CUPS AND CREPES AND REINCARNATION

by will milne
Whoa. Wait a minute. That ain't a crepe at all!

Whoa. Wait a minute. That ain't a crepe at all!

Cups and Crepes on Fry St. has been supplying Denton with French a.m. delicacies for several years now. For a while there, they kind of faded out of our consciousness, but recently they closed down for a few months to make some changes. We scoped the place out over the weekend and were super happy with our experiences. Read on for more info!

The lemon curd crepe from Cups and Crepes. 

The lemon curd crepe from Cups and Crepes. 

We here at WDDI love our Crepes. Some of us have problems with the French (and some of us make them mad on Facebook), but we all love crepes. One of the reasons we gave up on Cups and Crepes in the past was the long wait to get food. We remember waiting up to forty five minutes on one occasion. This doesn't appear to be an issue any more. Service was friendly and we had our order super fast.

The crepes we're never really an issue, but since reopening they seem to be even more delicious. Above you see the lemon curd crepe with fresh berries and whipped cream. It had just the right balance of sweetness and tartness. 

Cups and Crepes is now brewing Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.

Cups and Crepes is now brewing Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.

When we first walked up, we were happy to see a familiar face in the ever-positive visage Aaron Aguilar of the currently-cocooned Shift Coffee.  Those Shift peeps have apparently been bringing their coffee nerdery to many places in town (read: Big Mike's). At Cups and Crepes, you now have the opportunity to have your coffee brewed via a variety of different methods including Chemex and siphon. We were even asked what type of filter we prefer for our Chemex (bleached, yo). 

C & C is also now serving Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters beans from big D. We had a very bright cup of Songea Peaberry which was delightful and tasted as close to champagne as a cup of brew made from roasted beans can get.  

We also enjoyed a huddy (think of an omelette but with hash browns in lieu of eggs) with Gouda cheese which was meat-free, but we didn't even notice (we're big fans of bacon at WDDI). The eggs were perfectly oozy and the salsa added a nice component.

The special of the day was a s'more crepe with maple cream, chocolate drizzle, and a sprinkling of graham crackers on top. It sounds like overkill as far as sweetness goes, but it worked.

The inside of the restaurant didn't appear to have much redone. It's still a living room of a cool old house that seems as if it could be made into something much more than it currently is. Thankfully, sitting on the patio on a quiet spring morning was wonderful. 

At around $7/crepe, the prices seemed a bit high for Denton, but the food was worth every penny. 

We're happy that Cups and Crepes seems to be around for the long haul. They've got a good thing going and an interesting selection of Crepes. We also heard a few exciting things about the future of Shift Coffee, but we'll save that for a later post.

WHAT WE DID: APRIL 21ST

by will milne

Sunday evenings we take a gander at all of the lovely photos y'all took over the past week as you went about town, doing what ya did. We select our faves, throw 'em all together and write some silly captions to accompany them. We call it "What We Did," but it's really more of what "y'all" did than anything else. It's one of our favorite columns and for good reason. This week we thankfully didn't have to put up with any more damned rainbows, but instead were treated to grub from food trucks, records, and some Easter Egg huntin'. 

Check out the following photos from We Denton Do It readers and staff to see what Denton has been up to for the past few days. Thanks for sharing your weekend with us, Denton, and, as always make sure to tag your fun photos with #WDDI this week! 


"Oh, you're an artist? What medium do you work in?" "I dabble in steamrollers." "Oh, that's cool I guess."  UNT does it right makin' prints with rented steam rollers. We want one! Photo by our historical buddy, Shaun Treat. 

"Oh, you're an artist? What medium do you work in?"
"I dabble in steamrollers."
"Oh, that's cool I guess." 

UNT does it right makin' prints with rented steam rollers. We want one! Photo by our historical buddy, Shaun Treat. 

We often overlook how nice it can be to drive a bit north to Lake Ray Roberts. @shainasheaffphoto spent her Sunday there shooting beautiful things. 

We often overlook how nice it can be to drive a bit north to Lake Ray Roberts. @shainasheaffphoto spent her Sunday there shooting beautiful things. 

@jesskachav and her friend found the only cinnamon roll in town they couldn't defeat thanks to Loco Cafe. Kinda thinkin' we should do a cinnamon roll shootout between this and Royal's and gain ten pounds. 

@jesskachav and her friend found the only cinnamon roll in town they couldn't defeat thanks to Loco Cafe. Kinda thinkin' we should do a cinnamon roll shootout between this and Royal's and gain ten pounds. 

@hollyintexas and crew browsed around the Community Market on Saturday. Did ya know that the Denton Design Co. sells ties and scarves with prints of the courthouse on 'em?!

@hollyintexas and crew browsed around the Community Market on Saturday. Did ya know that the Denton Design Co. sells ties and scarves with prints of the courthouse on 'em?!

@shainasheaffphoto captured the true essence of Denton. We agree with a commenter who called this photo very "Annie Leibovitz-y." 

@shainasheaffphoto captured the true essence of Denton. We agree with a commenter who called this photo very "Annie Leibovitz-y." 

@hollyintexas 'grammed the sidewalk chalk graffiti argument on Industrial St. 

@hollyintexas 'grammed the sidewalk chalk graffiti argument on Industrial St. 

The Grand Opening of the Austin St. Truckstop

Denton's first food truck park opened up last Wednesday. We were there (along with a few hundred other people) to check it out and took a few pics. 

@thepinkantler hopped the DART to the A-Train to make it back to Denton from Dallas without all the nasty traffic. 

@thepinkantler hopped the DART to the A-Train to make it back to Denton from Dallas without all the nasty traffic. 

@hollyintexas caught our favorite hashtag on the chalkboard... we dig it. Thankful nobody turned the #WDDI into genitals...yet. 

@hollyintexas caught our favorite hashtag on the chalkboard... we dig it. Thankful nobody turned the #WDDI into genitals...yet. 

Burger Time Machine proved to have an excellent burger. @thepinkantler can attest to the greatness of the tots too. 

Burger Time Machine proved to have an excellent burger. @thepinkantler can attest to the greatness of the tots too. 

Nathan Williams of Sunday Print Shop designed one of the best shirt designs we've seen in recent years. Check out Bryce Olcon's visage on this insane T. 

Nathan Williams of Sunday Print Shop designed one of the best shirt designs we've seen in recent years. Check out Bryce Olcon's visage on this insane T. 

Who has the best caption for this shifty-eyed dog owned by one Sara Button? Photo by Shaina Sheaff. 

Who has the best caption for this shifty-eyed dog owned by one Sara Button? Photo by Shaina Sheaff. 

Darts at Paschall's. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Darts at Paschall's. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Record Store Day

Saturday was National Record Store Day again. Mad World had a line down to the end of LSA. We scoped out both Mad World and Recycled and got some good scores. We also saw some pretty great cat drawings at Recycled. 

Some people really dress up to go to the square. Photo by @phototerminus.

Some people really dress up to go to the square. Photo by @phototerminus.

Spring has sprung. Quick! Throw your lady in front of some blossoms and take a picture. Photo by Taylor Bunch. 

Spring has sprung. Quick! Throw your lady in front of some blossoms and take a picture. Photo by Taylor Bunch. 

Damn good fish sandwich at Rooster's. Photo by @hollyintexas.

Damn good fish sandwich at Rooster's. Photo by @hollyintexas.

Quit stealing all the copper mugs, y'all! Photo by  @wishmynamewas who most likely did not steal this mug because otherwise the evidence would be too damning. 

Quit stealing all the copper mugs, y'all! Photo by  @wishmynamewas who most likely did not steal this mug because otherwise the evidence would be too damning. 

We've got a review of the recently redone Cups and Crepes comin' this week. Enjoy this photo of their "huddy" in the meantime. 

We've got a review of the recently redone Cups and Crepes comin' this week. Enjoy this photo of their "huddy" in the meantime. 

Easter Egg Hunt at Cross Timbers. Photo by Bryce Olcon. 

Easter Egg Hunt at Cross Timbers. Photo by Bryce Olcon. 

Candidates debate at Dan's. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Candidates debate at Dan's. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Aaron Aguilar can't wait for Cultivar to open (along with Hypnotic Donuts). Don't worry, Aaron. We're in the same boat. They were even recently voted best coffee shop in Dallas. 

Aaron Aguilar can't wait for Cultivar to open (along with Hypnotic Donuts). Don't worry, Aaron. We're in the same boat. They were even recently voted best coffee shop in Dallas. 

The Adult Easter Egg Hunt at OSDH got violent and fast. Photo by the battle-wounded Sara Norman. 

The Adult Easter Egg Hunt at OSDH got violent and fast. Photo by the battle-wounded Sara Norman. 

We love seeing this many creative people from different industries in the same room. Ryan Polly, Julian Pastrana and Daniel Routh are hard at work on something. We're assuming it'll be awesome. Photo by Daniel Routh. 

We love seeing this many creative people from different industries in the same room. Ryan Polly, Julian Pastrana and Daniel Routh are hard at work on something. We're assuming it'll be awesome. Photo by Daniel Routh. 

Wait. Didn't we already post this picture up above? Yes. We did. You noticed. You're probably the only one who read this far down. Either way, we're impressed. Please find one of us and tell us the codeword, "Cookie Crisp!" to receive your prize. Photo by @hollyintexas again. 

Wait. Didn't we already post this picture up above? Yes. We did. You noticed. You're probably the only one who read this far down. Either way, we're impressed. Please find one of us and tell us the codeword, "Cookie Crisp!" to receive your prize. Photo by @hollyintexas again. 

Oh yeah. We co-hosted a candidate debate at Dan's last week. Did you go? We hope so. If not, Christopher Walker did the hard work of creating this rundown of candidates' answers. 

Oh yeah. We co-hosted a candidate debate at Dan's last week. Did you go? We hope so. If not, Christopher Walker did the hard work of creating this rundown of candidates' answers. 

BACK IN THE DAY: REQUIEM FOR ‘JUDAS’ JIM MURPHY

by will milne


Jim Murphy to left of Sam Bass, center, and Sebe Barnes “Sam’s Right Bower (sea anchor)” looming tall at right.

Jim Murphy to left of Sam Bass, center, and Sebe Barnes “Sam’s Right Bower (sea anchor)” looming tall at right.

Last Saturday’s Denton County Heritage Festival was a wonderful event on the lovely Denton Square, commemorating our town’s 1861-1877 post-Civil War years with period reenactments, historical sketches, and stories by costumed forefathers (and foremothers). The “Texas Troubles” leading to our role the Civil War and its aftermath were indeed a “pivotal era” for Denton township, only 3 years old when war broke out in 1860. Our prior articles on the “1860 Prairie Match Mystery” and “Texas Outlaw Sam Bass in Denton” sets the stage for this modest defense of the betrayer of Sam Bass, Denton’s native son, ‘Judas’ Jim Murphy.

Murphy was the second of nine children born to Henderson and Ruth Murphy, who moved to Denton County in 1851 to establish a General Store in 1852 then the Murphy Hotel in 1855, the first in the county, a split-rail two-story cabin near the log courthouse of the prior county seat of New Alton. In what would become quite a spectacle of the day, The Murphys used a team of mules to move their two-story B&B on rolling logs to its new location, over six miles away along rugged dirt paths, while a very pregnant Mrs. Murphy knitted in her rocking chair on the jostling porch. A few days later, their son John was the first Anglo child born in Denton, and the Murphy Transcontinental Hotel was soon a thriving pioneer community center that offered magnificent meals, tidy accommodations, and rye whiskey for neighbors and travelers alike. The wealthy businessman Henderson served three terms as County Treasurer and at least one term as City Alderman as he also acquired vast ranch land and numerous properties around the Denton Square, interests that sons Bob and Jim helped tend.

Denton’s second Courthouse, rebuilt after 1875 fire attributed to Sam Bass associate Henry Underwood. (Photo courtesy of the Denton County Historical Museum)

Denton’s second Courthouse, rebuilt after 1875 fire attributed to Sam Bass associate Henry Underwood. (Photo courtesy of the Denton County Historical Museum)

The effects of the Civil War were devastating, Denton County lost many men. Weary veterans returned in 1865 to desolate fields and untended farms amidst impoverishing economic depression and drought. Indian raiders of livestock, horse rustlers, and stagecoach bushwackers were persistent threats as Denton County slowly recovered under Union Reconstruction occupation. When the 19-year-old Indiana orphan Sam Bass arrived in Denton

in 1870, working as a hand at the Lacy House Hotel and as freighter for Sherriff ‘Dad’ Egan, the affable lad quickly became friends with the Murphy boys and Henry Underwood and Frank Jackson, locals who were close in age. The Texas Cattle Boom would help make the Murphy family one of the richest in Denton County and, as sons Bob and Jim oversaw large open-range ranches while starting families, the charismatic Sam Bass turned to horseracing and gambling with his legendary “Denton Mare,” then eventually into banditry infamy by 1877 with a $60,000 UP Train heist. Trouble is, once Pinkerton Detectives and Texas Rangers pursued Sam into Denton offering a $1,000 dead-or-alive bounty, the Murphys were soon swept up into the “Bass War” scandal as sleepy Denton became a “terrorized armed camp” of bounty hunters and spies.

While many chroniclers of Sam Bass unfairly characterize Jim as an active member of the rotating Sam Bass Gang, there’s little doubt that he often gave the group of childhood friends safe harbor, supplies, and lookout warnings that helped the outlaws evade their murderous pursuers in the Cross Timbers thickets. By then, however, Jim Murphy was happily married to Mary ‘Molly’ Paine with two twin daughters and a promising future soon in jeopardy. Besides Sam, cowpoke Frank Jackson, horse rustler Henry Underwood (accused of burning down the first Denton courthouse in 1857), and tinsmith thug Sebe Barns were close if rough-n-tumble acquaintances who some locals saw as ‘Robinhood’ Rebels giving heck to the Reconstruction Union League and their cozy Railroad Tycoon profiteers. Though a hero to dirt-poor common folk, the moneyed elite were anxious to make an example of such lawlessness. Embarrassed Rangers and government officials ruthlessly retaliated by arresting several sympathetic Denton locals, including Jim and his innocent father Henderson in May 1878, in a unscrupulous dragnet intended to legally intimidate unwilling local cooperation. Dragged in chains and shame to await trial in Tyler for aiding wanted outlaws, even as on-the-run Sam’s shootouts desperately escalated, Jim famously cut a Devil’s bargain with Capt. June Peak and Ranger Major Jones to deliver Sam to capture in exchange for the legal exonerations of himself and his father. Despite assurances Sam would be taken alive if possible and his family freed, Jim had little idea that fate had other plans for both of them.

...some whispered it was murder and still others thought suicide, even after Jim was secretly buried in a still-unknown grave.

What finally transpired is the well-known subject of disgraceful infamy for ‘Judas’ Jim Murphy in “The Cowboy Ballad of Sam Bass” and Judge Hogg’s book. Jim joined Sam’s gang under considerable suspicion from Sebe Barnes, set on killing the suspected informer had not Jim’s bud Frank Jackson bravely faced him down at gunpoint. Deciding to head into Mexico with money from banks robbed along the way, the remaining Sam, Sebe, Frank, and Jim ambled into Round Rock TX to case the bank. Jim’s hasty wire had assembled Texas Rangers to apprehend the robbers but Deputy Alijah Grimes inadvertently sparked a premature gunfight trying to confiscate their sixguns as they were casing town. When the gunfire settled, Sebe was dead and Frank fled with a mortally-injured Sam as Jim looked on. Sam died a few days later on his 27th birthday without giving up any secrets on his pals, and Jim returned to his family in Denton. Jim managed Denton’s Parlour Saloon and attempted to rejoin polite society, but he was now an outcast. The elite rejected him as a Bass cohort, while the admirers of Sam resented his betrayal and would-be gunslingers targeted him as a means to infamy. After spending many a night in the jailhouse for his own protection for almost a year, Jim Murphy gruesomely died of belladonna poisoning in early June 1879 while receiving treatment from Doc McMath for an eye ailment. Family believed it an accident, but some whispered it was murder and still others thought suicide, even after Jim was secretly buried in a still-unknown grave. Regardless, the tragic end to a sordid saga led the Murphys to retire northward of the town they’d done so much to establish.

 

We met Murphy’s descendents at Saturday’s Heritage Festival. They were generously kind but also quite understandably protective of how their kin were caricatured in worshipful Sam Bass mythmaking. We’ve long thought that the stories of these two childhood pals were a fascinating snapshot for coming-of-age in those anarchic Post-War times that made, broke, and changed the fortunes of so many Dentonites. We think that sympathy and pity for ‘Judas’ Jim Murphy should should be thrown his way. Considering that both he and Sam seem less like figures of a simplistic melodrama than epic characters within a sweeping Greek Tragedy. In this tragic tale of two very different Texans from back in the day, their youthful choices in chaotic times made it nigh impossible to change or escape their capriciously intermingled fates.


Back in The Day is an ongoing WDDI contribution from Shaun Treat, an assistant professor in Communication Studies at the University of North Texas and founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc Treat has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog, and is forever indebted to the great work of the fine folks with the Denton County Historical Commission and local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s intriguing past.

WHAT WE DID: APRIL 14TH

by will milne

This was one of those classic Denton weekends. You know, the ones where you get drinks with friends, the weather is nice, and you nosh on food truck goodies all the while making sure to attend the many events around town. On Saturday, the square was hopping with people celebrating our heritage in costume, putting on a show like it was 1861. After having our hearing a little altered from the canons, we grabbed locally roasted beans from the Community Market before heading over to the Redbud Festival to see what the kids are doing to keep their closets sustainable with the Trashion Fashion show. Stuff like that makes Saturdays in Denton awesome. We know you guys were out and about as well, because we say all of your awesome pics. 

Keep having all of the fun, and tagging those pics with #wddi to keep us up on all of your Denton shenanigans! 

East Side Social Club is climbing the ranks of the best graffiti in town. @sara_button made sure to add to the creative wordplay those tables have become. 

East Side Social Club is climbing the ranks of the best graffiti in town. @sara_button made sure to add to the creative wordplay those tables have become. 

The Explorium had a fundraiser last week at Oak St. Drafthouse featuring catapults, Legos and The Waffle Wagon. 

@thepaigles enjoyed some fried deliciousness from the Waffle Wagon. A great way to get in all of the important food groups; fried dough, chicken and maple syrup. 

@thepaigles enjoyed some fried deliciousness from the Waffle Wagon. A great way to get in all of the important food groups; fried dough, chicken and maple syrup. 

We are pumped that @bellandoak has finally launched their online store and started selling their products inside Weldon's Western Wear. Stop by and get some awesome handmade leather goods ASAP!

We are pumped that @bellandoak has finally launched their online store and started selling their products inside Weldon's Western Wear. Stop by and get some awesome handmade leather goods ASAP!

University (and flag) day at UNT. Photo by Naomi Woods. 

University (and flag) day at UNT. Photo by Naomi Woods. 

"Buy a beer get a free shirt from Pan Ector Day" at Lou's is one of our favorite days. We're obviously not alone. Photo by @mkernan. 

"Buy a beer get a free shirt from Pan Ector Day" at Lou's is one of our favorite days. We're obviously not alone. Photo by @mkernan. 

Hey @jadewintersee - we totally support that taco decision! 

Hey @jadewintersee - we totally support that taco decision! 

Burgers and bluegrass Friday evening. Photo by Courtney Craggett.

Burgers and bluegrass Friday evening. Photo by Courtney Craggett.

The Redbud Festival was this past Saturday and the Trashion Fashion program had their runway show complete with winners, dancing and Recyclesaurus Rex. 

Cody Sharp is man enough to go for the ten pepper infused tequila at Mulberry St. Cantina. 

Cody Sharp is man enough to go for the ten pepper infused tequila at Mulberry St. Cantina. 

The 2nd annual Serve Denton Gala. Thanks for serving our community, dudes! Photo by Joshua Piers.

The 2nd annual Serve Denton Gala. Thanks for serving our community, dudes! Photo by Joshua Piers.

Bigfoot got spotted in an original musical at UNT last weekend. Photo by Erin Nicole. 

Bigfoot got spotted in an original musical at UNT last weekend. Photo by Erin Nicole. 

@dimehandmade was feeling good supporting local makers all day Saturday... just as they do everyday. 

@dimehandmade was feeling good supporting local makers all day Saturday... just as they do everyday. 

Nite is playing J and J's on Tuesday as part of CollageDNTN. Photo by Bryce Olcon. 

Nite is playing J and J's on Tuesday as part of CollageDNTN. Photo by Bryce Olcon. 

Sometimes we forget how awesome Rose Costumes is and then we see photos like this. Remember that one OJ Simpson window display they had way back when? Oh you don't? "Who's OJ Simpson?" you say? Now we feel old. Photo by @Coffeecatkid.

Sometimes we forget how awesome Rose Costumes is and then we see photos like this. Remember that one OJ Simpson window display they had way back when? Oh you don't? "Who's OJ Simpson?" you say? Now we feel old. Photo by @Coffeecatkid.

Mother Falcon played Dan's last week and it was awesome. Photo by Corey Van Hunter.

Mother Falcon played Dan's last week and it was awesome. Photo by Corey Van Hunter.

Y'all sick of these rainbows yet? Photo by Darby McFall. 

Y'all sick of these rainbows yet? Photo by Darby McFall. 

Cats and printing. Photo by Nathan Williams.

Cats and printing. Photo by Nathan Williams.

The Community Market was open for weekend #2. Wildflower Art Studio was there. 

The Community Market was open for weekend #2. Wildflower Art Studio was there. 

One of the many reasons we love Scrap Denton is because we can thank them for awesome yarn bombings such as the one you see above. Photo by Rachel Nichelson.

One of the many reasons we love Scrap Denton is because we can thank them for awesome yarn bombings such as the one you see above. Photo by Rachel Nichelson.

Springtime makes the cows look prettier. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Springtime makes the cows look prettier. Photo by Paige Gibson. 

Paschall's bartender Alphonso Quiñones even makes awesome drinks in his offtime.

Paschall's bartender Alphonso Quiñones even makes awesome drinks in his offtime.

Art sale at Mulberry St. Cantina this past Saturday. One month until the next one. Photo by @buttonupdenton. 

Art sale at Mulberry St. Cantina this past Saturday. One month until the next one. Photo by @buttonupdenton

And some taco porn for y'all from El Taco Rico courtesy of Shaina Sheaff. 

And some taco porn for y'all from El Taco Rico courtesy of Shaina Sheaff. 

CAFE BRAZIL IS OPEN AND STUFF

by will milne
cafe brazil 4.jpg

Like many of y'all we've checked out the new Cafe Brazil in Denton over on University and Carroll since it opened last Tuesday. This is the same Cafe Brazil you've come to know and love since 1991. There's lots of flavored coffees available for you to mix and match, late nights and a breakfast-heavy large menu. We've always thought of it as a North Texas version of Magnolia Diner or Kerbey Lane Cafe (both out of Austin). 

Our service was adequate at each of our visits - quick, polite, but there were some slight issues (missing items, etc...). The food was just as good as any of the Dallas Cafe Brazil locations. We ordered a few breakfast items, as well as a few non-breakfast foods some of which are shown below. Overall, for a first week visit, things seemed to be going the right way for 'em. We hope to see something take off in this location (don't jinx 'em and call it "cursed"). Between Cafe Brazil, Royal's Bagels and Denton Donuts, Carroll and University may now be referred to as "the breakfast district" in Denton - watch out, Congress Ave! 

If you like flavored coffees, this is the spot for you. 

If you like flavored coffees, this is the spot for you. 

The chorizo nachos featured Cafe Brazil's house-made chorizo which wasn't greasy at all and pretty tasty. It actually was more similar to ground beef than chorizo to us, texture+wise, though. The nachos had plenty of cheese, but at $2.50 for a dollop of guac, we were left feeling a little cheated. 

The chorizo nachos featured Cafe Brazil's house-made chorizo which wasn't greasy at all and pretty tasty. It actually was more similar to ground beef than chorizo to us, texture+wise, though. The nachos had plenty of cheese, but at $2.50 for a dollop of guac, we were left feeling a little cheated. 

The fruit "pancrepes" were tasty but a bit overly eggy for us. 

The fruit "pancrepes" were tasty but a bit overly eggy for us. 

cafe brazil 2.jpg

A few other things we tried and really dig are the chicken crepes - which are pretty great and come covered in a tasty creamy sauce and the breakfast relleno. The breakfast relleno is somehow the perfect blend of egg, chorizo and cheesy goodness stuffed into a poblano pepper. We were shocked, and almost a little embarrassed by how quickly we inhaled them... and thought about how we wouldn't go without ordering them again. 

 

Have you been to the Denton Cafe Brazil yet? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments! 

WHAT WE DID: APRIL 7TH

by will milne

Between storms and music festivals, spring in Denton is a busy time of the year. We didn't have any music festivals last week, but we had a storm big enough to cover for it. Y'all got hail damage? We sure do. Aside from that, the Community Market is back in swing and The DIME Store celebrated it's 1st birthday party. We're just trying to keep up. 

Thanks for documenting your weekend activities and tagging them with #WDDI. We'll see ya again next Monday with more of the same!

The DIME Store's 1st Birthday Party

 

The CVB has put up a giant chalk board on Industrial to encourage people while the E. Grand Hickory renovations are going on. They'll be asking a new question and they have chalk below for you to put up your answers. So far we're impressed to see how clean everyone has kept it. Impressively mature, Denton. Photo by @mbryceo. 

The CVB has put up a giant chalk board on Industrial to encourage people while the E. Grand Hickory renovations are going on. They'll be asking a new question and they have chalk below for you to put up your answers. So far we're impressed to see how clean everyone has kept it. Impressively mature, Denton. Photo by @mbryceo

The DIME Store turned one over the weekend and we were there with a photobooth to take some photos of the attendees on their backyard bash. 

Photo by @mkernan.

Photo by @mkernan.

The DIME Store had a Birthday Bash with some extra special vendors serving up all kinds of backyard fun! We're so happy they're here and a part of our community!! Photo by @wildflowerart. 

The DIME Store had a Birthday Bash with some extra special vendors serving up all kinds of backyard fun! We're so happy they're here and a part of our community!! Photo by @wildflowerart

@savviedesign spent her Saturday at the Backyard Birthday Bash celebrating the one year birthday of the DIME Store! 

@savviedesign spent her Saturday at the Backyard Birthday Bash celebrating the one year birthday of the DIME Store! 

The Storm

Oh man. That storm, y'all. Hail, followed by more hail and a possible tornado, hail for a third time and then an ice cream truck showed up. That's how it went down on Austin St., at least. #TornadoSelfies didn't catch on, sadly. Here are a few photos of the storm, some of the destruction and the ironically beautiful sky that followed.  

The crawfish were right on at the Mudbug Boil at @dansilverleaf this weekend! 

The crawfish were right on at the Mudbug Boil at @dansilverleaf this weekend! 

Kiddos were arting it up at the opening of the Denton Community Market on Saturday morning! Photo by @mkernan.

Kiddos were arting it up at the opening of the Denton Community Market on Saturday morning! Photo by @mkernan.

@shainasheaffphoto and friends raised a glass this weekend at Oak Street Drafthouse. 

@shainasheaffphoto and friends raised a glass this weekend at Oak Street Drafthouse. 

@lcd7383 enjoyed mimosas and board games on that rainy Sunday. 

@lcd7383 enjoyed mimosas and board games on that rainy Sunday. 

New signage uncovered on the square. Photo by Denton Camera Exchange. 

New signage uncovered on the square. Photo by Denton Camera Exchange. 

This was the special at Paschall's last week. Photo by one of our favorite bartenders, @Alph0nso. 

This was the special at Paschall's last week. Photo by one of our favorite bartenders, @Alph0nso. 

@veeveemarie had an impressive looking lunch at Weinberger's. 

@veeveemarie had an impressive looking lunch at Weinberger's. 

@paperlocket shared their love for this town through a square filled photo. 

@paperlocket shared their love for this town through a square filled photo. 

@serynsounds played a fancy house show with @panhandlehouse - and @jadewintersee made sure to gram it! 

@serynsounds played a fancy house show with @panhandlehouse - and @jadewintersee made sure to gram it! 

INTERVIEW WITH ANYAH BRITTAIN MARTINEZ OF THE EXPLORIUM

by will milne
Photo by Melissa Gill

Photo by Melissa Gill

Did y'all know there's an awesome event at Oak St. Drafthouse on Monday called Sip'nScience? Even better, it benefits a hopeful children's museum called The Explorium. We've previously highlighted fundraising efforts of The Explorium through our crowdfunding column. We're super pumped about Sip'nScience, though. What beats adult and kid-friendly games with food trucks in close proximity? Anyway, we recently chatted with the unofficial director and co-founder of The Explorium, Anyah Brittain Martinez, about Sip'nScience and her hopes and dreams for The Explorium. Read on for more!


WDDI: Hey Anyah! Tell us a little about yourself!

I moved here in 1996 as a Sophomore to attend UNT. My husband and I met in high school, so he moved out the following year. We got married while in college, still managed to finish on the four year track, and fell in love with Denton while attending school.

I got my first job at TWU, he started working as a teacher with Denton ISD,and gradually we became more involved in the community. Our jobs and our church made it easy to find ways to get plugged in. By the time our twins were born, we’d both finished grad school, moved up in our jobs, and I’d completed Leadership Denton and served on the Library Board. I used to do a presentation to the freshmen at TWU called “Denton: Not just a DENT ON the map” because I loved our town and wanted them to love it too. I have a friend that says I’m the Denton encyclopedia. I truly truly love Denton.

 

What is The Explorium and what is your affiliation with it?

A few months after our third child was born I started to really think and pray about what God wanted me to do with my time when the twins started school. I’m the type that needs a project to work on but I also wanted to be available to serve in the community, volunteer at the boys’ school, and still fill the role of a work at home mom and give Creed the same amount of attention our twins had when they were little. One day I was running and this idea just hit me and I thought, “I’m going to start a children’s museum right here in Denton!” I began doing lots of homework, joined the ACM and got their startup manual, filed all the necessary paperwork to establish ourselves, got some friends together to form our first board of directors and create a logo, asked a buddy for some seed money, and we got started. That was two years ago this month. Unofficially I’m the Director and Founder.

 

How much funds are actually needed in order to get this thing off the ground?

There really isn’t a set dollar amount. One major hangup is waiting for our 501c3 status to be approved by the IRS. We applied over a year ago, and until we hear from them, we cannot access the many grants that are available for a project like this. So we are doing what we can in terms of small-scale fundraising, like our popular toy and book swap, selling our t-shirts (which were sponsored), and our upcoming charity Monday at Oak Street Draft House.  Based on the metrics reports and information provided through our membership with the Association of Children’s Museums, our initial operating budget for Explorium Denton will be funded half through grants and donations, and half through memberships/admissions, rental revenues, etc.

 

What are some of your favorite activities to do with your children around Denton?

Photo by Melissa Gill

Photo by Melissa Gill

I’m a huge fan and supporter of our library system. Many of the events and activities they provide are free to the community, which is very attractive to a single income family like ours. In the summer, we usually go to the Wednesday concerts on the square and meet friends for a picnic. We go bike riding and running together almost daily in the spring and summer. In the summer we stop at the Denton Community Market most Saturdays. My boys love going to Minifigs, Bricks, and More to play with Legos. Sometimes we go to a movie but we really enjoy being out and about and spending time with friends. Year-round we spend a lot of time at parks, we’re involved in Denton Boys Baseball, Denton Soccer Association, and attend lots of DISD athletics and fine arts events. Fall is rife with festivals all around town and we hit them all. I take them on dates to get hot chocolate at Zera or cinnamon rolls at Royal’s or let them choose something fun and funky with their allowance from one of the many thrift stores in town. My children come with me pretty much everywhere I go. That’s one thing about Denton that I love, being able to take my boys on adventures as we take advantage of myriad  teachable moments in our community.


Who dreamed up Sip’nScience?

I can’t take credit for that! Alana Presley and Tara Mills, two of our board members, dreamed that up while I was out of town! We wanted a way to make this a super family friendly event, with activities that adults would enjoy as well. Cliff Caster created the flier.

The reality is, we need a building, at least a temporary location, before we can start building exhibits, and that’s going to take a lot of money.
— Anyah Brittain Martinez

 

Is Sip’nScience more for adults or children?

Both! It’ll be family friendly from 4-8. All the activities are for both children and adults, there will be a raffle for a Kindle, a drawing for a t-shirt, and of course family-friendly food trucks will be on site for everyone’s enjoyment. We are thankful to John Williams and his staff,  Waffle Wagon, and Lean Machine, for agreeing to support our project!

 

What are some of the activities that you would like to have at The Explorium?

There is not enough room in your blog for this, trust me! However, I will say that every exhibit will be hands-on, and we are targeting the ages 0-12. It will be a fun and educational place for everyone. There will be tie-ins to Denton: for example I’d love to get Peterbilt to sponsor an exhibit where you could take apart and build a small engine; or a music area tied into the college of music at UNT; or some sort of cool gymnastics area tied into TWU.

 

What would your dream location for The Explorium be?

……..Oh, sorry, did I drool get drool on you? Honestly there are so many places this project would thrive. I’ve been drooling over several vacant/available buildings for the past two years, none of which I can seem to get my hands on until we establish our 501c3. We would ideally repurpose an old vacant building somewhere near downtown. While I have my eye on several places, I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. Anyone reading this have a building they’d like to give me?

 

What can we, as citizens, do to help get The Explorium off the ground?

Stop by and see us at our events. Introduce yourself. I’m big on cultivating relationships. Just meeting poeple who echo that thought “this is such a great idea” helps build momentum and keeps me motivated. We’ll be at the Denton Community Market the third Saturday of each month April through November. We’ll be at the Redbud Festival, and have been invited to demonstrate with various groups like the American Heritage Girls.  Currently we have an ongoing gofundme campaign, which seems to be the easiest thing for most people. Just go online and contribute any dollar amount. Support our fundraisers like our toy swap, and our charity nights at local places like OSDH. Buy a t-shirt (they’ll soon be available at Noles General Store, or you can get one directly from me). Write a check and send it to PO Box  52145 Denton, Texas 76206. Just know that your contribution will not be tax deductible at this time.  A HUGE boon would be if someone would agree to be a fiscal sponsor, and that way we could expedite our IRS paperwork and get approved quickly, and start doing large-scale fundraising and grantwriting right away. Like us on facebook. Follow us on twitter. Word of mouth goes a long way in our community. The right person may just catch wind of our project and decide to get involved even in another community.

 

What’s your favorite knock knock joke?

Keep in mind I’m a mother to two six-year-old boys:

Will you remember me this afternoon?

Yes.

Will you remember me tomorrow?

Yes.

Will you remember me next week?

Yes.

Will you remember me next year?

Yes.
Knock knock.

Who’s there?

You forgot me already?!?!?


PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT: ED STEELE

by will milne
denton-day-of-the-dead-festival-2013-tx-0332-Edit-Edit.jpg

You've seen the work of Ed Steele before. He's a photographer, but his work isn't the kind that slinks by you, unnoticed. Whether it's the super wide angles, unorthodox editing, or spicy subject matter, at least one of his photos has struck a chord with you before. Aside from that, his work is all over the Dallas Observer and the homepages of several local bands and burlesque dancers. Dude has the job that you dreamed of having in your high school photography class and he doesn't take it lightly. Steele is currently in the running for the Observer's "Best Music Photographer in North Texas," which you can vote for here. Read on for some silly questions about photography and cosplay. 


Ed. You're weird. Who the hell are you and why are you in Denton?

Denton and I go way back. My parents moved to Denton when I was a kid, and I grew up and went to school here. It’s been amazing to watch Denton grow and change over the years – I remember a time when there was literally nothing to do and now some days there are literally so many great shows and events that it’s impossible to catch them all. I honestly don’t think there are many places on earth that have the music talent and creative people that we do.

ed-steele-thin-line-festival-2014-saturday-denton-tx-0595-Edit.jpg

You’ve recently been named as one of the 12 best music photographers in DFW by the Dallas Observer. How’s that sitting with you? Are you better than us now or is your head still normal-sized?

Oh Will, it’s been an honor and extremely exciting to be nominated and the support I’ve received is astounding. Have you seen the Frenchy’s van asking Denton to vote for me? When Frenchy sent me the picture I was blown away to be on the Van of Fame! My head is totally normal sized though; if not, my Loki helmet wouldn’t fit.

You seem to be out at the local festivals quite a bit nowadays. What are you looking for when you choose a person or group to photograph?

There’s a “look” some people have that jumps out at me, and it’s difficult to explain. I will typically scan a room and find someone who catches my eye, and then ask them if I can snap their photo. It can be someone with unusual features, interesting hair, a colorful outfit; it really differs from event to event. But that little voice in my head telling me “that’s someone I’d like to photograph!” is always the same.

What’s in your camera bag?

Frenchy says vote for Ed Steele. Photo from Frenchy. 

Frenchy says vote for Ed Steele. Photo from Frenchy. 

My Canon 5D, a 580EX II speedlite, various lenses depending on the job, extra batteries, the usual. Perhaps the two most important items I’d recommend to any music photographer are a Glotto Rocket-Air blaster for touchless cleaning of dust from lenses and the sensor, and an ASMP Media badge. I recently spoke on a panel of music photographers to a journalism class at Brookhaven College, and one of the challenges many of them faced was access at events. It can be tough if you’re not shooting for a publication and an American Society of Media Photographers badge prominently displayed on your camera strap demonstrates a level of professionalism. I recommended membership to ASMP to the class and a few of them have given me feedback that they’ve joined, which is great!

What’s been your favorite festival or ‘con to shoot so far? Why?

In 2012 I photographed “35 Des Refuses” and it was a blast to shoot for many reasons. Obviously with the sheer number of bands in Denton it’s impossible for the 35 Denton folks to have everyone play, so 35 Des Refuses (which means “of the rejects”) was comprised of bands that just wanted to perform but didn’t make it into 35D. The event was held at Creative Arts Studio and of course it rained, so the main performance area was moved inside and spillover was held at Robin’s photography studio next door. Needless to say it was sheer madness: delays, some bands not getting to perform, more rain, you name it. Denton’s Brave Combo performed at 35DR that night and one of my photos of their set is the insert in their current CD. I literally shot music for twelve hours straight, and at the end of it all I was totally exhausted but euphoric.

elvis-on-the-square-2013-kiwanis-denton-tx-2027-Edit.jpg

If you were to cosplay at a ‘con of your own volition (not as a photographer), what would you dress up as?

Loki or Frank the Bunny from “Donnie Darko.” Some have suggested a mashup of the two, but I can’t figure out a way to wear the Frank mask with the Loki Helmet!

How long does it take you to do your hair?

Haha! Having shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s Foundation two years in a row, it’s quite different to have a full head of hair now.

My head is totally normal sized though; if not, my Loki helmet wouldn’t fit.
— Ed Steele

Asian food or Mexican food?

Oh gosh, I love both and I love spicy food! I’ve spent too long on this question trying to decide and it’s making me hungry….you buying?

Nope. What’s been your favorite band to photograph?  

self-portrait.jpg

I’ve photographed Greg Ginn of Black Flag, Vanilla Ice, Amanda Palmer, Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless - many wonderful and talented bands. I got my start shooting bands in Denton though, and I’d have to say it’s a tie between Denton’s The Wee Beasties and Brave Combo. In both cases, each band has that magical quality of being able to get a crowd to dance like they’ve never danced before. I mean, it’s one thing to see a crowd go wild over a famous band, but the ability to get an audience that’s never heard you before go wild and dance like crazy, that’s an incredible and amazing talent. I got my start shooting The Wee Beasties and Brave Combo; the members of each have been incredibly wonderful and supportive of me over the years. LoveSick Mary is another great local band that’s been incredibly supportive and I always have a blast photographing them.

Do you prefer to shoot bands playing onstage or getting them in your studio?

I love these questions! That’s really tough because on stage leads to the anticipation of the moment and being in the right place at the right time which is a rush for me, and in the studio leads to all kinds of silliness and fun with props and general conversation. If I had to pick I’d say studio, because it gives me the opportunity to get to know the musicians better and to flex my creative vision and style.

Are there any local photographers whose work you dig? 

I’d have to say Robin Gansle. Not only is Robin a fantastic photographer, but she’s also been incredibly supportive.

Who are some other photographers whom you view as inspiration?

I am a big fan of Glen E. Friedman.

What’s your favorite photo that you have ever taken?

Last year I was hired by the band Responsible Johnny to do a band portrait. Rob Michaud of RJ told me he trusted my creative vision so after much brainstorming I decided I wanted to do a spaghetti western sci-fi shoot. For good measure I added a model and two members of the 501st Legion - a group who does Star Wars cosplay. I selected an abandoned train car as the location. The story goes that the train engine is actually two of the remaining engines that were converted from coal to steam and it awaits placement in a train museum. So with everyone in costume and permission from the property owners we did the shoot, the results of which you can see here. I always love it when people ask if the train and background are photoshopped because the only thing that’s not real is the planetoid I added in the top right corner.


You can see more of Ed Steele's work at his website and you can vote for him for the Dallas Observer's "Best Music Photographer" contest here

WHAT WE DID: MARCH 31st

by will milne

Y'all keep us on our toes. We just wanted to have a nice, low-key Sunday evening and then we went to check Instagram and there were like a hundred awesome new photos from the past week. Well done, y'all. I guess it didn't help that there was a whole bunch of awesome stuff going on in the past week. We all hung out on the square and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, some places got yarn-bombed, and there was that awesome cloud that one time. You know the one. The one that possibly was hiding the reincarnated spirit of Michael Jackson inside of it. Bring it on, spring. 

Thanks for tagging your pics with #WDDI, check back again next Monday for another round of photos. 

Went to fly some kites on Sunday as part of some research and development for an upcoming project. We'll have more on that later. 

Went to fly some kites on Sunday as part of some research and development for an upcoming project. We'll have more on that later. 

Fantastic Mr. Fox

@clcraggett ended the day with a Moscow Mule and a little live poetry at the Kraken reading series. 

@clcraggett ended the day with a Moscow Mule and a little live poetry at the Kraken reading series. 

We agree with @jadewintersee that the branding on this beer and the amazing weather are an ideal way to kick off a spring weekend.

We agree with @jadewintersee that the branding on this beer and the amazing weather are an ideal way to kick off a spring weekend.

It was finally time to dust off and tune up that lawn mower. The grass is green and growing again, unfortunately. Photo by Todd Spigener. 

It was finally time to dust off and tune up that lawn mower. The grass is green and growing again, unfortunately. Photo by Todd Spigener. 

Photo by Shaina Sheaff. 
Did you know you can buy Impossible Project film for your old Polaroids (or buy Polaroids, themselves) at Denton Camera Exchange?

Did you know you can buy Impossible Project film for your old Polaroids (or buy Polaroids, themselves) at Denton Camera Exchange?

@mbryceo tried out Roman's pizza and spent an afternoon soaking up the sun alongside his extra cheesy pepperoni. 

@mbryceo tried out Roman's pizza and spent an afternoon soaking up the sun alongside his extra cheesy pepperoni. 

Keep Denton Beautiful kept it classy during the Great American Cleanup this weekend! Photo by @mouseytoy. 

Keep Denton Beautiful kept it classy during the Great American Cleanup this weekend! Photo by @mouseytoy

Photo by Carla Mowell. 

Photo by Carla Mowell. 

Photo by Carla Mowell. 

Photo by Carla Mowell. 

Yarn Bombin' at Oak St. Drafthouse

Scrap hosted a yarn bombin' party at Oak St. Drafthouse to raise awareness for their IndieGoGo campaign. Photo by Sharon Lynn Jared. 

Scrap hosted a yarn bombin' party at Oak St. Drafthouse to raise awareness for their IndieGoGo campaign. Photo by Sharon Lynn Jared

Photo by Scrap. 

Photo by Scrap. 

That Cloud

Brunch Money $$$

Brunch Money has been released! Watch out for that super hight alcohol content and the deliciousness! Photo by @mkernan.

Brunch Money has been released! Watch out for that super hight alcohol content and the deliciousness! Photo by @mkernan.

Things always get a little fuzzy after one or two at an Armadillo Ales launch party. Thanks Brunch Money! Photo by @veeveemarie. 

Things always get a little fuzzy after one or two at an Armadillo Ales launch party. Thanks Brunch Money! Photo by @veeveemarie. 

Plenty of fun to be had on the patio at Oak Street when the sun is shining and the beers are flowing. Photo by @mkernan. 

Plenty of fun to be had on the patio at Oak Street when the sun is shining and the beers are flowing. Photo by @mkernan

@dartoo had kids creating masterpieces of their own on the Oak Street Drafthouse patio. We can't blame them, it was a great day for sipping that root beer and puling out those watercolors. 

@dartoo had kids creating masterpieces of their own on the Oak Street Drafthouse patio. We can't blame them, it was a great day for sipping that root beer and puling out those watercolors. 

@shainasheaffphoto was rockin' one of Pan Ector's Denton centric tees - like the great Dentonite she is. 

@shainasheaffphoto was rockin' one of Pan Ector's Denton centric tees - like the great Dentonite she is. 

Cafe Brazil opened this weekend for a soft launch that goes through today. We hit it up and tried out a few things. We are expecting great things for their opening on Tuesday. Photo by @mkernan. 

Cafe Brazil opened this weekend for a soft launch that goes through today. We hit it up and tried out a few things. We are expecting great things for their opening on Tuesday. Photo by @mkernan

It's margarita weather, get to Mulberry St. Cantina and partake. 

It's margarita weather, get to Mulberry St. Cantina and partake. 

We had a super foggy morning last week. Photo by @thepaigels. 

We had a super foggy morning last week. Photo by @thepaigels

Photo by @hollyintexas.

Photo by @hollyintexas.

@cereboso shot Two Knights at Macaroni Island. 

@cereboso shot Two Knights at Macaroni Island. 

@drcruz32 caught Work in Progress jamming live in Denton this weekend. 

@drcruz32 caught Work in Progress jamming live in Denton this weekend. 

Energy Collective at The Abbey Underground. Photo by @jayhumez. 

Energy Collective at The Abbey Underground. Photo by @jayhumez

@hannahf313 enjoyed a bit of @shiitakeswerve's coconut curry alongside her Strawberry IPA. We've tried it ourselves and can vouch for its deliciousness. 

@hannahf313 enjoyed a bit of @shiitakeswerve's coconut curry alongside her Strawberry IPA. We've tried it ourselves and can vouch for its deliciousness. 

@stdavidsdenton caught a view of the square with the tulips in full bloom. 

@stdavidsdenton caught a view of the square with the tulips in full bloom. 

Denton loves its ultimate - come rain or shine - especially shine. Photo by @ritadubb.

Denton loves its ultimate - come rain or shine - especially shine. Photo by @ritadubb.

Photo by @fussbudgets. 

Photo by @fussbudgets

@maskerphoto caught our fair courthouse looking as dang stately as ever during an early sunrise. We love this little jewel in the center of our city. 

@maskerphoto caught our fair courthouse looking as dang stately as ever during an early sunrise. We love this little jewel in the center of our city. 

CAFE HERRERA IN PHOTOS

by will milne

After a long string of opening dates that came and went, Cafe Herrera opened in the corner section of the Texas Building last Friday. The site was on and off crowded over the weekend, we went and checked the place out a couple of times. Below are seven photos of the space. Check 'em out and make sure you stop by for some Tex-Mex real soon. 

While the space doesn't get as great of a view as the other new-to-the-square restaurant, LSA, the ginormous side windows of the skinny space give you some great people watching angles for outside of Recycled and down Locust. 

While the space doesn't get as great of a view as the other new-to-the-square restaurant, LSA, the ginormous side windows of the skinny space give you some great people watching angles for outside of Recycled and down Locust. 

The place has a massive tequila selection and even offer tequila flights. It's only rivaled by Villa Grande and Mulberry St. Cantina. We'd try and have some sort of a tequila-off blog post, but the stuff makes us fiesty. That said, the cocktails and margaritas were all on point. 

The place has a massive tequila selection and even offer tequila flights. It's only rivaled by Villa Grande and Mulberry St. Cantina. We'd try and have some sort of a tequila-off blog post, but the stuff makes us fiesty. That said, the cocktails and margaritas were all on point. 

The bar might not be big enough for as many margaritas as they're going to be serving up at future happy hours. 

The bar might not be big enough for as many margaritas as they're going to be serving up at future happy hours. 

The house margarita is only $3 and a very interesting shade of green. 

The house margarita is only $3 and a very interesting shade of green. 

The salsa was fresh and had some heat to it. We were fans and will definitely be back if only for the salsa and drinks. 

The salsa was fresh and had some heat to it. We were fans and will definitely be back if only for the salsa and drinks. 

All meals come with complimentary bean soup which we were quite fond of. It was deep, meaty and steaming hot. 

All meals come with complimentary bean soup which we were quite fond of. It was deep, meaty and steaming hot. 

The fajita salad. 

The fajita salad. 

The menu was large and pretty varied as far as Tex Mex goes. One of the times we were there, the "brisket guy" wasn't in so we didn't get to partake in the brisket tacos. Instead, the "Rupert Special" took its place. The enchiladas and tostadas were great. 

The menu was large and pretty varied as far as Tex Mex goes. One of the times we were there, the "brisket guy" wasn't in so we didn't get to partake in the brisket tacos. Instead, the "Rupert Special" took its place. The enchiladas and tostadas were great. 

BACK IN THE DAY: SAM BASS, DENTON'S ROBINHOOD

by Alyssa Stevenson

By Shaun Treat

From left: ‘Judas’ Jim Murphy, Sam Bass, and Seaborn Barnes.

From left: ‘Judas’ Jim Murphy, Sam Bass, and Seaborn Barnes.

One of our favorite local legends of Denton County doesn't get nearly enough play in the history handbooks, though that may be because he is a Texas bandit who made a damn big impression in a fairly short amount of time. Although many long-in-the-tooth Dentonites may be familiar with the reputation of Sam Bass, few may linger long enough to really chew on why this infamous outlaw became immortalized as a hero of the common folk. Well, pull up a chair and grab a cold beverage, as we take a gander back at the short life and tall tales of the legendary Texas Robin Hood on a Fast Horse who should be more famous than Jesse James, the smiling Texas brigand Sam Bass.


Sam came to Denton in 1870 from his birthplace in Indiana, where the orphaned runaway had dreamed of Texas adventure gleaned from Wild West novellas. Barely 19, he got a job working the stables at the Lacy House Hotel on the Denton Square, a popular spot for cowboys to rest their herd while enjoying liquor and ladies before droving stock up the Chisholm Trail. Texas was still in the turmoil of Civil War Reconstruction under Federal Marshal Law and had just been readmitted to the Union, but these days of economic hardship and rampant lawlessness from destitute Rebs or Native American raiders plagued frontier outposts like Denton. Sam also took on work freighting supplies for Denton County Sheriff ‘Dad’ Egan, which gave him a knowledge of the county roadways and offpath trails that would come in handy later. By most accounts, Sam was a thrifty and affable lad with an easy smile who, like most teenagers, loved the fast horses that often raced on the dirt outskirts of town. Saving money from menial jobs to buy his own pony, Sam began winning races and gambling bets with a jenny that came to be famously known as The Denton Mare, a hard-charger notorious all across North Texas horse country for beating all challengers. Sheriff Egan became concerned and issued Sam an ultimatum, fearful that the fast life would corrupt honest work, but the young man’s group and his unbeatably fleet filly convinced Sam to go pro with horse racing and gambling. By 1874, the jovial Sam travelled across Texas and Oklahoma with his Denton Mare racing (and winning), but his gambling fortunes soon changed as did the company he was keeping.

Falling in with Joel Collins shady crew on a fast-money cattle drive north to the Black Hills, where the earnings were quickly squandered, the desperate ne’r-do-wells turned to robbing stagecoaches with modest returns. Things quickly became hot for the Collins Gang when a beloved stagecoach driver was accidently shotgunned by an itchy trigger-finger during a hold-up, which spurred the bold decision to attempt robbery of a fast-moving train. In 1877, with an unbelievable stroke of beginners luck, the bandits intercepted a Union Pacific train in Big Springs, Nebraska loaded with $20 double-eagle gold pieces fresh from the mint. The robbery haul was estimated at $60,000 in gold coins and another $1,300 in booty, a fortune in those days even divvyed up amongst the gang. To this day, it is still the single largest train robbery in Union Pacific history, a heist which attracted no small amount of attention from the railroad and the frontier press. In fact, Joel Collins and his gang were quickly hunted down and killed for the sizeable railroad reward, but Sam Bass barely escaped with a confederate back to Texas by cleverly posing as their own bounty hunters.

Sam Bass' tombstone in Round Rock, TX. 

Sam Bass' tombstone in Round Rock, TX. 

Back in Denton by fall under a story that he had struck rich mining silver, Sam fell back in with his old pals Henry Underwood, Sebe Barnes, and Jim Murphy as he freely spent his ill-gotten gains carousing. Sam shared his easy money freely, “I’ve got the world by th’ tail, money’s only good ‘til yer dust!” Yet speculation on the fate of Sam’s impressive cut of the heist has fueled treasure-hunter legends about hidden gold in “Sam Bass’ Cave” for generations, since by 1878 the Sam Bass Gang quickly began a crime wave of robbing stagecoaches and trains within twenty-five miles of Dallas while hiding out in the thickets of the rural Denton County area. By now with a $1,000 reward on his head as one of the most wanted outlaws in Texas, Sam was being hunted by the UP Railroad’s Pinkerton Men, the Texas Rangers, and a covey of bounty hunters. Stories abound of Sam being aided by rural Denton locals with little love for the banks and the railroad tycoons during these hard Reconstruction days, and many tell of smiling Sam’s rascal charm when it came to parsing out money to help neighbors or stymie pursuers. One account has the bandits’ horses confiscated to Denton after Sheriff Egan spooked their camp, only to be reclaimed at sunrise by a mounted Sam awakening Egan by playfully exclaiming to his former employer: “Wake up, Bill! I hear there’s thieving scallywags roaming these parts!” To Egan’s eight year old son, Sam cheerily tipped his hat as he rode away, “Hello ag’in there, lil’ pard!” Another story tells of a Confederate widow whose home was saved from bank foreclosure by Sam gifting money to pay off her note, then robbing the banker on the trail back to Denton. Now targeted by the Texas legislature as much for his growing notoriety than his bold robberies, the Sam Bass Gang led the Texas Rangers and railway-hired Pinkerton Men on a spirited chase across the trails of North Texas in the months known as “The Bass War.” 

 

Sam met his legendary end in Round Rock, Texas on his twenty-seventh birthday July 21, 1878, betrayed by his childhood friend “Judas Jim” Murphy who had cut a Devil’s bargain to free his Denton family from arrest for aiding the outlaw. Mortally wounded in a shootout with Texas Rangers, Sam confessed he had never killed a man prior to that final gunfight but stubbornly refused to give details of his associates. The Texas Robin Hood was buried in Round Rock, where his mourning sister erected a tombstone inscribed: “A brave man reposes in death here. Why was he not true?” In death, Sam’s legend only grew. A cowboy ballad long immortalized his life and death, frontier dime novels stoked tall tales, and stories spun out in radio dramas and several movies (like the 1949 western Calamity Jane and Sam Bass). There are plenty of stories about Sam Bass to share later, but we might wonder how it was that an outlaw bandit came to be a beloved Texas folk hero? I think knowing a bit of history sure helps to understand the difficult days of Texas Reconstruction and the Gilded Age of the Railroad Robber-Barons who killed desperate towns as they built their own empires. But ole Sam himself was a charming Denton rebel with an entrepreneurial spirit that you may begrudge, but you surely can’t deny.

 

Below is a moody rendition of “The Cowboy Ballad of Sam Bass” by Denton’s own Justin Hawkins, member of TrebucheT.

 


Back in The Day is an ongoing WDDI contribution from Shaun Treat, an assistant professor in Communication Studies at the University of North Texas and founder of the Denton Haunts historical ghost tour. Doc Treat has written about numerous local places and personalities at his Denton Haunts blog, and is forever indebted to the great work of the fine folks with the Denton County Historical Commission and local keepers of history like Mike Cochran and Laura Douglas at the Emily Fowler Library for their tireless work in helping preserve Denton’s intriguing past.

 

THE DEN10: MARCH 26

by Alyssa Stevenson

Warm weather seems to always beget more house shows. In order to keep track of all the scenes and sub-scenes that will surely spawn over the next few months, invite us to your event or email us a link so we know it’s happening. We always like going to house shows. Especially the ones that don't have minors drinking and get busted. Those aren't really our scene.  We do our best to stay informed, but we can't know everything and we rely on you to give us some help sometimes. Especially because things are about to be very busy for someone until May 10th (see the Denia candidate forum below). 

Questions, comments or answers? Email glen@wedentondoit.com.



Armadillo-Ale-Works-Brunch-Money-Poster.jpg

Wednesday, March 26th
Game Night! | Rubbergloves | 10PM
Like playing games? Well have we got an event for you. What type of games are played? Who goes to this? We want pics and full reports. Let us know because we’re busy getting caught up on gen. 1 Pokemon. 

Raised Right Men | Dan’s Silverleaf | 10PM
I haven’t been to this but judging on the folks playing the music it’s a pretty safe bet that this is probably the best thing happening in Denton whenever it’s happening. 

Friday, March 28th
Armadillo Ale Works Release Brunch Money & 1 Year Anniversary | Oak St. Draft House | 6PM
Has it really been a year? Well, Happy Birthday! Let’s raise our glasses and toast the third release from our favorite local brewers. We're also super happy with the name of this new brew. Keep it up and lets figure out how to move your brewing operations into Denton! Be careful, though. Craft brews often have a higher ABV than other beers so watch your intake! 

Troller / Pinkish Black / Marie Davidson / Knifight | Rubbergloves | 9PM | $6
This is an “earplug” show. As we get older we realize that getting home from a show not smelling like smoke and our hearing mostly intact is a pretty good evening. It’s the simple things, y’all.

Atrium | Denton Community Theatre | $15 
We've been hearing lots of good things about this play written by local playwright Michael Mulder. It apparently deals with mental issues and has lots of adult themes which we always like seeing in plays at DCT. It's showing this weekend only. Buy tickets here

Saturday March 29
Denton’s Great American Cleanup | Civic Center | 9AM - 1PM
Show up at the Civic Center at 321 E. Mckinney at 9AM this Saturday and volunteer to help cleanup Denton for a day. This is a citywide cleanup involving over a thousand volunteers. In it’s 23rd year now, an estimated 2 million pounds of litter has been removed through this volunteer event. 

Kraken Presents: David Tomas Martinez, Kristin Kostick, Alex Lemon & Chad Davidson | Paschall Bar | 6PM
Here’s a literary event for you brainy type of folks. Turns out, there’s a lot of you in Denton which is why we’ve got cool events like this in cool bar’s like Paschall’s.

Danny Rush & The DD’s / Loves It! / Hares On The Mountain / Sydney Wright | 2014 Northwood Terrace | 8PM
It’s about the right time of year you see the house shows start to pick up. Will this be a regular house for shows, Burton? Let us know and keep us posted.

Chris Watson | Dan’s Silverleaf | 9PM | $10
Straight up SRV’ish blues. If you’re into that you’ll be into this. 

Monday, March 31st
Denia Area Community Group Denton City Council Candidate's Forum | Denia Recreation Center | 6:30PM
This is the first public candidates forum. If you want to get down in the trenches and see how the sausage is made then I highly recommend attending this historically lively forum. This one is hosted by the Denia Area Community Group and consists of a 3 minute opening from each candidate followed by audience questions and a 2 minute closing. Come out and support your candidates!