Good Vibes at Strictly Tabu
Ed Hagan plays jazz on the vibraphone at Strictly Tabu on Lomo Alto, a club that’s apparently trying to look like a bop joint of the Forties or Fifties. The type of jazz Hagan plays was hot in those decades, but it’s still good music and it’ll be good music when we’re dead and gone.
Hagan was born in Greenville and his musical involvement began at age seven, when he was given a saxophone. He didn’t like sax and soon put it down in favor of percussion instruments like drums, bells, and the glockenspiel. His talent was apparent and at 13 he received a band scholarship to an area prep school. Soon, he was playing with the SMU Dance Band. They played college jobs but just as frequently worked places on the East Texas oil fields. These were tough gigs, Hagan recalls; in one place chicken wire was strung in front of the bandstand to protect the musicians when the clientele started throwing things.
He went to college at SMU and after graduation, landed the staff percussion job at WFAA. This was before television, and the radio station maintained a “live” staff of about 20 people.
“They had a wake-up show,” says Hagan. “I had to get to the bandstand at seven in the morning, and while I’m working this I was also working at the Century Room (at the Adolphus Hotel). I was working both a lunch and a dinner show, so I’d get done at like 2:00 a.m., and I was drinkin’ about a fifth of booze a day. The Mexican cigarette habit so prevalent these days, it was happenin’ then but it was restricted mostly to musicians and night people. Any way, I had a little trouble getting to work in the morning.”
Eventually it got to be too much trouble, and Hagan bailed out. He took the woman to whom he was then married, their three-year-old daughter, and went to New York “to see the big fellers play.” There he met big band leaders like Tommy Dorsey (“Tommy was a mean son of a bitch,” says Hagan, referring to Dorsey’s reputation as a disciplinarian). He ended up playing in the Arcadia Ballroom with Benny Goodman on a bill that included Henny Youngman and a young singer named Frank Sinatra. Hagan has no Sinatra stories – they were playing five shows a day and had little time to socialize.
New York was a music mecca then, and 52nd Street was solid with jazz joints. Count Basie and Duke Ellington gigged there frequently, and both Red Norvo and Eddie Condon were regulars. It was a good scene, a scene that contributed mightily to contemporary American culture, and Hagan remembers it with some amusement.
“Bennies were legal then,” he told me. “A lot of guys I knew got burned out on ’em. I see an upper now, I panic, I don’t want no part of ’em. But the year I worked the Arcadia, we’d get off work in the middle of the night, go to the Charles Tavern and have a couple beers, pop a couple pills, and then go down 52nd and dig jazz all night long.”
The bands at the Arcadia were often impeccable. Many of the musicians were members of big-time orchestras who were staying in New York only because of a shaky draft status. (What band leader would go out on the road with, say, a tenorman who was liable to be inducted right before an important gig?)
The Army Air Corps got Hagan, and playing in the Air Corps band helped him endure the service. When he was discharged he came to Dallas. He had planned a quick return to New York.
Instead, he joined the Dallas Symphony. Antal Dorati was conducting then, and needed someone to play the triangle and Castanet part in Aaron Copland’s El Salon Mexico. “They were having trouble with their imported genius from Julliard, he lost his nerve,” declares Hagan, who a-dapted easily to the Symphony and stayed with it for five years. Dorati is the man who put the Dallas Symphony into a position of prominence, and Hagan obviously respects him. He is less fond of a later conductor, Walter Hendel. The two had similar drinking habits and clashed on that level, so Hagan quit the Symphony.
He wasn’t idle for long, though. There was an ice show headed toward Dallas from San Francisco, and they were having drummer trouble. Soon Hagan was on the road with Sonja Henie.
Her films are virtually forgotten now, and though she made 11, most are not even mentioned in books about cinema. Henie was a tremendous box office attraction at one time, though, and she owed it all to her talent on ice skates.
Henie was from Norway, and was 13 when she won the 1927 Olympic Skating Competition. In 1936 she retired from competition and began skating as a professional. In the same year she signed with Twentieth Century Fox and did One in a Million, cinema’s first skating movie. All of her films look pretty silly now, and no one has ever seriously suggested that she could act, but the depth of her athletic talents and her dimples was tremendous, and she was loved. Her traveling ice shows were pretty elaborate productions.
“There’s a saying about Sinatra,” Hagan says, “that he’s just like every other American boy who makes a million bucks a year. Sonja was the same way. When she first got Olga-type famous, she was only like 12 . . . so after she won Olympics and world championships for ten years, she was a legitimate star, and hard to get along with. I got along with her fine on drums, like I could do no wrong with the drums. But if she was gonna break wind you had to know it in time to give her a cymbal crash!”
Henie valued Hagan as a drummer, and made it known that she didn’t want him pestered. Once, a new conductor found Hagan in his dressing room with a jug of Early Times, part of the essential equipment he carried to his drum stand. When the conductor asked Hagan what he was doing with the booze, Hagan patiently said that he was “drinking it.” This logical response annoyed the conductor, who complained to Henie. She promptly fired the conductor for his trouble.
Things weren’t so cozy when Hagan became conductor. Henie tampered with arrangements, and relentlessly over-rehearsed unimportant parts of them. And although she could still pack 30,000 people into an arena, she was over-estimating her drawing power. A show called Hollywood on Ice was big enough to rival Sonja’s. She insisted on booking her own into Annapolis on the same night as the rival’s, as sort of a showdown. It takes little show-business acumen to know that this was a bad move, and both shows took a financial fall.
In Washington D.C., the halls were controlled by former associates of Sonja’s, people with whom her relationship had ended badly. “They’re gonna do bad things to you,” Henie’s people told her, but she wouldn’t budge. Just before showtime, fire regulations appeared from nowhere, and the $ 15 box seat customers were forced to move back so far that Hagan could barely see them.
Hagan was with Henie for five years (two as a drummer, three as conductor), and during that time toured both Europe and South America. A rest was in order, so he took his new wife, who’d been a skater with the Henie show, and went to the Virgin Islands with a six-month vacation in mind. He was there for 19 years.
He played marimbas briefly with an island trio, but was otherwise musically inactive. He channeled his energy into running a couple of restaurants, and racing his Jaguar around on the runway of the island’s airport.
Hagan’s been back in Dallas for four years, three of which he spent “in the closet” practicing on the vibraphone, a percussion instrument that came into existence in the mid-Thirties, and into prominence through the efforts of Lionel Hampton, who (like Hagan) was also a drummer. It’s not an easy instrument to master.
A night at Strictly Tabu makes it plain that Hagan has mastered it, because he and his band create an unusually enjoyable musical experience. On vibes, Hagan exhibits taste, speed, and the type of cool vehemence seen only in musical pros. He is individualistic on the instrument, and states that one of the few musicians who actually influenced him was pioneer vibist Red Morvo.
Hagan may use any of several sidemen on a given night, and though some are better than others, all are good. The best is probably John Perkins, who plays some of the tastiest guitar I’ve ever heard. He can play quick, surgically clean lead riffs, he can play Wes Montgomery-style octave licks, and he can play vast handfuls of intricate chords. He looks like a pawnbroker but he plays like a saint.
There is no real point in writing more about Ed Hagan. You’d know a lot more if you went and heard him play. There is really no justification for not doing so.
– Tim Schuller
How to Start a Classical Vocal Collection
Let’s assume that you simply want to have a sample of the representative masterpieces of the vocal repertoire. There are some basic works you must have. All of them have been recorded several times, so you will want to be careful in your selections. There are three criteria you can use – price, performance, and sound. Unfortunately, few recordings measure up on all three criteria.
The serious collector should want the best possible performance, so my recommendations will be based on my own judgement in this area. Fortunately, the best performances are often the cheapest ones, since many are monaural re-releases on budget labels like Victrola, Seraphim, and Odyssey. But if super stereophonic sound is essential, you may have more trouble locating a good performance. If that’s your chief criterion, find a record store clerk you can trust. I’ve always found the staff at Hillcrest High Fidelity, across from SMU, to be most helpful.
All of these recommended recordings are currently available, according to the Schwann catalogues.
Verdi, Aida: Price, Vickers; Solti (London).
Verdi, Falstaff: Evans, Simionato, Kraus; Solti (London).
Verdi, La Forza del Destino: Callas; Seraf-in (Seraphim – mono only).
Verdi, Otello: Vinay, Valdengo; Toscani-ni (RCA – mono only).
Verdi, Rigoletto: Berger, Peerce, Warren; Cellini (RCA – mono only).
Verdi, La Traviata: Sills, Gedda; Ceccato (Angel).
Verdi, II Trovatore: Milanov, Bjoerling, Warren; Cellini (RCA – mono only).
Puccini, La Bohème: De Los Angeles, Bjoerling; Beecham (Seraphim – mono only).
Puccini, Madama Butterfly: Scotto, Bergonzi; Barbirolli (Angel).
Puccini, Tosca: Callas, Di Stefano; Seraf-in (Angel).
You should also have the standard bel canto operas, but since the vogue for these has depended so much on superstars of varying styles and vocal characters, you will probably want the recording which features the soprano of your preference – Callas or Sutherland or Sills. But if it doesn’t really matter to you, I suggest the following:
Bellini, Norma: Callas; Serafin (Seraphim – mono only).
Bellini, I Puritani: Callas, Di Stefano; Serafin (Angel – mono only).
Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor: Callas, Di Stefano; Serafin (Seraphim – mono only).
Rossini, The Barber of Seville: Sills, Gedda; Levine (Angel).
Mozart, Cost fan tutte: Schwarzkopf, Lu-dwig, Kraus; Bohm (Angel).
Mozart, Don Giovanni: Sutherland, Schwarzkopf, Wachter; Giulini (Angel).
Mozart, The Magic Flute: Wunderlich, Fischer-Dieskau; Bohm (Deutsche Grammophon).
Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro: Freni, Ganzarolli, Norman; Davis (Philips).
Beethoven, Fidelio: Ludwig, Vickers; Klemperer, (Angel).
Wagner, Die Meistersinger: Gueden, Schoeffler; Knappertsbusch (Richmond – mono only).
Wagner, Tristan und Isolde: Flags tad, Sut-haus; Furtwangler (Angel – mono only).
Now, about Wagner’s Ring. That’s such a whopping outlay of cash that I think you should decide for yourself whether you want that much Wagner lying around. I think you ought to have the splendid Walkure with Vickers and Cres-pin, conducted by Karajan, on Deutsche Grammophon, but if you want the whole Ring with a single conductor, I’d buy the Solti version on London.
Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier: Gueden, Juri-nac; Kleiber (Richmond – mono only).
Other Standard Works
Bizet, Carmen: Stevens, Peerce, Albanese; Reiner (RCA – mono only).
Gounod, Faust: Steber, Conley, Siepi; Cleva (Odyssey – mono only).
It’s still too soon to say for sure which twentieth-century works are likely to form part of the standard repertoire. My nominees are:
Berg, Wozzeck: Lear, Fischer-Dieskau; Bohm (Deutsche Grammophon).
Britten, Peter Grimes: Pears, Watson; Britten (London).
Gershwin, Porgy and Bess: Mitchell, White; Maazel (London).
Stravinsky, The Rake’s Progress: Raskin, Young, Reardon; Stravinsky (Columbia).
Bach, St. Matthew Passion: Pears, Wunderlich, Prey; Münchinger (London).
Handel, Messiah: Harper, Watts; Davis (Philips).
Mozart, Requiem: Donath, Minton; Davis (Philips).
The lieder repertoire is a problem – Schubert wrote hundreds of songs, some of them collected into cycles and some not. I would start my lieder collection with the most charming of the Schubert cycles, Die Schone Müllerin, in Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s version on Angel, and with Schumann’s Dichterliebe by Fritz Wunderlich on Deutsche Grammophon. Then add recitals and other cycles by artists that you prefer.
– Charles Matthews
Ten Essential Classical Vocal Recordings
This is a top-of-the-head list in no special order – how else are you going to do anything so arbitrary? But I think if you’ve missed any of these recordings your musical life is the poorer.
1. Wagner, Die Walküre, Act I. Lotte Leh-mann, Lauritz Melchior, Emanuel List; Bruno Walter (Seraphim). This sublime recording has made Wagnerites of even the most reluctant.
2. Hans Hotter, Great German Songs (Seraphim). Hotter’s “An die Musik” is one ofthe most moving recordings of the song ever made.
3. John McCormack, almost any recording on various labels. Tenor singing that you won’t hear the likes of again. The vocal line in Handel’s “Care selve,” the breath control in Mozart’s “II mio tesoro,” and the trill in Handel’s “O sleep, why dost thou leave me?” are ravishing.
4. Mozart, Don Giovanni, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Eberhard Wachter; Carlo Maria Giulini (Angel). There’s some odd casting – Wachter and Sutherland are only passable in their roles – but on the whole this is the best complete recording, and Giulini’s conducting is superb.
5. Mozart, Così fan tutte, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nan Merriman, Leopold Simoneau; Herbert von Karajan. No longer available except on import labels, thisremains the best-cast, best-conducted version of Mozart’s wittiest opera. Surely it will show up on Seraphim.
6. Puccini, La Bohème, Jussi Bjoerling,Victoria de los Angeles; Sir Thomas Beec-ham (Seraphim). Maybe the most lovableopera recording ever made. The first actlove duet probably won’t ever be bettersung.
7. Mozart, Arias, Eleanor Steber; BrunoWalter (Odyssey). The consummate musicianship of both singer and conductor make this an absolutely essential recital album. Steber’s “Per pieté,” from Costé fan tutte, is tops.
8. Mozart, Arias, Teresa Berganza (London). Her “Voi che sapete,” from Figaro,is the best on records.
9. Verdi and Puccini Arias, Leontyne Price(RCA). Price’s first recital album is still her best, especially the floating version of Doretta’s dream from La Rondine.
10. Strauss, Die Fledermaus, Hilde Gue-den, Julius Patzak, Anton Dermota; Clemens Kxauss (Richmond). Gueden never sounded better on records – her voice has a wonderful spin and her style is charming without being cutesy. A deli-ciously effervescent recording.
– Charles Matthews
Summertop. Special guest performers with the Dal las Symphony Orchestra Series tickets $15-60 General Admission $5 Tickets at DSO box office in Titche’s NorthPark, Dallas Federal Savings & Loan branches, or by calling 692-0203
July 1 Erich Kunzel 8:45 p.m.
July 2 Mel Tilhs 8 & 10:30 p.m.
July 3 Frankie Laine 8:45 p.m.
July 6 Victor Borge 8:45 p.m.
July 8 Billy Eckstine 8:45 p.m.
July 9 Charlie Rich 8 & 10 30 p.m.
July 10 Erich Kunzel 8:45 p.m.
July 13 Shari Lewis 8:45 p.m.
July 14 Shari Lewis 11 a.m.
July 15 Helen Reddy 8:45 p.m.
July 16 Connie Stevens 8 & 10:30 p. m.
July 17 The Four Freshmen 8:45 p.m.
Venetian Room. Mills Brothers. June 20-July 2 Mon-Thu 830 & 11 p. m . Fri & Sat 9 & 11:30 p m Reservations required Fairmont Hotel/748-5454.
Granny’s Dinner Playhouse. Kay Starr. July 5-10 Chuck Berry. July 19-24 Prices vary with time of show 12205 Coit Rd/239-0153.
KERA Saturday Blockbuster July 30. You Ain’t Heard NothinYet, marathon of movie music from the 1930’s Includesinterviews with Richard Rodgers. Harold Arlen. and Max Steiner. 9 a.m. -9 p.m. on 90 FM.
Dallas Ballet Academy. Summer Workshop July 18 through August 13 will feature courses taught by Marione Tallchief and George Skibine Sub|ects include technique, pointe. pas de deux, pantomime, make-up, music, and dance history Intermediate and advanced students, ages 13 and up Room and board available for out-of-town students at Southern Methodist University For information call Moira Whitney, 526-1370. or write 3601 Rawlins. Dallas 75219.
Summer Reading for the Very Young
It happens to every parent. He comes home with armloads of expensive, handsomely-illustrated children’s books only to find out that the kid has glommed onto some cheap, icky tome with blurry illustrations from the supermarket. The only counsel is patience. Resist the temptation to lose Little Lamb’s Hat at the bottom of the diaper pail, or you’ll have a bedtime tantrum on your hands. Meanwhile, enjoy the expensive books yourself (and confess that that’s who you bought them for anyway).
This is a survey of recent books, mostly for the very young. They’ve been reader-tested by a three-year-old, and whenever possible her reactions have been taken into account. (She still prefers Little Lamb’s Hat, but I think she’s weakening.)
Some children’s books exist primarily to display the virtuosity of illustrators. Fun on Wheels (Morrow, $5.95) has a charming text, a rhyme in words-of-one-syllable, by Joanna Cole, but its chief delight is provided by the stylish pencil-and-wash drawings of New Yorker cartoonist Whitney Darrow, Jr. A good counting book for Sesame Streeters.
James Stevenson is another New Yorker artist. “Could Be Worse!” (Greenwillow, $6.95) relates the nocturnal adventures of Grandpa, who usually has nothing more to say than the words in the title. It’s fun, but not really for the very young, who may find “abominable snowman” a bit of a tongue-twister. (But then so do I.)
Illustrations are the chief virtue of Jack Kent’s Merry Mother Goose (Golden Press, $3.95). Three-year-old has a five foot shelf of Mother Gooses (Mother Geese? Mothers Goose?) and she seems to prefer the obscure and antiquated ones. I prefer this one, in which Kent interprets the old rhymes with modem images. Ever wonder why Old King Cole called for a pipe and a bowl? So he could blow soap bubbles, if you believe Kent. Maybe too trendy for traditionalists.
Chiyoko Nakatani’s exquisite little My Day on the Farm (Crowell, $5.50) is a-nother words-of-one-syllable book for the child who’s captivated by cows and pigs and sheep (meaning of course the city child, to whom these beasts are as exotic as kangaroos). But it’s more than that; it’s a small work of art by an illustrator who says she’s equally influenced by the Oriental tradition and the French Impressionists. Superb color and design.
How the Rooster Saved the Day (Green-willow. $6.95) by Arnold Lobel, illustrated by Anita Lobel, is a successful blend of simplicity and sophistication. The narrative sounds like a folk tale and the illustrations, while highly colored, have a two-dimensional quality that suggests old woodcuts.
The illustrations for Charles Perrault’s The Sleeping Beauty (Crowell, $6.95) almost succeed in sapping the life from the familiar tale. David Walker is a British set and costume designer who has done Carmen for the Met. All of his illustrations are stage sets (there is an embarrassment of arrases). This is a book for the child who has fallen for theater, opera, or ballet – not for the child you want to enthrall with the narrative.
While we’re on the subject of children’s book illustration, I may as well recommend to you When We Were Young (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, $9.95), by William Feaver. It’s a book for the adult connoisseur, though Three-year-old delights in looking at the pages of great illustration as much as I do. Everyone from William Blake to Maurice Sendak is here. An extraordinary survey of taste, talent, and sensibility.
There’s a monster by Arthur Rackham in When We Were Young who gives me nightmares. Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim says that’s the point, that children’s stories are supposed to be grisly so the kids can work out all sorts of Oedipal aggressions and other bad things. Maybe. It’s also true that you’ve got a better story if the villain is green, eight feet tall, and has two heads and the hero is a resourceful little guy who can give him the kibosh with the ferrule of an umbrella.
But scary monsters have been replaced by fuzzy ones, particularly on Sesame Street. Three-year-old loves I Am a Monster (Golden, $2.95), a Children’s Television Workshop book featuring Herry Monster, plus Grover, Oscar, Big Bird, Burt, Ernie, and Cookie Monster. Agreeable enough, and as a words-of-one-syllable book it beats the heck out of Dick and Jane.
Seven Little Monsters (Harper & Row, $3.95) is hardly a book at all, consisting as it does of sketches done by Maurice Sendak for a “Sesame Street” cartoon. It’s very minor Sendak, but it would make a nice stocking stuffer next Christmas.
I suppose the rats in Graham Oakley’s The Church Mice Adrift (Atheneum, $7.95) qualify as monsters, though Oakley claims in the jacket blurb that “his rats are not really bad fellows, just a little rough.” I think it’s a terrific book – wry and witty in text and pictures. Sampson the church cat and the gang of mice he reluctantly admits as his entourage are splendid creations. I particularly admire Oakley’s ability to walk the fine line between naturalism and anthropomorphism in depicting his characters.
Everyone thinks there’s a monster in Fernando Krahn’s The Mystery of the Giant Footprints (Dutton, $5.95). Turns out there are two, but they’re the lovable kind. Still, the book manages to be a bit scary, and I like it for that. And it’s a pictures-only book, which I also like because it gives Three-year-old and me lots of room for interpretation. Wish the pictures were in color, though.
For good elemental Angst, though, you can’t beat the Brothers Grimm, with all their wicked step-parents, wanton mutilations, and impetuous cruelties. The Golden Book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Golden Press, $5.95) is a good selection, handsomely illustrated in a slightly Dis-neyfied style by Benvenuti. Jane Carruth “retells” the tales only slightly softening their original cruelty. At least she gives us the original version of “The Frog Prince” in which he’s liberated from enchantment by being flung against the wall – not kissed – by the Princess.
The Wind Thief (Atheneum. $7.95) is a tale in which everything gets mixed up and people wind up wearing one another’s hats. A nice collaboration of artist and illustrator, for Judi Barrett’s text gives the story on one level, while Diane Dawson’s pictures allow for all sorts of additional made-up narratives.
Fernando Krahn’s The Family Minus (Parents’ Magazine Press, $5.50) is wonderful. It can be a counting book (the Minus children are named Firsterix, Se-condus. Thirdly, Fourthem, Fifthmore, Sixus, Sevenor, and Eightah), but mainly it’s fun.
Last, a good bed-timer. The Good Mouskeeper (Windmill, $6.95) is another inspired collaboration between artist and author. Robert Kraus wrote Three-year-old’s favorite book, Leo, the Late Bloomer. Hilary Knight illustrated one of mine, Efoise. Together they’ve produced a winner and new champion.
– Charles (and Maggie) 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 Expwy. Brentano’s, 451 NorthPark Center; Cokesbury. 1910 Main, Taylor’s Books. Preston Center East; and the Dallas Public Library.
Blood and Money, Thomas Thompson (Doubleday. $10 95) Superbly told story of the John Hill murder case, which still has the Houston gossip lines buzzing.
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!).
IIIustons, Richard Bach (Delacorte. $6.95) Mystical maunderings by the creator of the most famous seagull in literature.
The Thorn Birds. Colleen McCullough (Harper & Row, $1095). Family saga set in Australia.
The Chancellor Manuscript, Robert Ludlum (Dial Press,$10) A thriller involving the murder of J Edgar Hoover But you thought . . . ?
The Book of Lists, Irving Wallace, editor (Morrow. $10.95). Fascinating junk book, a catch-all collection of trivia -some of it inaccurate.Fishbait, William “Fishbait” Miller (Prentice-Hall. $12.50) Gossip about Washington hotshots by the retired Congressional Doorkeeper.
How to Save Your Own Life, Erika Jong (Holt, Rinehart & Winston. $8 95) Isadora Wings it again (Reviewed in April issue.)
Condominium, John D MacDonald (J. B. Lippincott. $10). Sin, sex and savagery among the leisure class.
The David Kopay Story, David Kopay and Perry Deane Young (Arbor House, $8 95) Football player’s candid story about coming to terms with his homosexuality.
Rick Maxwell’s “Bedroom Art”
People keep coming up to Rick Maxwell and asking if his works are paintings, drawings, wall reliefs, or collages. And he keeps answering “Yes” unless pressed, when he’ll break down and describe them, somewhat tentatively, as sculpture drawings.
“I started out as a figurative sculptor, decided that I couldn’t continue to do Segals and Arps the rest of my life, and began to explore other media. My drawings could be executed in 3-D on a floor, but I find them much more interesting this way. They float and fly better.”
Sculptural effects are visible not only in the movement and the rich textures of the pieces, but in Rick’s use of unconventional materials such as pressure sensitive tape and rubber. A while back he was doing life-size inflatable figures decorated with intricate tattoos. From that he moved on to what he calls his “hide series,” partial rubber body-castings with humorously erotic themes. Eventually he turned to pressboard and heavy watercolor paper.
“Maybe I’ll try canvas next,” he says casually. “Give in and become a painter after all.”
Although symmetrical, his drawings are full of energy, with images drawn from a broad range of sources: the mountains around Taos, where he spent a summer drawing in the sand with James Surls, Fellini films, soccer – he’s done several drawings featuring Kyle Rote, Jr. and the Dallas Tornado – riding his bicycle, conversations with friends, for whom he likes to do special pieces. One of his most striking series, “Rain Windows,” was inspired by driving home in a storm with broken windshield wipers. Recently he’s become interested in American Indian art and mythology, and much of his new work, currently on exhibit at Macy Gallery, emphasizes traditional forms and shapes as well as recurring characters.
“The ’Trickster’ is turning up in most of my drawings now,” he says. “He’s an overseer type, my private Alfred Hitchcock. There’s also a swizzle snake and various other mythological creatures. I find that I’m working more slowly and deliberately than I used to. Narrative is becoming more important and the surfaces are becoming more complex.”
But “complex” doesn’t mean remote or cerebral. The colors are intense, plenty of brash reds and yellows. Combined with the rich textures, they tend to draw one closer. The impression is of depth and clarity, without any distracting messages or allusions.
“I’m not an artist who makes statements or becomes politically involved in his work. I’m quite detached in that respect. If I have one goal, other than finding my own style, it’s to create art that is easy to live with. The kind you wouldn’t mind seeing first thing in the morning. Good bedroom art, if you like.”
– David Dillon
Architecture Awards: Some Controversial Choices
The annual “Awards of Merit” handed out by the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects are sometimes more controversial than you might think. Last year, half of the awards were given to architects for their projects outside of the Dallas area, leading one to suspect that Dallas architects were without honor in their own city. This year all of the awards are for local projects. But they make one wonder whether architects are really the best judges of their own work.
The kicker in this year’s awards list is the Republic Auto Bank designed by Omni-plan. Last month, D Magazine gave a “Thumbs Up” to Republic Bank’s board chairman Jim Keay for his candor in admitting to shareholders that the new drive-in bank was an “eyesore.” Now we find that a distinguished panel composed of two architects and a major architectural client thinks it a thing of beauty. The panel claims that “the rugged structural clarity of this precast concrete facility is muted by its blue recessive color.” “Rugged structural clarity” sounds like professional jargon to me, and I suspect the panel was merely commenting on the simplicity of Omniplan’s design. That design in itself is admirable, I think, a refreshing contrast with Republic Bank’s main facilities, with their monotonous profusion of the stylized stars that have become the bank’s logo and the absurdly designed rocket ship that seems to be launching itself from the roof of the old building.
But should the AIA chapter be giving an award to something so wasteful of precious fuel as a drive-through bank, designed – as Omniplan admits – for “visibility from a future freeway” (the once and future Woodall Rodgers)? Republic’s drive-in bank may be a sore sight for some eyes; it is certainly an energy-waster, a traffic-snarler, and a fouler of the environment. The freeway culture may be the undoing of Dallas; surely the AIA chapter ought not to be encouraging it, even if its criteria for the awards are “purely aesthetic” ones.
An equally controversial award goes to the clutch of architectural firms involved in D/FW Airport. Here the panel anticipated controversy. Admitting that D/FW “has its detractors,” they go on to say that “to use D/FW is to know it and to know it is to accept it as a worthy idea.” Well said. For though there is something decadently Roman about the design of the airport (I’m surely not the only one who expects to be passed on the central concourse by Charlton Heston in a chariot).
it is an awe-inspiring concept. Environmental concerns prevail again here, but given the inevitability of airports, D/FW has so far proved itself inoffensive in this regard. (Only time and Concorde will test this aspect of the airport.)
There’s No art at the Kimbell this month. Let’s start again There’s lots of art at the Kimbell this month. First the handsome exhibition of Dutch drawings, and then the museums major exhibition of the year: The Tokugawa Col lection of No Robes and Masks, opening July 27 and continuing through September 4. The show includes 145 obiects used in the traditional No drama of Japan It comes to Fort Worth from New York after an acclaimed showing at the National Gallery in Washington. Then it goes back to Japan. There are actually three separate exhibitions of the robes, which have to be rotated, the first group will be shown July 27-August 7. the second August 9-21. and the third August 23-September 4 Film showings related to the exhibition will also be scheduled.
The rest of the awards are less provocative. There’s one to Burson, Hendricks & Walls for their handsome Carrollton Park Mall, one of the few shopping centers in the area that actually looks inviting from the outside. Dale E. Selzer Associates receive an award for the Chandlers Landing Yacht Club, a design with an almost Oriental charm. Duane Landry’s Haggar Center at the University of Dallas receives an award that honors the school as well as the architect. UD deserves special praise for not yielding to the Georgian banality and red-brick pomposity that afflict SMU in its architectural projects.
Two other awards demonstrate the triumph of taste over institutionalism. Ir-ving’s Sam Houston Junior High School, designed by Grogan/Scoggins & Associates, looks better than it sounds. According to the architects, the “various components of the [building] are intended to literally force each student into awareness of the environment that surrounds him. Sensing his environment, the student learns.”This sounds like the mush-headed education-alism that treats students as if they will imbibe ideas if only they have their noses rubbed in them. Fortunately, the school, with its bold graphics and lots of light and space, looks like fun. That’s an improvement over the green tile prisons most of us knew and loathed. Whether it will improve education probably depends on other factors.
Pratt, Box, and Henderson get an award for overcoming the heavy-handed specifications of the Post Office bureaucracy. Their Garland Post Office is a handsome red-white-and-blue building. As the award-givers say, the ’”Government Issue’ specifications for a postal facility to be built with pre-fab industrial parts included the instruction to make the building pleasing to the public. The architects masterfully honored these often disparate aims.”
Finally, there’s one award about which there should be no controversy. The AIA chapter granted Patsy Swank “Honorary Membership” for her frequent commentary on KERA-TV on the arts and architecture. Patsy has been one of the few voices for good building in Dallas, and she richly deserves the honor.
– Charles Matthews
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The Face of Egypt Permanence Change in Egyptian Art, including tours, lectures, and slide shows, through Aug 15. Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5 Fair Park/421-4187.
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. Entre Amis/Between Friends, photographs of the U.S. -Canadian border July 2-Aug31 Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5 30 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth/(817)738-1933.
Fort Worth Art Museum. Moms Louis The Veil Cycle, through July Tue-Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. 1309 Montgomery/(817)738-9215.
Kimbell Art Museum. June 1-July 15. Dutch Drawings from American Collections July 27-Sep 4. The Tokugawa Collection No Robes and Masks Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. 1101 Will Rogers Rd. Fort Worth/(817)332-8451.
Afterimage. Black and white portraits by Yousuf Karsh. June 28-Aug 6 Mon-Sat 10-5 30 2800 Routh in the Quadrangle/ 748-2521.
Chishoim Trail Gallery. Works by the Taos Founder group Mon-Sat 10-5 7068 Camp Bowie Blvd. Fort Worth/(817)731-2781.
Clifford Gallery. Prints by Jim Dine. Claes Oldenburg, and Alexander Calder throughout July Through July 21 exhibit of young American printmakers Mon-Sat 10-5 30 6610 Snider Plaza/363-8223.
Cushing Galleries. Woodcuts and paintings by Danny Pierce through July 15 10:30-4:30 Mon-Sat 2723 Fairmount/747-0497.
O.W. Co-op. Sculpture by Roy Fridge. June 25-July 21 Tue-Sat 11-6 3305 McKinney/526-3240.
Fairmount Gallery. Paintings by John Cates and gallery artists. 10-5 Mon-Sat. 6040 Sherry Lane/369-5636
Macy Galleries. Works by Jennifer Wynne Tue-Sat 11-6 2605 Routh/742-4587.
Stewart Gallery. Group show including Bob Nidy. Charles Campbel, and Randolph Lee Tue-Sat 10-7 and by appointment 12610 Coit/661 -0213
2719 Gallery. Through July 9 paintings by JoLynne McGee and Lui-Sang Wong, weavmgs by Elisabeth Alford July 10-Aug 6. works by Irwin Whitaker Tue-Sat 11-5. Sun 2-5 2719 Routh/748-2094.
Valley House Gallery. Sculpture and paintings by Mike Cunningham. Ramiz Barquet. Karl Umlauf and others Mon-Fri 10-5 6616 Spring Valley/239-2441.
A Film Worth Waiting in Line for
On my first attempt to see Star Wars, I couldn’t get within 100 Trekkies of the door. I was doing much better the second time, only about 25 to go, when the frantic manager came bounding down the line to announce that because of a miscount the theater was already over-sold, but of course we were all welcome to stay in line for the 7:30 show. Now, I’d camped out in Covent Garden to see Nureyev and Fonteyn and at the Boston Garden to watch the Bruins battle the Canadiens, but I’d be damned if I was going to do it for a sci-fi film at NorthPark. By the following mom-ing, Sunday, I’d cooled down enough to take a chance on the 12:30 matinee. Everyone would still be in church, right? Surprise! When I arrived the line was already a neat double helix around Cinema I and the sun so hot that my Earth Shoes started melting into the sidewalk. And then there was more good news from the manager – today’s bargain matinee had been cancelled. I began to wonder if the assignment was part of a sinister editorial plot, a penance for all those weak leads. When I finally got a seat, surrounded by shrieking eight year olds with silver mylar discs pinned to their shirts, there were still several versions of the “Theme Song from Exodus” to sit through plus about 20 minutes of trailers, including one for bargain matinees that got a prolonged Bronx cheer. By this time I didn’t care if the film was good, so long as it was lively and reasonably entertaining.
Star Wars is that and much more. Call it a galactic fairy tale or a futuristic fantasy, it’s two hours of rousing and remarkably innocent fun. There is no moral except to “trust the force” – which could be anything from intuition to a new vitamin supplement – and no despairing commentary on the human condition of the kind that grounded 2001. This is undisguised escapist fare, good for at least three boxes of Milk Duds or Junior Mints. There’s a captive princess, a black and villainous lord of the Empire named Darth Vader, his King-Arthurish foe, Obi-Wan Kenobi, played with appropriate visionary elan by Alec Guinness, not to mention an engaging supporting cast of humanoids and robots, including one who speaks with an Oxford accent and lives in constant terror of being melted down. We know from the first frame whose side we’re on and how the whole business is going to turn out, not that there isn’t plenty of excitement and suspense along the way. And the special effects are extraordinary. In most sci-fi films special effects are a sop to the audience for the absence of characterization and ideas, but in Star Wars they are a witty complement to the narrative. Some are parodies of classic scenes from old westerns and adventure films, others, such as the climactic battle sequence in which the seemingly invincible space station. Death Star, is destroyed, mark a quantum leap in cinematic wizardry.
Impressive as all of this is, what holds the film together and makes it so consistently ingratiating are those elusive ingredients known as tone and style. Director George Lucas (American Graffiti) obviously had a bang-up time reliving the Saturday matinees of his childhood, yet he shares his enthusiasms without a trace of condescension or self-mockery. His fantasies are there for all of us to enjoy and translate rather than to scruunize with a detached and ironical eye. The whole film has such integrity that even its appeals to the somewhat tarnished ideals of heroism and self-sacrifice seem not only apt but convincing.
University of Texat/Dallas. 7 30 and 9:30 p.m. in Founders North Auditorium, Floyd & Lookout, Richardson $1 Call 690-2945 tor dates July films are Fritz Langs Clash by Night. Milos Formans Taking Oft. The Captain’s Paradise with Alec Guinness. Jose Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac. Dietrich in Blue Angel, Frederic March in Les Miserables. William Wylers Best Years of Our Lives, Dietrich’s Morocco. Throne of Blood by Kurosawa, Dietrich in Blonde Venus and The Devil is a Woman. Jan Kadar’s Adrift, and Camille with Greta Garbo
Edison Theatre. Revivals of recent and classic films with some first-runs Features change every other night 2420 N Fitzhugh/823-9610
Haymarket Theatre. Double features of recent and vintagefilms nightly Features change weekly $2 50 Olla Podrida.12215 Coit Rd/387-3610
Games and Matches
Baseball Texas Rangers Arlington Stadium, 7:35 p.m. Tickets reserved $5, $5 50. and $6. general $2 adults. $1 50 children 265-3331
July 4 & 5 vs Kansas City Royals
July 6 & 7 vs Oakland A’s
July 8. 9. & 10 vs California Angels
July 13 & 14 vs Baltimore Orioles
July 15. 16. & 17vs Cleveland Indians
July 29, 30, & 31 vs Detroit Tigers
Quarter Horse Recing/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/Mesquite 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.
Soccec/Dallas Tornado. Ownby Stadium. SMU. 8 p.m Tickets $3-$7 750-0900
July 2 vs Chicago Sting
July 4 vs Monterrey Mexico
July 16 vs St Louis Stars
July 21 vs Vancouver Whitecaps
July 30 vs Portland Timbers
Dallas Theater Center. Equus closes July 2. Absurd Person Singular runs July 12-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. Noel Coward’s Fallen Angels through July 10 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. Shirley Jones in The Sound of Music June 28-July 10. Wonderful Town with Lauren Bacall July 12-24. The Mitzi Gaynor Show July 26-31 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 Performances at State Fair Music Hall in Fair Park
Now that we’re in re-run season, it’s nice to know there’s an alternative to recycled episodes of “Charlie’s Angels.” The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas is in its sixth season of free performances in the Fair Park Band Shell You can take the whole family, bring a picnic and dress as casually as the law allows. Productions of Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing will run in repertory July 7 through 24 (no performances Monday July 11 and 18) Gates open 7 p.m. curtain at 8:15.
Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing, each every other night (except Mondays) July 7-24 All performances tree at 8 15 p.m in Fair Park Band Shell For Festival membership information call 526-6021.
Casa Manana. My Fair Lady. June 27-July 9, Annie Get Your Gun. July 11-23. Brigadoon. July 25-Aug 6 8 15 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/332-9319
Dallas Repertory Theatre. Funny Girl, through July 17 Fri and Sat at 8 15 p.m. Sun at 3 p.m. $4 50 NorthPark Hall/369-8966
Kathy Burks Marionettes. Serendipity Circus Thu. Fri. & Sat 9 30 (by appointment). 10:30. 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. through July 30 Tickets $1. group rates available Olla Podrida, 12215 Coit Rd/233-1958.
Pottery Studio, in the Craft Compound, will sponsor day and evening pottery workshops July 11 -Aug 5or Aug 8-18 6615 Snider Plaza/369-1258
Cushing Gallery and Mountain View College. Class and demonstration in intaglio by Mary Crantill Curtis of SMU 7-10 pm July 19 $7 50 2723 Fairmount/747-0497
Dallas Civic Garden Center. Dallas in Bloom, photograph exhibit by Maureene Coit through the summer Mon-Fri10 5. weekends 2-5 Fair Park/428-7476
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 boys and girls aged 5-12 Fees vary scholarships available Call your local branch or 827-5600
Dallas Health & Science Museum. SummerSearch. a series of courses in astronomy, anatomy, geology, and more lor children 3-13, using tours, puppets, and other entertaining media June-July Tuition varies according to course 428-8351
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Music-ln offers instruction tor young people on the instrument of their choice June 6-July 28 Mon-Thu 9-12 Tuition is $10 per week, with some scholarships available 4401 Trail Lake Drive. Fort Worth/(817)921 -2676.
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Art of the Western World OldMasters Through Impressionists, July 5-15. Tue-Fri. 10-12a.m. Ages 8-12 $25 per person July 19-29 An Introductionto the Museum Ages 6-9, $25 per person July 5-Aug 11Young Adult Drawing Class. Tue and Thu. 1 30-3:30 p. m.Ages 15 and older Free 421-4187.