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The High Five: George W. Bush Library To Showcase Former President’s Paintings

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Former President George W. Bush painted this ornament, which is available for sale. (Credit: George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum)

Former President George W. Bush painted this ornament, which is available for sale. (Credit: George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum)


Five stories that have North Texas talking: President Bush to unveil more of his art; the head of ExxonMobil joins a lawsuit against fracking; public art at your bus station; and more.

  • President George W. Bush is a budding artist – and soon he’ll have an exhibition to show off his paintings. The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy is scheduled to open in early April at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and will feature more than two dozen never-before-exhibited portraits painted by Bush. The exhibit will explore the relationships that Bush forged with world leaders to shape international policy. “Portraits will be accompanied by artifacts, photographs, and personal reflections to help illustrate the stories of relationships formed on the world stage,” the library says. (Last November, Bush gave Jay Leno a portrait of the talk show host. Then, during the holidays, the Bush Center sold a cardinal ornament painted by the former president.)  The library also announced its Christmas exhibit — All Creatures Great and Small: Christmas at the White House 2002, which will be the second in a series of holiday exhibits.
  • Not even the head of ExxonMobil wants fracking operations in his neighborhood. Rex Tillerson, who lives in Bartonville, which is north of Flower Mound in Denton County, has joined his neighbors in a suit against a water tower that would be used in part for fracking and drilling operations. The Wall Street Journal reports (via StateImpact Texas) that Tillerson has been showing up at town hall meetings to protest the tower. “He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create ‘a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,’ in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing,” the Journal reports. “He told officials that he and his wife settled in Bartonville to enjoy a rural lifestyle and invested millions in their property after satisfying themselves that nothing would be built above their tree line, according to the council’s audio recording of the meeting.” Tillerson told the council: “I cannot stay in a place where I do not know who to count on and who not to count on.”
  • The Dallas City Council is considering proposed limits on public speakers – and council member Carolyn Davis expressed her displeasure Monday. “People have the right to come down to City Hall,” Davis told the council’s Quality of Life Committee, according to The Dallas Morning News. “You guys don’t own City Hall. You just happen to be elected officials.” She added: “We’re acting like dictatorships.” The News reports that Davis “walked out of the meeting shortly before the committee voted in support of limiting speakers to once every 30 days.” The full council will consider the proposal Wednesday. “Under current rules, anyone who has spoken at the beginning of a meeting within the past 30 days can only speak again within that 30-day period at the end of a council meeting,” The News reports. “The new rule would bar anyone from speaking at the meetings twice within a 30-day period.”
  • A recent cover story about state Sen. Wendy Davis in The New York Times Magazine has generated controversy – and a response from the newspaper’s public editor. The story was headlined: “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?” One reader told the Times: “You are using … the stupid comment: Can she have it all? Women are offended because you would NEVER ask that of a male candidate.” The public editor, Margaret Sullivan, chimed in: “Despite its well-intentioned efforts, this piece managed to trip over a double standard with its detailed examination of Ms. Davis’s biography, including her role in raising her two daughters. … Beginning the reader’s experience with the outdated ‘Have It All’ headline didn’t help, nor did the subheadline: ‘A Texas-Size Tale of Ambition, Motherhood and Political Mythmaking,’ which comes close to suggesting that Ms. Davis is spinning a big lie. Together, they curdle the piece that follows. A description in the second paragraph of Ms. Davis’s ‘fitted black dress and high heels’ and her omnipresent half smile does little to ease the reader’s suspicions.”
  • Public art has been unveiled at the T’s Sierra Vista Transit Plaza in southeast Fort Worth. The T says: “The artwork was created to uniquely reflect the neighborhoods and community surrounding the transit plaza, while visually and thematically connecting with the adjacent Berry-Riverside Urban Village Streetscape and Public Art Project.” The T selected local area artists Larry Enge and Charlotte Lindsay of Montage 48/71 Studio to design the artwork.
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‘The Lady Revealed’ To Play At Theatre 3 For 2 Shows


Nuts to you: Nick Canon as Will Shakespeare and Anne Armenta as Emilia Bassano in The Lady Revealed. Photo by Justin Curtin. – See more at:

 Nick Canon as Will Shakespeare and Anne Armenta as Emilia Bassano in the UNT production of The Lady Revealed. Photo by Justin Curtin.

Last year, we reported that the famous ‘Dark Lady’ had made an appearance in North Texas. The UNT Theatre program staged The Lady Revealed, a play about both the ‘Dark Lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets and the Oxford don who believed he had discovered the identity of the bewitching mistress whom William Shakespeare worshiped and castigated in print. UNT theater professor Andrew Harris gets to the story of the Dark Lady through the prolific and pugnacious historian A. L. Rowse who ignited a controversy that still simmers today. But The Lady Revealed is also about an Elizabethan woman, Emilia Bassano — a published poet and the daughter of Italian Jewish musicians brought to London by Henry VIII — a woman so unusual and independent for her era, she deserves attention, regardless of whether she really was Shakespeare’s adulterous lover.

Next month, Theatre 3 will present The Lady Revealed for two free performances — with Theatre 3′s founding director Jac Alder playing Rowse.

The full release follows:

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The High Five: ‘Dallas’ Is Back: Those Scheming, Sexy Scoundrels Are Ready For More Backstabbing!

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: Season three of the “Dallas” reboot starts tonight; did you catch Vanilla Ice over the weekend?; Rick Perry isn’t ruling out a 2016 presidential bid; and more.

  • The third season of “Dallas” debuts tonight at 8 on TNT – so will it be any good? Yes, say several critics. TV Guide explains it this way: “TNT’s Dallas reboot is looking more than ever the way the show did in its ’80s heyday.” “I think this is a sexier, more fun season than we’ve had before,” executive producer Cynthia Cidre told TV Guide. “There are lots of references to the old show in a really fun way.” Most of the Ewings are living at Southfork Ranch and Sue Ellen turns to drinking – yet again. Josh Henderson (who plays John Ross Ewing – the son of J.R. and Sue Ellen) promises in a promotional video: “Things will be rocky. … A ‘Dallas’ season on steroids.” Linda Gray (who plays Sue Ellen) says: “Fasten your seatbelts.” Remember when the stars were filming the current season last fall? Learn about “Dallas” on TNT’s website. Or catch up on the show via the ‘Dallas’ Facebook page. And if you can’t wait until tonight, here’s an extended trailer:

  • Dallas’ very own Vanilla Ice showed up at a 1980s-theme party at Gilley’s on Saturday. Were you there? He appeared with other one-hit wonders and four folks dressed up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Dallas Morning News reports: “[About] 1,000 or so people seemed to be having a grand time reliving the ‘80s on Saturday night. Between acts, party-goers happily milled around Gilley’s side rooms, playing free Atari and Ms. Pac Man games and getting their picture taken next to the Ninja Turtles or a replica of the time-traveling DeLorean car from Back to the Future.  A swimsuit-clad female Baywatch ringer walked around giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to male admirers.” Vanilla Ice performed “Ice, Ice Baby,” of course. “[He] gave a shout out to Baylor Medical Center, where he was born, and talked about his old stomping grounds of Flower Mound and Carrollton,” The News reported. “There’s no shame in my game,” Ice said.


  • A four-part series that explores how Dallas design has evolved over the years launches tonight. The 6:30 p.m. session at the Dallas Center for Architecture focuses on the 1960s has been organized by AIA Dallas, the Dallas Center for Architecture and UT-Arlington’s David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture. The Dallas Center for Architecture’s website states: “The assassination of John F. Kennedy signaled a shift in the city and prompted Mayor Erik Jonsson to develop Goals for Dallas, a roadmap which guided the city’s growth for several decades.  At the same time, suburban growth and retail developments like NorthPark Center signaled a continuing shift away from a downtown-centric metropolitan area.” The event costs $20. Register here.
  • About 2 percent of Texans have cast ballots so far for the March 4 primary election. Early voting ends Friday – if you head to the polls, make sure you bring a photo ID. “In the state’s largest counties, more Republicans have voted than their Democratic counterparts, except for in Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo and Travis counties, according to voting data provided by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.


  • Gov. Rick Perry isn’t ruling out a presidential run in 2016. The Hill reports: “On CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ host Candy Crowley asked several governors whether they would rule out running for the White House. Perry was short and definitive in his answer. ‘No,’ Perry said.” Other governors had pretty much ruled it out – for now. The governors of Indiana, Missouri and Connecticut say they’re focused on running their respective states. Perry isn’t running again for governor – frontrunners for the fall election include Greg Abbott, the likely Republican candidate, vs. Wendy Davis, the leading Democratic candidate. Meanwhile, Perry is scheduled to visit Iowa later this week, The Des Moines Register reports.


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New Photo of Bluesman Robert Johnson Identified

Robert-JohnsonThe photo before and after repairs. The long fingers were one of the telltale clues. Photo credit: Noticias descubren.

The Guardian reports that a third photo of Delta blues legend Robert Johnson, creator of such classics as “Hellhound on My Trail” and “Crossroad Blues,” has been authenticated. The news comes a few days after the rights to the only two known photos of Johnson were finally awarded to his son by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The third photo, “newly cleaned-up and authenticated,” was released by the Johnson estate and shows him standing next to musician Johnny Shines.

Although the third photo first came to light in 2007 – on eBay! — little is known about when or where it was taken. Johnson died in 1938 — the year after he made his final recordings in Dallas at 508 Park Avenue. The verification was done by Lois Gibson, who works with the Houston police department and who’s known for successfully identifying the sailor who was captured in a Life magazine photo kissing a young nurse in Times Square on VJ day.

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Review: Uptown Players’ ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’

Vanya Show stills editThis is funny? Why, yes, it is. Very funny. Diana Sheehan, Bob Hess and Wendy Welch in Uptown Players’ superb Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. All photo credits: Mike Morgan

Many of us became Christopher Durang fans as long ago as 1981, when his incendiary Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You torched our traditional Catholic upbringings with a pure and hilarious savagery. Consequently, for many long-time admirers, Durang’s winning the Tony Award for best play last year for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike was a long-awaited, well-deserved recognition of our most sharp-witted stage satirist. The fact that Durang — with his literary barbs, his theater in-jokes, his deadpan ghoulishness, his off-Broadway camp absurdism — the fact that Durang of all people finally, actually, had a hit on Broadway still seems … wonderfully unexpected.

Yes, perhaps the success of V&S&M&S can partly be attributed to the casting of Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce, but Durang fans will take what we can. Because, consider: The box-office runs of all four of Durang’s previous Broadway efforts, when added together, barely eked out two months. That’s not enough to pay for the canapes for an opening-night party.

So finally getting to see V&S&M&S in Dallas in a nearly note-perfect regional premiere from Uptown Players has only added to that long-delayed pleasure. The play is Durang’s comic update/mash-up of Anton Chekhov’s classics. We have the family estate, this time in the Pennsylvania countryside, and at the moment, it’s inhabited by adult siblings Vanya and Sonia. The two have settled into the cozy routines of unmarried, middle-aged decline: Each morning, they watch the blue heron come to the pond while they sip their coffees.

And then the mousy Masha shatters her cup and wails about her passed-by, sexless existence. Truth be told, the gay and closeted Vanya feels equally left behind.

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Saturday Spotlight – The 4th Annual Celebration of Black Aviation

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Black_AviationFor this week’s Art & Seek Spotlight, we’re celebrating Black History Month with an exhibition at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Flight Museum in Fort Worth. The 4th Annual Celebration of Black Aviation includes memorabilia chronicling the history of African Americans in flight and in space and a presentation by author and historian C.B. Rice.

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The High Five: DMA, Nasher, Amon Carter Add 1,700 Works To The Google Art Project

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Texas is the star of this weekend's "Aerial America" on the Smithsonian Channel. (Courtesy Smithsonian Channel)

Texas is the star of this weekend’s “Aerial America” on the Smithsonian Channel. (Courtesy Smithsonian Channel)

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Take a look at Texas from a different vantage point; Dale Hansen’s Michael Sam commentary has been auto-tuned; local museums take part in the Google Art Project; and more.

  • The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art announced this week that they’re adding more than 1,700 works of art to the Google Art Project. It allows online visitors to explore the museums’ paintings, sculptures and other pieces. Highlights from the 1,200 images submitted by the Amon Carter showcase work by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and James McNeill Whistler. The DMA contributed more than 500 works of art, including Sheaves of Wheat by Vincent van Gogh and a gold Sicán ceremonial mask from Peru. The Nasher’s submissions include Auguste Rodin’s The Age of Bronze and Mark di Suvero’s Eviva Amore.  A zoom viewer allows online visitors to get up close and personal with these pieces.


  • The South Dallas Cultural Center hosts the fifth annual Marlon Riggs Film Festival: Rights and Respectability that honors the late Fort Worth filmmaker and AIDS activist. A press release states: “Riggs is known for his cinematic work in expanding the depiction of and exploring myths about the black, gay community.” The festival runs at 9 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday at the center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas. Each film will be followed by a question-and-answer period. The festival is free, but donations are accepted.
  • Want to see Texas from up above? The Lone Star state is the star of the Smithsonian Channel’s “Aerial America,” which airs at 7 p.m. Sunday. The hourlong Texas-themed show kicks off a new season. In Dallas, the skyline and Dealey Plaza make appearances. So does the Alamo, Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Padre Island shoreline, and lots of other Texas scenes. Aerial America, which launched in 2008, has explored 43 of the 50 states from the air. “Shot from a helicopter armed with a state-of-the-art Cineflex V-14 HD camera system, each episode uses breathtaking aerial cinematography to reveal what makes each of the 50 United States unique – from beautiful natural landmarks, to sites of important turning points in history, to fascinating locations far off the beaten path,” Smithsonian says. And you don’t even have to wait until Sunday to watch it. Look at it right now (although it probably won’t look as nice as it does on your high-definition big screen).


  • Dale Hansen’s commentary on Michael Sam, the Missouri football player who’s gay, went viral, which has caught the attention of Piers Morgan, NPR, and others. Hansen, the longtime WFAA-TV sports anchor, appeared last week on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Now Hansen’s commentary has been auto-tuned. Watch it here:

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Taking A Long Look At Slow Art


“The Deluge” by David Bates. The longer you look at it, the more you see.

When you go to an art museum, how much time do you spend taking in each work? For most people, it’s 17 seconds or less. But there’s a movement to stop us from dashing past the Picasos. It’s called Slow Art. Museums around the world participate in Slow Art Day in April. And now, The Modern in Fort Worth presents a Slow Art evening every month. Erin Starr White, the Modern’s assistant curator of education, spoke with me about the rewards of taking a long look.

  • Slow Art at The Modern happens this Friday at 5:30 p.m. and the third Friday of every month.
  • Listen to the conversation:


Here are a few highlights from my chat with Erin Starr White

What is slow art?

Slow art is a way for people to stop and look at one piece for 30 minutes.

People in museums spend about 17 seconds looking at a piece, if that. Do you see people rushing through the museum?

Oh yeah, I do it. I work in a museum.  Everybody does it. I think part of that is fatigue. We’re asked a lot from  works of art. So this is a chance to plug in, in a different way, with a work of art.  It’s amazing what you pull out of something. And the time just flies by.

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Meet The Collector Behind The Kimbell’s ‘Samurai!’


Over here at KERA, we happen to be surrounded by Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s multi-billion-dollar developments, a collection of gleaming towers he calls ‘the Harwood District.’ For those who don’t know, it’s a few blocks up McKinnon Street toward the Tollway from Uptown, and the collection includes the luxury condo tower Azure, the Rolex Building, a bunch of office towers with addresses for names (2728 Harwood) as well as the headquarters of Harwood International itself.

And if you speed along McKinnon — as many of us do, in our regular commute — you can catch glimpses of some of Barbier-Mueller’s other collection, his magnificent assembly of art, armor and weapons from the age of the Japanese samurai (plus the occasional mounted armor from other cultures as well). More than 140 items from the collection are currently at the Kimbell in Samurai!, but individual items have long been on display in the glass lobbies of several of the Harwood buildings — as well as in the second floor of St. Ann Court, the official home of the Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.

When Lee Cullum interviewed Barbier-Mueller for CEO in October 2008, much of their discussion, naturally, was about his big plans for the Dallas skyline and how the million-dollar downtown condo market was currently under-served. But just before the video above hits the 22-minute mark, talk turns to art collecting, how Barbier-Mueller’s grandfather was an art collector (the family helped found two museums — one in Geneva, the other in Barcelona — before St. Ann Court) and why he finds armor so compelling. Unfortunately, he doesn’t relate the story he did in Fort Worth at the preview of Samurai! — how, at age 14, he was impressed by the Wallace Collection in London, notably its superb suits of European armor. He wanted his children to have the same experience — to see these expressions of knighthood and understand all it represented, not just military prowess, but nobility, artistic appreciation, discipline and self-restraint, the seven values of bushido, the samurai code.

Eventually, the armor collection outgrew the family home and the various lobbies. But of the 900,000 visitors who’ve already visited the Samurai show in Paris, Boston, Portland and Quebec, Barbier-Mueller and his wife Anne, he said, are proudest of the large number of children who’ve seen it.


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The Big Screen: Previewing Texas Black Film Festival

The 7th Texas Black Film Festival plays through Sunday in Dallas. It’ll feature the usual combination of shorts and features, documentaries and narratives. But its director, David Small, told us that people unfamiliar with the event might be surprised by the ground it covers.

“I remember when we very first started it, it seemed to be kind of a unique thing for the city of Dallas. And people expected – when you say ‘a black film festival’ – they’re expecting to see Big Mama’s House. It’s the total opposite of the museum-type approach and the level of intellect we want to bring to the discussion,” he says. “But the people who have come to the festival and seen what it is that we’re doing realize it is about the inclusion of the culture and how it impacts everyone else.”

Small talks to us this week about his approach to programming – and the current state of black film – in this week’s Big Screen.

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

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