Joe Holley is a native Texan and a columnist for the Houston Chronicle. His new book, “Hometown Texas,“ collects columns he has written during the last five years. The book is a collaboration with photographer Peter Brown.
Holley tells a story about the town of Nacogdoches, where four young Brooklyn men were appearing at the local opera house. During the performance, someone burst through the door and began hollering about that a mule that was on the loose. Holley says the crowd got up to witness the ruckus, but later came back to see the rest of the show.The angry performers began insulting the audience for leaving. Holley says that to the performers’ surprise, the audience started laughing. That’s when the Marx Brothers realized they were comedians, not musicians.
“You can go into almost any small town in Texas and there are amazing tales like the Marx Brothers’ story,” he says.
Holley says some of his best columns originate from conversations he overhears at a downtown cafe, a Dairy Queen or in drug stores.
Written by Dani Matias.