Past Interviews

Wednesday, Aug 30, 2017:
Photographer John Slaughter on “Marfa and the Mystique of Far West Texas”

Photographer John Slaughter discusses his newest work, Marfa and the Mystique of Far West Texas. Slaughter explains how the book can provide some visual perspective in revealing Marfa’s special qualities that can be difficult to understand. The photographs in the work include high desert landscapes, art installations, performers, local residents, indigenous flora, and iconic local landmarks.

John Slaughter has been a professional and exhibiting photographer for over forty years. He currently divides his time between Grand Coteau, Louisiana, and Marfa, Texas – two entirely contrasting environments on nearly the same latitude. You can find more of his work here.

Monday, Aug 28, 2017:
Presidio ISD Superintendent Dennis McEntire

On this episode of West Texas Talk, a conversation with Presidio ISD Superintendent Dennis McEntire. Facing nearly $1 million in funding cuts, McEntire discusses budget priorities for his district, the expiration of Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) and the unique challenges of educating a remote, poverty-stricken district.

Thursday, Aug 24, 2017:
Christopher Owens

On this West Texas Talk, a conversation with American singer, songwriter, and musician Christopher Owens.

Owens is best known as the frontman and songwriter for the now-disbanded indie rock band Girls – He has since released three solo albums.

He stopped by the studios in Marfa during the inaugural Marfa Poetry Festival, where he was performing, to talk about his music, upbringing in a traveling religious community, and relationship with Amarillo-artist Stanley Marsh.


Thursday, Aug 24, 2017:
Ballroom Marfa Presents “Tierra. Sangre. Oro.”

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with Rafa Esparza, Beatriz Cortez, and Timo Fahler, some of the artists behind Tierra. Sangre. Oro. – the latest exhibit from Ballroom Marfa.

For this project, adobe is central to the work. The exhibit addresses and excavates the history of colonialism, labor and economic value scales, queer culture and masculinity, as well as personal and familial legacy. While making these interventions, the artists will explore, “the visibility of Brown people in Marfa.”

Esparza learned how to make adobe brick from his father, and will work with artists from the Los Angeles community and local Marfa craftsmen to produce bricks and install the project.The artists set traditional materials, inherited processes, and ephemeral choreographies up against institutional structures and the historical narratives of Western sculpture, land art, and performance.

Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017:
Personal Narratives from UTPB’s Boom or Bust Writing Workshop

Professor Jason Lagapa discusses UT PB’s “Boom or Bust” writing workshop. The project aims “to help promote understanding of the Permian Basin’s energy and economic resources from a humanistic perspective.” This project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and includes a speaker series, writing workshops, and book clubs.

This station is partnering with UTPB to feature essays from the writing workshop on Marfa Public Radio. In this program, you hear personal essays from Berry Simpson, Alex Rathbun, Chris Bartlett, and Sheena Stieff.

The first writing workshop for the semester takes place on on August 30, 2017.

Previous stories from the “Boom or Bust” writing workshop have been featured on West Texas Talk here:

Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017:
Western Swing Musician Bobby Flores

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with Grammy Award-winning Western swing fiddle player and acclaimed Texas musician Bobby Flores.

As well as being a world class touring and session musician, Bobby runs a recording studio and school for students aiming to become professional touring musicians in San Antonio.

Bobby and his six-piece Yellow Rose band, will be performing at Marfa’s USO Building (302 S Highland Ave, Marfa, TX 79843) August 26th with all proceeds benefiting this radio station. Doors for the event open at 8pm, with the show and dance running from 9pm till midnight. 

Visit for more information on the band and music.

Friday, Aug 18, 2017:
El Paso’s Frontera Bugalú and their Cumbia from the Border

On this episode of West Texas Talk, an interview and in-studio performance with members of the El Paso cumbia band Frontera Bugalú. In conversation with the band’s co-founders Kiko Rodriguez and Joel Osvaldo, we discuss the musical project’s biting social commentary, playing shows on both sides of the border and the band’s unique take on cumbia, the musical backbone of Latin America.

Percussionist Michael Nelson also contributed to the interview.


Thursday, Aug 17, 2017:
Poet Rosa Alcalá On Her Other Tongue, English

Rosa Alcalá is poet, translator, and teacher in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. In this conversation, Alcalá discusses the interplay of and importance of both English and Spanish in her life and her latest book of poetry,  MyOTHER TONGUE.
PARAMOUR by Rosa Alcalá
English is dirty. Polyamorous. English
wants me. English rides with girls
and with boys. English keeps an open
tab and never sleeps
alone. English is a smooth talker
who makes me say please. It’s a bit of role-playing
and I like a good tease. We have a safety word
I keep forgetting. English likes
pet names. English
has a little secret, a past,
another family. English is going to leave them
for me. I’ve made English a set
of keys. English brings me flowers
stolen from a grave.
English texts me, slips in
as emoticons, goes to all
the mixers. English has rules
but accepts dates last minute. English makes
booty-calls. English makes me want it.
When I was younger, my parents said
keep that English out of our
house. If you leave with that miserable,
don’t come back. I said god-willing
in the language of the Inquisition. I climbed out
my window, but always got
caught. English had a hooptie
that was the joint. Now my mother goes gaga
over our cute babies. Together
English and I wrote my father’s
obituary. How many times
have I said it’s over, and English just laughs
and says, c’mon, señorita, let’s go for
Chinese. We always end up
in a hotel where we give
fake names, and as I lay my head
to hear my lover breathe
I dream of Sam Patch plunging
into water, a poem
English gave me
that had been given
to another.


Thursday, Aug 17, 2017:
Star Date’s Damond Benningfield on the Total Solar Eclipse

Today’s guest on West Texas Talk is Damond Benningfield of the McDonald Observatory discussing the first total eclipse seen from coast to coast across the U.S. since 1918.

Benningfield writes the Observatory’s “Star Date” radio features and edits the Star Date magazine and website,

Public events on Aug. 21 at the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis are listed here.

Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017:
City Councilman Peter Svarzbein on the Relationship Between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

Before Peter Svarzbein became a city council member, he created a fictional campaign for a streetcar between El Paso and Juarez, just like the one that ran between the two cities until 1973. What started as an art project grew into a grassroots effort that eventually received funding from the Texas government. In this episode, Peter discusses where the project stands now and the longstanding relationship between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, a place that he calls a “third space.”

You can learn more about the Transnational Trolley Project here.