Veterans Memorial Park in Smithville, Texas

May 25, 2013

Honoring the fallen in Smithville

About halfway between La Grange and Bastrop, nestled on the banks of the Colorado River, lies the town of Smithville, Texas; population: 3,817.

Cornyn

Cornyn

It’s an idyllic Texas town with a brick-and-mortar Main Street that retains the charm of an earlier era.  And though it may be small, Smithville’s contributions to Texas and to the United States are extraordinary.

Since its founding in 1827, this Texas town has established an incredible tradition of military service.  For nearly two centuries, its sons and daughters have answered the call to serve their country.

From the ranks of General Sam Houston’s army, to the war-torn fields of France, to the valleys of Afghanistan – and everywhere in between – Smithville has always stood on the frontlines of history.

This has not been without sacrifice.  Between 2006 and 2011, Smithville and the surrounding region lost seven of its own in Iraq and Afghanistan – three falling in the line of duty in less than twelve months.

In a community of this size, the loss is felt throughout.  As resident Lucille Bartsch put it, “When something happens to somebody, it happens to everybody.”

With each loss, the people of Smithville banded together in an outpouring of love and community strength.  They knew that they needed to do something to permanently honor the memory of their neighbors and make sure their sacrifices would never be forgotten.

Under the leadership of Mayor Mark Bunte, the town undertook an ambitious project to construct a park that would rightfully memorialize these heroes of Smithville, as well as all Texans who have served in the military.  They envisioned a place where the community could gather to “pay homage to all families whose husbands, wives, sons, and daughters have given the ultimate sacrifice,” as Mayor Bunte explained.

After nearly three years of tireless work, the Smithville Texas Veterans Memorial Park will officially open this Memorial Day.  I am honored to have the privilege of participating in the dedication ceremony on Monday morning.

We will dedicate this park to all the men and women who have stood bravely on the frontlines of freedom and fought off the dark and tyrannical forces that would do us harm.  We will dedicate it to the veterans living amongst us, and the veterans who live on in our hearts.

And we will dedicate it to Pfc. Tina Priest, Spc. Joshua Farris, Captain Joshua Meadows, Lance Cpl. Cody Stanley, Sgt. Mario Rodriguez, Staff Sgt. Joe Altman, and Chief Petty Officer Matthew Mills – the heroes of Bastrop County who laid down their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan so that we could live freely.

Liberty is the birthright of all Americans.  But liberty requires constant guardians – it needs brave men and women willing to take up arms in its defense.  Smithville has produced more than its fair share of such guardians.  In doing so, it has come to embody the very best of the American spirit, and this park is a testament to that.

In the face of tragedy, the people of Smithville have shown love and resolve.  At every turn they have shown what great strength can be drawn from living by a simple commandment: love thy neighbor.

While this park cannot fill the hole left in the hearts of the bereaved, I hope that it will bring solace through the fact that the memory of those to whom it is dedicated will never be forgotten.

This Memorial Day, let us rededicate ourselves to the great founding principles of our Republic that so many men and women have given their lives to defend.  May we count each day as a gift from the fallen; may we endeavor to be worthy of this gift; and may God always bless Texas and the United States of America.

For more information check the Smithville Times.

Smithville Veterans Memorial Park

Smithville Veterans Memorial P

 


Smithville, Texas’ own Playhouse

May 24, 2013

Three Penny Opera, A Musical, Book by Bertolt Brecht/Music by Kurt Weill – Join the Playhouse cast for this classic musical.  This is a world in which capitalism fosters greed, love doesn’t last, and double dealing is the golden rule while celebrating sinners for their inextinguishable life-force and the pure energy that radiates from their misconduct.  They are bad-bad-bad and they make the best of it.  A romantic comedy that is fun like none other with music like none other directed by john  daniels, jr. (sic) like none other. All this and Mac the Knife too… “Oh, the shark bites with its tooth dear and he keeps them pearly white…”  Opens Friday, May 24, 7:30pm.  Show runs May 24, 25, 30, 31, June 1, 7, 8 (7:30pm).  Tickets are $15.00 at www.playhousesmithville.com or call 512-360-7397 for reservations.
Playhouse Smithville 110 Main Street Smithville, TX 78957 512-360-7397 www.playhousesmithville.com
For more information on Smithville, visit the Chamber page at www.smithvilletx.org
For Lodging visit the Katy House Bed and Breakfast web site at www.katyhouse.com or call 512 237 4262
Sallie Blalock

Texas Bed and Breakfast Board meeting

May 21, 2013

It was a great meeting.  We met at Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn,  in San Antonio, Texas.  Our main topic was our upcoming convention, September 8 through September 10, 2013 in New Braunfels at  T Bar M Resort.  There will be a Pre-convention Workshop for those that are interested in starting a Bed and Breakfast,  called “Innkeeping: The Basics.”

For more information call the TBBA Administration Office – 800-428-0368 or email info@tbba.org

The schedule of workshops will be on the Texas Bed and Breakfast Website soon!

I am now back in Smithville and at the Katy House Bed and Breakfast. Sallie Blalock, 512-237-4262

www.Katyhouse.com

Plan to attend this informative and fun convention.

 

 


DOONBY, filmed in Smithville, TX Opens

April 18, 2012

Review:by the Christian Movie Guide

DOONBYis a very intriguing story about a holy fool character. The holy fool is a medieval and Renaissance Christ character used in French and even Russian literature as a Christ figure who comes from nowhere to transform people’s lives.John Schneider plays Sam Doonby, who drifts into a small Southern town (Smithville, TX) and starts to protect people from one disaster after another. For instance, two thugs hold up a bar where he gets a job, and Doonby saves the owner from being shot. Doonby saves a baby from being hit by a Mack truck. He also saves a young woman from being killed by a deranged killer who’s escaped a mental asylum in New York. During all this, Doonby attracts a following as a bartender and a singer. Several women throw themselves at Doonby, but he acts with the utmost chivalry and respect.As the story develops, there are flashbacks to Doonby’s youth. Doonby thought his mother was a beautiful blonde angel, but she hung out on the wrong side of town at the wrong bars and with the wrong men. Eventually, she abandons him.

Beneath all the good that’s happening in the small town, there’s the deeper story of who is Doonby. When the girl who loves him refuses to accept love and denies him, the audience finds out the shocking truth.

The first half of DOONBY flows very well. There are some extra plot issues inserted at that point. These issues create a few minor plot diversions. Even so, the Twilight Zone ending is compelling and designed to help people understand the value of life.

DOONBY has a good cast of known veterans and newcomers. Jenn Gotzon does a wonderful job in her role as Laura Reaper, although there are one or two scenes where the direction of her scene is over the top. John Schneider gives one of his better performances, which could have been improved by better direction. Norma McCorvey, who was the legal “Jane Roe” in the landmark American lawsuit Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion, plays a strong pro-life first role in the movie to help proclaim her faith and change of heart in real life. Overall, however, DOONBY is a movie with an important story that’s interesting to watch.

DOONBY displays a lot of latent talent on the part of the filmmakers. Movieguide® commends them for all their hard work. That said, there’s a lot of drinking, carousing, and some scary violence in the movie, so caution is recommended, especially for pre-adolescents. Even so, DOONBY has a very strong Christian worldview with a pro-life message.

 
(This movie was filmed in Smithville Tx.  The bar, Huebel’s,  near the Katy House Bed and Breakfast was used as the bar in the movie where Sam Doonby found a job.  You will see many areas of Smithville in the movie. For info on the town of Smithville see the chamber page at http://www.smithvilletx.org/   Sallie Blalock)

Bastrop County Fire

April 17, 2012

THE FIRE

Please spread the word:

Upstart’s long-awaited documentary, THE FIRE, is now for sale at

http://www.upstartbastrop.com/the-fire-documentary/

The 48-minute movie premiered at the Bastrop Home Product Show on Sunday to thunderous applause. It was produced by Carolyn Banks and Colin Guerra and was funded by Aqua Water Supply Corporation, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Bastrop Economic Development Corporation and First National Bank of Bastrop. Don’t miss this chance to share the story and video of the worst fire in Texas history with your out-of-town friends. In addition to footage shot by the producers, this video features Bastrop Sheriffs Department dashcam shots as well as KVUE and LCRA footage acquired just for this production. One viewer wrote on his comment card that the story was “incredibly well-told,” and another said the movie was “Awesome!”

The fire came within 3 1/2 miles of our town of Smithville, TX.  Some of the out of state fire fighters stayed at our B&B, the Katy House.

 


Playhouse Smithville presents “The Imaginary Invalid”

April 4, 2012

With your permission and for your pleasure Playhouse Smithville presents Moliere’s comic satire and farce The Imaginary Invalid. Artistic Director john daniels, jr. (sic) adapts, directs and stars as Argan, the theatre’s most famous hypochondriac. Live music, dance, gypsies, and the Playhouse treatment of a classic comedy, drives this steampunk, grunge rock indictment of the heeling/ healing arts. Come take your medicine!  Plays April 13-28, 7:30pm at Playhouse Smithville, 110 Main Street, Smithville, TX 78957.  Tickets are $10.00 at www.playhousesmithville.com or call (512) 360-7397.
 
P.S. the Playhouse is just a block from our B&B, the Katy House Bed and Breakfast.  It is great fun to have live theater here in Smithville, Texas.  Come check out our great small town. For info on Smithville go to the Chamber of Commerce web site.   www.smithvilletx.org
 

Travels with Oscar, Smithville TX shines

March 10, 2012

 

This article is from the Orange County Register, Feb 23, 2012

 

Best Picture town: Smithville, Texas, in “The Tree of Life

People tend to either think Terrence Malick is one of the few artists left working in film, or the maker of insufferably obtuse movies. I have to admit I’m conflicted.

Though I’m a big military history buff, I couldn’t endure the endless shots of waving grass in “The Thin Red Line” and dropped out about 45 minutes into it. I know a lot of people didn’t make it that long into “The Tree of Life,” Malick’s defiantly nonnarrative rumination on the battle between the states of grace and nature over endless time. The opening sequences of the creation of the universe (dinosaurs?) and the corner of the world where Brad Pitt and family will live out their lives feel a lot like the start of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Maybe “The Tree of Life” just hit me at the right moment – it’s my favorite movie of the year. Battling congestion one late night in January, I popped “Tree of Life” into the DVD player. Maybe it was the combination: cold medicine, alone, dark and quiet house, Blu-ray on high-definition TV. I couldn’t take my eyes away.

The heart of the film is the town where Pitt alternately hugs and bullies his boys. I was transfixed by the simple beauty of the town – the trees, the houses, the shadows, the road and the faces. At the end of the movie, I scrambled to find where the film was shot. Though some shots were done in other parts of Texas, the core of the story is told in Smithville, just outside of Austin. I’ve explored the Hill Country west and north of Austin but never ventured to the east. The town of wide streets and an old-style downtown has been featured before, in “Hope Floats.” I want to go, though I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there or what I would see. Just life, I guess. Sounds like a Malick film.

P.S. Our B&B, the Katy House is eight blocks from the house used in “Tree of Life”  The Smithville Chamber has a new brochure listing most of the places in town used in the movies filmed in Smithville.


Review of Malick’s Tree of Life, filmed in Smithville

February 24, 2012

Back Stage

SASA MAJUMA

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth?
The Tree of Life (2011) is one of the best films from last year. It is being shown at the Gaborone Film Society tonight at 7 pm atMaru-a-PulaSchool in the A/V Centre. It is by the great director Terrence Malick who only makes about one film every decade.

He is famous for Badlands(1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005). With The Tree of Life his approach has changed: he currently has four new films in production.
 
At the 64th Cannes International Film Festival The Tree of Life swept the Palme D’Or (but not without boos, jeers and great applause from a divided public). The line that divides reactions to this film is strong for it begins with the cosmos, the Supreme Being, the meaning of life, birth and death, and how life may be lived.

The catcalls come from viewers who want modern entertainment, not Great Issues. Nick Pinkerton writing in The Village Voice says of Malick that, He’s one of the few American filmmakers operating on the multiplex scale who makes movies feel like undiscovered country.

In Genesis, 3:22-24 in the Garden of Eden the tree of life has fruits that give eternal life. In science the image is used to represent the evolutionary divergence of all living creatures.

In Kabalism the spheres of life or the 10 attributes of the infinite belong to the tree of life. This film spends considerable time probing images of the past. From the Hubble telescope, the birth of the universe is observed. At one point the earth belonged to the dinosaurs (an injured plesiosaur contemplates his wounding), then they were extinct.

“I made him feel shame …how did I lose you?  Mother was I false to you? …. Where were you? Who are we to you? 
  From the Red Centre, to the nebulae of outer space, from eruptions, to the feeding frenzy of circling hammerheads and Saturn’s rings, We cry to you, my soul, my son”. 

Light of my life I search for you. At the start and in conclusion the audience can see only a flickering flame Ð is this the beginning and end of our universe?

The creation leads us to a family inWaco,Texas, in the 1950s Ð yes, the same town of the famous massacre, but there is no link established between it and this movie. It was actually filmed in Smithville, nearAustin,Texas.

A gentle, warm, loving Mother O’Brien (acted by Jessica Chastain, inGaboronepreviously in The Help in Texas Killing Fields, The Debt and Wilde Salome) is the lodestone for her three sons. Her path is the opposite of her husband’s. “Love everyone. Love every leaf, every ray of light,” she tells her sons.

The demanding, harsh and judgemental father O’Brien (played by Brad Pitt) imparts survival lessons that are intended to promote individualism, competition, and Looking Out For No. 1. Pass the butter please, Sir.  

O’Brien disciplines his sons like the family was an ancient military camp and the offspring the uncouth foot soldiers. 

They must learn how to avoid being bullied, to fight back, and to master the art of self-defence, to face DDT spray without flinching. Do you love your father? Yes, Sir. His message to his sons is one of loyalty and obedience coloured by cunning. The world lives by trickery … if you want to succeed, you can’t be too good.

As they grow a little older, Number One, Jack (played by Hunter McCracken) becomes a bully with his two younger brothers R L and Steve (Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan). He also articulates his rebellion and his hostility against his father’s repressive regime.

“You can hit me if you want.” O’Brien tells Jack, I want you to grow up strong, be your own boss. Jack becomes the axis of the film. He even tries to talk to God. Can we hear the answers?

O’Brien has 25 patents, a thankless job, that comes to an end, loves classical music, but is a failed musician. His sense of failure permeates the film. He wants more for his sons. To accompany its unfamiliar images The Tree of Life is filled by some of the best In music by Bach, Couperin, Mozart, Mahler, Smetana, Gorecki, Respighi, Holst and others.

To find the young actors, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan and Hunter McCracken, who play the three preadolescent brothers, months were spent searching and 10,000c non-professional applicants interviewed. The results are a credit to this prolonged search.

Sean Penn gives a taut portrayal of the troubled first son, Jack, now an adult, who struggles to find the best in his harsh, disciplinarian father. As an actor he somehow expected more. He is quoted as saying: I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read.

A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.

The adult Jack keeps looking back on his past. One of his younger brothers has died. He is working as an architect in a glass skyscraper in downtownHouston,Texas(little is really explained about who he has become, as it is his remembered past that occupies the screen).

Still, this is a film about mysteries, well worth watching and debating.  It is a poetic movie, but you don’t have to be a poet or a true believer to watch it.

Thus may be The Tree of Life, but in this resurrection it is the American suburb of half a century ago with its green lawns, cars to wash, and sibling rivalry to be transcended. It is a coming-of-age story with a difference. 

The Tree of Life is two hours and 13 minutes long. It is rated 12+. The director is Terrence Malick who also wrote the script. The cinematographer is Emmanuel Lubezk. The editor is Mark Yosikawa. The music is both by and arranged by Alexandre Desplat. 
sasa_majuma@yahoo.co.uk

(our bed and breakfast, the Katy House is 10 blocks from the home used in Tree of Life. Sallie Blalock)

 


Tom Tierney’s Texas Paper Doll Party

February 20, 2012

Tom Tierney & Kathy O’Tierney invited you to

4th Annual Texas Paper Doll Party

Sat, Mar 31, 2012 from 9:30 PM
to Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Where:
Tom-Kat Paper Dolls
216 Main Street
Smithville TX 78602

Our Bed and Breakfast is one block from Main Street and the Paper Doll Party. Give the Katy House a call if we can help you plan a trip our way. (512) 236-4262.  www.katyhouse.com

 


Real ‘Jane Roe’ in movie Doonby, filmed in Smithville, TX

February 2, 2012

Real ‘Jane Roe’ Makes Pro-Life Case in Upcoming Feature Film ‘Doonby’

by Hollywoodland

 

Norma McCorvey, better known as the plaintiff at the heart of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, wasn’t seeking a big-screen film career.

She simply couldn’t pass up the chance to play a woman who tries convincing a pregnant woman to keep her baby.

McCorvey, who famously had a change of heart regarding abortion following the landmark ruling, has a small but pivotal role in the upcoming feature “Doonby.”

“Doonby” stars John Schneider, Robert Davi, Jennifer O’Neill, Joe Estevez and Ernie Hudson in the tale of a drifter who arrives in a small Texas town and creates a stir when his past is slowly revealed. The film will have several sneak screenings on Feb. 10 and 17 in Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee before opening in late spring/early summer.

By Sallie Blalock:  this movie was filmed in our little Texas town- Smithville, Texas.  Come visit our town and see sites that have been used in 18 movies over the the last 15 years. Our Katy House Bed and Breakfast is only one block from Main Street. Please visit our web site at www.katyhouse.com    The Chamber site is www.smithvilletx.org