Arts History Update for mid May 2014

27 Apr

Arts History Update for mid May 2014 by David Cummins

Should Scotland be an Independent Country? That is the language of the Referendum plebiscite that will take place in Scotland on Thursday September 18, 2014. It is an historic question and an opportunity presented as a cross-roads to a people who are not of one mind and many may be unprepared to address it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014

By gradual steps the United Kingdom through its Parliament has allowed devolution of partial political power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so that each area has its own Parliament but there is no parliament for England, only the United Kingdom Parliament in which members from Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland sit as well as members from England.

The problem is that England dominates the union so heavily with 83.9% of the population, Scotland with only 8.4% Wales 4.8% and Northern Ireland 2.9%. The electorate in Scotland is 4.1 million people 16 years of age and older [in England voting age is 18 and older]. It is expected that about 3 million people will vote in the Referendum.

The Scottish National Party political party is a small fraction of the electorate and is barely powerful enough with its current majority control in the Scottish Parliament to gain this referendum opportunity, but not to determine its outcome. The Party’s rantings and media blitz are not indicative of or representative of the mood of Scots, the Scottish people.

Some astute people claim that rather than breaking away and being independent, Scotland should be one of four political units in a federation or federal setup like the United States [reserved powers in the states]and Canada [reserved powers in the dominion rather than the provinces], but if one creates an English parliament and then a federal parliament on top of that, the latter’s constituents Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are too weak if England has 83.9% control. What would the English give up by way of control over the federal system, and why should they, and what would they gain? More to the point on a practical level, the English economy is staggered and anything but robust. There is no cash to remedy intractable unemployment and infrastructure problems much less to nurture a new political configuration. The reality is that Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are outposts of Britishness in a Great Britain that is essentially English.

If the Scots understood that and what it means for them in their future, they would rationally take on the status of an independent country member of the British Commonwealth and take control of and responsibility for their own future. On the other hand, if the Scots are willing to be a British outpost of what is essentially an English nation and accept national control of a Scotland area by English interests, then they can vote no in the referendum.

What are some realities of independence? The North Sea oil industry would remain English and not be a money supply for Scotland beyond the location of management and hiring halls in Aberdeen Scotland and the nearby area, as a stable economic activity. The European Union would welcome an independent Scotland as a member of the EU and Scotland would use the Euro rather than the Pound Sterling as its new currency. Foreign investment in Scotland would occur at a healthy level and even at a robust level if Scotland encouraged rather than discouraged it. If it encouraged it, Scotland would grow up as a small European nation rather quickly and its present Britishness would be moderated. Comparisons to Holland and Denmark would be apt. Observant Scots would look at the northern provinces of England and see ignored waifs of a London constabulary, and be relieved that such a lot had not fallen on the Scots.

The future of Scotland is rather strong if Scots seize independence obtained by peaceful negotiation with friends rather than revolution and bloodshed. Will Scots be mature and confident enough on September 18 to seize that independence?

Surely it’s not a contradiction, that I think Wales and Northern Ireland should remain areas within an essentially English nation. If the Brits in Northern Ireland ever voluntarily wish to be incorporated into Ireland, that should be allowed to happen. The Welsh are one of several English oddities that contribute flavor and cultural heritage to the English nation. I very much enjoyed visiting Wales. It is not southwest Scotland.

—————————

Christopher B “Stubb” Stubblefield, Senior 1934-1995 is memorialized at the site of his restaurant 108 East Broadway Street in Lubbock about 50 yards east of Avenue A on the south side of Broadway Street facing north toward the South Plains Fairgrounds. The building is gone but the concrete pad on which it sat exists and there are markers on the pad showing the locations of the counter, kitchen, pit for pit barbeque, restrooms, and more. Terry Allen sculpted a larger than life size bronze Stubb (1999) that depicts him holding a platter of barbeque wearing his trademark overalls and smile. The statuary is the focal point of the site. Eleven trees frame the site and there are red flooring bricks around the pad, many inscribed for contributors to this memorial. For those of us who remember this chapter in the history of Lubbock, and were present to eat that barbeque and listen to the music, and be hosted by a truly unique individual “there will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place”, the memorial is just right for Stubb and for all who remember him and honor his legacy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_B._%22Stubb%22_Stubblefield

Musicians who played at Stubb’s BBQ include Jesse Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Ely, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Tom T Hall, B B King, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Linda Ronstadt, Clarence Brown, Fabulous Thunderbirds and George Thorogood. http://995blakefm.com/stubbs-bbq-monument-stands-tall-in-lubbock/

Here is a picture of the restaurant during its day 1968-1982, so small it could but shouldn’t have accommodated 75 people. As I recall it, 45 people would fill the place http://www.stubbsbbq.com/our-story/ He was known as C B Stubblefield but more often just Stubb. His parents had nine sons, so early on he had brothers and he added thousands more by his hospitality and good will. http://www.virtualubbock.com/stoCSStubbMemories.html

Some visual art grew out of activities at Stubb’s BBQ. Paul Milosevich and James Eppler painted an occurrence The Great East Broadway Onion Championship of 1978 won by Tom T Hall over Joe Ely. Hall is depicted holding up a beer pitcher as a sign of victory and Joe is leaning on his refashioned cue stick that is actually a broom. Joe’s girlfriend Sharon was tired and wanted to go home so she picked up the white cue ball and put it in her pocket and walked out. Joe seized one of Stubb’s onions and used it for a cue ball and continued the game of pool. http://www.virtualubbock.com/Images/OnionChampionship.jpg

——————-

Saturday May 3, 2014 there will be a Cinco de Mayo Parade with the theme We Are Lubbock commencing at 10:00 am east on Broadway Street ending at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) celebrates La Battala de Puebla del Cinco de Mayo 1862, an armed battle amazingly won by the lightly armed and under-manned Mexican forces led by Ignacio Zaragoza against a French Army unit marching through Puebla on its way to Mexico City. Despite the loss at Puebla the French Army regrouped and completed its successful march to Mexico City in 1863 and displaced the Mexican government that had refused to pay its debts to France. Debts to Spain and England were also not paid. Benito Juarez was president of Mexico for six terms 1858-1872 presiding except when exiled while Maximilian I ruled as French Emperor of Mexico. Maximilian was crowned Emperor at Mexico City on April 20, 1864 while Juarez was exiled in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua across the river from El Paso del Norte United States. Juarez would spend the remainder of his exile in Chihuahua City the capital of that northern state in Mexico. Maximilian was Maximilian Ferdinand von Habsburg, the younger brother of the Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph I, and gladly accepted Napoleon III’s challenge to lead Mexico, arriving in Mexico in early 1864.

In 1866 the American Civil War was over and President Andrew Johnson aided Mexico by establishing an American blockade of Veracruz and other ports to isolate the French supplied empire. France withdrew its army. Maximilian was captured and executed in 1867 and President Juarez returned to his office in Mexico City. The long rocky rule by Juarez was known as La Reforma and represented a triumph of Mexico’s liberal, federalist, anti-clerical, pro-capitalist forces over the conservative, centralist, corporatist and theocratic forces that sought a new version of the old colonial system oppressing and exploiting the masses of Mexican people in favor of an elite [now home-grown rather than Spanish]. La Reforma was not to last. Under Porfirio Diaz, a long rule 1876-1911 ended with the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920, and Diaz brought a return to centralized autocracy and economic exploitation. Diaz fled to France in 1911 and died there four years later. It would take years of post-revolution multi-sided civil war for the Mexican government to stabilize under a Constitution of 1917 and start anew in 1920, a full century after its independence from Spain in 1821. 1910-1920 commanders, leaders, heroes and villains included Pascual Orozco, Francisco Madero, Victoriano Huerta, Bernardo Reyes, Felix Diaz, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, and Alvaro Obregon. The tumult in The Great War and Russian Revolution in Europe during this period was mirrored in Mexico.

The way forward has not been smooth, has not been without corruption, and has not been universally or even generally beneficial for the mass of Mexican people despite oil discoveries and exploitation in the Gulf of Mexico and thriving petrol-chemical industries. The PRI Institutional Revolutionary Party [Partido Revolucionario Institucional] political party was formed in 1929 and held political power as if it were a state party through a succession of presidents until Vicente Fox and the PAN National Action Party came to power in 2000 and again under Felipe Calderon in 2006. However, those administrations were uneven and PRI took back the presidency in 2012 under Pena Nieto. Back in 1989 the left wing of the PRI split off and formed PRD Party of the Democratic Revolution and it has increased its power, so there are three active nationwide political parties in Mexico.

In some ways Mexico is a failed state in that while wealthy and resource-laden it does not and seemingly cannot provide its citizens with uniformly assured levels of government services and infrastructure capabilities, so its citizens are unable to seize opportunities to better their lives. It is excellent in preserving and promoting its national sovereignty, no more so than in the late 1930s when President Lazaro Cardenas became hugely popular for expropriating the oil interests of American and European petroleum companies.

In 1990 the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa [Nobel Prize for Literature 2010] famously called the Mexican government under the PRI “la dictadura perfecta”, the perfect dictatorship.

———————-

Newsom Grape Day will be held at Newsom’s Barn on FM Road 2196 one mile east of Plains Texas http://www.newsomvineyards.com/ where there are now 92 acres of vineyard grapes grown for wine. It’s an educational event for growers and wine makers and the just downright curious, this year focusing on the Tempranillo grape http://www.wineaccess.com/wine/grape/tempranillo Telephone 806-456-7885 to the vineyards for more information. The event is Friday May 9, 2014 beginning with registration at 8:00 am. Newsom Vineyards is a major player in Texas wine grape growing. Plains is west of Brownfield Texas about 75 miles from Lubbock and only 15 miles east of the New Mexico border.

Saturday May 10 is the Wine and Music Festival sponsored by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association http://www.txwines.org/ at the Mallet Event Center & Arena in Levelland Texas at 2320 U.S. Highway 385 south of town http://malleteventcenter.com/ Daytime shopping and enjoyment of displays and eating barbeque is a free admission 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. The evening Music Fest 6:45 – 11:30 pm is $25 per person with Ray Wylie Hubbard taking the stage at 9:30 pm

A quick drive to a quality vineyard is toward Lost Draw Vineyards run by Andy Timmons at 1701 County Road 525 near Brownfield Texas. He’s grown Viognier, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Muscat Canelli, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino and Malbec grapes. From Brownfield head east on US Highway 380 past the Terry County Airport and turn right or south for a mile.

Texas Custom Wine Works is a new wine-making facility [begins by crushing grapes and proceeds from there, because there is a market for crushed grapes mash that is usable by wineries for making blended wines] for growers who want to make mash or wine rather than sell their grapes to a single or stand alone winery. http://texascustomwineworks.com Located at 1823 County Road 460 south of Brownfield west of Lamesa Highway 137 and east of US Highway 62.

———————–

Since we talked about the history of Mexico perhaps we should explore the history of Texas, in snippets of course because we are so interested in so many details that we can only participate by portions. If we start with Northern New Spain whose east boundary was the Gulf of Mexico and the Sabine River with Louisiana Territory on the east, and we notice a colonial Spanish empire that is weak because Spain is weak because Napoleon was stronger, and Napoleon abruptly forfeited his French claims to North America by selling off the Louisiana Purchase 1803 properties [$15 million or 3 cents per acre including parts of 15 states doubling the size of the United States] that extended north and west from New Orleans Louisiana into the heartland of the American west from the Mississippi River up to the Rocky Mountains crest, and the Spanish ceded some land in what is now Louisiana east of the lower Sabine River in 1819 and sold Florida to the United States in exchange in part for an official United States renunciation of any claims to Tejas, that land west of the Sabine River. President Madison formally made it illegal to enter Tejas without approval of northern New Spain officials.

There had been filibusters http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/filibusters.htm or unauthorized and unapproved people who came into Tejas and claimed land by putting a plough to it, raising a shack and defending the tract with a rifle and knife. They were basically rogues because they had no status or authority from the United States or from New Spain or, later, Mexico. They were dealt with harshly by northern New Spain officials especially including General Arredondo. The last of the filibusters or rogues was Dr. James Long. When he heard, in Natchez Mississippi, of the Treaty with Spain that renounced United States claims to Tejas he formed a band of eighty men and marched west to Nacogdoches in June 1819. Arriving there he declared Tejas a free and independent republic, his band elected him its president, and he began to grant lands. He sent men to posts on the Trinity and Brazos Rivers while he went to Galveston Island to confer and try to join forces with Jean Lafitte. Lafitte refused unless Long could raise a large army. Long returned to Nacogdoches and found Spanish forces had retaken the place, killed his brother, captured some settlers, and others had fled back to Louisiana Territory. He joined them but went on to organize his last expedition in 1820 the so-called “Patriot Army” and sailed the Tejas coast to Point Bolivar, went inland to La Bahia and took control there momentarily before Spanish forces forced his surrender and deportation south to Mexico City where he was shot to death. See a book that explains the conditions in the United States during this period. John R. Van Atta, Securing the West: Politics, Public Lands, and the Fate of the Old Republic, 1785-1850 (Johns Hopkins University Press 2014) 311 pages.

Recall that this period was fraught with unrest, uncertainty and shifting alliances. Grito de Dolores [the shout of Dolores near Guanajuato Mexico] commenced the Mexican War of Independence from Spain on September 16, 1810 and ultimately ended the three century Spanish colonial empire and began the Republic of Mexico on September 28, 1821.

This set the stage for emressarios to populate Tejas. Moses Austin traveled to San Antonio de Bexar in 1820 and by January 17, 1821 he had a grant to bring 300 families into Tejas. He returned to Missouri but his health was broken and he died. His son Stephen F. Austin took over the grant to bring colonists from the United States into Tejas or Texas. These colonists would become citizens of New Spain or later Mexico as a condition of receiving their portions of the land grant. Austin rode to Nacogdoches and met with Spanish commissioners Juan de Veramendi and Erasmo Seguin who accepted him as heir to his father’s grant and Governor Martinez did also, so papers from Monterrey’s Provincial Council were issued establishing the grant which stated:

“Therefore, to the first and principal requisite of being Catholics, or agreeing to become so, before entering Spanish territory they also add that of accrediting their good character and habits … and taking the necessary oath to be obedient in all things to the government, to take up arms in its defense against all kinds of enemies, and to be faithful to the King, and to observe the political institution of the Spanish monarchy, the most flattering hopes may be formed that [Tejas] will receive an important augmentation in agriculture, industry, and arts by the new immigrants, who will introduce them.”

Governor Martinez added these words: “I shall also expect from the prudence which your actions demonstrate, and for your own peace and prosperity, that all the families you introduce shall be honest and industrious, in order that idleness and vice may not pervert the good and meritorious who are worthy of Spanish esteem and the protection of this government, which will be extended to them in proportion to the moral virtue displayed by them”.

This language, when read and pondered on closely, clearly established the mutuality of assent and contract entered in by both sides. Austin must clearly have known what he must gain from his colonists by pledge and commitment even if many would not be able to read and understand these words. Austin did have a private oral agreement with Governor Martinez and the Spanish commissioners that the requirement of the Roman Catholic religion would not be enforced. The people need only state that they are Catholic and appear to be Catholic. Further, Austin agreed that the American colonists would be substantial law-abiding people.

By 1823 he had traveled in Louisiana and elsewhere advertising the grant and encouraging emigration by a group of settlers that ultimately became known as the “Old 300”. Most came through Natchitoches Louisiana on the Texas Road to Nacogdoches Tejas its sister town with a slightly different spelling. He himself set up in San Felipe de Austin on the east bank of the Brazos River. He completed his contract and was able thereby to secure four more contracts authorizing the settlement of 1,700 additional families. Stephen F. Austin is known as the “Father of Texas.” Taking on his own father’s idea for a colony venture in Spanish Texas, Austin devoted himself to the project stating [I devote] “my life to the great object of redeeming it [Tejas properties under the land grant] from the wilderness….by peaceful, silent, noiseless perseverance and industry, and that the ax, the plow and the hoe would do more than the rifle or the sword”. He did however deal forcefully with the Karankawa Indians.

San Felipe de Austin was laid out in a town plat in 1823 and Austin’s home from which he conducted business was a six lot tract adjoining present day Commerce Plaza that is now San Felipe State Historic Site [donated to the state in 1940 and currently managed by the Texas Historical Commission] owned by the State of Texas and open to the public. His only other home in Texas was on the outskirts of San Felipe, today a small town in Austin County west of the City of Houston off Interstate Highway 10 but then it was intentionally chosen by Austin because of its river access and its being on the wagon road [Atascosito Road] from San Antonio de Bexar to New Orleans. His second home was burned during the 1836 Texas Revolution. The first home was referred to in history as The Log Cabin and was painted into history by Henry Arthur McArdle, The Settlement of Austin’s Colony, or the Log Cabin (1875) which painting the state refused to purchase from McArdle but he generously loaned it and it hung in the State Capitol for years until it was purchased by James DeShields, art collector, in 1901 and purchased from him by the state in 1928. It still hangs in the State Capitol Building. McArdle 1836-1908 from San Antonio tells us much of Texas history in the painting https://www.tsl.texas.gov/mcardle/paintings/austin.html Stephen Austin appears centrally with a raised rifle in his right hand. The six other people reflect what has just happened. In the open doorway is a scout who is reporting a Karankawa Indian raid and pointing his left hand in the direction of the ongoing raid. This is an interruption in the activity in which Baron de Bastrop [Felipe Enrique Neri who enjoyed in Tejas his assumed baronage] in the lower left has a parchment letter in his hand, and Horatio Chriesman, the surveyor, is at the lower right and has been marking on the puncheon floor http://www.hcgs.net/logcabin.html outlining a piece of land for which Austin is about to issue a title. Ran Foster, the hunter, has a pipe in his hand and is leaning forward to hear the news, while behind him standing is Samuel M. Williams, colony secretary. Simon, an African-American who is the cook, left his fire and is looking in from outside the cabin through the window to hear the alarming report of an Indian raid. Austin had been seated at the table but immediately rises at the report of a raid and raises his rifle to call on the community to rise and resist the Karankawa raiders. The event is dated as 1824. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/mcardle/alamo/alamo53.html

San Felipe de Austin quickly became the second largest town in Tejas, second to San Antonio de Bexar. It was the colonial Anglo capital and ultimately became the place from which Texians [Anglo settlers] and Tejanos [Hispanic settlers] would lodge complaints against the Mexican government 1832-1835 [conventions of 1832 and 1833 and consultation of 1835] and then became the provisional seat of a potential independent government during the Texas Revolution 1835-1836.

To maintain context, Stephen F. Austin was not the only land contractor or empressario in Tejas but Austin was the principal one and he meticulously and honorably tried to fulfill his contracts with the Mexican government and traveled to Mexico City at some peril and discomfort in order to meet face to face with Mexican authorities. He came to be regarded as the principal communicator and representative of Texian and Tejano interests in Tejas relative to Mexico, the sovereign nation, and its authorities in the northern state of Coahuila y Tejas that was established by the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and had its state capital in Saltillo. That state’s constitution of 1827 was never acceptable to Texians and Tejanos so the 1833 convention in San Felipe de Austin sought a splitting off of Tejas from Coahuila and it was the proposed constitution for the new state of Tejas that Austin carried with him to Mexico City, hoping to persuade the central government to approve it. He was jailed for some months. http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/7_2_1.html

Here is what he presented in his own words “In 1833 the people of Tejas, after a full examination of their population and resources, and of the law and constitution, decided, in general convention elected for that purpose, that the period had arrived contemplated by said law and compact of 7th May, 1824 [Mexican Constitution of 1824], and that the country [Tejas] possessed the necessary elements to form a state separate from Coahuila. A respectful and humble petition was accordingly drawn up by this convention, addressed to the general congress of Mexico [in Mexico City], praying for the admission of Tejas into the Mexican confederation as a state. I had the honor of being appointed by the convention the commissioner or agent of Tejas to take this petition to the city of Mexico, and present it to the government. I discharged this duty to the best of my feeble abilities, and, as I believed, in a respectful manner. Many months passed and nothing was done with the petition, except to refer it to a committee of congress, where it slept and was likely to sleep. I finally urged the just and constitutional claims of Tejas to become a state in the most pressing manner, as I believed it to be my duty to do; representing also the necessity and good policy of this measure, owing to the almost total want of local government of any kind, the absolute want of a judiciary, the evident impossibility of being governed any longer by Coahuila, (for three fourths of the legislature were from there,) and the consequent anarchy and discontent that existed in Tejas. It was my misfortune to offend the high authorities of the nation, my frank and honest exposition of the truth was construed into threats”

Austin established a horse-rider carried mail and message service to and between his colonists and established a newspaper/gazette in San Felipe that was widely distributed. Between the gazette, the mail, and neighbors visiting each other, the colonists were in routine and regular communication with each other and knew what was happening in this frontier land. They came to each others aid and behaved like a widespread community of settlers. This provided a model for other colonies and for settlements by unauthorized settlers.

Austin had many interactions with Mexican authorities and was an astute observer of human psychology and behavior, saying this about them: “They are a strange people and must be studied to be managed. The have high ideas of national dignity, should it be openly attacked, but will sacrifice national dignity, and national interest too, if it can be done in a “still” way, or so as not to arrest public attention. “Dios castiga el escandelo mas que el crimen” [God punishes the exposure more than the crime] is their motto. The maxim influences their morals and their politics. I learned it when I was there in 1822 and I now believe that if I had not always kept it in view, and known the power that “appearances” have on them, even when they know they are deceived, I should never have succeeded to the extent I have done in Americanizing Texas.”

————————

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is now open at 120 West Loop 289 at North Slide Road http://www.drafthouse.com/Lubbock After 6:00 pm prices are $9 regular movie $12 3D movie with seniors and children $7 and $10. Before 6:00 pm all prices are $7 and $10. Wraps, snacks, munchy foods and craft beers are on offer from a menu so arrive early for an un-rushed selection.

———————-

Road Scholar, the former Elderhostel travel program, partners with The Barnes Foundation http://www.barnesfoundation.org/visit/philadelphia/ at its new Philadelphia art museum campus, to bring on several five day programs for Road Scholar groups to have an intensive immersion into the unique and important collection of the Barnes. The cost is $1,249 per person and probably worth every penny http://www.roadscholar.org/n/program/dailySchedule.aspx?dID=1-769BBH

This collection was first made available to the public in 1922 by Alfred Barnes in his unique manner in a suburb of Philadelphia, and is now housed in the city in a fantastic new building after a bitter controversy and litigation that is postlude to a previous period of time and a prelude to the contemporary period at the Barnes. Ignore the controversy, live in the moment, and enjoy the new Barnes. If a five day immersion experience is a possibility, it couldn’t occur at a more unique and thrilling location. It likely would be a life altering experience for the aesthetic part of your soul.

As a paradigm or model for other art museums, many of them would do well to offer immersion programs of one type or another, with small unadvertised groups, testing how to put on and make those experiences meaningful and enjoyable, and when they’ve got it mastered, go public and create a revenue stream.

———————–

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: