"César Chávez, Texas," by Jim Schutze, August 28
A Blatant Diss
As a Texan, I must stand up for the principle that César Chávez is worthy of Dallas, and that renaming Ross Avenue is the one and only choice to commemorate such an important leader. It is a disgrace to hear that some dare question César Chávez's legacy.
For the unfortunate ones who do not know about the great legacy of César Chávez, you must learn to recognize that César Chávez was a U.S.-born Mexican-American hero. He not only fought for the United States in World War II, but also fought for better wages and the rights of all workers in Texas and across the nation. Mr. Chávez was awarded the Medal of Freedom.
With regards to Ross Avenue, it was chosen by Latino leaders for its importance to the Latino community. On Ross Avenue one can find the Cathedral of Guadalupe, which serves as a gathering site for thousands of parishioners every Sunday. Ross Avenue was also the gathering place for 500,000-plus supporters of human rights in 2006. Additionally, the avenue is home to DISD, which serves a vast majority of Latino youth. Lastly, this avenue runs along the southern edge of Little Mexico. It would be a disservice to the legacy of César Chávez to suggest that any other street, tollway or alley be named after such a great leader.
It was a blatant disrespect that the mayor and members of the city council ignored the poll results that wished to rename Industrial Boulevard, where the majority of voters chose César Chávez. To make matters worse, in accordance with Dallas' mayor's requirements, the César Chávez Task Force and the three Latino city council members agreed on an avenue to rename that was worthy of César Chávez's name. But now, the members of the city council are questioning the validity of the name change. I would like to know if the city council is suggesting that the Latino community is worthy of contributing to the growth of Dallas, but not worthy of selecting a street to honor their Latino leader: César Chávez. If so, it is a shame that you call yourselves "leaders of the community."
Cecy Dennis, Austin
"Enter Stage Right," by Elaine Liner, August 28
Don't Get Fooled Again
Thank you for a fascinating look at the new artistic director at the Dallas Theater Center, Kevin Moriarty. But do not make him a god just yet.
I had the chance to briefly meet Mr. Moriarty and have been struck with his enthusiasm for Dallas. And I am very glad that Dr. Paul Baker has been remembered and finally has been given his due as a great Dallas founding father for the arts.
However, I am old enough to remember how Adrian Hall and Richard Hamburger were both "hailed" by the entertainment media in Dallas. They were going to reach out to the community and create a new vision for DTC also.
The better approach—especially for an alternative paper like the Dallas Observer—would be to hold all of the other theaters in Dallas at the same level of reverence. The Kitchen Dog, the Watertower, Lyric Stage, Teatro Dallas and Theater Three have brilliant artists at work and do amazing productions throughout the year. One theater cannot be the end-all for Dallas.
It was disappointing to me to know that one of the great local directors, like Joel Ferrell or Rene Moreno, was not chosen to lead our city's high-profile theater. However, Mr. Moriarty is saying all the right things now—as did his predecessors, per the work quoted from previous entertainment critics in town.
So, hopefully, the DTC board and Mr. Moriarty will always remember that DTC gets a lot of money from Dallas' cultural arts funding. At a time when there have been or there is the threat of dire cuts in arts funding for our cultural community centers and arts-in-the-community programs, DTC has a lot of work to do.
Dolores Godinez, Dallas
I'm really looking forward to the changes, especially the use of our terrific cadre of local actors!
I do recall, however, thoroughly enjoying the innovative Big D Festival of the Unexpected, which DTC put on for several years after Hamburger arrived. It did use local talent and gave new theater groups and musicians a venue in which to show their stuff. (I am aware that it was Hamburger's wife, Melissa Cooper, who organized the festivals.)
Deborah, via dallasobserver.com