[Each Thursday you can enjoy Big Bend events, dining, video, news and photos from the editorial staff, contributors and readers. To contribute, e-mail your photos, events, thoughts, opinions to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org, andrew suber [at] hotmail [dot] com.]
Big Bend Video
The New Low documents music in our small West Texas towns.
–Matt Farah and crew get the trip started from Detroit, Michigan to Terlingua, Texas and interview Shelby Automotive President, Amy Boylan and Vice President of Operations, Gary Patterson.
–The camp of the Conejos Cowboys at the 2009 Original “Behind The Store” Wick Fowler, Frank Tolbert Terlingua Chili Cook-Off, in beautiful Terlingua, Texas.
–When a wanted Middle Eastern dictator, with a large bounty on his head, crashes his escape plane on the Mexican Border, he is inadvertently carried into Texas by illegal immigrants. Then, after being struck by a truck occupied by three cowboys, he gets taken to their exotic game ranch where their housekeeper nurses him back to health. The Texans slowly discover his true identity. Or do they?
Big Bend Photo
“Passing Wind” pirate ship, Terlingua, Texas.
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Generous underwriting supplied by the Rotary Club of Alpine, Texas and the Way Out West Texas Book Festival:
This year’s festival will be bigger and better than ever. Mark your calendars: It will be held July 29, 30 and 31 at the Espino Conference Center (second floor, Morgan University Center), Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas.
The grand finale of this celebration of books and culture will feature The Flatlanders– Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock– performing in concert at the Pete P. Gallego Center on Saturday evening, July 31. Tickets on sale soon!
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Big Bend Events
Padres 1st Anniversery Celebration: May 27-30. Festivities include local bands and L’il Cap’n Travis.
–Ballroom Marfa presents Grouper with Adam Bork on the 30th behind the Crowley Theatre.
–There will be a benefit dance in Fort Davis on the 29th. It features Craig Carter and the Spur of the Moment band.
Probing Questions Dept.
I received the following letter from an anonymous reader:
Hey there. I read your “West Texas” blog last week and had a couple of questions for you. I was invited to “intern” down at xxxxxxx in Alpine and I’m excited because I think I would love the area: hiking, fishing, art, the desert, Marfa, etc. However, I’m a thirty-five-year-old gay man with liberal views. And while I don’t make my orientation public and I’m not easy to read, coworkers in the past have usually wondered why I’m not married. Conservative older women (I call them my “church ladies”) have found me to be a nice, professional guy who is single and has money and they try and set me up with nieces, granddaughters, you name it. I’m kind of geeky if anything, not a screaming queen. My question to you is: is the Alpine-Marfa area extremely intolerant of gays or is it more live/let live? I know you’re straight but you seem to have liberal views and you know the area pretty well. Do you hear the word “faggot” tossed around a lot? Part of me really wants to do this internship and live down there but I’m worried about the political/social climate. And while I wouldn’t necessarily volunteer my orientation, in the past, money-hungry women have cornered me in the workplace and have tried to suss out my situation. So I don’t want to come down there, work, and have to lie about myself and/or find myself in a bad situation. Let me know what you think about the area and how a lone gay wolf might survive. Thanks man.
P.S. I’m thinking of living in Marfa and commuting to Alpine.
In my opinion, folks out here are tolerant of differences. People in small towns tend to judge you on your merits as a human being. A word to the wise, though, IT MAY TAKE A LONG TIME FOR THEM TO UNDERSTAND YOUR MERITS.
The despicable scoundrels who perpetrated that hate crime against a young gay man in Terlingua were not from here. That young man is respected and tolerated by the citizens of Terlingua.
My advice is to come out here with an open mind and engage in the everyday stuff that makes up a small town. We have a Western sensibility of “live and let live”. Small town folks out here read more and are better educated than the mass media would have you believe.
I would really appreciate any feedback on this. If you are a gay reader who has had negative/positive things happen to you out here in the Big Bend, comment on this post and let Mr. X know if he will be safe and accepted out here.
Whoops and Hollers
I really want to thank all my friends who have been so kind and supportive of me. I have grappled with major chronic depression my whole life and it has seriously impaired my ability to be a good friend to people– despite that, everyday I receive so much encouragement from the community and my friends.
I want to remind people that depression isn’t just being moody or irritable– it’s not something that you can just ‘snap out of’. All of us, at one time or another, have experienced minor depressive episodes or bad moods. Depression is something distinct from that. William Styron suffered a particularly bad bout of depression late in his life and had this to say about that lack of understanding: “Such incomprehension has usually been due not to a failure of sympathy but to the basic inability of healthy people to imagine a form of torment so alien to everyday experience.”
Depression may have an impact on life expectancy similar to blindness or paraplegia. A recent study demonstrates that it is more functionally debilitating than chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes or arthritis. If someone you care about demonstrates these symptoms, please consider offering them help.
— Texas schools board have recently rewritten US history with lessons promoting God and guns. US Christian conservatives have dropped references to slave trade and sidelined Thomas Jefferson who backed church-state separation. Read more here at the Guardian.
In my opinion, the strength of America lies in having a strong secular state that unites brave, pious people of all backgrounds.
The Pilgrims left England because the state forced religious observance. If we indoctrinate our children with religion in public schools, WE DO A DISSERVICE TO THE NATION AND TO GOD. Religious study should be a major part of a child’s private life, not a two-minute moment of silence or three lines in a text book.
— ” A new drug war, this one over whether marijuana legalization would help or hinder Juárez, got under way Monday.
City Reps. Beto O’Rourke and Susie Byrd called a news conference to say they believe reforming drug laws and legalizing marijuana would help reduce violence in Mexico.
O’Rourke and Byrd, joined at the Paso del Norte Bridge by fellow city Reps. Steve Ortega and Ann Morgan Lilly, displayed a declaration in support of Juárez.
Oscar J. Martinez, a history professor and border expert at the University of Arizona, read from the group’s resolution.
“Those who think they have the moral high ground by supporting prohibition are not giving proper attention to the disastrous consequences of that tragically misguided policy,” said Martinez, a native of Juárez.
“The cure has been much more deadly than the disease itself. The price of prohibition – turning cities like Juárez into killing fields of massive proportions – is totally unacceptable and morally repugnant.”
Read the rest of this article at the El Paso Times
— “One of the most unusual seizures of the week occurred May 5 when CBP officers at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso discovered 11 pounds of marijuana hidden in a pair of toddler chairs. A CBP officer at the primary inspection station noted discrepancies in two boxes that were labeled as containing small chairs designed to be used by young children. CBP officers X-rayed the boxes and spotted an anomaly in the appearance of the chairs. CBP officers examined the chairs and found that numerous bundles of marijuana had been glued to the interior walls of the chairs.”
Read the rest of this article at the Tribune Weekly Chronicle
— “Two footbridges cross the Rio Grande River in Hudspeth County without gates, cameras, or Border Patrol agents. They were built for flood control, but authorities say they’re used by smugglers to cross illegally everyday. ”
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