A Renaissance in Dialogue?

STIMULATING INTELLECTUAL CONVERSAtion and fiery debate has a new forum in Dallas. No, it’s not on the airwaves of AM radio or behind closed doors at City Hall. It’s a house, poshly decorated with smoky leather and dark mahogany.

Call it a salon of the ’90s- the Montaigne Club brings a touch of 18th-century Paris to a five-story manor on Maple Avenue. Former attorney Jim Leake founded the club, believing Dallas needed a more high-brow locale for dazzling discourse and witty banter.

Named after Michel de Montaigne, the French Renaissance essayist and philosopher who espoused the value of healthy discussion, the exclusive club is a place where professional sorts gather for engaging conversation about anything from literature to legislation while sipping scotch-on-the-rocks during a friendly battle of backgammon. Catered dinners are also part of the nightly routine.

Oddly enough, the first of the Montaigne Club’s 180 members was not an author or a physicist but baseball legend Mickey Mande -quite a talker in his own right. If conversation about Stephen Hawking and Proust starts to drag, the Mick can tell that great story about the time he and Billy Martin went hunting and ended up executing a cow. Or was it a horse?

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