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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pics and video from 6/25- Padre's Marfa





And a little video from my youtube post- David



In other news, Steve Begnoche (former Houston El Orbits drummer now living in Denton) is on his way up here. Over the next 2 days we will record 4 songs with Cris from The Rockland Eagles. He has brought his mobile recording studio. I wrote a new song, Steve has one, Adam Bork has a Food Shark commercial he wrote, and I plan to record a Doug Sahm song that was released in Europe only back around '83 called "Everybody Gets Lonely Sometimes". My version will be faster and will be more like ska with heavy Farfisa. Practiced it earlier tonight on the Roland D-20- David

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Misc info

It's now June 24th, I believe. I left the Airstream this morning without remembering to out on my watch; this is on of the most bothersome things I occasionally do to myself. Anyway, here's a general update about a few of the many things that are going on around here.
First off, the building construction is moving forward and looking good. I will elaborate more later.
Next off, I have put myself in charge of coordinating a project over at the city owned Marfa Activity Center (home of the city pool, senior center, and basketball courts). There was a line in the new city budget for replacement of the gutter system at the MAC building and the price was pretty over the top. Thanks to a bright city employee who remembered back into ancient history, I made a few phone calls and struck up an appointment with the Texas A&M agricultural extension office to discuss having them donate (through grant funding) a rainwater collection cistern and piping system which could be integrated into our gutter replacement project and at least re-use the water. I was also hoping to receive possible grant money to get the gutters done, but will have to settle for a lower cost to the city in the form of fewer downspouts.
Thursdays council meeting is when I make my presentation to the council on approving going forward with the project. The cisterns themseleves have already been located and funded. Marfa Rotary has agreed to assist in some way with the planting of a plant or tree garden that can beautify the structure and use the water we collect.
I expect no opposition to the project, as it benefits the MAC center by diverting water away from the parking lot and alley (where it was occasionally flooding back into the building under the door frames) and the city will be out zero dollars except for the pre-budgeted gutter repair. That, by the way, will come in under budget.
From approval point on, it's my little bird. I am sure I'll spend a good bit of time and sweat getting the project done- especially the landscaping, which will either be funded or donated (or a combination of the two). The labor for landscaping installation will have to come through me in the form of people donating their time. Rotary has already pledged to help and I can pull a few more guns off the shelf when the time comes.
Speaking of landscaping, I made a rare trip deep into the desert this morning to sift through a large junkyard. I was looking for a good rusty fence gate. No luck there, but I found a few nice items. Shocking to me was that, in the only clearly fresh pile of rubble at this unauthorized dump, someone had pulled multiple blue agave plants out of the ground and disposed of them along with a pile of broken ceramic tile. I rescued all the plants (large and small- around ten) and I will be surprised if more than 2 or 3 survive. I have heard they don't transplant well, but they are all still alive and I just couldn't leave them there. A few hours was spent digging a large trench and planting them in the yard, in a large pot, and in a dirt pile- the ones with few roots left. Anyway, I did what I could and hopefully a few will survive and I'll have some happy, beautiful blue agaves.

The Austin crew is back out here plugging away at making El Cosmico a functioning reality. Kelly Ramsey, wife of Miles Zuniga, is heading up the project and is here full time with their boy. That means Miles is mostly here too. As it stands, my Airstream and I are still the only human/trailer combo that is active out there. The Rockland Eagles guys are coming this weekend with a mobile recording unit to record some jams. I have been asked to participate, so I will. 2 weeks from now there is an art project that will require Adam Bork, myself and some other musicians to record some advertising jingles. The work pays and should be fun. Lastly, former El Orbits drummer Steve Begnoche is coming out here for about a week starting this Friday to help me out with some costruction. I believe we'll build a fence if I can determine the materials to use.

My radio show on Marfa Public Radio starts at 11 and I get there to set up around ten, so it's time to begin wrap up here. That show, by the way, is every Tuesday from 11PM to 1 AM at night. That's Central Timje and it's streambale from your computer worldwide at www.marfapublicradio.org

OK, here's some pics of some stuff.



Here's a shot of our new roof trusses in place. I took this about ten days ago. Currently the solarboard and tin on one half of the roof is up and in place. The other half should be up before the end of this week. After that they'll finish out the new side walls on the exterior.



Here's a great pic of Corey Van Dyke and Chuck Stephensen with the Murgatroyd in the background. This, plus me and Johnny Calderon (not pictured), was the crew for the Marfa Adopt a Highway Clean Up. We busted tail and used all the bags TXDOT gave us. Then we drank beer and hung out all day around town. This was on a Sunday and it was HOT.



Here's a look at the newly braced game room east wall nearly ready for finish out. I did finish it and it looks good. I used the 100 year old shiplap that was on the ceiling of the old roof structure. The wood was hard to work with, but the project turned out great. It took me a whole weekend and I basically had to take Monday off since I was so burned up.




A couple of pictures here from Eric Hughes' and Liz Lock's wedding in Austin. This was Friday June 5th and it was a very nice affair. It was at the Barr Mansion, a place I have played a few times (Whic and Wendy Cummings' wedding and a Lone Star Rollergirls Awards party, to name a couple). The food was great and so was the company. Landis performed for the ceremony with Dave Wesselowski and a drummer whose name I always forget. First picture here is of me, Jessica Johnson, and Allen "King of the Oldies" Hill. Next pic os of Allen, Mikey Trafton and David Schoenbaum- three of the founding members of the Allen Hill Oldies Band. By the way, the Oldies Band has a new hit CD out in time for summer- Ride the Wild Surf!. It rocks, of course. Pick it up and support live music and the Oldies! Oh yeah, co pics of the girls here, but the bridesmaids at this party were fantastic!



Another pic of the roof system in place (taken last week)


A picture of "kissing babies" while running for Marfa City Council. A posed picture, but no joke here. I am kissing Olive, Gina and Gory's beautiful less than one year old baby. The Marfa baby class of 2007 is really impressive, by the way.



Bill Paulk's Mercedes lost its windshield when the hood flew up on me at 65 MPH and couldn't pass inspection before that because of a mystery and scary steering column wiring/bright headlight issue, but I finally met the Diesel Mercedes Benz GURU Frank Covington in Alpine last Wednesday. His back is totally out, so he no longer works on the cars, but a two hour visit and a trip into his Benz boneyard yielded me with all the answers I needed to fix this baby! Now the electrical/steering column issue is fixed and this Thursday the new windshield will be in. After inspection is passed then I'll head back and he'll walk me through fixing the broken driver's side window and the window lifter responsible for the random window shatter.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lest it be suspected

Lest it be suspected that I don't like Alejandro, personally or musically, that is not the case.
He is a gracious cat and every dealing I've had with him over the years has been pleasant. Also, as I said, his shows and songs are good and he always has a pro band that rocks! So, please don't take the stuff below as a slap to Al- it's not! - DB

Alejandro makes AusChron cover!

I just read that the Austin Chronicle has Alejandro Escovedo on its cover this week. I am certain that Alejandro is the record holder for being on the cover of the Chronic the most times, and it's fitting, given that he is top of the tops in the the "sacred cows" of the Austin Music Mafia.
I like his music and his shows are pretty good, for the most part. Also, I must say that the Austin Music Mafia has been very kind to me (in person and in print) for many, many years, dating back to my UT days in the Schlitz Quarts. However, I never cease to be amazed at the exposure still given to the local artists (all extremely talented and with great stories of struggle and perseverance) from the early to mid 80's "New Sincerity" music movement. The stuff, past and present, is good, and I wonder if the obsessive press regarding this stuff is an effort to turn on the music writers and scenesters outside of Austin to the musiclal "promised land" legacy of Austin; especially since once you leave the 787-- zips and the radio signal capacity of KGSR the stuff is more or less off the radar. Excepptions are, of course, the oasis public radio stations such as Marfa Public Radio, KPFT, KSYM and the KUT San Angelo franchise. Best bet for Alejandro is to make Springsteen put his money where his mouth is and take him on a national tour as his opener (this actually happened in Houston). How great would it be if Houston bands like the Midols and the Dishes (and the Judy's- from HOUSTON/PEARLAND- NOT AUSTIN!) had been given a once every three year cover story on the Press or Public News? Would anyone have read? I don't actually know. Austin does have the sheep/herder deal going where the AMM actually does succeed in pushing the chosen ones, at least to the loyalists. This is a very good thing, yet also an artistically limiting scope for the whole scene. I'm not actually knocking it- it works! Something to think about.

I'm not sure of the point of this post other than to point out that Alejandro Escovedo is once again on the cover of the Chronicle. Oh yeah, and he has a new album out with Chuck Prophet, a guy who's music began entartaining me back in '99 when I worked with Keith Coit at the Big Time Cafe (RIP to both). - David

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marfa City Council meeting wrap-up 6/10/2008

Here's the short version of the Marfa council meeting from 6/10
All members present minus Rudy Garcia

No citizen comments (meeting attendance by citizenry fairly light)

We approved the minutes from the last meeting

Mayor Dan Aunlap showed us an informative and fairly extensive slide show of the massive wildfires that had burned to the northwest and due noth of town. Mayro Dunlap and councilmember Rusty Garlick had assisted in figting the fire. Mayor Dunlap was able to travel by helicopter after the fires and take aftermath pictures of the various fire lines. General discussion was had about mowing a "fire strip" of several yards surrounding the city in certain places.

City Administrator's report- Jim Mustard deatialed progress on the pool It is nearly ready for action once lifeguards are hired and trained. Sul Ross will have a class and the pool should be open by June 24th. This is good news (I toured the pool the next day with mayor and it is in very nice condition right now).
Police chief J.D. Wilbourn has secured the use of "out of service" Border Patrol equipment for free including a good forklift. Progress is being made on a title transfer.
The City has signed a contract with a contractor to pull Water Well Pump #3 for service and inspection.

Resolution 08-09- Resolution to apply for a +/- $200,000 block grant. Exact name= 2009 Texas Community Development Prgram Block Grant. Passed unanimously. This grant money would be for a designated community project where minimum 51% of the benefit from the project would go towards servicing the low to middle income sector of the community (we have plenty here, despite what the New York Times would have you think)
This grant comes through ORCA and the Council of Governments. Last time we used this money towrds the current library rebuilding project. More info will be forthcoming as the process continues as we are required to officially choose a project, have at least one public hearing and will have to allocate matching funds from the city.

Next up City Attorney Teresa Todd fielded questions about Open Meetings and Conflicts of Interests. I asked a question regarding a section of the law that requires one to file paperwork detailing a conflict of interest BEFORE abstaining from a vote on an issue. I was told that is the letter of the law, but in practice the paperwork does not need to be filed in advance in order to abstain. Technically it reads as so, but that's not always possible as items and/or conflicts can come up without sufficient advance notice and it's always best to be safe than sorry on voting when there is a potential conflict.

Resolution 08-10 Solid Waste Grants
We passed a resolution to apply for a solid waste grant that will likely be used towards the pruchase of a cardboard blaer for the recycling center. The one we have has been out of service for over ten years and was donated by our trash collection company Duncan Disposal (who, knowing them, would never gove anything away that was actually functional). A new baler is around $15,000 and will allow us top recycle and sell the mass amounts of cardboard we collect. three phase power to the recycling center will coast nearly $20,000 to run. There are several other things we could do with the three phase capability out there as well (not directly related to solid waste dispoasal.) Same thing as above with this grant. Official project selection, public hearing(s), and potential additional budgetary costs will be addressed as the grant process moves forward.
This grant would come through the Rio Grande Council of Governements (COG).

Next up we unanimously approved the accounts payable and monthly expenditures report supplied by the city administrator. There was some discussion, as usualy, regarding individual line item expenses and a general discussion of payment dates. Bottom line= the city is still in debt, but we are no longer over 30 days behind on any bill minus one or two that have been pre-negotiated to be paid in installments (on time on those payments at this point as well.) The total debt fluctuates on a dlaiy basis, but we're looking in the ballpark of +/- $60,000. this is nearly a $100,000 improvement from around this time last year when I began to attend council meetings.

Next the council conevened into two rare "closed sessions" to come to decisions on action regarding the Inter-Local Agreement with the City of Alpine with ragard to our co-ownership of the non-profit Southwest Municipal Gas Company. There has been some dispute, complete with missing and mysteriously appearing paperwork, as to each city's precise ownership stake in the Gas Company. Our closed session discussed various factors and options and we came back into council chambers and voted to approve a motion for City Attorney Teresa Todd to make an Open Records request for certain paperwork.
The second closed session regarded potential legal action against the local grocery store (Pueblo Market/Welsh's) for repeated sewage back-ups. This issue is complex as therte has been miscommunication between the city and the market owner. Thrown into the vat are some angry neighbors. Council discussed options and came back into council chambers to vote to invite Pueblo Market owner Welsh to address the council and the citizenry at a future meeting of his choice.

Finally, we adjourned.

David Beebe, councilmember, City of Marfa

My new radio show- Tuesdays from 11PM to 1AM CST

I have a new weekly radio show on Marfa Public Radio. The show is easily streamable via the internet by heading over to www.marfapublicradio.org
I have been at it for about a month now and am mostly playing old school R&B from the 70's-current (like KCOH AM 1430 in Houston). I would say that's about 60% of what the show is. The rest is fairly free-form but focuses on Texas music of all genres past and present. I play music from 11 PM to 1 AM Central Time and usually stay on until 2 AM playing more tunes but not commenting on aiir. The eventual idea is to expand the show to a full three hours with commentary, but I am not letting myself do that until I get this place over here built out and open. After that then we'll see if I'm up for a "real DJ" shift of three hours.
I am the only DJ on MPR that runs past 11 PM on any night. In fact, from about 8 to 10 PM on these same Tuesdays the station runs on "automated" format, that is, without a DJ. I opted for the late night since that's where I feel my music fits in best.
Hopefully someone out there (especially those in the Pacific Time Zone -9PM to 11PM) is listening!
The show is called "The Night Train Express", named after the rotgut wine sold down the street from the Continenatal Club in Houston at the "Winner's Corner" grocery store. When I go into the studio to make my basic playlist of what I'll be spinning that night I try to first channel my "Popeyes Fried Chicken" soundtrack back from when I worked there in the late 80's.
Lastly, I am answering the station's phone while I am running my show and will take basic requests. They may run the foloowing week since I may have to track the music down, but generally I'll either get to a request or sub out a different tune I feel may need to take its place (yeah you read that right!)(432) 729-4578

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Marfa City Council meeting 5/29 recap

Hi folks!

Here's the first in my series of short recaps of our city council meetings. I have been elected as one of five at-large councilmen. My term will last two years. We meet twice a month; on the second Tuesday and the last Thursday of each month.

Here's what happened this meeting and the councilman voting results:

Regular discussion and approval of previous meeting's minutes. No citizen comments during the citizen comment period. This meeting, incidentally, followed a somewhat contentious Parks and Rec Board public hearing where there were plenty of citizen commments.
City administrator's report discussed the (lack of) streetlights and potentially investing, long term, in a wind turbine. Also that the TWBD 1.2 million dollars for the new water treatment plant has still not been received. Job openings for lifeguard and pool director are still open. Asssistnt cook at the Nutrition center has been hired. Discussed the ORCA grant and some liability issues. Trinidad Pacheco is in training to be our new animal control officer.

Mayor's Report: diwscussed open meetings and freedom of information training. Swimming pool supplies are late and will be re-shipped. Commended the Marfa Girl's softball team on their great season.

Voting items:

I nominated councilman Scott May to replace the outgoing Lionel Salgado as Mayro Pro-Tem. Seconded by Rudy. Vote was unanimous.
We voted to appoint Thomas Schidt and Fairfax Dorn to the Zoning Board. All but Manny were in favor. Only objection there (mine and Manny's objection) was that nominees weren't at the meeting to answer potential conflict of interest questions.

Discussed at length the ad valorem tax note (interst and sinking funds. Approved unanimously although the draft officer did not come with his fee notes in hand and was evasive about audience questions. I would have voted against this one if this hadn't been merely the finalizing of this agreement which has been in the works for months. 4% rate, compounded yearly. $270,000 total loan over three years. Loan fees come off the top (so we're paying interest on those as well). Not how I would have liked to see it and the guy was kind of slick and maybe slimy. We'll see. My main concern that I voiced loudly was that all designated funds be spent on our fixed asset "to buy" list the previous council approved and amended back in March and April.

We approved changing the signature card at the bank to include me and Manny and to remove Lionel and Maria since they are no longer serving on council. (unanimous)

Approved the transfer of Parks and Rec money to the golf course for pump electric power funding. This had to do with the Golf Association's deal to pay the salary of Ernest in exchange for 6 months of power funding from the city. In the past the city has paid most or all of Ernest's salary. All voted in favor minus Scott May who dissented.
Tabled approving the Parks and Rec master plan pending further study and revision by Parks and Rec Board.
Adjourned.


OK, that's it for now. Time to go to bed. _ David