Got your back: Rodney Garza and Chris Ramirez in Cara Mia’s Zoot Suit. All photos: Adolfo Cantú-Villarreal
Zoot Suit has finally come to North Texas — in a Cara Mia Theatre production that’s got some muscle, some entertainment. This is not a nostalgic, respectful revival made to polish up your identity politics.
The fact that Luis Valdez’ 1978 drama — about the race riots and the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial which tore apart LA in 1942-’43 — is only now getting a Texas staging is a timely reminder of a few facts.
First, of course, is the play’s pointed relevance. The events it recounts — the scapegoating of minorities by police and prosecutors, the legal struggles and public protests that erupted over them — are seventy years old yet, as the saying goes, still ripped from today’s headlines.
Brazilian-born pianist Jose Feghali, the gold medalist and winner of the chamber music prize at the 1985 7th Van Cliburn Piano Competition, died Tuesday in Fort Worth. He was 53.
He was found dead in his bed Tuesday afternoon. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s initial report said the death was a suicide. Fort Worth police are investigating.
Having won the Cliburn and launched his performing and recording career, Feghali returned to Fort Worth in 1990 becoming an artist-in-residence and a professor of piano at Texas Christian University. He also remained active with the Cliburn as a board member, reviewing artists for the competitions.
“He was a great friend of the Cliburn,” said Carla Thompson, chairwoman of the Cliburn Foundation. “This is a terrible tragedy.”
Former Cliburn head Richard Rodzinski considered Feghali a friend and said he had wrestled with depression for years.
Feghali gave his first public performance at the age of five in Rio de Janiero and appeared with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra at 8. He left Brazil at 15 to study at London’s Royal Academy of Music — and he won the Cliburn at 24.
“His passion for music and for teaching was infectious, as was his curiosity and thirst for knowledge about virtually all subjects. José was a brilliant pianist with a brilliant mind,” the TCU School of Music posted on its Facebook page.
In The Cliburn: 50 Years of Gold, a documentary that aired on KERA TV, Feghali recalled pulling a muscle in his back during rehearsals for the 7th Van Cliburn Competition. The doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant that gave Feghali an allergic reaction.
“For two days I couldn’t practice and it made it very very difficult, of course, nerves as well, knowing that I”m probably blowing the greatest opportunity so far in my life. I actually called the director and suggested I think I better pull out of the finals I am in no condition to perform. And thanks to him saying no, absolutely, you’re not going to do that.
“The finals was not my best round, but I at least gathered enough courage to go and play it. I was actually trying to put a brave face, because I was really miserable.”
Feghali went on to appear in over 1,000 performances around the world, recorded for several labels and worked as a producer and engineer on more than 50 recordings.
He was actually a man of many talents and interests: He was also the TCU music school’s coordinator of internet technologies and the remastering engineer for the Cliburn’s retrospective series of CDs. Feghali was a perfectionist when it came to audio recordings, said former Cliburn head Rodzinski. He had kind of ear and technical knowledge that most musical artists could only envy.
Angela Fabry is director of Performing Arts International; he was both Feghali’s agent and friend. Fabry said that Feghali was so proficient at computers he corrected some Microsoft code in its music software that prevented it from high-fidelity sound recording. The company invited him to speak at Internet2’s 2009 Performing Arts Conference.
“He was that good,” said Fabry. “He was amazing.”
In 2009, Feghali talked with Art&Seek’s Stephen Becker about how to deal with pre-concert jitters:
“I think that in general if one is not nervous at all, that’s not a good thing,” Feghali said. “Because you need that kind of edge, you need that kind of adrenaline pumping a little bit to get you into a real performance mode.”
Feghali says he has one piece of advice that applies to everyone from Cliburn competitors to actors in a school play. And that is: focus on the positive act of connecting with an audience rather than worrying over potential mistakes.
“We are privileged to be performing works that are absolutely incredible and written by geniuses,” Feghali said. “That kind of respect and love for the music should come first and foremost. And right before the performance, I think that is a kind of mental state and spiritual state that one should have.”
Jose Quesada called Feghali’s death a shock. Quesada, a graduate student and a TCU adjunct faculty member, said Feghali was one of the most important teachers he had at TCU.
“I was very close to him and he was very kind with me,” Quesada said. “That’s what I miss. He was a great pianist and a great person. He was very passionate. He was very kind with his students. … It’s very sad news.”
Feghali is survived by his mother who lives in Brazil. A memorial service for Feghali is planned for early next year, the TCU music school said.
If you’ve got the money, Bob’s Prop Shop in Dallas can make a movie geek’s dream come true. The shop specializes in re-creating iconic cars from movies and television like KITT from Knight Rider and the Delorean time machine from Back to the Future. This week, we talk to the man who runs the operation, which is the subject of a new reality show airing Tuesdays on the Reelz channel called Screen Machines.
Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their freshman album, Hitchhike to Rhome, the Old 97’s will perform at the Majestic Theatre and Art&Seek has tickets! Put your John Hancock on the form below for a chance to see the Texas alt-country band this Saturday, Dec. 13 at the historic venue in downtown Dallas.
In honor of the Meadows Museum’s 50th anniversary, the “Prado of the Prairie” will be presenting a series of exhibitions and programs that will continue through 2015. One of those special events includes the current exhibition Goya: A Lifetime of Graphic Invention. More than 200 works by the great Spanish painter and graphic artist are on display. Sign up for a chance to take three compadres to the exhibition on view until March 1, 2015.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for the opportunity to see Goya: A Lifetime of Graphic Invention – gratis.
In his paintings, American painter George Caleb Bingham depicts commerce and daily life on and along the river during the 19th century. The exhibition, Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River, offers glimpses of life on the waterways, as well as insight into the creative painting process of one of America’s greatest artist. Also, on display is a massive, massive work by Bingham contemporary, John J. Egan that cannot be missed. The exhibition is on view at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth through Jan. 18, 2015. But before you navigate over to the Amon Carter be sure to sign up for this Big Deal – the 200 page, hardcover accompanying catalogue.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber then take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to proudly display Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River exhibition exhibition catalogue on your book shelf.
Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.
I don’t know about you, but with only three weeks left until Christmas, I’m feeling a bit harried.
This time of year it’s easy to get caught up in the “rush, rush, rush” to the point that the “fa, la, la” gets completely forgotten. I find that about now is a good time to step back, take a deep breath, and embrace simple holiday fun. And by simple I mean, those uncomplicated moments you share with your kids that remind you how great it is being a parent. They become the sweet memories you recall years later when you’re dreaming about December some hot July afternoon.
This week’s events fit the bill in the simple department. And, best of all, you don’t have to go anywhere near a mall. Read More »
Congratulations to Julio R. Lopez, Jr., the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest. This is Julio’s first time to win our little contest. He follows our previous week’s winner Cindy Higby from Dallas.
If you would like to participate in the Flickr Photo of the Week contest, all you need to do is upload your photo to our Flickr group page. It’s fine to submit a photo you took earlier than the current week, but we are hoping that the contest will inspire you to go out and shoot something fantastic this week to share with Art&Seek users. If the picture you take involves a facet of the arts, even better. The contest week will run from Tuesday to Monday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Friday afternoon. We’ll notify the winner through FlickrMail (so be sure to check those inboxes) and ask you to fill out a short survey to tell us a little more about yourself and the photo you took. We’ll post the winners’ photo on Tuesday.
Get ahead of the holiday movies rush. Catch an advanced screening of The Imitation Game. The biopic stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of British cryptanalyst Alan Turing. Turing and his team were charged with cracking the enemy code and winning the war. No pressure there.
The screening is Thursday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the AMC NorthPark. All you have to do is download this pass. Be sure to get there early because the pass is good on a first come, first serve basis and these screenings fill up fast.