Briefly in the arts

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Professor’s talk aims to dispel Thanksgiving myths

Lots of Americans probably envision a gracious and bountiful table set before the first Puritan colonists and the American Indians who welcomed them.

Professor Guy Litton might upset those memories at his upcoming Professor’s Corner presentation, “Sex, Squanto and Separatists” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at South Branch Library, 3228 Teasley Lane. Litton’s presentation relies on the writings of the Puritan settlers of Plymouth Plantation to dispel myths that many Americans believe are historical fact.

Common wisdom about the first Puritans to arrive and settle in North America is a mixture of legend and folklore. For anyone who has wondered what the Puritans thought about sex, alcohol, witches and Native Americans, Litton’s presentation has answers based in his studies.

Litton is an English professor at Texas Woman’s University. Professor’s Corner is a monthly free literary program that brings literature fans, history buffs and local English professors together to discuss topics of interest to the professors.

Attendees can read excerpts recommended by Litton prior to the presentation, but it isn’t required. For the readings, visit and

For December’s installment of Professor’s Corner, TWU professor Russ Greer is slated to present “The Achievement of Thomas Hardy’s Poetry.”

Arts society taking entries for 125-Mile Exhibition

The Visual Arts Society of Texas will accept submissions to the annual 125-Mile Exhibition through Friday.

The Denton-based group will open the VAST 125-Mile Exhibition on Jan. 17 in the Gough Gallery at the Center for the Visual Arts, 400 E. Hickory St.

The show is open to artists living within a 125-mile radius of Denton. Artists can submit up to three works in oil, water media, pastel, mixed media, collage, drawing, hand-pulled graphics, photography, all prints except for giclee prints, ceramics, textiles, fiber and sculpture.

The submission fee is $20 for students, $25 for society members and $30 for non-members. Details and instructions are available at Painter, printmaker and photographer Jackie MacLelland will select the show and serve as the juror.

UNT exhibits archives from Dallas LGBT center

The University of North Texas Archives and Rare Book Room presents “The Resource Center LGBT Collection: 50 Years of LGBT History in Dallas” through Jan. 2.

The exhibit marks the first public display of items from the Dallas center’s former Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library. Denton resident Sandy Swan tended the center’s library before it was closed.

When the producers of Dallas Buyers Club, a new film starring Matthew McConaughey, needed photos of Dallas’ gay community from the 1980s, they turned to the UNT Libraries. The collection covers 50 years of history depicting the lives and experiences of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.

Exhibit hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. The UNT Archives and Rare Book Room is on the fourth floor of Willis Library, 1506 W. Highland St.

Writers series brings Poe Ballantine to Denton

Nebraska writer Poe Ballantine will visit Denton during the University of North Texas Visiting Writers Series for a question-and-answer session at 4 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a reading and book signing at 8 p.m.

Ballantine published later in life than many a writer, but has produced five books. Two are essay collections, two are novels, and his latest is a memoir: Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, published in September.

He’s picked up awards and was profiled in The New York Times when Love and Terror was published.

The question-and-answer session will be in Room 316 in the UNT Language Building, 108 Ave. A. The reading and signing will be in Room 116 in Sage Hall, 1167 Union Circle. Both the session and the reading are free.

Local students’ work published in volume

Two Denton students have recently had work published in a book by Corinth resident and Texas Poet Laureate Karla K. Morton.

McKenna Smith and Rachel French were selected to have work in the book, Hometown, Texas: Young Poets & Artists Celebrate Their Roots. Smith’s poem “Secret Garden” and French’s artwork, Picking Flowers, Tall as Flowers, were selected for publication.

Both were students at Denton’s Strickland Middle School when Morton visited during her 18-month “Little Town, Texas Tour.”

Morton was named the state’s poet laureate for 2010. The title didn’t include compensation or requirements, but Morton decided to use her two-year title to bring poetry into secondary schools throughout the state.

Smith and French are among students from 24 Texas towns to have poetry and art published in the book.

Carol Lynn Mizell, the director of the Denton Community Band and a longtime music educator in Denton schools, was invited to write an original hand bell composition to be included in the book. It was inspired by Morton’s poem in the book, “Make It Red.”

The book is available through Texas Christian University Press, and

— Staff reports

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