John Long is full of shit.
Walking through Marfa is like the beginning of a certain kind of delerium. It’s like those movies where characters are dragging through hot, sandy deserts and they see something like a plush oasis in the distance.
It’s where Giant (1956) was filmed. John Long says Giant is a shitty film, but I’ve never seen it. It’s in the Criterion Collection and James Dean and Rock Hudson look cool as hell, but John Long is passionate and eloquent and James Dean and Rock Hudson are both dead.
Marfa is confounding. It’s where you can pay $15 for Nashville hot chicken sando and quinoa bowl with tahini driz while a toothless Mexican plays a 3-stringed guitar with more than one hole across the street in the blowing wind on his porch.
It’s where you can e-Bike for hours and miles and see everything three, four, maybe even five times over.
It’s where beauty and oddity collide. It’s where rich and poor vie for the same dollar. It’s where the setting sun drips everything in honey.
And other things drip too.
And it’s where John Long wonders around wearing a fur coat he stole from a kid at Burning Man. It’s where he’ll tell you about the Oscar he won for the documentary he produced. You’ll fact check him when you get back to the tent and you’ll see he was a PA, but he did in fact win an Oscar for an HBO docummentary.
It’s where he’ll drink most of your whiskey around a picnic table one night and argue his Californian theory of wealth distribution and altruism.
It’s the only context where Orville Peck’s music works for me. I get it, now. It’s the only place you’ll see a New Yorker and a spent Pennzoil quart in the same remote roadside trash bin.
Marfa is the plush oasis in the desert. But like the mirage in the cartoon, it never quite delivers. And maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be. A place where you can meet a sunburned, shoeless John Long. He’ll be full of shit, but that won’t stop you from chanting: Long Live John Long! around a picnic table at 3am.