Voices From Both Sides Benefit 2015

Sunday, 4-12-15, High Sierra Bar and Grill, Terlingua, Texas.

Funding for the third annual “Voices From Both Sides” Fiesta-Protesta was provided by the Terlingua community at last night’s benefit/auction.

It all started with music.  As Jeff Haislip and Patrick Smith performed, a fabulous “wall-cloud” storm blew in from the West, dropping the temperature by at least 15 degrees, and blowing wind and rain at a high velocity.

Inside the High Sierra, musicians made music, kids played with various electronic devices and each other, and friends talked and hugged.  Collie Ryan, Jalapeno Schwartz, Chris Baker, Charlotte Teer, and others performed.

After the music came the auction, and several hundred (thousand?) dollars were raised to help Jeff and Collie Ryan put on the show.

After the auction, the music resumed, the storm moved on, and the sun came out.

Here are some pics.

 

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Terlingua to Reality Show Producers: “HELL NO!”

A reality show in Terlingua?

Maybe.  Maybe not.

A reality show in Terlingua that is going to exploit Glenn Felt’s death and Tony Flint’s trial?

HELL NO!

This morning I woke up early and LaRoja didn’t, so I slipped outside, got in the 4Runner, and drove to the American Legion parking lot on HWY 118.  Using the legion’s internet to check my emails on my phone, I received this:

Subject line:  Glenn Felts

Pat;

Good day to you.  We are, as you may know,  in the midst of filming a new
documentary series – Badlands – for National Geographic.  Filming is
taking  place in Terlingua, Texas in earnest for the next 10 weeks. Here
is a synopsis of this exciting series that examines man’s thirst for
adventure in the one of the most remote places in the Southwest and the
people whose gusto for life takes us all over the Badlands of Texas.

THE BADLANDS
Hundreds of miles from the nearest city sits a small town, Terlingua,
Texas,  in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert populated by people who
have given up modern comforts and financial stability for something that
money cannot buy – freedom. THE BADLANDS is an 8-part documentary series that brings this world to our viewers through an intimate look at the
people who live here and the businesses that make the town function, all
set against the backdrop of a murder trial that has torn the community
apart.

I came upon your web site Terlingua Music – and saw your posting about
Glenn and the celebration of his life and what he meant to the community.
I would like to know if we can chat soon and like to ask you about the
photos that were posted and the video crew that was filming.

I thank you for you consideration and look forward to a favorable reply to
our request.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Best Regards,

David

David Scott Jones
Associate Producer
Original Productions, LLC
308 W. Verdugo Ave.
Burbank, CA 91502 USA
P: 818/295-xxxx
M: 818-378-xxxx
E: djones@(xxxxx).com

Original Productions, LLC is a television production company based in
Burbank, California and was founded in 1999 by veteran television producer Thom Beers.  Original Productions is best known for producing reality television shows for the Discovery Channel but has more recently produced shows for other networks such as History, NatGeo, truTV, and Spike. Some of its most popular shows are Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Ax Men, Coal, Black Gold, and 1000 Ways to Die just to name a few.  Its earlier hit was Monster Garage.

National Geographic Channel (also known as Nat Geo) is the American
digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned by Fox Cable
Networks division of 21st Century Fox and the National Geographic Society.

The channel airs non-fiction television programs produced by National
Geographic and other production companies. Like History and Discovery
Channel, the channel features documentaries with factual content involving nature, science, culture, and history, plus some reality entertainment programming. Its primary sister network worldwide, including the United States, is Nat Geo Wild, which focuses (sic)

 

My initial thought was that the timing was excellent. I’m sure they’d pay me well for the use of my photographs. I was tempted. I’ve had some expensive health issues lately and could use the money. Seeing my photos on a national TV show would be nice.

Prestige and money.  What’s the problem?

Here’s the problem.

1. Tony and Glenn both were/are friends of mine.  The story of Glenn’s death is not a simple, one-dimensional story and it’s far too personal to trivialize.  The fact that they’re shooting their “reality” show during Tony’s trial is not a coincidence, and is insidious.

2. There is a rich, nuanced and fascinating story to be told about Terlingua. The people who live here and the culture we’ve created are unique and valuable. It would be good for the rest of the world to know that such a place exists.

The Terlingua they describe in their synopsis bears no similarity to the place where I live.

Unfortunately, the producers of this show aren’t interested in the story of Terlingua.

Here’s my reply:

David,

No.  We have nothing to talk about.  You do not have my permission to use any of my intellectual property or content, including photographs and videos, for any purpose at all- and specifically not in a reality show.

Especially THIS reality show.  From your synopsis, it’s obvious that you’re starting with a false premise and are going to create your “reality” show to fit that premise, regardless of how far away from reality that premise is. Exploiting Glenn’s murder and Tony’s trial for profit and cheap sensationalism is inexcusable.

I’m especially irritated that you want to create a narrative that focuses on how Glenn’s death has “torn the community apart.”  It has done no such thing.

There is a good story to be told about Terlingua, its people and its history.  This reality show isn’t it.

Sincerely,

Pat O’Bryan

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“Will play for food – for others.” Terlingua Musicians Rock!

 

Terlingua musicians rock in many ways- musically, compositionally, harmonically, personally.

Yesterday, they rocked compassionately as Jeffro Greasewood handed Mike Drinkard a check for $1,200.

Jeffro hands Mike the check.

Jeffro hands Mike the check.

Jeffro runs the open mic at the Boathouse on Wednesdays.  Anybody who runs an open mic knows this one:  you might run 30 musicians across that stage- who gets the tips?

Jeffro’s solution was to pool the tips and donate them to the Big Bend Crisis Center’s Food Distribution program- the local food bank.  The open-mic participants agreed that this was a grand idea.  The food bank is a popular charity for local musicians- in our small community in some months 240 households get food assistance.  The majority of the recipients are either children or the elderly.

That $1,200 check will completely fund the food distribution program for 2-4 months.

Congratulations and a big round of applause to Jeffro, Jeff Haislip, Charlotte Teer, Jim Keaveny, Anna Oakley, Alex and Marti Whitmore, Emy, Bryn Moore, Hank Woji, Mark Lewis, Chase Peeler, Shannon Carter, Laird Considine, Trevor Hickle, Trevor Reichman, Webster Delcambre, Jana Laven, and the rest of the open mic gang, and a deep bow of gratitude to the Don and the Boathouse for supporting local music and musicians.

 

Jeffro Greasewood (with Jeff Haislip)

Jeffro Greasewood (with Jeff Haislip)

Mike Drinkard, director, Family Crisis Center

Mike Drinkard, director, Family Crisis Center

 

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Keith Gattis in Terlingua – (not El Cerrito Place)

Talking to Keith Gattis last night was pretty mind blowing.

I know a lot of songwriters. I am one. Songwriter friends, try saying the following sentence out loud and see how it feels:

“It’s been kind of a slow year- so far, I’ve had four cuts by George Strait, one by Willie Nelson, and one by Randy Travis.”

Feels good, doesn’t it?  For those of you who, like me, have kinda wished for a major artist to record one of your songs… or, like others, have actually tried for decades to make such an event occur… well, it’s mind-blowing.

Add in a new wife and a gorgeous baby daughter (he showed pics on his phone) and it’s no wonder Keith is smiling.

He’s also starred at the Grand Ol’ Opry, played guitar for Dwight Yoakum, had hit records of his own and written hits for many other country stars.  He produces albums in his Nashville studio. He’s got a new CD coming out soon. Tours will follow.

For fun, Keith comes to Terlingua and plays guitar with the locals.  He and Webster do a collection of classic country standard tunes.  It’s very Terlingua.  Inclusive.  Alternate chords and non-traditional time adventures abound.

Last night, Laird Considine played bass, Charlotte played her (do NOT call it a fiddle) viola, I played keyboards, and Abbie (not pictured) played harmonica and mandolin.  Webster played guitar and sang the country and cajun songs.  Keith played blistering leads on his tele and sang.

High points, from my vantage point behind the piano, were a minor-key variation on “Dang Me” by Roger Miller, and “Bones” and “el Cerrito Place,” which Keith wrote.

The High Sierra bar and grill was packed.  Word got around fast that something was happening. Most of the listeners had no idea who they were listening to, but knew they were seeing a hell of a show.

Here’s a YouTube clip of Keith doing “El Cerrito Place.”  You might enjoy typing his name into YouTube and seeing what comes up… he’s fearless about what he puts out there, and you can find some incendiary honky-tonk performances if you look.

Here’s Keith and a group of locals – Charlotte Teer on Viola, Laird Considine on Bass, me on keyboards- doing a bluesy, minor-key version of “Dang Me.”

 

 

Here’s what last night looked like-

band keith 1 keith and web

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Niko Laven’s CD Release Party at the Boathouse in Terlingua

Niko Laven has been coming to Terlingua with his family/band since he was five years old. I didn’t know him then, but it’s unlikely that he could scorch the earth with a Telecaster or sing with such passion and authority back then.

Last night, the boathouse was packed as Niko celebrated the release of his first CD.

The Lavens- Andreas (dad), Jana (mom), Rachel (sister), and Niko, performed as if they’d been doing it for years. They have.  The harmonies are rich and tight. Andreas and Moses held down the rhythm. Rachel and Niko split the lead vocals, except for a nice interlude where Andreas and Jana took us on a slightly more traditional country ride.

Here’s what it looked like to me.

rachel

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Hank Woji Conspiracy at the Boat House

Hank Woji gathered an all-star band for a pair of goodbye concerts last weekend.

Friday night at the Boathouse, the core band of Hank, Ted Arbogast, Laird Considine, Chase Peeler, and Eric Clark- possibly the most musicians to ever gather at one time on the Boathouse stage- played. The interaction between the musicians in that intimate setting was fun to watch and hear.  The bar was packed and stayed that way until closing time.

Saturday night, the band moved to the Starlight and added keyboards, Mark Lewis on fiddle, Jana Laven on vocals, and Ted added electric guitar to the mix.

Pics below. Video and audio clips coming soon.

Woji

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Terlingua Word-Off 2015

There was some discussion about how many years in a row there’s been a “word-off” in Terlingua. The general consensus was “about 26.”

Last night, I attended my first word-off.

What’s a word-off?  It’s a combination of poetry reading, drama, stand-up comedy, air guitar, and philosophical discourse.

Once again, it made me proud to be a Terlinguist.  There are some deep, intelligent, insightful, and funny people living here and last night they performed at the Starlight Theatre.

One of the cool things about this place is how we make room for everybody.  For example, I’m a liberal. One of my best buddies has an “Impeach Obama” bumpersticker on the left side of his pickup truck.  And on the right side. We play pool. We don’t talk politics. We get along.

On the porch, you can hear the latest conspiracy theory from Alex Jones’ creative lab discussed as if it was gospel. You can also get into conversations about fractal interaction, drug-running in the 80’s, local literature… pretty much anything goes, and we make room for it.

Except for this one guy…

The performances last night were on a variety of topics:  breast feeding, sex, compassion in a laundromat, war, politics, family dynamics, religion, the cub scouts… an alarming number of them with delicious British accents. We’re a cosmopolitan little village.

I wish I had video-taped the show. I will next year.

For the most part, natives and tourists were entertained and respectful. Kids played in the aisles. A couple of out-of-towners tried to develop a romantic adventure with a waitress.

Everybody had a fine time, except for this one guy…

After the show was over, several of the organizers relaxed, relived some of the high points, and talked about how to make next year’s word-off bigger and better.

I’ll be there.

Here’s how it looked to me:

word 2

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J. Michael Combs at the Boathouse

Living in the desert, 80 miles from the nearest town, has its ups and downs.

The up part:  Saturday night I didn’t get to see Bruce Salmon and Michelle Alany at the Starlight or Ted Arbogast and Chase Peeler playing jazz at the Boathouse because my band, the Fabulous Vortexans was playing an outdoor concert in Lajitas.

There is amazing live music everywhere, all the time here.

The downside: cell phone service and internet access is fairly primitive.

Another upside: all though it takes a long time to download files from the internet, there are several entertaining places to hang out while you’re doing it.

I set up my repaired iMac in the studio at the Terlingua Store, opened my recording software, and was greeted by a notice that said, “No internet connection. Logic must download massive files before you can use it.”

No problem. I boxed up the huge 27″ computer and headed down to La Posada Milagro, where there is internet access, great coffee, and a majestic view of the ghost town.

my office at La Posada Milagro

my office at La Posada Milagro

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Glen Felts Memorial Open Mic – 1 Year Later

It was a year ago that the Terlingua Community awoke to a bad dream: Glen Felts was gone.

To some, it feels like only yesterday. Others say it seems like a long time ago. Traumatic experiences are like that- personal, subjective, and inexact.

Glen was inextricably connected to La Kiva and for the local musicians, Wednesday night meant gathering at La Kiva and playing at the open mic.

To celebrate the 1-year anniversary of his death, the Boathouse created a tribute open mic:  Laird Considine, who hosted most of the La Kiva open mics, was the host.  The kitchen served brisket. Gumby and Sierra were behind the bar. “Mind Erasers” were served and enjoyed. Songs were sung for and about Glen, and eYeball, who we also lost last year.

The Boathouse was packed. Don looked on, Jeffro ran sound, people danced, and much hugging ensued. The loss of a loved one focuses your thoughts on how precious your remaining loved ones are and how each hug might be the last.

It was a bittersweet night, but tipped toward celebration.

Here’s how it looked to me:

g1 g2

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Open Mic at the Boathouse

For 16(?) years, every Wednesday there was an open mic at La Kiva.  It was the longest-running open mic in the galaxy, and they didn’t skip a Wednesday in all those years.

For several weeks after La Kiva closed, we gathered at La Kiva’s parking lot or the “Passing Wind” compound near the ghost town, and continued the tradition.

Time passed…

Two weeks ago, I was honored to host the first Wednesday night open mic at the Boathouse. Jeffro Greasewood is the host, but he was under the weather that night.  Last Wednesday night, Jeffro was back at full strength and the Boathouse was packed with players, listeners, dancers, and an Archie action figure.

This is an ongoing, weekly open mic- and you never know who will show up. C’ya there.

Jeffro Greasewood hosts the open mic at the Boathouse in Terlingua

Jeffro Greasewood hosts the open mic at the Boathouse in Terlingua- Bucky plays along on ukelele.

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