Don’t miss the Ballet Folklori-co’s performance of Desde el Norte Hasta el Sur this month at the Dallas Theater Center. The troupe takes us on a dazzling tour of Mexico using music and dance to convey the different terrains and climates of the country- It’s a poetic adventure. Aug. 9, 10, 23, and 24 at the DTC. All shows start at 8 p. m. For ticket information, call 742-7759.
PEOPLE Maybe it was being born in blues-rich Mississippi, in the town of Pascagoula, that gave Cricket Taylor her head start in music. It was in Texas, though, that her mother showed her a door to creative assertiveness. At a rodeo, Mrs. Taylor bet Cricket $10 that she wouldn’t sashay on up and join in song with a gospel group that was performing. Cricket did so, belting out an “Amazing Grace” that pleased the crowd. She spent her sawbuck on a Janis Joplin album. A few years later Cricket was a vet of school plays, open-mike nights, and underground bands, but it was at one of Hash Brown’s Blues Jam Nights at Schooner’s that she first sang the blues. Now she’s fronting a band of her own that features interpretive versions of standards and some tasty items she wrote herself. Those of the male persuasion may check her out because of her healthy, on-stage eroticism, but one thing’s for certain, they come back to hear her sing. -Tim Schuller
Jack’s First Vacation
Getaway “It’ll be a great getaway, ” I told my friends. “Just me and Jack, the hot Mexican sun, cold drinks by the pool… ” At this point, these friends began looking rather skeptical. Probably because Jack isn’t my husband. He’s my 1-year-old.
Taking an infant on vacation in a foreign country is generally not the mark of a sane person, unless fortified by a spouse, or preferably, a tag team of relatives eager to watch your latest addition. But Club Med, the self-proclaimed antidote for civilization, has developed and fine-tuned a civilized way to handle a family that vacations together. At the club’s Ixtapa village on Mexico’s west coast, kids from 1 to 12 are treated to summer camp-like experiences including traditional water sports and arts and crafts. The older and braver get a taste of the exotic with scuba lessons and a circus workshop that includes flying on a full-size trapeze. All of this leaves parents free to do everything-or nothing, as the club’s literature boasts.
Jack and I quickly settled into village life, terrorizing iguanas, testing the waves, and enjoying shows in the theater. The village’s atmosphere is family-oriented and friendly, and almost all of the vacationers come with children.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was that we traveled with only one suitcase. Parents will understand what a coup this represents. Club Med provides cribs and strollers, sells diapers, and stocks a refrigerator full of milk, juice, and snacks.
Prices of travel packages vary, but note that kids under 5 are free from April through Dec. 21. Call I-800-CLUB-MED.
Push, Whip, It’s All Swing
DANCE Houston calls it the whip. In North Carolina, it’s the shag. Whatever the name, it’s all swing, a spinoff from the World War II swing era-and it’s still hot. So hot, the United States Swing Dance Council is lobbying Congress to make it our national dance.
Every section of America has its own rendition. The East Coast swings with a circular dance, the West with a straight tine back and forth. The University of North Texas kicked off the North Texas version by adding a sexy body rock at the end of each pattern.
There’s a dress code, too-no more flats and minis. Now it’s strapped heels and twirty skirts. “Spins are easier in heels, ” says Terry Rippa, treasurer of the Dallas Push Club.
But don’t try the new steps without lessons and a lot of practice. “Nobody learns to dance on the floor anymore, ” he says. And don’t think you can sit down For a breather between songs. These people visit Sugar Daddy’s on Thursdays and Fibber Me Gee’s on Sundays to dance. And they’re dead-ly. This Labor Day’s extravaganza, the 1991 Dallas DLA. N. C. E. at the Harvey Hotel at D/FW Airport, should prove that. Call Rippa at 526-8889 for the latest dance info.
Jay Von Koffler’s Pipe Dream
The houselights go out and the dance starts. Bob Marley’s reggae rhythm beats on corrugated metal walls. The glowing furnaces, at a comfortable 2, 000 degrees, warm the audience’s faces and imbue the old lumber warehouse with red. Thirty-five people, sitting in pine bleachers, watch one of the dancers waltz with 70 pounds of white-hot molten glass that dangles from the end of a 5-foot pipe. His shadow stretches across the concrete floor and follows his lead.
Outside, past the open warehouse doors, fertile Texas farm land lies under a cool night.
Thirty miles due north of Dallas, where Preston Road becomes Highway 289 and glass buildings give way to fields of feed corn, you’ll find the town of Prosper (population 1, 018), home to Pipe Dreams Glass Blowing Studio-one of only two hot glass studios in the state. Since March, when artist Jay Von Koffler moved here from Wisconsin to start an artist colony, people have been traveling from as far away as New York and San Francisco to watch him blow glass, to perform “the dance, ” as he calls it.
Blind in his left eye and colorblind in the other, Von Koffler works with the lights out. He doesn’t need them. Instead, he judges the glass by its temperature and how it glows. He uses oversized blowing pipes because he likes to make oversized pieces. The ones he doesn’t like he takes behind his warehouse where he shoots them with a. 357 Magnum. (“We don’t want them to get back up, ” he says. “There’s nothing more dangerous than wounded glass. “)
When he’s not working, Von Koffler can be seen cruising around Prosper on his Harley Wide Glide 134a A well-known character around town, he’s particularly partial to his favored method of transportation because to him, a Harley, like the glass he blows, is art.
Von Koffler was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He spent his childhood in China, Japan, and France, then became interested in glass blowing while studying chemistry at UCLA. He went to the University of Wisconsin to study physics and then to Europe to learn glass blowing techniques from the masters. He’s been blowing ever since.
His works belong to several permanent museum collections in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Paris. Recently, one of his pieces was accepted by the Biennale Internationale du Verre d’Art (BIVA) in Biot, France.
When he’s not blowing glass. Von Koffler is thinking about blowing glass. “It’s an itch I can’t scratch any other way” he says.
You can visit Von Koffler’s studio and see him dance most weekend evenings at Pipe Dreams (214-347-2785). You can buy his work there or at Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass in Olla Podrida (239-7957).