Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I went to Dallas and OMG, IT'S PATRICK DUFFY!!!

I spent the first seven days of February in Dallas, TX attending APPA's Leadership Academy at the Omni in downtown Dallas. I traveled to Dallas on Saturday, with classes taking place Sunday through Thursday, and another travel day on Friday. The class schedule includes two half-days to allow attendees the opportunity to a) enjoy a little bit of the weekend (1st half-day is Sunday) and b) explore a little bit of the host city (2nd half-day is Wednesday). 

Before I could set off on any grand Dallas adventures, I had to get there first! That involved two flights - one from State College to Philadelphia and a second from Philadelphia to Dallas. I spent the duration of both flights and my Philly layover reading "Labor Day" by Joyce Maynard. 

Check out the last paragraph of the page on the left. IRONY!

On Monday evening of my week in Dallas, I decided to treat myself to a nice, relaxing Wolfgang Puck dinner at Five Sixty in the Reunion Tower. If you're familiar with the Dallas skyline, it's the tower with the ball on top. The restaurant where I had dinner is in the ball; the restaurant revolves so patrons get a 360-degree view of the city.

Looking up from street level.

Yeah, buddy!

Ready to head up for dinner.

I wonder what Wolfgang has to offer?!?

Let's start with something to wet my whistle...let's open Pandora's Box!

Pandora's Box and lobster fried rice.

Pandora's Box and lobster & shrimp spring rolls.

We rotated past the Omni, so I had to snap a pic of my hotel.

Chocolate bread pudding.

I know some people hate even the IDEA of dining by themselves. Me? I love it! Especially an evening like the one I had at Five Sixty - just enjoying really good food, a spectacular beverage, a stunning view, and eavesdropping/people-watching. Dining at Reunion Tower was #1 of 2 items on my Dallas to-do list. So after Monday evening, #1 = check!

I returned to the hotel and decided to snap a picture of the ERAPPA display that I'd set-up for attendees to learn more about our region, our chapters, and our Annual Meeting in Atlantic City this fall

Tuesday evening, all 10 Penn Staters who made the trip to Dallas for either the Institute for Facilities Management or the Leadership Academy decided to go out to dinner for some Texas-sized steaks.

Clockwise L to R: Dan, Joe, Mark, Ron, Erik, Brooks, Tina, me, Corey, Rich.

On Wednesday - the second half day of the week - I rented a car and drove out to...


...maybe you should watch this first.

Yup. I went to Southfork!!! If I did nothing else while in Dallas, I was determined to get to Southfork. I grew up watching "Dallas" on Friday nights and I'm also a fan of the new incarnation currently airing on Monday nights at 9 PM on TNT. In fact, that Sunday I was in Dallas, I noticed that Brenda Strong tweeted about being in Dallas filming. I thought, "Whoa. What if they're AT Southfork when I go there Wednesday?!?" but really thought it was unlikely. 

Yeah. Not so much. Not only were they filming AT Southfork, but I got to see several of the actors up close. While they were filming, visitors were not permitted to interact with the actors. We were told that IF they took a break during filming that we might be able to visit with some of the cast. Unfortunately, they didn't break while we were touring the property. And we weren't permitted to take any pictures of them while they were filming. BUT! It's all in my head and the memories are AWESOME!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we toured the mansion (where they were filming), I had time to visit the museum.

RIP Larry Hagman

Lucy's wedding dress.

The Ewing Family grill.

Bobby's saddle.

Behind-the-scenes footage and photos.

Promotional poster for the reboot. Unfortunately, when I saw Josh Henderson (front left), he was wearing a shirt. Boo.

I probably stood here for five full minutes trying to figure out this tangled web of a family tree!

RIP Jock

Larry Hagman's hand and footprints.

Cast photos from the first iteration of the show...

...and from the reboot.

Finally, it was time to walk over to the mansion. I have to be honest. If the cast hadn't been there filming the show, I may have been slightly disappointed by the Southfork mansion. It's TINY inside. All of the exterior shots of Southfork are legit; they are filmed on the estate. But all of the interiors are shot on a sound stage which make the inside of the house appear much, MUCH bigger than the actual house would allow. Nonetheless, it was interesting to tour the inside of the house, which includes a room that was used as JR's Mexican motel room where he was murdered by Cliff Barnes. (Not really. Bum shot him because he knew he was dying of cancer and framed Cliff.)

While we were in the mansion, we saw Patrick Duffy (plays Bobby Ewing). He smiled and waved to us. Jesse Metcalfe (plays Christopher Ewing) walked through the living room and said hello. My goodness, he is gorgeous! Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing) filmed a scene in the living room while we were there. And Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos) walked through and said hello to us as well. She is stunning! I did see Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), but only from a distance. In hindsight, that's probably a good thing. He so stinkin' hot...too much of a hot thing might have resulted in a fit of giddiness!

Lucy's bedroom.

Young John Ross' bedroom.

And here's where JR bit it.
JR & Sue Ellen's bedroom.

JR & Sue Ellen's bathroom.

80s opulence at its best!
Geeking out at Southfork!!!

Sitting in the Ewing living room, under Jock's portrait.

John Ross' Corvette.

JR, Miss Ellie, and Jock's graves.

While photographing the tombstones, I "paparazzied" a picture of the mansion.
You can see some people and some equipment from the filming.

When I got back to my car, I walked around to check out some of the actors' trailers. 

The visitors' center/museum.

Southfork, y'all!

John and Jesse's trailer.

Brenda and Emma's trailer.
Mitch's trailer. (He waved to me from the Range Rover he was sitting in while filming an "arrival scene.")

After I'd sufficiently geeked out on the grounds of Southfork, I decided to return downtown before rush hour started. A few of us Penn Staters went out to dinner again, this time for Texas BBQ.

Brisket, pit turkey, and jalapeno sausage with mac & cheese and fried okra.

The APPA U programming wrapped up Thursday afternoon and the week concluded with a banquet dinner Thursday evening. Several of us headed down to the sports bar in the hotel for a nightcap or two before we said our goodbyes and retreated to our rooms to pack for our travel the next day.

There's still one thing that remains on my Dallas to-do list - see a Cowboys game! I could have toured their stadium while I was in town, but as much fun as that would be, I think seeing a game there would be the ultimate for a diehard Cowboys fan like me! I can tell you the date - Monday, September 9, 1991. My dad was watching Monday Night Football and Troy Aikman graced the TV screen. I said, "I shall root for HIS team henceforth and hereunto!" And I have! DEFEND THE STAR!!!

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