Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Chicken Ranch report no. 41: Public speaking!

Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus, Texas, will host Jayme Lynn Blaschke reading and signing on the infamous La Grange Chicken Ranch
Who says you can't go home again? Next week, on Tuesday, October 15, I'll be returning to my home town of Columbus. No, I'm not going to marvel at the new Tesla Supercharging Station there (although that's pretty cool in its own right). Instead, I will be at the Nesbitt Memorial Library, giving a reading and book signing for Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available to purchase for anyone who is interested in such things.

For anyone who hasn't been paying attention, I spent most of 2009-2012 researching and writing the definitive history of the Chicken Ranch brothel in nearby La Grange. This history goes way beyond the trite song and dance most people know from the motion picture version of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." It's far more complex and fascinating a history than most people--even those who lived through it--realize. 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the closure of the brothel, and my wife, professional photographer Lisa Elliott Blaschke, along with myself, edited and published a fine art book titled Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch in observance of the anniversary. I will present a slideshow of images of the modern ruins from Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch as well as other, previously unpublished photos which will be included in the more exhaustive history book. I'll read, "The Last Madam: The Unexpected Life of Edna Milton (1928-2012)" which I originally presented at the East Texas Historical Association fall conference in 2012. I'll also read some selected excerpts from the unpublished book, and engage in as much discussion as I'm able.

I'm pretty jazzed about returning to the Nesbitt Library for this. This was my library growing up. I'm old enough to remember the cold dampness of the old Mansfield Library's concrete floors that predated the Nesbitt, but it was the Nesbitt where I learned to use the card catalog and where I discovered my first science fiction novels that started my lifelong love of genre. Wandering the stacks 30 years ago, I certainly never expected to return to speak about the Chicken Ranch, of all things, but life's funny that way. I hope to see you there.

Now Playing: Emerson, Lake and Palmer Return of the Manticore
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