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Thursday Roundup
by Jerome Weeks 4 Aug 2011

The rise of trendy 7th Street in Fort Worth hits some snags, SMU Press is back (kind of), Liz Mikel is looking at Broadway and UNT arts folks will benefit from a wealthy man’s will — all in this roundup.


FT. WORTH’S SEVENTH STREET THE NEW URBAN MODEL? Not so fast. Fort Worth Weekly‘s cover story looks at the trendy-booming strip between downtown and the Cultural District and finds unsold condos, non-payment of construction loans and restaurants closing. But so far, it’s still one of the city’s most attractive “urban villages.” For Dallasites and suburbanites unfamiliar with that strange beast, it’s a “pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use development” inside a larger city. Think Mockingbird Station but extended for half-a-dozen blocks. (In fact, the Station’s developer is one of the companies involved in Seventh Street’s rise.). But just like Dallas, Seventh Street’s developments are disconnected from each other with little coordination, there’s trouble integrating traffic with pedestrian use and, yes, parking is a hassle.

SMU PRESS TO LIVE AGAIN? Sort of. Last year, SMU provost Paul Ludden announced he was suspending operations for the oldest and one of the most highly regarded university presses in the state. An outcry followed. A task force — the joy of academic administrations — was set up to explore possibilities. This week, Ludden announced that SMU Press would return — without publicists, business manager or development editor but with a new director and a new direction into digital and on-demand publication. Further dampening any celebration: There’s no hire date for the new director, and no budget beyond his or her salary.

WHAT HAS BEEN RUMORED FOR MONTHS IS TRUE? Yep. Liz Mikel, pack your bags. Lysistrata Jones — which you may remember as Give It Up! last year at the Dallas Theater Center — is headed for Broadway. The musical about a losing college basketball team and the cheerleaders who use sexual abstinence to get the players motivated was well-received off-Broadway earlier this year. Mikel, who starred in the DTC production as a madame, appeared in the off-Broadway version as well. The Broadway show begins previews at the Walter Kerr Theater Nov. 12 and opens Dec. 14 — with a budget of $6 million.

UNT ARTS AND MUSIC GETTING RICH? Well, better endowed, anyway. UNT alum and former bookstore owner Paul Voertman, who’s already given tons to the Denton school (the Voertman Concert Hall is named for him), has promised $8 million in his will to the three colleges of music, visual arts and design, and arts and sciences. They’ll use it for scholarships mostly, good for them, but also artists-in-residence programs, opera productions and the print-making program.