Photo via CharlieRobison.com

A giant of the Texas music scene has passed away. Charlie Robison, a gravelly voiced, bad boy, say-anything singer-songwriter, died in died at a hospital in San Antonio on Sunday, September 10 after suffering cardiac arrest and other complications, according to an AP report. Robison passed away just nine days after his 59th birthday.

Robison was scheduled to play at Billy Bob's on October 13 - a show that got canceled and was replaced by Clint Black.

His wife, Kristen Robison, confirmed the new on social media, writing:

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my husband, Charlie Robison has passed away today, surrounded by his family and friends. My heart is broken. Please pray for me, our children and our family.”

Robison was born in Houston but grew up in Bandera, Texas on the ranch his family has owned for generations. Tanned, ranch-strong, and standing six-foot-four, Robison looked more jock than country singer — he played football at then Southwest Texas State University in the 1980s before an injury ending his sports career.

He made his way to Austin, playing with bands Chaparral and Two Hoots and a Holler before forming his own act, Millionaire Playboys. Paying homage to his beloved ranch home, he released his solo debut album, Bandera, in 1996. Sony Records caught wind of the young star and quickly signed him to the subsidiary Lucky Dog Records, releasing Life of the Party on the label in 1998.

Life of the Party may well be Robison's most beloved album, netting monster tracks such as the singalong, anthemic "My Hometown," "Sunset Boulevard," and "Barlight." His next album, Unleashed Live, features two Texas country giants: Robison's brother Bruce Robison and Jack Ingram.

Columbia Records then snatched him up, releasing a live album and Step Right Up. The sheen of the Nashville country scene jetted him into pop culture; he was cast as a judge in the reality TV singing competition Nashville Star.

But the tough guy, straight-shootin' Robison and his Texas grit found the glossy, hip Nashville scene repressive. He left Columbia, signed with the smaller label Dualtone, moved away from mainstream/Nashville radio-friendly tunes and returned to his love of Southern rock. The move paid off: In 2004, his single "Good Times" from the album of the same name was featured on the HBO vampire series smash True Blood.

He later self-produced and released the album Beautiful Day in 2009 on Dualtone, which prominently feature Nashville singer/songwriter Keith Gattis. He left his Texas base to embark on an East Coast and U.S. tour in 2009, bringing his Texas swag to national live audiences, before settling back in Texas and gigging primarily there and Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

While Life of the Party may be Robison's most familiar release, the 2013 Live at Billy Bob's Texas album is perhaps his magnum opus, showcasing his gritty voice, Lone Star State lyricism, and shredding guitar solos. (He was known to play classic rock covers during live shows, such as AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and even Elton John's "Rocket Man.")

Persistent throat problems prompted surgery in 2018 that ultimately cost him his 25-year singing career. Robison announced his retirement in a statement that year that reflected his "never take yourself too seriously" approach to music:

“With a very heavy heart I am officially retiring from the stage and studio. “It’s been an amazing ride, and I cannot tell you all what the last 25 years has meant to me. I was looking forward to another 25 but as they say, ‘shit happens.’”

Always alongside country's elite, Robison will be remembered for his collaborations with notable names such as Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, Lloyd Maines, Charlie Sexton, Rich Brotherton, his brother Bruce, and more — some of whom would surprise fans onstage.

Branching into the hospitality business, Charlie Robison opened Alamo Icehouse in San Antonio with former Major League Baseball player Brooks Kieschnick in 2014.

Music permeated his personal life: Robison married Emily Erwin of the Dixie Chicks in 1999; the couple shared three children: Charles Augustus and twins Julianna Tex and Henry Benjamin. He married Kristen Robison — also a singer-songwriter — in 2015.

He stands tall, literally and figuratively, as a Texas rebel who traded national country music sheen for staying true to his Texas roots. The larger-than-life singer was known for his exceptional treatment of his band and being refreshingly approachable to fans.

Photo by Daylon Walton

Dallas-Fort Worth theater community mourns passing of The Column founder John Garcia

In Memoriam

The Dallas-Fort Worth theater community lost one of its most recognizable contributors on May 21, when The Column founder John Garcia passed away from leukemia.

"John is at peace now. He got into places right at 2 pm for the matinee in heaven," posted The Column account on Facebook.

Born in Kerrville, Garcia made an indelible mark on the local theater community when he founded The Column 17 years ago. It began as a group email among 20 friends, and today has more than 20,000 subscribers worldwide. Many actors in DFW rely on it for audition notices, and there are currently 17 associate theater critics who write for the site.

Having so many contributors means that The Column was able to cover nearly all of the theater here, from extremely local community productions to national Broadway tours.

According to The Column's website, Garcia appeared in more than 400 productions as an actor, including two years touring with Walt Disney World Entertainment and working with such stars as Tommy Tune, Ann Miller, and New Kids on the Block. He was currently an Actor's Equity candidate, working toward full equity status.

In 2005, Garcia was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Excellence in Theater from the University of North Texas.

Garcia also founded The Column Awards, a major fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the only theater awards show in DFW. It was not unusual for Garcia to entice huge stars to Dallas for the awards, including Donna McKechnie, Anthony Rapp, Max Von Essen, and Plano's own Michael Urie.

Garcia had been diagnosed with cancer in March, and on a ventilator since April. On May 20, Column Awards board member and Garcia's close friend Jason Bias posted:

"Today, we met with the palliative care doctor and made the difficult decision to take John off the ventilator tomorrow afternoon. The doctor laid everything out for us and John’s cancer would return in the future and they would not be able to provide him chemo based on his reaction, and he is not strong off enough to live off the vent. Our hearts are heavy with this decision, but we know that our sweet John would want this. He will be surrounded by close friends and loved ones."

Remembrances and condolences poured out from the theater community. Greater Lewisville Community Theatre posted on Facebook:

"Through the annual presentation of The Column Awards, John raised and forwarded all proceeds to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, making his organization one of the most effective fund raisers for BCEFA outside of the Broadway community. John Garcia's, The Column Online was one of the first effective clearing houses for theatre information, audition notices, and production notices in DFW and beyond. On behalf of the entire GLCT organization, we extend our support and condolences to John's family and friends in honoring his memory."

"It goes without saying but John was obsessed with theater. He lived and breathed it," writes Bias in a message to CultureMap. "He was also super passionate about students learning the art and growing in their craft. He judged many UIL speech competitions, was one of the original judges for then-called Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards, and of course all things The Column/The Column Awards. You would always see him with a Diet Coke and some type of theatre show merchandise!"

Funeral arrangements have not been publicly announced.

Allan Hayslip

Musician Jess Barr, co-owner of Twilite Lounge in Fort Worth, dies at 46

RIP Jess

A Dallas-Fort Worth musician and club owner has died: Jess Barr, who was the guitarist for seminal alt-country rock band Slobberbone, passed away in the early hours of December 6; he was 46. Friends of the family said he suffered from a heart condition.

A native of Pensacola who also lived in West Texas and New Jersey, Barr was a member of Slobberbone during its heyday, when the quartet put its hometown Denton on the map and created a vibrant local scene at bars like the Barley House in Dallas. He also played with a Slobberbone offshoot band, The Drams.

He also co-owned Twilight Lounge, a popular bar with locations in Fort Worth and Dallas.

Slobberbone helped coalesce the rising alt-country genre of the '90s, touring with acts like Son Volt, Drive By Truckers, and even pop acts like Cheap Trick, performing to rapt audiences both nationally and abroad.

Barr joined Slobberbone following the 1997 release of their second album, Barrel Chested.

“Jess had a full-ride scholarship in Austin, but he quit to join us,” recalled singer Brent Best.

His tagline was "Jessie Barr on the shiny gold guitar" — referring to his signature Les Paul.

In 2014, he left the band with the blessing of Best and band mates Brian Lane and Tony Harper, who lauded him for the contributions he'd made on albums like Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today ("especially the solo he did on 'Josephine'," they said).

In 2013, he opened Twilite Lounge in Deep Ellum, with partner Danny Balis, then opened a spinoff in Fort Worth in 2017. Both locations earned best bar awards and provided a platform for local musicians — another of his legacies, says Jimmy Morton, his partner at the Fort Worth location.

"Helping local bands is one thing that Jess, Danny, and I all championed," Morton says.

As a tribute to his passing, Twilight Lounge closed both locations on December 6.

"We closed both Twilite Lounge Dallas and Fort Worth, to honor him and allow his family, and our own, an opportunity to grieve," Morton says. "We turned our lights off and went dark."

Morton, whose friendship with Barr goes back more than 20 years to the Barley House days, says that Barr was celebrated not only as a skilled guitarist and banjo player but also for his personable, down-to-earth disposition.

One friend called him "one of a kind — nicest guy you could meet who would always remember where the conversation left off." Another said, "Jess always had the warmest smile and quickest wit. And he could solo like a badass."

"He was a super low-key guy," Morton says. "We would always joke that when he got on stage, he would turn into 'rock star Jess'," he says.

Barr is survived by his wife Ashley, son Liam, his mother Rae, and his sister Amy. Services are still to be announced.

The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]

When and how to watch Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral from Fort Worth

Final salute

The world will bid a final "goodbye and thank you, Ma'am" to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at her state funeral on Monday, September 19 at London's Westminster Abbey.

While the service for Her Majesty, who passed away September 8, will be attended by 2,000 family, friends, dignitaries, and heads of state, the event is expected to draw a record 4.1 billion viewers from around the world.

In the United States, every major network, broadcast outlet, and streaming service will provide coverage. And in Fort Worth, viewers will need to get up before the sun to tune in live. The funeral starts at 5 am local time, with many noteworthy events happening before and after it (see schedule, below).

Here is a complete guide to the network, cable, and streaming service coverage, per the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter. (All times are local to Fort Worth.)

Networks (television and streaming):

  • PBS: PBS will carry the BBC’s live coverage from London, starting at 3 am. A primetime special, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II: Events of the Day, will then be broadcast at 7 pm.
  • ABC: David Muir and Robin Roberts will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • NBC: Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Lester Holt will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • CBS: Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell will anchor coverage (time TBA).

Cable networks (television and streaming):

  • BBC America: Coverage from London will start at 3 am.
  • CNN: Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will anchor coverage starting at 4 am, with additional anchors and reporters joining throughout the morning.
  • MSNBC: Chris Jansing will anchor coverage, beginning at 2 am, following with a special edition of Morning Joe from London and continuing through services.
  • C-SPAN: Live coverage will begin at 4:30 am.
  • Bloomberg TV: Live coverage will run from 4-6:30 am.
  • Fox News Channel: Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt, and Piers Morgan will anchor coverage, starting at 2 am.

Other streaming options:

  • BritBox will stream BBC live coverage, starting at 3:30 am.
  • BBC is live-streaming from London, 24 hours a day, on their news app and at www.bbc.com/news. (Click on the Queen Elizabeth II tab.)
  • ITV News offers live-streaming at www.itv.com/news and through YouTube.
  • Sky News offers live-streaming at news.sky.com, as well as through Peacock and YouTube.
  • Subscription-based streaming platforms (with free trials available) will be streaming the funeral, including: FuboTV, Sling, YouTube TV, Peacock Premium, Hulu + Live TV, and Paramount+. The service will be available to stream on regular Hulu as soon as it concludes.

Schedule of events

The funeral service itself will begin at 11 am in London (BST), which is 5 am in Fort Worth (CDT). The service is expected to last about an hour, but it's preceded and followed by other events that also will be broadcast. Here is a schedule of events for the day, according to this handy guide from BBC. All times below are CDT.

12:30 am: The Queen's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall will end. Hundreds of thousands (including soccer legend David Beckham) have been "queueing up" and waiting in line up to 14 hours to walk by her coffin and pay their respects. The BBC is live-streaming the lying-in-state here.

2 am: The doors of Westminster Abbey will open for guests to begin arriving for the state funeral. Heads of state — including U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden — will attend, as will royal family members from across Europe (many of whom were blood relatives of the Queen). Find the guest list here.

4:44 am: About 15 minutes before the funeral, the Queen's coffin will be carried, via gun carriage, from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Senior members of the royal family (including King Charles and princes William and Harry) will follow the coffin in the procession.

5 am: The funeral at Westminster Abbey begins. It will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

5:55 am: Near the end of the funeral, a bugle call called "Last Post" will be played, and two minutes of silence will be observed nationally across the UK. Then the "new" national anthem "God Save the King" will be sung and a lament will be played by the Queen's piper.

6:15 am: A walking procession — including military bands and members of the armed services — will draw the coffin from the Abbey to Wellington Arch.

7 am: The coffin will be transferred to a state hearse for its final journey to Windsor.

9 am: The state hearse will arrive in Windsor for a walking procession up Windsor Castle's Long Walk. Members of the armed forces will line the three-mile route, and members of the royal family will meet the cortege outside the castle.

10 am: The coffin will enter St. George's Chapel for a committal service attended by a congregation of 800. At the conclusion of the 45-minute service, the Queen's coffin will be lowered into the royal vault, and the royal family will leave the chapel. The service will include many traditions symbolizing the end of the Queen's reign, including the removal of the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and scepter from the top of the coffin. (Read more about what to expect here.)

1:30 pm: The Queen will be buried together with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI memorial chapel inside St. George's Chapel. The private ceremony is just for family, and it is unclear whether any part of it will be made public.

Getty Images

Dallas-Fort Worth mourns Queen Elizabeth II, one of its longtime idols, who has died at 96

RIP the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch, died September 8 after reigning for 70 years; she was 96.

Her death was announced via a statement from Buckingham Palace that said, "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.”

According to the BBC, doctors placed her under medical supervision after concerns grew about her condition. Family then gathered at Balmoral (her summer residence), including her heirs Prince Charles and Prince William, along with Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and the queen's children Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Edward's wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

At her death, her eldest son Charles, 73, immediately became His Majesty the King Charles III. He said in a statement: "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."

Her death reverberates not only around the world but also in Dallas-Fort Worth, which has a long historical accord with all things British, dating back to the U.K.'s longtime infatuation with the TV show Dallas, which attracted many Brits to Dallas and vice versa. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, visited North Texas in 1991.

Dallas-Fort Worth seemed especially beholden to the Queen in the past year, whether it was celebrating her via high-society events or parties marking her landmark reign.

When the Crystal Charity Ball came back to life after the pandemic in 2021, it chose a theme "Peace, Love, London" to revive Dallas' grandest gala back from its darkest year. Chairwoman Leslie Diers' event took attendees across the pond with all the best British things: Union Jack flags, costumed Queen's Guards, and a vibrant portrait of Queen Elizabeth, as well as a piped-in trumpet salute and orchestral rendition of "God Save the Queen" that made guests feel as though they were arriving at the palace.

This year's Mad Hatter's Tea Party took place April 20, one day before Queen Elizabeth's 96th birthday, making the annual event it seem like a royal party.

That same week, on April 28, British Emporium, DFW's favorite British shop in Grapevine, celebrated their own 30-year anniversary as well as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's long and glorious 70-year reign with a regal afternoon of cars and corgis. The pet of choice since the queen was a child, corgis held a special place in the celebration, with corgi owners encouraged to bring their dogs in costume — whether it be British-themed, royal family-themed, or otherwise.

And numerous local venues celebrated the Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, throwing special parties to mark the Queen's "happy and glorious" 70-year reign — a tenure achieved by no other British monarch, from brunch at the Londoner Pub to Royal Tea at The French Room to a special trifle served at Fish & Fizz, owned by native Brits Nick and Kelly Barclay.

In 2020, the Dallas Museum of Art League chose a royal theme for its annual Art in Bloom fundraiser, one of the top galas of the year. Called "A Royal Affair," it featured guest speaker Shane Connolly, who did the floral design for Prince Charles' wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall (aka Camilla), and served as artistic director for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding-watched-round-the-world.

A Dallas women's shelter was also the beneficiary of royal kindness in 2021 when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex provided Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, a domestic violence shelter and support agency, with a new roof following damages sustained from Winter Storm Uri. News reached Prince Harry and Meghan nee Markle, who lent a financial hand through their nonprofit Archewell Foundation.

Earlier this year, Prince Harry was spotted at a rodeo in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

On the afternoon of the Queen's death — while mourners at Buckingham Palace gates sang "God Save the Queen" under a shimmering double rainbow — North Texans shared their own tributes.

At the British Emporium, a book of condolences for customers to sign went on display Thursday. It will remain there for several days until it is sent to Buckingham Palace, a spokesman says.

"As to other plans, I’m sure we will do something; we just don’t know yet," he says. "Today we just want to be a place where people can come and gather with others and mourn together."

Fort Worth artist Nancy Lamb posted on Facebook a photo of her 2012 painting of Queen Elizabeth called Royal Crown Neat. It will be going on display at Love Texas Art gallery in downtown Fort Worth this week as tribute to the Queen, and can be viewed on Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 10.

Lamb shared the little-known backstory with CultureMap:

It started with Malcolm Warner, who was the interim director for the Kimbell before Eric Lee came. He had told our friends that he wanted a painting done of himself and he wanted me to do it. So I thought that was may be a good idea, and since he was English, I added the queen and Prince Philip in it just for fun. But I had always wanted to paint her crown, too, which was amazing. It took me a month or two to paint that crown. In the end, it became more about the Queen than Malcolm Warner for sure. I have adored her forever, and always love those crowns. I was told it had been shown to her by a friend of his, so I know she actually got to see it!

And Dallas-based chef Darren McGrady, who served as Royal Chef to Queen Elizabeth and later Princess Diana, tweeted a condolence and then a zinger.

"Rest In Peace Your Majesty. Thank you for your service. And thank you for letting me cook for you for eleven years. Memories I will hold dear forever," he tweeted.

Then he followed with, "I know, I know, It's wrong to say or even think this, but I can't get it off my mind. Had things gone to plan, Princess Diana would have been Queen Diana today."

The British Royal family has now entered a period of mourning, BBC says, and in coming days, much of national life will be put on hold. A state funeral is expected in the next two weeks.

Photo courtesy of Savor Dallas

Dallas-Fort Worth radio personality and Restaurant Week founder Jim White dies


North Texas radio personality Jim White, who co-founded Restaurant Week as well as the Savor Dallas food festival, died on June 4.

His wife, Vicki Briley-White, confirmed that White passed away while in hospice care, after the couple learned he had cancer just two months before.

"This has been a fast and shocking journey for us," she said. "We had barely comprehended that he was ill, much less that he is now gone from us."

White, who had a mellifluous voice that could melt ice, was a longtime radio personality, serving as a news anchor and talk show host for 1080 KRLD for a decade from 1995-2004.

He was probably DFW's original foodie in his capacity as host of "The KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White," a two-hour live talk-show featuring famous chefs, cookbook authors, winemakers, and restaurateurs from around the world, earning a James Beard Foundation nomination for "Best Radio Show on Food."

While at KRLD, he co-founded KRLD Restaurant Week, the annual fundraiser for the North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope.

From 1995-1997, he was morning and afternoon news anchor, and was honored by the Associated Press for "Best Newscast in Texas." His silver-tongued voice became a signature for KRLD, and earned him many requests for voice-over and emcee gigs.

He was ahead of his time in his enthusiasm for the food and beverage scene, producing and hosting videos featuring famous chefs, winemakers, and wine and food destinations, long before social media made such coverage common.

Inspired by food festivals they'd seen in other cities, and utilizing Briley-White's experience as chair of annual wine auction event Côtes du Coeur, the couple founded Savor Dallas in 2005, trailblazing the idea of a foodie festival in Dallas and drawing crowds of more than 4,000 people.

White recalled in 2013 that the event's launch fortuitously coincided with the debut of Stella Artois Beer in the Dallas-Fort Worth market; they served the beer ice cold on tap in a chalice, which attendees could take home for free.

The festival was eventually acquired by the Dallas Morning News in 2014, which let it flounder; its final year was 2018.

Always abreast of new media, White subsequently founded Wining & Dining with Jim White, a website and podcast enterprise where he interviewed top chefs and figures in the wine and spirits world.

White was still a student at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1968 when he was recruited to work at the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth TV station Channel 39. At the same time, he worked weekends with radio legend Ron Chapman, nudging him into a successful broadcast career before he was able to graduate from college.

In addition to Dallas, he had radio experience at news and talk stations in Chicago and San Francisco, serving as reporter, weather anchor, and host; in satellite radio; and as an actor and voice-over actor in commercials, corporate spokesperson, and film.

"He will be greatly missed by me and others," Vicki said. "He was a kind, generous, highly principled, loving man who wanted everyone to succeed. He never held any hard feelings. A rare man indeed."

A memorial service will be held on June 17 at 1:30 pm at Wilshire Baptist Church Sanctuary, 4316 Abrams Rd. Dallas. A reception will follow in the Community Hall.

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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.

Quonset hut in south Fort Worth to be transformed into ballroom

Quonset Hut News

A Quonset hut in south Fort Worth is about to make a Cinderella-like transformation: Called the Quonset Ballroom, it's being developed into an entertainment space which will host live music, food trucks, and events.

The hut is located at 2608 W. Dickson St., and was previously home to a lawn care operator for 30 years.

Husband-and-wife Jason and Hedy Peña stumbled onto it while searching for a new location for Hedy’s insurance agency, Armor Texas Insurance Agency. They landed at 2612 Dickson St., a cool mid-century office building built in 1957, which was ideal for the agency, even despite its offbeat address in a heavily industrial area.

“It was a piece of property where we could locate the office and it also had this 4,000-square foot Quonset hut next door,” Hedy says. "We started thinking about creating a venue which could be rented for parties, weddings, and social events."

Quonset huts are sprinkled across the Dallas-Fort Worth landscape, most dating back to the 1940s, shortly after the structure was first invented at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.

Fort Worth is also currently in thrall with Quonset huts, thanks to the hip PS1200 mixed-use development near the Medical District which opened in July.

This one was built in 1948, and will require an overhaul, including new flooring, AC, and framing, with a planned-for capacity of 250 people.

Even as they work on the revamp, the Peñas have hosted private parties as well as a campaign event for Jason Peña, who ran unsuccessfully for Fort Worth city council in May 2023.

“We’ve had some private events there, but it’s not ready for a full event," Hedy says.

They currently have no plans for a bar but they're building a kitchen space to serve as a platform for the food trucks, including hookups.

The tract also has what was once a 10-car garage, which the Peñas are developing as storefronts they hope to lease as office spaces.

The industrial nature of the neighborhood initally gave them pause, but Hedy says it's turned out to be a positive, and the property itself has mature, leafy trees.

"Everything around us is industrial and at first I was uneasy about opening the insurance agency there," she says. "But the neighborhood has not deterred customers. We've even grown. And without homeowners nearby, it's a good setup if we have live music."

She envisions a spot that will eventually have a community feel, where families can dine and sit outside or inside – there will be seating – and enjoy music and conversation.

“It will be open to rent to the public, for sure, and could turn into something where it has regular hours," she says. “It will be for everyone, the public, our friends, family, so that everyone can see what we have here.”

Gamestop stock saga gets fun, star-filled movie treatment with Dumb Money

Movie review

The stock market feels like one of those aspects of American life that only a select few truly understand. The rest of us acknowledge it as something that exists and affects our lives in some way, but how and why any particular stock is traded and becomes more (or less) valuable can be a complete mystery.

Dumb Money tackles one of the most interesting recent stories to come out of the stock market, the surprising inflation of Gamestop stock in late 2020/early 2021. The film bounces around to a variety of characters, but centers mostly on Keith Gill (Paul Dano), a YouTuber who went by the name of Roaring Kitty. Gill, an amateur stock trader, took an early position about liking the lightly-regarded Gamestop stock, regularly posting videos and on the Reddit thread WallStreetBets about how his significant investment in the stock was doing.

Concurrently, hedge fund managers like Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen) were actively trying to short, or bet against, the stock. That began a battle by Gill and other similarly-minded individual investors to fight back against what they saw as unfair trading practices by the big firms, resulting in Gamestop’s stock rising astronomically in a relatively short period of time.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) and written by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, the film is notable for what it is not, a deep dive into the inner workings of the stock market. Instead of getting into the nitty gritty details, the filmmakers treat it as the ultimate David vs. Goliath story, with Gill and other everyday people like a nurse, Jenny (America Ferrera), Gamestop worker Marcus (Anthony Ramos), and college student Harmony (Talia Ryder) going up against billionaires like Plotkin, Steve Cohen (Vincent D’Onofrio), Ken Griffin (Nick Offerman), and Vlad Tenev (Sebastian Stan).

Paul Dano in Dumb Money

Photo by Claire Folger/Sony Pictures

Paul Dano in Dumb Money.

It doesn’t hurt that Gill is an eccentric character who wears cat-emblazoned shirts and a headband, and that the Reddit community he inspires communicates primarily in memes, upping the entertainment factor of their side immensely. The story is also a suspense in a way; as the variety of individuals drive the stock ever higher, their net worth – on paper – also grows exponentially, and the longer each of them holds on without selling ups the potential that they could be burned.

Because the real-life event happened during the thick of the pandemic when it was still up in the air as to the full impact of COVID-19, the story takes on a little more significance. Characters mask up regularly, conversations take place on the phone or over Zoom, and a general feeling of unease permeates the film. That may or may not have influenced how certain people approached the situation, but in the context of the film, it definitely seems to play a part.

The back-and-forth between the haves and have-nots takes up so much time in the film that it barely has time for such well-known actors as Shailene Woodley, Dane Dehaan, Olivia Thirlby, and Pete Davidson, among others. Each of them plays a supporting character to one of the main people, and all of them deliver that little something extra in what could have been throwaway roles.

Dano is a chameleonic actor who’s gone between drama and comedy with ease throughout his career. This role is a mixture of both, and he has an effortlessness about him that makes everything he says instantly believable. Rogen is great casting as Plotkin, amiably playing the buffoon of the story. After her big role in Barbie, Ferrera once again shows that she deserves as many showcases as Hollywood can give her.

Storytellers can rarely go wrong in showing people with little power taking on those with great wealth, and the fact that the story shown in Dumb Money is (mostly) true makes it that much better. You may not understand the stock market any more than you already did at the end, but you’ll be so entertained that it won’t matter.


Dumb Money is now playing in theaters.