2016 Season at a Glance


11           Mary Karr & Mary-Louise Parker: Memoiristas                                                  Distinguished Writers
Mary Karr is an award-winning poet and New York Times–bestselling memoirist. The author of The Liars’ Club, Cherry, and Lit returns by popular demand to share insights into her latest book, The Art of Memoir, a master class on the fastest-growing literary genre. Mary-Louise Parker is a Tony and Emmy award–winning actress, starring in Weeds, Angels in America, and Showtime’s forthcoming series Lit, in which she will play Mary Karr. Parker will also share her extraordinary literary debut, Dear Mr. You, which is a memoir in letters composed to the men, real and hypothetical, who have informed the person Parker is today.
VIP Experience includes priority seating and booksigning access as well as a hardcover book of your choice.

14           Eric Weiner: Innovative Ideas                                                                                                    Artful Musings
                Promotional Partner: World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Eric Weiner can’t keep away from life’s big questions. This acclaimed travel writer seeks to answer the question of how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times. In The Geography of Genius, he explores the history of places, from ancient Athens to Renaissance Florence to modern-day Silicon Valley, examining the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. Weiner has reported from more than three dozen countries as a former correspondent for NPR and the New York Times.
6:30 p.m. Enjoy a pre-event tour of collection highlights that dovetail with the cultures and time periods featured in The Geography of Genius.

15           Helen Ellis: Twitter-Inspired Tales                                                                 Fresh Ink – DMA Late Night
Helen Ellis is the acclaimed author of Eating the Cheshire Cat, a competitive poker player, and a charming Upper East Side housewife. Her latest book, American Housewife: Stories, was inspired by her hilarious and anonymous “American Housewife” Twitter account (@WhatIDoAllDay). The women in these twelve stories wear lipstick and pearls and pump the salad spinner like it’s a CPR dummy. And when they kill a party crasher, they carefully step around the body to pull cookies out of the oven.

20           Olivier Meslay & Rhonda K. Garelick: From Chanel to Reves                                       Artful Musings
Join us for a French Riviera fête celebrating the connections between Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel and the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. Rhonda K. Garelick unravels the mysteries behind this global icon in her bestselling biography Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History. In 1953, Emery Reves purchased Villa La Pausa from Chanel, and by an extraordinary coincidence, the DMA has become the major repository of objects that had once belonged to Chanel. Olivier Meslay and Martha MacLeod have uncovered layers of rich history and published a beautifully illustrated catalogue, From Chanel to Reves: La Pausa and Its Collections at the Dallas Museum of Art. Pre-event tours of the Reves Collection will be offered; watch the website for times; space is limited.
VIP Experience includes priority seating and booksigning access, a book of your choice, and a three-course French dinner with wine at 6:00 p.m. in the Founders Room with both authors.

25           Texas Bound I: Human Foibles & Hijinks                                                                              Texas Bound
Playwright and actor Octavio Solis reads his own darkly comical story about helping a friend win back his girlfriend by stealing a koala bear. Novelist, screenwriter, and actor Owen Egerton shares his story about a most unusual summer camp. Actor Chris Hury reads a starkly depicted tale of an elk hunt by legendary Texas writer Rick Bass. Back by popular demand, film and TV star G. W. Bailey (Major Crimes, The Closer, M*A*S*H, and Police Academy films) reads a hilarious story by Owen Egerton about a man road-tripping across the country and his encounter with a waitress at a Waffle House. 

31           Chris Grabenstein: Fast-Paced Fun Reads                                                                           BooksmART
Promotional Partners: Friends of the Dallas Public Library and Dallas Public Library
Chris Grabenstein is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Island of Dr. Libris and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. At this event, he’ll share his highly anticipated sequel, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics; it’s packed with puzzles, clues, and thrilling surprises. Something suspicious is going on . . . books are missing from Mr. Lemoncello’s library. Is someone trying to censor what the kids are reading?! Kids will have to band together to get to the bottom of the mystery. Grabenstein is also the co-author (with James Patterson) of the #1 bestselling series I Funny, House of Robots, and Treasure Hunters. Winner of many awards, Grabenstein writes fast-paced and fun page-turners for both children and adults; he’s also a playwright and screenwriter, not to mention a former advertising executive and improvisational comedian.



2              Melanie Benjamin: Capote’s Capers                                                                                       Special Event
In the dazzling high society of 1950s Manhattan, gossip and rumors swirled around a scandalous relationship between socialite Babe Paley and literary genius Truman Capote. Melanie Benjamin’s newest book, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, opens the doors to the private parlors of the rich and famous and the secrets whispered therein. Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy make cameo appearances in the book. Publishers Weekly raves, “Benjamin has a knack for picking intriguing, if somewhat obscure, women in history and making them utterly unforgettable.” She is the bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife and Alice I Have Been. 
Before the event: Sip craft cocktails inspired by Truman Capote and Babe Paley in the DMA Cafe, and enjoy 6:30 p.m. “high society” tours of collection highlights.

9 & 10   Pollock in Motion: World Premiere                                                                                        Artful Musings
February 9: DMA Members and TBT Subscribers only
                February 10: Performance open to members and the public
Inspired by the DMA’s two masterpieces by Jackson Pollock and the Blind Spots exhibition, Arts & Letters Live has commissioned the Texas Ballet Theater to create a new suite of five dances resonant with his art, particularly the black paintings of 1951–1953. Gavin Delahunty will share insights into Pollock’s oft-underexplored work and the significance of assembling these works of art, not likely to be reunited again in our lifetime. Texas Ballet Theater Artistic Director Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., choreographed the new dances and calls them Reflections of an Iconic Artist. Don’t miss this world premiere, evoking Pollock’s energetic and dynamic visual vocabulary through dance.

19           Sarah Hepola: Stumbling in the Dark                                                      Fresh Ink – DMA Late Nights
A memoir of unflinching honesty and poignant humor, Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget tells the story of a woman stumbling into the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, unearthing confidence, intimacy, and creativity. Sarah’s essays have appeared in the New York Times magazine, Elle, The New Republic, Glamour, the Guardian, and Salon, where she was a longtime editor.

27        Selected Shorts: Art & Artists                                                                                                     Selected Shorts
The annual Selected Shorts program is always eagerly anticipated, and this year three Tony Award winners will read stories reflecting on the powerful role of art and artists. Denis O’Hare (Milk, American Horror Story, True Blood) joins Blythe Danner (Butterflies Are Free, A Streetcar Named Desire, Meet the Parents, Will & Grace, Huff) and John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C, The Good Wife, Pitch Perfect, Manhattan) for an evening of artful storytelling, reflection, and laughter featuring stories by Aimee Bender, Lorrie Moore, and J. Robert Lennon.



2              VOCALOSITY                                                                                                                                 Artful Musings
                McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, SMU
                In partnership with AT&T Performing Arts Center
Order tickets online at attpac.org or call 214-880-0202.
The aca-perfect concert experience! From the creative mind of artistic producer Deke Sharon (Pitch Perfect, The Sing-Off) comes the all-new live concert event that takes a cappella to a whole new level! This fast-paced production features twelve dynamic voices singing some of today’s chart-topping hits in brand-new arrangements too incredible to miss. No genre of music is off limits in the world of a cappella and VOCALOSITY will explore them all—from 10th-century Gregorian chant and classic choral, to barber shop quartet and bouncing doo-wop, all the way to The Beatles and Bruno Mars. Combine that with movement and choreography from Sean Curran (Stomp original cast member) and you have an exhilarating evening of song unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

14           Texas Bound II: In Hindsight                                                                                                     Texas Bound
An evening of stories reflecting on the past, ranging from poignant to side-splittingly funny—all brought to life on-stage by acclaimed Texas-connected actors. Featured actors include Emmy Award–winner Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) and Jeffrey Schmidt (The Book Club Play for Dallas Theater Center, Parkland, DV Short). Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, Glee, Seinfeld) takes us back to his own childhood and collecting odd vermin with an essay from his book The Dangerous Animals Club.

17           Tracy K. Smith & Kevin Young: Poetry, Place, & Race                                      Distinguished Writers
Tracy K. Smith won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Life on Mars. Her critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light is shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Award in Nonfiction. After spending a summer in Alabama at her grandmother’s house, Smith returned to California with a new sense of what it means to be black. Kevin Young is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation, one who finds inspiration in African American music, particularly the blues, and in the bittersweet history of Black America. Young’s latest compendium, Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995–2015, draws from all nine of his previously published collections and includes new poems as well.

19           Rainn Wilson: Quirks, Comedy, & Creativity                                                                      Wit & Wisdom
For nine seasons, Rainn Wilson made his name playing obnoxious Dwight Schrute, everyone’s favorite work nemesis and beet farmer on the hit television series The Office. Now he’s ready to explain how he came up with his unique sense of humor and share his socially awkward climb to stardom in his memoir The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy. Long celebrated for his quirky comedic talent, Wilson is also known for being a co-creator of the popular philosophy website and media company SoulPancake.com, which went on to become the bestselling book SoulPancake: Chew on Life’s Big Questions.

22           Hanya Yanagihara: Tragedy & Transcendence                                                   Distinguished Writers
                In conversation with KERA’s Krys Boyd
Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life has been one of the most talked about books of 2015, winning the Kirkus Prize and garnering coveted positions as a National Book Award Finalist and a 2015 Man Booker Prize Short-List for Fiction. A Little Life profiles the lives of four college friends living in New York as young adults and how friends can help remake a life that has been destroyed. By tackling the issues of depression, sexual abuse, and self-harm, Yanagihara challenges traditional ideas of friendship, romantic relationships, and what it really means to love another human being.

31           Erik Larson: A Fatal Voyage                                                                                            Distinguished Writers
                First United Methodist Church
Erik Larson, master of narrative nonfiction, returns with the enthralling story of the sinking of the British ocean-liner RMS Lusitania in Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. The publication coincides with the 100th anniversary of the fatal event that resulted in the deaths of more than one thousand passengers and crew. Larson renders a thrilling account of the Lusitania and a German U-boat making their way toward Liverpool, and the array of forces—both grand and achingly small—that converged to produce one of the greatest disasters in history. Larson is the author of the National Book Award finalist The Devil in the White City and the New York Times bestsellers In the Garden of Beasts and Isaac’s Storm.



5              Dominic Smith: Dutch Masters & Deceit                                                                               Artful Musings
In Dominic Smith’s spellbinding new novel, The Last Painting of Sarah De Vos, one 17th-century painting changes the course of three lives: the woman who paints it, the lawyer who inherits it, and the art history student who forges it. Author Ben Fountain praised it, saying it is “quite simply, one of the best novels I have ever read, and as close to perfect as any book I’m likely to encounter in my reading life.” Fountain and DMA Chief Conservator Mark Leonard will join Smith on-stage in conversation. The author of three previous novels and the recipient of Dobie Paisano and Michener fellowships, Smith grew up in Australia and now lives in Austin.

8              Padma Lakshmi: Food & Family                                                                                                Artful Musings
Promotional Partner: Crow Collection of Asian Art
First United Methodist Church
Before Padma Lakshmi ever stepped onto a television set, she learned that how we eat is an extension of how we love, how we comfort, how we forge a sense of home, and how we taste the world as we navigate our way through it. A vivid memoir of food and family, survival and triumph, punctuated with recipes, Love, Loss, and What We Ate traces Lakshmi’s journey from her grandmother’s kitchen in South India to the judges’ table of the Emmy Award–winning Bravo series Top Chef and beyond.
6:00 p.m. Enjoy a special dinner with Padma Lakshmi in the Founders Room inspired by her favorite recipes and the DMA’s global collection. Limited VIP tickets include a three-course dinner with wine, event ticket, and hardcover book.

12           Daniel James Brown: Guts & Glory                                                                                             Special Event 
First United Methodist Church
Daniel James Brown’s book The Boys in the Boat has been called “Chariots of Fire with oars.” This longtime #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2014 Nonfiction Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association chronicles the journey of the 1936 University of Washington men’s crew team, who beat their California rivals, defeated the Ivy League’s top oarsmen, and ultimately stunned the world by upstaging Hitler at the Berlin Olympics. Against the grim backdrop of the Great Depression, these nine boys—sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers—reaffirmed the American notion that merit, in the end, trumps birthright.

19           Skip Hollandsworth: The Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer                                      Special Event
                Promotional Partner: Texas Monthly

Skip Hollandsworth, award-winning journalist, executive editor for Texas Monthly, and screenwriter of the acclaimed film Bernie, can now add author to his résumé. This event celebrates the release of his first book, The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America’s First Serial Killer. Set in 1884, when Austin was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a true cosmopolitan metropolis, the book follows a vicious killer who stalked the streets of Austin for an entire year, striking on moonlit nights and attacking women from every race and class. The Midnight Assassin is a scrupulously researched, riveting depiction of one of the most chilling and little-known events in Texas history. 

27–29    David Sedaris: Belly Laughs                                                                                                         Wit & Wisdom
In partnership with AT&T Performing Arts Center and KERA
Dallas City Performance Hall
Order tickets online at attpac.org or call 214-880-0202.
Beloved satirist David Sedaris returns to Dallas for the seventh consecutive year to read new and unpublished material, imparting his incisive social critiques and sharing his sardonic wit with his devoted fans. Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers, with bestselling books and collections of personal essays, including Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Sedaris’s pieces appear regularly in the New Yorker and on the public radio show This American Life. Seven million copies of his books are in print, and they have been translated into twenty-nine languages.

30           Curtis Sittenfeld: Jane Austen Remixed
In Curtis Sittenfeld’s new novel, Eligible, Lizzy Bennett is a high-powered magazine editor in New York. When her father falls ill, she and her sister Jane return to the home in Ohio that they thought they’d left behind forever. At once familiar and utterly surprising, the book delivers a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of several novels including Prep and The Man of My Dreams. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and on Public Radio’s This American Life.



3              Dave Isay: Purpose & Passion                                                                                                    Wit & Wisdom
                In conversation with KERA’s Krys Boyd
StoryCorps founder Dave Isay presents unforgettable new stories from people doing what they love in his forthcoming book, Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work. Some are paid well for their work, others not at all; some found their paths at a very young age, others later in life; many overcame great odds or upturned their lives in order to pursue what matters to them. Together these stories demonstrate how work can be about much more than just making a living. The book is an inspiring tribute to rewarding work and the American pursuit of happiness.

10           Elizabeth Gilbert: Creative Living                                                                                             Artful Musings
Charles W. Eisemann Center, Richardson
Order tickets online at eisemanncenter.com or call 972-744-4650.
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s #1 New York Times bestseller Big Magic, she digs deep into her own generative process to share wisdom and a unique perspective about creativity. With empathy and generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration, illustrating how to embrace curiosity and how to tackle what we most love while facing down what we most fear. Whether you’re looking to write a book, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse everyday life with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder. Gilbert is the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and has been a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

13           Kate Tempest: Musical Poet & Prophet                                                                                  Artful Musings
Award-winning poet and performer Kate Tempest’s electrifying debut novel, The Bricks That Built the Houses, portrays the beating heart of London in a multi-generational tale of drugs, desire, and belonging. Tempest, widely regarded as the UK’s leading spoken word poet, won the Ted Hughes Award for Poetry in 2013 for her poem Brand New Ancients, which was conceived as a performance piece. Her album Everybody Down was a 2014 Mercury Prize finalist, with each track corresponding to a chapter in The Bricks That Built the Houses. Bob Boilen of NPR raved about her, saying, “Of all the artists I saw at SXSW this year, Tempest was the one I'll never forget. The London hip-hop artist, playwright, and poet speaks with a clarity and honesty unencumbered by code or lingo, with stories that cut to the very heart of how we try to survive and embrace our time on Earth.”

17           Amy Stewart: Crime-Fighting Sisters                                                                                         Special Event
While researching a character for her previous bestselling book The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart discovered a story that had been lost to time. Stewart’s novel is based on the true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs, Constance Kopp, and her two sisters. In Girl Waits with Gun, the three sisters get into a car accident with a man, and conflict arises while discussing payment for the damages. They received kidnapping threats and were tormented for almost a year until the sheriff enlists Constance’s help in convicting the man. The first book in a new series, Stewart begins in 1914 and will tell the entire life story of Constance, including her intelligence work during World War I and the detective agency she started.

22           Drew Daywalt: Colorful Characters                                                                                          BooksmART              
Fun for the whole family! Join children’s author and Hollywood screenwriter Drew Daywalt to hear about The Day the Crayons Came Home, the hysterically colorful companion to the bestselling picture book of the past year The Day the Crayons Quit. Poor Duncan! His crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters. Now a whole new group of crayons have sent postcards asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, who is stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away, each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.

31           Dacher Keltner: Survival of the Kindest                                                                                  Artful Musings
In partnership with the Crow Collection of Asian Art and their Wellness Series
Dallas City Performance Hall
Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley; he served as the scientific consultant for the highly acclaimed Pixar film Inside Out. He helped revise the story, emphasizing the neuropsychological findings that human emotions are mirrored in interpersonal relationships and can be significantly moderated by them. He will highlight key insights from his research and how it plays out in the film, showing film clips as illustrations. He is also the author of the bestseller Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and co-author of The Compassionate Instinct. His research focuses on the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, as well as power, social class, and inequality.



4             Sherman Alexie: The Power of a Name                                                                                       BooksmART
Families – kick off your summer reads together with Sherman Alexie, National Book Award–winning author, poet, and filmmaker, talking about his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr., which celebrates the special relationship between father and son and the process of picking out a name. Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder. But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name . . . a name that is sure to light up the sky.

10           Justin Cronin: Literary Super Thrillers                                                                                        Special Event
Justin Cronin’s first book in The Passage trilogy generated a bidding war among publishers, ultimately selling for more than $3 million. The first two novels in the series, The Passage and The Twelve, depict the fall of civilization and humanity’s desperate fight to survive. This bestselling apocalyptic series races to its breathtaking finale with City of Mirrors; it begins with quiet calm on the horizon and challenges the reader to determine if the silence indicates the nightmare’s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness. A celebrated author, Cronin has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

20           Vinh Chung: Rescue to Redemption                                                                                       Wit & Wisdom
In conjunction with World Refugee Awareness Day
Vinh Chung’s powerful and poignant memoir, Where the Wind Leads, has garnered more than 250 five-star reviews on Amazon.com. It follows Vinh and his family on their desperate journey from pre-war Vietnam, through pirate attacks on a lawless sea, to a miraculous rescue by a World Vision boat and a new home in the unlikely town of Fort Smith, Arkansas. There Vinh struggled against poverty, discrimination, and a bewildering language barrier—yet still managed to graduate from Harvard Medical School. Where the Wind Leads is Chung’s tribute to the courage and sacrifice of his parents, a testimony to his family’s faith, and a reminder to people everywhere that the American dream, while still possible, carries with it a greater responsibility.

24           Emily St. John Mandel: Hope & Art After the Apocalypse                             Distinguished Writers
Emily St. John Mandel’s bestselling novel Station Eleven centers on a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming a post-apocalyptic North America in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. The Traveling Symphony, a group of musicians and actors in horse-drawn wagons going from town to town, risk everything for the sake of preserving art and humanity, striving to live honorably in a damaged world. A 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Station Eleven is equal parts mystery novel and post-apocalyptic tale. The characters’ passionate pursuit of preserving “the best about the world” infuses the story with hope.



Unless otherwise noted, programs take place in the Horchow Auditorium at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Arts & Letters Live is supported by Annual Season Supporters, the Kay Cattarulla Endowment for the Literary and Performing Arts, and the McGee Foundation Arts & Letters Live Endowment Fund at the Dallas Museum of Art. Lead support for the 25th Season provided by the Hoglund Foundation, Julie and Ken Hersh, and Donna Wilhelm. Promotional support provided by KERA. State support provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts. In-kind support provided by Einstein Printing.