For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re off to Klyde Warren Park for Voly in the Park. This event shines a light on volunteerism and launches a new social website to connect volunteers to non-profit organizations. Head to the Deck Park for dance and music performances, presentations by the Dallas Zoo, and appearances by Miss Texas and the Mavericks.
The last few weeks have rocked the North Texas dance community. Bruce Wood, a pillar of that community, died suddenly – and last night, his Bruce Wood Dance Project began a two-day tribute at Dallas City Performance Hall.
At the same time, Ann Williams is retiring from the Dallas Black Dance Theatre that she founded. And the woman who trained many of North Texas’ top dancers is stepping away from the barre at Booker T. Washington high school. Her name is Lily Cabatu Weiss, and she sits down with KERA’s vice president of news, Rick Holter, for this week’s Friday Conversation
Listen to the interview that aired on KERA:
Interview Highlights: Lily Cabatu Weiss…
…on her long career at Booker T: “I always knew I would have a long career, but I didn’t know it was going to be this long. I thought I was going to bring the school back into the new building and that I would spend probably the first two or three years to get us re-acclimated into the arts district. And then I thought after three years I can walk away. Well, it’s been six now.”
…on growing up in El Paso and her performing arts background: “The background is indirect. My parents are first generation Filipinos and my mother made sure that the Filipino culture was part of our upbringing. She taught us all the Filipino folk dances and she also had me singing at a very young age. It’s very interesting, I appeared on ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ as a singer, in Portland, Oregon if you can figure that out. Without a doubt there’s a strong Filipino community in El Paso, Texas because it is a military community with a base there.”
…on the impact of choreographer Bruce Wood’s death: “It’s huge, I consider Bruce a good friend. And of course, Booker T. Washington, he has used our studios. I think Bruce has opened up doors for dance in Dallas, in this North Texas area, and I hope that it continues.”
Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is the former Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and the former Vice-Chair of the Dallas Public Art Committee.
“It’s a guy thing”, says Scott Peck, Co-Director/ Curator of the Museum of Biblical Art. He is referring to the heavy steel sculpture of Goerge Tobolowsky, 2012 winner of the Dallas Historical Society’s Award for Excellence in the Creative Arts. Tobolowsky, who is also a lawyer, an entrepreneur and an arts advocate, has been seduced by sculpture ever since he was an accounting major at SMU in the 1970’s, where he met Texas’ iconic sculptor, James Surls and began stealing time away from his studies to solder steel.
Tobolowsky’s work can be seen throughout Dallas, in the Design District, in a 2011 installation at City Hall, in the Design District, in private and corporate collections and in New Delhi, India next year, where he is included in the International Exhibition of six Texas artists at the National Academy of Arts. His sculpture is fabricated from discarded pieces of steel which he selects and salvages from scrapyards. He then mixes and matches the discards to make what can be viewed as a good marriage of mates never meant to be together.
Much of his other work – not on display at the Museum – shows off his sense of humor and is inspired by his business ventures, with titles such as ” Dealbreaker”, or “the Young Daydreamer“. “Discovering the Menorah”, the show at the MBA, is inspired by his spirituality and showcases his Jewish ceremonial art. The show of found drill bits, blow torches, wrenches and vices, all welded together in Tobolowsky’s Mountain Springs studio, has attracted an interested audience of both men and women, and because of its popularity , will be extended to remain through the summer.
Peck is delighted that more men are visiting the Museum and sees Tobolowsky’s work as the hook which lures them in. “George’s work,” says Peck, “is a gateway to looking at something else in the Museum. The recognizable steel elements and the industrial look, says Peck, entreat the male visitor, usually brought in by their spouse, to look a little longer and linger”. The work may be masculine in materials, but the curves he creates and the fluidity of the work is feminine as well, affording general appeal.
The sculptures in the show range from 21 inches to over 7 feet high. Several weigh about 800 lbs. Most are Hannukah menorahs, candelabras which celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hannukah , when a minuscule amount of oil burned for a miraculous 8 days. Several smaller table-top pieces are candelabras for the Sabbath prayers.
Some of the pieces are functional. Drill bits can be replaced by actual candles and lit. Others are merely decorative. Some are narrative. Others are historical and reference Jewish history, as steel candle morph into guns.
Peck plans an audio tour and a movie about the artist and has even placed Tobolowsky’s seven foot tall “Steel Warrior” at the entrance to the Museum, which seems to say, ” It’s a guy thing. Come on in.” A wall devoted to vistors’ comments about the show is covered with yellow sticky notes. Several read: ,”He is a man of steel”; Bless his hands”, and “Nice work for an Attorney”.
According to reports, Dee died peacefully of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, NY.
With her late husband, Ossie Davis, who died in 2005, Dee seamlessly combined a life of civil rights activism with a pathbreaking career on stage and in film, playing lead roles in an era of segregation. In 1950, she gained national attention playing Jackie Robinson’s wife in the film, The Jackie Robinson Story. In 1959, Dee was the first actress to play the struggling wife Ruth in Lorraine Hansberry’s stage drama, A Raisin in the Sun. The landmark play is currently revived on Broadway.
Fly By Night, the quirky, charming musical the Dallas Theater Center staged last year, did not charm New York Times drama critic Ben Brantley much. If you saw it, you certainly remember the show — about a young romantic triangle that comes together and tears apart in the New York City blackout of 1965. It was too long, and charm is a hard thing to grasp and to hold for nearly two-and-a-half hours. But it was charming and ingenious, and Brantley did hail several aspects of the Playwrights Horizons production:
Fewer than 2,000 giant pandas are left on earth. But a panda conservation center in China is doing its best to breed the animals and reintroduce them into the wild. This week, we discusses a documentary playing this summer at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science about the panda center’s efforts.
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