Thursday, January 13, 2011

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Tribute to a Bar-B-Que Legend... Man's legacy brings artists, friends together for memorial
Sunday, January 03, 1999
It reportedly was at the funeral of Lubbock legend C.B. ''Stubb'' Stubblefield in 1995 that renowned musician and visual artist Terry Allen and artist Paul Milosevich first faced each other and asked, ''Wouldn't it be great to build a memorial to Stubb and put it right where everything happened back then?''

The original Stubb's Bar-B-Que at 108 E. Broadway is where everything happened. Back then? That was the 1970s and early '80s.

Those who loved music and the arts congregated in those days at Stubb's Bar-B-Que, a 75-seat, ramshackle building that provided both character and much of the finest music heard anywhere in West Texas. Today's Austin and Santa Fe-based musicians Allen, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Jesse Taylor all honed their licks on the small stage at Stubb's.

Stubblefield gave musicians a place to play and sometimes also a place to sleep when no other could be found.

Allen was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame surrounding Lubbock's Buddy Holly statue in 1997; Milosevich preceded him in 1996. For that matter, no small number of Lubbock musicians who began their careers at 108 E. Broadway also have been honored with plaques on that wall: Ely in 1989, Allen in 1997, both Gilmore and Hancock in 1998.

Stubblefield, too, was honored posthumously with his own plaque at Lubbock's Buddy Holly Terrace in 1996.

But a plaque wasn't enough for the many who loved or simply remembered Stubblefield.

s Allen, whose art work is displayed internationally, is waving a fee of more than $44,000 to sculpt a bronze statue of his hero.

s Martin Outdoor Advertising, which owns the land where Stubb's Bar-B-Que once stood (the building was razed), donated a patch of property at the site for the statue.

Deborah Milosevich, executive director of the Lubbock Arts Alliance, which has overseen the Stubb Memorial Project for more than two years, indicated that the final fenced area will measure 25 feet by 75 feet.

Terry Allen's 1996 drawing depicts a statue he is sculpting of the late C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield.

s Lubbock Arts Alliance board members showed up to personally clean the area, chopping down weeds and trimming trees.

s Lubbock musician Andy Wilkinson wrote the original copy for the Stubb Memorial Business Plan.

s Lubbock restaurateur Loyd Turner refined it and devised a spreadsheet and then made a deal with architect Ken Condray of Condray Design Group, trading Italian food for a professional site plan illustrating the actual property dimensions.

s Hugo Reed & Associates provided its surveying skills as a donation.

s The Texas Commission on the Arts supplied $1,400 in grant money for an Art in Public Places project.

s The Lubbock Area Foundation provided an additional $2,400 in grant money.

s Milosevich added, ''I talked with (Judge) Don McBeath and the county has agreed to maintain the site, which really helps. Of course we're hoping the city will want to take part; I've been visiting with Jim Bertram, Tommy Gonzalez and T.J. Patterson.''

Actually, she is hoping to raise needed funds via contributions and would prefer that the city provide in-kind services such as landscaping, fencing, irrigation and lighting.

s And an additional $1,300 has been raised via Stubb Memorial Jam concerts held in both Austin and Lubbock, at which all musicians waived their fees.

With no city funds as yet, the Lubbock Arts Alliance continues to finance the project by selling engraved bricks, each priced at $250 and destined to provide a path leading to the statue. To date, 97 bricks have been sold to businesses and individuals from Lubbock to Los Angeles, from Montana to Tennessee.

''A lot of people want their names out there,'' said Milosevich. ''Some purchased bricks as memorials for friends who have died. Some buy bricks to remember Stubb's Bar-B-Que and the part they played there.''

Ely and Tom T. Hall whose pool game at Stubb's Bar-B-Que, during which an onion was substituted for the cue ball, was paid tribute in Hall's song ''The Great East Broadway Onion Championship of 1978'' both purchased bricks. So did musicians Robert Earl Keen, Lucinda Williams and the Burk Brothers.

Other musicians who headlined concerts at that little barbecue shack: Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson...

The list goes on.

The project's business plan cites three reasons for the Stubb memorial: ''to commemorate regional music history, to commemorate the man himself, and to provide the city of Lubbock with a public work of art.''

The latter reason is not played down.

As Turner put it, ''The cost is ridiculously low and the project is generating so much positive feedback for the city already. (Sculptor) Terry Allen is pretty much an unsung benefit. This guy does big corporate art projects for major dollars and yet this is a labor of love for him.

''In a way, I think the statue will memorialize both Stubb and Terry.''

Milosevich concurs. ''It will be fabulous to have a sculpture by Terry Allen in Lubbock,'' she noted. ''I think most people around here know Terry as a musician; he was just on 'Austin City Limits' again recently. But to have a piece of public art donated by an artist the caliber of Terry Allen is extremely lucky.''

Allen whose works are on display in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as at the Denver International Airport and the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis has his own reasons for volunteering his talent.

He recalled in his own ''To Whom It May Concern'' artist's statement when the project was born in 1996: ''At Stubb's funeral in Lubbock, the church was full. Half the congregation was black and half was white. The speakers were his friends and his kin. With Stubb, one was the same as the other. Color didn't mean anything that day. This says a lot. It says a lot about the man who was being buried and a lot about the community he loved ... the way he loved it and was loved back.

''From the very beginning, his cafe on East Broadway was like a big time-out from all the stupidity, phoniness and meanness of the world. It was about good food, good music and the common dignity of human beings enjoying being human in the company of one another. A lot of black and white people played music with one another on the same stage for the first time at Stubb's. A whole lot of black and white people ate food and listened to that music side-by-side for the first time at Stubb's...

''Stubb didn't play favorites except on his jukebox.''

Milosevich has her own ''personal reasons'' for devoting time to the Stubb Memorial.

''I myself was one of those who hung out at Stubb's in the '70s,'' she reflected. ''Muddy Waters, Albert King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown those were just a few of the musicians I saw perform there. And every week were those Sunday Nite Jams where Joe Ely and Ponty Bone and Butch and Jimmie and Jesse all played.

''It was really a magical time, and wonderful to get to be a part of that.''

That Stubblefield deserves a statue, she added, is obvious ''because all of these people have stepped forward, volunteered their time or made contributions and said, 'We're going to make this happen.' He was a generous man and people loved him.''

She also touts the project as yet another tourist attraction for Lubbock. ''Shoot, I think it will be one of the coolest things in the city,'' Milosevich noted. ''It will be both a tourist attraction and a music attraction. People will flock to this statue the same way that musicians drive out to the cemetery put their (guitar) picks on Buddy Holly's headstone.

''It certainly will be more shrine than roadside attraction.''

Asked what she thought Stubblefield himself might think about the effort, Milosevich answered, ''He'd probably just laugh really hard if he was here.''

Still, the project is not complete. Even as Allen begins working with clay on the statue's armature, money must be raised. Businesses and individuals wishing to make contributions of money or service stonemasons and bricklayers will be needed, said Milosevich or purchase engraved bricks should call the Lubbock Arts Alliance at 744-2787.

Milosevich would like to see the project finished and the statue erected by September, and sees light at the end of the tunnel though $30,000 still needs to be raised.

Turner said, ''That would be perfect and I don't see why it can't be done. Having it finished in time for the Buddy Holly (Music) Festival would be great timing.''

He continued, ''I see this statue as a very healing thing for the city, especially in light of the recent Hampton (University) incident. Plus, we don't have that many 'characters' to honor. How many people do you know who owned a barbecue joint, was loved by musicians, was featured on David Letterman's show nationwide and is still talked about, still part of the Lubbock consciousness?

''Something happened at Stubb's Bar-B-Que that needs to be memorialized.''

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