Tag Archives: Jesse Sublett

Bryan Ferry is still infinitely cooler than the rest of us

Jesse Sublett, surrealist blues singer, Austin legend

photo of Jesse Sublett + acrylic sketch of courting grackle


UPDATE at 9 AM Thursday. Does Bryan Ferry need to redeem himself? I mean, after the disappointing “Olympia” and for not continuing to put out great releases to compare with Avalon, Stranded, These Foolish Things, Country Life, Manifesto, etc? I guess the answer is no. I admit that I was frustrated with him after Olympia, which was so awful, in my opinion, that it didn’t even bear listening to all the way through. The recent cover albums, the jazz versions, were all OK. And really, after you’ve given the world “Do the Strand” and “Virginia Plain,” “Avalon” and “Kiss and Tell,” to name just a few, I think you’re entitled to retire on your laurels. And last night, it was clear that Bryan Ferry is still vastly cooler than the rest of us, and even a Bryan Ferry who has fiddled around in the studio about 10,000,000 hours longer than necessary to come up with a new EP every five years or so, a Bryan Ferry who hires a bunch of young guns, including several proficient and inspired musicians who happen to be beautiful women, well, hell, what the hell? He’s a Picasso of rock stars, isn’t he? He’s creating masterpieces on stage in real time. He’s no Americana hipster Willie Nelson singer songwriter, is he? Nope. And that’s why I relate to him. When some of my contemporaries were letting their beards grow and wearing flannel shirts and cowboy outfit, I was following this muse. I guess I still am.

Bryan Ferry, Jesse Sublett, Surrealist blues singer

Bryan Ferry live 2014

It’s after midnight and we’re at the hotel on Wilshire Blvd, thinking about packing for our flight back to Austin, way too early in the morning. We came out here to see Bryan Ferry play at the Nokia venue in the Staple center downtown. Lois decided that we needed a break and I’ve got a big birthday coming up in May, so she bought tickets and got our hotel & air fair on credit card miles, and we came out to hang with our great friends, P&I, to do a little shopping and dining a couple of days ahead of time, plus a few other odds & ends. Last night was the blood moon, which we watched with Rocky Schenck on his patio in Beachwood Canyon. Anyway, I’ve been so busy I did no research at all about what kind of show Bryan would be doing, not even the makeup of his band.
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I’ve seen Bryan Ferry about a half dozen times before, starting with the Roxy Music tour of 1975, when he stopped at the Armadillo in Austin. Other shows were at the Greek Theater in LA and the amphitheater in Santa Barbara. Those were fine, fine shows, and tonight was a revelation, an inspiration, a surrealistic illumination. The set list was heavy on Roxy Music material, starting with “Do the Strand,” as the first tune. The band was top notch and Bryan was in superb voice. He played keyboards a lot. In fact, he was back up in the back line on the keyboards singing more often than he was center stage, doing his modernistic lounge lizard moves.

 

I’m not going to sweat the details here. It’s late and we’ve got a flight to catch early in the AM. It was a great show by an artist who is older but still delivers the magic. Bands come and go, and so do trends and seasons and fashions, but Bryan Ferry is still super cool. “Do the Strand” and “Avalon,” “Slave to Love,” “Editions of You,” “Virginia Plain,” and “Manifesto” are still super cool, still sufficiently strange and vibrant. Reminds me of when I first picked up the bass guitar and started a band.

Blood Moon over Los Angeles
 

 

 

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Filed under BLUES, MURDER BALLADS & OTHER COOL RACKET, just music

Willeford Cult Classic “THE WOMAN CHASER” Lives Again Via Streaming

“I’m not going to ruin my movie because of some stupid ruling that it has to be ninety minutes long. That’s just like adding three more plates to the last supper, or an extra wing to the Pentagon.”
― Charles Willeford, The Woman Chaser

Producer Joe McSpadden has announced that the 1999 adaptation of Charles Willeford’s “The Woman Chaser” will be available for streaming on I-Tunes and Amazon May 1st and Netflix and Hulu in June 2014. The announcement comes with a new trailer featuring a post-incarceration interview with Patrick Warburton, who played anti-hero protagonist used-car-salesman-turned-movie-producer Richard Hudson in the film. Watch the interview on youtube here.

The Woman Chaser, originally released in 1999, has new life via online streaming on May 1.

The Woman Chaser, originally released in 1999, has new life via online streaming on May 1.

willeford_charles
“I’m not going to ruin my movie because of some stupid ruling that it has to be ninety minutes long. That’s just like adding three more plates to the last supper, or an extra wing to the Pentagon.”
― Charles Willeford, The Woman Chaser

Jesse Sublett, noir fiction author & blues singer

Some of the books from my Charles Willeford Collection

Jesse Sublett, noir fiction author & blues singer, fan of Charles Willeford

Charles Willeford novels

Charles Willeford, who died in 1984, is hailed by many as the greatest crime fiction novelist of the late 20th century.

“The Woman Chaser” adeptly captures Willeford’s philosophy and tone, which often has the reader or viewer laughing out loud at a slapstick moment just before things turn grisly–leaving some to wonder if they missed something or the writer was possibly putting them on. With Willeford, you may never know. This is the razor’s edge tap dance at which he excelled more than anyone else.

Jesse Sublett, noir fiction author & blues singer, fan of Charles Willeford

The Burnt Orange Hersey, by Charles Willeford

I wrote about “The Woman Chaser” and Willeford in a piece for the New York Times published in 2000.

“Just tell the truth,” Willeford once said, “and they’ll accuse you of writing black humor.”

Charles Willeford, probably the greatest noir author of the late 20th century.

Charles Willeford, probably the greatest noir author of the late 20th century.

This could be a really good year for Willeford fans. Last fall, Variety announced that FX had ordered a pilot titled “Hoke,” with Paul Giamatti in the starring role for a potential series based on Willeford’s great Hoke Moseley novels. The pilot has been described as a “dark comedy” about the “hardboiled… maybe insane homicide detective in 1985 Miami. Screenwriter Scott Frank adapted the pilot and will come on board as show runner if the pilot is successful. Frank’s screenwriting credits include “Get Shorty” and “Heaven’s Prisoners” (adaptations of novels by, respectively, Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke). Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) is one of the executive producers.

Now, if you know anything about noir, you know that Miami is the home of weird crime in America, and that means that a number of very fine crime fiction writers have made art out of that tragically flawed environment. And then you would also know that Charles Willeford is the godfather of all that.

The Atlantic ran a fine article about Willeford in 2000 titled “The Unlikely Father of Miami Crime Fiction.”

Not long after I met Charles Willeford, he told me the secret to writing. “Never allow yourself to take a leak in the morning,” he said, “until you’ve written a page. That way you’re guaranteed a page a day, and at the end of a year you have a novel.” Here was Willeford in a nutshell: the crudeness, the humor, and above all the love of the lie. One doubted whether he followed any of the advice he was so fond of dispensing.
Willeford, who died twelve years ago this spring, might be called the progenitor of the modern South Florida crime novel. John D. MacDonald had put the region on the mystery map in the 1960s, with his Travis McGee novels, but that was an older, sleepier South Florida. Willeford’s last four novels (1984-1988) spanned Miami’s metamorphosis from vacationer and retiree haven to the nation’s capital of glamour, drugs, and weird crime, and these inspired the post-Miami Vice group of Miami writers, including Carl Hiaasen and James W. Hall. “Miami Blues [1984] launched the modern era of Miami crime fiction,” Mitch Kaplan, the owner of Books & Books, Miami’s leading literary bookstore, told me recently. “There’s a direct line from Charles through just about everyone writing crime fiction in Miami today.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Jesse Sublett, noir fiction author & blues singer, fan of Charles Willeford

New Hope for the Dead, by Charles Willeford

“A man should always observe fanaticism when he gets the chance.” (The Machine in Ward Eleven)

Fanaticism for Willeford’s writing certainly elevated my life. Living in Los Angeles in the late 1980s–early 1990s, I was a huge fan of Willeford’s novels. One day in 1991 I ran into Dennis McMillan in Vagabond Books. McMillan published boutique editions of a number of Willeford’s more obscure works. McMillan and I hit it off, and later, he loaned me a bunch of manuscripts of Willeford’s remaining unpublished works. Through this chance encounter, I ended up making an important discovery: The novel “Deliver Me From Dallas,” co-written with W. Franklin Sanders, one of Willeford’s pals from the service, had been published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1961 under Sanders’ name and with the title “The Whip Hand.” I made this conclusion and announced it after comparing the manuscript with a great looking Gold Medal paperback I first seen in a little used bookstore up in Big Bear Lake in the late 1980s (I was collecting pulp fiction by the truckload in those days).

"Jesse Sublett" "Charles Willeford" "crime fiction" "Denis Johnson" "Grave Digger B

The 1961 paperback original was published without Willeford’s knowledge, apparently. The editor at Fawcett hated Willeford’s writing, but when it was submitted without his name, he bought this book.


After I made this discovery I told Dennis, who was astounded, and he told Betsy. I clued book dealer Lyn Munroe, who issued a special Charles Willeford catalog, featuring the Gold Medal edition, which shot up in value from $1.00 to as much as $400 at auctions. I wrote a piece for the Austin Chronicle about it, and Dennis ended up publishing Willeford’s original manuscript (superior to the Sanders/Gold Medal rewrite), with the original title (“Deliver Me from Dallas”) and my own introduction, which I completed with help from Betsy, who gave me info on Willeford’s dates in the Army and Air Force, and other facts that helped confirm my conclusions. At some point word was also passed on to Don Herron, the Hammett tour guide and Willeford biographer, though he doesn’t mention the chain of events in his survey of Willeford’s work “Collecting Charles Willeford,” but it’s still a good, informative article.

Novelist Lawrence Block wrote a great piece about Willeford for Mystery Scene.

Here’s another fine piece on the Mulholland books site, by Doug Levin.

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Filed under NOIR & TRUE CRIME, Uncategorized

Spring is here

Sabina

Sabina

OK, you-know-what is over. But spring is here, in case you missed the redbuds blooming and other things popping up, breaking out into color and generally efflorescing. This afternoon I just happened to catch Marco Werman on PRI in time for Sabina Sciubba’s slot promoting her new solo release. I don’t know if the whole record is as great as the first song she played, but it knocked me out. Check it out here. If Sabina’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you might recognize the name of her band, the Brazilian Girls. If you’re not familiar with them, you’re on your own, but I will say that I liked them instantly, first time I heard them. They seem like a singles band and a live band more than a CD band, but that’s OK. You can watch the Brazilian Girls doing their song “Pussy” on this youtube clip.

Jesse Sublett, author, playwright, bassist extraordinaire, noir novelist, Minotaur Memoirist

Minotaur Ready for Combat in the 21st Century

Speaking of girls in bands, my biggest disappointment last week was missing Arum Rae, who played two shows in Austin but I had schedule conflicts both nights. Arum formerly lived in Austin and performed in a twosome called White Dress. I played on a bill with her a few years ago and again, it was instantaneous. You can sample her music on her minimalist home page or look her up on youtube also. She is supercool.

Arum Rae

Arum Rae

 

More about this upcoming gig later: Friday, March 28, 7 PM, at All Saints Episcopal Church, I’ll be performing as a storyteller. Unique venue, special concept, no props, just me. Check it out here, or just read the details, and check the home page here.

Friday, March 28th
7:00 PM

Location
All Saints’ Episcopal Church
209 W. 27th St.
Austin, TX 78705

Notes
For Lent this year, we’re going to do something a little different. Let us set the scene. It’s dark in the church except for the beam of a single spotlight. There’s no noise. A person steps into the lit circle and begins to tell a story. The story will be a true one, from the speaker’s own life. That will be all. No musical accompaniment. No notes. No visual aids. No gimmicks at all. Just a person and a story. Afterwards, we’ll move the gathering to Kinsolving Hall for fellowship and discussion.

jesseNext up is one of Austin’s finest–rocker and writer Jesse Sublett. Although he’s best known as one of the founders of the Austin punk scene with the Skunks, his work encompasses jazz, blues, Americana, and the odd mystery novel. Jesse is intimately and profoundly acquainted with loss, renewal, and redemption.

MORE SOON…

Cheers,
Jesse

Me (center stage) with Tim Stegall & Clint Shay & the rest of the Hormones singing "Gimme Some" at SXSW unofficial 2014 at the Legendary White Swan.

Me (center stage) with Tim Stegall & Clint Shay & the rest of the Hormones singing “Gimme Some” at SXSW unofficial 2014 at the Legendary White Swan.

PS. The above photo is by Julia Cohen, as you can see by the watermark. Thanks for letting me use it.

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Filed under all saints episcopal church, just music, the front porch, tories of redemption

Bookstore Party Gig March 1

Sometimes you know me as an author, sometimes you know me as a musician. This is one of my favorite times, when I get to be both. I’ll have books for sale, and I’ll be putting my music in the air. What could be better? (OK, I’m not asking for suggestions, it’s just a saying). More details to follow, and/or keep up with the bookstore’s own info here.

Jesse Sublett, author, musician, raconteur,

Jesse Sublett & The Big 3 Trio will rock the bookstore Saturday, March 1.

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Filed under Books & other writing by Jesse Sublett, JESSE'S GIGS

LOVE YOU MADLY

To help celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’ve put up a new page with my art, some stories about which I’ll share later… not all of them are happy endings, but you may get a chuckle or two on my expense. With no further ado, I’ll post the link here and ask you to have a look.

And I know we’ll see a bunch of you at Tertulia tonight, that quarterly community art event we all look forward to. I usually read a new prose piece, sometimes with my wife, Lois Richwine, but tonight I’ll be singing a new song.

Jesse Sublett, noir writer, blues singer, artist at large, Austin, TX

CHAVEZ ON THE MOON, about 20 x 16, signed limited print, $250.

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LOU REED TRIBUTE FEB. 1

Get your tickets to our show here:   Cool show. You’ll dig it. We promise surprises. A portion of proceeds to benefit  HAAM. Your good taste & dollars will help support the health of Austin musicians.

Hosted & produced by Jesse Sublett & Kim Simpson. Featuring Jesse Sublett’s Electric band, with Jesse Sublett, Kim Simpson and Bill Blackmon (original drummer of The Skunks). We’ll be joined by Dashiell Sublett and Jon Dee Graham (also of The Skunks) and Steve Bernal. Solo performances by Steve Bernal, Kathy McCarty, Kacy Crowley, Jon Dee Graham, Kim Simpson… Also featuring the Reivers, Why Not Satellite and The Wild Seeds. Read about it in Austin Monthly (February issue) and other choice media, including Austin.CultureMap. These are all Austin artists for whom Lou Reed has been a seminal influence. It’s not a “Sweet Jane” marathon jam, but a tribute, a recognition of the legacy of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Some of us got through dark times in our lives with the help of Lou’s music and the sonic, emotional space occupied by songs like “Waiting for My Man,” “Berlin,” “Stephanie Says,” “Sister Ray,” “Perfect Day,” “Heard her call My Name,” “What Goes On,” “Busload of Faith,” “Venus in Furs,” “Dirty Boulevard,” etc… the list goes on forever, like art itself.

Keep your eye on this blog. I’ll add more later, along with other links to stories about the gig. Oh yeah, we’ll be on KUTX-FM with Jay Trachtenberg at 2:30 PM Thursday, January 30. We’ll do a couple of songs, an interview. It’ll be cool.

Jesse Sublett

Lou Reed Music: An Austin Tribute, presented by Jesse Sublett, with Jon Dee Graham, Dashiell Sublett, Kacy Crowley, Why Not Satellite, The Wild Seeds, the Reivers, Kathy McCarty, Steve Bernal & others TBA


#loureedtribute
#LouReedTributeAustin

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RIP NEAL BARRETT, JR. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER

I just rec’d the news that my friend, the great writer and strange man, Neal Barrett, Jr., has died.

My first reaction, on receiving the email from Kip Stratton, president of TIL, was this:

That’s terrible news. I was already depressed today, so this is the icing on the cake. But I guess I can get myself together somehow, because I can hear Neal in my head saying, “Cheer up shithead, at least you’re not dead. On the other hand, it’s pretty cool out here. See around.”

 

Neal Barrett, Jr.

Neal Barrett, Jr. , from Austin American Statesman

The above photo was borrowed from a profile about Neal in the Austin American Statesman.
Well, I could write more, like, give you some anecdotes about things Neal said or did when we were hanging out a lot a few years ago, me and Tom Garner, James Crumley, Dick Holland, and the other guys in the gang when Tom would load us up in his Lincoln Town Car and haul us out to Lockhart for barbecue… like when they brought me a big plate of ribs and brisket from Smitty’s when I was on chemo after having my mouth and neck overhauled, and I was down 50 pounds, skin and bones, and I took one bite and said, Wow, boys, thanks, I’ll try to eat more later, and their faces fell down so far… or the day that Neal turned 70 and he said, Wow, 70, what’s that about??? Anyway, here’s the facts.

PS, Nobody wrote about Billy the Kid like Neal. I’ll scan his Billy the Kid story later and share it with you, if you promise to buy one of his books.

Dear TIL Members:

I’m saddened to report that Neal Barrett Jr. died on Sunday. He was 84 years old.
Barrett was inducted into TIL in 1999 and won a TIL award for his novel, Interstate Dreams, the following year. As that novel proved, he was a gifted literary writer — who could be extremely funny. He tended to work in genre fiction, although he twisted and bent the genres to meet his artistic goals. He wrote all sorts of novels — Westerns, science fiction, fantasy, sometimes combining genres — and enjoyed a devoted following. He published around 50 books, 20 or so under his own name. He also used ten noms de plume. He even wrote two Hardy Boys mysteries under the publisher’s house name of Franklin W. Dixon. He was known for mentoring a number of writers, including our own Joe Lansdale, who considered him a close friend. Barrett won a number of other awards in addition to the TIL award, including the Nebula and the Hugo. In 2010, he was named Author Emeritus of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Born in San Antonio, he grew up in Oklahoma City, but called Austin home for many many years. Upon learning of his death, Joe tweeted, “The Great Neal Barrett has died. Great person and writer.” An apt assessment if ever there was one.
Here’ s a link Joe forwarded:
Kip
W.K. (Kip) Stratton
TIL President

A link to a Todd Wolfson photo gallery from our United Sounds of Austin Show, Jan 11, at the Moody.

One more link: Advance tickets to my Lou Reed Tribute Show at Cactus Cafe Feb. 1 are now on sale.
#loureedtribute
#LouReedTributeAustin

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Advance Tickets for LOU REED MUSIC: AN AUSTIN TRIBUTE Feb. 1

Get your tickets to our show here:  Sponsored by HAAM. Cool show. You’ll dig it. We promise surprises.

Jesse Sublett

Lou Reed Music: An Austin Tribute, presented by Jesse Sublett, with Jon Dee Graham, Dashiell Sublett, Kacy Crowley, Why Not Satellite, The Wild Seeds, the Reivers, Kathy McCarty, Steve Bernal & others TBA

#loureedtribute
#LouReedTributeAustin

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Filed under BLUES, MURDER BALLADS & OTHER COOL RACKET, JESSE'S GIGS, MY FAMOUS BAND, THE SKUNKS

MONTEREY POP: WHEN ROCK STARS WERE MESSIAHS

Cool gig, Sunday Nov. 24th at One-2-One Bar, just so happens I’m playing. Tribute Concert to Monterey Pop to Benefit MMMF – Music Moves Mountains Foundation, a great cause, a real cool concept. Read about Music Moves Mountains here, and look at the lineup for the show.

Then consider this for a minute before you move on to the images I’ve posted. In Austin, we’ve got so many music festivals & film festivals, high tech cons, etc., back to back, the word “festival” might even seem common, like a dirty word. But flash back for a minute, to June 16, 1967, a day when the Establishment thought they were still in control, and longhaired rockers and leftists were considered weird, off the wall, maybe even dangerous… rockers like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and the San Francisco psychedelic rockers came down like invaders from Mars.. they were the rock messiahs… Otis Redding made everybody cry, shout, shake… Listen, I’m a baby boomer, and maybe I exaggerate sometimes about how important these things were, but they were pretty damn important.
gamble-townshend-monterey-pop-1967-largerSo instead of writing about it, giving my thoughts on Monterey Pop, I’m just going to post some images from it, and let them do the talking. I admit that I do not have any rights to these pictures and have not researched whether they are PD or not, so assume that they are not, they’re just posted for your perusal. And mixed in with the old pix, I’ll insert some pictures of the performers that will be playing at the tribute show on Sunday 11.24.13. Hope you can make it. Thank you, Julie Frost, Madame MMMF, for involving me in this gig. I couldn’t make it last year because I had contracted a case of pneumonia, the second time last year (Much, Much better now, I think I’m past all that 2012 stuff), and will be playing with extra mojo this year with my pal Kim Simpson on the shredding acoustic guitar.

MontereyPopFestival_3 MontereyPop1967_01tumblr_m8y0i2lS7j1rceea4o1_500 tumblr_lg5c1hl8Q01qa1iiqo1_500

 

 

Entwistle Monterey group

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Here’s a slide show with narration. This was apparently recorded in 2007 by people who experienced it, locals, mostly, with phenomenal photos of the event.

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AND here are photos of some of the artists who will be playing at the Tribute show, Kevin McKinney, Andra Mitrovich, Tameca Jones, Dan Dyer, Jesse Sublett, Mike Flanigin, Robert Kraft, Why Not Satellite, Oliver Rajamani.

I’ll add more photos as they are contributed — and please, send pix to me. You can do it through the contact on the menu above, or via Facebook, or some other route. Cheers, Jesse.

The incredible Tameca Jones

The incredible Tameca Jones

Jesse Sublett & Kim Simpson, who will be rocking, acoustic style, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Otis Redding

Jesse Sublett & Kim Simpson, who will be rocking, acoustic style, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Otis Redding

Kevin McKinney

Kevin McKinney

Why Not Satellite

Why Not Satellite

The awesome Tameca Jones

The awesome Tameca Jones

The unstoppable Robert Kraft Trio

The unstoppable Robert Kraft Trio

The indispensable Oliver Rajamani

The indispensable Oliver Rajamani

The legendary Mike Flanigan Trio

The legendary Mike Flanigan Trio

The unfigureoutable Jesse Sublett, by Todd Wolfson

The unfigureoutable Jesse Sublett, by Todd Wolfson

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Filed under Austin, BLUES, MURDER BALLADS & OTHER COOL RACKET, Grave Digger Blues, JESSE'S GIGS

A WHOLE LOT OF NOWHERE TO RUN

First, a gig note:

Jesse Sublett & Kim Simpson, South Austin blues & murder ballads show, with Chapter 4 of Grave Digger Blues, Friday, Sept. 27, 9-11, Whip In, no cover. This is going to be a fun gig. I’ll play at 9, blues & murder ballads and another reading from Grave Digger Blues, your favorite surrealistic detective novel; and then my friend Kim Simpson will play a set of brilliant solo blues, folk and other material. You probably know Kim as the host of KUTX Folkways every other Sunday, and he also does a show on KOOP on Tuesdays. He’s a brilliant musician and we’re looking forward to this gig.

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 1

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 2

Now the art blog: A WHOLE LOT OF NOWHERE TO RUN:

A couple of years ago I did a driving trip up to Fort Worth, Brownwood, Mobeetie, Amarillo, Lubbock, Post, Wheeler, Shamrock, Wichita Falls, and a few other far flung places, for the purpose of research on a couple of book projects. I’d rather give details about those projects later and just post some images I’ve been working on with photos I took on that trip. And a thought that kept going through my head during that drive was the repulsed, freaked out reactions of Coronado and his little conquistador party as they toured the Llano Estacado about five centuries ago. These were killer Spaniards pursuing myths and rumors about cities of gold, Eldorado, and they were really disappointed not only not to find those cities built of gold but in the seeming total lack of scenery of any kind, not even a drive-in or a Denny’s, horse-head pump jack, freaky giant glowing white crosses, or the Jesus Christ is Our Savior Truck Stop.

“I reached some plains so vast, that I did not find their limit anywhere I went, although I traveled over them for more than 300 leagues … with no more land marks than if we had been swallowed up by the sea … there was not a stone, nor bit of rising ground, nor a tree, nor a shrub, nor anything to go by.” Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, 1541

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 3

 

“[Not] a tree, shrub, or any other herbage to intercept the vision… the almost total absence of water causes all animals to shun it: even the Indians do not venture to cross it except at two or three places.” General Randolph Marcy, 1852

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 4

Centuries later oil field trash, cross roaders, grifters, pimps and safe crackers would drive their Cadillac Eldorados over that failed trek to find the cities of Eldorado, and some of those knuckle head safecrackers were guys whom I’ve been researching and writing about (there, I broke my vow already not to discuss any of the projects), guys who were loosely defined later on as belonging to the Dixie Mafia, and the specific guys I’ve been writing about were variously called the Overton Gang, the James Gang, and since I’m writing the history and concentrating mostly on Tim Overton and his merry minstrels, I like to call them the Austin OG.

Jesse Sublett, surrealist and crime novelist and blues singer

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 5

Anyway, these images have very little to do with the story, except for the fact that they do intersect with some of the places where the OG went and cracked the safes of small town banks. A heist at Mobeetie, up in the Panhandle is a big part of their story, as that caper went kablooee, bad, and there was a massive manhunt involving Texas Rangers, sheriff’s departments all across the Panhandle plus Oklahoma and Kansas, plus DPS troopers and troopers and state agents from Mississippi, Oklahoma, and so on, deputized ranchers on foot, in cars, on horseback, men with dogs, men in leased airplanes and helicopters. The heist crew was rounded up finally after three days. It’s a good story.

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 7

And when I went to Mobeetie, it had not changed much at all, still population about 200, a handful of houses and vacant lots and a few little businesses, including the First State Bank. You stand there or drive through there and the flatness doesn’t end, there’s that straight line horizon to nowhere, and I kept thinking about the five characters running out of the bank at 4 AM during March 1966, running out and being pursued across the snow dusted ground, and there’s barely a perpendicular stick or a rolling hog wallow as far as you can see, just a whole lot of nowhere to run.

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 8

The figure in these pictures is a Chinese burial suit from the Han Dynasty, 206 BC – 220 AD, made of jade and  copper wire, at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum.

And I’ve included a couple of mug shots of the anti-heroes from my book, a book I really do hope to finish by the end of 2013.

Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, Austin

Tim Overton, in jail, shortly after being apprehended in the 3 day manhunt in the Texas Panhandle, March 1966

Jerry Ray James, shortly after being apprehended in the 3 day manhunt in the Texas Panhandle, March 1966

Jerry Ray James, shortly after being apprehended in the 3 day manhunt in the Texas Panhandle, March 1966


Jesse Sublett, crime novelist, James Ellroy

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 9.jpg

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 10

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 10

Jesse Sublett, surrealist

Coronado was right about the Staked Plains No. 12

Jesse Sublett, surrealist

Coronado was right Staked Plains No. 11

Jesse Sublett, surrealist

Dude try and guess where I am right now.

 

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Filed under BLUES, MURDER BALLADS & OTHER COOL RACKET, Featured, Grave Digger Blues, MY ART BLOG, Uncategorized