For every story published in the Advocate magazine, photographers shoot dozens of pictures, and
reporters scribble sundry side notes. Only a fraction of the work makes it to the page. The idea of all those fascinating tidbits that never see the light of day can be depressing — and no one wants to start off the New Year despondent over deleted content.
We give you the cream of the previously unpublished crop.
On the fly
Occasionally ads or stories will be dropped from a publication at the last minute, creating a block of empty space that needs to be filled — and yesterday. Last Feb. 11, we had just such an incident at Advocate and photographer Danny Fulgencio was sent out to scrounge up a photo to fill the void. He went to White Rock Lake and ran into East Dallas neighbor Cliff Hume who was practicing his fly-fishing cast on the lake. Fulgencio asked Hume if he’d caught anything, but Hume just laughed. “If I catch anything it’ll be a miracle,” he replied. “It doesn’t have a hook.”
Could these be the last photos inside Lakewood Theater as we know it?
It was Dec. 14, 2014 and Advocate had just learned about the owners’ possible plans to gut the interior of the Lakewood Theater and carve it into several retail spaces, so photo editor Danny Fulgencio went to capture the beloved lobby and stage for our news coverage. The management was giving media the silent treatment, so Fulgencio took several photos of the outside of the building, not expecting to be allowed inside. When he saw workers, he introduced himself and said he was hoping to get some shots of the theater interior. “So he just kind of turned me loose inside,” Fulgencio remembers. “I shot as much as I could. There was really no one else in there except some employees. It was kind of an ominous shooting assignment because I felt like I could very well be one of the last people to photograph the interior of the Lakewood Theater as we knew it.”
Read more on the fate of Lakewood Theater.
The kitten and the IRS
Taxes are so boring they put kittens to sleep. Or at least they put one kitten to sleep — right in the middle of a photo shoot for our March story about a group of Woodrow Wilson High School students who became certified Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents in order to assist neighbors with filing their taxes. When Advocate photographer Danny Fulgencio was at Woodrow, the students happened to be playing with a tiny kitten. When the kitten fell asleep in the crook of Woodrow student Lissete Mendez’ arms, Fulgenio decided to go with it.“Feeling a little mischievous, I was like, ‘Why not incorporate the cat into the photo?’” Fulgencio explains. “I just snuck it in there to see if anyone would pick up on it, and it doesn’t appear that anyone did.” Even Advocate staff didn’t notice the furry Easter egg. During final edits for the magazine, Fulgencio finally asked if anyone at Advocate had noticed a random kitten in one of the photos. “No one had,” he says.
Follow that octopus
If you don’t know about H. G. Cephalopod, the toy octopus who rides around on neighbor Kathryn Poe’s shoulder, you should. In fact, you should friend him on Facebook. Neighbors Kathryn and Stephen Poe, who Advocate columnist Patti Vinson wrote about in March, spend many of their nights and weekends at Renaissance faires and Steampunk events. Kathryn began wearing a toy octopus on her shoulder, similar to how a pirate would wear a parrot. H. G., who’s named for the famous English writer H. G. Wells, quickly became a crowd favorite.
“People would come up to see him,” Kathryn says. “Kids would talk to him, and he’d talk to them. People would want to take pictures with him.”
She set up a Facebook page for him so his fans can “friend” him on social media, but he also gets good old-fashioned fan mail. “It’s crazy,” Kathryn says. “He gets emails from all around the world.”
Find him at facebook.com/HGPod
Suspended (by hooks) in space
We met with East Dallas neighbor Allen Falkner to talk about tattoo removal for an August magazine story dedicated to the art of making, and removing, body ink. As we were leaving, Falkner told us it was his first time to be interviewed about tattoo removal, although he’s used to being interviewed.
“I’m normally being interviewed about suspension,” he said off-handedly.
Wait … say what now?
For those who don’t know, suspension practitioners pierce their skin with large metal hooks from which they suspend in midair for anywhere from seconds to hours.
Apparently there’s a bit of a suspension community in Dallas, thanks to Falkner, who is considered “The Father of Modern Suspension” by many due to the decades he’s spent educating people about it.
“The first time I did a suspension, there was not good suspension education out there,” Falkner explains. “There weren’t really groups or networks of people doing suspension at the time, so I started putting them together. I created a website and started traveling and working with people.”
He’s trying to shed light on a largely underground community.
“Everybody’s first question is, ‘Why?’” Falkner says. “It’s not an easy thing to explain in a short amount of time. People tend to understand the performance aspect of it more than the ritual, soul-searching, rights of passage and yada yada. There are a lot of reasons why people are involved in it.”
The biggest misconception is that it’s gruesomely painful. “It’s actually not a terribly painful thing to do,” Falkner insists, but it can be dangerous if it’s not done correctly. It’s more about the endorphin rush, he says. “The mentality is no different than skydiving or riding roller coasters.”
Learn more at suspension.org
Sharks in a glass
For the October cover story about reality TV stars, Advocate photo editor Danny Fulgencio had to figure out a way to communicate “Shark Tank” photographically when shooting Gina Cotroneo. “I was scrambling to find a large pair of shark jaws. I’d reached out to Facebookland and wasn’t having any success,” Fulgencio explains. “My other idea was to have a little fun with it.” His backup idea was to get a small freshwater shark from a pet store and photograph it swimming around inside an oversized brandy glass. He bought a tiny shark from a pet store shortly before the shoot. He then made a mad dash to the studio to photograph Cotroneo, carefully calculating the time he had left before the shark died in the small amount of water. “I was kind of doing the math of how much oxygen was in the water,” he says. “I felt like I was pushing the clock, but I got him back to the pet store without incident.” Unfortunately, in the end, the effort was in vain. We found a pair of giant shark jaws after all.
Maurice the friendly ghost
Everyone likes a good ghost story, which is probably why our interview with neighbors Mark and Priscilla Rieves for the April magazine eventually turned into swapping spooky stories.
The Rieveses claim a mischievous ghost, whom they affectionately call Maurice, haunts their bungalow in Vickery Place, where strange things began to happen.
It was just little things here and there, like one of them would put something down, but then when they’d look for it a later — sometimes only minutes later — it would be gone. They’d search high and low for it, and then go back to the place where they left it, and it’d be sitting there in plain sight.
“You’d be like, ‘I know I put this knife in this drawer,’ and you’d turn that drawer upside down and it’s not there,” Mark explains, “and then you’d come back to that drawer two or three times looking for it, and suddenly you’d find it right on top of everything and it’s like, ‘There’s no way.’ ”
At first Priscilla thought Mark was messing with her, but he insists he wasn’t — someone or something else was.
They decided it was a ghost, and after doing a little research on the house, they named it Maurice for a man who lived in the house as a child before going on to fight and die in Iwo Jima in 1945. They like to believe it’s a childhood Maurice playing tricks on them.
“He’s a friendly ghost,” Mark says. “He just hides things.”
Don’t cast your pearls before fowl
A pig, a chicken and a three-legged dog.
No, this isn’t the beginning of a bad joke. It’s some of the creatures we featured in the September issue all about pets. Of those animals, which would you expect to be the biggest diva during a photo shoot?
Nope, it wasn’t Eleanor Pigby, the neighborhood hog who made headlines when she ventured away from the safety of her backyard for a couple days while her humans were on vacation. It was Helga, the chicken who loves to cuddle.
While most of us become a little, well, chicken, when photographers point their cameras at us, Helga just strutted her stuff like she was born for the limelight during her photo shoot.
“At one point I jokingly said, ‘Work it girl, show me what you got,’ and the chicken actually kind of started posing,” Fulgencio says. “She’d strike a pose this way and then that way, and it just kept going. It was really weird.”
Her attitude even surprised her owner, Jessica Allendes. “She was like a star that day,” Allendes remembers. “It’s like she knew she was there to be on camera. I think at one point [Fulgencio] even said, ‘Oh I love her feet,’ and she raised her feet to let him take a picture of them. It was really odd. I mean, she’s always friendly and outgoing, but that was even more than usual.”
Helga let Allendes doll her up with a little neckerchief. She was pretty as a picture until Allendes tried to make her wear a pearl necklace and that ruffled her feathers.
“The chicken wasn’t having it,” Fulgencio remembers with a laugh. But as soon as the necklace went away, Helga started shaking her tail feathers again.
Not at all creepy, actually. Last spring Advocate photographer Danny Fulgencio set out to snap a dozen or so hidden wonders at White Rock Lake. Armed with a shot list provided by the editors, he hiked the dirt paths behind the Old Fish Hatchery, near the lake’s western shore. We promised fascinating scenery — think graffiti-painted benches and photogenic birds — amid towering trees and interlacing trails. Uncovered was something even better than a yellow-bellied sapsucker: a teepee hut “straight out of ‘The Blair Witch Project,’” the photographer mused. An 11-year-old Lake Highlands resident named John David Aler designed and built the structure, we learned later, after the boy’s father spotted its photo in the Advocate. “We were so excited to see it in the magazine,” his dad David says. “For the past few winters, we have built teepee huts in the woods behind the dam. They get washed away and we rebuild the following winter. My son’s imagination lights up as we build these structures. It’s been a truly great experience every time.” When they returned to the area after building the photographed hut, which took two or three full days, they found someone had made use of it. “There was trash, beer cans inside, and that made me a little bit mad,” John David says. His dad adds that they love the idea of someone going inside and finding warmth or comfort, but the litter is disheartening. More than any tangible result, though, they enjoy the time bonding at their favorite place. “White Rock Lake is our home away from home,” David says. While slightly bummed to realize our discovery was not contrived by some ghostly draftsman or a Bigfoot, we relished this impromptu introduction to the architecturally inclined Aler family. — Christina Hughes Babb
The band the Advocate built
In December, we explored the storied studio history on Garland, where legendary musicians have been making albums on and off for decades. It began with lifelong East Dallas resident Jim Billingsley, who launched Diamond Nights Recording Studios in the 1980s, which drew famous faces like Ronnie Wood. Later, local resident Rick Babb took over the space and kept it as a practice venue for the likes of Edie Brickell. Then the studio went quiet for a few years, becoming an insurance office. That was until the early 2000s, when John Painter decided to relocate his Kitchen Studios from Deep Ellum to Garland Road. He didn’t realize the space he selected was once a thriving recording studio until he began remodeling and saw classic signs that music had been made there. While he loved the legacy he has inadvertently taken over, he never knew the former owner, until the Advocate stepped in. Past met present when photo editor Danny Fulgencio positioned Painter and Billingsley together for a portrait in the studio. Like any two musicians are wont to do, they got to talking music. That conversation grew bigger and bigger until a yet-to-be-named band was born, which will feature Billingsley and several other musicians they used to jam with back in the day. Painter will produce, of course, out of his Garland Road studio. We just hope they’ll consider writing us an Advocate theme song. — Emily Charrier
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