At the twenty-fifth annual Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio, you can nibble on Lebanese kibbeh, sample Nigerian suya, gnaw on a Filipino inihaw—or stick to watermelon from Luling. Plus: A Fantastick show in Fort Worth from the boys of Tuna; powerful photos from Richard Avedon in Austin; a hellish bicycle race in Wichita Falls; and rock of ages from Houston to El Paso. Edited by Quita McMath, Erin Gromen, and Cheri Ballew


We Are the World

The Texas Folklife Festival, the state’s largest celebration of its multicultural heritage, will be bigger than ever this year as it marks its twenty-fifth anniversary August 1 through 4. Produced by San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures, the annual festival of music, dance, story telling, and craft demonstrations aims to educate the public about the various ethnic groups that settled the state. But it’s hard to fill the brain on an empty stomach, and happily, more than half of the 43 cultures represented will have food booths. You can nibble on Lebanese kibbeh, sample Nigerian suya, gnaw on Filipino inihaw—or stick to watermelon from Luling, yam pies from Gilmer, and other down-home goodies. When you’ve had enough gastronomical globe-trotting, you can waddle on over to the entertainment stages to see Alsatian, Bolivian, and Pakistani dance troupes, among others, and listen to music ranging from tejano to gospel, country to jazz. Be prepared for the heat and the crowds—75,000 visitors are expected—though some chilled fruit from the Lithuanian booth could help with both annoyances. Eating some will cool you down, and putting a piece down a slowpoke’s back should make him step more lively. Erin Gromen


Face Time

Richard Avedon, the 73-year-old staff photographer of The New Yorker, is renowned for his unblinking portraits of subjects ranging from celebrities and fashion models (he was the inspiration for Fred Astaire’s character in the movie Funny Face) to weathered Westerners and political players. This year is the twentieth anniversary of “The Family 1976: Richard Avedon’s Portraits for Rolling Stone,” a bicentennial “album” of 69 pictures of the powerful; on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, they can be seen at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin through December. Included are presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford, Congresswomen Barbara Jordan (above) and Bella Abzug, the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham and the New York Times’s Abe Rosenthal, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of the CIA, George Bush. “Avedon’s is a very penetrating lens,” says Gary Yarrington, the LBJ museum’s curator emeritus. His portraits are “revealing to the bone.” Renee Boensch


A Race in the Sun

In cycling circles, the Paris—Roubaix classic, professional cycling’s most grueling single-day race, is called the Hell of the North (those cobblestones can be punishing). Not to be outdone, the Lone Star State also boasts a legendary cycling endurance test with its own brand of torture—call it the Hell of North Texas. Accurately dubbed the Hotter’N Hell Hundred, the fifteen-year-old event, held every August in Wichita Falls, is the country’s largest sanctioned century ride for cyclists of all levels of ability. The challenge of riding the one-hundred-mile course under the broiling Texas sun annually draws some 10,000 riders from across the country, almost 70 percent of them returning HHH veterans. But another attraction is the hospitality of the people of Wichita Falls, who go all out to welcome and pamper the participants. For instance, volunteers create mini-festivals at rest stops along the route for riders to enjoy while they cool off and refuel with fruit, PowerAde, and ice. Although rest stop themes are often kept secret so the riders will be surprised (themes in years past have included a toga party and Puttin’ on the Ritz, with the locals in formal attire), word is out that during this year’s event, on August 24, a couple of Dallas cyclists will get married. Cheri Ballew


Bands of Gold

Everything old is, if not new again, at least lucrative—that’s the musical theme for the summer of ’96. Inspired by the Eagles’ hugely successful reunion two years ago, assorted bands from the seventies and early eighties have restrung their guitars and packed up the tour buses, hoping to find room on the nostalgia bandwagon. Most of them roll into Texas in August, when the state’s musical venues are booked with more dinosaurs than a Steven Spielberg movie. There’s hard rock (Ted Nugent, Def Leppard), easy rock (America), stadium rock (Foreigner, Bad Company), swamp rock (Creedence Clearwater Revisited, which is Creedence Clearwater Revival sans lead singer John Fogerty), talking-guitar rock (Peter Frampton), pop rock (Steve Miller, Pat Benatar), and not rock (REO Speedwagon). There’s even punk rock: The Sex Pistols, who in “God Save the Queen” lamented “There is no future / no future for me,” have reunited. As it turns out, they were a bit off the mark. There is a future; it just looks eerily like the past. Josh Daniel


Tripping the Light Fantasticks

It seems wholly fitting that the state’s longest-running theatrical duo—Joe Sears (far right) and Jaston Williams (right), of Greater Tuna fame—should appear in a homegrown production of the country’s longest-running play. The Fantasticks is a frothy little musical comedy in which a pair of scheming fathers, hoping their children will fall in love, decide to ensure the romance by separating the two. Written by Texans Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, it has been playing nonstop since 1960 at Greenwich Village’s Sullivan Street Playhouse, much as Sears and Williams have been performing nonstop since Greater Tuna debuted in 1981. The twosome chose The Fantasticks as a way to expand their theatrical horizons while maintaining their slapstick hallmarks—and authors Jones and Schmidt even rewrote a few scenes for them. Still, the actors’ double-duty here (as the fathers and as a pair of aging actors) is a walk in the park compared with their multiple-role playing and costume changing in the Tuna plays. The veteran funnymen have already tested The Fantasticks’ appeal in the Tuna stronghold of Washington, D.C., where it filled Ford’s Theater this spring, and now bring it home to Texas (it opens at Fort Worth’s Casa Mañana August 20). Besides the charismatic comedy of Sears and Williams, the play also offers a musical chestnut; “Try to Remember” what that might be. Anne Dingus