Monday, May 25, 2015

Rock Art Adventure in Far West Texas

The book in-progress about Far West Texas is turtling along.... meanwhile, I've posted a few new videos from the travels. All my videos are extremely brief, edited, and with soundtracks. The idea isn't to be the next Ken Burns --though I do love that "Ken Burns" option in iMovie-- but to simply illustrate the text. (Think of them as a pirouette up from GIFs.)

From a recent outing with the Rock Art Foundation (to a site about an hour from Comstock, on the banks of the Pecos River):





Sound tracks on all three are courtesy of English composer Ergo Phizmiz.

Listen in anytime to my interview with Greg Williams, the director of the Rock Art Foundation, "Marfa Mondays" #15

 All Marfa Mondays Podcasts

About the book in-progress

 More of my mini-videos of Far West Texas

A TV news clip about some of the fascinating cutting edge research going on at the Shumla School in Comstock

Your comments are always welcome, and I also welcome you to opt in to my every other month-ish newsletter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Winner, History Category, Indie Excellence Award 2015 for "Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual"

Thrilled to announce that my book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual, has won the Indie Excellence Award for History.

Description of the book:

In a blend of biography, personal essay, and a rendition of deeply researched metaphysical and Mexican history that reads like a novel, award-winning writer and noted literary translator C.M. Mayo provides a rich introduction and the first translation of the secret book by Francisco I. Madero, leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution and President of Mexico 1911-1913.

"Mayo... provides not only an English translation of Madero's Spiritist Manual, but also a lively intoduction... The author argues effectively that Madero's manual is essential to understanding his revolutionary zeal."--Kirkus Reviews

It's available in paperback and Kindle, and also in Spanish, translated by Agustín Cadena as Odisea metafísica hacia la revolución Mexicana, Francisco I. Madero y su libro secreto, Manual espírita. That edition is available in paperback and Kindle from Dancing Chiva and in Mexico from Literal Publishing.

> Visit the book's webpage (read excerpts and more)

> Listen in to my talk about this book for the UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies

> Listen in to my talk for PEN San Miguel

> Your comments are always welcome, and I invite you to opt-in to my every-other-month-ish newsletter which will go out to subscribers shortly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine (Transcript now available on-line for Marfa Mondays #4)

Transcript now available for 
ye olde podcast #4
Avram Dumitrescu, 

an Artist in Alpine
The Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project proceeds.... as those of you who follow this blog well know, the most recent of the projected 24 podcasts is #17, an interview with Texas historian Lonn Taylor in Fort Davis

Meanwhile, I've been working my way back to the beginning, posting transcripts of 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and now... drumroll.... 4, Avram Dumitrescu, an Artist in Alpine. About his chicken portraits, Dumitrescu says:

"When we moved to Alpine, our landlords had about 30 chickens. Patty and Cindy, they're on the west edge of town...that's where I had my first experience being around chickens, because until then it was just stuff I'd eat. They're basically mini-dinosaurs. Every time I go in, I'm always worried if I fall, and they start pecking me to death like in some horror movie... because they see red, they run to it and attack it. They're very interesting characters, and I think what really made me laugh was Patty and Cindy had named them after characters from "The Sopranos." 

> Read the complete transcript of this podcast or, better yet, listen in to "Avram Dumitrescu, an Artist in Alpine" (on either podomatic or iTunes, both free).

> All Marfa Mondays Podcasts (and most transcripts)

> Your comments are always welcome. The newsletter will go out soon; to opt-in, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cyberflanerie: Summer Plans Editions

Yale Writers Conference will be offering a translation workshop
Some good news, you might want to spread: the Yale Writers Conference will be offering a Translation workshop. Here is the description: 
"For some, translation is the poor cousin of literature, at best a necessary evil; for others, it is the royal road to cross-cultural understanding and literary enrichment. Translation dances along the boundaries between art and craft, originality and replication, altruism and commerce, even genius and hack work. Vladimir Nabokov (himself a noted translator) tarred translation as “A parrot’s screech, a monkey’s chatter, / And profanation of the dead,” while writers such as Ezra Pound, John Ashbery, Paul Auster, and Harry Mathews, have produced translations that are literary marvels in their own right. At a time when the globe is just a mouse-click away, and when authors such as Roberto Bolaño, Karl-Ove Knausgaard, Patrick Modiano, Stieg Larsen, Umberto Eco, and Marguerite Duras – to name only a few – have become an indelible part of the American literary landscape, the issue of translation is ever more relevant. Focusing on translation from other languages into English, this course takes a practical and conceptual approach to literary translation, examining - by select readings of published translations, comparisons of alternate renderings, and critiques of the students’ own work – what does or does not make a translation successful. It also looks at the larger questions raised by translation: What is the ultimate goal of a translation? What does it mean to label a translation “faithful” or “unfaithful”? What are the translator’s ethical responsibilities toward the reader, and toward the original text? Is something inevitably “lost” in translation? What makes some translations sing and others screech? Can a translation ever be better than the original? How does one go about publishing a translation, and what pitfalls should the first-time translator avoid? And, ultimately, why does translation matter?" 
Here is the link to learn more and register:

P.S. I am not involved in this, just passing on the word.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"La Chora Interminable" on Marfa and the Gonzálo Lebrija Show at Marfa Contemporary

Well, Marfa's made it to Vanity Fair60 Minutes, Martha Stewart's Living, and now... drumroll... La Chora Interminable. ("La chora interminable" means, more or less, "the never-ending yadda-yadda.")

José Ignacio Solórzano Pérez
José Trinidad Camacho Orozco "Trino"

If you don't speak Spanish, dude, fuggedit. Anyway, it's not easy to listen to but, well, I guess you could call it "chido" (that's Mexico City slang for "the bomb"): "La Chora Interminable" radio show's episode on Marfa, Texas. 

Click here to listen to these guys on iTunes

It starts out with a chipmunk-goes-alien thing and if you can get past that, which you might not, you'll hear a couple of middle-aged Mexico City guys going on about Marfa, e.g., 

"Nada más son cowboys and hipsters" (it's just cowboys and hipsters"); 
"parece como pueblo fantásma" (it seems like a ghost town);
"Shopping, no hay" (No shopping, pronounced chopping-- sorry, I found that hilarious. Ditto the "whatsappazo"). 

So who are these guys? Two of Mexico's best-known cartoonists: José Trinidad Camacho Orozco, aka "Trino." (Uf. Trino is the bomb.) And: José Ignacio Solórzano Pérez, who is also philosopher and conceptual artist. The latter went to the inauguration of Mexican artist Gonzálo Lebrija's show at Marfa Contemporary, "La Sombra del Zopilote" (The Vulture's Shadow), and in this eposide, in between a lot of chuckling, he tells Trino all about the town.


More out-takes:
"Es como un lote baldío chic... rasquache cool" (It's like a vacant lot that's chic... skanky cool); 
"viene la snobeada del mundo de arte" (the Snobdom of the Art World comes here);
"me gustaria ser el cherife de Marfa" (I'd like to be the sheriff of Marfa);
"un día si no me vez, estoy en Marfa" (If one day you don't see me, I'm in Marfa).

Yes, I am still, in my turtle-like fashion, working on my book about Far West Texas.... Check out my podcasts, the comparably sedate (OK, maybe even a little nerdy) but super crunchy "Marfa Mondays," here.

> Your comments are always welcome. Tweet @marfamondays

Monday, May 11, 2015

Transcript of "We Have Seen the Lights: The Marfa Ghost Lights Phenomenon" (Marfa Mondays #7)

The Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project proceeds and, yes, I am writing the book, World Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas

Last week, podcast #17, an interview with historian Lonn Taylor, went live, and over the past few days I've uploaded several transcripts of older podcasts, including that of podcast #7, "We Have Seen the Lights," about the Marfa Ghost Lights. 

Herewith an excerpt:

When I first visited Marfa in the late 1990s, I made an arrow for the Marfa Lights viewing area, a pullout on the highway between Marfa and the neighboring town of Alpine. About 9 miles out of Marfa, it was just a parking area with, as I recall, a couple of sun-bleached picnic tables. There was an RV parked to one the side and standing on top of one of the picnic tables, a burly man in shorts and a T-shirt, his knees bent like a quarterback about to grab the football. There was no one else there. It was still light out, though the sky had paled and beyond the expanse of Mitchell Flat, the mountains to the south, the Chinatis, loomed a dusky purple. I don't recall that man turning to look at me, but he must have heard my car pull up behind him, for as I opened the door, he pointed toward the mountains and began to shout:
"OH MY GOD... OH MY GOD... OH …. MY… GOD!"
As I set my shoe on the dirt, I saw that it was surrounded by a scattering of something silvery: quarters. I have found many a penny on the sidewalk, and few dimes over the years, but this was several dollars worth of quarters. I gathered them up.
"OH MY GOD!" The man was bellowing. "OH MY GOD!!!"
I would have thought him barking mad except that, I too saw the lights and they were unlike anything I had ever seen.  
[...CONTINUE READING... includes interviews with residents...]

> Listen to the podcast

> Listen to all the Marfa Mondays podcasts

> Your comments are always welcome, and for updates you are very welcome to sign up for my free every-other-monthly-ish newsletter. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Marfa Mondays Podcast #17 Under Sleeping Lion: Lonn Taylor in Fort Davis

From the "secret historians" to the Propeller Man to the Filippino restaurant: you'll learn about a myriad unexpected people and stories of the Big Bend and Marfa, Texas in my interview with historian Lonn Taylor, the "Rambling Boy" columnist for the Big Bend Sentinel. Recorded in Fort Davis in March 2015.

> Listen in anytime right here.

> Read the transcript

"Everybody kind of has a stereotype of Marfa either as the cattle town where they filmed “Giant” or a contemporary art center. I like discovering things that don’t fit into that stereotype. "                                                                --Lonn Taylor

> Marfa Mondays home page with all 17 podcasts (of a projected 24)

> Your COMMENTS are always welcome, and you are also most welcome to sign up for my newsletter which goes out every other month-ish.