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'Monuments Men,' Based On Dallas Author's Book, Opens Nationwide Friday

Claudette Barius
Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures Industries/Twentieth Century Fox
Matt Damon, left, and George Clooney in "The Monuments Men," based on Dallas author Robert Edsel's book.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Robert Edsel's book turns into a movie; the new Dallas city manager gets a big pay raise; what's up with the new name for the Texas Rangers' ballpark?; and more.

The Monuments Men, a movie based on Dallas author Robert Edsel’s book, opens nationwide Friday. George Clooney directs and stars in the film about the Allies’ belated and culturally heroic scramble to save European masterworks from the Nazis. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reported on the movie in August. The movie had been scheduled to open in December, but was delayed. The Dallas Morning News profiled Edsel over the weekend: “‘This is not a complaint,’ he says with a laugh, sitting in his office in the Dallas Design District. ‘My life is not my life. It’s now directed by the project. There are so many years that have gone into this.’ There were times, Edsel says, when his closest friends, many of whom live in his hometown of Dallas, would tell him to give up the cause — the obsession — of finding art looted by the Nazis during World War II." For more about the military's efforts to save art during World War II, listen to Krys Boyd's 2013 interview with Robert Edsel on Think. Edsel wrote this piece for The Dallas Morning News about North Texas connections to the "Monuments Men." But the movie isn’t that great, according to our Big Screen team -- KERA’s Stephen Becker and Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News.

Clooney appeared on "The Daily Show" this week:

  • A.C. Gonzalez will be paid $400,000 a year as Dallas’ new city manager. That’s way more than the $305,000 that his predecessor, Mary Suhm, earned. The Dallas Morning News reports that several City Council members expressed opposition to the salary, although only two of them – Rick Callahan and Adam Medrano -- voted against it. If Gonzalez is fired, he’ll get $200,000 – a half-year of severance pay. The News reports: “Supporters of the salary said that many CEOs in North Texas earn much more than $400,000. And they said the pay reflects that Gonzalez is now officially at the helm of a large, complicated organization.”

  • The Texas Rangers’ Ballpark has a new name: Globe Life Park in Arlington. Globe Life is an insurance company with North Texas ties. It's a 10-year deal, but financial terms haven't been announced. The deal was announced Wednesday morning. Not everyone’s a fan of the name. We rounded up some reaction on Twitter.
  • The University of North Texas’ One O’Clock Lab Band welcomes back one of its own tonight at 8. UNT’s Music College of Music says: “Tenor sax phenom Billy Harper returns as the Glenn E. Gomez Endowment guest artist for 2014. Now known as ‘one of the last great tough-toned tenors from Texas’ (JazzTimes), Harper made history in the 1960s as the first African-American member of the One O’Clock Lab Band, and went on to work with jazz greats like Max Roach, Donald Byrd and Gil Evans.” The first part of the concert features Harper with The Cookers. Then they will join the One O’Clock Lab Band. It’s at 8 p.m. at the UNT Winspear Performance Hall.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.