Monday, June 5, 2017 – Butch Hancock art show in Terlingua.
I would have been there anyway, as it turns out I was booked to play a “Blue Monday” show at the Starlight that night anyway, so, with guitars and camera…
A lot of people who showed up for Butch’s show- some of whom have known Butch a long time- didn’t know he was an artist. He’s also an architect, record label head, playwright, actor, songwriter, performer, river guide, and, I suspect, anything else he wants to be. You don’t meet many real polymaths in real life. Butch is one.
A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”) is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems.
After sound check but before the restaurant opened, Butch was showing me around. There’s a photo he took on Hallowe’en in 1985 on 6th Street in Austin – the photo is pretty amazing, but the way Butch took it is, to me, even more amazing.
He somehow hung an 8 X 10 camera around his neck and walked around 6th street with it taking 8″ by 10″ negatives of the street scenes at night.
Technically, I think that’s impossible, but he did it.
Then, he made (I think he said) 30 contact prints and hung them in a gallery the next day.
I know that’s impossible. And, I believe he did it.
In addition to photos, there are a few paintings, and some prints of his highly intricate and detailed ballpoint pen drawings. The poster above features one of these.
A while back, I joined Butch and Adrienne for breakfast at La Posada Milagro and Butch showed me one of his notebooks of drawings. It scared me mightily.
These days, I tend to read books on a kindle paper-white reader. It’s cheap, made of plastic, and holds hundreds of books. It’s also scarred and has yellow paint smeared on the case. I don’t know how or why. I’m basically “pig-pen” when it comes to books.
I own hundreds of “real” books, and most them have fingerprints, stains, splotches of hot sauce or red wine… and there I was holding Butch’s notebook within inches of a breakfast burrito and a couple of open containers of hot sauce.
Not for long. I quickly returned it.
You never know what’s going to happen in Terlingua. Butch was showing his art. I was playing the blues. It was 2-fer-1 burger night, so the restaurant was pretty packed.
And then Jeffro informed me that we had a boys choir in the audience and they’d like to perform a song. They lined up and did an a cappella version of Billy Joel’s “For the longest time,” which is basically a melodic doo-wop song, with voices “playing” the instruments while different soloists sang the melody.
They stood. They sang. They sat back down while we applauded.
I couldn’t help thinking… one of America’s most loved folk musicians is showing art while I play the blues and during a break a boys choir performs a doo-wop pop song… that’s pretty Terlingua.
Butch’s art will be displayed at the Starlight Theatre through July 30. Most of it is for sale. If you intend to own one of these pieces, you should probably skee-daddle down and reserve it now.
Here’s what it looked like.