The Black Hawks Get a New Look
Last season, the Dallas Black Hawks almost died from lack of interest. This season, in accordance with the law of sport, some changes have been made.
Ice hockey has always had an uphill battle for survival in Dallas, most of the problem being that hockey is simply not a native sport. Dad and little Billy can’t just run out into the backyard and shoot pucks. Of no help is the home of the Black Hawks, the Fair Park Coliseum, which people refuse to believe has a safely lighted parking lot and is no more dangerous than the Aquarium. And hockey has an image problem: the occasional fisticuffs have led many unfairly to lump hockey with Sportatorium wrestling.
But things may be looking up.
Big Change #1: New coach. Roger Neilson is an energetic and enthusiastic man who has enjoyed great success in the Canadian junior leagues, breeding ground for most of the National Hockey League. His style should provide, at least, a distinct contrast to last year’s Gordon Fashoway, who rarely uncrossed his arms. There is talk, if only rumor, that Neilson is destined to replace long-time coach Billy Reay at the helm of the Chicago Black Hawks.
Big Change #2: New ownership. The Chicago Black Hawks have owned and operated the Dallas Black Hawks since their inception. They still do. But now Chicago has a partner. The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken on half ownership of the franchise, meaning that nine players from each of the two NHL clubs will make up the new Black Hawks. For fans, that mostly means new faces. At this writing, the team is in training camp and personnel is entirely unsettled, but Neilson points to a few potential young hot-shots to watch: Bruce Boudreau, a 21-year-old high scoring center; Kurt Walker, a tough young de-fenseman, and Alain Belanger, a big and talented 20-year-old winger and a top Toronto draft choice.
Big Change #3: New public relations and broadcasting staff. The new regime, taking a cue from the Dallas Tornado, is going into heavy promotion – from girls’ hockey matches to 20￠ Beer Nights. Already more season tickets have been sold than ever before.
Big Change #4: New league. It’s still the Central Hockey League, but with a new look. The Tulsa and Salt Lake City franchises are still intact. Last year’s Tucson team has moved into Oklahoma City. Fort Worth has added old pro Frank St. Marseille as player/assistant coach. And a new franchise has opened in Kansas City, supported by the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings and featuring long-time NHL star Barclay Plager as player/coach. All in all, the CHL appears far more formidable than last year.
But the Black Hawks haven’t solved all their problems. For one, they may open the season without a local radio broadcast outlet, a critical need. KRLD, who aired the Hawks last year and who have raised themselves into position as Dallas’ best sports station, are for some reason trying to change their image and, among other format changes, dropped the Hawks. Nobody has picked them up. WRR broadcasts the Houston Astros and the Houston Oilers; the Dallas Black Hawks were apparently edged out by Mesquite High School football.
But, when the Black Hawks open their home season on October 30 against Salt Lake City, the hockey hard-core will be there, radio or not. If you can’t find a parking place at Texas Stadium, there will be plenty of well-lighted spaces down at the Coliseum.
Games and Matches
Football/ Dallas Cowboys. Texas Stadium. Tickets $6 & $10. 369-3211.
Nov 7 vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m.
Nov 15 vs. Buffalo Bills, 8 p.m.
Hockey/ Dallas Black Hawks. Fair Park Coliseum All games begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $2 50-$5.50. 823-6362.
Oct 30 vs. Salt Lake City
Nov 5 vs. Fort Worth
Nov 6 vs. Salt Lake City
Nov 12 vs. Kansas City
Nov 13 vs. Fort Worth
Nov 19 vs Oklahoma City
Nov 21 vs. Kansas City
Nov 27 vs, Tulsa
Quarter Horse Racing/ Ross Downs, Hwy 121. four miles southwest of Grapevine. 481-1071. From 9 to 19 races every Sunday year ’round, beginning at 1 p.m. Adults $2/children $1.
Rugby/ Texas Rugby Union. The Texas Rugby Union includes eight teams from the Northeast Texas area, among them the Dallas Harlequins, Dallas Rugby Football Club, Wildebeeste, and Our Gang. Matches are held Saturdays and occasional Sundays beginning about 1 p.m. at Glencoe Park (Martel Ave at N Cen Expwy) and Merriman Park (6800 Skillman at Merriman Lane). Spectators welcome. For further information call Alan Tatum at 363-9705.
Sailing/ White Rock Lake. Competitive sailing every Sat and Sun year ’round. Races begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays, at 1:30 p.m. Sundays. Various size classifications. Spectators welcome. For racing information call 327-9667
Thoroughbred Horse Racing/ Louisiana Downs.Bossier City, Louisiana on iH 20 (about threehours drive from Dallas). Nine or ten races daily,Wednesday through Sunday. Through Dec 5. Posttime 1:15 p.m. Grandstand $1, Clubhouse $2 50;plus $1 entrance (parking) fee. For further information or reservations, call toll free 1-800-551-8623.
How Good Is the Dallas Ballet?
I had been away from Dallas for 15 months, so I was eager for the opening of the Dallas Ballet’s third professional season to see how the company had come along. It is, in fact, working and looking like a company, but it still has a way to go. I am hopeful, however, for its future.
During the September gala, one could see individuality and talent in specific dancers, especially Karen Travis and Marcella Shannon. More important was the sense one caught of the group performing as an ensemble, its members enjoying one another’s company. An enthusiasm nothing less than infectious was the prime quality of James Clouser’s Surprise Symphony, a ballet made on these dancers and premiered on September 5.
Clouser’s ballet was an object lesson for all new dance companies. One might have had doubts about some of the choreography (the ballet was too long), but the dancing was fine. Since the ballet was made according to the talents and bodies of these particular dancers, they were better suited to it than to other things they have done. It is also a splendid ballet for audiences just learning about dance: it develops clear relationships (though occasionally obvious, simplistic or facile ones) between movement and music, something which the two Skibine ballets on the program failed to do.
In fact, Skibine’s Romeo and Juliet, set to Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem, exemplified the major problems which the company has. First, there was uninteresting choreography for a potentially interesting dancer (Karen Travis), and second, there was less-than-polished partnering (Kevin Brown was not good for Travis). The company needs more ballets specifically tailored to its own abilities by promising choreographers. And it needs a real season, even if only three weeks long, when the dancers will have a chance to perform in the same theater before an audience, and consequently develop their relationships not only with one another but with their public. Opening-night jitters (of which there were plenty in September) are always worse when there are three performances of a program instead of ten.
As for the problems of partnering, it was a good lesson for audience and company alike to watch the New York City Ballet’s Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins in action. They demonstrate the supreme qualities which great pairs must have: absolute trust in one another, and a visceral understanding of two bodies performing as one.
The guest appearance of stars with a fledgling company helps attract audiences and bring in money, but it also provides a model of excellence for audience and dancers; during their week-long stay Farrell and Martins mingled with the company and taught company classes. But the brevity of their time on stage (two relatively short pas de deux) was tantalizing and bound to disappoint. Although both of them say that dancing away from New York gives them a chance to try new steps, to take risks they might not take on home ground, nevertheless the quality of their dancing invariably suffers on the road. Insufficient rehearsal time ruined Martins’ solo variation in the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux on opening night; subsequent consultations with Maestro Bru-silow remedied the bad tempos.
So one-third of the audience did not see Farrell and Martins at their best; people at the other two performances were luckier. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help wishing, while I was watching them in two good works, that they were performing in a major ballet. And this suggests to me the final step the Dallas Ballet must take in order to improve. In addition to acquiring their own signature pieces, made on and danced by their own dancers, they must attempt, at first slowly, to acquire the great Balanchine ballets which are in the repertories of other important regional companies (San Francisco, Boston, Pennsylvania). Martins and Farrell a-greed that it would be possible for them to dance with, instead of next to, the company, in such Balanchine works as Concerto Barocco which requires, in addition to the two soloists, one other girl, and a corps of eight. Or, they might do the Donizetti Variations, or Allegro Brillante, or the dazzling Tzigane made on Martins and Farrell by Balanchine at the Ravel Festival in May, 1975, which employs a small corps of dancers as a background for the sexiest dancing I’ve ever seen. Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem prides itself on its Agon, Benjamin Harkarvy’s Pennsylvania Ballet on Serenade. Why shouldn’t Dallas acquire a good Apollo, a Tombeau de Couperin (made for a corps, with no stars at all), or, best of all, a Symphony in C? When one of these enters its permanent repertory, this company will have made the great leap into maturity.
– Willard Spiegelman
North Carolina Troupe Visits Cowtown
The North Carolina Dance Theatre is a good example of a budding professional company whose enlightened management is doing things right. They have affiliation with a school, the North Carolina School of the Arts, which presumably trains many of their dancers; they are supported by a list of grants as long as your arm; and they perform a repertoire of works by contemporary choreographers which seems tailor-made for the abilities of the dancers. The result is an entertaining program which satisfies the audience and provides valuable stage experience for the young company.
The Fort Worth Ballet Association, whose contribution to dance consciousness in this region is considerable indeed, brought us the North Carolina Dance Theatre for two performances in Landreth Auditorium, which was the only major drawback to the show, as this auditorium is wrong for ballet, denying the front several rows a view of the dancers’ feet.
Director Robert Lindgren, a veteran of the Ballet Russe, probably deserves much of the credit for the solid training of these dancers. There is no great virtuosity here, but such a good foundation of stagecraft that there is nothing amateurish about the dancing. The dancers have good arms and they know how to make a turn of the head and a shift of focus noticeable all the way to the back row. One girl does rather stand out from the crowd – Svea Ekloff, a dancer somewhat smaller than is currently fashionable, but whose dancing and physical appearance is lovely. She is the company workhorse, occupying most of the principal roles, and she fills that position with both the required stamina and the fearlessness needed to perform dozens of very treacherous lifts in the choreography. She was most competently partnered by Michael Rahn.
The main obstacle in NCDT’s future is likely to be turnover. It is easy to picture many of the dancers using their experience with the company as preparation for seeking work with more well-known dance groups.
– Victoria Lowe
Art Canada’s Artists Come to Dallas
A French Quarter style building on Routh, complete with period staircase and ornamental grille work, seems an unlikely location for a gallery specializing in Canadian and Eskimo art. So I asked Macy and Lorraine Deitchman, owners of the new Macy Galleries, the obvious question – Why?
“Because so little quality Canadian art is being shown in Dallas,” Macy replied. “Also, since we can’t expect to compete with the established galleries on their terms, we have to offer something different. I think we do.”
Then, softening the sales pitch, he added, “You have to understand that the outlets for Canadian art are extremely limited, even in Montreal and Toronto. Many good artists simply can’t show regularly, So we decided to take advantage of our contacts and bring some of the best work to Texas.” Lorraine is Canadian and Macy an American citizen who’s lived in Canada for all but two years of his life.
To illustrate his point, he showed me two bronze castings and several exquisite woodcut-watercolors by Campbell Scott, an artist with a dossier full of awards and grants who is about as well known in the United States as the mayor of Moose Jaw.
One room in the gallery will be reserved for Canadian art while the other two will be used for either special shows or continuing exhibits by area artists like Ed Blackburn, Zolita Sverdlove, and Cecelia Feld. Their first major show of Canadian Eskimo art runs through November 7.
Lorraine concedes that many people think they know something about Eskimo art without having seen very much of it. The familiar reaction is “Oh yes, it’s all seals and hunters and igloos.”
Well, yes and no. Most Eskimo art still centers on hunting, fishing, and family life, although more ceremonial pieces are now appearing. But with the growing interest in primitive art in general, and with the increasing sophistication of native artists, there have been dramatic changes in style. Traditional soapstone carvings, with their blunt angles and highly stylized figures, are being shown side by side with abstract pieces like “Green Bird” by the Cape Dorset sculptor, Latcholassie. One of the few Eskimo artists who lives out on the land all year, wintering in a tent and using a dog team for hunting, his work combines traditional subject matter with strikingly contemporary design.
“The public is becoming more knowledgeable about Eskimo art,” Lorraine continued, “to the point of choosing carvings and prints by artist and village instead of just buying anything that looks Eskimo. A similar change has occurred in the Southwest, of course, where people can tell the differences between a Santa Clara pot, let’s say, and one from Santo Domingo. We hope to make Dallas as aware of the richness and variety of Eskimo art.”
Okay, Dallas. You’ve got a Calder overhead and, we hope, a Moore in front of City Hall. Are you ready for Latcho-lassie from Cape Dorset, Baffin Island?
– David Dillon
McCullough’s Whimsical Monoliths
Anyone who thinks that styrofoam is only for picnic coolers should take a look at the sculpture of David McCullough at Oura, Inc., 839? Exposition. In a studio roughly the size of a football field, he is creating towering monolithic forms that from a distance look like the remains of a Mayan temple but close-up display all the intricate design and subtle texture of a mural or a fresco.
“Some people claim that I’m doing portable frescos,” David said, standing next to an 8’ X 10’ chunk of his raw material, “but I’d describe myself as a co-lorist who’s partial to strong linear designs. Line and color are the outstanding features of my work, and I’m very bold with them.”
So are the other artists currently showing at Oura: Ron Slowinski’s lyrically abstract oil paintings combine geometric shapes with soft fields of color, while the neon and plexiglass “machines” of Larry Yaseen, with their flashing lights and gleaming gadgetry, fall somewhere between the Bauhaus and Star Trek. Collectively, their work gives Oura a more explicit style and point of view than one finds in most galleries.
But it is David McCuIlough’s sculpture that catches one’s eye, not only because of its size – having begun as an architect, he’s completely at ease with large forms in large spaces – but also because it is so light and whimsical, as though someone had converted Klees and Miros into gigantic toy blocks.
“I’m fascinated by basic relationships among the different arts,” he went on, “and therefore I try to integrate music, dance, song, whatever seems appropriate, with my sculpture. I perform it, you might say.”
He spoke slowly and deliberately, as if to reassure me that he was being straight.
“I work out my surface designs beforehand, borrowing calligraphy and symbols from eastern religions, American Indian ceremonies, even the notations for electronic music. Once I’ve sealed the styrofoam and covered the surface with wet sand, I put on a stack of records, shut all the doors, and start painting. I try to finish at least one section per session in order to maintain continuity in the design. Naturally, the kind of music I play affects the intensity of the colors and the length of the lines.”
Glancing around the gallery, I decided that the yellow and orange piece to my left, with its sharp red slashes, must have been inspired by “Night on Bald Mountain,” whereas the one next to it, done in softer blues and greens, had probably been executed to “Daphnis et Chloé” or maybe “L’Après-midi d’un Faune.”
Actually, such speculations are even sillier than they sound because there is nothing pretentious or esoteric about David McCullough’s work. It is direct, muscular, non-cerebral.
Take his “Chariot of the Gods,” for example. One could picture it in a children’s park or dominating some town square, surrounded by shoppers and courthouse savants with checkerboards.
When I asked David who bought pieces that size, he smiled and confessed that it wasn’t the take-out crowd.
“I work primarily with architects and interior decorators who are looking for sculpture to complement their designs. My concepts aren’t restricted to the boundaries of a particular object, however. I can visualize the same piece on the wall of a doctor’s office and as a mural for a hotel lobby or auditorium. By working on an appointment-only basis, I’m able to spend more time with clients who are seriously interested in art.” Or, he might have added, who are interested in optics, pictographs, space exploration, Buddhism, plastics.
If it weren’t for the roar of traffic on Parry and the distant wail of Chicago, one might get the impression that Oura was a nineteenth-century salon where art, intelligent discourse, and good wine are constantly available. “I don’t want to sound like an elitist,” he added, “I’m simply trying to provide a personal art service that the larger galleries, with big overhead and many artists to represent, usually can’t manage. In my opinion, that’s what makes Oura unique.”
That, and pieces like “Chariot of the Gods.”
Before leaving, I spent twenty minutes studying its designs, massaging its textures, fighting an urge to try to drive it, all the while muttering to myself, “Too big for the study, certainly, but what about the space next to the patio? The deck, maybe?”
– David Dillon
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Modern Art: A Guide to Looking continues. America: The Third Century, a portfolio of prints commissioned by Mobil Oil Corporation, will run through Nov 7. From Oct 18, Irish Watercolors, 100 watercolors, 1700-1950, from the National Gallery of Ireland. From Oct 27, Texas Painting and Sculpture 1976, a competitive exhibition, with an invitational show featuring three Dallas artists, Jeanne Koch, Mac Whitney, and Steven Wilder. Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. Fair Park/421-4187
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. Photos by Dean Brown and Thomas Eakins on display in November. Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5:30. 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd/(817)738-1933.
Fort Worth Art Museum. American Artists: A New Decade will open Nov 14. Robert Irwin: Continuing Responses will also be on display. Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. 1309 Montgomery/(817)738-9215.
Kimtbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. The Wild Beasts’: Fauvism and Its Affinities, a Museum of Modern Art traveling exhibition, continues through Oct 31. Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. 1101 Will Rogers Rd/(817)332-8451.
Eastfield Collage Art Gallery. Work by Linda Taylor on display Oct 18-29. Nov 1-12, Fantasy, paintings and self-portraits by Don Shields. Mon-Tue 9-5, Wed 9-7. 3737 Motley Dr, Mesquite/746-3229.
Mountain View College. Sculpture by Gary Miller will be on display Nov 1-12. The UTA faculty show will be held Nov 15-30. 4849 W Illinois.
Afterimage. A show by Brett Weston opens Oct 19 and runs through Nov 27. Mon-Sat 10-5:30 Quadrangle/748-2521.
Allen Street Photography Gallery. Third Sunday shows at the gallery feature work by local photographers – anyone is welcome to display his work. The exhibit is open 2-6 on the third Sunday of the month and 1-7 p.m. throughout the following week. Gallery space is leased to artists tor exhibitions throughout the rest of the month 2817 Allen.
Atelier Chapman Kelley. Work by Noel Mahaffey. a new realist working in oils, acrylics, and drawings, on view in November. Mon-Sat 10:30-5, Sun 1-5. 2526 Fairmount/747-9971.
Contemporary Gallery. Paintings by Elaine Breiger from Oct 16. Mon-Sat 10:30-5 and by appointment. 2425 Cedar Springs/747-0141.
Cushlng Galleries. Paintings and prints by Gabor Peterdi on display from Oct 16. Starting Nov 20, the annual Christmas Little Picture Show. Mon-Sat 10:30-4:30. 2723 Fairmount/747-0497.
Cutshall Collection. Paintings by Greg Palmer on display from Oct 15. “Dragon and White Moon” by John Bellamy and Iweeta Mclntosh starting Nov 26. Mon-Sat 10-5, and by appointment. 3530 Cedar Springs/526-3390.
Delahunty Gallery. Exhibition of Arkawa prints and light sculpture by Claudio Marzollo will be shown from Oct 26. Tue-Sat 10-6 and by appointment. 2611 Cedar Springs/744-1346.
D.W. Co-op. Paintings by Sid Romeo and weavings by Lou Lyne Oct 30-Nov 25. A miniature show opens Nov 27. Tue-Sat 11-6. 3305 McKinney #7/526-3240.
Ebell. Paintings by landscape artist Carroll Collier through Dec 13. Weekdays 10-9; Sat 10-6: Sun 2-5. European Crossroads, 2829 W Northwest Hwy/351-3115.
Falrmount Gallery. Paintings by Arie van Selm in Nov. Tue-Sat 11-5. 6040 Sherry Ln/369-5636.
The Frontroom Gallery. Jewelry in silver with wood and stone by Donna Matles, and Raku pottery by Curtis Scott Nov 6-27. Mon-Sat 10-5. In the Craft Compound/6617 Snider Plaza/369-8338.
Gallery 13. Mixed media drawings and sculpture reliefs by Rick Maxwell Nov 9-30. Weekdays 8-5 at KERA-Channel 13/90 FM, 3000 Harry Hines/744-1300.
The Kieine Gallery at the Artists Courtyard. Pottery by Buddy Curtsinger and batiks by Ann Kilby will be on view starling Nov 6. Tue-Sun 10-7. 12610 Coit/233-9472.
Macy Galleries. A mixed media show. “Superstuff,” by Cecelia Feld in November. Tue-Sat 11-6. 2605 Routh/742-4587.
McKinney Square Gallery. Oils and prints by Teel Sale, pastels by Gary Dammrose, acrylics by Marilyn Eitzen Jones and Carolyn Marshall, wood and marble sculpture by Jewel Cline. Tue-Fri 10-5, Sat 11-5, or by appointment. 2414 Fairmount/741-1126
Michele Herllng. Pre-Columbian, African, and Oceanic art on display. Also 17th century Santos from the Philippines. Tue-Sat 12-5:30. Quadrangle suite 260/748-2924.
Oura, Inc. Paintings and drawings by David McCul-lough. Call lor appointment. Mon-Sun 9-9. 839 1/2 Exposition/823-6287 or 363-2631.
Phillips Galleries. Paintings by Jacques Eitel and Florence Arven. Mon-Sat 10-5. 2715 Fair-mount/748-7888.
Roughton Galleries. Paintings by William A. Slaughter, Oct 27-Nov 10. Mon-Sat 10-6. 125 Turtle Creek Village/528-8500.
Shango. Primitive Oceanic, African and Oriental art. Hours by appointment. 2606 Fairmount/744-4891.
Southwest Art Center. Lithographs by Edna Hibel Nov 20-21 Western Week, Nov 23-30, features bronzes by Ed Fraughton, Jack Bryant, Dennis Sil-vertooth, and paintings by Lajos Markos, Jim Daly, Ronald Crooks and Lawson Williamson. Tue-Sat 9-6. Preston Rd at Forest/233-2702.
Stewart Gallery. Paintings by Georgia Houston opening Nov 20. Tue-Sat 10-7 and by appointment. 12610 Coit Rd/661-0213.
Texas Center lor Photographic Studies. A workshop and exhibition by Lee Friedlander opens Oct 23. A lecture opens an exhibition by Jerry Uels-mann on Nov 27. Mon-Fri 11-4 and by appointment. 12700 Park Central Place, Suite 105/387-1900.
Tuthill Gallery. Watercolors and acrylics by Gilberto Antonio Tarin on display Nov 14-27. Mon-Sat 10-5:30, till 9 on Thur. Olla Podrida/12215 Coit/661-1204.
2719. New paintings and graphics by Bart Forbes will be on display from Oct 17. Collage paintings and drawings by Robert Batson, and paintings and graphics by John McCormick, from Nov 14. Tue-Sat 11-5, Sun 2-5. 2719 Routh/748-2094.
Valley House Gallery. Furniture by Antonio Gaudion view through Oct 31. Exhibition of drawings byJoseph Boggs Beale, religious works, through November. Paintings by Valton Tyler through November. Mon-Fri 10-5, Sat and Sun by appointment.6616 Spring Valley Rd/239-2441.
Fodor Sets Pace
for the Symphony
Eugene Fodor showed Dallas how he won his medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow two years ago: by playing a brilliant performance of the work that earned him the prize, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Playing with a virtuoso soloist serves up implications for the Symphony; both its incontestable virtues and its regrettable weaknesses are shown in greater relief than usual. In Fodor’s hand, the Concerto is a fresh experience. With the “Manfred” Symphony, a work admittedly less familiar and less characteristic of the composer, the orchestra itself fared less happily.
Nineteenth century audiences attributed Paganini’s superhuman facility to the devil. Although in Fodor’s case we might also be tempted to guess at some preternatural origins for his gift, the truth, if such a gift is ever explicable, lies closer to home. He began playing at seven, the violin apparently in his blood: both his father and grandfather were violinists, and his great-grandfather founded the Fodor Conservatory in Budapest. While still in high school in Colorado, Fodor received a scholarship to Juilliard, and later he studied with, among others, Jascha Heifetz, his last teacher, in a year of master classes. To the Russians, he was as great a musical sensation as Van Cliburn a generation ago. The Tchaikovsky Competition set his career in motion, and it’s clear that if his accomplishments to date are any indication, he is traveling quickly and deservedly to the top. Before Dallas, Fo-dor had just finished a tour of South America, and was on his way to a tour in Japan. Earlier this year he had been in Italy and Scandinavia, where part of his playing was done on a boat cruise in the Baltic. He performs with orchestras from London to Cincinnati, and even appears on the “Tonight show,” not to mention in magazine ads for Scotch. He may not be a household word in this country yet, but his talent and visibility virtually assure him an early rise to eminence. Eugene Fodor is only 26, and he could, as the saying goes, fiddle all the bugs off a sweet-potato vine.
The easiest and possibly the worst thing to do with Romantic music is to romanticize it. Of the big four violin concertos – Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky – the one that’s most tempting to ruin by over-romanticizing is the last. On the other hand, nobody wants to hear the piece played merely as a “vehicle” for stagy virtuoso showmanship. The soloist’s gift has to overwneim this work, or it won come off as the self-transcending wonder that it is.
Fodor clearly has the gift. He plants his feet squarely in front of the orchestra, and wields bow and violin with the authority and artistic presence of a master who has done this sort of thing for 50 years. He gave a performance of the Tchaikovsky Concerto that made you think you were hearing this venerable warhorse being trotted out of the stable for the first, not the umpteenth, time. I liked the brashness and breadth of his approach; he’s not afraid of the sentiment in the piece, and often the most hard-edged phrase got an unexpected lyrical turn at the end. Whatever else Fodor possesses in the way of musical gifts, of which he unmistakably has a generous allotment, he has both a sense of drama and a sense of form. That is more or less to acknowledge that a piece of music exists in time and that it has parts that make up the whole. The ability to communicate an instinctive grasp of these two elements is what makes an artist like Eugene Fodor exciting. If boat cruises on the Baltic don’t earn him a wider American reputation, more performances like his Tchaikovsky Concerto assuredly will.
The Violin Concerto was the second half of the all-Tchaikovsky program, whose first half, the “Manfred” Symphony, was no gift from the gods. Based on Byron’s gothic-romance poem, the work in fact was written according to a set of suggestions given to Tchaikovsky by a Russian music critic, and this synthetic genesis for the fantasy-structure shows in the unusual instrument combinations and the musically unintegrated “program.” Louis Lane did with the piece about all that can be done with it, highlighting individual passages but not bringing the ramshackle work to life. Section work, particularly in the horns and woodwinds in the “Andante,” was clear and detailed; however, the piece as a whole had some surprises but no mystery, which, if you stick to the program, is presumably the point of both the poem and the symphony. The individual effects just didn’t add up to the kind of musical Mont Blanc Tchaikovsky himself didn’t really succeed in writing. Its unintentional understatement was perhaps epitomized in the DSO version by the Rodgers electronic organ in the last movement. The curiously muted conclusion it gave simply failed to emerge like a force of nature from the entire symphonic structure. It wasn’t earned, and to my ears it fell flat.
The DSO seems to become galvanized by the presence of an outstanding and authoritative soloist. Their collaboration with Eugene Fodor had a marvelous intensity, especially in the first movement of the Concerto. Nevertheless, there was a falling off in the second section, when Fodor’s crispness and subtlety seemed all too distant from Louis Lane’s conducting. The orchestra blurred transitions from soloist to tutti, either with uneven double f entrances or with inappropriately abrupt crescen-dos. The DSO is an ensemble that has the talent and energy to perform like a house on fire, but only when it’s inspired by the right hands. Unfortunately, it has been held back, like a car with emission controls, and it’s about time somebody took it out for a nice long spin on the open road. We need to hear the Symphony pulled together to play as a virtuoso, to perform as a unit in the transcendant manner of a prodigy like, for example, Eugene Fodor.
– Willem Brans
D RECOMMENDS This year’s Dallas Civic Opera season appears to have something for everyone. The straight music lover will probably relish the chance to hear Handel’s Samson, when it’s performed November 5, 7, and 9 in the Music Hall. The novice who doesn’t know much about opera but wants to learn would probably be most interested in Verdi’s La Traviata, with superstar Beverly Sills, on November 16, 19, and 21. While the jaded opera-goer who wants to keep up with who’s new on the international opera scene will want to hear Roberta Knie sing the title role in Salome, November 28 and 30. For ticket information call 528-3200.
Delbert McClinton, Genuine Cowhide (ABCD) and Asleep at the Wheel, Wheelin’ and Dealin’ (Capitol)
“Progressive” is one of those epithets that, thanks to ad lingo, is fast attaining the status of a folk morpheme – an expression that obtains its meaning from the sound of it rather than from its etymology. We have seen progressive theology, progressive politics, and progressive radio come and go.
And now there is “progressive” country music, for lack of a better term. It proposes to right the wrongs perpetrated on a gullible America by the denizens of Nashville, Tennessee (“Are you sure Hank done it this way?” laments Way-lon Jennings, one of the current scene’s prime movers). It is found all over the South from Miami to Macon. It grows best in Texas.
Whatever “it” is, artists that once bought the “progressive” terminology are finding it somewhat of an albatross. Is the music of Rusty Weir, Jerry Jeff Walker, Michael Murphy, Alvin Crow, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender similarly progressive? Is Billy Joe Shaver progressive? How about Mickey Gilley? They are all born or adopted Texans. Writers and critics have begun to avoid the term, perhaps because it is volatile in certain company and totally innocuous in other circles.
Two current album releases by Texas artists should help to revamp the “progressive” myth, which never really existed except to the degree that the TCU football team exists, or a truly edible tourist steak. The first is Genuine Cowhide by Delbert McClinton, a Fort Worth resident who has had harsh words in the past for “the scene, the longnecks and the cowboys.” Delbert worked for Major Bill Smith in his “Hey Paula” heyday. He played harmonica on Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby,” to which the Beatles paid oblique tribute in their own “Love Me Do.”
In collaboration with songwriter-singer Glen Clark, McClinton later recorded two albums on the Clean subsidiary of Atlantic Records. Both the Delbert & Glen and the Subject to Change LPs had a country blues feel which pleased a lot of musicians, but never received wide public exposure. To promote the second album Delbert & Glen toured widely with English blues-rock cult figure John Mayall, whose influence is felt on Cowhide.
Delbert spent several years in retirement before an ABC employee in Dallas wangled a solo album deal for him. The result was last year’s Victim of Life’s Circumstances, a collection of original songs which revealed what a fencestraddler Delbert actually was: instead of going pure-dee country and western like so many rockabilly-R&R figures do in their old age, McClinton surrounded his Nashville-produced effort with an ill-disguised blues aura. His lyrics revealed him to be sort of a Kerouac dangerously in control of himself, and subject to muttering at the gods under his breath.
Just after Victim came out Delbert mentioned that his next album would be a collection of old rock and roll songs. I didn’t believe him. Loggins and Messina had tried it with no small embarrassment to themselves, and they were riding a wave of success that Delbert has yet to experience. Well, Genuine Cowhide is out now, and it contains only two McClinton compositions – one an honorable coward song in the Victim genre, the other a souffle of tender love with images a la Gary Snyder the poet. The ten remaining cuts hail from Delbert’s old Jack’s Place and Skyliner Ballroom days: personal favorites of the singer and his wife such as “Please Please Please,” “Lovey Dovey,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Blue Monday.”
The record is a practical anachronism. Each lyric is sung with a conviction that transcends the safety of nostalgia. Where the originals of songs like “Before You Accuse Me” and “Lipstick, Powder and Paint” left a flattering lot to the hearer’s imagination, these Chip Young-produced takes almost concretely realize every nuance and innuendo present in the scratchy originals. Delbert’s vocal, guitar and harmonica artistry (he has been eking out a living at this profession for almost a quarter century) emerge as only one, though by far the most shining, element in the overall production. From the record jacket, which portrays a teenage male’s badge of honor, the imprint of an unused prophylactic through a pocketworn leather wallet, to the ensemble saxophone solo in “Pledging My Love,” Genuine Cowhide stands as a painfully self-conscious recreative act. But in an environment that touts honesty above song factory originality, Delbert’s work emerges as one of the few that live up to the standards the “progressive” movement has set for itself.
Asleep At The Wheel offers an entirely different angle on “progressiveness.” Their idea of musical reform consists in abandoning the academic distinctions among forms of regionally popular dance music. Firmly entrenched in the two- and four-beat emphasis of Western swing, leader Ray Benson has engaged himself in the mammoth task of supporting a 10-piece group while maintaining fanatic loyalties to the music of the Forties and early Fifties with its accompanying optimism. Nashville scribes have called the result neo-swing; only collectors of post-war “race” records know for sure what goes into it.
Not a single group member hails from Texas; most are juniors of Delbert Mc-Clinton by a decade. Three of the Austin-based group’s albums, including the latest, Wheelin’ and Dealin’, have been produced by Nashville’s Tommy Allsup, a former member of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys and a swing junkie himself (Allsup produced the landmark For the Last Time Bob Wills two-record set, as well as Hank Thompson’s latest). In four albums Asleep At The Wheel has recreated the legacies of Bob Wills, Count Basie, Joe Turner, Moon Mulli-can, Bobby Troup, Percy Mayfield, Louis Jordan and the Kershaws, merely by performing their better-known tunes in faithful renditions of the originals. Their album formula has been to include two or three tear-jerkers, some blues, swing, and until recently, an “inspirational” number on each LP.
Following Asleep At The Wheel is like watching a good whiskey come of age. The band’s principals – Ray Benson on guitar and vocals, Chris O’Connell on guitar and vocals, Leroy Preston on guitar and vocals, Lucky Oceans on pedal and lap steel, and Floyd Domino (after Floyd Cramer and Fats Domino) on piano – came together with little prior ensemble experience, and some with no musical training, formal or informal, at all. They form a closely-knit core as individual musical personalities vying to demonstrate a new twist on an old song, or an old twist on a new one. Chris acts the girl singer part to Ray’s stoned, self-important leader role. Both Ray and Leroy are innocent of any singing ability, yet they capably mimic their ways through original as well as old tunes. Floyd and bassist Tony Gamier bring traditional jazz roots to the project, and Lucky brings an instrument for which there is little precedent outside of the plaintive whine that has characterized its use in country music. His approach is to listen carefully, borrow when he can (often from saxophone licks), and in the process create an entirely new vocabulary for the steel guitar; a wacky one, if he has his way.
The group is rounded out by the traditional Wills fiddle ensemble and usually one or two horns. For Wheelin’ and Dealin’ Benson assembled guest artists Johnny Gimble, Tiny Moore and Eldon Shamblin – all Playboy alumni, along with Arnett Cobb, Linda Hargrove, Dallas’ Bucky Meadows and Cajun accordionist Joel Sonnier. The result is a continuation of the Asleep At The Wheel magnum opus. There is the slavish dedication to what might be called vintage control: the low volume, slightly tinny overall sound, the “spontaneous” voids between instrumental solos, the up-front vocals (like it used to say on the old 78’s – “vocals w/ orchestra”) and the conspicuous absence of high energy or electronic equalization. Selections such as “Route 66” and “Lost Mind” are curiously juxtaposed with the instrumental “Cajun Stripper” and the tear-jerker ballad “The Trouble With Lovin’ Today.” Instrumental rides are carefully plotted for the listener’s continued interest as well as the players’ indulgence.
Between Asleep At The Wheel andDelbert McClinton the past 30 years ofmiddle America’s musical libido arebeing creatively weaned from nostalgiainto history. But is it progressive? Reflection and reproduction are being luxuriously indulged, but that alone doesnot define regression, as the naysayerswould have it. How about Reprogres-sion? My favorite way of acknowledgingthe past has to be the one engaged in bya blues guitarist friend of mine. He usesold 78 rpm records as targets for his BBgun practice. And no, he doesn’t aim forthe holes. _ Michael Pellecchia
Dallas Civic Opera opens its 1976 season with Handel’s Samson, featuring Jon Vickers, November 5, 7:30 p.m. in the Music Hall, Fair Park. Samson will be repeated Nov 7 and 9 at 8 p.m. Verdi’s La Traviata, with Beverly Sills, will be performed Nov 16, 19 and 21 at 8 p.m. Roberta Knie appears in Richard Strauss’ Salome Nov 28 and 30 at 8 p.m. For ticket information call the DCO box office, 528-3200.
Dallas Chamber Music Society, Inc. presents the second concert of the 1976-77 Elmer Scott Concert Series, a performance by the Tokyo Quartet at 8:15 p.m., Nov 8 in Caruth Auditorium at SMU. Season tickets for five concerts are $13, available from the Dallas Chamber Music Society/4808 Drexel Dr/Dallas 75205, or by calling 526-7301 or 521-3831, or the Preston Ticket Agency, 363-9311.
SMU Division of Music concerts for November include a piano recital by Gary Okeson, Nov 13; free. Voices of Change, a contemporary music program directed by Ross Powell, Nov 15; $3. students $1. Larry Palmer harpsichord recital commemorating Manuel de Falla’s 100th birthday, Nov 23; free. All concerts at 8:15 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents Leonard Rose, cellist, in concert with the orchestra conducted by John Giordano, Nov 7 and 9. Jose Feli-ciano appears with the orchestra in a pops concert, October 30. Hooray for Hollywood, a pops concert, is presented Nov 20. All concerts in the Tarrant County Convention Center Theater. Call for times and ticket information (817) 921-2676.
Steve Fromholz performs in a benefit concert sponsored by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Den-ton County Oct 30, 9 p.m., at NTSU Main Auditorium, Denton. Tickets available at SoundWarehouse (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Denton) and HotRocks (Denton). All seats $4.
GWTW on TV: A Fan’s Notes
This is the month for Gone With the Wind’s TV debut – November 7 and 8 on Channel 5. Since there’s hardly a soul alive who hasn’t seen it, I’m hardly under any pressure to preview the movie for you. But since you’re bound to watch it, test my pet theory: the movie belongs to Vivien Leigh. Imagine, if you will, the other leading contenders for the role of Scarlett – Katharine Hepburn, Paulette Goddard, Bette Davis, certified spellbinders who would, however, have washed the role in their own familiar images, instead of creating a fascinating characterization as Leigh did. Reflect, too, sadly, on how Leigh’s career in the movies never got off the ground again except in Streetcar Named Desire. Notice how much less real acting Clark Gable is doing as Rhett Butler than he did in his comedy roles in It Happened One Night and Red Dust. Admire Olivia DeHaviland’s splendid performance. See how bad Leslie Howard really was. And ask yourself, Is this really the Great American Movie? Is it really better than Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, Wizard of Oz, and Wuthering Heights – all of which it defeated in the Oscar competition of 1939, that annus mirabil-is of Hollywood film?
Over on Channel 13, the Bergman series continues, with both the familiar – The Seventh Seal (Nov 21, 10 p.m.) – and the obscure – Dreams (Nov 7, 10 p.m.). But for me the film event of the month is the showing of Jean Renoir’s The Elusive Corporal (Nov 20, 10 p.m.). Not because it’s one of Renoir’s best films – it’s a little too much of the same thing: repeated escapes from German prison camps – but because any film by Renoir is a work by the one unquestioned master of the medium – a man who may some day rank with Matisse, with Stravinsky, with Joyce as one of the master artists of the twentieth century.
The University of Dallas gets back in the film series business with an intriguing double bill on November 19 and 21: two musicals, Oliver! and My Fair Lady, which show how hard it is to translate Broadway style to the screen. Frankly, I don’t really care that My Fair Lady is overdressed and static in its film version – my heart still belongs to Audrey Hepburn. And Ron Moody’s Fagin gives Oliver! sass and vitality, despite its forgettable score and silly manhandling of Dickens’ book.
As usual, the most interesting films are up at UTD. Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible, Parts I and II, will be shown November 10 and 12. Eisenstein had not outgrown the style he developed as a silent film director by the time he made these films in the Forties, but Part I, at least, has an opulent style – in fact, an operatic style, enhanced by Prokofiev’s music. Eisenstein had trouble with Stalin’s censors on Part II, and it shows somewhat.
There’s also an interesting series of films at the UT Health Science Center, and they’re showing Carl Dreyer’s fascinating The Passion of Joan of Arc on November 20. This account of Joan’s trial is filmed largely in close-ups, and the faces are straight out of Breughel paintings.
Finally, the admirable Edison Theatre has its succession of tantalizing two-day runs, the most outstanding of which is Cabaret on November 8 and 9. For once, Broadway was translated to film, largely because Bob Fosse had the sense to throw out the original concept for many of the numbers and to rethink the entire musical. Sally Bowles was Liza Minnelli’s triumph, but it may also have been her undoing – will she ever be able to play anything but an amoral kook again?
– Charles Matthews
KERA-TV Channel 13.
Captain Fury (USA 1939). Directed by Hal Roach, with Brian Aherne and Victor McLaglen. November 3, 9:30 p.m.
A Lesson in Love (Sweden 1954). Directed by Ingmar Bergman. November 5, 10:30 p.m.
Wild Strawberries (Sweden 1957). Directed by Ingmar Bergman, with Victor Sjostrom. November 6, 10 p.m.
Dreams (Sweden 1955). Directed by Ingmar Bergman. November 7 & 12, 10 p.m.
Captain Caution (USA 1940). Directed by Richard Wallace, with Victor Mature. November 10, 9:30 p.m.
Open City (Italy 1946). Directed by Roberto Ros-sellini, with Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani. November 13, 10 p.m.
Smlles of a Summer Night (Sweden 1955). Directed by Ingmar Bergman, with Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, and Harriet Andersson. November 14 & 19, 10 p.m.
Bandits of Orgosolo (Italy 1962). Directed by Vit-torio De Seta. November 17, 9:30 p.m.
The Elusive Corporal (France 1963). Directed by Jean Renoir, with Jean-Pierre Cassel and Claude Brasseur. November 20, 10 p.m.
The Seventh Seal (Sweden 1956). Directed by Ingmar Bergman, with Max von Sydow. November 21, 10 p.m.; November 26, 10:30 p.m.
Male Hunt (France 1965). Directed by Edouard Molinaro, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Claude Brialy, Catherine Deneuve, and Francoise Dorleac. November 24, 9:30 p.m.
Knife In the Water (Poland 1963). Directed by Roman Polanski. November 27, 10 p.m.
University of Dallas Film Series, Lynch Auditorium, UD Campus, Irving/253-1123.
Anne of the Thousand Days (USA 1969). Directed by Charles Jarrott, with Richard Burton, Gene-vieve Bujold, and Irene Papas. November 5 & 7, 7:30 p.m.
Oliver! (Great Britain 1969). Directed by Carol Reed, with Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Mark Lester, and Jack Wild. (With My Fair Lady, USA 1964. Directed by George Cukor. with Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, and Stanley Holloway.) November 19 & 21, 7:30 p.m.
UT/Dallas Films, Founders North Auditorium, Floyd & Lookout, Richardson/690-2281.
Treasure Island (USA 1934). Directed by Victor Fleming, with Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Lewis Stone, and Lionel Barrymore. November 3, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Carnal Knowledge (USA 1971). Directed by Mike Nichols, with Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Art Gartunkel, and Ann-Margret. November 5, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Ivan the Terrible, Part I (USSR 1944). Directed by Sergei Eisenstein. November 10, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Ivan the Terrible, Part II (USSR 1946), Directed by Sergei Eisenstein. November 12, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Cosimo de Medici (Italy 1973). Directed by Roberto Rossellini November 17, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Going Places (France 1974). With Jeanne Mor-eau. November 19, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
The Beggar’s Opera (Great Britain 1953). Directed by Peter Brook, with Laurence Olivier. November 24, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.
Southwestern Cinema, Zale Lecture Hall, D1-600, UT Health Science Center, 5323 Harry Hines/688-2021 or 688-3606.
The Battle of Algiers (Italy, Algeria 1966). Directed by Gilo Pontecorvo. November 13, 8 p.m.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Denmark 1928). Directed by Carl Dreyer, with Falconetti and Antonin Artaud. November 20, 8 p.m.
Edison Theatre, 2420 N. Fitzhugh/823-9610.
2001: A Space Odyssey (USA 1968). Directed by Stanley Kubrick, with Keir Dullea. October 31 & November 1, call tor times.
Fritz the Cat (USA 1972). Animated feature, rated X, directed by Ralph Bakshi. (With The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic, also by Ralph Bakshi.) November 2 & 3, call for times.
Bugs Bunny Superstar (USA 1976). Feature-length collection of animated shorts. November 4 & 5, call for times.
Zabriskle Point (USA 1970). Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, with Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, and Rod Taylor. November 6 & 7, call for times.
Cabaret (USA 1972). Directed by Bob Fosse, with Liza Minnelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey. November 8 & 9, call for times.
Coconuts (USA 1929), Directed by Joseph Sant-ley and Robert Florey, with Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo Marx, Kay Francis, and Margaret Du-mont. Duck Soup (USA 1933). Directed by Leo Mc-Carey, with Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx, Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, and Raquel Torres. Horse Feathers (USA 1932). Directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx and Thelrna Todd. Monkey Business (USA 1931). Directed by Norman Z. McLeod, with Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx and Thelma Todd. November 10 & 11, call for times.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (USA 1972). Directed by Woody Allen, with Louise Lasser, Lynn Redgrave, Gene Wilder, Burt Reynolds, and Tony Randall. November 12 & 13, call for times.
The Wild Ones (USA 1954). Directed by Laslo Be nedek, with Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, and Lee Marvin. (With On the Waterfront, USA 1954. Directed by Elia Kazan, with Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Maiden, Lee J. Cobb, and Rod Steiger.) November 14 & 15, call for times.
The Garden of the Finzl-Continis (Italy 1971) Directed by Vittorio De Sica, with Dominique Sanda. (With The Passenger, USA 1975. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. with Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider.) November 16 & 17, call for times.
Clever but Incoherent “Steambath”
This is one of those clever but less than convincing plays to which one responds “Yes, of course, but . . .” Of course it is very clever of Bruce Jay Friedman to have conceived of God as a Puerto Rican steambath attendant, and it is very funny for this attendant whimsically to dispense kindnesses and, more often, plagues to randomly-chosen specimens of humanity. But having thus provided the philosophy and the comedy of his play, Friedman neglected to add the requisite portion of drama. It is almost as if Steambath were the product of an assignment in Advanced Play-writing, a two-act exercise in absurdist comedy.
Unfortunately, Friedman fails to develop his ideas within a rigorous form. His work is derived neither from the classical existentialist dramatists, by whom he seems to have been influenced in other respects, nor the freer style of the absurdists, from whom he borrowed some of his comic techniques. Rather, he seems to have evolved his play haphazardly, a piece at a time, and the result is disjointed, somewhat directionless, and occasionally downright inept. The force of Tandy’s monologue in the closing scene, for example, is considerably weakened by the fact that the second act seems to be ending almost as soon as it begins, and Tandy’s discourse comes as neither a surprise nor an inevitable development but merely as a means of holding off the final curtain. Some of the episodes involving the peripheral characters are almost distract-ingly irrelevant; and much of the exposition in the first act is brought off by a very shallow kind of question-and-an-swer technique.
This was Theatre Onstage’s debut as a “professional” company, and it was a commendable one. Director Michael Bourne Hunter gave the play some semblance of order, though he also gave it a little more clarity, and a little less coherence, than it needed. His cast also made a good showing for itself. Marcus Muirhead was particularly delightful as the attendant. About the only major problem was in the first-act discussion between Hank Carr, as Tandy, and Muirhead, in which Carr was stuck with a string of questions and began to sound like an interviewer.
– John Branch
Dallas Theater Center. Kaufman and Hart’s Once in a Lifetime runs through Nov 6. Scapino will open Nov 16. Tue-Fri 8 p.m., Sat 8:30 p.m. Tickets $5.75, $6.50 on weekends. 3636 Turtle Creek/526-8857.
Theatre Three. Robert Sherwood’s The Road to Rome will be presented through Nov 8. Wed-Sat 8:30, Sun 2:30 p.m and 7 p.m. on alternate Sundays. Tickets $3-$6 with student and group discounts. Quadrangle/748-5191.
Theatre Onstage (formerly Oak Lawn Community Theater). James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter Thur, Fri and Sat nights at 8:15 p.m. Nov 4-20. Tickets $3 adults/students $2. Corner of Pearl and McKinney, rear entrance. Call 279-9675 or 691-7137 for tickets.
“Though ’Bother it’ I may/ Occasionally say,/I never use a big, big D.” The Captain of the Pinafore had | delicacy of language rather than appropriateness of place in mind as he warbled those words. He’ll be warbling them again at the Dallas Repertory Theater in NorthPark Hall, when their production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H. M. S. Pinafore opens, for a run through November 21. For ticket information call 369-8966.
Dallas Repertory Theater. Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore runs through Nov 21. Performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8:15 p.m. Sunday at 3 p.m. $4/$3.50 students and senior citizens/$3 children under 12, evenings $3.50/$3 matinees. NorthPark Hall/369-8966.
New Arts Theatre. Construction delays have forced postponements of the opening of this new professional repertory company. Call for performance information. 2707-B Fondren/691-3215.
Theatre SMU. Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale will be presented Nov 11-13. 18-20 at 8:15 p.m. and Nov 14 and 21 at 2:15 p.m. Tickets $3.50. Bob Hope Theater/692-2573.
Eastfield College Theater. Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author will be presented Nov 18, 19 & 20 at 8 p.m. 3737 Motley Dr at I-30 in Mesquite. Free. 746-3229.
Richland College presents Patricia Gray’s dramatization of The Hobbit Nov 4, 5, 6, 11, 12. & 13 at 8 p.m. and Nov 7 at 2 p.m. at the Performance Hall. Free. For ticket information call 746-4550.
North Texas State University Theater. Garson Kanin’s A Gift of Time. Oct 21-23, 28-30 at 8 p.m., University Theatre. A musical revue, Cabaret. Nov 12-13, 8 p.m.. University Theatre. Walter Davis’ Panhandle. Nov 22-23, 29-30, 8 p.m., University Theatre. Lab Shows, student-directed one acts and condensed plays, Nov 29-Dec 7, Studio Theatre. (817)788-2428. Denton.
Irving Community Theatre. Guys and Dolls will be presented Nov 5-7, Nov 12-14, and Nov 19-21 Tickets $3/$1 50. 208 S Jetferson/255-4233, 253-3209, 254-6419.
University of Texas at Dallas. Gene Mitchell’s Menelaus will be performed in the Jonsson Theater, 2601 N. Floyd Rd., Oct. 30, Nov. 12, 14, 19, 20 at 8 p.m. For ticket information call 690-2982.
Country Dinner Playhouse. Jack Cassidy performs in Up a Tree, Broadway comedy, opening Oct 19 Forrest Tucker stars in Hanky Panky starting Nov 23. Tickets $7.50-$10 95. 11829 Abrams at LBJ/231-9457.
Gran’ Crystal Palace. A cabaret-style comedy musical revue is performed every evening except Thursday. Dinner 8 p.m . show 9:30 Saturdays there are two shows, with seatings at 6 30 and 9:30 p.m. $12.50. 2424 Swiss/824-1263.
Granny’s Dinner Playhouse. Eve Arden appears in Under Papa’s Picture, through Nov 28. Tue-Sat dinner shows, Sunday matinees. Tickets $6 85-$10.75. 12205 Coit Rd/239-0153.
Magic Turtle Series. Marco Polo runs through Nov 27 at 10:30 a.m. Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Tickets $1 75. Dallas Theater Center/3636 Turtle Creek/526-8920.
Haymarket Theatre. A new entertainment complex with live performances, movies, and marionette shows. In November the marionette show is A Visit to Goony Bird Island, or Something tor the Birds. Performances: Tue-Fri 9:30 a.m. 10:30 am., 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon. Saturday afternoon Heyday tor Kids, a combination of clowns, marionettes, movies, and live entertainment. Movies are shown Mon-Wed, a double feature, and Thur-Sat there is a vaudeville and movie combination at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Fri & Sat there are midnight movies. Tickets $1 Olla Po-dnda/ 12215 Coit Rd/387-0807.
Theatre SMU. The Madwoman of Chaillot will be presented in the Margo Jones Theater, Nov 6 & 7; Sat 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. Admission $1. 692-2573.
Junior Players Guild opens with The World of HansChristian Andersen Oct 30 & 31 and Nov 6 & 7 atEwell D. Walker Middle School, 12432 Nuesta Dr.For further information, call 363-4278.
Dallas Public Library’s 75th Anniversary Symposium will be on the theme of “Interrelations of Business, Government, and the Arts” Nov 10. Chairman will be Stanley Marcus. Keynote speakers are Ada Louise Huxtable, editorial board member of New York Times; Michael Straight of the National Endowment for the Arts; and William F. McCurdy, vice president of public relations for Sears Roebuck and president of the Sears Foundation. The symposium will open with a luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel For tickets and information call 748-9071, ext. 262.
SMU Literary Festival Nov 7-12; free. Nov 7: Saul Bellow, 8:30 p.m., McFarlin Auditorium. Nov 8: Jon Anderson. 3:30 p.m., McCord Auditorium (Dallas Hall); Richard Hugo, 8:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom (Student Center). Nov 9: Panel of Poets, 3:30 p.m.. McCord Auditorium; Marvin Bell, 8:30 p.m., McCord Auditorium. Nov 10: Maura Stanton, 4:30 p.m., McCord Auditorium; Gail Godwin, 8:30 p.m., Grand Ballroom. Nov 11: Discussion: Jerzy Kosinski and Marshall Terry, 3:30 p.m., McCord Auditorium; Alan Dugan, 8:30 p.m , Caruth Auditorium (Fine Arts Bidg.). Nov 12: Student Readings, 3:30 p.m.. McCord Auditorium; “Rage and Resignation” by Jerzy Kosinski 8:30 p.m., McFarlin Auditorium. For more information call 692-3353 or 526-1953.
Henry Nash Smith, Professor Emeritus of English. University of California at Berkeley, will present the annual SMU Scott-Hawkins lecture series: “Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Politics of Romance” Oct 26 at 8 p.m. in McCord Auditorium (Dallas Hall); “William Dean Howells: The Theology of Realism” Nov 2 at 8 p.m. in McCord; and “Guilt and Innocence in Mark Twain’s Fiction” Nov 4 at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium.
Festa Italiana will be held Nov 19-21 at McFarlin Auditorium, SMU. There will be Italian films, lectures, personalities, music, and a reception. For more information call 368-4113 or 692-2214.
Richland College. R.W. Apple, Jr., correspondent for the New York Times, will speak Nov 18 at 6:30 p.m. in room B142. Free. 12800 Abrams Rd.
Olla Podrida. Fashions from Unicorn Fantasy Fashions will be modeled Oct 25-30. Exhibit of jack-o-lanterns carved by children, Oct 23-30. Designs in oil on canvas for needlepoint by Sharianne, Nov 1-13. North Texas Conchological Society exhibit (shell collectors), Nov 1-13. Calligraphy exhibit with demonstrations noon daily, all day Sat, and Thur evening Nov 15-24. 12215 Coit Rd.
Santa Fe Arts & Crafts Show and Fiesta will be held in Old Town Oct 28-30. 200 artists will display their arts and crafts as well as demonstrate creative techniques. Pottery, wall hangings, puppets, blacksmith’s iron, jewelry, woodcarving and other crafts will be on sale. Greenville at Lovers Ln.
Exploring Your Sexuality, a lecture and weekend workshop led by E. Lee Doyle, Nov 12-14. Lecture: Nov 12, 8 p.m., First Unitarian Church Sanctuary, 4015 Normandy, $3 at door (workshop participants tree). Workshop: Nov 13-14, 9:30 a.m., $75 couple/$40 per person, place to be announced. Sponsored by Hara, Inc., Box 28177, Dallas 75228.
Dallas North Garden Forum Nov 6 & 7 at the Walnut Hill Recreation Center/352-8287. Admission free.
Southwestern Watercolor Society Membership Exhibition will be held in North Park Mall Oct 24-Nov 6. The juried show will include winners of $2500 in prize money. There will also be demonstrations of watercolor technique every day during the show.
Citizens Forum lor Women presents “Everything You Want to Know about Starting Your Own Business” by Dr. John A. Welch, Director, Caruth Institute of Business, Nov 3; and “Wills and Trusts: Guarding lor Your Family’s Future – and Yours” by Wade Campbell, Trust Officer, Citizens Bank, Nov 16. Both presentations will be 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Citizens Bank Center, N Central Expwy and Belt Line Rd., Richardson. For reservations call 231-7171.
D RECOMMENDS Quite a literary month at SMU is kicked’ off the end of October by the first lecture by Henry Nash Smith, Professor Emeritus of English at Berkeley (and a former SMU prof), on October 26, then again on November 2 and 4. Smith, a noted scholar on American literature, will be discussing Hawthorne, Howells, and Mark Twain. Then the SMU Literary Festival takes place November 7 through 12, with appearances by Saul Bellow (pictured above), Jerzy Kosinski, Alan Dugan, Jon Anderson, Richard Hugo, Marvin Bell, Maura Stanton, and Gail Godwin. Finally, the Italian department gets in the act with a Festa Italiana, November 19-21, a variety of films, lectures, concerts and activities celebrating Italian culture.
Ursuline Academy Christmas Bazaar. Christmas decorations, boutiques, ceramics, paintings, plants, home-cooked goods, take-out casseroles. Luncheon served. Nov 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in school gym. 4900 Walnut Hill Ln.
The Junior League of Dallas, Inc. is sponsoring the second annual Senior Citizen’s Craft Fair Nov 5, 6, and 7 in the Women’s Building at Fair Park. Anyone at least 60 years old or a member of a local senior citizens’ organization and a resident of Dallas County can enter their handiwork. Registration forms may be obtained by contacting the Junior League office, 5500 Greenville Ave. Dallas 75206/691-7323. There is a $1 registration fee. Proceeds from the sale of articles go to their producer.
The Brandeis University National Women’s Committee Annual Used Book Sale is at Valley View Center Nov 1 to 6. 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p. m.
Dallas Branch of the American Association of University Women needs used books and records for their February book sale. Call 233-1103 or 526-3544 for pick up.
Dallas Restaurant Association’s Ninth Annual Taste of Dallas, Oct 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the Regency Ballroom of the Fairmont Hotel. Tickets are $15, with proceeds to charity, and are available at many area restaurants, selected Tom Thumbs or by calling 361-9890.
Dallas Public Library has a variety of free programs in November. The Dallas Museum of Natural History presents programs on dinosaurs, rocks and minerals, insects, reptiles, skeletons, birds and Indian relics through Nov 18 at area branches. Films, stories, and puppet shows about cats, Nov 1. 4 p.m. at the Hampton-Illinois Branch, 2210 W Illinois, 337-4796. “The Policeman, Your Friend” Nov 13, 2 p.m. at Jefferson Branch, 542 E Jefferson, 946-8104; and Nov 13, 3 p.m. at Pleasant Grove Branch, 1125 S Buckner, 398-6625. Dallas Baptist College play about story characters Nov 20, 3 p.m. at Pleasant Grove Branch. Thanksgiving puppet show Nov 20, 3 p.m., at Forest Green Branch, 9015 Forest Ln, 231-0991 Learn to draw cartoons, Nov 3, 4 p.m at Jefferson Branch.
Pottery Lessons for children ages 6-12 taught by Dee Mayes. Beginners and advanced. Hand building and work on a kick wheel. Six week sessions. Fee $25 including materials. Call 352-5519 for date of next session.
Children’s Book Week takes place Nov 8-14. Call Rootabaga Bookery for list of activities. 361-8581.
The Great Pumpkin Carnival at Northaven Cooper-ative Playschool, will be held Oct 30, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is 50￠. It’s a combination book fair and bazaar with children’s books, records and posters from the Rootabaga Bookery and handmade children’s items, Halloween costumes, and games The carnival is a fundraising activity for the preschool at 11211 Preston Rd/661-9066.
DoodyvilIe Gang presents two shows daily at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Nov 4, 5, and 6 at Red Bird Mall’s Center Court. Milt Neil, cartoonist, will be there to sketch characters. Admission free. Hwy 67-South at Camp Wisdom Rd.
Children’s Programs, offered jointly by the DallasMuseum of Fine Arts and the Art Education Department at SMU, will experiment with a variety oftechniques for introducing children to art. Classesfor pre-schoolers ages 4 and 5 will be held Wedand Fri beginning Oct 27 at SMU. with transportation supplied to the Museum. Classes will beequally divided between the Museum and SMU.Fee $45/scholarships available. For further information call 421-4167, ext. 42.
Three Would-Be Thrillers
The country house murder, the tough detective with a heart of gold, Gothic goings-on, man-against-the-sea (or -jungle, or -mountain, or -desert): these are the stuff of thrillers, bedtime stories for grownups. Hundreds get churned out every year and most are dreadful. But a few are lovely tranquilizers when the mind’s too tired to think and the body’s had it. Even the formulas are fun, and terribly reassuring. After all, the butler’s never done it, and young love must win out in the end.
All I want from a thriller is an unpretentious narrative, done in a lively, literate style. Deliver me from the thriller writer who’s trying hard to be Significant. They usually wind up just being desperately boring. (When I’m up to Significance, I have a stack of unpaid bills to ponder.) I want good guys and bad guys and a fictional world that’s whole and convincing. I also want to emerge vicariously vindicated with the good guys at the end – and maybe having picked up a bit of information about horse racing, orchid growing, or mountain climbing along the way.
Here are three new thrillers (detective, Gothic, and adventure), but only one – to my mind – satisfies.
Dick Francis may be the best living British mystery writer. His own special setting is that of the British steeplechase. It’s not a seamy underworld, but one peopled by hardy athletes, aristocratic owners and hard-working trainers. Even his villains, except for a few toughs they employ, are men of sophistication and apparent respectability.
I’ve never been to a horserace, but Dick Francis keeps my imagination galloping. He’s a fascinating character in his own right – straight out of his novels. He quit school at 15 because all he wanted to do was race. World War II intervened and he became a pilot, but after the war he went on to fulfill his original ambition. He became champion jockey and for four years was retained jockey for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Steeplechasing isn’t just riding horses around a track; it involves staying on a high-strung animal as it leaps obstacles with hidden pit-falls on both sides. Continuous injuries finally made Francis give up riding in 1957. He became the racing correspondent for The Sunday Express.
Francis doesn’t write conventional murder-mysteries. When there’s murder done, it’s usually to cover up the corruption his hero is beginning to unmask. The focus of Francis’ stories is on the heroism of unassuming, likeable characters – and how restful to have a hero instead of a protagonist. The tension of the investigation is heightened by being set in the steeplechasing world, where death and crippling injury lie hidden around every curve in the track. It seems almost the heroic world come again, in which men are stretched to their limits to win, and to win with honor.
Like his predecessors in the British mystery tradition, Francis makes villainy seem more villainous by setting it in the peaceful innocence of the English countryside. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple unveils fiendish murders by matching them with their wicked counterparts in tiny St. Mary Mead, a truly pastoral setting. There’s an element of pastoral in Francis’ novels, too, particularly in the closeness between the trainers and the jockeys and their animals.
A greedy trainer and a vicious bookmaker are brought to justice in Francis’ latest novel (his fifteenth), High Stakes (Harper and Row, $7.95). It’s refreshing to have villains motivated by greed, jealousy and revenge – almost homey sins in contrast with the troubled psyches of the rat-like characters (good guys and bad guys alike) who creep through so many of the current half-baked psychological thrillers. And like all of Francis’ novels, High Stakes is well-written fun.
If you liked Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting and caught flashes of magic in The Hollow Hills, don’t read her latest. Touch Not the Cat (Morrow, $8.95) is feeble. Not even the charming eccentricity of British punctuation makes this novel pleasant. Miss Stewart’s earlier successes have owed their popularity to tightly-plotted, if improbable stories. They were peopled with sympathetic, attractive heroes and heroines and made good, inoffensive bed-time reading. But Touch Not the Cat maunders on about ESP and weaves a web which couldn’t entangle a two-year-old. The heroine is exceptionally silly – even for this genre, in which women must be a little silly if there’s to be a story at all. If you must read it, wait for the paperback. At least you won’t offend your pocketbook, too.
Storm Warning (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $8.95), by Jack Higgins, is a sea story set at the end of World War II. A retired British admiral, his doctor niece, an ancient Scots seaman cum minister, German nuns, a famous U-boat captain, and somebody’s wife who dies in mid-plot all clamor for attention as they converge during a hurricane off the west coast of Scotland. And – surprise, surprise! – the storm unites them all in a struggle against the sea. It’s sentimental piffle without even the merit of skillful writing. Higgins juggles his various sub-plots so clumsily that they dissipate the action rather than intensify it.
(Oh, I forgot the American seaman who lusts after the admiral’s niece who’s fascinated by the U-boat captain who’s allowed to escape by the Scots minister whose son’s ship has been torpedoed in the English channel and sunk without survivors, not to mention. . . . Well, you get the idea.)
– Susan Matthews
The following information on what’s hot in Dallas bookshops is compiled with the aid of the Bookseller, Willow Creek Shopping Center, 9811 N Central Ex-pwy; Brentano’s, 451 NorthPark Center; Cokesbury, 1910 Main; Taylor’s Books, Preston Center East; and the Dallas Public Library.
Dolores, Jacqueline Susann (Morrow, $9.95). Novel about a President’s widow; a rather obvious roman à clef.
Galveston, Suzanne Morris (Doubleday, $10). Historical romance set on the Texas coast.
Ordinary People, Judith Guest (Viking, $7.95). Novel about a crisis in the lives of a family whose son returns from a stay in a mental institution.
Passages: The Predictable Crises of Adult Life, Gail Sheehy (Dutton, $10.95). Non-fiction study of the crisis periods adults typically pass through, by a New York magazine contributing editor.
The Right and the Power, Leon Jaworski (Thomas Y. Crowell, $9.95). The Watergate Special Prosecutor’s own account of what brought about the Final Days.
Slapstick, Kurt Vonnegut (Delacorte, $7.95). The latest novel by a campus favorite.
Sleeping Murder, Agatha Christie (Dodd, Mead. $7.95). Written in the Thirties, the last Miss Marple novel to be published.
Some Time In the Sun, Tom Dardis (Scribner’s, $9.95). Non-fiction account of the years Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Nathanael West. Aldous Huxley and James Agee spent in Hollywood.
The Thirteenth Tribe, Arthur Koestler (Random House, $8.95). Non-fiction account of the history of the Khazar Empire and their conversion to Judaism.
Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart (Morrow, $8.95). Gothic thriller-romance. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Trinity, Leon Uris (Doubleday, $10.95). A novel about the troubles in Ireland.
Your Erroneous Zones, Wayne W. Dyer (Funk &Wagnalls, $6.95). A New York psychologist’s report on “unhealthy behavior patterns.”