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Support Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance on Kickstarter

18 Jul 2016

Pancho Villa Kickstarter-2 Ballroom Marfa is excited to announce the launch of our Kickstarter campaign for Graham Reynolds’ experimental chamber opera, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance,

the third and final installment of The Marfa Triptych. Join us in supporting this extraordinarily ambitious collaboration through Kickstarter today! Click here to visit the campaign page and find out more about the project and the unique rewards available to all Pancho Villa backers.

Graham Reynolds and Shawn Sides in the Austin Chronicle

1 Apr 2016

cover_big Graham Reynolds and Shawn Sides discuss their upcoming project, the final chapter in the Ballroom Marfa-commissioned ‪Marfa‬ Triptych in the Austin Chronicle … AC: What’s it like working together professionally?
Reynolds: In that first show, Jason [Neulander] was the boss. And in all the Rude Mechs shows, Shawn’s been the boss. And now we’re doing Pancho Villa for Ballroom Marfa, which she’s directing.
AC: So it’s not just a music performance, it’s a whole … ?
Reynolds: It’s a chamber opera, staged, the whole thing. And Shawn’s directing. But, for the first time, essentially, I’m sort of the boss of that one.
AC: So what’s the dynamic like there? Difficult? Enjoyable?
Sides: It’s very enjoyable, I enjoy it very much.
Read the full article in the Austin Chronicle.
The Marfa Triptych: Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance premieres at the Crowley Theater here in Marfa on November 11 and 12. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for soon-coming information on tickets and more. Read more about the project here.

Artists’ Film International 2015: Full Schedule!

6 Nov 2015

AFI 2015 Poster

The complete schedule for Artists’ Film International 2015 is now available. The full series of films – including work from Serbia, Afghanistan,Argentina, Italy, Vietnam, Turkey, Poland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Norway, and the United Kingdom – will be screenings on Saturday, November 14 at the Crowley Theater here in Marfa.

 

The drop-in screenings run from 10a-6p,with new cycles beginning at: 10:10am,12:30pm,and 2:50pm.

 

The featured screening of short films by Brigid McCaffrey takes place later that night, with doors at 7pm and screenings commencing at 7:30pm.

Morning screenings will feature free coffee from Do Your Thing and pastries by Ginger Hillery. In the afternoon we’ll have gratis popcorn and beer from Big Bend Brewing Co.

And then please join us on Sunday, November 15 from 1-3pm for a geology walk and conversation at the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute in Fort Davis, Texas.

The walk will be led by Ren Lallatin,
the subject of McCaffrey’s film 2013 film Paradise Springs, along with Sul Ross geology lecturer Jesse Kelsch.

More information on the AFI 2015 event page!

Seven Years in the Making: Steve Earle Wrap-up

17 Jun 2015

Steve Earle, June 14, 2015. Photo by Alex Marks.

Steve Earle, June 14, 2015. Photo by Alex Marks.

Rainbow outside Steve Earle and The Dukes, June 14, 2015. Photo by Lesley Brown.

After seven years of trying, we were finally lucky enough to host the legendary Steve Earle and the Dukes in Marfa last Sunday, June 14, 2015. It was worth the wait. He played for two hours; the house was packed; it thunderstormed; and the most epic double rainbow of all time formed outside the theater, right before Steve played. Couldn’t ask for a better sign.

A huge thank you to Steve, the Dukes, Eleanor and Chris Masterson, his crew, all the wonderful people from far and wide who came to the show (we even had some folks from Japan!), and all the folks who took a risk on standing room tickets to join us (we think it worked out?). We also want to thank Matt & Mikelle Kruger, Ballroom Marfa members, and our ever-wonderful, ever-supportive friends at Big Bend Brewing Company, SAVED Wines, and the Crowley Theater.

Particular shoutout to our sound and light team — Rob Crowley, Gory Smelley, and Chris Hillen — and all the others who made it happen: Lesley Brown, Tim Crowley, JD DiFabbio, Hilary duPont, Cuca Flores, Liz Janoff, Mallory Jones, Vance Knowles, Marfa Public Radio, Alex Marks, Jose Martinez, Jeff Matheis, Tom Michael, Suzy Simon, and Jonathan Wyckoff. It’s a pleasure and gift to work with all of you.

In case you missed the show, check out the photos below, listen to the interview with Steve Earle over at Marfa Public Radio, and purchase the poster, designed by Mishka Westell, here.

Mexican Summer & Ballroom Marfa Present Marfa Myths

16 Jan 2015

Lineup by Rob Carmichael

BALLROOM MARFA & MEXICAN SUMMER PRESENT
MARFA MYTHS
MARCH 13-15, 2015
Featuring Grouper, Iceage, Blood Orange, Connan Mockasin, Tamaryn, Steve Gunn, Weyes Blood, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Suicideyear and more

Buy tickets here!

Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person at Freda and the Ballroom Marfa gallery.

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Marfa Myths is a cultural program taking place March 13-15, 2015 in Marfa, Texas. Curated by New York based music label Mexican Summer and co-presented with Ballroom Marfa, it features artists from within and outside of the Mexican Summer and Software Recording Co.
rosters working creatively and collaboratively across music, cinema and visual arts contexts.

2015 programming includes a recording residency with Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin, a sound bath created by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, a semi-permanent outdoor mural by Liz Harris (Grouper), a presentation of Gregg Kowalsky’s live installation Tape Chants, and a screening of short documentaries and Holy Cow Swami at Crowley Theater presented by CineMarfa and Anthology Recordings. Furthermore, live programming throughout the weekend will include sets from Iceage, Grouper, Tamaryn, Steve Gunn, Weyes Blood, GABI, Thug Entrancer, Co La, Bitchin Bajas, LBS. and Suicideyear.

Additionally, there will be an exclusive, limited edition 12-inch record documenting the Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin collaboration alongside a journal featuring contributions from local Marfa artists and participating festival artists.

A central objective of the festival is to engage with the Marfa community and its esteemed cultural institutions. Marfa is an artist enclave tucked into the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in Far West Texas, and has become a destination for contemporary art, due in part to the work of Donald Judd and the Chinati Foundation. Founded in 2003, Ballroom Marfa has established itself as a hub for artists working in music, performance, film and visual arts. Past projects include Elmgreen & Dragset’s Prada Marfa; Jonah Freeman, Justin Lowe, and Alexandre Singh’s Hello Meth Lab in the Sun; Rashid Johnson’s Shea Butter Irrigation System, and Agnes Denes’ Pyramids of Conscience. Ballroom Marfa has also hosted performances from Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Julianna Barwick, Tinariwen, and Sonic Youth, among many others. The festival will coincide with the opening of a solo exhibition from Sam Falls at Ballroom Marfa, featuring new sound, video, sculptural, and wall works by the Los Angeles-based artist.

The festival follows the inaugural happening in Marfa in March 2014, which featured Mexican Summer roster artists Connan Mockasin, No Joy, Arp and Weyes Blood. With an expanded program for 2015, Mexican Summer and Ballroom Marfa seek to establish this festival as an annual event in Marfa.

Tickets are available at mexicansummer.com, www.ballroommarfa.org, Freda (207 S.
Highland Avenue, Marfa) and in person day of show(s).

Ticketing Info:
Friday & Sunday: free
Saturday: $15 day pass
Festival bundle ($40): Saturday day pass, limited edition 12″ of Dev Hynes & Connan Mockasin, tote bag and journal featuring participating artists and local Marfa-based artists

Friday, March 13 – Ballroom Marfa (108 E. San Antonio Street)
Sam Falls solo exhibition: Opening Night
Software Recording Co. presents: GABI, Thug Entrancer, Co La
Liz Harris’ (Grouper) painting will be available for viewing at 201 E. Dallas Street all weekend and beyond

Saturday, March 14
Sound Bath with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma @ The Well (119 W. Highland Avenue)
Tape Chants with Gregg Kowalsky @ Building 98 (705 W. Bonnie Street)
Mexican Summer presents: Iceage, Grouper, Tamaryn, Steve Gunn, Weyes Blood @ The Capri (603 W. San Antonio Street)
Late night: Bitchin Bajas’, Suicideyear, LBS. @ Foodsharkland (1411 W. San Antonio/Hwy 90)

Sunday, March 15
CineMarfa & Anthology Recordings present a specially selected film program and Holy Cow Swami @ Crowley Theater (98 S.

Photos from Vidas Perfectas

4 Aug 2014

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

While we’re catching our breath after this past weekend’s Marfa Dialogues/St. Louis, we thought we’d share photos from the stunning performances of Vidas Perfectas, Alex Waterman’s Spanish-language production of Robert Ashley’s groundbreaking work Perfect Lives (1983). Thanks to everyone who helped make Vidas Perfectas happen. See the full list of thanks and acknowledgements here.

All photos by Alex Marks,
July 18 and 19,2014.

 

Jane Crockett, Rocky Barnette, and Bob Crockett, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Rob Crowley and Alex Waterman, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Fairfax Dorn and Alex Waterman, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Music Producer Peter Gordon, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elisa Santiago, Ned Sublette, and Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Elisa Santiago, Ned Sublette, and Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Peter Gordon, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elisa Santiago and Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Scott Kiernan, Victoria Keddie, Alex Waterman, Ned Sublette, Elisa Santiago, Elio Villafranca, Raul de Nieves, and Peter Gordon, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Mary Lattimore on her “underwater, spacey harp” Le Révélateur score with Jeff Zeigler

27 Dec 2013

Mary Lattimore. Photo by J.L. Kidd.

Le Révélateur
with live score by Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler
December 30, 2013
Crowley Theater, Marfa, Texas
Doors at 7 pm ∙ Show at 7:30 pm
Free

Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten radio interview with Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler, December 30, at 10 am on KRTS 93.5 FM or via their online stream.

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Celebrate the coming new year with Ballroom Marfa! For our fifth annual New Year’s film program, we’ll host a film screening of Philippe Garrel’s 1968 film Le Révélateur, with a live score by Philadelphia harpist Mary Lattimore and synth player Jeff Zeigler.

Mary Lattimore is a classically trained harpist whose collaborations have seen her working with such esteemed luminaries as Kurt Vile, Meg Baird, Thurston Moore, Ed Askew, Fursaxa, Jarvis Cocker and the Valerie Project. On her debut record, The Withdrawing Room, she found a worthy sideman in Philadelphia’s Jeff Zeigler, whose contemplative Korg echoes and holds a mood for Mary’s runs.

Zeigler has amassed quite the resume in recent years, between his space-rock outfit Arc in Round and his production work for local luminaries Kurt Vile, Purling Hiss and The War on Drugs. Zeigler’s also been expanding into the solo / collaborative experimental zone, playing solo shows with Lattimore and opening for English ambient artist Benoît Pioulard.

We talked with Lattimore about her interest in avant-garde film, her approach to improvisation and her plans for New Year’s Eve in Marfa.

How would you describe your music to new listeners?

I would describe it as sort of underwater, spacey harp through effects and delay, loops of decaying noise, droney sometimes, ethereal crushed-up diamond sounds. Jeff plays a Korg Mono/Poly synth and does cool textural stuff, plays beautiful, haunting melodica that sounds like a sad, distant train, and plays guitar, too. It’s gonna be fun. Our sets are usually all improvised, but with this one we are establishing themes and trying to be thoughtful about the changing scenes.

Why did you choose Le Révélateur for this project?

I consulted a very film-knowledgable friend. He suggested a few silent films and I checked them out and this one seemed to have some really memorable images. It’s a very strange film, very stunning, filmed in 1968.

What else can you tell us about the score you and Jeff will be performing?

It’ll be thought-out improvisation, with harp through a Line 6 looper and melodica, guitar, and synth. It’s a little over an hour long and will probably be a combination of melodic, hypnotic strings and maybe some harsh-ish noise. We want to be conscious of space, too, and also to incorporate minimal moments because the images are so affecting on their own.

Do you have any other experience doing film scores? Or with filmmaking in general?

I have done a few film projects. I was a member of this 11-person ensemble that composed an alternate score for the Czech New Wave Film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders in 2007. We traveled around with the original print of the film and performed in theaters, recorded it and Drag City put out the record. I learned a lot from the way we composed the music together. Recently, I did a soundtrack for a film that’s set in Iceland. I played on the score for the documentary Marina Abramovic – The Artist Is Present. The interaction between music and story/visuals, how they can complement each other to create a singular, memorable experience is something I really love. Jeff recently did an original live score for 2001: A Space Odyssey with our friend Dave (Nightlands) as a cool, creative project. Hopefully, our ideas will be true to the vibe of this gorgeous, weird film.

How does your background in improvisation inform this work?

Whenever I improvise or whenever Jeff and I improvise together, we’re always trying to paint a picture or to inspire a mood and often there’s a narrative structure where things get stirred up in the middle and resolve themselves by the end. But I think this one should contain a lot of in-the-minute decisions and negative space that will make it hopefully a unique performance that we can only half-predict, so that’s exciting.

What other projects are you working on?

Jeff and I are working on a Lattimore/Zeigler Duo record that we’re recording at his studio, Uniform Recording in Philly. I just played on the new Sharon Van Etten record, which will be out next year. We are going to try to repeat our Le Révélateur performance in Philadelphia, too, so that’s in the works. Got some upcoming gigs with my mom, who is also a harpist, and we’ll be playing carols to spread some holiday happiness. Lots of fun stuff ahead!

Is this your first trip to Marfa? What do you know of our town?

Yes, it’s my first visit to Marfa! I don’t know much, but I have a bunch of friends who have visited and who’ve fallen in love with it, so I’m psyched. Have read about the Marfa lights and the great art. I love that I get to spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in this far-away place – great way to start 2014. Jeff has been before while on tour with his band. Really looking forward to it!

What are your plans for Marfa and Far West Texas beyond your performance?

Hmm, I’m not sure. I guess to just relax, hang out, walk around. We are staying for a few extra days. I have a close friend Rachel who moved there recently. My pal Matt, who owns the excellent Harvest Records, is coming from Asheville, NC.

The Daily Texan on Graham Reynolds’ Marfa Triptych

14 Nov 2013

The Daily Texan previews Graham Reynolds’ Marfa Triptych, which premieres here in Marfa on Saturday at the Crowley Theater. Click here for tickets.

Reynolds described his first composition as a mix of “West Texas, country music and Western movie sound tracks.” The piece will feature contributions from veteran guitarist Redd Volkaert and up-and-coming fiddle player Ruby Jane.

“I was fascinated by country. It seemed so other-worldly to me,” Reynolds said. “[The musicians] are so generous in letting me pull them out of their box and letting me explore their world a little bit.”

Lead guitarist Volkaert, who has worked with the likes of Merle Haggard, Tim McGraw and Trace Adkins, has played gigs in and around Austin for more than 20 years. In regards to “The Marfa Triptych,” Volkaert urges his audience to pay attention to the way the 14-piece ensemble works together.

“It’s a challenge, but that’s why I’m in it,” Volkaert said. “Reynolds, is a wonderful talent and I really enjoy working with him.”

Keep reading “Graham Reynolds creates music inspired by Marfa, Texas” at The Daily Texan.

Graham Reynolds on The Marfa Triptych

13 Nov 2013

The Marfa Triptych poster by Noel Waggener

Join Ballroom Marfa this Saturday evening for the premiere of the first installment of Graham Reynolds’ Marfa Triptych, an epic musical composition over three years in the making.

The Marfa Triptych Part One: Country and Western Big Band Suite is an instrumental suite for 14 players, described by Reynolds as “classic instrumental country meets Western soundtrack meets power jazz rhythm section.” The project was inspired by Reynolds’ trips from his base in Austin, Texas to the high desert grasslands of Far West Texas. His approach combines local musical traditions — from cowboy songs and Southern jazz to the norteño music of Northern Mexico — with a personal perspective that comes from years of scoring film, theater and modern dance performances. In addition to his music with Austin’s Golden Arm Trio, Reynolds is known for his award-winning soundtrack work with director Richard Linklater, including the films Before Midnight, Bernie and A Scanner Darkly.

Reynolds has spent the last three years working with Ballroom Marfa to coordinate research trips throughout the Big Bend in order to experience its culture and history firsthand. He’s been keeping an itinerary that includes visits with musicians, historians, storytellers, artists and local legends from Terlingua, Alpine, Presidio, Shafter, Fort Davis, Valentine, Marfa and other far-flung locales in the Far West Texas region.

Future installments in this ambitious project include a site-specific composition for layered piano and a bilingual chamber opera, scheduled to premiere at the Ballroom Marfa Drive-In at Vizcaino Park in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

We talked with Reynolds on the eve of the Marfa Triptych debut about his sneak preview performance at the Long Center in Austin, and he gave us more background on what we can expect from the main event here in Marfa on Saturday evening.

How was the Big Band Suite preview at the Long Center?

The band sounds great and I learned a lot about the piece. I’ve made some adjustments for the premiere.

How has The Marfa Triptych changed since your last visit to Far West Texas earlier this year?

The difference between each of the three parts is becoming more clear. And this first part has been composed. I was highly influenced by watching the Marfa sunset from a bench on the west edge of town.

What can you tell us about the players involved?

There is so much to tell! It’s a bit of an Austin all-star band. Redd Volkaert is one of the greatest living country guitarists. Ricky Davis is one of the leading experts on Sho-Bud pedal steel guitars, repairing instruments from the defunct but highly regarded brand. John Mills is a professor of saxophone at University of Texas at Austin and a fantastic live and studio player, having recorded with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Jonny Greenwood. Adam Sultan’s guitar work was recently featured in the film Before Midnight. Alexis Buffum was the lead violinist for the film Bernie. Ruby Jane is fiddler, singer, and songwriter, and one of the great young talents to hit the Austin scene in a long time. Utah Hamrick and Jeremy Bruch are the incredible players that form the foundation of my band and we play together all the time. On and on. It’s a great band that I feel lucky to play with.

Can you tell us more about your most recent trips to Marfa?

I’ve continued to do interviews, explore West Texas nature as well as its history, interview residents, and keep finding myself deeper in love with the region. We went to Big Bend Ranch State Park on the last trip and found some very out-of-the-way spots that I’d love to play music in some day.

What was your process for incorporating your field research into this chapter of the Triptych?

The process is hard to explain. Some is overt and some is very subtle. When composing I would think of different experiences I had and then try to translate them into music. I’m trying to create the soundtrack to the film of West Texas in my mind.

How has your impression of Far West Texas changed in the course of your research? What have you learned?

That it is the most beautiful area of Texas, that the history is deep and complicated. The border is blurry and it’s hard to explore Texas without also exploring Mexico and its history and culture.

The Marfa Triptych: The Country and Western Big Band Suite premieres at the Crowley Theater in Marfa, TX at 8pm on November 16, 2013. Tickets are available at the door and online at www.ballroommarfa.org. Half-price tickets are available in the gallery for all residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties.