35 DENTON: Parking…

35 Denton is about to happen. The 2016 edition of the world-renown music festival occurs March 11-13. An amazing line-up is poised to take over Denton for those three days and will take place, as usual, within walking distance of the Square. If you haven’t gotten your tickets/passes, what are you waiting for?


All the information you need is at: 35denton.com

Four to five thousand people are expected to attend the festival. A good question to ask is “where is everyone going to park”? The festival is walkable, the trek from parking maybe not so much. The festival itself will consume Williams Square, the large parking area southeast of the Square, eliminating a little over 200 parking spots.

So…..again…..where to park?

For the second year in a row, Lucky Lou’s, Cool Beans and Riprock’s, in the heart of the Fry Street district will answer that question by providing parking AND a free shuttle from the ample parking around Fry Street to the festival site.

It works like this:

You can park directly behind Lucky Lou’s for $3/day or at the free UNT parking lot at the corner of Welch and Mulberry to the southeast of Lucky Lou’s. Then enjoy a sparkling adult beverage at one or more of the three bars while you wait for the shuttle which leaves (and returns) every 15 minutes.

Parking areas in red

Parking areas in red

The shuttle departs from the front of Lucky Lou’s at 1207 W. Hickory, delivering you safely to the front of East Side (where if you you think about it, another beverage could be obtained) after a quick, chauffeured ride through the historic Hickory St area.

After the festival, simply do all this in reverse. (Including a stop at one or more of your 3 generous shuttle hosts!!).

This year’s 35 Denton promises to be bigger and better than ever. Parking near the Square will be difficult at best. Avoid the hassle of parking downtown and use the easy shuttle service provided by Lucky Lou’s, Cool Beans and Riprock’s……you’ll be glad you did.

And remember …….35 responsibly…..

Angels among us…..

One year ago, a dear friend, Tina McCurley, was diagnosed with liver disease. Those close to her knew something wasn’t right, and Tina tended to dismiss it, but the diagnosis brought it home. The decline of Tina’s health began slowly, but soon picked up speed.

Condensing the story a bit, within 6 months, Tina was on a donor list for a liver transplant.

There are basically two types/sources of transplants, cadaver transplants and living donor transplants. Of the two, the cadaver source is the most frequently used for obvious reasons.

Of the two though, the live transplant is the best option.

Tina’s story is a chill-up-the-spine story…….a story which highlights the good in people and renews faith in humanity. It did mine anyway.

On October 17, a group of Denton High School graduates met at the Greenhouse restaurant for a spur of the moment reunion. People trickled in, swapped stories, told lies and caught up………. At some point my dear friend, Patti Pennington came in followed by someone I didn’t recognize …….at first. It was Tina of course, and having not seen her in a few months, I was stunned. First of all, the bubbly, outgoing, vivacious woman I knew was not there. The person I saw was extremely thin, walked slowly, spoke with a quiver, looked 30 years older than she is and was very pale. I seriously did not recognize her until she sat down.

I spent the next hour talking only to her. She told me the basics of what was going on, but only what she wanted to……or maybe just what she knew. Another friend of mine, an RN walked Tina out to the car that night. When she came back in, she told me that she thought Tina had less than 6 months to live without a transplant. I didn’t think that was an option.


Tina is an angel.

The next day I began to snoop. It turns out that Tina was on a cadaver transplant list, which would require her being at Baylor Hospital in Dallas within 45 minutes of the death of the “donor”. An iffy proposition at best. Additionally, Tina’s son-in-law, Jarett Monschke, was being assessed to be a living donor. The assessment is rather time-consuming, requiring a lengthy psychological evaluation and two days of physical testing, some of it invasive. At the time, they didn’t know how long it would take to determine if Jarett was a match.

Jarett is an angel.

Well, after hearing the unofficial, yet dire prognosis by my friend and knowing everything was being done to get a transplant, I thought of one more very desperate long shot……..a real long shot. I went to Facebook. In a post, I gave the bare basics of Tina’s story and asked if anyone might consider, or know anyone who might consider, donating 40% of their liver to someone they most likely didn’t know.


With a live donation, 40 % of the liver is donated and within a very short period of time, both the patient and the donor regenerate full, healthy livers. The transplant is, of course, major surgery and requires up to two MONTHS to recover. I didn’t have much hope….well, truth be told, I had no hope of anyone responding, but it was worth a try.

Less than an hour after making the post, a private message popped up from someone I’d met long ago, but not someone I really knew. The someone was Kelli Conway. Kelli lives in Ft. Worth, but used to live in Denton. Kelli asked for more information about the entire transplant process. I told her what I knew about the matching procedure and then the massive ordeal of the actual surgery and recovery.

Without asking anything about Tina, Kelli said “I’d be happy to be tested and if I’m a match, I will donate”.

I was God-smacked. I asked her if she was positive. Without hesitation Kelli said, “Of course! If I can help save a life, why wouldn’t I?”

I am NEVER at a loss for words, but then……….I was. I remember calling her an angel and thanking her, but I had a thousand things suddenly running through my head and the rest of the conversation is a blur. I was truly bumfuzzled that someone could be so selfless, so generous, so kind, so incredibly caring that they would risk giving away part of a vital organ to someone they did not know.


Kelli is an angel.

I immediately called Tina’s husband, Roger, and told him what had just happened. I don’t think he believed me at first. I got all the contact information at Baylor and sent it to Kelli. We talked the next day, she told me that she’d done extensive online research overnight about transplantation and that she had already spoken with the transplant liason at Baylor and was about to start the psychological evaluation which comes before the physical testing.

I was astonished again when I realized that she hadn’t had second thoughts, she hadn’t backed out. She was still willing to do it!

Kelli is an angel.

Kelli continued to talk to Baylor, take the evaluation, work, and get mentally ready to do something VERY few people have the chance to do and even fewer volunteer to do. Meanwhile, the results came back and Tina’s son- in-law Jarett was a match. You’d think that would be the end of the story with a live donation from Jarett, but Tina was too weak and frail at the time to undergo surgery. So the patient, who on a good day weighs 100-nothing, needed to put on weight and gain some strength. The thought of a cadaver transplant seemed like a distant possibility, but with a rock solid donor ready to give, Tina set about getting ready for the life-saving surgery.

Then, Tuesday morning, two days before Thanksgiving, the phone rang, it was Tina’s daughter. She told me that a 29 year old mother of two, Jennifer Markgraf, had been found unconscious and unresponsive by her husband, Kirk, in Ferris. He performed CPR, got her to Baylor in Waxahachie and she was then taken to Baylor Dallas by LifeFlight and tragically pronounced brain dead. Tina’s daughter let me know that Kirk was a firefighter in nearby Red Oak. Tina’s husand is also a firefighter. The fraternity of firefighters has an extremely strong bond which stretches from department to department, state to state……heart to heart.

Kirk is an angel.

The stage was set…….it was a God thing

Roger, Tina’s husband, was teaching a class that Tuesday and during a break, one of his students overheard him talking about his wife needing a liver transplant. The student slipped away and made a call. Before long, Roger was asked if he would talk to Jennifer’s mother. Roger was astonished, but quickly said he would love to talk to her. The two talked for 30 minutes or so about their loved ones. Jennifer’s mother related what a loving, caring, wonderful, vibrant, spirit-filled woman her daughter was. Roger described Tina in the same manner. They spoke of the firefighter connection and at the end of the conversation, Jennifer’s mom said, “Roger, we’d like for your Tina to have our Jennifer’s liver”.

Jennifer’s mother is an angel.

Overnight, Jennifer was assessed to be a perfect match for Tina. Unbelievable!
One of Tina’s daughters called Wednesday afternoon and said that her mom was on a LifeFlight helicopter going to Baylor in Dallas for an immediate transplant. Due to logistics, the transplant didn’t start that afternoon. Tina was taken into pre-op about 9:30 that night and the surgery was complete about 3:30 am on Thanksgiving day. Within a couple of hours the first blood tests came back showing that Tina’s liver enzymes were climbing which meant her new liver was working and working well.


Jennifer is an angel…

By early that morning, most of Tina’s friends had gotten the news and were elated. Elated that their friend would grow old with them and get to watch her young grandchildren grow up……..but their elation was tempered with the knowledge that a very special woman had given Tina this incredible gift but would not grow old with her husband, her two children, her family and friends……..

Jennifer is an angel……a double angel.

And two amazing women will live on………

(Donations to Jennifer’s young family can be made at: Angel)

Texas International Pop Festival

Denton music: Then and Now

Denton IS music and the musical roots run deep. Much of that has to do with world-renowned music school at what was NTSU…now UNT. The alumni who passed through that school and either remained in Denton or moved on to other things (notice, I DID NOT say “bigger and better”) are numerous and varied. Other blogs and articles frequently name them all, so I will spare you, but our great town is the breeding ground for musical greatness.

But not all musical greatness of Denton and Denton County originated here.

When I first returned to Denton after a move from our paradise, someone mentioned the Rolling Stones playing once in Denton. Without hesitation, I said, “it never happened”. I based that on the time before I disappeared into the Denton diaspora.

I quickly found out that I was wrong. I was shocked to find that the Stones HAD played at the Texas Motor Speedway…..(I think I was mostly shocked that I’d been wrong). That show was not the first mega Rock show in Denton County. In fact, another show almost three decades before, eclipsed even the Rolling Stones.

From August 30 to September 1, 1969, a field near the intersection of I-35 and Round Grove Road in Lewisville was the scene of the Texas International Pop Festival. The TIPF played host to truly epic bands of the day and bands which went on to become Rock Royalty. To name a few, Canned Heat, Chicago (then Chicago Transit Authority), Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (think Eric Clapton), Led Zepplin, Sly (born in Denton) and the Family Stone and Ten Years After….all played the festival.

Texas International Pop Festival

Texas International Pop Festival

Official  Historic Marker

Official Historic Marker

Original Lineup

Original Lineup

This was just two weeks after the festival of all festivals, Woodstock, and many of the same bands played both.

Denton was cool even then….

Not to let history go to waste, let’s fast-forward to October 2013. That month, as a tribute to the Texas International Pop Festival, Geezerpalooza was born on Industrial Street in Denton. The festival featured tribute bands of the ’60s- 70s era and has become an annual event.

Original Geezers

Original Geezers

The turnout has always been great and is now eagerly anticipated by those who have previously partaken.

THIS year, the Industrial Street Pop Festival (formerly known as Geezerpalooza) will take place October 18th on Industrial Street (go figure), from 1-8pm.

Industrial Street will be cleared of vehicles and a stage in front of Dan’s Silverleaf will be the setting for this lineup:

1:30-2:30 4 Way Street (Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young)
3:00-4:430 LZ129 (Led Zeppelin)
5:00-5:00 Bar Band (The Band)
6:30-8 Naked Lunch (Steely Dan)

(Not available for Industrial Street Pop Festival)

(Not available for Industrial Street Pop Festival)

The show itself is FREE and food, beverages, cool t-shirts, various vendors and a rock trivia contest will all be available.

If you haven’t been, you should this year!

If you have, you’ll probably be there.

Make plans now to attend this Denton Classic. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a day spun from the fabric of Denton….of fun, festivity, fraternizing, fashion (retro), food, flower power, and FREE first-class music!

Barley and Board

Barley and Board bestows beautiful balance…..

I’m not going to be that restaurant-review guy, but occasionally a place comes along which warrants an assessment (and brings the Dentoning blog out of hibernation). Some places make a disruptive entrance over what Denton has been accustomed to. LSA, Oak Street Draught House and Mellow Mushroom come to mind.

All these places stretched the status quo of the time and have become part of the fabric of Denton.

Barley and Board is just such an establishment. Barley and Board (BnB) was birthed from the same folks who brought us LSA. Sparky Pearson, Steve Watkins, Earl Herrington, and newcomers, actor Jason Lee and Eric Pulido of the world-renown Denton band, Midlake, have intertwined their various talents to bring to Denton a restaurant sure to become a city favorite.

Barley and Board is located on the ground floor of the historic Texas Building on the northeast corner of our unique Square. Combining the space once occupied by two restaurants, Barley and Board has taken the east side of the building’s ground floor back to its original base. The brick walls, brick ceilings, ancient concrete floors and battered concrete pillars all serve to celebrate old Denton. The addition of complementing newness presents a tribute to what Denton has become.

Barley and Board

There is a reason Denton continues to make local, regional, State, National and International Top Ten lists. Barley and Board will only add to that collective reason and will probably soon be on one of its own.

BnB is a symphony of visual delights. There is that…..but, the FOOD!

The menu is something new to Denton. Pork tenderloin, quail, steak, bone marrow, chicken, babyback ribs and much more are all prepared in ways more reminiscent of New York City than our small ville. Chef Chad Kelly works magic in the kitchen. Everything I have tried is superb, everything I haven’t tried has been proclaimed superb by others I trust. The prices are tame for a place this cool.

Barley and Board

The perfect marriage of all things Denton.

The bar recalls what you’d imagine in the hotels of Denton past, with a modern flair. The restaurant also includes something completely new to Denton. We have local breweries Armadillo Ale Works and Audacity Brew House, but BnB will be brewing its own…..just for the restaurant. It’s more of a pico-brewery than a micro-brewery, with the ability to make 30 gallon batches with each brew. House brewmaster Derrick Rima, will create beer to be served exclusively in BnB.

Barley and Board

A first anniversary beer has already been brewed and is aging to be tapped a year from now. The brew facility will also be loaned to local home brewers on a regular basis, bringing truly original beers to Denton.

Barley and Board

The ambience, the service (some of the cream of the crop of the Denton service industry has been harvested for the venture), the space, the location and the FOOD of Barley and Board will make this an instant anchor in the target-rich restaurant environment of downtown Denton.

Denton continues to grow in coolness……..

Barley and Board opens to the public Wednesday night, August 12th.

Dentoning………35 Denton 2015

After a break in 2014 to take a step back, regroup, and re-evaluate, 35 Denton, the monster music festival founded by Baptist Generals frontman Chris Flemmons, came roaring back to life March 13-15. With 265+ band playing in 13 venues within walking distance of the courthouse, the break proved worthwhile…….35-2015 was beyond amazing.

What is now 35 Denton (there were a handful of name changes) began as an invitation-only house party in 2004 according to Flemmons. After five years in a self-limiting environment, it was decided to take the next step and splash it across the Denton canvas.

Denton is home to a variety of music festivals. 35, the Arts and Jazz Festival, the Blues Festival and Oaktopia all bring specific genres to the music-hungry population of Denton. This years 35 was a slightly scaled back version compared to past festivals and included the best of local bands with a perfect pairing of national/international bands.

35 Denton

~Ed Steele Photography LLC

Denton, which always glows, burned a lot brighter for 3 days in March.

35 Denton is often talked about as being SXSW’s little brother. With Austin’s SXSW becoming an almost unattendable behemoth, that comparison is much more appropriate than calling it a twin. Let’s hope 35 never becomes a SXSW……

The size, scope, footprint and attendees make 35 a magical event.

With over 265 bands, there was music to satiate almost any musical need. Denton oozes music and is internationally known for its concentration of incredible musical talent. 35 is a showcase for that unique feature of our great town…..with bands from around the nation and world thrown in to round it out.

35 Denton has become such a mainstay of the culture of Denton that it has been decided to give it a year round presence. The festival will continue to be a yearly event every Spring, but will become more a part of daily Denton through fresh, ever changing website content, sponsorships and much more.

35 Denton

~Ed Steele Photography LLC

35 Denton 2015 was a huge success. The year round hard work of an unseen, un-named and uncredited cadre of mega talented people made 35 what it was this year. 35 will be back in 2016 bigger and better than ever.

From a humble beginning as a house party to an internationally recognized music festival, 35 Denton is an anchor in the most touted aspect of the fabric of our special town…..MUSIC.

Watch for music news, events, videos, interviews and more at 35denton.com until the festival blossoms again Spring 2016…..!!!