Pulling up the drawbridge

Farewell to the Cactus Cafe, scene of countless wonderful musical experience for countless Austinites, whether affiliated officially with the campus or not. Farewell to Union Informal Classes, where people from every part of our community could be introduced to or continue learning about subjects that they might not otherwise encounter, meeting their neighbors and paying a modest fee. It makes me too sad to think about all the music over all the years, for which so many of us are so grateful. I’ll never forget the instructors or the fellow students in various wine-tasting classes, dance classes, and Spanish classes. It was via UT that so many of us here in Austin heard our first operas, being lectured on the bus by Dr. Walter Ducloux of sainted memory or Dr. William Reber. We’d travel to Houston or to Dallas by bus, and dine before the matinee performance, returning to Austin very late and stepping out into the real world again at the Villa Capri parking lot. Support for the formation of Austin Lyric Opera arose directly from those entertaining and educational jaunts. And I’ll never forget the sight of Placido Domingo being borne across the stage (precariously, it seemed) standing on a shield carried on the shoulders of a bunch of hefty guys during the Aida triumphal procession. Long gone are the fascinating movie series at the Union and elsewhere, which showed many, many movies each week and which introduced the best of Hong Kong productions to us. The obliteration of the Cactus and informal claases will result in paltry monetary savings and a great loss to our community. The fine folks at the local daily (Michael Corcoran and Tony Plohetsky) write about these latest planned curtailments at length.

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