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Marble Falls Public Library book talk Nov. 2, 2018

9 Nov

I spoke to the “Booked for Lunch” crowd Nov. 2, 2018 at the Marble Falls Public Library. Director Iona Minshew interviewed me for her podcast “Book, Line & Sinker,” posted on SoundCloud and she videotaped my presentation and posted it on YouTube.com. Phil Reynolds, the editor at The Highlander newspaper in Marble Falls interviewed me too; the article published Nov. 6, 2918. I sold and signed a lot of books and had a great time in Marble Falls!

Link to the audio-only https://soundcloud.com/marble-falls-public-library/donna-marie-miller-interview-the-broken-spoke podcast “Book, Line & Sinker,” by Iona Minshew, director of the Marble Falls Public Library.

South Austin Costco book signing 10.23.2018

24 Oct
James White and I signed books from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Oct. 23, 2018 at the South Austin Costco while dozens of Broken Spoke fans stopped by to chat. That day Austin Utility Company had announced a “boil water” order due to serious flooding, so consequently the number of shoppers at Costco increased ten-fold. 

Oklahoma Book Festival 10.20.2018

24 Oct
I spoke on a panel at the inaugural Oklahoma Book Festival in Oklahoma City Oct. 20, 2018 together with Tennessee author Fred Minnick and moderated by The Oklahoman newspaper’s ‘food dude’ columnist Dave Cathey. Afterwards, one of my favorite Austin authors, Sarah Bird, signed her latest novel, The Daughter of the Daughter of a Queen. Later that afternoon I also toured the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. 
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Boerne Book & Arts Festival 10.6.2018

24 Oct

Boerne and Shelley Sproull with us

Broken Spoke fan and my friend Shelley Sproull came out with her whole family to hear me talk and Christine Brown at Texas A&M University Press sold books. Singer and guitarist Ben Stafford Rodgers performed a few classic country songs and Deb Fleming moderated my talk.

OLLI group talk at UT Thompson Center

24 Oct

UT Forum book signing 10.5.2018

James White and I talked about the Broken Spoke and Ben Stafford Rodgers sang some classic country songs for a full house inside the Thompson Center at the University of Texas Oct. 5, 2018. Afterwards we sold and signed copies of my book for fans for the second time this year for the OLLI group.

Craig Hillis at Southwestern Historical Quarterly reviewed my book

16 Oct

The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk. By Donna Marie Miller.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017. Pp. 256. Illustrations,
notes bibliography, index.)

Donna Marie Miller has written a very good and essential book. It is a
story of a native Austin family, the bar and restaurant business that patriarch
James White opened in 1964, and the countless characters both on
and off the stage who have populated this legendary honky-tonk for more
than half a century.
It is a good book because it is well researched, well organized, and well
written. Over a twenty-seven month period, Miller collected more than
one hundred oral histories from the White family and from employees,
patrons, and musicians and their representatives, thereby creating a valuable
trove of primary source data. She carefully explored the main currents
of Texas cultural history and Austin music history. Additionally, she
sought out films, videos, and audio recordings that were relevant to her
story.
Miller organized the book in seven sections, delineated by decades, and
within each section she wove together three dominant themes she calls
“braids.” The first covers local, state, and national events as they affected
the evolution of the Broken Spoke and the growth of the Austin music
scene. The “center thread” (11) depicts the life and times of the White
family, and the third braid presents the cast of characters—employees,
patrons, dancers, musicians—and their role in the story. This “braided
narrative structure” (11) enables the reader to experience the interplay
of the three story lines in a common historical setting.
Miller writes in an accessible and direct journalistic style. Her comprehensive
research is evident through her command of the material and
her free-flowing narrative. She sprinkles enough spice and lighthearted
anecdotes through the story to hold the reader’s interest and keep the
pages turning.
The Broken Spoke is an essential book because it analyzes a live music
venue, and in Texas, especially in Austin, the live music venue is the essential
cog in the wheel of our vibrant music scene. Whether a small folk club,
a rock ‘n’ roll joint, a multi-thousand seat concert hall, or a venerable
honky-tonk, these locations provide the economic bedrock upon which all
other aspects of the music scene unfold: the paychecks to musicians that
in turn underwrite managers, agents, music publishers, producers, studio
engineers, and related audio and video projects. Live music revenues
translate into musical instrument sales, advertising produced by copywriters,
graphic artists, and printing companies, and countless other commercial
enterprises that account for Austin’s multi-million dollar annual
entertainment and tourism industry. Miller successfully portrays how the
activities of the White family, the personnel and patrons at the club, and
an endless stream of musicians come together to facilitate the role that
the “Spoke” plays in the local and national music community.
Miller’s book calls the Broken Spoke “Austin’s Legendary Honky-
Tonk,” a bar, a restaurant, a “real country joint” (4), and “the last of the
true Texas dance halls” (6). It is also a home away from home for some
of country music’s biggest stars, a showcase for up and coming acts, a
blue-collar country club, an after-hours conference room for Texas legislators,
a country dance studio, a community center, and a country music
museum.
Most importantly, The Broken Spoke is a quintessential American story.
It is an authentic Norman Rockwell-like portrait of a strong, dedicated
family whose work ethic, commitment to each other, and shared vision
are now fueling a third generation. Having survived and thrived in an
extremely tough business, the Whites have nurtured a Texas tradition. The
Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk is an essential companion to
any student or enthusiast of Texas music and cultural history.
Austin, Texas Craig Hillis

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Barton Creek Country Club book event 9.20.2018

3 Oct

James White and I spoke to members of the Barton Creek Country Sept. 20, 2018 about the Broken Spoke and signed copies of my book while Ben Stafford Rodgers performed a few classic country songs. Jenny Wren, co-producer of the 2016 documentary, Honky Tonk Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke, also talked about the film and sold copies of the DVD. Marianna Dydek with Barton Creek Country Club organized our talk.

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Rotary Club of Austin book talk 8.14.2018

16 Aug

James White and I talked about the Broken Spoke for members the Rotary Club of Austin Aug. 14, 2018 following their regularly scheduled luncheon at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. 8th Street in Austin. Ben Stafford Rodgers also sang a few classic country songs. Afterwards we sold and signed books.

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The “Outlaws & Armadillos” exhibit opened 5.25.2018

21 May

 

Attending the “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s” exhibit May 24-27, 2018 at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville  proved to be the highlight of my whirlwind year as the first-time author of a book written about one of the greatest honky-tonks in Texas history.

My book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk, published in 2017 by Texas A&M University Press, will be a part of the exhibit for the next three years!

The concert in the CMA theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame May 25th included several stars: Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter, Bobby Bare, Joe Ely, Michael Martin Murphey, Gary P. Nunn, Delbert McClinton, Kimmie Rhodes, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Tanya Tucker, Jack Ingram, Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Jamey Johnson, and Gary P. Nunn. It definitely tops the list of my all-time favorite concerts.

 

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Read all about the exhibit’s calendar of events through 2021 by following this link: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/calendar/event/countrys-roaring-70s-outlaws-armadillos-exhibit-opening-concert#.WwMmVxQczLc

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Signing at the Dallas Historical Society fundraising gala 4.14.2018

18 Apr

The Dallas Historical Society hosted a fundraising gala April 14, 2018 inside the Hall of State at 3939 Grand Avenue, in Dallas featuring Austin Broken Spoke owners James and Annetta White, filmmakers Brenda Mitchell and Jenny Wren, singer and guitarist Ben Stafford Rodgers and myself as well as the band Eleven Hundred Springs as entertainment. We signed copies of my 2017 book, The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk and screened the 2016 documentary, Honky Tonk Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke. Organizers for the event were Molly Nolan and Jeni Baldwin.

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