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Thursday Watercooler



Eva Ybarra plys a blue sparkly accordion against a backdrop of downtown San Antonio.

Eva Ybarra, Queen of the Accordion, performed in San Antonio, Texas at the International Accordion Festival.

Tonight’s music video is Eva Ybarra performing “El Eco De Mi Voz.” Eva is widely known as La Reyna Del Acordeón — the Queen of the Accordion. Like Dwayne Dopsie, Tsuumi Sound System, and Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, she performed on Saturday at San Antonio’s International Accordion Festival.

I wanted to capture Eva as very few have seen her before- just her and the accordion. As you can see, she is one of the few who utilize the bass section of the accordion and composes her own songs.

Eva Ybarra, the ‘La Reyna Del Acordeón,’ is one of a few women accordionists who have become professionals in a style that has traditionally been dominated by men.

When she was 4, her father presented her with a small accordion. Migrant laborers, but also musicians, her parents were thrilled that Eva took interest in the accordion and now had an alternative to working in the fields. At age 6, she began performing with her parents around town, helping them earn extra money. By her late teens, she had mastered the instrument and was proving many wrong about the capabilities of a woman accordionist.

She recorded two CDs on Rounder Records A Mi San Antonio (1994) and Romance Inolvidable (1996). Most of the songs are written by Eva and demonstrate her virtuosity and creativity.

In 1997 she went to the University of Washington as a visiting artist in the Ethnomusicology Department. Currently, she teaches at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio and works on various projects with Smithsonian Folklife.

This song is beautiful, but also a little sad — a fitting tribute for tonight, it felt.

With the changes coming to MyFDL, this may very well be the last Watercooler for a while. Tomorrow is also my last day with Firedoglake. Although Jane wanted to keep me on at FDL, I’m moving on to another opportunity. You can read this entry on my personal blog if you’d like to find out where I’m going next and where to find my writing. I’ll still be visiting and crossposting to the ‘Lake frequently, and you will always be able to keep up with me on Twitter and Instagram.

I began editing on Firedoglake in April of 2012. It’s been a pleasure to work with you here almost every single weekday since then, and I’ll miss editing Over Easy every morning, along with checking in with all the rest of you and your important, enlightening, and entertaining words. Thanks for being part of FDL and part of the Watercooler and part of my experiences here.

This is more like “so long” than “goodbye” — I may even host an occasional Book Salon. But I’ll still miss being a part of the Lake from Monday through Friday. You’ve taught me a lot and made me smile!


I’ll leave you with one last piece of weird Texas news to discuss around the Watercooler.

A Prada storefront in the middle of the desert, labelled Prada Marfa.

Neither a storefront not an advertisement, after all.

Lonely in the desert of Texas, on the way to Marfa, is an unlikely Prada outlet. Or so it might seem at first glance. It’s actually an art installation.

Prada Marfa is a site-specific, permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset constructed in 2005. Modeled after a Prada boutique, the inaccessible interior of the structure includes luxury goods from Prada’s fall collection from that year. The door does not open, ensuring that the sculpture will never function as a place of commerce. Art Production Fund and Ballroom Marfa co-produced the project.

‘Prada Marfa is an artwork initiated by ourselves and realized in a collaboration with the not-for-profit cultural organizations Art Production Fund and Ballroom Marfa in 2005. It was not a work commissioned by the fashion brand Prada nor had the fashion brand any involvement in the creation of this work. They kindly gave us the permission to use their logo after we asked them, due to the founder Muccia Prada’s personal interest in contemporary art, and she donated shoes and bags, which have never been renewed but stay the same – as a historic display – inside the sculpture.’

The state threatened to remove Prada Marfa on the grounds that it was an illegal advertisement — only to save it through a bit of a legal loophole. From Adweek:

Prada Marfa, an art installation 26 miles northwest of the West Texas town of Marfa—featuring a fake Prada storefront containing luxury goods—is not an illegal advertisement and can remain on its site off U.S. Highway 90, the state decided this week.

The installation, by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, has been up since 2005. But it came under scrutiny last year, when Playboy built Playboy Marfa—which was deemed to be illegal advertising.

This week, arts organization Ballroom Marfa reached a deal with the Texas Department of Transportation to have Prada Marfa designated as an art museum site and the building as its single art exhibit.

An Adweek colleague who has been to Prada Marfa tells me you can see bullet marks in the bulletproof glass, as the stuff inside is indeed real Prada.


May you always find plenty to write about and the words never be blocked! And be sure to look me up if you’re in Austin …

Eva Ybarra photographed by Kit O’O’Connell and released under a Creative Commons license.

Prada Marfa photographed by David Fulmer and released under a Creative Commons license.


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Kit OConnell

Kit OConnell

Kit O’Connell is a gonzo journalist and radical troublemaker from Austin, Texas. He is the Associate Editor and Community Manager of Shadowproof. Kit's investigative journalism has appeared in Truthout, MintPress News and