The old homestead

Jackson, Mississippi is home for me now, but Dallas, Texas is Home. Like many Homes for many citizens, I had to flee. Mimi Swartz, a Texan who lived in the Big D from 1988 to 1991 (on Mercedes, about eight blocks north of my ancestral home on Richmond Avenue), returns after a long absence. Much has changed and much, alas, has not:

I approached my sentimental favorite, NorthPark Center, with trepidation. I shouldn’t have worried: the Nasher family artwork collection, including Andy Warhol, Jim Dine and Frank Stella, was still showing Neiman’s in its best light, along with newer stores like Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Oscar de la Renta and Intermix. (Khajak Keledjian, a co-owner of Intermix, used to watch Dallas as a kid in Beirut, so when it came time to expand, he had a soft spot for Texas.) I was greeted like a long-lost relation. Way back in the ’60s, Joan Didion described a woman she had met in Dallas who was “charming and attractive” and “accustomed to the hospitality and hypersensitivity of Texas.” That’s still true at NorthPark, and it’s still true of the city at large: Dallas needs to be appreciated by the larger world, a characteristic that will always separate it from bigger, burlier American cities.

She’s a woman after my own heart. NorthPark is my favorite place to take a stroll as well, and it’s the one place I make a point of visiting whenever I’m in town. So, let’s clarify. I’ve got more of a sentimental attachment to a glitzy, artsy, extremely high-end shopping mall than I do to the Dallas Museum of Art or the I.M. Pei-designed Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall. I guess it’s true: You can take the man out of Dallas, but you can’t take the Dallas out of the man.

The article’s worth a read.

(Thanks, Winter.)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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5 Responses to The old homestead

  1. pacheco says:

    Hooray for Dallas! It’s been a while since I’ve been to NorthPark, but I’ve never been much of a mall guy anyway.

  2. winter says:

    Valid point. To the utter bewilderment of my wife, I still need to make a monthly trek to the Dallas-esque mall just outside DC. A sort of pilgrimmage, I suppose.

  3. LMc says:

    Are you certain FLWright designed the DMA? I’m not aware of that at all – Edward Larrabee Barnes did the current one (and it’s addition). And if that’s what you’re referring to, I understand your attitude about it. While I worked there as an architectural intern for the construction of the new wing, Mr Barnes’ attitudes explain it all: he considered grey to be a color, and he actually said, “people look so ugly inside a building”…. Kinda says it all.
    LMc

  4. Walter says:

    Yes, folks, crack is wack. Not only did I get the building I wanted to mention confused, I slid in another famous architect besides. I meant to say “the I.M. Pei-designed Morton Meyerson Symphony Hall” (a beautiful, airy building with good acoustics); I dunno where Wright or DMA came from, except that DMA always looks to me like something Wright would design if he were slumming. I love the interior’s high walls and gentle slope downward from the main entrance to the museum restaurant and featured gallery. But the mashed-potato gray and blocky exterior makes me think of a melancholic’s Lego set. Still, I hold a great deal of attachment to it, since I often skipped church by walking across the street and spending an hour instead looking at abstract art and whatever I could see for free. Thanks for the catch, LMc. The correction’s been made.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    You LIKE Northpark? Huh?
    (Your t-shirt is on its way.)

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