Around the State

Jordan’s Pick

NHL All-Star Celebration

Dallas

HOCKEY WILL NEVER BE FOOTBALL. In Texas, at least, this truth is self-evident: No matter how many hockey fans rise up in defense of their sport (or write letters to a certain magazine’s editor decrying yet another football cover, as the case may be), the puck will never outrank the pigskin.

But hold on a sec. Before you go dismissing the icy pastime as nothing more than brawling on skates, there’s something you should know: Hockey is enjoying an unprecedented resurgence, and Texas is right in the middle of it. In fact, the NHL has picked our home state—and our home team, the Dallas Stars—to host this year’s All-Star Celebration. After surviving the longest lockout in professional sports history, which wiped out the entire 2004–2005 season, the left-for-dead league would have thrown an All-Star shindig last year, except the Winter Olympics got in the way. Now that the midseason tradition is being resurrected for good, hockey finally returns to full strength this month, and we’ve got front-row seats.

The impending All-Star circus is being hyped as a coming-out party for the “new” NHL, which prides itself on being more thrilling than ever (more scoring! More shoot-outs! More power plays!) and more evenly dispersed with talent, thanks to the magic of rule changes and an infamous salary cap, respectively. But the true aim of the three-day exhibition—with its fan-favorite SuperSkills competition (who’s the fastest skater of them all?), the Young Stars game (such studly Eastern Europeans!), and a tribute to some of the game’s all-time greats (is that Wayne Gretzky?)—is to bolster the league’s momentum, rewarding loyal devotees and luring in new ones with its obscenely talented roster. At this rate it’s going to be as popular as Dallas Stars center Mike Modano in a sorority house.

So, you might ask, of all the cities that have a pro hockey team, the pressure to prove that the sport’s mojo is back is on…Dallas? Well, while you were busy reading Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, ice rinks were springing up, youngsters were signing up, and minor leaguers were lacing up around the state. Ever since the Dallas Stars came to town thirteen years ago, the sport’s been quietly on the rise: In the Metroplex alone there are thousands of registered players, up from a few hundred, while across the state there are now busloads of high school squads, up from approximately zero. Everything’s up. And we still can’t wrap our minds around the fact that Texas has more professional teams than any other state.

What’s more, our home team is playing—and winning—with gusto these days. Though fan voting for the All-Star game doesn’t end until early this month, at least a couple of our Stars should make the team, most likely Modano (the sentimental pick) and goalie Marty Turco (one of the best this season). To see them go up against some of the Eastern Conference standouts who rarely make stops here will really be a treat. So quit obsessing over what you’ll serve at your Super Bowl party; it’s time to feel the buzz and expand your sporting horizons. This may just be hockey country after all. Jan 22–24. American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave; 214-467-8277; dallasstars.com
Jordan Breal

The Filter: Events

by Jordan Breal and David A. Herron

What Are Friends For?

San Antonio

No artist, whether he admits it to himself or not, can escape the influence of his fellow creatives. But for a resourceful mastermind like Andy Warhol, collaborating with his peers was an excellent way to enliven his muse and, in turn, stimulate his career. Two of the Pop Art prince’s alliances—first with realist Jamie Wyeth and later with bad-boy graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat—have been memorialized in the traveling exhibition “Factory Work: Warhol, Wyeth, Basquiat,” now at the McNay Art Museum. Though it would seem on the surface that Warhol and his much younger protégés had little in common, he enjoyed professional and personal relationships with both. In the seventies, Warhol and Wyeth flitted about New York together, shopping for antiques, collecting taxidermy animals, and tape-recording their conversations at Warhol’s behest. But whereas Wyeth was creating rich oil portraits, often set in rural scenes, and using painstakingly meticulous processes, Warhol was taking rapid-fire Polaroids and dashing off mass-produced silk screens. And yet the oddly matched pair found middle ground painting each other. Perhaps the most haunting of the dozens of pieces included in “Factory Work” is Wyeth’s rendering of Warhol, an eerie, see-every-pimple portrait. Also fascinating are the duo’s divergent images of Rudolf Nureyev, Jimmy Carter, and the Kennedys. “Our work was diametrically opposite” is how Wyeth put it recently (he’ll join art historian Robert Rosenblum on January 18 to discuss his more than fifteen minutes with Warhol). Just as surprising was the friendship that blossomed in the eighties between Warhol and the outrageous Basquiat, known for hawking his painted T-shirts on the street and converting a garbage can lid into a painter’s palette (the exhibit wouldn’t have been complete without it). Two of Warhol’s most famous depictions of Basquiat—one of the young Brooklynite wearing a jockstrap and posing as Michelangelo’s David, another made from Liquitex paints, copper metal powder, and urine—are must-sees here. Indeed, the energy that Warhol drew from both Wyeth and Basquiat is still quite palpable throughout this exhibit, though now it’s the viewer who’s reaping the rewards. Jan 17–Apr 8. 6000 N. New Braunfels, 210-824-5368, mcnayart.org

Rare Read

Houston

To read Joan Didion’s writing is to feel as if you know her, so direct are her thoughts. Her most recent work, 2005’s The Year of Magical Thinking, an affecting memoir that chronicles the grief she felt following her husband’s death, is Didion’s most personal yet. In a rare appearance (she canceled her book tour in the fall of 2005 and other appearances earlier this year), the reserved writer will spend an evening reading a passage from her National Book Award–winning latest and sitting for a live interview with texas monthly executive editor Mimi Swartz. Jan 7. Wortham

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