Writing from the Rite: Billy the Kid

Shiloh Richter with Custard Billy the Kid Mural Ruidoso on Birthday 7.10.19

On my birthday in July 2019, Billy the Kid Mural with Billy holding two balloons, Ruidoso, NM

Taking the veil off the falsity: Taylor Swift trying to taunt that she thinks she is keeping John and I apart on her birthday in December by making Lover (which she states three people are involved in "Lover"--and not a couple as she implies to the public), and because I published Birthday Party with the references to Odysseus, Penelope, and Ithaca (Holdings LLC), and to the Grateful Dead Dancing Bears in July.  Her other birthday cakes were references to my Moonbeam, and to the Grateful Dead, John, and Dead & Company with the head wreath of roses.  She named one of her cats after Andy Cohen's son, Benjamin, and took up a facade of LGBTQ rights because of John being close friends with Andy, (and got a black "friend" because of John's relationship with Dave Chappelle), and not for altruistic motives.


 31 October 2019

What was also happening, the years Lamy was building the cathedral in Santa Fe are the same years that here where I live in Lincoln County, New Mexico, Billy the Kid was on the run.  The Lincoln County War took place here from 1878-1881.  By 1892, eleven years after Pat Garrett supposedly killed Billy the Kid, Garrett had moved to Uvalde, Texas, the town where my parents (later) lived, and Pat had frequented the village square and the opera house where in 2011 I directed my dad in Chicago with him starring as Billy.  It is also one of the main places where we filmed Road to El Paso.  When Billy the Kid's good friend Tom O'Folliard was killed, there was a letter in his bag to his grandmother in Uvalde (where he was born) stating that he and Billy the Kid were on their way there.  (Uvalde is near the Texas/Mexico border.  I taught at the college there and on the border in Eagle Pass.  That's where I was when John was starting out for New York City in 2001.)  It seems odd that it being close to the road to Mexico and Billy having been on his way there, that Pat Garrett would end up moving there.  Needless to say, it all bespeaks very much of being "on the road" in a most American trickster way.  

Production of Chicago in Uvalde Leader News for June 2011

Uvalde Opera House 2011

Janey Slaughter Briscoe Grande Opera House, Uvalde, Texas, 2011

Uvalde Opera House

Chicago Banner Uvalde Opera House 2011 Rawlyn Richter as Billy Flynn

Chicago Cast Uvalde Opera House 2011

Cast of Chicago, Uvalde Opera House, June 2011

Rawlyn Richter as Billy Flynn Uvalde Opera House 2011

Rawlyn Richter, Jr. as Billy Flynn before the show

Amanda Van Cleve as Roxy in Chicago at the Uvalde Opera House June 2011

Amanda Van Cleve as Roxy in Chicago at the Uvalde Opera House June 2011

Newsroom in Chicago Uvalde Opera House June 2011

Newsroom in Chicago Uvalde Opera House June 2011

Shiloh Richter Chicago Banner Uvalde Opera House  June 2011

Chicago Teaser Poster June 2011

Chicago was followed by producing Neil Simon's "God's Favorite."

Gods Favorite Uvalde Opera House 2011

Gods Favorite Cast Uvalde Opera House 2011

The opera house is on a continental crossroads with two roads meeting that run from Canada to Mexico, and from east to west coast, all the way.  The west side [Hwy 90 which becomes I-10 then I-40] ends at Santa Monica, California (near Los Angeles), and the other side ends at Jacksonville, Florida" (Wikipedia). Both I-40 and Hwy 83 are the highways of the crossroads Tom Hanks' character ends up at the end of the movie Castaway when he is following the wings on the package.   I had written to John about my life being like Forrest Gump (and strangely like other Tom Hanks movies), always walking into situations like this.  In Summer 2019 while I was out on a hike talking to a fellow hiker, the person mentioned to me she had just seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in Santa Fe and Tom Hanks was in the same theater watching it.



Up the road in San Antonio is the hotel where blues player Robert Johnson recorded "Cross Road Blues" in 1936 room 414 of the Gunter Hotel.  That song would be on John's Battle Studies when I came to know him, and the following year I would be directing plays at that opera house on the crossroads.  (For a gift, I visited that very hotel room and got John a key to the door.) 

Robert Johnson Gunter Hotel San Antonio Texas

Key to Robert Johnson's Room at Gunter Hotel where he recorded Cross Roads Blues

Key to Robert Johnson's Room at Gunter Hotel where he recorded Cross Roads Blues in old town San Antonio, Texas


Tumblr post to John from Gunter Hunter Room 414 San Antonio

Tumblr post to John


Bob Dylan wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.  My dad, brother, and I made the western because my dad loved them so much. 

Across the square from the opera house where I directed him is a building that was our "Rosa's Cantina" (loosely based on Marty Robbins' "El Paso City" that my dad sang beautifully) and was lent to us during our movie-making by an architect named John Graves. (I got my name in 1963 before I was born from a girl named Shiloh Graves, leading to the Grateful Dead, I'm sure.  Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann formed the rock band Billy & the Kids "in 2014 with Joe Russo's Almost Dead guitarist Tom Hamilton, Tea Leaf Green bassist Reed Mathis and the Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner.")  During that filming we were given a parade permit to shut down traffic on that square in Uvalde where Pat Garrett was in 1892, and the years the cathedral was being built in Santa Fe.  My dad, loving westerns, is right in the middle of a live one.

My Dad Rawlyn Richter Jr. on his Birthday 2005 Rosa's Cantina
My dad on his birthday in 2005 in our Rosa's Cantina


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