Broken Spoke subject of documentary

The Broken Spoke is an Austin institution and now a full length documentary is in the works to honor everything the honky tonk stands for but some help is needed to finish the film.

Producers of the film “Honky Tonk Heaven” have been working on the project for two years and now they’re asking for those who love the Broken Spoke to help them finish it through donations on Kickstarter.

Over the last 51 years the city of Austin has grown around the Broken Spoke.

Owner James White says, “Back in those days there wasn’t another building in sight.”

But inside, Texas traditions kept blooming in the shape of country music and western dancing.

“When you come in this door you know that you aren’t at Carnegie Hall. You’re at a real honky tonk,” White says.

White was born and raised in South Austin. Back in 1964, he was fresh out of the Army and decided he wanted to build a dance hall like the ones he grew up with.

“Seems like yesterday, you know I can’t believe where the years go. I was 25-years-old and now I’m 76. But people are great to me and they say, James don't change nothing so I ain't changing nothing,” White says.

It’s a sentiment that Brenda Greene Mitchell, who has been coming to the Broken Spoke since the 70’s, agrees with.

“I think it’s a place that represents what Texas is all about. This is the real deal,” Greene-Mitchell says.

Greene-Mitchell is the co-director behind the film “Honky Tonk Heaven”. She says she loves everything about Broken Spoke.

Greene-Mitchell says, “When the development started, something inside of me said, I gotta jump in and document this place. This is so much a part of Austin history and we need to get in there and film when we can.”

The full length documentary filmed for two years and is now in post production. It follows James White and his family around and interviews musicians and regulars about their favorite things about the honky tonk.

“Whether its James' smile and his kind eyes, or the dancers or the musicians singing about the state that I love so much, this is it. This is the real honky tonk,” Greene Mitchell says.

And it doesn’t get more real than some of the country music legends that have graced the Broken Spoke stage.

“I first booked George Strait in 1975, I booked him for seven years,” White says.

Besides Strait, there’s a long list of legendary performers including Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Ernest Tub with most of their pictures gracing the Broken Spoke’s walls.

“Yeah every one of those pictures they have story behind them,” White says.

While it’s easy to see the great memories and history when you go to the Broken Spoken, White says he’s excited to show the world on the big screen what his honky tonk is made of.

“We ain't got no hanging fruit baskets. We ain't got no Perrier water, but we do have cold beer, and good whiskey and good looking girls to dance with, so what else do you need,” White says with a laugh and smile.

The team producing “Honky Tonk Heaven” still needs help with their fundraiser to finish the documentary. The Kickstarter is up until tomorrow (11/11) evening. The goal is to raise about $8,000 to meet their goal.

You can get more information about the film at its Facebook page here.

If you’d like to donate to the Kickstarter campaign, you can do that here.

And learn more about the Broken Spoke itself here.
 

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