Marfa Myths is an annual music festival and multidisciplinary cultural program founded in 2014 by nonprofit contemporary arts foundation Ballroom Marfa and Brooklyn-based music label Mexican Summer. With Marfa Myths, the two organizations bring together a diversity of emerging and established artists and musicians to work creatively and collaboratively across music, film, and visual arts contexts. The festival is inherently embedded in the landscape of Far West Texas, and engages with Marfa’s cultural history and present-day community.
For more information visit marfamyths.com.
Weyes Blood & Ariel Pink
The 2016 recording residency featured Ariel Rosenberg (aka Ariel Pink), an underground icon known for his stylized, subversive pop, and Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), bold bringer of a future cosmic folk realm.
As West Coast singer-songwriters with a shared sensibility for mood, Natalie and Ariel have been collaborating artists, mutual admirers, and friends for years. Mering appeared as guest vocalist on Pink’s 2013 album Mature Themes, Pink produced the infectious Drugdealer song “Suddenly” featuring Mering. Mering’s third album, Front Row Seat To Earth was released in 2017.
The atmospheres and auras of these two pop artists assemble as new hues on Myths 002, their distinct voices inexplicably, effortlessly folding into harmony. The four songs capture musicians at play — speak-talking dramatic interludes, twisting up songs strangely before releasing them assuredly in New Romantic resolves.
“Tears on Fire,” a tangled, tumbling folk-prog opus, initiates the collaboration. It starts like a slow warm wind, a mellow California moment, with the talky timbre of Ariel’s voice providing witness. But then, as if a lost refrain by The Sweet, we are blasted with a chorale interjection of Natalie’s flaming voice: “TEARS ON FIRE!” This is an elevated reality, spacious and lush with harmony, perky guitar poking us across the grooved arc of the song. After some twists we come to a clearing — a bridge that charmingly reinterprets the song, stripped to a truth of acoustic guitar and voice.
In “Morning After,” Natalie Mering’s commanding, enchanting voice becomes the storyteller. This narrative takes place in watercolor soft atmosphere, a bed that elevates the mystique of Mering’s singing. The tambourine drives us on a stride, the synth horns surround in wobbly sound, and layers of harmonic voice elope, telling a story about a vampiric bite. Mering’s voice sways with the song’s pull, and after a few drops appear, rains down in tonal sheets.
The collaboration also includes some inspired deep cut covers. “Daddy, Please Give A Little Time to Me” captures the glittery, easy listening vocal pop spirit of The Sisters’ early ’60s sound and feeds it through a blue screen of post-modern experience. Mering sings jaunty lead over a web of bubblegum keys and voice. “On Another Day,” the final cut of Myths 002, curtsies with a cover of ‘80s UK goth rockers Sad Lovers and Giants. This is a charged live performance of a riffy, dark melodic pop anthem featuring guest musicians Connan Mockasin and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT.
Visual Artist in Residence
REAL NEWS began as a monthly broadsheet in September 2012, written and distributed in Marfa, TX by two (now expat) Marfa residents Rosa McElheny and Hilary duPont. McElheny and duPont came back for Marfa Myths to write, edit, design, produce and distribute their fourteenth issue. Combining journalistic intrigue, grass-roots reporting, idiosyncratic graphic design and a for-us-by-us approach to local gossip, Real News is regarded by its readership as brilliant, and by its West Texas audience as genius. They turn their distinctive editorial voice towards subjects including popular culture, internet phenomena, local events, and the weather. In an age of digital media, Real News thrives as an exclusively non-commercial, print-only publication, available for free at local venues, or by complimentary subscription.
After Effect at Ballroom Marfa
Ballroom opened After Effect on Friday of Marfa Myths with a live performance in the courtyard from Heron Oblivion. The exhibition features immersive artworks in painting, sculpture, installation and film that range from the cosmic and psychedelic to the sensual and visionary. The exhibition looks at historical paintings and film from the ’30s and ’40s alongside works from contemporary artists that address notions of the sublime, touching on mortality, landscape, the body, and various modes of abstraction.
Featuring work from Dan Colen; Loie Hollowell; key works by Emil Bisttram, Raymond Jonson, Agnes Pelton, Florence Miller Pierce, and Stuart Walker of the Transcendental Painting Group; an animated film by Oskar Fischinger; and an installation by Arturo Bandini.
Marfa Myths has been made possible by the generous support of The Brown Foundation, Inc. Houston; National Endowment for the Arts; the Texas Commission on the Arts; the Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees; and Ballroom Marfa members.
Special thanks to our media partner, Marfa Public Radio.
Special thanks to our partners Bazaar Marfa, Building 98, The Chinati Foundation, Crowley Theater, Do Your Thing, El Cosmico, Food Shark, Freda, Inter-Dimensional Music, Judd Foundation, Lost Horse, Marfa Book Company, Marfa Recording Company, Thunderbird Hotel, Visit Marfa, and Wrong Marfa.
Thanks to Elizabeth Abrahamson, Warren Acosta, Luca Antonucci, Rocky Barnette, Bearded Lady, Sally Beauvais, Johanna Beckman, Travis Bubenik, Vicente Celis, Dan Colen, Joe Cashiola, Ross Cashiola, Cara Crossley, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, Anthony DeSimone, JD DiFabbio, Fairfax Dorn, Hilary duPont & Rosa McElheny, Ector County ISD, Jeff Elrod, David Fenster, Mona Garcia, Richard Griggs, Rob Gungor, Blake Heidenheimer, Chris Hillen, Darby Hillman, David Hollander, Buck Johnston, Flavin Judd, Rainer Judd, Erin Kimmel, Matt & Mikelle Kruger, Belle Lancaster, Virginia Lebermann, Susannah Lipsey, Minerva Lopez, K Lye, Alex Marks, Jeff Matheis, Ellie Meyer, Tom Michael, Jenny Moore, Motormouth Media, Caitlin Murray, Ty Mitchell, Luis Nieto Dickens, Vincent Pierce, Chris Price, Jess Rotter, Simone Rubi, Gory Smelley, Andy Stack, Krista Steinhauer, our friends at The Big Bend Sentinel, The Capri, Hotel Saint George, Hotel Paisano, Riata Inn, The Well Marfa, and the rest of the Marfa community at large.