Archives for November 2017

Texas Standard: November 30, 2017

A one way ticket back to Texas for Rex Tillerson? A new report details plans for a major cabinet shakeup by year’s end, we’ll have the latest. Also, she was a 25 year old school teacher, a former beauty queen, found dead in April of 1960. Her case: never solved. More than a half century later, a media circus descends on McAllen as opening arguments get underway in the murder trial against a former priest, the last person to see her alive. Also, a case of failure to launch? Why’s progress been so slow at the much ballyhooed SpaceX Texas launch site? And what’s in a name? A whole lot more than most, if the name is maverick. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Pearl Earl: “Cosmic Queen”

Denton’s Pearl Earl are part of the winter celebration sprawling across East Austin this weekend known as Saturnalia Fest. An all-female psych/garage rock experience, these ladies hone a sound that feels like it oozed out of a smokey time capsule.

“Cosmic Queen” pulls you down the psych-rock rabbit hole from the first note, not at all shying away from a vintage sound that’s sure to ring your strawberry alarm clock. Ariel Hatley’s groove-infused wails sound subterranean, highlighted by an ironically smooth transition into a climax of fuzzy, far-out garage rock scuzz.

Catch Pearl Earl at Sahara Lounge and Webberville Road Church at 3:30 on Sunday. See the full line-up and other information here.

-Taylor Wallace// host, Thursdays 8P & Saturdays 2P; Producer, Eklektikos with John Aielli

Judge Roy Bean

Texas has produced and nurtured a great number of colorful characters, but none more colorful than the prismatic Judge Roy Bean. He squeezed many showy lives into one lifetime. In fact, he didn’t become the Judge Roy Bean that Paul Newman immortalized on film until he was almost 60 years old. This proves my favorite maxim: “The greatest mistake in life is thinking it’s too late.”

In his earlier years, he was living in a poor area of San Antonio named for him. It was called Beanville. He tried and failed at many things, mostly for, ironically, running afoul of the law. He failed at selling firewood because he cut down trees that didn’t belong to him. He failed as a butcher because butchering other people’s maverick cows before you’ve bought them is frowned upon. He failed at selling milk because he watered it down. One customer complained that he found a minnow in his milk. Bean defended himself by saying, “That’s the last time I let that cow drink out of the creek before I milk her.” He eventually had some success when he opened a saloon in Beanville, but he sold out when he heard that there were rare opportunities out in west Texas where they were building the railroad.

It was in the lawless railroad camps that Bean’s vast knowledge of people, his bilingual fluency in Spanish and English, and his unique persuasion skills became prized. The Texas Rangers liked his style and recruited him to become Justice of the Peace in those parts. And he took to the role like he was sent there from central casting. Bean made it known that he was the “Law West of the Pecos.” He was actually playing on an older saying that went like this: “West of the Pecos there is no law; west of El Paso, there is no God.” So at least, now, there was law west of the Pecos. He hung out a sign saying so.

Bean was also famous for saying, “Hang ‘em first and try ‘em later.” Though it certainly worked as a deterrent, the truth is he never actually hung anybody. It’s true. There was no jail in Langtry, so Judge Bean would often keep accused criminals chained to a mesquite tree outside until he could have a trial. On a few occasions he would sentence a young man to hang for some generally unhangable offense. The night before the hanging, Bean would leave the lock open, allowing him to escape. The young criminal would never be seen in those parts again.

In time, Bean opened his famous saloon there in Langtry on the right of way of the railroad. He was actually just squatting there, but the railroad, because they liked him, eventually created a legal arrangement so he could stay. He named his bar the Jersey Lilly in honor of Lillie Langtry, of England, one of the world’s most beautiful women at the time. Bean wrote to her and asked her to visit Langtry, Texas, which he claimed was named for her (it wasn’t). She did come to see him, too, but she had to visit him in his grave. She was ten months too late. But that’s another story.

The trains would stop at the Langtry depot for water and all the passengers would get down to have a drink at the Jersey Lilly. When Judge Roy Bean served customers in his saloon, he never had change. So if a customer paid for a 25 cent beer with a dollar, he wouldn’t get back the 75 cents. If he complained, the judge would fine him 75 cents for disturbing the peace.

Stories about the abusive Judge Roy Bean got out in the world, and rather than drive people away, everyone on the trains wanted to stop and get harassed by the irascible Bean. You could say Bean’s Jersey Lilly was a precursor to Dick’s Last Resort in today’s world.

He had a law book called the “1879 Revised Statutes of Texas0.” He liked that one. Even though the legislature sent him new books every two years, reflecting new laws, he burned them. He said he liked the old book better and he like those laws better, too.

As a justice of the peace, he could marry people. He had no legal right to divorce people, but he did that anyway. He believed that if he made the mistake of marrying them he should be able to correct the mistake by setting them free. Bean also officially pronounced people “dead.” He merged his duties on occasion. He would use his official pronouncement of death as the last thing he said at a wedding: “I pronounce you man and wife. May God have mercy on your souls.”

The Jersey Lilly was also where Judge Bean held court. And so, naturally, you couldn’t be on a jury if you didn’t drink. Right in the middle of happy hour, you might say, he would assemble a jury and swear them in. The case would be presented, verdicts arrived at, and sentencing pronounced, all within an hour or two. Often the sentence for misdemeanors was to buy a round of drinks for the jury. He was very patriotic about Texas, too. He often preceded sentencing with words like: “You have offended the great state of Texas by committing this crime on her sacred soil… “

One of his most famous cases had to do with a dead man who fell off a bridge there in Langtry. Bean found $40 on him and a pistol. He fined him $40 for carrying a concealed weapon. That was enough to get him buried.

Bean rose to international prominence when he promoted the World Heavyweight Championship prizefight between Fitzsimmons and Maher. Believe it or not, prizefighting, back then, was illegal in Texas. It was considered uncivilized. At first, the fight looked like it might be held on the sly in El Paso, so the Texas governor sent 25 Texas rangers over there to make sure it didn’t happen. Then, it seemed like it might be held in Juarez, but such fighting was illegal there, too, though only a misdemeanor. Nonetheless, the governor of Chihuahua sent troops to Juarez to make sure the fight didn’t happen there, either. Finally, in steps Judge Roy Bean. He sent a telegram to the promoter saying they could have it in Langtry, right across the river on a Rio Grande sand bar. Technically, Mexico, yes, but miles from any authority that would be able to stop it.

So the whole menagerie of unlikely associates, boxers, gamblers, Texas Rangers, high-rollers from the East, and spectators of all stripes, boarded a train bound for parts unknown because the destination was kept a secret. Bean met them at his rail-side saloon, sold everybody beer at the exorbitant price of a dollar each, and then escorted them across a pontoon bridge to the Mexican side of the river. The Texas Rangers watched from the Texas side, satisfied that they had no jurisdiction in the matter. The fight ensued, and before the spectators could get settled in for a good, long match, it was over. Fitzsimmons knocked out Maher in the first round. The fight lasted 95 seconds. But the big winner was Judge Roy Bean. He sold a lot of beer and his name went out over the wires worldwide as the clever man who made the fight possible.

Judge Roy Bean lived his life in ascendancy, saving the best for last. Had he died twenty years earlier, you never would have heard of him. I wouldn’t be talking about him. His fame is still bringing some 40,000 visitors a year to Langtry, over a century after his death. Not bad numbers for a dead man. As a lifelong showman, you can be sure he’s grinning in his grave.

This Song: Cut/Copy

Australian electronic band Cut/Copy has a new record out called Haiku from Zero.  They’ve been making music that melds samples with live instrumentation since the early 2000’s. Listen as founder Dan Whitford explains how hearing The Avalanches “A Different Feeling” when he first started his career helped open his eyes to how creative and expansive dance music could be.

Subscribe via the Podcasts App, iTunes or Stitcher to get the new episodes of This Song delivered to you as soon as they come out.


Check out Cut Copy’s Tour Dates

Buy Cut/Copy’s new record “Haiku from Zero”

Listen to Songs from Episode 107 of This Song


Texas Standard: November 29, 2017

Midterms aren’t usually the most exciting elections, but there’s a whole lotta shakin goin on: political turnover our top story today. Also, more than 30 quakes this year in and around Pecos, more than all recorded there in the past ten years put together. We’ll ask why. Plus, the university of Texas, landing soon in New Mexico? Or maybe Texas A&M? Details of the forthcoming battle for Los Alamos and whether there’s a Rick Perry factor. And as the hurricane season draws to a close, voices from a storm more than a hundred years ago that forever changed the Lone Star State. That and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 28, 2017

A republican led race to wrap up a rare rewrite of the nations tax laws hits stumbling blocks in the senate. We’ll hear what provisions are causing problems on the hill and what the cuts could add up to in the political near term. Also, fears growing among many Texas businesses as NAFTA negotiators prepare for round six. And you’ve heard of sanctuary cities? Now hear this: some cities are asking for their police to be deputized into immigration enforcement. And the case that could be the biggest of the century for privacy rights, and why it matters for anyone with a smartphone. All that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 27, 2017

2018: the year of the underdog? With two weeks left for filing in next years elections, why it may turn into the year of the under card. Also- the emergency within an emergency. As Harvey’s rains hammered Houston, a chemical plant fire created the potential for an explosive catastrophe. What a new report says about disaster preparation in one of the world’s petrochemical capitals. Also the keystone pipeline once again takes center stage after an oil spill. And pushing back against the bullies. A north Texas mosque trying to help young muslims. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

The Late Dick Gregory, part 1 (Ep. 51, 2017)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. presents an interview from 2000 with pioneering comedian, social critic, civil rights activist, author and wellness guru Dick Gregory, who passed away August, 19, 2017, at the age of 84.

Texas Standard: November 24, 2017

The economic impact of Texas music amounts to $3.6 billion a year. But with global changes to the industry, is Texas music still hitting the mark? Though the Lone Star State may not have the publishing houses or the recording companies of the two coasts, the artist roster has long been tough to top. And: Though some claim to be able to sing you the story of Texas music by heart, a new manifesto claims the so-called experts don’t know the half of it. Today veteran journalists Andy Langer, Michael Hall and Katy Vine of Texas Monthly join us for a review of the state of the art and its future. Our special music edition of the Texas Standard.

Texas Music

Texas Standard put together a special program on Texas music in collaboration with Texas Monthly. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

KUT Weekend – November 24, 2017

A new effort in Austin ISD to push for more equal outcomes among black, white and Hispanic kids. Plus, what the Thanksgiving weekend is like for southeast Texans still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. And why the Trump administration is considering a Texas professor to help lead the Census Bureau. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Texas Standard: November 23, 2017

They traveled to a new world and the native peoples embraced them, breaking bread on the banks of the Rio Grande. We’ll explore the other first thanksgiving. And: As families across the Lone Star State feast on the traditions of the day, a historian tells us about a chapter missing from most history books: and how the great meat crisis could have left us having hippo for dinner. Also: A pigskin rivalry that many thought was one for the history books: could Texas and Texas A&M kickstart a turkey day tradition? Plus: Holiday movies, how a newcomer is building Texas roots with her boots, the gratitude attitude in post-Harvey Houston and a whole lot more. It’s a special Thanksgiving edition of the Texas Standard.

Texas Standard: November 22, 2017

Hundreds of thousands of Texas homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. But getting a total cost estimate of all that? It’s complicated, we’ll have the latest. It perhaps comes as no surprise. But new details reveal just how tied Texas is to Mexican drug cartels and corrupt officials. Plus- many a doorstep will be flooded with Amazon packages this holiday season. A closer look at how those boxes got there. And fighting traffic this holiday weekend? The “rude” maneuver that’s actually helping to move things along faster. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 21, 2017

The Governor offers $20,000 for information about an attack on border agents. But questions remain–was it really an attack? The story today on the Texas Standard.

What we know, and don’t know about the death of a US border agent near Van Horn.

Also, a John Doe, kicked out of the University of Texas for sexual assault–reinstated—at least for now. We’ll ask why.

For the second time in a row, a Mexican-American studies text is rejected by state officials…no ethnic studies classes? Not exactly. we’ll hear more…

Home for the holidays? Not in parts of southeast Texas–Harvey’s homeless three months on….
Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard

This Song: Angel Olsen

Singer and Songwriter Angel Olsen’s latest record “Phases” is a collection of B-sides and rarities that chronicles her musical journey. Listen as she describes how the The Velvet Underground influenced her on that journey, and how Lou Reed’s “Coney Island Baby”  is helping her in the current moment.

Photo: Martin do Nascimento/KUTX

Check out Angel Olsen’s New Record “Phases”

Check out Angel Olsen’s Tour Dates

Check out the This Song episode featuring Hamilton Leithauser

Subscribe via the Podcasts App, iTunes or Stitcher to get the new episodes of This Song delivered to you as soon as they come out.

Listen to Songs from Episode 106 of This Song


Will Downing (Ep. 50, 2017)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with recording artist Will Downing, “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul,” about his three-facade recording career, and his recovery from a debilitating illness that threatened his career.

Texas Standard: November 20, 2017

As millions of Texans hit the highways for the start of holiday season, new signs that the bell may be tolling for toll roads. But with costs and complaints and traffic all up, are we nearing a tipping point when it comes to Texas’ free market philosophy for transportation? We’ll explore. And in a small Texas town turned upside down by a church shooting, Thanksgiving arrives early. Also, the homeless often get more attention this time of year, now the spotlight turns to what some say are laws that keep people homeless. And with miles of pipeline connecting oilfields to Corpus Christi, a plan to pipe something back west, and maybe around the world, too. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Higher Ed: Education’s Four-Letter Word

T-E-S-T. That word almost always strikes fear in the hearts of students. They’re worried about doing well, getting a high grade, and comparing their performance to that of their classmates. In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore stressful test culture. Who hasn’t had a “horror” story experience of taking a test? Ed and Jennifer share some memorable ones and take a closer look at why testing is so stressful. One reason: we tie our own worthiness into our test performance. Ed talks about how to decouple ourselves from our performance and how to make meaning out of our work on a test no matter what the grade. Listen to the full episode to hear what words of encouragement Ed says you should never tell a test taker. You will also get the result to the tricky train puzzler. It sounds like an arithmetic challenge, but there may be more to it.

This episode was recorded Sept. 22, 2017.

KUT Weekend – November 17, 2017

A coal-plant near Austin is set to close, delivering a major blow to the town of Rock Port. Plus, new reporting finding sexual harassment is pervasive at the Texas Capitol. And why merging at the last minute could help reduce traffic congestion. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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