Tom Adams has been importing culture into Dallas for decades, from the traditional—Mikhal Baryshnikov, Ravi Shankar, Judy Collins—to semi-household names—Laurie Anderson and Twyla Tharp—to the absolutely unheard of (at the time)—Pilobolus and STOMP. His group, The International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS), which Tom refers to affectionately as his baby, has grown into a $2 million organization. He retired—well, sort of—this year. But enough about civic leadership, we want to see his house.
DH&G: You might be retired, but you definitely have not stopped. Where do you go to slow down?
Tom: If Dallas wasn’t so hot, I would garden, and, of course, there’s always my psychiatrist’s office. But at home, I like to relax in my library because I finally have time to read.
(Surprisingly, there are only a few books in the library. In one corner stands a vintage, full-length mirror. He bought it for his mother, but she wasn’t interested in it. Light filters into the library through a canopy, which is actually a large papier-mâché, Asian-looking umbrella, suspended from the ceiling.)
DH&G: Was retirement an easy transition?
Tom: Relaxing is a learned behavior. I wake up in the morning, realize that I don’t have an agenda, and panic. But I’m trying to adjust.
(He sinks into an armchair in his Perry Heights townhouse. The shelves and tabletops are covered with garage sale treasures and memorabilia he’s collected from globetrotting. Autographed posters of his most famous performing artists line the second and third floor hallways. French doors, accented by an antique stained-glass inlay, face out from his third-floor bedroom to the courtyard below.)
DH&G: Are you still affiliated with TITAS?
Tom: I will continue to produce the Command Performance ballet gala. I still go in to the office once a week, but it’s easier for me to let them run things from a distance, so they can establish their own way of doing things.
DH&G: Now that you have a little time, is there something you’ve always wanted to do?
Tom: Since my father died, I have a greater understanding about how temporal life is. I spend more time in Baton Rouge with my mother. She’s a true Southern belle. She told me that there are two things that keep her going. One, she’s waiting to see how I turn out. Two, she won’t go anywhere without her lipstick. So if Heaven calls and she’s not wearing it, she said she’s not going. I spend all my time hiding her lipstick.
DH&G: Tell your mother we think you turned out fine, Tom. Thank you for your passion and your dedication to Dallas and the arts community.