News Column

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas, William Kerns column

August 2, 2014

By William Kerns, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas



Aug. 02--A bit of this and a bit of that ... with a note from Sherry Holley, Buddy Holly's niece, saying she now is "custom-making limestone, tile pen-and-ink drawings with watercolor" of Buddy.

Each is titled "Buddy" and sells for $295, plus shipping and handling.

Tiles are provided by the Holley Tile Co., from which her father, Larry Holley, has since retired as former owner.

Trivia: It was Larry who gave younger brother Buddy enough money to buy the Stratocaster guitar he craved.

Moving on...

When I asked Paul Johnson for an update on his house concerts, he was quick to remind me the fifth annual Harvest Moon concert -- with music by Mike Pritchard, Mark Wallney and Mike Boyd -- is confirmed at 7:15 p.m.Sept. 5.

Johnson said each house concert, at his home at 3707 94th St., always is held on the weekend closest to the fall's Harvest Moon, a full moon nearest the Autumn Equinox.

As seating is limited to 60 persons, there is a good chance the 2014 Harvest Moon concert, like the four preceding it, may already be sold out.

But you can try for tickets at HubCityMusic.com or 535-0303. Tickets are $20, paid in advance, with a BYOB policy in effect.

Moving on...

Lead actors, choir members and dancers from "TEXAS" at Palo Duro Canyon have a second project this summer.

They can be seen performing in "Susannah," an opera in two acts by American composer Carlisle Floyd, at 2:30 p.m.Aug. 10 at the Mary Moody Northern Recital Hall on the West Texas A&M University campus in Canyon.

All participants are volunteers.

Direction is by Corinna Browning.

Show tickets are $10, and can be purchased by calling (806) 655-2181 or at the theater's box office on the day of the performance.

Proceeds will be donated to the 2014 "TEXAS Scholarship Boot," a scholarship fund to assist "TEXAS" cast and crew members in their future education and performance goals.

Moving on...

All who know me would probably bet their bottom dollar that I enjoy movies and baseball.

But I had no idea what to expect when I began watching a new documentary added to Netflix called "The Bartered Bastards of Baseball."

What a glorious, fun and true story about Minor League Baseball in the 1970s -- in this case, Independent League ball, similar to our former Lubbock Crickets, a team named after Buddy Holly's band. The Crickets existed only from 1995 to 1998. But hey, I still have my Crickets baseball cap.

And now I would love to find a Portland Mavericks cap.

The real hero of this new documentary is Bing Russell, the father of actor Kurt Russell. Bing loved and played pro baseball until he was injured. That was long before he moved west and played Deputy Clem on "Bonanza" for so long -- and, in the process, also became a busy character actor who wound up being shot more than 75 times by movie stars, including John Wayne.

But he noticed a Triple-A Minor League Baseball team called the Portland (Ore.) Beavers had folded. In 1973, he saw an opportunity to give everyday people a chance to play professional baseball again, this time with the very first Independent League team, which he decided to name the Portland Mavericks.

Bing thought maybe 50 guys would show up at an open tryout.

The mere idea of open tryouts for pro baseball was laughed at, in person and in print, by local sports writers.

However, hundreds of men who still had baseball in their blood found a way to reach Portland from across the country, just for an opportunity to try out and maybe play some baseball again.

Kurt Russell eventually became a team vice president -- and later, the Mavericks also would relaunch the career of pitcher and writer Jim Bouton, at his request. Bouton had been blacklisted by Major League Baseball after writing the tell-all book "Ball Four" in 1970.

The book is an amusing behind-the-scenes peek at baseball locker rooms after Bouton's season in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots (the team's only year in Seattle) and subsequent trade to the Houston Astros. Time Magazine listed the book among the 100 best non-fiction books.

Also important: A Portland youngster who was determined to work hard enough in 1973 to earn the position of the Mavericks' batboy happened to be future filmmaker Todd Field, whose 2001 movie "In the Bedroom" earned several much-deserved Academy Award nominations.

Trivia from a film critic: Given a choice of "In the Bedroom" and that year's Oscar winner, "A Beautiful Mind," I still favor "In the Bedroom."

I call this important because Field might adapt the documentary into a feature film.

That could wind up being as funny as "A League of Their Own."

Meanwhile, "The Bartered Bastards of Baseball," co-directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, remains, without a doubt, one of the best movies released thus far in 2014. An Academy Award nomination for this film as Best Documentary would make me smile -- and despite the title, the movie most likely will make you smile.

I highly recommend it -- five stars -- for everyone who watches movies, but especially for those who love baseball and sports in general. Oh, and also for those who admire anyone who has what it takes to follow up on a dream.

Chat about movies, theater, music, dance and visual arts at my blog playBill by Kerns at lubbockonline.com -- or check out Twitter at AJ_WilliamKerns.

william.kerns@lubbockonline.com

--766-8712

Follow William on Twitter

@AJ_WilliamKerns

___

(c)2014 the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas)

Visit the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas) at www.lubbockonline.com

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Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)


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