worth Stockyards will broadcast the game on the big screen with free admission. A little history: Opened in 1914, the Isis Theater was destroyed by a fire in 1935, rebuilt, then damaged again by a flood in 1942. It sat dormant, shuttered, and dilapidated for decades until it was finally purchased and restored to its original glory and reopened in 2021. With seats for 500, there’s room for lots of Horned Frog fans. The full bar will be open to serve cocktails and beer on tap.

Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena
While not exactly a bar, TCU will open its state-of-the-art basketball arena to the public for a free watch party. All concessions will be open (including beer sales) and there’ll be free rally towels. Note that only clear bags will be allowed into the arena, which has seating capacity for nearly 7,000. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Photo courtesy of Cinemark

Cinemark opens select theaters for college football playoffs including TCU bowl game

Sports News

The Cinemark movie theater chain is bringing back a special viewing experience that involves not movies but sports: The Plano-based company is teaming with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

This postseason, fans can catch three of the biggest games, and that includes TCU's bowl game on New Year's Eve, as well as the College Football Playoff National Championship in January.

Cinemark debuted this idea in 2021. According to a release, it proved to be sufficiently successful that they're not only bringing it back, they're expanding the number of theaters where it's offered, to a total of 70 theaters across the U.S. including 19 in Texas, as follows in alphabetical order:

  • Austin - Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • College Station - Cinemark Movies 18 and XD
  • Dallas - Cinemark 17 XD and IMAX
  • Denton - Cinemark 14
  • El Paso - Cinemark 20 XD and ScreenX
  • Fort Worth - Cinemark Alliance Town Center and XD
  • Grand Prairie - Cinemark Movies 16
  • Grapevine - Cinemark Tinseltown Grapevine and XD
  • Katy - Cinemark 19 and XD
  • Lubbock - Cinemark Movies 16 and XD
  • McAllen - Cinemark Hollywood USA
  • McKinney - Cinemark North McKinney and XD
  • Pasadena - Cinemark Hollywood Movies 20
  • Pflugerville - Cinemark 20 and XD
  • Plano - Cinemark West Plano XD and ScreenX
  • Rockwall - Cinemark 14 Rockwall and XD
  • San Antonio - Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands - Cinemark 17 and XD
  • Waco - Cinemark Waco and XD

The full list of theaters where it's available is online.

"Cinemark is thrilled to once again offer college football fans an opportunity to watch this year’s most anticipated games in our immersive, shared environment, especially given the enthusiasm we saw in our theaters last year," says Wanda Gierhart Fearing, Cinemark Chief Marketing and Content Officer.

"We are thankful for the collaboration with ESPN and our ability to bring this year’s games to even more cities as we expand participating locations," Fearing says. "Our larger-than-life screens and booming surround sound create the ultimate experience for fans to cheer on their team without missing a single heart-pounding play."

The schedule is as follows:

  • December 31, 3 pm: No. 2 Michigan will square off against No. 3 TCU in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
  • December 31, 7 pm: No. 1 Georgia will take on No. 4 Ohio State in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
  • January 9, 6:30 pm: The winners of the two games will go head-to-head for the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T

All showings will include ESPN’s live pre-game studio programming.

To see the games in theaters, fans can reserve a seat when they purchase a $10 concessions package. Sales kick off on December 13. For information on participating theaters and to purchase concessions packages, visit Cinemark.com/CFP or the Cinemark mobile app.

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Giant sea creatures made of recycled beach trash wash onto Galveston Island in must-see new exhibit

inspiring sea change

A giant great white shark, massive bald eagle, oversized octopus, and more enormous sea life have invaded Galveston Island.

"Washed Ashore," a compelling traveling art exhibit of giant sea animal sculptures made of trash collected from beaches, is now on display across 19 locations in Galveston.

The clever showcase features more than 20 pieces — most more than six feet tall and as much as 17 feet wide — such as coral reefs, jellyfish, penguins, sunfish, and more.

Sculptures can be found at museums, hotels, parks, attractions, and popular outdoor spaces. Thanks to a partnership between Oregon-based non-profit Washed Ashore and the Galveston Park Board, the exhibit, which is open though March 5, is free.

This innovative, powerful exhibit is designed to educate the public about the hazards of plastic pollution in the world’s waterways and comes at a touchstone environmental moment. Some 35 million metric tons of plastic entered the global aquatic ecosystems in 2020, according to the Ocean Conservancy’s research partners.

Similar "Washed Ashore" exhibits have been displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, as well as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens across the nation. Notably, this Galveston debut marks the first time the exhibit will not be behind a paid gate, per press materials.

“The sculptures are impressive,” Visit Galveston Chief Tourism Officer Michael Woody says. “But they’re even more impressive when you look at them closely. The artists at Washed Ashore placed recognizable objects – like buckets and shovels – at a child’s eye view. This way, hopefully, they will learn to take with them what they bring to the beach.”

For more information on the exhibit, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Visit Galveston

Meet Greta the great white shark.

These are the 5 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week

This week in gluttony

It’s a frigid start to February this week, but tasty events bring opportunities to warm up once the coldest weather passes. Get cozy with hand-made pasta and wine, a dim sum cooking class, two new Sunday brunch launches, and a complimentary educational class to watch online from the warmth of your own home.

Thursday, February 2

An Evening with Batasiolo Wine Dinner
Only 11 lucky individuals get to partake in this four-course dinner set to take place in il Modo’s intimate pasta-making room. Wines from Beni Di Batasiolo Winery will be paired with each course. Reservations are $199, plus tax and gratuity, and include valet parking. Dinner begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, February 4

Who Eats Cornbread? Who Eats Biscuits? Baking and Texas Identity Webinar by the TCU Center for Texas Studies
Curl up at home with hot biscuits or cornbread while watching this tasty and educational webinar led by Rebecca Sharpless, professor of history at TCU. She’ll talk through the history of baking in Texas and the American South, speaking from research conducted for her latest book, Grain and Fire. Learn who used white cornmeal, who used yellow, who used sugar, who didn’t, flour to fat ratios, and why it all matters. The free webinar begins at 10:30 am.

Jazz Brunch Launch at The Fitzgerald
The Camp Bowie Boulevard restaurant will channel New Orleans vibes with the launch of its new jazz brunch. The live jazz pianist will provide tunes on Fitzgerald’s heated patio both Saturday and Sundays from 11 am-2 pm. Plan for brunch dishes like crab cake Benedict, shrimp and grits, crawfish omelets, and bananas Foster banana pudding.

Dim Sum Time at Indulge Cooking Studio
The downtown cooking studio located inside Third Street Market hosts an array of classes regularly. This one will feature dim sum, the traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates featuring various dumplings and snacks. The menu will include chicken shumai, Chinese greens, spring rolls, and an egg custard tart. The class is $89 and will begin at 11 am.

Sunday, February 5

New Sunday Brunch at Craft & Vine
The Roanoke restaurant, wine bar, and craft cocktail lounge will launch Sunday brunch with new buffet-style stations. Enjoy eggs Benedict, a carving station, waffle bar, and more, as well as champagne flights, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and even a bar cart for crafting Old Fashioneds. The price is $39 per person and $15 for kids 12 and under. Brunch service begins at 10 am and the live music starts at 11 am.

Luke Bryan trucks to Dallas-Fort Worth for 2 tour stops, including Dickies Arena

Country on

Luke Bryan fans, clear your calendars in late September 2023. The five-time Entertainer of the Year and American Idol judge is making not one but two stops in North Texas on his "Country On Tour."

He'll play Dallas' Dos Equis Pavilion on September 28, then scoot over to Fort Worth for a show at Dickies Arena on September 29. The only other Texas stop on his 36-city tour will be in Lubbock, on July 27. (So sorry, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.)

Special guests throughout the tour will include up-and-coming country artists Chayce Beckham, Tyler Braden, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, Jon Langston, Conner Smith, Alana Springsteen, Hailey Whitters, and DJ Rock.

According to the tour site, Beckham, Dean, Whitters, and DJ Rock will play the Dallas-Fort Worth shows.

Bryan has a history of investing in new artists by inviting them to join him on tour, a press release reminds.

“Artists get into the business to make music and perform it for the fans,” Bryan says in the release. “Leaving it all out on that stage is what it’s all about for me. I’m excited to support and have so many talented new artists along for the ride this year. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.

The tour is named for Bryan's 30th No. 1 single, “Country On” - a celebration of farmers, truckers, military, first responders, and all of Americana that hit the top of the country singles charts around Christmas 2022. He has amassed a career tally of 56 total weeks at #1.

Bryan launches his 2023 headline dates at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas on February 1. He's also returning as a judge on ABC's American Idol this spring.

Bryan's "Country On Tour" kicks off June 15 in Syracuse, New York.

Tickets go on sale on at 10 am Friday, February 3 at Lukebryan.com.

Presale for Bryan's fan club members will run 8 am Tuesday, January 31 through 5 pm Thursday, February 2. For details, go HERE.

Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets from 10 am Wednesday, February 1 to 10 pm Thursday, Feb 2 through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.