Kickstarter campaigns for established artists have become controversial. Critics wonder how some, like the musician Amanda Palmer, who raised more than $1 million, really spend the money or why the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning director Spike Lee needs to do crowd-source financing for his new film project. Earlier this year, the Polyphonic Spree, the robe-wearing Dallas chorale-pop orchestra that averages two dozen members, raised $136,505 on Kickstarter. That may seem like a lot, but it’s modest compared with the fans’ return on investment—the Spree, whose new album, Yes, It’s True, was just released, is also using Kickstarter to complete a live album and a concert documentary, and to pay for touring in 2013, which begins in the United States with a hometown CD-release show Friday. Contributors receive one-of-a-kind gift packages that expanded the cosmic connection between band and fan. For a $10,000 donation, the Spree would write a song about them; for $2,000, an opening slot at one of the Spree’s shows; and for $200, a fifteen-minute Skype chat with Tim DeLaughter, the group’s frontman. “Kickstarter is a win-win for all parties involved,” DeLaughter said in an email. “It’s the best fan club ever.”
Granada Theater, August 9, 7 p.m., thepolyphonicspree.com
Views on Islam
Soody Sharifi, the Iranian-born Houston artist, was studying industrial engineering at the University of Houston when the Islamic Revolution of 1979 began. She and her husband were forced to stay in Texas, “sort of self-exiled,” she said. But in 1991, Sharifi started making annual trips back to Iran. “One of the first things that took my attention was the idea of covering myself,” she said, referring to the custom of women wearing headscarves and concealing clothing. Identity has become a popular theme in Sharifi’s work—a mash-up of the old, traditionalist Islam with the new, Western-influenced Islam. It is on display through this final weekend of the Jameel Prize exhibition, which highlights pieces by international contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions. In “Fashion Week” and “Frolicking Women in the Pool,” two of Sharifi’s prints, she increased the size of miniature paintings—a traditional Persian art form—and playfully dotted them with her photographs of modern society, often making light of stereotypes. “I noticed the media is really focused only on the political,” Sharifi said. “And I’m trying to show a different side of what’s really going on.”
San Antonio Museum of Art, August 9-11, 10 a.m., samuseum.org
Under the Dome
The fate of the deteriorating Astrodome has been a hot topic in Houston since it closed in 2006. Some think it should be razed. Others—like Earl Campbell, the running back who played there when he was an Oiler—think the building, once nicknamed the eighth wonder of the world, should be preserved. But everyone can celebrate the history of the dome, which opened in 1965 for the start of the Colt-.45s-turned-Astros season, at “Rare Baseball Films: The Newsreels,” presented by David Filipi of the Wexner Center for the Arts. “They highlight all of the fancy, modern touches like lounges, eating areas, etc., plus the animated scoreboard, which now looks prehistoric techwise but back then was a marvel,” Filipi said in an email. The other Houston-related material includes a clip of Willie Mays’s record-tying 511th home run, which he hit against the Astros in the Astrodome.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, August 9 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 10 at 1 p.m., mfah.org
Built Ford Fast
About seven years ago, Dwayne Peace, a dentist in Tyler, built a workshop behind his house to keep his two boys busy and out of trouble. They made good use of their play shed, and a couple of years later they emerged with their family’s 1955 Ford Thunderbird impeccably restored and modified with modern flair. Peace’s T-Bird was awarded the prestigious Don Ridler Memorial Award at the 2012 Detroit Autorama and will be the centerpiece of the 24th annual Yellow Rose Classic Car Show this weekend. The show is also certain to include a special 49th-anniversary Mustang manufactured earlier this year to commemorate one million sales.
Will Rogers Memorial Center, August 10-11, 10 a.m., ntmc.org
The Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein is best known for his children’s poetry and for the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue,” but the theater production Shel’s Shorts promises to take a very different direction, with R-rated performances of Silverstein plays.
Cameo Theater, August 10, 17 and 24, cameocenter.com
XO (Pass It Along)
The folk tradition of passing down songs for future generations is being carried on at “No Name #1,” a four-city concert with more than one hundred musicians playing songs by Elliott Smith, the Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter who grew up in Dallas and died at 34, possibly by suicide, in 2003.
Scottish Rite Theater, August 9, 8 p.m., scottishritetheater.org