Weird West Texas Desert: Marfa

You may have heard of this place… a mysterious small town… a minimalist artist’s hub… home of the lone Prada “store” art installation. Along with other monumental wonders like the dim-lit Stardust Motel sign and the Marfa Lights, this is a lonely pocket of the West Texas desert. There are many hidden wonders to observe in such small towns. On the surface you can only grasp so much… and when you talk to the locals there’s so much more to discover. We even heard there used to be a lonely “World’s Smallest Target Store” art installation as well, but has since been torn down.

Prada Marfa

It’s no secret getting out of Texas is a road trip itself. We left Austin around 7 am to make the six-hour drive out to Marfa by mid-afternoon. We were greeted pleasantly by the front desk of our boutique hotel, the Thunderbird, which even had old-school brass key rings instead of card keys. We are in another world that’s for sure. So we unloaded our bags, loaded the mini-fridge with some libations from our cooler, and headed to the pool.

Unfortunately, we noticed that most Marfa businesses operate Wednesday through the weekend. We had begun our stay on Monday and Tuesday. Bummer! But that didn’t deter us from generally exploring what we could during our two-night stay.

Someone in our yoga class said, “We’re on Italian time.” I wasn’t sure what that meant until we talked to our Milanese tattoo artist in Santa Fe. He said the only reason Italians know about Marfa is from the Prada installation and their tourism grew since it was erected. A few businesses run sporadic hours, maybe because they’re well off from tourism, but I’m not sure. Some businesses did not survive 2020’s lockdown and are taking time off to renovate and hopefully reopen.

Vintage Thunderbird Restaurant sign (pictured left)

It was pretty windy when we arrived and I wondered how this outdoor yoga class would be in the desert… dusty. Normally classes take place outdoors, under the sky (Big Sky Yoga) onsite at the Bohemian El Cosmico grounds. Instead, we headed to the main street to a communal residency building across from various art galleries and boutiques. It was a small class of mostly experienced yogis, all very welcoming. I recalled when someone mentioned “Italian time” as I noticed next door two women sharing a bottle of wine, laptops closed done for the day, curbside of the Stellina Mart: a petite bodega. Salud!

Everyone we met asked us if we were staying at the El Cosmico and now I wish we had! The natural property is gorgeous and expansive. There are several ways to shelter at this place: yurts, teepees, self-camp, airstreams trailers, safari tents, and the Brite Building (where our class was held). There’s even a glamorous micro-home called Cosmic Kasita, composed of high-quality eco-materials and designed with a lighting and color scheme that embodies the El Cosmico ethos. Well, till next time!

Anytime Austin Market Hosts Popups @ Revival Coffee

I’m checking my Google Calendar to see when the next few markets are scheduled and realized I didn’t have any lined up! So I went into Instagram to see if the usual ones I follow had any dates logged in and in my suggested follows I see Anytime Austin Market is a new-ish account. I’m not entirely sure how long they have been hosting patio markets outside of the newly re-branded Revival Coffee (which is so cute, decked out in millenial pink decor) I decided to attend their next one and check it out.

Matcha Iced Tea by Revival Coffee (shown right courtesy of Anytime Austin Market)

Chill house music pulsates through speakers on a stage outside Revival Coffee’s patio space. Several booths are nestled in front of a giant ice bin full of Blue Norther Hard Seltzer, which supplied the event with free libations while supplies last. Weaving in and out of the different clothing racks there were even vendors that drove all the way out from Houston and San Antonio to showcase their collections.

Here is a complete list of sellers that set up shop over this particular weekend:

Future markets outside of Revival Coffee will surely take place EVERY weekend, weather permitting. It’s the perfect setting to bring out-of-town visitors, vintage treasure hunters, antique collectors, and everyone who loves supporting local Austin vendors! Keep an eye out for Anytime Austin’s future markets by following their page as well as Revival Coffee by Gabrielas.

POPISM: Style Transformation Through Warhol’s Sixties

During the pandemic, one of the several books I plowed through was POPISM: The Warhol Sixties by Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett. I generally gravitate to anything that involves the historical influence style had on the musicians, artists, and entertainers of this era. In terms of the “Silver Sixties” I had only read EDIE: An American Biography, which is through the eyes of many related or friends of the late superstar Edie Sedgwick. So, I picked up a few books at the local Half Priced Books including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) in which Warhol forays his observations on life through beauty, art, love, work, and celebrity. POPISM is a timeline of happenings that occur from 1960 to 1969 within the bustling grids of Midtown, Manhattan.

1960-1963: Edwardian Men, Folk Singer Gals and fanning over Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra

Brooklyn was a bustling little Burrough of rock ‘n’ roll, emerging Motown, and art galleries. Little Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Ronettes and, many more would play at the Fox Theater, a renaissance-like film palace. Warhol was a commercial artist in comic strip production. He started screen printing in 1962 and his early work included the famous canvas of Coke bottles by the hundreds. The gents wore frilly romantic tunics, pointed “winklepicker” shoes, and cropped Italian jackets. Upon the release of Liz Taylor’s epic Cleopatra performance, city girls were sporting long, straight, shiny hair with angular bangs and Egyptian-inspired winged eyeliner. Warhol didn’t have a “style” yet… though the black cigarette jeans, white tee, and the pointy shoe is minimal enough to be in vogue. A frequent visitor of the galleries in the late 1950s and early 1960s; abstract expressionism was on its way out as pop was on the forefront.

It was a new age of classification

Warhol on youth culture

The mid-sixties introduced a wispy folk singer looks to go with the new music entering the decade. The Shangri-Las, The Kinks and Murray the K were always packing the Fox Theater. The crisp fifties youth loosened up by wearing shift dresses, strappy sandals, and burlap pieces. Though Liz Taylor’s sleek Cleopatra look influenced folk into a more polished style that meshed well into the geometric mod look that dominated NYC and Londoners alike.

1964: Big city teen exits, enter English mod, waif style, and The Beatles USA Tour

The next year ushered a spectrum of body dysmorphia to cater to waify tomboyish silhouettes. Kids of the baby boomer generation began rejecting their parent’s posh buttoned-up daily attire and fixated their gaze on the rising stars of the music and fashion industry. The hairstyles were on the opposites of extremes: either slick little pixies or larger-than-life teased beehives. With slim clothing and mini dresses on-trend, everyone went on diets. They shed the obsession with Marilyn Monroe’s vivacious curves and favored the twig look made popular by Brit’s Lesley “Twiggy” Lawson and Factory socialite Edie Sedgwick.

This was a time when street drug culture meshed seamlessly with the high society crowd. Amphetamine being the main component of diet pills, speed became a popular vice among vastly different socio-economic classes. Society women had everything at their fingertips. Pills were so readily available they would pass it to their children and husbands to work harder… and stay out of the house. Ha! Americans took on Beatlemania like fish to water; picking up horrible impressions of English accents to attract girls who became lustrous for the Brit Pop swagger. This was around the time of the Factory’s inception. Warhol’s open-door (literally) policy for visitors to swing by, hang out or create art became the pulse for NYC’s Underground/Punk ethos. It was daily life as interactive performance art.