September—People, Places, Events, Attractions


Love him or hate him, you have to respect Anselm Kiefer’s sheer ambition. “The scale of his ideas is daunting, and the size of his works—some paintings are twenty-four feet high—is incredible,” says Michael Auping, who organized the Kiefer exhibit opening this month at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. “He asks big questions, about God, beginnings and endings, power, religion.” The first American survey of the German artist’s work in nearly two decades, “ANSELM KIEFER: HEAVEN AND EARTH” traces a singular theme. “Kiefer asks the question of why we always seek a heaven, who tries to take us to it, and why we never seem to get there, burdened as we are by the weight of history,” explains the curator. If you know Kiefer’s work—highly textured, symbolic art with subjects such as postwar Europe and Christian mythology—this exhibit will put a new slant on it. If you don’t, says Auping, stand in front of a twenty-by-twenty-foot burned German landscape and you’ll get it. Katharyn Rodemann

(For directions and more information, see Fort Worth, Museums/Galleries: Modern Art Museum).


Look who’s coming to Texas

Jeff Tweedy—The Wilco front man plays at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on September 25. Interview By Jordan Breal

This is your third ACL fest. What keeps Wilco coming back?
We’ve always loved playing in Austin, and the festival is getting better every year. It’s a good bill and a good time.

So when you’re not playing, who are you going to sneak off and listen to?
I generally stay away from mob scenes, so I probably won’t go out of my way to see the big acts. I wish there was more interaction among the musicians, but last year it was so ridiculously hot that everyone stayed on their air-conditioned buses. I’m really just looking forward to playing, to be honest.

You’ve said that music is “finished” in the audience. What’s Wilco’s connection with the fans?
One of the striking features of our really good shows is that you can hear the audience singing over us. I wouldn’t sing along with Wilco if I was at our show, but people like singing to our esoteric, weirdly nonlinear lyrics, so good for them. Our live music has gotten a lot better than our records, because it’s more of a wall of sound, a bigger din.

Does your family tour with you?
My sons are five and nine, and they tour occasionally when they’re not in school. They love it. [Drumming in the background] That’s Spencer, my nine-year-old, playing right now. He’s really good. He has his own band, the Blisters.

After the festival, your band will be opening for the Rolling Stones in Atlanta.
Yeah, being asked to play with the Rolling Stones is kind of like being asked to meet the queen. It’s a no-brainer.

Will you be introducing any new music at your shows?
Almost everything off our last album, A Ghost is Born, was played live before we recorded it, but with this next record, which we started in August, we’re not doing that. It’s difficult to get a good version of a song that’s played live a bunch of times, so we’re trying to keep things under our hat this time.

(For directions and more information, see Austin, Music/Dance: Austin City Limits Music Festival).


The Choice is Yours.

Tails in Two Cities—Plus songbirds in El Paso and artists alfresco in San Antonio. By Adrianna Broyles

Smile at a crocodile—er, alligator—and before you know it, he’s having a pool party in your backyard. Just ask the residents of Anahuac, where the critters were rescued from near extinction only to overrun the two-legged inhabitants three to one. No matter. September 15–18, the city turns its surplus into a strength with GATORFEST, a celebration of all things swampy. Watch hunters haul in grinning beauties at the Great Texas Alligator Roundup or, if wrestling reptiles isn’t your thing, feed on fried gator instead.

(For directions and more information, see Anahuac, Other Events: Anahuac Texas Gatorfest).

Get on your high horse and air-kiss with the city’s crème de la crème this month at the HOUSTON POLO CLUB, where thoroughbreds and mallet-wielding players come together in what’s been called the game of kings. First, indulge your refined palate on September 11 at the Polo Italia and Risotto Festival, the club’s biggest benefit of the year, then show off your knowledge of divots and chukkers at the start of the 105th USPA Silver Cup, on September 28, when riders compete for the oldest and most coveted polo trophy in the country.

(For directions and more information, see Houston, Sports: Houston Polo Club).

Hank Williams might not have felt so lonesome had he known that fifty years after his death a man with his good looks and talent would pay him tribute from Broadway to Branson. Jason Petty, the star of the one-man show HANK AND MY HONKY TONK HEROES, in El Paso on September 18, won a 2003 Village Voice OBIE award for his role in the musical Hank Williams: Lost Highway. If you never caught Hank in his prime, Petty’s the next best thing: His mastery of (or obsession with) the country legend’s twangy tunes will surely put a tear in your beer.

(For directions and more information, see El Paso, Theater: Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes).

Giacomo Puccini cried as he finished writing his heroine’s death at the end of LA BOHEME, and the Italian opera has been choking people up for the 110 years since. The El Paso Opera brings the famous love story of the starving artists Rodolfo and Mimi to stage September 8 and 10. If you’ve seen the more modern Rent, then you know the plot, but there’s nothing like the heartbreaking emotion of the original, said to be one of the most performed operas in history. Non si preoccupi if your Italian isn’t up to par; English and Spanish supertitles will be provided.

(For directions and more information, see El Paso, Music/Dance: El Paso Opera).

Give fifty professional artists jumbo sticks of colored chalk and a clean street and what do you get? Certainly more than hopscotch squares. San Antonio’s CHALK IT UP festival celebrates outdoor art in its most nostalgic medium and most pedestrian expression—literally—on September 24, when Artpace, the city’s contemporary-arts foundation, invites Texas artists (and those of us interested in doodling huge, psychedelic renditions of our names) to the concrete canvas of Houston Street. Relive recess and satisfy your inner graffitist.

(For directions and more information, see San Antonio, Other Events: Chalk it Up).

Eight years ago, Calvin Liang was more familiar with the inside of animation studios—he worked on The Little Mermaid and the absorbent and yellow and porous Mr. SquarePants—than he was with natural landscapes. So he ditched cartoons and headed outside, brushes and canvas in tote, to reconnect with a world of deserts and shorelines. Now he’s known for his plein air impressionist paintings of the West Coast, which you can check out September 6–23 at the GREENHOUSE GALLERY OF FINE ART, in San Antonio. So long, Squidward.

(For directions and more information, see San Antonio, Museums/Galleries: Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art).