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Tag Archives: West Texas

Fin De Semana! 5-8-15

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Banh mi on Cinco De Mayo.

The story of a bizarre murder in Big Bend NP.

Like tacos? Thank the Ottoman Empire.

Probably the sanest piece on Jade Helm

What I’m Listening To

Chris Stapleton-Traveller

This album is really good. I hate how everyone throws the word “soulful” around when ever someone throws a little flair into their vocals. When something genuinely soulful, like this record, comes around it makes it hard to describe it. Do you like music where the singer is really putting it all out there and the musicians are busting ass to make the music sound good? This is one o those records. Before everyone started trying to oversing like third rate Mariahs this is what we called soulful.

What I’m Drinking

An Arnold Palmer. Half iced tea, half lemonade. So good in hot weather. Good luck getting a decent refill though.

Fin De Semana! 12-19-14

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Back when West Texas was under the sea. My home turf is ringed by ancient coral reefs.

Jerry Jeff Walker, the larger than life figure who forms a thread that binds generations of Texans. How a New York folkie became a Texas icon is a story I’d really like to see the Coen Brothers tell sometime.

The politics behind a Ralph Lauren ad. The ad has since been taken down, and the company has apologized.

What I’m Listening To

What I’m Listening To

Speaking of Jerry Jeff, here’s a song of his I don’t think gets enough credit for being awesome. Something about the melody just stays with me and the image of a wheel spinning futilely in the air haunts me.

What I’m Drinking

Big Bend Brewing Co. Terlingua Gold Ale- NOW THIS is a hot weather beer. As crisp and refreshing as your average well made Light American Lager with just enough hops bitterness to give it some serious flavor. This is what your Dad’s trusty six pack of Whatever Light would taste like if the people making it gave shit. That perfect amount of tangy hops bitterness makes me think this beer is just dying to be partnered with a bite of a lime, a lick of salt and a shot of tequila. I’m gonna have to make that happen. Preferably this summer.

Fandango

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Although it probably gets written off as a minor entry in Kevin Costner’s career, I’ve always liked “Fandango”, a movie that should’ve made him a star much earlier. It’s a rowdy, beery right of passage movie about college guys on one last jaunt across Texas before Vietnam, marriage and adulthood set the hooks in them. Costner plays Gardner Barnes, a fine son of Texas who seems to have known and squandered privilege his whole life. He ringleads the last Fandango into the wilds of West Texas with his buddies both as an escape from encroaching adulthood, but as a last gift to friends he has every reason to believe he’ll never see again.

The movie itself is full of great period touches that, while never explicitly showing Austin in 1971, give you a sense of the blossoming freewheeling culture that nurtured these┬ácharacters. Filmed for the most part in sunbaked, beautiful West Texas desert, it functions as the sort of eulogy we’re used to seeing in Westerns. Instead of say, Gus and Woodrow, we have Gardner, Kenneth, Phil and Co., who have run out of time and country to be wild in. Something about this sort of story speaks to our notions of Texas manhood and the ways we find to negotiate the space between the legends and the lives we can expect to live. These were boys raised to be wild-good natured- but wild. Trying to land the next step in life with some dignity isn’t a lesson that comes as freely.

The quest eventually ends up in San Elizario, Texas (outside El Paso) where loose ends are tied up and Costner, as Gardner, makes his final getaway. It’s not hard to imagine this movie as a spiritual prequel to another Costner movie, Tin Cup.

Tin Cup finds Costner playing Roy McAvoy, essentially the same character as he played in Fandango, but older, disillusioned and gone a little to seed. The same rakish charm is there, and the same careless attitude toward his talents. McAvoy is a washed up former college golf hotshot whiling away his life at a West Texas driving range, not far from where we last saw Gardener in Fandango. ┬áThese movies are only connected by a few threads, namely Kevin Costner and West Texas, but they touch on strikingly similar subjects with the same deft touch. Beyond all that they’re both funny, insightful looks at Texas manhood and the sometimes unseemly routes it takes.