Getting Lucky A night under the stars in Luck, Texas,sounds magical; and, fittingly enough,it was.
In fact, it was the perfect setting for the Rolling Roadshow Presents: Luck Cinema Featuring Red Headed Stranger with Willie Nelson, a cinematic event supported by Southwest Airlines that celebrated the beloved Mr. Nelson and his many talents. And while the proper name of the event gives a rough description of the evening, it barely touches on the majestic, yet chill nature of the evening.
With gates opening at 7:30 p.m.on July 6, attendees were given an ample amount of time to explore the small town, or “Willieville” as it was formerly known, that was erected on Willie Nelson’s ranch in Luck, Texas. This small Western town that lays on Nelson’s vast ranch would have most in awe on any normal day, but on a day that it was to host to a showing of Bill Wittliff’s1985 film, Red Headed Stranger, it was absolutely bustling with excitement.
You see, this small “town”out in Luck, Texas was built to be the setting of Red Headed Stranger.
Why was it built on Willie Nelson’s ranch? The answer is simple:Whitliff wrote the after listening to Nelson’s album of the same name.
While fans waited for the sun to go down for the starlight screening,they samples the offerings of the bars that were set up throughout the town with all beverages free of charge sipping on everything from craft beers to specialty cocktails. For those with an appetite for something more, food trucks were ready to conquer any craving. We personally went with the “Willie & Waylon” grilled cheese form Burro Cheese Kitchen, because with a name like that, in the location we were, how could we not?
There was so much to see and do, exploring various structures on the set including the church and the jail, which had been transformed into a pop-up shop for Willie’s Reserve—it’s exactly what you’d expect, but the selection was limited to coffee and tea for the night. One of the other buildings was filled with a display from the Wittliff Collection,with old photos and props from all of Wittliff’s films, including Red Headed Stranger. The church, which holds an Easter service each year, was actually originally supposed to be burned down in the film, but Nelson couldn’t bear to do it.
Once the sun set, the film started to roll. An old Western in which Nelson himself stars as a conflicted preacher battling with his own inner demons while dealing with the real demons that lived right outside the small Montana town he is sent to serves their preacher, the film is filled with everything one would hope for in a good Western: the horses, the gun fights,and the bar scenes. Ultimately, Nelson’s character saves the town.
Following the movie, the moment everyone in attendance was waiting for unfolded before our very eyes. Willie Nelson himself came forth for a Q&A, along with a few principal members of the cast and crew. The dialogue was insightful, entertaining, and Willie was a gem, cracking jokes and continuing to be as laid-back and chill as ever. He even shared his family motto—“Don’t be an asshole”—definitely a maxim we should all take to heart.