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, Feb 15, 2018:
Author Johnnie Bernhard on “A Good Girl”

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Diana Nguyen talks to Johnnie Bernhard, a former journalist and teacher turned author. They discuss her first novel, A Good Girl. The historical fiction was published in 2017 by Texas Review Press, and has garnered recognition from the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition. The work was also nominee for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her second novel, How We Came to Be, will be published in Spring 2018. 

In this conversation, Nguyen and Bernhard discuss how the author got into writing, her interest in history, and the magic of small towns.

Bernhard’s essay, “The Last Mayberry,” can be found here.

Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018:
Kiss and Tell: Lives Stories from Marfa

Here is the full version of live stories from our Kiss and Tell event that took place on Monday, February 12 at the Crowley Theater. Thank you to our storytellers, Big Bend Brewing Co. for sponsoring the event, and to the Crowley Theater for hosting us. Adult content warning: stories 3 & 4 contain adult content. Please consider this before listening. Due to the nature of these stories they will not be broadcast on air. 

If you’re interested in telling a story at our forthcoming events, please shoot us an email as storytelling@marfapublicradio.org.

Here are the storytellers from the evening:

  • 7:05 – Elizabeth Redding moved to Marfa in 2006 to explore small town life in the desert. She loves nature, art, food and some humans. Elizabeth works as a tour guide at the Chinati Foundation, and facilitates workshops and classes in Marfa.
  • 20:25 – Susan Kirr was raised in the small-town architectural mecca of Columbus, Indiana. She worked as a journalist for 10 years, before transitioning to film. She’s a producer who has worked on over 40 films and tv shows. Susan and her husband, Rusty Martin, moved to Marfa last August.
  • 34:15 Disclaimer: This story contains adult content. Bud Frankenberger was raised in Kentucky and spent his working life as an English professor and university administrator at UT-Pan American. Since retiring, he’s spent his winters doing field work for Science & Resource Management at Big Bend National Park. He spends summers in northwest Michigan kayaking, hiking, and hosting his two adult children, 7 grand kids, and 1 great grand child.
  • 50:00 Disclaimer: This story contains adult content. Britney Bass is the operations manager at Ballroom Marfa. She says she has a big heart and a dirty mouth.
  • 1:05:00 – Michael Wallens is the vicar at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marfa. He is married and has two grown boys living in Austin. He also has two dogs to fill the empty nest.
  • 1:17:00 – Matt Grant is a world renowned art handler, adventure cyclist, karaoke performer, and self-taught tattoo artist currently living with his beloved wife in Marfa.
  • 1:40:00 – Joel Hernandez grew up in Marfa. He enjoys sharing his emotions through the music he makes.

Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018:
Kiss and Tell: Live Stories from Midland

Here is the full version of our first live storytelling event in Midland, Texas. We hear of love stories gone right and wrong from Sue Roseberry, Laura Drake, Jane Boles, Libby Campbell and Randy Ham.

Big thanks to Odessa Arts for supporting our live storytelling series in the Permian Basin, and to Brew St. Bakery for hosting this event. There will be more events all over West Texas. If you’re interested in sharing a story, shoot us an email at storytelling@marfapublicradio.org.


Friday, Feb 9, 2018:
Lannan Resident Joshua Beckman

Joshua Beckman is a poet and editor at Wave Books in Seattle, Washington. His works include Things Are Happening (1998), Something I Expected to Be Different (2001), Your Time Has Come (2001), Shake (2006), and Take It (2009).

In this interview, Jana La Brasca and Joshua Beckman discuss how the physical world influences his writing, and the poet’s interest in diverging from the traditional format of a reading.

“I think the thing that I’m always looking for in the experience of the reading is something that’s as transformative as it can be. So that it’s not just a pure presentation of something that’s complete and something that’s been finished, but a part of the living experience of the poems…” Beckman explains. The writer has experimented with injecting more playfulness into readings by conducting them in different environments. For example, he’s read on boats off-shore and to audiences looking out of windows.

Joshua Beckman will read at the Crowley Theater on Sunday, February 11 at 6 pm. A reception will follow at 717 W Washington St.

Thursday, Feb 8, 2018:
Jane Fraser on Stuttering, from Taboos to Treatments

On this episode we talk with Jane Fraser. She’s the president of the stuttering foundation, a non-profit that provides the resources for the prevention of stuttering in young children and treatment for teenagers and adults.

Continue reading

Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018:
Ashley Rowe Designs Highly-Structured Minimal Clothing in Marfa

Ashley Rowe came to Marfa after starting her career in Toronto, Canada. After taking a break from her home country, she ended up in far West Texas and began designing clothes with encouragement from friends. Since starting over, Rowe began selling her clothes to several outlets and opened her own retail store at the end of 2017.

In this episode, Diana Nguyen and Rowe discuss how she got to the desert and what inspires her.


Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018:
The Swifts from Alpine, TX

On this edition of West Texas Talk a conversation and in-studio performance from Alpine-based band, The Swifts.

The Swifts are: Eden Hinshaw (Acoustic Guitar/Vocals), Chris Ruggia (Electric Guitar/Vocals) , Amelie Urbanczyk (Acoustic Guitar/Ukulele/Vocals), Tony Curry (Cajón)

The band’s first album Every Day, is available now

Friday, Feb 2, 2018:
Lannan Resident Vievee Francis

On this episode of “West Texas Talk,” Ryan Paradiso sits down with poet Vievee Francis. They discuss the West Texas native’s influences, background, and her latest work, Forest Primeval.

Vievee Francis is the author of Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), and Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press, 2016), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry. She is an associate professor at Dartmouth College and an associate editor for Callaloo.



Thursday, Feb 1, 2018:
León Muñoz Santini and Juan Pablo López Quintana of Gato Negro Ediciones

On this episode of West Texas Talk, Tim Johnson speaks to León Muñoz Santini and Juan Pablo López Quintana. They operate Gato Negro Ediciones – an independent publishing project based out of Mexico City. They talk about the origins of the press and the kinds of work they’re interested in publishing. 

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018:
Rebroadcast: Charlotte Reemts Talks About Conservation and the Ponderosa Pine

On tonight’s West Texas Talk, we revisit our 2017 conversation with Charlotte Reemts, a research and monitoring ecologist with the Nature Conservancy in Texas. She talks to us about the conservancy’s role in Texas, its collaboration with the Texas A&M Forest Service on “Operation Ponderosa”, and what makes the Davis Mountains so unique.

Part of what makes the region’s vegetation so unique, Reemts says, is that it’s considered a sky island, which is “a mountain regañe surrounded by desert. So the Davis mountains are surrounded by Chihuahuan desert. And what makes them so different is they got a lot of rainfall,” explains Reemts.

This means you get a lot of plants of animals that can survive in the higher, cooler areas of the mountains, like the Ponderosa Pine. The tree, Reemts says has been through hardships in the last several years due to wildfire and drought.

In this interview, Reemts explains the Ponderosa’s important role in the region and how the Nature Conservancy and the state are working to bring back this stately tree.