Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two Fabulous Books

My goal is to let you all know about the great authors, photographers, and books coming to the Austin Museum of Art during the Texas Book Festival October 31 - November 1 this year. My ulterior motive is to get you all, at least those of you within driving distance of Austin, to come to AMOA to hear these writers and photographers speak and to say “hi” to me.

This past Saturday, I introduced you to Texas’ Big Bend: A Photographic Adventure from the Pecos to the Rio Grande by Michael H. Marvins. Today, I’ll tell you about two more books.

Calvin Littlejohn: Portrait of a Community in Black and White by Bob Ray Sanders.

Calvin Littlejohn was, at heart, a photographer. On his way to becoming one of the best, he worked in domestic service, taught industrial art, and eventually became the official photographer at the only black high school in Ft. Worth. He went on to take more than just pictures at the high school. He became the documentarian of Ft. Worth’s black community.

This book chronicles his work, from 1934 to 1991. The pictures are amazing. Everyday people doing everyday things. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. People who lived their lives and became a part of history on the pages of Calvin Littlejohn’s book.

Bob Ray Sanders will be at the Austin Museum of Art to speak on Saturday, October 31, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Texas BBQ, photographs by Wyatt McSpadden

I had to wait to get to look at this book. As soon as it arrived, my husband grabbed it up. It’s not a listing of all the fabulous BBQ joints in Texas and it doesn’t rate the places from best to worst. What it does is make your mouth water with some extraordinary pictures. You’ll also be astounded by what the professional BBQ cooks do to created the melt-in-your-mouth sausage, beef, pork and ribs.

McSpadden has photos of more than just the meat. In fact, there aren't that many picture of meat. He artistically captures the fires, the signs, torn stools, chopping blocks, menu signs, and the people. The faces, the cookers, the tools. Smokers taller than the man doing the cooking.

My husband suggested we go to each BBQ place, do a taste test and get autographs. Sounds like a mighty fine vacation to me.

Wyatt McSpadden will be at the Austin Museum of Art to speak on Saturday, October 31, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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  1. Helen, I wish I weren't so far away! I would certainly be there otherwise. I have two dear friends who live in Arlington. But I think Austin is far from Arlington? I know the Great State isn't like Massachusetts where you can be anywhere in it in a few hours :-0. I'll send them the link just the same. They are book lovers.

  2. Hi Lisa. Arlington is a bit away. It'd take about 4 hours to drive. Not bad for a Texas drive, but still 8 hours round-trip.

  3. If only I lived in the US...:) Enjoy all those who go.

  4. If only I lived in the US...:) Enjoy all those who go.

  5. Sounds like two wonderful books. I always am intrigued with the everyday history, ordinary people going about their daily lives. Those photographs must be fascinating, the stuff of which life is made.

  6. Wish I could come. My hubby is from Texas (Plainview, in the Panhandle) and just loves barbeque. Might just have to get this one for him.

  7. The Calvin Littlejohn book probably has more "words" than the Texas BBQ book, but it's fascinating that books that are primarily pictures can tell such vivid and moving stories.

  8. This is one I *definitely* will read. Got to get my BBQ research in! Thanks, Helen...sounds like a beautiful book.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  9. Well, I'm certainly not in driving distance or I would.
    Now I'm hungry for BBQ. Sounds like it would make a nice vacation!

  10. I spent a year in Houston when I was 19. Great food if you like BBQ which I do. Texas is about the size of France. It takes all day to drive from one side of the state to the other. Take along a good book to read if you don't like looking at a whole lotta nothing.

    Stephen Tremp

  11. You're right, Stephen, it does take all day to drive, either north/south or east/west. At least the scenery changes from one end to the other.

  12. I'm certainly used to driving long distances; it takes more than 12 hours driving just to get from where I live to the border of Alberta! Wish I was closer, but that BBQ book looks yummy.


  13. Good luck with the festival. I'm sure you'll be busy as all get out for a while. Sending good karma your way. (I know, fudge would be better.)

  14. Yes, Jon, fudge would be better - not as sweet, but better. ;-)

    Elspeth, the BBQ does look good. I was most impressed by the huge fires and cookers the folks use to cook the meat.

  15. What neat books, thanks for introducing them. I think I have seen some of Calvin's photographs at The History Place in Austin. Wonderful work!!!

  16. This was the first time I'd seen them, Maryann. I was fascinated by them.

  17. I have more and more cyber friends from Austin now. You're the 3rd one. Toast to Texan girls.

    Steamy Darcy


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