The Club Musician’s Life Is Not an Easy One
You’ve done it before. Looking for a modest night on the town you pick a club, and about half-way through your Scotch and soda you become aware of someone singing only a few feet away. Occasionally you respond to a familiar song with mechanical applause.
The club musician takes it in his stride. “To the owners,” one musician told me, “we’re just the same as the peanuts on the bar. We’re a freebie.” At the better clubs musicians have a good deal of artistic autonomy, but playing clubs in Dallas is no way to get rich or guarantee lifelong security. Fifty dollars a night for a single performer seems to be the best the city has to offer; the worst can go as low as five dollars a set. I was curious who plays for a living and what their working conditions are, and there is room here to talk about a few musicians from the standpoint of music and the business.
Dana Dotson and Pat Lee have been fixtures at Red Bryan’s on Greenville for a number of months. Bryan’s is one of seven or eight clubs available to musicians who want to have an audience that might listen and tor whom they might play an original song now and then. A musician to whom I spoke compared clubs like Bryan’s to motel lounges; the kind of place, said another, where you play a lot of “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.”
Dotson and Lee’s repertoire features some popular hits, a dose of the less often heard Poco-influenced sound (including a fine rendition of Paul Cotton’s “Bad Weather”) and some other favorites. They do an especially crisp job on Lennon and McCartney’s “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and, in response to a request one night, resurrected the Sixties relic “Wild Thing.” Simply knowing it was a small coup, but the performance was made even funnier by their deadpan delivery.
Dotson and Lee have been playing together since last October, and have learned that it is a good deal harder for a duo to get steady work than for a single. On the other hand Lee says that the sound of two people playing seems to elicit a larger range of requests from the audience. Most musicians have plenty of their own songs to play, but are realistic about what people come in to hear. D & L manage to get in five or six originals a night. One to listen for is “Wagon Wheel,” which I enjoyed at least as much as their arrangements of others’ songs. But Lee says that although they “really enjoy it when people get off to our originals,” they are content as long as they can enjoy what they play and please the audience as well.
Playing the hits goes along with the territory, and sometimes the territory is a hard one to stake out. Ed Beaver has held down a piece of it at the Vagabond on Greenville for about three months. The Vagabond is a small bar boasting, of all things, a swimming pool out back. No patrons were taking advantage of it the nights I was there, but I was assured it was perfectly all right to do so.
Beaver has been in music for ten years, with various flings as a restaurant manager and an employee of the state of New Mexico before deciding, at 28, “that it’s all right to be a musician.” In reaching that decision, he chose to put up with the difficulties in getting loans for equipment, the precariousness of the job market, and the sometimes marginal monetary rewards. The most lucrative jobs, to his knowledge, are those of some club musicians in California, who might make $750 a week. “The neurosurgeons of music,” he calls them, since they make perhaps $36,000 a year. Dallas rates are considerably less stratospheric, and it is a buyer’s market. For every musician working, there are a dozen who would work for a little less. Some are professionals, and some, to the professionals’ chagrin, are those for whom playing is a sideline, supplementing a day job or college. Hence the pressure. Beaver described the flat rate one major club pays for a night’s work. “For years they’ve paid that for a night. Their attitude is ’if you don’t like it; we’ll get somebody else.’”
For all Beaver’s reservations about the business end, he seems to have a marvelous time playing. He covers a representative selection of standards, with diverse touches like a funky version of Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” He writes songs good enough to sell (two were recently bought by David Allan Coe), but the club act sails along for the most part with commercial things. Beaver has an easy way with an audience and is philosophical a-bout his task. “I know what they want to hear. I might hate it, but I’ll play it.” At the Vagabond he is at least his own artistic director, and seemed to be getting solid support from behind the bar, a far cry from the motel bars he has played where one sticks to the top twenty “and nobody listens.”
Dotson and Lee’s audiences come in two shifts, the early dinner crowd (whose constant drifting in and out sets up a situation D & L call “entertainment in passing”), and the later crowd that comes to hear the music. “When they stay and have a good time,” Lee says, the night is a success. If Ed Beaver gets five people down front who seem interested in what he is playing, it is worth the effort.
Constant work is a precious commodity in Dallas, and a living wage is hard to find sometimes. So listen the next chance you get. and if the time seems right, get the picker to do one of his own.
– Glenn Mitchell
How to Start a Classical Record Collection
The New Yorker cartoon a couple of years back caught perfectly the passionate, existential attachment people have to their classical music collections. “Oh, no,” says an obviously indignant man to the woman as she prepares to box up a handful of LPs. “You don’t get two years of my life and the Fischer-Dieskaus, too.” Substitute Toscanini, Rubinstein, the Complete Beethoven Symphonies, or Angels of the Highest Order and you have some idea of how wide and deep the acquisitive mania runs in the hearts of classical record lovers.
The Schwann Catalogue now lists over 40,000 stereo recordings, cassettes, cartridges, and tapes, so that the heart of your collection, that group of indispensable recordings, will inevitably grow as your sympathies enlarge.
There’s no reason to be restrained, but there are ways to be systematic about your collecting. Here is my list of suggestions for starting a sound classical collection. Most of these works are acknowledged masterpieces, but a small handful are less well known works I personally treasure.
Wherever it seems useful or desirable, I will suggest my own choice of particular recordings, though the choice reflects my own tastes and range of knowledge.
The easiest way of organizing music is by historical periods, and the earliest musical peak comes in the Middle Ages with Gregorian Chants. Monteverdi’s Madrigals are representative works of Renaissance music, but not until the Baroque period does a single genius tower over his age: Bach. With Bach the important works are the Six Brandenburg Concertos (Ristenpart, Chamber Orchestra of the Saar plays them on original instruments), Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (in any number of formats), Goldberg Variations (Gould), and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for Organ, and Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor for Organ. Also in the Baroque are Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music and Water Music, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Scarlatti’s Piano Sonatas.
We start with Haydn’s Piano Sonatas (miscellaneous), Quartets, Opus 76 and 77, and his Symphonies Nos. 88, 94, 100, 101, 103, and 104. I’ll only suggest the utter beginnings of a Mozart collection: Piano Concertos 17, 20-27 (Brendel, in a series coming from Philips), Opera Overtures, Quartets 17-23, the Serenade Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Piano Sonatas 1,2,8, 11, 12, 16, the Clarinet Concerto, and Symphonies 29, 35, 36, 38, 40, and 41 (either the Szell, Cleveland, or Marriner, St. Martin’s Academy). If you want to have all nine of the Beethoven Symphonies, Szell with the Cleveland is my choice. To have the essential ones I would choose Nos. 3 (Ozawa, San Francisco), 5 (Szell, Cleveland), 6 (Bernstein, NY Phil), 7 (Karajan, Vienna), and 9 (Solti, Chicago). Horowitz, Rubinstein, and Richter play the best individual Piano Sonatas, though Brendel is bringing out a new complete set (Philips). The essential sonatas are Nos. 8, 12, 14, 17, 21, 23, 29, and 31. Then there are Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5, Quartets Nos. 8 and 14, Leonore Overtures 1, 2, and 3, and Overture to Fidelio, and Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Nos. 5 and 9 (on one LP by Szeryng, Rubinstein). I like Schubert’s smaller works, though Symphonies Nos. 4, 8, and 9 are crucial. I’d recommend Sonatas D. 960, D. 845, D. 664, and D. 784, Wanderer Fantasy, Moments Musicaux, Incidental Music to Rosamunde, Quartet No. 14, and Quintet in A Major. Romantic Period
Chopin is the first great figure in this era, and he wrote for the piano. The pianists I like who record Chopin are (who else?) Rubinstein, Horowitz, Richter, but it isn’t fair to end this list with just three artists. The longer works to have are the two Piano Concertos, Sonatas 2 and 3. A good way to get to know his shorter works is to buy “My Favorite Chopin” albums (Pennario, Novaes, Rubinstein, Horowitz, Moravec, Cliburn, etc.) and then to pursue complete sets of Waltzes, Nocturnes, Ballades, Preludes, Mazurkas, Polonaises, Etudes, Scherzos, and Impromptus. For Liszt the two Piano Concertos are indispensable (Richter, Kondrashin, London), but also wonderful are the Hungarian Rhapsodies, Les Preludes, and the Piano Sonata in B Minor (Berman).
For Brahms, you’d again want Piano Concertos 1 (Fleisher, Szell) and 2 (Gilels, Reiner, Chicago), and also the Violin Concerto, Piano Music, and Tragic Overture, and Symphonies 1 (Karajan, Vienna) and 4 (Haitink, Concertgebouw). Finally, Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Pagani-ni, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel repay endless listening. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto is a radiant masterpiece, but I’d also suggest the Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Symphony No. 4. For Schumann there’s Carnaval and his Piano Concerto, and for Tchaikovsky there’s the First Piano Concerto and the Sixth Symphony. The overtures to Wagner’s operas are wonderful orchestra pieces, too, as are the Prelude and Good Friday Music from Parsifal.
Of Ravel’s music you would want Daphnis and Chloe, Bolero, the Rhapsodie Espagnol, the Pavane pour une infante défunte, the Piano Concerto in G (Michelan-geli), and the Concerto for Left Hand. Every classical collection should have Debussy’s Claire de Lune in one form or another, along with La Mer, Prelude à l’après-midi d’un faune, Piano Preludes, and the Sonata No. 3 for Piano and Violin. Rachmaninoff is perhaps the best great Romantic composer, and his Symphony No. 2 the most Romantic symphony. Others of his works I never tire of hearing are the 2nd and 3rd Piano Concertos, the Rhapsody on the Theme of Paga-nini, and Piano Preludes, and the monumental Piano Sonata No. 2 (Horowitz plays the abridged, Cliburn the original version).
Modern – 20th Century
The Romantic Century ends with Mahler, and his Symphonies No. 1, 2 (Walter, Columbia Symphony and New York Philharmonic respectively), 4 (Haitink, Con-certgebouw) and 9 (Bernstein. NY Phil.) will show you how. Richard Strauss is best represented by Till Eulenspiegel and Don Juan (both with Karajan, Berlin), but to get the flavor of Stravinsky’s work a larger selection is better: Sacre du Prin-temps (Boulez, Cleveland), Symphony in C, Symphony of Psalms, The Firebird Suite, and Petrouchka have all been recorded with the composer conducting various orchestras. Prokofiev’s First (“Classical”) and Fifth Symphonies are essential, as are excerpts from Romeo and Juliet.
Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht, Berg’s Violin Concerto, Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and Barber’s Adagio for Strings dramatize the diversity of 20th century music.
– Willem Brans
1. Bach, Brandenburg Concertos, Ris-tenpart. Chamber Orchestra of the Saar(Nonesuch). These six masterpieces havebeen recorded with everything from 100-piece orchestras to Moog synthesizer, butRistenpart’s version on original instruments has both fidelity and endless musical variety.
2. Mozart, Symphonies Nos. 35. 39,40. and 41 (2LPs), Szell, Cleveland. Thefour greatest Mozart symphonies playedwith incredible depth of feeling and consummate precision, done when the Cleveland, under Szell’s hands, was the greatest orchestra.
3. Mozart, Concerto for Piano No. 20,Rubinstein. Wallenstein (RCA). Rubinstein is here heard at his best, lyricallycontrolled, quietly passionate, magnificentin his eighties, playing what many peopleconsider the Mozart Concerto.
4. Beethoven, Sonatas 8, 14, 26, Rubinstein (RCA). You’ve heard them a hundred times, but this is how the “Pathetique”and the “Moonlight” sonatas ought to bedone: the Romantic Beethoven flawlessly performed by the patriarch of classical pianists.
5. Chopin. Preludes, Freire (Columbia).They get as wild as the Etudes and assolemn as the Nocturnes: taken as a wholethey epitomize Chopin’s musical inventiveness. Freire’s playing is breathtakingin its versatility and self-assurance.
6. Brahms, Symphony No. 1 in C Minor.Karajan. Vienna (London). Von Karajancaptures all of Brahms’ grandeur, passion,and tenderness on a recording with a peerless orchestra.
7. Brahms. Piano Concerto No. 2 in BFlat, Gilels, Reiner. Chicago (RCA). TheRussian pianist with the big hands makesthis warehouse come alive in a fiery collaboration with Reiner and the old Chicago Symphony. The Andante Third Movement can move you to tears; it’s never been done better since 1955.
8. Mahler. Symphony No. 4, Haitink,Ameling, Concertgebouw (Philips). Mahler’s quietest symphony, the Fourth hasa mournful depth of feeling but also lively,lyrical melodies. This recording is fresh,evocative, superbly competent.
9. Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, Boulez,Cleveland (Columbia). This is a searingSucre, with tempos as fast as it’s humanlypossible to perform them, instrumentalcontrasts -so sharp you’ll think you’venever heard this work before as it shouldbe played.
10. Rachmaninoff. Piano Concerto No.?2, Cliburn, Reiner, Chicago (RCA). Formy money, this is the best recording ofthe post Romantic classic. With unhurried tempos and brilliant technique inevery measure, it’s a performance thatgoes to the essence of Rachmaninoff’sgentle but impetuous spirit.
– Willem Brans
Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Concerts on the grounds of Electronic Data Systems. 7171 Forest Lane. 8:45 p.m. Guests are conductor Francoise Huybrecht July 29 & 30. conductor Richard Hayman July 31. cellist Ko Iwasiki Aug 5; pianist Eugene Istomin Aug 6; selections from Broadway musicals by two unannounced vocalists Aug 7. Tickets $4 for chair seat, $2 for lawn seat, available at Titche’s NorthPark box office or by 692-0203
North Texas State University. Summer Concert Band in the Music Recital Hall. 8:15 p.m. Aug 4. Free.
It’s Delightful, It’s DeNiro
Whether Robert DeNiro turns out to be the next Brando is for the studio brass and the fan magazines to worry about. It’s already clear that, with the possible exception of Al Pacino, he is the most adventurous young actor in films today. Mafia boss, psychopath, hoodlum, film producer, he’s played each of these roles with such authority and individuality that every new performance temporarily erases memories of the others. He’s shown no inclination to pander to the public by taking only safe parts or by developing a slick, appealing image that he could capitalize on for the rest of his career. He’s a tough fellow to build a cult around.
His portrayal of Jimmy Doyle, the self-obsessed jazz musician in Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York, is a case in point. Jimmy isn’t much, really, a jiving, street-smart guy trying to hard-sell his way to the top in the era of the big bands. We sense that he could just as easily have been a loan shark as a saxophone player, yet DeNiro makes him almost loveable by giving him a silly, sentimental, off-the wall side as well. Who could dislike a guy who tries to con his way out of paying his hotel bill with a story about his wooden leg? The only problem with all this is that after an hour or so DeNiro has exhausted Jimmy Doyle. There are no more routines to do, no more changes to ring, nothing further to discover about him. So the film develops a more conventional, bittersweet romantic tone that neither he nor Liza Minnelli, who is marvellous as his bewildered but loyal wife, Francine, can finally overcome. All the zany bits and dumb but endearing banter give way to tiresome domestic squabbling and sullen reflections on the vicissitudes of show business. The pacing grows slack, and we begin to detect a thinness in the characterizations that we hadn’t noticed before.
I feel like a spoilsport for saying this because there is so much to like about New York, New York; not just the acting but the visual audacity of the whole project. It’s one thing to use cardboard trees and painted drops as a gag; it’s another, more difficult job to make them fit the characters, which is what Scorsese does much of the time. He has insisted all along that New York, New York isn’t just another nostalgic film but a movie about “the tension between a menacing reality and beguiling fakery.” Certainly some of Jimmy’s problems come from his inability to see Francine as anything but the stubborn yet ultimately willing and adoring heroine of the old musicals. Watching him propose to her in a studio snowbank seems perfectly appropriate, but Scorsese also loves the Forties musicals for themselves, so that he often lingers over a scene or a mood so long that the film begins to list. This is particularly bothersome in Fran-cine’s spectacular production numbers, which are rousing fun but make us wonder just what the film is meant to be about. The second half has a sprawl to it that compares unfavorably with the tightness and velocity of the opening sequences. It’s as if Scorsese couldn’t decide whether to play wittily off the old cliches or to give in to them. I kept asking myself if tighter editing would solve the problem (the original running time was four hours, cut to 2 1/2 in the final print) and concluded that it wouldn’t. New York, New York simply got away from him at the end. Even so, it has more going for it than any recent musical I can think of, and many of the old ones.
– David Dillon
You may have noticed that there are no dance events listed this month. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to wait till next month’s Dallas Ballet season opening to watch great dancing. Hurry on down to SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre Friday and Saturday nights for the last of their superb series of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. You can still catch Carefree on July 30 and 31 and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle on August 5 and 6. Or run over to the Preston 2 Theatre for the midnight showing of Top Hat, also on August 5 and 6. You’ll never see the like of Astaire again, and Ginger was no klutz.
Not So Deep As It Might Be
Jaws kept people away from the beaches the way Hitchcock’s Psycho kept them out of motel showers. It aroused some primal fear, the Jonah complex in all of us, perhaps. By comparison, The Deep seems as tame as an episode of’ “Sea Hunt.” There are some nifty special effects plus an exuberant, if somewhat excessive, performance by Robert Shaw as a veteran treasure hunter (his latest accent, by the way, is part brogue, part Old Norse), but Bruce the shark has been replaced by a moray eel. nasty but unlikely to disturb your subconscious, and the climactic hunting sequence, which gave Jaws both focus and intensity, has deteriorated into a series of disconnected underwater capers, each complemented by a gurgly score that must have been composed in the studio washroom. To avoid comparisons like those I’ve been making, Columbia has been touting the film as a “suspenser” rather than a “shocker,” which would be accurate enough if director Peter Yates knew the difference between suspense and practical joking. Unfortunately, he simply strings together assorted bits of business on the principle that if the eel doesn’t get you, then maybe the sharks or the witch doctors will.
The Deep has none of the bravura and inventiveness we find in a film like Black Sunday, for example, in which the critical ingredients of suspense – hope, fear, and time – build to a gripping climax involving a sky hook, the Goodyear blimp, and 80,000 unsuspecting fans at the Super Bowl. It’s impossibly hokey, of course, but so dazzling and well-constructed that we don’t really mind being had. Frank-enheimer earns his gasps. Yates, on the other hand, remains safely within the formulas, pushing nothing out of joint, even adding a happy ending. After a while we don’t care what happens so long as it happens quickly. Only the underwater photography shows flashes of genuine imagination – the fish are lovely and there are several marvellous shots of vials of morphine dancing across the ocean floor. The rest of the film is as unsalvageable as the treasure everyone is hunting.
Since The Deep will be playing everywhere this summer, it will be hard to avoid. Just bear in mind that there is probably more genuine excitement at the local aquarium.
– David Dillon
Dallas Public Library. Summer films at various branches. Call your local branch for times and dates. Films are: Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, The African Queen, Treasure Island, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Soul Singer, and Mark of Zorro.
Haymarket Theatre. Now forming the Classic Film Society, featuring vintage and special films chosen by Society members Membership $1, each film $2 Films open to members only Call 233-1958 for information.
Edison Theatre. Revivals of recent and classic films with some first-runs Features change every other night. 2420 N Fitzhugh/823-9610.
USA Film Festival. Series of Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire movies, including Carefree July 30 & 31. and The Story of Vernon and lrene Castle Aug 5 & 6 Shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets $2 at the door Bob Hope Theatre, SMU. 692-2979.
University of Texas/Dallas. 7:30 and 9 30 p.m. in Founders North Auditorium, Floyd & Lookout. Richardson. $1 Call 690-2945 for dates August films are Robert Mitchum in Macao. Vittorio de Sica’s A Brief Vacation. Son of the Sheik with Rudolf Valentino. Roman Polanski shorts, Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Gallop. Orson Welles in Jane Eyre. Polanski’s Knife in the Water. Bruce Browns Endless Summer. Douglas Fairbanks in Mark of Zorro, Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, The Entertainer with Laurence Olivier. Bela Lugosi in Mark of the Vampire.
Old Techniques, New Themes
Ask David Novros which artists are most important to him and he’ll immediately mention Rothko, Pollock, Kline, and several other Abstract Expressionists. Then, in the next breath, he’ll talk about Giotto, Piero Delia Francesca, and Michelangelo. As one of the few contemporary artists doing fresco, the oldest and most technically demanding method of painting, he is as much at home in Renaissance Italy as present-day New York. His latest project, made possible by a gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott, is a 99’ fresco in the foyer of the Gooch Auditorium at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. It is a dramatic example of the marriage of ancient techniques and contemporary design.
First of all, it is public art as the Florentines would have understood it, a painting wedded to a specific architectural situation and executed in full view of an audience. As Novros and his assistants balance like aerialists on their scaffolding, students and visitors walk back and forth below, dodging bits of falling plaster in order to study the day-to-day evolution of the piece. For most it is a unique opportunity to see a work of art in progress. So far there has been no kibitzing (here the Florentine analogy sags a bit), and David concedes that after a shaky start he’s becoming more comfortable in this fishbowl environment.
“Unless the work is going badly,” he adds. “Then I want to sneak away to a studio and work by myself for a while. That’s impossible, of course. Painting a fresco requires some major psychological adjustments on the artist’s part, which partially explains why so few of them attempt it.”
One obvious adjustment is learning to cope with so permanent and unforgiving a medium. In fresco buono or true fresco, powdered pigments mixed with water are applied directly to wet lime-plaster. As the plaster dries it binds the pigments to it so that the fresco actually becomes a part of the wall instead of a superimposed skin of color. The artist has to work carefully and quickly, covering a limited area of wall before his plaster dries out. Should that happen, he then has to chisel away his day’s work and start again. Corrections are almost impossible. Obviously this isn’t a technique for the inexperienced or the faint-hearted.
“I did dozens of drawings for this painting,” David says, “but once I started working on the site I had to revise many of my ideas. They simply wouldn’t work in the way they did in the studio. The ideal strategy would be to come and live in a space for a few months. Do nothing except study its moods and the ways light affects it at different times of day and so on.”
At first glance, the foyer of Gooch Auditorium seems rather undistinguished. Tall and shallow, with a series of rectangular wall panels that bend in and out like sections of corrugated cardboard, it somehow makes one feel cramped and leaned on. Even its magnificent light doesn’t make it any more inviting. None of this bothers David.
“I love shallow spaces for fresco,” he says. “Unlike an easel painting, which may be effective from just one fixed point, a fresco has to be effective from every angle. I don’t want a viewer to stand back and pictorialize it. I want him to confront it close up, to examine the lines and color patterns section by section as he walks past it. This constant shifting of point of view is extremely important. In fact, the only place where you’ll be able to see the entire fresco is across the quadrangle. The closer you get, the more diversified it becomes.”
While this fresco is undoubtedly David’s most ambitious undertaking to date, it has many of the qualities of his previous work, even in its incomplete state. The colors, mainly greens, browns, yellows, and blacks, are at once superbly controlled and full of surprises, unlike so many of the supergraphics that pass for art in public places these days. Shifts in hue and intensity are subtle and varied so that the palette seems much larger than it is. There are many familiar rectangles and L-shapes, but they are intersected by graceful arcs and strong horizontals that carry the eye around the wall. Lines and angles manage to retain their integrity without seeming static or rigid. The general impression is of a tight, balanced, geometric painting suffused with energy.
“If I have one outstanding strength as a painter,” David remarks, “it’s an ability to perceive relationships among colors and forms. I paint what I see. A geometer would probably be shocked at the way I draw angles more or less free hand, or free-eye, but I want the painting to have movement and spontaneity, not to look as though it had been done from a blueprint.”
Actually, this is David’s second Texas fresco. His first, in the executive offices of the United Gas Pipeline Company in Houston’s Pennzoil Building, was completed in 1976. Although he’s pleased with the piece itself, he’s unhappy with the way it is being exhibited.
’”Security is so tight there that only a few people can get in to see it. Even then, it’s partly hidden by desks, potted plants, even a TV camera. I want my paintings to be used and felt, to become part of a person’s daily experience. After all, that’s why I do public art.”
From the looks of things, he won’t have the same problem here in Dallas.
– David Dillon
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The Face of Egypt:P Permanence and Change in Egyptian Art, including tours, lectures, and slide shows, through Aug 15. Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Fair Park/421-4187.
Kimbell Art Museum. The Tokugawa Collection of No Robes and Masks. July 27-Sep 4 Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. 1101 Will Rogers Rd, Fort Worth/(817)332-8451.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. Entre Amis/Between Friends, photographs of the U.S. -Canadian border Through Aug 31. Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5:30 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth/(817)738-1933.
Fort Worth Art Museum. America 1976, impressions of America by artists commissioned by the Department of the Interior Continues through Aug 14. Dallas/Fort Worth Collector’s Show Aug 14-Sep 25. Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. 1309 Montgomery/(817)738-9215.
Adelle M. Gallery. Etchings by Robert Marsh Weekdays 9-5, Sat 1-5 3317 McKinney/526-0800
Afterimage. Black and white portraits by Yousu! Karsh through Aug 6. Mon-Sat 10-5:30. 2800 Routh in the Quadrangle/ 748-2521
Arthello’s Gallery. Prints by E Kofi Bailey. 1-6 Sat & Sun and by appointment. 1922 S Beckley/941-2276.
Chisholm Trail Gallery. Works by Melvin Warren and Joe Deeler. Mon-Sat 10-5. 7068 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth/ (817)731-2781
Clifford Gallery. Prints by 20th century artists, including Dine, Oldenburg, and Calder. Mon-Sat 10-5:30. 6619 Snider Plaza/363-8223
Delahunty Gallery. 19th and 20th century folk art. including weather vanes, through Sep 8. Tue-Sat 10-6 2611 Cedar Springs/744-1346.
D.W. Co-op. Group show opening July 23. shown by appointment only through Labor Day. 3305 McKinney/526-3240.
Fairmount Gallery. Gallery artists show, including Albert Werner, Renee Theobald. John Cates, and Bob Wade, through the summer 10-5 Mon-Sat. 6040 Sherry Lane/369-5636
Frontroom Gallery. Wood-fired pottery by Keith and Gay Evans. Mon-Sat 10-5. Craft Compound. 6617 Snider Plaza/ 369-8338
Mandala Art Gallery. One-woman oil show by Barbara Gettier Tarsikes. Mon-Sat 10-5. 6617 Snider Plaza/369-7426.
Phillips Galleries. Large group exhibition of new paintings by Mary Malcolm, Florence Arven. Carlantonio Longi, and others. Mon-Sat 10-5 2517 Fairmount/748-7888.
2719 Gallery. Enamel-on-copper paintings and plastic sculpture by Irwin Whitaker through Aug 6. Aug 7-Sep 3. contemporary southwestern jewelry by David E. Dear Tue-Sat 11-5. Sun 2-5 2719 Routh/748-2094.
Valley House Gallery. 17th-20th century works by Hendrick Van Balen, Gilbert Stuart. George Inness. and more Mon-Fri 10-5, weekends by appointment. 6616 Spring Valley Rd/239-2441.
Two Texans Recapture the Past
“Some later Linnaeus of the human orders must have classed me at birth among the Humphreys: in Welsh the name means ’One who loves his hearth and home.’” With those words Texas-born writer William Humphrey accepts the inscrutable but kindly wisdom of his heritage. In his new book, Farther Off from Heaven (Knopf, $8.95), he celebrates his love of family and of place, and records his deep respect for the self they inevitably define.
A story about leaving and coming home, the book is nevertheless no young man’s plaint of the sensitive artist in insensitive surroundings, no wail for what Dylan Thomas once called “innocence lost and wisdom catastrophically gained by the age of nineteen.” Nor is it the autobiographical novel, with the novel pretty thin in places, we have unhappily come to expect. Farther Off from Heaven is an unabashed work of autobiography with actual names, places, dates, and events, to which its author has brought a considerable skill in narrative technique and an even more considerable humanity.
Humanity is a heavy word, but what else can we call Humphrey’s ability to present his own 13-year-old self without irony or sentimentality but with the simple honesty of understanding and affection, or to show the society of Clarksville, Texas, in 1937, without resorting to camp or nostalgia? And what but humanity enabled him in his latest book to figure forth his own parents, poor, uneducated, and unworldly, not as minor players or causative agents, but as complex and mysterious beings, the very integrity of whose lives and characters led to tragedy?
The tragedy, as in James Agee’s A Death in the Family, is that of a father’s untimely death, as well as the tragedies of lack of love and loss of faith. With delicate candor, Humphrey tells of the event that sped the boy he was toward the man he is, and he recognizes along the way the continuity and significance of human relationships. Don’t miss it.
Another Texan, Bryan Woolley, an editorial writer for the Dallas Times Herald,
has just published his third book. Set in an imaginary Fort Appleby, Texas, during the polio year of 1952, Time and Place (Dutton, $8.95) is a well-told story of young love and race relations in a town which appears Edenic but isn’t: the worm of bigotry got there long before the polio did. Woolley has clarity of style, an eye for detail – “Her hand, fiddling with a thread dangling from the collar of her pink chenille robe, was pale and bony” – and the ability to create interest and suspense. I have no wish to tangle with Shelby Hearon and A. C. Greene, who both praise the book highly on the cover. But for a realistic novel, it strained my credulity to the splitting point where sex is concerned. Would a mother in 1952 take a high school boy to her bed ostensibly to protect her daughter from his advances? Woolley has done a masterly job of evoking the small town Fifties in other respects, but, no, high school girls in those Fifties didn’t treat sex as casually as his girls do, and this mother-daughter team is psychologically unrecognizable to anyone who suffered through that remote age. Maybe in reality such things happened. My point is that in this book I don’t believe most of the sexy stuff. In fact, at times I felt as if I were a voyeur in an adolescent sexual fantasy. I might tolerate this gap of credibility if this were a trashy book. But it’s not, and the characters should make more sense in their milieu than these sometimes do. See what you think.
I opened David Littlejohn’s The Man Who Killed Mick Jagger (Little, Brown, $8.95) with the embarrassed feeling that I would have had beginning Going Down on Janis. But to my surprise – with such a title what would you expect? – this novel, a fictional case study of a psychopathic murderer, while slightly sensational, is totally hypnotic. The book is brilliant, a tour de force. Littlejohn, a journalist, a literary critic and biographer, and a professor at Berkeley, somehow manages to make one of the rejects of our society comprehensible and even sympathetic. For black humor, there’s a description of an ail-American Thanksgiving family dinner complete with Wonder Bread and football. And after the 20-page rendition of a Ph.D. oral examination, I was ready to kill Mick Jagger myself. Or somebody.
Don’t even open: 1) Ackroyd, Jules Feiffer’s travesty (Simon & Schuster, $8.95). The book has literally nothing to recommend it, neither characterization nor plot nor, heaven knows, wit (sample wit: “His expression is that of a banker refusing a loan”). One more illusion blown: Jules Feiffer as a funny man. Can cartoons be ghost-written, do you suppose?
2) Springer’s Progress by David Mark-son (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, $8.95), another strained effort to be witty (sample wit: “Not with a bang but an elevator. Hallowed be thy guts.”) Pretentious and overwritten, like Mickey Spillane crossed with James Joyce, it’s almost worth reading for the sheer relief of reaching the end. Wanta hear the end? “Being continued.” And then, blessed blank.
If you can psych yourself into the L. A. mentality – I can on alternate Saturdays – you’ll enjoy Eve Babitz’s Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L. A. After a diet of the usual grim judgements on Southern California, it’s a change to see the degenerate way of life so lightheartedly defended in this collection of what the author calls “tales’”: fictionalized episodes in which she plays herself. “Eve Babitz is L. A.,” says the jacket blurb, and it’s true that in her book one sees the conflicting ideologies, the feel-good sensibility, the life-as-game attitude of the title. Shocking as only the truly trivial can be, her stories can nevertheless set up reverberations that make me wonder what Babitz knows about herself and her life that she doesn’t say. In “Emerald Bay,” for example, she describes a suicide acquaintance: “She wore dismal colors always, powder blue and mustard, and I put her into my ’Empty Lady Hanging On” category, for I am quick to categorize and find it saves mountains of time.” Saving time to spend, sacrificing significance to sensation, wallowing in Now: they are nearly half a continent and half a century from the savor of the past in Humphrey’s book, only a twist of the dial from the psychosis in The Man Who Killed Mick Jagger. How rich a summer that rolled all three in.
– Jo Brans
Rather Vs. Barker on the Assassination Coverage
Dan Rather, newsman as celebrity, well-paid superstar of the evening news, gets his chance to talk back – as if interviewing himself – in The Camera Never Blinks (Morrow, $10). Actually the book is part Horatio Alger story, part apologia, as Rather spends a good deal of time telling funny stories about his Texas boyhood, and a good deal more time trying to explain his celebrated impudent retort to Richard Nixon’s impudent question at a Houston pseudo-press conference. It’s a readable book, though Rather’s aw-shucks tone gets a little tiresome.
Dallas readers will find a good deal of the book fascinating in its account of the coverage of the Kennedy assassination – one of those instances when Rather was in the right place at the right time as far as his career was concerned. At least one anecdote is new: Rather’s story about how Eddie Barker, then news director of Channel 4, kicked the entire CBS News crew out of the station because of a story he felt was unfair to Dallas.
According to Rather, the CBS crew followed up on a wire service story about Dallas school children who cheered at the news of the President’s death. Rather admits that the wire service had slanted the story and sensationalized what was apparently a childish reaction to the announcement of early dismissal from classes. Barker and the Channel 4 staff protested that the CBS News story perpetuated the image of Dallas as riddled with right-wingers. According to Rather, he agreed with Barker, but the CBS News staff decided the story was balanced and ran it anyway. Within minutes after the story appeared on the CBS News, Barker stormed into the Channel 4 newsroom and ordered the CBS crew out.
Eddie Barker now heads a public relations firm in Dallas, and he recalls a few details of the incident somewhat differently from Rather. “Dan told me, ’Don’t worry about the story, we’ve just killed it. We’re not going to use it.” Barker says. “He flat promised me one thing and knowingly did something else.” Barker watched the story on CBS incredulously, and says. “After they had done it. a bunch of those CBS guys came back in the newsroom and began snickering like ’We really pulled one off on these guys.’”
Barker finds factual errors throughout Rather’s account of the assassination coverage. There are plenty in Rather’s story of the CBS-Channel 4 dispute, too. According to Rather, Jim Chambers ran the meeting as station manager of Channel 4. In fact, station president Clyde Rembert ran the meeting. Chambers, chairman of the Times Herald, wasn’t station manager, and wasn’t – according to Chambers himself – at the meeting. And according to Rather, Channel 4’s assistant news director Bill Ceverha was prominent in covering the assassination when in fact. Barker recalls, Ceverha was out of town on vacation. – John Merwin
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 Expwy. Brentano’s, 451 NorthPark Center; Cokesbury, 1910 Main; Taylors Books. Preston Center East; and the Dallas Public Library
The Book of Lists, Irving Wallace, editor (Morrow, $10.95). Fascinating junk book, a catch-all collection of trivia – some of it inaccurate
Your Erroneous Zones, Wayne W. Dyer (Funk & Wagnalls, $6.95). A New York psychologist’s report on “unhealthy behavior patterns “
Falconer, John Cheever (Random House. $7 95) The new novel by the author of The Wapshot Chronicle (Reviewed in May issue )
Oliver’s Story, Erich Segal (Harper & Row. $7.95). Oliver without Jenny (sob!)
Illusions, Richard Bach (Delacorte. $6.95). Mystical maunderings by the creator of the most famous seagull in literature.
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough (Harper & Row, $10 96). Family saga set in Australia.
The Crash of ’79, Paul E. Erdman (Simon & Schuster. $8.95). Intrigue and the energy crisis fictionalized.
Haywire, Brooke Hayward (Knopf, $10). The disastrous effects of a celebrity childhood, by the daughter of Margaret Sullavan and Leland Hayward.
Condominium, John D MacDonald (J B Lippincott. $10). Sin, sex and savagery among the leisure class.
The Gamesman, Michael Maccoby (Simon & Schuster. $7.95). Who’s going up the corporate ladder – and how and why.
It Didn’t Start with Watergate, Victor Lasky (Dial Press, $10) Nixon was’t the only one.
The Rich Are Different, Susan Howatch (Simon & Schuster, $11.50). Romania- -hisiorical stuff by the author of Penmarric
The Camera Never Blinks, Dan Rather (Morrow, $10). Mid-career reminiscences of !he CBS Newsman. (Reviewed in this issue.)
Games and Matches
Baseball/Texas Rangers. Arlington Stadium, 7 35 p.m. Tickets: reserved $5. $5.50. and $6. general, adults $2, children $1 50 265-3331.
July 29. 30. & 31 vs. Detroit Tigers
Aug 8 vs. Oakland As (Double-header, starting at 5:35 p.m.)
Aug 10 & 11 vs. Kansas City Royals
Aug 12. 13. & 14 vs. Chicago White Sox
Aug 17 & 18 vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Aug 19. 20 & 21 vs. New York Yankees
Aug 22 & 23 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Aug 24 vs. Boston Red Sox
Football/Dallas Cowboys. Texas Stadium, 8 p.m. Tickets $6 general. $10 reserved 369-3211.
Aug 6 vs. San Diego Chargers
Aug 20 vs. Miami Dolphins
Aug 27 vs. Baltimore Colts
Sep 8 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7:30 p.m.)
Quarter Horse Racing/Ross Downs, Hwy 121, four miles southwest of Grapevine From 9 to 19 races every Sunday year round, beginning at 1 p.m. Adults $2, children $1 481-1070.
Rodeo/Wesquite Championship Rodeo. Every Fri & Sat Apr through Sept at 8 p.m. Off LBJ at Military Pkwy exit. Box seats $4. grandstands $3 adults. $1 50 children. For tickets and information, call 285-8777.
Sailing/White Rock Lake Competitive sailing every Sat andSun year round, beginning at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sat, at 1:30p.m. Sun. Various size classifications. Spectators welcomeFor racing information call 327-9623
The name Harry Warren may not evoke memories, but how about these names: Atchison, Topeka, & the Santa Fe, Lullaby of Broadway, 42nd Street, Chattanooga Choo Choo, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby. That’s a sample of the program from Jeepers Creepers, Here’s Harry!, Theatre Three’s world premiere musical revue running July 20-Aug 21. Devised and directed by Jac Alder, the show honors the Thirties and Forties movie music of Warren in a vein similar to ’S Wonderful, last summer’s tribute to Gershwin, with elaborate song and dance productions. (Would you believe a Sonja Henie number on roller skates?) While we’re mentioning names, try Garland, Kelly, Astaire, Keeler, and Miranda – a few of the great stars that Warren wrote for. Theatre Three’s show stars Shirley McFatten, Larry Whitcher, Jane Perry, Bryan Foster, and Alder.
Dallas Theater Center. Absurd Person Singular continues through Aug 13. Tue-Fri at 8 p.m., Sat at 5 & 8 30 p.m. Tickets $5.25-$6.75. 3636 Turtle Creek/526-8857.
Theatre Three. A world premiere musical revue by Harry Warren. Wed-Sat 8:30 p.m., Sun at 2 30 & 7 p.m. $5 weekdays, $6 weekends. $4 Sun matinee 2800 Routh in the Quadrangle/748-5191
Dallas Summer Musicals. The Mitzi Gaynor Show July 26-31; Leslie Uggams in Guys and Dolls Aug 2-14; The Fan-tasticks! Aug 16-28. 8:15 p.m. Tue-Sat, 2:30 p.m. Sat & Sun matinee Tickets $3-$12, available at State Fair Box Office, 6031 Brookshire, 691-7200.
Casa Manana. Brigadoon, July 25-Aug 6; Showboat. Aug 8-20; Promises, Promises, Aug 22-Sep 3 815 p.m. nightly, with 2:30 p.m. Sat matinee $6.50 Mon-Thu, $7.50 Fri and Sat, $5 50 Sat matinee 3101 W Lancaster, Fort Worth/(817) 332-6221.
Kathy Burks Marionettes. The Royal Enchantment. Thu, Fn, & Sat 10:30 & 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets $1, group rates available. Olla Podrida, 12215 Coit Rd/233-1958.
Dallas Public Library. Fretz Park Branch: programs or ventriloquism, home insulation, and burglary and fire protection. Forest Green Branch: bake-off, crafts display, games, and films about volcanoes for children, Polk-Wisdom Branch: Understanding Drawing – All Shadows Aren’t Alike. All activities free. Call branches for dates and times.
Old City Park. Dallas From the Ground Up. a photographic exhibit tracing the history and growth of Dallas architecture, showing through Sep 10. No charge for exhibit: tour of the park is $1 adults, 50￠ children. 1717 Gano St/421-5141.
Dallas Civic Garden Center. Dallas in Bloom, photographs by Maureene Coit through the summer. Mon-Fri 10-5, weekends 2-5 Fair Park/428-7476.
Richland College. Cosmic Theatre and Planetarium Show, The Loneliness Factor, exploring the origins of time, space, and life Sundays through Aug 14, 2 & 3:30 p.m. Adults $1, children 50c Water Babies Course – swimming instruction for ages 9-15 months. One hour daily for two weeks, beginning Aug 15. at 9, 10. and 11 a.m. $30. Stop Smoking Seminar, Aug 22-26, 7:15-9:30 p.m. 12800Abrams Rd/746-4444.
Pottery Studio, in the Craft Compound, sponsors day and evening pottery workshops Aug 8-18. 6615 Snider Plaza/ 369-1258.
Granada Kid Club. Cartoons, movies, serials, sports star guests, clowns, even a weekly talent show. Every Saturday 10 a.m. -2 p.m. $2. Ages 7-15. 3524 Greenville Ave/826-2303.
YMCA Summer Fun Day Camp. At all branches June 6-Aug 19. Wide range of activities, from cooking and nutrition to camping and nature study. Open to children aged 5-12. Fees vary; scholarships available. Call your local branch or 827-5600
Learning About Me. Drama/art program for children aged 3-12. Aug 1-12. Mon through Fri, 2-3:30 p.m. tuition $60 for ten sessions. Park Cities Baptist Church, 3933 Northwest Pkwy /691-3093.