Michael J. “Mike” Mooney already pointed out a while back that Esquire was naming Rais Bhuiyan one of its “Americans of the Year.” Mike, of course, wrote a feature for D Magazine about Bhuiyan and his fight to stop the execution of the man who shot Bhuiyan in the face. So I was eager to see how Mike Sager handled the story for Esquire. When I tracked it down and read it, I was taken aback. Sure, sure, Sager’s story follows almost the exact structure that Mike’s does. That’s no big deal. Mike’s a good writer, and he figured out the best way to tell the tale. No surprise that Sager, also a great writer, would study the puzzle and come to the same conclusion.
No, here’s what got me: when Bhuiyan went down to Austin to try to stop the execution in court, Mike went with him. He was the only writer who saw the drama unfold. There weren’t any other reporters with Bhuiyan in Austin. Just Mike. And Mike happened to be there when, for a brief moment, Bhuiyan got to talk to his assailant on the phone before he was put to death. The conversation was cut short and didn’t go as Bhuiyan had hoped it would. Here’s how Mike — the only writer present — told it:
As the 50th anniversary of the assassination nears, Stephen King was first out of the gate, with his 11/22/63. Now comes news that former Morning News scribe Bill Minutaglio and his buddy Steven L. Davis will be coming out with a book about the worst day in Dallas. Here’s how the press release describes the nonfiction book:
Dallas 1963 follows the city through three turbulent years, beginning with the Kennedy election in November 1960 and ending on November 22, 1963. Set against the backdrop of a nation in transition, Minutaglio and Davis explain what the President and his team were thinking and doing in those three years, and why they could never have really understood the swirling forces awaiting them in Texas, where a rich and surprising ensemble of characters defined the city many people would blame for killing the President: rabid politicos, gangsters, unsung civil rights leaders, strippers, billionaires, defrocked military generals, fundamentalist preachers, clandestine heroes, and marauding police, among them.
The book will be published by Twelve in 2013, to coincide with the assassination’s anniversary. North American rights were sold in a heated three-day auction by Dallas power literary agent David Hale Smith, who used to run his own DHS Literary but then sold out to the Man and now works for an enormous, soulless, New York-based publishing behemoth called InkWell Management. David used to be a friend of mine. I asked him to confirm for me that the book had sold for $650,000 and a reservation for four at momofuku. He just put his stockinged feet up on his desk, threw his head back, and laughed like Max Cady through the smoke from a fine Cuban cigar.
We sent intern Jessica Melton out into the frigid air to capture the first trees being planted.
The Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation planted the first of 322 trees for the upcoming Park this morning at 10:30.
TurningPoint Foundation donated the first 25 River Birch trees. With the new trees came a new tree trust, which will allow donors who provide $25,000 or more to the Foundation to pick which trees they want to plant and select an area to place them in the Park.
One of the donors, Kristin Schor of the Gaedeke Group, says while her company already sponsors plant life around the United States, the people in her company are excited to see what they can do in their own backyard.
“We want to make a difference,” Schor says. “Even if it is one tree at a time.”
The trees are being planted in organic dirt placed on top of lightweight filler, because dirt alone would be too much weight for the bridge to handle, says Joanna Singleton of Jackson Spalding Communications.
Planting will be going on all day today and Thursday, but there’s not much else to see on top of Woodall Rodgers Freeway right now except a lot of organic dirt.
If you’re interested in what the Park will look like when it’s finished, the Foundation’s website has a bird’s eye view of what they’re planning for it. –Jessica Melton
After my worst-ever trip to the movies last night, I think I can safely say that it’s a sad day in America when a medium drink is $5 and not that much smaller than a Big Gulp. Meanwhile, NASA has discovered a new, potentially livable planet. I always knew the folks at Pixar were clairvoyant.
On tap tonight is “A Gathering” over at the Winspear, an AIDS memorial collaboration between various members of the performing arts community. It’s been 30 years since AIDS was officially recognized as a disease, and while advancements have been made in technology and treatment, there’s still no cure. But the purpose of this is to celebrate how far we’ve come. The evening of dance, music, and theater is entirely put on by volunteers, so all the proceeds will benefit local organizations: AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas, and Resource Center Dallas.Â FrontRow’s dance critic, Danna Reubin, attended a preview of tonight’s performances and writes eloquently on the subject here.
And speaking of things that have a charitable bent, Edna Jean’s Trailer Park Christmas at JR’s helps fund the gift project at Sam Houston Elementary School in Oak Lawn. Edna Jean Robinson is the drag queen alter ego of comedian Richard Curtain and the host of this long-running fundraiser. Edna Jean and guests will spread all the delightfully tacky Christmas cheer you could possibly want.
For more to do with your evening, go here.
During a weekend road trip to Houston, I discovered one area in which Sweat City beats Dallas hands down: They have a classic country radio station, and we don’t. The appropriately named “Country Legends” revels in the catalogues of Willie and Waylon, Kenny and Dolly, Hank and Dwight, and other artists we all know on a first-name basis. Why can’t we get a station like that? The powers-that-be at Cumulus Radio should remember this the next time they’re ready to change the format of 93.3 FM (tick tock, tick tock).
Once we get a classic country station, we can set our sights on a classic hip-hop station. How great would it be to have a channel that played vintage Public Enemy, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, A Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul? It sure would beat the noise they play on K104 and 97.9 The Beat.
Cops Kill AMTRAK Passenger. Big trouble on the Texas Eagle yesterday. The train was stopped at Union Station, on its way to Chicago, when undercover agents exchanged gunfire with a passenger, killing him. Tashena Brownlee was four seats away, saw the whole thing, and told KERA: “All I know is it’s not normal.” (Side note: last spring break, I took my family on the Texas Eagle to San Antonio and got roundly mocked by my coworkers for my chosen mode of transport. Now who’s laughing? Because my 12-year-old would have loved to see some gunplay.)
Three Dead Near Eagle Mountain Lake. Cops aren’t saying, but this sure sounds like a murder-suicide.
Plan To Fix Levees Released for Environmental Review. If you’re not a subscriber and don’t have access, you need today to track down this story (sub. req.) in the Morning News about the city’s plan to fix the levees and what the Army Corps of Engineers thinks about it. Two things are very significant about it: 1) unlike it did early, the Corps is refusing to endorse any plan. That’s a major shift. And 2) in explaining why, the Morning News quoted Jim Schutze: “A document obtained by Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze suggests the corps’ disclaimer may have come as a result of disagreements between corps and city officials.” That’s a huge shift.
Will Southwest File for Bankruptcy? Well, it’s the only major carrier that so far hasn’t. And CEO Gary Kelly is sure talking like he’s giving it some thought (sub. req.).