REMEMBERING CEDAR: Dallas lost one of its most accomplished native sons on Monday when jazz pianist Cedar Walton died at his home in Brooklyn. He was 79. There’s a nice recap of his life and career over at dallasnews.com, including tales of Walton playing with Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Walton’s passing reminded me of a story that legendary Dallas jazz teacher James Wilson told me earlier this year for a profile tied to Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month in April. “I was knee-high to a duck when Cedar Walton’s parents took us to a concert in Fair Park,” Wilson told me. “We were small, so we were right on the rails. I was looking down at Ella and Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown. Stan Getz was on that job. That’s what the community that I was in was all about – music.”
SHAKING UP SHAKESPEARE: For A Tempest, Hip Pocket Theatre promises, “an unusual interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tale.” Lake Simons is at the helm, so some of that unusualness of course involves puppets. But what else does she have up her sleeve? “Aided by Marie Harbour’s naturalistically anarchic costume design and John Dyer’s always spot-on soundtrack, Simons creates a world which all at once feels distinctly handmade, like for a small theatrical production, and magical,” Kris Noteboom writes on theaterjones.com. “It’s difficult to place the exact feelings, except to say that it just works.” Meanwhike, Mark Lowry, wearing his dfw.com hat, was unsatisfied by the language but wowed by Simons’ visuals. “As is typical in her work, it’s visually arresting, as spectacle is replaced with lithe performers, almost floating across the space, and objects manipulated and transformed into those elements that larger Shakespeare productions can suggest best with sound and lighting, such as the opening storm,” he writes. Judge for yourself through Sept. 1.
LARRY INKS A DEAL: Almost exactly a year ago, Larry McMurtry announced during his book sale in Archer City that he was putting down the pen – he was done writing fiction. But like Michael Jordan, retirement didn’t last long for McMurtry. After 40 years with Simon & Schuster, he’s inked a deal with Liveright Publishing. His next book, The Last Kind Words Saloon, will be out in June 2014. It’s a historical-fiction look at the relationship between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.