Since 2008 the Marfa Film Festival has attracted talented filmmakers, international press, industry professionals, and attendees from around the world to a remote corner of far west Texas. We screen a diverse mix of features, shorts, music videos, and experimental works, including a full afternoon schedule followed each evening by outdoor classics screenings in a starlit desert, with special happenings and spaces.
A tour through the Big Bend region to visit the filming locations of the 1985 movie, . Actors from the movie will participate throughout the weekend, and two nights of activities in Alpine will include a screening of the movie.
A celebration of music and Texas. Viva Big Bend’s seventh year will showcase more than 50 bands at venues in Alpine (including on the patio at The Reata Restaurant), Marfa, Fort Davis and Marathon. VBB also hosts family friendly activities.
Two Alpine High School students and Texas country musicians, Cooper Estepp and Kaleb Crump, are headed to the FFA State competition in Fort Worth on July 9-13. Doug Fox, the ag teacher at the high school, is their mentor, and he’s proud of what these two have accomplished. Fox said this was the first time in 17 years that students from the high school have reached the State finals.
“This is the first time I’ve had a talent contest of any sort, much less winning and going to a state convention,“ he said.
In today’s digital age, it’s nice to know there are secret havens piled with the tattered brown pages of much-loved books and a history largely unknown to most people. And getting lost in the stacks, smell, and romanticism of Archives of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University is easy to do.
Those interested in getting lost in the wonderful world of Big Bend’s cultural history can contact Digital Imaging Specialist Michael J. Howard, Resident Archivist Lisa L Zakharova, or Senior Archivist Melleta Bell at 432-837-8127.
Small town life isn’t for everyone. It seems some big-city dwellers often enjoy the fast-paced sense of urgency, mania, and chaos only offered by urban areas with six-digit populations. Others, however, enjoy a slower-paced life complete with friendly neighbors, a tight-knit sense of community, and visiting the same family-owned businesses and buildings that have been around for as long as they can remember.
Alpine’s Ole Crystal Bar is no exception to this West Texas way of life, having been a staple for many a Big Bend native for nearly 50 years. Despite the Ole Crystal Bar being a cultural staple, some additions are in the works, revitalizing a classic with new excitement. Recently purchasing the land behind Harry’s Tinaja from Union Pacific Railroad, the owners built a bridge over the creek, and have plans to build a concert grandstand.
It’s a curious phenomenon that the Big Bend region of Texas serves as the backdrop for so many films.
Perhaps it’s the beautiful desolation of the rolling dessert, or horizon lines that seem to stretch on forever. Perhaps it’s the clouds spread lazily across bright blue skies, waiting patiently to turn pink and purple and set the heavens on fire. Perhaps it’s the small town demeanor – people and places and conversations with everyone in line at the grocery store reminiscent of home regardless of how far one has traveled to get here.
On Sept. 14 at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, “Blanche” – the story of two cowboys, a chicken, and an infamous bet dating back to the 1950s – will encapsulate precisely what it means to be from Far West Texas. Starring popular local personalities like new-to-stage actors Tommy and Carolyn Mangrem, Alpine Montessori School founder Liz Sibley, and musician Rick Ruiz, Blanche was filmed within a two-week window, often involving grueling 12-hour days.
But more difficult than the filming schedule was finding two chickens and two understudy chickens that looked enough alike to play the same bird. In an extraordinary coincidence, the chickens were supplied by Sally Haley of Marathon, who is none other than Hargus’s niece. When asked about her ability to produce four identical chickens, Haley assured Pfiester it would be no problem.
“I’ve got chickens out the wazoo,” she said.
Pfiester said, “The experts said it couldn’t be done, that we couldn’t make a feature-length film in two weeks on a shoestring budget shot at eight different location with 16 amateur actors and two free-range chickens. But we did.”
Theatre of the Big Bend presents Bleacher Bums Friday, Saturday amd Sunday evenings in the Kokernot Outdoor Theatre.
Written by Joe Mantegna – In the bleachers at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, die hard Cub fans root for their team. The group includes a rabid cheerleader, a blind man who follows the game by transistor radio and does his own play by play, a bathing beauty, a nerd and various other bleacher denizens. As the game proceeds, they bet among themselves on every conceivable event, go out for frosty malts or beers, try to pick up the bathing beauty and, occasionally, watch the game.