Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Marfa Mondays Podcast #12, Dallas Baxter, Founding Editor of Cenizo Journal, "This Precious Place"


A metaphorical asteroid took out the past few months, but (whew) the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project resumes today with podcast #12, an interview with Cenizo Journal's founding editor, Dallas Baxter.

Baxter had just turned over Cenizo Journal to its new owner when I interviewed her last February 2013 in Alpine (about an half hour's drive from Marfa). She had arrived from New York just around the time of 9/11, and as editor of a journal covering the arts and history of the Big Bend / Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas, Baxter has an usually rich experience and perspective. If you wonder how a print publication can make it in this crazy digital age, and what it's like to live in such a remotely beautiful place, listen in. 

There will be 24 podcasts, and the project now extends through 2015.
Listen in to all the podcasts anytime at

COMMENTS? Always welcome.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Marfa, Texas, "Capital of Quirkiness," According to 60 Minutes

In a segment that aired on Sunday, "60 Minutes" calls Marfa, Texas "The Capital of Quirkiness." The sweetly artsy spirit of this remote small town of far West Texas was precisely what appealed to me when I first came across it more than a decade ago-- and what drew me to start writing a book and podcasting about it back in January 2012. But as I delved in, reading and traveling and interviewing a wide variety of artists, scientists, business people and others, I soon realized that there's a far larger, more complex story, or rather, stories, to tell about the Big Bend region. Start with the fact that the Spaniards called it the Despoblado (Empty Quarter), and on pre-20th century maps it appears only vaguely as "La Apachería..." It's one of the earth's "Thin Places," to steal an Irish term-- and with a frightening history, a starkly beautiful swirl of landscape, border country. . . Watch "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" for an idea of what it looks like.

So far, of the projected 24, I've posted 11 podcasts about the region. A few favorites:

Cowboy Songs by Cowboys

A Visit to Swan House

Mary Baxter, Painting the Big Bend

We Have Seen the Lights

Charles Angell in the Big Bend

Listen in to all the podcasts anytime at

Next podcast: an in-depth interview with Dallas Baxter, founder of Cenizo Journal.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Boquillas is Big News for the Big Bend

After much rumor and anticipation, the Boquillas border crossing into Mexico from far West Texas's Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park has just-- today-- thanks for the tip, Charlie Angell-- reopened for the first time since 9-11. This is one of the most remote places in the Lower 48, and in northern Mexico's state of Coahuila, and though the number of people crossing was always a mere trickle, the border's closing after 9-11 had devastated the Mexican town of Boquillas (which means "little mouths").

>Read more in the San Antonio Express-News

I'll have a lot to say about these remote areas of the US-Mexico border in my "Marfa Mondays" podcasts and in my work-in-progress about far West Texas. Recently I visited the remains of the  long demolished informal bridge over the Rio Grande at Candelaria. The river there was maybe 15 -20 feet across as I recollect, and I saw paw prints in the mud on both sides, going down from Mexico and coming up into Texas: a coyote, I mean canine, had crossed.

I'm also working on a podcast and an essay about the Big Bend National Park-- one of the most geologically varied and starkly beautiful places I have ever seen. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Podcast #11 Cowboy Songs by Cowboys

Cowboy songs with Michael Stevens, Craig Carter and Doug Figgs-- plus an in-depth interview with Michael Stevens. Recorded at the 27th annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Sul Ross State University in Alpine Texas.

What's it all about? Who are these guys? Listen in.

About the Marfa Mondays Project

Indian Head; Cathedral Mountain; Marfa's Presidio County Courthouse

The "about" page has been updated-- with these photos... some of things I saw that made me want to write this book.
Cathedral Mountain (C.M. Mayo)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Over on the Beefed Up Blogroll

I've beefed up the blogroll here-- that's the column over to the right which lists other relevant / area blogs for Marfa and the Big Bend. Check it out-- there are some very fun and fascinating people blogging in the Big Bend. A few of special note:

Marie Bazek whose blog includes an post titled "Marfa Metamarfisis."
Christmas Mountains Oasis, a blog about Big Bend bird habitat
Glen Aaron, the Observer
Lonn Taylor, The Rambling Boy
John Wells, The Field Lab

Plus-- the discussion forum I'm calling a blog because I can:
Big Bend Chat

Meanwhile, I'm editing the next podcast, #11 in the 24 podcast series, "Cowboy Is a Verb," an interview with Michael Stevens. Lots of strummin' and singin'. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Marfa, Marfa & More Marfa

Oh, this country has such beyond splendid skies! Apropos of my book-in-progress, World Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas, I recently returned from my latest journey through Marfa, Van Horn, Presidio, Terlingua, and the Big Bend National Park, and will be posting scads more "Marfa Mondays" podcasts...

Pending: an interview with Enrique Madrid of Redford; interview with Dallas Baxter, ex-editor of Cenizo Journal; a journey up Pinto Canyon Rd and another up Casa Piedra Rd (a branch of the old Comanche war path); a visit to Cíbolo Creek Ranch, a trek over Burro Mesa (ayyy, 3 hours each way, no shade) to Apache Canyon and a very remote arrowhead quarry; and a bit about the strange battle of Zapato Tuerto (Spanish vs Apaches); and (yep), "Cowboy Is a Verb."

Oh, and more about the glorious Chisos and Spanish painter Xavier González.

>Listen in to the latest podcast, A Visit to Swan House
>The archive of all the "Marfa Mondays" podcasts  is here. Listen in anytime.

From Pinto Canyon Rd

Lone Cloud, Paisano Hotel, Marfa

Pinto Canyon Rd

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, Fort Davis

>Listen to the podcast with Chihuahuan Desert pollinator expert, Cynthia McAlister

Waiting at the Marfa Lights Viewing Station
>Listen to the podcast "We Have Seen the Lights" about the Marfa Lights

Near the Cubes, Marfa

==Comments off due to spam but your comments are always welcome via email==

Monday, February 25, 2013

Podcast #10 A Visit to Swan House (C.M. Mayo Reading for PEN San Miguel de Allende)

Recorded live, my lecture for PEN San Miguel on January 29, 2013 in San Miguel de Allende's Teatro Angela Peralta, about literary travel writing in the digital age and-- starting at about 15:00--  "A Visit to Swan House," my article in the current issue of Cenizo Journal, about adobe visionary Simone Swan's mysteriously beautiful teaching house near Presidio, on the US-Mexico border in Far West Texas.

"A Visit to Swan House" is #10 in the 24 podcast series.

#9 Mary Baxter, Painting the Big Bend
#8 A Spell at Chinati Hot Springs
#7 The Marfa Lights: We Have Seen the Lights
#6 Marfa's Moonlight Gemstones
#5 Cynthia McAlister, the Buzz on the Bees
#4 Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine
#3 Mary Bones on the Lost Art Colony
#2 Charles Angell in the Big Bend
#1 Introduction and welcome

Want to be notified when the next podcast is available? Sign up for the free newsletter.

==Comments are off due to SPAM but I welcome your comments via email==

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Review of Rubén Martínez's DESERT AMERICA

What is the West? That cross-borderly mashup of music, footwear and haberdashery known as “cowboy cool”? Or is it indigenous? The Big Empty, healing refuge, Hispano, Chicano, Mexicano? Or is it now found in the scrim of “underwater” water-sucking tract houses? What is this landscape, if not seen through millions of different eyes each with its own needs, lusts, filters and projections? And how is it changing? (Radically.) In Desert America Rubén Martínez tackles these immense and thorny questions in a narrative of multiple strands masterfully braided into a lyrical whole. . .  

CONTINUE reading C.M. Mayo's review in the Washington Independent Review of Books

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"A Visit to Swan House" in Cenizo Journal

My article about adobe visionary Simone Swan's teaching house in Presidio, TX (on the US-Mexico border, about an hour's drive south of Marfa), "A Visit to Swan House," appears in the winter issue of Cenizo Journal

Download the complete issue as a PDF here.

Learn more and view photos of Swan House at

UPDATE: A family emergency has knocked back my monthly podcasting schedule, but I will resume. There will be 24 podcasts and I have several interviews already recorded, so stay tuned.

>Get the newsletter for updates

>Listen in anytime to all Marfa Mondays podcasts

==Comments off due to spam but your comments are always welcome via email==

Monday, January 7, 2013

Podcast #9 Mary Baxter, Painting the Big Bend

Just posted: My October 2012 interview with painter Mary Baxter about her luminous landscapes in her Marfa, Texas studio. This is #9 in the 24 podcast series, "Marfa Mondays."

>>Listen in here.

Mary Baxter came to Marfa years ago for the horses and cattle business and stayed to paint the sky-haunted landscapes. Recently returned to Marfa after a decade in (relatively nearby) Marathon, Texas, Mary Baxter talked to C.M. Mayo in her sun-filled studio in October 2012.

The Marfa Mondays podcasts are apropos of a work-in-progress about far West Texas.

Recent Marfa Mondays Podcasts include:

>A Spell in Chinati Hot Springs

>We Have Seen the Lights (about the Marfa ghost lights)

>Marfa's Moonlight Gemstones, an Interview with Paul Graybeal

>The Buzz on the Bees, an Interview with Cynthia McAlister

>Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine

>Mary Bones on the Lost Art Colony

>Charles Angell in the Big Bend

>Ye Olde Introduction and Welcome

Read all about the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project here.

Not sure what a podcast is? Want to know why I'm doing this? Want to learn to make one yourself? Click here.

==Comments off due to spam but your comments are always welcome via email==