Five stories that have North Texas talking: Sugar Land locals have mixed reviews on the city’s new selfie sculpture; Mark Cuban will read stories to kids at the library this afternoon; a congressman from Brownsville penned a strongly worded letter to Trump; and more.
A recent installation in Sugar Land, Texas revealed that some people can't handle seeing the triviality of day-to-day life take the form of public art. The work in question? “Selfie,” a life-sized bronze statue of two teenage girls taking a picture with a smartphone in Sugar Land’s Town Square.
The statue was installed in late May as a part of a 10-piece collection of sculptures donated by local resident Sandy Levin, according to Texas Monthly.
— City of Sugar Land (@SugarLandtxgov) May 27, 2016
Despite the statue reflecting an “activity common in the plaza,” locals have not held back on criticism via social media. Some think it's embarrassing and unrepresentative of the town. Others believe it would capture a popular pastime. And, according to Texas Monthly: “‘Ehh,’ one person commented. ‘At least it’s not a Confederate statue.’”
— Jay Carr (@AstrosTracker) May 27, 2016
Texas Monthly reported: “Details about the Selfie Statue’s origin and meaning are scarce. Contrary to accusations of wasted money, Sugar Land did not pay for the sculpture.”
If the purpose of art is to spark conversation, then “Selfie” just might be considered an indubitable success, landing itself in the national and international news cycles. Read this defense of the statue in Slate. [Texas Monthly, Slate]
- Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban will visit Audelia Road Branch Library at 2:30 p.m. to read to children. Cuban is promoting summer reading in support of Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Summer Reading Club, according to the Dallas Public Library. Cuban will read stories and answer kids’ questions this afternoon. This summer Dallas Public Library is also implementing Zoobean, a product partially owned by Cuban and featured on ABC’s Shark Tank. According to the library, “Zoobean provides innovative tools that help public libraries engage local families and build literacy in the community.” The summer reading program is taking place at all 29 branches and getting a library card is free. [Dallas Public Library]
- A former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher recommends a “Texit” — Texas secession from the U.S. Just last month, the latest state secession effort was thwarted at the Texas Republican Convention. However, the grassroots movement has support from the across the pond. Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, said Texas should secede in order to preserve “the best of America,” according to The Daily Caller. In an interview with the politically conservative news and opinion site, Monckton said Texas faces financial turmoil, immigration issues and federal overstepping if it remains in the Union. “Will the people of Texas find the courage to break free and establish a libertarian paradise in the Lone Star State? I pray that they will,” Monckton said. Read more on Monckton’s vision for an independent Texas, which would include censoring the Quran. [The Daily Caller]
- A Texas congressman had some choice words for Donald Trump in an open letter published Monday. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, does not disagree with everything the presumptive Republican nominee says, he wrote in the letter. “However, your ignorant anti-immigrant opinions, your border wall rhetoric, and your recent bigoted attack on an American jurist are just plain despicable.” Vela goes on to defend the integrity of Mexican-Americans, including that of “U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the judge overseeing litigation related to Trump's education enterprise, Trump University, with fraud,” according to The Texas Tribune. And, Vela points out his lineage in the U.S. extends far beyond Trump’s. Read how Vela concluded the letter. [The Texas Tribune, The Brownsville Herald]
- American Airlines passengers will be able to earn points based on the price of their ticket starting in August. The changes will reward the D-FW based carrier’s highest-paying passengers not just those who fly the most miles. The Associated Press reported: “Elite-status members of the AAdvantage loyalty program will earn even more points per dollar spent. To earn elite status, customers will have to rack up points, but also spend $3,000 or more annually starting next year.” According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “The move of awarding miles based on how much a customer paid for their airfares as opposed to how many miles they actually flew is similar to changes Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have already implemented to their frequent flier programs.” Read more. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Associated Press]