Knowledge Is Power
Education reform is an afterthought to many politicians, which has prompted some people, like Maggie Duval of Austin, to take matters into their own hands. This weekend, Duval and her colleagues—part of a collective who were the hosts of the popular “Showdown at Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison” event in 2012—will present STEAM3, a two-day conference with a futuristic approach to learning and teaching. The idea for the conference was planted long ago, in conversations Duval had with her mother, who offered her daughter alternative learning opportunities. “We often discussed a future world in which education would support each individual child’s needs and passions,” Duval said in an email, “one that addresses the ‘whole child’ and builds the curriculum around him or her, versus one-size-fits-the-average, top-down model, which is an archaic throwback to a more Victorian ‘reward and punishment model’ and certainly doesn’t inspire innovative thinking.” The conference will have an interactive playground and will focus on topics like the gamification of learning, digital storytelling, and what the educators call massive open online courses, or MOOCs.
The University of Texas J.J. Pickle Research Campus, March 1–2, steam3.com
There are two ways to interpret Never Too Late to Go Vegan, the new book by the Dallas “feminist vegetarian” Carol J. Adams, who is best known for The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990), which Publishers Weekly called provocative and “a major contribution to the debate on animal rights.” One is the obvious message. The book’s mission is to entice the over-fifty crowd into adopting a healthy, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly plant-based diet. The other is subtler and is addressed to anyone who is addicted to Texas’ smoked meats. Potential converts of either variety can learn more about how to make a change, and the positive ramifications of such, when Adams discusses the book on Thursday at Barnes & Noble. And if giving up barbecue seems blasphemous, fear not: the book’s recipes include barbecue sandwiches made with beef-style seitan. “I host a vegan barbecue every summer, and there’s one man in his eighties, Texan through and through, and he just loves it,” Adams said. “I always send the leftovers with him.”
Barnes & Noble-Lincoln Park, March 6, 7 p.m., caroljadams.com
There are several styles in the pantheon of Texas fiddle music. At the dawn of the twentieth century, there was a technique known for its idiosyncratic timing and phrasing—a bygone form being resurrected by the Austin fiddler Howard Rains. There is also contest fiddling, a fast-paced, improvisational sort forged a couple of decades later by Benny Thomasson of Gatesville. But perhaps the most popular and enduring of all is Western swing, the mix of jazz and country music that Bob Wills of Turkey unleashed on dance halls after the Great Depression, featuring Tyler’s Johnny Gimble. At the Texas Western Swing Fiddling Showcase, fans can see why that style never went out of fashion, with the best that this generation of Texas swing fiddlers has to offer, from Randy Elmore, whose summer fiddle camp passes the torch, to Wes Westmoreland III, who comes from a long line of players.
Belton County Expo Center, March 1, noon–midnight, texaswesternswing.com
Winter of 42
In Texas, 42 is to dominoes what Hold ’Em is to poker. On Saturday the game’s top players will converge on Hallettsville to compete at the Texas State Championship 42 Domino Tournament. For the uninitiated, 42 is like a card game but with dominoes and with rules similar to bridge. Although it is considered the national game of Texas, 42 is reportedly dying off as players age. This tournament could be an opportunity to reverse that trend.
Knights of Columbus, March 1, 7 a.m., hallettsville.com
People to Places
John Singer Sargent, the European-trained American painter, was a master of portraiture, but the touring exhibition “John Singer Sargent: The Watercolors,” which makes its final stop in Houston, reveals his mastery of the medium as a whole, with depictions of early-twentieth-century scenes in countries including Greece, Portugal, and Syria.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 2–May 26, mfah.org
Fab Four More
The recent fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’s first performance in the United States, on The Ed Sullivan Show, may have baby boomers yearning to get back, get back to where they once belonged, which they can do at a concert by the Liverpool Legends, a tribute band endorsed by George Harrison’s sister.
Majestic Theatre, March 1, 7:30 p.m., liverpoollegends.com