Throw your plans out the window. We scoured the state in search of the top events and offerings, from a Robert Johnson tribute in Dallas and International Surfing Day to a Juneteenth celebration in Galveston Here’s our super select guide to the things you absolutely can’t afford to miss.
Song Sung Blues
The tone for the British Invasion was set in Dallas on June 19-20, 1937, when Robert Johnson—the Delta bluesman who legend has it sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his incredible musical talent and inspired the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton—recorded the final thirteen songs in his 29-track oeuvre at Brunswick Records at 508 Park Avenue. “On That Day,” the theatrical production by the historian Alan Govenar and the director Akin Babatunde, re-enacts those two historical days with a cast of musicians, actors and a tap dancer. It’s part of 75th & 508, a celebration that will also include a Robert Johnson look-alike and sound-alike contest. The event was made possible by the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, which recently purchased the failing Art Deco building from its previous owner and is converting it into a multi-space facility. It will be the future home of the Museum of Street Culture, a vehicle for advancing the mission of the Stewpot, the church’s resource center for the homeless and at-risk. “The idea,” said Govenar, the museum’s curator, “is to align the growth of blues, jazz, country and other styles of vernacular music with the living history of tramp and homeless art.”
First Presbyterian Church & the Stewpot, June 19, 2 p.m., 508park.org
In China, crickets are both lovers and fighters. Their songs, besides being pleasant to listen to, are thought to bring good luck, and their ability to duke it out in the ring is a source of entertainment and income for fans of blood sport. The exhibition “The Chinese Art of Cricket Keeping,” which is in its final weekend at the San Antonio Museum of Art, will explore this curious subculture that dates back a millennium. Accouterments like an enameled porcelain cricket bed, carved ivory cricket carrier and carved gourd cricket cage will attest to the importance of coddling these delicate creatures in order to maximize their returns. It is an investment, sure, but you might nonetheless be inspired to take on the hobby of collecting crickets, if only to employ the bugs to eat the mosquitoes invading your outdoor entertaining space on hot summer nights.
San Antonio Museum of Art, June 15-17, various times, samuseum.org
Erykah Badu, the Dallas neo-soul singer, likes to expose herself. She once stripped in Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, for her video “Window Seat.” Recently, she posed naked in a bathtub, save for some glitter, for a video with the Flaming Lips, the psych-rock band. Her provocative approach to her art makes you either love her or hate her, despite her undisputedly great voice. Pamela Davis-Noland, a writer and producer, is in the camp that thinks Badu is genuinely on to something and not just a media hog. “Badu-izms: A Tribute to Erykah” is Davis-Noland’s “music video on stage” about the woman she calls the “Queen of Neosoulfunkinizms.” The production’s realistic take on the polarizing musician—down to the audience’s candid reactions—might help you to determine whether or not she is overexposed.
Frenetic Theater, June 15-17, various times, freneticore.net
Surfers are generally territorial. They want their waves, and sharing is not an option. That can make it difficult to learn to surf. But International Surfing Day, an event centered on the communal aspects of the sport, will help. Assuming you are not utterly spent after paddling out from Surfside Beach, the experts will try to help you get up on your board and give you a taste for the potential of a wave. Attendance does not require that you beat yourself up in the water. Your participation in the beach cleanup will suffice. Of course, no one is going to bother you if you just want to chill on the beach, soak up some rays and admire the figures gliding on water.
Surfside Beach, June 16, 10 a.m., surfrider.org
Land of the Free
The emancipation procession at Juneteenth in Galveston, the holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery in certain parts of the South—not in 1863 but in 1865—ensures that those who lost an additional two years of their freedom will not be forgotten.
Various locations, June 15-19, various times, galveston.com
A “neat” drink is a novelty reserved for “Mad Men,” because in the real world the trend is mixology—knowing what goes together and impressing friends with the original drink orders you learned during Dallas Cocktail Week.
The Stoneleigh, Main Street Garden, & the Joule, June 15-17, various times, craftcocktailstx.com