Alexandra Cooper in an Instagram post for her podcast "Call Her Daddy"

Barstool Sports profits off ‘Call Her Daddy’ drama with ‘Cancel Suitman’ hoodies

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Published in The New York Post on May 19, 2020

Barstool Sports has released merchandise calling to “cancel Suitman” — escalating its highly documented war with an HBO Sports boss who allegedly has come between the two stars of Barstool’s slutty podcast “Call Her Daddy.”

Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports, has been accused of orchestrating a contract catfight between the raunchy “Call Her Daddy” co-hosts Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, whom Nelson has dated for more than a year.

The 28-year-old Franklyn, who is 10 years younger than Nelson, has avoided using his name on the tacky show — referring to him only as Suitman.

Barstool is selling a hoodie for $48 and a cropped hoodie for $55, both black and featuring the Barstool logo on the right sleeve. The store is also selling a T-shirt, a cropped tee and a cropped tank for $28 each. The merchandise all features the text “cancel Suitman” in a simple white font on black clothing.

Barstool’s latest jab at the HBO suit comes after founder Dave Portnoy took over the podcast to address the show’s future — which was already uncertain.

Franklyn and Cooper — who launched the show in 2018 — stopped airing the weekly podcasts in April after saying they felt locked into their contracts with Barstool. The entitled hosts, who were no-names before Barstool aired their podcast and used its resources to promote it, each took home nearly $500,000 last year.

Portnoy has since offered the pair a renegotiated contract for the money-making show — which Cooper, 25, has agreed to but Franklyn refused on the advice of Nelson, he said.

“Call Her Daddy” fans, affectionately referred to by its host as the Daddy Gang, have since seemingly turned on Franklyn over the controversy — blasting Nelson on Twitter.

“She’s not dating that man for any reason other than for money and publicity,” claimed @luciakepples.

Another joked that Nelson was responsible for the coronavirus pandemic, “Gonna tell my kids suitman started the corona virus #callherdaddy.”

“Alex knew suitman was bad news from the beginning,” another wrote.

Franklyn took to Twitter Tuesday to address the forming feud.

“Ther has been a lot of crazy s - - t being thrown around and some of it is true and some of it is false.”

The man behind Hat Tricks joins Lava Cantina

Published in The Lewisville Texan Journal on Feb. 4, 2016

In the early 2000s, Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano bought a mom-and-pop dart bar to turn into the concert venue of his dreams. Coach Joe’s Hat Tricks, a 300-person bar and restaurant, officially opened its doors Dec. 3, 2003.

Over the 12 years Tony Avezzano, his son, owned and operated the venue, Hat Tricks booked musical acts that rivaled Dallas County clubs like Bomb Factory, Trees and the Verizon Theater. Hat Tricks was featured in an article in Rolling Stone magazine, made multiple Dallas-centric “best of” lists, and won awards for its food.

Last year, Avezzano sold his obsession to local entrepreneur Jason McDermott. He said he has mixed emotions about leaving Hat Tricks behind.

“We worked really hard to establish it as a live music venue and a credible place to eat good food,” he said. “I’m proud of what we did. But I’m just as excited to move on to a new chapter and a different direction.”

Avezzano said he did everything from managing the bar and staff to bar-tending and cooking himself.

“It was a full-time, 7 days a week and 365 days a year obsession,” he said. “My mom and I even had our Thanksgiving dinner there with customers who had no other place to go.”

He was also responsible for bringing in all of the venue’s musical acts, he said.

“We consistently booked shows that were probably too big for that little place over the years and were fortunate to have artists visit us more than once,” Avezzano said. “That’s what we built our reputation on.”

Hat Tricks also made a name for itself hosting premier acts in the Red Dirt music scene including Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Cody Canada, Jason Isbell, Dean Dillion and Courtney Patton.

“We housed more than 30 high-profile musicians and garnered acclaim from local food blogs,” Avezzano said. “It just felt like we made it to our peak.”

He said even he’s surprised by the acts he was able to land at Hat Tricks.

“The artists and bands that were loyal to use make me look a lot smarter than I am,” he said. “It’s just about treating people right the first time and then treating them just as well when they came back around.”

Avezzano said that, over the years, brokers would reach out to him by email and offer to buy the place. He decided to answer an email from McDermott on a whim last fall.

“We weren’t looking to sell it, but three days later, we were already negotiating a deal,” he said. “It was time for fresh eyes, ideas and energy in Hat Tricks. I know Jason will do that.”

McDermott and Avezzano are different managers, each said, but Avezzano isn’t worried that McDermott will make “wholesale changes” that cause Hat Tricks to become unrecognizable.

“I’m anxious to see the changes he makes and how the staff and customers react to it,” Avezzano said. “They are needed and will help the business carry on for another 20 to 30 years.”

McDermott told The Lewisville Texan Journal that his operation will “keep the high standard and well-respected systems that have made Hat Tricks what is become over the years.”

Avezzano said farewell with a bang on Jan. 26, hosting Fort Worth country favorite Josh Weathers and singer-songwriter Mike Ryan from San Antonio. The show filled the club.

Coincidentally, Avezzano was offered a position at the new Lava Cantina that recently broke ground in The Colony. The 28,000-square-foot live music venue, which is expected to open in October, also brings high quality Mexican and Creole Fusion and live music.

“It’s going to be fantastic to have Lava Cantina in The Colony,” Avezzano said. “The venue caters to people north of Interstate 635 and all of us who drive 45 minutes to see shows in Dallas. It gives Denton County a spot of its own.”

The company also owns and operates Rock 101 Grill in Frisco and a Lava Cantina location in Baton Rouge. Avezzano will be responsible for booking all the concerts and events at the venue in The Colony. He will also focus on booking the larger touring bands and headliners for the other locations.

Avezzano said he’ll try to book everything from country, bluegrass and blues to rock and roll, rap and pop. Over time, it may gravitate towards specific genres as they analyze ticket sales and customer feedback.

Ian Vaughn, the owner and founding partner of Lava Cantina, said his father, Steve Vaughn, will book the local musicians and smaller acts for the other venues.

“My dad has been in the music industry for more than 50 years and is widely connected,” he said. “They will divide and conquer to a full schedule of quality entertainment.”

Lava Cantina will offer 20-25 large concerts on an outdoor stage, with a retractable roof, and an occupancy of 1,800. An indoor stage will hold smaller shows with a capacity of 500.

“The only thing that will stop shows outside will be absolute electrical [lightning] downpour or a freeze of some sort,” Avezzano said. “And food will be available all through concerts and events.”

Lava Cantina also boasts Patrick Stark of Suede and Sundown at Granada as head chef, House of Blues general manager Marc Mann, and Chris Harman, a general manager with On the Border, as front house manager. Ian Vaughn is the former COO of Cane’s Chicken Fingers.

“I’m almost more excited to work with and learn from this unbelievably experienced group than anything else,” Avezzano said. “I have my work cut out to keep up with them.”

Vaughn said he’s thrilled that Avezzano agreed to join his team.

“It’s mind boggling who he’s had play at a smaller place like Hat Tricks. He’s been a massive competitor to the entire D/FW music scene,” Vaughn said. “To take that talent and give him a venue he can spread his wings in, with the amenities he’s always wanted in an amazing location with high traffic counts, is the perfect cocktail for success.”

Staff writer Philip Moulard contributed to this report.

Diddy speaks at a school in Harlem (Photo by Adam Schrader)

Sean (Diddy) Combs kicks off first day of new Harlem charter school he co-founded

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Published in The New York Daily News on Aug. 30, 2016

Rap mogul and would-be educator Sean (Diddy) Combs delivered a rousing speech Monday to kick off the first day of classes at a new charter school he co-founded in his old Harlem neighborhood.

Speaking from a podium onstage in the student auditorium at Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, Combs told dozens of students and staffers that their school would change the world, starting with the people right there in the room.

“Great schools and great education make a big difference,” Combs told the cheering crowd. “Unfortunately, too many people don’t get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field here at Capital Prep.”

Combs, 46, was born in a public housing project in Harlem and raised in Mount Vernon.

He first gained fame as founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, a record label that released music by The Notorious B.I.G. and a slew of hit artists in the 1990s.

Combs had no background in education until he started work on Capital Prep Harlem in 2014. Besides his work in music, Combs has found success in a number of ventures including his Sean Jean clothing line.

He founded the new Harlem school in partnership with Connecticut educator. Dr. Steve Perry, who previously created a successful charter school in Hartford.

Perry, who frequently appears on television and writes books and articles on education, founded Capital Preparatory Magnet School in 2005.

The Hartford school features a no-excuses approach to student discipline and extended instructional time for students. It will serve as a model for Capital Prep Harlem.

“The advantages (of having a celebrity like Combs) are clear,” Perry said. “Mr. Combs has made a significant commitment to this.”

Capital Prep Harlem admitted 176 students in sixth and seventh grades for its first year of classes. Students were chosen from a random lottery of roughly 1,000 applicants.

The charter will expand to enroll about 700 students in grades 6-12 by the year 2021, school officials said.

Traditional public schools in the city begin classes next Thursday, but New York City Charter School Center CEO James Merriman said class is already in session for roughly half of the city’s 216 charters.

“It’s this hard work and innovative spirit that makes the charter sector what it is,” Merriman said.

Construction begins on Lewisville's Coyote Drive-In theater.(Photo by Adam Schrader)

Anticipation for Coyote Drive-In grows, company postpones opening for rain

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Published in The Lewisville Texan Journal on June 4, 2016

Drive-in theaters have been absent from the Denton County community since The Rancho in Denton closed in the 1980s. There hasn’t been a theater like it in Lewisville since one closed off Business 121 in the 1970s.

So when Fort Worth-based Coyote Drive-In announced plans to open Lewisville location, the community couldn’t get enough of the news. It continues to be one of the most talked about local stories and residents frequently ask The Lewisville Texan Journal for updates.

The opening, which was once planned for late last year, will be postponed again after a series of delays in the planning stages when the theater realized it had space to add a sixth screen, and rain.

Coyote had then planned for a July 1 opening but now won’t be open until early fall, said Glen Soloman, a partner in Coyote Drive-In. No changes have been made to the planned design since Lewisville approved $306,500 of incentives in February; and work was moving on schedule since the company broke ground in January, before recent rains.

“Nobody is more sorry about the delay than we are,” Soloman said. “But when the long-anticipated location finally opens, it will be worth the wait.”

Soloman said significant progress will be seen in the next coming weeks as the weather forecast shifts.

Lewisville resident Todd Simpson, 36, said he loved going to theaters like it when he was younger.

“I absolutely would go and I understand it’s very difficult to build things when we’re getting the type of rain we’ve been getting,” he said.

Simpson said that next summer, when Coyote Drive-In is open, Texans won’t have to worry about the summer heat like they did.

“When we think of drive-ins, we think of the old days of having to roll down the windows,” he said. Coyote Drive-In uses special FM radio frequencies to which guests tune their car’s radio, so “there is never going to be an issue with the heat,” he said.

Lewisville resident Sallie Burris, 62, said that when she was dating in high school, she used to catch films at the Rebel Twin Drive-In off Belt Line in Carrollton. By the time the previous Lewisville theater opened, she was a young married woman with a baby daughter.

“We would load our Volkswagen bus with bottles, diapers and baby food and go to the movies,” she said. “Now I want my grandchildren to experience the drive-in movie. I am sure they’ve come a long way since then.”

Flower Mound resident Nicole Webb, 23, who is currently in school in Washington D.C., said she’s never been to a drive-in theater.

“Me and my friends in high school always wanted to. We never got around to it because all the ones open then were too far away,” she said. “I’d love to go when I’m in town next.”

Some residents had suggestions for Coyote before they open.

“We honestly don’t go to movies, but if there were a decent family film we would consider it,” Lewisville resident Kari Simpkins, 53. “I don’t care for any sort of violence or foul language. I would love to see some of the recent Christian movies shown there.”

Coyote opened its second location in Birmingham, Alabama, at the start of May. Until the new cinema opens in Lewisville, residents looking to catch flicks from the comfort of their car can head to the company’s original Panther Island location in Fort Worth.

Construction begins on Lewisville's Coyote Drive-In theater.(Photo by Adam Schrader)

City grants $306,500 in economic incentives to Coyote Drive In

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Published in The Lewisville Texan Journal on Feb. 18, 2016

The City of Lewisville passed an economic development agreement, granting $306,500 in incentives to Coyote Drive In, at its Feb. 15 meeting.

Coyote Drive In will include six outdoor screens centered by a 10,000 square foot climate-controlled cantina, a shaded outdoor pavilion, and a 14,000 square foot mini-golf area and a kids play area.

Nika Reinecke, Director of Economic Development and Planning, wrote a letter to City Manager Donna Barron on why the city should approve the economic development agreement.

“As part of the agreement, Coyote will allow the city to use its property for parking purposes for certain city events,” she wrote. “They will also promote city events by projecting city-provided advertisements on all theater screens before each movie.”

The Fort Worth-based company is projected to create 80 permanent jobs and invest $9.8 million in the drive in theater, according to the agreement. Coyote will sponsor an annual hoteliers meeting or a city event at the facility at a cost not to exceed $1,000 annually.

“That property was always going to be difficult to develop,” said council member TJ Gilmore. “This was a great way to get a unique amenity and bring additional tax revenues to the city.”

In return, the city will waive the Coyote’s roadway escrow fee for Midway Road estimated at $247,000, issue a grant equal to the amount of fees paid for water and sanitary sewer impact fees estimated at $43,054, and reimburse all other fees paid to the city up to the total amount.

James Kunke, a spokesman for Lewisville, explained the roadway escrow fee waiver.

“Coyote will need a turn lane on Midway to pull traffic off the road into their facility, otherwise cars will back up onto the road and block traffic,” Kunke said. “But, we’re going to rebuild Midway Road and widen it. So it would be wasteful for them to build it now.”

Coyote will have to pay the city to build that turn lane, which will be included when the city rebuilds the road. But, the city is waiving the fee for the widening of Midway road which the city had already budgeted for.

The agreement ends on Dec. 30, 2026, unless renewed in writing by both parties. The developer will complete property improvements within 18 months. More time may be granted if, in the city’s opinion, Coyote has made substantial progress on construction and property improvements.

“Coyote Drive In brings a new regional entertainment choice for Southern Denton County,” Kunke said. “We are thrilled they chose Lewisville and think they have a lot to bring to our community and we want to support their success.”

21-year-old Lewisville native Anne Winters pursues acting dream in Los Angeles

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Published in The Dallas Morning News on Jan. 14, 2016

Anne Winters, 21, uses her youthful looks to her advantage, usually playing 15- to 17-year-olds on shows like The Fosters, Wicked City and Tyrant.

After Winters begged her mother to help her land commercials in high school, her career quickly evolved.

“I thought it would be fun and I could make some extra money,” she said. “It would either grow into something more or it wouldn’t.”

It grew into enough to derail Winters from her plans of a traditional college track. By 19, she left her Lewisville home for Hollywood and hasn’t been without a job for more than six weeks since.

“She was always willing to perform in front of people,” said her mother, Karen Winters.

At 15, Anne won a Los Angeles talent competition, scoring a contract with a manager. She would return to Los Angeles for pilot season and callbacks.

“My sophomore year, I missed like 75 days of school, and that was tough,” she said. “I missed homecoming and all the fun things a high-schooler gets to do.”

That year, she booked commercials across Dallas and a Nickelodeon pilot. Ultimately, it didn’t run.

“To get anything so soon in the game was the biggest shock ever, particularly to my dad,” she said. “He’s still skeptical of my career.”

Her junior year, Winters took a break from Hollywood to focus on acting in North Texas and her goal to be accepted into the acting program at Southern Methodist University.

Staying close to home, she worked a movie called Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang that was filmed in her Castle Hills neighborhood.

Winters auditioned for SMU during her senior year at Prestonwood Christian Academy. But she already had a growing resume. Faculty asked her why she wished to attend school instead of following her Hollywood path.

“That’s when I chose to move and pursue acting for real,” Winters said. “If things didn’t work out after a year, I could always come back.”

Winters said she had backup a lot of starting actors don’t have. Her parents could afford to provide time and financial support.

Winters graduated in 2012, moved to California and enrolled at the College of the Canyons.

“I went to college for a minute and booked the role of Lauren in Sand Castles, which filmed in Indiana. Professors told me I had to choose,” she said. “I never went back to school.”

Sand Castles follows a family wrestling with the mysterious return of Lauren, a mute who had disappeared from a beach parking lot.

Winters said she landed the role because of her acting coach, Saxon Trainor.

“I was working with her a lot when I moved out there. She got the role of this drunken mom, and told producers I’d be great to play her daughter,” Winters said. “They loved how she was my coach and said it would be a good dynamic on set.”

In California, she rooms with Devyn Smith, an actress from Rockwall. In their free time, Winters and Smith visit different churches around Los Angeles most days of the week. Church provides Winters a social outlet with people her own age in a town where it can be hard to make friends. She also enjoys singing during services.

“It’s great to have a fellow Texan to room with so far away from home,” Smith said. “We have a similar foundation and understanding of our upbringing that creates a mutual respect and bond.”

During pilot season in 2012, Winters tested for a role seven times and didn’t get the part.

“It was devastating. It was the first time I had my hopes up so much,” she said. “I mean who tests seven times and doesn’t get the role? That’s crazy. But no, it’s not crazy. That’s normal, apparently.”

She went on to land her breakout role — “mean girl” Kelsey in a recurring, two-season spot on ABC Family’s The Fosters.

“I loved being on The Fosters because it was a bunch of kids and I got to make friends,” she said.

After The Fosters, Winters was in the Showtime movie Fatal Instinct. She also starred inAll is Vanity, a post-apocalyptic movie set for release this year.

“I carried a rifle around and had a country accent the whole time,” she said.

In a Lifetime movie, The Bride He Bought Online, she is the main character, one of three girls who prank a man. He discovers their identities and takes revenge.

Growing fame helped her book Tyrant, an FX drama about an unassuming American family drawn into a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Winters lived in Israel for six months while filming season one. She said she could see missiles from her apartment.

She also went to Budapest for season two of Tyrant. Acting now pays all her bills.

Actress Jennifer Finnegan said she feels lucky to be Winters’ on-screen mother on the show.

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching Anne grow into a beautiful woman and extremely talented actress,” she said. “She’s a natural performer and always wants to listen and learn which makes her a force to be reckoned with. I adore her.”

Southern Denton County/Northwest Dallas County editor Adam Schrader can be reached at 214-773-8188. Twitter: @schrader_adam.


2009 — Gloria (short)

2010 — Summer Camp (Nickelodeon), A Christmas Snow (direct-to-DVD release)

2011 — Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang (Released online at, In My Pocket (DVD release)

2013 — Liv and Maddie (Disney Channel)

2013-14 — The Fosters (ABC Family)

2014 — Fatal Instinct (Showtime)

2014-15 — Tyrant (FX)

2015 — Pass the Light (Released in select theaters), The Bride He Bought Online (Lifetime),Wicked City (Hulu)

2016 (set for release) — Sand Castles (filmed in 2012 and shown at film fesitvals in 2014), All is Vanity

(Photo submitted by Mike Foster)

‘Calendar Girls’ cast strips for cause

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Published in the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record-Chronicle on Dec. 5, 2014

The Greater Lewisville Community Theater will host the region premiere of the comedy Calendar Girls by Tim Firth. Landing the licensing rights to produce the play has become a big deal for southern Denton County’s arts community.

The play is based on a group of women in Yorkshire, England. In 1998, when one of their husbands died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the group decided to raise money to purchase a hospital waiting-room sofa. Despite their advanced ages, the women decided to pose naked for photos and then sell the resulting pinup calendar.

Their fundraiser went better than expected and they soon had donated hundreds of thousands of pounds for leukemia research. Because of its success, the women decided to make followup calendars each year. Now, they have raised millions of pounds for leukemia and lymphoma research.

Touchstone Pictures released an award-winning film starring Helen Mirren in 2003. Tim Firth released his stage adaptation in 2008. The play was a huge success in the United Kingdom. Every theater that performed the play would make a pinup calendar to further the women’s cause.

Theaters in the United States recently acquired the rights to perform the play, and the Lewisville theater company has one of six production licenses in the country. It will be the second U.S. theater to stage the play.

Nancy Thorne, a theater board member, said she is happy to have a small role in Calendar Girls.

“We’re just a small community theater,” she said. “So we’re really excited about being able to produce it.”

Delynda Moravec is one of the six principal actors in Calendar Girls. She was particularly attracted to this project because her husband, Kip, is a 40-year survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“The thought of him dealing with cancer as a teenager is heartbreaking to me,” she said. “I want to be able to help raise awareness and support research for these diseases, and this story is a poignant reminder of what we can accomplish when we come together for a cause.”

In keeping with tradition, the women of the GLCT cast and crew have produced a 2015 pinup calendar. It will be on sale for $15 each during the run of the show. Net proceeds will benefit the North Texas Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“It just seemed natural to do exactly what these ladies did and give to the cause they donated to,” Thorne said.

Mike Foster, a Highland Village photographer, has shot GLCT’s production photos for many years. He said he was caught off guard when he was asked to take pictures for the calendar.

“I was excited, thrilled and terrified at the thought. Before the shoot, nerves were relaxed at Tierney’s Cafe and we were ready to go,” he said. “I knew the ladies were going to be nervous, as was I, but once the shoot started, we all had a blast.”

Thorne said the group joked a lot before the photo shoot to calm their nerves.

“Mike was so professional and an easy guy to work with,” she said.

Calendar Girls runs through Dec. 21, with performances at 8 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $17 for adults and $15 for 65 and older or 18 and younger. It is rated PG-13 for adult content.

Crumpet comes to town

The Greater Lewisville Community Theater will perform the Joe Mantello adaptation of David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries simultaneously.

The play is based on Sedaris’ personal essay about his time as an elf in Macy’s.

Chris Robinson plays Crumpet in this one-man, one-act play. Out of work and desperate, this irreverent little man takes a job at Macy’s ushering children and their parents through the Santaland maze to meet an everchanging array of Santas.

Robinson has directed numerous productions in area theaters, including the last two musicals for GLCT. He said he first became aware of The Santaland Diaries during a road trip to Houston, when he heard Sedaris read the essay on NPR.

“My travel companion and I laughed for days over the antics of Crumpet the Elf,” he said. “I thought at the time I could portray him brilliantly if I ever had the chance.”

This is Robinson’s first solo performance.

“I have performed in many productions of the two-actor Tuna plays with my good friend, the late Ryan Roach, and it was always comforting to be able to rely on his support as a fellow actor,” he said. “It’s a bit scary now to have only myself to rely on onstage.”

The Santaland Diaries will run at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 20. Tickets cost $12. It is rated R for adult content and language.

GLCT is at 160 W. Main St. in Old Town Lewisville. Call 972-221-7469 to make reservations. More information is available at

Lewisville/Flower Mound editor Adam Schrader can be reached at 214-773-8188 and on Twitter at @schrader_adam.