The Drop Everything List
The Go-Gos, LBJ's Birthday, Houston Theater District Open House, and the Hot Sauce Festival. . .
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The Beat Goes On
The Go-Go’s songs are one of the few good things to come out of the music of the 1980s. The all-female fivesome from Los Angeles put the boys in the corner with their mix of attitude, chops and good looks, and they endure today because of perpetually licensed songs like power-pop anthems “We Got the Beat” and “Vacation.” A year ago, the band announced a reunion tour billed as its final shows. But a delay to that tour—which is now underway—offered clarity. “I doubt it’s the last show ever,” Kathy Valentine, the bass player and native of Austin who wrote “Vacation,” said about Sunday’s last scheduled gig. “The band feels revitalized on this tour. We’re getting recognized and appreciated like never before.” A betting man translates that to mean, let’s take advantage of this nostalgia and record a new album. If that’s the case, expect a new song or two. If it’s not, well, you can at least say you gave them a proper retirement party.
Paramount Theatre, Aug. 28, 8 p.m. gogos.com
Hail to the Chief
The wreath laying ceremony in honor of what would have been President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 103rd birthday shifts the focus from the rhetoric of what a certain 2012 presidential hopeful from Texas would do in the Oval Office to what a president from Texas did do. “The body of law President Johnson helped to guide through Congress continues to challenge all Americans to improve our society,” said Benjamin Baron, the University of Texas graduate who will deliver an address at the event. “The LBJ legacy represents a strong defense of our most revered values: equality, opportunity, and a respect for future generations.” Harry Middleton, a White House speechwriter during the Johnson presidency, selected Baron to speak because of his performance in “The Johnson Years,” a class Middleton taught at UT. Baron’s speech will focus on Mr. Johnson’s stewardship, which attendees can witness first-hand by touring the picturesque Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
LBJ. Ranch, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. nps.gov/lyjo
If Texans make the best New Yorkers, as is sometimes said, then credit goes to Houston for prepping would-be transplants with a performing arts scene that is nipping at the tutus and tap shoes of Broadway. “We are one of only a few U.S. cities to have professional companies in all the major arts disciplines,” said Andrew Huang of the Houston Downtown Alliance. “Opera, theater, ballet, symphony, musical theatre.” The Houston Downtown Alliance will host the 18th annual Theater District Open House to preview the 2011–12 seasons for the groups. The close proximity of the venues makes everything accessible by foot, but be sure to have cash (or card) in hand so you can purchase the tickets that will be available for the first time. Start the afternoon with a revue of the shows presented by Theatre Under the Stars, including “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” and end with a performance by the local drummer Samuel Dinkins III that will promote the jazz music offered by Da Camera of Houston. “Every year we talk to many people who are new to the city,” said Leo Boucher of Da Camera, “and they really appreciate the chance to learn so much about the arts scene here in one day.”
Theater District, Aug. 28, noon. downtownhouston.org
A hot sauce festival in August should set off an alarm. The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival isn’t, as it bills itself, really about comparing and contrasting red, green and “special variety” sauces. No, this festival is about survival. It’s about trucking through a crowded, sweaty, dusty park in an obscene temperature to meet a fate much worse: to be broken down by dipped chip after dipped chip of hot-pepper-infused salsa. For people who like pain, you have met your match. A competition within this grand tasting appoints the best hot sauces by an individual, restaurant and commercial manufacturer. Consider this a research tool for sizing up local restaurants and to help you make sense of the growing crowd of bottles lining the grocery store shelves.
Waterloo Park, Aug. 28, 11 a.m., austinchronicle.com
Serve It Up
The Texas Tennis Open, an international tournament of female players, including eleven who are ranked in the top fifty, is where you’ll see the next Venus or Serena Williams before she goes by her first name only.
Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, Aug. 26-27, various times. texastennisopen.com
Melt In Your Mouth
If death by chocolate sounds like a good way to go, then you’re in luck with the Chocolate Conference, a daylong gorging on some of the finest sweet stuff Dallas chocolatiers have to offer.
Addison Conference Centre, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. dallaschocolate.org