November - Texas Moosicians

CowParade Calendar – November – Texas Moosicians

If you have my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar, you probably flipped it over to November and said to yourself “Hey, what’s up with this cow? It’s different than the others!”.

This cow, named Texas Moosicians, was created by Mitch Brookman. Mitch evidently is a very talented artist who specializes in mosaics.

The CowParade Austin website, which is still semi-functional, lists Mitch’s website as http://www.mitchbrookmanmosaics.com, which does not seem to be valid at this time.

Doing a little searching using Bing and Google, I was able to find an interesting news post from The Oasis Restaurant out at Lake Travis, where they were having a contest to name Mitch’s cow (this was in July 2011).

I could also locate this web page, which appears to be on Facebook, but you do not have to be logged in to Facebook to see the photos there.

If you open another web browser window and login to Facebook, you can then come back to this web browser window and view Mitch Brookman’s Facebook page by clicking on this link.

And here is his Texas Moosician’s Facebook page:

It was late on the Saturday morning of September 3, 2011, when Dad and I arrived at the location where Texas Moosicians was on public display. It was at West Willie Nelson Blvd (2nd Street) and Lavaca – which was at the base of the stairs leading up to the Moody Theater at the Austin City Limits Studio.

This was the 19th of 24 cows that we photographed that morning – by far the most we visited in any one day. We arrived at exactly 11:00 AM. The sun was high in the sky, and it was a very hard light. I photographed the plaque first, and then started from the left front side of the cow.

The Texas musicians shown on the left side of the cow, from front to back, are Buddy Holly, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, and Janis Joplin.

Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, TX in 1936 and died young in an airplane crash in 1959. From Wikipedia: Holly was among the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004 Rolling Stone (magazine) ranked Holly #13 among “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

Lyle Lovett was born in north Harris County (the county that Houston is in) in 1957. His musical career took off while he was attending Texas A&M University. I have been to two Lyle Lovett (and his Large Band) concerts, and really had a great time!

Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.

The Willie Nelson statue now sits in almost the exact same location that Texas Moosicians was on display at. Willie Nelson still lives just west of Austin. Barb and I took Dad and Rita to see a Willie Nelson concert at Riverbend Church for his Father’s Day present last summer.

Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, TX, but her musical career took off while she was attending The University of Texas at Austin. Janis could really let loose, and was a superstar in the late 60’s – she even performed at the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969, as one of the main attractions. She came on stage late on a Saturday evening, and performed in front of a half a million people until well into Sunday morning.

Although seeing this cow was very exciting, photographing it was very challenging. The hard, harsh sunlight was directly above. The background was very busy, and even though you still see some parked cars behind the cow, I did my best to wait until there were not also pedestrians and other vehicle traffic on the street. Note also the steel railing of the fence behind the cow…

That railing meant that any photograph of the other side of the cow was going to include the railing, or using some difficult to achieve photographic technique. I wasn’t going to leave without at least trying to get a photo of the other side of this very interesting cow!

To get this photo, I closed the 3 legs of my Gitzo tripod, so that they came together, and raised the center column all the way – which essentially turned it into as tall of a monopod that it could be. I put my Canon 5D Mark II into live-view mode, zoomed my 24 – 105mm f/4 lens to as wide of a field of view that it could go (24mm), and shielded the rear LCD of the camera from the direct sunlight, and stood on my tippy-toes to see the composition on the rear LCD. I used a fairly small aperture, which combined with the 24mm focal length gave me a fairly deep depth-of-field.

The musicians that Mitch Brookman put onto this side of his Texas Moosicians cow are (from read to front): Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Orbison, and Billy Gibbons.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1971. According to Wikipedia, Selena was named the “top Latin artist of the ’90s” and “Best selling Latin artist of the decade” by Billboard for her fourteen top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, including seven number-one hits. In 1995, when Selena confronted the president of her fan club for embezzling money, the accused woman shot and killed Selena as the singer tried to flee.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas in October 1954. Stevie moved to Austin when he was 17 years old. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan play 3 or 4 times live – and it was up close and personal. He was the lead guitarist in a band called Paul Ray and the Cobras that played weekly out at the Soap Creek Saloon that used to be out west on Bee Caves Road in the mid-to-late 70’s. That joint could hold maybe 150 people, and we would sit at a table 20 feet from the band and drink beer by the pitcher…. A few people would dance, but almost everyone would just enjoy the music and stare at the band.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a huge influence on my music listening. I still have several vinyl LPs, and a handful of CDs of his.

Stevie died in a helicopter crash along with 3 members of Eric Clapton’s band when leaving an outdoor concert in Wisconsin in August 1990.

Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas in 1936. Wikipedia reports: Roy’s greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top Forty. … In 1988, he joined the supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Roy dies of a heart attack in December of that year, at the zenith of his resurgence.

I really liked the Traveling Wilburys, but the song that I still get chills when I hear it, is a song called Crying that Roy Orbison did as a duet with K. D. Lang in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it #69 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. I don’t know about such rankings, but it is a beautifully powerful song.

William Frederick “Billy” Gibbons was born in the Tanglewood subdivision of Houston, Texas in December 1949. Billy is best known as the guitarist of the Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top.

The only time that I ever saw ZZ Top perform live was during their Worldwide Texas Tour at the 1974 Labor Day show at Texas Memorial Stadium here in Austin. The concert was the last to be held at the stadium for two decades, as the artificial turf was damaged by rowdy fans. Also performing at that show was Santana, Joe Cocker, and Bad Company. Jay Boy Adams and Jimmy Page also showed up to play. An aerial photograph of the crowd in the stadium was later used as the record sleeve for ZZ Top’s 1975 album Fandango!. If you ever see it, I’m sitting with my buddies on about the 35 yard line, southwest of mid-field, and yes, we were roasting in the mid-day Summer sun. :-)

When I look at the metadata embedded into the 5 photos that I took of Mitch Brookman’s cow named Texas Moosicians, I find that I was only there for 6 short minutes photographing it. It is simply amazing how such a work of art can bring back so many wonderful memories from decades ago.

The photos that I show here are not full of highly saturated colors, like most of the other cows that I was drawn to, but the colorful musicians shown on the sides of Texas Moosicians made this an easy choice to include it in my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar.

3 thoughts on “CowParade Calendar – November – Texas Moosicians”

  1. That is some awesome work by the artist. I would love to see this one up close. I made a small mosaic top table years ago It was nothing like this though. Was a lot of fun to do though. I really like the treatment on the legs here with the brown tones carried through all of the legs.

  2. I had no idea this was out there, thank you for the kind words. It was a labor of love that raised $45,000 in auction for the Dell Children’s Hospital, Super-Hero Kids Foundation.

    Mitch

    1. Mitch, hey thanks for creating such an interesting cow. The choice of Texas musicians that you portrayed with your fantastic mosaics was great. I hope that your cow ended up at an appreciative, and loving home. You really did a fantastic job! Thank you for leaving your comment.

Good or bad, I'd love to hear what you thought!