Six Must-Attend Events: July 12-19
The state's top offerings, from watching Janis take the stage to the opening of a new town called Bikinis, Texas.
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Piece of Her Heart
Broadway has been attracted to Texas women lately. Ann, the play about Governor Ann Richards, just finished its run. And in September, A Night With Janis Joplin, a musical about Port Arthur’s booming voice of the blues, who lived fast and died young (when she was 27), in 1970, will begin previews at the Lyceum Theatre in New York.
But before the production heads north, Joplin fans can catch a version of it in Austin, where Joplin honed her voice at the original Threadgills. The show is more concert than theater, with stadium-rock-style performances of songs including “Me and Bobby McGee” by Kacee Clanton, who plays Joplin, and Tiffany Mann as a composite of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Bessie Smith, singers who influenced Joplin, backed by a live eight-piece band.
Even though the show is high on spectacle, there is a poignant story at the core. The writer and director Randy Johnson worked in cooperation with the Janis Joplin estate, enlisting Joplin’s brother and sister to help reveal what the promotional materials call their sibling’s “music, truths, influences, art, philosophy and spirit.”
Zach Theatre, July 12-Aug. 18, zachtheatre.org
Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie
In July 2012, Doug Guller bought Bankersmith, a ghost town near Luckenbach, and renamed it Bikinis. That might seem odd, were Guller not the owner of Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, the Austin-based chain.
Bikinis offers food and drinks served by waitresses dressed in, well, bikinis (they wear jean short bottoms). At the opening of Bikinis (the town)—which will not have a Bikinis (the restaurant)—Carmen Electra, the former Baywatch sex symbol, will be the first Bikinis Hall of Fame inductee.
It is all part of Guller’s seemingly genuine plan to chronicle the history of the bikini swimsuit, which the French designer Louis Réard introduced in 1946, naming it for Bikini Atoll, a nuclear-testing site in the Pacific Ocean.
Bernard Freeman, a.k.a Bun B, half of the acclaimed Houston hip-hop duo Underground Kingz, or UGK, has long appealed to the streets but the mainstream has increasingly embraced him.
Last year, the Museum of the Gulf Coast, in Port Arthur, Freeman’s hometown, inducted UGK—the other member, Chad Butler, a.k.a. Pimp C, died in 2008—into its music hall of fame. And last week, Freeman was among a group of Houston rappers whose Twitter campaign helped lure the basketball player Dwight Howard from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Rockets.
Along the way, Freeman has taught religion and hip-hop at Rice University, and in September “Bun B’s Rap Coloring and Activity Book” will be published. But on Saturday night it will be all about Freeman’s rap game, with a concert that is likely to include his new single, “I Been On (Remix),” a version of “Bow Down/I Been On,” the Beyoncé song released in March.
The Ranch, July 13, 8 p.m., impressent.com
The Parker County Peach Festival coincides with Freestone peach season, which yields delectable orange globes whose flesh separates easily from the stone, or pit. Not only does this simplify the process of eating a whole peach on the spot, but Freestones are also better for bakers, who come to the festival searching for the stars of their future peach pies and cobblers. It costs only $5 to attend the festival, but participants in the Peach Pedal Bike Ride get in free.
Downtown, July 13, 8 a.m., parkercountypeachfestival.org
When German immigrants to Texas weren’t playing the instruments they had made in the dance halls they built, they lay on the beds they had built and studied at the desks they had made, as seen in “Texas Furniture From the Ima Hogg Winedale Collection,” an exhibition of more than three dozen nineteenth-century, mostly German-made pieces from the most significant collection of Texas furniture in the United States.
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, July 13-Oct. 6, thestoryoftexas.com
If I Had a Hammer
The everlasting influence of the folk scene in Greenwich Village in the sixties will be apparent in the screening of “Greenwich Village: Music That Defined a Generation,” featuring, among other musicians, two Texan singer-songwriters who fell under the neighborhood’s spell: Kris Kristofferson, who was part of the cultural scene depicted in the movie, and Steve Earle, who lives there now because of that scene.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, July 12, 7 p.m., mfah.org