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Graham Reynolds and Shawn Sides in the Austin Chronicle

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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.

Join Ballroom Marfa Today!

The opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Luis Nieto Dickens. Arturo Bandini’s Vapegoat Rising, 2016
After Effect opening reception
Photo by Luis Nieto Dickens

Greetings from Marfa,

As the executive director of Ballroom Marfa, I want to extend immense gratitude to all of our members, partners, patrons, supporters and neighbors for making our Marfa Myths festival and the reception for Ballroom’s spring exhibition, After Effect, such a rousing success. Our town was overwhelmed with positive energy and a tremendous celebratory atmosphere. And now we need your help to make sure that we can do it again.

Join Ballroom Marfa today and become a key part of the incredible programming that we have planned for 2016-2017. Whether you’re joining for the first time or renewing your membership, your support makes these profound cultural happenings possible.


Mary Lattimore performing at Wrong Marfa, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks. Mary Lattimore at Wrong Marfa
Marfa Myths
Photo by Alex Marks

Ballroom Marfa’s upcoming calendar includes a fresh exhibition from Arturo Bandini in the Ballroom courtyard, an inventive expansion of our Artists’ Film International program, and a new public art installation from Haroon Mirza as part of Strange Attractor, an upcoming group exhibition. And in the fall Graham Reynolds returns with the third and final chapter in the Ballroom-commissioned Marfa Triptych, a chamber opera inspired by Pancho Villa.

Your membership is vital to Ballroom Marfa’s future, allowing us to keep our momentum and expand our vision. Memberships also include special gifts at every level.

Click here to renew your Ballroom Marfa membership, or to become a member for the first time today. And once again, heartfelt thanks from all of us at Ballroom for being such a huge part of these phenomenal programs.

With tremendous gratitude, 

Sutton Signature
Susan Sutton
Executive Director

Marfa Myths 2016 Wrap-Up

Marfa Myths 2016: What an insanely beautiful weekend. Thank you to everyone for making Marfa Myths so epic! Big love to Mexican Summer, and all of our amazing partners and local heroes that worked so hard to create an amazing experience. Here are some snapshots from the weekend, courtesy of Alex Marks and Luis Nieto Dickens, and check out this year’s Polaroid series here. More photos and full shout-out after the jump. Until next year!

William Basinski performing at the Arena at The Chinati Foundation, March 12, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.
William Basinski performing at the Arena at The Chinati Foundation, March 12, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.

Hailu Mergia performing at El Cosmico, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.
Hailu Mergia performing at El Cosmico, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.

Mary Lattimore performing at Wrong Marfa, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.
Mary Lattimore performing at Wrong Marfa, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.

Fred and Toody at Lost Horse, March 10, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.
Fred and Toody at Lost Horse, March 10, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.

Dan Colen and Susan Sutton at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.
Dan Colen and Susan Sutton at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.

Heron Oblivion, performing at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.
Heron Oblivion, performing at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Marfa Dialogues/Houston Full Schedule Announced

pollinators2 Sarah Rara, still from The Pollinators, 2014. Video with sound. 65 minutes
Sound by Luke Fischbeck


Ballroom Marfa, FotoFest International, and the Public Concern Foundation present the fifth Marfa Dialogues as part of the FotoFest 2016 BiennialChanging Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet. Marfa Dialogues/Houston is a three-day symposium that considers the scale of climate change from the perspective of artistic practice, public policy, critical theory, and environmental science. All events are free and open to the public. 
 
Marfa Dialogues was conceived in 2010 by Ballroom Marfa Artistic Director Fairfax Dorn and Hamilton Fish of the Public Concern Foundation with the aim of bringing together artists, scientists, writers, and critical thinkers to consider a range of social issues, from immigration to the environmental crisis. Marfa Dialogues has taken place in Marfa, Texas; New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and now Houston, Texas.
 
The mission of Marfa Dialogues is to discover new perspectives on social issues by examining them through the lens of artistic practice. Marfa Dialogues/Houston brings together participants from diverse fields, continuing the program’s open and creative approach to some of the most pressing issues of our time.
  
THURSDAY, MARCH 24 – Menil Collection
 
7:00 pm 
Introductions by Menil Collection Interim Director Thomas Rhoads & Ballroom Marfa Executive Director Susan Sutton

7:15 pm              
Keynote address by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.

7:45 pm
Performance by Lucky Dragons
 
 
6:30 – 8:30 pm
“Imaging Futures”
Panel discussion with scientists Dr. Trevor Williams, Dr. William Stefanov and artists Jamey Stillings and MPA. Moderated by FotoFest Executive Director Steven Evans. “Imaging Futures” will coincide with MPA’s solo exhibition, THE INTERVIEW: Red, Red Futureon view at CAMH.
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 26 – Museum of Fine Arts Houston
 
1:00 pm              
“Inundation and Desiccation: On the Edge in America”
Matthew Coolidge and Aurora Tang of the Center for Land Use Interpretation in conversation with Steven Badgett of SIMPARCH.
 
Short video: The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Houston Petrochemical Corridor Landscan, Texas, 2008. HD Video, 14 minutes 12 seconds. Courtesy the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Commissioned by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.
 
2:15 pm              
“Metabolic Landscapes”
Conversation between Dr. Geof Rayner, environmental justice advocate Juan Parras, and artists Gina Glover and Dornith Doherty.
 
Short video: Sarah Rara, excerpt from The Pollinators, 2014. Video with sound, excerpt 10 minutes; TRT 65 minutes. Sound by Luke Fischbeck. Courtesy of the artist.
 
4:15 pm
“From Hyperlocal to Hyperobject: Art, Ecology, and OOO”
Professor Timothy Morton in conversation with artist Mandy Barker. Moderated by author Erik Davis.
 
Short video: Rachel Rose, Sitting Feeding Sleeping, 2013. HD Video, 9 minutes and 49 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery. 

EVENT LOCATIONS
 
The Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX 77006
 
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
1001 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77005
 
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006
 

Marfa Myths 2016 Polaroids by Alex Marks

As part of Ballroom Marfa’s music program, photographer Alex Marks takes Polaroids of all of our visiting musicians. The tradition is six years strong (you can see a spotty history here), and it continued beautifully with this year’s Marfa Myths. Many thanks to Alex Marks for his wonderful work (read more about him on his website), and see last year’s Marfa Myths Polaroids here.

Hailu Mergia, Marfa Myths 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.
Hailu Mergia, Marfa Myths 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.

William Basinski, Marfa Myths 2016. Polaroid by Alex Marks.
William Basinski, Marfa Myths 2016. Polaroid by Alex Marks.

No Age, Marfa Myths 2016. Polaroid by Alex Marks.
No Age, Marfa Myths 2016. Polaroid by Alex Marks.

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A Chat with REAL NEWS, Marfa Myths artists-in-residence

REAL NEWS on Campus
REAL NEWS on Campus

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 are back this spring to write, edit, design, produce and distribute their fourteenth issue during Marfa Myths.

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.

real news

McElheny and duPont, who collectively resided in Marfa for 9 years, were lovingly described by Ballroom Marfa’s communication director Daniel Chamberlin as “a chill tribe of high desert hedonist cognoscenti intent on pursuing the good life of mind-expanding art, dank-ass nugs, frosty brews and drama-free make-out sessions.”

Obviously, we could think of no better candidates for the Marfa Myths artist residency. A brief interview with the duo:

1. how old are you?
H: i am 30, which is apparently still old enough to live like a college kid.
R: haha im 28 but im very mature

2. where do you live now?
H: West Philadelphia. a cool new place for me with the best cheap food ever.
R: New Yawk City–

3. how long did you live in marfa?
H: almost 7 years, which was a cool way to spend most of my 20s (except for that the desert definitely advanced my wrinkles y’all.)
R: 1 year, 8 months. long enough to completely embrace the idea that you should drive as fast as possible.

4. who do you miss most in marfa?
H: this is a tricky question to answer because some of my best friends on earth live there (not gunna list because the fear of leaving someone off, but i trust YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE (Riley Ooo), but also I miss EVERYONE. (sometimes even the people who annoyed me when I lived there!)
Sometimes it is so cool to go to the grocery store and buy my mac & cheese without seeing anyone i know, but sometimes its good to see someone and feel guilty so you have that accountability to prevent you from buying the mac & cheese PLUS the ice cream. ya know?

R: but in new york you can get mac &cheese cream at any time of day, delivered!

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Marfa Dialogues/Houston, March 24-26

pollinators1 Sarah Rara, still from The Pollinators, 2014. Video with sound. 65 minutes. Sound by Luke Fischbeck. Courtesy of the artist.

Ballroom Marfa, FotoFest International and the Public Concern Foundation will bring Marfa Dialogues to Houston, Texas March 24-26, 2016 as part of the FotoFest 2016 Biennial. Join us as we consider the scale of climate disruption from the hyperlocal to the hyperobject. Events will be presented at The Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Marfa Dialogues was conceived in 2010 by Ballroom Marfa Artistic Director Fairfax Dorn and Hamilton Fish of the Public Concern Foundation with the aim of bringing together artists, scientists, writers, and critical thinkers to consider a range of social issues, from immigration to the environmental crisis. Since then Marfa Dialogues has taken place in Marfa, Texas; New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and now Houston, Texas.

Marfa Dialogues/Houston begins Thursday evening, March 24 at 7pm, at the Menil Collection with a keynote address by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., the President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus. As a minister and community activist, Rev Yearwood is one of the most prominent national figures working to involve communities of color in climate activism and green economy solutions.

This will be followed by a performance from Lucky Dragons, an experimental music group from Los Angeles whose artistic practice aims to create a better understanding of existing ecologies through workshops, publications, and recordings. This site-specific performance will feature a collaboration with Houston-based vocalists, arranged alongside an array of environmental field recordings and live electronics; a composition that lyrically speaks to biodiversity, human ecological impact and climate change as a loss of complexity in a moment of transition.

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Marfa Myths: Insider Tips

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the third Marfa Myths over March 10-13, 2016. To prepare for your visit to Marfa, check out our very secret insider tips (CDRI and Mimms getting strong shoutouts).

CDRI. Photo by Laura Copelin.
The Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute near Fort Davis. Photo by Laura Copelin.

Laura Copelin, associate curator
Do the canyon hike at CDRI in near-by Fort Davis and eat breakfast or lunch under the grape arbor at the Capri.

McDonald  Observatory
McDonald Observatory, courtesy of their site.

Sarah Melendez, exhibitions and programs coordinator
• Drink a million Topo Chicos!
• Get a smoothie at here and admire all the ‘mazing animals painted by Nalu!
• Go to the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute and admire all of the cute bb cacti! They have over 200 species native to the Chihuahuan desert.
• Check out a star party at the McDonald Observatory! You’re in dark sky territory. Be sure to blow lots of kisses to Orion and never miss a sunset!

The walk
The edge of Mimms Ranch — photo taken with an (old) iPhone! And yet — incredible vista! Do you see what I’m talking about? Mimms! Now and forever!

Nicki Ittner, director of music
My favorite thing these days is take a walk on the northeastern corner of town, right against Mimms Ranch, especially before sunset, or at sunset, or let’s be honest, any time. My other pleasure is Mando’s. Every time I’m feeling stressed, nothing seems better than sitting in one of those booths, eating chips and zoning out.

Bonus non-sexy tips:
• Make sure to make reservations a few days in advance for all of your dinners!
• Don’t plan your visit for a Monday and Tuesday, so many places are closed, you will be sad.

CRDI, photo by Caitlin Murray
The CDRI. Photo by Caitlin Murray.

Caitlin Murray, archivist and programs manager at the Judd Foundation
Let’s see! Does a hike at the CDRI count as a Marfa insider tip? I love that place! A drive down Pinto Canyon! Pinto Canyon as a secret place to look for the Marfa lights!

Tim Johnson. Photo by Alex Marks.
Tim Johnson. Photo by Alex Marks.

Tim Johnson, owner of Marfa Book Company/informal mayor of Marfa
• Insider tip: Watch out for COPS!
• That weird pickle drink at Capri is actually very good.
• Don’t sit on the stools at the Capri past your first drink. Very tippy!
Mimms Ranch walk is at the end of Austin St. and it’s beautiful.
Ramona’s burritos, of course.

rosa mcelheny and hilary dupont, real news. photo by david fenster.
Rosa McElheny and Hilary duPont, Real News artists-in-residence. Photo by David Fenster.

Hilary duPont, Real News artist-in-residence
• Drive the Scenic Loop!
• Call ahead to order lunch
Grand Companions thrift store in Fort Davis
Stone Village market sandwiches
(heavy Ft Davis recs)

Rosa McElheny, Real News artist-in-residence
top of the courthouse! or point of rocks!
(Editor’s note: The cupola at the Presidio County Courthouse is open Monday-Friday, 10:30am-11:30am and 3-4pm on Fridays.)

Rangra Theater. Courtesy of Cinema Treasures.
The Rangra. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures.

Daniel Chamberlin, communications director
Though it’s not quite the quaint mountain town its name suggests, Alpine has many pleasures to offer. All of the regions in the Big Bend have their own thing going on, and Alpine is perhaps most easily contrasted with Marfa in terms of the prevalence of camo-clad, big-bellied working cowboys and ranch hands, over the turquoise-and-tattoos Gram Parsons-ish look common in our town, sometimes known affectionately as “cowboy drag.”

If you don’t have a ticket for Marfa Myths’ sold-out Sunday film screenings, we suggest that you don your best Mossy Oak gear and head to Alpine’s Rangra Theater for first-run movies playing every evening. You’ll know it by the mural on its facade, crude renderings of posters for Star Wars, Tootsie and Apocalypse Now. Tickets are six bucks (cheap!), the seats are worn and creaky, and the whole operation has a delightfully decrepit vibe.

A few more highlights if you head over earlier in the day: Alpine closes early! Excellent coffee at either Cedar or Plaine (an anagram of Alpine, though we would’ve gone with Pineal, just sayin’). If you make it over for lunch we recommend the green chili-cheese special from Cow Dog, a foot-long beef weiner slathered as promised and sprinkled with Fritos, served hot out of the truck parked in front of Plaine. There are also two low-key but satisfying old-school Mexican-American restaurants, Alicia’s and La Casita.

Alpine also boasts one of the best short hikes outside of south county destinations: Hancock Hill behind Sul Ross University. It’s a quick, easily navigated walk to the summit, where you’ll find an old desk that’s been up there since 1981, with a battered notebook in one of the drawers that serves as a peak register. It’s as close to alpine as you’ll get in El Pine; the 360-degree desert views are best experienced under a full moon, sharing a flask of small batch mescal with a friend.


Want more? Check out last year’s tips for more gems or Wrong Marfa’s recommendations, which are also excellent. For general info about Marfa, download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

Buy tickets to Marfa Myths here. Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person in the Ballroom Marfa gallery until March 1.

Marfa Myths: Dining

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths festival over March 10-13, 2016, and we hope you’re coming out for it. If you are, our Marfa guide can help. Check out how to get here and where to stay, and read on for tips on eating in our fair town.

HOURS HERE CAN BE WEIRD
Remember: Marfa is a town of 1900-ish people. It’s not a big city that offers all-hours convenience. Restaurants have odd hours, or can be closed unexpectedly. Or open unexpectedly. When it comes to eating, just keep an open mind, be patient, adjust your expectations and take comfort that Stripes is open 24-7.

Boyz 2 Men
Boyz 2 Men. Photo by Cody Kern, via Flickr.

BREAKFAST

Boyz 2 Men
220 W San Antonio Street (behind Padre’s) | Saturday & Sunday, 8am–3pm
Breakfast tacos, great for vegans, lot of sass behind the (Airstream) counter. Cash (pesos o dólares) only.

Buns ‘n’ Roses
1613 W San Antonio St | Thursday-Sunday, 7am-2:30pm
Low-key and reliable breakfast + lunch + donuts + flowers.

Do Your Thing
213 S Dean St (in community room) | Friday & Saturday, 8:30am-5pm; Sunday, 9:30am-2:30pm
Delicious espresso drinks and homemade sourdough toast, quiche, sea salt brownies, incredible pastries, plus porridge on the weekends (until they run out).

Frama
120 N. Austin St | 7 days a week, 7:30am-8pm
Big Bend coffee, smoothies, and ice cream.

here
515 S. Highland, next to Marfa Burrito | Monday–Thursday, 9am–1pm (and some weekends)
The sweetest new addition to town — a healthy spot with juices, smoothies, and locally sourced foods. Cash only.

Hotel Saint George
105 S. Highland Ave | 7 days a week, 9am–6pm
The hotel’s new coffee bar has breakfast pastries, like almond croissants (!), scones, muffins, and blueberry coffee cake.

Mando’s
1506 W San Antonio St | Monday-Saturday, 6am-2pm, 5pm-8:30pmish (Closed Sunday)
Traditional diner breakfast, plus Mexican and American comfort food.

Memo’s
905 W. San Antonio St | Thursday, Friday, Sunday & Monday 8:30am-2:30pm (we think)
Mexican breakfast plates + burgers.

Marfa Burrito
Route 67, on the way to Chinati | Monday-Saturday, 6am-2pm-ish
Delicious burritos. Cash only.

Squeeze Marfa
215 N Highland Ave | Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-3pm
European-style breakfast with muesli, yogurt, toast & jam and paninis for lunch.

Mando's. Courtesy of Fat Lyle's Instagram.
Enchiladas at Mando’s. Courtesy of Fat Lyle’s Instagram.

LUNCH
Most of the above, plus…

marpho
1300 W San Antonio St. | Friday–Tuesday, 11am–7pm (opening soon?!)
Marfa’s first and only pho restaurant! Serving pho, báhn mis, and happy hour snacks.

Food Shark
Across from Airstreamland (220 W San Antonio Street) | Thursday–Sunday, 12pm–3pm
The original Mediterranean-by-way-of-West-Texas food truck. Cash only.

Pizza Foundation
South Spring Street (across the highway from Dollar General) | Friday–Sunday, 1pm–9pm (or until they run out of dough)
The return of Marfa’s OG East Coast, hand-tossed pizza.

Salsa Puedes
Food truck next to the Lost Horse (306 E San Antonio St) | Monday–Wednesday, 11am–3pm (sometimes open other days, sometimes open at night, try your luck!)
Tacos, tortas, & queso. Cash only.

Salsa Puedes! Courtesy of their instagram.
Tacos, tacos, tacos. Courtesy of Salsa Puedes Instagram.

DINNER

The Capri
603 W. San Antonio St. | Tuesday-Sunday, 6pm–midnightish
Cozy bar with great lighting, plus a small plate bar menu.

Cochineal
107 W San Antonio St | 7 days a week, 5:30-10pm
Inventive American cooking. Reservations recommended.

Grilled Cheese Parlour
300 W San Antonio | Friday, 9:30pm-midnight + Saturday, 9:30pm-1:30am
Late-night grilled cheese (plus a museum of electronic wonders).

Hotel Saint George
105 S Highland Ave | 7 days a week, 6pm-9pm (hours still TBD)
The Hotel Saint George’s bar and soon-to-open restaurant (opens March 6). Upscale comfort food in an elegant setting.

Jett’s Grill at the Hotel Paisano
7 days a week, 5:30pm-9pm, open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday (bar opens at 2pm)
Classic Southwestern + American fare. Reservations recommended.

Planet Marfa
200 S Abbot St | Friday-Sunday, 2pm–10pm (open seasonally; re-opening March 11)
Awesome nachos + good vibes.

Beyoncé, Food Shark. Courtesy of Food Shark
Beyoncé at the Grilled Cheese Parlour. Photo via Food Shark, originally from Beyoncé’s tumblr (!).

I ARRIVE THURSDAY NIGHT AROUND 9PM, WHERE CAN I EAT DINNER?
Cochineal and The Capri should be open. And there’s always Dairy Queen.

IT’S FRIDAY AT 5PM BEFORE THE SHOW AND I WANT A BEER AND A SNACK
A few choices: Planet Marfa, Mando’s, and Pizza Foundation. (The bar at Jett’s opens at 2pm, but you can’t get food till 5:30pm; Cochineal opens at 5:30pm.)

IT’S 10PM AND I’M HUNGRY!
If it’s Friday or Saturday, you’re in luck: head to Grilled Cheese Parlour. Otherwise, all the kitchens are closed, except Stripes (the east location, near the flashing stoplight) (although The Capri may also still be serving food?) (we’re experts, and yet, we’re not).

IT’S SUNDAY NIGHT, WHERE DO I EAT DINNER?
Cochineal, The Capri, Jett’s or Dairy Queen. Or a light dinner of nachos at Planet Marfa.

WHAT’S OPEN EVERY DAY?
Hotel Saint George, Frama, Cochineal, Jett’s, Dairy Queen and Subway (inside Stripes West!).

DO I REALLY HAVE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER?
We recommend it. It’s Spring Break, and the town is going to be bonkers. Cochineal and Jett’s accept dinner reservations.

Jett's pistacho fried steak
Jett’s insane pistachio fried steak. Photo by Andrea B, via Flickr.

For general info, check out visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find event listings, housing suggestions, ride shares, and more. Be sure to check out our insider tips and Wrong Marfa’s recommendations, which are excellent.

Marfa Myths: Things to Do

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths festival over March 10-13, 2016, and we hope you’re coming out for it. If you are, our Marfa guide can help. Check out how to get here and where to stay, and read on for tips about what to do during your visit.

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IN TOWN
Obviously there are loads of things to do in Marfa (wandering, shopping, eating, gallery cruising), which can fill your time most agreeably. But if you’re the more ambitious sort, here are a few around-town or near-town journeys:

Chinati Foundation
We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Chinati Foundation, the contemporary art museum based upon the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd. If you have any interest in contemporary art, or Minimalism, you really shouldn’t miss it. See the suite of tours here — and don’t miss William Basinski’s Marfa Myths performance at the Arena at 1pm on March 12.

Judd Foundation
Judd Foundation holds and maintains artist Donald Judd’s private living and working spaces in Marfa, Texas. Comprised of a total of 15 spaces, these properties include studios installed with artwork by Judd and others, living quarters, ranch and architecture offices, and libraries, many of which are available to tour. As part of Marfa Myths, Judd Foundation is hosting an open viewing of The Block on Saturday, March 12, from 3-5pm, accompanied by Maria Chavez’s performance at 5pm (mitzvah!).

McDonald Observatory
The night skies in our area are some of the darkest in the United States, making for excellent star gazing. Head to the world-renowned McDonald Observatory for a Star Party (hosted every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights), and enjoy a tour of the constellations and view the moon, planets, stars and galaxies through telescopes. We waited four years to go to a Star Party and felt the serious fool afterwards. Just the sheer number of stars will blow you away. (Though if it’s cloudy, or rainy, save it for another time.)

Marfa Lights
What are the Marfa Lights? Have we seen them? Is it worth it? WHO KNOWS? To do your own investigating, wait till dark, then drive out to the Marfa Lights Viewing Station (nine miles east of Marfa on Hwy 90 — be on the lookout for the sign directing you to the observing area), or, if you’re feeling adventurous, drive down Pinto Canyon Road/2810, pull over, and look east, south, and southeast. Mysticism abounds.

Prada Marfa. Photo by Lizette Kabre
The legendary Boyd Elder at Prada Marfa. Photo by Lizette Kabré.

Prada Marfa
Maybe you’ve heard of Prada Marfa? Or seen the sign on Gossip Girl? The permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset was produced in 2005 by Ballroom Marfa and Art Production Fund and has seen no end to visitors, scandal, and graffiti. The installation is about 40 miles from Marfa, right outside of Valentine, on the south side of highway. Blink and you’ll miss it. Best viewed at sunset or in the early morning stillness, when its out-of-placeness feels the most extreme.

Scenic Loop Drive
Just want to take a leisurely car ramble? Head up to Fort Davis, the starting point for one of the most scenic drives in Texas. Seventy-five miles long, the drive leaves Fort Davis, proceeds up Limpia Canyon, past the McDonald Observatory, then into Madera Canyon and a quiet, pine-shaded picnic area (you can pick up picnic fare at Stone Village Market in Fort Davis, or load up on french fries and chocolate malts pre-drive at the Fort Davis Drugstore).

OUT-OF-TOWN TRIPS
If you really want to really explore the area, or love to hike, check out these longer excursions:

Balmorhea, Courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife
Balmorhea State Park. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Balmorhea State Park
Dive into the cool waters of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, which covers 1.75 acres and stays at 72–76 degrees year round. The pool is open daily, 8am to 8pm. The park is about 1.5 hours from Marfa, and some Marfans go there every chance they get. Muy relaxation.

Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is an overlooked gem. If you have enough time, make the journey (overnight is ideal; if you go one day, you’ll wish you’d gone two). Trails are relatively well documented in the various guide books available, and in the park literature. A few popular favorites:

– Lost Mine Trail: Lovely day hike in the high country of the Chisos Mountains. Scrub, some forest, big views.
– Window Trail: Easy afternoon walk across the Chisos Basin to a rock window formation looking over the desert lowlands.
– South Rim Trail/Boot Spring: Lots of high country trails, easily customizable from day hikes to Boot Spring to an overnight backpack (or STRENUOUS day hike) to the South Rim and the most amazing views available in Texas. Though most parts of this trail are closed until the end of peregrine falcon nesting season in May.
– Hot Springs Trail: Chill 1 mile walk to Rio Grande-adjacent springs.
– Santa Elena Canyon: Another easy hike into one of the grandest canyons of Far West Texas.
– Boquillas: If you have your passport, a mellow trip across the border into the tiny Mexican town of Boquillas for tacos, sand dunes and frosty post-hike brews.

Also of interest: Terlingua is the weird and wonderful town just outside the park boundary. A world unto its own, full of rebels and off-the-gridders. (Our own Daniel Chamberlin wrote an excellent profile of Terlingua and its inhabitants a few years back for Arthur Magazine.)

The river road
The River Road from Terlingua to Presidio. (Note: This is just a lousy picture taken by us, with our IPHONE — that’s how beautiful it is!)

Big Bend Ranch State Park
A bit more obscure than Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park is a bit closer and offers more lowland delights. Plus, the ride along the River Road from Terlingua to Presidio is well worth it. Closed Canyon is on the road, too, another easy one hour (more or less) hike down a lovely slot canyon.

Chinati Hot Springs
An oasis nestled in the Chinati Mountains of West Texas, Chinati Hot Springs has provided healing waters to the people of the area for thousands of years. From Marfa, the journey is about 2.5 hours. We recommend a high-clearance vehicle to get there. Hippie attitude also a plus.

Chinati Hot Springs, photo by Alberto Tomas Halpern
Chinati Hot Springs. Photo by Alberto Tomas Halpern, courtesy of Texas Co-Op Power.

For general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

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