Arts History Update for mid February 2016

4 Feb

Arts History Update for mid February 2016 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

TED Talk Interview with Martine Rothblatt is 21 minutes in length https://www.ted.com/speakers/martine_rothblatt recorded March 2015. She trans-gendered at age 40 from Martin Rothblatt to Martine. She’s very smart and wealthy, being a co-founder of Sirius XM Satellite Radio, thereafter founded and currently operates United Therapeutics Pharmaceutical Company producing so-called “orphan drugs”, and she’s now digitizing the characteristics of a human mind and personality creating a mind file for a singular human being [starting with her wife Bina] encapsulating the mind file in a robotic machine [Bina48] that exists and can exist long after the human body of that person fails. One might call it digital immortality of a human being. She carries on this latest project through Terasem Movement Foundation Inc. http://www.terasemmovementfoundation.com In addition to the technological aspects of the work, Terasem is a justification for being or becoming a trans-humanist and that means a spiritual attitude about who we are and why we are, apart from an ineffable creator God from before the time of Abraham.

Most people would stop and ask why we would want to implant our minds and persona into a digital mind file encapsulated in a robotic machine, but Martine Rothblatt jumps way ahead to a final destination of eternal life robot style with each robot being a singular individual. She wants that and she wants us to want that. Frankly, I’m not convinced that I should want that, and do not presently want that.

Martine writes about “bringing mind-clones from chatbot infancy to human simulacra”. Terasem is a faith with four tenets “life is purposeful, death is optional, God is technological, and love is essential”. On inquiry as to why that is so, she replied “for us God is in-the-making by our collective efforts to make technology ever more omnipresent, omnipotent and ethical. When we can all joyfully experience techno immortality, then God is complete”.

Maybe she’s right but I respectfully disagree. She essentially gives up on human beings and the present, and puts all of her faith and hopes into a future without the human beings who’ve been so destructive and harsh in our present world. She privileges the techno future over the present and discredits every human created institution except those she created. She’s a rank pessimist and I’m an optimist. Sure, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin were bad guys and together accounted for more than 25 million deaths, but we survived them and are still struggling to make good productive lives for ourselves and our progeny. For me humanity has not come a cropper. I haven’t given up on us or the present. Good luck to Martine Rothblatt and all experimenters and explorers. I also want to progress to a better future but I see it for human beings with our defects and foibles as well as our good character, industriousness and generosity.

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Relatively inexpensive lithographs from major artists are sometimes available, as these from ABE Books http://www.abebooks.com/books/features/lithographs/index.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-C160126-h00-lithogAM-121214TG-_-herogr&abersp=1 This is a reputable source and if, after receiving a lithograph, you were to handsomely frame it, you’d have a very enjoyable piece of art.

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Pontiac Michigan Silverdome inflatable roof structure hosted a NFL National Football League Super Bowl XVI football game in the dead of winter 34 years ago. Today, the $80 million structure lays in ruins and was sold for $580,000, less than what the buyer will pay to raze the structure, remove the utilities and debris, bulldoze the site, and prepare it for land development as something else http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/01/27/silverdome-super-bowl-san-francisco-49ers-dynasty From big dreams and promotion to dust decay and ruins, it reminds us of Emperor Nero’s dismissive statement “let them have their bread and circus”.

Los Angeles is giddy about getting the St Louis Rams to come back home to Los Angeles and the plans for the new stadium in which it will play are audacious. Ground was broken in January 2016 for City of Champions Stadium in Inglewood three miles from LAX Los Angeles International Airport https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Champions_Stadium Construction costs are estimated at $2.66 billion. [not a typo, 2.66 billion dollars]

The City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and other governmental agencies “will give away the store” to get the Rams to play ball here and have a world class event center. The package has not yet been agreed upon or disclosed.

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The annual Lubbock Arts Festival is April 16-17. 2016 http://lubbockartsfestival.indiemade.com Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm with a Premiere evening at 6:00 – 9:00 pm on Friday April 15. Venue is Lubbock Memorial Civic Center at 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock. Call the office of Lubbock Arts Alliance 806-744-2787 or e-mail mail@lubbockarts.org with your donation and/or your offer to volunteer for the event.

Premiere Night will honor longtime supporter of the arts Evelyn Davies. She is a donor of art collections and funds to support their display at Texas Tech Museum, in particular the Diamond M Collection [Evelyn’s maiden surname was McLaughlin] and the William C. and Evelyn M. Davies Gallery of Southwest Indian Art. Featured artist is Texas Tech University professor and sculptor Von Venhuizen. John Erickson author of Hank the Cowdog will perform http://www.hankthecowdog.com/author as will Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico company. http://www.mexico2000.net

A not to be missed annual event.

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In southeast Oregon the armed militia occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge compound by more than 150 people heated up on Tuesday afternoon January 26 when Oregon State Police and FBI agents intercepted a group of militia occupants in their vehicle on U.S. Highway 395 headed to John Day, Oregon 70 miles north of Burns. The group resisted arrest and shots were fired from the vehicle. Fire was returned and LaVoy Finicum, often the militia spokesman to the press, died with his weapon in his hand. Five others were arrested including Ammon Bundy, his younger brother Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox, Ryan Waylen Payne and Brian Cavalier. Later that day in Burns Oregon two militia occupants Peter Santilli and Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy were discovered and arrested. The arrested persons were transported to Portland Oregon and taken into custody. Another militia occupant Jon Ritzheimer, who had left the compound earlier, surrendered himself to the FBI in Arizona. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/us/oregon-armed-group-arrest-bundy.html?_r=0

The day’s activity ended with one dead and eight militia occupants captured, arrested and in custody. Criminal charges are being filed against them. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/01/oregon-bundy-standoff-arrests-lavoy-finicum/431517/?utm_source=atl-daily-newsletter

The Oregon State Police and FBI continue to set up roadblocks on area highways and are trying to interdict supplies for the compound and to arrest those militia occupants who want to approach the roadblocks. Authorities have not closed off utilities to the site so it’s possible for occupants to survive.

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We all know that it’s difficult to live with failure, but should success as a museum be this costly? Museum of Modern Art, New York City MoMA now admits umpteen millions of people to its galleries annually, has expanded its collection by 40% in recent years, includes performance art regularly into its programs, has a burgeoning paid membership, and is riddled with success yet its recent expansion and renovation plans have been cut back to remove the most interesting and inviting aspects of the architectural plan. Construction begins in February 2016 on the $390 million project http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/arts/design/moma-trims-back-some-features-of-its-planned-renovation.html?_r=0

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Art21 has a new executive director since its founding and initial director for 17 years passed away http://www.art21.org Its programs to introduce the most stunning of contemporary art media and connect art with the 21st century experience, proceed apace. We’ve been watching the Peabody Award-winning PBS broadcast television series ART21 Art in the Twenty-First Century. http://www.art21.org/about-art21 A new season starts in Fall 2016 http://www.pbs.org/show/art-21/ Here are some previews, clips and episodes to watch online http://www.pbs.org/video/2365356757/

The Art Assignment by PBS Digital Studio is another television show worth watching http://www.pbs.org/show/art-assignment/

National Gallery of Art London England is another series http://www.pbs.org/show/national-gallery/

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Here is the story of Texas Tech football running back Timmy Smith 1986 who went to the NFL and two and one half years later was out of football after a brief show of brilliance. A drugs dealing conviction put him into a federal prison. http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/01/28/timmy-smith-washington-forgotten-nfl-super-bowl-hero They still remember him in Hobbs New Mexico and Midland Texas.

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Demuth Museum Lancaster Pennsylvania is a museum of paintings located in the artist’s former studio and home at 120 E. King Street. Charles Demuth 1883-1935 studied and painted in Philadelphia, New York City, Provincetown Massachusetts, Paris France, Bermuda and of course Lancaster PA. The Demuth Tobacco Shop operated by his family since 1770 was next door at 118 E. King Street. Demuth was an American Modernist and more specifically a Precisionist or partial stage Cubist.

Portrait of Louise Michaelis (1907) demonstrates that he understood and mastered the Impressionism techniques, but it was not to be his passion. The Bay # 4 (1912) that he understood and mastered the French painters style known as the Fauves or “wild beasts” who gathered around Henri Matisse. http://www.wikiart.org/en/charles-demuth#supersized-landscape-320318 At Marshall’s (1915) that he understood and mastered abstraction expressionism.

On a trip to New York City he gathered with fellow artists, writers and intellectuals in the newly emerging jazz clubs, hotel cafes, and basement bars. At Marshalls depicts artists Marcel Duchamp, Edward Fisk and Marsden Hartley in the jazz bar of the Marshall Hotel. Stairs, Provincetown (1920) demonstrates his expressionism and cubist pairing as does Sail: In Two Movements (1919) and Trees and Barns Bermuda (1917) http://www.wikiart.org/en/charles-demuth#supersized-cityscape-320349

http://www.wikiart.org/en/charles-demuth#supersized-featured-320339 and http://www.wikiart.org/en/charles-demuth/stairs-provincetown-1920#supersized-artistPaintings-320342 He met Georgia O’Keeffe and in tribute to her style painted Irises (1925) so gorgeous that it could be passed off as an O’Keeffe.

His precisionist partial cubist technique is demonstrated by I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928) http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/488315 a tribute to William Carlos Williams the poet, and it is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Williams’s one sentence poem The Great Figure is “Among the rain and lights I saw the figure 5 in gold on a red firetruck moving tense unheeded gong to gong clangs siren howls and wheels rumbling through the dark city.”

In the 1920s Demuth became obsessed with the relics of the Industrial Revolution and the straight lines its architecture used when nature seemed to be all about curving lines. His precisionist masterpiece is My Egypt (1927) a face on view of a two silo grain elevator in his hometown Lancaster Pennsylvania. He suppressed every brushstroke or gesture. The vertical lines speak of the weight of commerce and industry. He was aware of the Egyptology mania that struck America after Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922. He looked at the twin pale silo shafts and pedimented cap of the grain elevators and called the painting My Egypt (1927) on view at Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City http://collection.whitney.org/object/635

Barbara Haskell, Charles Demuth (Whitney Museum of American Art 1987) 240 pages Texas Tech Library ND 237.D36 A4

Betsy Fahlman, Pennsylvania Modern: Charles Demuth of Lancaster

(Philadelphia Museum of Art 1983)

Betsy Fahlman, Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings of Lancaster (Amon Carter Museum 2007)

Letters of Charles Demuth, American Artist 1883-1935 (ed. Bruce Kellner, Temple University Press 2000) Texas Tech Library ND 237.D36 A3

Robert Hughes, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (Alfred A. Knopf 1997) 648 pages Lubbock Public Library 709.73 H894A

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The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities William D. Adams visited Texas for three days on December 6-8, 2015 and on the final day announced three grants from the Endowment for $500,000, for $168,000 and for $12,000 http://www.humanitiestexas.org/news/articles/chairman-william-d-adamss-visit-texas

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The Sundance Film Festival 11 day run is over and a major prize-winner is The Birth of a Nation (2015) directed by Nate Parker, a slave revolt story, and Fox Searchlight just paid $17.5 million for distribution rights. At this time of year in 2017 will it be a nominee for an Oscar?

Doesn’t hurt to have stuff on our radar.

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New Art Museums this year 2016, a year to take note ……….

1. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art SFMoMA has a $305 million addition that brings its space to 460,000 square feet, three times the size of MoMA New York City. This ten story colossus on the Left Coast doubles the footprint of the original building designed by Mario Botta. It’s scheduled to reopen on May 14, 2016 and locals will croon “west coast, best coast, baby”. https://www.sfmoma.org

2. Not actually an art museum but close by is Les Caves du Louvre in Paris France. This wine bar, wine tasting and wine-making classes venue, winery tour site is housed in an 18th century cellar. It’s gorgeous and groovy! http://www.cavesdulouvre.com/?lang=en

3. Also not actually an art museum is Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The trippy, skeletal shaped museum is dedicated to contemporary science like emerging technologies, climate change, and biodiversity. It’s sited on a plaza on Guanabana Bay, a destination in itself regardless of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. http://www.dezeen.com/2015/12/17/science-museum-of-tomorrow-santiago-calatrava-opens-rio-de-janeiro-brazil/

4. Singapore took its former Supreme Court building and City Hall building and joined them by a $380 million project to create The National Gallery of Singapore. It opened in November 2015 and is twice the size of London’s Tate Modern. It houses the largest collection of Southeast Asia art. https://www.nationalgallery.sg

5. Faena Forum will open this Fall in Miami Florida with a lecture hall, performing arts theater, and exhibit spaces. Rem Koolhass’s architectural team provides us with an updated NYC Guggenheim style building, new and contemporary enough but with a shout back to Frank Lloyd Wright. http://www.faena.com/arts/

6. Louvre Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is a structure floating on a $19.4 billion island in the Persian Gulf. I’m not writing science fiction, that’s the short accurate statement of what happened in this playground for the super rich. It’s a futuristic domed structure that opens later this year where there is 260,000 square feet for permanent and temporary art installations. http://louvreabudhabi.ae/en/Pages/home.aspx

7. FIFA [International Federation of Football Association] World Football [Soccer] Museum will open in Zurich Switzerland in February with more than 1,000 exhibits dedicated to the sport. http://www.fifamuseum.com

8. The Folk Art Museum on the campus of China Academy of Arts, Hangzhou, China, is as much an architectural masterpiece as it is an art museum. It’s built on a former tea plantation with 53,800 square feet of space and looks like a small village of zigzagging houses, an optical illusion created by stainless steel latices and thousands of angular roof tiles. The architect is Kengo Kuma, a Japanese. There are seven galleries and craft workshops for engraving, ceramics and textiles. http://www.designboom.com/architecture/kengo-kuma-china-academy-of-arts-folk-art-museum-hangzhou-10-11-2015/

9. Casa Vicens, Barcelona, Spain will open in 2016 as a public museum. It was Antonio Gaudi’s first major work and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gaudi was a surrealist architect so look for this structure to be Salvatore Dali on steroids. If you travel to Barcelona, visit Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia [unfinished Holy Family Cathedral], Parc Guell, and Casa Batllo. http://www.casavicens.es

10. Camera – Italian Center for Photography opened in October 2015 in Turin Italy and is a contemporary gallery in the arts district near the National Cinema Museum, the Royal Palace and the Egyptian Museum. http://www.italofile.com/2015/10/09/camera-torinos-new-photography-museum/

11. In Fall 2016 the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open on the Mall in Washington DC, a 400,000 square foot edifice five stories tall above ground and five beneath ground level. It was designed by David Adjaye. http://nmaahc.si.edu part of the Smithsonian family of museums.

12. National Blues Museum will open in April 2016 close by the Gateway Arch in St Louis Missouri. There is a stunning 150 seat theater in which to hear that musical genre. https://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org

13. Palestinian Museum, Israel will open on May 15, 2016 displaying Palestinian art and culture in a LEED certified building north of Jerusalem. $30 million was spent on this terraced complex. http://www.palmuseum.org/language/english

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I’m not a Democrat or Republican and believe that these major political parties have ill-served the nation, essentially because they stopped being political parties not long after World War II and became mechanisms for electing people [who aligned and bore their banner during an election] to public office and to remain in public office. Office holders often took positions and performed contrary to the tenets of the political party but there was no discipline and the party always kept its election mechanisms open and available. The result is now an absolute hodge podge of beliefs and actions by elected officials, and a common use of scare tactics staged confrontations with the other party or within their own party to encourage people to elect and re-elect one person in order to protect against what another person could or might do.

As an Independent or no political party affiliation person, I am sidelined in America’s system of partisan politics and of no observable significance or influence. That seems like a bad thing but at least I have my moral integrity intact. Some people forget that Independents are the majority of Americans and their votes are the deciding votes in most if not all elections. The bad news is that whoever is elected does not represent the Independents or Republicans or Democrats who elected the person to office. The office-holders are free-range politicos who do whatever they wish to do, and quickly become beholden to the lobby industry, political action committee PAC and super political action committee SUPERPAC groups, that finance their re-election campaigns and essentially serve as the office holder’s guide to the office-holding process. None of that serves the totality of the American people, or the totality of the Independents (the majority) or the Republicans (a significant minority), or Democrats (another significant minority). Money, usually a good thing, has broken our political system. Another round of money won’t and can’t fix it. Only wisdom and conscience and moral high ground can fix it.

When folks say “nothing gets done by Congress” or “the state legislature” or “the president” or “the governor” what they really mean is that our obvious and endemic distress modalities go un-redressed.

An example is the continuing rise in prescription drug prices in America while the huge and wealthy pharmaceutical manufacturing industry becomes more and more an oligopoly of a few large companies. Mergers and amalgamations have taken place without restraint amd drug prices rise as a direct consequence. Drug prices rose in America in 2014 on an average of 12%; we don’t yet know how much they rose in 2015 but it will be higher than 12%. While that number is troubling the actuality is that quite a number of drugs that are principal sources of profits within the industry, rose much more steeply, some by 1,000 percent or ten time. There is no mechanism to prevent that. Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015, 114th Congress isn’t a panacea but would take some steps toward addressing this problem. https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2023/text Read it for yourself. It can’t get out of committee. Fifteen huge pharmaceutical companies have an obvious economic interest in keeping it bottled up in committee. Three hundred thirty million Americans have an obvious human and economic interest in getting it subjected to hearings, amended, marked up, brought to the floor, and passed or rejected by roll call votes. “nothing happens” is a paradigm.

Would you please lay down, temporarily, your partisanship and just ask yourselves the question for the topic that most concerns you? Why doesn’t something happen, or get done, or resolved? What really is lacking and why? What would it take to reverse that?

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Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, recently curated an exhibit Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye at Kimbell Museum of Art, Forth Worth. She gave a lecture at the Kimbell on January 22, 2016 and it’s now up on You Tube 54 minutes in length as of February 2, 2016 under the title “Who Is Gustave Caillebotte?” www.youtube.com There are a number of other videos on Caillebotte on You Tube channels as well.

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Zika Virus, a mosquito borne virus of the dengue fever variety is now in the Western Hemisphere in South and Central America and a single case is verified in Travis County and another in Dallas County Texas. The Center for Disease Control approved flu vaccine for 2015-2016 is not effective against this virus, so if you or someone you know has fallen ill, get that person to high quality medical care immediately. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/health/what-is-zika-virus.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Arts History Update for early February 2016

26 Jan

Arts History Update for early February 2016 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

Jiri Karasek ze Lvovic 1871-1951 was a Czech Bohemian poet, writer and literary critic who was also an occultist and hermetic. He lived in Prague. He was a major figure in the establishment of art and culture in Bohemia at the turn of the century but his side lost in favor of the side of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk 1850-1937 that highlighted a perceived Protestant humanist tradition and linked fifteenth century Hussiteism to the 19th century national reawakening. Still, Karasek was a collector of books and other printed materials, 40,000 items, and he donated them to the nation. He also collected art and likewise donated it to the nation, so his artistic heritage is a part of the Czech Republic today. He was a co-founder of the respected Modern Review journal in Prague.

He wrote a short novel that expresses his views on Nihilism as the preferred philosophy and a throwback to the Baroque and Romantic past embracing French decadence and acceptance of homosexuality A Gothic Soul (transl. Kirsten Lodge, Twisted Spoon Press 2015) 141 pages https://roughghosts.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/bohemian-dreamer-a-gothic-soul-by-jiri-karasek-ze-lvovic/ originally published as Goticka Duse [A Gothic Mind] (1900, revised 1905 and 1921) and here is the work online in the Czech language from the 1905 revision https://archive.org/stream/gotickdueromnji00lvovgoog#page/n8/mode/2up

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Catalonia is the region of northeast Spain with a capital city of Barcelona. It has its own language Catalan. Written and published first in Catalan are novels by Raimon Casellas, Dark Vales (1901), Juli Vallmitjana, La Xava (1910), Caterina Albert, Solitud (1903), and Maria Vayreda, The Stabbing (1904). The countryside or cityscape in which the action takes place is as much a living character as the unhinged people who dwell in it.

Raimon Casellas 1855-1910 by suicide, published two collections of short stories in 1906 and 1909. He was an art historian, a critic and a leading figure in Catalan Modernism at the turn of the century. Dark Vales (transl. Alan Yates, Dedalus 2014) 206 pages $16 paperback $15 e-book is the story of a priest banished for heresy to a remote countryside near the village of Figueres 87 miles northeast of Barcelona. He feels entrapped by his own instability, the mood of the surrounding mountains [part of the Pyrenees spelled Pirineus in Catalan], and by a direct moral challenge by a prostitute who sets up shop in his parish. This novel is a “landscape of the mind”.

Contemporary Catalan literature would surely include Maria Barbal, Stone in a Landslide (1985) now in its 50th edition but in English for the first time at (transl. Laura McGloughlin & Paul Mitchell, Peirine 2010) $9.32 paperback $7 e-book. Comic and sometimes dark mysteries might include Teresa Solana, Crazy Tales of Blood and Guts (transl. Peter Bush, Bitter Lemon Press 2013) collection of short stories $4 as an e-book. I read two earlier Solana novels so can recommend these stories.

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Turn your life into a business and make some “extra cash” is a paradigm for a middle class under economic stress. With UBER and Lyft your personal car becomes a temporary/occasional taxicab and you shuttle people from one local destination to another [ride-sharing or ride-hailing service through a smart phone app equipped with GPS].

Now there’s a company Airbnb that allows you to turn your home into a rental property https://www.airbnb.com/s/Lubbock–TX?ss_id=6r7ta591&page=3 and there are 47 rental opportunities for visitors to Lubbock through Airbnb. Shared rooms are the least expensive at $36 per night, private rooms and separate bathrooms are the norm, and one entire lavish home at $775 per night is the most expensive. In Austin Texas there is a movement to require owners of the home [the temporary/occasional landlord] to submit to fingerprinting and criminal background checks so that travelers can be assured that they are entering a home that won’t turn into a nightmare or horrific experience.

In Austin the city asked UBER and Lyft to register their car owners/drivers and present them for fingerprinting and criminal background checks and collision driving records but the two companies refused. A new ordinance requires this and the companies have attacked that ordinance by starting a petition drive for a referendum on the ordinance to repeal it http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/group-65000-have-signed-petition-to-overturn-austi/np7Qq/

Stay tuned on this confrontation between local governments trying to promote public safety for their citizens and private out of state businesses using a digital platform to operate a business, and seeking to be unregulated and untaxed by the locales where they do business. These UBER executives are Libertarians turned entrepreneurs who are so selfish and myopic that they don’t want to succumb to community values and norms while they extract dollars from those communities. One hopes that the Austin city government will stand firm and make the ride-hailing taxicab substitutes be vetted for safe driving practices and lack of criminal records, just as commercial taxicab operators are vetted.

UBER started in San Francisco and a recent event ended with the UBER driver threatening to rape or kill the hapless female rider who was trying to cancel the ride due to anger expressed by the driver in getting to the location to pick her up http://abc7news.com/news/sf-woman-says-uber-driver-threatened-to-rape-kill-her/1037593/ UBER management would not reveal the driver’s identity, would not reveal any vetting or lack of vetting of the driver, and just says, after the fact, that he’s been permanently removed from their driver pool. Of course there’s no way to verify that. The San Francisco District Attorney and his counterpart in Los Angeles filed a civil lawsuit against UBER alleging that it hires rapists, kidnappers, and even killers as car owner/drivers in the ride-hailing service http://abc7news.com/business/san-francisco-da-says-uber-hires-killers-rapists/948513/

UBER and Lyft operate in many American cities. UBER operates in Lubbock Texas https://www.uber.com/cities/lubbock Lyft operates in 13 Texas cities but not in Lubbock yet. https://www.lyft.com/cities

I’ve lived in New York City and can tell this readership that essentially UBER is a dispatcher for a gypsy cab service. What that phrase means is that UBER’s cars don’t have a license or medallion, aren’t registered with the City of New York, and the driver of the UBER vehicle is not vetted and licensed as an operator of a cab. If anything went wrong on a gypsy cab ride, the patron who called the police would discover that the phone number for the gypsy cab service had “gone dark” and no identifiable person could be located. The gypsy and his cab service had disappeared. When I lived in New York with a wife and two young children I never put us into a gypsy cab. The slightly lower rate or fare was not worth the risk of harm.

UBER takes advantage of two sets of people, the owners of cars who become UBER drivers, a naïve and inexperienced work force treated as independent contractors that is being played for fools by UBER management, and the patrons who take grave risks in using UBER but don’t know that they’re assuming risks. UBER thumbs its nose at city officials and their regulations and city and state tax authorities, preferring to be renegade urban business operators who don’t comply with regulations and don’t pay taxes.

Four years into its activities in New York City, UBER is beginning to crumble in that market. What happened is that NYPD saw the UBER vehicles and pulled them over and arrested the driver/owners of those vehicles operating without a medallion or license. UBER was forced into purchasing a medallion [sometimes a floating medallion] for a vehicle it didn’t own and then put its unlicensed driver/owner into the vehicle. S/he had to pay out of the fare (1) a commission to UBER, (2) a New York City sales tax, and a black car fee to the City. That amounted to about 36% of the fare and the driver/owner kept the rest. The result was that UBER drivers made less than legitimate taxicab operators. They woke up, smelled the roses, and found them wilted and forlorn. A 45% attrition rate or turnover in UBER drivers occurred. Almost half of UBER drivers this year in NYC won’t be UBER drivers next year. They bail. UBER is desperate to recruit new drivers and every time it announces a fare decrease it works against itself recruiting drivers.

Cities like Seattle who’ve had problems getting UBER cars and drivers registered and vetted, passed an ordinance that permits UBER drivers to unionize even though UBER classifies them as independent contractors. If the ploy works it will force UBER to pay minimum wages and other employment benefits even when the cars are not in service and making revenue, a death knell for UBER’s business model.

New York City has 13,587 taxicab medallions and most of those are on the road 24 hours a day using three or more licensed and vetted drivers. UBER has 20,448 cars in the city but only 16% of them are rolling at any given time. What that tells us is that the New York City market or demand for UBER service is fully met, and as work force problems continue UBER will crumble in New York City. The same thing is happening in San Francisco where UBER started and taxicab medallion applications fell after 2010. In 2015 they rose as people [a few of them former UBER drivers] realize that the taxicab model for transporting people is much preferable to UBER’s model.

UBER is a privately held company with no public disclosure of its financials. Look out for the future IPO initial public offering when UBER owner executives want to bail out. They will go public, pocket the investors purchase price for shares, and walk away into the night, true gypsies. Expect the initial IPO share prices to plummet. Please don’t be an investor at an UBER IPO. Sadly, you could make a bundle of money by selling short the newly issued stock and then covering your short position a few months later at a much lower than IPO level price.

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The next exhibit at The Buddy Holly Center Fine Arts Gallery is A Look Back: Vintage Works of the South Plains January 29 – March 6, 2016. Clarence Kincaid, Jr., The Hub (1978) is a watercolor painting of a montage of structures that symbolize Lubbock, the Hub of the South Plains http://www.mylubbock.us/departmental-websites/departments/buddy-holly-center/news-item/2016/01/29/default-calendar/a-look-back-vintage-works-of-the-south-plains

Clarence Kincaid, Jr. http://www.askart.com/artist/Clarence_Kincaid_Jr/11191734/Clarence_Kincaid_Jr.aspx

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John Knox 1514-1572 was the author of A History of the Reformation in Scotland book # 1 1528-1558 book # 2 1559-1572. Texas Tech Library BR 385.K6 (1949).

The definitive biography of Knox is Jasper Godwin Ridley, John Knox (Oxford University Press 1968) 596 pages Texas Tech Library BX 9223.R5

This is the most comprehensive biography of John Knox since Hume Brown’s major study, published more than seventy years ago. The personality of Knox has alternately fascinated and appalled his posterity. The aristocratic eighteenth century condemned him; the Puritanical and radical nineteenth century admired him. Mr. Ridley’s twentieth-century view is that Knox, despite his intolerance and the tyranny of his Church Sessions, was a great contributor to the struggle for human freedom. One can appreciate the tribute that was paid to him, ten years after his death, by his English Puritan follower, John Field. “What a heroic and bold spirit he was!”

More recent biographies include Jane Dawson, John Knox (Yale University Press 2015) 384 pages $42.75 hardcover $32.50 paperback $27 e-book. Dawson is John Laing Professor of Reformation History, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Scotland and this biography is drawing praise.

Rosalind K. Marshall, John Knox (Berlinn Ltd 2008) 244 pages $19 paperback $6.14 e-book.

While John Knox initially was a Catholic priest, he early on became disquieted and was mentored by reformist George Wishart who had heresy charges placed against him but still traveled the breadth of Scotland preaching until captured by Lord Bothwell in January 1546 and turned over to Cardinal David Beaton who conducted a show trial after which Wishart was hanged on a gibbet and his body burned at a stake. In retaliation two months later Cardinal Beaton was assassinated.

Knox spent time in Geneva with Protestant Reformation leaders. He was instrumental in ultimately making the Scottish Presbyterian Church the “established” church in Scotland, constantly in tension with Scottish nobles including Mary of Guise’s daughter the famous Mary, Queen of Scots. Much blood was spilled in these religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in England and Scotland. John Knox was responsible for some of it, thus he was known as Bloody John Knox.

Queen Mary I of England 1553-1558 was a Catholic daughter of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife. Queen Mary persecuted and killed many Protestants and so was known as Bloody Mary.

She was succeeded by Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603 a Protestant or Anglican monarch [daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn]. Queen Elizabeth tried to maintain some level of uncomfortable peace and some tolerance by Anglicans toward Catholics and by Catholics toward Anglicans but conflict repeatedly occurred, occasionally deadly. In Scotland the crown was Catholic while Queen Elizabeth I ruled England as a Protestant Anglican. Mary of Guise was the second wife of King James V of Scotland and thus Queen of the Scots 1538-1542 and mother of Mary Queen of Scots for whom Mary of Guise acted as regent after James’s death 1542-1560.

One of the aspects of that “established church” status was that civil lords in their agricultural/geographical districts had the right to name the minister for a Presbyterian Church parish. At times in the 1830s the naming of a minister was unacceptable to the congregation and caused a walkout by the congregation to go to another parish. Finally, during the Disruption of 1843 there was a schism in the Church and a breakaway evangelical group formed the Free Church of Scotland, another Presbyterian Church than the former Presbyterian Church now knowing itself as the National Church of Scotland. The National Church of Scotland continued on but never thereafter wielded much power or cultural significance for Scotland. The Free Church claimed to be in succession from John Knox but gradually he became a relic of a past nationalism, not the present version of Scottish nationalism.

The Kirk is an informal name for The Presbyterian Church of Scotland or National Church of Scotland. The Free Kirk is an informal name for the Presbyterian Free Church of Scotland that broke away in 1843. Cathedrals in Scotland must be viewed specially. Most of them are pre-Reformation structures and in the Presbyterian Church there are no bishops so there is no cathedral structure like there is in Anglicanism or Catholicism. St Giles Cathedral, Glasgow Cathedral and Edinburgh Cathedral are thus places occupied by and part of the Presbyterian Church and really are just inner city parishes of the church.

The Scottish Episcopal Church http://www.scotland.anglican.org is a member of the Anglican Communion and was approved by King James VI of Scotland in 1584 as a separate Protestant Church from the Presbyterian National Church of Scotland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Scottish_Episcopal_Church In 1707 Scotland and England were united into The United Kingdom of Great Britain. The Scottish Episcopalians Act of 1711 protected the Scottish Episcopal Church but it has always been a minority church since then. It has cathedrals at Aberdeen, Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae, Oban, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, Edinburgh and Dundee. Here is a picture of a small corrugated iron St Columba’s Church at Brora, Sutherland, Highland, UK 57 miles north of Inverness Scotland https://canmore.org.uk/site/288221/brora-victoria-road-st-columbas-scottish-episcopal-church The parishioners would be known today as Anglicans or Episcopalians and most people would only use the word “kirk” to mean a Presbyterian church of some derivation. The Scottish Episcopal Church bishops, meeting in Aberdeen Scotland in 1784, consecrated the first American bishop Samuel Seabury. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Seabury_(bishop) Bishop Seabury then sailed back to America to form the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America http://www.episcopalchurch.org Here is the story http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/history-american-church

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Museum of the Southwest 1705 W. Missouri Avenue in Midland Texas www.museumsw.org/ includes the Juliette and Fred Turner, Jr. Memorial Art Museum [presently closed for restoration and renewal until June], Fredda Turner Durham Children’s Museum, Marian West and William Blanton Blakemore Planetarium, and a Sculpture Garden. Please mark your calendars for a trip this Summer to the updated Midland museum.

The West Texas Triangle established in 2006 is a collaboration between five fine art museums, namely Grace Museum in Abilene, Old Jail Art Center in Albany, Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. That collaboration enhances the exhibitions and special events at each museum. Currently a number of the Midland museum’s collection items are on display at one of the four other museums.

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Want to self-publish the book you wrote? Try Lulu.com http://www.lulu.com/

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Sundance Film Festival 2016 at Park City Utah opened on January 22, 2016 http://www.sundance.tv/festival/photos/13-must-see-indie-comedies-at-sundance-2016#/0 look around and see trailers and information about the most interesting films to come out of this year’s festival.

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The latest promotion of and by Lubbock merchants, including restaurants, is the Lubbock VIP Card. You buy it for $20 and then use it at any of many listed merchants and when you use it, 25% of the amount of your purchases are sent by the merchant to the Lubbock charity of your choice. http://lubbockvip.com/fundraising/ Of course the merchant not the customer takes a business expense income tax deduction for the contribution to the charity, and the real payor gets neither a charitable contribution nor business expense tax deduction.

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I belong to a monthly dinner club at which there is a good meal, fellowship and a member of the club speaking, often on a topic that is arcane or at least not slave to what passes for news in today’s print and broadcasting media. The topic for January 2016 was King Richard III 1483-1485: Good Guy or Evil Uncle?

Where else in town, almost any town, would one expect to have a dinner conversation about the conundrum of good and/or evil with regard to a personage now 530 years removed?

For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?

Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts, it drinks even of dead waters.

You are good when you are one with yourself.

Yet when you are not one with yourself you are not evil.

For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house.”

KAHLIL GIBRAN

All I can say is that the speaker was excellent, well prepared for his task and topic, and all of us enjoyed the presentation and the discussion that ensued. Afterward I thought how odd as well as enjoyable it was.

A tad of research disclosed that there was a gentleman’s monthly dinner club in London England in continuous operation from 1878 to 1939 titled The Sette of Odd Volumes. Originally formed by bibliophiles within or related to the book industry, it was expanded over time to include professionals, aesthetes generally, and iconoclasts of various stripes. A 149 word description of the Sette of Odd Volumes is found in The Oxford Companion to the Book (eds. Michael F. Suarez, S.J. & H.R. Woudhuysen, Oxford University Press 2010). Sette can be translated as Club. Odd in 18th century usage meant varied or unmatched. Volumes in this case is a word describing the member status, each member being a volume.

The stated objective of the Sette was “conviviality and mutual admiration” and each member was required to announce his pseudonym, examples being Idler, Necromancer, Seer, etc. and newly initiated members were required soon afterward to deliver their inaugural talk cautioned by Rule No. 10 “No Odd Volume shall talk unasked on any subject he understands” meaning that if the Volume were a chemist he couldn’t speak about chemistry but rather should speak about his hobbies or passions. The president of the club for each year, was referred to as His Oddshippe. Monthly meetings were places of excellent re-paste, light inebriation, and passionate discourse led by the speaker for the evening. Guests were allowed and some might later be proposed for initiation as a new member. Over a seven year period Oscar Wilde was a guest at six dinner meetings.

Residents of Boston Massachusetts, ever vigilant in their ability to mimic English society, founded their Club of Odd Volumes in 1887 and met at 77 Mount Vernon Street on Beacon Hill. The club, limited by charter to 87 members, continues to this day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Club_of_Odd_Volumes

Some Lubbock monthly dinner clubs are religiously oriented, e.g. The Serra Club of Lubbock http://serralubbock.org/membership.html referring to Father Junipero Serra who traipsed the length of Alta [upper] California accompanied by Spanish soldiers. Monthly dinners are at Hanley Hall, St Elizabeth’s University Parish.

Safari Club International meets monthly at Gilbert’s Bar & Grill for dinner, a program, and fellowship http://www.lubbocksci.org

Lubbock Women’s Club hosts monthly gourmet dinners and wine tastings http://www.lubbockwomensclub.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/June-P1_merged.pdf

Llano Estacado Driving Society [horse-drawn wagons and carriages] meets monthly for dinner at Furr’s Cafeteria on Slide Road. http://www.born2buggy.org

The book industry will help you get started in setting up a dinner club http://www.penguin.com/static/pages/cig/quickguides/dinner-club.php

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Inaugural issue of Authentic Texas: The Heritage Magazine of Texas, a quarterly, is Spring 2016. It’s free but to get it you must sign up to receive it. Stewart Ramser phone 432-538-7034 or e-mail publisher@authentictexas.com Five non-profit heritage organizations own and operate this magazine. They are Texas Forts Trail, Texas Lakes Trail, Texas Mountain Trail, Texas Plains Trail, and Texas Tropical Trail so you can expect magazine content that will promote tourism in the North Texas, West Texas, and Rio Grande Valley areas.

The Trails projects are an activity of the Texas Historical Commission. Texas Plains Trail executive director is Barbara Brannon of Lubbock Texas. Contact her for more information at barbara@texasplainstrail.com or phone 806-747-1997 website www.texasplainstrail.com

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Military veterans who are physically injured may very well still be strong patriots for America http://positiveboost.com/veteran-turns-his-wheelchair-into-a-snow-plow-then-plows-the-entire-neighborhood/ Justin Anderson, a Bellevue Nebraska resident, a southern suburb of Omaha on the west bank of the Missouri River, is such a patriot. He refashioned his wheel chair with tracks rather than wheels, put a scoop out front, and is plowing the snow-laden sidewalks of Bellevue during winter storms.

The character of that man is so evident from his actions that words are useless and unnecessary.

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Arts History Update for late January 2016

14 Jan

Arts History Update for late January 2016 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

Mr. and Mrs. Obama have selected contemporary art with which to decorate the White House during their tenure http://www.widewalls.ch/obama-white-house-contemporary-art-collection/ Some of that art speaks to its occupants being the first African-Americans.

Ruby Bridges was a six year old African-American girl in November 1960, six years after the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision announced that separate public education for races was inherently unequal and unconstitutional. A local federal district court order implementing the new understanding of the law, integrated the New Orleans schools in November 1960 and her parents volunteered Ruby Bridges and she was escorted to and from a previously all-white children Frantz Elementary School by federal marshals. A large and menacing crowd was outside the school. Ruby entered and that very day chaos occurred and all the white children were taken out by their parents, and all but one teacher refused to teach. The lone teacher taught one student classes with Ruby Bridges. Over the next several months a number of white children gradually returned to the school and teachers were reassigned to the school who didn’t object to African-American children. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Bridges

Norman Rockwell saw this scene act itself out and he painted The Problem We All Live With (1963) depicting Ruby walking to school surrounded by the legs of federal marshals. It was published as cover art for Look Magazine and the nation viewed it. It is part of the collection at The Norman Rockwell Museum. In Mr. Obama’s first year in office 2009 he called the museum and asked to borrow it for the duration of his presidency. http://www.colorlines.com/articles/ruby-bridges-made-famous-iconic-painting-goes-white-house It hangs in a first floor state room so international and national visitors see it. In 2011 Mrs. Ruby Bridges Hall, still a resident of New Orleans, was an invited guest at the White House and she stood next to the first family and viewed the painting. Today there is a bronze statuary of Bridges outside former Frantz Elementary School now a charter school by a different name. http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2014/11/new_ruby_bridges_statue_inspir.html

Glenn Ligon is an African-American artist. John Howard Griffin is a white journalist who blackened his skin and passed for an unemployed African-American, traveling in the south and he wrote a memoir Black Like Me (Houghton Mifflin 1961) reissued (Penguin Books 1976) Lubbock Public Library BIO GRIF 3 copies. Glenn Ligon painted Black Like Me # 2 (1992) consisting mostly of words from the memoir and it was purchased by the Hirshhorn Museum in 1993. http://hirshhorn.si.edu/search-results/?edan_search_value=black+like+me&edan_search_button=Search+Collection#detail=http%3A//hirshhorn.si.edu/search-results/search-result-details/%3Fedan_search_value%3Dhmsg_93.3 In Mr. Obama’s first year in office 2009 he called the Hirshhorn Museum and asked to borrow the painting for the duration of his presidency. http://www.colorlines.com/articles/artist-glenn-ligon-talks-history-outsiderness It hangs in the White House private living quarters upstairs.

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Ursula K. Le Guin, Late in the Day: Poems 2010-2014 (Independent Publishing Group December 18, 2015) 112 pages hardcover $19 Late in the Day, Ursula K. Le Guin’s new collection of poems (2010–2014) seeks meaning in an ever-connected world. In part evocative of Neruda’s Odes to Common Things and Mary Oliver’s poetic guides to the natural world, Le Guin’s latest give voice to objects that may not speak a human language but communicate with us nevertheless through and about the seasonal rhythms of the earth, the minute and the vast, the ordinary and the mythological. As Le Guin herself states, “science explicates, poetry implicates.” Accordingly, this immersive, tender collection implicates us (in the best sense) in a subjectivity of everyday objects and occurrences. Deceptively simple in form, the poems stand as an invitation both to dive deep and to step outside of ourselves and our common narratives. The poems are bookended with two short essays, “Deep in Admiration” and “Some Thoughts on Form, Free Form, Free Verse. –

Le Guin will read from her latest poems and sign the book at Powells Bookstore on January 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm. She lives in Portland Oregon so it’s a short drive for her to the bookstore. She’s an award-winning science fiction/fantasy novelist. She is 86 years of age https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursula_K._Le_Guin

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Canadian Brass Quintet concert is Saturday February 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Student Union Building Allen Theater on the campus of Texas Tech $25 plus $2.37 service charge for general admission, $10 plus $1.54 for seniors age sixty up http://www.eventbrite.com/e/canadian-brass-tickets-19969286674?aff=es2

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George Winston solo pianist concert is Saturday February 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm at Hemmle Recital Hall on the campus of Texas Tech $20 plus $2.09 service charge for general admission http://www.eventbrite.com/e/george-winston-grammy-award-winning-pianist-benefit-solo-concert-tickets-19969235521?aff=es2

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Ila Nicole Sheren, Portable Borders: Performance Art and Politics on the U.S. Frontera Since 1984 (University of Texas Press 2015) 212 pages $55 hardcover

E. Carmen Ramos, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art (Smithsonian American Art Museum 2014) 365 pages $45.25 hardcover


3rd ANNUAL SCOTTISH CEILIDH & ROBERT BURNS SUPPER

  • Saturday, January 23, 2016
  • 6:00pm  9:00pm

A SCOTTISH TRADITION CONTINUES IN WEST TEXAS

The 3rdAnnual Scottish Ceilidh & Robert Burns Supper will be held January 23, 2016, 6PM, at the Texas Tech Club (east side), 2508 Sixth Street, Lubbock, Texas.   

This celebration will continue to highlight Scottish heritage and the living legacy of Scotland’s Poet Laureate, Robert Burns (1759-1796). 

Activities for the evening include:

Brief lecture on the life and times of Robert Burns, prime rib dinner with haggis, neeps and tatties, the piping of the haggis into the dining room by noted Texas-born piper by EJ Jones of Houston, and Burn’s most famous poem, Auld Lang Syne, sung at the conclusion.

The Burns Supper was such a success last year that we decided to expand the program this year to include more elements of Scottish culture and heritage.  Your last name doesn’t have to begin with ‘Mac’ for you to join us for a wonderful evening!  Bagpipes, great food, fun people, a touch of the ‘highland mist’ perhaps, and a rousing time.  Wear your kilts, Gents, but remember to keep your knees together,” says Edson Way, member of the planning team.  He’ll be wearing the Red Douglas tartan himself.

The event is open to the general public and, as always, traditional Scottish attire including kilts, are encouraged.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling the Texas Tech Club at 742-4496.

This program made possible in part through a grant from City of Lubbock, as recommended by Civic Lubbock, Inc.

January 22

UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS AT THE BUDDY HOLLY CENTER

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The Arts District Center for the Arts will open in Spring 2016 in Los Angeles at One Santa Fe Street in downtown http://ladadspace.org “Keep LA Weird”.

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Friday January 8 President Duane Nellis at Texas Tech University announced that he is resigning as president effective January 22, the day after classes begin for Spring semester, and will continue as a tenured professor at the university http://www.texastribune.org/2016/01/08/texas-tech-university-president-duane-nellis-stepp/

January 8, 2016

Dear Texas Tech University Family,

Ruthie and I have truly appreciated the last two and a half years at Texas Tech University and being part of the Red Raider family. We have also appreciated the opportunity to have worked with so many of you to advance this excellent institution to new levels of success. I am proud of our enhancements to the student educational experience at Tech, that have resulted in greater levels of student retention, graduation rates, and overall student success, simultaneously, while working toward a campus-wide environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. During this same time we have strengthened our efforts to recruit more minority students, as we close in on becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, while our success in support of military veterans on our campus has been recognized nationally.

We have also hired a large number of new faculty and staff and continue to expand our infrastructure in ways that advance the university’s national research agenda. In research, we have added new research professorships, spurred new efforts in inter-disciplinary research, and created other mechanisms to grow our research enterprise. As we have extended such efforts toward new levels of economic development, entrepreneurship, and community partnerships, I am proud that last year we were one of a select number of universities nationally recognized as an “Innovative and Economic Prosperity University.” Such positive momentum has led us to be recognized the last two years by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the “Great Places to Work,” and helped contribute to our recent SACSCOC reaffirmation for our university as a whole. All of these successes, of course, were a team effort, and I thank you for your contributions.

Despite these successes and with mixed emotions, I have recently felt the need to explore new leadership directions in my career. As a result, effective January 22, 2016, I have decided to step down as president of Texas Tech University. The Chancellor and I have discussed my decision, and I will continue in my tenured university faculty position here at Texas Tech University. I also welcome the opportunity to provide a supportive role in special initiatives, focusing in areas such as international development, innovation, leadership training, and in enhancing the Honors College.

I am honored to have served as the 16th president of Texas Tech University. Ruthie and I will always have positive memories of the encouragement and strong support we have had from so many students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of this special university. During our time at Texas Tech, I will continue to work toward Texas Tech’s ongoing success.

Sincerely,

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Gardens at a French Chateau http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/french-gardens-louis-benech Louis Bench started planning, designing and planting the gardens at the chateau of Prince Stanislas Poniatowski and Princess Leticia near Cernay France, the Chateau du Bois Hinoust [hinoust wooden castle], in 1987 and has been working on the gardens ever since. The slide-show above is a blend of French formalism and English functionality and practicality. Who else among us would have a moat surrounding the mansion house?

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New Yorker Magazine is well-known. Its editors and writers now produce a weekly one hour radio show, a separate thing, and since it’s not broadcast in Lubbock, you may wish to listen to 55 minute segments online as a podcast http://www.wnyc.org/shows/tnyradiohour/ beginning with the first Saturday October 23, 2015 proceeding forward to episode 12 on Saturday January 9.

Interesting very smart conversation.

You may wish to listen only to the discrete segments, not an entire hour show. Here are the segments in podcast format http://www.wnyc.org/shows/tnyradiohour/segments/

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Iris Murdoch 1919-1999 died age 79 after a struggle with Alzheimer’s, was a novelist/philosopher and a libertine bohemian as a young woman during World War II and afterward in Britain. She was an avid letter-writer who spent up to four hours a day in hand-written correspondence, mostly with a Montblanc fountain pen. She often responded immediately when she received a letter from a correspondent, encouraging her epistolary relationships. She wrote more than 5,000 letters that exist after her demise.

Her biographer Peter J. Conradi edited Iris Murdoch: A Writer at War: The Letters and Diaries 1939-1945 (Oxford University Press 2009) 304 pages.

Recently we have Living on Paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch 1934-1995 (eds. Avril Horner & Anne Rowe, Chatto and Windus 2015) 688 pages $28 hardcover $24 e-book. The editors previously wrote a book Iris Murdoch and Morality (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) 198 pages and then edited Iris Murdoch: Texts and Contexts (2012)

An archive and other data is found at Iris Murdoch Centre at Kingston University www.kingston.ac.uk/research/iris-murdoch where Anne Rowe is Director of the Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies http://fass.kingston.ac.uk/downloads/iris-murdoch-cv-rowe-2012.pdf

An article on the recent work Living On Paper matches up epistolary revelations and feelings by Murdoch with the characters in her novels and what they’re about, a fascinating exercise that gives more meaning to her works and to her incautious behaviors and inspiring insights into the human condition. Sophie Ratcliffe, Love and Uglier Feelings: Iris Murdoch’s Life in Letters, From Gifted Schoolgirl to Aggravatingly Effortless Novelist and Passionate Bohemian, The London Times Literary Supplement, December 4, 2015 at page 3.

Simone Weil 1909-1943 French philosopher, Christian mystic, political activist and humanitarian, has always been of enormous interest to me. Gabriele Griffin, The Influence of the Writings of Simone Weil on the Fiction of Iris Murdoch: Unselfing the Other (Mellen Research University Press 1993) 360 pages Texas Tech Library PR 6063.U7 Z665 is for me a key into the philosophical underpinnings of Iris Murdoch. When Murdoch traveled in France after the war she met Jean-Paul Sartre and through him learned of the enormous influence upon thinkers by Simone Weil. Murdoch parlayed that influence.

Iris (2001) movie directed by Richard Eyre in which an elderly Murdoch is played by Judi Dench and a young promiscuous Iris is played by Kate Winslet, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0280778/?ref_=nv_sr_5 managed to describe some physical realities of her life without ever using a phrase of her novels or philosophical writings. If one knew no more than this screenplay, one might say, an interesting person recently died, but why on earth did they make a movie about her and not 3 million others? We should be charitable and admit that making a movie about “unselfing the other” might not have much of a box office. If you were to make a movie of Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, or Hellenism and Pessimism (1872), how would you do it? Who would pay to see it?

Iris (2001) is in Lubbock Public Library DVD F Iris, Video F Iris. The screenplay was based on one of the trilogy written by Iris’s husband John Bayley, Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (Duckworth 1998), Elegy for Iris (St Martin’s Press 1999), and Iris and Her Friends: A Memoir of Memory and Desire (W.W. Norton 2000). Please don’t read any of the trilogy. They are born of the resentment by a cuckolded husband whose authorship of novels and other works was so decidedly inferior to those of Iris that his resentment of her was known by all. The trilogy expresses that resentment, may to some people reduce Iris, but actually only further reduces John who never should have authored or published them. John Bayley died age 89 an eccentric literary critic and author.

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A permanent art installation at Chinati Foundation in Marfa Texas by Robert Irwin, is under construction http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/03/arts/design/robert-irwins-big-visions-barely-seen.html?_r=1 He’s now 87 years of age and is overseeing the installation. It may take a while but get your high Chihuahua Desert dune buggy out and tuned up for a run to Marfa to see it. https://chinati.org/programs/robert-irwin The Fort D.A. Russell [horse cavalry post 1911-1946] hospital structures weren’t restorable so they were demolished and Irwin’s installation goes into that space http://interactives.dallasnews.com/2015/marfa/ History morphs into art in an off the grid place like Marfa. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_D._A._Russell_(Texas) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_98 Building 98 is the former bachelor officers quarters for troops, and it was fun for me to sit in the old time saloon and quaff a libation in the same place as General George Patton did [before he was a general].

If you’re thinking, why Fort D.A. Russell? Short answer is that the Mexican Revolution against dictator Porfirio Diaz broke out in 1910 and while Diaz was overturned and sent off into exile within two years, the revolution continued and Mexico was an armed camp and didn’t settle down until 1921. Pancho Villa led the Revolutionary Army of the North of Mexico, and the bandit came across the border into the United States too often for Washington DC officials. This Fort was opened and horse cavalry from it often went into Mexico to punish cross-border activity and harass Villa and his bandidos. Brigadier General Black Jack Pershing led the most famous foray into Mexico to punish Pancho Villa. Townes Van Zandt wrote Pancho & Lefty (1972), EmmyLou Harris covered it in 1976 and Willie Nelson covered it in 1983 to great success, a song about that expedition that couldn’t quite ever corral Mister Villa.

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Fletcher Martin painted an interior mural for the U.S. Post Office building in Lamesa Texas titled The Horse Breakers (1940). That building was later replaced by another post office building, and the Lamesa Independent School District took over the building with the mural. It abandoned the building in 1987 and it’s been vacant since. The mural was unseen and untended for years but in 2014 a conservation/restoration grant was received and Scott M. Haskins, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, Santa Barbara California came to Lamesa in 2015 and removed the mural and took it to Santa Barbara where it is being worked on. http://www.pressreporter.com/Content/News/Front-Page/Article/Local-mural-has-historical-monetary-value/1/11/2937

We await its return and are intrigued by where it might be installed in Lamesa.

Information about the artist Fletcher Martin is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Martin including his mural for the Kellogg Idaho post office Study for Mine Rescue (1939) that caused quite a negative response by the citizens in Kellogg as mining was the main industry there and quite dangerous and unsafe work for miners. The truth in art can be painful. The mural was removed and hangs prominently in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Martin painted the replacement mural Discovery (1941) for the Kellogg post office. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Martin#/media/File:Mine_Rescue_1939_Fletcher_Martin_WPA.jpg and http://www.postmarks.org/pop/3300/3362.htm a photograph of Discovery at the post office building.

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January 14, 2016
Dear Colleagues and Supporters:
This morning during a special called meeting, the Board of Regents of the Texas Tech University System named an interim president of Texas Tech University and established a search committee to help identify the university’s 17th president.
Dr. John Opperman, who currently is the vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Texas Tech University System, will serve as interim president and begin his new duties January 22, 2016. He brings two decades of successful experience in higher education and has extensive history with Texas Tech University.
Serving in various capacities since 1996, Dr. Opperman has taught classes, managed system-wide strategic planning and held leadership positions in administration and finance, as well as policy development. This appointment also allows for our talented leadership and administration at Texas Tech University to remain in place and focused on strengthening our progress in their respective positions and areas.
I am confident Dr. Opperman, as well as our administration, faculty, staff and students, will do an outstanding job in continuing the important momentum that is advancing Texas Tech University as a national public research university.
The Board of Regents also appointed a search committee charged with identifying and recommending Texas Tech University’s next president. The search committee will be chaired by Regent Tim Lancaster and is comprised of representatives from multiple campus constituencies, including students, deans, faculty and alumni.
The 12-person committee consists of the following individuals:
  • Tim Lancaster (Search Committee Chairman), Regent and President & CEO of Hendrick Health System
  • Scott Dueser, Texas Tech Foundation Board Member, Former Regent & Board Chairman and Chairman, President & CEO of First Financial Bankshares, Inc.
  • John Esparza, Regent and President & CEO of Texas Trucking Association
  • Dr. Michael Farmer, Faculty Senate President and Associate Professor, Departments of Agricultural & Applied Economics and Natural Resources Management
  • Dr. Linda Hoover, Dean, College of Human Sciences
  • Dr. W. Brent Lindquist, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Don Maddox, Texas Tech Foundation Board Member and President of the J.F Maddox Foundation
  • Victoria Messer, Student Regent, Law Student
  • Linda Rutherford, President of the Texas Tech Alumni Association National Board of Directors and Vice President & Chief Communications Officer at Southwest Airlines
  • John Steinmetz, Regent and President & CEO of Vista Bank
  • Holton Westbrook, President of the Student Government Association, Undergraduate Student
  • Dr. Aliza Wong, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Honors College

Leadership from throughout the Texas Tech University System also has been asked to serve as resources available to the committee.

  • Dr. Richard Lange, President of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
  • Dr. Brian May, President of Angelo State University
  • Dr. Tedd Mitchell, President of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  • Lisa Calvert, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

I am grateful to the committee members for their dedication and service to Texas Tech University, and know they will work hard to represent all of those who support and collaborate with this great institution.

There is an unprecedented commitment to excellence and innovation at Texas Tech University, and building on this drive remains our top priority. We look forward to an even greater future with a permanent president who will bring further success and stability to our flagship institution.
Thank you again for your support of Texas Tech University and its continued prosperity.
Yours truly,
Robert L. Duncan
Chancellor

 

Arts History Update for mid January 2016

7 Jan

Arts History Update for mid January 2016 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

JPMorgan Chase just paid $367 million to settle SEC Securities & Exchange Commission claims against it http://consumerist.com/2015/12/18/jpmorgan-chase-to-pay-367-million-for-secretly-steering-clients-to-investments-that-benefited-bank/

Lifelock agreed to pay the FTC Federal Trade Commission $100 million for its breakdown in data protection, which is bad because that’s Lifelock’s main business http://fortune.com/2015/12/17/lifelock-pays-big-to-settle-ftc-suit-over-weak-data-security/

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Looking to take a guided bus tour in West Texas this year? Website www.WESTTEXASTRIP.com has six itineraries that look enticing. For more information contact your local convention and visitors bureau, in Lubbock that’s 806-747-5232 e-mail taryn@visitlubbock.org

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The pipeline of the CRMWA Canadian River Municipal Water Authority sprung a leak and Lubbock is using more of its Lake Alan Henry water

and Bailey County sandhills wells water temporarily until the pipeline is repaired http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-12-31/crmwa-aqueduct-temporarily-down-city-prepared-handle-lubbocks-water-needs#.VobjTvj4mEA Not to worry, says Aubrey Spears director of water services in Lubbock.

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Dave Hickey, 25 Women: Essays on Their Art (University of Chicago Press 2015) $29 hardcover $18 e-book, at 190 pages. Author’s previous jobs were executive editor of Art in America, editor of Village Voice, and arts editor of Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper. Very smart, sometimes controversial writing on artists, sure to be an enjoyable read.


“Idiosyncratic assessments of contemporary women painters, sculptors, and installation and performance artists by an enfant terrible of art criticism. Hickey has been a thorn in the side of art criticism for years. . . . Admirable. . . . Hickey’s writing is clever, straightforward, and honest. . . . Hickey has piquant, insightful things to say about all of these artists.”

(Kirkus Reviews)

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Medieval and early Renaissance novels don’t get much better than those by Umberto Ecco, for example The Name of the Rose (1980), Foucault’s Pendulum (1988), The Island of the Day Before (1994), The Prague Cemetery (2010) and Numero Zero (2015). Eco is 84 years of age https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Eco Of course one must tolerate lives of Franciscan and Benedictine monks in a historic Roman Catholic Church written about by an author who has forsaken Catholicism while imagining the incalculable legacy of various strains of Catholicism. Eco specializes in semiotics so words are signs or symbols for living thoughts, then and now.

The Name of the Rose Texas Tech Library PQ 4865.C6 N613 (1984) Lubbock Public Library FIC ECO one copy

Foucault’s Pendulum PQ 4865.C6 P4613 (1990) FIC ECO one copy

The Island of the Day Before PQ 4865.C6 I8413 (1995)

The Prague Cemetery PQ 4865.C6 C4613 (2011) FIC ECO two copies

Numero Zero (2015) FIC ECO five copies $19 hardcover $15 paperback $12 e-book

Most novels above are in the 500-600 page range and are dense and intricate. Numero Zero is 191 pages a novel about the murky world of Italian media politics, conspiracy, and murder set in 1992 and forward.

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Armed anti-federal government protesters have taken over a building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. They are one of many private anti-government armed militia groups in the United States. The leader is Ammon Bundy and his brother, sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who says, for him “the BLM doesn’t exist” in 2014 when he was a tenant on federal Bureau of Land Management land and refused to pay the contract rent for cattle grazing on the land or take his cattle off the land. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2016/01/03/armed-group-vows-hold-federal-wildlife-office-oregon-for-years/RKqvWrIJgzWaC93tneXIIJ/story.html?utm_source=zergnet.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=zergnet_833837 The takeover in Oregon was accomplished after dark on a weekend when no U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees were present, so no federal workers are hostages or threatened and none will be allowed to approach the compound and report for work.

This behavior is patently criminal as was that of the Branch Davidian group near Waco Texas and the Skinhead racist group in northern Idaho several years ago. Sooner or later, a waiting game will play out and one of two outcomes will happen, the protester criminals will individually skulk away from the compound closeted by federal law enforcement agents and will be welcomed into arrest and indictment for their crimes, or the protester criminals will commence or provoke a shootout to cause their deaths and hoped for martyrdom.

In many ways it’s just anguished selfishness, a group of people who don’t own or possess a valuable piece of real estate, have just trespassed and squatted and claimed it waving weaponry as their badge of authority. They couldn’t do that and it would instantly not be tolerated if they claimed the private property of another person or private entity, but they hope that they can do it and get away with it because it’s federal land and so many people in the country speak injudiciously when complaining or expressing irritation about the federal government for one reason or another.

The sheriff of the county and the Oregon state patrol have asked them to disperse and leave the property. They declined. The FBI [U.S. Justice Department] and U.S. Treasury Department have asked them to do so. They declined and are in their fourth day of occupation as I write.

On a map look for Burns Oregon and then the refuge is 30 miles to the south and slightly east. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/wtf-is-happening-in-the-oregon-militia-standoff-explained-20160103 Ontario Oregon and the Idaho border is 129 miles to the east from Burns on US Highway 20. Alturas California is south southwest of Burns Oregon on US Highway 395, a distance of 192 miles. Burns has a population of 2,806 and is the county seat of Harney County that extends south all the way to the Nevada border, mostly high altitude sagebrush desert area and semi-arid but with depressions like Malheur Lake where the refuge is located and a migratory bird flyway is maintained. North of Burns is Malheur National Forest and there are some logging operations there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burns,_Oregon

Harney District Hospital https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burns,_Oregon#/media/File:HarneyDistrictHospitalBurnsOR.jpg Harney County Courthouse https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burns,_Oregon#/media/File:HarneyCountyCourthouse.jpg

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Picasso Sculpture exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, New York City continues through February 7, 2016 http://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1505 and is awesome. Not since 1967 when The Sculpture of Picasso was exhibited by this same museum, have Americans in America seen so much wonderful sculpture by the genius painter/sculptor Pablo Picasso.

She-Goat (1950, first cast 1952) http://www.moma.org/collection/works/81670?locale=en about which the sculptor said “she’s more like a goat than a real goat, don’t you think?” and of course she is because she says so much about goatishness or the qualities of goats. If you’ve been around goats, they are strange often irksome animals who like pigs are none too fussy about what they scavenge and ingest. When they get the wrong things in their stomach they are distended like this goat and exceptionally irksome because of a pronounced indigestion. On first glance one smiles and says to oneself, the genius must have spent many hours with goats, to know this much about them, and then convey it to us.

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Want to audit a course at Texas Tech this Spring semester beginning January 21?

THA 5301-001 Playwriting I (CRN 30132) 3:30-4:50 TR: this course will focus on writing short scripts (10 to 20 minutes long) utilizing traditional, action-based dramaturgy. In-class exercises will focus on structuring plots, creating characters, shaping dialogue, etc. There will be weekly writing assignments using guided prompts. The prerequisite of THA 5300 will be waived for those who have not taken that course but who have some writing and/or theatre experience.

Questions? Contact Norman Bert at norman.bert@ttu.edu

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The Books and Beer Club is forming, its first meeting will be at Crafthouse Gastropub 3131 34th Street at 7:00 – 8:30 pm on Saturday January 30. Angela Diaz, host, is asking people to bring a suggestion for a book, and she will select the books to be read the next few months. The people in attendance will decide the appropriate time, dates and venue for future meetings. http://www.meetup.com/Books-and-Beer-and-other-things-to-drink-Club/events/227747517/

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Arts History Update for early January 2016

18 Dec

Arts History Update for early January 2016 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

Art to the People !!!

Free is the operative word for the following items. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City has many books available to read online or download free http://www.metmuseum.org/research/metpublications

Many are collection catalogue books, exhibition catalogue books, or educator publications books. An example is Monet’s Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism. Another is The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum, Metropolitan Museum Journal, volume 3 (1970). Another is Stephen D. Rubin, John Singer Sargent’s Alpine Sketchbooks: A Young Artist’s Perspective (Metropolitan Museum of Art 1991). In all there are 448 books/articles/other items digitized and accessible free at the Met. http://www.metmuseum.org/research/metpublications/titles-with-full-text-online?searchtype=F

Getty Publications Virtual Library at J. Paul Getty Museum has 250 free art books online http://www.getty.edu/publications/virtuallibrary/index.html

The Guggenheim has 109 free modern art books online http://www.openculture.com/2014/09/the-guggenheim-puts-109-free-modern-art-books-online.html

Of course many museums have for years been digitizing individual items like paintings and sculptures and those are often accessible free online. The Met has 400,000 of those images, down-loadable directly from the website for non-commercial use, and usable at no charge without the bother of asking permission from the Met. http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online Look for the OASC acronym symbol for each item, meaning “Open Access for Scholarly Content”.

The Getty has more than 99,000 such images http://www.getty.edu/about/opencontent.html

The Google Art Project has 57,000 such images https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/project/art-project

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA has 20,000 such images http://collections.lacma.org

Google Street Art has 10,000 such images https://streetart.withgoogle.com/en/

ARTstor Digital Library http://www.artstor.org is a fantastic collection of not only images but recordation and provenance information about the pieces of art. It is available only by having access to an institution that subscribes to ARTstor. http://www.artstor.org/content/subscribers Texas Tech University Library is such an institution.

Through our computers and other electronic instruments art is coming to the people. Please spend some time searching and discovering what interests you. Then enjoy.

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The annual Sundance Film Festival is January 21-31, 2016 at Park City, Salt Lake City, Sundance and Ogden, all in Utah. http://www.sundance.tv/festival/blog/2015/12/sundance-institute-completes-feature-film-lineup-for-2016-sundance-film-festival Premier films, documentary, films, films for children, and special events will occur.

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 requires most Americans to be covered by some kind of health insurance. For 2015 that requirement is implemented by health care insurance providers being required to submit to covered persons and to the Internal Revenue Service a Form 1095-B https://www.irs.gov/uac/About-Form-1095-B It must be mailed to covered persons by January 31, 2016 and if you haven’t received it by February 15 or later it’s best that you call your provider of health care insurance.

For older persons they may expect to receive a Form 1095-B from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and they will receive another Form 1095-B from their supplementary health insurance carrier [medi-gap coverage] like United Healthcare, Community First, Kelsey Care, Scott & White, Tricare, AARP, Humana etc. Some people have a separate pharmaceutical drug insurance coverage and will receive another Form 1095-B from that carrier like CVS Caremark Prescription Drug Plan.

The mailings to you as a covered person establish that you have the minimum or better health and drug insurance coverages and the IRS will not fine you or threaten you about your health insurance or lack of it. If you don’t receive any Form 1095-B from anyone, and if you aren’t exempt from obtaining such coverage, you can expect to receive a letter and follow-up from the IRS. You will have a new unfriendly friend.

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An exhibit on Hemingway is coming to a close Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars at The Morgan Library and Museum, New York City September 25- January 31, 2016. http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/ernest-hemingway With The Sun Also Rises (1926) Hemingway became a literary figure of planetary significance, sealed by A Farewell to Arms (1929) but the question is how and when did he get to be that? https://www.hemingwaysociety.org The members of the Hemingway Society will gather at his birthplace in Oak Park Illinois 1899-1961 on July 17-22, 2016 and they can tell you.

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, 1926-1929 (eds. Rena Sanderson & others, Cambridge University Press October 2015) $45 publisher http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/literature/american-literature/letters-ernest-hemingway-volume-3?format=HB

His first short story collection was In Our Time (1925) at 156 pages Texas Tech Library PS3515.E5 I352 and the second The Fifth Column [a play] and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938) at 597 pages Texas Tech Library PS3515.E5 F3. Stories before 1926 were Indian Camp (1924) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Camp In Another Country, Now I Lay Me, and A Way You’ll Never Be.

What we learn from the early fiction is that Hemingway came to his art by becoming a relentless, almost ruthless revisionist of his own work. He pared his drafts. He would later say “the more you could throw away, the surer you could be that something of substance was there to begin with”. Early drafts would have an all-observing narrator whose presence would be how we discovered the action, and in the final manuscript the narrator is gone and we are left with dialogue and an afterthought. We the reader must fill in the story, sometimes by rank speculation with only a clue or clues that could lead in several directions. The Indian Camp story was 37 pages in “final” manuscript at one point, but the published story is seven pages. Less is more when refined to how he wanted, unlike anyone else, to tell that story.

Scott Fitzgerald suggested removing two entire chapters from The Sun Also Rises manuscript and Hemingway was happy to oblige, assisting its reception as a masterpiece.

He was an American ambulance driver with the Italian Army in 1918 when he was injured in a mortar attack in a trench in Austria on July 8, 1918. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Hemingway He would spend a long time recovering, first in a Milan Italy hospital. His stories In Another Country, Now I Lay Me, and A Way You’ll Never Be, are stories about soldiers recovering from battle injuries. His imagination was informed by his own experience and he would go to that well, seeking out experiences, throughout his life.

The first piece by Hemingway I ever read was The Killers, an eight page story, still resonating in my psyche more than 60 years later. Al and Max arrive in town to kill a Swede Ole Anderson, and the hit men enter a lunch counter for a meal. We learn about a man’s fate from which he cannot or will not run. We are unaware as readers, like the diner proprietor and a customer and the cook, until we are all too aware. Hemingway doesn’t show us or describe the death, rather he sets the stage of expectation of something that is a surety. It is as if it had already occurred.

His personal life may have been a shambles, as he was not a good or lasting friend to anyone, and even too often a bad acquaintance, but he blazed a literary path that makes it seem silly or notional to speak or think about his personal life.

Hemingway was estranged from his stern and disapproving mother, but here is a 1928 photograph with his physician father Clarence http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/ernest-hemingway/images

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Bibliophiles like myself, as the year closes and another begins, offer up an occasional poem to librarians and other library workers

I
don’t
think the 
lady who just 
shushed the baby 
in the Library has any 
idea how babies really work 

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Amazon.com is arguably one of the best retailers in America, not just for its own produced or author printed on demand books but for books from many sources and thousands of pieces of merchandise that it has lured into its merchandising and delivery system. It focused on prompt low cost shipping and honed that down to a science. Then it turned that capability into a business of its own.

First it imagined how much and often it would be used and how much more often it would be used if customers paid a once per year charge and all their shipping was fast and free. Amazon.com Prime was sold for $99 per year [occasionally on sale for as low as $79] and in Lubbock the default service is free shipment in two days from anyplace in the United States. It met that goal even though it used third parties to perform some tasks in the shipping and delivery such as United States Postal Service, FEDex, United Parcel, DHL Express, and others. It interacts and plays well with others in the shipping and delivery system. Everybody is sharpening their skills and getting better at what they do.

Then it created distributorship locations at points in the country and offered Amzon.com Prime same day and next day free shipping in an area close to the distributorship. It met that goal. http://www.amazon.com/b?node=8729023011

Now it’s branched out further to products that it doesn’t retail, like meals from restaurants and food trucks. In San Antonio and the latest city, Austin Texas Amazon.com Prime Now is a delivery service from an expanding list of restaurants and food trucks in the area within one hour of ordering. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/116552/20151215/amazon-prime-now-announces-restaurant-delivery-austin.htm Fifteen zip codes in and around Austin is the delivery range for the Austin service.

Amazon.com is branding itself as the nation’s fast reliable shipper and deliverer of whatever people need, and they can do it from their computer or from a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet. Skip the store and the hassle and replace it with online shopping. It’s all paid for up front by the one annual payment that encourages us to use it more and more so as to reduce the average cost per use of the service. If you buy a lot or eat a lot delivered by Amazon.com you begin to think the shipping and delivery is very low priced and fast. You tend to like it better and better and prefer Amazon.com over its competition and it becomes your go to service for products and food. Excellent strategy that works only if Amazon.com actually does ship and deliver fast and reliably. So far it works and that dog hunts.

Order up — fish and chips malt vinegar on the side” I’ll be home in twenty and have put on my slippers and popped the cork by the time the doorbell rings for dinner to arrive. “Life is so good in this lane.”

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UBER car service is now available in Lubbock https://www.uber.com/cities/lubbock It’a a worldwide transportation service phenomena where the local drivers become licensed and then use their own cars to pick up and deliver guests, who can ride alone or can agree to ride with others who may be picked up within the next several minutes and every passenger pays a lesser charge. The website says “fares are usually cheaper than a taxi”. From my home to the downtown courthouse the website says the fare is $15-20. These services change their rates in response to temporary and intensifying demand, so hailing them at the Alamodome after a big sporting or entertainment event closes, will be more costly. That’s called “surge pricing”.

The car service is only ordered by using a smart phone and cannot be ordered by a regular phone call. The owner of a smart phone can download the free app onto his/her smart phone and then register to open an account with a payment modality like a credit card or debit card. Once that is done, that person can at anytime order up a UBER car to take him/her somewhere. After a driver picks up the order and agrees to go to the location of the orderer, the charge for that trip is assessed and payment for it clears with the orderer’s credit card company, then the UBER car starts out to pick up the orderer. Thus, each conveyance has been prepaid by the person riding as a guest in the driver’s car. Many guests ride in the front seat and chat with the driver during the trip. Changes in destination later are noted by the driver and additional charges are imposed to correct the fare. A logo symbol on the car’s bumper or windshield or somewhere will identify it as a UBER car when it arrives curbside to pick up the passenger guest at the GPS location from which the guest called to order the service.

The regional manager for UBER Lubbock is Toneek Kant. The website does not indicate his name much less how he might be contacted.

UBER car service is available in other West Texas cities like Amarillo, Abilene and Midland.

Drivers are solicited by encouraging them to make $17.50 an hour by picking up and delivering passengers using their own car. However, if there are no passengers to pick up in a block of time, the driver makes nothing. UBER is the kind of business that requires minimal capital to start. UBER uses somebody else’s cars, drivers who are not employees [they are independent contractors] and don’t get paid except through an actual transportation event, and all the capitalist entrepreneur does is manage the transportation service, electronically.

Other car services in Lubbock are: Checkers of Texas at 5719 Genoa Avenue phone 806-771-8899; Yellow Cab of Lubbock at 2307 Erskine Street phone 806-765-7777; and Royal Coach Towne Car Service at 1917 49th Street phone 806-795-3888. White Knight’s Limousine Service at 1413 Texas Avenue phone 806-771-5466 is a party or group service, expensive chauffeuring.

UBER and its competitor company Lyft do not have a good track record of starting up in the business in a proper and legal manner. In Austin Texas both companies started operating in the Summer of 2014 without business licenses and blatantly operated illegally making no attempt to gain a license or permit, or disclose to the public its business structure or operation, or pay any taxes or fees. Problems in Austin continue 18 months later since neither company has registered all its drivers and their vehicles [numbering in the thousands] and put the drivers through the background checks for having safely operated vehicles in the past, and the two companies refuse to have their drivers fingerprinted so that background checks can be conducted for criminal and deviant activities. http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/austin-council-oks-fingerprint-requirement-for-tnc/npm2B/ Yet UBER on its website advertises that its service is “safer than using a taxi cab”. Unfortunately, scaring a customer away from a business competitor has become one of commercial advertising’s tools to gain market share, despite the obvious lack of ethics. Most of the time it’s a business tort but no one is individually harmed to the financial extent that it is economically feasible to litigate against the tortfeasor.

Lyft https://www.lyft.com is available in thirteen Texas cities but none in West Texas. It is only in the United States and is not worldwide.

Here is a third party comparison of the UBER and Lyft ride-hailing car services http://www.cnet.com/how-to/uber-lyft-ride-share-ride-hailing/

Do not confuse Flywheel http://flywheel.com Hailo https://www.hailoapp.com or Gett http://gett.com/nyc/ that are apps for your smart phone that connect you with a taxicab company and permit you to pay for your fare on your phone. That’s just a convenient way to order up a cab and pay for it, without fumbling for cash.

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Arts History Update for late December 2015

10 Dec

Arts History Update for late December 2015 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

John Cowper Powys 1872-1963 in his book The Meaning of Culture (W.W. Norton & Co 1929 reissued lately in 2008 so never out of date) said “the art of self-culture begins with a deeper awareness … of the marvel of our being alive at all; alive in a world as startling and mysterious, as lovely and horrible, as this one we live in.” He also said “culture is what is left over after you have forgotten all you have definitely set out to learn.”

This self-culture is something entirely different from a good education or a cultivated aesthetic taste. Those are good things to have, but those without them may be very cultured. We do well to recall Powys’s wisdom.

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Texas Tech University School of Music is now using www.Eventbrite.com for selling tickets to its ticketed events. Most School of Music concerts and other events are free and not ticketed but for those that charge admission, this is a way to get preferred seats and quick entry into the venue. Example is http://www.eventbrite.com/o/texas-tech-university-school-of-music-6218445533?s=36063508

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We don’t go there anymore” is a familiar trope. Lake Mead Lodge http://www.nps.gov/lame/learn/historyculture/lake-mead-lodge.htm on the shore of Lake Mead National Recreation Area behind Boulder Dam (1936) renamed Hoover Dam in 1947, in Nevada is one of those places. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam concrete arch-gravity dam in Black Canyon of Colorado River at the border of Nevada and Arizona.

The Lodge closed in 2009 after visitors declined heavily after the Marina and its floating restaurant were moved in 2008 because of persistent lower water levels. Too bad, getting rid of the boating and dining crowd might have made it even nicer at a remote location. This Lodge was the first hotel on or near Lake Mead.

It was constructed by Grand Canyon-Boulder Dam Tours and opened in 1941 as Hualapai Lodge, the name of the area’s Native American tribe. It was this Boulder Beach area that was closest to the growing town of Las Vegas Nevada in the 1940s. In those days alcohol was banned in nearby Boulder City, Nevada so folks went to the Lodge on the lake for a party. In 1945 it was renamed Lake Mead Lodge. In 1954 Continental Hotel Systems became the concessionaire from the National Park Service. It constructed a swimming pool, a wading pool, and expanded the lodge. It was a popular location with 2 million visitors each year. Soon there were overnight facilities at Temple Bar and Echo Bay on Lake Mead, and Willow Beach, Cottonwood Cove and Katherine Landing on Lake Mohave. By the 1980s there were seven million visitors each year.

After closure in 2009 there were studies, surveys and bureaucratic reports and mutterings, and in 2012 a final decision was made to remove the buildings and restore the grounds to natural desert. Going, going, gone.

We don’t go there anymore”.

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Have you been to Musical Arts Center 2806 Avenue A Lubbock Texas? That’s where Moonlight Musicals auditions, practices, conducts classes, rehearses, builds sets, and otherwise does the behind the scenes work that ultimately yields a fantastic production at Mackenzie Park or Lubbock Memorial Civic Center or other performance venue www.lubbockmoonlightmusicals.org on 34th Street; travel east under Interstate Highway 27 for about five blocks and turn north on Avenue A to 2806 on the west side of the avenue.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid will be performed February 12-14 and 19-20, 2016 at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theater at 7:30 pm $65, $50, $40, and $25 at 1501 Mac Davis Lane as a Moonlight Broadway presentation and tickets are available now at Select A Seat.

Seussical will be performed June 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25 at Moonlight Musicals Amphitheater in Mackenzie Park at 8:00 pm. Pirates of Penzance follows July 8-9, 15-16, 22-23 same location, and then Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel August 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 same location. Tickets are available now.

As they say, get with the program.

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Thursday February 18, 2016 at 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Student Union Building Allen Theater is the third annual performance of Lubbock Lights this year showcasing Terry Allen’s 1979 album Lubbock On Everything. I have the audio-cassette tape and have listened numerous times. Terry Allen, Jo Harvey Allen, their sons Bale and Bucca, members of the Maines Brothers clan and others will be present to play and entertain in a uniquely Lubbock manner. $15 general admission. If you’re new to Lubbock this will be an inoculation into the true red dirt Lubbock culture by the still very much alive and kicking legendary Terry Allen. This is the event of the year both before during and after it happens. Tickets are available now http://today.ttu.edu/posts/2015/11/lubbock-lights-concert

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Saturday February 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the Student Union Building Allen Theater is a National Public Radio live broadcast production of From The Top http://www.fromthetop.org/show/nprs-from-the-top-with-host-christopher-oriley-lubbock-texas-321/ $26.75 adults $12 children general admission. Tickets available soon.

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Biggin Hill Airport is a private airport 5 miles west of Shallowater Texas, a turf runway 3,000 feet long and 60 feet wide, owned by Biggin Hill Associates managed by Dennis Way, Route 1 Box 15 Shallowater TX 79363 phone 806-873-3400. It is 13 nautical miles west of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, 19 nautical miles east of Littlefield Taylor Brown Municipal Airport, and the same distance to the northeast from Levelland Municipal Airport. Here is a photograph

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Google Cultural Institute https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/browse/?projectId=performing-arts is a free website that digitized and displays the collections of more than 800 art museums and historical archives. Now it’s moving into the performing arts. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/arts/music/google-cultural-institute-puts-us-all-onstage.html?_r=0

Recently in San Francisco a few miles form Google headquarters, public events were conducted for people to come to a gathering and view a few clips of Institute items. It’s a happening of high quality haute culture. We can also do it solo at our computer.

It’s not quite the same as being at a Paris France Opera House or Museum, but it’s wonderful.

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Ernst T.A. Hoffman 1776 – 1822 wrote The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816) in which a young German girl Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite Christmas toy the Nutcracker comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. The first ballet performance of this story was at the Marlinsky Theatre in St Petersburg Russia with music composed by Tchaikovsky in 1892, and the first performance of the ballet in America was in San Francisco in 1944. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nutcracker_and_the_Mouse_King

Ballet Lubbock offers it as a Christmas favorite at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre Thursday-Saturday December 10-12 at 7:00 pm Saturday-Sunday December 12-13 matinee at 2:00 pm $75-$25 tickets.

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Texas Tech Campus Beautification Project is nearing completion, after two full years http://www.texastech.edu/fpc/projects/project-status.php?project=13-11&entity=TTU&status=under-construction Tom’s Tree Place http://www.ttptx.com/ was the contractor for the trees at the Talkington Plaza entrance to the University and Memorial Circle at Broadway Street and University Avenue continuing to the west side of the Library Building to the Foreign Languages Building, Dairy Barn and English & Philosophy Departments Building, and then to Urbanovsky Park where a new aerated pond [not fountains], a rerouted jogging track, picnic area with seating, and a pavilion with barbeque area is going in. Here is more discussion http://www.texastech.edu/fpc/15-09-spotlight-campus-beautification.php Alex and Scott Scarborough are the principal landscape architects at Tom’s Tree Place, Tom Scarborough’s sons. Projects the firm completed at Texas Tech, include main entrance landscaping at National Ranching Heritage Center, entrance landscaping for United Supermarkets Arena, east side entrance to Jones AT&T Stadium, south garden area for Hance Chapel, and courtyard landscaping for the new Bayer Plant Science Building.

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Mejo Okon http://www.mejookon.com is a contemporary western artist whose painting Western Skyline is on the cover of the Ranch Record Fall 2015 issue by Texas Tech University National Ranching Heritage Center http://artistsintexas.com/gallery/painting/mejo-okon/bio.htm We never tire of looking at longhorn cattle despite the historical fact that it was more than a full century ago that ranchers despaired of the breed and went to short horn, Hereford, Santa Gertrudis, Brahman cross-breeds http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/santagertrudis and other breeds, more recently to Angus and Limousin breeds.

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Ana Carolina Castillo Crimm, De Leon, a Tejano Family History (University of Texas Press 2003) 327 pages Lubbock Public Library XF DDELEON CRI Genealogy Collection, Texas Tech University Library F394.V6 C75 (2003) is a book about one of the founding families of Texas. Patricia de la Garza 1775-1849 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_de_la_Garza_De_León married Martin de Leon 1765-1833 in 1795 and lived with him and had a son south of the Rio Grande River. They moved in 1799 to the San Patricio County area of Tejas, received a land grant in 1804 near the Aransas River that flows into the Gulf of Mexico ten miles north of present day Rockport Texas. They returned to Mexico but came back to Tejas in 1824 to begin the De Leon Colony on the Guadalupe River near present day Victoria Texas. They prospered under four governments, Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, and USA State of Texas. From 1833 and the death of Don Martin de Leon, Dona Patricia became the matriarch of her large family of ten children. At her demise she donated the land where she lived to the Catholic Church so you may see her home by visiting St Mary’s Catholic Church in Victoria Texas.

 

On December 7, 2015 the author of this book gave an interesting free talk on the website of the Texas State Historical Association www.tshaonline.org focused on Dona Patricia de la Garza De Leon. It is also available on You Tube.

TSHA presenter

Texas Talks with Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm

Contrasting Cultures – Patricia de Leon and Petra Vela Kenedy

 

 

Monday, 7 December 2015

06:00 pm Central Time (US and Canada), GMT -6

Watch replay

 

 

We’ve recorded the webinar on video!

In case you missed the webinar session, or in case you’d like to watch it again, here’s the link to the replay video:

Link: http://app.webinarjam.net/r/3/0/replay/18785/382bf6321b/0/12431538

Title: Texas Talks with Dr. Caroline Castillo Crimm
Description: Contrasting Cultures – Patricia de Leon and Petra Vela Kenedy

Host: TSHA presenter

Date: Monday, 7 December 2015
Time: 06:00 pm Central Time (US and Canada), GMT -6

Enjoy the replay!

 

 

Other talks are: Bernardo de Galvez and the Impact of the American Revolution on Texas; Mending Fences: The Marques de Rubi in 1767 and the Spanish in Texas: and Understanding Spanish Texas through the Life of Fray Margil.

 

 

Arts History Update for mid December 2015

30 Nov

Arts History Update for mid December 2015 by David Cummins

www.artshistoryupdates.com

Rescuing Eden: Preserving America’s Historic Gardens (The Monacelli Press 2015) 224 pages, photography by Curtice Taylor, text by Caroline Seebohm in hardcover $50 publisher $33.82 Amazon.com Twenty-eight visit-worthy gardens include:

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site garden http://www.nps.gov/saga/index.htm

Cornish NH,

William Paca House and Garden, Annapolis MD http://www.visitannapolis.org/listings/William-Paca-House-and-Garden/703/

Florence Griswold Museum and Gardens, Old Lyme CT home of Old Lyme Art Colony that developed American Impressionism art https://florencegriswoldmuseum.org/visit/museum-campus/

Historic Deepwood Estate and Gardens, Salem OR http://historicdeepwoodestate.org/estate/salem_oregon/C4/

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, Crestwood KY http://www.yewdellgardens.org/main-page.html

Pearl Fryer Topiary Garden, Bishopville SC http://www.pearlfryar.com

Each garden has been specially photographed by noted landscape and garden photographer Curtice Taylor, and introduced with authoritative and engaging text from design historian Caroline Seebohm, encouraging readers to appreciate the landscapes that serve not only as windows on American history, but living, flourishing pleasure grounds for botanists, horticulturalists, and nature lovers throughout the United States.

One of the joys of crossing the pond [Atlantic Ocean] is to wander through gardens in Europe. The City of London England has many such spaces. Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town (Yale University Press 2012) 334 pages with great illustrations. Texas Tech Library OVERSZ SB466.G75 L645. $59.18 hardcover at Amazon.com Most of these gardens are available to the public free, some with modest admission prices, some by appointment only, and some take a bit of sleuthing to even locate them. Of course many historic and wonderful gardens no longer exist as they gave way to real estate development in this metropolis. This book is within the series The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Victoria Summerly, Great Gardens of London (Frances Lincoln 2015) photographs by Marianna Majerus and Hugo Rittson Thomas, 208 pages $34.36 hardcover at Amazon.com

London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust publishes a periodical The London Gardener, or The Gardener’s Intelligencer http://library.bgc.bard.edu/catalog/ocm38127162 The Trust offices are located at Duck Island Cottage in St James’ Park.

Regent’s Park, Kew Gardens, Rectory Garden of St Anne’s, Limehouse, and others are in this list http://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/england/category/gardens-to-visit-in-london.html

Texas Gardens

Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, Dallas Texas http://www.texasdiscoverygardens.org/history.php

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden 8525 Garland Road http://www.dallasarboretum.org

Fort Worth Botanic Garden 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard http://fwbg.org

Clark Gardens Botanical Park between Weatherford and Mineral Wells address 567 Maddux Road Weatherford www.clarkgardens.org/

The Earle-Harrison House and Pape Gardens at 1901 North 5th Street Waco Texas http://www.earleharrison.com

Amarillo Botanical Gardens 1410 Streit Drive http://amarillobotanicalgardens.org

Lubbock Memorial Arboretum and Botanical Garden at K.N. Clapp Park, 93 acres at 4111 University Avenue, Lubbock http://www.lubbockarboretum.org first tree planted in 1962, a 501(c)(3) entity created in 1964. Includes Hodges Rose Garden, Perennial Garden, Sensory Garden, Wildflower Garden, and Memorial Gardens.

Horticultural Gardens and Greenhouse operated by Texas Tech University Department of Plant & Soil Science at 1204 Hartford Avenue north of United Supermarket Arena off Main Street northwest of Student Recreation Center. The gardens are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. http://www.pssc.ttu.edu/research_pages/greenhouse.php

A garden is a place you venture into with hope, energy, excitement, enchantment and the greatest of expectations. We return because we are so satisfied.

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Writing can never fully do justice to visual art, but writers seem compelled to try including Flaubert, Braque, Proust, Degas, Henry James, John Updike and others. Include Julian Barnes on that list. Julian Barnes, Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (Alfred A. Knopf 2015)

“An extraordinary collection– hawk-eyed and understanding– from the Booker Prize-winning, best-selling author of The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life. As Julian Barnes explains: “Flaubert believed that…great paintings required no words of explanation. Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting … But it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.” This is the exact dynamic that informs his new book. Barnes, in his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, had a chapter on Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa, and since then he has written about many great masters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, including Delacroix, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cezanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Howard Hodgkin, and Lucian Freud. The seventeen essays gathered here are adroit, insightful and, above all, a true pleasure to read ”

288 pages

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https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/11/23/saudi-arabia-poet-sentenced-death-apostasy Poet and visual artist Ashraf Fayadh has been in jail in Saudi Arabia for two years and is now sentenced to death by beheading for apostasy or abandoning the Islamic faith. Fayadh is a Palestinian currently [before the arrest in August 2013] living in Saudi Arabia where he was born 35 years ago. Sharia law was applied to his alleged blasphemous remarks made orally and in poetry. An earlier judgment was four years in prison and 800 lashes [permanent injury], but upon appeal he was ordered to be put to death. Human rights and cultural institutions are protesting these harsh punishments regardless of whether he did or did not say something offensive. Before the arrest he had curated an art exhibit titled Mostly Visible in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, a port city on the Red Sea west of Mecca, that went up February 25-March 25, 2013 http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/nafas/articles/2013/mostly_visible

Books, whether they be novels, non-fiction, poetry or other genres, were “edge tools” as the Victorian English called them, like knives and other weapons, and were habitually subject to state control by authoritarian regimes. They were heavily censored and punishments were severe. More significantly, reading when done well is an act of self-definition. It helps us define ourselves. It is a solitary vice. One reads and dreams, alone. The state doesn’t know what’s happening or how or when or by whom, but it knows who caused that, and it knows the harmful consequences to its authority, so it punishes the author and publisher severely. The poet and artist Fayadh has been in prison for two years three months and is now told that he will lose his head to the knife.

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Coney Island Christmas (2012) by Donald Margulies is a play Coney Island Christmas introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who (much to her immigrant parents’ exasperation) is cast as Jesus in the school’s Christmas pageant. As Shirley, now much older, recounts the memorable story to her great-granddaughter, the play captures a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays. based on a short story The Loudest Voice by Grace Paley Taking a cue from “The Princess Bride,” great grandma Shirley (Angela Paton) tells little Clara (Grace Kaufman) all about her Depression childhood in southern Brooklyn, back when every grocery shelf displayed Wheaties and Shredded Wheat; every radio played Jack Benny and FDR; and Native Americans were called Indians whenever the first Thanksgiving was retold. Young Shirley (Isabella Acres) is blessed with a loving grocer papa (Arye Gross) and stiff-necked, demanding mama (Annabelle Gurwitch). Think Tevye and Golde, and you’ve nailed them.

Conflict brews when drama teacher Mr. Hilton (John Sloan) casts Shirley as Jesus in the Nativity story over parental objections (“a shonda for the goyim”). But if you expect Mama Abramowitz won’t have a change of heart and the show won’t go on, you probably thought George Bailey was going to end up in jail for embezzlement. No, on the 1935 boardwalk under the shade of the Cyclone roller coaster, with detailed facade by Takeshi Kata, it’s very much a wonderful life. Neighbors are nosy but lovable (“Oy vey”) and all ethnicities coexist without clashing

 

Margulies is a playwright and professor of English and Theater Studies at Yale University. He was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Trump Village, a Coney Island housing project built by Donald Trump’s father. Margulies’ play Dinner With Friends won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2000. He also wrote the play Brooklyn Boy.

Lubbock Community Theater presents Coney Island Christmas December 4-6 and 11-13, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm $15 adults, children under 12 $10 at 4230 Boston Avenue Lubbock. J.T. and Margaret Talkington Foundation and Helen DeVitt Jones Foundation sponsor the production. Alan Winner directs. http://lubbockcommunitytheatre.org

This is social realism theater and a fine example is the recently concluded debut performance of Nicola Wilson’s Plaques and Tangles (2015) at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, London England. The play is about a younger woman/wife without Alzheimer’s Disease and the older same woman/wife with early onset Alzheimer’s. But of course she isn’t the same, not at all, and the family deals with her both as she is and how she was, at the same time. The title of the play is derived from the medical profession as it describes the process of cell death in the brain. Plaques are clumps of sticky protein fragments that may block transmission between cells. Tangles are twisted protein fibrils that grow in dying cells and purse a destructive journey through the brain. The blockages and strangulations that take place in the Alzheimer’s brain have their obvious analogue in the outside world, no more poignantly than in the family.

The disorienting and distancing effect of Alzheimer’s is depicted on stage and the audience reacts with a protective withdrawal from the scene, realizes what it is doing, and is mesmerized. At one point the four characters young and older husband and wife are all on stage together in a dramatic depiction of conflated time http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/oct/22/plaques-and-tangles-review-alzheimers-play-nicola-wilson experienced by a patient but not by the rest of us, until now.

Nicola Wilson http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsW/wilson-nicola.html

 

Poets & Writers Live in Austin Texas on January 9, 2016 from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm at Blanton Museum of Art, 200 East Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard $75 until December 6 $125 per person thereafter. Celebrated authors editors and agents will be on panels with some individual presentation events http://www.pw.org/live/events/austin_texas_inspiration

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The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles MOCA replaced the controversial director Jeffrey Deitch in early 2014 with Philippe Vergne and his new exhibits are rare, extremely hip and chic, and worth noticing. He obviously is well-connected to the latest in quality contemporary art artists and gets them into one or the other of the three locations: The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA at 152 North Central Avenue in the Little Tokyo district, MOCA Grand Avenue at 250 South Grand Avenue near West 2nd Street, or MOCA Pacific Design Center at 8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood.

Paris France born Vergne’s wife is the Los Angeles born gallerist Sylvia Chivaratanond who is co-curator of the exhibit The Art of Our Time that went up August 15 – April 30, 2016

http://www.wmagazine.com/parties/2015/11/moca-the-art-of-our-time/photos/ Vergne had previously been at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as chief curator and deputy director.

The Art of Our Time http://www.moca.org/exhibition/the-art-of-our-time at MOCA Grand Avenue looks quite intriguing.

At The Geffen Contemporary Matthew Barney, River of Fundament 2014 is on view to January 18, 2016 http://www.moca.org/exhibition/matthew-barney-river-of-fundament and it is more than intriguing.

Lest you wonder if this museum is too edgy for your taste, or perhaps just a recent invention of upscale coffee shop chatter, its own collection pieces that are currently on view to the public include:

Andy Warhol, Telephone 1961

Jasper Johns, Map 1962

Cy Twombly, Untitled 1967

Mark Rothko, Black on Dark Sienna on Purple 1960, Dark Over Light Earth/Violet and Yellow on Rose 1954, Purple Brown 1957, No. 301 1959

Jackson Pollock, Number 3 1948

and other certifiable master works of modern art.

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Body of Art (Phaidon Press Limited 2015) 440 pages $39 hardcover at publisher and at Amazon.com http://www.phaidon.com/artspacebodyofart/ Texas Tech Library OVERSZ N7625.5 B62 (2015) explores, inter alia, performance art that uses the human body as a medium. The book demonstrates versatility, emotional impact, and sheer strangeness about the use of the human body. Some of the static and art performances transgress reasonable limits of safety, sanity and decency, all in the name or prism of aesthetics. Don’t let children near this tome.

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