We’re always hesitant to publish that a local artist is completing their last project, or that a local band is breaking up. A lot of times, creativity calls and the very same artists end up recording new music or painting a new body of work. Even so, it’s fitting to tip a hat to John Norine, a Denton conductor who earned a degree at the University of North Texas College of Music. Norine has been the music director for 25 shows by Music Theatre of Denton. Last Friday, Norine announced that his time in the orchestra pit for the company’s staging of Newsies would be his last show. We can’t help but hope that Norine returns, but even if he takes his conducting baton to new frontiers, we congratulate him for 25 jobs well done.

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Rock Lottery 18 approaches. What’s Rock Lottery? It’s an intriguing experiment. Twenty-five musicians assemble at Dan’s Silverleaf on a Saturday morning. Their names go into a hat and then are drawn in groups of five, forming five bands. Those bands spend the day writing a few new songs, and maybe riffing on a cover tune. That same night, the bands perform a few of their songs. Rock Lottery 18 will be on Nov. 2 at Dan’s Silverleaf. For tickets and details on whose names are going in the hat, visit www.rocklottery.com.

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Mack Minded: Humanly Possible, a short documentary about Texas Woman’s University professor Pauline Beery Mack, is on its way to another festival. Mack pioneered research on bone density, bedrest and nutrition for NASA’s preparation for human space travel. The short documentary has been selected for the CineSpace 2019 festival. The festival accepts short documentary films that are 10 minutes or shorter and include NASA video imagery. The filmmaking team includes Susan Carol Davis in the director’s chair, research producer Mellina Stucky, associate producers Deanna Titzler and Linda S. Anderson, and cinematographer/editor Claire DeJarnett. The festival is on Nov. 16 in the Rice Media Center in Houston. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2Mml979.

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Andrew Scott, a painter who got his bachelor’s degree at Texas Woman’s University in 2015, took the top award in the 2019 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. Scott’s painting They Call Him Jonah is a whimsical depiction of a young boy being consumed by a goldfish. Hid Best of Show prize includes $1,000. The painting is oil on wood panel. Scott teaches at Aubrey High School.

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Denton resident Cindy Meyering had one of those experiences you see on internet lists usually titled something like “Faith in Humanity: Restored.” On a recent Saturday, Meyering was at the intersection of University Drive and Ruddell Street.

“Three lanes of eastbound traffic had slowed even as the light was green,” Meyering said. “An elderly woman with a walker trying to cross was struggling inside the crosswalk.” That’s when Meyering saw a “fit young man who pulled over at the gas station to help her from the median.” Meyering was moved by what she saw, and we got a dose of hope at her description: “Different skin colors, different ages, different mobility, but same desire to give and receive kindness amid a very busy street.” Faith in humanity restored, indeed.

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If you haven’t read Dalton LaFerney’s Denton Record-Chronicle story (read it here: http://bit.ly/31n7ktf) about a difficult conversation between Denton activist Willie Hudspeth and Denton County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, you should.

Hudspeth addresses the court regularly, asking them (and criticizing the commissioners for not having more nerve) to remove the Denton County Confederate Veterans Memorial from the Courthouse on the Square lawn. The commissioners are in the process of adding context to the memorial on the recommendation of a committee of stakeholders (which included Hudspeth), but Denton is still divided over what the memorial says about Denton today.

Mitchell said Hudspeth attacks the commissioners. It’s understandable that public servants can get fatigued by the complaints of their constituents. At the same time, Hudspeth’s campaign to remove the memorial at times seems like a spiritual discipline that pricks the public conscience about the place of penitence in the life of the community. Mitchell had some truly thoughtful reflections about what it takes to dismantle racism as well, and she got us thinking about the difference between healing and cheap grace. Both Mitchell and Hudspeth are black, and their conversation was a window into the depth and breadth of thought and feeling about an issue that gets heated quickly.

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About 116 Keep Lewisville Beautiful volunteers came together on Oct. 5 to help clean the gardens at Rich Lubke Organic Community Garden. The cleanup was part of the nonprofit’s 28th annual Make-a-Difference Day beautification project. The volunteers gave more than 348 hours weeding and cleaning out the gardens, mulching walkways, clearing melon patches, taking care of fruit trees and more. In addition to garden work, a group of volunteers also went out to Lewisville Lake Environment Learning Area to clean up the shoreline, collecting 20 bags of trash.

Parting Shot

“Oh look, another glorious morning. Makes me sick!”

— Winifred Sanderson, Hocus Pocus (1993)

Denton Dammit is an old-fashioned gossip column about people, places and things in and around Denton. Send your submissions to Lucinda Breeding at cbreeding@dentonrc.com.

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