Oak Cliff news: Interesting people, pig blood, mysterious killing, Truman Capote

Truman CapoteThe Dallas Observer’s “Dallas People 2013” profiles “30 of the metro area’s most interesting characters.” At least seven of them live in Oak Cliff or have connections to our neighborhood. They include Megan Wilkes and Mary Sparks of Emporium Pies; clothing designer and tailor Tracy Popken; artist Stephen Lapthisophon; Gene and Tommy West of The Relatives, who are from West Dallas; Miriam Ortega of Studio 410; and Akwete Tyehimba of Pan-African Connection, the bookstore that was located on Jefferson for years before moving to South Dallas a couple of years ago.

Remember that meatpacking plant that was accused of dumping swine blood into the Trinity River? Well, Columbia Packing Co. has reached an agreement with the city to reopen. It’s 40,000-square-foot plant will reopen in July.

In crime news, police on Monday found the body of a woman who had been shot to death on Coombs Creek Drive near West Illiniois.

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In weird news, Dangerous Minds posted a portion of the transcripts from Truman Capote’s 1972 interview with Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil. During the interview, Capote mentions that he might’ve been the only person to have met Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and their respective assassins.

Here’s the bit about Oswald:

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Beausoleil: Oswald? You knew Oswald? Really?

Capote: I met him in Moscow just after he defected. One night I was having dinner with a friend, an Italian newspaper respondent, and when he came by to pick me up he asked me if I’d mind going with him first to talk to a young American defector, one Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was staying at the Metropole, an old Czarist hotel just off Kremlin Square. The Metropole has a big gloomy lobby full of shadows and dead palm trees. And there he was, sitting in the dark under a dead palm tree. Thin and pale, thin-lipped, starved-looking. He was wearing chinos and tennis shoes and a lumberjack shirt. And right away he was angry—he was grinding his teeth, and his eyes were jumping every which way. He was boiling over about everything: the American ambassador; the Russians—he was mad at them because they wouldn’t let him stay in Moscow. We talked to him for about half an hour, and my Italian friend didn’t think the guy was worth filing a story about. Just another paranoid hysteric; the Moscow woods were rampant with those. I never thought about him again, not until many years later. Not until after the assassination when I saw his picture flashed on television.

Beausoleil: Does that make you the only one that knew both of them, Oswald and Kennedy?

Capote: No. There was an American girl, Priscilla Johnson. She worked for U.P. in Moscow. She knew Kennedy, and she met Oswald around the same time I did.

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