Category Archives: Entertainment

Editor’s Corner: Toyota Music Factory brings big city entertainment to Irving, TX

By Stacey Doud

TixI was fortunate enough to score free tickets to see G. LoveBlues Traveler and moe. on August 10, 2019 at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving/Las Colinas. I had never been to this particular venue, so I was very curious about how such a large complex opened in a town with only 240,000 residents. Of course, with me being from Houston, I was used to the Toyota Center and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, both of which serve a population of close to 2.3 million people.

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G. Love with the keyboardist from Blues Traveler

It turns out that there was a bond election in 2007, in which Irving/Las Colinas voters said “yes” to finance an entertainment center right off of State Highway 114, almost adjacent to the existing Irving/Las Colinas Convention Center and Hotel. The complex consists of about 210,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, which includes an Alamo Draft House movie theater, several restaurants and retail shops and a bowling alley. Next to these retail facilties is a 65,000 square foot music venue called “The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory,” which can seat 4,000 people with its walls closed, and 8,000 people with everything open in “amphitheater [outdoor] mode.”

Originally scheduled to open as the “Irving Music Factory” on September 1, 2017, construction delays caused the opening to be postponed until September 9. The developers announced that the venue was being renamed the “Toyota Music Factory” and would feature Texas rockers ZZ Top as its inaugural concert.

The new venue has done extremely well, featuring mostly “classic rock” artists, such as Ringo StarrLindsey Buckingham and Lauryn Hill, to up-and-comers such as G. Love, to family-friendly shows such as Kidz Bop.

I found the facilities very easy to navigate, from the parking garage to the music venue. Once inside (the roof was closed due to extreme heat), there was plenty of room to walk around and peruse the booths that offered show merchandise, as well as food/drink areas, which offered the usual concert fare and beverages, along with some franchise outlets.

The venue itself offered excellent acoustics and plenty of leg room in the floor seats (I am 5’5″ and had no problems. My hubby is 6’6″ and only had minor difficulties). I don’t know how it sounds in amphitheater mode, but I’m looking forward to going back when the weather is a bit cooler.

There were plenty of helpful employees stationed about to direct us newbies when we got lost. The restrooms were placed at good intervals and there were several food and beverage stands placed conveniently around the rotunda.

All in all, we enjoyed the concert very much. We are looking forward to seeing other acts there, and would very much like to try out the amphitheater feature of the venue.

BT

Blues Traveler

To learn more about the Toyota Music Factory and the talent line-up, visit https://toyotamusicfactory.com/.

Editor’s Corner: Grapevine Cruise Night ‘makes Main Street fun again’

By Stacey Doud

Show9I got to go to “Cruise Night” in Grapevine on July 19, 2019. It’s an antique (and sometimes not so antique) car display in downtown every Friday night at 604 S. Main Street in the Blagg Goodyear parking lot from about 6 – 9pm.

I was there to support my friend Richard and his 1937 Dodge police car, but I love antique cars and modern speed demons.

Cruise Night was started in April 2016 by Steve and Barbara Trenkle and Ben Flanagan. They grew up in Grapevine, where it truly was like the movie “American Graffiti.”

“We would cruise Main in our cars, then stop and discuss and compare cars and engines. We wanted to do that again. Our motto is, ‘Make Grapevine Main Street fun again’,” Barbara said.

The event has gotten so popular that the City of Grapevine has a web page for it.

The owner of the 1937 Dodge, Richard Borisenko, and I met around 5pm to set up. There was a steady stream of people all night – some were locals that come out to Cruise Night every Friday, and some were tourists in town, walking down Main and happening upon us.

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“Texas Rich” from Busted Knuckle Magazine (L) and Richard Borisenko

Car owners swapped stories and chatted with visitors, showing off their labors of love. There was also a representative from Busted Knuckle Rod and Truck Magazine which only features Texas vehicles, unlike the more widespread mags like Road and Track or Hot Rod.

It was a very pleasant evening, and Richard got to show off his “baby,” turning on the roof light, sounding the siren (which is so loud, it freaked people out!) and the undercarriage lights after it got dark. He brought his mannequins, “Bonnie and Clyde,” which were a big hit, especially since the dastardly duo had caused problems in Grapevine way back when. There is a plaque about them at the corner of Northwest Highway (Business 114) and Dove Road.

 

All of the car owners, without exception, were very friendly and happy to talk about how they had restored their vehicles.

Cruise Night happens every Friday in the Blagg Goodyear parking lot, located at 604 S. Main Street in Grapevine from about 6 – 9pm. Check out their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/GrapevineClassics/.

Editor’s Corner: 81-year-old car brings new purpose to its owner and invigorates interest in law enforcement

By Stacey Doud

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Borisenko and the restored 1937 Dodge D-7

Richard Borisenko, the owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7 police car, lives in Cleburne, Texas and has interesting stories to tell about the vehicle. He has made appearances all over the state with the antique car. The Grapevine Source was fortunate enough to interview him and take photos of the car at the Grapevine Public Safety Building.

“I sold a house and I had some money from that sale, and the whole time I’d been looking at this police car, but I didn’t really care at that time about the police part,” Borisenko said.

He has never worked in law enforcement, so sentimentality was not an issue.

“I was in trouble with the police a lot when I was younger. They helped me out by letting me sit in the back seat,” Borisenko laughed. “After that, I met a man who was a minister and I turned my life over to Christ, and completely did a U-turn in my life,” he said.

So why did he buy this antique police car?

“This car was on my mind, but I didn’t care much about a police part, so I contacted people about taking the siren out and taking the light off. They said I’d have to do steel, not Bondo [a quick-fix for vehicular blemishes]. I’d have to do some welding and things like that,” Borisenko explained. “So, at night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about that car, because I really liked the body style. I thought it had a lot of class,” he added.

Borisenko ended up calling the owner of the vehicle to see what could happen.

“I called the guy up and said that I’d like to see that car. He wanted a lot of money for it, and I would text him with what I’d give him for it, and he wouldn’t even respond because what I was offering him was so low. I finally got a hold of him and said that I’d like to see it. He asked me when I could come look. I lived in Arlington at that time and he was on the other side of Waco. We figured it out and I drove down to his garage,” Borisenko explained.

“The car was pretty rough looking. All of the windows were broke out. The hood was white. The trunk lid was white. It had no obvious chrome on it whatsoever. So we drove down the road, and it drove real good, so I thought the car had good potential,” Borisenko said.

They were able to make a deal, and Borisenko became the new proud owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7.

“When [the owner and his help] dropped off the car, the guy said, ‘I need to get this get out of here before I get emotional,’ because I think he used that car in parades and different stuff, even though it was in rough condition. It was after they left that several people came by to look at the car. One was a Tarrant County Constable that helped in the convoy to get the car to me. His girlfriend was really excited about the car, and then after that, several people came by and liked the car [in its original condition]. I think that was the minute I changed my mind and decided to put it back into the best shape a 1937 police car could be. I don’t change my mind often, but this seemed like a big Divine message,” Borisenko said.

“I took all the chrome off – the chrome that was on it was painted black. I took off the bumpers. Every day, I did something new. I had it re-chromed, painted the hood black, painted the trunk lid black, had an air conditioner put in it with the help of some friends, had the inside reupholstered and put lights all underneath the car,” he explained.

“I had a lot of trial and error when fixing this car up. I’d put hubcaps on that didn’t look right, so take them off and put new ones on until it looked right. I got some 1937 papers [auto manual] after they sold me that car, so I had a frame of reference. I tried to make it as authentic as I could,” he added.

The engine in the car is not original. When Borisenko bought it, it came with a .318 Dodge engine in it. The whole lower chassis was replaced with parts from 1970 because 1937 Dodge parts are difficult to acquire.

“I went out to Gas Monkey – they had a show out there – and I won several things. I ran into a guy that had a ’38 Dodge pickup and he told me that he had given up. I asked him why and he said that there were no parts out there. So in 2014, I spent over $8,000 on eBay buying what I needed. I really didn’t need a whole lot of stuff, but it got pricey,” Borisenko said.

The car has won numerous awards, but Borisenko is not too concerned with that. A true servant heart, he just wants folks to enjoy the car as much as he does.

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Dodge Brothers emblem

He spoke about the Dodge Brothers emblem that is original to the car. “Take a look at the emblem – it has a Star of David on it,” He said. “Can you imagine that in 1937? I’m very careful with these emblems because, if I can even find more, they are about $700 apiece.”

Borisenko has been offered $90,000 for the car – twice. He’s turned both offers down because, “I don’t believe anybody can do what I’ve done because there are no parts out there. That car is solid steel. There’s no fiberglass and it’s no kit car,” he said, with a bit of pride in his eyes.

“People often tell me, ‘I bet you never get pulled over.’ I say, ‘Man, I get pulled over all the time!’ When they ask why, I tell them it’s usually because [the police] want to take a picture of my car. Then they want to hear the siren. I warn them that it is loud, but they want to hear it anyway. They always say that it’s louder than any police car they’ve got!” Borisenko said with a chuckle.

The car is even popular just driving down the road locally to the supermarket.

“Sometimes I think I need to put a sign on the car that says, ‘Not Responsible for Whiplash,’ because people whip their heads all the way around when I drive by. I think they’re shocked to see an 81-year-old car going down the road.

“I saw a guy that was broke down on the side of the road and he was driving a brand new car. I went by and I thought, ‘Man, I’m in an 81-year-old car and this guy’s broke down in his brand new vehicle.’ It was sad and kind of a metaphor for how cars are made today versus even fifty years ago,” Borisenko said.

He has had some fun with the car, crafting props for it.

He has two mannequins, which he calls, “dummies,” that occasionally ride in the back seat. The windows of the car are tinted, so it is difficult to see into the car from the outside.

“Sometimes people jump or scream because they don’t expect anyone to be in the back seat,” he said with a laugh.

He also has some wooden Tommy Guns (with fake shells) and a cowboy hat that seem to transport him back to the Bonnie and Clyde days.

Since Borisenko is now a Cleburne resident, he keeps Cleburne Police Department magnets on the sides of the car (complete with “bullet holes”), though he has used Johnson and Tarrant County signs in the past.

“Johnson County [the county where Cleburne is located] has been very supportive. They always offer me a chance to gas up for free,” Borisenko said appreciatively.

As our interview was winding down, several Grapevine Police Officers asked permission to take pictures of the car, and Borisenko was happy to oblige.

“I’d like to thank law enforcement for their support. I went through Fort Worth one time, and a few officers saluted me. I thought, ‘You don’t need to be saluting me. I need to be saluting you!’ I appreciate them with all my heart.” Borisenko added.

The car and Borisenko will be making an appearance outside Globe Life Park in Arlington on Friday, September 13, which is the Texas Rangers’ Police Appreciation Night.

To inquire about appearances, email Richard Borisenko at 37Dodge@att.net.

Editor’s Corner: The Grapevine Escape provides opportunities to exercise the brain, encourages teamwork

By Stacey Doud

GE Outside SignageMy stepdaughter and I recently visited The Grapevine Escape, located at 160 N. Main Street in Grapevine. We had a terrific time!

Escape Rooms are a relatively new form of entertainment in which the participants are “locked” in a room (there is always the option of leaving the room for potty breaks, illness or other needs) and are given 60 minutes to escape. Each room has a theme and a backstory.

Escape Rooms have gotten so popular that there was a movie made this year called, amazingly, “Escape Room.” It is classified as a horror/thriller, but fortunately, we were safe and sound in The Grapevine Escape.

FocusTecWhen we visited, our room was called “FocusTec Labs.” The backstory, which is available to read on the website, involved the Chief Technical Officer of the fictional FocusTec Labs going missing, and unfortunately, she was the only one who could keep the lab functional. Our job was to figure out a series of puzzles, find out what happened to the missing executive and escape the room.

When I say puzzles, I don’t mean crosswords or a box with 1,000 pieces in it. I mean that we had to investigate the room, find clues, keys, combination numbers and the like. It was a real mind-bender with some really awesome special effects. I am lucky that my stepdaughter has a natural talent for puzzles. I’d still be in the room had I been by myself! The rooms encourage critical thinking, teamwork, time management and problem solving, all which exercised our noggins!

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Co-Owner Amber Sebastian

Participants are allowed three hints, though our Games Master took pity on us and gave us a couple of freebie hints. Our Games Master was one of the owners, Amber Sebastian, who sat in a back room, watching and listening to everything we said and did. When we ran into a situation we couldn’t figure out, Amber was able to send hints to the television screen in the room.

“Building escape rooms is quite a challenge, but it is also lots of fun!” said Sebastian, who is co-owner, along with her husband, Russell. “We design rooms full of puzzles – a creative sandbox that kids and adults get to play in, and we simply love creating them! However, building escapes is only half the fun – watching teams escape them is the real joy,” she added.

The Grapevine Escape is not only fun for families – many companies use escape rooms as team building exercises. If more than one group books a room for the same time (10 people are allowed in a room at one time), then participants may be paired with strangers to give the experience a whole new dynamic.

There’s also an offering that I have never seen from an Escape Room company. “Escape Excursions” are travel rooms that are administered by The Grapevine Escape personnel in a remote location, such as a company, a birthday party, a family reunion or a just-for-fun party. While not as visually complex as being in one of their Escape Rooms, excursions offer the additional convenience and flexibility of the puzzles coming to you! 

While we didn’t actually “escape,” we came close and had a fabulous time trying. The Grapevine Escape currently offers three Escape Rooms. You can check out the backstories and learn more about the experience at TheGrapevineEscape.com or give them a call at 817-601-5663.

Editior’s Corner: Lone Star Park offers great races and big smiles

By Stacey Doud

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I had the good fortune to get a behind-the-scenes tour at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, which hosts horse races and special events for the city. I was there for the annual Lone Stars and Stripes Celebration for the 4th of July, but the tour overshadowed any fireworks display I could see.

My tour guide was Communications Manager Diantha Brazzell, who has been employed at the park since 1997. She said that the attendance on Independence Day is usually their busiest day of the year, with crowds ranging from 13,000 people to 15,000 people. Brazzell said that their record was in 2000, with over 33,000 people in attendance.

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Photo courtesy of Lone Star Park

The celebration is as old as the Race Park. Every year, more family-friendly activities are added, such as a Family Fun Park with bounce houses, face painters, tattoo artists, pony rides and a petting zoo to make sure everyone of every age has a great time.

Lone Star Park opened in 1996, just in time for the Kentucky Derby. While “betting on the ponies” had been legal in Texas since 1987, Lone Star Park was one of the three “Class One” horse tracks to open in the state. This means that they may host unlimited races, as compared to Class Two, which only gets 60 racing days per year. The other Class One tracks are Retama Park in Selma and Sam Houston Race Park in Houston.

“Before I worked here, I came out to bet on the Kentucky Derby, back in 1996. I drove over an hour to get here, but I was turned away at the gate because they were already sold out!” Brazzell said. “Since the Park was so new, lots of people were coming to bet on the Derby for the first time.”

The main building opened the next year in 1997, and the original structure, which had been known as the “Post Time Pavilion” was redesigned into the “Bar & Book,” a seven-day-a-week simulcast wagering facility that features races from around the world as well as other sports, which is in operation to this day.

HorseParade2Brazzell took me up to the Penthouse floor to her office, where we chatted about the park. She suddenly stopped talking and looked at the television in her office. She had her eye on a particular filly named Lay M Out, and while she hadn’t placed any bets, she wanted to see how the horse performed. It came in first place.

After the race was over, Brazzell filled me in on some of the struggles the park has been facing. The owners of quality horses sometimes go to Oklahoma or Louisiana to run their stock because they can make more money in those locations due to gaming (gambling casinos) being on the premises. Currently, that type of gambling is illegal in Texas. Fortunately, there is hope on the horizon.

“With the bills that recently passed, that the governor signed last week, one of them is that it takes the tax dollars from any equine-related products, such as feed, hay and tack, and it puts it into the fund for the Texas Racing Commission to divvy out. It will be split between the four major tracks in Texas. The law goes into effect on September 1, and it’ll take some time to accumulate money. But it’s positive news, and I’m so excited because it’ll increase our proceeds and bring in better horses,” Brazzell said.

Part of my tour was to go into the judges’ room, where too-close-to-call races are re-watched on a special computer so that a winner can be determined. We were seven floors up, so the view was breathtaking. I could see the whole track, the paddocks and the public area below, where families gathered to eat and enjoy the races.

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie is open seven days a week. Parking is free (except for special events) and admission is $5 per person.

The Winning Sand Sculpture of the 2019 Texas Sand Sculpture Festival

liberty-crumbling-by-damon-langlois-1Damon Langlois has been awarded 1st Place for his incredible sand sculpture, “Liberty Crumbling”, at the 2019 Texas SandFest. The 23rd annual Texas SandFest drew 35,000 people to Port Aransas, Texas and is recognized as the largest native-sand sculpture competition in the United States.

Texas SandFest’s mission is to give back to the community by raising funds for local charities and scholarships for high school students. This year they raised $355,000 and have raised $1,261,750 for charities in the last 8 years.

To see all of the winners from this year’s competition click here.

Read more from Twisted Sifter…

Dallas’ Lakewood Theater finds second life with hip new bowling alley

By Teresa Gubbins

The iconic Lakewood Theater will soon be home to a new bowling alley, when a Colorado-based concept called Bowlski’s opens in the long-vacant venue. According to their website, they’ll open in summer 2019.

Bowlski’s is a family-run bowling business started in Colorado by Craig and Jennifer Spivey, who have more than 10 years’ experience in the restaurant industry and five-plus years operating as bowling proprietor.

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Bowlounge and Bowlero are bowling cousins. (Courtesy photo)

Read more from the CultureMap Dallas…

New movie points to NASA errors in ‘The Challenger Disaster’

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The Challenger Disaster is the true story of the night before the Challenger explosion in 1986 when a hot headed engineer leads a desperate attempt to stop the launch and the subsequent cover up and whistle blowing. This is the 2nd film by Nathan VonMinden.

Now available on iTunes and Amazon.

Declaration of Independence to go on display during ‘Hamilton’ run in Dallas

By Alex Bentley

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The documents will be on display, free of charge, during regular box office hours and during each performance. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

A copy of the Declaration of Independence and other historical American documents will go on display during the run of Hamilton in Dallas, April 2 to May 5.

Dallas Summer Musicals, in partnership with the Dallas Public Library and Seth Kaller Inc., will present a collection of Revolutionary War and Founding Era documents in the lobby of the Music Hall at Fair Park during the show’s run.

The centerpiece of the display will be the Dallas Public Library’s rare, July 4, 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence.

Read more from CultureMap Dallas…

Grapevine Historical Society celebrates Texas Independence Day March 2

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​​Mark your calendars for our Texas Independence Day Celebration. We will be hosting an event on Saturday March 2nd at the Torian Cabin, 215 S. Main Street, located in Liberty Park in Historic downtown Grapevine, from 10 am – 2:00 pm.

​There will be live musicchili served from a covered wagonhayrides and lots of fun for the whole family to enjoy as Mayor of Grapevine William D. “Bill” Tate kicks the event off, in honor of Texas Independence and Grapevine’s 175th birthday festivities. 

Special Kick-Off Program at 10:30 am: Honorable William D. Tate / Council Woman Duff O’Dell / State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione / David Hansford as “Sam Houston”  

** Free admission!​**

Our March program will feature Jack Edmondson – a Texas Historian and accomplished author, whose works include The Alamo Story, several journal articles, performances in several films, and on the History and Discovery Channels. Since 1985 his primary passion has been historical reenactments of famous Texas characters including Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, William Travis, and General Tarrant. Please join us on Monday, March 25 at 7:00 PM at the Grapevine Public Library to hear his reenactment during this month as we celebrate Texas independence. Our programs are always free and open to the public with refreshments served at 6:30 PM.

Read more from the Grapevine Historical Society…