Politics is more Palatable with Booze: Bar Politics Housing and Development Edition Starts Tonight

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By Amanda Popken
Special Contributor

It’s only the fifth installment of Bar Politics, so if you have no idea what this is, you’re not that out of the loop. You’ll definitely want to check out this amateur roadshow this month if you’re at all interested in housing, development, real estate, and the gentrification-storm we’re preparing for in North Oak Cliff.

Hosted by Josh Kumlar, the event is formatted similarly to the Late Night Show or the Daily Show. Political news jokes, a skit or two, and interviews with special guests. And music, of course.

Once a month they pick a topic, pick a bar, and start talking smack. Josh is a recent SMU grad, a theatre major. His friends help him with the show’s shenanigans. The interviewed guests are local celebrities, knowledgeable on the issue at hand. As Josh describes it:

Fake news.
Real issues.
Kinda drunk.

Bar Politics:
Live, local satire straight from the tap.
With your host, Josh Kumler


This month’s edition is staged in three parts:

Tonight (Tuesday, Sept. 1) at Ten Bells Tavern, 8 p.m.
Featuring a conversation with:  Meri Dahlke, Owner of Ten Bells Tavern and leading rabble-rouser against Alamo Manhattan and their “Bishop Arts Gateway” project,  and Rob Shearer, co-founder of Go Oak Cliff  and leading the conversation to help developers see greener pastures by doing better developments. The music segment will include a performance from gypsy blues band Surprising Flavor.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept. 2) at Small Brew Pub, 8 p.m.
Featuring a conversation with:  Patrick Kennedy, founder of A New Dallas (you know him from D Mag’s Street Smart blog, plus he lives in Bishop Arts), Brandon Castillo, president of the Dallas Homeowners League (owns the Deep Ellum P&G and works with ASH+LIME Strategies), with a performance from jazz/hip hop quintet Spenser Liszt & His Disciples.

And Thursday, Sept. 3 at The Wild Detectives, 9 p.m.
Featuring a conversation with: Scott Griggs, District 1 city councilman, Angela Hunt, Alamo Manhattan lobbyist and former District 14 city councilwoman (now represented by Philip Kingston), with a performance from folk duo Hophead Talk!

E 5
515 people going, so says their Facebook event … probably will have more.

Each show will have about the same pre-interview script, so it may get a bit repetitive if you go to all three. The episode will cover:

“Everyone’s favorite love-to-hate development project, ‘The Bishop Arts Gateway.’ We’ll also be talking affordable housing (or lack thereof) in downtown and the recent Supreme Court decision that will forever change our city… if anyone in local government decides to pay attention to it.”

Sounds like lovely entertainment for an evening sipping cocktails. As Josh says, “If it sounds boring, drink more beer!”

Past shows have covered The 84th Session of the The Texas Senate in July, the local Dallas elections in May, and runoffs in June. It all began in April with a special Transportation edition focusing on the Trinity Tollroad.

Get a taste of their antics on their Facebook page – some snippet videos there, like Christian Young explaining the recent Texas Legislative ban on cities banning fracking, through dance. And Stephen Gardner’s monologue on the homeless. Genius in its satire.

Stephen - homeless
The scene, as Stephen talks homelessness

They even had the local celebrity, mysterious Wylie H. Dallas on as a guest in May. These folks are serious about making politics “cool” again.

This episode’s trilogy will not disappoint you for lack of humor nor ability to make you think critically about complex issues. It’s a tough job, caring about politics, but I for one am glad Josh is helping us do it together, if only once a month.

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Amanda Popken

Amanda is a community strategist & economic development specialist focused on placemaking and urban design promoting, inspiring, teaching & engaging communities to grow their own social capital. She is President of Congress for the New Urbanism North Texas and can be found at amandapopken.com

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