Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from the Kashmere Stage Band performing in Austin and a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition in Fort Worth to watching a foreign film on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
[June 29–July 4]
Even though Craig Baldwin, the music director of the Kashmere Stage Band, recently t-boned a truck going seventy miles per hour and fractured his right ankle, he hopes the injury won’t prohibit him from performing with his band in a rare club gig at Antone’s. “If I’m able to do it on crutches, I’ll do it,” Baldwin said. Chances are Baldwin will be there to lead the alumni of the 1960s Houston high school band that gained worldwide attention in its heyday for its jazz-influenced funk and enjoyed a second act as the subject of the acclaimed documentary Thunder Soul, produced by Jamie Foxx, a Texas native. Baldwin, like many of the alumni, said he owes everything to the band and its deceased teacher, the composer Conrad “Prof” Johnson. “Prof was like my father,” Baldwin said. “He took crime away from me. When I met him, I was awful. I was in a gang. He saved my life.” Even if Baldwin is in the audience, the performance won’t be compromised, considering there are five saxophonists, four trombonists, four trumpeters, three percussionists, a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, a flautist, and a French horn player.
Antone’s, June 30, 8 p.m., antones.net
Life and Death
Death row is an experience that is difficult to imagine—for obvious reasons. But Larissa Aharoni’s exhibition “Go Cowboys” brings you eerily close to those final moments. Aharoni, an artist hailing from Germany and Israel, began her residency at CentralTrak in March, a few days before Jesse Joe Hernandez was executed. She drove to Huntsville to witness the atmosphere and became inspired by Hernandez’s final words, “Go, Cowboys,” a shout-out to the football team. “I decided spontaneously that this would be an appropriate title for the work I would create while in Texas,” Aharoni said, “because of its implied cynicism regarding public execution.” She created a book about the “horror of execution,” with images including a black male lynched in Texas in the early 1900s and German concentration-camp guards hanged in Poland in 1946. This is the last weekend to experience the book as an exhibit. Step inside the blackened box, representative of a cell, for an intimate look at this curiously bound article. And then be glad that you can walk out.
CentralTrak, June 29-30, 12 p.m., larissa-aharoni.info
The story behind the art is often the most fascinating part. Take Paul Meyer’s “Mutable Maintenance,” a 6-by-7-foot mixed-media work in the Art From the Ashes exhibition, which features pieces connected to last year’s devastating wildfire in Bastrop. Instead of bearing the burden of what was lost, Mutable Maintenance focuses on the silver lining and reinterprets something that survived: the Lost Pines Chapel, an architectural wonder. This piece is among fifty others in the benefit show ending this weekend. Joy Feuer founded Art From the Ashes in Los Angeles, an outreach program for communities hit by natural disasters, in response to the ravaging 2007 wildfire there. This is the organization’s seventh exhibition, and its first outside California. “Texas had gone through a drought, which led to a rage of wildfires, and to watch that living here, where we’ve seen first hand what it does to the landscapes and communities, is disheartening,” Feuer said. “We said, let’s go there and see if we can help.”
Jerry Fay Wilhelm Center for the Performing Arts, June 29-30, 10 a.m., artfromtheashes.org
Out to Sea
Everyone is entitled to his or her own interpretation of the Bible. But primary documents that allow profound insight into the Great Story are often guarded by scholars. Thanks to the exhibition “Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible,” you are able to sharpen your religious philosophies with inferences drawn from relics dating back more than 2,000 years. Half of the fragments of the original Dead Sea Scrolls will be on public display for the first time. And because a segment of these artifacts, first unearthed in Israel in the 1940s, has for years been at the Southwestern Seminary, you won’t be lost in seeking help making sense of them.
Southwestern Seminary, July 2-Jan. 13, various times, seethescrolls.com
The Danish film Klown is so embarrassingly funny that you will want to see it only with those dedicated enough to take a lengthy canoe trip for a “Rolling Roadshow” screening on the bank of the Guadalupe River.
Guadalupe Canoe Livery, June 30, 5 p.m., drafthouse.com
Twilight’s Last Gleaming
Fireworks displays were nowhere to be found last year because of the drought, so this year’s Star-Spangled Salute will pull out all the stops, as indicated by the performance of the singing astronaut Chris Hadfield, a man well versed in rockets’ red glare.
Miller Outdoor Theatre, July 4, 8:30 p.m., milleroutdoortheatre.com