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The Friday Roundup – at Long Last!
by Jerome Weeks 16 Mar 2012

A new chair, an old mural and a busload of books — quite the interesting roundup for this Friday morning.

CTA TBD

OLD MURAL FOUND DOWNTOWN. It’s more than 40 feet wide and it’s by New York artist Jack Lubin, so it’s kinda hard to miss — except that it was hidden for years by an entire wall. In what will undoubtedly be only his first story [oops, sorry, it’s his second] hidden behind the Dallas Morning News pay wall, the former Unfair Parker Robert Wilonsky reports that workers found the mural while gutting the old Empire Room supper club inside the long-derelict Statler Hilton Hotel in downtown Dallas. Last year, two murals in New York’s Garment Center by Lubin were removed over the objections of preservationists. It’s unclear what will happen to the Dallas mural because the hotel’s future is unclear; current owner Leobardo Trevino is slowly renovating it but with no definite end game. (A nice thing about the DMN online version over the print: You get to see the mural in color. Worth a look.)

NEW FURNISHINGS. Dallas has the Winspear Opera House; Denton has the endowed Winspear opera chair. The estate of Bill Winspear has given UNT $1.5 million to establish the Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies. First person to sit in it is Paula Homer, the director of opera who joined the UNT faculty in 1992. Actually, UNT already has a Winspear Performance Hall, so unlike Dallas, they’ve decided to finish it by furnishing it. The new endowment will be “used for opera production costs, financial support for voice students in opera, supplementary salary or other professional support for the chair.”

MOVING TARGET. A New York Times editorial hails a busload of books being driven across Texas. No, the condition of our public libraries (or our bookstores or our public education) hasn’t gotten quite so dire we’re grateful for any delivery. The books are actually headed to Arizona in a caravan that originated in Houston. It’s a protest by novelist Tony Diaz against Arizona’s 2010 law making it a crime for any school to teach “ethnic solidarity” — meaning, in this case, Mexican-American studies. The caravan left El Paso Wednesday, plans are for it to be in Tucson by the weekend — where they’ll hand out the books for free.

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