Around the State Gary P. Nunn and other singer-songwriters tour the state in celebration of Texas history. Plus: A collection of powerful photos are on display in Corpus Christi; a top Russian ballerina tiptoes into Houston; Golden Gloves boxers are a hit in Fort Worth; and guitar buffs come together to strum together in Dallas. Edited by Quita McMath, Erin Gromen, and Katy Vine


Honor Thy Fathers

One of the most intriguing and overlooked Texas CDs released last year was Fathers of Texas, a collection of songs about our state’s storied history composed by K. R. Wood and related by a cast of stellar musicians including Red Steagall, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the late Townes Van Zandt (see “The Great, Late Townes Van Zandt,” page 110). It’s one thing to read about Texas’ struggle for independence; hearing Gary P. Nunn (right) croon the story of “The Old 300,” Delbert McClinton and Rusty Wier duetting “Come and Take It,” and poet Charles John Quartro reciting the “Alamo Poem” makes the events of 162 years ago as vivid as this morning’s sunrise. Steven Fromholz, Skeet Anglin, Nunn, Wood, and several more of the troubadours from the album, as well as its narrator, actor Guich Koock, retrace the steps of the characters they sing about when they take their Fathers of Texas act on the road, with concerts at Washington-on-the-Brazos, the Alamo, and Goliad this month (along with less historic stops) and San Jacinto in April. Texas Days of Glory, a companion history book, will be published next month by Eakin Press. Joe Nick Patoski


An Eye for an Eye

The only thing the images in Sondra Gilman’s photography collection have in common is the visceral reaction she had on first seeing them. When she saw the Eugène Atget print that became her first purchase—an undated landscape of fallen leaves in Paris—she remembers being “thunderstruck.” That was 25 years ago, and her collection now numbers in the hundreds, ranging from Brassaï’s scenes of the Parisian demimonde to a sensuous cabbage close-up by Edward Weston and Sally Mann’s provocative shots of her children (above, Emmett and the White Boy, 1990). “From the Heart: The Power of Photography—A Collector’s Choice” marks the first time a sizable portion of Gilman’s holdings—some 72 photos—will be on public view. The exhibit will debut on March 6 at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, its only Texas venue. Though Gilman is a native New Yorker, her husband is from Texas, and the two have a home in Corpus. “I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time there, and I’m just overwhelmed by the museum,” she says. “I hope that what happened to me the first time I went to a photography show will happen to others. I want people to fall in love with these photos.” Erin Gromen


Fire and Ice

Weather forecast: A mid-March cold snap originating in the wintry depths of Russia will waft a world-premiere production of The Snow Maiden to the Houston Ballet. Blowing into town on a blizzard of international acclaim, Bolshoi ballerina Nina Ananiashvili (right) will star in the new three-act dance-drama, a coproduction with American Ballet Theatre. Based on a Russian fairy tale, The Snow Maiden is the quintessential ballet story of a sprite who falls tragically in love with a mortal, à la La Sylphide. Ben Stevenson, the Houston Ballet’s artistic director and a master at adding enduring full-length ballets to the classic repertoire, created the title role expressly for the charismatic Georgian dancer, who will be partnered with the Houston troupe’s Carlos Acosta. The set designs by Tony award–winner Desmond Heeley—dazzling winter-forest and village-festival scenes—evoke the popular folk art and lacquer boxes of Mother Russia, and the romantic music was arranged by longtime Houston Ballet collaborator John Lanchbery from obscure Tchaikovsky scores. Later in the spring, American Ballet Theatre will present this nostalgic creation to New York audiences. After that, who knows? The Snow Maiden just might shoo Swan Lake off the world’s stages next season. Chester Rosson


Boxer Short

Sure, going to a big marquee fight in Las Vegas is fun, but then so is going to the Texas State Golden Gloves Tournament in Fort Worth. This year nine teams from around the state will compete March 4 through 7. Each team will bring as many as 12 amateur boxers (one in each weight division), so up to 108 fighters could descend on the city (above, Will Washington, left, and Jose Barnica, two of last year’s featherweight quarterfinalists). You might want to go all four nights, following individual boxers or teams from the preliminary bouts to the finals. That’s a lot of fun, but it is also a big time commitment. If you want to attend just one night of fights, opinions vary about which night it should be. Saturday is the finals: You’ll see twelve bouts with the 24 best boxers in the tournament (the winners go on to the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Biloxi, Mississippi, in May). Others think Wednesday, the first night, is best because there are so many bouts run so quickly and so many fighters, styles, and results. Each bout is three 2-minute rounds, and the referees are quick to stop a mismatch. This is boxing as a sporting event, not a circus. Gregory Curtis


String Fever

It figures that the bright idea of elevating the guitar to an objet d’art sprang from the fertile mind of a Texan named Charley Wirz, who also happened to own Charley’s Guitar Shop in Dallas. The six-stringed instrument, heard nightly throughout the state in roadhouses and bars, salons and symphony halls, has always been the heart of Texas music. But the late Wirz couldn’t have anticipated just how popular Dallas’ Greater Southwest Guitar Show—now in its twenty-first year—would become. Everything from your basic Fender, Gibson, Rickenbacker, and Gretsch models to rare 1959 cherry sunburst Les Pauls, a D-45 Custom Deluxe Martin, and various and sundry vintage banjos, mandolins, and lap steels will be demonstrated, on display, or for sale at the world’s oldest and largest exhibition dedicated to the guitar (right, a 1955 Gibson Les Paul goldtop). Jamming is not just permitted, it’s encouraged. Joe Nick Patoski