Nowhere But In Your Own Backyard

Backdoor Comedy Club owner Linda Stogner tells some funny stories about things found Nowhere But Texas.

I hope you read about Linda Stogner in my feature about stand-up comedy. She owns the Backdoor Comedy Club, but when she's not telling jokes, she's also a filmmaker. Her most recent endeavor is Nowhere But Texas, an hour-long documentary about some peculiarly Lone Star State goings-on. I recently canceled my cable (politely up yours, DirecTV), so PBS is a major source of entertainment when I'm not out on the town telling jokes (thanks mostly to Stogner.)

But along with the DirecTV went the DVR, so if it ain't on when I'm home, I don't get to watch it. That goes for Nowhere But Texas, which has aired numerous times over the past couple of weeks. But thanks to the fancy search feature on KERA.org, I see that Nowhere is airing just one more time this Sunday. Catch it at 5 p.m. and you'll hear all about the Gainesville Community Circus, an amateur three-ring outfit that included high-wire acts and tamed animals, as well as the story of Mama Cuellar, founder of El Chico's and the high-stakes gambling rings that operated in Arlington in the 1930s. The show also features segments on black cowboys and the lasting impression members of the British Royal Air Force left on Terrell during training in WWII.

Why these stories, and why now? Stogner, who directed and produced Nowhere, noted that KERA has a long tradition of historical documentaries, but that they focused mainly on Dallas and Fort Worth proper. This time, she says, "we wanted to expand our reach and find interesting stories in other communities in the North Texas area."

Stogner says she found all her subjects to be "down-to-earth folks" with "extraordinary stories." But she thought the Gainesville Community Circus was "truly amazing."

"We've seen stories like this in the movies," she wrote to Unfair Park in an e-mail, "you know, Mickey and Judy say, 'Let's put on a show.'" But in Gainesville, Stogner writes, they actually pulled it off. "Now that's something to tell your grandchildren about … or put in a documentary." --Andrea Grimes

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