Photo courtesy of Truck Yard

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. Hugely popular Austin-style hangout Truck Yard is ready for Fort Worth debut. A popular come-as-you-are backyard hangout is opening Fort Worth: Called Truck Yard, it'll open at the Alliance Town Center at 3101 Prairie Vista Dr., and according to a release, it'll officially debut on January 16. The location has been in the works for more than two years.

2. Save the date for these 10 can't-miss Fort Worth galas and soirees of spring 2023. Time to steam the ballgowns and send the tuxes to the cleaner: Spring gala season has arrived. Here are the 10 spring dates every social butterfly in Fort Worth should circle now.

3. How to join the cast of 'Yellowstone' spinoff '1883: The Bass Reeves Story' in Fort Worth. Fort Worth-area fans of the hit TV shows Yellowstone and 1883 will have the chance to act in the shows’ newest spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, at the end of January. The new series' talent agency, Legacy Casting, is seeking local people, ages 16-50, to cast as Union and Confederate soldiers.

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

5. 10 eye-opening art exhibitions around Dallas-Fort Worth in January. From exploring and celebrating identity to sharing the dawn of a new day or a new year, Dallas-Fort Worth artists are jumping into 2023 with both feet and a lot of heart. Here are 10 must-see local exhibitions to visit in January, in order of opening date.

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 Lawrence Jenkins

Save the date for these 10 can't-miss Fort Worth galas and soirees of spring 2023

The gown lowdown

Time to steam the ballgowns and send the tuxes to the cleaner: Spring gala season has arrived.

Fort Worth's biggest fundraising balls - along with sleek cocktail soirees and panache-filled power luncheons - kick off early this year with Grand Entry Gala the first weekend of January. Then, don't sleep on tickets to see music icon Yo-Yo Ma headline the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert and Dinner in February. Jewel Charity Ball is going to Japan, and Classically Cliburn Gala is headed to Monte Carlo.

Photo by Lawrence Jenkins

The FWSO Gala is back, February 25.

Here are the 10 spring dates every social butterfly in Fort Worth should circle now.

Junior League Grand Entry Gala, January 7
Saddle up for the first big gala of the season. Junior League of Fort Worth's annual Grand Entry Gala serves as serves as a glam kickoff to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which officially starts on January 13. The Western-chic evening features dinner, dancing, cocktails, silent auction, and a concert by vintage country stars Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, and Neal McCoy. The 2023 gala returns to "the dirt floor" of Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, and Grand Entry Gala supports the organization's mission to promote volunteerism, develop the potential in women, and improve the lives of women and children in Fort Worth. This year's president is Becky Escott. For more information, head here.

Fort Worth Symphony Gala, February 25
The title alone - "Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra: A Gala Evening featuring Yo-Yo Ma" - should tell you that tickets will go quick. Good thing there are options for those wanting to spend an evening in the presence of the global cellist superstar. First, Yo-Yo Ma will mesmerize listeners at Bass Hall with a performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto with the FWSO, under the direction of music director Robert Spano. The the black-tie gala amps up post-concert, with themed cocktails, a delectable four-course meal, and dancing in the Grand Ballroom of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel. Gala chair Mercedes T. Bass and co-chairs Ashli Blumenfeld, Anne Marie Bratton, Mary Hart Lipscomb, Kim Johnson, and Misty Locke will bring the unforgettable evening to life in support of Music Education initiatives. Limited tickets remain for both the Gala Concert and Dinner. For information about the dinner, email Development Manager Malia Lewis.

St. Jude Celebration at Sundown, February 25
Coming off a record-breaking event last year, organizers have moved this annual affair to a bigger venue: Tannahill's Tavern, the new restaurant-music venue in the Stockyards' Mule Alley. Benefiting the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and chaired by Jennifer Wright and Paige Charbonnet, the cocktail-casual evening annually includes silent and live auctions, dancing, drinks, dinner, and live entertainment. It's always a powerful evening, with a special emphasis on the challenges that child cancer patients face. Families who go to St. Jude, founded by Danny Thomas and located in Memphis, Tennessee, never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. Tickets and information are here.

Go Red for Women Luncheon, March 3
Benefiting the American Heart Association's efforts to research and eradicate cardiovascular disease in women, this annual heartfelt luncheon will take place at the Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel and is chaired by Texas Health's Jennifer Chavez and Becky Tucker. They typically offer onsite health screenings, as well as champagne, a multicourse lunch, speakers, and onstage performances. After the luncheon, be sure to save the date for Tarrant County's Heart Ball, which is April 22, with more details to be announced soon. For more information and tickets to Go Red, visit tarrantcountygored.heart.org

Jewel Charity Ball, March 4
Fort Worth's grandest gala, the 68th Jewel Charity Ball - themed “Gateway to Kyoto” - will be held at Will Rogers Memorial Center, Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall. Jewel Charity president Shannon Shivers and ball co-chairs Hillary Jennings, Suzanne Sanders, and Peggy Sims - along with ball designer Bill Robertson with Events by Bill - are planning an elegant evening inspired by Japan. The night will include a seated dinner by Wolfgang Puck, dancing, a silent auction, and raffle, all capped with a performance by legendary band Kool and the Gang. Of course, JCB's official jeweler, Collections Fine Jewelry, will add some sparkle with an onsite store featuring cases of exclusive pieces. Since 1954, Jewel Charity has helped raise nearly $80 million for Cook Children's Hospital, and the ball celebrates the Angel donors who generously support the patients. For information and tickets, visit jewelcharity.org or call 817-347-6104.

Classically Cliburn Gala, March 31
This year, the extravagant black-tie ball goes to glamorous Monaco. "Classically Cliburn Gala 2023: Monte Carlo" will feature all the signs and sounds of the French Riviera destination, including a casino extraordinaire. The gala also takes place in a new location: Fort Worth Club. Event co-chairs are Gina and Bob Ravnaas, and honorary chairs are Teresa and Luther King. Throughout the night, gala-goers will drink, eat, dance to the fabulous Jordan Kahn Orchestra, and enjoy the chance to mingle with Fort Worth's most influential patrons of arts and culture — all while remembering the Cliburn's mission to advance piano and classical music around the world. For gala information and tickets, visit the website, email khowell@cliburn.org, or call 817-738-6536.

Butterfly Wishes Gala, April 14
A Wish with Wings has been bringing joyful experiences to children with life-threatening medical conditions since 1983. Last year's 40th anniversary Butterfly Wishes Gala, themed "Where the Wish Begins," raised a record-breaking $500,000, which will helped grant the wishes of 65 young Texans. Details are still in the works for this year's gala; it takes place April 14. Check the website for more details.

Texas Ballet Theater Opening Night Dinner, May 26
One big change that COVID brought was a shift, for some organizations, away from big galas to smaller, more targeted fundraising events. Texas Ballet Theater is focusing its spring efforts on two Opening Night Dinners ahead of the premiere of Alice in Wonderland in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Guests will enjoy an exclusive dinner and hear from the artistic staff behind the ballet before heading into the theater to watch the last production of the season. The Dallas Opening Night Dinner will be Friday, May 19 and the Fort Worth dinner will be Friday, May 26; location TBA but not far from Bass Hall, where the performance will take place. Check the website for more details.

Puttin' on the Pink Luncheon, April 18
The 30th anniversary edition of this fashion-forward luncheon will bring all the best-dressed women (and some men, too) to the Fort Worth Convention Center ballroom. It's hosted by the Kupferle Health Board of Texas Health Resources Foundation and supports mobile health outreach and screenings for underserved women in Tarrant County. Event chair Wendy Wright — and her mile-long host committee of influential Fort Worth women — is planning a sit-down lunch and a Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of the latest looks provided by Neiman Marcus. Arrive early for a Champagne reception. For information and tickets, visit the website.

TEX Gala, April 20
This rare Thursday night gala benefits the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which improves the lives of children, the military, and first responders' families in the community. Attendees will experience a red-carpet arrival, dinner on the playing surface of Globe Life Field, live and silent auctions featuring exclusive Rangers experiences and sports and Hollywood memorabilia, and a live performance from country superstar Kenny Chesney. For information and tickets, visit the website.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images for Paramount

'Yellowstone' stars blaze into our 10 hottest Fort Worth society stories of 2022

This year's hottest headlines

Editor's note: As we look back at the most popular society stories of 2022, a clear theme emerges: Yellowstone. Red-carpet and black-tie events featuring stars from Taylor Sheridan's hit show land 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. These are the most-read society stories of the year.

1. Yellowstone stars hit the red carpet for season 5 premiere in Fort Worth Stockyards. On a chilly evening November 13, the cast and crew of Yellowstone descended on Fort Worth for the hit Paramount TV show's long-awaited season 5 premiere. Stars and supporters of both Yellowstone and its Fort Worth-shot prequel 1883 hit the red carpet (okay, technically it was black) at Hotel Drover before sitting down to a screening at the Downtown Cowtown at the Isis theater.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images for Paramount

Taylor Sheridan and Nicole Sheridan at the Yellowstone season 5 premiere in Fort Worth.

2. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

3. Prominent home on River Crest Country Club opens for sale of ‘museum-quality’ antiques. A century-old house across from the first hole of Fort Worth's River Crest Country Club opened to the public in late August, and behind the doors was a treasure trove of rare antiques that needed new homes. The stately white two-story at the corner of Crestline Road and Tremont Avenue was the longtime home of Michael and Drinda Fiske and their two sons, Damon and Shannon — a well-known, well-loved family in the neighborhood.

4. Yellowstone's Kevin Costner and Jen Landon help Grapevine gala rope in $2.9 million. In the wild, wild west world of black-tie charity balls, there's rarely a guaranteed lasso to success. But nonprofit Emily's Place hit the target and then some, raising a jaw-dropping $2.9 million at its "Black Ties & Grassroots" gala starring Kevin Costner and his Modern West band, and emceed by Yellowstone co-star Jen Landon, on April 23 at the Gaylord Texan Resort.

5. All that glittered was glorious at Jewel Charity Ball 2022 in Fort Worth. After sadly sitting out last year, Fort Worth's most glamorous gala and storied fundraiser, Jewel Charity Ball, returned in glittering fashion — and a full house was ready to party. About 1,500 guests — dressed in their finest ballgowns and tuxedos — sipped, supped, shopped, mingled, and danced the night away at Will Rogers Memorial Center's Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall on March 5.

6. Save the date for these 12 must-attend spring 2022 soirees and galas in Fort Worth. In January, Fort Worth was ready to dust off the stilettos and steam the ballgowns because galas, cocktail parties, and power lunches were finally back. After two years of COVID-cancellations — or pivots to virtual formats — Fort Worth's most glamorous fundraising events of spring returned to the calendar. We rounded up the must-attend events.

7. 15 fantastic fêtes and galas every Fort Worth social butterfly should attend in fall 2022. Fort Worth philanthropists were ready to flex some fundraising muscle again in the fall months, if the season's schedule of glamorous galas was any indication. For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, fall was filled with black-tie balls and benefits. Here was the gown lowdown.

8. Cliburn celebrates 2022 winners with primo party in Fort Worth's Sundance Square. After they'd worked hard and played hard on the piano for 17 days, the winners of the 2022 Cliburn Competition got to party hard with their Fort Worth fans in Sundance Square. Following the historic conclusion of the competition at Bass Hall on June 18, the three medalists were given a celebrity-style escort to the Sundance Square Plaza for a big soiree.

9. Fort Worth guests don Western best to give cancer the boot at 2022 Cowtown Ball. On a picture-perfect fall evening, 450 supporters of the American Cancer Society gathered alfresco at the Fort Worth Zoo for the 29th annual Cowtown Ball. Appropriately themed "Spurs on the Savanna," the September 30 gala welcomed guests outfitted in their best Western chic, from custom cowboy hats to designer boots.

10. Elegant Fort Worth Symphony Gala rises to the moment with scaled-down affair. On a Saturday night in February that felt cold, dreary, and heavy in every way, supporters of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra came together to lift spirits, lift a toast, and lift paddles at a Gala that was warm, understated, and celebratory. Renowned violinist Sarah Chang joined FWSO for a performance in Bass Hall before an elegant dinner at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel.

Photo by Michael Merry

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

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. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Photo by Brooks Burris

Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan

Tinseltown in Cowtown

Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

It was more than a clever tagline. The glittering annual gala was held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards, mere steps from where the first few episodes of 1883 were filmed last year. Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan — who went to Paschal High School and lives in the Fort Worth area with wife Nicole — as well as with two of the shows' biggest stars, Ryan Bingham and LaMonica Garrett, were honored with the Lone Star Film Festival's most coveted awards.

It was a star-studded evening in which cast and crew of the Yellowstone franchise mingled with Fort Worth movers and shakers and fans of the show. Among the A-list crowd: Eric and Sainty Nelsen, Hassie Harrison (Yellowstone's Laramie), Kelsey Asbille (Monica Dutton in Yellowstone), Wendy Moniz (Sen. Lynelle Perry in Yellowstone), Dawn Olivieri (Sarah Atwood in Yellowstone), Mina Garrett, Parnell and Charlotte McNamara, Stacie McDavid, Marisa Wayne, Ethan Wayne, David Glasser, and Craig Cavileer.

As guests mingled with drinks in hand, some sipped craft beer from 6666 Grit & Glory, created with the essence of the legendary Four Sixes Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. The 6666 Ranch figured prominently into the last season of Yellowstone, is reportedly the name of a forthcoming spinoff, and has a strong Fort Worth connection — it belonged to the late oil heiress Anne Marion. Sheridan purchased it after Marion passed away in 2020.

Inside The Barn event space, guests were given a warm welcome by Bob Jameson, president & CEO of Visit Fort Worth; along with Chad Mathews, director of the Lone Star Film Society, and Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker.

Big awards for big stars
Eric Nelsen, a Fort Worth actor who played fan-favorite "Ennis" on 1883, gave a rousing tribute to Taylor Sheridan, before Lone Star Film Society board member Red Sanders presented Sheridan with the 2022 Larry McMurtry Award. The award honors native Texans who have made great contributions to the film, television, and creative industries. It is, of course, named after the iconic Texas novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry, who died last year.

Fort Worth Film Commissioner Jessica Christopherson then presented LaMonica Garrett with the 2022 Spotlight Award. Garrett portrayed "Thomas" on 1883 to great acclaim. The Spotlight Award recognized his work on implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.

The final award of the evening, the Stephen Bruton Award, was presented to Grammy award-winning musician and actor Ryan Bingham (Yellowstone's "Walker") by Tom Martens, director of the Fort Worth Music Office. A highlight of the evening was a performance by Bingham (who is coming back for a sold-out show at Billy Bob's Texas on December 9).

After closing remarks by Visit Fort Worth chief operating officer Mitch Whitten, the after-party kicked into high gear thanks to Disko Cowboy's Vinyl Ranch DJ Set.

'Yellowstone Week'
The gala was presented amid the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, during what could have been branded "Yellowstone Week" in Fort Worth.

Festivities kicked off with a special conversation at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, co-hosted by Nicole Sheridan and Kit Moncrief, at which Yellowstone director/cinematographer/producer Christina Voros (and 2021 Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree) gave an insightful keynote exploring the depth of the strong female characters Taylor Sheridan has created.

Two days after the Lone Star Film Festival Gala, on November 13, Yellowstone stars gathered in the Stockyards again for the premiere of season 5 at the Downtown Cowtown at the Isis theater and after-party back at Hotel Drover. (With 12.1 million viewers worldwide, the premiere reportedly was the most popular scripted series episode so far in the new TV season.)

Two days after the premiere, on November 15, the Yellowstone cast and crew (including its biggest star, Kevin Costner) headed to the Johnson County town of Venus for filming. Meanwhile, the two biggest stars of 1883, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, came to Fort Worth, where Hill received the Patsy Montana Award at the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon and Ceremony at Dickies Arena.

Sheridan and the Yellowstone franchise aren't done with Fort Worth yet. Another spinoff, 1883: Bass Reeves, is also being filmed in the area. The new six-part series is a sequel to 1883, about a former slave (played by David Oyelowo) who became one of the first Black U.S. deputy marshals west of the Mississippi River in 1875.

Filming for Bass Reeves is expected to bring millions of dollars to the local economy, Mayor Mattie Parker said during her State of the City address in late September. The show will continue to put Fort Worth on the map, she said.

Powered by the success of 1883 and Yellowstone, Fort Worth in 2022 shot onto a prestigious list of top filmmaking cities for first time.

In 2023, Sheridan will receive the state's highest honor for achievement in the arts, a Texas Medal of Arts Award.

Photo by Brooks Burris

Eric Nelsen, Ryan Bingham, Hassie Harrison, Kelsey Asbille

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Monumental new sculptures by  renowned 9/11 artist take root at Texas Botanic Garden

blooming work

Here is something new for Texas travelers who enjoy exploring art in nature. An intriguing new collection of sculptures called "Intertwined: Exploring Nature's Networks," by renowned artist Steve Tobin, opened at the Houston Botanic Garden on January 28.

Tobin's collection of pieces soar and wind and unfold against the backdrop of the gardens paths and trees, connecting the bronze, glass, ceramic, and steel sculptures to the landscape.

The connection is important for Tobin, an artist who may be most well known for his Trinity Root, a memorial that was cast from the roots of the tree that protected one of New York City's cathedrals during the 9/11 attacks. As a child, he was known as "Nature Boy," which he says was as apt then as now.

"I would find twigs or mushrooms, and they would mean something to me," he says. "I'm the guy with my nose in the sand and my butt in the air, looking deeper than most people. I think I see more. I think it's part of my DNA."

Originally from Pennsylvania, Tobin graduated from Tulane University in 1979 with a degree in math. He was always drawn to art, however, and his massive creations - from eggs in birds' nests to roots and limbs woven together to branches stretching to sky - evoke the powerful pull he feels to the natural world and a desire to help others see its beauty. The Christian Science Monitor described his works as "monuments to the meeting of science an art."

"Science is more creative that art," he explains. "Scientists have to describe the universe from nothing, and the explanation has to work. Artists can make up whole worlds. Scientists don't get credit for their vast creativity."

By focusing his works on the natural world, Tobin looks to showcase how the two subjects work in harmony, and how people can interact with them. In Eagle Nest, a huge, polished steel egg sits perched in nest.

Polished to a high gloss, the egg becomes a mirror. "You look at the egg and you see yourself," Tobin says. "It shows that you are in the egg."

For Tobin, there is magic in helping people, whether they are art novices or aficionados, find a connection with his art.

"I've done my job when someone has an expression of magic," he says. "And once you open that door, even for a second, it can never be fully closed."

He says he is looking forward to Texas audiences seeing his works in the garden, which he feels is a natural place for his sculptures — the biggest of which is 30 feet high and took 2,000 hours of welding to complete.

Showcasing his sculptures there cements the harmony with nature he feel and thinks is something others should strive to see. Tobin even has a connection to Houston: one of his great friends, a woman he met at Tulane, lives there.

Two other pieces also have roots there. Tobin says Steel Roots will resonate particularly well in Texas. "It's made from repurposed oil pipe, a lot of it from Texas," he says. "So now, it's back home in a different context."

And when Botanic Garden guest encounter the Twisties, they'll likely recall hearing the terms from gymnast Simone Biles, who famously used the word to describe the disconnect she felt between her mind and her body. Tobin's sculptures are between eight and 17 feet high and evoke Asian calligraphy. He describes them as "distorted gymnastics."

Mostly, though, Tobin wants visitors to get a window into how he imagines the world.

"I try to translate into sculpture what I see so people can see what I see."


"Intertwined: Exploring Nature's Networks" runs Saturday, January 28 through August 13 at Houston Botanic Garden, 1 Botanic Garden Ln. Regular garden admission is $15. For tickets and more information, visit Houston Botanic Garden online.

Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden

Tobin's 'Romeo & Juliet' sprouts from the grounds.

Bolstered by 'Yellowstone,' Fort Worth ranks No. 25 on new list of best cities for filmmakers

That's showbiz

Taylor Sheridan continues his magic touch for Fort Worth: For the second year in a row, the city has landed a top-25 spot among the best big cities to live and work as a moviemaker.

Fort Worth repeats at No. 25 on MovieMaker Magazine's 2023 list. It is joined by four other Texas cities in the top 25: Austin (No. 12), Dallas (No. 20), Houston (No. 21), and San Antonio (No. 22).

MovieMaker compiles its annual list based on surveys, production spending, tax incentives, additional research, and personal visits whenever possible — with the notable exclusions of Los Angeles and New York:

"We don’t believe people should have to be rich or well-connected to make movies," writes MovieMaker editor Tim Molloy. "And we know plenty of people who moved to L.A. or New York with filmmaking dreams and ended up working industry-barely-adjacent jobs just to pay the bills. We think the best place to live is one you can afford — a place where you can be happy, inspired, and financially free to pursue your art."

These criteria are themes throughout the ranking: Atlanta, Georgia, took the top spot overall, followed by Vancouver, British Columbia (No. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (No. 3). The five Texas cities on the list all boast more affordability than Los Angeles or New York, and each one features a deeply supportive film community and various local incentives.

Fort Worth made the list for the just second year, thanks in large part to the shooting of series in the Yellowstone franchise.

"Fort Worth is the proud home of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount+ limited series about Bass Reeves, the once-enslaved man who became a famed federal marshal," Molloy writes. "Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1883 also shoots in Fort Worth, and is based in nearby Weatherford, where Sheridan owns a ranch. Fort Worth offers clear skies, easy permitting, and a vibrant film culture that includes the Lone Star Film Festival.

"The 13th-biggest city in the country also has experienced crews and a cost of living almost exactly in line with the U.S. average. While there’s no official local incentive program, the city’s very accommodating film officials work hard to offer soft incentives like deals on hotels."

Neighboring Dallas came in at No. 20, selected for its location and architecture, among other factors.

"Why choose Dallas? The city offers an online document that addresses just that question, and points to factors including its equal access to both coasts, great weather (except for some cold nights) and striking visuals, including modern and futuristic buildings that form a strikingly camera-worthy nighttime skyline," Molloy writes.

Dallas' diversity, plethora of permitting options, and cost of living also bolster its ranking.

"It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, with a deep, experienced crew base, easily obtainable permits, and hotel deals to be had — if you’re shooting in Dallas and staying in the city’s hotels for at least 15 nights, you could qualify for up to 10 percent back on rooms," Molloy writes. "It’s a great city to work on other people’s projects so you can save enough money to create your own, and is almost exactly in line with the U.S. average cost of living. Just drive or walk its streets and it’s impossible not to notice the new construction and businesses popping up all over town, and it’s full of rising filmmakers who pitch in to do each other favors and bring one another’s projects to life."

He adds that the Dallas International Film Festival does an admirable job of showcasing must-see films, such as last year’s documentary Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.

Elsewhere in Texas

"Texas is booming, as you’re about to see from the five Lone Star State cities on this list — all of which would be higher in our rankings if Texas offered more generous tax incentives," Molloy writes. "Still, the state is working hard to attract film and TV projects, and the signs of growth are obvious all over the state."

Austin unsurprisingly took the highest Texas spot at No. 12, scoring points beyond the obvious benefits of SXSW. MovieMaker praised smaller fests like the Austin Film Festival, as well as the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, and Austin's impressive list of filmmaker residents (Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Terrence Malick — to name a few).

Houston placed right behind Dallas at No. 21, with MovieMaker touting its diversity and low cost of living.

San Antonio came in fourth among Texas cities at No. 22, selected for its plethora of permitting options, reinstatement of local film incentives, and growing educational opportunities such as the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts Film & Media Studies program.

New Fort Worth ghost tour showcases the spookier side of the Stockyards

Ghosts of Cowtown

A national travel company is showing off the scary side of the Fort Worth Stockyards with the launch of a brand new ghost tour.

US Ghost Adventures, an Orlando-based company that hosts ghost tours in some of the most haunted cities in the country, has just added Fort Worth to its list of tour locations. The one-hour tour is held nightly at 8 pm and includes eight stops within a one-mile walking distance.

Some of the haunted highlights from the tour include Miss Molly’s Hotel (109 W. Exchange Ave.), a former brothel where unexplained activity – think lights turning on and off, heavy breathing, and footsteps heard on the stairs – have long been documented.

The Stockyards Hotel (109 E. Exchange Ave.), built in 1904, is said to be home to the apparition of its developer, Colonel T.M. Thannisch, as well as rodeo cowboy C.D. “Junior” Colwell, who is said to have committed suicide to avoid jailtime for swindling people.

Tour participants will also visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame (2515 Rodeo Plaza), where it’s said the six-foot, four-inch ghost of famed actor John Wayne has been seen admiring the cowboy memorabilia on display – even with a museum dedicated solely to him located just steps way at John Wayne: An American Experience.

While other ghost tours exist in Fort Worth, US Ghost Adventures owner Lance Zaal says his tour specializes in storytelling.

“US Ghost Adventures offers EMF detectors and focuses on telling the history behind the hauntings,” says Zaal.

When paranormal activity takes places, theories suggest electromagnetic disturbances can be seen with electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Lights on the detector indicate the strength of the disturbances, with a green light meaning little to no activity, yellow meaning moderate activity, and red meaning high activity.

Fort Worth was one of 12 new cities recently added to the US Ghost Adventures roster, as well as Houston and El Paso. The company operates tours in more than 50 cities across the country, and full list of new cities include:

The tour is $25 per person and there’s a two-person minimum. There's also an option to add a 30-minute bonus tour of four additional stops for just $6 per person.

Reservations should be made in advance online, and participants should meet at the Livestock Exchange Building at 131 E. Exchange Ave.