Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Plans

Work this week has been a combination of The Real Housewives of [insert city] and Jersey Shore this week. Here's the quick and dirty of where you should be this weekend.

1. Dallas International Film Festival - see a future hit, possible see a celebrity.

2. Scavenger Hunt at Neiman Marcus Northpark - leave your Louboutin's at home in this race.

3. Deep Ellum Arts Festival - it is not as scary as you think.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend Plans

1. Saturday is the Dallas Flea at Southside on Lamar. Part flea market part indie crafters, there is much shopping to be had here.

2. Saturday is also the season opener for the Assassination City Roller Derby at Fair Park. I've always wanted to join a roller derby, but the Architect thinks I would injure myself. I can injure myself walking down the hall in flats and run into the door frame. At least in a roller derby I'd have an excuse for that huge bruise on my arm.

3. If you are a runner the Rock and Roll Marathon is this Sunday. Bret Michaels of Poison will be playing too! If you are more of a couch potato, the Texas Theater is showing episodes of the Dallas television series.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Architectural Petting Zoo

Last month, Chicago Tribune journalist and architecture critic, Blair Kamin spoke at the Dallas Architecture Forum about his new book Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age. While Kamin was here he took some time to travel around our fair city - most notably the Dallas Arts District and the future Woodall Rodgers deck park.

Kamin reflected on his experience in Dallas and what he thinks of our newly expanded Arts District on his Cityscapes blog. The quote that simultaneously made me laugh and wince was this:

"Is it a good idea to organize arts buildings in such a clear and concentrated fashion? Or does the more mixed-up Chicago way make better sense? I ask because, despite its impressive architectural firepower, the Dallas Arts District can be an exceedingly dull place. There are no bookstores, few restaurants outside those in the museums, and not a lot of street life, at least when there are no performances going on. Even some of the architects who’ve designed buildings here privately refer to the district as an architectural petting zoo — long on imported brand-name bling and short on homegrown-urban vitality."

OUCH. That kinda hurt Blair. But there is some truth to your ruminations. Dallas is struggling to bring people back to the downtown core. On an average day when there isn't a show or Savor Dallas happening, the arts district and elsewhere in downtown is pretty dead.

But don't count us out yet. We are just getting started. Call me an optimist, but I think we have got somethings in the pipeline to start bringing the people back downtown. Like that deck park. If we can get the law school off the ground and the Statler Hilton is renovated, there will be some more people interested in hanging around after the work day is done and contributing to a live/work culture.

Nothing is perfect. I question the need for another high rise tower catering to the uber rich. I am concerned about the dead zone known as Victory Park. I question the lack of public transportation near the arts district and the dwindling available parking.

Rome wasn't built in a day and I'm sure Chicago's bustling downtown city wasn't either. So cut Dallas a little slack and give us a little time to grow and nurture what we've got.

But I do have to agree that the architectural petting zoo comment was pretty funny.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hugh Ferriss and The Metropolis of Tomorrow

A couple years ago Dwell had a small article about the American architect and delineator, Hugh Ferriss. His drawings in the 1929 book The Metropolis of Tomorrow were absolutely stunning. I am a huge fan of the 1927 Fritz Lang silent movie, Metropolis. Yes, it is 3 hours long, but 3 visually interesting hours. Ferriss' drawings would be at home with the visual landscape created by Lang.

Even though Ferriss was an architect by training, he is not remembered for his buildings. Rather, it is his ethereal drawings of New York and "the future" that sealed his place in history. His drawings are mostly of buildings at night and he cast the buildings in shadow, giving it a sense of mystery. Ferriss' work appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Harper's and Vanity Fair. Ferris' drawings and papers are housed at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

So why am I blathering on about this guy? Well, after reading the Dwell article I started poking around on the Internet about getting a copy of The Metropolis of Tomorrow, his seminal work. Specifically, a first edition of the book. A cheap paper reproduction would not do. Well, most of the first editions on Amazon and other sites were in the $200.00+ range. Not too expensive but a bit more than I wanted to pay for a book. The Architect and I have a lot of books, but we are not collectors of first edition books. I added this book to the bucket list of furniture and items I wanted to add to our home. Someday I may post my MCM bucket list.

Then lo and behold I happened to be browsing around on eBay and scored a first edition of The Metropolis of Tomorrow. FOR SEVENTY BUCKS. Thank god for eBay. This eBay score turned into a very nice birthday present for the Architect.

I'm not the only fan of Hugh Ferriss. The Oxford, England band A Silent Film used Ferriss' illustrations for the cover of their album The City That Sleeps. By the way, that album rocks.

Read about the top things to know about Hugh Ferriss here.

Browse through selected images from the Avery Library here.

Image from the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Sources: Wikipedia, Dwell, Avery Library at Columbia University.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weekend Plans

Ok, my weekend suggestions has been on a hiatus for a looooong time. But let's get back in the saddle and give you some reasons to get off that couch this weekend.

1. If I wasn't celebrating my favorite holiday on Thursday, I'd be at the Dallas Museum of Art listening to Marianne Stockebrand, Director Emerita of the Chinati Foundation talk about minimalist sculptor Donald Judd.

2. Savor Dallas is this weekend. There are multiple events happening all weekend from a Wine and Art Stroll through the Arts District on Friday to tastings, lectures and workshops from Texas wineries/distilleries and elsewhere and local Dallas chefs.

3. Put on your skinny jeans, Docs, and guyliner (or eyeliner for you ladies) and head over to the Granada Theater to hear Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. Alternatively, if you don't want to embrace your inner goth, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark will be playing at the same venue Sunday night. Cue the John Hughes movie....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wright 20 Modern Design Auction

Modern Design 31 March 2011 from Wright on Vimeo.

Wright 20 is an auction house based in Chicago, IL that specializes in mid-century modern contemporary furniture and design. Most of their items are out of my price range, but you can purchase the catalogs from their auctions to drool over. March 31 is their modern design auction with items from the likes of Jean Prouve, Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Milo Baughmann, Edward Wormley, and on and on.

If you can't make it to the live auction, you can bid by the phone, absentee, or online.

The folks over at Wright 20 put together this short dynamic little video to advertise the auction.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Slideshow of the interior of the Statler Hotel

Want a sneak peek into the hopefully soon to be renovated Statler Hotel?

Check out the slide show at Unfair Park. Pictures of the interior start at slide 7.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Statler Hotel has a new owner!

I have written a few times (here, here, and here ) about the Statler Hotel and its travails. News today from Dallas Observer and Unfair Park's Fingers of Fury, Robert Wilonsky is that the Statler Hotel has a new owner. Its former Hong Kong based owner has sold the hotel to local developers Ricci Dallas Investments for $13.1 million dollars. According to Unfair Park, the owners plan on cleaning it up and getting with local preservationists to discuss its future renovation.

I have always been a fan of this building and all the MCM goodness it has to offer. If the folks at Ricci Dallas Investments can get the renovation off the ground it will be a boon to downtown, the future UNT Law School, and a nice bookend to the Main Street Garden.

Read more about the sale here, here and here.