Archive | January, 2015

Arts History Update for early February 2015

30 Jan

Arts History Update for early February 2015 by David Cummins

Tuesday February 3 is the 56th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death in an airplane crash near Clear Lake Iowa http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Day_the_Music_Died on his way to a Fargo Minnesota venue for the next concert in 1959. That woeful day has since been named The Day the Music Died and it occurs again at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock http://www.mylubbock.us/departmental-websites/departments/buddy-holly-center/home with free admission to the Center from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, free admission to the adjacent J. I. Allison House [house in which the drummer Jerry Allison grew up and in which Buddy wrote and experimented with songs], and free trolley tours leaving the Center at 1:00 and 3:00 pm for significant sites in Lubbock for Charles Hardin “Buddy” Holley whose surname was mis-spelled in publicity early on and he just performed under how it was spelled Buddy Holly. At age 22 he is frozen in time 1936-1959 and we see images of him in our minds as we walk the streets of Lubbock, forever and always a young thin raw-boned badly sighted musician playing a not as yet popular for most people rock ‘n roll music in a fresh and vibrant way. Grant Speed’s sculpted bronze statuary in the Walk of Fame monument west of the Buddy Holly Center is that likeness.

A planetary star figure like Paul McCartney came to Lubbock in 2014 and performed at United Supermarkets Arena. When he took the stage he once again spoke about the iconic Buddy Holly who with his band The Crickets so influenced those Liverpool England lads that they named themselves The Beatles and played Buddy’s music and his style of music.

Buddy’s playing of his music stopped in 1959 but his music never really died nor will it, since it entered into the history of popular music. I have audio cassette tapes and re-mastered CDs and occasionally play them, some songs almost becoming anthems like That’ll Be The Day and Peggy Sue. We are indebted to that young musical genius.

http://popcultureblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/yes-there-will-be-a-buddy-holly-hologram-and-he-will-tour-texas-then-the-world.html/?hootPostID=2a00abc4061d4abe5d3a52caadf136ec A Buddy Holly hologram will tour Texas in 2016 along with playing of his music so that people can experience a visual image of Buddy while listening to his music.

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Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536 was an early Renaissance humanist, scholar, philosopher, Catholic priest and critic of irrationality and inconsistency within establishments. He visited Rome but spent most of his time in Rotterdam The Netherlands, the city of his birth, Paris France, and Oxford England. The Praise of Folly (circa 1509 an epistle or letter to his friend Thomas More mostly written while they were traveling in England together) free e-book http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30201 , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Praise_of_Folly Translation of Christian New Testament into Greek (1516) had the desired effect of enlisting great interest by scholars of Classical (Greek and Roman) knowledge with an emphasis on trying to discover morality and ways of understanding between seemingly disparate peoples. When the Protestant Reformation, through Martin Luther, erupted in 1517 it was Erasmus who participated in intellectural debates over questions of human nature, free will, religious doctrine, and Protestant ideals while at the same time opposing radicalism. He remained loyal throughout his life to the Church of Rome but protested any forcible or violent reaction by it against reformers. http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/erasmus.html

It’s instructive to compare the personal histories of Erasmus and Luther, both having gone into Augustinian monasteries at an early age and left having experienced something they wanted not to experience again, both made trips to Rome where Luther found corruption and venality but Ersasmus didn’t. Neither was a radical or easily countenanced radicals. If Luther had awakened from his grave a century later he would have been shocked to discover a Lutheran religion.

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Neverhome
by Laird Hunt

An extraordinary novel about a wife who disguises herself as a man and goes off to fight in the Civil War.

She calls herself Ash, but that’s not her real name. She is a farmer’s faithful wife, but she has left her husband to don the uniform of a Union soldier in the Civil War. Neverhome tells the harrowing story of Ash Thompson during the battle for the South. Through bloodshed and hysteria and heartbreak, she becomes a hero, a folk legend, a madwoman and a traitor to the American cause.

Laird Hunt’s dazzling new novel throws a light on the adventurous women who chose to fight instead of stay behind. It is also a mystery story: why did Ash leave and her husband stay? Why can she not return? What will she have to go through to make it back home?

In gorgeous prose, Hunt’s rebellious young heroine fights her way through history, and back home to her husband, and finally into our hearts.

When one thought that all the novels that could be written about the Civil War had been written, along comes this new one that offers a new perspective.

Possibly more important is Don H. Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (Basic Books 2014) 362 pages where we read about the impact of the American Civil War in other nations, and thus we learn the context of the Civil War not just in America, with which we are so familiar, but its wider context. Accordingly, it tells us much about Americans both Union and Confederate who were well aware of the history of other nations and their current concerns. Indeed, both Union and Confederate partisans sought to shape responses by other nations so as to influence the outcome of the Civil War. $22.43 hardcover $16.19 e-book $20.63 ABE Books new.

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Students at Texas Tech may learn directly about what is happening in the border area of El Paso Texas by using their Spring Break to have a Border Awareness Experience. This real life week away from campus is quite different from the mindless vacationing I performed “back in the day”.
Border Awareness Experience (BAE) with Annunciation House
El Paso, TX. March 16-20, 2015.

Apply now: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/calue/ASB_Directory/springASB.php
Annunciation House has been working in El Paso / Ciudad Juarez since 1978 operating houses of hospitality for migrants and refugees.
Annunciation House is an organization that accompanies the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. It has an all volunteer staff who place themselves among these poor so as transform their understanding of what constitutes more just relationships between peoples, countries, and economies.
The objective of the BAE is to facilitate face to face meetings and encounters between participants and people and groups on both sides of the border. It intends to raise consciousness about the issues facing the border such as immigration, economic development, human rights, and social justice. The BAE also educates North Americans about our role and responsibilities in today’s globalized world.
Cost: $150 (due March 2, 2015)
Pre-Trip Meetings:
Tuesday, February 3rd
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
215 Administration
Tuesday, February 17th
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
215 Administration
Tuesday, March 3rd
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
215 Administration
For questions regarding CALUE Service Breaks please contact the Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement at (806) 742-1095 or calue@ttu.edu.
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Comanchero Canyons Museum at Quitaque Texas http://comancherocanyonsmuseum.com/ is now open by appointment in a former Church of Christ building and the central space contains a caretta, a simple two wheeled oxen-pulled cart or open slatted wagon in which the comanchero carried the goods to trade with the Indians and carried back the bartered hides and other goods received from the Indians.

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Animo Leadership Green Dot Charter High School (2013) http://www.american-architects.com/en/projects/44217_Animo_Leadership_High_School/vote/year:2014/issue:5 in Inglewood California south of downtown Los Angeles east of LAX Los Angeles International Airport is in a tough southside neighborhood. Its new building was designed by Brooks + Scarpa Architects of Santa Monica California. While it’s hard to find innovation and cutting edge design in the Jayne Ann Miller Elementary School 6705 Joliet Drive Lubbock Texas http://miller.lubbockisd.org/pages/MILLER that opened in January 2015, Animo Leadership is itself a leader
http://www.california-architects.com/en/brooks-scarpa/projects-3/Green_Dot_High_School-42367
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United Way of Lubbock’s Annual Report is online http://www.unitedway-lubbock.org/annualreport.shtml It raised $5,871,310 for the following supported agencies http://www.unitedway-lubbock.org/partners.shtml This level and quality of generosity toward the people who are served by these “community partners” agencies, is amazing.

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Arts History Update for late January 2015

23 Jan

Arts History Update for late January 2015 by David Cummins

Recently I was criticized for including items in the Update that weren’t directly related to art. The fact is that I have more interests than art, am a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, and am thrilled to write what I wish and readers may skip around and read or not read what they wish.

Beretta USA has been making M9 pistols http://www.beretta.com/en-us/m9/ for the US military for the past 30 years. It recently proposed a modernized M9A3 pistol but the US Army Configuration Control Board refused to consider the proposal in December and the Army will focus instead on a Modular Handgun System MHS state of the art replacement pistol. http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/09/army-rejects-m9a3-proposal-opts-for-new-pistol.html?ESRC=army-a.nl Beretta USA is free along with other weapons manufacturers to propose a design and compete for an initial contract for 280,000 pistols plus another 7,000 sub-compact versions of the new pistol.

The Army said that its current supply of M9 pistols is costing the Army more to repair and replace than it would cost to purchase a new state of the art pistol. Beretta USA contests that perspective.

This situation recalls to mind recent history when the Army sought a new replacement for the M4 carbine rifle, launched a competition for the new rifle, and ultimately rejected all the proposals and bought an improved M4A1 version that is now used by special forces operations. http://www.military.com/equipment/m4-carbine

The Army occasionally has need of a shotgun and uses the M26 Modular Shotgun System (2012) that is a straight-pull bolt-action shotgun. It weighs 3.5 pounds, has a 7.75 inch barrel and fires 12-gauge shells from a five round magazine. It is designed to be mounted on and under an M4 carbine rifle, the soldier’s primary weapon. The box magazine is a little bulky and cumbersome when mounted. Of course the soldier must carry on his person replacement magazines so it adds to the total load for a soldier. The shotgun is a short range weapon and can help in shooting open a locked door for forced entry operations or disabling an advancing group of people without being lethal. Accordingly it has many uses in counter-insurgency urban situations.

Five rounds is not a lot of shot so current weapons manufacturers are working on shotguns with more capacity before reloading. SRM Arms has a prototype shotgun with a detachable magazine made up of four tubes bonded together that connect beneath the shotgun barrel. SRM Model 1216 tubes hold four rounds so the magazine contains 16 rounds on a 37.5 inch long shotgun. It has semi-automatic and automatic versions. Once one of the tubes is empty, the shooter deftly rotates the magazine to line up the fresh tube of rounds. When the magazine is empty the shooter detaches it and attaches a replacement magazine. http://www.srmarms.com/ In Lubbock LHG Arms at 1961 Texas Avenue is a registered firearms dealer that carries SRM Arms weapons. See also M & R Outfitting at 302 Southeast Loop 289, LSG Tactical Arms at 3009 B 34th Street, and Narwhal Systems at 4606 7th Street. Police Departments purchase many of this type of weapons.

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Here is the story of Robert Bruno 1945-2008 http://www.detourart.com/robert-bruno-architect-and-sculptor-of-the-steel-house-1945-2008/ architect and builder of the Steel House on the north rim of Ransom Canyon. A piece of steel originally intended to be a part of the Steel House but never included within it, was purchased from the Bruno Estate and on Tuesday January 20 picked up by a crane and placed on a truck trailer assemblage and transported at about 15 miles per hour to 18th Street and Flint Avenue on campus where the crane was waiting to pick it up again and place it down on a pad in front of the College of Architecture building at Texas Tech University. It is now part of the public art on campus. http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/local/story/Bruno-Steel-Sculpture/bDMDpI6MEE2ZZTbE1Muffw.cspx

Another piece of public art was installed on campus that same day by artist Mark Chew at the Creative Movement Sudio, location for the Dance Division of the Theatre Department https://www.facebook.com/TTUSPublicArt/photos/pcb.869808363039494/869808016372862/?type=1&theater this photo is of the artist and Emily Wilkinson, public art manager at Facilities Planning and Construction department of Texas Tech University system next to the newly installed piece titled The Fire Inside (2015). http://www.markchew.com

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Joe Landolina co-founder of the biotech company Suneris http://www.suneris.co/about/ leads a team of researchers developing VetiGel a blood coagulation agent that almost magically stops even severe bleeding in seconds. It clots blood by taking on the properties of tissue with which it comes into contact. It solidifies instantly and thus stops the flow of blood. The first shipment of this compound outside the laboratory was made this month to 100 veterinary clinics in a beta testing to stop bleeding in animals undergoing procedures such as biopsies nad dental extractions. If all goes as hoped, a submission to the FDA will be made for testing on humans.

Joe Landolina is age 21 and his co-founder Isaac Miller is the same age. As freshmen at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering and NYU Stern School of Business they had this idea and submitted the first iteration for a competition and won a $10,000 prize. From there it went forward and by their senior year they were working full time in the private laboratory in Brooklyn and leaving it to attend their last classes. In 2014 Landolina was named a TED Global Fellow. Catch a rising star.

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Arts Practice Research: Scholarship Pedagogy and the Creative Process at Texas Tech University is a conference that will be held on campus and at LHUCA Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts on October 1-3, 2015 http://www.ttuartspractice.org and the keynote speaker is Nick Cave fabric sculptor, dancer and performance artist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Cave_%28performance_artist%29 Cave is known for his Soundsuits Cave’s first Soundsuit was made of twigs. Other typical materials include dyed human hair, sisal, plastic buttons, beads, sequins, and feathers. The finished pieces bear some resemblance to African ceremonial costumes and masks. His suits are presented for public viewing as static sculptures, but also through live performance, video, and photographs.[5] [6] and they have been exhibited in museums on traveling exhibition http://www.jackshainman.com/artists/nick-cave/

2010 – “Soundsuits” – Studio la Città, Verona, Italy
2006 – “Soundsuits”, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois
2005 – “Soundsuits”, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2004 – “Soundsuits”, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, Montana

Meet Me at the Center of the Earth is his exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco in 2009, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles in 2010 http://www.fowler.ucla.edu/exhibitions/nick-cave , Seattle Art Museum in 2011, and Boise Art Museum in 2012.

Nick Cave is a 55 year old African American artist who possibly never knew there was an art box, or if he did it got crushed and tossed aside early on. He experiments in different media and does wondrous things with the human form both in performance and in situ as a visual static.

Place this event on your calendar and make plans to attend; another offering by that cultural maven The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Texas Tech University, in human form Dean Carol Edwards.

The current offering of the Texas Tech University School of Art is the 2015 Texas Sculpture Symposium January 30 – February 1 with keynote speaker Judy Pfaff on January 30 at School of Art Satellite Gallery / Charles Adams Studio Projects Gallery at 5th Street and Avenue J at 7:00 pm, and keynote speaker Ken Little on February 1 at English and Philosophy Departments Building Lecture Hall 001 at 10:00 am. On Saturday morning January 31 there will be talks by many folks at English LH 001 and in the afternoon there will be iron pour and aluminum pour demonstrations 2:00 – 6:00 pm at the 3D Art Annex Building foundry on Main Street west of Flint Avenue, and a Digital 3D Printing demonstration 2:00 – 3:30 pm at the College of Architecture building.

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Whispering grass says that Lubbock Independent School District was unable to raise the matching funds to gain a Talkington Foundation grant to build a performing arts center west of Coronado High School, and has entered into an agreement with LEPAA Lubbock Entertainment & Performing Arts Association to have rental rights in the prospective Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, thus insuring access by public school students to state of the art rehearsal and performance venues. It is very pleasing that this private entity is cooperating with the City of Lubbock and Lubbock Independent School District to make a community wide improvement. http://lepaa.org/news/ I hope a similar access can be offered to Cooper, Frenship, Shallowwater and Roosevelt School Districts.

Tim Collins chair of LEPAA will make a public presentation on progress toward the Buddy Holly Hall at The Roundtable Luncheon on Saturday February 7 at 11:15 am – 1:00 pm at Hillcrest Country Club main dining room. The cost is $15 per person for a limited menu lunch with beverage and dessert. No reservation is necessary and the public is invited.

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Saturday January 24 at 7:00 pm and Sunday January 25 at 2:00 pm Lubbock Community Theatre stages the first Tumbleweed Ten Minute Play Festival at its 42nd Street and Boston Avenue theatre space. The ticket is $5 per person. Fifty-three entries were culled to six mini-plays or scenes from a prospective play, that were then cast under direction to be performed twice. One of the playwrights is an elementary school student, two are middle school students, one is a high school student, one an adult, and one a senior. This is encouragement of local people to try their hand at playwriting. William Kerns, First 10 Minute Play Festival Debuts This Weekend at LCT, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Newspaper, January 23, 2015, Section E page 5 http://www.go.lubbockonline.com

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Arts History Update for mid January 2015

14 Jan

Arts History Update for mid January 2015 by David Cummins

We now know that the Robert Bruno metal sculpture will be moved from its location at 66th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the lawn in front of the College of Architecture building at Texas Tech University on Tuesday January 20. It will take several hours for the crane to lift the piece onto a truck / trailer assembly to make the journey. If you want to experience the historic event just amble out to its location in the morning and wait for the exodus, a slow procession through the city.

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Bella Karr Gerlich, Ph.D. will be the next Dean of Libraries at Texas Tech University and will assume the post on March 1, 2015. http://today.ttu.edu/2014/10/texas-tech-names-new-dean-of-libraries/ She is currently dean of libraries at University of Alaska at Fairbanks, presumably enjoying her last winter in the freezer. http://www.depts.ttu.edu/provost/news/2014/GERLICH-TTUDeanofLibraries-CV.pdf

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Marianne Stockebrand et al., Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works (Yale University Press 2014) 304 pages $32.10. This new book covers the last series of pieces by the sculptor before he died in 1994. It is an expansion of the 55 page catalogue for an exhibit by the same title at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St Louis Missouri http://www.pulitzerarts.org/exhibition/donald-judd-multicolored-works

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Louis Vuitton is an international clothier http://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us/homepage?campaign=sem_BRAN-BROT The Foundation Louis Vuitton building opened in October 2014 designed by Frank Gehry and costing upwards of $130 million. It was commissioned by the holding company LVMH Moet Hennessey-Louis Vuitton that owns and merchandises labels such as Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain. The Foundation building houses the LVMH collection of art and much more, as a private art museum in the north side of Paris in the Bois de Bordogne [wooded area of Bordogne]. Since it’s by Frank Gehry it’s obviously not a box but is the equivalent of a 15 story commercial building in bulk, and uses more steel than the Eiffel Tower.

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Iris Nowell, Harold Town (Figure 1 Pub. 2014) 224 pages $31.18 hardcover ABE Books new $24.82. Town was a major Canadian painter and printmaker sometimes called the Picasso of Canada. http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artist.php?iartistid=5495 Here is why he was referenced to Picasso http://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artwork.php?mkey=17467

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Prairie View A&M University School of Architecture and Art has a new building and its architecture was the topic of a Texas Society of Architects radio program The Shape of Texas. Listen here https://texasarchitects.org/v/sot-detail/Prairie-View-A-M-University-School-of-Architecture-and-Art/dt/ Designers of the new building were RoTo Architecture of Los Angeles California http://www.rotoark.com/ and HKS Architects of Dallas Texas http://www.hksinc.com/offices/dallas/

You can view a series of exterior and interior spaces http://www.rotoark.com/projects/education-cultural-civic/prairie-view-university . Prairie Vew A&M, established 1876, is a part of the Texas A&M University System and is located in Waller County at Prairie View Texas 48 miles northwest of Houston on US Highway 290.

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Lubbock Heritage Society’s first meeting of the year will be Sunday February 8 at 2:00 pm at the Southwest Collection’s Formby Room on the campus of Texas Tech University. Dr. Paul Carlson professor emeritus of history will speak on a historic Lubbock structure, the Nicollet Hotel the first hotel in Lubbock. The public is welcome and the event is free. People will be invited to become members of the Society at an annual cost of $30 adult $15 senior and $100 corporation. http://www.lubbockheritagesociety.org

Look for a future meeting of the Society at Landwer-Manicapelli House (1936) in the Buddy Hollly Recreation Area at Conquistador Lake in the Jim Bertram Canyon Lakes System. Here is the provenance of the Landwer-Manicapelli House http://lubbockheritagesociety.bravehost.com/Landwer-Manicapelli%20House.pdf

The City of Lubbock, owner of the House since 1972, closed it in 2008 due to dilapidation and renovated it in 2014 at a cost of $750,000. It is now rentable for parties and other events. An official grand reopening will occur soon.

The Jim Bertram Canyon Lakes System within the city of Lubbock includes six lakes named, from northwest to southeast: Conquistador Lake [site of Buddy Holly Recreation Area with Fiesta Plaza south of the lake and Landwer-Manicapelli House north of the lake] that is west of North University Avenue, Llano Estacado Lake east of North University Avenue, Comancheria Lake east of North Avenue U, Vaquero Lake in Mackenzie Park north of 4th Street E. Parkway Drive that is the confluence of Yellowhouse Draw or Creek and Blackwater Draw or Creek that forms the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River at this point and Yellowhouse Canyon officially begins at this point [Vaquero Lake is visible from Joyland Amusement Park looking north and east], Canyon Lake in Mackenzie Park north and south of East Broadway Street, and Dunbar Historical Lake east of Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. There have been discussions about constructing two more dams and creating lakes # 7 and # 8 but it’s never happened.

The next lakes on the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River are Buffalo Springs Lake and Lake Ransom Canyon southeast of the city of Lubbock. Between Comancheria Lake and Mackenzie Park is Aztlan Park, a city park through which runs Yellowhouse Draw at that point a flowing creek or small stream. Technically, where Yellowhouse Draw and Blackwater Draw converge in Mackenzie Park is the beginning of the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River and the beginning of Yellowhouse Canyon. Blackwater Draw runs through Lubbock Country Club and then south into Mackenzie Park. A resourceful hiker could travel from Conquistador Lake abutting North Loop 289 highway all the way downstream to the spillway dam on Dunbar Historical Lake east of the City of Lubbock Cemetery.

John Montford Dam and Lake Alan Henry are not on the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River but are on the Double Mountain Fork [sometimes mistakenly referred to as the South Fork of the Double Mountain Fork] of the Brazos River that rises in southeast Lynn County near the hamlet of Draw Texas [near the town of O’Donnell on US Highway 87]. http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/surfacewater/rivers/reservoirs/alan_henry/index.asp About three miles east of Montford Dam the North Fork flows into the Double Mountain Fork that then passes south of Aspermont where there are two flat topped uprisings [mesas] known as Double Mountains about five miles southwest of Aspermont, thus giving way to the naming of the Fork. East of that area on the border of Stonewall and Haskell Counties the Salt Fork and the Double Mountain Fork converge to form the Brazos River.

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Federico Fellini and Fantasy: The Making of an Auteur is the title of a lecture on Tuesday January 27, 2015 by Peter Bondanella, Ph.D. professor emeritus at Indiana University. It will be at 4:00 pm in the Qualia Room in the Foreign Languages Building at Texas Tech University. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Fellini 1920-1993 was an Italian film director and scriptwriter who made La Dolce Vita (1960), 8-1/2 (1963), La Strada (1954), Amarcord (1973), and Satyricon (1969) among others. http://www.fellini.it/ A list of his top ten films follows http://www.imdb.com/list/ls053706330/

Auteur is a French word for author. In law a film is treated as a work of art, and the auteur, as the creator of the film, is the original copyright holder. Under European Union law the film director is considered the author or one of the authors of a film, largely as a result of the influence of auteur theory.

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Texas Tribune in Austin Texas is sponsoring a lunch and panel discussion on the future of higher education in Texas on Monday January 26 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at McKenzie Merket Alumni Center on the Texas Tech University campus. http://www.texastribune.org/events/2015/jan/26/higher-ed-the-next-five-years/ It is a free event and open to the public but one must register online or by telephone or e-mail to reserve a seat and meal. For those who can’t attend it will be live streamed from the Texas Tribune website http://www.texastribune.org/livestream/ and archived for watching at a later time.

Panelists are Rober Duncan, Chancellor of Texas Tech, Juliet Garcia, Executive Director of University of Texas Institute of the Americas, State Senator Charles Perry, and Wynn Rosser, President and CEO of Greater Texas Foundation with Evan Smith of Texas Tribune as moderator.

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Arts History Update for early January 2015

5 Jan

Arts History Update for early January 2015 by David Cummins

The vacant and currently uninhabitable Omni Tower at 14th Street and Avenue K was purchased by the City of Lubbock in November 2014 and is now referred to as Citizens Tower in honor of its original 1963 name Citizens National Bank building, later Texas Commerce Bank building. Alternative plans for the structure are now being made by City of Lubbock planners. http://www.everythinglubbock.com/story/d/story/a-tour-inside-the-omni-building-in-downtown-lubboc/19199/adYj7FIQKUOu6fdm1arRlg

You can bet that when the City buys somebody else’s problem and obligations, it will solve that problem and meet those obligations on the backs of the taxpayers.

A Vietnamese-American multimillionaire Hung Nguyen, a Houston property owner-developer-construction contractor, bought Omni Tower for $1.75 million intending to renovate and re-purpose but never started the project and had all sorts of obligations to secure the marble tile cladding on the building to make sure that it didn’t flake off falling to the street and killing people and damaging property. He had obligations to secure the building from habitation by homeless people, birds and rodents. He incurred many thousands of dollars of fines and liens levied against the property but ignored that. I vociferously said the City should enforce the property owner’s obligations and hold his feet to the fire. Instead, the City paid him more than a million dollars to relieve him of his obligations and hand over a deed so the City has all the problems. I think that’s foolishness and would have voted with Mayor Robertson not to purchase the property.

However, now that they did purchase it, I’m strongly in favor of holding the City’s feet to the fire to either secure the tile cladding, remove trespassing people and wildlife, repair and renovate, or raze the structure to the ground, and promptly in 2015. It will cost $3-4 million to raze the structure to the ground, but that’s the least expensive option, and the outcome is a valuable building site the City can sell for its costs of purchase and razing and perhaps more. Delbert McDougal the downtown redevelopment planner hired by the City, is on record as favoring razing the structure to the ground, and promptly. Why doesn’t the City follow the redevelopment planner it employs and pays for his planning?

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Langston Hughes, Goodbye Christ (1932) contains “Listen Christ, / You did alright in your day, I reckon – / But that day’s gone now. / They ghosted you up a swell story, too. Called it Bible – / But it’s dead now.” The discredited evangelist Aimee Simple McPherson denounced Hughes. She did not recover from her discrediting but Hughes did and wrote the gospel play Black Nativity (1961) that has been continuously performed since, becoming what some call the Black community’s Christmas gift to the world. http://www.ncaaa.org/ National Center of Afro-American Artists.

Hughes 1902-1967 lived in Harlem at 20 E. 127th Street http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/langston-hughes and here are many of his poems, books, plays etc.

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Thomas Mann, the German author who fled Nazi Germany, was caustic about writers who remained in Germany. He opined that anything published between 1933 and 1945 was tainted with the “stench of blood and shame” but now we have proof of his observation in Hans Fallada, A Stranger In My Own Country: the 1944 Prison Diary (transl. Allan Blunden, Polity 2015) 267 pages ABE Books new $17.75 http://hansfallada.com/ Fallada, a pen name, was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature but died in 1947 before he could be seriously considered. Two of his novels are in translation Little Man, What Now? (1932, transl. Eric Sutton, Simon & Schuster 1933) Texas Tech Library PT2607.I6 K613 ABE Books good condition $8.95 Little Man, What Now? (film, 1934 in English) director Frank Borzage starring Margaret Sullavan http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025408/ and Every Man Dies Alone (1947, transl. Michael Hoffman, Melville House 2009) Texas Tech Library PT2607.I6 J413 ABE Books good condition $3.48 Everyone Dies Alone (film, 1976 in German) director Alfred Vohrer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073200/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1a

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