From her hot-button essay on alcohol and consent published by Texas Monthly, “The Alcohol Blackout,” to her critically acclaimed 2015 recovery memoir, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, the Dallas writer Sarah Hepola has both reported on the role alcohol plays in campus sexual assault and written from personal experience about the role the substance plays in our lives. On Friday the former editor at Salon and the Dallas Observer will read from and discuss her book as part of the Dallas Museum of Art’s “Arts & Letters Live” series.
Hepola has been sober for five and a half years, and when she started writing her book, she set out to distinguish it from the stockpile of similar works in one of three ways. First, she focused specifically on blackouts. “The medical community didn’t even understand this misunderstood phenomenon until this century,” she said. She also bucked convention by exploring beyond the point when she became sober. “Ending an addiction memoir when the person gets sober is like ending a love story when the two characters kiss,” Hepola said. “The story is just getting started.” Lastly, Hepola wanted to portray a woman alcoholic who flaunts instead of hides their hobby. “I was so proud of the way I drank,” she said, “and I looked up to women who could hold their liquor. This reflects a societal shift that’s taken place over the past 20 years or so, where women’s drinking has continued to rise as men’s declined, and drinking became tied up with messages of empowerment.”
Hepola will deliver a speech she’s written that tells her drinking story, incorporating a couple of short passages from the book, including the first time she drank and the last time she drank. “It was pretty mundane and sad,” she said of the latter. “Some drinking lives go out with a whimper, and thus was mine.”
Dallas Museum of Art, February 19, 7 p.m., sarahhepola.com
West Side Story
In the fifties and sixties, Patio Andaluz was the place to be if you were a San Antonio teenager looking to boogie down to the underground sounds. The venue was little more than a parking lot, at the corner of South Colorado and West Commerce Streets. But from there emerged the West Side Sound, a genre of Chicano music peppered with R&B and rock and roll, which Ruben Molina, author of Chicano Soul Recordings & History of an American Culture, called “the last untapped part of rock n’ roll,” in a 2009 San Antonio Express-News story.
On Sunday, a half a century later, the Tobin Center is hosting the Patio Andaluz Reunion, and it’s taking the music from the streets to the big stage of its grand performance hall. The lineup consists of mainstays from the old days, including Henry Lee Parilla, or Little Henry, with his Laveers; Sunny Ozuna of Sunny & the Sunglows; and Rudy Tee Gonzales of Rudy & the Reno Bops. And if their blasts from the past don’t get you moving, there’s Houston’s Archie Bell with his 1968 song “Tighten Up,” which despite its title is all about letting loose.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, February 21, 7 p.m., tobincenter.org
The Kurt Cobain Generation
The freewheeling Nineties were a much needed reprieve from the buttoned-up Eighties. In the last decade of the twentieth century, which was bookended by the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and 9/11 in 2001, the world became a much different place. Identity was challenged as body piercings and unorthodox sexual preferences were increasingly tolerated. The Internet brought the world closer and lowered the barrier to entry. And Kurt Cobain became a voice of a generation that knew MTV when it was cool, such as it ever was.
That legacy lives on in the Blanton Museum’s new exhibit “Come As You Are” (appropriately named after a Nirvana song), the first major American museum exhibit to cover the Nineties in its historical context. The Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey organized the show, which is composed of roughly sixty works in various mediums by 45 artists, including Matthew Barney’s phantasmagorical five-film series The Cremaster Cycle.
Blanton Museum of Art, February 21 to May 15, blantonmuseum.org
That’s Your ’Cue
It feels somewhat off recommending a barbecue event not named TMBBQ Fest, but if we’re going to do it, the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo the weekend before the rodeo begins, is one of a very few to suggest. This is the forty-third incarnation of the meat fest, and there will be 250 teams competing for the best in brisket, chicken, and ribs—which, while not exactly the holy trinity of Texas barbecue, does offer something for the folks who prefer white meat.Everyone with a ticket is entitled to a complimentary chopped beef sandwich plate, but there will also be plenty of other meat to eat while listening to Bart Crow, Kevin Fowler, and Pat Green.
NRG Park, February 25-27, rodeohouston.com
Gushing with Talent
The lands of Beaumont and Port Arthur are known to be rich with oil, but they’re also fertile grounds for some of Texas’s most creative minds, including the rock and blues legends Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter, and the Renaissance rapper Bun B. See the next crop of talent at the Boomtown Film & Music Festival, three days featuring the output of 15-plus bands and all manner of filmmakers, many of them homegrown.
Various locations, February 25-27, boomtownfestival.com
Austin’s Invincible Czars are one of a kind when it comes to performing live musical scores of old films. See on Saturday when they impishly incorporate “violin, glockenspiel, organ, flute, bass clarinet, vocals, music box, loops, electric guitar, bass, a singing bowl, tambourine, and other hand percussion” for the debut of a new score of one of their favorites, the 1922 vampire flick Nosferatu, a film the original Dracula could only aspire to be.
Urban-15, February 20, 9 p.m., invincibleczars.com