Category Archives: Texas Arts

Mouthwatering Art

“The Olde Whataburger”

San Antonio, Texas Artist Michael Esparza has developed a series of paintings which place iconic Texas fast food restaurants in pastoral settings.  You can own a print by visiting his Etsy store – Red himself likes just a plain ol’ Whataburger – cut the onions!

Lost Texas

Texas A&M Press has published a new book by photographer Bronson Dorsey.  Lost Texas is filled with 179 photos of buildings across the state that have been abandoned.  These structures are mostly from small town Texas and show the faded and crumbling glory that the state has lost with its rapid urbanization in the last 75 years.  Red has tried to photograph a few of these same buildings over the years, but defers to a real master in Dorsey.   Dorsey has a companion website at

Red’s Random Texas Photo of the Day

Alamo Land: Freakin' Bozo

Captain Gus of KENS-TV – Channel 5 in San Antonio.  Captain Gus was the host of an afternoon children’s TV show that ran from 1953 to 1979 – an amazing run for the format.  Gus hosted a live audience of children with some cornball gags, interviews with the kids and prize drawings from his Wishing Well and featured Popeye cartoons.

Under the crazy red wig and handlebar moustache was pioneer broadcaster Joe Alston, a World War II veteran who had been chief announcer at KTRH-AM radio in Houston before joining KENS as an announcer in 1953. Alston also appeared in several movies including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “T-Men” and “West Point of the Air” (about Randolph AFB’s pilot-training program).

As a child, Red did not fully appreciate the nihilistic world view presented in Popeye cartoons – the eternal and ultimately unwinnable struggle against oppressive enemies, the male-domination of the species, the all consuming importance of brute force,  the insatiable appetites (Wimpy) driving all human endeavor and the consummate self interest of all mankind.

Red Goes to the Movies (on his couch)

Red was watching The Getaway – Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 crime caper set in Texas and starring ultra-cool Steve McQueen in one of his most violent roles.  Well, it is a Peckinpah film after all.   Family legend has it that Red’s father and stepmother are in the movie in one of the scenes shot in San Marcos.  Red has never been able to spot them, but he always tries.

What strikes Red about the movie is just how terrible an actress Ali MacGraw is.  She was new to the trade at the time, but still . . .  And, unfortunately, she never got any better.

Ali at least had the sense to realize how bad she was in this movie.

 “After we had completed The Getaway and I looked at what I had done in it, I hated my own performance. I liked the picture, but I despised my own work.”

Still the movie is worth watching for scenes of Texas (Huntsville, San Marcos, San Antonio and El Paso) in the early 70’s.  Those were the days.


Today in Texas History – May 1

From the Annals of Public Art – in 1948, the Mustangs sculpture on the University of Texas campus was dedicated. The sculptor was Alexander P. Proctor.  Proctor was contacted by J. Frank Dobie for his fried oilman Ralph Ogden who wanted to give a sculpted group of mustangs to UT.  Proctor made a 15″ high clay model of small compact group of six mustangs.  He later added a colt and the model was approved.  He worked on the sculpture throughout much of 1939 while living on part of the King Ranch where a herd of wild mustangs still roamed.  Proctor finished the plaster cast, but it sat in the Gorham Bronze foundry waiting material for casting which was delayed because of WWII.  It was presented to UT when finished.  Proctor was present for the dedication. Unfortunately, Ogden had died but his wife presented the statue in his honor.

Naked and Unafraid at Texas State

A Texas State University student sat nearly naked on the steps of the Allkek Library for almost an hour as part of an art project and protest about the objectification of the female body.  The San Antonio Express-News reports that the senior art student was overall pleased with the results of the performance art piece.

Monika Rostvold, who quickly became the talk of campus, said in a phone interview that the 45-minute demonstration was for an art project that focused on fellow students’ reactions and objectification of the female body, said Rostvold, a fine arts senior.

“I wanted people to view my body as beauty and power and not a sexual object,” said Rostvold, a fine arts senior. “The fact that it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month I wanted to create a piece about the standards that exist in our society. Being a victim and having friends who are victims of sexual assault I wanted to take control of my body by eliminating my presence and exposing myself.” 

Red holds this out to be an almost totally SFW blog – so no photos here.

Today in Texas History – April 23i

From the Annals of Modern Art –  In 1892, a group of Fort Worth socialites obtained a charter from the State which established the Fort Worth Public Library Association.  The FWPLA was the first seed of what would become the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth – the oldest art museum in Texas.  The Charter provided that the purpose of the FWPLA was “the accumulation of paintings and artistic work of every character for the enjoyment and cultivation of our people. ”  The works were initially displayed in the Art Gallery of the Carnegie Public Library in 1901.  The name evolved over the years from the Fort Worth Museum of Art, to the Forth Worth Art Center, to the Fort Worth Art Center Museum, to the Fort Worth Art Museum.  The naming frenzy settled down in 1987 and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has been in place since 1987. The museum “is dedicated to collecting, presenting, and interpreting international developments in post–World War II art in all media and creating a welcoming environment for its public appreciation.”  Its incredible collection is housed in a spectacular building designed by Tadao Ando and is located in the Fort Worth Cultural District along with the Kimbell Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum.  Together they are perhaps the most spectacular collection of centrally located art museums in the entire country. Red’s  personal favorite is the massive Anselm Kiefer painting located in the gallery behind the main entrance.

Country Music Awards Coming to Arlington

The Academy of Country Music will present its annual awards show live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington on April 19.  The temporary change in venue from Las Vegas will allow more than 90,000 spectators to see the show in person.  The Las Vegas venue seats only 17,000.

Texas taxpayers will help foot the bill via the Texas Major Events Trust Fund.  The Trust Fund allows for additional tax revenue generated by a “Major Event” to be used to pay for the costs of staging the event.  The Dallas Cowboys will be dipping into the tax revenues to pay for some of the costs of the event.  The awards show will certainly benefit the local economy with an expected 41,000 visitors in the area using an estimated 19,000 hotel rooms plus watering holes and restaurants.  But the any benefit to state and local coffers will likely be offset by payments from the Trust Fund to the Cowboys.  The Cowboys are not the only outfit to slurp at the public feeding trough as the Trust Fund has been used to help fund numerous events in past years.

I’m a Picking . . . I’m a Grinning

According to the Associated Press a new musical based on the long-running country themed comedy show Hee-Haw will be taking the stage in Dallas later this year.  The TV show which featured country music greats Roy Clark and Buck Owens as hosts and followed the format of “Laugh-In” was much panned during its run on CBS from 1969-1971.  The show outlived the critics and was syndicated and broadcast to a large audience for another 20 years.

“Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical” will make its world premiere at Dallas Theater Center in September and its Grammy Award-nominated co-composer said it will be centered on a love story and feature all new characters.

“I would say they’re 21st century ‘Hee Haw’ characters,” Brandy Clark told The Associated Press on Thursday. “We wouldn’t want to try to just copy those characters. Those characters were too great to just be copied. They’re kind of like the grandchildren of those characters.”  Clark, a Grammy Award-nominee this year for best new artist, is writing the score with Shane McAnally, a two-time Grammy winner who has written songs for Lady Antebellum, Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert. Clark called the songs “a little bit of everything” but they tried to keep the score timeless and classic.

“What we’ve really shot for, Shane and I, was for someone to walk into this musical — maybe someone who thinks they don’t like country music — and, when they leave, say, ‘Wow, if that’s was country music, I love it.'”