Thursday, March 26, 2009

What a Long, Strange Journey...

As with all types of gambling, the best way to walk away a winner is to simply walk away. We were feeling more than lucky after the winning streak we had in Vegas - getting to interview a performer from Cirque du Soliel, seeing The Beatles LOVE for free, and did I mention... seeing Freddie Mercury perform a live show?!
...sort of
With all the winning we had done, we thought it best to leave Vegas behind and head towards Austin, Texas - our next official stop. We drove through the Hoover Dam singing a variation of Sophie B. Hawkins "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover" - "Dam, I Wis I Was Your Hoover".

Approaching the dam:What a damn good dam...

Claire, the Texas native of our group, informed us that there was a necessary and slightly bizarre stop that we should make on our way to Austin called Marfa. Marfa is a little town in western Texas with an unusual history. Marfa was founded in the early 1880's as a railroad water stop and later used as an Army training grounds in the 1940's. The town remained a sleepy destination until Donald Judd, a minimalist artist and visionary (in my opinion) moved to Marfa in 1971 and began to transform the town into a Mecca of the art world. One of the strangest things about Marfa I noticed was it's architecture. Rather than tearing down and rebuilding modern looking museums and galleries, Judd (and now the Chinati Foundation, which has maintained Judd's vision since his death in 1994) took the existing buildings of the town and transformed them internally into art galleries and studios. Store fronts are painted white for the most part, which gives the town an eerie and unassuming aura.

On our way into Marfa we drove along a deserted highway with no streetlights. It was dark out and the surroundings were empty except for one ironic and unusual building - Prada Marfa.Prada Marfa is not a working store front, but it does work as something that will make any passerby think twice about the open roads of Texas. We stopped to take pictures and laugh at the irony of Marfa, Texas before heading on into town.

After arriving and finding a place to park in the main part of town, we set out to find any form of late night activity we could. It seemed as if everything in Marfa closed at sundown, including the town's bars (there are two of them), until we heard music in the distance. In a very scavenger hunt way, we followed the music to a house behind a gas station. We thought that we had stumbled upon a house party and decided to venture inside in hopes of unassumingly entering and joining the fun. To our surprise, there was a table set up just past the front door way where a girl was collecting a cover charge and distributing hand stamps and posters. We had stumbled upon Waltz Across Texas - a concert starring Krista Muir, Lederhosen Lucil, DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, and Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen! I have to admit that I didn't know who any of those people were at the time, but I ended up loving the show and we were able to set up an interview with Krista and DJ Jester, who were also heading to Austin, for our Indie Trip during SXSW.

As if the night wasn't already interesting enough, we set out to view the Marfa Lights, the mysterious and unexplained lights seen near U.S. Highway 67. Some attribute the lights to ghosts, others to cars driving on the highway. Whatever they are, we saw them in all their glory and I have to admit, we were all a little freaked out. There is something exciting about seeing something unexplained in person.

The following day we walked around town. We visited Ballroom Marfa, a space for art and culture in Marfa where we saw, of all, a RV installation by Paul Villinski. We ate some delicious pizza at Pizza Foundation and met Lorna Leedy, the owner of Fancy Pony Land - her fun clothing line. We were fortunate enough to set up an interview with her and she told us about her journey from art student to clothing designer. I really like her work and she has inspired me to continue working on my Etsy store. We also met Phoenix, a yoga instructor, while in Fancy Pony Land. He was kind enough to teach us yoga on the roof of our RV at sunset. Shanti, shanti Phoenix.

Shanti, shanti everyone.

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