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Dig Deep

2010-01-05 3 0 Vimeo

Artist and impresario Frank Campagna laments the destruction of an artistic landmark in Dallas’ historic Deep Ellum neighborhood. Deep Ellum holds a storied place in Dallas history. Starting in 1920 and reaching a crescendo into the 1930s, Deep Ellum became distinguished as a prime jazz and blues hotspot in the South. Artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith played in Deep Ellum clubs like The Harlem and The Palace. During the 1960s and 1970s, Deep Ellum was largely a warehouse and industrial district which started to attract artists to the cheap loft space that was available. One of the first was a 1982 "nightclub" called Studio D on Main Street featuring local punk bands like Stick Men With Ray Guns and The Hugh Beaumont Experience. In fact, the "club" was nothing more than an empty warehouse equipped with a drum riser, and a card table by the door to collect the $2 cover charge and home to empressario Frank Campagna. Today, Deep Ellum struggles with high rents, zoning restrictions on businesses, and a perception of a high crime rate that has made people reluctant to visit the area. Campagna soldiers on, now the owner of the Kettle Art Gallery. "Dig Deep" pays tribute to Frank's artwork in the form of the many wall murals he has created in the area and laments the destruction of those murals and many others as a Deep Ellum landmark is bulldozed to make way for yet another rebirth with the completion of the DART light rail line and it's two Deep Ellum stations.