West Texas Talk


West Texas Talk features interviews with community members discussing issues that affect our region, along with upcoming local programs and events. You’ll hear from local and visiting, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and other interesting personalities.

The program is broadcast on 91.3 FM Tuesday through Friday at 6:30 p.m. We welcome your comments and your suggestions for interview guests at info@kxwt.org


Recently on West Texas Talk:

Thursday, Aug 17, 2017:
Damond Benningfield

Today’s guest on West Texas Talk is Damond Benningfield of the McDonald Observatory discussing the first total eclipse seen from coast to coast across the U.S. since 1918.

Benningfield writes the Observatory’s “Star Date” radio features and edits the Star Date magazine and website, stardate.org.

Public events on Aug. 21 at the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis are listed here.

Thursday, Aug 17, 2017:
Poet Rosa Alcalá On Her Other Tongue, English

Rosa Alcalá is poet, translator, and teacher in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. In this conversation, Alcalá discusses the interplay of and importance of both English and Spanish in her life and her latest book of poetry,  MyOTHER TONGUE.
PARAMOUR by Rosa Alcalá
English is dirty. Polyamorous. English
wants me. English rides with girls
and with boys. English keeps an open
tab and never sleeps
alone. English is a smooth talker
who makes me say please. It’s a bit of role-playing
and I like a good tease. We have a safety word
I keep forgetting. English likes
pet names. English
has a little secret, a past,
another family. English is going to leave them
for me. I’ve made English a set
of keys. English brings me flowers
stolen from a grave.
English texts me, slips in
as emoticons, goes to all
the mixers. English has rules
but accepts dates last minute. English makes
booty-calls. English makes me want it.
When I was younger, my parents said
keep that English out of our
house. If you leave with that miserable,
don’t come back. I said god-willing
in the language of the Inquisition. I climbed out
my window, but always got
caught. English had a hooptie
that was the joint. Now my mother goes gaga
over our cute babies. Together
English and I wrote my father’s
obituary. How many times
have I said it’s over, and English just laughs
and says, c’mon, señorita, let’s go for
Chinese. We always end up
in a hotel where we give
fake names, and as I lay my head
to hear my lover breathe
I dream of Sam Patch plunging
into water, a poem
English gave me
that had been given
to another.


Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017:
West Texas Talk: City Councilman Peter Svarzbein on the Relationship Between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

Before Peter Svarzbein became a city council member, he created a fictional campaign for a streetcar between El Paso and Juarez, just like the one that ran between the two cities until 1973. What started as an art project grew into a grassroots effort that eventually received funding from the Texas government. In this episode, Peter discusses where the project stands now and the longstanding relationship between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, a place that he calls a “third space.”

You can learn more about the Transnational Trolley Project here.

Friday, Aug 11, 2017:
Lannan Resident Cathy Park Hong

On this edition of West Texas Talk, a conversation with author, poet, and Lannan resident, Cathy Park Hong.

Hong’s most recent poetry collection is Engine Empire (W. W. Norton, 2013). Her debut, Translating Mo’um (Hanging Loose Press, 2002) received a Pushcart Prize. Her second collection, Dance Dance Revolution (W. W. Norton, 2007) was selected for the Barnard Women Poets Prize.

Hong’s awards and honors include a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Village Voice Fellowship for Minority Reporters. She teaches at the Queens MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also serves as editor-at-large for jubilat magazine.

She is reading at the Crowley Theater in Marfa on Sunday, August 1, during the Marfa Poetry Festival 

Thursday, Aug 10, 2017:
Psychologist Dr. Doug Lisle on Food Addiction and Biology

Dr. Doug Lisle is a clinical psychologist and author of The Pleasure Trap. His work suggests increasing consumption of whole starches and reducing high-fat animal food products are key to successful, healthy diets. Lisle explains that whole starches like potatoes, rice, oats, and beans are the bedrock of human civilization. However, the prevalence of high-calorie foods makes it difficult to consume items consistent with human natural history.

Lisle says, “Human beings, if they eat a diet consistent with their natural history, they will be fit, they will be thin, they will be as beautiful or handsome as they can be.”

Dr. Lisle will speak at this year’s “Food is Medicine” seminar that will take place at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center on August 12. Other speakers include Dr. Scott Stoll, Dr. Michael Greger, and dietitian Brenda Davis. The seminar is hosted by the organization Healthy City, whose mission is “to raise awareness about a whole, plant-based foods diet and increase education on how to improve overall health and prevent and reverse the most common disease processes.”

More information about the seminar can be found here.


Wednesday, Aug 9, 2017:
Mark Bukowski on the 17th Annual Big Bend Ranch Rodeo

The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo is a sanctioned rodeo of the Working Ranch Cowboy Association & Foundation. Mark Bukowski, vice president of the organization, explains all proceeds from the twenty-four rodeos that take place throughout the year help working ranchers. Bukowski says, “A lot of ranch cowboys have no insurance or very little insurance. So if they get injured on the job or they have a problem with a child or their wife or what have you, we step in and we help them out financially.” The organization also provides a scholarship program for children of ranch workers.

Unlike other rodeos, the sanctioned WRCA events feature ranch workers who compete in specific events like cutting and cow milking. The 17th Annual Big Bend Ranch Rodeo will take place from August 11-12.

Tuesday, Aug 8, 2017:
Congressman Beto O’Rourke on his 2018 Senate Run

On tonight’s West Texas Talk we hear from democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Since 2013 he’s represented the state’s 16th congressional district in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. And earlier this year, he announced his bid to challenge Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Friday, Aug 4, 2017:
Lannan Resident Ross Gay

On this West Texas Talk, a conversation with Ross Gay, author and current Lannan writer-in-residence.

Gay is the author of three books: Against WhichBringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude — winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award – Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award..

He’s also a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project, and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute.

Thursday, Aug 3, 2017:
Freedom Solar’s Craig Hawker on Solar in West Texas

On this edition of West Texas Talk, Jackson sits down with Craig Hawker, a solar energy consultant with Austin-based freedom Solar Power, to discuss the benefits of solar, the installation process, and how the general upkeep of solar panels is easier than many imagine.

In collaboration with the Judd Foundation, Marfa Solar System and Ballroom Marfa, Craig will be speaking tomorrow (8/4) evening about the benefits of renewable energy, regional solar rebates, and solar power technology in the Ballroom courtyard.

The event starts at 6 pm and is open to the public.

*It is mentioned by the interviewee that Freedom Solar is the first company to make solar available in the region – this is not true, there are several companies (including Compass Electrical Services, Fine Lines Solar Design & Installation, and Alpine Solar Sales) who have been offering solar installation in the region over the past years.

Wednesday, Aug 2, 2017:
Austin Singer-songwriter Gina Chavez on Traveling the World Through Music

On this West Texas Talk, a conversation with Austin singer-songwriter Gina Chavez. In 2015, Chavez was named Austin Musician of the Year. She also founded Niñas Arriba, a scholarship fund for Salvadoran women.

As a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department, Chavez has traveled around the world playing music and learning about different cultures and their musical traditions. Many of Chavez’ travels have served as inspiration for her music.