Entering the city, I passed Prada Marfa (co-produced by the Art Production Fund of New York City and Ballroom Marfa, a nonprofit cultural space), and within days, I was familiar with many of the main actors—Donald Judd (Judd Foundation & Chinati Foundation), Cobra Rock Boot Company, Hotel Paisano (where Giant—1956—was filmed), El Cosmico, the reclaimed 1959 Thunderbird Motel, The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa Radio, The Crowley Theatre—its façade, fading grey yellow sepia, inside a wonderfully rustic space for performance and talks, Food Shark, Padre’s (favorite band I heard while there, the Thrift Store Cowboys), Cochineal (the owners were my neighbors in New York City), Lost Horse Saloon, and my two favorites—Marfa Book Company, owned by the wonderful Tim Johnson, a bookstore where the Lannan Reading Series is head, an exhibition space, and most importantly, a vital pulse in the local community. And Squeeze Marfa, where I had my espressos every morning and chatted with the energetic Swiss German owner Verena Zbinden-Vollenweider.
Marfa is also its surroundings: Chihuahuan Desert & Big Bend, water and its healing sources—Cíbolo, Ciénega and Morita springs, Balmorhea State Park and Madera Valley, Pecos River and Rio Grande, and from the Chinati Mountains an astounding view stretching to Mexico. Through the Davis Mountains, turning off the highway and driving to the summits of Mt. Locke and Mt. Fowles, you will reach McDonald Observatory (1939).