A note from the editor:
The Winspear Opera House was lit up in red lights for one night this past week. So was the Meyerson. So were other buildings in the Dallas Arts District and beyond on Sept. 1 as part of a nationwide campaign — #RedAlertRESTART — to raise awareness about the needs and importance of performance venues in the wake of coronavirus. Not that we needed much reminding. A recent survey revealed that Dallas’ nonprofit arts and culture community has endured $67.7 million in financial losses and shed more than 1,200 jobs since March.
We’ve chronicled those devastating impacts in the pages of The News. But we’ve also chronicled something else these past six months: resilience. North Texas’ creative community took a breath, washed its hands (repeatedly) and got busy. Our museums have cautiously reopened, galleries are accepting limited appointments, performers and dancers are staging drive-in theater, orchestras are gladly preparing to play to their smallest audiences ever and connecting virtually is now just standard practice. Somehow, against all odds, we will have a fall arts season — smaller and stranger, but no less satisfying.
After all these months of social distancing, we’re desperately craving connection. We need to tell stories. We need our stories to be told. Shine a light.
— Christopher Wynn
Was William Shakespeare a feminist?
That’s the question at the heart of a project from Shakespeare Dallas this fall. To celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave many women the right to vote, the company known for its Shakespeare in the Park productions will string together a selection of the Bard’s more feminist texts in Shakespeare and the Suffragists.
The project, conceived by associate artistic director Jenni Stewart, imagines four historical suffragists using Shakespeare passages to justify their right to vote. Stewart says the show will also wrestle with the ways Shakespeare has been reinterpreted over time. Monologues and characters that seemed ahead of the times in 1920, and certainly in the Elizabethan era, are reread from a second-wave feminism perspective through a new, more complicated lens.
The show will be available virtually from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30, with $5 tickets. It’s part of the company’s larger pivot this season to virtual or socially distanced entertainment options. Although there won’t be a live stage production, the company is offering films in its outdoor amphitheater at Samuell Grand Park this fall. Every Thursday in October, the company will screen a Shakespeare-related film, starting with Shakespeare in Love. On Fridays, it will be a classic film, while Saturdays will feature a family-friendly one.
— Lauren Smart
The curtain rises
If the pandemic were a work of art, its theme might be connection. Since the pandemic began, all those unwittingly in its audience have been given the opportunity to experience the devastating lows of disconnection and loss, as well as the placid highs of familial and neighborly connection and kindness.
But let’s leave that exploration to the real artists. As part of its reduced 2020 season, Imprint Theaterworks will present The Tree — An American Rock Musical from Oct. 29 to Nov. 14. The show will explore human nature, good and evil, and “what connects us all.” It is a collaborative project between well-known local theatermakers: six playwrights including Jonathan Norton and Mike Federico, choreographer Danielle Georgiou, and musicians Aubrey and Ian Ferguson and Drew Wall.
The show is one of the few this fall with performances streaming online and held before a live audience outdoors. Imprint Theaterworks will also present a fully virtual one-man show, The Impact of the Gadget on Civilization by local playwright and actor Mark Oristano, Sept. 17-26. Tickets to both of these shows will be available soon.
— Lauren Smart
Suck it up
The unnamed protagonist of celebrated Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas is not the first critic to be compared to a blood-sucking vampire. In his case, the metaphor is nearly literal: He fetches victims for living dead he’s befriended, tempted to join their ranks. He’s already a bitter, nasty theater critic unafraid to use the power of his words to close shows like Frank Rich in the ’80s.
In 2001, Undermain Theatre producing artistic director Bruce DuBose played the part in the one-man show originated by Scottish actor Brian Cox off-Broadway in the late 1990s. Now, in a new production to be streamed online Oct. 7-25, DuBose reprises the role. “It seems to contain something of the dark-edged spirit of the times,” he says. “The critic exists in a world beset by vampires, entities that prey on human kind, much like the virus which preys upon us now.”
Undermain is also streaming a 2014 production of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present a Presentation… from Sept. 16 to Oct. 4 while putting off shows with live audiences until 2021.
— Manuel Mendoza
Celebrate Latin culture this fall
The Wright Art Twins Gallery, founded by local artists and twin brothers, Princeton and Preston Wright, is hosting its second Latin Art Show this November. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the second time it’s been rescheduled this year.
In celebration of Latin culture, the event will feature Latino and Latina dancers. Salsa, bachata and tango tunes will echo in the gallery. Work from local artists will also highlight Latin culture.
The event might just be what folks need right now.
Last year’s program “brought people together,” Princeton wrote in an email, and helped create a feeling of relief among attendees.
Face masks will be required, there will be temperature checks and hand sanitization before entry and attendees must maintain social distance.
Details: Wright Art Twins Gallery at 830 Exposition Ave., Tickets are $6 to $10. wrightarttwins.com.
— Lisa Salinas
For curious ears
This fall, there’s no shortage of Beethoven or Mozart in the D-FW classical music scene. But what about pieces by composers active in the 20th and 21st centuries? Two area ensembles will highlight such composers over one weekend in October.
Voices of Change, Dallas’ modern music group, will open their concert on Oct. 18 with organist Bradley Welch performing Charles Ives’ rousing Variations on America. Dallas-based composer Jonathan Cziner’s Second Sonata for Violin and Piano — which alternates between lustrous harmonies and more pointed and frantic episodes in its first movement — will follow. The Piano Quintet in C Minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams will serve as a finale.
The Sounds Modern series — which curates concerts around exhibits in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth — will produce a livestreamed performance in front of a limited, socially-distanced audience on Oct. 17. Led by director Elizabeth McNutt, the program complements Mark Bradford’s “End Papers,” a series of large abstract paintings incorporating materials from his experiences growing up in his mother’s Los Angeles hair salon.
Featured musical works will include Julius Eastman’s Stay On It, a structured improvisation for chamber ensemble in which a vocalist repeats the title words, and Daniel Bernard Roumain’s Hip-Hop Studies and Etudes, which the composer has described as his response to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and Philip Glass’ Music in 12 Parts.
— Tim Diovanni
Dallas, Fort Worth orchestras schedule smaller-scale fall concerts
While orchestras around the country have canceled at least fall seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Dallas and Fort Worth symphony orchestras are keeping most of their scheduled fall dates — and scheduled conductors and soloists. But they’re doing so creatively, rejiggering programs to use fewer musicians and dramatically reducing audiences.
So don’t expect big Mahler symphonies or major chorus-and-orchestra works. But this is a chance to hear, say, Mozart and Beethoven symphonies with smaller forces more typical of their first performances — and other works better heard with chamber-orchestra ensembles. Given multiple uncertainties, though, everything is subject to change.
The FWSO also plans on a maximum of 40 musicians for classical concerts at Bass Performance Hall, with audiences limited to 496, or 25 percent capacity. Pops concerts are being moved to the larger Will Rogers Auditorium, where 800 seats will be available. 817-665-6000, fwsymphony.org.
— Scott Cantrell
Filling a void
In 2019, a group of local queer artists formed a collective called Third Space DFW (featured at top). Their goal? To fill the lack of LGBTQ representation in Fort Worth’s art scene and provide a safe and public platform for queer artists in the area.
Third Space DFW will produce their first official gallery online this December. The exhibit was originally scheduled to open in the spring.
“Once a Day Swallow a Small Sun” seeks to cover the ever-growing definition of queer health. For co-founder Antonio Mercado, topics of health — including sex, gender reassignment surgery and depression — are still stigmatized in the LGBTQ community.
He hopes that artists’ expressions of what their health means to them will open a dialogue and connect people. With the COVID-19 health crisis in their midst, “[artists] have a whole subject matter that we weren’t expecting,” Mercado says. “Now we can talk about health from a queer perspective.”
Artist submissions for the exhibit are now closed. Participants will be announced in the coming weeks.
— Jacob Reyes
Sculpture honors a Black leader in Corsicana
Statues have power.
We only create these monuments for those we deem worthy of immortalizing. Those whose ideals, life-lessons and contributions we hand down to our children.
But as we continue to engage in the debate of whether to remove Confederate monuments, it has forced us to consider the effects of valuing those whose ideals were rooted in the subjugation of Black people, and how the centuries-long uplifting of these figures and their values has brought us to our current moment of racial awakening.
This past summer, the G.W. Jackson Multicultural Society of Corsicana, Texas commissioned visual artist and Rhode Island School of Design professor Spencer Evans to create a sculpture of G.W. Jackson, a community leader and the first African-American principal in Corsicana.
G.W. Jackson was an Alabama native and a graduate of Fisk University, the historically Black college with notable alumni including W.E.B. Dubois and John Lewis. Jackson served as the principal of Frederick Douglass High School (later renamed for Jackson) from 1881-1927. Though he transformed Corsicana’s public school education, the city didn’t publicly recognize Jackson until 2007 when it renamed a street in his honor.
“Americans are conditioned to believe that some folks matter and others don’t,” Spencer Evans said from his home in Rhode Island. “Working on this sculpture … not only allowed me to process what’s happening right now, but to also create a lasting image of a man who mattered.”
As Evans worked on the piece, he said it felt like G.W. Jackson was speaking to him and guiding some of his artistic choices. He also felt inspired to stay in the studio for more than 12 hours some nights. Part of a larger project to memorialize Jackson, the statue will be unveiled this winter at 705 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd in Corsicana, on the grounds where the principal’s home once stood.
— Ya’Ke Smith
Artist examines our precarious existence
With countless solo and group exhibitions on both sides of the Atlantic since obtaining his MFA at New York University in 2013, Detroit-based artist David Flaugher has generated a fair amount of attention. His latest exhibition in Dallas, at And Now Gallery, will consist of three large-scale paintings and several floor sculptures that will expand and deepen his exploration of both the beauty and precarity of existence through his use of ephemeral materials and found objects.
A first-hand experience of the devastation wrought upon Detroit by the failure of our financial institutions during the aftermath of the crisis of 2008 imbues his work with a sensibility empowered by a universal appeal, being that the boom-bust cycle of capitalism comes around the corner ever so fast these days. Something that used to span generations has, reflecting the sped-up nature of contemporary life, evolved into a period of little more than a decade.
The scope of the crisis is global. This is what we see reflected in Flaugher’s almost capricious yet timely work. They’re paintings of symbolic snowmen in oil on linen, white, proud, bold — fearfully waiting for the moment they know all too well shall come — when they finally melt away.
Details: “David Flaugher” runs Sept. 12 to Oct. 17 at And Now Gallery, 150 Manufacturing St., Suite 101, in the Dallas Design District. 214-205-9909, andnow.biz.
— John Zotos
Bold pairings at the DMA
Exploring “hope and resilience in the contemporary moment,” a 12-member curatorial team at the Dallas Museum of Art has organized “To Be Determined,” which groups works of contemporary art with pieces from across the collection in unexpected pairings. Broadly speaking, many of the works express some sense of unresolved longing or worry — appropriate to the present time — whether in Glenn Ligon’s upside-down neon America or Antonio de Pereda y Salgado’s 1659 Sacrifice of Isaac.
Among the highlights of the show are two new large-scale paintings by Jammie Holmes, commissioned for the exhibition by curator Vivian Crockett. The Dallas-based Holmes recently made a national impact by commissioning airplanes to fly over five U.S. cities, pulling banners bearing the last words of George Floyd. Most of the time, however, he works in painting. Born in Thibodaux, La., to a Sierra Leonean father, the self-taught Holmes draws deeply on the Black culture of his hometown and the Deep South, combining a sense of intimacy and community with a bold, sharp energy. Four Brown Chairs, one of the new works, has friends sitting around a table playing cards, in a room whose graphic patterning and flattened space recall the interiors of Van Gogh and Matisse.
Details: “To Be Determined” runs Sept. 27 to Dec. 27 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free with reserved timed general-admission ticket, dma.org.
— Benjamin Lima
Leonardo Drew at Talley Dunn
Fresh off an outdoor installation at Madison Square Park in New York, Brooklyn-based artist Leonardo Drew will have his third show (and first since 2017) at Talley Dunn Gallery. Born in Tallahassee, Fla., and raised in public housing in Bridgeport, Conn., the 58-year-old Drew has explored the natural cycle of creation and destruction in an international career stretching from the Tate in London to the Dakar Biennial in Senegal.
Using wood, paint chips and plaster in techniques of assemblage and additive collage, Drew creates wall reliefs that are both monumental in scale (up to 10 feet tall) and minutely detailed. While the blackened wood evokes the primal, destructive force of fire, the work’s intricate details suggest a deeper order that can withstand the chaotic forces enveloping it. In Number 198T (2019), the colorful fragments sprinkled on the top half of the piece strike an incongruously sweet note.
Details: “Leonardo Drew” runs Sept. 15 to Dec. 15 at Talley Dunn Gallery, 5020 Tracy St. Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. By appointment only. Free. talleydunn.com.
— Benjamin Lima
Exhibit pays homage to victims of racial violence
Fort-Worth-based artist Letitia Huckaby’s upcoming exhibit, “5 Paper Dolls: A Contemporary Tale,” draws parallels between the racial strife preceding the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the divisive political agenda espoused by the current administration.
The show’s inspired by the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a white supremacist attack that killed four Black girls. The title of the exhibit, 5 Paper Dolls, refers to the four girls killed in the bombing, as well as a survivor, Sarah Collins Rudolph, who became known as the “fifth little girl.” Also, the title’s a nod to the popular children’s toys of the 1960s.
Continuing in her tradition of photographs printed on heirloom fabrics, Huckaby’s pieces feature imagery of young Black girls that ranges from timeless to contemporary. Some of the children are shown in black face masks, which serves as a gesture toward the concurrent pandemics of COVID-19 and police brutality against people of color.
Details: “5 Paper Dolls: A Contemporary Tale” runs Oct. 17 to Nov. 28 at Liliana Bloch Gallery, 4741 Memphis St. 214-991-5617. By appointment only, masks required. lilianablochgallery.com.
— Danielle Avram
Meadows hosts Renaissance master Berruguete
For us Old Master addicts, the Meadows Museum may provide the last big fix of 2020 with “Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain.” The local art world has been waiting all year for this ambitious exhibition, which was canceled in March just as the pieces would have shipped from Spain.
In a surprising announcement, Meadows authorities recently revealed that the show would open later this month as originally planned, making it the first major exhibition dedicated to Berruguete (1488-1561) outside of Spain. This artist, well known in Spain for his dramatic style and proficiency in working with both marble and polychromed wood, spent 10 years in Italy during the High Renaissance.
After returning home, his experience and creative agility revolutionized the arts in Spain. The Italian Renaissance brought forth what has been described as a paradigm shift in the European arts and sciences through a retrieval of classical naturalism interwoven within perspectival space, paving the way toward an investigation of reality that moved far beyond medieval models. Berruguete’s contribution made it possible for Spain to become a major player in the arts.
This exhibition places key works within a reconstructed altarpiece, part of a selection of 45 paintings, sculptures and works on paper — a welcome return from our recent online virtual void to art in real space.
Details: “Alonso Berruguete: First Sculptor of Renaissance Spain” runs Sept. 20 to Jan. 10 at the Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Blvd., meadowsmuseumdallas.org.
— John Zotos
‘Frame of Mind’ returns with its 28th season
KERA’s Frame of Mind — which has highlighted Texas filmmakers since 1992 — returns Sept. 24 with nine episodes running through Nov. 19. This season has range: “The Savage Seconds” offers a surreal, operatic coming-of-age story told through movement, music and intrigue; “Proof” looks at photographer Byrd Williams IV on his quest to preserve the past and “Dance Hall Days” documents the efforts of Texans to save once-vibrant recreation spaces on their way to extinction.
In the first episode, journalist Bob Ray Sanders explores how North Texas media has portrayed racial issues beginning with the 1961 film Dallas at the Crossroads, a plea for Dallasites to reject violence as a response to court-ordered desegregation. Viewers also see excerpts from a taped town hall in the 1980s featuring a diverse group of Dallas leaders discussing racial issues. Through such historical examples, Sanders invites audiences to consider how the region is grappling with the topic of racism today.
Details: Frame of Mind airs every Sunday this fall on KERA, Channel 13, starting at 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 24.
— Christian Vasquez
Read up, Dallas
From bookstore appointments to virtual author talks, and book clubs, Deep Vellum Books remains a vibrant place whether visitors are browsing the shelves behind a mask or behind a screen. The shop’s popular club Book Cult continues to meet online the last Tuesday of every month. They discuss Black Card: A Novel with author Chris L. Terry at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29.
Deep Vellum’s publishing house, which recently expanded its scope beyond translations, will host a Facebook Live with Dallas-based author Mike Soto at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 about his first collection of poetry, A Grave Is Given Supper. At 6 p.m. Oct. 7, the Mexican author Cristina Rivera Garza will discuss her new book, Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country, with translator Sarah Booker and author Lina Meruane. At 6 p.m. Oct. 13, Mexican poet and novelist Daniel Saldaña Paris will be in conversation with translator Christina MacSweeney and Deep Vellum’s Cristina Rodriguez about his new book, Ramifications. And every other week, Rodriguez sits down with booksellers at RiffRaff Books in Providence, RI to make book recommendations from what’s new in the world of independent publishers. Deep Vellum seems to understand that books have become an integral part of a stay-at-home routine.
Details: 3000 Commerce St., 972-638-7741, deepvellum.org.
— Lauren Smart
Author events go virtual
It’s the political season, which normally means authors touring through town every autumn week, talking about their new nonfiction books on politics at luncheons and at bookstores. But in this, the year of the pandemic, the authors are staying home and coming to us via the internet, including the lineup of nonfiction writers who will be guests of the World Affairs Council of D-FW, in partnership with Interabang Books. For details, visit dfwworld.org/events.
Among them is political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, whose latest book is A Cry from the Far Middle: Dispatches from a Divided Land (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26). In it, among other things, O’Rourke wonders why politicians don’t have to be licensed, and he asks his fellow Americans to take a deep breath and relax, please. He will appear Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.
In a book event of special interest for Texans, Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker will discuss their biography, The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III (Doubleday, $35). Jim Baker of Houston was a Republican power broker, but he also was a pragmatic dealmaker who shaped the end of the Cold War as the right-hand man for four U.S. presidents. He managed five presidential campaigns, and he ended a sixth by managing the 2000 Florida recount that put George W. Bush in the White House. The two authors will appear Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.
CNN host Fareed Zakaria looks ahead to changes even now being wrought in Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World (W.W. Norton, $26.95). In it, he examines the political, social, technological and economic consequences that will affect the globe for years to come, urging readers to think beyond the immediate problems of COVID-19. He will appear Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.
— Joyce Sáenz Harris
Six Foot Love Series
The Wild Detectives bookstore and bar is offering pandemic-time entertainment and conversation with the Six Foot Love Series.
Every Thursday starting Oct. 24, the venue will host concerts, plays, readings and discussions in its backyard with limited seating and capacity. The Wild Detectives owner, Javier Garcia del Moral, said events are core to the purpose and experience of the bookstore.
Events foster conversation between patrons of the store, which Garcia says exposes people to new ideas in a time when society is most polarized.
“It’s really hard to evolve and to make the effort to understand different views from your own if you don’t have a conversation with someone,” Garcia said. “It’s the only way to get closer together.”
The events will be socially distanced and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attendees may only be in contact with their party, tables are six feet apart and masks are required. Seats can be reserved on the bookstore’s website.
Details: 314 W. Eighth St., 214-942-0108, thewilddetectives.com
— Carrington Tatum
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