Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from an event honoring J. Frank Dobie in Oakville to the World Championship Wild Hog Cook-Off in Crowell. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
Write of Way
J. Frank Dobie, the writer and rancher from South Texas, was a scholar and a gentleman. He preserved a lot of important folklore passed down through oral stories by writing them in his literary-nonfiction novels, including the 1941 classic The Longhorns. He also transcended the conservative, good ol’ boy prejudices of his upbringing to become a social and political radical, earning a Medal of Freedom for, among other things, promoting integration at the University of Texas. “He is the patron saint of Austin liberals,” said Steven L. Davis, the author of J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind and a curator at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. On Friday night, Davis will join a cadre of oral storytellers and writers who will rhapsodize about Dobie and read from his works as part of Dobie Dichos . Discover, or simply reinforce, the legacy of this pioneer of Texas literature, who influenced both Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, when you sit around the campfire with a bowl of chili con carne and try to, as Davis said, “summon his spirit out of the smoke.”
Oakville Jailhouse, November 2, 6 p.m., georgeweststoryfest.org
The Look of Things
Gentrification happens in the unlikeliest of places. Take Marfa; it’s in no-man’s-land West Texas, yet the small-town, high-desert living is mesmerizing. “There are 1,144 homes in Marfa, and what we’ve seen over the last ten years is a lot of people coming in and renovating the adobes and doing interesting things with run-down homes and spaces,” said Laura Hajovsky, the co-organizer of the inaugural Marfa Architecture and Design Symposium , a weekend event exploring the newest aesthetic styles to emerge in the community. Listen to a discussion on the lasting influence of Donald Judd, the minimalist artist who moved to Marfa from New York in the seventies and set it on its current path. Then tour six homes that exemplify clean lines, the ranching culture and the integration of the indoors and outdoors, including a case-study adobe house that melts when it rains and a former barbershop that has been converted into a model of modular living. “We live in a world where our personal space is getting smaller and smaller,” Hajovsky said. “I think stripping it down and having it simple provides some peace.”
Various locations, November 2-4, various times, designmarfa.com
Feral hogs are arguably the state’s Public Wildlife Enemy Number One. With a population soaring to an estimated 2.5 million, the species’ rapid growth causes problems for both rural and urban dwellers, who have seen farm crops destroyed and golf courses ruined. Various methods of controlling this invasion have been instituted. Some are innovative: the Legislature’s passage of the “pork chopper bill,” which makes it legal to shoot the beasts from a helicopter. And some are practical: programs like Hog School, hosted by the locavore-style food enterprise Dai Due, where hunters are taught how to maximize their catches. The silver lining, of course, is that a couple of million pigs translates to more than 100 million pounds of delectable meat. And people who know how to masterfully prepare it will be in abundance at the World Championship Wild Hog Cook-Off , a State Championship Event, as recognized by the Texas Legislature, in the self-proclaimed Wild Hog Capital of the World.
Downtown, November 2-3, 8 a.m., crowelltexaschamber.com
In Medias Res
In the great story of the Wild West, there are many action sequences involving horses galloping at breakneck speed carrying battling cowboys and American Indians. Perhaps no one was better at depicting these fast-paced, combustible tableaus than Frederic Remington, the sculptor and painter from upstate New York. The Sid Richardson Museum in Fort Worth will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary with “ Violent Motion: Frederic Remington’s Artistry in Bronze ,” the two-part exhibition that features nine rarely seen bronze sculptures by Remington. These three-dimensional pieces almost come to life when viewed with the accompanying paintings by the artist.
Sid Richardson Museum, November 8-June 2, various times, sidrichardsonmuseum.org
Take your infatuation with farm-to-table cuisine to another level at Farm Fest , with workshops in hands-on, small-scale farming techniques like aquaponics, worm ranches, and tea composting.
Emile Community Research Farm, November 3, various times., lastorganicoutpost.com
Texas has a personality all its own, but a shared worldview on humanity and nature will prevail at “ A Tree in a Field ,” the art exhibition pairing the works of three Texans with three Israelis.
Luminarte Gallery, November 3-December 21, 7 p.m., luminarte.com