Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from a Lady Bird tribute and Weimar’s Babe Ruth League World Series to “creaming” someone at the Biggest Shaving Cream Pie Fight on Earth. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[July 24–August 4]
Susan Rieff, the executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, was a student in the L.B.J. School of Public Affairs in 1978, when Johnson invited her class to the L.B.J. Ranch. “We thought she’d probably just come out and say hello,” Rieff said. “Well, she came out, and after serving us barbecue and beer, had a real conversation with us. It made a profound impression on me.” Though Johnson is synonymous with having bluebonnets planted throughout Texas, she had influence in countless other ways nationally, including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the establishment of new national parks. The Lady Bird Johnson Tribute Day, the marquee event in a yearlong celebration commemorating Johnson’s centennial birthday, will reveal one of the driving forces behind President Lyndon Johnson’s “green” record. It will be shown through a new exhibit, organized by Johnson’s granddaughters, Catherine and Jennifer Robb, with a video narrated by Bill Moyers, the journalist who was the White House Press Secretary during the Johnson administration. “We just believe that Lady Bird’s legacy as a real force in environmental awareness isn’t recognized enough,” Rieff said.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, July 29, 9 a.m., wildflower.org
Uncork the Bottle
After losing several years to drinking and drugging, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Wimberley singer-songwriter who has his roots in the cosmic cowboy scene, has straightened out and transformed himself into a prolific force. “I feel comfortable where I am right now,” said Hubbard, 65. “I’m able to honor the low-down dirty blues groove with lyrics that have depth and weight coming from the folk music I started out with. I keep learning new things, like open slide and mandolin, and that gives me a new door for the songs to come through.” “Coricidin Bottle,” the lead song on Hubbard’s new album, The Grifter’s Hymnal, refers to the old pill bottle he got from the country singer Gary Stewart, who said he got it from Duane Allman, who is said to have played it like an “old-school slide.” Among songs about “Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King, strippers, Les Paul, and God,” Hubbard said he was looking forward to playing “Coochy Coochy,” the obscure Beatles song he recorded for the album with the help of Ringo Starr, when he returns to Texas.
Texas Music Theater, July 28, 8 p.m., raywylie.com
Fields of Dreams
In Weimar, practically everyone growing up learns how to hit and throw a baseball. Despite a population of roughly 2,000, the town, in the Austin-Houston-San Antonio triangle, has produced five state baseball championship teams. See this love of the game at the Babe Ruth League World Series, when Weimar, the smallest community to ever host a Babe Ruth World Series, presents the tournament for the sixteen- to eighteen-year-old bracket. This is the age group that begins displaying the potential to play beyond high school, and attendees could be watching the development of one of the two hundred seniors who gets drafted to play Major League Baseball. But for most players, it is still just a game, in which the camaraderie among the kids as they goof around between the contests is part of the return on the ticket.
Veterans Memorial Park, July 28-Aug. 4, various times, baberuthleague.org
No joke: National Clown Week is the brainchild of President Richard Nixon. In a proclamation issued in 1971, the president wrote, “All across America, good men in putty noses and baggy trousers” visit “orphanages and children’s hospitals, homes for the elderly and for the retarded, and give a part of themselves.” This tradition of turning sorrow into happiness will live on at the Witte Museum on Sunday, with three hours of shenanigans from the Jolly Joeys clown troupe. You are never too old to learn how to juggle or creatively tie balloons so they look like a Jeff Koons display. When the fun stops, visit the museum’s heralded Hertzberg Circus Collection, which documents the serious side of clowning around.
The Witte Museum, July 29, 1 p.m., wittemuseum.org
Sarah Jaffe, the upstart Denton singer-songwriter, went from heartfelt folkie to spiky indie-rocker with her new album, The Body Wins, signaling a master in the making at the art of reinvention.
The Parish, Aug. 2, 8 p.m., sarahjaffe.com
The Biggest Shaving Cream Pie Fight on Earth is perfect for any yuckster who has wanted to live out a scene from The Three Stooges.
American Airlines Center, July 31, 6 p.m., ringlingpiefight.com