Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from the opera in Houston and Friday night lights in Odessa to surfing along the coast and hiking in the mountains. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[FEB 11–FEB 17]
Blaze of Glory
People say Blaze Foley wore duct tape on his cowboy boots to mock urban cowboys with steel-tipped boots, but it’s more likely that Foley’s boots were coming apart and, being a homeless man in Austin, he didn’t have the money to buy a new pair. Duct tape plays a role in the cover art for Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream, an album of Foley’s tender and playful folk songs performed by longtime pal Gurf Morlix. “Blaze was murdered in Austin in 1989, protecting an old man, a drinking buddy, from his abusive son,” said Morlix. “Ever since, I’ve wanted to record his songs and get them out to a wider audience.” The CD release show is Friday, dovetailing nicely with a brunch screening of Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, a documentary premiering in Austin on Sunday, after twelve years in the making. It’s time Foley be known outside of Lucinda Williams’ song about him, “Drunken Angel.”
Concert: Cactus Cafe, Feb 11, 8:30 p.m., gurfmorlix.com;
Screening: Alamo Drafthouse, Feb 13, 11:20 a.m.,
The Black Architecture Project examines racism in 1950’s Dallas through “conceptual reconstructions” of the neighborhood in which Darell W. Fields, an architectural theorist and designer, grew up. Also included are old maps of Dallas that outline a “colored” school and cemetery. “One wonders why they needed to demarcate such things,” said Fields, an artist-in-residence at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Race is written into social contexts in various specific ways.” This exhibit has helped Fields, 48, process the death of his father, William Maxine Starks, in 2005. Starks was one of the first black police officers in Dallas—a small victory it would seem, except Starks was prohibited from arresting white men, making him ostensibly a traitor among his own people. “That demonstrates that the law is blind,” Fields said.
CentralTrak, Feb 12, 6 p.m.
You’ve made the trip to this little town forty miles south of Dallas because you’ve heard that the annual Ennis Czech Music Festival (now in its fifth year) has become the next big thing for hard-core accordion fans concerned that the annual National Polka Festival, also in Ennis (marking its forty-fifth year this May) has gotten too full of itself. Not that the Czech Fest is a small deal. You arrive at the Sokol Activity Center to find a thousand dancers swirling around in total mastery of their steps. Good luck. To make matters more difficult, everyone is wearing a kroj (a traditional Czech outfit). Fortunately, Maggie’s Fabric Patch, a purveyor of this style, has a retail space there to save you from further disaster. And if nothing can save you from your own two feet, then there is Czechvar beer to drink.
Sokol Activity Center, Feb 12, 1:30 p.m.
It seems only natural that Denton, a college town outside of Fort Worth that now has a music scene to rival Austin’s, would have turned its attention to cultivating a serious film scene as well. Texas Filmmakers, a non-profit resource for local production crews, seized on the idea of a documentary film festival, the Thin Line Film Fest, in 2006, because at the time no such thing existed (maybe it still doesn’t). “Denton needed a film festival,” said Joshua Butler, festival director. “There were too many artists, musicians, media makers, and academia to not have a big annual event.” At this year’s festival there will be international movies, movies by students, and movies about the Denton community. But when it comes to opening night, the organizers smartly appealed to the lowest common denominator—music—with Troubadours, a Sundance entry about James Taylor, Carole King, and their singer-songwriter contemporaries.
The Campus Theatre, Feb 15–20, various times.
Burning love isn’t a one-day affair, which is why the Western Swing Festival and Valentine Party is a weekend event, with six fiddle-happy bands playing two sets to ensure all dance cards are sufficiently punched. Canton Civic Center, Feb 11 & 12, noon.
Reprise of the Red Headed Stranger
Willie Nelson will inaugurate the new downtown studio for Austin City Limits, the television show, just as he did for the show’s pilot episode, in 1974—only this time he is expected to perform a set in a tuxedo.
ACL Live at the Moody Theater, Feb 13 & 14, 8 p.m.
• • • • •
Eight more gotta-see, gotta-do events that you can’t afford to miss.
By Annie Samuelson
An Evening With Nora Ephron
The queen of chick-flicks is coming to Austin to share her work and journey. No tissues necessary.
The Paramount Theatre, Feb 10, 8 p.m.
Romeo & Juliet
Calling all star-crossed lovers! The original rom-com of boy meets girl opens its curtains just in time for Valentine’s Day.
AT&T Performing Arts Center, Feb 11 at 7:30 p.m., Feb 13 at 2 p.m.
Tuff Hedeman Bullriding Championship
Grab the proverbial bull by the horns and come see daring cowboys thrown off of real bulls.
El Paso County Coliseum, Feb 12, 8 p.m.
A Texas Winter
They always say: “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes and it will change.” Examine Texas’s crazy weather and related artworks while creating a masterpiece of your own and learning about weather from Rebecca Miller, the chief meteorologist at Channel 33 News.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Feb 13, 1 p.m.
Wedding Vow Renewal at Hotel Galvez
Got hitched or honeymooned at the Hotel Galvez? Come renew your I Do’s in a mass ceremony and then revel in