Man of Letters
Since the sixties, the Harry Ransom Center has collected materials related to the life and work of J.D. Salinger, author of the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, chief among them some of his unpublished short stories. A recent acquisition of letters spanning four decades of correspondence between Salinger and a former classmate, Ruth Smith Maier, reveals the logic—also on display in the documentary film Salinger and the biography The Private War of J.D. Salinger—that drove the author from highly visible celebrity to hermit. “It’s a very insightful glimpse of his own thinking about his reclusiveness and his decision to abandon later publication,” the director of the Ransom Center, Stephen Enniss, said. These letters are now available in the center’s reading room. In Salinger’s first letter to Maier, from January 1941, he was riding high. “I’m good,” he wrote. “It will take time to convince the public,” but it shall be done. Later in life, a man of accomplishment paralyzed by the pursuit of perfection, Salinger wrote to Maier’s son, Christopher, “Publication tends for me at least to put all work still in progress in dire jeopardy.”
Harry Ransom Center, from Jan. 24, hrc.utexas.edu
Her Mother’s Daughter
Last summer Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows within a matter of weeks. Immediately after state senator Wendy Davis’ successful filibuster of Senate Bill 5, which aimed to tighten abortion regulations and effectively shut down several Planned Parenthood locations, Richards, a vision of her late mother, former Governor Ann Richards, took to the rotunda floor of the Texas Capitol and led supporters in a sing-along of “The Eyes of Texas.” Less than a month later, a similar piece of legislation, House Bill 2, was passed during a special session, leaving Richards in an uphill battle for the life of her organization. Fast-forward a little more than six months, and Richards is returning to Texas for the Progressive Forum speaker series to continue her crusade for women’s reproductive rights.
Wortham Center, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., progressiveforumhouston.org
During the frontier days in Texas, quilting bees drew women together and eventually became centers of the women’s suffrage movement. Quilts were made to commemorate the Texas Centennial in 1936. And in 2011, the Texas Quilt Museum opened in La Grange. There are several quilt shows in the Lone Star State, but the eleventh annual Jefferson Quilt Show stands out because of its accessibility as well as the availability of programming for both beginners and advanced quilters. This year’s affair will appeal mostly to the traditionalist, with one major exception. The Supper—a re-creation in quilt form of Leonardo da Vinci’s late-fifteenth-century mural The Last Supper—measures 15 feet 3 inches by 5 feet 7 inches, with 51,816 half-inch cotton fabric squares pieced together by Don Locke, of Waxahachie, and machine-quilted by Linda Taylor, of Melissa.
Cypress Valley Education Center, Jan. 24–26, jeffersonquiltshow.com
Art Out Loud
If the walls at the Dallas Museum of Art that bear the Edward Hopper exhibition “Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process” could talk, they might tell the stories that make up “Danger and Desire: Tales of Hopper’s City,” on the NPR series Selected Shorts. Certain works from the exhibition, which includes more than two hundred realist paintings and drawings, largely from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s collection, are paired with short stories. Parker Posey will read Miranda July’s Roy Spivey for Mr. Hopper’s New York Movie, Kaneza Schaal will read James Lasdun’s Woman at the Window for Morning Sun, and David Strathairn will read Stuart Dybek’s Killing Time and Insomnia for Nighthawks. There will be a live simulcast adjacent to the sold-out performance hall.
Dallas Museum of Art, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., dma.org
Given Molly Ringwald’s track record—her unforgettable roles in John Hughes’s enduring eighties films like Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink plus her critically praised 2012 debut novel, When It Happens to You—chances are the songs from her new album of jazz standards, Except Sometimes, will soar when she performs them with the Brazosport Orchestra.
Brazosport College, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., iammollyringwald.com
Another early finish to the Cowboys’ season means another early start to the Rangers’ season, which unofficially begins Saturday at Fan Fest, including photograph and autograph opportunities with current and former players, and Q and A sessions in which fans can ask those burning questions that the news media never does.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Jan. 25, 9 a.m., texas.rangers.mlb.com