Posts tagged ‘tombstone’

October 6, 2008

HEEL; or, Cowboy Boot Odyssey

by cowboylands

Cowboy boot hunting is a lot perseverance and a little luck. You have to have boot-mind. You have to have patience. You have to have a high degree of tolerance for cheap-ass mall-rat boots. You have to have a discerning eye, and the feel for boots within your fingers. 

Some of my jillion boots were picked up in Salvation Armys across this great land. Some waited behind the man-made leather-like purple pumps to practically fall off the shelf onto my toes. Others, coy, shelved themselves above eye level, as if knowing that only the best cowboy-boot wearers would look up above the dirty children’s tennis shoes. 

Quite a few of my jillion boots were found in piquant places. Tombstone, the shop of a cowboy poet, down the street from the OK Corral and Boot Hill. Sweet, slim black and gray jobs, thin leather (kangaroo, someone mused), high heels. My uncle of the motorcycle in his garage although he’s too achy to ride it anymore touched the boots with his big hands, reverently. 


Two spangly boots from a West Village consignment shop–high on the top shelf, more decoration than wares. I was heading to my own reading and something about the silver sparkles on one, something about the turquoise leather-red trim flash on the other… trying them both on, one pair then other other, clock ticking I’ll have to run and pray the subways are on time…I bought both, I ate PB&J for the next month.









And still others are gifts from my own urban prairie man, whose hands have spanned my feet so often he can divine the size of a boot with a glance. Racy black and tan cut-out boots. Boisterous party Good Luck! and horseshoes, party animal boots. Lean python boots, cracked with someone else’s use. 

A friend and I will be going boot shopping in NYC–yes there are places where you can buy cowboy wares in an East Coast time zone–but there’s nothing like the discovery on the road, slipping off the freaking Tevas to push my foot into skin-meltingly smooth leather. 

July 29, 2008

A Good Crop of Top Pop Cowboys

by cowboylands

National Day of the Cowboy brought out all the panting western fetishists who love their cowpokes dearly, as well as the more serious side of cowboying, embodied by the rodeo riders and horsemen and horsewomen of the good old days–the 1980s, that is. “Proud Cowboys Still Tall in the Saddle” is the headline. The photos say it all.

I have to go into more serious reportage soon or drown in pop-culture-flavored brew, but before I talk about something serious in the next post, like western water rights, or the dizzying dynamic of environmentalists and ranchers (or maybe just post another beefcake shot), here’s another fine list of favorite pop culture cowboys, compiled by tastemakers Entertainment Weekly on July 26, just for the Day of the Cowboy. Glad they can stretch themselves now and then and move from boob shots to holster shots. 

The Lone Ranger (1949-57) Kemo Sabe copyright 2007 es

Thumbs up. Obvious, but he does personify the white-hat style of good. His type is for the clean-cut kind of man or woman. But they really should’ve included Tonto, who was an icon of patience with Caucasian folly. 

CLINT EASTWOOD Thumbs up. Naturally. From TV star to movie figure to director: He’s West 24/7. Looks great in a holster and ages well, like a good Californian wine. 

JOHN WAYNE Thumbs up, but only because of which movie the Duke liked. This is another ho-hum, of course, but best not to be too flip about this great pop culture cowboy–his own favorite movie he made was The Searchers, in which he played a lonely, embittered, vengeful asshole. Who turns out okay in the end. it showed that he does have acting chops. Unless he really was a lonely, embittered…naaah. 

ROY ROGERS AND DALE EVANS Thumbs sort of up. A sweet inclusion. For those who like their cowboys and cowgirls with sugar frosting on top. 

The Howdy Doody Show (1947-60) Thumbs down, way down. I’m sorry, but ventriloquists’ dummies are creepy, Howdy Doody or not. Well, especially Howdy Doody. 

Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles (1974)

courtesy the Everett Collection 

Thumbs up! “Somebody help that poor man!” This guy made a good part in a satire interesting, and it was the first movie that told me that cowboys need not be white. Another one who looks good in a holster. And those threads rock. 

Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain (2005) Thumbs up. They were hot and bothered much of the time, and self-tortured the rest, but for a short while, they were able to ride the range together. 

Bud Davis in Urban Cowboy (1980). Thumbs I don’t know. Maybe you have to be a two-step fan to go for this one. Although seeing the move would help decide….

Curly Washburn in City Slickers (1991). Thumbs down, although he was good. But come on…this over his portrayal of the gunslinger in Shane????

Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy (1969). Regretfully, thumbs down, although he was a fantastic character. He personifies the next stage of pop culture icon–the wanna-be cowboy and so he just doesn’t fit. Ennis and Jack had it easy compared to Joe Buck and Ratso.

Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Thumbs up. There are a couple of reasons Gunsmoke was one of the longest-running shows on TV, and Arness is one of them. 

The Magnificent Seven (1960). All of them? Not all are magnificent. Thumbs up and down. McQueen and Coburn get the prize.

The Cowboy in the Village People.

courtesy Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis Thumbs way up, sweet Jesus, thumbs way up. My favorite memories of my stultifying high school years are of the big jocks of the school shaking their fannies to “YMCA.” If they only knew….or maybe they did? 

Ben Cartwright in Bonanza (1959-1973). Thumbs forgetting what they are doing. He didn’t do it for me, but I guess he’s for a different generation. Maybe if he took off his shirt more? 

Both as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993); Wyatt Earp (1994). I have to say thumbs down, but Kurt Russell was quite respectable as the gun-happy Earp. 

Calamity Jane in Deadwood (2004-2006).

Thumbs way up, cocksucker. This motherfucking broad finally was portrayed by an actor who could fucking shoot and shoot the shit as well as Calamity could.

Cordell ”Cord” Walker in Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001). Thumbs down, because he is an alien. No self-respecting cowboy would get plastic surgery, bucko. 

The voice of Woody in Toy Story (1995). Aaaaw. Thumbs are sucked here. But a great story. Okay, okay, why not. Thumbs up. Sheesh. 

Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Thumbs down. The real Annie Oakley wasn’t a showboat like this one. 

Looney Tunes. Thumbs down, but I know this little guy has shouted his way into many hearts. Just not mine. 

Augustus ”Gus” McCrae and Woodrow F. Call in Lonesome Dove (1989). Thumbs down to Duvall, but great actor. Thumbs up to Tommy Lee Jones, who personifies West Texas. 

Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). Thumbs up. He emoted that crazy-dangerous “getting Western” feeling. Tourist stores in the town of Tombstone actually sell ceramic tiles of his likeness. That is totally getting Western. 

All in all, not bad, I think! EW gets a thumbs up for bringing the pop culture cowboy list into the millennium. There are a few more I would add, but the virtual trail calls….









June 17, 2008

51 Cowboy Facts; or, Continuing the Countdown

by cowboylands

Bucko’s Boots. Photo copyright  2008 comoed

42. No other shoes do what cowboy boots do. 

41. No other shoes do what cowboy boots do.

40. No other boots do what cowboy boots do. 


OK, OK, that’s cheating. But it is a fact that bears repeating. 


41. Walking in boots makes you imagine the ching of spurs. All the time. 

40. Even when you feel like shit, cowboy boots make you a little taller. 

39. They make sleeping with your boots on a pleasure. 

38. A decision made in cowboy boots is a decision made for good. 


“Pull my boots off, will ya?”

“Sure, kid, sure.”

“I promised my mother I wouldn’t die with my boots on.”

–Tadpole (Clem Bevans) to Ike Clanton (Victor Jory), in Tombstone, 1945