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Arts & Culture

Why Texas Has Always Attracted Mavericks

An Austin writer/performer is speaking on Sunday at the Institute of Texan Cultures. Gene Fowler will be speaking about a book he wrote called Mavericks: A Gallery of Texas Characters.  

Among other things,  he'll drill down on what has become known worldwide as..."The cultural niche of the American psyche known as the eccentric Texan." He paused, then added, "That's quite a well-trod patch of turf there."

But, "Why are we such a magnet for the odd ones?"

"A lot of the early folks in the state were people who came here on the run from somewhere else," he said.

Fowler is giving two free talks during the Institute's Second Sunday program, illustrating historic characters he's found. Here, he embodies a politician of old, talking about his opponent.

"He may be a skunk, who in the lottery of life, got two legs instead of four. It may be supposed that he, like the toadstool, simply exuded as a foul and fungus growth from some den of inequity and darkness."

Very colorful language! And there were other specific-to-San-Antonio characters, like Madame Candelaria.

"Madame Candelaria claimed to have been in the Alamo during the battle. And she became sort of a tourist attraction herself, and she lived until 1899," said Fowler.

Oddly, some historians think she was telling the truth.

"This state loves a maverick, always has," he said, quoting another of the state's major mavericks, Kinky Friedman. "So I think there's been a tendency through history to embrace the unusual in this state for whatever reason."

Fowler's 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. talks on mavericks will cover a wide scope.

For more on the Institute of Texan Cultures go here

For more on this talk, go here