Arts History Update for mid June 2014

5 Jun

Arts History Update for mid June 2014 by David Cummins

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri (1928), the author of six autobiographical volumes, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970). As a teenager, she and her mom and brother moved to San Francisco. There she became a streetcar conductor, the first black person and the first woman to be one there. She was only 16. A few months after graduating from high school, she gave birth to a son. Later, she married a Greek sailor named Tosh Angelos and began using a variation of his surname — Angelou — for her stage name at the Purple Onion cabaret in San Francisco, where she was a calypso dancer. She toured Europe as a dancer in a government-sponsored production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and when she returned to the U.S., she settled in New York City, where she performed off-Broadway, sang at the Apollo Theater, and started going to meetings of the Harlem Writer’s Guild. She met James Baldwin and Jules Feiffer, who thought that she should write about her life in the manner that she spoke, in the “same rhythmical cadences with which she mesmerized” her friends and others with whom she interacted. She did, in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She passed away May 28, 2014 in Winston-Salem North Carolina at age 86.


National Trails Day is the first Saturday in June each year. Take a hike. If you stay in town you could hike more than 3 miles of trails at Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark Or you could get into the Jim Bertram Canyon Lakes System at any one of the six lakes two of which are in Mackenzie Park east of Interstate Highway 27. Southeast of town is Buffalo Springs Lake with miles of trails, that refers to itself as The Oasis of West Texas. A number of city parks have walking paths Who needs a path? Make one of your own in any of the parks.


Some enjoyed the history of Texas in the early 19th century on these pages. Here is some history of Spain. The Revolution took place in 1868, later called the Glorious Revolution September 19-27, 1868, expelling Queen Isabella II to Paris France where she lived the remainder of her life, dying in 1904. The Prince of Savoy son of King Emmanuel of Italy was brought in and became King Amadeo I in 1871. He abdicated on February 10, 1873 followed by a parliamentary declaration of the Spanish Republic [later called the First Spanish Republic] by a parliament containing feuding radicals, republicans, democrats and others that couldn’t agree on a federal or unitary republic or much of anything else. Profound political and social instability and frequent bouts of violence, belatedly controlled by the army, followed. On December 29, 1874 General Arsenio Martinez-Camp announced the Bourbon Restoration of Monarchy bringing Isabella’s son in to be King Alfonso XII. His reign 1874-1885 and a regency for his infant son King Alfonso XIII lasted from 1874-1902 and stability endured while parliament was weak and subservient. In 1898 Spain lost the colonies of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and Philippine Island in the Spanis-American War. The regency was led by Prince Alfonso’s mother Maria Christina of Austria of the Hapsburg Dynasty until 1902 when at age 16 King Alfonso XIII took the throne and kept Spain out of the The Great War [later called World War I] 1914-1918. He ruled until 1931.

In 1923 General Miguel Primo de Rivera seized power and became the King’s Prime Minister and dictatorial de facto ruler. By 1930 the Spanish populace and parliament were exhausted with both King and Prime Minister. The former fled to Rome, the latter resigned, and the Second Spanish Republic began April 14, 1931 until 1939 when it was replaced by a military nationalist rebellion led by General Francisco Franco in 1936 beginning the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 against the republicans and others.

The new 1931 Constitution established freedom of speech and freedom of association, extended suffrage to women in 1933, allowed divorce and stripped the Spanish nobility of any special legal status. Initially it also largely disestablished the Catholic Church, a trend that was somewhat reversed in 1933. The controversial Constitutional articles 26 and 27 imposed stringent controls on Church property and barred religious orders from the ranks of educators. Scholars have described the constitution as hostile to religion, with one scholar characterizing it as one of the most hostile of the 20th century. José Ortega y Gasset stated, “the article in which the Constitution legislates the actions of the Church seems highly improper to me.” Pope Pius XI condemned the Spanish Government’s deprivation of the civil liberties of Catholics in the encyclical Dilectissima Nobis.

The legislative branch was changed to a single chamber called the Congress of Deputies.
The constitution established legal procedures for the nationalisation of public services and land, banks, and railways. The constitution generally accorded civil liberties and representation, a major exception being the rights of Catholics.
The 1931 Constitution was formally effective from 1931 until 1939. In the summer of 1936, after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, it became a dead letter after the authority of the Republic was superseded in many places by revolutionary socialist and anarchist juntas.
The Republican Constitution also changed the symbols of the country. The Himno de Riego was established as the national anthem, and the Tricolor, with three horizontal red-yellow-purple fields, became the new flag of Spain. Under the new Constitution, all of Spain’s regions had the right to autonomy. Catalonia (1932) [Barcelona region to the French border] and the Basque Country (1936) [foothills of the Pyrenees] exercised this right, with Andalucía [south], Aragón [central], and Galicia [northwest] engaged in negotiations with the government before the outbreak of the Civil War. The Constitution guaranteed a wide range of civil liberties, but it failed to agree on key points with the convictions of the conservative right, which was very rooted in rural areas, and with the desires of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which was stripped of schools and public subsidies.
Hitler and Mussolini sent munitions and money to General Franco, thereby tipping the scales in the Spanish Civil War while the United States and Great Britain refused to send aid to the Republic. France, Italy, Portugal and other continental countries expressed neutrality, all affected by the economic depression known in the United States as The Great Depression.
The Spanish Civil War was not limited to military battles but was brutal on civilians mostly by the Franquistas who were more powerful and ultimately victorious, but also by the Republicans. Once installed in 1939 as dictator Franco ordered more than 400,000 Spaniards, thought to be Republicans or sympathetic to them, to be incarcerated until released in 1947. Franco’s regime lasted 36 years until his death in 1975. King Juan Carlos I was brought in to reign November 1975 as a constitutional monarch with state power in the parliament.
In 1936 George Orwell 1903-1950 went to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. His famous account describes the war and his experiences Homage to Catalonia (London Secker & Warburg 1938) (reissued Beacon Press 1952) Texas Tech Library DP269.9 O7 paperback by Important Books 2013 at $7.75. Incidentally, Orwell was a keen appreciator of art and wrote about many pieces of art. George Orwell, All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008) 416 pages collects many of his writings on this topic.
The most recent book is Jeremy Treglown, Franco’s Crypt: Spanish Culture and Memory Since 1936 (Farrar Straus & Giroux 2013) Texas Tech Library DP270.T74.
At no time during Franco’s regime was there any serious attempt to make an accurate history of the Spanish Civil War or account for all the millions of affected Spaniards. Accordingly, even statistics are contested as we look back from such a distance. About 200,000 – 250,000 Spaniards were executed by Franco’s army and police. About 500,000 Spaniards fled the country. About 130,000 Franquistas were killed in the rebellion.
After Franco died the Spanish parliament passed an amnesty law Pacto del Olvido the Pact of Forgetting (1977) that protected members of the Franco regime from prosecution. For progressives they regard that law as illegitimate, but the rightists regard it as a binding pact. In October 2007 the Congress of Deputies passed the Law of Historical Memory recognizing the victims on both sides and conferring rights on them and their descendants, while formally condemning the Franco regime. Since then Spaniards have been in a constant battle over the past and its accounting in the present. Old debates and the works of those who labored under the pall of the regime and the consequences to family members of the strife have created a stalemate that keeps Spain from moving forward while political leaders say that moving forward is their goal. The Spanish youth declaim that they wish to be free of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparent obsessions and their melange of truths and falsehoods. A heavy price is being paid for lack of transparency and an incontestable record of history.


Notice the Chinese pistache trees planted in Memorial Circle at Texas Tech University. Live oak trees, forty of them, that will line the entrance boulevard on Broadway from University Avenue, will be planted with balled roots between late November 2014 and January 2015. These improvements on the gateway to the University have been well planned and executed.


Have you read the new monthly newspaper received free by postal mail? Metro Leader started in April and this June issue, only its third, is a fast improving issue that focuses on human interest stories that are informative, accurate, and pertinent to our lives. Cobey Shaver is a young reporter who writes a good story and has a good instinct for human interest stories. Its Lubbock office is National Mail-It, LLC, 5101 80th Street, Lubbock TX 79424 phone 469-667-9341 e-mail The Facebook page is Gary Garvey is the publisher. Italian Prisoners of War Beautified Umbarger Church is the story line of this item, referring to World War II and the Hereford Texas Military Reservation where Italian prisoners were housed, similar to a German Prisoners of War group at McLean Texas Alien Internment Camp east of Amarillo about two miles east northeast off Route 66 outside McLean.
A PBS documentary was shown on television “A Cathedral in the Desert: The POWs of Hereford Camp 31” Probably the residents of Deaf Smith County didn’t like their excellent farmland referred to as a desert, while parishioners at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Umbarger enjoyed the publicity.
The Hereford Military Reservation (1942) extended into Castro County and was used for United States military purposes as well as a part of it being Camp 31 for Italian prisoners of war, the first arriving there on April 3, 1943 and the last departing on February 7, 1946. The POWs constructed a small 13 square feet chapel for their worship. After the war ended the entire reservation was surplus and sold off for private farming and ranching but the retained part was the chapel and base of a water tower. It rested unused inside a farmer’s field for decades until Castro County Historical Commission started a restoration project yielding the completed Memorial in 1989 with a portion of a barbed wire fence adjacent to remind viewers of the camp confinement. At one time the number of POWs at Hereford climbed to 2,500 men.

Camp Hearne at Hearne Texas housed as many as 5,000 German prisoners of war, most from the German Afrika Korps from 1943-1946 and since most were NCOs [non-commissioned officers] and the Geneva Convention did not permit regular work details for such officers, the inmates constructed a concrete floor stage and audience section and performed theater for their own amusement and pleasure. There was also a large library by late 1945. There were small numbers of German POWS in Texas at Alto, Center, Chireno, Hunstville, Lufkin, San Augustine and Tyler Life in German POW camps in Texas is detailed at
If you go to McLean the McLean-Alanreed Historical Museum at 116 Main Street has a POW Camp display and photographs phone # 806-779-2731 and two blocks to the east is Devil’s Rope Museum where the history of barbed wire fencing is on display. Notice the restored 1929 Phillips 66 gasoline service station on Old Route 66 in town. When you see those orange gas pumps you intuit, so that’s why Oklahoma State University at Stillwater wears orange and black on their sports uniforms. The home of Phillips Petroleum Company was Bartlesville Oklahoma and it was primary in the establishment of OSU. [later emanations ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66, Chevron Phillips and more] Bartlesville contains Price Tower (1956) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that now includes within it the Price Tower Arts Center with displays about Wright’s design and several by an Oklahoma architect Bruce Goff who designed Bavinger House and Ledbetter House in Norman Oklahoma and John Frank House in Sapulpa Oklahoma, among others, all in the organic style. Castle Dwelling B&B near Cobden Illinois by Bruce Goff initially as Hugh Duncan House, is sometimes referred to as The Goff Duncan Castle documentary film


The annual Texas Book Festival October 25-26 in Austin Texas kicks off October 24 with First Edition Literary Gala at Four Seasons Hotel, a black-tie event at $500 per person. Attend and enjoy, or just attend the Festival that is free but you will definitely purchase books and paraphernalia of an amazing literary world in which Texas plays a singular role Well-known respected authors are all around you as this is for them a rare day in the sun after so many years at the keyboard.


War has produced fine literature.
Korean War: Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (Simon & Schuster 1961), I Am The Clay (Knopf 1992) by Chaim Potok, The Long March (Random House 1952) by William Styron, Indignation (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008) by Philip Roth
Vietnam War: Tobias Wolfe, In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War (Alfred A. Knopf 1994), Tim O’Brien, The Things they Carried (Houghton Mifflin 1990), Michael Herr, Dispatches (Alfred A. Knopf 1978)
Iraq War: Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds: A Novel (Little Brown 2012) Texas Tech Library PS3616.O88348 Y46 and his poetry Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting: Poems (Little Brown 2014) Tech Library PS3616.O883348 L48 The author was a machine gunner so the language is direct and violent “if this poem had fragments of metal coming out of it, if these words were your best friend’s leg, dangling, you might not care or wonder ….”
Literature is not reportage, of which there has been excellent writing from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Quality is quality and enhances our inner soul, something media drivel and clanging do not touch.

A source of good literature is literary journals such as n + 1, The Missouri Review, and The Threepenny Review print and digital magazine of literature, culture and politics where politics can be decoding the Stanley Cup finals between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings That’s as good as sports writing can be, so good that you read to the end even if you don’t know the teams or care like a fan about hockey. You know that it started sometime last Fall and still it isn’t concluded until high Summer in June? Beyond greed what does that mean? For a small slice of America too much is not enough? Another article discusses concert halls and classical music performed in them but that’s a teaser in the current issue that is not concluded on the Internet unless you subscribe Digital Only $32 per year, Digital Plus Print $36 per year, print is three times per year Fall Winter and Spring issues. Benjamin Kunkel is founding editor.
Want to write or talk to n + 1?
68 Jay Street Suite 405
DUMBO District – not part of the address but boroughs are broken down into districts
Brooklyn NY 11201-8360
phone 718-852-2363
Texas Tech Library’s JSTOR electronic database has all issues of n + 1 from 2004 to the current Spring 2014 issue.
The Missouri Review by the University of Missouri, from 1978 is issued four times per year Fall Winter Spring and Summer issues. Subscriptions digital $24 per year, print per year $30, or two years $50, or three years $60. A sample issue of Spring 2012 is here Texas Tech Library’s Project Muse Premium Collection has The Missouri Review in full text.
The Threepenny Review in Berkeley California is four issues per year $25 or $45 for two years. Here is a list of articles that you may read online and evaluate the magazine current issue table of contents The editor Wendy Lesser recommends a current book Yiyun Li, Kinder Than Solitude: A Novel (Random House 2014) 337 pages $19.71 hardcover $10.99 e-book at and hardcover in very good condition ABE Books $11.65 incl s&h. Texas Tech Library PS3612.I16 K4. Read it and evaluate the Review vicariously.
An essay On Beauty and Judgment by Alexander Nehamas from the Winter issue 2000 is here.

List of literary magazines or journals in print for ten or more years I am a subscriber or former subscriber to several of these. Choose what interests you.


Here is a 50 minute documentary film A World of Art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009)

Las Calles Hablan [the streets speak] (2012) is a 55 minute documentary film on street artists in Barcelona Spain

Silent Wings: The American Glider Pilots of World War II (2007) (director Robert Child) 115 minute documentary narrated by Hal Holbrook and featuring Walter Cronkite and Andy Rooney begins with a possibility in 1941 of using gliders to supply materials and equipment to airborne troops dropped by parachute, followed by the stark realization of a German airborne attack with glider support on a Belgian fort that took the fort in a matter of hours, and some months later after having taken over mainland Greece, a German airborne attack with glider support took the island of Crete in the eastern Mediterranean in four days. From that moment on the American military was clearly focused on the need for airborne attacks with glider support and that required glider pilots who could make one way flights, land the glider and discharge its cargo, and become infantry to fight and connect up with airborne troops, penetrate enemy positions and eventually return to headquarters. One soldier flew five times behind German lines and successfully was repatriated with allied forces five times, a rarity. Of course he flew a new glider each time since they were disposable. Young men no doubt believed they themselves were not disposable and behaved with a courage and determination that we admire greatly.
Allen Todd 1920-2009 was a college graduate with a civilian pilot’s license so he volunteered for the Army Air Corps Combat Glider Program, trained at South Plains Army Airfield in Lubbock, and flew a glider on D-Day plus one June 7, 1944 in Operation Overlord in Normandy France, and was repatriated. He then flew a glider in Operation Market Garden in Holland, and was repatriated. He served out after the war ended in the U.S. Air Force Reserve retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was instrumental in bringing the Silent Wings Museum to Lubbock. In his civilian career he was a commercial artist with The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

All of these documentary films are free of charge on the Internet.


Joe Garnett of Lockney Texas is now mostly a painter but formerly he worked in Los Angeles as an illustrator and made celebrity portraits, movie posters and record covers. He is 75 years of age and his career is on exhibit at Buddy Holly Center’s Fine Arts Gallery June 20 – August 10 1801 Crickets Avenue in Lubbock. One of the successful South Plains artists is back home with us. Hope he brought a suitcase full of that City of Angels [what a misnomer] money.

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