Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Community Arts Center

The Fort Worth Community Arts Center is a unique and special space in Fort Worth providing a quality event, visual, and performing arts venue for all of the community. This historic and dynamic arts complex boasts eight galleries, artist and performance studios, and office suites for nonprofit arts organizations and is managed by Arts Fort Worth on behalf of the City of Fort Worth.

In view of pre-existing repair needs, the City Council has appointed a task force to determine future uses of the City-owned building at 1300 Gendy. A public meeting will be held to determine the future of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center where visitors can share their thoughts and concerns with the task force.


Fine-dining restaurant co-owned by Arlington mayor debuts at Choctaw Stadium

Restaurant openings

A sexy new restaurant and speakeasy has opened in Arlington: Called Hearsay, it's from a high-profile partnership and is located at Choctaw Stadium, where it celebrates its grand opening on March 3.

Hearsay will feature upscale Southern cuisine, craft cocktails, a speakeasy-style bar and lounge, and a rooftop cigar patio overlooking the Choctaw field.

Dishes include Cajun boudin balls, oysters, fried alligator, fried cheese curds, lobster Mac & cheese, salads including Caesar and wedge, gumbo, stuffed quail, lamb chops, short ribs with jalapeño cheese grits, crab cakes, shrimp & grits, ribeye, NY strip, and filet mignon.

Brunch features benedicts, chicken-fried steak, corned beef hash, chicken & waffles, biscuits & gravy, avocado toast, pancakes, croissants, and oatmeal.

Hearsay is the brainchild of Arlington Mayor Jim Ross, partnered with the Texas Rangers and Champions Club Texas. Ross is also an owner of Mercury Chophouse Arlington. Isn't it grand to be mayor of Arlington.

Champions Club Texas is part of Knighted Ventures, a California-based hospitality and entertainment company, and has a wide array of entrepreneurial ventures — from co-founding the Bay Area Panthers professional indoor football team to its venture in PM Studios, an award-winning video game company.

Champions Club Texas CEO Roy Choi says in a statement that Arlington has been on their radar.

"Arlington is a world-class entertainment destination, and its growth has been on my radar," Choi says. “The investment in Hearsay is an opportunity to be part of that growth with a truly innovative concept. “With its fine dining options and unique amenities such as the cigar patio, Hearsay is a perfect fit for our portfolio. I believe in Jim Ross’ vision and the opportunity to be in business with him, alongside the Rangers, is a huge win.”

Champions Club Texas is launching other new hospitality destinations in Texas including a full-service hotel, lounge, bar, and private-membership poker in Houston.

A second location is planned for Dallas, featuring an upscale restaurant with Connie Trujillo, of III Forks legacy, as executive chef. The multipurpose venue will also feature a private-membership club with a variety of events and game offerings.

“Roy and the Champions team have provided a big spark for Hearsay by bringing their extensive hospitality expertise to Arlington,” Ross says. “I’m glad they share the same vision for our great city and look forward to partnering with them as we celebrate Hearsay’s grand opening.”

Hearsay will be open for dinner from 5-10 pm, plus Sunday brunch from 10 am-4 pm, and eventually lunch. They'll also feature live music with a blues & jazz lounge.

Photo by Martha Kaplan / courtesy of Wild Surmise Productions, LLC and Sony Pictures Classics

Documentary Turn Every Page deep-dives into historic publishing partnership

Movie Review

There have been many famous partnerships in the world, from musical ones like Hall & Oates to business ones like Bill Gates and Paul Allen. But one of the more underrated partnerships is that between authors and editors, a relationship that can be mysterious for those not well versed in the process.

The new documentary Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, takes deep dive into the ineffable bond between Caro, author of The Power Broker and four (and counting) biographies of Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gottlieb, his longtime editor at publishing company Knopf. Caro is notorious for taking his time with his books, releasing only one about every 10 years since 1974.

The film, directed by filmmaker (and daughter of Robert) Lizzie Gottlieb, features a variety of “talking head” interviews from people as diverse as Conan O’Brien, TheNew Yorker editor David Remnick, and President Bill Clinton, but cedes the majority of its time to hearing from the two men themselves. Both have lived extraordinary lives, but – despite their strong connection – in very different ways.

It would be fair to call Caro “obsessive,” as his career has focused on hefty non-fiction tomes devoted to just two men. The Power Broker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1,300+ page book about urban planner Robert Moses, goes into great detail about how Moses shaped the landscape of New York City, and not always for the better. He has also published four volumes of The Years of Lyndon Johnson, all detailing Johnson’s life before he was president. The yet-to-be-published fifth volume is highly anticipated, to say the least.

In addition to the books of Caro, Gottlieb has edited books by Joseph Heller (famously providing the title number for Catch-22), John Cheever, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Bill Clinton, and many others. Astonishingly, he has also had time to write eight of his own books, serve as editor of The New Yorker, program both the New York City Ballet and Miami City Ballet, and more.

Lizzie Gottlieb gives each man plenty of space to tell their own story, with perhaps a slight bias toward her father. Caro is 87 and Gottlieb is 91, yet neither shows any significant mental decline. In fact, their ability to recall the many important moments of their lives and continue to ruminate at a high level is intimidating, and a testament to their intellectualism.

Among the many amazing stories that made the cut of the film are how Gottlieb had to get Caro to cut 350,000 words – or around 700 pages – from The Power Broker just for it to be small enough to be bound, and another about how Caro, in his extensive research about LBJ, discovered just how Johnson literally stole a primary election in his first run for the Senate.

The mark of any good documentary is its ability to engage viewers who may not be intimately familiar with its central subjects. While it’s the professional lives of Caro and Gottlieb that are most notable, the film includes just enough information about their personal lives to make them into full human beings, unlocking what for many have been mysterious figures.

Turn Every Page may be most interesting to those who have read and loved Caro’s books over the past five decades, but there’s enough there to open the film wide for the uninitiated. The lives of Caro and Gottlieb are large, and the documentary provides a great glimpse into how they became that way.


Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb is screening at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, February 24-26.

Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb
Photo by Martha Kaplan / courtesy of Wild Surmise Productions, LLC and Sony Pictures Classics

The young author and editor in Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb.

Twitter/John Whitmire

Fort Worth Juneteenth crusader Opal Lee honored with portrait at Texas Capitol

Texas heroes

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

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

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

Jess W. Coleman was the artist commissioned for the painting.

Opal LeeOpal Lee at the portrait unveiling.Photo courtesy of National Juneteenth Museum

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

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

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

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

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

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

Opal LeeOpal Lee talks to reporters at the portrait unveilingPhoto courtesy of National Juneteenth Museum.

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

Lee talked about the museum at her February 8 portrait unveiling, telling reporters, "Years ago, I had a vision that one day Juneteenth would be celebrated by all…I want Juneteenth to be a day that is never forgotten. In 2025 we plan to open the National Juneteenth Museum. I want all of you to come visit it. It's going to be a place for people to travel from all around the world to collaborate, share ideas and learn about one of the greatest moments in history… The day our ancestors learned about our bridge to freedom and the power of change.”

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

Photo courtesy of Vsevolod Maevsky

Renowned Ukrainian ballet dancer who fled war stars in Dallas-Fort Worth 'Nutcracker'

World stage

On February 24, 2022, Ukrainian-born dancer Vsevolod "Seva" Maevsky lay in bed, nursing a back injury at his home in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he was a member of the world-famous Mariinsky Ballet.

Vsevolod "Seva" Maevsky

Photo courtesy of Vsevolod Maevsky

Vsevolod "Seva" Maevsky gave up his career with Mariinsky Ballet to help his family flee Ukraine.

The phone rang.

It was a friend and former Mariinsky colleague, calling from Mexico.

“In your country, Ukraine, now is war,” the friend told him.

Seva phoned home to Kyiv.

Russian military forces had invaded the country. Family members wanted to leave.

Seva wanted to help, but it meant saying goodbye to the Mariinsky - his dream ballet company and dance home for the last four years.

“I really had no choice,” he says. “I had to help my family.”

But at 24 - a man of combat age - Seva could not go back to Kyiv, as he would not be allowed to leave once he entered Ukraine.

Instead, with little money, few possessions, and still suffering from debilitating back pain, the dancer journeyed from Saint Petersburg to Turkey to reunite with his mother, brother, two sisters, and a niece fleeing Ukraine.

There, they would try to make a plan for the future - whatever the future should look like.

Conflicting worlds
Ten months later, Seva is sharing his story ahead of his unlikely appearance as a guest principal artist in the Tuzer Ballet’s Nutcracker performances December 17-18 at the Eisemann Center in Richardson.

His engagement as the Nutcracker Prince with the respected Tuzer Ballet likely would not have come about had Seva not found himself displaced from both his homeland and his adopted home country - and seeking opportunities to perform where he can.

In a virtual video interview from Seva’s new temporary home of Dresden, Germany, he makes two things clear: 1) He will not complain about his personal situation because many of his countrymen and women have it much worse, and 2) Out of respect for his friends in both Ukraine and Russia, he does not want to discuss politics of what he calls “a stupid war.”

“To be honest, sometimes it’s so hard when I start to think about it because, yeah Ukraine’s my home, but Russia, I have a lot of friends,” he says.

In fact, Seva says, the day he told his Mariinsky director that he would be leaving Saint Petersburg to help his family, he was met not with a “goodbye,” but with a big hug.

“It was difficult because I grew up there and everybody was so kind to me,” he said of the company he’d come of age with since he was 19.

Born in Kyiv, Seva achieved early success as a ballroom dancer, partnered with his sister from the age of 5. It was his mother’s dream for him to dance ballet, so she enrolled him in the Kyiv State Ballet School. Seva went on to win several international awards and competitions, including the prestigious Gold Medal Grand Prix Kyiv (Ukraine) in 2016. He earned a scholarship to study with the Ellison Ballet in New York and then, in 2018, won the Gold Medal at the acclaimed Youth America Grand Prix New York.

Then came the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet, one of the biggest and most respected companies in the world (rivaled only by Russia’s famed Bolshoi).

Determined to help
But in the spring of 2022, Seva suddenly found himself in Turkey without work, without income, without the routine of rehearsals and performances with one of the world’s pre-eminent ballet companies.

Determined to help his mother and siblings - who were struggling with employment and finances - he took out a loan with friends, searched for auditions, and reached out to ballet contacts around the world to help him find dance work. Yet his crippling back pain persisted, and he felt his 24-year-old body falling out of shape.

“I had to do something because I had to help my family and I had to just keep going because it's my profession,” he says. “It was hard. I remember I did my second audition and (I was) not in shape… I was disappointed. I was like, okay what happened with my body, I’m losing everything here. It’s really important for dancers, if you want to improve yourself, you just keep going.”

Seva’s first performance after he left Russia ended up being in Orlando, Florida. The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), which he’d won in 2018, invited him to perform at their gala in April 2022.

“I was so happy to be back on the stage, to be back (in) shape,” Seva says.

Gala performances with companies in Switzerland and Italy followed, and on May 1, he moved to Dresden and started with the Dresden Semperoper Ballet. He proudly paid off his loan in three months. “I’m so thankful to the director and teachers here, that I can keep going,” he says.

Seva is also working with a manager who is focused on helping artists, displaced by war, find opportunities in America. On November 12, Seva performed in a sold-out concert in Los Angeles called “Reunited in Dance,” featuring renowned dancers from around the world impacted by the war in Ukraine.

From Dresden to Dallas
Seva connected with Dallas’ Tuzer Ballet through Lauren Lovette, another guest principal dancer in the Tuzers’ Nutcracker. Lovette is the choreographer in residence at the acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company and performs as a guest principal dancer around the world.

Tuzer Ballet co-founder Pat Tuzer says that when a couple of the dancers from prior years’ Nutcrackers became unavailable this year, a friend recommended Lovette, who recommended Seva.

"We're really excited to have someone of his caliber joining us,” Tuzer says. “He's a citizen of the world with the experiences he has already had at such a young age. It will be wonderful."

Pat and Tanju Tuzer’s ballet company has the longest running Nutcracker in Dallas-Fort Worth, back for its 41st holiday season. They describe their Nutcracker as “a blend of global inspiration and local brilliance,” with technically difficult choreography inspired by their international training in Hamburg, Germany - along with more than 400 original costumes and professional sets that transport audiences to a magical wonderland.

Seva will rehearse in New York for several days before flying to Dallas-Fort Worth for the weekend performances. It will be his first time in North Texas.

“I really appreciate it, this invitation to be back on the stage in USA,” Seva says. “I'm really happy and to be honest, USA was from my childhood like a dream… Dallas is a new place for me, and I think we will do everything great and I just want to be thankful for that opportunity.”

As for his family, Seva’s brother and mother have remained in Turkey. His sisters, remarkably, have gone back to Ukraine.

“I know it’s so dangerous for them still,” Seva says. “They’re like, ‘We’ll just see what happens.’ I hope everything will be okay.”

With the unprovoked war dragging on and instability throughout Ukraine and Russia, Seva is not sure what his own future will hold. It’s been two years since he stepped foot in his homeland of Ukraine, and he also misses his friends in Russia tremendously.

“I don’t have, like, exactly plans,” he says. “I have some offers to keep going and to maybe change companies next season, but we’ll see. I just want to dance, I just want to improve myself, and help my family.”

'Art helps'
Coincidentally, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet premiered exactly 130 years ago, in December 1892, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. What has now become a holiday tradition around the world features themes of growing up, conquering fears, and finding beauty in lands around the world.

They are themes that resonate offstage with Seva.

“Art, and in this case, ballet, help people to forget for a while about problems outside,” Seva says. “They come to see this performance and they see me, like, as a prince in Nutcracker, for example, and they think about this. Art makes people think in a better way.

“With this situation (in Ukraine) ... we can change it if we will start thinking in a different way, like a more peaceful way, and art helps with this.”


Tuzer Ballet presents "The Nutcracker," 2 pm December 17 and 18 at Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, Richardson. Tickets: $20-$80 through the Eisemann Center website.

Photo by Christian Petersen Getty Images

Texas-born basketball star Brittney Griner freed in high-stakes U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange

Brittney Griner news

Texas-born basketball star Brittney Griner is coming home.

The center of a global geopolitical maelstrom, 32-year-old Griner was released from a Russian prison on Thursday, December 8 in a dramatic, high-stakes prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russian governments. She was serving a more than nine-year prison sentence in Russia for unlawful possession of cannabis.

President Joe Biden announced the exchange in a Thursday morning press conference from the Oval Office. "She's safe, she's on a plane, she's on her way home," Biden said from the White House, accompanied by Griner's wife, Cherelle, and administration officials.

Cherelle Griner beamed a smile and declared, "family is whole."

In exchange for Griner, the U.S. agreed to release convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, arguably the world's best-known illegal arms trafficker who is known as "The Merchant of Death," who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence. Bout was notorious for using Soviet aircraft to deliver arms all over the world.

According to the Associated Press, The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the swap, saying in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that the exchange took place in Abu-Dhabi and that both parties are headed to their respective homes.

Notably, detained American Paul Whelan, also requested by the U.S. in the deal, was not part of the deal.

Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was found guilty of drug possession in a Russian court on August 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in February.

The basketball star tearfully begged a judge for leniency on August 4 in Khimki, Russia. The court, however, believed that Griner deliberately brought cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia, which is illegal there.

October 25, a Russian court rejected the American basketball star's appeal to bring her imprisonment for drug possession to a close.

Her February arrest came at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington, just days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine. At the time, Griner was returning to Russia, where she played during the U.S. league's offseason.

The Biden administration then offered to send Bout in exchange for Griner and Whelan. That deal was also nixed by Russia at the time.

Born in Houston, the six-foot-nine Griner was the top-ranked female basketball player in the nation and chose to stay in state and play for the Baylor Lady Bears, where she became one of college basketball’s biggest stars. Famed for her unstoppable post presence, defensive skills, shot blocking, and offensive dominance, she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury professional franchise. She later led Team USA to Olympic gold medals in the Rio and Tokyo games.

Griner is one of only 11 women to win an NCAA championship, WNBA championship, Olympic gold medal, and an FIBA World Cup gold medal.

Her arrest and conviction was marked with political, ethnic, and sexual identity overtones and brought to light human rights issues and the plight of U.S. prisoners detained in Russia. The Russian invasion of Ukraine forced a delay in negotiations and offered little optimism for months.

But now, after 10 months of ordeal, Griner is free.

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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.

Big openings and major comebacks top this Fort Worth restaurant news

News You Can Eat

This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth includes a big opening, some major comebacks, and lots of delicious new dishes to check out.

Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news:

Quince, a restaurant founded in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which has been proclaimed the "No. 1 Rooftop Restaurant in the World," has opened a location in Fort Worth, in the WestBend development at 1701 River Run; it opened March 27. The menu features seafood including sushi and ceviches, steaks, salads, and bowls. There's steak au jus, tuna, tempura shrimp, chicken with ginger rice, filet with chateau potatoes, short ribs in truffle sauce on hummus with crunchy chickpeas, pasta fusilli with lamb ragout, New York strip, and a cowboy ribeye. They also serve brunch with dishes such as huevos rancheros, eggs benedict, French toast with berries and cream, chilaquiles verdes, and eggs shakshouka.

61 Osteria, the upscale Italian restaurant in Fort Worth, has launched weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am-2 pm, and weekday lunch from 11 am-2 pm. Brunch includes the Semolina Dutch Baby with luxardo cherries, lemon, and powdered sugar; scrambled egg bruschetta with ricotta, prosciutto, and hen of the wood mushrooms; House Granola with chestnut honey, farro, hazelnuts, and yogurt; and Mozzarella in Carrozza - battered mozzarella sandwich with tomato sauce, calabrian chili, and baked eggs. Lunch includes salads and sandwiches such as the Italian hoagie with Rovagnati cured meats, giadiniera, provolone, gem lettuce, tomato, and calabrian chili aioli; Broccolini Panino with preserved lemon, calabrian chili, provolone, mozzarella, and roasted garlic aioli; and Shaved Porchetta with castlefranco, provolone, mozzarella, fennel, and caramelized mostarda, all served with rosemary fries or a small Caesar.

The Original Mexican Eats Cafe, which has been open at 4713 Camp Bowie Blvd. for nearly a century, will not shut its doors at the end of March, despite previous reports to the contrary. According to a confusing post on their Facebook page, they've been given an extension of three months. “Well friends, we’ve been waiting for our Knight in shining armor, and He has ARRIVED!! We just secured a 3 month extension! Hopefully this will lead to a permanent stay! Nonetheless, we will stay here on Camp Bowie at least through the end of June!!” When asked who the Knight in shining armor was, the restaurant responded that it was "not an actual person, just a small miracle." Sure seems like the landlord cut them a break; wouldn't that guy be the knight?

Terra Mediterranean Grill is reopening in Crockett Row. According to a post on Crockett Row's Facebook page, the restaurant from Adam and Lena Chanaa returns after a four-year absence. Adam and his brother Jalal and their mother opened their first place, Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill, on Lower Greenville in Dallas in 1989. That closed, but they still have an Ali Baba in Richardson as well as one in Monterey, Mexico, plus a Terra Mediterranean in Plano. The Fort Worth Terra originally opened in 2009, but closed due to pandemic. They'll return to the West 7th district, in the former Patrizio space, and hope to open in late August. Before that, they'll be opening a Mexican restaurant across the street called La Cabrona.

Fred's Texas Cafe has launched a new menu with favorites and new dishes including chicken dishes such as tinga chicken salad, a hot honey chicken sandwich, and a grilled chicken Cobb. There's a veggie quesadilla with pepper jack cheese, black beans, corn, portabello mushrooms, and grilled onions, salads, and new burgers such as the veggie burger with a whole sautéed portobello mushroom cap, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard; and a salad burger featuring a Fredburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheese.

La Madeleine has new limited-edition bakery items for spring: Blueberry & Lemon Individual Cheesecake topped with tart lemon whipped cream; Blueberry and Lemon Crepe with blueberry-cheesecake filling and fresh blueberries; and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting. Three seasonal favorites are also returning: Lemon Blueberry Danish with blueberries and a lemon cream center; Lemon White Chocolate Chunk Cookie with tangy lemon glaze; and Lemon Poppyseed Muffin with a sweet lemon glaze drizzle.

Dog Haus has a new creation: the Pepperoni Pizza Sausage, a savory link with pork and fennel Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato, and oregano. Guests can get it the Würst Way, served on King's Hawaiian rolls with spicy basil aioli and grated cheese; the Corn Dog Way dipped in Dog Haus’ root beer batter; and “Sliced Way” grilled and sliced with spicy basil aioli. A new item in the Absolute Würst Sausage Series arrives each month.

Cowboy Chicken, famous for its rotisserie chicken, has added chicken tenders to its menu, served with honey blaze, ranch, BBQ, and honey mustard sauces.

Genghis Grill has partnered with chef Robert Kabakoff on a trio of new Fried Rice bowls: Kimchi Fried Rice with spicy pickled cabbage, fried rice, scrambled egg, in spicy Korean chili sauce; Jambalaya with chicken, sausage, shrimp, onion, bell pepper, and dirty rice; Farmhouse with chicken, bacon, jalapeños, ranch seasoning, fried rice with carrots, bell pepper, onions, and a cream BBQ ranch sauce. They start at $8.49.

Dunkin' has new Breakfast Tacos with scrambled eggs, sharp white cheddar cheese, fire-roasted corn, and tangy lime crema in a soft flour tortilla, with or without bacon. What sets Breakfast Tacos apart is the fact that the fire-roasted corn takes center stage.

Cicis Pizza is collaborating with Mike’s Hot Honey to offer a Hot Honey pepperoni pizza, drizzled with the signature chili pepper-infused honey. Now through April 30, the Hot Honey Pizza will be in the third slot after Garlic Cheesy Bread and Pepperoni Pizza, or to-go, $10 for a medium, $12 for a large, or $15 for a giant.

Yogurtland, the self-serve frozen yogurt brand, has two new seasonal fro-yo flavors: Thai Tea and Boba Milk Tea, inspired by two classic tea experiences. Thai Tea frozen yogurt is new, with a bold black tea flavor and sweet cream notes. Boba Milk Tea is a returning flavor, with brown sugar notes. They also have a new limited-edition topping: rainbow mochi.

Chick-fil-A has brought back Watermelon Mint Lemonade after six years. It's available as Watermelon Mint Sunjoy, Watermelon Mint Iced Tea, and Watermelon Mint Frosted Lemonade, starting Monday, April 3. "Guests loved the Watermelon Mint Lemonade in 2017, so we are thrilled to bring it back to our menu and introduce new ways for guests to enjoy this flavor," a spokesperson says.

Gong Cha has a new Sparkling Series of bubbly beverages featuring combinations of fruit flavors, pearls, jelly, milk foam, and sparkling water: Sparkling Milk Foam Mango with Star Jelly, a bright, fruity and fizzy mango drink topped with milk foam and chewy, peach flavored jelly in star shapes; Sparkling Lychee with Mango Popping Pearls, a tropical fruit blend of lychee with bursts of mango in each pearl; and Sparkling Hibiscus with White Pearls, a sweet & sour hibiscus drink with tart, floral flavor and chewy white pearls. The chain has seven locations in DFW.

Häagen-Dazs Shops has a new ice cream confection: Pineapple Coconut Shake, an alcohol-free ode to the classic piña colada, made from Häagen-Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream, topped with whipped cream and a slice of fresh pineapple, available April 1-June 14.

Milk Bar, the New York dessert company, has launched two new cookie types in grocery stores: bite-sized crunchy cookies (“crunchies”) and ready-to-bake cookie dough. Known for familiar-yet-unexpected items like their Compost Cookies, Milk Bar entered into the Grocery category in 2020. Crunchies will come in four flavors: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Toast, Pretzel-y Chocolate Chip, and Vanilla Butter Crunch, and sold at Whole Foods. The cookie dough comes in two flavors: Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow and Fruity Cereal, and is sold at Target and Kroger.

El Chico has two new cocktails featuring tropical flavors: Guava ‘Rita: with Monte Alban 100% Agave Silver Tequila, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, Reàl Guava and margarita mix; and Sangria Swirl, a house frozen ‘Rita with El Toro Silver Tequila and red sangria swirl. Both are $7 and will be available April 3-July 3 at participating El Chico locations: 1549 S. Bowen Rd. Pantego; 7621 Baker Blvd., North Richland Hills; and 503 I-30, Rockwall.

Chili’s is no longer using children’s activity placemats that promote keeping parrots and monkeys as pets, after a complaint was lodged in Nebraska. The North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance collaborated with PETA to discourage use of the placemats.

Ridiculously violent John Wick: Chapter 4 hits most of the right marks

Movie Review

The world of John Wick sure has changed a lot from its relatively small beginnings in 2014. Back then, Wick (Keanu Reeves) was just a former hitman out for revenge on the people who killed his dog. Now it’s a full-blown franchise with a story that spans continents, necessitating that each subsequent sequel try to out-do the previous film.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is the biggest movie in the series yet, clocking in at just shy of three hours. Stunt coordinator-turned-director Chad Stahelski does his best to fill that massive running time with as much brutality and derring-do as possible. Wick, having long ago run afoul of the powers-that-be that lead the hitman syndicate, The High Table, is still on the lam, with only a few loyal friends willing to help him.

One of the leaders of The High Table, the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), is on mission to root out Wick once and for all, systemically shutting down versions of The Continental, hotels that serve as safe houses for assassins like Wick. With the Marquis and his henchmen constantly on his tail, Wick has no choice but to do what he does best – take out as many people as he can before they get to him first.

The film, written by Shay Hatten, Michael Finch, and Derek Kolstad, is not quite a non-stop thrill ride, but it’s as close as you can get when you decide to make a film this long. The complexity of the machinations of The High Table makes it almost impossible to keep up with the actual story of the film, but when they get down to the business of fighting, none of that really matters.

There are multiple extended sequences that become an orgy of violence, but the way they’re staged by Stahelski and his team make them eminently engaging. John Wick: Chapter 3 suffered from repetitiveness, and while the same could be said here to a degree, it feels fresher because of the sheer number of combatants and constantly changing scenery.

The fight scenes are magnificently over-the-top, but in this series, that’s to be expected. Where the filmmakers step up this time around is in the cinematography, with bravura shots filling the screen. The camera is almost constantly on the move, swooping in, out, and above the action. One especially memorable sequence even has the camera going above walls to follow the fighting.

While the majority of the story is treated in a deadly serious manner, the filmmakers aren’t afraid to add in some goofy elements. We’ve always had to take Wick’s ability to survive (mostly) unscathed with a huge grain of salt, but this film turns that idea up to 11. At certain points, there’s a kind of a Wile E. Coyote tone to Wick’s escapes, especially a late sequence involving (many) stairs.

There’s not much to the character of John Wick other than his preternatural ability to kill, and Reeves continues to play him perfectly, expressing himself more in gunshots and punches than words. In addition to returning favorites like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Laurence Fishburne, this film sees great supporting turns by Skarsgård, Donnie Yen, and Shamier Anderson.

John Wick: Chapter 4 did not need to be nearly as long as it is, but in this case, the excess is the point. Much of it is ridiculous and ridiculously violent, but it’s also highly entertaining, which is all you can hope for from this type of film.


John Wick: Chapter 4 is now playing in theaters.

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4

Photo by Murray Close/Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4.