Attributes of a writer’s favorite sports often seep into his voice and style. Consider Ernest Hemingway, whose brawny prose befitted his bullfighting and boxing conquests. Or David Foster Wallace’s multiclause sentences, which can be compared to the long volleys of an accomplished tennis player, which he was. The Harry Ransom Center will explore this connection in a new exhibition, “Literature and Sport,” organized into sections on baseball, boxing, bullfighting, cricket, football and tennis. Wallace’s list of interview questions for Roger Federer, for “Federer as Religious Experience,” his 2006 essay in the New York Times, is on display. “It’s funny to read,” the curator Megan Barnard said of the list. “He’s got it categorized—these are sort of the journalist-type questions, these are the questions that my editor is forcing me to ask that I’m kind of embarrassed about—and then he has the questions that were more interesting to him, the personal questions.” Elsewhere, you can compare Ernest Thayer’s late-nineteenth-century poem “Casey at the Bat” to Marianne Moore’s lesser-known “Baseball and Writing;” the Texas artist Tom Lea’s illustrations for his novel The Brave Bulls are on view; and the crush of football takes on a whole new meaning in Don DeLillo’s comic novel End Zone, which likens the sport to nuclear warfare.
Harry Ransom Center, June 14-Aug. 4, hrc.utexas.edu
Delayed freedom rang in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army read General Order number three from the balcony of Ashton Villa, then the James Moreau Brown residence. “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” General Granger read—two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Galveston has since become the epicenter for Juneteenth, the commemoration of that news. June 15 is the Stringfellow Orchards Family Day, which takes place on a restored historic property, where newly freed slaves made a living wage in the late 1800s. The annual Annie Mae Charles Jubilee Picnic and Reedy Chapel’s March, Musical and Reception are on the final day, June 19. So is an event with musical entertainment at Jack Johnson Park, where a statue of Johnson, a world heavyweight boxing champion, stands as a symbol of African-American fortitude.
Various locations, through June 19, galveston.com
Sarah Campbell Blaffer’s love of art began on her honeymoon in Paris. Blaffer, a philanthropist from Houston, visited the Louvre Museum in 1909 with her husband, Robert Lee Blaffer, who was a major financial contributor to the opening of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 1924. Blaffer bought thirty pieces for the museum over seventeen years. “She started off with a bang, giving one of the most important works in the museum: Paul Cézanne’s ‘Madame Cézanne in Blue,’” James Clifton, the director of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, said in an email. Visitors can immerse themselves in Blaffer’s story—including her battle with the IRS—at “Sarah Campbell Blaffer and the MFAH,” a free talk moderated by Clifton.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 14, 1:30 p.m.,mfah.org
Texas still lags behind California in wine production, but the viticulture scene here is making big strides. Many wine drinkers already know about the Hill Country, though probably only a fraction of them know that the High Plains region near Lubbock produces more than half of the state’s wine grapes. The High Plains Winegrowers Wine & Music Festival, organized by a new coalition of growers, will draw attention to the more than 75 varietals in the region, with mainstays including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and chardonnay paired with trendy foreign styles like montepulciano and tempranillo.
Mallett Event Center, June 14-15, 6:30 p.m., highplainswinegrowers.org
This year’s Super Ride, a five-day competition merging the equestrian arts and drill-team skills, will put an emphasis on international participants, although the fiercest competition may be among the Texas teams seeking revenge against the Canadian Valley Rangerettes of Mustang, Okla., who won last year’s highest honor.
Texas Rose Horse Park, June 18-22, superride.org
Saturday Night Lights
Football’s regular season will not kick off for another three months, but fans can sate their craving for gridiron action at the Greenbelt Bowl, with players from small-town Texas high schools competing for last-minute college scholarships.
Fair Park Stadium, June 15, 6:30 p.m., greenbeltbowl.com