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June 8th, 2017 under West Texas Talk » West Texas Talk Highlight


Re: Marfa Agave Festival;

Lavish praise to Tim Johnson and the other organizers of Marfa’s first annual Agave Festival! I rarely choose to visit Marfa, yet was compelled to re-arrange my schedule and drive 50 miles each of the four days to learn about the anthropology, archeology, mythology, and botany surrounding this mega plant which is so intertwined with human presence in our landscape.

The festival was hands-on, comprehensive, and earthier than I associate with Marfa events. Offerings spanned cultural, historic, pre-historic, culinary, musical, visual, and physical (hiking!) venues. The organizers lavished great attention to detail. Oh, and it was free! I could go on, but those of you who weren’t there get the gist.

A great shout of thanks to all of you who participated in giving us this rich experience.

Waiting for next year,

Pilar Pedersen




Dear Marfa,

I want to thank everyone who was involved in making the first annual Agave Festival Marfa a big success. I want to thank the many guests who shared their work with us: Meredith Dreiss, David Brown, Polo Urias Y Su Maquina Norteña, Jeff Keeling, Ramona Tejada, Michael Camacho, Primo Carrasco, Jonny Sufficool, Rocky Barnette, Carolyn Boyd, Joel Salcido, Mark Covey, Steve Black, Phil Dering, Jim Martinez, Leslie Stevens, and Allison Jenkins.

Hosting 18 events over four days in almost as many locations requires a big effort and I want to thank the many local institutions who shared their space with our guests and attendees: Hotel Saint George, the Hotel Paisano, the Thunderbird Hotel, The Capri, Crowley Theater, El Cosmico, Bar Nadar, Marfa Burrito, Saint George Hall, Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, The City of Marfa, The Big Big Sentinel, The Presidio International, Visit Marfa, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Studio of the Arts, Judd Foundation and The Chinati Foundation.

Also, several product sponsors helped us to realize the Festival and I’d like to acknowledge them as well: GEM & BOLT mezcal, El Mayor Tequila, Pura Vida Tequila, Agave Healing Oil, jcoco chocolate, and Big Bend Coffee Roasters.

I’d also like to thank Caitlin Murray, Emily Williams, Vicki Barge, Rosario Salgado Halpern, Elise Pepple, Diana Nguyen, Nick Winchester, Virginia Lebermann, Joe Esparza, Sarah Vasquez, Rowdy Dugan, Adeline Schowengirt, Meg Burnie, JD Difabbio, Cody Lee, Molly Walker, Bradley Garlock, Chris Hillen, Rob Crowley, Richard Fallon, Matt Walker, Raul Marin, Jose Zubia, Mary Lou Saxon, Simone Rubi, Minerva Lopez, Dan Dunlap, Ann Dunlap, Rob Gungor, Rick Hermann, Jennifer Lees, Joe Duncan, Rainer Judd, JD Garcia, Liz Lambert, Dierdre Hisler, Peggy O’Brien, and Tim Crowley for their many personal contributions to the success of the Festival.

I’d also like to thank the people of Marfa and the surrounding towns and communities for coming to the events and sharing their enthusiasm for this extraordinary culture. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Tim Johnson,

Marfa Book Co. / Agave Festival Marfa




On behalf of Judd Foundation, and Co-Presidents Rainer Judd and Flavin Judd, I would like to thank everyone who joined us at The Block on Saturday morning for our open hours and talk with Jonny Sufficool as part of the first annual Agave Festival.

Special thanks to Jonny for his participation and to Virginia Lebermann for her support in connecting us with Jonny. Through opening the Judd Foundation spaces to the community, we hope that visitors will return to the spaces for new experiences throughout the year.

We understand that due to the overflow of parking at the event, that there was disruption caused to businesses near The Block. We apologize for this disruption and look forward to future events.


Caitlin Murray

Director of Marfa Programs

Judd Foundation




No one likes to see their property appraisal go up, especially when it goes up through the roof. The difference between my 2012 appraisal value and 2017 is 407 percent. That seems excessive, to say the least.

Perhaps, in the interest of transparency for our county officials, they could make public how much their appraisal value has gone up in the past five years. I’ll bet it’s not 400 percent!

After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.


Jim Walker




I am not writing this as a Republican.  I am not writing this as a Democratic.  I am writing it as an American, a citizen of the United States.  Come on folks, let’s get this country back to what it is supposed to be and what our government is supposed to do, govern.  Remember all the fuss about the Hilary’s emails, well it is going all over again on this Russian thing.   It seems our congress just goes from one state of not worrying about what they were voted into congress for to another and not doing what they were sent to Washington to do but to just cutting each other’s throat and ours also.

I’m not saying Trump is right in all things, but in the same breath I’m not saying that Hilary was wrong in all of her things either.  It seems that the Intelligence Committee is so eaten up with trying to prove that the Russians helped Trump gain the White House that they can’t see anything else.  Michael Gerson of the Washington Post wrote in today’s San Angelo Standard titled that “Caught in a Maelstrom, Trump has only two Options” first to release his financial records and second he should be innocent until proven guilty.  But, the citizenry is judging the president according to reasonable inferences.  Is that right or is that wrong?

Gerson says that the Russian-influence is consuming Trump and it will probably get worse as the special counsel’s investigation moves forward.  If the Russian’s did influence the election then how did they do it?  Second, along with the president, Trump’s administration is being consumed as well.   His aides are being called in to this mess now and it seems that all will be brought to table to state how they will perform.  The noble reasons of why they joined this administration is out the window, now they have to defend where they are and how they will stay afloat in this troublesome time.

Third, using the “tweeter” as a method of passing information to the American people is not the way to do business in our government.  We deserve better than that.  Remember the “Fire Side Chats” of the 40’s and 50’s what has happened to them?  Then fourth, the use of nepotism to fill cabinet posts seems to have backfired along with the idea that “I know better than you who should be in what position” is not working either.  Although, JFK did use the same tactic in his administration but it seemed that it worked better then, then it is now.

If you remember way back in 1972, Nixon’s national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, “colluded with  … Dobrynin “ to keep the U. S. Secretary of State in the dark about ongoing secret discussions between the Soviets and the Nixon White House.  BUT, that was back then not now in this time of Tweeter, Facebook, and National News Coverage.  Now it seems that it is unusual to try to establish a backchannel before the start of an administration, and it is unclear to what aims it would have established.  However, throughout recent history, the United States and other Nations have used private communications and secret negotiations to reach consensus and forge deals with other nations.

Some notable examples are the Cuban Missile Crisis, Obama and the Iran Nuclear Deal (we, the
American people never heard anything until it was over and signed) and the Middle East Peace Negotiations.  These “deals” were forged between the current administration in power at the time and the different nations and they worked to our benefit.  Now though it seems that to talk to another nation without any congressional approval and what the conversation would consist of is taboo.  As far as I am concerned, the “news Media” sticks their noses into areas that they need to stay out of.  We do not have a “need to know” all of what is going on in the higher planes of government and it is to our benefit not to know some of it anyway.  Remember the Newsweek picture of a Viet Cong general shooting a South Vietnamese military man and it made the front cover.  Did we need to see that or to what benefit did it serve?

The killing of civilians in a war situation is going to happen, think back of the fire storm in Japan bombing, and how about the “Big Man and Little Boy” bombs dropped on Japan and what effect they had in ending World War II. Was that right or was that wrong? Sure civilians are going to die especially when the enemy uses them to hide behind and conduct their terrorist killings.  Ask Paris, ask New Yorkers, and you might even ask California (and I am not a Californian) how they feel.

All I am trying to say is that what our president is doing is not always good, but it is not always bad either.  You may not like him, but he is the President of the United States, and the office he is holding, he was voted into by the American people, even if you do not support him support the office he is holding.  After all, four years he will have to run again and then use the power that our military men and women have given you and vote either for or against who you think will run the Country like you want it ran.

Jim Kitchens


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