My friend Clay Lindley, the funniest cowboy poet I ever met

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Leading the string of horses in this photograph is Clay Lindley: cowboy, poet, actor, comedian, husband, father and friend. I knew Clay only briefly. He passed in 2005. My friend Joanna Cowell, a leader of the Alpine drama community, recommended him as an actor for the Texas Dick trailer. (Click on image below to see trailer.) Clay was one of those rare celestial people who could instantly brightened a room with his warmth and humor. A true comedian, he produced humor from thin air, sometimes it was one’s own expense. I felt the sting of his wit, but it was always delivered with a gleam of laughter that made you like him even more.

I’ll write more about Clay and the trailer. Please click on the first link below to watch his performance.  He has the first lines 25 seconds into the trailer.  He’s talking to the sheriff of the fictional town of Little Bend, Texas about how – in the manner of a Shakespearean play – the planets are in alignment signaling a portentous event. Click on the image and the trailer will begin:

clay-lindley

Here’s more about Clay from his obituary:

Clayton M. Lindley was born on July 21, 1959 in Del Rio, Texas to Jane and Buster Lindley. He graduated from Silver City, N.M. High School, where he excelled as a swimmer. Clay graduated from Sul Ross University in Alpine, then followed his dream by cowboying in Montana. He later became a Range Specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Clay earned his nickname, Cletus, while working for NRCS in Spur, Texas.
Clay was a rare survivor of childhood leukemia and made it a point to enjoy everyday of his life. He possessed the ability to make everyone around him laugh and smile, and he loved doing it.
Cletus was called home on Thursday, September 1, 2005 following a battle with stomach cancer. Services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Mertzon, Texas on Monday, September 5, 2005. Burial was in the Sherwood Cemetery just down the road from Mertzon.
Pall bearers were Mark Donet, George Ramsey, Marty Donet, Charlie Donet, Robert Gibbons, and John Zeuberbuler.
Honorary pallbearers were Gil Prather, Donnie Franklin, Sonny Fry, Steve St. Clair and Bill Whitley.

Recording a Demo at Electric Wall Studios

Demo at Electric Wall Studios 3

Last Sunday I spent over four and a half hours recording a rough demo of twelve of my songs at Electric Wall Studios in Seattle’s Capital Hill district. I want to thank my friend and recording engineer Brendan  Mills-McCabe (shown above) for his skill and patience during the session. The shot on the right was taken from behind the microphones where I sat, facing the control room.

I haven’t heard the mix yet. But when I do, I will post one or two cuts. The purpose of the demo is to gauge how close I am to recording a CD, this winter perhaps.

Here’s a link to the commodious studios.

Electric Wall Studios

 

New Song – Bueno the Roan

Bueno the Roan2

Bueno the Roan
©2015 Sperry Hunt

1. The telephone rang deep in the night tearing me from my dream.
The earth was the sky and sky was the earth; nothing was as it seemed.
I looked at the number;
It was you again,
Calling your only friend,
When you’re near the end.
It’s what you do
When it’s them.

2. I remember as boys crossing the tracks at the reservoir.
We followed the creek through the woods to Bayou Noir.
We fished with the kids of the maids and the yardmen
Side by side.
Dreams of the riverside.
Boys of the riverside.
Boys you now decide
Are Them.

Chorus. Long ago we rode the hills of New Mexico
On Pablo, the paint, and Bueno, the roan –
Caught in the rains with only our ponchos for shelter
Deep in the trees two mountains from home.
Now you shelter behind the mighty walls of your fortress
Where everyone fears you and leaves you alone.
Let me take you back to the hills of New Mexico.
I will lead you home like Bueno the roan.

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Searching for an illustrator for The Inventors’ Daughter

Searching for an Illustrator

Searching for an Illustrator2

My two novels are finished, and I’m considering hiring an illustrator to create a few images to help me market them. I’m familiar with the argument that publishers choose illustrators from those they regularly work with. But my feeling is that if I show up with very fine illustrations that really tell, or should I say, show my story, the discussion will never occur.

So, how to find an artist who portrays my stories the way I see them?  Just looking above at six of the thousands of images I’ve examined, you can imagine how daunting the process can be. None of the illustrators seem like the one I’m looking for so far. My Inventors Daughter series lives between the middle grade and young adult genres. My main character and her best friend are young teenagers (13-16). Taken as a whole the novels are a coming of age story. They’re not graphic novels, but they have a graphic, even cinematic quality. The first is a gritty urban rescue story,  set partially underground, with a fantastic invention, a kidnapping, a train chase toward an unfinished bridge and Men with Bulldog tattoos. The second is a time machine/pirate epic with a bit of steampunk sandwiched in the middle. They’re science fiction/adventure stories for the kid who wants to feel older and the older person who wants to feel younger.

And so continues the search for an illustrator able to portray an earnest, brave young woman who, as the slug line states, saves her parents from the world and the world from their inventions.

My Hollywood Story – Texas Dick, Part I

Richard III Booking Mugshot 2

Take a second and imagine what led to the taking of this mugshot.

Texas Dick is one of my several unproduced film scripts. This post is the story of the story of the script and the trailer. It includes photographs of the production, and links to videos of a reading of the script and the trailer.

The seed for the tale occurred over a summer week in Alpine, a small town in western Texas, population 6000, two hundred miles from anywhere you’ve heard of. I was fourteen. Nearly every day of that week found me sitting among the dim back-row seats of the Sul Ross College theater watching a rehearsal of Shakespeare’s Henry IV.  My older brother Grainger was playing the title role quite ably for a twenty-five year old rock singer on his way to getting his PhD in zoology.

The play, or rather two plays are not so much about Henry IV as the coming of age of his rebellious twenty-something son Prince Henry who suspects his father has committed murder to gain the thrown. The story is split between comedy and drama. The comic half is a romp through the pubs and byways around Eastcheap, England. The result is a sort of Shakespearean dysfunctional buddy movie staring a handsome prince and a hugely entertaining pompous gasbag named Falstaff.  The exposition and ridicule of Falstaff’s pretensions provide some of the most side-splitting comedy to ever appeared onstage.

The second impetus for my screwball screenplay came decades later in a theater near my house in Seattle. The local high school was presenting series of scenes from plays as diverse as A Streetcar Named Desire and Richard III. Though I had seen Richard several times, this instance proved to be an inspiration. The students chose the second scene – the one after “Now is the winter of my discontent.” In it the funeral of King Henry VI passes by Richard before he becomes a king himself.  Richard orders the pallbearers to halt. Lady Anne, the widow, curses him for murdering her husband, which Richard does not deny.  In the next several minutes Richard, using his eloquent misdirection convinces Anne – standing beside freshly dead husband -that he did the deed for the love of her. Upset but profoundly flattered, she agrees to accept Richard’s ring and to rendezvous with him later.

Several nights later, the idea of Texas Dick came to me in a dream wherein two itinerant actors wake up in the middle of the night in a small town hospital room believing that they are Richard III and Falstaff. They soon find like-minded rabble-rousing dissidents among the cowboy poets at The One Knight, the local bar. The sheriff appears which leads to the above mugshot. And so the tale begins.

The dream led to plotting and writing the screenplay over a period of about a year. Effort and chance meetings led me to filming the trailer, Tommy Lee Jones, options and – as happens in many Texas tales – the inevitable intrigue swirling around a guy named Bubba. But that’s for another post, which I will add in time.

For now I offer you the video links and the photographs below of what turned out to be three difficult but joyous days of shooting, as you can see from the photographs below. I apologize for not being able to raise the $5M we needed to shoot the money, but I guess that’s just show business. Nevertheless thanks to all who helped us especially the executive producers which included Lalu Kiesling of Menlo Park, California, and Clay Lindley of Marfa, Tx. And to the directors, who chose not to be credited due to a bad business decision on my part. (More on that in a future post.)

Click here to see a video of a partial reading by the the Seattle Cold Readers of the Act I.

Click here to see trailer we shot in the Austin area..

 

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