News and Features

Saturday Spotlight – Celebration of Lights

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For this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re off to Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm in Allen for the unveiling of the Celebration of Lights.  Get in the holiday spirit with an animated lights display including a sleigh led by eight illuminated reindeer.  Carolers, carriage rides, and crafts round out the day which ends with live music, fireworks, and Santa.

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Dallas Play Goes To New York, Does Well, Returns Happily To Dallas

DIVISIONIan Ferguson, Jake Buchanan and Marianne Galloway (left to right) star in Division Avenue at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

Friday, Miki Bone’s play, Division Avenue, opens at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. So we’re updating a story we aired in July about how Bone got her first New York staging — because the Dallas performer and playwright chose to write about a Jewish conflict in Brooklyn. But now it’s here, and soon it’ll be in Israel.

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Miki Bone and her family have often visited New York, and in 2009, they sought out something different. They took a walking tour of Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Williamsburg is the long-established home of tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews. The Hasidim are a branch of mystical, Orthdox Judaism. They’re known for their conservative dress and their traditional ideas on the sexes and family life. But for years now, Williamsburg has also been a hot real estate market for young professionals fleeing the high rents of Manhattan. The neighborhood’s rapid gentrification has led to cultural conflicts the media have dubbed ‘the hipsters vs. the Hasidim.’

In 2009, on Bone’s walking tour, she sensed some of that tension. She took a photograph of several Hasidic men on a Williamsburg street with a nearby woman in tight jeans.

“I noticed if you walk by a member of that community,” Bone recalls, “they’ll turn their heads and look away, especially as they pass a female. And frankly, my first impression was that it was a little rude. But what I didn’t understand until later is that it actually’s a sign of respect.”

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The High Five: Tributes To JFK Across Dallas, Fort Worth And The Country

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: A special JFK edition. Today, both Dallas and Fort Worth honor President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Boston will, too.

  • In Fort Worth: Fifty years ago this morning, President Kennedy woke up in Fort Worth and gave two speeches. At 6:15 a.m., Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will place a wreath at the downtown JFK Tribute, an illuminated exhibit with an 8-foot bronze sculpture of Kennedy. This morning, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s Fort Worth visit with an honorary breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the Hilton Hotel. Kennedy spent his last night at the Hilton Hotel, then called Hotel Texas, where he delivered one of his final two speeches. Secret Service agent Clint Hill will speak. He was assigned to Jackie Kennedy and was in the presidential motorcade as it moved through downtown Dallas.
  • At Parkland: At 12:38 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963, President Kennedy entered Trauma Room One at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, throwing the medical center into the world spotlight. At 8 this morning, Parkland will host a brief observance at the flagpole in front of its entrance. The flag will be lowered to half-staff and a letter issued to Parkland employees soon after the assassination will be read. Parkland has announced that its new hospital will include the President John F. Kennedy Memorial Garden, which it says will “memorialize the president’s life, while offering a place of hope, healing and history for patients and the community.”
  • In Dallas: The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy starts at 11:30 a.m. in Dealey Plaza. There will be patriotic music, prayers, a flyover salute and remarks by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and historian David McCullough. Bells will toll throughout Dallas. A moment of silence takes place at 12:30 p.m. About 5,000 people are expected to attend. Tickets were handed out during a lottery – those without tickets won’t be able to get in. KERA 90.1 FM and KERANews.org will air the ceremony live. Several roads in and around Dealey Plaza are closed. The public is invited to watch the ceremony on large television screens at three locations around downtown: AT&T Plaza, Annette Strauss Square and the JFK Memorial plaza.
  • In Boston: The John F. Kennedy Library in Boston is hosting a live webcast of a musical tribute that honors the late president. It starts at 12:30 p.m. Dallas time. A moment of silence will be held at 1 p.m. – the time his death was announced. Performers include James Taylor. In addition, saxophonist Paul Winter and the Paul Winter Sextet will perform – Jackie Kennedy had invited the group to be the first jazz ensemble to perform at the White House. The U.S. Naval Academy Women’s Glee Club will perform two musical selections that were performed at the president’s funeral. Several people will read parts of Kennedy’s most historic speeches, including a girl who attends the same school that the president attended when he was a child.
  • In Dallas: Later, at 6 p.m., the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Police Association will hold a vigil at the Dallas Police Association building, 1412 Griffin St. The vigil will honor Dallas officer J.D. Tippit, who was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald in Oak Cliff at the intersection of 10th and Patton streets. Tippit’s widow, Marie, will speak, as will Dallas police chief David Brown. The ceremony will include the police honor guard and choir, and honor guards from across the state.
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DTC’s Project Discovery To Get Award From First Lady Michelle Obama

Tomorrow, while the rest of North Texas will be stuck in a giant traffic snarl caused by the official JFK ceremony in Dealey Plaza, Rachel Hull will be in Washington, D.C. picking up a cool $10,000 from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Hull is the director of education at the Dallas Theater Center. Since 1987, the DTC’s Project Discovery has transported  thousands of schoolchildren to live stage productions while also providing them with educational materials and backstage access.  That’s why it’s one of 13 groups — chosen from 50 finalists from around the country — being honored Friday at the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

More than  25 years ago, Adrian Hall, then the artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center, insisted that children be bused to the theater — that the DTC’s education program would not be another one where a handful of actors visited schools. No shortened, condescending, in-classroom performances. The students needed to experience going to the theater as part of the whole experience of live drama, and they needed to be exposed to full, professional productions.

It’s not a cheap proposition, transporting thousands of schoolkids to the theater, setting aside seats for them in season shows, but DTC continues to do it. And for that, Project Discovery deserves an award.

And you can catch Rachel in Washington, D.C. — via a live-feed of the awards ceremony tomorrow.

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Dan Kiley – The Great Designer Behind Fountain Place – Featured In Touring Exhibition

fountain placeFountain Place photo by Alan Ward

The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic landscapes — they’re the people who put the Nasher garden on their top 10 endangered list last year –  has opened an exhibition on The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley at Boston Architectural College. It moves to Washington, D.C. in February.

Hmm. No dates set for a North Texas appearance. Too bad, because Kiley gave us what The New Yorker has called his masterpiece with Fountain Place. Forget the Dallas Morning News’ predictable list of what tourists should visit (NorthPark Center? Really?). You want a moment of complete peace in the midst of downtown’s traffic and noise? Want to bliss out in what is, essentially, a gorgeous, cascading version of a Japanese Zen garden? Find the blue-green skyscraper that’s pointed like a rocket and go to where it meets the earth. Nestled inside the I. M. Pei-designed building’s three giant legs holding it up is Fountain Place. Easily the most distinguished tower in downtown, the tower is named after Kiley’s design these day, to give you some idea of the plaza’s rep.

Kiley also designed the very modernist grounds around the Dallas Museum of Art, including the sculpture garden (yes, Dallas had a sculpture garden before the Nasher). So we’re blessed with two of his designs — two blocks from each other.

 

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The Big Screen: Will Forte Talks ‘Nebraska’

Will Forte is best known for his eight seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. He now stars in Nebraska, director Alexander Payne’s new film about a delusional older man who’s determined to claim a million-dollar prize. (Maybe you caught it at the recent Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth?) Forte joined us to talk about the film that should be a major player come awards season.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.

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Requiems For JFK

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Image from Shutterstock

This week, Dallas will host two musical premieres to mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. Great people have been remembered through music like this for centuries. KERA’s Jerome Weeks says that while musical styles have changed, the human need for such music hasn’t.

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Henry Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary from 1695 is the kind of memorial music we’ve traditionally used to mark the passing or the legacy of a great person. Memorial music is solemn, slow, often in a minor key, sometimes full of anguish or loss, sometimes inspiring and majestic, ultimately offering consolation and peace. A sample could have been taken from any of a hundred requiems or funeral marches. Writing them was practically a requirement for anyone who aspired to be considered a major composer. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak: They all wrote at least one sizable piece of memorial music, and Mahler practically made a career out of it.

In fact, Peter Kupfer, SMU professor of music history, jokes that requiems were so prevalent — and our desire to read autobiographical emotions into every composition is so strong — that almost any piece in a minor key has gotten the “sad music” treatment. “As soon as a composer attaches a specific title ["Elegy," say, instead of "Concerto No. 4"], the sky’s the limit on the personal associations we’ll find in it.”

But much of that changed with the 20th century. Music became atonal, the Latin Mass fell out of favor and composers, like many other people, turned to religious traditions outside of Christianity. Composers certainly continued to write elegies but in very different forms — like Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish (his Symphony No. 3), which was dedicated to John F. Kennedy and used Jewish prayers for the dead as its text.

Jamie Allen, the director of education for the Dallas Symphony, says, “The 20th century itself was breaking down all kinds of structures, and so there was a very deliberate move to not use the architecture of the past, to build a new architecture.”

Which is what composers face today when commemorating Kennedy: What traditions and conventions can they still use that evoke honest emotion? What can truly offer consolation — spiritually or musically?

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The High Five: UNT Produces Viral Rap Video: ‘School So Fly That The Haters Don’t Stop’

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: UNT produces a rap video; a Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade; Sulphur Springs is home to one of America’s best bathrooms, and more.

  • The University of North Texas has produced a rap video that’s been watched more than 30,000 times on YouTube. In UNT Rap Anthem, UNT students trash other North Texas schools: “Take a lesson from this mean green master. These other Texas schools are like a natural disaster.” They take down SMU: “Kids down in Dallas reppin’ my little pony, but in reality their degrees are just bologna.” And TCU: “Now TCU, your football team has taken a toll. It looks like it’ll be awhile ‘til another Rose Bowl.” The students rap about the glories of UNT and everything that’s mean green: “Big brains great minds, we got a rockin’ jazz department and deez beats are sublime.” And they brag about who’s studied up in Denton: “Our school has graduated some of the most ill ranging from Bowling for Soup to Dr. Phil. Meat Loaf sang Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Don Henley wrote Hotel Cali in Bruce one night.” The Denton Record-Chronicle reports that a UNT marketing official came up with the idea for a video so students could share their UNT pride. Ultimately, it’s a teaching tool: Students wrote the rap and shot and edited the video. They also did the choreography. And they’re sharing the video on social media. Here’s the video.
  • When it comes to the business of doing No. 1 and No. 2, Sulphur Springs is No. 3. That’s according to Cintas’ annual America’s Best Bathrooms contest – aka the “Bowl Games.” In Sulphur Springs, the glass bathrooms on the square were ranked as the third best bathroom in the country. Cintas, a restroom supplies company, presented 10 venues to the voters, who went online to choose a winner. Sulphur Springs, which is about 80 minutes northeast of Dallas in Hopkins County, wanted to help revitalize downtown by providing public restrooms. They look like large glass boxes. You could call them glass potties. The public restrooms are considered public art. And they’ve become a tourist attraction. Sulphur Springs brags that they have the “World Famous Glass Bathrooms.” KERA has more details.
  • Hello Prince Fielder, goodbye Ian Kinsler. The Detroit Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. ESPN reports that Detroit will pay $92 million in the deal — $62 million to Kinsler and $30 million to Texas for Fielder. “It’s the first headline-grabbing move of baseball’s offseason, and it involves two of the American League’s top teams,” ESPN reported. “With stars like Fielder, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez in the fold, Detroit’s payroll had become one of the game’s biggest, and although Fielder hit 55 home runs over the last two years for the Tigers, his numbers dipped this season and he struggled in the playoffs when Detroit lost to Boston in the AL championship series.”
  • Veteran CBS newsman Bob Schieffer reflects on covering the JFK assassination for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. After JFK was shot, Schieffer was in the Star-Telegram newsroom when the phone rang. It was total bedlam, he said. “Every phone was ringing, and I picked up one phone only to hear a woman say, ‘Is there anyone there who can give me a ride to Dallas?’ he wrote in a recent piece for the newspaper. “In truth, I almost hung up, but I said, ‘Lady, we don’t run a taxi here, and besides, the president’s been shot,’ to which she replied, ‘Yes. I heard on the radio; I think my son is the one they’ve arrested.’” Schieffer ended up interviewing Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. “Those of us who were there will never really forget that weekend, and I have thought about it many times over the years. What is often lost in the telling of the story is how stunned we were when it happened. There have been many violent events since then, but no one who was alive that day had experienced what unfolded that weekend.”
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Architect Renzo Piano Fills The House in Fort Worth And Dallas

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UPDATED: 5:36 p.m.

He may be an architect, but Renzo Piano attracted crowds like a rock star during his visit to North Texas this week. Around 2,800 people packed Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth Tuesday night to see one of the world’s most sought-after architects. And Wednesday, Renzo Piano did it again, selling out the 225-seat Nasher Salon Series in Dallas.  Piano was in town for a preview of his latest creation, the Kimbell Museum’s new addition, appropriately called the Renzo Piano Pavilion.  Wednesday’s visit to the Nasher Sculpture Center, also a Piano design, was part of that museum’s 10th anniversary celebration.

Architect Renzo Piano tossed a Frisbee Tuesday with Eric Lee, the Kimbell Art Museum director. (Photo: Bill Zeeble/KERA News)

Architect Renzo Piano tossed a Frisbee Tuesday with Eric Lee, the Kimbell Art Museum director. (Photo: Bill Zeeble/KERA News)

On Wednesday in Dallas, Piano praised the light in Texas, and remembered Ray Nasher fondly as both a client and a friend. He laughed recalling that Nasher originally expressed interest in building a large garden “with a little building, maybe just a few toilets.” But sprinkled in were several comments about the conflict between the Nasher and Museum Tower. It seemed he was trying to reign himself in  – “It’s only a reference,” he said laughing, the first time he mentioned the tower.  He expressed optimism that a solution would be agreed on soon.  But several times, in Dallas and Fort Worth, Piano compared his buildings to children – picking his favorite would be like picking a favorite child; projecting the future for his buildings, the stories that should unfold around them, is similar to a parent projecting Harvard for a new born. And it’s clear he’s deeply disturbed for the Nasher. People around the world approach him asking about the building, and it’s “like having a child that is sick.”

On Tuesday, sitting exactly 65 yards from the Kimbell Museum across a vast, elm tree dotted lawn is the new, sleekly sharp-edged concrete, glass and wood Piano Pavilion. Piano said the distance between buildings is key, so they can talk to each other – have a kind of dialogue

“Because when you have a dialogue,” said Piano, “if you talk too close to somebody, it’s aggressive, when you get too close. When you stay too far, it’s too cold. So you have to establish the right distance and we measured this many, many times.”

Piano said the four acres of grass between the buildings leaves a space for people to play or to picnic,  to enjoy the urban space, as he did, by gleefully tossing a Frisbee. Piano said that space also reintroduces people to the grandeur of the Kimbell Museum’s front entrance. For decades, most people have entered architect Louis Kahn’s masterpiece from the back. Looking across the lawn from his Pavilion, Piano says people will now see the Kimbell’s front entrance anew, with its barrel vault design.

“It’s a great building. A great scale. Unpretentious. Beautiful. Poetic. Magic.”

And therefore, Piano said, deserving complete respect.  But he also knew adding to the museum’s architectural legacy created a trap that could be tragic. As he told KERA’s Art & Seek producer-reporter Jerome Weeks Tuesday night, some would see the Pavilion competing with Kahn’s Kimbell.

“It’s still about respecting what’s already there,” Piano told Weeks. “But telling a story, making clear what you can do, it’s a challenge but it’s not competing. Competing with a masterpiece is stupid. And it’s also wrong. I love that building from Kahn, since the beginning, since it was built.”

Piano says his building tells a story of openness, transparency, with more glass to see out and in, and natural light, to display more of the Kimbell’s permanent collection. There’s also an auditorium to entertain, rooms for classes and meetings. And then there are the walls.

“The famous concrete wall. Hanging Caravagio on the concrete wall for me is a great pleasure, because the concrete wall gives a sense of strength to the quality. It’s a silky concrete and it’s something almost sexy when you touch.”

Piano said his Pavilion is an extrovert, to Kahn’s introverted Kimbell.  Kimbell Museum director Eric Lee likes that analogy.

“I think that notion of introverted vs. extroverted is absolutely correct. When you’re in the Piano building  you have so many views that look outward to the Kahn building or across the street to Will Rogers. When you’re in the Kahn building the views are all inward looking, you’re looking at interior courtyards.”

Now Lee says, the public will have both, with more of the Kimbell’s art displayed in a better choice of spaces, thanks to both buildings.

On Wednesday, Piano will head to Dallas to visit another of his creations – the Nasher Sculpture Center, which is in the middle of a battle with the neighboring Museum Tower. Nasher officials say that glare from the Museum Tower is harming its garden and galleries. Piano told KERA that he’s confident that the problem will be solved.

A grand opening celebration for the Piano Pavilion is scheduled for Nov. 27. Previews for Kimbell members start Friday.

The 100,000-square foot building provides much-needed space for the Kimbell.

A glimpse into the Piano Pavilion

The Kimbell says that Piano’s colonnaded pavilion, surrounded by elms and red oaks, “stands as an expression of simplicity — glass, concrete and wood.” It’s near the museum’s home, designed by Louis Kahn in 1972.

There’s room for both the new building and the original building, Piano said.

Visitors will still be able to enjoy the lawn between the buildings – it’s a place for people to relax, have picnics or throw Frisbees.

From KERA’s Art&Seek: An early look at the Piano Pavilion

Learn more about the Piano Pavilion

KERA’s Jerome Weeks takes a look inside the new Piano Pavilion at Art&Seek.

On Monday’s Think, Piano joined KERA’s Krys Boyd to talk about his Fort Worth creation.

Listen to the podcast of the conversation that aired Monday.

Animation of Piano Pavilion

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Flickr Photo of the Week

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joseph_haubertCongratulations to Joseph Haubert of Fort Worth, the winner of the Flickr Photo of the Week contest!  Joseph has won our contest before; his last victory came last February. He follows last week’s winner, Reed Crow.

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 Monday to Sunday, and the Art&Seek staff will pick a winner on Monday 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 Wednesday.

Now more from Joseph.

Title of photo: Rain and Reflections

Equipment:  iPhone 4S

Tell us more about your photo: I love the rain and all the interesting perspectives it can bring to a photographer. This shot was taken on Main Street in downtown Dallas, during a rain storm. I was literally walking across the street and saw a perfect opportunity to capture what I always love seeing during a rain storm downtown and that’s the reflections. I took out my iPhone and got the shot. Happy I got it!

 

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