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Keep Irving Dirty

Keep Irving DirtyScreen Shot 2016-05-01 at 1.03.07 PM


Let’s face the fact: Irving is dirty. Now I don’t want anyone to be offended: I love Irving, but you can’t say that you love something without knowing and accepting it for what it is. Others have noticed this too, as seen in this Yahoo question: why does Dallas/Irving Texas smell like an open sewer? BTW, no one has an answer on Yahoo…but you know what I’m talking about…there’s that smell, that distinct dirty Irv smell.

While I say Irving is dirty, I’d like to propose that this is not something to be ashamed of or outraged about. I see the dirtiness as a net positive. Dirty means it isn’t neat, tidy, homogenous, sterile, bland, or veneered. There’s a grave danger in the temptation to tidiness. I’d much rather live in a place with “character” than a Truman Show like development (or more likely an Arrested Development Bluth model home). The dirtiness of Irving is what makes it fun, exciting, diverse, vibrant, and a great place to live. Irving is not one homogenous culture, there is actually a great diversity to Irving ethnically speaking. In fact, recently, it boasted the most diverse zipcode in the US. As the old adage from biology goes: diversity means life.


All littering great and small!

Among Irving’s earthquakes, shifting soil, and endless road construction projects (Rochelle and O’Connor *cough cough*), you’re sure to see some littering. But rest assured! If caught littering, the perpetrator could be fined anywhere from $1-2000. I’m not sure what you’d have to litter to get fined $1.00, so I like to think it’s something like $1.00=one Dorito. I personally see littering all of the time, but I try to imagine it as a sort of avant-guarde art installation.


Artwork installation: Tampico, Fritos, and blue paper towel on Irving lawn, 2016.

But in all seriousness, I dislike littering and wish it would go away entirely. But on the plus side, I’ve benefitted from curb-side “littering”, where a resident puts out old furniture on the curb.

I’ve even seen a few professional “pickers” on the streets of Irving. Their trucks are a sight to behold! I know for a fact that a friend of mine will go out of his way to troll the streets of

Irving in search of items that have been put out. It’s psychologically difficult for him not to drive around looking for items “littered” on the curb.  I have been held hostage to this impulse more than once while he is behind the wheel. Of course, from time to time, it does pay off: he’s now the proud owner of a cool vintage scuba divers air tank, a mannequin that has come in handy on several occasions, and literally every chair he owns.


A rare shot of the “The Old Mill Picker”

There’s no one I’d like to thank more than the Irving Police Department for keeping Irving dirty. I’m not sure how they’ve managed it, but they’ve kept Irving safe, sweeping out the bad dirt without disturbing the healthy dirt! They’ve brought the crime-rate down an incredible amount, which makes Irving statistically among the top 10 safest places to live in the US when compared to other towns of similar populations. Even in the face of such staggering statistics, Irving has remained a place friendly, vibrant, and not too neat and tidy.


What is she looking at?

Usually, you don’t associate the words safe and dirty, but think of a small scale comparison. Scientific studies have shown the benefits of early exposure to pets, dirt, and germs among babies. Irving works just like that–living and growing up in Irving, among the dirtiness, will make babies and adults better adjusted, like anyone who was able to play outside and inhale dust, dander, and dirt as a child, they won’t have as bad allergies or asthma. Just apply that on the city level, and that’s Irving. Irving really is like a parent that tells the kids to “go play outside”. It certainly appears that the city encourages playing outside, since they have so many bronze statues of children playing outside. I think it’s starting to catch on as an aesthetic too, since I recently saw this statue in the front yard of a house while I was walking around my bronze_children_rejectsneighborhood. In fact Irving has commissioned so many bronze statues of children, that bronze children statues are flocking to Irving, in search of employment. If you drive by City Hall, you can see the throngs of unemployed bronze children, waiting soberly, hoping they will be chosen that day.

the dirty irvIrving’s dirty character has inspired some local musicians to name their band The Dirty Irv, and although they’ve renamed themselves The Native Sons, they can still be found rocking out in “Dirty Dallas” aka Deep Ellum.

In conclusion, I’d like to exhort everyone to embrace Irving for what it is. So when you see a sign to keep Irving beautiful, just remember to also Keep Irving Dirty. What weird is to Austin, dirty is to Irving. Its dirtiness is what makes it unique, enjoyable, and a great place to hang your hat.

Keep Irving Dirty Bumper Sticker

If you want to keep A Druaght of Vintage Dirty, like and share!

Interview with director James Mackenzie – A Draught of Vintage Artist Series

This is the 2nd post in the ADoV Artist Series.  I got a chance to talk to my good friend James Mackenzie about what he and his incredible wife are up to these days out there in Los Angeles. Check out James’ Vimeo for a taste of what he does, and always keep your ear to the ground for updates on American Zealot, which is currently in post-production.


Why do you make movies?

To cure a raging imbalance.

Describe the style of your films.

To be honest, I’m still learning my style. Visually, I like using natural light — American Zealot used 99% natural or available light, which was a challenge I’m proud of conquering with my director of photography. I like handheld camera. I despise actors wearing an unnatural amount of makeup, unless it’s a part of their character. So far, my films have featured innocent, teenage, red-haired female protagonists, and some of the most powerful imagery features deserted, mountainous locations, but those films just happened like that, I promise.

What are your major influences?

Ingmar Bergman, Joe Wright, Woody Allen, Max Reinhardt. Shakespeare.

mackenzie_IMG_7146_smallestWhat do you feel is missing in movies today?

I haven’t seen everything in the last ten years, so I’m scared to make a blanket statement, but I will say two important things:

First, there’s pressure as a filmmaker to make genre films. There’s a good deal of money to be found in an audience that’s already been created, so the underlying idea is to use the predefined mythology, iconography, and conventions to tell a similar story. But my favorite films don’t follow molds, they follow heart and character. They hold a mirror up to nature. If these are the guiding principles used to tell a story, even with glaring shortcomings, I want to see it! These two modes aren’t mutually exclusive, but when I see an interesting story covered with paint-by-numbers filmmaking, I cry inside.

Second, movies need active audiences that aren’t afraid to question society, tradition, and the bedrock of their lives. I’m eager to find moviegoers that want to leave a film full of questions because I’m not sure I have many answers to give.

What’s next for you?

I just finished writing a screenplay about a teenage alcoholic for a Lithuanian production company, but that’s for a friend to direct. I’m at-bat for a sci-fi romance (I can’t be more excited about this) and refuse to give many details away, but I think there will be a bizarre wedding scene — one unlike any other you’ve seen before.

Gregory the Great Crowdfunding Campaign – Land of Song

Dear Friends,

Gregory the Great Academy is gearing up for their annual crowdfunding campaign Land of Song – The Place of Music in Education.


You might recall last year’s crowdfunding campaign. They are calling for people to signup to be a part of it in order to get the word out. The title of the campaign is Land of Song, which are lyrics from the school’s song “The Minstrel Boy” by Thomas Moore. This song encapsulates the poet warrior spirit of the academy, recalling the brave and self-sacrificial deeds of the minstrel boy. These crowdfunding campaigns are incredibly important

Senior rugby players 6

Class of ’05 Rugby players

because they help the school’s tuition assistance program that lets deserving boys attend the school who cannot make full tuition payments. Without this fund, many of my friends would not have been able to attend St. Greg’s. Let’s get the word out there, and raise some dollars to support this great institution.

Click Here to signup as a member of the crowdfunding campaign team.

As an incentive, if you signup, you can download a complimentary copy of the album Introibo, which was recorded mainly by the class of ’05 (my class).

Peter Hilaire Bloch

SGA Class of 2005