Archive | October, 2012

Arts History Update for early November 2012

29 Oct

Arts History Update for early November 2012 by David Cummins


Joma Sipe, Soul of Light: Works of Illumination (Quest Books November 2012) is a book of over 100 paintings by Sipe expressing his inner spiritual feelings and message. Here is the Flickr photostream of the paintings The captions are in Portugese but no matter. Here is the book trailer video




The annual Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead] Procession in Lubbock falls on Friday November 2, 2012 and that is the monthly First Friday Art Trail so the two events and activities will be intertwined for many people.


First the calendar: In the Christian tradition October 31 is Halloween or the evening of the Hallowed Ones; November 1 is All Saints Day or the day of the hallowed ones; and November 2 is All Souls Day or a day to remember all the persons who have died, particularly family and close friends.


Many folks make a three day celebration extending from October 31 through November 2.


In villages in rural Mexico a tradition grew that people not only remember their dead family and friends but that on that Day in some metaphysical manner the dead rise from their graves and return with family to the home and spend the entire day with their living family before being escorted back to the cemetery or graveyard to repose for another year. An altar [ofrenda] is constructed in the home that usually contains a photograph of the dead person and items that reflect the personality activities and accomplishments of the person. Each altar is very personal to and about that one individual who is now deceased. Here’s a photo of such an altar and more complete explanation Some people take a much longer view of the departed than those who recently died, and honor the ancient people from whom the contemporary are descended, the Nahuatl or Aztec, Toltec, Olmec, and Mayan so the altar and decorations may tell a long long story.


The Lubbock procession is timed by location:


5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Texas Tech University International Cultural Center at 601 Indiana Avenue

6:30 – 7:30 p.m Texas Tech School of Art near 18th Street and Flint Avenue

7:30 – 8:30 p.m. LHUCA Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts campus at Avenue J and Mac Davis Lane [former 6th Street] front door at 517 Avenue K

8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Buddy Holly Center at 1801 Crickets Avenue [former Avenue G]


It is not required that anyone attend all four locations or process through town, but each location will have distinctive cultural foods, decorations, and activities at the listed times.


Some Texas Tech School of Art students committed by September 28 to produce a piece of art that is a remembrance of a departed person. They are exhibited at the School’s Studio Gallery through November 4. Some cultural heritages that are not Mexican will likely be represented by that art, and we can draw comparisons. The talent of art students is always impressive.




Design Miami December 5 – 9, 2012 is an annual art fair in Miami Beach Florida adjacent to the Convention Center that houses Art Basel art fair Dec 6 – 9. Shuttle buses are available to take visitors to exhibitions at museums in the Miami area, that typically schedule very attractive exhibits because they know an international audience is in town.




Jacques Barzun died October 25, 2012, (1907 – 2012) age 104 His second wife was a San Antonio lady so this French-born New Yorker lived in retirement in San Antonio. It was from that location that he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush and the National Humanities Medal from Barack Obama. He was a cultural historian and his last major work was a compendium From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 To The Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life (HarperCollins 2000). My copy is dog-eared and page clipped. Literary folks normally look askance and downward at compendiums as too broad and lengthy for refinement and erudition. In Barzun’s case his wisdom shines through as he says so much and focuses so judiciously that a few words on a topic are so well chosen, that they matter. Texas Tech Library CB245.B365 Lubbock Public Library 940.2 B296F five copies.



Jacques Barzun, The Culture We Deserve: a Critique of Disenlightenment (Wesleyan University Press 1989) twelve essays in 185 pages. Texas Tech Library AZ221.B29 $17.95 paperback at and at ABE Books in very good condition $10.25 including s&h




Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Operating System is on the rack. Do you want to purchase it? Very useful articles by Peter Svensson for Associated Press include and The upshot is that if you are a Microsoft user or want to be such a user, and use or want to use a touch screen, then read onward and consider this upgrade. If you are not a touch screen user or don’t want to be, ignore Windows 8 at least for now. Other versions may arise later. For now, Microsoft is trying to play catch-up with Apple’s iPad and iPhone. If that’s not an issue for you, ignore Windows 8 for now.





Want to know more about the Carter Center started by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn? On Friday November 2, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Ms. Lauren Kent-Delany, Director of Educational Programs at the Carter Center in Atlanta in partnership with Emory University, will provide an overview of many activities leading toward world peace, food sufficiency and available adequate health care. The event is free and available to the public at Texas Tech’s Experimental Sciences Building Room 120. The Carter Center is located adjacent to Jimmy Carter Library & Museum on 37 acres of parkland. Jimmy Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in mediating international disputes and befriending refugee populations.


You may enter the campus at Flint Avenue and 15th Street and gain a visitor’s pass for your dashboard at the entry station. You will likely be directed to a few visitor parking spots in the Biology Building lot. Drive a block east and then turn north (left) on Detroit Avenue and a block north is the parking lot with some visitor spaces. Exiting your car walk north past the Biology Building n its east side and ahead is the Experimental Sciences Building. Room 120 is on the first floor. Here’s a campus map to orient with. click on Experimental Sciences and you see the image and location on the map. If you enter campus from the east on Broadway Street, gain the visitors pass at the entry station and park near Memorial Circle, and walk to northwest of the Circle and walk farther northwest between two buildings Mathematics on your left, and Engineering and Materials Research Center on your right, and you come straight on to an interior building Experimental Sciences.

















Arts History Update for still later October 2012

22 Oct

Art History Update for still later October 2012 by David Cummins

Winter Moonlit Night (1919) by Ernst Kirchner is the cover art for a book Lois Lowry, Son (Houghton Mifflin, October 11, 2012). Would that the book, a dystopian fable, were better. It is the concluding novel of a quartet The Giver (1993) Gathering Blue (2000) Messenger (2004) and now Son (2012). Son is $10.16 hardcover $ 9.17 Kindle at The boxed set of the first three is $17.80 paperback (Ember 2006) at and individually at Lubbock Public Library. Giver is at Texas Tech Library.

Shades of Margaret Atwood and that’s it, they are only shades.


A Latin Film Festival: The Immigrant Experience takes place October 28 – 29, 2012 at the Escondido Theatre in the Student Union Building basement on Texas Tech campus.

Sunday October 28 at 2:50 p.m. A Day Without a Mexican: Now Who is Going to Do All the Work? (2004) …………. 5:25 p.m. Crossing Over (2009)

Monday October 29 at 6:00 p.m. Innocent Voices (2004) ………… 8:20 p.m. The Proposal (2009) Sandra Bullock, need one say more?

a free event


November 7 – 10, 2012 is the Annual Western Literature Conference this year held in Lubbock at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center 2322 Mac Davis Lane. The title and theme is Western Crossroads: Literature, Social Justice, Environment.

Significant events include Annie Proulx speaking Wednesday November 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the hotel. The public is invited to this free event. I’ve read two of her books The Shipping News (Scribner 1993) Tech Library PS3566.R697 S4 that won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and That Old Ace in the Hole: A Novel (Scribner 2002) Tech Library PS3566.R697 T48 set in the Texas Panhandle where Ace is a windmill repairman. Her latest book is Bird Cloud: A Memoir of Place (Scribner 2011 stories and essays) Tech Library PS3566.R697 Z46 depicting south central Wyoming, Annie’s home ground near the North Platte River with views of Elk Mountain 11,156 feet and Medicine Bow Peak 12,013 feet high. The North Platte rises at the Continental Divide in Colorado and flows northeast through the Medicine Bow Mountains toward Annie’s place. Whoops. Just learned that Annie put her home Bird Cloud Ranch on the market for $3.7 million. Those 15 degrees below zero snow-massed winters can be too tough even for a gal with a mean pen in hand in a jaccuzi soak. Now I learn it is currently listed for $2.6 million. Here’s a photo of her place One doubts that she is homeless but her current residence is not known to me.

On Thursday the sessions are 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. seven panels, 9:30 – 10:45 another seven panels, 11:00 – 12:15 five more panels, 2:15 -3:30 five panels and 2:15 – 4:15 a plenary session In Search of First Contact: Vikings of Vinland, 5:45 – 7:00 four panels.

On Friday more panels and a plenary session ending at 5:45 p.m. and on Saturday more panels ending at 9:15 a.m.

David Sherman will be in town and he will speak and exhibit, free, his documentary film Wasteland Utopias Thursday November 8 at 4:15 – 6:00 p.m. at Tech’s English Building Lecture Hall Room 001. This documentary contrasts two 1950s experimenters, the commercial-minded Del Webb building Sun City retirement living in the Arizona desert and Wilhelm Reich manipulating weather by using ozone energy in the same locale [orgone cloudbuster rocket missiles, that landed him in a federal penitentiary where he died].


Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park opened October 24, 2012. It is on the southern tip, a four acre triangular park of grass, plantings and stone, of Roosevelt Island in the East River New York City. Louis Kahn, architect designed it, his last design, and then died. There have been many alternate proposals, mostly commercial and grandiose, for use of the site. Fortunately cool calm visionary heads stuck to the plan, and now decades later, it opened on October 24, 2012. Click on the slideshow icon for ten fascinating images of the monument location and setting. The World Trade Center memorial, literally National September 11 Memorial & Museum is sobering and somber, but this Four Freedoms Park is triumphal and uplifting. A local New York City architect has taken pictures

In the 19th century this island in the East River was used as a prison, a lunatic asylum, a workhouse, a landfill and a smallpox hospital. It was known by many names including Welfare Island. Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge passes over the island but does not provide vehicular access to it. In 1973 it was renamed as Roosevelt Island and Louis Kahn employed to design a monument. The Tramway opened in 1976 and became an instant tourist attraction and iconic symbol of the island. In 1989 subway access began, and in 2010 the Tramway was modernized. The Roosevelt Island Bridge was built in 1955 connecting it to Astoria, Queens but the island is vehicle-free at many places and not designed for vehicle traffic. An island shuttle bus takes people, about 10,000 residents in apartment buildings, to the subway and Tramway for 25 cents, 10 cents for seniors and disabled people, an obvious subsidy.

Roosevelt Island is a unique place within a unique city. Since the state controls the redevelopment of the island, many people think FDR Four Freedoms Park will eventually be operated within the state park system.


The Texas Master Naturalists chapter in Lubbock takes a field trip to the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday November 10, 2012 and will take part in the annual migration to Texas of whooping cranes, by counting the birds.
Whooping Crane Migration
 Watch Gets Under Way

AUSTIN — Endangered whooping cranes have begun their annual 2,400-mile fall migration from Canada to Texas. As the rare birds approach Texas, a new citizen science initiative is inviting Texas residents and visitors to help collect sightings of whoopers.

Texas Whooper Watch ( is a new volunteer monitoring program that is a part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Nature Trackers program.   According to Lee Ann Linam, biologist in the Wildlife Diversity Program, Texas Whooper Watch is being developed to keep track of an ever-expanding population of whooping cranes.

Since beginning their slow recovery from a low of 16 birds in the 1940s, whoopers have, with few exceptions, always wintered on the Texas coast on and near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  However, in the winter of 2011-12, several groups of whooping cranes expanded their wintering areas to include more coastal areas and even some inland sites in Central Texas—patterns that surprised crane biologists.  “Texas Whooper Watch is a program that asks the public to help us discover more about where whooping cranes stop in migration and to be ready to learn more about these potential new wintering areas,” according to Linam.

This year biologists expect about 300 whooping cranes to start arriving in Texas in late October or early November.  According to surveys on the nesting grounds in Wood Buffalo Park in northwestern Canada, the flock may contain as many as 34 chicks.  Linam notes that Texas Whooper Watch will also help improve the accuracy of surveys on the wintering grounds, as the growth of the flock has made traditional census methods more difficult.

Whoopers usually follow a migratory path through North and Central Texas that includes cities such as Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Waco, Austin, and Victoria.  During migration they often pause overnight to use wetlands for roosting and agricultural fields for feeding, but seldom remain more than one night.  They nearly always migrate in small groups of less than 6-8 birds, but they may be seen roosting and feeding with large flocks of the smaller sandhill crane.  They are the tallest birds in North America, standing nearly five feet tall.  They are solid white in color except for black wing-tips that are visible only in flight.  They fly with necks and legs outstretched.

Citizens can help by reporting sightings of whooping cranes and by preventing disturbance of cranes when they remain overnight at roosting and feeding locations.  Sightings can be reported or 512-389-TXWW (8999).  Observers are asked especially to note whether the cranes have colored leg bands on their legs.  Volunteers interested in attending training sessions to become “Whooper Watchers” in order to collect more detailed data may also contact the TPWD at or 512-389-TXWW (8999).

Additional information, including photos of whooping crane look-alike species, can be found at and at .

SL 2012-10-16

If you read the release to the end, we are asked to be Whooper Watchers and to snitch on the birds by calling Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in Austin 512-389-8999 or by emailing If six people call in from Lubbock to report a crane, is that tallied as six cranes or one crane spotted by six people? Or do they not actually make a tally from us, the mobile vulgus, but then why did they ask?

If you wish to know more about the Lubbock chapter of Texas Master Naturalists email or call Jackie Driskill at or 806-928-1172.


The three “Lost Littlefield Murals” are on display at the National Ranching Heritage Center 3121 4th Street through January 13 and a gallery talk by Dr. David B. Gracy II will occur on Friday November 16 at 7:00 p.m. Gracy likely knows more than a typical curator because he is a great-great nephew of Major George Washington Littlefield who purchased the southern division of the XIT Ranch in Lamb and Hockley Counties and ran cattle there on his Yellow House Ranch. The murals were painted by E. Martin Hennings in 1911 from scenes on the ranch so they are a recorded history of 19th century West Texas ranching as well as fine art.

To reserve a spot at the gallery talk contact Emily Arellano at 806-742-0498 ext 238 or email Free for Ranching Heritage Association members and $5 for others.

This exhibit was displayed at Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon Texas from September 17, 2011 through February 18, 2012. Here are images

E. Martin Hennings

George W. Littlefield

Oh by the way, the murals were never lost. A Utopia Texas ranching family bought them at the public sale in Austin in 1954 and kept them as part of their family art collection for many years until recently offering them for sale. They didn’t make a fuss or draw attention to themselves. They enjoyed their collection as mannerly non-bragadocio people might. The public press art world may not have known about them, and therefore styled them as lost, but not knowing who has or where something is located shouldn’t draw a label for the art. It should be called “art world ignorance”.

Utopia is 80 miles west and north of San Antonio on the Sabinal River [town served by Texas Highway 187] as it flows south to join the Frio River that later joins the Nueces River and flows through Corpus Christi into the Gulf of Mexico. I once stayed in the Texas Stagecoach Inn on the Sabinal River north of Utopia close to Vanderpool and waded in the Sabinal.


Arts History Update for very late October 2012

19 Oct

Arts History Update for very late October 2012 by David Cummins


For several years I have warned people who were about to enter the reverse mortgage market in order to gain a lump sum or additional revenue on which to live, and suggested other options as alternative strategies. It was no surprise to read this story:


Jessica Silver-Greenberg, A Risky Lifeline for Seniors is Costing Some Their Homes, New York Times, October 14, 2012 What is truly alarming to learn from this article is that some of the very entities that engaged in the sub-prime residential lending market debacle that surfaced in December 2007, migrated thereafter to become brokers in the reverse mortgage market so that once again they could engage in despicable immoral unethical business practices. With lack of regulation by government and the rigged laissez faire business system in place, known miscreants just bounced to a new scam.


While it is no surprise to learn of repeated perfidy, it is sad to watch gullible vulnerable people become chaff in the mill of the larcenous.




Jerry Seinfeld, rich and bored, is now touring a solo stand-up comedy show, returning to his roots, the New York City boroughs. He played the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan October 4 and Lehman Concert Hall in the Bronx October 11, and will play Colden Auditorium at Queens College [his alma mater] October 18, St. George’s Theatre on Staten Island November 1, and Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College November 8. His first appearance, last seen on stage in 1998, earned rave reviews. He was born in Brooklyn, as he would say, “sometime in the 20th century”.


To oldsters like me, Seinfeld reminded one of Jack Benny because he often would simply freeze into a quizzical stance and let the line sink in for the audience. Maybe it’s just that I needed a few extra seconds to catch on, as out of town dullards might.


Jason Zindman, On Stage, a Comic’s Still at Home, New York Times, October 14, 2012


How does one persuade such a New York icon that he would be well-appreciated in Lubbock? Or does he know that, and chooses not to hit the hustings as George Strait would, one last time on January 18?




Societal opportunities and explorations have been teaching us something. One phenomena is the open access use and return on your honor technique.


Some entities have placed open access computers at Community Centers and then watched how people use and benefit from them, and begin certain usages that expand opportunities; e.g. searching for a job.


Some have placed open access bicycles at key locations; e.g. on college campuses, to encourage low-cost fast easy transportation over difficult to walk spaces.


Some have brought recycling depositaries to neighborhoods at scheduled dates and times, to encourage folks to save their items and deliver them in their own neighborhoods.


This is the opposite of the Field of Dreams technique where one builds something and then expects people to come to it. The open access concept takes something to where people are and invites them to use it without cost, controls, or supervision. It trusts people to use innate skills, to explore their own self-interest, and lets people use the item in a way that reflects their own desires and needs. It has quickly proven to be a win-win situation.


Some hotels in San Francisco California have noticed the concept, and been aware how difficult public transportation including taxicabs, is for their guests, so the hotels have taken to providing small electric cars in their parking lot that hotel guests may use to zip over the city to wherever they’d like, without charge. Open access [to hotel guests] to borrow a car for local use.




The Gaines County Historical Museum in Seminole is the recipient of a beautiful sculpture Wind Spirit donated by sculptor Jammey Huggins depicting several Comanche on horseback and their remuda. Dedication is Saturday October 20, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. A re-enactment of historical events by Charles and Linda George will take place. This is a free event. Charles is author of The Comanche (Gale Group 2003) 48 pages for children $27.50 at Charles George is also author of Seminole (Arcadia Pub. 2012) at Lubbock Public Library 976.4 GEOR that reveals much of the history of the area and city.




Cambridge University Press announces that it has published nine short stories by Joseph Conrad in better than previous translations, and has much literary criticism within the two volumes to set the pieces within Conrad’s overall oeuvre. They are $125 each so only academic libraries and serious scholars will purchase. Conrad, Tales of Unrest (March 2012) and Within the Tides (May 2012) These stories were chronologically interspersed with the novels for which he is known including Heart of Darkness (1899) Dame Margaret Drabble writes a fine review in the London Times Literary Supplement, September 28, 2012 at page 3


The nine short stories are:


Karain: A Memory

The Idiots

An Outpost of Progress

The Return

The Lagoon


The Planter of Malata

The Partner

The Inn of the Two Witches

Because of the Dollars




In the Land of Whispers: a trilogy by George Robert Minkoff, published by McPherson, includes The Weight of Smoke (2006) The Dragons of the Storm (2007) and The Leaves of Fate (2011) all historical novels about the ill-fated Jamestown Virginia colony 1607 – 1630. The story is one of intertwined illusions: alchemy, tobacco as miracle drug, and the Elizabethan mind. Trilogy $68.86 new at or in good condition at ABE Books $28.20.


I did not like ye olde idiom, forced Jacobean language. It stultified what otherwise could have been an easy read.




———————– Just learned of this litany of resources for those faculty and staff engaged with Core Curriculum students who have read The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Wow. This would be very helpful to get into discussions on a deep level.




Dog walking and athletes running with their dog are two different activities. Throw in Halloween and putting an animal in costume, and the possibilities for bizarre behavior and fun in West Texas expand.


Three events compete for our attention:


  1. Haven Animal Care Shelter has an annual fund-raiser on Saturday October 20, 2012 at Higginbotham Park on 19th Street and Vicksburg Avenue. Owner or borrower of an animal can pay $25 and walk the owned or borrowed animal for 1.5 miles. Registrations before or at 9:00 a.m. Walk is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. The event is called Strut for the Mutts. Haven is located north of Lubbock at 4501 North Farm to Market Road # 1729 and its care is not limited to dogs. Haven is a private company. The City of Lubbock operates a newly constructed Animal Shelter Facility at 3323 South East Loop 289. You might wish to visit both locations.
  2. 7th Annual Dog Day Howl-o-ween Dog Walk and Costume Contest is a City Recreation Department event at Maxey Park Community Center free to the public. Register a dog for costume competition and prizes for $1. The scheduled Dog Walk is 10:00 a.m. Saturday October 27, 2012.
  3. First Annual Howl-o-ween Dog Run at Canyon Lake # 6 [Dunbar Lake] Jim Bertram Canyon Lakes System is for athletes who occasionally like to run with their animal in tow. Registration per runner is $27 and if the animal is costumed, the contest will occur around 8:30 a.m. The run begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday October 27, 2012 This event is sponsored by an athletic organization West Texas Endurance based at Cardinal’s Sports Merchandise Store on Slide Road and South Loop 289 in the former Albertson’s grocery store building.





Ken Ketner announced that Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist and professor of economics at Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, will appear in Lubbock and speak on The Crisis: Year Six at Texas Tech University’s College of Human Sciences auditorium Room 169 Thursday October 25, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.


His website is His latest book is End This Depression Now! (W.W. Norton & Co. April 30, 2012) $14.71 hardcover $9.48 Kindle at He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008.




Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair SOFA was held annually in the New York City Park Avenue Armory for the past fifteen years. It just folded. SOFA Chicago will continue.




Early voting in the statewide election Tuesday November 6, 2012 begins Monday October 22 and extends through Friday November 2. You may vote in person at one of the polling places. Here are the early voting locations in Lubbock County by day


The last day to apply for a ballot by mail (received, not postmarked) is Tuesday October 30, 2012. Here is the application form If you live in Lubbock County complete and mail it to Election Administrator Dorothy Kennedy, P.O. Box 10536 Lubbock TX 79408 or fax it to her at 806-775-1380. Any registered voter who is 65 years of age or older, is disabled, or will be out of the state on election day, may vote by mail. Of course you can hand carry the application to the County Elections Office at 1308 Crickets Avenue [former Avenue G one block south of Broadway].


If you’ve forgotten exactly who is on the ballot for which position, here’s a sample ballot for Precinct 60 Be careful to gain the ballot for your precinct. If you have questions about voting or eligibility phone Ms. Kennedy’s office at 806-775-1339 or email at

































Arts History Update for late October 2012

14 Oct

Arts History Update for late October 2012 by David Cummins


VAUMM designed the new Basque Country Culinary Center (2011) in San Sebastian, Spain. Here are photographs of what might first have been imagined as a layer cake A more complete exposition of the building as urban design is here from which we are not just interested but amazed at how a difficult building site could be turned into an immediate five story ground-hugging architectural icon. Here is the VAUMM website and what it has to say about the Basque Country Culinary Center What we learn is that the design (2009) was built opening in December 2011. For such an unusual and demanding project that rapidity seems clear evidence of outstanding talent by many people.


Where is San Sebastian? Ten miles west of the border with France, and 62 miles east of Bilbao, site of the Guggenheim Museum (1997) an architectural marvel by Frank Gehry.




Now we know so much more about Vietnam and the American Vietnam War 1964-1975. I was a soldier, to be more precise … having finished active duty and in the Army Reserve, set aside my enlisted member years and having received a direct commission as an officer, was practicing civilian law in a law firm and practicing military law as a Reservist, when the War broke out. Loyal and patriotic, I stayed in the Reserve to be available for activation and deployment if needed, never realizing at the time that it would last so long and I would be a few short breaths away from twenty years service and an ultimate pension. I lived through the presidential election year cycle in 1964 never realizing at the time that President Johnson’s moderate hawkish war-making i.e. “guns and butter” and Senator Goldwater’s immoderate hawkish “Bomb Hanoi” war-making were both foolish options.


We are all so much smarter now in hindsight, and know the options. We also know why they weren’t taken and can see the folly stretching back to the Eisenhower Administration’s promise for free and fair elections in Vietnam when agreeing with Ho Chi Minh for a French Indo-China decolonization retreat and departure without further loss of life in 1954, but then came the Eisenhower/Dulles refusal, some would say betrayal, to hold those elections by 1956 when it became clear that Ho Chi Minh would win and Bao Dai1 would lose, and the former was Communist and the latter was not, was the precursor for keeping chief of state Bao Dai’s south separate from Ho’s north and insuring that the struggle for union and nationhood would continue. Eisenhower placed military advisors in the south to assist and train on USA supplied military weapons. President Kennedy increased those military advisors / trainers in 1961 and 1962. A political opportunity arose with the USS Maddox Incident, August 2, 1964, and Gulf of Tonkin Incident, August 4, 1964. President Johnson in 1964 knew this history and knew that the south’s leadership did not have the support of the people that Ho’s north had, and that the south government was propped up by the USA, and should have realized that the nation in a democratic election was still in Ho’s hands and the culture of Vietnam was his and not that of the south’s governors. Goldwater and other hawks would have painted Johnson as “weak on Communism” but Johnson should have declined to continue military arms and equipment to the south government and let Vietnam be unified under Ho Chi Minh. The War option should not have been chosen. It was chosen.


In 1965 Charles de Gaulle, who had had a leading role in reclaiming control of French Indo-China after World War II, predicted that “unless the Johnson Administration moved to halt the war immediately, the struggle would go on for ten years and completely dishonor the United States”. President Johnson ignored the prediction and warning. Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara admitted in April 1991 “I was wrong! MyGod, I was wrong.”


Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam (University of California Press 1999) Texas Tech Library DS558.L6


Fredrik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House 2012, 839 pages) Tech DS553.1 L64


Sophie Quinn-Judge, Ho Chi Minh, The Missing Years 1919 – 1941 (University of California Press 2003) Tech DS560.72.H6 Q56


William J. Duiker, Ho Chi Minh: A Life (Hyperion 2000) Tech DS560.72.H6 D85


David G. Marr, Vietnam 1945: the Quest for Power (University of California Press 1995) Tech DS556.8.M36


Dixee Bartholomew-Feis, The OSS and Ho Chi Minh: Unexepected Allies in the War Against Japan (University Press of Kansas 2006) Tech D810.S7 B336


Today we know that Communism has many facets and all who travel under that name are not alike and none of them has ever instituted Karl Marx’s prescribed Communism. Intellectuals know that his system is as yet untried, and probably never will be. That’s not a bad thing, as likely it would be unsuccessful, especially under 21st century economic conditions which are so different from the mid-19th century conditions which impelled him to construct his thesis.


In current reading we can see a photograph of Nguyen Ai Quoc, before he took the name Ho Chi Minh, at the French Socialist Party Congress in Tours France on December 29, 1920. He is an earnest young man standing and addressing his fellow delegates asking them to support French decolonization / withdrawal and independence for Vietnam. Whatever encouragement the French delegates gave him at that Congress, they did not have enough political stroke in France to grant his wishes. It was at that Congress that the delegates including Ho left the Socialist International and formed the French Communist Party to which Ho belonged for many years and was an international Communist Party member for the rest of his life.


It will probably irritate some readers for me to say, that there are obvious parallels to contemporary Iraq and Afghanistan, and that if wiser heads than President George W. Bush had prevailed the USA would not have gone to war in either country in 2003 [Iraq] or 2002 [Afghanistan]. We should have let the CIA and Pentagon covertly and clandestinely search for Osama bin Laden and his group, and pick them off as fugitive criminals whenever an opportunity arose. We would have saved hundreds of trillions of dollars and our superpower moral and political authority, both gone now. A weaker USA is the outcome, although no current or former politician is willing to accept responsibility for the errors.









1 Emperor of Annam under French protection 1932 – 1945 Emperor of Vietnam 1945 Chief of State to 1955 when he was removed and abdicated and left for France where he lived until his death.

Arts History Update for mid October 2012

10 Oct

Arts History Update for mid October 2012 by David Cummins


Neil MacGregor, Shakespeare’s Restless World (British Museum Press, Sept. 22, 2012) hardcover 336 pages serves as the catalogue for the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World at the British Museum until November 25, 2012 25 pounds



This is a fascinating look at history through the eyes of the people who lived through it. Shakespeare lived in a pivotal time in human history when thrilling changes were taking place: the discovery of the New World revealed radically different cultures and old certainties were beginning to crumble. Here, Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, takes you on a journey through these times by examining key objects from this period.

This book puts you in the heart of the 1590s and 1600s, in a country fired up by stories of exploration and adventure. What was going through the minds of the groundlings at the Globe? What ideas and assumptions did Londoners bring with them when they went to see Shakespeare’s plays at the time- what were they thinking? What was it like living in a world so radically different from anything their parents had experienced?Shakespeare’s Restless World uncovers the fascinating stories behind 20 objects from Shakespeare’s life and times to recreate his world and the minds of his audiences.

The objects range from the rich (such as the hoard of gold coins that make up the Salcombe treasure) to the very humble, like the battered trunk and worn garments of an unknown pedlar. Each of them allows MacGregor to explore one of the defining themes of the Shakespearean age – globalisation, reformation, piracy, Islam, magic and many others. MacGregor weaves Shakespeare’s words themselves into the histories of his objects to suggest where his ideas about religion, national identity, the history of England and the world, human nature itself, may have come from. The result is an excitingly fresh and unexpected portrait of Shakespeare’s dangerous and dynamic world. 

This book is based on the acclaimed BBC radio series of the same name.





The Annual Art Faculty Exhibition is ongoing at Texas Tech University School of Art Landmark Arts Gallery through October 28 at 2802 18th Street on campus. The exhibit is outstanding and impresses us with the talent on the art faculty. Park on the fourth floor of Flint Avenue Parking Facility, pay at a pay station and place the receipt on your vehicle’s inside dash, take the elevator down to the first floor, and walk across 18th Street. Gallery hours are Mon – Fri 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday noon – 4:00 p.m.




The metalwork on the front doors of the Kent R. Hance Chapel at Texas Tech University was supplied by sculptor Joe Barrington and is called Seis cuatrifolios (2012). Seis means six and cuatrifolio [quatrifolio] means a leaf-like ornament with four lobes. Thus seis cuatrifolios means six such ornaments. They are arranged three to a door, top middle and bottom, and are composed of forged steel, reclaimed steel, cast brass, and powder-coated door panels. Barrington’s Red Star Studio is located in Throckmorton with an extension in Albany Texas. Here are four photos of the doors from Facebook placed there by the Texas Tech University System Public Art Program. The Chapel is open to the public for daily meditation Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.





Joe Geshick 1941 – 2009 was an Ojibwe Native American enrolled at Bois Forte seat of tribal government on the reservation. His paintings depict the spirituality of a man and culture connected to the earth and its inhabitants of every species. Private collectors were asked to loan their Joe Geshick pieces and 24 paintings were loaned for the exhibition Joe Geshick: Journeys May 31 – June 30, 2012 at Edge Center for the Arts Gallery in Bigfork Minnesota. Here is a You Tube video 6 minutes about that exhibit which includes a few moments from a 2006 interview with Joe. A key part of the exhibit was matching up several sketches from his sketch book with the final painting now owned by a collector.


He was born near Faribault Minnesota and and grew up on the Nett Lake Reservation north of Duluth and began painting in 1960 but his career took off when he went to New York City in 1979 at age 38 and entered the Art Students League. He painted in Nevada and South Dakota for several years and then relocated to the Lac La Croix Reservation in Ontario Canada to live again near relatives. He last settled on the outskirts of Ely Minnesota 30 miles from the Canadian border with his wife Leeann McComb Geshick, a weaver. If you’ve read a Louise Erdrich novel you may have seen a book cover illustration by Geshick as he did five covers for her books including Antelope Wife. Erdrich is also an Ojibwe. Some of his best-liked paintings are Deer Spirit Helper, Sacred Circle, Bear Clan, Feeding the Spirit, Stone People and Circle of Life. In my living room hangs an original lithograph Circle of Life (1991).


For those of us who live in the Southwest, we gain a similar feeling and aesthetic as when we view paintings by R. C. Gorman 1931- 2005 The Bill and Sue Hensler art collection at the Center for Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango Colorado has three pieces by Gorman and one by Geshick.


Dottie Indyke, Native Arts: Joe Geshick, Southwest Art Magazine, September 2007.


Native Report, Season 7 Episode 14, dealt with Geshick’s passing and the plans for the 2012 exhibit in which Leeann McComb Geshick speaks about the motivation for her late husband’s work.





Julian Barnes wrote a novel The Sense of an Ending published by Jonathan Cape in 2011. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize, United Kingdom’s highest honor. Its characters are underimagined and its plot unrefined. Its narrator, at late middle age, looks back on his life and that of his mates, with loss and regret and an aged awareness of non-accomplishment. It is the inner life of the narrator that is the topic of the book, and all that such a life can speak to the reader about the Englishness of an Englishman or every Englishman or universal Englishmen.


The novel isn’t really a novel at all, although that is its format. The reader should quickly understand that, and acknowledge that a skilled craftsman like Barnes is telling us about the characteristics that rob the ordinary man of his life long before his death. It is a story of a life gradually being underlived. For Tony Webster, narrator, death will be a release from the quotidian and mundane. Barnes for England is doing what Cervantes did for Spain when the caballero was the planetary role model for manliness, and Cervantes wrote about a squirrely unhinged man from La Mancha and his aimless obstinate but loyal sidekick Pancho.


Neither novel unfolds like a contemporary mystery thriller with a gripping plot and suspenseful anticipation by the reader about what will happen next. The Sense of an Ending is a craftsman’s portrayal of ennui. If the book cover had alerted us that we would be treated to a literary description of tedium and lassitude, we would not have purchased the book.


Barnes succeeds because he doesn’t provide a clinical description, but rather lets Tony demonstrate or show us ennui by how he suffers the slings and arrows, too many unwittingly from his own quiver, and recasts his life story in a way his mates do not or would not recognize.


Barnes is dragging around some serious garlands. Also in 2011 he received the David Cohen Prize for Literature for a lifetime of literary performance. He won another European Prize and in France he was awarded the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004.


The Sense of an Ending is much more positively and literarily reviewed below. I do my best with Julian Barnes but must admit that I’ve never finished one of his books. For his style of book I prefer the author Ian McEwan.


Coim Toibin, Going Beyond the Limits, New York Review of Books, May 10, 2012


Michael Wood, Stupidly English, London Review of Books, September 22, 2011


Liesl Schillinger, Julian Barnes and the Emotions of Englishmen, The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2011 $13.39 hardcover $ 10.17 paperback $11.99 Kindle, but used in good condition at ABE $8.64 including s&h, Texas Tech Library stacks PR6052.A6657 S46 if you wish to borrow or peruse it.




Friends of Lubbock Public Library makes many thousands of dollars each year that are then spent to improve and maintain the excellence of the Library. It does so at annual and occasional public book sales from the basement of the Mahon Library 1306 9th Street. The next sale is Friday October 26 through Monday October 29, 2012 Fri-Sat at 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sun at 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and Mon at 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Friends also sells books online at ABE Books For instance: go to ABE and click on Booksellers and then type in Lubbock and click search and you get the Friends of Lubbock Public Library bookseller. Using the categories or if you know a title or author do that and find a listing of a book or books you may wish to purchase from FOL through ABE. As a member of FOL you are entitled to a 25% discount and of course pay no s&h, if you buy locally and go down to Mahon Library and pick up the book.


An example is a born in Texas writer Deborah E. Crombie who wrote A Share in Death: A Mystery Introducing Superintendant Dunkan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James (Scribner 1993) ABE Books sells in hardcover in very good condition from FOL for $15.00 plus $4.00 shipping & handling. Since you are a member of FOL you could note the bookseller’s inventory # 015574 at ABE and then refuse to purchase there, but contact FOL or phone 806-775-2852 and identify yourself as a member and agree to purchase the item, you can get it for $15.00 less 25% $3.75 for $11.25 and no s&h if you go to the Mahon Library basement to pick it up. That’s how you would cruise online to find the FOL catelogue of books for sale and then purchase locally to gain your membership discount and avoid paying shipping and handling costs.


In this particular case you might want to save a good deal more money by noticing that ABE Books through all booksellers has this particular book in paperback reprint of 1994 in good condition for $3.95 including s&h and no sales tax, so you might just want to purchase it at ABE Books and receive it in the mail ten days or so later.


If you don’t need to own the book, go to Lubbock Public Library website and notice that it has two copies for borrowing.




If you’re planning to attend Timothy Egan’s presentation on his book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin 2006) at the Texas Tech Student Union Building Allen Theatre Friday October 12 at 7:00 p.m., you may wish to view the film The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) and participate with Jack Becker in a discussion at 3:00 p.m. Thursday October 11 at the Texas Tech Library Room 309 a free event. Timothy Egan hosts a Q&A session Friday at 2:00 p.m. in the SUB Escondido Theatre in the basement floor. He hails from the Pacific Northwest now living in Seattle and previously in Spokane Washington, and has written three books about the area The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest (Vintage 1990) Breaking Blue (Knopf 1992) and The Winemaker’s Daughter (Knopf 2004). Egan’s book influenced a television documentary Surviving The Dust Bowl (WGBH-TV Boston 2007) video F595.S92 at Digital Media Studio in Texas Tech Library.


The Worst Hard Time was selected as the Tech President’s 2012 Freshmen/women Summer Reading selection for Core Curriculum students at Texas Tech so it is being discussed in many classes on campus this and next semester. The Q&A session may be well attended and intensely interactive. 

Arts History Update for early October 2012

1 Oct

Arts History Update for early October 2012 by David Cummins


In the 1960s when a student at New York University on Washington Square in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan, I regularly attended Army Reserve drills at NYU’s University Heights campus in the Bronx. Years later NYU sold that 43 acre campus to CUNY City University of New York which opened Bronx Community College on the site. This year, 2012, a newly constructed North Hall and Library was opened at Bronx Community College and it is a stunner. click on the gallery of 16 images to see both this new library and the old replaced Gould Library operated by NYU.


The architect was Robert A.M. Stern and the construction cost was $80 million. Daniel Hauben painted 22 friezes for the library. his website is at Formal dedication of the paintings will take place on November 4.


Many thanks to an Arts History Update reader who issued an alert on the new library building.




Recommended by Oliver McRae, speaker at the current Texas Tech Museum Arts History Lecture Series, is the book Kevin McCloud, Grand Tour of Europe (Phoenix 2012) in paperback at $11.66 or used in good condition at $4.98 incl s&h. This is the companion volume to McCloud’s BBC Two channel 4 [in England] 2009 television series.





CASP is Charles Adams Studio Project adjacent to LHUCA Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts. Charles closed his art gallery / frame shop at Kingsgate North near the intersection of 82nd Street and Quaker Avenue in 2010 and reopened at the southwest corner of 6th Street and Avenue J address 602 Avenue J. CASP is a non-profit organization that purchased the land south of the Christine DeVitt Icehouse on Avenue J and constructed four two story loft artist studios and residences. CASP then purchased an old garage that had been used by the Lubbock Police Department for storing and maintaining police vehicles at 5th Street and Avenue J. It is called CASP Garages and is currently used as an art gallery by Texas Tech University School of Art, named for this purpose as Satellite Gallery. At the First Friday Art Trail on October 5, 2012 Christie Blizard and William Witte pieces, some of which are collaborative, will be displayed in the Satellite Gallery.



Robert Wilson, now age 71 on October 4, is a Waco Texas boy who became an icon for avant garde theatricals. this website of Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation & Robert Wilson, grew out of his 1968 creation of Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds in honor and recognition of a speech therapist who aided him as a stuttering teenager.


His masterpiece Einstein on the Beach (1976) is a five hour long opera with musical score by Philip Glass and choreography by Lucinda Childs. It is now touring in another fifteen month revival, last seen in New York City in 1992. Wilson is the focus in the September 17 issue of a New Yorker Magazine article Slow Man: Robert Wilson and his first masterpiece by Hilton Als at page 78 A listing of all his works is at This is a man who watches television with the sound turned off, so that he can watch closely and see the action between the scripted actions, and discern its meaning.


Louis Aragon praised Wilson, saying: “What we from whom Surrealism was born, dreamed would come after us and go beyond us”.


Absolute Wilson DVD documentary (2006) 105 minutes is available for $23.99 at The companion book is Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Absolute Wilson: The Biography (Prestel 2006) at Texas Tech Library OVERSZ PN2287.W494 O88