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Is There Life After Lubbock?

Jaston Williams, Joe Ely and Jo Carol Pierce celebrate legendary Lubbock crazies in Paramount show

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Is There Life After Lubbock?
Jaston Williams Brenda Ladd Photography

“If you have ever known a crazy person, you will like this show.”

That's comedian, actor and storyteller Jaston Williams's take on Lubbock, the far-flung Texas town he grew up just outside of and lived in during his college years, and the show he and fellow expatriates have created as a sort of tribute to it.

“There’s a brand of eccentric in West Texas — there’s nothing like it,” he says. “[Lubbockians] are brought up with a lot of fear of God. Once they get past that fear, they really cut loose!”

“These folks who leave Lubbock generally come to Austin — they’re attracted to the trees.” — Jaston Williams 

Williams, along with Texas musicians and Lubbock natives Joe Ely and Jo Carol Pierce, will cut loose and celebrate some of the eccentric personalities and crazy happenings of the “hub city” at the Paramount Theatre on November 9 in Is There Life After Lubbock?

The show is a mix of storytelling, poetry and music in a relaxed, living-room-like setting, where the audience is encouraged to ask questions and participate while sipping on some suds. Williams is certain Austin audiences will appreciate the content, even if they’ve never been to Lubbock.

“You can’t live in Austin and poke fun at idiosyncrasies of any other place," says Williams. "I mean, Leslie got 8,000 votes for mayor!”   

Williams, who now lives in the capital city, recalls his time in northwest Texas with fondness. “I have a long history with and affection for Lubbock," he says, "but once I wanted out of there, I really wanted out bad. I knew that if I was to have a career, I was going to have to make the break. But I still have an enormous affection for it.” 

Like Williams and many other creative types with Lubbock roots, Ely and Piece left their hometown for Austin many years ago to make a living in the arts. 

“These folks who leave Lubbock generally come to Austin — they’re attracted to the trees,” Williams jokes. “We don’t really have trees in Lubbock. These troubadours and poets and writers and general crazies wind up in Austin, and yet we have this common core.” 

A whole section of the Austin show will explore the question: What is proper etiquette during a tornado? 

In Is There Life After Lubbock?, Williams, Pierce and Ely talk and sing about some of the more memorable characters and happenings in Lubbock — including a unique club at Texas Tech. According to Williams, a group of young gay men in the early 1970s, who were always dieting, formed a club named after a certain pig-like mammal.

“The first vice president of the Javelina Club was Olivia Javelina," he says. "They would say a prayer: ' … in the name of the father and the son and the javelina.' It took some moxie to form the Javelina Club! I love to celebrate that kind of personality, and that’s really what this show is about.”

A whole section of the Austin show will explore the question: What is proper etiquette during a tornado? You may also hear about the football coach who sent his own team hate mail to motivate them, or the woman who kept her husband’s exotic jungle cat in the spare bedroom.

In addition to Williams’ stories, the audience will be treated to the masterful singing of Joe Ely and Jo Carol Pierce’s great storytelling, which includes a unique perspective on the frailties of Lubbock men. 

“We’re just celebrating our crazy lives,” Williams says. “The show was kind of an excuse for us all to get together and do the stuff we do in our living rooms in public, and audiences seem to be loving it!”

Williams and company perform Is there Life After Lubbock? at the Paramount Theatre on November 9. Tickets start at $25 and are available at www.austintheatre.org

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