All the photos that are fit to print don’t always fit into print. Advocate photo editor Danny Fulgencio shoots almost every photo you see in our publication. The exception is restaurant photography, which is primarily the work of Kathy Tran.
But still, Fulgencio completes more than 300 photo assignments for the Advocate’s four monthly magazines every year. Despite this heavy workload, he does a dang bang-up job of it, even if we do say so ourselves.
1. Peace, love and tacos: How a taco editor inspired us
How do you shoot Texas Monthly’s first taco editor with the taco in the foreground? If you’re Advocate Magazines photo editor Danny Fulgencio, just tape that puppy to the lens. Fulgencio photographed José R. Ralat for the November 2019 Oak Cliff Advocate at Trompo in the Bishop Arts District. It was such a saintly pose that Advocate senior art director Jynnette Neal put it on a candle.
Neal, a practicing Catholic with a sense of humor, even fashioned a “prayer,” in case anyone feels like they need a taco novena.
“May your tacos always be authentic. May you find the spice level you desire. May your tortillas always be handmade. Grant unto thee the perfect blend of flavors, be they of the persuasion of corn or flour, Tex-Mex or street. Peace, love & tacos.”
2. Mike Sannie in the garden: A volunteer with spirit and style
Fulgencio shot this photo for a story in the August Advocate about the historic preservation work that the all-volunteer Friends of Oak Cliff Parks has accomplished over the years. Fulgencio captured volunteer Mike Sannie watering weeping Arizona cypress trees at Kidd Springs Park. Sannie, “is our amazing volunteer” who kept 36 trees watered in the park’s restored Japanese garden all summer, board member Cynthia Mulcahy says.
“He looks like Monet from the show I just saw at the Kimbell,” she says.
3. All bark, some bite: The face only a mother could love
Ziggy doesn’t care for male humans. He’s had a hard life, OK? Rosemary Monterrosa found him, while block walking for the SPCA of Texas, with a bullet in his knee and metallic fragments throughout his body and suffering from a double case of “cherry eye.”
They weren’t sure he would make it, but lil Zig is now thriving at home with Monterrosa. Taking a photograph of him, however, was also a challenge.
Ziggy growled at and “really wanted to bite” our male human photographer.
But Monterrosa managed to keep the dog calm long enough for some adorable portraits. You would never know he had murder in his heart for the guy behind the lens. Monterrosa works as an outreach coordinator for the SPCA, and she’s made it her mission to get dogs off of chains.
Even though it’s illegal to keep dogs tied up in Dallas, there are plenty of people who still do it. Monterrosa’s group, Broken Chains, spends their weekend mornings building dog runs for previously chained animals. They also give them water pails, flea treatments and anything else they need for a life outdoors. She takes the work a step further, checking on every dog they’ve unchained at least once a month in case the pets need anything.
Sign up to volunteer with Broken Chains at spca.org/volunteer.
4. Tattoo views: Friday the 13th in West Dallas
Singleton Tattoo threw a huge grand opening party offering small tattoos designed by Will Heron, the artist known as Wheron, for $31. Tattoo marathons are a tradition among tattooing shops on Friday the 13th. Elm Street Tattoo famously offers “13” tattoos for $13 and eventually based the Elm Street Tattoo and Music Festival around its Friday the 13th tradition.
A Wheron mural depicting black-and-white cactuses also adorns the exterior of the Singleton Tattoo’s building. Will Heron organized the second-annual Wild West Mural Fest, part of Art Walk West, in November.
5. Too hot to handle: Authenticity down to the fire
Chef Justin Holt’s new Bishop Arts restaurant, Salaryman, is a little piece of working class Japan, Texas-style. The small restaurant’s décor includes a lot of local touches. Oak Cliff artisans made all of the plates and bowls the restaurant uses, for example.
And the attention to detail is impressive. Boston-based artist Jason Vivona hand drew the wallpaper design, which depicts the Basan, a mythical Japanese fowl. There’s also an Australian $20 signed by Chuck Norris hanging on the wall, but that’s another story.
The coals for the yakitori grill are not local; they’re imported from Asia. This is bincho-tan, Japanese charcoal that is different from typical lump charcoal because it’s baked at a higher temperature. Bincho-tan is oak wood that’s carbonized in a kiln, and after that, the kiln is opened and flooded with oxygen so that it burns extremely hot. Then it’s snuffed with dirt and left to cool. The result is charcoal that’s denser and higher in carbon content than lump charcoal.
Before he even started working on Salaryman, which opened in 2019, Holt had the idea that he would learn to make bincho-tan and possibly become a purveyor of Japanese charcoal in Texas.
“That turned out to be a crazy load of work and way more than we have time for now,” he says.
But his experiments in charcoal did result to the restaurant’s logo. It’s designed from a high-resolution photo of one of Holt’s homemade bincho-tan ends.
6. Keeping an eye on cops: Ezekiel Tyson sits on the police oversight board
It’s not a job that will make you the most popular person in Dallas.
The first meeting of the newly revamped Community Police Oversight Board, which coincided with the Amber Guyger murder trial in October, erupted in chaos. It turned into a shouting match between police officers and citizens after they realized there would be no public comment during the meeting.
A police oversight board, which reviews criminal allegations against police, has never been smooth sailing in Dallas. The new board is unpopular with some because there are no current or former law-enforcement personnel on the panel. Others complain that some members believe the police need less oversight.
Oak Cliff-based lawyer Ezekiel Tyson, a former assistant district attorney in Houston, is there for unity. He is Dallas City Council District 10 representative Adam McGough’s appointee to the board. Here are two takeaways from his November interview in the Lake Highlands Advocate.
The bygone Citizens Police Review Board had no budget, no staff and virtually no power. “The new board has a little more oomph to it. We actually have a budget for a staff of three, including a director, administrative assistant and investigator,” Tyson says. “If we aren’t satisfied with [internal investigators’] ultimate recommendation, then our investigator can launch their own investigation.”
The complaints they review are all over the map. “We had everything from one lady who said she was assaulted in the police station when she was supposed to be giving a statement, and I believe her allegations bordered on sexual as well as physical inappropriate actions. Then on the other hand, we’ve had stuff that’s as simple as people who said, ‘Well I went to file a police report for missing checks and instead of walking me through the process, the officer on duty shrugged me off because I was homeless.’”