Piney Woods Live – June 2014

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priceless -– take one


Jigglewatts to perform at RMC

THIS ISSUE: Strong Women Who

June 2014




in JUNE JU UNE 6 & 7 Big Cypress Classic Corvette Show



JUNE 6-8 Route 49 Motorcycle Ralley

JULY 4TH 4th of July Celebration


JULY 25 - AUG 16

Theatre Festival Texas Sounds Internatonal Country Music Awards

Classes for Children & Adults


XXX ./(# 14)

REGISTER TODAY BY PHONE OR ON OUR WEBSITE! 903.753.8103 รง WWW.LMFA.ORG | 903-665-3733 June 2014 - Page 2

215 E. Tyler St. s Longview, Texas

“A Artt iss defi fine ed as a p pro rodu d ct du c of de delibe era ate ely ging ele ements in a wa ay th hat appea e lss to arrrang the e sen nsess orr em motions ns. Pin ns neyy Woo ods Livve is an n exp xpresssio on of the h com omm mun nity ty it serr ve es.”

JIGGLEWATTS by Jacob J. Mauldin

Join us as staff writer Jacob J. Mauldin takes us on a journey into the world of Burlesque, as the Jigglewatts get ready to grace the stages of RMC in Longview and show us how they Burlesque.

ABOUT THE CO ABOUT COVER... OVER... Co-Founder of Jigglewatts Ruby Joule during a perfomance in Austin. In this issue, the Jigglewatts give us an inside view of their craft and what it takes to be a Burlesque dancer.


DIMP R DIMP Records ecords


Fashion F ashio ion inpired in by Burle Burlesque esque

by Ben Valencia

by Andrea Johnson & Ben Valencia

Cover Photo by Bre Brent en nt “J “Joh “Johhny o hn oh hny y Ac Ace” e” K Kosadnar osad osa os adna nar nar Smokin’ Aces Photography


Utah G Utah Ground round


SFA SummerStage SFA SummerStage Festival Fe es sttiv val by Robbie Goodrich


Wedding W edd dding Dresses for th for the he A Ages ges by Jan Statman


Book B ook R Review eview of ev Debra W Debra Winegarten inegarten by Jan Statman


Art in Art n tthe he Home


Just Just st C Call all Him Sully


by Jan Statman

by Jacob J. Mauldin

25th 2 5th T Texas exas Blueberry Festival Blueberry by Jan Statman

31 Cent nter er S Sta tag ta ge Cuis isin ine by Ben Valencia

Ar istt’s Arti sW Wor orlld d by Jan Statman

Event P Event Photos hotos by Andrea Johnson

The “B Th B” Si Sd de e of Musicc by Randy Brown

June 2014 - Page 3

Publisher’s Note by

STAFF Co-Publisher There have been many strong women that have had a positive impact on my life: my mother, my grandmothers and aunts, my friends and several teachers. Among my teachers, I believe my very first teacher provided the strongest artistic influence on me as well as many people in the East Texas community. When my brother Steve was five years old, and I was nearly three, my mother decided to enroll him in tap dancing lessons. Since my father had been a very good tap dancer as a young boy and performed at local fairs and carnivals, my parents thought that classes for my brother were a good idea. Twice a week, my mother and I sat in the “Mothers’ Room” watching my brother and his class tap away for the renowned Utah Ground and her student assistant, Sandy Duncan. I was enthralled with the tall, elegant, blonde-haired teacher and the dances. So, I watched very closely and started imitating the steps from the waiting room. Mrs. Ground noticed and soon she suggested I become part of the class. (I really do remember all of this. I am one of those people who have very strong early memories.) Utah Ground was more than a dance teacher, as you will find out in Jan Statman’s story about her in this issue. She was an East Texas treasure. My mother was very impressed by her humbleness despite her achievements in the entertainment world that dated back to her childhood. According to her, every person that Utah Ground spoke to was made to feel “like the most important person in the room.” Unfortunately, I had to quit classes due to a family illness. When I was 12 years old, I took a jazz class from Mrs. Ground. The first day of class she told the story about how I joined my brother’s tap class nearly ten years earlier. I was going through those self-conscious early pre-teen years, and I couldn’t believe she remembered. It provided me with the confidence I needed to participate in her class. Utah Ground is an example of the the strong women who have been a part of the history of the Piney Woods area. There are several other examples in this issue, including a woman who recently did a beautiful thing for one of our writers (see “Artist’s World”). Remember the movie Gypsy? We all loved Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell in that movie. Austin, Texas’, own dance version of Gypsy is coming to the Piney Woods in the form of the Jigglewatts, a burlesque troupe that will be performing in Longview. Part of their mission is to celebrate the fact that every woman is beautiful. You can find out more about them in this issue. Oveta Culp Hobby was the first secretary of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, first commanding officer of the Women’s Army Corps, and chairperson of the board of the Houston Post. Debra L. Winegarten has written a biography about this very interesting pioneer of a woman, and this month we have a review of the book. There are many more interesting stories in this month’s issue. It never ceases to amaze me how many talented people fill the area in which we call the Piney Woods. On a personal note, I was married in April in Estes Park, Colo. My last name is now Evans. I like that name. It has the same number of letters as my first name, which is the kind of balancing act I like, and my new husband balances me out perfectly. Enjoy the summer!

Publishers / Editors Tracy Magness & Gary Krell Man naging Editor Ben Valencia Publiciistt Andrea Johnson Adv vertising g Dire ector Suzanne Warren Conttriibu uting g Wriiterrs Randy Brown, Jacob J. Mauldin, Robbie Goodrich Claudia Lowery, Jan Statman, Ben Valencia Grraphic Artists Jeremiah Shepherd, Joni Guess, Ben Valencia, Andrea Johnson Sales Ben Valencia, Andrea Johnson,Carolee Chandler, Kathy Hollan, Cookie Bias, Lori Martin, Shea Vogel, Tracy Stopani

Sign up for our newsletter by going to our website: m om/P Pin neyWoodsLLive e June 2014 - Page 4

% "+n )3 <<<

“Eye-popping glamour...a burlesque troupe with a racy show that’s not to be missed,” writes Steven Moser of the Austin Chronicle.

$10.00 Cover | Show starts 11pm Dr. Charles A. Evans M.D., Ph.D. To make an appointment, call (936)

699-LIFE (5433)







Loop 281


Frj Dr..

Industrial Dr.


E. Marshall Ave. (Hwy. 80)

Frj Dr.


N. Eastman Rd. (Hwy. 259)


The last fling before the ring! Your one stop shop for ALL your bachelorette party needs. Great selection of bridal lingerie!

E. Cotton St.

903.986.2090 903 986 2090 June 2014 - Page 5

by Ben Valencia

reams really can come true. With what started as a dream and an idea, a local Longview woman, Angie Pryor, is bringing her aspiration to light. June 2014 - Page 6

DIMP Records LLC, an all lesbian recording label, will be hosting its first show at RMC in Longview on June 22. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” Angie said. “I am a music lover. I firmly believe that music heals the soul. I decided that, with all of the issues with gay marriage in the news and with what is going on in the LGBT community, that this is the perfect time to launch the recording label. We started with nothing, and now we have the sponsorship to make this dream come true.” Angie’s idea behind the recording label is to pave the way for lesbian artists who love music and love to sing. “I believe this will give young lesbian women something to look forward to,” Angie said. “Even if they aren’t musically inclined, they’ll be able to listen to the music and empathize with the artists. Some artists, such as Melissa Ethridge and the Indigo Girls, have helped give a starting point to younger girls that want to make their way to stardom.” Angie’s biggest goal was getting the community involved. And so far, that has proved to be successful for the 36-year-old who is proud to say she is lesbian. “Building a fan base is key,” she said. “So I started a Facebook page first and began promoting what I wanted to do. I don’t want to portray a negative message. I want my artists to be open minded, but I also want them to realize that they are role models for other women.” Those who sign with DIMP Records, according to Angie, will actually be employees of the label, which will include a salary, benefits, and distribution and production of promotional items. Audition shows will be held in cities in the United States, where two women will be chosen from each show. After the shows, those that were picked from each city will come together for a showcase in Dallas. “From there, we will pick four to five artists and/or bands to sign the label and jump into the studios to record,” Angie said. “Shortly after, we will launch an 8 to 10 city tour to introduce them to the country.” From what started out as a project, the recording label company is now a priority in the forefront of Angie’s life. “Being from a military family, we lived all over the world,” Angie said. “I think this helped us to understand the world with the contrast of my parents’ upbringing – how my mother grew up during the civil rights movement in Oklahoma and endured the segregated school system and politics of that time. My father didn’t go through those things my mother went through.” Angie’s family is one that proves families stick together no matter what.

ing lost her father last March, launching DIMP Records has been bittersweet for Angie. “My father was a straightforward guy,” Angie said. “He used to say, ‘Baby girl, go do it. Don’t worry about what other people are going to think about you. Go do it!’ I was and always have been upfront with my parents about who I am. And even though they didn’t agree with it, they never put me out. For that I am blessed, because there are so many that are not as fortunate as I have been.” Angie has been married to her wife for 16 years, who gives her moral support to begin making her dream a reality. “We originally had our Civil Union in 2003,” Angie said. “We flew to DC last year to legalize our marriage. She is my rock.” The name DIMP Records has a story as well. And Angie was quick to share how her record label got it’s name. “Dimp was my grandmother’s nickname from my father’s side of the family because she had big dimples,” she said. “Everyone called her Dimp. My father had huge dimples too.” As mentioned, the first show for DIMP Records will be June 22 at 3 p.m. at Longview’s RMC. Angie said she is still accepting entries for talent. Those interested can email their videos, pics and bios to dimp

It only takes one

thought, one dream,

and one person’s drive to build an empire.” -Angie Pryor

If You Go

Show will be at RMC in Longview, 203 High St. Tickets on sale now at Venus P & Ricky D’s Barbershop

Editor’s Note: Meeting Angie and listening to her talk about her recording label made me realize that dreams can come true. During the interview, she was passionate about what she is doing. I think it is wonderful for lesbian women to be able to showcase their talent, who wouldn’t really have any other way to do so. Angie is full of life and I wish her well on this journey with her recording label and all the best wishes for her marriage. Here to another 16 years and more, Angie! Cheers!

June 2014 - Page 7

A delightful day that offers tons of sweet treats, activities, vendors and entertainment! Find more at

936-560-5533 Saturday, June 14 downtown Nacogdoches

Festival Event Map The Texas Blueberry Festival is produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce

FINANCIAL supports East Texas music and the fine arts! We finance our own cars with no credit checks! 1304 W. Marshall Ave. Longview, TX 75605 903.295.1877 June 2014 - Page 8


Voted in East Texas

$200 OFF YOUR NEW ROOF Metal or Asphalt Shingles Exp. 6/30/14


Vintage Art Glasss Pendant by Andrea Johnson & Ben Valencia

inspired by


As Burlesque and Vaudevillian shows rebirth into this generation, we have some Burlesque inspired finds that you can wear for many occasions. Clutch Purse Crystal Spur Kilgore

Studded Boots Swankwear Longview Mall

Jeweled Partition Corset Et tsy sy.c .com o om

Black Rose Cuff

Studded Heels w/Fringe g Swankwear Longview Mall

Corset Dress

Pink Lace Flask Crystal Spur Kilgore

Red Feather Shrug

June 2014 - Page 9

Utah Ground U by Jan Statman

tah Ground lived a life of dedication to her art, and she shared that life and that art with the people around her. She left the world a legacy that stretched from Tyler, Texas, to New York City and beyond. She was a well-known choreographer, teacher, talent manager and dance instructor whose students consider the time they spent with her to be among the most bright and shining experience of their lives. “We were both active at the same time in the Texas Dance Teacher’s Association, now retired dancer and dance instructor Joan Painter of Longview recalled. “We would go to meetings in Dallas and Austin. Utah was always well thought of and well respected by the other dance instructors. She was a natural leader, and I believe she even served as president of the organization. When we brought our students to perform at the meetings, everyone agreed hers would always be among the best prepared and the most talented. She was tall and slender with long, sandy blond hair, and she always dressed in the most wonderful avant-garde manner that instantly let you know she was a creative person and that she was someone special.” Utah Ground was born in Bremerhaven, Germany, and emigrated to the United States with her parents when she was a small child. Her son, Bob Ground, explained the origin of her unusual name, which had nothing at all to do with the state of Utah. He explained that her German name was too difficult for the people she met in the United States to pronounce, so they began calling her “Judy,” which then became “Yudy,” which later became “Utah.” He said that in 1963, their family took a trip to the actual state of Utah. “She had a picture made standing next to a big trash can with a sign on it that said ‘Do not litter in Utah!’” Although he admits he has no idea what became of that picture, he remembered that she enjoyed posing for it. She grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she was a graduate of the Professional Children’s School. This very special school was originally designed to provide an academic education for children who worked on the New York stage, in theater and even in vaudeville. Many of them were child actors, athletes, dancers, musicians and other performers whose time spent working in shows or “on the road” often kept them away for weeks or even months and made it impossible for them to attend regular public schools. They not only needed to be encouraged by teachers and classmates who understood their creative lifestyles, they also needed the scheduling flexibility to continue their educations.

June 2014 - Page 10

As a child performer and model, she appeared on Broadway and on film in The Little Rascals. Her Little Rascals tour took her to a number of different cities. She later studied with George Balanchine, Charles “Honi” Coles, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. She came to East Texas as a bride. Bob Ground described his parents’ meeting in a story that sounded much like one of those movie scripts that were so popular during World War II. “My folks met in New York when my dad, Gene Ground, was a naval officer at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. He was in New York City on leave, and her best friend had a date with him. She arranged for my mom to come along on a double date and to be escorted by his buddy. The two of them were so drawn to each other that they switched partners during the evening, and, as they say, the rest was history. My dad grew up in Duncanville, Texas. He was a regular East Texas guy. He was not all that interested in theater or dance. He was an accountant by trade, and he enjoyed hunting and fishing. Utah, however, did not leave her dedication to dance behind her when she left New York. Instead, she became active in the arts in East Texas because she was determined to bring a new world to the people she met in her new home. She opened her own dance studio in Tyler, which she called the Studio of Performing Arts. She staged musicals for Tyler Junior College. She organized the Student Players of Tyler. She raised three children, Bob and two daughters, Donna and Becky. She choreographed many summer musicals. Her students remember how she encouraged her dancers to do the best work they could do, and she somehow made all the hard work that went into training and preparing for a production into a lot of fun for them. One of her students said, “Being taught by Utah was a bright, shining, incandescent experience.” She made it her business to return to New York City to work summer stock and to work with the famous choreographers there. “I spent four months of summer in New York City every year because mother would always go back to New York to get the talented ideas of what was happening there,” Bob Ground said. “My grandfather lived at 635 Park Avenue. It is two blocks from Hunter College and near a number of foreign embassies.” The classic understated, but elegant 13-story apartment building on the southeast corner at 66th Street was built in 1912. It was designed by J. E. R. Carpenter who was the leading architect of his generation for designing luxury apartment buildings in New York. It is close to local subway stations and cross-town bus service which made it convenient to get anywhere in the city.

“My grandfather was well liked up and down Park Avenue. He was superintendent for the whole building. The building only has 16 apartments. Each floor was home to a different multi-millionaire, but we lived in the rooftop penthouse. It’s unusual for any employee of any building to live in the penthouse, which could rent for a lot of money,” Ground said. “But my grandfather was there with the building’s owners during the worst days of the Great Depression when money was scarce. They thought so much of him, and they didn’t want to lose him, so they gave him the rooftop to live in order to keep him there. It was a great experience for me. I was able to get on a bus or the subway and go wherever I wanted to go, so I hung out in the museums and galleries. New York is a wonderful playground for a kid.” “My mother showed her students a different world than they saw in Tyler, Texas,” he added. “She would feed their hunger not only for the dance but also for all of the arts. She would teach them tap, ballet and modern jazz at her dance school. She was a great choreographer. All her students loved her. She would put on shows at Tyler Junior College or for the Lion’s Club or other organizations, and she would do all the staging and the choreography. Her magic was in how she instilled the love of dance into the children and young people of East Texas. She knew talent. She would take her best students beyond the dance school and get them into the State Fair Musicals. She would take them up to Dallas to audition to play small roles in the State Fair productions, and she always came back with her people having been accepted into the musicals. They would always get into those productions because the casting directors knew the people Mother would bring them would always be the best of the best.” As a talent manager, she was associated with the Lester Lewis Agency in New York. She was choreographer, teacher and talent manager to such Broadway and Hollywood stars as Sandy Duncan, Tommy Tune, actress/composer Amanda McBroom, K.T. Oslin, Margo Martindale, and more. From 1958 – 1970 she was Head of Dance at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas. “Zillo Pierson was the drama coach and the chairperson of the Fine Arts Department. They made a good team when they worked together. Pierson directed and my mother did all the choreography for them. It was amazing how much talent came out of that little school,” Bob Ground remem-

bered. “That’s how Sandy Duncan from Tyler, Texas, got her start, by going to the State Fair Musicals. She appeared in productions of The King and I and The Music Man when she was only a teen. Also Tony Award winning dancer Tommy Tune, who came from Spring, Texas, got his start that way. He is six foot six inches tall, which is really unusual for a dancer. He is probably the tallest dancer in America, but he had six foot six inches of talent, and my mother saw it. I was also six foot six inches,” Ground laughed. “But I didn’t have any talent at all, so she finally had to admit I would never be another Tommy Tune.” Brent Ramsey, one of her students at Lon Morris college, shared his memories of her. “Utah Ground was my dance instructor and choreographer for the school musicals while I attended Lon Morris College as a theatre major in 1969-71,” he said. “Utah was one of the first ‘worldly women’ I had ever met as I was coming from a small town – Grand Prairie, Texas. I had never known anyone that frequented New York City, and she would share stories of her visits and talk about the shows she had seen on Broadway. Of course, we all knew Utah as someone who had worked with Sandy Duncan and Tommy Tune, and we were somewhat awestruck. We weren’t just learning dance technique from Utah, we were learning Broadway dance technique. What struck me about her the most was the way she moved as she demonstrated dance moves to the class. She was so fluid. She strutted this long, lanky body, and she always had her thick, blonde hair tied up in some sort of bandana or scarf. I spoke with a thick Texas accent and couldn’t sing a bit, but she kept encouraging me through constantly joking with me – never making fun – but always making me laugh. My second year in college, I was one of the lead dancers in Man of La Mancha, and before I met Utah, I had never danced a lick.” On the closing night of her run in the Broadway musical Chicago, Sandy Duncan paid tribute to Utah Ground from the stage of the Shubert Theatre in New York. Sadly, Utah Ground passed away on February 9, 2006. In addition to her life in New York and Tyler, she had also lived in Stratford, Ontario; London, England; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Austin, Texas. She was survived by her husband, Barney Hammond, her son and daughters, her grandchildren, and by the many students who share happy memories of her encouragement.

Popular Classics Bringing

by Robbie Goodrich

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Summer theatre at Stephen F. Austin State University is taking on a new name and a new approach. The SFA SummerStage Festival, formerly called Summer Repertory Theatre, will feature selections that are sure to please audiences of all ages: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, adapted by Anne Coulter Martens, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel. The festival runs June 27 through July 18. The new festive name is a reflection of the SFA School of Theatre’s effort to inform audiences that seeing a play is a casual and fun way to spend time in the summer with family and friends, according to Scott Shattuck, director of the School of Theatre. “Audiences for our summer shows have grown enormously over the past few years,” Shattuck said. “But we want to welcome even more people who may not realize yet how fun our shows really are. What we do is storytelling – it’s entertainment, it’s songs and humor and suspense, and it’s a blast.” Shattuck asked two “dynamic young” SFA directors to suggest titles that would appeal to the Nacogdoches community. Laura Rikard, whose production of Charlotte’s Web set the school’s all-time summer attendance record last year, returns with Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Zach Hanks, who’s making his SFA stage-directing debut, proposed the dramatization of Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel and Oscar-winning movie that’s captivated American young people and their parents for generations. “This is exactly what we want to offer in the SummerStage Festival: inviting stories that are sure to entrance and thrill just about everyone,” Shattuck said. Both plays are produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

Performances of To Kill A Mockingbird are at 7:30 p.m. nightly on June 27 and 28 and July 8, 10, 11, 15 and 18. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. Performances of Alice in Wonderland are at 10 a.m. July 15, 17 and 18; at 2 p.m. July 3, 5, and 16; and at 6:30 p.m. July 5, 12 and 17. Tickets for Alice In Wonderland are $7.50. Patrons are encouraged to come an hour before curtain time for outdoor pre-show festivities, Shattuck said. To be sure the summer shows are accessible to the entire community, the School of Theatre started experimenting with “Pay-What-You-Can” performances. At these special shows, those who are able to pay $15 for a ticket are asked to support the school by doing so, but those who can only pay $10, $5 or even $1 are equally welcome, Shattuck said. Those dates will be announced later in June. For tickets or more information, visit www.finearts.sfa or call 936-468-6407 or 888-240-ARTS. All performances are in the W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.



Joshua Wallace, senior theatre major from Van, plays the role of Atticus Finch in the SFA School of Theatre’s production of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, a feature of the new SFA SummerStage Festival running June 27 through July 18 on the SFA campus.

Celebrating our

2004 – 2014 SFA theatre major Marley Graham, Port Neches sophomore, takes the audience along on her adventures down the rabbit hole in the title role of the School of Theatre’s production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, running July 3 through 18 as part of the 2014 SummerStage Festival on the SFA campus.

upcoming Performances Much Ado About Nothing June 7 & 8 Disney’s The Jungle Book Kids June 20 & 21 A Night of Improv July 3

camps & auditions Mini Camp Ages 6-8 • June 23-27 Tikki Tikki Tembo IMPROV Performance Camp Ages 13-19 June 23 - July 3 • What’s Happening Now? Auditions for Alice in Wonderland Jr. Ages 10-18 • June 27-28

June 2014 - Page 11



by Jan Statman

he tiny little bridegroom who stands so proudly beside the tiny little bride at the top of the wedding cake has not changed much in a century or so. His sturdy little feet are solidly planted in sugary, white frosting, and he is formally dressed in basic black. He might possibly be wearing a top hat with white tie and tails or a tuxedo with a brightly tinted cummerbund or even a white dinner jacket, but more often than not he is seen in basic black. If there were bridesmaids standing along the tiers of that wedding cake, they would surely be wearing something frilly in pink taffeta, and it would be in that one-size-flatters-nobody style that has proved to be so popular for bridesmaids through the ages. The blushing bride, of course, has changed her style so often that it is possible

to tell the year of the wedding by the design of her dress. Everybody knows wedding dresses have always been white because white is a symbol of purity and chastity. Right? Sorry, no. It turns out that’s wrong. In fact, rural brides, including brides who lived right here in early East Texas, wore dark-colored wedding dresses! It was easier to keep a dark-colored dress looking clean since a country bride might see the bottom of her long dress dragging through the mud or along a carefully swept dirt floor. In many places, a wedding dress was presented to a young girl at her coming of age. The dark color was practical because she could wear the dress for all sorts of occasions, from her confirmation, to weddings, to church attendance and even to funerals. Styles tended to be conservative, and the dresses usually had exceptionally large seam allowances. The big seams might have made them look bulky, but fabric was expensive back in those days. This way, the same dress could be let out to accommodate pregnancy and weight gain. The dress would be worn for the first time at the young woman’s wedding, and with the horrible statistics of death in childbirth, her wedding dress could also serve as her funeral dress. If she was marrying a widower, a bride would sometimes wear a black wedding dress out of respect for her husband’s deceased wife. Of course, she could wear a white veil with her black dress, but only if she chose to be frivolous. In fact, the whole idea of a special wedding dress that was only worn one time was also considered to June 2014 - Page 12

be frivolous. Most people just couldn’t afford to have a special dress to wear for only one special occasion. Far from East Texas, among the European nobility and the higher social classes, weddings were usually more about politics than about love. The bride and groom were not simply representing themselves during the ceremony. They were more about the joining of two families, two dynasties, two businesses, or even two kingdoms. Wealthy families would dress their daughters in the height of fashion with the fanciest, boldest materials, the richest colors and the most exclusive fabrics they could find. Brides wore layers of furs, velvets and silks. The amount and the price of expensive cloth in a wedding dress was a reflection of the bride’s place in society and was intended to show the importance of her family. It was also a way to improve the family’s social status. People tried to ensure good luck for the bride by following all sorts of superstitions that grew up around wed-

dings. To this day, brides still wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a penny in your shoe.” The color of the bridal gown was a popular source of luck. Blue was considered to be a strong symbol of purity, fidelity and eternal love. Brides were told to wear blue so their husbands would always be true. Even if the wedding dress was not blue, they always wore something blue. That superstition has continued to this day when brides still wear a traditional blue garter. Pink was another popular color but was considered to be most suitable for a May wedding. It is flattering to most brides and could represent innocence. Green was the most unpopular color. Since it was the lush color of green gardens, it was believed that a green gown would attract rain to spoil the wedding day. Also, green was known as the faeries’ color, and it was bad luck to call the attention of the supernatural “little folk” to a time of such great transition as a wedding. Bright yellow was somehow considered to be unholy, which was a good thing because yellow does not look good on everybody. With its reference to “scarlet women,” red, of course, was not acceptable. It was considered to be too bold for a bride to wear. Grey, on the other hand, was considered to be totally respectable. It was a popular color for wedding gowns among brides who planned to continue to wear their wedding dresses as their “Sunday best” outfits for many years to come.

White did not become the norm until 1840, when 20-year-old Queen Victoria of Great Britain married her Prince Charming, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. It was the wedding of the century! It was the talk of the entire western world. It gave women everywhere a new image of elegance and romance. The beautiful, young Queen Victoria wore a creamy white Spitalfields silk, satin and lace gown, and the ideal of what made up a proper wedding was changed in an instant. The image of what a bride’s dress should look like was changed forever. Brides wanted to be as lovely as the queen. They wanted to wear a white gown and a veil crowned with white orange blossoms. Still, styles of wedding dresses change with the styles of the times. In the 1860s, wedding gowns followed fashion with layers of ribbons and ruffles that were draped over a cage of metal hoops. By the 1870s, long, narrow bustles gave an unusual shape to the backs of the skirts, and the gowns were supported by a complicated contraption of underskirts and metal bands. These dresses had elegant trimmings,

ranging from rows and rows of garlands and lace to cascades of ruffles. A bride once wore the best dress she had – whatever that might be. By the end of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution made it possible for wedding gowns to be mass-produced so that most brides could now afford a new, white wedding dress. The fabric they needed had become affordable and available. Butterick and, later, McCalls patterns allowed anyone with sewing skills to make her own dress. When the Roaring Twenties burned across the world, women began to assert themselves, and fashions took a dramatic change. Until then, wedding gowns were always floor length because that was what was considered to be decent and proper. In the flapper days, “decent and proper” were the last things on anyone’s mind. Women wanted to escape from restrictive clothing. The Roaring Twenties style featured a dropped waist and unshaped bodice and a short skirt that looked as though it was made out of uneven handkerchiefs along with a headdress worn low over the brow to resemble a cloche hat. Money was tight during the Great Depression of the 1930s, but brides still managed to have white wedding dresses. The influence of all the glamorous movie stars dropped both necklines and hemlines. Bias cut satin gowns hugged the figures of brides who almost always carried bouquets of white lilies. During the 1940s, with

the hard years of World War II raging and bridegrooms going off to war, fabric was expensive and hard to find. Food, clothing, even shoes were rationed. Tailored suit-like styles were popular, and short dresses were the vogue. Brides who were lucky enough to have big weddings wore shorter, simpler wedding dresses with high necklines and long sleeves. After the war, fabric was available again. In 1947, Christian Dior brought out a line of clothing, which changed fashion overnight. Waists were tiny. Long, full floor length skirts were covered with lace and pearls, frills and ruffles, and even flowers. When movie star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Morocco in 1950, the ultra-feminine wedding dresses grew even more elaborate. Every bride wanted to be a princess. Brides wore a collection of crinoline, lace and silk petticoats and even hoops to make the skirts wider, while “merry widow” undergarments made waistlines seem even smaller. The 1960s were another time of change. Hemlines were shorter. A-lines were possible, and the most interesting style for wedding dresses was the “bubble” skirt that flared out from the waist and was tight at the knee so that the bride seemed to be moving in a

shining white bubble. As if to rebel against the constructed look of A-lines and the floating bubbles, wedding gowns of the 1970s looked back to earlier times with higher necklines, puffy sleeves and long, wide skirts. When Prince Charles married Princess Diana on July 29, 1981, wedding dress designers pulled out all the stops. Everybody wanted to look like the princess, so dresses went from fine and elegant to decorated beyond the fabulous. From the 1980s through the turn of the century every possible elaborate adornment was added to the bride’s dress, from huge puffed sleeves to flowing skirts, bows, beads, pearls, sequins, lace, and a high crown with a long lace train. Everything became bigger, bolder and fancier. Today’s brides have a world of dresses to choose from. They can have everything from the Victorian look to the hoop skirts to the glamour gowns of the 1930s, or they can choose the classic look recently inspired by Princess Kate Middleton when she married Prince William on April 29, 2011. The rule is that there are no rules, and that handsome tiny little bridegroom who stands at the top of the wedding cake will always look at his beautiful bride with a smile that is as sweet as the sugary, white frosting on his solid, little feet.

111 joplin d riv Longview, e TX (903) 236-0 472

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I wish to endorse Piney Woods Live as a standout print advertising outlet in East Texas. As individuals, each of us on the Jefferson Tourism Development Board is a business owner here in town. Several of us have used Piney Woods Live and have seen immediate measurable results. As a board, we maintain regular advertising in Piney Woods Live and consider it to be one of our best print advertising outlets for the city.

300 N Spur 63 Longview, TX (903) 236-4979

Our theatre company, East Texas Performing Arts, polls their attendees, asking where they heard about each event and from where they traveled to get to the performance. Without exception, they find that a measurable number of audience members say they saw the ad in Piney Woods Live. Some of these responders traveled more than 90 minutes in response to Piney Woods Live advertising.

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Local restaurants, music venues, and B&Bs report similar results. I recommend Piney Woods Live as a premiere advertising outlet in East Texas. Sincerely,

Preston Taylor, President Jefferson Texas Tourism Development Board

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June 2014 - Page 13




here are certain people whose influence is so strong and whose accomplishments are so important that their names blaze across the pages of history to light the way for those who follow in their footsteps. Debra Winegarten’s biography of Oveta Culp Hobby details the life of one such amazing woman. Oveta Culp Hobby led her family’s communications empire at a time when most women were confined to their homes and discouraged from pursuing careers or from appearing in the public eye. Women of her generation certainly were not encouraged to aspire to leadership positions. She studied law. She codified the State of Texas Banking Laws. She became an important figure in the Democratic Party. She headed the League of Women Voters. She received honorary law degrees and honorary doctoral degrees from major universities. She organized the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps (WAAC) during World War II. She was the first female colonel in the US Army, and she was the first secretary of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This position made her the first woman in American history to be appointed to be a member of the Presidential Cabinet. An interesting story that is told by the Killeen native’s family offers an insight into the strength and determination of her character. Her sister recalled the time that Oveta’s Sunday school teacher required all the children in her class to sign a “Temperance Pledge” for which they would each be given a pretty white ribbon provided by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The temperance movement was a social organization that was determined to pressure the government to pass legislation that would ban the sale and drinking of alcohol in the United States. Oveta might only have been five years old, but she refused to sign her name to the pledge. Her teacher was outraged and informed her grandmother of this disobedience. This was unforgiveable at a time when children did not disobey their elders for any reason. As soon as she returned from Sunday School, her grandmother promptly spanked her with a switch. After the spanking, her grandmother finally got around to asking her why she refused to sign the paper when all the other five year olds were willing to do so. The tearful child replied that she did not know what the word “temperance” meant, and she didn’t think she should sign her name to something she did not understand – she didn’t want to make a promise that she wasn’t sure she would be able to keep. That stubborn steadfastness to principle remained with her all her life. Her family moved from Killeen to Temple, Texas, where her parents were politically active. Her father, Ike Culp, was a Texas legislator and her mother, Emma Culp, worked tirelessly for passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution that finally gave women in America the right to vote. Seeing her mother’s dedication gave Oveta the courage to stand up for women’s rights in this country.

June 2014 - Page 14

She had the opportunity to accompany her father when he made his legislative trips to Austin. This allowed her to know and be known by the major political powers in Texas. She was able to see them at work and to understand the parliamentary procedure so that by the time she was 21 years old she was appointed Parliamentarian of the Texas Legislature. She later moved to Houston where she worked as secretary to the Democratic Club and helped plan the 1928 National Democratic convention that was held in Houston that year. She worked on senatorial and mayoral campaigns and even ran for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Although she was defeated, she insisted she learned a great deal from the experience. Oveta went to work at the Houston Post Dispatch where she learned the newspaper business from the bottom to the top. Her work with the newspaper put her into contact with her father’s old friend, the former Governor of Texas, William Pettus Hobby. He was then editor and publisher of the Houston Post and KPRC Radio. Although “The Governor,” as she called him, was a widower who was twice her age, they married and had two children, a son, William Pettus Hobby Junior, and a daughter, Jessica. With a husband, two small children and a full time job at the newspaper, she was active in civic and social committees. Her farsighted attitude led her to buy a radio station as well as a television station. During World War II she was asked to come to Washington to create and lead the new women’s army auxiliary corps, which was an all-volunteer organization. The first WAAC khaki uniform was specially made for Director Oveta Culp Hobby. She was promoted to colonel, becoming the first woman colonel in the history of the United States. She would never allow herself to be photographed smiling during this time. She felt that the country was at war, she was a serious person doing a serious job and she didn’t want anyone to have the mistaken opinion that she was having a good time. At the end of the war, she returned to Houston and her job as executive vice president of the Houston Post. She is said to have made the famous comment, “I think I’ll like Houston if they ever get it finished.” She continued to work as a patron of the arts, but she was destined to go back to Washington where she became the first sec-

retary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This made her the first woman in history to be appointed to the Presidential Cabinet. She remained secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare for almost three years. During that time, the agency expanded the nation’s hospital system, improved food and drug laws, increased grants for mental health, set up a nurse training program, enlarged the age rehabilitation program, and designed an insurance program to protect Americans against the rising cost of illnesses. When she left office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower honored her by saying, “None of us will forget your wise counsel, your calm confidence in the face of every kind of difficulty, your concern for people everywhere, the warm heart you brought to your job as well as your talents.” Author Debra Winegarten is an award winning poet and author. She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Alvin Winegarten and the late Ruthe Litwin Winegarten. She earned two degrees in sociology. With her mother, Ruthe Winegarten,

she co-authored the biography of Dr. Leona “Tiny” Hawkins, one of the first AfricanAmericans in Texas to own a nursing home. Debra’s second book was Katherine Stinson: the Flying Schoolgirl. It is a biography of Katherine Stinson who, in 1912, was the fourth U.S. woman to earn her pilot’s license. The Flying Schoolgirl was a finalist for Forward Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. Her third book, Mum’s the Word, was written to honor her mother. She sent out 256 letters with stamped and self-addressed envelopes and asked each of the recipients to send back a story about her mother. She received 140 replies and asked the same people to pre-order and pre-pay for the book so she could get it published. Her mother didn’t remember some of the stories, but she said they “sounded like things she would have done.” There’s Jews in Texas?, Debra Winegarten’s fourth book, won the 2011 Poetica Magazine National Competition. Debra works for The University of Texas at Austin’s Astronomy Department. She also teaches Sociology at South University.

She enjoys playing her flute, swimming, hosting potluck dinners for her Austin friends, reading, and visiting with “the cats who own me.” She says, “One thing about writing history, we are always looking back from where we are.” She is proud to admit that she is following in the footsteps of her mother, well-known research historian and author Ruthe Winegarten. “My mom was always having gatherings when the most powerful women in Texas came over to our house to discuss political ideas,” she said. “While many people talk about waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of their mother’s sewing machine, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of my mother typing on her IBM Selectric typewriter. It is still one of the most peaceful late-night sounds for me.” The book is published by the University of Texas Press. Oveta Culp Hobby’s son, Bill Hobby, who was Lieutenant Governor of Texas from 1973 to 1991 said, “Debbie Winegarten had done an excellent job of capturing Mother’s spirit.”

June 2014 - Page 15

Jigglewatts by Jacob J. Mauldin

photos by Brent “Johnny Ace” Kosadnar Smokin’ Aces Photography


There’s a big difference between erotica and smut. Smut is something that you’d get in trouble for possessing if your girlfriend found it at your place. But she probably owns erotica. Five will get you ten that there’s a dog-eared copy of 50 Shades of Grey wedged in her bookcase. Erotica has undeniable artistic merit. It blows me away how many people don’t understand this distinction. I traveled to Austin to see the Jigglewatts Burlesque Troupe in anticipation of their July 12 appearance here in Longview at the RMC. Cofounding member Ruby Joule kindly arranged a couple of comp tickets on each of the two dates when I would be in town. I figured I’d be making some of my chums pretty happy with a plus-one to a stage performance by some extremely foxy, classy and talented women. But something unexpected happened. I couldn’t give away my free tickets. All three of my pals in Austin are in relationships, and each one gave me some variation of, “I’d love to go, but my girlfriend would kill me if she found out.” I spoke to one on the phone while giving my 84-year-old grandmother a ride to the bank, and when she overheard my friend’s reason for turning down the ticket, she said, “For crying out loud, it’s just burlesque.” At least grammy gets the distinction. There’s a night and day difference between what Elizabeth Berkley does in Showgirls and what Natalie Wood does in Gypsy. Burlesque dancing is most certainly erotica. There’s not even actual nudity. Each performance is a slow, expertly choreographed tease of clothing removal; the primary notion in play being that what isn’t shown will always be sexier than what is. Fun fact: this also works on the opposite end of the artistic spectrum. Look at horror movies. What you don’t see is always scarier than what you do see. Who will ever forget the stomach-churning pan left away from the action while Mr. Blonde cuts off the cop’s ear in Reservoir Dogs? In fact, the most prurient thing about the two shows I attended was guest hostess, Leanne Stott. And don’t misinterpret that as an insult. I’m a big fan of blue comedy, and this six feet tall British goddess trotted out ribald material that would have made Richard Pryor proud, tying the show together with effortless crowd work that kept the room’s energy perpetually high. Leanne told me, “I’ve tried to not be dirty, but I always seem to go back to that material. I figure if it’s not broken, why try to fix it? Besides, there’s an art to dirty comedy.” The classy English accent basically allows her to say whatever she wants anyway. She’s that rare a comedienne who can control hecklers without alienating them. “I really love hecklers. A good heckle makes my night. Sometimes you get a bigger laugh from dealing with them than from your own material,” she added. When the Jigglewatts perform at RMC, their regular host, Jade Esteban Estrada, will be back in the fold, and I’m told he’s somehow even better than Ms. Stott.

If that’s true, the people in Longview are in for a real treat. The Jigglewatts were co-founded by Ruby Joule and Coco Lectric. Ms. Joule is the kind of looker David Lee Roth would have called blue-eyed murder in a size five dress, a red-headed, porcelain-skinned, first-round knockout who radiates poise and intelligence. Coco’s got much darker features – big, brown eyes you could swim laps in and a smile so bright you have to put on sunglasses if you want to look directly at it. She’s got more curves than a Grand Prix racetrack, and just like the Formula One cars that glide down those courses, the lady knows how to move. When I asked Coco to describe their dynamic, she told me, “The relationship that Ruby and I have is so Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell from Gentleman Prefer Blondes. She’s Marilyn Monroe. Beautiful and posh and put together and polished. I’m Jane Russell. I don’t need to be the star; I don’t need to be the one who everyone wants. I’m there to bail everyone out and put things together. And that’s okay. Both personalities are necessary. She’s going to walk away from the ship with a diamond tiara; I’m going to walk away from the ship with some hunky sailor.” When I asked Ruby about this delineation, her take was, “Perspective is funny, isn’t it? Because I’ve always thought she was the star, that she’s the one everyone wants. She won all of the big dance awards right away. But regardless of who’s who – or even who’s who on what day – we make it work, and it is a relationship that works very well.” Ruby went on to tell me of the Jigglewatt’s inception. “All of the founding members met on the film set of Z: A Zombie Musical. And as they say, moviemaking is all hurry up and wait. So we were waiting around on set one day, and the subject of burlesque came up. We looked around at each other and realized, here’s a group of girls who can act, sing, dance, costume themselves. And we all had this desire in common to do burlesque. Why weren’t we doing it? It was an, ‘Aha!’ moment. We decided to do a performance just for the heck of it. It was going to be a one-time thing for a surprise 4th of July show. But the house sold out, standing room only. It was so successful we thought, ‘Well, we can’t just stop now, right?’ I guess the rest is history. We just kept on doing it.” Coco explained the origin of the troupe’s name. “Our goal was to support the beauty and talent and diversity of women. So jiggle stands for women who have the correct body type, and watt is for wattage, power. Strength.” I won’t say that all bodies aren’t beautiful because there are some very thin women who are beautiful as well, but you only see a certain type of woman on the cover of Cosmo. When I asked her what she meant by “correct body type,” a big old can of wrigglers opened up. “We don’t live in a democracy. We kind of live in a republic, but we mostly live in a capitalist society. So, any time you can create a system that will make over half of the population feel crummy about themselves, so much so that they will have to buy things to help them try and obtain an unreachable goal, you automatically have an economic advantage. Expensive surgery is just one of many lucrative ways women can take away fat and add breasts.” I think I’d like to hear Coco discuss conspiracy theories on a Joe Rogan podcast almost as much as watch her peel off a long, silk glove. “All women have cottage cheese,” Something Blue – a performer we’ll get to in a moment – chimed in. “I like mine. I cover mine with glitter and celebrate it. There’s nothing more comforting or sexy than the flaws on a human body. The perfections give you the wrong impression or sometimes even scare you away.” Goldie Candela’s another long-time member, an expert at fabric movement who utilized Isis wings in her performance, props used predominantly in Egyptian or Middle Eastern cultures, often by belly dancers. She’s something of a chameleon, constantly changing her look, hair, makeup and dress, but no matter what the outcome, she always looks like a five alarm fire. The other Jigglewatts lovingly call her the mouth of the south, and Goldie gave me a crash course in burlesque history. “Burlesque originally took styles of dance from all the different immigrants – some even from native aborigines – and brought them together. When you watch a Tease-O-Rama film from Bet-

June 2014 - Page 18

tie Page or the living legend, Tempest Storm, you see that a lot of their movements are taken from modern dance, which is based in Africa. So, you have your bumps, you have your grinds, the way you use your arms out to drag your audience into what you’re doing. Burlesque started in England in the 1800s and came to America back when showing an ankle was all the tease you needed. But it’s always been about pushing boundaries. Using different cultures to accentuate sexuality. So, we have to keep pushing the boundaries too. Burlesque means ‘to mock, to make fun of,’ which is why it’s synonymous with ‘tease.’ Like, ‘Oh, I can show you a little, but then take back what I showed.’ That’s the basis of classic burlesque. We take different kinds of

dance classes that help unveil movements we’ve never considered before. We’re all obsessed with dance. We’re either taking ballet classes or even just toning or yoga classes. Sometimes you learn something in yoga and think, ‘Hey, I can put this movement here right before I strip off that stocking.’” “The most uncomfortable position you can be in is the one that looks the best,” troupe-mate Something Blue added. Blue’s an adorable, wavy-haired brunette with cherubic cheeks whose bubbly and ingratiating personality off-stage is a startling contrast to her austere demeanor when performing. She enacted a tribute to Lydia Thompson from the 1860s, a visual retelling of the Greek legend of Persephone and her annual voyage into hell’s embrace. “Lydia Thompson helped bring burlesque to America. I’m pretty new to this, so I’m learning my burlesque history, reading a lot of books, and Lydia Thompson was someone who caught my eye as an interesting figure in our history, so I built my Persephone act around truly classic burlesque.” The Persephone number might have been my favorite routine from any of the girls, and that’s saying a lot. While Blue’s act spoke to the more serious left side of my brain – I’ve been a mythology nerd all my life – Lola LaStrange’s performance machine gunned rounds at my brain’s right side. She’s an energetic, fun-loving, voluptuous sister-can’t-resist-her whose song selection probably subconsciously inspired that last line. Lola performed to Richard Cheese’s lounge lizard cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” If you’re unfamiliar with that version, stop reading this right now and YouTube that song. I’ll wait. … Awesome, right? Lola told me, “Richard Cheese is known for covering iconic pop songs. He’s done ‘Gin

and Juice,’ ‘Man in a Box,’ ‘You Oughta Know,’ ‘Insane in the Membrane,’ ‘Closer.’ Johnny Cash’s cover is great too, and both versions make you feel like the world’s going to end, but in Richard’s version, it feels like it’ll be fun when it ends.” I wanted to know how she got into the burlesque movement, and Lola said, “I was always interested in dancing, but I never did it because I thought, ‘There are no big girls who dance.’ I saw a Jigglewatts show four years ago, thought it was amazing, but knew I’d never do it. Then, lo and behold, last summer I took one little burlesque class. One class became an entire fall semester, which began debuting in October, which became me being a Jiggle-ette in less than a year. It’s been a crazy experience.” Layna D’Luna’s path into burlesque was extremely different. She explained, “I was a little girl, and I was looking at grown up magazines and saw pictures of girls with these big feather fans. Instantly, I was like, ‘What is that? I want to do that.’ But I grew up in a conservative setting, so I kept my desire to be a burlesque dancer a secret. As soon as I turned 18, I moved to Austin and got involved with the burlesque scene here. I’ve been in love with this since I was a little girl. Doing this has been a lifelong dream.” Layna’s like a Corvette Stingray. Sleek lines and killer curves, an American classic but with exotic looks, so I wasn’t surprised to learn that her lineage traces back to Hawaii. “My performance is a tribute to my family. It’s a hula act that plays on motifs from the 20s. It’s really special to me. I created my costume myself, and it’s made entirely of flowers that all come off in different ways.” Layna went on to reiterate a mission statement touched on by Coco Lectric, “One of the great things about burlesque is that it opens your eyes to the fact that big girls can be sexy, skinny girls can be sexy, brown girls, white girls – all types of women are sexy.” It’s this very same thirst for diversity which inspired Les Whelchel, a promoter for RMC, to bring the Jigglewatts our way. Les said, “We have a very diverse culture within Longview and the East Texas area, and we try to cater toward everyone we can. We do everything from live bands to female impersonations, benefit fundraising; we’re always trying to do things that are different. After seeing the Jigglewatts on YouTube, we thought they’d be an absolute hit. We want to make sure people who don’t have the ability to travel to Austin or LA or places where venues of this nature are readily available have the opportunity to see something like this.” Up until now, I’m pretty sure the only way you would see something like this is if you catch Christina Aguilera and Cher in Burlesque on HBO. Les closed by saying, “We felt this would be a new, fantastic way to keep fresh culture coming in to Longview.” In my time in LA, I often went to the weekend burlesque shows at the world famous Forty Deuce, and I can honestly say that those performers have nothing on the Jigglewatts. If you’re doing anything on July 12 besides watching Texas’ finest bump and grind at the RMC, you’ve made the wrong plans. Don’t be like my buddies in Austin and miss an amazing spectacle. You have a girlfriend? Bring her. She’ll love it. The Jigglewatts are a celebration of true femininity, and their empowering message that all women are beautiful is one that must be seen to be believed.

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Loretta Ward

A Visit To “Loretta Land” by Jan Statman


oretta Ward believes a home should say something important about the people who live there. Whether the style is traditional, modern, eclectic or just plain old “Oklahoma provincial,” every room should sparkle with a sense of the homeowner’s personality. A friend once called her house “Loretta Land,” and the name stuck because it is just right. With its assortment of brand new outdoor porches – some of them still under construction – its metal roof, its many levels, and her impressive collection of art, Loretta’s lakefront home speaks volumes about her and about the objects she loves. Because she wanted the house to be special, she made sure to fill it with special things, each of which has a memory, a significant topic or a meaning for her. Every space is filled with art objects or antique collections. “Every corner is important. Every wall is important. None of it matches,” she said. “Even the rooms don’t match. Some of the rooms are not even square. But life’s like that. As you go along, you find surprises and nothing matches what you thought it was going to be.”

June 2014 - Page 20

Red roses form a welcoming hedge leading to the front door. A chocolate brown exterior is sparkled with a pop of red accents. A funky and fun yard art fish and a cement fountain standing silently in a flower bed lead the way to a rather unassuming front porch that gives little hint of what is to be found inside. A tall, shining metal angel standing on a high chest welcomes visitors to a large front room where the rough wood of a pair of antique Italian church doors forms a background for an elegant and classic Victorian sofa. The doors are functional. One opens to the coat closet and the other opens to the laundry room. “I had to have a dining room and a Victorian sofa,” Ward announced. “I’ve had them both a long time before I had this house. I’ve had them for years. The sofa originally belonged to my friend Mimi Tierney. Putting these pieces here helped me make this place my own. I’ve never done a house that was this much fun.” Her house not only boasts a variety of doors but it also has a lot of windows designed to bring in light. She has replaced many of the smaller or standard-sized windows with large stained glass and leaded glass windows in a number of rooms so that there is always a full view of the lake outside. Ward selected raw wood and unpainted but sealed paneling for the walls and ceiling in the

newer parts of the house. A bright sparkling Studebaker hubcap tops the high domed ceiling at its peak in the formal living room. “The builder wanted me to put a ceiling fan up there,” Loretta said. “But it’s way too high up. There’s no way I’d be able to climb up there to dust it or to change the light bulbs. Besides, this was not going to be a ceiling fan sort of room.” She could not decide what to do to enhance the point at the peak of the ceiling. “I had to go out, and I kept thinking about it, not sure what I was going to do about it. When I came home, there it was! The carpenters had found that hubcap and put it up there to “finish” off the room. It is absolutely perfect! I had to leave again, and the next time I came back I found they had hung those horseshoes over all the doors. I loved it! I started to ask them if they were carpenters or interior designers.” Three important oil paintings of cow faces by Melinda Buie share a full wall in the living room. The daughter of Longview architect,

Jim Buie, and educator, Linda Buie, Melinda is a graduate of Longview High School and of the University of Texas at Austin. She lives and works in New York City. Her paintings have been exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Arizona, California, Texas and London, England. These three large scale oil paintings are portraits of the cows that roam her family’s farm in East Texas. Photographs by James Evans may be seen on another wall. Evans’ work has been featured in Texas Monthly magazine. “He is the artist who does the West Texas and New Mexico scenes,” Loretta said. “He goes out into the desert at night and sets his lights behind the cactus to get these special effects before he takes these photographs.” Other works in her photography collection are by Gabriel Glorioso, a Shreveport photographer. An exquisite small bronze sculpture of Achilles sits on a table. Another tabletop vignette displays a series of small clay figures called Laid Back Artists. A collection of small clay musicians seem to be playing their music while lying on their backs. They are by a New Orleans artist named Annie Hendrix. “She used to be a jazz singer down on Bourbon Street,” Loretta

plained. “She’s in her 80s now, and she’s retired from singing, so she does these clay figures these days.” Several large pieces in several rooms are by Tyler artist David Wallace. They add visual interest to their surroundings. The well-known East Texas chef took up sculpture after he moved to downtown Tyler. He has been quoted as saying that creating art is very similar to being a chef. “On the one hand, you are arranging foods with colors, shapes and textures, and you come up with something attractive. On the other hand, you arrange found objects with colors, shapes and textures and you come up with something attractive.” He refers to his art as being created from the “litter of life.” He talks about walking through downtown Tyler’s streets after concerts and festivals on the square, and even after the Christmas parade and picking up the items people have discarded. “People come to downtown and leave little bits of themselves behind, so I pick them up and I turn them into art,” Wallace said. “When I bought these, David Wallace had never sold any of his work,” Loretta explained. “At Christmas, I was over in Tyler having dinner with a mutual friend who had also invited David and his wife. David told me he had a little gallery in the shop next to Jake’s, so I told him, ‘Take me over there and show me some of your stuff.’ We went over there, and I fell in love with what I was seeing. I said, ‘I only want to own things that are by my friends. So, I want that and that and that.’ He tried to talk me out of it. He kept asking, ‘Are you sure?’ Of course he has sold many things since then, but I was his first sale! I said, ‘I really like these, and I have the perfect place for them.’ And here they are!” A Henderson artist who uses every day items, some old and some new, to create his usable sculptures created two interesting objects sitting comfortably on a kitchen shelf. These two are called Laurel and Hardy lamps. They are made of pots and pans and somehow they suggest the figures of the old time comedians. As a collector, Loretta is particularly proud of a group of flower figure and landscape paintings. “These are by a girl whose life had spiraled out of control. She was an artist, and when she began to heal her life, I would send her a hundred

dollars every so often, and I told her. ‘Paint me something.’ I have quite a number of her paintings, anything that interested her, whether it was flowers or figures or scenes, whatever she wanted to do.” A decorative ceramic birdbath has a place inside the house instead of outside. “Dottie and Billy Carter do a guide service on Lake Caddo,” Loretta said. “Dottie Carter does these beautiful ceramic pieces. I know this birdbath should go outside, but it is so beautiful, and I like it so much that I want it to be right in here inside the house where I can see it and enjoy it all the time.” “My grandmother started a collection of tiny porcelain baby dolls for me. They’re only an inch or two, but everywhere I go I try to find some. I also collect lots of Will Rogers items.” Several rooms have acrylic paintings by Felice House of Houston. Loretta explained that the artist does all sorts of interesting paintings. “She does a lot of different looking things.” She pointed to a fairly small painting of Oreo cookies. “She painted these Oreo cookies, and she painted those roses in the other room, and you will find some other things that are just as interesting.” Felice House also painted the portrait of Loretta, which is in the master bedroom. A fine work of furniture art may be seen in an inlaid and beveled-antique bedroom set. “I bought this set from a dealer who was exhibiting at the Zonta Antiques Show. The dealer had brought it to Longview from another state because she said this was one of the best antiques exhibits in the country. There are dealers who come from as far away as Kansas and California. I always enjoy going to that show because it is more than just a market. It brings a high level of culture and sophistication right here to our town. I’ve gone to that since I was in high school. It’s a special treat for me and for a lot of people in this community, and I always save up

every year so I can buy something special from the Zontas. I appreciate what they do to help people.” An impressive but darkly moving oil painting of three ancient women lit by a central light might at first be considered to be a portrait of the three witches of MacBeth, but it is titled The Three Emotions. Ward said, “Frederick & Nila had this painting hanging back in the gift wrapping room of their gallery. It brings back some wonderful memories. I told Nila that if she ever wanted to sell it, I wanted to have it. So, here it is!” A decorated denim jacket by “Austin Queen of Weird” Aralyn Hughes is hung as an art object. It was purchased at a fund raising auction for an Aids benefit in Austin. Among other definitely Austin-like images it includes a picture of the late but iconic Leslie Cochran, a homeless man, peace activist, cross-dresser, urban outdoorsman and outspoken critic of police treatment of the homeless. Loretta’s home has several paintings by Aralynr Hughes as well as The Domino Dog. “She’s been on HGTV because she’s got a purple house,” Loretta said. “She has a new book coming out. She is an author and a playwright and an artist. Loretta just helped her complete a documentary on women and another on women of the Sixties.”

We play a mixture of classic country, soft rock and older pop music, including Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and Roy Orbison.

Every bedroom in the home has its own personality. One bedroom has a large acrylic Jan Statman angel painting. “This is one of the first works of art I ever bought!” Loretta said. A large oil painting of a small boy kneeling at the side of his bed in prayer dominates another bedroom. It is by the late Longview artist Gertrude Bisese. A photographic “wall of honor” has photographs of Loretta’s sons, Trent and Troy, and is a popular feature with their friends. “Mimi Tierney took this photograph of me a long time ago,” Ward said. Collecting art is a personal journey and each work in her collection adds to the warmth and personality of the home. “I wanted this place to look like it was old and had been here awhile and was a camp house,” Loretta Ward said. “My friends tell me it is “Loretta Land,” and so I guess it is.”

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Unforgettable June 2014 - Page 21


Just Call Him


by Jacob J. Mauldin

Ask anyone about Harvey Harvey,, and they’ll probably tell you that Jimmy Stewart was great in it. But ask anyone who graduated Spring Hill between 1996 and 2008 about Harvey Harvey,, and they’ll tell you that David Sullivan was great in it. That’s where his acting career officially began, on stage in the SPISD UIL One Act performance, crushing it for grades K-12 in the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart. Whenever I reminisce about the old days with cross-town friends from Spring Hill and the name David Sullivan comes up, the first thing out of their mouths invariably is, “Man, you should have seen him in Harvey Harvey.” .” It’s a performance that took his alma mater to regional and earned him back-to-back All Star Cast awards. “I won Best Actor at district or regionals, but I can’t remember which,” he says.


ut that’s not really where it began for Sully. (Don’t call him David, call him Sully. It’s what he has been called ever since he played little league ball.) When Sully was six years old, his family vacationed in San Antonio. Sightseeing on the River Walk, they discovered a movie being made. While cameras rolled, a terrified kid just a few years older than Sully ran for his life, pursued by gunned-up thugs. Sully thought he looked like he was having more fun than Scrooge McDuck swimming through a vault full of money. The kid was Henry Thomas, and the movie was Cloak and Dagger, one of the cinematic touchstones of our generation. “My dad lettered in five sports and band,” Sully

June 2014 - Page 22

told me. “Athletics were very important to him. He kept the TV unplugged in the attic. When the kids got home from school in my house, we didn’t plop down in front of the tube. We went outside and threw the ball around. So, I never really grew up loving cinema and studying it like most of the other people in this industry.” But although Sully’s extracurricular endeavors veered along a mostly athletic trajectory, he never forgot that seminal moment in his life, watching Henry Thomas perform on the River Walk. When he arrived at Baylor, he still carried the experience of excelling in his work in theater at Spring Hill. “I did something that I loved on stage. I had a great time up there, and it felt amazing. I thought it would be so great to be an actor. The whole job is just having fun, and if you do it right, people marvel at the fun you’re having.” His older sister was a drama major at Texas, so he tried his hand in theater but never felt connected to anyone in Baylor’s drama de-

partment. His father advised him that he probably couldn’t make money from acting unless he was a teacher, and Sully didn’t see himself doing that for a living. He studied business instead. And while he did that, Sully took a very interesting detour. He made the Baylor football team as a walk-on. “I didn’t think I had a chance, but I made the roster. When I came aboard, there were five kickers, and I worked my way to back-up. I would have started if not for a ju-co transfer named Matt from Trinity Valley with one of the strongest legs I’d ever seen. But in the Iowa State game, Matt missed three field goals, and Coach Dave Roberts told me I’d play the second half. So before the third quarter, I was practicing on the field in front of Iowa’s packed house, and I was dropping bombs. I put three for four through the uprights from sixty yards. I could not wait – could not wait - to get in that game. But we never made it into field goal range in the second half.” After that, Matt never had another bad game. “I knew he had two years of eligibility left, so I quit.” Sully felt bad about that decision at the time, but history proved he made the right call. The kicker named Matt? He’s Matt Bryant, a twelve year pro in the NFL, currently the starting placekicker for Atlanta. Any good card player will always tell you there’s an art to knowing when to walk away. Sully graduated Baylor in December of 2000 with a business degree. “I started working at a software company the following January and got laid off that May.” On a whim, he searched Yahoo for acting opportunities. There were nothing but local commercials, corporate training videos and student fi lms. “I got an industrial training gig that taught hair stylists how to use a new product. I basically just sat in a chair while they fi lmed someone giving me a haircut.” He was barely supporting himself in the meantime as a substitute teacher while quickly coming to terms with his father’s not unkind and realistic advice, that people just can’t make a living as an actor, when he met Shane Carruth online and auditioned for an independent fi lm. “Shane said I was great and asked if I knew anything about fi lmmaking. I said, ‘No, but I have friends I went to school with who do.’” Shane offered Sully one of the two leads, a producing role and a percentage of any future profits. Sully gladly accepted and spent the next few months stu dying the script for what would eventually become the critically-acclaimed, time-travelling, sci-fi mind-bender, Primer. “I brought my friends Jack Pyland and Casey Gooden onto the production. I spent all my free time building props with Shane, obtaining camera equipment, scouting locations, negotiating with rental houses, acquiring fi lm stock, delivering anything Shane said we needed. I didn’t know that I was a part of something as big as it obviously turned out to be, but it was still a really cool process.” They fi nished making the movie, and Sully went back to a real world job. He didn’t hear anything for two years. “It was Thanksgiving, and I got a call from Shane. He told me Primer got into Sundance.” He’s referring to Robert Redford’s annual independent fi lm festival held in Utah, one of the three biggest indie showcases in the world along with the Toronto Film Festival and Cannes in France. “Sundance was kind of cool but kind of not because no one knew who we were. We were just some little $7000 movie with no stars, no publicity team behind it, no connections. We couldn’t get into any parties. You’d meet someone nice in the day at a screening, and they’d

tell you to meet them later at the Variety party. But then you show up and the doorman asks, ‘Who are you with?’ You say, ‘Primer.’ And he asks, ‘But who are you with?’ And you say, ‘Well, Primer, one of the fi fteen fi lms in competition. This is the director, I acted, they --’ And he says, ‘Yeah, but who are you with?’ That was my fi rst real taste of Hollywood. Sundance was still a lot of fun because we got to ski for free, and I loved hanging out with my friends. But we were outsiders.” Sully was about to experience a tremendous reversal of fortune. On the fi nal night of the festival, Sundance awarded Primer the two most prestigious awards. Shane Carruth would take the stage to accept the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and the Grand Jury Prize, which is Sundance’s equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar. Shane and Sully were instant celebrities in Park Slope. “The fi nal night was a lot different. After we won, the festival gave us a van that took us from party to party.” That’s how it goes in Hollywood. First they hate you, then they love you. This next part is tricky. It’s something Sully doesn’t ever talk about. In fact, as far as I know, until now he’s only told this to his family, to me and to his best childhood friend, Jason Henderson. I really had to coax this out of him. But things happened between the fi lmmaking process and the Primer screening at Sundance, things that deserve to be on record. “I see the fi lm for the fi rst time on the big screen at Sundance, and when the credits rolled, it had me listed as a production assistant, not a producer. It literally made me cry. I still didn’t really know much about the business, but I knew a production assistant was the guy who got the coffee. I asked Shane why my credit had been changed, and he told me a producer is someone who makes a fi nancial investment.” For the uninitiated, that’s not true. Executive producers and investors bring money to the table. Producers are in charge of where the money flows. “I’m even credited as a producer on the fi rst mini-DV copy Shane sent me, which I still have.” So clearly at some point, Shane Carruth experienced a change of heart. “We didn’t have a signed agreement because I didn’t think this little movie would ever make money. But before I joined the production, he offered ten percent of any net profits.” When I asked if that percentage had been honored, Sully replied, “Absolutely not. Somebody’s made around four million dollars. It might not be Shane, but the worldwide gross was close to four million. I know something like half of that goes to theaters and maybe another twenty percent goes to representatives of the fi lm. But Shane earned some money on this fi lm, and unfortunately, I don’t think anyone else who made it with him has seen the money that was promised.” I kept pressing Sully because somehow I was fi nally getting him to pony up unprecedented information. “It’s hard for me to understand. I never did anything but give my best to that movie. And if Shane had ill will toward me, he never expressed it. I did everything he asked.” It’s been ten years, and I’m glad enough time has gone by that Sully fi nally feels able to talk about what happened. “It feels like I should talk about it. I don’t know what it is that makes people do things like that. There’s something when it comes to business – any business - that makes certain relationships become less important. But I don’t ever think about it anymore, really. It doesn’t do any good holding onto bad feelings.”

But the fact of the matter is this: what just real people. And I was able to bring every- mate professionals. Really down to earth, nice happened is bigger than Sully. He’s doing just one to the after party. My family met Quentin guys.� fi ne in that industry without the money or the Tarantino and Kevin Bacon, all these big people In 2012, Sully experienced another milecredit he deserved. But people need to know in the business. I was so glad they got to experi- stone in an enviable career that’s just getting this happened. It’s not about Sully or the hurt ence it with me.� started. He was in Argo, which won the Acadhe felt. Young kids coming up need to learn Slowly but surely, Sully’s career began to emy Award for Best Picture. “It was only one from this example that no matter how nice take off. He booked guest-starring TV gigs on scene, but Ben Affleck [who directed] made evthe person on the other side of the table seems Big Love, Boston Legal, Criminal Minds, CSI, eryone feel like they were important. He took a when they’re offering the job, always get it in and a very memorable part on what I consider day to meet with us, to go over the scene, to fi nd writing. Anyone on the level will be happy to the best drama currently airing, Justifi ed. He out how we believed we should interpret the paper a deal, and anyone else is looking out for almost didn’t land that role. “In the middle character. It was a way more personal touch number one. than I expected.� In fact, when I asked The Primer debacle was a tremendous him for a wish-list of directors he hoped he blow, one that almost kept Sully from “In the middle of my audition, could work with in the future, Sully said, trying to enter the industry. “I stayed in “David Fincher, Chris Nolan. And I’d reI forgot my lines. There were ally like to work with Ben Affleck again.� Texas for another six months after Primer won Sundance. But out of the blue, a manCurrently, Sully’s on set acting in about two seconds of sheer The Veil, a parapsychological thriller from ager at Untitled called and told me I had to come to LA. I visited and had a great company behind the Paranormal Acterror. But I didn’t panic ... and the meeting with the casting director of Fritivities franchise, written by Robert Ben day Night Lights, and she encouraged me the lines just came back to me.� Garant, directed by Phil Joanou and proto move there too. So I headed west, and duced by Jason Blum. “Blumhouse makes I was broke for the next three years. But high quality fi lms with low budgets that I think that’s part of what’s made me resilient of my audition, I forgot my lines. There were end up making a killing. The cast is great. The and made me work harder.� about two seconds of sheer terror. But I didn’t lead is Lily Rabe who has been destroying it in Sully still hadn’t heard the last of Primer. panic. I sat there in my discomfort, thought American Horror Story. Without giving too In 2004, he was nominated for Best Debut Per- about the overall scene, about this character much away, Thomas Jayne plays a cult leader formance by the Independent Spirit Awards, and the crazy things the script said he’d done involved with a mass ritual suicide 25 years the indie version of the Oscars. He lost to Ro- as a teenager, thought about my own life and prior. Lily’s character is the only survivor. Jesdrigo De la Cerna for The Motorcycle Diaries, how I felt when I was that age, and the lines sica Alba plays a reporter investigating it, and I but it was, as they say, still an enormous honor just came back to me. It taught me that no was just cast as her cameraman. It’s a really big being nominated. “My whole family came out. matter what happens when you’re acting, just role for me. I’m in pretty much every scene with My mom, dad, my aunt, my brother and his stay in what you’re doing, live in the given Jessica.� wife. But I could only take one person, and I circumstances of the scene, and you’ll always He’s been very busy, and his dance card’s needed a hot girl on my arm, so I obviously de- know what to do.� Sully had two huge scenes staying full. Just last summer, I even got to cided to take my mom. We had the best time, with Timothy Olyphant and Jacob Pitts, and work with Sully on a fi lm I helped write, which met two of my idols, Philip Seymour Hoffman� a fan boy like me wanted to know what it was was shot in Mineola called Bigfoot Wars. But (RIP) “and Paul Giamatti. They were so nice, like working with them. “They were consum- a terrible thing happened that put a damper on

the carefree fun I expected to have with my old friend. Hours before Sully arrived on set, his father died. He learned this news at the airport in Dallas. No one in the production expected him to show for work. “I thought about not coming, but my mom told me I had to. She said it’s what my dad would have wanted.� The production team scrambled around, changing the fi rst week’s schedule so that he could attend the funeral and be with his family, but he was still there the fi rst day – the very day his father died - hitting his marks and nailing his lines. No one on set could believe the level of professionalism on display in the wake of one of life’s greatest tragedies. The thirty year acting veteran, C. Thomas Howell, even took me aside and expressed how stunned he was with David’s ability to maintain and deliver under a level of duress that can only be imagined. “My father loved watching me act. When I fi nally decided to jump into this business with both feet, he was always supportive. He didn’t advise me to stay away from acting because he thought I wasn’t good at it. He just wanted the best for me and knew how hard this road would be. I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to see him again, to be with him, but my mom told me that he is with me. He taught me to be kind, to help people who need help, to be the best man I can be. She was right. He’s with me now, and he always will be.� So call him Sully. It’s what his friends call him, and I’ve never met anyone he’s met who doesn’t consider him a friend. He’s his father’s son, and no matter what happens to him in Hollywood in the years to come, I know he always will be.


















June 2014 - Page 23

Okay, I’m not a man, so when I walk into Leon’s in Longview, I get the feeling that I’m outnumbered by that carnivorous species of men who are there for an easily attainable pound of beef flesh that has been beautifully charred over an open flame. There are no caves or grunts, but these men are definitely a paradise away from the feminine tearoom they sometimes get dragged into. After a couple of months off from writing this column, I’m back in the saddle and rode right into Leon’s with my brother Mark to satisfy both our steak cravings. I’d already feasted on some great pork chops one weekend night at Leon’s on my first visit with friends to hear The Mansion Family band. Memorable food let me know that even though I was returning for lunch, the food would probably not disappoint. I was right. For a reasonable $10 I had a 7 oz. rib eye cooked medium rare with a side of grilled fresh green beans, Texas toast and baked potato skins loaded with bacon bits, cheese, and chives. The rib eye was perfectly cooked over an open flame, and the flavor was all there. As we both took that first bite, I could measure the quality by our instant silence and then a slowly lingering ... mmmmmmm. Mark went for the 14 oz. rib eye that Leon’s is famous for – hence the name Leon’s Famous Rib Eye Steak – with two sides. He opted for a side salad that was cold, crisp, and fresh with bleu cheese dressing and the grilled green beans. Just like the beautiful simplicity of a perfectly seasoned steak, there’s not a whole lot that I can add to the description. It was good. It was VERY good. We’ll go again. I’m thinking about it right now! Here is what you need to anticipate. Smoking is allowed in Leon’s Steakhouse & Saloon. So, if that is an issue for you, just be aware. Frankly, we decided to enjoy the meal regardless of the allowance for smokers and still had a great meal. The décor is beer signs and comfortable. Servers are friendly, quick and attentive. Morgan took care of every request we made and always with a big smile. In back of the main dining room is another large dining room with a dance floor and stage. Leon’s was voted “The #1 Best Place to Hear Live Music” in the Longview News-Journal’s “Best of East Texas,” and Wednesday through Saturday they feature bands like Dagnabbit, Johnny Simmons & the Night Crawlers, Bobby Waldron and the Texas Country Hotshots, Ambush, Teazer, the Casey Martin Band, Darrin Morris Band, and many more. On Wednesday night it’s a 2 for 1 on chicken fried steak. That added

June 2014 - Page 24

CenterStage C|U|I|S|I|N|E

A Taste from Near or Far column by Claudia Lowery & photos by Ben Valencia


with live music is a heck of a deal for anyone. It’s a party every weekend at Leon’s, and the food is the star of the show. Leon’s Steakhouse and Saloon was started by Leon Simmons when he retired at age 52 from the construction business. After considering how much time he spent in taverns, he decided to lease a building at the corner of Eastman and Hwy. 80 in 1980. A very small building it was, and soon he moved next door to a larger space and tore down the small building for parking. Leon’s stayed there until 1987. “Leon stood six foot four inches and weighed 200 lbs. and was known to most people to be a very caring and cavalier man who helped a lot of people. He was also known by a few people to be mean as a rattlesnake (he never hired a bouncer). He was an incredible storyteller and always had folks lined up to listen to his tales. His business prospered.” ( In 1978, a building on Eastman Road was constructed for leasing as warehouse space. Soon a DeBerry man leased and renovated it with a lighted dance floor, a glass disc jockey booth, a fireplace and more, which became the Blackberry Club. In about a year it closed, leaving the lavish upgrades behind. Next it was leased to Reliable Music Company who sub-leased to The Rainbow Connection. The building was destroyed by fire in 1987. Leon renovated the building and moved the steakhouse from Hwy. 80 to this new location. Tragically, in 1987, Leon Simmons was killed in a pedestrian accident on Hwy 80. Jerry and Suzy Simmons now own and manage Leon’s Steakhouse and Saloon, carrying on Leon’s legacy of perfectly cooked steaks, good food, good friends, good music, and good times. I found it to be a hands-on operation when a really nice lady was bussing the table next to me and stopped by to introduce herself. It was Suzy, out there with her staff, working alongside them and greeting customers. I imagine that would please Leon a lot. It’s what he would do. The restaurant is available for receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate meetings, and wine tastings. The opinions expressed here were based on the writer’s personal experience. Please be sure to visit and form your own opinion.

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to feature new events & lively entertainment by Robbie Goodrich Nacogdoches will celebrate the 25th annual Texas Blueberry Festival presented by Brookshire Brothers June 13-14 with the return of tried and true blue events along with some new nighttime happenings that are sure to please all tastes and interests. Nearly 20,000 people flock to downtown Nacogdoches every June for the state-sanctioned festival weekend that features favorite blueberry cooking demonstrations and eating contests, a classic car show, pageants, a blue washer board tournament, pet parade, children’s activities, an assortment of vendor booths and more, all presented by Brookshire Brothers and produced by the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce. Festival Chair Grace Handler and her team of volunteers have dreamed up “25 Days of Blueberry” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the festival. “Businesses throughout the community will hold mini-festivals with blueberry flair, leading up to the big festival day,” Handler said. Those events begin May 21. A schedule can be found at and texas Part of this year’s festival is a new special celebration of Nacogdoches’ designation as the Garden Capital of Texas featuring free

June 2014 - Page 26

shuttle rides to and from tours of local gardens. Maps will be provided for self-guided garden tours, which highlight the Stephen F. Austin State University Sculpture for All art project, a new feature in the SFA Mast Arboretum and Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, located on the university campus. “The Four Seasons and Bluebonnet garden clubs along with contributions from SFA and local residents that support gardening have made this new festival event possible,” said Debbie Stevens, event coordinator. “How exciting to see great examples of what makes Nacogdoches the Garden Capital of Texas!” Also featured for the 25th anniversary festival are two new events – the Friday Night Blueberry Blast and the Berry Vine Evening on Saturday. Friday night brings a family friendly free evening concert downtown with a children’s bounce park from 6 to 9 p.m. Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday, a “Berry Vine Evening” downtown sponsored by Nacogdoches Main Street will offer food samples in a progressive dinner style and showcase some of Texas’ best berry wines. Only 200 $15 tickets will be sold and only during Saturday’s regular festival from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Visitor Center on the square. The event is hosted by the participating businesses and

attractions, which include the Sterne Hoya House and Museum, Rhinestones & Rifles, A Beautiful You Salon, Dollheads, Rachel’s Antiques & Uniques, Heart of Texas Gift Gallery, Brick Street Antiques and House of Traditions. “We like the slogan of our presenting sponsor, Brookshire Brothers, when we say the Texas Blueberry Festival is a celebration of family and community,” Chamber Marketing and Membership Manager Kelly Daniel said. “These new events help create more excitement and fun for everyone.” Live entertainment will be featured on three different stages throughout the day Saturday. Among the favorite performers are the Rhythm Rocker Cloggers, Elvis impersonator Greg Williams, soft rock, folk and Celtic singer Cindy Grayson, the Christian/gospel group The Brandon Pierce Band and singer Ally Fuller. “Ally is an amazing performer and has been entertaining at the festival from a young age,” Daniel said. “She’s a teenager now and has advanced with instrumentation as well as voice.” Other musical entertainers are The Never Brothers, Justin James and Country Thunder, Darcy and the husband/wife team of Stephen

and Jan Pate. Also performing are the OhEmGee Athletics of Cushing, which features group dance and flash mob, and the Nacogdoches Yoseikan Budo Dojo. And there are plenty of fun activities to keep kids busy and entertained, from the CASA Kids Cupcake Decorating event to the Kroger Craft Corner to the Too Blue Petting Zoo. Young artists can show off their painting talents at the Big Blue Mural, and everyone can cool down by taking a dip in the Get Wet Water and Bounce Park or by standing under the water misters at the Cool Zone and Teddy Bear Checkup Station. Coming back this year will be the popular 42 tournament at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse Annex. And if food is your thing, then the Blueberry Festival has it all, from funnel cakes to sausage-on-a-stick to barbecue to snow cones. Start the day at 8 a.m. with the annual Blueberry Pancake Breakfast and satisfy your sweet tooth at the Blueberry Hill Soda & Sweet Shoppe. Handler extends a Texas friendly welcome to festival-goers. “We hope to see all our friends on the brick streets of Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, to help celebrate our 25th annual Texas Blueberry Festival,” she said.

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we always considered our parent’s art to be part of the family. They are their creations just as we are – only in this case there is no sibling rivalry. I don’t know where or when my friend purchased the watercolor. She may have purchased it here in Longview or in a gallery in Dallas, Houston, New York, or somewhere else. It has graced her home for quite a long time, and I actually do remember when it was painted. It may seem to have a vaguely oriental sensibility to it, but the truth is my father never visited the Orient. He never traveled outside the United States. He sent his paintings to travel in exhibits all over the world, but he did not choose to go. He always said this was the greatest country on earth. We would not be alive save for the grace and power of this great nation. He could see no reason to leave its borders and go somewhere else when there was so much grace and beauty to be seen right here at home. That said, he also did not choose to be ignorant of the wonderful works of art that were created by others. We spent a lot of time visiting museums and gallery exhibits. So sad he missed out on the Internet! At one point he found himself strongly influenced by the colors and line of oriental art, particularly the art of China. He once took me to a regatta that featured different styles of Asian sailing ships. I don’t know how he ever even saw the sailing ships, but he must have absorbed their essence because the charcoal and pencils in his fingers

AArtirtist's World by JANSTATMAN

Recently I had a most delightful reunion with an old friend. I had not seen this particular friend in many years. It was a most surprising reunion and completely unexpected, but it was arranged with generosity and love. We were out and about when my dear friend Judy handed me a large gift bag decorated with all the bows and colorful tissue paper one would expect to find in a lovely present. But it wasn’t Christmas. It wasn’t my birthday. It wasn’t even Arbor Day. She told me it was something she really wanted me to have. Then she told me to be careful with it, but I was not to open the package, and I must promise not to look inside until I got home. I restrained myself for awhile, but of course curiosity got the best of me and I had to have a peek. Not a big peek, only enough to realize that whatever was inside the package was in a picture frame, and it was covered by glass. Good thing I peeked. Anything covered with glass would encourage me to be careful. Could it be a work of art? I’m an artist. I make art. Artists make a lot of art. We can’t help ourselves. When I chose to be an artist, my mother warned me by saying, “You will have paintings under all your beds.” Like every artist I have ever known, paintings win the “real estate wars” for space inside my house. I have paintings in my studio, on all the walls, lined up behind the sofas, and I do indeed have paintings under the beds. Why would Judy be giving me a work of art? Imagine my surprise when I finally did get home and I finally did open my gift? Well, to be honest, if you must know, I didn’t make it all the way home. There was no choice. I had to open it as soon as I reached the parking lot, and I was sure nobody was watching me, except maybe for some random security cameras, which didn’t care whether I was the kind of person who broke my promises or not. June 2014 - Page 28

Slowly and deliberately, I removed the pretty bow and the crisp tissue paper to reveal a beautifully matted and elegantly framed watercolor painting. No! Impossible! It could not be! I recognized the work at once. It was of an almost oriental looking sailboat on a lake of crystal water that was so clear and crisp it seemed as though it might drip right off the paper to flood the floor. It was a painting of my father’s. Sure enough, there was his signature in the lower left hand corner – S. Berliner, printed in block letters, signed with a narrow brush, just where it should be. That man could sure paint water! Some artists struggle for a lifetime to get a “look,” or a personal style. Others are blessed with having that style built into their hand seemingly at birth so that their work is immediately recognizable. It will take every artist a lifetime of work and years of study to perfect the ability to create a professional work of art, but for some who are fortunate, that signature “hand” that makes a work your own is always there. In fact, I am looking at another painting he did. It is hanging on the wall near my computer to be a guardian and an inspiration for me as it has always been. It is, and has been, one of my favorites. I hung it on this wall when our oldest son became a boy scout, and I believe it encouraged him to go on and earn his Eagle badge. It is titled The Good Scout and shows a smiling little boy wearing a Boy Scout uniform and standing between two pretty, little girls. It is also signed S. Berliner in the lower left hand corner, just like his later paintings. It is fairly primitive, and it certainly is rough, but you don’t need to look at the signature to recognize it as his work. The difference is that he painted the Boy Scout piece when he was only 12 years old! I have discussed this with other artists who have an artist parent, and most of them seem to agree – in some strange way

were busy flying across the sketchbook he held in his hands. These sketches and these images were later transformed into the dramatic oil paintings and delicate watercolors of his Oriental Series. Some of the watercolors were done as sketches in preparation for larger oils. Others were painted to be complete artworks on their own. Of course, all the oils are gone. They were sold a very long time ago, except for the one my mother loved. That one stayed with us, and it now lives in my house in a gilded frame. This particular watercolor was never a sketch. I remember him painting it as a complete piece. I can never express my gratitude to my friend Judy for being thoughtful enough to share it with me. Surely, it has a title. He usually wrote the titles on the back of his watercolors, but it is carefully framed so there is no good way to find the title. Titles don’t matter much anyhow. It just is what it is. It is slightly faded now because of age and sunlight, but age and sunlight fading only serve to make it that much more charming and more delicate. It is best to be careful because that lake of crystal water is still so clear and crisp it just might drip right off the paper to flood the floor. Award winning artist and writer Jan Statman’s paintings are owned by museums in Italy and Spain and by corporate and private art collections across the USA. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the Arts, Dictionary of International Biography, and numerous other references. Best known for colorful acrylics, and delicate watercolor paintings, she also judges area art exhibits and teaches painting classes. See her work on Facebook at Artist’s Studio of Jan Statman American Artist.

Downtown Kilgore

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June 2014 - Page 29

“B si ”




by Randy Brown

SOMEDAY I will fly someday I’ll break these feet of clay Then I’ll be on my way On my way ... “Someday” - written by Darrell Scott

This month’s lyric comes from a powerful song written by one of my favorite contemporary writers, Darrell Scott. You may not know of Darrell, but you probably know his work. He wrote “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” recorded by Travis Tritt and Cory Morrow, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” recorded by Brad Paisley, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Zakk Wylde, Red Molly, Dave Alvin and the Ruby Friedman Orchestra as well as “Long Time Gone” by the Dixie Chicks. This is an abbreviated list of his songs covered by artists of note. This month’s song, “Someday,” is poignant because it is inspiring and sad all at once. It gives a brief account of 3 men who can’t find happiness though they know they have the ability. Each relegate that happiness and fulfillment to the future where, in reality, it may not happen. Sound familiar? For me, it rings true, and I have to believe it does for most of you. Have you ever dreamed of that “someday” when you have the time and courage to chase your wildest dream? It is a favorite past time. Most of us do it – something along the lines of, “Someday, when I am (rich enough, smart enough, June 2014 - Page 30

old enough, have the time or [insert your particular requirement here]) I will (write more, perform more, record my music, see the world or [insert dream here]). You know exactly what I mean ... that dream, goal or project you are always thinking about achieving but you put them off because of the prerequisites you say you need to meet before you take that next step. You know what? I am 61 years old, and I don’t have time for that. I am suggesting that you don’t either – no matter what your age. Life is short and often takes unexpected turns. I know this from experience, and yet I still say “someday.” The old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” is unquestionably true. Without that first step, there is no journey. So what’s a poor boy to do but to play in a rockn-roll band? (I will admit sometimes I think in lyrics.) But seriously, take that first step. What are you waiting for? You don’t need to be anything “enough” to start down the path. The path is there, so take that first step already! Even though I am an artist as well as a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, I am also a bit of a realist. I know that you may well take that first step, then the second, third, and even the fourth or more, then at some point you may realize, “Hey, this just ain’t for me. This [insert dream here] is not what I thought it would be.” You know what? It is okay if you do that. No, ignore that. It is much better than okay. You have learned about something that doesn’t suit you. So, now instead of wasting years dreaming about something you are not going to enjoy, why not start with that first step so you can know if it is for you or not? If it is your calling,

then keep on going. If not, you aren’t a quitter. You have discovered what doesn’t suit you. If you are the analytic type, you can use this newfound information about yourself to come up with another dream that you might chase to the end. As the old saying goes, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” and the gain in this case is self-knowledge, and that is the most important knowledge you can possess. All other knowledge is available on the Internet or in a book, but the mystery that is you has no manual or instructions. It requires experimentation and many failures to find your proper path. Every failure and dead-end path gives you a hint of what new path you will want to take next. I remember a commercial back in the late 60s or early 70s. They were spots on the local “underground” FM radio stations – the folks that played album cuts and obscure artists rather than top 40 hits. It was for the Do It Now Foundation. I have no idea what they do, but the name has stuck with me for more than 40 years. Instead of saying “someday,” take the Do It Now Foundation’s name to heart and get going. It doesn’t have to be something that you announce to the world. In fact, it is best if you don’t. In my experience, it is almost always better to do it before announcing it. If I posted a blog about every song I was going to write, I would have posted a lot of blogs about songs that never got written. I like to do first and then announce. It saves my fragile psyche from the damage of letting the whole world know what a flaky, shaky, vacillating person I can be. Remember, just like Vegas, what happens in your head needs to stay in your head. Save that for your art. Your fans will think you are a genius, but you will know that’s not really the case. Nope, you’re just weird. But there is no reason to tell them otherwise. So, now you are started, what about finishing? That is the beauty of this – go as far as you want. Every path is endless. You get to your goal and find that a million different new roads stretch out before you. The journey never ends – instead it constantly morphs and changes. In my experience, everyone’s path is different but also the same. We are each

trying to understand ourselves and the universe from our own utterly unique perspective. Do not believe it when you hear about the “proper path” or the right way to get somewhere. The possible paths from point A to point B are infinite. There is no wrong path, only possible paths. I will admit there are some scary paths, painful paths, long paths, short paths and harmful paths. But we are artists. It is our job to take those roads less traveled and travel them, documenting the pain of our failures and joys of our successes. Every time we lose we also win because we know that path didn’t suit us. So, take a new one already. There are more to choose from than you can ever take or even imagine. I have found that often I set a course for one goal only to wind up somewhere unexpected – a discovered destination, and I use it as a waypoint in my greater journey. Someday never gets here for many people. They live their day-to-day mundane existences always dreaming of that far-off someday, yet somehow never getting started down their dreamed-of paths. But you are an artist. That is a magical thing to be in this world. You have the job of showing others how the world looks, sounds, tastes and feels to you. As common as we each believe our experiences, no two experience any situation in exactly the same way. As artists, we have the pleasure and the unique responsibility of documenting our experiential existence so that others can say things like, “Hey, that is exactly how that feels,” or “I never thought about it like that.” As artists, we write our own story and tell it to others. We don’t do it for profit or fame. No, we do it because we must. It is a need as necessary as breathing. So breathe, savor each breath, and be an artist now! It costs nothing, takes no training, closes no doors and excludes nothing else. Forget about someday. Do it now. You won’t regret it. See you next month.

Randy Brown is a full-time singer/songwriter living in East Texas and has been involved with many sides of the music business over the years, from being a sideman, a sound man, touring songwriter, producer, venue operator, and a recording studio owner/engineer. He uses the word “someday” a lot even though he knows his days are numbered.


In case you missed it, scenes from events in East Texas!











1- The Christening of Jefferson’s newest Civil War replica boat. 2- Hellzapoppin Show at The Levee in Longview. Piney Woods Live was in charge of booking and finding talent for the street musicians this year at AlleyFest in Longview. The following pictures were taken from this great event. 3- Jaden Farnsworth performs for Piney Woods Live. 4- Patrick James Freden rocks the streets. 5- Impromptu street musician free styling to Christian Rap. 6- Andrew Plan gets the crowd involved on the Piney Woods Live stage. 7- Jack Hopsin gets the mood set for a weekend of entertainment in downtown Longview. 8- Zack Hinson sings his heart out. 9- The Matthew Davidson Band takes center stage. 10- Downtown Longview during AlleyFest.

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