Voices From Both Sides 2015 – Fiesta Protesta.

Splash!

For the third year in a row, neighbors from both sides of the Rio Grande River gathered in Lajitas, Texas to celebrate “Voices From Both Sides,” a peaceful protest against the closing of the border.

Hands across the water.
Hands across the water.

Before the border closing, this stretch of the Texas border actually extended into Mexico. The communities of Paso Lajitas and San Carlos, as well as Boquillas and Santa Elena were home to many U.S. citizens. Traffic across the border was casual, and crossing the border for groceries, dinner, entertainment, or to visit family and friends was common- and the traffic went both ways. Continue reading “Voices From Both Sides 2015 – Fiesta Protesta.”

Donkey Flats – South County Music Corral

There’s a new community gathering place and music venue on Terlingua Ranch, and yesterday George and Anita Goss hosted a party there to get it going.

An old airplane hanger near Camel’s hump on the Terlingua Ranch Road – formerly Suzie’s Snak Shack – is coming back to life as a community gathering place and music venue.

The Bar-B-Que was donated, and sold for $10/plate- all proceeds to go to getting the electricity turned on. The stage was built with volunteer labor and donated materials. The vibe was “old Terlingua” and so was the music- hand made, acoustic, and from the heart.

“I’ve never seen this many cars at Suzie’s before,” was a sentence I heard at least a dozen times yesterday.  People came from Lajitas, Terlingua, Study Butte and Terlingua Ranch to gather, dance, sing, and enjoy life in the desert. There is certainly a need for a community gathering place at the Ranch, and it won’t take much to make it a reality. Terlinguists are famous for making their own entertainment- we don’t need much more than an excuse and a place to create an excellent time.

There’s still a lot of work to do. George has a vision of turning this place into a concert hall, recording studio, possible video location, and a tribal gathering place for family and friends. It’s going to take money, materials, labor, and lots of beer- yesterday’s gathering proved it could be done.

df1 df2 Continue reading “Donkey Flats – South County Music Corral”

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.

 

voni paul Continue reading “Voices From Both Sides Benefit 2015”

Terlingua to Reality Show Producers: “HELL NO!”

<<<UPDATE – 12/4/2015>>>
Badlands Terlingua Reality Show Facts

Now that the “Reality” show is airing, I’ve noticed that we’re getting a little traffic here.  You may be curious about what’s real and what’s not in that show.

Here are the facts:

  1. The “reality” show in no way reflects the reality of living in Terlingua. For example, they imported the rattlesnake from Terlingua Ranch. That snake should get a SAG card, it got so much screen time. The local participants were paid and directed, the show was scripted from the get-go. Here’s a fun little factoid: you can’t have a synopsis (of a script) without a script. See below.
  2. The narrator is a professional actor from Marfa. Never seen him in Terlingua.
  3. All the footage of Glenn is from a previous film called “24 Hours in Terlingua.” That little movie is a much better representation of the people who actually lived here at that time. Most of them still live here.
  4. The locals you see in the show are the only ones who agreed to be in it. So, you’re seeing that part of the population that either needed the money or wanted to be on TV. Obviously, this small sample that self-selects to be on a reality show isn’t representative of the population of Terlingua. Most of us knew they were going to capitalize on Glenn’s murder and Tony’s trial because it was in the synopsis I posted originally.  See below for how we feel about that.
  5. The bar that represents the Ghost Town in the show is actually way out on the fringe of the ghost town. The owners of the bars and other businesses that are actually in the ghost town denied permission for the TV crew to shoot on their property.
  6. The new owner of La Kiva denied access to his property. The re-enactment of the murder (isn’t that classy?) was done at a bar in Marfa.

And so on and so on… bottom line, what you’re watching is a scary story. Some of it was shot in or around Terlingua. The scenery’s nice…

Here’s my original post:

********************************
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

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

Jeffro hands Mike the check.

 

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

 

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

Continue reading “Terlingua Word-Off 2015”

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

Continue reading “J. Michael Combs at the Boathouse”

Free Tea Party Bus in Terlingua

Guisepi, the free tea guy

From the porch in Terlingua I noticed a converted bus in front of the art gallery… not too unusual. Terlingua attracts all sorts of alternative living people and out here a bus is not an unusual structure for a home.  The only unusual part was that apparently this bus actually runs.

Later, at the community garden, the same bus was there. This time I noticed the sign:  “free tea.”

Ok. I’ll bite.

I wandered over and met Guisepi, Mr. Tea, the free tea guy. Very quickly, I realized that he was a very special guy with an amazing mission.

Guisepi, the free tea guy
Guisepi, the free tea guy

Continue reading “Free Tea Party Bus in Terlingua”

Terlingua off-season

During the Thanksgiving holidays the Terlingua Ghost Town was packed. Tourists from all over the world came to enjoy Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, and Terlingua. There was a two hour wait to get into the Starlight Theatre. A line at the bathrooms. Traffic on the roads and lots of new faces on the porch.

Then, the holidays ended and the tourists returned to their points of origin, leaving just Terlinguists in Terlingua.

We appreciate the visitors, and the economy wouldn’t work without them- but, it’s also nice when it’s just locals. Last night, Laird Considine played the Starlight Theatre with Chase Peeler on Sax and Taylor Luttrell on fiddle.  Dancing ensued.

At the Boathouse, James and Don were serving up delicious burgers as the locals gathered outside to watch the sunset. In the back, there was a cut-throat competitive scrabble game going on.

I didn’t make it down to the High Sierra and La Kiva is still under construction, but as I drove the 30 miles home- passing two cars on the way – I reflected on the fact that we’ve built a pretty nice little world down here.

band 1

Continue reading “Terlingua off-season”