My West: Billy the Kid part 1

MY WEST: Billy The Kid Part I

Howdy. *grin* my first blog in so long I have forgotten when the last one was.  I HOPE for this to be the first in a series of blogs about “My West” – West as in The Great American Cowboy.

Sometimes I get a tiny bit frustrated that so few people – and I’m talking about Friends with a capital F – people I Like a whole bunch, Love, Admire – people with whom I wish to share things that mean a great deal to me – how very few share my love and interest in the American West of the post Civil War to early 20th Century era of United States History.

A Person is the result of the combination of “Where You Were When.”  This is more than just where we were born/raised . . . our “formative years.”  “When” also includes “Now.”

I was born in a small town in the Texas Panhandle, named after a breed of cattle.  “Hereford” to be exact.  My Mother’s Family always had a serious case of wanderlust and by the time I was 4 we had lived in Hereford, Amarillo, and Roswell.  Yes THAT Roswell.

I say by the time I was age 4 because I am blessed AND cursed with a ridiculous memory.  I clearly remember my 4th birthday; I sort of had a birthday party.  It was at my maternal grandmother’s house in Roswell, New Mexico and was attended by my Mom’s little brother plus her three sisters and their husbands and some cousins.  My cousins on my Mom’s side all referred to our grandparents as “MawMaw and PawPaw.”

I have a ton of memories before my 4th birthday but I can’t put them in order.  My earliest memory is of teaching myself to whistle – – – listening to the wind whistling in and out of the old house we lived in at that time – and also sound effects on the soap operas my Mom listened to on the radio.  In the 1990’s I learned that event took place when I was 8 months old.

I’m wrestling with myself over how much to say about “When” and I guess that I may as well admit that “I” – the author of this blog and the person who operates Path and his brothers in Second Life – is considerably older than the “late thirties” I portray Path to be.  Late thirties is a good average of my RL chronological age and my “internal age” which is 5.

The thing is – my parents grew up in the Depression.  The got married when my Dad was 15 and my Mom 13 and the dark family secret was that they slipped off to Oklahoma in order to be married that young and then had to get remarried in Texas – by which time my Dad was 16 and my Mom was 14.  So my parents got married 10 days after my Mom’s 14th birthday.  I was born 2 years and 2 weeks after my Mom’s 14th birthday.

So about my memories – I have vivid memories of – people, places, doing things that happened before my 4th birthday/beer bust.  Like being at the Railroad Depot in Amarillo when my Dad came home after the end of World War II.

By the time I was 16 my “Where I was When” was the American Southwest in the 1940’s and 50’s.  The When and Where are two important legs of a person’s Environment; obviously the people who have an effect upon people make up the third leg of that Environment.

Within this past year (2016) I completed reading a book about the life of Frank Hamer – the Texas Ranger / Police Officer who was most responsible for putting an end to the career of the outlaw couple Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow).  I actually hope to write on this series of blogs long enough to address Bonnie and Clyde this remark is actually about Mr. Hamer during a time leading up to the “Barrow Gang’s crime spree.  The book is a very complete biography of Mr. Hamer’s Life the event to which I refer was a huge, destructive Race Riot which took place in 1930, in Sherman, Texas.  This article gives an overview of that event. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jcs06

The biography of Mr. Hamer includes much more detail than the article referenced; the point is – reading about that event which I had never heard of before in my life – helped me to better understand the racism of my parents.  I will probably touch upon this again but the seemingly inborn hatred of my parents toward Black People was – – it’s difficult to describe.  Especially when discussing one’s parents.  They inherited their racism from there time – and place, and during my formative years there was nothing to mitigate that racism.  It included Hispanic people also but – I’ll get back to this subject later in this series of blogs.  Just please know that with me – it didn’t take.  By my early teens I KNEW that my parents were wrong.

My Dad was a cowboy – for a short time in his life.  He always said that he worked on a “Farm” but he had a horse, (no car) and did the work of a wrangler plus a farm hand.  During the immediate period following my Dad’s death in 1991, my Mom’s sisters – my Aunt Imogene and Geraldine (Genie and Jerry) – told me about my Dad courting my Mom.  They said he would ride up on his horse, his dog following, and their “dates” consisted of going for a walk – the two of them in front, the horse following – his reins hanging down to the dirt road, and of course the dog bounding along with them, exploring and sniffing.

He was raised by a very staunch Assembly of God family; his mother (who was called “Grandmother” by me and all my cousins) was a founding member of the First Assembly of God Church in Hereford and last I heard, her name is on a plaque inside the current building housing that entity.  During the time that he was affiliated with the AOG (his birth in 1924 until about 1951) in his very strict family, movies were considered to be inventions of the devil; by the time my Dad had gotten out on his own he was totally infused with a Love of Movies; in fact a week before his death he and I watched a John Wayne movie together.

He loved movies in general but most of all he loved westerns.  That dual love was definitely passed to me; when I finally got around to getting a degree after retiring from the U.S. Navy I studied Television and Motion Picture Production (as Art Forms).

I grew up loving western movies – and, although early on I had a child’s inability to discern the difference between a quality movie from a piece of junk I did figure out that – although I totally LOVED Roy Rogers, the movies my Dad took me to that featured Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, Robert Mitchum, Preston Foster and Gregory Peck seemed to have a certain something about them that told better stories than those staring Roy, Gene Autry, Lash LaRue, the Durango Kid et al.  A sort of footnote: I never saw a Hopalong Cassidy movie in a Theater.

Following that 1946 Birthday Party Bash, my Dad, Mom and I moved to El Paso,TX for a while and then lived much of 1947 in various places in New Mexico, finally settling in Pampa, Texas which is Northeast of Amarillo.  (Hereford is another 50 miles or so Southwest of Amarillo.)   Between 1947 and 1949 we visited many “places of interest” in New Mexico – including Carlsbad Cavern, White Sands, and Lincoln, New Mexico.

Lincoln was and is famous for having been the center of the “Lincoln County War” of the 1870’s; the most famous – or infamous – participant in that war is without a doubt Billy the Kid.

I remember my Dad explaining how Billy managed to escape being held in Jail in the Lincoln County Courthouse, saying that he was playing cards with his jailor and dropped a card and because of his cuffs and chains couldn’t retrieve the card himself so his Jailer bent over to retrieve the card and Billy took his gun.

It was during this era that my cousin Larry Don and I went to see a movie called “The Kid From Texas” which was one of Audey Murphy’s earliest movies – and I remember wondering why they named it that because didn’t everyone know that Billy The Kid was from New York City?

To Be Continued . . .

“Performance Art 1”

A lot of what I’m going to say refers back to a lot of what I have written in previous posts.  In capsule, for the past year I have been on a self-imposed “Mission” to make up for lost time by attempting to create works of Art which I was originally inspired to do way back in the 1980’s while working toward a BFA at the University of Oklahoma.

The “Inspirational Goal” was – and now Is – to illustrate that Sex can be Art.  Within Second Life, the Paramount being a sort of “adjacent part” of the SL Dance Community, a year ago I came to the conclusion that it was time to try to bring some of those ideas – “inspirations” if you will – to Life.  Well Second Life.  As I have said before, the Night Players Theater was a “spin off” from the Paramount to be a venue where performers may present their works in an absence of censorship.

The reason for the 30 year delay has been quite simply, “stuff is legal in sl that is not legal in much of real life.”  Particularly Real Life in Oklahoma, USA.

My goal has not been to make “porn” – although, as with many things, the definition of pornography seems to wander around all over the place.  Pornography’s definition has not become as elusive as the definition of “Art” but it definitely has “evolved” during these past 30 years.

Chief among my goals in this endeavor was to use the skills I had learned in three years of Dance and Choreography in sl to create “Performance Art” (another term which is very slippery to define).  Not just having people get on pose balls and do . . . what comes natuarlly to pose balls; my goal has always been to choreograph Acts.  My first effort, which had the working title of Stags, became “Primal Instinct,” in which the sex was very low key.

Quite honestly, although some other people declared some of my subsequent works to be “Art” – I did not – and still don’t consider them as such; my goal at the time they were made was for them to be entertainment.  Entertainment involving sex.  I actually spent a lot of time i should have been asleep pondering, “does entertainment + sex = porn?”

In time I quit caring.  For one thing there are many to whom all of my acts involving sex are porn. I decided that if i were making sl stage acts that were porn, I would make them the best porn I could.  However those acts were perceived, we build up a small but loyal audience at the Night Players.  I’m not taking credit for the audience; I’m just glad we had people who didn’t let my acts make them leave the theater vowing never to return.

Right after the 2015-16 Holidays I started working on an act that I titled “Performance Art 1.”  And when i speak of “Performance Art” – – – yes I agree that Dance is a performance art (along with acting, singing, standup comedy etc); however, when I refer to Performance Art in my acts i am talking about “. . .  a performance presented to an audience within a fine art context, traditionally interdisciplinary. . . (which) involves the combining of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (and) is about creating something new by crossing boundaries, and thinking across them.”  Quotes stolen from Wikipedia.

Whatever.

My goal in writing this is to perhaps – Explain my Performance 1 Act – without actually explaining it.  The setting is a museum or art gallery; there is a bed with two performers on it, and four “observers” sitting in folding chairs, two on each side of the bed.

The observers are: a very sexy, but severe woman; she is the “CEO” character.  A male in a generic “priest/minister” costume.  A modern politician and a Muslim Female.

This is a good place to state that I do believe in God – the God of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Religions.  I consider myself to be a Christian, in the most strict and limiting use of the term; i.e. I base my personal religion upon the teachings of Christ, as best as I have been able to interpret them, sorting out what the Man actually probably said and stood for.

Yes, Religion has played a huge part in my life – even to the point that I was once working to become a Southern Baptist Minister and even with to divinity school.  And this blog actually IS about religion.  My ventures into discovery and education in that area would fill a book larger than Gone With The Wind.

Suffice it to say that i find it highly disturbing that the religions that seem to be the most “anti-sex” regarding human beings, are those which worship the same deity I do.  And yes, I do believe that I’ve got it Right and millions over many centuries have gotten it wrong.

Religion is the subject of my Performance Art Piece titled, “Performance Art 1.”

I assume that both of the folks who read my blogs saw the show at Night Players Theater last night, where “Performance Art 1” was presented.  But just in case, 🙂 . . .

As of now it is scheduled for only one more showing – at the NP Theater on Friday 25 March at 8 pm, sl time.

 

 

Read the Directions before attempting to pour pp out of a boot. The instructions are printed on the bottom of the heel.

Garrrrhhhrg.  I feel so stupid.

For a long long time now I’ve been wrestling with how to make sure spot-on movers get placed in their just-so correct places when moving a set (and movers).  I’m not going to mention the hoops I’ve made myself (and people i’ve taught) jump thru.

READ THE INSTRUCTIONS:  Spot On Performance Director Stage Marker

The stage marker is a device to help you with the correct positioning of your movers.  It is a small pink triangle which you can place anywhere on your stage, under it or behind it even, and when you generate your Mover notecards, you will see two new lines directly under the #BEGIN NOTECARD line.  These two lines tell the movers where they should go in relation to the marker. 

You can even link the Stage Marker to your set and pick it up and rez your set later and the Spot On Movers will know where their start position is relative to the Stage Marker. 

Sigh.

Path

Uncontinued

I should be finishing the blogs about book reviews that I started many weeks ago; however, I want to talk about something else.  🙂 I’m really an awful blogger because I not only write about what I want (which is what blogging is for) but also when I want.  Which – well I mean people who read what I write in my blogs can’t depend on me.  😦  I don’t post on any schedule.  BUT!!!!  I appreciate all four of you who do read my stuff!!!  🙂 and if there are more than four well – that’s all to the Better.

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that someone “hates the Paramount.”  Apparently the reason this person hates the Paramount is – because of the (sex) on stage.  And the nudity.

I explained to the person reporting this news that a there is no sex on stage at Paramount during our normal shows; drama – plays – might be another matter.  I explained that the Night Players Theater exists for the purpose of letting creativity run free.  As for nudity – it’s as much a part of the Paramount as the stage.

I explained that coming to the paramount is like the channel changer on a TV; if one doesn’t want to see what we do, then that one should go elsewhere.  I explained that I’m not going to attempt to please someone who hates us.  At Paramount, we do our best to entertain our audience.  There are lots of entertainment venues in sl with no nudity.  Our audiences choose to come to Paramount so they must want to see the entertainment we present.

My early blogs, on Blogspot (http://pathspaths.blogspot.com/), covered several subjects, several having to do with my personal views on the subject of Art as a – – – subject.  What it is, etc.  Which in short form, if someone creates something and calls it art then it IS Art.  Being Art is like being anything else – – just because something is Art doesn’t make it good.  It may be awful.  Horrible, awful Art is still Art.  Just like a bad car is still a Car. etc.

One of my goals for a long time has been to explore how sex can be part of Art, or even, how Sex can BE Art.

I’m talking a Long Time because for most of us, that journey of exploration can be very close to impossible in the real world (rl or “real life). Second Life (sl) has opened up many many avenues for the exploration of various “things” – philosophies, experiments, creativity – that are difficult if not impossible in RL.

Earlier this year I presented my first exploration into “Sex in Art” with my dance performance titled “Primal Instincts.”  It was intended to be “Art” and while I’m certainly not totally satisfied with it – either as Art as or a “second life dance routine” – I am proud to call it one of my works of art.  Some people hate it, some like it, some Love it.  That’s all Good.  🙂

Then I worked up a dance act to an old favorite song, Roger Whitaker’s The Last Farewell.   This actually wasn’t intended to be Art – it was intended to be entertainment.

To me, dancing in second life is about two things – Entertaining and Enjoying.  I admit it – I’m love to perform.  When younger I performed by singing – mostly in church, or a (very large) family reunions, and by playing musical instruments – the piano and the Sousaphone – aka “Tuba,” along with sashays into drama.

As an adult most of my performances were making presentations regarding various subjects.  A part of “teaching” (“instructing” in Navyspeak), which branched out into representing the U. S. Navy at various occasions, including Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Veterans Day, Fourth of July, as well as making presentations at Navy functions where I would give a status report for the command to which I was attached.  No I was not a Public Affairs Officer – I was an enlisted person – a senior NCO – many times explaining good or bad news to a room full of officers, once including a couple of Admirals.

And then there were talent shows, and stand up comedy. blah blah blah.  The point is I’m a true “Stage Whore.”  And Second Life provided me with a Huge Stage; I love what I do in SL.  🙂

Historical background aside, moving closer to the “Now,” as I said above my first exploration into “Sex in Art/Sex as Art” was performed in early Summer this year, and was followed by my interpretation of “The Last Farewell” which, actually was originally to be “entertainment” with no pretention of being Art.  However, when it was completed, and performed the words I heard in response most often were, “Art” and “Work of Art.”

Well golly gee, if much of the audience considers it to be Art, I’m not going to argue.  Unintended Art.

Since I joined sl and realized some of the possibilities for performances, I have wanted to complete something I started on when working toward my BFA in the mid-1980’s.  I call it my “Magnum Opus,” and it is still a work in progress, with a target of being publicly performed in . . . 2016?  I hope.  Meanwhile my experimental theater (that’s the nicest term I can come up with) branched off to “Sex as Entertainment” – which certainly is included in many people’s definition of pornography.  I think the definition of Porn includes the purpose being to stimulate it’s audience, to “turn them on” or even provide “sexual gratification.”  Well, my creations are not made with that purpose in mind; they are intended to provide “entertainment” – hopefully of a type that is very rare in sl.  It wouldn’t bother me a bit to be the only person in second life to be presenting such.

The thing is – for me – these acts require a TON of work.  I can create a competent, finished and at least enjoyable dance act in a couple of days.  These “special acts” of mine (that’s what I prefer to call them – take weeks.  the first took two and a half months to complete.  If I had the ability to create animations – GOOD animations, well, while I would save myself hours and hours of searching for an exact animation, (say walking backwards, or making a sidestep) I’m sure I would be bogged down in making the animations.  Creating Animations in itself I would expect to be something that would be fun to do; but my “thing” is using animations that I can find in sl to illustrate my ideas.

This drawn out wandering is almost over.  The path to the conclulsion is in sight.  🙂  The Paramount theater in sl is an entertainment venue where the content is intended to be viewed by an audience and the intention is to entertain said audience.

The Night Players Theater is a venue for performers to present their works.  It exists For the performers.  Audiences are very welcome, but honestly the works performed are for the performers.  If we have an audience which enjoys them – that’s wonderful.  But not required.

More Reviews

Wow It’s been a while since I set keys to screen on this blog and the last one was a review of books.  I started a review (which I never posted) way back in early Summer about the TV mega-movie “Texas Rising” on the History Channel.

Background:  I’m a native born Texan.  I grew up thinking ALL post offices everywhere had three mail slots.  For Example, “Hereford”  “Texas”  “Other States and Foreign Countries.”  From age 9 on I did most of my “significant growing up” in New Mexico.  And Lo – the post office in Roswell only had two mail slots, local and other.  And no, there was no mail slot for Planet X or some such.

A significant fact about the history of Roswell is generally overlooked in all the Hoopla over the reported UFO crash near Roswell a couple of years following the end of World War II (1947).  Roswell has long celebrated locally it’s status as the “birthplace of modern rockets;” Dr. Robert Goddard of Massachusetts made his home in Roswell for many years before World War II and used the wide open spaces outside the town as a place to launch his rockets.  Goddard invented just about everything Wernher Von Braun needed in order to build the worlds first ballistic missiles – the V2 Rockets of the third reich.  (Lack of capitalization intentional.)

But I digress.

Before moving to Roswell while in the third grade, I had absorbed a great deal of Texas History, both from the Texas School System and other sources – including a comic book of Texas History published by an oil company.  (Apparently the Texas School System did not like Left Handed People; I was forced to NOT be a Southpaw.  Which I’m sure had a lot to do with the fact that I wound up being ambidextrous – what I write with my left hand is slower, and easier to read than what I write with my right hand.  Left hand doesn’t follow the lines well, however.)

As I believe I have mentioned previously, I am a history nut.  Perhaps even an Amateur Historian.  My major interests have for years been British and United States Naval History of the pre-Napoleonic Era to World War II, and the History of the American West – concentrating on 1850 – 1910 or thereabouts.  Texas played a very large part (both geographically and otherwise) in Western History.  (No kidding Sherlock.)

I’ve studied much about the history of the Alamo – religiously watching every movie based on that event, and fact checking every one.  Verdict:  John Wayne’s 1960 “The Alamo” is one of the most historically inaccurate of all movies about the fall of the Alamo; it is, however, in my opinion the Best MOVIE.

Earlier this year the History Channel presented it’s Zillion-hour miniseries “Texas Rising” – which – as a movie – or “motion picture event” gets a grade from me of Very Good.

The series begins After the Fall of the Alamo, and is the first Movie I know of to mention that Sam Houston DID NOT Order William B Travis and Jim Bowie to defend the Alamo; he sent them with orders to blow it up.  Travis and Bowie disobeyed their orders to deprive Santa Ana of the use of a fortress, and got themselves and around 200 members of the Texas Army and Militia killed.  And then into Popular History as “Heroes.”

And – this is long enough for one Post.  Stay Tuned.  🙂

Book “Reviews”

A change of pace from my normal obsession with SL Dance and Artistic Expression and Stuff.  🙂  These aren’t going to be detailed book reviews with lots of spoilers; I just want to mention some books that I’ve been reading lately and think others might also enjoy.

First off is my currently favorite series fiction written by a Living Author.  The Longmire Books and short stories by Craig Johnson.  I have recently been engrossed in the works of an author who writes non-fiction – more about that in a minute.

Reading of that author’s works stopped suddenly when “Dry Bones” –  Craig Johnson’s eleventh novel in the Walt Longmire series arrived after having been on pre-order for months.  I tried to not ravenously devour this latest in what is absolutely my favorite and best-loved series of fiction since the death of John D. MacDonald (creator of “Travis McGee”) in 1986.  I was not successful.

Walt Longmire is the fictional Sheriff if the fictional “Absaroka County” in Wyoming. For those who have not seen the A&E Television “Longmire” series, Longmire is a softhearted, mystical modern day lawman.  If you decide to watch the Longmire series on DVD – please be warned.  Just buy the first season, ignore the next two seasons and read the books.  🙂

Craig Johnson is an excellent writer, capable of glueing my eyes to the pages of his works, keeping them there long past when I should have – – been doing something else.  🙂

I have become fascinated by the non-fiction books of one Erik Larson.  So far I have read four of his books, and I find them fascinating.  The amount of research that goes into any one of his books is absolutely amazing – and detailed references are included at the end of each book.

He prolifically names names and I’ve been amazed to find references to people whom I somehow knew about, in addition to naming well-known “celebrities of their time.”

I admit to being a History Nut; I have done much reading study over the years of Naval History of the Napoleonic Era, and the history of the U. S. Navy from beginning to the present.  My other subject of study has been Outlaws and Lawmen of the “Wild West” – the American West from the end of the Civil War until the start of World War I.  I usually rely upon the writings – and research – of others in my “quests for knowledge” however, having spent much of my childhood living in New Mexico I’ve gone beyond reading the results of other people’s research in my studies of the Lincoln County War and the persona known as Billy The Kid.  I’ve done my own research, travelled over much of my former Home State following the travels of Billy and his cohorts.

My own attempts at research seem pitifully weak compared to the research that Erik Larson puts into his works.  So far I have read four of his books –

The first three books are fascinating in the detailing of relationships, both personal and business-related, between the many real life people involved in events of the time.  The last one – – well it was of particular interest to me because I have often wondered just how did the people of Germany come to give absolute power to a failed Austrian painter.

The Garden of Beasts should be required reading of every American Citizen before being allowed to vote in National Elections.  “Just sayen.'”

The book I am currently reading is “Flash” – written by our very own Nova – Second Life dancer and personality who performs at both Winds of the Sahara and the Paramount.  🙂

I’m engrossed.  She is an excellent writer, very efficiently creating word pictures and moods that make the reader feel the time and place – even the smells – of the locations in the story.

No spoilers.  I’m not finished yet, and I don’t like spoilers anyway.  I’ll just say that it doesn’t take many pages of reading for the reader to become embroiled in an intriguing mystery.

I’ll stop now.  Anyone wanting to evaluate, discuss and take apart Bill O’Rielly’s TV series “Legends and Lies” about the American West – I would love to talk with you.  He got it right on several, but he got a couple of them very very wrong.  🙂

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