Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'Flagatography' book pays tribute to Texas flag

Longtime Houston Chronicle photographer E. Joe Deering noticed a Lone Star flag painted on a building in Cisco in 2002, and then he began seeing the flag on pickups and barns and gates and mailboxes and boats.
He decided there might be a photographic story there, and a few months later the Chronicle published an eight-page spread in its Sunday magazine.
That led to a “Flagatography” exhibit at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M campus in 2005 (Deering even provided handmade frames for the 135 pictures).
Now Texas A&M University Press has published a delightful collection of Deering’s inspired photographs – Lovin’ That Lone Star Flag – an elegant coffee-table book reasonably priced at $29.95. It's one of my favorite Texas books of the year.
Ruth Rendon, a former colleague at the Chronicle, provides an informative introduction and foreword telling about the Lone Star flag itself and about Deering’s obsession with it.
Each picture is accompanied by a caption telling about the flag image portrayed and when and where it was taken.
Photographs show the flag on:
A guitar used by the band Lonestar.
Bruce Lavorgna’s Texas Lone Star balloon, Aerodactyl.
An outhouse outside Schulenburg.
A police car in Palmer.
A muffler in Dayton.
Bowling pins at a bowling alley in Lake Jackson.
A watering trough in Texas City.
A fleet of tanker trucks in Brookland.
Oil drums and cell phones in Kerrville.
An El Campo family’s basketball backboard.
A single-engine airplane in Kingsville.
A bathtub in San Marcos.
One photograph shows a couple decked out in Lone Star flag shirt and skirt for their wedding in front of the San Jacinto Monument, “where Texas won its independence,” the wife points out, “and (husband) Kenny lost his.”
There are pictures of flags on boots, spurs, caps, shirts, running shorts, arrows, golf balls, windmills, buckets, birdhouses, and steakhouses, among other uses.
Deering, not a native Texan himself, said he understands why so many people like to paint and display the Lone Star flag in so many creative ways.
“It’s just because they like being in Texas and being a Texan,” he says. “It’s that Texas pride.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

25 Good Reasons to Attend the West Texas Book and Music Festival

The West Texas Book & Music Festival is going on all this week in Abilene. This is the festival’s ninth year, and it is now recognized as one of the best in Texas.
Here are 25 good reasons (there are more) why you should try to take in some of the events, most of which are free thanks to the festival’s generous sponsors.

1. You will be amazed, maybe also amused, at the variety of Texas authors in the Hall of Texas Authors at the Abilene Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

2. If you haven’t met Abilene author Bill Neal, come hear him tell some tales about justice on the Texas frontier. He speaks at noon Wednesday. His latest book is “Sex, Murder and the Unwritten Law.” If you can’t make his Wednesday program, he will also be in the Hall of Authors on Saturday.

3. It’s hard to describe the Grammy-winning “nuclear polka” band Brave Combo, but suffice it to say that the band plays upbeat world music that is always fun to listen to. Catch Brave Combo and the Texas Swing Kings in a concert at the Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 and $25.

4. Kathi Appelt is one of the best children’s authors anywhere, not just in Texas. She will be part of a 9 a.m. session Saturday on Writing for Children (it’s free) and will be presented the A.C. Greene Award at the Boots & Books Luncheon at noon Saturday (tickets are $30, 691-1868).

5. One of Abilene’s best known authors is Nancy Robinson Masters. She will be on the Writing for Children panel Saturday and also will speak at the luncheon.

6. Diane Gonzales Bertrand of San Antonio writes bilingual books for children. She also will be on the Writing for Children panel, will speak at the luncheon, and will read at a story time session at the new Mockingbird Branch Library at 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

7. Bryan Burrough is the author of one of the best-selling books about Texas this year – “The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes.” He speaks at 10 a.m. Saturday and also at the luncheon.

8-9. Two other authors who have written about Texas icons – LBJ and Shiner Beer – are speaking at 10 a.m. and at the luncheon – retired General James Cross and Dallas author Mike Renfro.

10. If you like to cook, or even eat, you ought to come hear cookbook authors Terry Thompson-Anderson, Tricia Henry and Betsy Nozick at noon Thursday at the main library.

11. If you want to get more out of your computer – for fun or profit -- let Leland Harden tell you how to do it. Noon Monday at the library. He’s the author of “Digital Engagement,” a book on Internet marketing.

12-14. Bob Favor spent his career in law enforcement, most of it as a Texas Ranger, and he has written a book about his experiences. Bob and two other storytellers, Carol Walt of Cross Plains and Murray Edwards of Clyde, speak at noon Tuesday at the library.

15. McMurry history professor Don Frazier makes history come alive, and he will talk about his newest book, “Fire in the Cane Field,” at noon Wednesday.

16. Gary Hartman is a music historian and also a musician, and he will talk and sing about Texas music history at noon Friday at the library. He also will perform at the Friday night concert.

17-20. Stop by Minter Park at noon Monday through Thursday for some free “Pickin’ in the Park” music by local musicians you will enjoy – JamisonPriest, Happy Fat, Slim Chance, and Catclaw Creek.

21. If you like to belt out the good old gospel hymns, come to the fourth annual West Texas Gospel Hymnfest at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center. Free songbooks.

22. Have you been to the exhibit for the West Texas Music Hall of Fame? The festival’s opening reception will be there at 6 p.m. Monday, Rose Park Shopping Center, 2510 S. 7th St.

23. How many Abilenians wrote a book in the past year? If you guessed 30, you’re close. See the fruits of their labor at a reception at the library, 6 p.m. Tuesday.

24. Enjoy the World-Famous Hardin-Simmons University Cowboy Band at theBoots & Books Luncheon on Saturday.

25. Read a book by a Texas author. If you need help finding one, well that’s what this week is all about.

West Texas Book & Music Festival Schedule

West Texas Book & Music Festival Schedule
September 21-26, 2009

Monday, Sept. 21
Brown Bag Program, noon, Main Library - Online Networking for Fun and Profit featuring Leland Harden - Bring your lunch or purchase a sandwich plate for $4. Drinks provided.

Pickin' in the Park, noon, Minter Park, featuring JamisonPriest.

Opening Reception, 6 P.M., West Texas Music Hall of Fame Exhibit, Rose Park Shopping Center, 2510 S. 7th Street - Reception honoring local musicians.

Tuesday, Sept. 22
Brown Bag Program, noon, Main Library – Texas storytellers Carol Walt of Cross Plains, Murray Edwards of Clyde/Abilene, Bob Favor of Clyde. Bring your lunch or purchase a sandwich plate for $4. Drinks provided.

Pickin' in the Park, noon, Minter Park, featuring Happy Fat.

Local Author Reception, 6 P.M., Main Library - Reception honoring local authors who have had a book published in the past year.

Wednesday, Sept. 23
Brown Bag Program, noon, Main Library – Texas history, Don Frazier and Bill Neal. Bring your lunch or purchase a sandwich plate for $4. Drinks provided.

Pickin' in the Park, noon, Minter Park, featuring Slim Chance and the Survivors.

Thursday, Sept. 24
Brown Bag Program, noon, Main Library – Texas cookbooks featuring Tricia Henry, Betsy Nozik, and Terry Thompson-Anderson - Bring your lunch or purchase a sandwich plate for $4. Drinks provided.

Pickin' in the Park, noon, Minter Park, featuring Catclaw Creek.

Texas Cookbook Gala, 6 P.M., Abilene Country Club - $150 Reserved tickets. Sold Out!

Friday, Sept. 25
Authors in Schools - Featured children’s authors will visit Abilene and Wylie schools throughout the day.

Brown Bag Program, noon, Main Library - History of Texas Music, Gary Hartman speaking and singing. Bring your lunch or purchase a sandwich plate for $4. Drinks provided.

Concert, 8 P.M., Paramount Theatre - Featuring Brave Combo and Texas Swing Kings. Tickets $15 and $25, available at all library locations and the Paramount Theatre.

Saturday, Sept. 26
All activities at the Abilene Civic Center

9 A.M. to 3 P.M., Hall of Texas Authors - Authors, publishers and booksellers displaying, selling, and signing books.

9 A.M., Red Carpet Area - Writing for Children Workshop, presented by Kathi Appelt,
Diane Gonzales Bertrand, and Nancy Robinson Masters

10 A.M., Conference Center - The Texas Experience – Politics, Beer, and Oil – with authors Gen. James Cross, Mike Renfro, and Bryan Burrough.

Noon, Conference Center - Boots & Books Luncheon, music by Hardin-Simmons Cowboy Band; barbecue by Harold’s. Remarks by featured authors. Presentation of the A.C. Greene Award to Kathi Appelt. Tickets $30, 691-1868.

3 P.M., Conference Center - West Texas Gospel Hymnfest, congregational singing led by Judge Lee Hamilton and pianist Sharon Leyerle. Free songbooks.

At the Mockingbird Branch Library, 1214 N. Mockingbird

3:30 P.M., Story time featuring San Antonio children’s author Diane Gonzales Bertrand.