Skip to content

By the Way...

Texans like to shop, there's no doubt about it. If you enjoy spending your money with small retailers who know their customers and hand-pick their merchandise, log on to www.shopacrosstexas.com, a site that highlights mom-and-pop stores, as well as larger centers and malls, statewide. Click on a town, and voilà! Or, check out the site's suggested "Road Trips," one of which takes you on an antiquing trek from Dallas to Tyler...

The Dallas Museum of Art, founded in 1903, boasts one of the largest and most important American silver collections in the country, a world-renowned collection of Indonesian art, a comprehensive collection of 20th-Century Texas art, and works by artists as diverse as Gauguin, Degas, Jasper Johns, and Thomas Struth. From January 8 to January 12, the DMA launches its centennial with a five-day marathon of 24-hour programming, during which admission to the museum will be free. Events will include midnight "insomniac" tours of the galleries, evening film screenings and readings of poetry and short stories, early-morning yoga classes, and even a "Hats Off to Dallas" family day with art activities and a birthday cake….call 214/922-1200; www.DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Twenty-one Old Master paintings on loan from the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, are on view at the Beeville Art Museum through February 12. The works on display include important pieces from Italy, England, France, and the Netherlands, including The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine by Peter Paul Rubens. Established in 1964 as a "museum without walls," the Blaffer Foundation makes numerous loans to small museums for the purpose of art education.…call 361/358-8615; www.BeevilleArtMuseum.net.

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Texas! The Montreal-based, all-human circus never fails to dazzle. Beginning January 23 under a state-of-the-art big top in Dallas, the show Alegría features an international cast of 56 performers and musicians from 13 countries. This isn't the circus of our youth: Imagine the Mongolian art of contortion combined with knife-throwing, fire-dancing, and high-speed aerial acrobatics, all performed to gorgeous, soaring music, and you've merely touched on the surface. Alegría opens in Houston on March 6, in Austin on April 24….call 800/678-5440; www.cirquedusoleil.com.

In 1853, steamboat captain Richard King founded a cattle ranch in South Texas' present-day Kleberg County, a swath of land that varied from fertile farmland to coastal marsh and mesquite-gnarled pastures. He called it the King Ranch. Today, it sprawls across some 825,000 acres and is one of the nation's largest working ranches. To salute the ranch's 150th anniversary, stop by and take a tour: You'll find much more than cattle. Guided nature tours take in the ranch's abundant bird and animal life, and historical and agricultural excursions delve into the ranch's rich legacy (the hardy Santa Gertrudis breed was created here). At the ranch's museum in downtown Kingsville, you'll find saddles, guns, full-scale replicas of historic Texas flags, antique cars and carriages, and a photo essay on King Ranch life in the 1940s.…call 361/592-8055; www.king-ranch.com.

We hope the story on Big Bend in this issue inspires you to learn more about the region, and to plan a trip out West soon. Until then, settle back with a copy of UT Press' latest Big Bend homage, God's Country or Devil's Playground: The Best Nature Writing from the Big Bend of Texas, an anthology of works by Aldo Leopold, Roland H. Wauer, Barton H. Warnock, David Alloway, Walter Prescott Webb, Roy Bedichek, and other naturalists who fell in love with the region. The book costs $22.95 in paperback, $60 hardcover….call 800/252-3206, or head to your local bookstore.

Through March 2, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth presents The Floral Art of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, a collection of botanical illustrations by the artist hailed as "the Raphael of Flowers." With patrons as varied as impassioned botanist Charles-Louis L'Héritier de Brutelle, French Queen Marie Antoinette, and Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, Redouté (1759-1840) repeatedly found favor for his lavishly beautiful flower depictions. Many of the artist's original watercolors were destroyed long ago in a Paris blaze, so the examples shown in this exhibition–culled from private collections throughout the world–are of exceptional rarity….call 817/332-8451; www.kimbellart.org.

Since 1988, music-lovers in the Port Arthur area have been paying their respects to the late homegrown blues mama Janis Joplin on the occasion of her birthday. This year's celebration–the 16th Annual Janis Joplin Birthday Bash–takes place January 25 at the Port Arthur Civic Center, where thousands of fans will gather to listen to live music by big-name performers. (At last year's bash, the legendary Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown wowed the crowds.) While in Port Arthur, be sure to drop by the Museum of the Gulf Coast, where the Music Hall of Fame pays homage to such other Gulf Coast music-makers as J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Clifton Chenier, the members of ZZ Top, and Percy Sledge….call 800/235-7822.

The Houston Arboretum, a tree-laden section of Memorial Park set aside as a sanctuary for native plants and animals, hosts year-round classes, guided nature walks, and family-oriented films, lectures, and demonstrations. On January 18, the Arboretum celebrates Arbor Day with free tree-seedling giveaways, planting demonstrations, tree-identifying tours, activities, games, and displays. Kids will enjoy puppet shows and storytelling, as well as appearances by Johnny Appleseed and the Lorax, who will "speak for the trees." …call 713/681-8433; www.houstonnaturecenter.org.

Renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose recyclable paper homes sheltered victims of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, has designed two public works in this country. In 2000, his stunning Paper Arch covered the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for several months (then was recycled). Now, his Bamboo Roof graces the Rice University Art Gallery's plaza in Houston. Built (at his stipulation) by students, the work will be in place outdoors through the spring….call 713/348-6069; www.rice.edu/ruag.

Paula Felps' Lone Stars and Legends, The Story of Texas Music (Republic of Texas Press, 2001) takes an imaginative tour of Texas with the musicians who helped put the state on the musical map. Read about the lives of such Texan popular-music pioneers as Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Blind Lemon Jefferson, as well as such lesser-known performers as jazz artists Harry Babasin, Herb Ellis, and Gene Roland. The author, a former arts editor for the Denton Record-Chronicle, traces overlapping genres chapter by chapter, be it boogie-woogie's rise to jazz or Western Swing's evolution into honky-tonk. Touching on the Baca Band, Joe Patek, and Lydia Mendoza, Felps also shows how artists with roots in Czech, German, Mexican, and Creole styles contributed to the growth of American popular music. Find Lone Stars and Legends at your library or bookstore ($18.95), or call 800/229-4949.

Beginning January 31 and continuing through April 27, The Menil Collection in Houston will display Donald Judd: The Early Years, 1956-1968, the first comprehensive exhibition of Judd's early works. Art cognoscenti (and art-lovers who have visited Marfa's Chinati Foundation, which highlights the artist's famous aluminum boxes) recognize Judd's later works: illuminated cubist structures and dramatic statements juxtaposing space and shadows. Judd's early works–paintings, drawings, and other works on paper, loaned from public and private collections in Europe and the United States–make their only U.S. stop at the Menil, where they help illustrate his nascent minimalism. Thanks to recent favorable press in The New York Times, you may have to fight off New York-size crowds to see this show….call 713/525-9400; www.menil.org.

From the March 1998 issue.

Back to top