Friday, September 10, 2010

Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial model could be hot topic at Oak Cliff blues and barbecue bash

08:14 AM CDT on Friday, September 10, 2010
By ROY APPLETON / The Dallas Morning News

Twenty years after his death, more than a few fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan have been asking and wondering why Dallas lacks a memorial to the guitar great.

Victor L. Rangel/Courtesy
A model of a Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial will be on display Sunday.

Austin has one. Why not the city where he was born, raised and buried? So the questions go.

Nothing's etched in stone or bronze by any means, but a quiet effort to publicly and permanently honor Oak Cliff's native son is taking shape.

And a conceptual model, Stevie Ray in clay, will be among the draws appropriately at a barbecue and blues bash Sunday in north Oak Cliff.

They're calling this latest Oak Cliff street party Blues, Bandits and Barbecue. It runs from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday along and near the 1300 block of West Davis Street. Admission is free.

The model of Vaughan by San Antonio artist Victor L. Rangel will be on public display inside the Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St. Roughly one-fourth the proposed finished size, the piece features the blues master lounging with a guitar in his lap atop the letters SRV.

"This will start the dialogue," said Edwin Cabiness, owner of the Kessler. "We want to stand up and see how much public support there is for this."

Other questions need to be resolved: How much would the piece cost? Who would pay for it? Where would it be placed? Is the proposal acceptable? And what does the Vaughan family think about the project?

"We would not want to do anything without the blessing of the family," said Cabiness, who will contact them "when we get our ducks in a row" with specifics.

"We realize it's going to be expensive, and we realize it's not going to happen overnight," he said. "But I'm very optimistic. If not us, who? If not now, when?"

To Cabiness' thinking, there's no question where. "He was from Oak Cliff, and we want it in Oak Cliff."

Two years ago, Oak Cliff leader Jason Roberts asked Rangel, then living in Dallas, if he would like to work on a monument for Vaughan, who died, at age 35, in a helicopter crash on Aug. 27, 1990.

Roberts and others liked his concept. Now, his volunteer effort is ready for public review.

"I made the piece for him, what I thought was reflective of who he was," said Rangel. "I'm going to get it out there and see what people think."

Festival organizers are predicting a turnout of 2,000 to 3,000 people. Besides streets, vacant land on Davis Street east and west of the action will be available for parking.

"There are a lot of moving parts," said Amy Cowan, a member of festival organizer Go Oak Cliff. Lots of parts, as in:

•A 23-team barbecue showdown and smoke-down featuring backyard stars, professional chefs and meats from free-range, organically raised animals.

•Blues musicians performing inside the Kessler Theater and on an outdoor stage nearby.

•A temporary sidewalk along Davis, featuring patio seating, lights and trees in promoting the possibilities of public space.

•Appearances by members of the Adamson High School football team and a performance by Sunset High School's Bisonettes drill team. Part of the event's net proceeds will go to those Oak Cliff schools.

The barbecue teams will cook on Seventh Street behind the Kessler beginning at noon Saturday. The judging and tasting begins at noon Sunday.

Nearby on Davis, Go Oak Cliff will reprise the Better Block project it demonstrated earlier this year on Tyler Street.

A temporary boardwalk, outdoor seating, lights and trucked-in vegetation will be set up.

The goal will be to enliven a blighted area, to show what walkable neighborhoods and an easing of zoning restrictions could mean for public spaces and city life.

"It's exciting to take some of these places and re-imagine them," said Roberts, founder of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and a Go Oak Cliff organizer.


When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Along and near the 1300 block of West Davis Street in north Oak Cliff

What: Barbecue cook-off and blues festival

Admission: Free, but $15 wristband required to sample cook-off meats. Organizers will sell 300 wristbands from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Kessler Theater, 1230 W. Davis St.

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