Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Age of The Gunfighters

August 19, 2017
   We tend to think of all the gunfighters of the Old West as being contemporaries, as if they graduated from the same class in school. That's kind of what I was driving at with this semi-parody:

The Class of Quantrell

   In a certain sense this was true, at least for these Civil War brigands who were all about the same age. But when we spread out the search across the entire spectrum of the frontier West we get some serious spreads. Let's start with the first gunfighter:

Daily Whip Out: Wild Bill In His Prime, 1867

   While Wild Bill Hickok was going up against Dave Tutt here's the age of his fellow classmates.

Wyatt Earp was 19.

Doc Holliday was 16.

John Wesley Hardin was 14.

Billy the Kid was eight.

Tom Horn was seven.

Black Jack Ketchum was four.

Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy) was one

And the Sundance Kid was six months old!

Daily Whip Out: "The Sundance Kid"

"Be careful Slade. That kid might have a hideout in his diaper!"
—Ernie Cavendish of the Cavendish gang

Friday, August 18, 2017

Doc Holliday Treasure Trove Surfaces

August 18, 2017
   Thanks to Curator Kristi, a treasure trove of Doc Holliday monoprints have surfaced.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc—Dawn of The Dying #3"

Daily Whip Out: "You're A Daisy If You Do!"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Portrait #13"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Guards Right Flank"

Daily Whip Out: "The Walk Down"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc [And Crew] Walk to The Gunfight"

   Full disclosure: these are circa 1999, they were printed at Armstrong-Prior in Phoenix and Kristi dug them out of my garage.

"Why worry about history being erased when you're so busy repeating it?"
—Old Vaquero Saying

"Gonna pitch an alternate-reality tv show where the civil war is over."
—Russ Shaw, Jr.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Monoprints Culled From The Crypt: "Apache Power" and "Ghost Night"

August 17, 2017
   Thanks to my new curator, Kristi Jacobs, I got to take a gander this morning at a whole bunch of art pieces I created almost 20 years ago at Armstrong-Prior in Phoenix. They consist of chine colle and monoprints and to be honest, I had forgotten all about them, until Kristi brought them in from the garage and asked me to title them for her. Some were quite lame and I suggested we chuck them, but a few kind of stunned me, like these two monoprints:

Daily Whip Out Monoprint, circa 1999: "Apache Forces"

Daily Whip Out Monoprint, circa 1999: "Ghost Night"

   Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Daily Whip Out: "Don't Touch My Hat #7"

Finding Lost Treasures
   An original daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams, circa 1843, will be auctioned off at Sotheby's. It was given as a gift to a congressman whose descendants "lost track of its significance." Man, that quote says it all. Everything we own conspires to be lost and forgotten.

"So much is considered lost until it's found."
—Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby's photographs department

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

J. Blasco & True West vs. Tiger Beat

August 16, 2017
   Finally got my box of European graphic novels which Kathy shipped for me from Germany over a week ago. I originally thought I'd bring them home in my carry-on, but after I bought my first baker's dozen I knew I needed a bigger container and a bigger shipper. Bought about 15 books and couldn't resist buying this French comic by an incredible artist by the name of J. Blasco:

"Les Guerilleros" which I'm guessing means The Billys?

   Got more to say about these classic tomes, but wanted to share a drawing and a few comments on my Tombstone Chamber speech.

Daily Whip Out: "Red Rocks"

   Here are a few of the reactions to my speech in Tombstone where I mentioned our success of using Val Kilmer and Powers Boothe to boost our newsstand sales:

   "In my opinion, to bring this new generation into the fold you must entice them with some popular culture in order to get them interested in the subject matter. I believe many a young person in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, became interested in the old west after seeing their favorite stars in the western movies. I don't see it as diluting the bulk of the magazine at all."
—Pam R.

   "So true, Pam. Robert Utley's passion for Custer began with a viewing of "They Died with Their Boots On". Future generations were similarly affected, but the movie was "Little Big Man". 
   "I see nothing wrong with how Bob Bell and the True West staff are reaching out, and attracting the younger generation. It's the smart thing to do, and it is necessary in order for TW to survive." 
—Bob Reece

   "You can't find heritage in a movie! Come on 'TRUE west'. Live up to your name. Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell are payed to play make believe. Enough hero worship for Hollywood. Is this True West or Tiger Beat?"
—Jason Goggin

   Ha, Tiger Beat was a cheesy, pop, fan magazine in the 1960s. A clever put down and it made me laugh, but here's the deal: we are a popular history magazine and always have been since Joe Small created True West 64 years ago. We don't do footnotes and we don't demand degrees from our contributors. We are not promoting Hollywood hero worship and we go to great lengths to separate the make believe from the hard facts on every single page of the magazine.

   Thanks to Kristi Jacobs, my new curator, I got to view a very quirky documentary, "Shepard & Dark," which tells a sordid tale of Sam Shepard and his brother-in-law. I watched it with great interest last night and caught the following quote:

"I'm not as fascinated by the history as I am by what creates the history."
—Sam Shepard

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Val Kilmer Kills In Tombstone

August 15, 2017
   Back from my quick trip down to Tombstone. Stayed at the delightful Monument Guest Ranch which was built by some crazy Germans who love the West. They allegedly spent over $5 million on the property which they originally called "Apache Spirit Ranch" which was a tad misleading since they are a stone's throw from Tombstone. Anyway, three years ago my friend Russell True, of White Stallion Ranch fame, took over the property and has been running it ever since. My talk to the Chamber was in the barn on the ranch.

Monument Guest Ranch, outside Tombstone, Arizona, 6 a.m.

   At the end of the frontier main street (the rooms are inside the buildings) you can see the Ed Schieffelin rock tower monument. Thus the name. Here it is in a blown up:

Schieffelin Monument in circle

And here are the highlights of my remarks at the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce:

How Do We Thrive And Keep The Old West Alive?
   "I believe True West magazine and the town of Tombstone are in the same boat. We have to compete in the wider world for customers (in my world we call them "eyeballs"), and, as everyone knows, this wider world is a very chaotic marketplace right now. In my humble opinion, we have to adapt, or die.

   "There was a time when we could merely beckon to the public with the true history of what happened in Tombstone and people would respond, some would even show up, or in our case, subscribe. But those days are diminishing and one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

   "Last weekend's appearance of Val Kilmer in Tombstone, underscores my point. A record crowd showed up to see him. We have had similar results when we put him on the cover of True West. We sell about 25% more magazines on the newsstand when Val, or Robert Duvall, or Hugh O'Brian, or, as in our latest issue, Powers Boothe appears on the cover. 

Val Kilmer on the cover of our April issue has been our highest selling issue of the year.

   These extra sales can mean the difference between thriving and going broke. The simple fact is, we live in a celebrity culture. Now, the trick is, how do we utilize this powerful magnet without appearing to 'sell out'? Well, it ain't easy. We have tried our best to provide solid history inside the magazine, but we tease that history with Val Kilmer on the cover. So far, it's working.

   "My advice for Tombstone is to do more events with popular culture figures to bring in the crowds. I saw a first time event in Ridgeway, Colorado draw 10,000 people with the addition of Angie Dickinson, Kim Darby and Johnny Crawford. Imagine what Tombstone could do with a Kurt Russell next year? One warning: he ain't going to be cheap, but it sure beats dying on the vine.

   "In addition to the early history of Tombstone, I know a few things about the current history. So, good luck with getting any of this done."

"A committee is a group of important individuals who singly can do nothing but who can together agree that nothing can be done."
—Fred Allen

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Goose Flats Gentle Rain

August 14, 2014
   Drove down to Goose Flats today and ran into this guy, the grand old man of Tombstone, Mr. Ben Traywick. He's 90-years-young and still stomping the boardwalks. Great seeing him. 

The Retired Historian of Tombstone Ben Traywick, age 90

   When I asked him how he stays so young, he said, "Because I've got three more books in me!"

A Storm Rolls Through The Dragoons

   Sitting here in the Doc Holliday suite on his birthday. Big storm moving through the Dragoons, as a gentle rain falls. This is the view out my patio door. I'm a guest at the Monument Guest Ranch outside Tombstone, Arizona and tonight I get to tell tall tales to 50-or-so captured guests. So what am I going to talk about?

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt B.S. Earp"

"The old forget. The young don't know."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fred Nolan In The Sky With Footnotes

August 13, 2017
   Interesting sunset last night. I swear that's Fred Nolan's profile in that cloud.

Fred Nolan In The Sky With Footnotes

Who, exactly is Fred Nolan? That would be this guy:

Fred Nolan at the Ellis Story, Lincoln New Mexico, October, 2014

Revised Edition with a New Foreword by the Author and an Addendum with Corrections
By Frederick Nolan

The letters and diaries of John Henry Tunstall, a young rancher-Englishman murdered in 1878 during New Mexico Territory’s Lincoln County War.

Order from Sunstone: (800) 243-5644

In 1956, Frederick Nolan, then 25, located in the archives of the British Foreign Office a substantial file of original correspondence between the British and American governments, the family of John Tunstall, and many of the participants in the New Mexico Territory’s Lincoln County War. Soon after this he was given unconditional access to Tunstall’s letters and diaries, and three and a half years later—although he had never set foot in the United States—completed a biography based upon the sympathetically-edited letters and diaries of the young English rancher whose brutal murder in February, 1878, triggered the bitter and unrelenting violence that followed.

His widely-acclaimed debut is recognized today as a breakthrough work which completely revolutionized historical understanding of the personalities and events of New Mexico’s Lincoln County War and in the process changed forever the way the subject would be written about. The first book ever to link those events to the shadowy cabal known as the Santa Fe Ring, the first book ever to place Billy the Kid in the true context of his time, the first book ever to make available the letters of such men as Alexander McSween, Huston Chapman, and the hitherto unknown Robert Widenmann, it set new standards for both research and writing in this field and in the process became a classic. It is augmented in this edition with a new foreword and a supplement of corrections to the first edition which incorporates the author’s more recent historical and biographical research.

Frederick Nolan is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority on the history of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War and both he and his work on the subject have been garlanded with honors. He has received the Border Regional Library Association of Texas’ Award for Literary Excellence, the first France V. Scholes Prize from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the first J. Evetts Haley Fellowship from the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. The Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association has presented him with its highest honor, the Glenn Shirley Award, for his lifetime contribution to outlaw-lawman history and The Westerners Foundation has named his The West of Billy the Kid one of the 100 most important 20th-century historical works on the American West. In 2007 the National Outlaw-Lawman Association awarded him its prestigious William D. Reynolds Award in recognition of his outstanding research and writing in Western history and in 2008 True West magazine named him “Best Living Non-Fiction Writer.” Among his other books about the West are an annotated edition of Pat Garrett’s Authentic Life of Billy the Kid; Bad Blood: the Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers; The West of Billy the Kid; and The Lincoln County War, the latter from Sunstone Press in a new edition. He lives in England.

7 X 10
ISBN: 978-0-86534722-9
548 pp., $45.00

Buy the book, enjoy the cloud.

"Wonderful stuff! Boze paints what the rest of us can only imagine."
—Fred Nolan, Chalfont St. Giles, England