Terlingua Goes Hollywood

Video crews, TV shows, Movies – in Terlingua?

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…  last night, I played a drummer.

In the last month, we’ve had a Japanese TV crew shooting a car commercial, a Dutch travel show filming an episode for Euro-TV, a French crew doing something, and the “reality” show crew is still slithering about.

Last night, another video crew was in town to film a 30-second promotional video for the Texas Tourism board.  At the same time, a local TV reporter was filming an interview with the local District Attorney.

Brewster County DA, Rod Ponton, explains for the camera how he managed to not get a conviction.
Brewster County DA, Rod Ponton, explains for the camera how he managed to not get a conviction.
Actors entering the Starlight Theatre.
Actors entering the Starlight Theatre… again and again and again…

When did Terlingua go Hollywood?

As I watched the actors stumble up the steps to the Starlight Theatre for what may have been the 30th time, with cameras following, I mentioned to a production person, “seems like a lot of work for a 30-second commercial.”

She replied, “you have no idea,” with an ironic look.

actors in "Texas" garb.
actors in “Texas” garb.

The Starlight parking lot was blocked off with orange traffic cones to make room for the two huge equipment trucks, the portable dressing rooms, and the various vehicles involved with the shoot.  Previously, they’d filmed the young actors who were the stars of the commercial in the National Park, the State Park, and several other locations.

After the actors had successfully entered the Starlight to the satisfaction of the director, which took about an hour, Jim Keaveny, Anna Oakley, Laird Considine and I occupied the main stage and played about six songs, while the actors danced and cavorted for the cameras.

Dancing in the parking lot
Dancing in the parking lot

On a personal note, I was hired to impersonate a drummer.  I have a drum kit.  15 years ago or so, I actually played the drums in a blues band.  I pointed out to Jim that “there are kids in high school who weren’t born the last time I played drums.”

the crowd goes wild
the crowd goes wild

Since we were there strictly for the visuals and nothing we played was going to actually be recorded, it was a pretty no-pressure gig.

Anna Oakley (fiddle) and Laird Considine (bass) watch as Jim Keaveny signs an autograph.
Anna Oakley (fiddle) and Laird Considine (bass) watch as Jim Keaveny signs an autograph.

Talking with some locals, the general consensus was that they’d all be just delighted when the film crews discover somewhere else to film.  They’d like their town back, please.


4 Replies to “Terlingua Goes Hollywood”

  1. Who were the actors, their names were not included.
    Guess the people here must be portrayed by actors to film in the Ghost Town.
    The best acting I have ever see is by locals pretending to be normal.
    A lot of talent in that old Ghost Town.

  2. So now I am confused. You live in a place that depends on tourism, yet you berate entities that want to promote your town and tourism. Do all the businesses not want the business? If everyone stays away, what will become of your fair town. Do people who are relative newcomers who now call themselves “locals” all display disdain at “outsiders”?

    1. There’s no disdain or contempt implied or stated. The disagreement hinges on “all publicity is good” which I disagree with.

      Terlingua has a deep and rich culture and attempts to trivialize it or turn it into a cartoon are going to be met with resistance.

      1. Unless you’ve ever had the privilege of living in a town like this, you ought to find another site to troll on, Raoul. They didn’t come here to ‘promote’ us, they came to capitalize on a Tragedy, & when they ran out of the few locals they could find who were Stupid & Cheap enough to participate, they brought in Actors. This crew was here for a matter of Weeks, but the businesses & the locals have been & will continue to be here for a long time. Those who sold out Won’t be forgotten-well, maybe by the film crew…as I understand it they’ve already headed north to see how much damage they can do in Alaska. This place is unique in the World for geographic, archaelogic, botanic, & historical reasons that extend way past the unique character of its current occupants (who actually are quite diverse). We’ll never have any great shortage of visitors, & generally, they’re of a higher caliber. No one here was Starving, to the best of my knowledge, before NG came-I doubt we’ll do any better once the show airs-if anything it will catch the eyes of some, we don’t Need. Fortunately, it takes some Doing to last here, as well. Personally, I’m quite proud the lady I work for (who is a local legend-I’ve heard it said of her, ‘if you don’t know her, you don’t know Anyone’) never even brought it Up, & somehow it just never even came up in conversation. She’s seen people come & go, raised kids here, run businesses…she did not require Anything but word of mouth. There are others in the exact same situation who declined to be on the show-& guess what, they probably won’t Starve as a consequence.

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