This fall, I taught a student forum through the American Studies department called “Critical Perspectives on Texas.” Historically Texas has served as a site of settler colonialism, racial domination, strict reification of gender roles and repressive sexuality, and economic importance with its oil and agricultural industries.
To name a few topics, the class examined: Texas’s modern-day electoral politics in sociohistorical context; intersectional feminist border studies and the Drug War; health care disparities, race, and climate change in Houston; gentrification and segregation in Austin; the legacy of plantation slavery in the influential Texas prison system; cowboy culture and the myth of the frontier; and indigenous resistance to the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
I grew up in Austin, Texas, and as an American Studies major, a growing activist, and someone who has become obsessed with regionalism since coming to Wesleyan, teaching this forum was a way for me to better understand my home and to help other students learn about the state through a critical lens. I wrote this piece, “Cracking Open a Pecan,” as a final project for our last day of class:
1984. W.Germany/France. Dir: Wim Wenders. With Harry Dean Stanton, Hunter Carson. 145 min.
In this wonderfully heartfelt portrait of a broken family, the late Stanton had the role of a lifetime as an amnesiac returning home after years and trying to reconnect with his young son. “New” German filmmaker Wenders (Wings of Desire) lends an outsider’s sense of alienation to the Texan landscape.
Pictured above: Denton, TX-based punksters Teenage Cool Kids bring some unholy fusion of garage punk, snide banter (“we’re from Montana; Teenage Cool Kids is up next”), and sheer sweat to Eclectic’s dining room late Saturday night. The band alternated between cuts from last year’s Denton After Sunset and ramshackle classic rock covers—including a filthy 90-second assault on “Helter Skelter” eventually credited to The Kinks. In attendance were about 18 people and a beach ball, but they were 18 of the most sincerely freaked out concertgoers I’ve ever encountered at Wesleyan.
Opening the show were Third Wheel—a former Awesomefest project featuring Adrien DeFontaine ’13, Molly Balsam ’14, and some third wheel—and DIVE, an appropriately reverb-drenched side project of Beach Fossils guitarist Z. Cole Smith and friends.
Pics and a “Helter freaking Skelter” video after the jump. Props to CG ’14 for organizing.
Not only is this article hilarious, but it makes you rethink your stereotypes a little bit. It also fits in with this lecture, though I’m not sure how Reverend Young would feel about homosexual sex and other not-so-Christian things.
The best part? If you’re single, well, have some chocolate cake. Also “How to move from whining about the economy to whoopee!”