Well-Suited for the Beach
The beauty pageant scene, like many great things, originated right here in Texas. In the summer of 1920, a year before the inaugural Miss America pageant was held in Atlantic City, Galveston organized “Splash Day,” an event to bring tourists to the Texas seaside following the catastrophic 1900 Storm, featuring women on the beach participating in a “Bathing Girl Revue.” The affair grew in popularity and by 1926, it had become known as the International Pageant of Pulchritude, with participants beginning to come to Texas from other countries to compete for the title of Miss Universe. The Pageant of Pulchritude folded during the Great Depression, and the Miss Universe pageant that exists today was formed in California in 1952. But in 2009, the Galveston event was resurrected as the Galveston Island Beach Revue, a family-friendly annual occurrence taking place again this Friday and Saturday. Kids can have fun decorating parasols and participating in a pie-eating contest. Meantime, adults can enjoy beer tastings, a car show, and the sights of forty bathing beauties sporting vintage swimwear. In addition to Crowd Favorite and Most Beautiful Back categories, there are first through fifth place finishers, with the top prize earning $750 plus a two-night hotel stay and a one-year fitness membership.
Hotel Galvez, May 20–21, galvestonbeachrevue.com
Tooting Their Own Horns
In his 1996 book Texan Jazz, author Dave Oliphant offers a list of jazz musicians in the state and not a single one is from the 86,000 square miles of the Permian Basin, near Midland and Odessa. And yet that area has been a hotbed for jazz music for half a century. This weekend the West Texas Jazz Society will celebrate the Fiftieth West Texas Jazz Party, with more than twenty jazz musicians, including Bucky Pizzarelli, a nonagenarian guitarist from New Jersey who has performed in all 49 jazz parties prior. They will deliver swing and traditional jazz, distributed over the course of three 4-hour evening concerts and a Saturday brunch concert. What is now a shared event between Midland and Odessa originated in the latter, in 1967, when Dr. O.A. “Jimmie” Fulcher and some businessmen organized the Odessa Jazz Party to celebrate the area’s economic boon. Envious of their neighbors, some businessmen in Midland started the Midland Jazz Classic ten years later. In the nineties, due to waning interest in the style of music and scarcer funds to run the affair, the sister cities joined forces to create the event that occurs today. But there’s no time for rehearsing. In true jazz fashion the performances are largely spontaneous, with the musical director arranging the players in different combinations and discussing which songs they’re going to play only a half hour or so before they’re scheduled to play them.
MCM Eleganté Hotel, May 20–22, wtjs.org
All Right, All Right, All Right
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” That phrase, uttered by Matthew McConaughey as Wooderson in Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, is one of the most famous quotes in a film full of great ones. Here’s another piece of forever dialogue that’s echoed off the lips of fans since the coming-of-age movie came out in 1993: “I only came here to do two things: kick some ass and drink some beer. Looks like we’re almost outta beer.” The movie’s classic lines of teenage angst can be profound as well. “Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N,” Wooderson, who is perhaps the movie’s most quotable character, explained. Revisit these memorable riffs Saturday at the Texas Theatre during the “Party at the Moontower,” featuring a 35-millimeter screening of Dazed and Confused paired with a keg of Lone Star and deejays. All together now: “All right, all right, all right.”
The Texas Theatre, May 21, 9 p.m., thetexastheatre.com
Quaker City Night Hawks, the hyped Southern rock band out of Fort Worth, will celebrate the release of its breakout third album, El Astronauta, on Friday at Stubb’s. This comes a night after one of the quartet’s Cowtown brethren, soul man Leon Bridges, performs the second of back-to-back sold-out shows at the same spot. Though polar opposites musically, the two acts share a lot in common. Sam Anderson, one of Quaker City Night Hawks’ two singers and guitarists, used to invite a green Bridges onstage in between set breaks to cut his teeth on live audiences. Once Bridges blew up, he invited the Night Hawks to open for him—as has two-time Grammy winner Chris Stapleton. The cover of El Astronauta is not subtle in its homage to that “Little Ol’ Band from Texas,” and if the boogie-woogie sounds that bind them are missed on Friday, they can be caught at subsequent Texas dates in Lubbock, Fort Worth, and Dallas.
Stubb’s, May 20, 9 p.m., qcnhtx.tumblr.com
A fraction of the pieces in Ballroom Marfa’s exhibition After Effect come from the Transcendental Painting Group, a school of New Mexico artists from the thirties and forties whose manifesto talks about “painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, through new concepts of space, color, light, and design, to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual.” On Saturday, the Los Angeles painter Mary Weatherford will talk about what exactly this means, using works by the deceased artist Agnes Pelton, the group’s high priestess of sorts.
The Crowley Theater, May 21, 6 p.m., ballroommarfa.org
All That Jazz
Five-time Grammy-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride has played with a wide array of musicians, from Herbie Hancock to Carly Simon, Chick Corea to Queen Latifah, Diana Krall to James Brown. His versatility will be on display again this Sunday for the world premiere of “Just Gettin’ Started,” a collaboration with the Houston Chamber Choir, who commissioned the piece to celebrate the conclusion of the choir’s twentieth anniversary season.
Wortham Theater Center, May 22, 4 p.m., houstonchamberchoir.org