Dylan Bishop

I frequently turn my nose up at Fort Worth musicians. I’ve been called a music snob and I wear that title proudly. But there are always exceptions to everything. The Toadies. Leon Bridges. And most recently, Dylan Bishop.

A month or so ago one of the musicians I use to see called me wanting to know where I was.

“In Austin. Where are you?,” I inquired.

“I’m in Fort Worth with Dylan Bishop and we need a place to stay.”

“Well you know where I live. I don’t know Dylan, but I instantly trust him more than you. Go ahead,” I rolled my eyes and hung up the phone.

I had been hearing about Dylan for a few months. “The boy from Fort Worth.” And I knew he must me good because all my musician friends were endorsing the youngin. He’s all of twenty and plays the blues.

Last week I walk in to my home away from home in Austin, Cboys Heart and Soul to see the best gig on a Monday, Charlie Jones and his band Jonesin.

There are seven drummers in Austin who I think are phenomenal, and Jones is high on that list. The other six are Snizz, John Speice IV, Robb Kidd, JJ Johnson, Johnny Radelat of Gary Clark Jr., and Alex Marrero, who is also a very talented singer and fronts Adrian Quesada’s Brown Sabbath, a Cumbria style cover band that Ozzy has declared “Fucking brilliant.”

Side note… if you don’t know who Adrian Quesada is, then you don’t know music. Texas Monthly did a write up not long ago about the seven degrees of Adrian. And said “He has either written, produced, or been in a band with anyone who is anyone in music today.” And that’s the truth. He is a Grammy winner and absolutely brilliant. Some of his current projects are Groupo Fantasma, Brownout, Brown Sabbath, Ecnocentrics, Spanish Gold, and most recently The Black Pumas featuring himself and Eric Burton. An overnight success for someone who definitely had overnight success coming after decades in the business. Back to my story…

I was thrilled to learn Dylan Bishop was opening for Jonesin and he did not disappoint. I was floored by his talent.

When he got off stage I went up to introduce myself.

“Dylan Bishop?,” it was more a statement then a question.

“Yes,” he grinned and tucked his hair behind his ear as he turned around.

“I’m Alexis. I believe you stayed at my house with Pope a month or so ago?”

His grin widened. “Yes! Thank you so much! Chad and I wrote songs at your kitchen counter.”

“YOU wrote songs at MY kitchen counter?” My mouth dropped open in awe. “Are you fucking serious?!”

He assured me he was serious. And I told him I immediately felt responsible for the success of his next album.

And I do. When he blows up, which he’s already doing, remember my kitchen. Clearly his source of inspiration.

That was a great Monday. Meeting Dylan. Hanging out with Charlie, Russell Lee, Jimmie Graves, Paul Hernandez, my girl Heather, swimming until 5 am playing chicken and having swim races. Russell killed the races, finishing before most got to the halfway mark.

Eric Burton of The Black Pumas was there and kept telling me my eyes had a light that shown brightly in them and that my dimples were gorgeous. My ego was bigger than Pope’s when i left Cboys to head next door to Misty’s to go swimming.

If you are in Austin you should check out Jonesin on Monday nights at Cboy’s. It’s the Monday night that feels like a weekend. Hilary York is the place to be at Cboy’s on Sunday nights. Her voice gives me the chills and her guitar playing and stage presence are something you cannot ignore. Jimmie Vaughn plays there most Friday and Saturday nights. Dylan recently scored a coveted residency and has the Tuesday slot, and The Matt Hubbard Trio opens for The Greyhounds on Wednesdays.

You’ll never be disappointed at Cboy’s. It’s where the musicians go to hang out and local and national celebrities are frequently called on stage to jam. You’re welcome.

Here’s another reason to go see Dylan. Not exactly hard on the eyes.

Losing it All

Sometimes you have to lose everything to gain anything. In the past two years I lost a six figure income job, a fiance, and recently I have put my house on the market, lost my job waiting tables, got in a major car wreck, and broke my phone.

I had held it all together pretty well, but one day a couple of weeks ago I sat down and started bawling. I had a major fight with my parents and I had decided I didn’t care if I was homeless, that whatever happened to me I could handle it.

“You can’t be serious,” a friend had said to me.

“Oh yes I am,” I replied. “I’ve already looked into shelters. I can move into the Union Gospel Mission and they allow children up to the age of 12, which gives me two and a half years to figure it out.”

My friend looked speechless.

It was at the moment of surrendering everything that things began to look up.

The easiest thing was replacing my phone. Next I got my car situation figured out and got a new car. Well, new to me. I’m still waiting to sell my house, but I have an apartment to move into, and I move September 11th. I finished real estate school and I take my test this week. I also got a job working for the real estate agent who is selling my house. I am going to be her assistant, and since she doesn’t work with buyers, she is giving me all the people who are referred to her as such. I also got a job at H&G Supply that I start on Wednesday.

I also started writing a book. Something that was in me for a long time, but I finally took the plunge.

Sometimes surrendering to your higher power and being willing to do absolutely anything is what it takes. It’s what it took for me and instantly things began falling into place.

I’ve been seeing the most adorable man who is 10 years younger than I am and a total freak about commitment, which is okay with me because I haven’t the faintest idea what I want. I’ve been a serial dater the last year or so, but there was just something different about this one.

For one, he has a good job. He’s a counselor for troubled youth, and that just makes my heart melt. He truly wants to make a difference in the world, something that resonates with me.

And he has a good head on his shoulders, which is also something new for me. Normally I date musicians who like the smell of cocaine a little too much.

He challenges me, which is something I also haven’t had in any of my recent relationships, not that we are calling this a relationship, but I did get the counselor to admit we are dating. Ha! I’m not letting him take that back either.

After being through pure hell the past two years, things are on the up and up. And something that I have gained is gratitude. I am absolutely, 100 percent grateful for everything I have in my life. I make gratitude list and almost daily try to think of what I can do to get out of my head and help someone else. This is something that was recommended to be for almost a year, but I naturally fight things that would benefit me and this was no exception.

If you are going through a rough patch, this is my advice… Realize this is a season, and this too shall pass. Happiness nor sadness last forever, it’s just not possible. Be grateful for what you have. Write it down. If you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for here are some things you might be overlooking…

Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have enough food to eat? Do you have clothing? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ you have something to be grateful for. Get out of your head. Smile at those around you. Figure out a way to serve others. It will get you out of your head space and make you feel better. If it doesn’t work right away keep doing it. It took me a hot minute, or six months, but it finally worked. And I’m not looking back.

Phish

When your life is in the gutter why not try to uplift your spirits with a Phish show? Some people in the fellowship I am in were going and I thought it would be great to go see some live music with people I knew were going to be sober.

My friend and I arrived in Austin and met up with our sober friends and went to lunch. We were all really excited about the show and talking about being in the Pit {right up front} for the show.

After lunch we went back to meet up with more sober friends and get ready for the show. We wanted to be there early and check out the Shakedown. A strip where Phisheads meet to sell t-shirts and get together and hang out before the show starts.

We make our way into the venue and claim our spots right in front of the stage. My friend had driven some of his friends from college to the venue because they were drinking and we wanted them to be safe.

The show was amazing. They played for three and a half hours. After the show and everyone was dropped off safe and sound we headed back to Fort Worth my friend had to work the next day and I had a lot of stuff to get done.

The stories we got from the guys that stayed in Austin were of Epic proportion. I had never heard such crazyness. The closest thing I had ever heard to this kind of story was the Steve Poltz drug bust. If you haven’t heard that crazy tale you should google it.

Apparently… when we dropped the drinking friends off they Ubered out to continue the party. The girl, let’s call her Kate, had a story that was out of a movie. I didn’t think this stuff happened in real life.

She had gone to my favorite bar Cboy’s and met up with some other friends who had attended the show. She got separated from her husband and her phone was dead.

“How on earth did you get separated?!” I inquired on the phone the next day in disbelief.

We went to the Continental Gallery, and there was a jazz band playing and I got kicked out for being to loud. My husband wanted to stay so I said I’d just walk to Cboy’s and we’d meet up later. I walked out of the bar and a creepy guy started following me, so I ran across the street to the Austin Motel to ask them to call me a cab because I realized my phone was dead and they wouldn’t let me back upstairs to tell my husband.

When she got across the street the lobby was locked and the creepy guy was now right behind her. I ask if she could borrow his phone and he kept trying to get her to go swimming. He said if she went swimming with him he would let her use his phone. Drunk and desperate she agreed.

The pool was closed as it was nearing 2 a.m. They had climbed the fence to get in. Luckily the security guard saw what happened and ran to get them out of the pool. She ran to him and grabbed him and ask him to call her a cab.

He took her to the lobby and locked the crazy guy out. He called a cab and she took it back to Cboy’s where she knew some other friends of hers were. When the cab pulled up her friend was outside with 7 others who had been to the show. He told her to get in the cab with them and he’d eventually get her back to her husband.

when they arrived at his place She ask if she could plug in her phone to charge it. She was immediately uncomfortable when she got back to his ranch in South Austin because she said everyone there was doing cocaine and there seemed to be mounds of the white powder everywhere. The guy plugged her phone in and after a few minutes she became even more frustrated because it wasn’t charging. She was trapped.

The “friend” told her not to worry because they were about to “have some fun” and hop on an ATV that sat nine people and go four wheeling. She really had no option at that point but was quickly sobering up.

She got on the ATV with 7 guys and sped off on the property. She said they approached a thicket on part of the property that had a locked gate. One of the guys jumped off and unlocked it. She said they went for about another mile and there was another locked gate. They went through five locked gates total and she was getting more and more nervous.

After they went through the fifth gate they pulled into a clearing and everyone began jumping out of the ATV and reluctantly she did too. There was a huge open barn in the clearing. The friend flipped a few switches and she said the entire place lit up. He plugged in his bluetooth and cranked up some music. And busted out the coke.

“Here I am trapped in south Austin, on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere with six guys I don’t know and a bunch of cocaine. It was pretty terrifying and I kept asking to get back to my husband. I wanted no part of this situation.”

“I’ll bet,” I replied. “Jesus, it sounds like a fucking nightmare.”

“It gets worse.”

“Worse how in the fuck does it get worse?”

She continues the story. There was one guy I latched onto because he seemed normal and wasn’t doing blow. He was a father who had met my friend at the show. He had flown in from Denver and needed to catch a flight at 9 am back to Denver. She kept asking him to help her get back to the house and get an Uber back to her husband.

Then that guy looked over and spotted several brick type looking things wrapped in plastic wrap.

“If I didn’t know better I’d say those look like kilos of cocaine.”

She looked over too, and her heart immediately began racing.

“Is that what those are?!” She counted 16 wrapped bundles. Then she recognized one of the other guys they were with as a “huge cocaine dealer in the Widespread Panic community.” She kept talking saying her stomach was in such knots she started throwing up. I just wanted to get back to my husband.

She convinces the “normal guy” to get her friend back to the house. Her phone was still dead. She started crying.

The normal guy said something along the lines of, hey, I have a plane to catch in a couple hours and need to get the hell out of here too. Here, I’ll call an Uber right now. He did and she said it took another full hour for the Uber to arrive. They Ubered back to his hotel and then he plugged in this credit card information and sent her back to where she was staying.

When she arrived at the place she was staying she realized she didn’t have the four digit code to get in the place. Luckily they were staying across the street from the Driskell and it was now 5:30 am, when some people were getting up for work. She walked in the hotel and there was a nice looking older gentleman on his phone. She ask if she could borrow the phone and she called her husband.

She got the code and did the walk of shame back across the street to unlock the gate into the place she was staying.

Naturally, her husband was not to thrilled he had lost contact with her for seven hours.

I can’t imagine that conversation went well, but damn. She was lucky to be alive.

You Might Have a Drinking Problem If…

I remember one morning my best college friend and I had woken up hung over. I’m pretty sure I skipped a test. And work. And sunlight that day. And anything other than Diet Coke and Wheat Thins.

The night before we had been at a fraternity party and the cops came, presumably to bust up our fun. My friend and I were in the back yard with about two hundred other college students and standing right in front of the cops.

The cops decided to be pretty cool and told everyone they had sixty seconds to put down whatever they were drinking and leave the party.

My friend and I both had unopened beers.

I remember my friend saying “Sixty seconds? We could drink two beers!”

And we both opened our beers and chugged them.

I’m not sure how we didn’t get arrested, but we didn’t that night.

Another night, I had decided I had had too much to drink, and the responsible thing to do was walk home with my favorite frat boy crush to where I lived right by campus. Which was a garage apartment. I might add, although not relevant to the story, this was during a time where there was a TCU {Texas Christian University} rapist on the loose and if my garage apartment had to be described by the Three Little Pig standards, my place would have been the first to have been blown down.

The AC units were held in by very sturdy card board. And boys were very quick to want to walk you home during this time. Especially in the shack I lived in. I’d like to take a moment to thank the boys, especially the one’s who all lived in Jim Squires house. I was walked home more times by those guys than I could ever begin to count. Sorry I broke your porch swing that one night. Who knew you weren’t supposed to swing that high? My bad. Whatever happened to Jim Squires? Do you still have a band? Note to self… must google and search social media when I finish typing. Does Byron still play stand up bass? Did Josh ever become a geologist. Are y’all still friends with Will Sykes, and is he still hot? So much research to do…

Back to the story.

I was walking home with my SAE {which everyone knows stands for Same-Assholes-Everywhere} crush, and I started to get sick. Like, violently ill. And lo and behold, who shows up but the TCU popo. They get out of the Jeep Cherokee and begin asking if I’m intoxicated.

“No. She just ate something that didn’t agree with her,” the SAE rationally said.

I continued to puke and the officer said it smelled like alcohol and he would have to drive us both to where we lived separately. I became livid.

“WE’RE WALKING HOME. GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK. WE’RE IN COLLEGE, WE CAN GO BACK TO MY PLACE IF WE WANT TO.”

More rational Same Asshole Everywhere is trying to pull my arms and whisper to me he’ll just drive back over, to which I start my tyraid again.

“Can you even stop us? We’re on a public street.”

Then the officer informed me I was actually two feet on the TCU campus, and if I had puked two feet away they wouldn’t have jurisdiction. This enraged me even more.

“SO YOU’RE GOING TO DROP HIM OFF SO HE CAN GET IN HIS CAR AND DRIVE BACK OVER, WELL THAT SEEMS LIKE A BRILLIANT PLAN.”

SAE boy and I ended up in alcohol and drug awareness classes together because of my always on point mouth.

I stand by what I said though. Walking was much safer. At least when we finished our classes we walked to The Pub. And I didn’t get sick walking home again. And if I did, I made sure to puke in the middle of the public street.

The Homeless Girl

Yesterday I was waiting tables and a homeless pregnant lady walked in and ask for a glass of ice water. I went to the back to get her one and brought it out to her and handed it to her. I was thinking she probably wanted to get out of the heat, so I hadn’t brought it in a to go cup. Then thinking she probably wanted the cup, I ask if she wanted one to go.

She replied, “Yes please.” And I scurried to the back to fill one of our very tiny to go glasses.

I brought it back out and handed it to her and she thanked me over and over.

I told her it seriously wasn’t a big deal, and that I hoped she had a blessed day.

She left and one of my tables called me over.

“That was the nicest thing,” the father said to me.

I looked puzzled. “Getting her water?”

“No, the way you treated her. You were so kind,” he replied.

“Well everyone deserves kindness, and to be treated with dignity and respect. I mean… that could be me, and I’d want someone to be nice to me.”

And lord, that’s the truth. If I don’t sell my house soon it may be me out on the street. And someone better be nice enough to give me a glass of damn water, even if I’m not pregnant.

It doesn’t cost anything to be kind. And the benefits are everlasting.

Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Cboy’s Heart and Soul is one of my favorite places to see music in Austin. And Monday night is one the best nights there. Charlie Jones heads up Jonesin, and you can’t help but want to get on the dance floor and shake a tail feather. He is usually accompanied by Odis Hill on Bass, Paul Walker on guitar, and James Bullard on guitar, but the list of guests he has is endless.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting with another regular, Hilary York, who plays Sunday nights, when she motions she is going to talk to someone at the bar. I turn around and my mouth drops open.

“Is that who I think it is?”

“Yes.”

She gets up and walks over to local and national legend, Gary Clark Jr., who is just sitting at the bar listening to his old band. Charlie was his original drummer and James was his original bass player.

Hilary chats for a minute and saunters off to go dance. I needed another Topo Chico, so I walk up to the bar next to where he is sitting.

The following conversation transpires:

GCJ: “Hey, do you want me to scoot down and make room for you?”

Me: “Oh no, I don’t want to bother you. But… there is something you could do for me.”

GCJ: “Oh yeah? What’s that?”

Me: “You could get up and play a couple of songs.”

GCJ: {Laughs} “Oh could I?

Me: “It would, like, make my life. I drove down here from Fort Worth today and I listened to you and Leon Bridges the whole way here.”

GCJ: “It would make your life, huh? Well… if it would make your life… I might sound like shit though.”

Me: {laughs} “You? Sound like shit. Right. I bet you’ll just sound awful.”

GCJ: {laughing as well} “I might, I just might. You never know. What’s your name?”

Me: “Me?? Alexis.”

GCJ: “Pleasure to meet you Alexis, you sure you don’t want to sit down?”

Me: “No, no, it’s okay. I’m just getting my drink.”

Walks off without my drink in awe.

Gary did not sound like shit. They sounded amazing. Charlie played a couple of songs with him and then had Russell Lee, another amazing Austin drummer sit in. It was a beautiful evening.

This past Monday Adam, Bob Schneider’s guitar player jumped on stage with Charlie as well as Guy Forsyth, another Austin music legend. JJ Johnson of the Tedeschi Trucks was at the bar listening and chatting up his friends while on a rare tour break.

Catch my favorites if you are in the Austin area:

Sunday: Hilary York, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Monday: Charlie Jones, Jonesin, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Tuesday: Ephraim Owens, Continental Gallery

Wednesday: Matt Hubbard Trio followed by the Greyhounds, Cboy’s Heart and Soul

Thursday: Mike Barfield, Barfield the Texas Tyrant, The Continental Club

Friday and Saturday: Josh Perdue, The Lost Counts, The Continental Gallery

You won’t be disappointed, and you never know who might walk in and jump on stage.

I thought you said you were wearing all black…

At TCU {Texas Christian University} I was a professional student. I would have gotten a degree in everything there with the exception of anything science related. I graduated {when my parents threatened to stop paying for my education} with degrees in Criminal Justice and Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Math, Social Work, Sociology, Religion and Psychology.

When my parents told me I had one semester left to graduate I pulled it together and did it.

I also told my parents I needed one more elective and it had to be going to NYC to intern for the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Out of 700 candidates, I got the best internship. A prestigious internship with the Detroit Free Press, which apparently has/had the best internship program for journalism students. I was pissed.

I wanted to work for MTV Rock the Vote and it said so on my application. I was more interested in Puff Daddy than George Bush.

Upon trying to find my boss in a crowded lobby in the Hilton Hotel on 53rd, we were both on cell phones that were breaking up. I thought she said she was wearing all black.

“That’s my favorite color!” I exclaimed with much enthusiasm. “So sliming.”

Turns out she was behind me. She was black and was wearing a denim skirt and white blouse. She snaps her phone together and looks at me with disgust.

It was not a good first impression.

She had my resume in her hand and said, “It says hear you wanted to work for MTV?” I nod my head up and down.

“Do you know anything about politics? Do you even know how to write?”

I said I knew who George Bush was, and I had been told I was a pretty talented writer.

I ended up with three bylines and a photo credit that week.

I met Larry King, Tim Russert, who called me “lil red”, Wolf Blitzer, Rudy Guliani, George Bush, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Anderson Cooper, the list is endless.

The night before the last night of the convention my boss took me out until 5 am. We had four bottles of champagne between the two of us. She told me I needed to change my clothes and meet her at her room in 15 minutes.

I informed her I might die if I did that, and she said if I wanted to be in this business, to get use to it.

I went upstairs and puked several times and threw clothes on.

She was eating powdered donuts in the cab and I had to open the door and start puking. I still hate the smell of a powdered donut.

We get to our work station in Madison Square Gardens and she sends me to cover a story.

It was a fat man and I could barely see and my body was dripping in sweat.

In what seemed like seconds the fat man stopped talking and I looked at my notepad. I had drawn a heart. Hmph.

I went back to the table and Allison ask me if we needed to write a story.

“Nope.” I replied with confidence.

“He didn’t say anything important?”

“Nope.”

Allison looks at me questioningly and I said I had better get on the floor to see what was going on in the convention room of Madison Square Gardens.

When I got home to Fort Worth that evening and turned on the news Peter Jennings face appeared to announce the “Person of the Week.” Someone he was calling the Architect of the Republican Convention.

And low and behold, a picture of the fat man came on the screen.

Karl Rove.

My jaw dropped.

Oh Fuck.

Needless to say my career in news did not take off.

Hey, if it had been Puff Daddy I would have known who the hell he was.

 

Probation Conditions

As part of my probation, it was stated that if I had a violation of any kind, I would have to get an ankle monitor. I was absolutely positive that would never happen. Then life happened.

I have an interlock in my car to detect if I have been drinking. While driving home from Austin and it was going off, it kept failing to detect my breath and kept saying “blow again” so I would. Over and over and over. The thing refused to work. I stopped to get gas and the car wouldn’t start again because it wouldn’t read my breath.

Naturally I started crying.

Then it locked me out and said… Violation.

I called Smart Start to figure out what on earth was going on. The lady on the phone explained that because I live in Texas, the humidity can build up in the monitor and cause it to not read.

I ask her what to do.

She told me to go in the gas station and put the interlock in one of the freezers for a few minutes.

“But if you disconnect it, it says abort tamper, which is another violation.”

She told me unless I wanted to stay at the gas station, I was going to have to disconnect it.

When my probation officer found out, she immediately ordered an ankle bracelet.

“But I didn’t do anything wrong!” I whined.

“Doesn’t matter,” she replied. It clearly states if you have a violation of any kind, you get an ankle monitor.”

I spent the next few weeks in long pants and full of resentment. I was fucking pissed. This little new accessory cost $500/month. I have been complaining to anyone who will listen and bitching that this is all about money and how dare they do this…

No one cares.

A few days ago I started googling ‘celebrities with ankle monitors’ and Martha Stewart was one of the first to pop up. She looked charming in hers. Eve and Andy Dick were pictured showing their’s off on various red carpets, which prompted me to make a decision. I was going to show mine off too.

I’ve been extra pissed because I wasn’t going to be able to go swimming with my kids. Then I thought… I’m pretty flexible… I bet I could just hang my legs on the edge and submerge my body.

And what do you know… it worked. So if you see me out and about with my new very expensive jewelry, you’ll know why.

I think I’m going to bedazzle the mother fucker.

My First Drink

The first time I can remember chugging a drink I was eight years old. I was in the third grade at All Saints Episcopal school in Fort Worth. Every Friday was Eucharist, and All Saints served real wine. To grade school children. I remember the first sip I had. It was way better than Coke. A Cola folks. The white stuff came later, Jeez. I’m not Drew Barrymore. Although she was my idol growing up… Maybe that was a sign.

During the advent season we did what a lot of other places do, we collected cans to donate to a local shelter.

My friend Leigh and I were selected to carry the cans to the chapel.

Upon arrival we noticed the advent wreath was on fire and had turned over and the chapel was going up in flames.

I turned to go get help but Leigh grabbed my arm.

“Wait! The wine,” she exclaimed and I instantly knew what she meant.

We ran over to where the sacrament was stored and took turns chugging the wine, probably half a bottle.

Then we went to get help.

We got our picture in the paper and a pizza party for our class.

My first memory of alcohol and all I can think about is two-fold, one, God was involved from the very beginning, and two, I was rewarded for drinking. Something that would become a theme in early adolescence.

El Cosmico

There is something a bit magical that happens in the west Texas desert after you pass Alpine headed to Marfa. The rough rogue highway that leads you to the tiny town of Marfa is somewhat mystical. Marfa, the small Texas town that artist have been flocking to for decades is a must see if you are traveling in west Texas.

I had the pleasure of traveling there last summer when I took a Design Build Adventure class in welding led by Captain Jack Sanders, or as I knew him Jay, back when we became acquainted in the seventh grade at All Saints school in Fort Worth.

Jay, or rather Jack, and I were friends through high school and then, as people do when you go off to college and there is no such thing as Facebook, we drifted and went our separate ways. I stayed in Fort Worth with many of our high school friends and attended Texas Christian University. Jack went on to Auburn, I think…

When I saw Jack again at our ten-year reunion he was nothing like I remembered. He had transformed from Jay to Jack, had a beard, and looked way more hippieish than I ever remembered him. He had gone to architecture school and if I recall right, and I may not, it seems he was teaching at the University of Texas.

When Facebook came around we became ‘friends’ and I was able to catch up on his life. It appeared he was married, had kids, and was doing a lot of cool things, like teaching camps on how to weld.

That’s cool. I thought. I’d love to do that, something so… not me. So when I saw a post about his camp in Marfa I signed up and headed west to the rugged beauty of Marfa.

The camp was being held at El Cosmico, the most mystical magical place I have ever been. Liz Lambert, who is credited for revamping South Congress in Austin in the late 1990’s, brought her renegade spirit to Marfa and El Cosmico was born. A campground where you can, camp, obviously, in your own tent, OR you can sleep in a teepee, a yurt, or one of many adorable little trailers that each come with their own distinct personality.

I had chosen to stay in the smallest trailer available, Pinky, the color lived up to its name. I unpacked, put on a robe {one that I ended up purchasing in the gift shop and wear daily}, unpacked my bags, and went to go meet Captain Jack for our intro to camp happy hour.

Jack walked us along the property explaining that when he had first arrived there was nothing but some rusty plans and a dream. A dream that Liz Lambert had and he created.

I looked around awe-struck that the boy I had met in the seventh grade was responsible for creating such an amazing space in the desert. It’s just so… Marfa. It’s Austin meets desert in the hippest of ways.

There are wood burning hot tubs where you can relax and look up at the most beautiful of night skies. And it’s fun to walk around the property and take in the beauty of west Texas and the design of Captain Jack and Liz, their collaboration just mesmerizing.

I spent more in the gift shop then I did on my trailer and I treasure everything I came home with. I cannot wait to go back. I had planned to go in September for the anual Trans Pecos festival held at El Cosmico where my friends in Golden Dawn Arkestra play every year, but life happens and I was unable to attend. It’s definitely a goal for next year, and I should start planning now as the campground usually books up by this time of the year…

So if you get the itch to head west, don’t miss this spot. You’ll thank me later.