Fort Worth bands might as well be from Idaho for all of the coverage they (do not) receive in Texas Monthly and Texas Music Magazine, two alleged “statewide” publications that have music sections. Agreed, the Monthly’s is small, but still: It’s significant. (The mag’s circulation is about 300,000.) But how can the Monthly and Texas Music claim to cover all of Texas music when neither has ever even featured Telegraph Canyon, a Fort Worth band that was recently given props by Rolling Stone magazine (Rolling Stone!)? Or what about Bosque Brown or The Theater Fire, two other Fort Worth bands that have received national media attention, specifically in the tastemaking portal Pitchfork Media? (Here and here.) And I’ll even trot out the fact that, as far as I can recall, the Monthly and Texas Music missed Oliver Future, a Fort Worth-Austin-L.A. band once featured in Esquire magazine. (OK, let me go off topic for a sec. Oliver Future is an excellent band but is by no means published-in-Esquire better than any of the cream of the Fort Worth scene [Calhoun, Fate Lions, The Orbans, major motion picture stars The Burning Hotels]. Alas, as I’m loath to remind myself constantly, the entertainment biz –– from music to film to literature –– is as much about what you know as who you know. Sad. Where was I? … )
No love for Fort Worth. Right. The moral of the story is that Fort Worth musicians aren’t the only personae non gratae in statewide mags. Fort Worth artists –– and galleries and museums and events –– are also of great irrelevance to the Monthly and also to the state’s only contemporary visual arts portal. Glasstire is based in Houston: Naturally, spilled paint on a wet paper bag anywhere within the 713 area code qualifies as big, big news to Glasstire. Search the web site for a story –– heck, a blurb –– about any significant contemporary Fort Worth artist. J.T. Grant? Nope. Daniel Blagg? Uh-uh. John Holt Smith? No. Christopher Blay? Nope. That guy who had a piece in the Whitney fucking Biennial in ’00, Brian Fridge?! Sorry. The list, unfortunately, goes on. What a shame.
Am I biased toward Fort Worth art and artists? Of course. I live with and among them. They’re my readers, and they also deserve to be part of the critical conversation –– not only in town but across the state and, yes, across the country.
The art is no better or worse in Austin or Houston. Why does an artist seemingly have to live in either of those two places (or Dallas or Denton) to get a damn bone thrown his or her way?