Gather 'Round

OKIE DOKIE STOMP-A-THON

The blues took hold of the Beaumont­Port Arthur area back in the day when gambling and prostitution houses were abundant and bars were open round the clock. Not that the outside world noticed much. In time, the scene died down and Houston, with its well-documented blues history, overshadowed southeast Texas's contribution to the genre, even though artists who came out of the Golden Triangle produced a sound unlike that in any other city, melding swamp blues, country, gospel, New Orleans R&B, Cajun, and zydeco. But until recently, the region just hadn't had much interest in celebrating this part of its musical heritage, which is why the inaugural Rockin' Beaumont Blues Festival October 30 and 31 is such a big deal. Bo Diddley will headline a long list of performers, including such hometown greats as Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Barbara Lynn, with other players, from Delbert McClinton to Tab Benoit, rounding out the bill. See Events: Beaumont —Katy Vine

BOUND TO INTRIGUE

Chances are good that the upcoming election is going to be the hot topic at this year's TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL. Think Seymour Hersh will fail to mention it? Or Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jim Hightower—or perhaps the editors of the Texas Observer ? If you need a break from hearing words like "WMDs" and "swift boats," listen to discussions on a range of other topics at the state capitol October 28­31. Perhaps titles like Destination: Morgue! will pique your interest. Or maybe you'd rather see Peter Bogdanovich, Ken Burns, or Larry L. King. But if the conversation begins to lean toward talk of partisanship during the reading of Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie, well . . . you were warned. See Events: Austin —Katy Vine

Off Camera

For every screenwriter who makes an honest-to-goodness living through his craft, there are thousands of three-job-working, Ramen noodles­eating aspirants who don't. And for the brave souls who also say things like "I wanna direct," the odds grow even greater. Offering a little encouragement—and a lot of inspiration—is the AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL , October 14­21, which hosts a slew of screenings by both veterans and up-and-comers and sponsors the annual Heart of Film Screenwriters Conference, where industry insiders, including the likes of Garry Shandling, who'll receive the Outstanding Television Writer Award) and Barry Levinson (who'll receive the Distinguished Screenwriter Award), will pack more than 65 panels to discuss the ins and outs of the business. Here's to catching that one big break.See Events: Austin —Stacy Hollister

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