Six Must-Attend Events: October 23-29
The state’s top offerings, from a musical Frankenstein masterpiece to the joys of fermented foods.
Musical scores are like the twelfth man of movies. They’re not an actual player, or a character, but their support adds another dimension to the team, or film. Imagine The Good, the Bad and the Ugly without Ennio Morricone’s score, The Pink Panther without Henry Mancini’s, or Star Wars without John Williams’s. Scores are particularly suited to scary movies because they help build tension, but one of the great scary movies of its time, the 1931 production of Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff as the monster, was made without one. There is music for the opening and closing credits, sure, but nothing for the 71 minutes in between. In 2001 the Chappaqua Orchestra, located in Westchester County, New York, commissioned the composer Michael Shapiro to address this shortcoming. In 2002 the Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted the premiere of Shapiro’s piece, with a live orchestra playing alongside a screening of the movie. Next Thursday the UT Wind Ensemble will perform in kind at the Bass Concert Hall on the University of Texas campus. The show will begin with the ensemble, consisting of fifty woodwind, brass, and percussion instrumentalists, playing, as a sort of warm-up, two pieces that appear in the Mickey Mouse movie Fantasia: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor and Paul Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Following that will be a costume contest. And then a reduced ensemble of 24 players will get on with the main event. Jerry Junkin, the director of bands at UT’s Butler School of Music and the conductor of the show, said two scenes in the movie work especially well with the music: when the monster first appears and when the monster befriends a little girl picking flowers and then does something inexplicable to her. “Michael Shapiro’s score adds to the horror, tenderness, and at times, humor of the film in a way that we have now come to expect from movie scores,” Junkin said. “There is something about his composition for wind ensemble that makes this score particularly interesting, perhaps in the same way that the original score to Journey to the Center of the Earth, also scored for winds and percussion, though made a few years later, feels perfect for that movie.”
Bass Hall, October 29, 7:30 p.m., texasperformingarts.org
This Old House
The Fulton Mansion doesn’t just look good, it has good bones too. The four-story, French Second Empire–style historical home, erected on the Aransas Bay in the 1870’s, has sustained seven direct hurricane hits and too many tropical storms to count and still it stands, flanked by the oak trees that give it its nickname, Oakhurst. To ensure that it sticks around for future generations, the structure recently underwent a restoration that included not only decorative improvements but also measures to protect against more bad weather. On Saturday the mansion will celebrate the completion of this two-and-a-half-year preservation project, but with a Halloween twist. The event, called “Stories, Spooks & Spirits: The Awakening of the Fulton Mansion,” will incorporate activities steeped in Victorian spirituality, which was of interest to the original owners, George Fulton, a teacher and inventor, and his wife, Harriet, the eldest daughter of Henry Smith, the first provisional governor of Texas. “We learned that they went to see mediums, and Harriet’s friends teased her about how she needed to keep her spirits at home,” said the mansion’s site manager Marsha Hendrix. “We also know from a receipt that they purchased a Ouija board.” To satisfy this curiosity, the program will feature period games like a séance and fortune-telling. There will be an auction for 50 slate tiles decorated by different artists, all removed from the roof during the restoration, along with some Longhorn steers roaming about, in homage to the cattle company that the Fultons started with the 28,000 acres Harriet’s father willed to her.
Fulton Mansion, October 24, 3 p.m., visitfultonmansion.com
To Hell and Back
According to USA Today, back surgery has delayed the completion of Meat Loaf’s forthcoming album, Braver Than We Are, but that hasn’t stopped the native Texan from embarking on a sixteen-date U.S. tour with stops in San Antonio and Grand Prairie. That’s probably because Meat Loaf—a.k.a. Marvin Lee Aday, graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, in Dallas—lives to perform. There are the concerts, of course, but there are also the movies, like Fight Club; the TV shows, like Celebrity Apprentice; and the theater productions, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. “I already kind of know how I’m going to die,” Meat Loaf told USA Today earlier this month. “Of an aneurysm. And I think it’ll be on stage.” In the hope that such misfortune doesn’t befall the singer at the Tobin Center, in San Antonio, or the Verizon Theatre, in Grand Prairie on Wednesday, audiences will be entertained by hits from Meat Loaf’s seminal 1977 album, Bat Out of Hell, which has sold more than 43 million copies worldwide, as well as songs from the new album, produced by Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell collaborator Jim Steinman.
Tobin Center, October 26, 7:30 p.m., meatloaf.net
Pumpkin patches can be surprisingly stressful. The joy of seeing gobs of orange globes can quickly dissipate into the challenge of finding the perfect jack-o-lantern for carving your masterpiece. At the Dallas Arboretum’s Pumpkin Village, there are a whopping 75,000 pumpkins to consider. But take a deep breath: these pumpkins, sourced from Floydada, are just for viewing, not buying. Fifty types of gourds, squashes, and pumpkins—the Caveman Club Gourd, the Table Ace Squash, the Mini White Baby Boo Pumpkin—are all artfully arranged into a landscape resembling an old-time Texas town. The highlight, or selfie shot, is the mosaic of gourds and pumpkins arranged to create the shape of the state of Texas. The Pumpkin Village is part of Autumn at the Arboretum, featuring some 150,000 flowers. Right now, the chrysanthemums are in full bloom.
Dallas Arboretum, October 23–November 25, dallasarboretum.org
Love, Food, and the Border
In response to the Central American immigrants who poured into the U.S. last summer, the New York artist and activist Molly Gochman created Border, USA|MX, an “earthwork” located on a plot of grass at 1302 Dennis Street in which a three-hundred-foot-long trench was dug to resemble the Texas-Mexico border, filled with red sand (to perhaps represent the blood that has been spilled), and then covered with dirt (as if to represent those who didn’t make it through the trip). This piece of public art will be the site of screenings of two documentary movies that will elevate viewers’ social-consciousness about human trafficking: the feature-length Food Chains, about farm laborers who prevailed against agribusiness to improve working conditions, and the short film Love On the Line, about a place along the border where families from both sides reunite.
1302 Dennis Street, October 24, 6:30 p.m., aurorapictureshow.org
Making fermented food and beverages requires patience, but the payoff is worthwhile because the probiotics that emerge during the slow-growth process have numerous health benefits, such as aiding in digestion, strengthening immunity, and even cutting down on gut fat. DIYers can learn the basics of making these offerings at Sunday’s Austin Fermentation Festival, where there will be workshops, live music, and a keynote by Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle Featuring Bone Broths, Fermented Vegetables, Grass-Fed Meats, Wholesome Fats, Raw Dairy, and Kombuchas—plus a “kraut mob,” in which a mound of cabbage is crowdsourced to create sauerkraut.
Barr Mansion, October 25, 9 a.m., texasfarmersmarket.org