Hello Nothing


No I am not having another one of my moments.

“Hello Nothing” refers to the wonderful feeling that I get when I return to Marfa from “other places”.

This latest (mid-July 2016) I had a whim to check out a swimming hole in Bracketville, Texas and then on to Houston to see the Menil Collection. As it happened there was an exhibit by Cartier Bresson at the Menil, one of my all time favorite photographers. (That show has ended). The Bresson show was one of those happy accidents, or god nudging me back on track.  Anyway, the swimming hole was first.  It is located at Ft. Clark an old fort in Bracketville which is 30 minutes outside Del Rio. This place was fantastic. Rooms are cheap at the fort and the swimming is terrific. Spring fed pool, cold water, not too many people especially in the first half of the day.


OK well not a lot to say about Houston in the summer. The Menil was great but Houston is a hot mess. My feeling was, come to Houston, home of 2 million people and 1 million parking places. Have fun. I spent a lot of time in limbo or near death in my car. I also made a fundamental mistake trying to use Iphone maps to get around. That map ladies voice gets real quiet when you are going the wrong way and you are like Oh shit. The Menil was peaceful but the rest of Houston was really hard to take. The galleria made me remember my life in Dallas.  I had to circle and circle in the outdated and un modern parking lot waiting for someone to leave it was so crowded. Like you condensed all the stores and restaurants from the Interstate into one big tragic shopping spree.

I would like to take a moment to express a new love of smaller highways. For about half the trip I was on a small highway and was enjoying the scenery, could pull over any time, endured very little traffic but yikes, when I got on the Interstate it was a whole new ball game. Way more traffic, and way more in the way of the very latest in crappy fast food and all of humanity was hungry and needed to pee.  Going through small towns it’s quieter because most everything is closed. The small towns haven’t recovered from the damage done by Dollar Store and McDonalds which closes everyone down. A small town store can be closed because it has not been open in decades, it can be closed because they left for a minute, it can be closed because they have a custom schedule, or it can be closed. On the interstate everything is open.

Anyway, on the drive back to Marfa, once I hit that small highway the weight off my shoulders was huge. The sickness and fear that pervaded the pit of my stomach in Houston gradually gave way to happiness.



wavy agave at some garden park in Houston

Shot around Marfa on cloudy days

It is Spring in Marfa which means that anything loose in your backyard is going to get launched into orbit. Your hair becomes an alien dried out, blown out eye tickler. Dusty windy and high risk of static cat shock.

People flock to Marfa to get married. It is as if the desert quiet and beauty will give a couple a better start to their city lives.  This weekend we had many art openings, a big wedding, music, and I saw Kevin Bacon and his wife.

They are here shooting a TV pilot. How can it not work with Kevin Bacon. Schools out, flowers are blooming, no reason to be grumpy. Not that I need a reason.




IMG_1151 IMG_1135 IMG_1121 IMG_1118 IMG_1110 IMG_1108 IMG_1103 IMG_0955 IMG_0842 IMG_0709 IMG_0701 IMG_0696 IMG_0673

Bound for Glory

Feast or Famine

Marfa is located in the Chihuahuan desert. It is feast or famine here. In a dry year, the lack of water is real hard on the wildlife. Right now things are pretty good. Our desert gets the summer monsoon type of rain so Spring is a waiting game, a windy waiting game which eventually gets hot and then late in summer brings hope and then rain. It comes down in torrents for weeks and that is our water for the year more or less.

Marfa is a feast of art. A feast of creative people, and a feast of freedom.

(The not so hidden meaning in this post is that I like Marfa.)

People in Marfa are independent and tough. They can walk around with 10 stickers in their foot, get hit by a cattle truck, denied lunch, bit by a rattlesnake, blown around in 30 mph winds, denied pizza, burned by the sun, denied medical care and say fuck it and do it the next day.   Things are not convenient here. If you need something you can post it online now and gather ideas from the community, but you have to be kind of scrappy and inventive. When new people move here they are bursting with ideas to make Marfa better. This gets chipped away little by little. As I know Marfa more and more, I meet more locals, learn names, what people do, the personal side of things. Life here is personal.

Anyway…People here are tough and weedy. It is not easy to get here, and it is not always easy to stay here. The tough remain. They pop back up and flower over and over again. The Marfa locals, a select bunch of funny and imaginative people have the space, time and quiet to expand their creativity while being nurtured by a palpable air of acceptance and humor  within the community. These creative people put themselves out there artistically over and over, you have to admire the fortitude.

I myself am easily distracted.

It is tempting and easy to watch and admire. It is harder to “do”. My attention to my work and interests is delicate. It blows in the wind, blows away, blows by, becomes visible, then blows away again..

I need to stay here and work this out.

This little water tower is sort of hard to shoot. It is surrounded by houses and power lines, but as you can see it is appealing. It is a constant. A little tin man cheering me up daily and nightly, and providing water too.

_MG_7326 IMG_0050 IMG_1438 IMG_6309 IMG_7484 IMG_7602 IMG_9490 Marfawatertower sunset1

Happy New Year

Well since this is the first posting for me this year 2016, Happy New Year.

Marfa is growing a little. We have a new hotel which will be ready in March, and there are more and more people moving here. I like it, it’s OK. Apparently there are more people than me who like art, peace and quiet, dry air, wine under the stars, roadrunners, javalinas, and tumbleweeds. This reminds me that in Alpine (one town over) this afternoon a cowboy type guy said that everyone in Marfa was “weird”. When my friend said “define weird” he pointed his alcohol induced wrath at Donald Judds’ cement boxes and said they were not art.  He outweighed me by a lot and seemed rather convinced of  himself so I reserved my own words on behalf of Donald Judd for the drive home. I love this funny little town and feel that it is perfectly wonderful. And so do a lot of other people. Alpine you suck. These photos are from the last 2 days, it has been cloudy.

IMG_0833 IMG_0839 IMG_0859 IMG_0861IMG_0019IMG_0793

Thanksgiving in Marathon

There was a stopped train on my way out of Marathon. Something that I feel is a sign from god that I should take photos. {I went to The Gage for Thanksgiving feast. Expensive but good.}


And I usually look for any excuse to visit the funky youth hostel that is located in Marathon. Word is, they are struggling financially, hey join the crowd. But anyway a cute couple are taking it upon themselves to organize some work days out there to help out the owner. I’m on board.


PS I hope everyone had a nice day.

Lacking Elegance

I found my way into 2 houses in this area. One is in a bit better shape, but both had spontaneous art. House 2 the theme seems to be love and hate. There is a photo of Kristin Bonkemeyer at the bottom of the post. She will transform “house 2” like no one else. She is a seriously good architect in this little town and stays very busy. She will incorporate the unique flow of the house with the large central hall into a modern wonder.


house 1


house 1


house 2


house 2


house 2


house 2


house 2


house 2


front hall


back hall-Kristin Bonkemeyer architect

No Beginning, No End

I am soaking up the dry desert air, enjoying the open spaces, and digging into my photo archive. One of the many things I love about Marfa is the constant presence of the train. It is very loud and totally unpredictable. It is large and scary, yet approachable since they are often painted in a personal way. Hello unknown painter, I read you. I have been printing these train pics lately, I see them as portraits. I realize my train has no beginning or end and feel that this must have a deeper meaning that as long as I am on this particular combination of wine and antidepressant I will ignore for now. Anyway it keeps me looking for the engine and the caboose. Train on the Brain.

_MG_2802 _MG_2795 _MG_2810 _MG_2809-Recovered _MG_2808 _MG_2804

And then some photos from my phone

There was a canoe trip to Moab with Dirk and Bettina-too great for wordsIMG_0038 IMG_0071 IMG_0089

Dinner with the most charming Kristin and Mary Bonkemeyer at Cochineal in Marfa, it is getting a tad chilly here at night now


random fun shotIMG_0261IMG_0266

And I will never forget my own MOM and her unique way of interpreting the world through non engagement. More on that upon request, or on a couch.

Head to Mexico II

I went again – To Mexico.

To work again at the school in Bacaburiachi. I remembered some of the kids from last time, and some of them remembered me. There is nothing mysterious about the beautifully dressed Tarahumara indians. They are sweet, fairly hard working, love kids. Another impoverished discriminated minority. And in Mexico that is saying a lot. Poor, badly educated, a deadly combination as we here in the US well know. They are too humble to take to the streets in anger demanding equal treatment. It is more like them to beg. I really understand that for some reason. I am not much of a fighter. The kids are just normal sweet happy kids. Probably not sure why they would want to excel. Some kids do get to move on to high school in Carichi. Others get to sell candy on the street in Chihuahua City.

I will get right to the photos and I promise the next blog will be US/Marfa based. These are my favorites. I will include one of the waterfall in Basasiachi, Chihuahua, Mexico so you can see how pretty it is.

At the School

IMG_0162b IMG_0083 IMG_0192IMG_0501IMG_0102IMG_0125 IMG_0413 IMG_0455

Some Architecture, Bacaburiachi, Chihuahua, Mexico

IMG_0465 IMG_0464

Cusarare, Chihuahua, Mexico

IMG_0068-2 IMG_0065-2 IMG_0055-2 IMG_0051-2

Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico

IMG_0022-2 IMG_0011-2 IMG_0008-2 IMG_0007-2

cascade at Basachiachi, Chihuahua, Mexico






In lieu of being important I am going to interview myself about my recent tour to the Copper Canyon area of Mexico aboard the CHEPE train.

  • Did you have fun: yes, lots
  • Did you drink the water: no, bought bottled water
  • Was the train ride fun: yes, totally fun, dining car, comfy
  • Was the food good: yes, OMG, homemade tortillas, chili rellenos…
  • Did you hurl: no
  • Was there any hint of trouble: no

My tour guide was Jim Glendinning from Alpine he did a great job, there were twelve in the group. If you want to book it yourself within Mexico there is a group called Three Amigos Adventures in Creel, Mexico. One of my favorite times was in our non electric hotel outside Creel a small town located at 7,694 ft. in the Sierra Madres, hiking to a waterfall and also a hike to rock art, rooms equipped with wood burning stoves and kerosene lanterns, tarahumara women in the kitchen cooking meals, a guitar band playing corridas at dinner, wine and margaritas. It felt authentic and was really memorable.

Here is my smattering of photos. The Tarahumara seem to hate having their photos made and I am conflicted. These people are poor and disadvantaged enough, I feel guilty for getting some photos, if they didn’t dress so cool, I would leave them be. The dancer man is re enacting a sacred dance from before the Spanish missionaries came to unravel their religion.