Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from listening to a baroque ensemble in Austin to Lego’s Master Model Builder competition in Houston. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[October 5–October 8]
Gut It Out
La Follia is an Austin baroque ensemble composed of purists. In recreating historically informed “early music”—generally the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods—they reject modern advances like steel and synthetic strings, opting instead for “gut strings” made out of the intestines of sheep and cows. “Within reason, we use the instruments in the manner they were used, so the music can be heard more or less the way it was when the composer wrote it,” said James Brown, a member of La Follia. Brown is performing in the group’s new show, Viol Intentions, featuring the viola de gamba, the cello-guitar hybrid played with a bow. The concert’s featured piece, Bach’s sixth Brandenburg Concerto, incorporates two violas, two violas de gamba, cello, bass, and harpsichord. The absence of violin makes it rare, but putting the violas and violas de gamba front and center creates a universally resonant dynamic. “There’s an inner struggle in the piece,” Brown said. “The viola was sort of the working man’s instrument, and it’s being paired with the viola de gamba, which is sort of symbolic of privilege and royalty. I don’t know of any other major piece that features violas in this way.”
First Presbyterian Church, October 6-7, 8 and 3 p.m., lafollia.org
Smart, independently run blogs and websites have their place, but some readers still value having a tangible item to read and keep, a desire that has sparked a renaissance of zines. What started out mostly as sci-fi fanzines, and gained popularity in the 1990s, has evolved into a generic self-publishing term for small-press pamphlets ranging from low-grade copy-center quality to glossy mini-magazines. “There’s kind of a resurgence going on,” said Lindsey Simard, an organizer of Zine Fest Houston. “It’s a little bit of an Internet backlash. People are coming back to appreciate the physical object.” Simard, an auto-biographical, comics-style zinester whose works have been about monsters with low self-esteem and swag for cats, will join about 45 other mostly Texas-based artists, writers, and creatives. There will be live music and a panel discussion called “Flipping All Tables: What to do when you hate making art, hate yourself, and hate that you have to make art” for struggling zinesters looking for motivation. “I’m kind of a negative person,” Simard said, “but I am legitimately excited about all the work here.”
Super Happy Fun Land, October 6, 3 p.m., zinefesthouston.org
Annie Clark has parlayed a backing role in the Polyphonic Spree, the Dallas choral-pop band, into a critically lauded solo career as St. Vincent. Now she has teamed up with David Byrne, the frontman for the new-wave band the Talking Heads, for the album Love This Giant. The album’s cover art shows the idiosyncratic musicians with alterations made to their faces: Clark has a growth protruding from her jaw, and Byrne has a pronounced cleft in his chin. According to the duo’s website, this reflects the “surreal images of nature” that “dominate the lyrics.” A large brass band will back the singer-songwriters, who will occasionally trade in their guitars for Theremin, at shows in support of the album. Talking Heads fans will be stoked about the reprisals of “Burning Down the House” and “Road To Nowhere.”
McFarlin Memorial Auditorium, October 7, 8 p.m., lovethisgiant.com
If You Build It
Give credit to Lego for running its business with the brio of Willy Wonka. The maker of building blocks for kids of all ages regularly hosts Master Model Builder competitions, and the winners have the opportunity to become full-time employees of Lego, chiefly responsible for designing the models at Legoland Discovery Centers. The new batch of competitions includes one in Texas, in the food court at Grapevine Mills mall. Attend and be awed by the builders who will create masterful designs that will capture the imagination of children and perhaps entice them into thinking like future architects.
Legoland Discovery Center, October 6-7, 10 and 11 a.m., legolanddiscoverycenter.com
A Moveable Feast
Spend time and gas money tracking down food trucks in Dallas, or better yet, fast and then attend Food Truck Palooza, where you can sample more than 10 trucks during a span that runs from lunch to dinner.
Temple Shalom, October 7, 11 a.m., dallasfoodtruckpalooza.com
Real American Hero
Real men are not embarrassed to collect dolls, as will be shown at the DFW GI Joe and Action Figure Show, where hundreds and sometimes valuable variations of the Real American Hero will be on display.
First Christian Church of Carrollton, October 6, 10 a.m., dfwjoe.com