Friday, March 20, 2009
Last night Dave and I went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with Chef Babs and her boyfriend P.W. (properly pronounced "Pee-Dubyah"). Attending the largest rodeo in the world has a way of making me feel very Texan -- albeit a Texan allergic to hay, horses and most of the other animals present at the event. In any case, a good time was had by all and even my husband, a native Floridian, admitted to enjoying the rodeo events. At the end of each rodeo, there's a featured performer (usually some of the biggest names in country music) and last night we got to hear Pat Green, a superstar in the Texas country music scene, and one of my personal favorites. For those of you unversed in "Texas Country", it's a sub-genre of country music which can best be described as "Texas is my girlfriend" music. True Texans can thus be distinguished from the rest of the world by their ability to not only tolerate this music (most non-Texans will find lyrics devoted to cruising I-35 and "letting Texas fill my soul" eye-roll inducing), but love it.
In any case, because I am feeling particularly Texan today and in honor of my Texas heritage (I am, on my mother's side, a fifth generation Texan after all), here are a few of my favorite Texas-themed pieces that I pulled off Etsy. Unlike most Texan paraphernalia, they avoid cheesy slogans and the over-use of our state flag.
The Duel by MagnusFoto (8' x 10', $55)
I can't get over how much I love this photograph, which was taken in Marfa, Texas, a small artist enclave south of El Paso (i.e., middle of nowhere). From what I've heard, Marfa is everything you don't expect to find in West Texas, and I would love the opportunity to visit it sometime. I suspect the landscape and subject matter here is "quintessential Texas" for most folks, but growing up in Houston, I tend to think of Texas as far more urban, and far wetter.
Houston Architecture III by Maritere Casillas Rice (8"x10" photograph, $25)
This is part of a series of shots taken here in downtown Houston and I love how the angles and play of light in this particular shot. This building is actually the old Rice Hotel (converted to lofts in the late '90s) and is one of the oldest buildings left here in downtown. Fun Fact: The Rice Hotel is situated on the site of the original Capitol of Texas, which was moved from Houston to Austin in 1839.
Come and Take It Note Cards by JessicaGM (set of 4, $8)
If you know your Texas history, you should know why I love these note cards by fellow Texan JessicaGM. For those not forced to take Texas history in 4th grade and again in 7th grade, the small bronze cannon pictured above the iconic Alamo memorializes the Battle of Gonzales (a small town located outside San Antonio), where a small Texan force resisted the Mexican army's attempts to seize their cannon (hence the cheeky "come and take it" slogan that became a rallying cry -- and a flag -- during Texas' fight for independence). I would argue that the slogan continues to be apropos for many Texans today. If you aren't familiar with the Battle of the Alamo, go watch John Wayne's The Alamo. Immediately.
Austin in the Morning by AWebsterTX (8"x10" photograph, $18)
I love Austin and this view of downtown Austin from Town Lake is particularly lovely. Some of my fondest memories of Austin are of Dave and I kayaking out on Town Lake in the spring and fall, when the weather was just perfect. If you've never been to Austin, I'd highly suggest making a visit. While there, be sure to hit up my favorite spots: (1) Lake Travis (and enjoy the beautiful drive over via 2222 and 620), (2) Barton Springs / Zilker Park, (3) the Capitol building and (4) South Congress (best strip of local shops and restaurants). For food, be sure to go to Trudy's (for the Texas martini), Kerbey Lane, Hula Hut (for the view of Lake Austin) and Amy's Ice Cream.
Miss Texas Original Collage by DadaDreams (4"x4", $20)
This collage was just too fun not to include in this list. The retro-styling also really reminds me of Austin. It'd be perfect hung up in a bar-area or game room.
Wind Farm by Marnic (5"x7" matted photograph, $8)
I actually have no idea of this photograph was taken in Texas or not, but it certainly could have been. Last time I drove through West Texas, I was amazed how many wind farms had sprung up along the high way. It's actually really beautiful. Just flat land, big sky, and wind turbines dotting the landscape, slowly spinning. For all the knocks Texas gets about its love of oil and gas, many may find it surprising that we're actually the leader in wind energy. I love the idea of the state that was at the forefront of the energy boom in the early 20th century should be the leader in developing the new energy in the early 21st.