Marfa Marfa Marfa

Marfa was the location for shooting Giant – the James Dean movie from the 50’s. Not too much has changed around here since then. Actually, there are lots of galleries and new local businesses, but they’ve kept all the original facades so it looks like nothing’s changed.

I’m a permanent skeptic of any local phenomena marketed to drum up tourism for anywhere, so I wasn’t biting on the Marfa Lights. Angela and Bode insisted, though.  It was 10 degrees, so we didn’t sit out in the middle of nowhere for too long, but of course we didn’t see any. Some people swear by them – even live in fear of them. Anyway, the lights were way better over at Padres.

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Our first night in town had us watching the college football “national championship” game at Padres with 100 other disappointed Longhorn fans. It was still lots of fun and we made some new friends in Marfa.

We met the guy that made the fire-pit at the hostel from a few nights ago.  He’s actually a well-known local sculptor and his work is all over town. He and his wife live in a converted school bus somewhere out in the desert and are a really interesting pair. They invited us over for a bonfire later in the week, so we’ll have to figure out if we can make it.

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We also found out that Dave and a few other folks we know from Houston were backing up a Neil Diamond tribute show. Paul Minor opened. Not bad timing.

Mr. Diamond was actually Jackie Pepper (who’s actually someone else) and he had a fairly entertaining bit. The show was more about his version of a Neil Diamond persona rather than an actual tribute show.  The band was stellar, but Jackie didn’t spend too much time learning the lyrics.  He made it through maybe 50% of the words and howled and grumbled his way through the rest with things that actually did sound Diamondesque.  Kudos for maintaining the illusion for the entire show.

Songs you sang to me, sounds you brang to me.
-Neil Diamond, “Play Me”

I learned how to laugh and I learned how to cry.

We also stumbled upon EarthPig. He goes by his real name these days (Adam), but we always knew him as EarthPig and had no idea he was here in Marfa. He’s an inventive musician who used to gig around Austin with his own unique lap-guitar style. He moved here several years ago and opened the mobile Food Shark with his wife.  He even converted a school bus that serves as a heated dining room.  If your food truck gets featured in Bon Apetit and Food and Wine, you’re doing something right. Once again I’m reminded there is no formula for success. Just do what you like and do it well.

We’ve only been here a day, but I have a feeling that if we stick around through the week we’ll almost be locals. And, Bode will be a shuffleboard prodigy.

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There are a few things you notice about Marfa after a while. The hipster guys are still sporting ironic mustaches. There are no police – they were voted out. Everyone just seems to be doing whatever they feel like and things are just fine. Young hipster girls and hardened cowboys date – it’s weird. Maybe they just want an honest mustache.

Two random favorite Neil Diamond songs (you can’t have just one):

Angela: Sweet Caroline / Forever in Blue Jeans
Jason: I Am I Said / Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon

11 thoughts on “Marfa Marfa Marfa

  • January 14, 2010 at 5:38 PM
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    I’ve always wanted to go! You guys make it look amazing!

  • January 14, 2010 at 5:53 PM
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    I’m going with a combo: Sweet Caroline / I Am I Said

  • January 15, 2010 at 11:54 AM
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    JASON!!! You MUST add Sweet Caroline to your short list! Your little niece would be devastated that you left it out!! 🙂

  • January 15, 2010 at 7:35 PM
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    Food Shark & the heated dining car sound really great & we enjoyed checking out their neat website. That’s pretty cool that you know Adam. I can feel a road trip coming on 🙂 Super posts & pics, as always.

    Have fun & stay warm-take care!

    Mike & Maria

  • January 16, 2010 at 10:36 AM
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    Enjoyed meeting and hanging out with you last weekend. Can’t wait the hear about your upcoming adventures.

    Tootles,
    Gloria

  • January 18, 2010 at 2:42 AM
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    Great description and photos.
    I’m curious, is the headline “Marfa Marfa Marfa” an allusion to Jan Brady plaintively saying “Marsha Marsha Marsha”?

  • January 18, 2010 at 3:29 AM
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    Hey Guys

    Been following your trip – sounds awesome. How do you find all these crazy quirky towns? We are from Australia and are planning a trip from San Fran to Seattle and through Colorado, any tips on researching out-of-the-way places? Keep on Truckin!

  • January 18, 2010 at 9:10 AM
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    bonus points for Sarah! thanks for playing!

  • January 18, 2010 at 9:15 AM
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    Mike-
    I almost feel guilty about adding to the Marfa hype. It’s an interesting place – for a short visit – but I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to get here. It’s a small artist town – there are hundreds of them. They are what you make of them.

    Ash-
    Our big tip – zero planning. Figure out each day after breakfast. Talk to people and follow their recommendations. I have a feeling that if we planned out this trip in any detail we would be pretty bored.

  • May 30, 2011 at 7:58 PM
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    Discovered your site today (on The South America Tourist’s Top 20 South America Travel Blogs) and have been reading all day. Started with the very first post and am currently here. Can’t stop reading! My husband is from Roanoke, VA and we currently live in Jacksonville, FL (where I grew up) so it was neat to see your take on places I am familiar with.

    Anyway…wanted to comment on your statement “Our big tip – zero planning. Figure out each day after breakfast. Talk to people and follow their recommendations.” We did this once on a MUCH smaller scale. We were on vacation in St. Pete Beach. The front desk clerk at our hotel recommended a breakfast place, the server at the breakfast place recommended a lunch place and an appetizer there and the server at the lunch place recommended a dinner place. They were all great! So we spent the rest of the trip doing only what people recommended to us.

    Love your blog! Oh, and for what its worth – my first car was a 1973 VW Super Beetle that someone had painted camoflauge with flat spray paint. I hated it at the time (I was a 16 year old girl – I asked my dad to paint it pink or red with black polka dots) but I miss it now. Would love to rejoin the VW crowd!

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