Six Must-Attend Events April 12-21
The state's top offerings, from a sneak peek at horse racing's finest thoroughbreds at Grand Prairie's Lone Star Park to the Old Settlers Music Festival in Austin.
Keep On Truckin’
In the mid-nineties, S..R. “Robb” Bindler was at home in Longview during his summer break from film school in New York. After leaving a bar late one night, he stumbled upon a curious scene at the local Nissan dealership. People were crowded around a pickup truck, one hand pressed to its body, trying to maintain contact despite the exhaustion of having already stood there for a couple of days—yes, days. The scene became the basis of Bindler’s 1997 documentary Hands on a Hardbody, which follows 24 colorful Piney Woods contestants competing to win the truck in an endurance test to see who can keep his or her hand on the vehicle the longest. (The winner in his film lasted 77 hours.)
“Some wanted the truck for the truck,” Bindler, known as Robb, said. “Some wanted the truck for what the truck could bring to them: just raw dollars. Some wanted to sell the truck and buy a different truck. And some wanted to sell the truck to pay bills.”
The movie has spawned similar oddball contests and even a stage adaptation that recently opened on Broadway (it closes on Saturday, despite encouraging reviews). To commemorate the release of a new DVD featuring 86 additional minutes of interviews with the contestants, a restored version of the film will be screened in various Texas cities. “The irony of the contest is that it concerns the American dream, win something for nothing,” Bindler said. “And yet it’s a Japanese truck.”
Lanex Theater, April 12, 7 p.m., handsonahard 2bodythemovie.com.
Preserve the Reserve
A lot of people take water for granted. Unless the utility bill goes unpaid, there’s no reason to think that it won’t flow freely from your faucet. But the fact is that the supply of this precious resource is dwindling as demand increases. While state leaders are proposing legislation to address water conservation and to allocate financing to build new reservoirs, individuals are being asked to scale back their personal use.
“We’ve been in a drought for so long and entertaining a perpetual drought that could put us back in something like the Dust Bowl,” said Sahar Sea of the Trinity River Audubon Center, the host of “Water in Texas,” a town hall presentation featuring speakers from the Texas Conservation Alliance and Dallas Water Utilities. It will try to get to the bottom of Sea’s $64,000 question, “In twenty years, where’s the water going to come from?”
Trinity River Audubon Center, April 18, 7 p.m., trinityriver 2audubon.org.
Out of the Gates
The Kentucky Derby, the first installment in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, is just three weeks away. People know that the thing to do is dress in preppy springtime clothes and sip mint juleps, the Derby’s official drink. But many people know little to nothing about racing.
Now they can get acquainted with the relationship between the horses and their jockeys at Lone Star Park, where the spring thoroughbred season opens this weekend with Texas-bred 3-year-olds and older. Learn racing terms like furlong and trifecta, and do it from the newly renovated dining terraces, with new menu and seating. Outlandish hats optional.
Lone Star Park, April 12-July 6, lonestarpark.com.
The Old Settler’s Music Festival, four days of Americana bands including the Gourds, Son Volt and Carolina Chocolate Drops, fosters a community spirit hard to find in the era of megafestivals. When Sarah Jarosz was just ten and part of the band Spurs of the Moment, a spellbound audience embraced the singer and multi-instrumentalist from Wimberley (she went on to become a Grammy-nominated solo act). Also marquee musicians have been known to unlock the hidden musical talents of festivalgoers; Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead engaged in late-night jam sessions with his fans in the campgrounds. And one couple who met at Old Settler’s later returned to get married in front of 2,000 people.
The Salt Lick BBQ Pavilion & Camp Ben McCulloch, April 18-21, oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
When Kelly Carlin, daughter of the comic George Carlin, goes onstage for “A Carlin Home Companion” and explains her complicated relationship with her controversial, outspoken father, she will draw on her insight as a Jungian psychotherapist to delve into her childhood memories.
Irving Arts Center, April 18, 7:30 p.m., thekellycarlinsite.com.
Capital C for Country
Wayne Hancock, the Denton honky-tonk musician, will return to Austin, his former home, in support of Ride, a new album that glues together the old and new country (ripped apart recently by Blake Shelton), with rocking electric guitar to update a voice often compared to Hank Williams Sr.’s.
The White Horse, April 13, 9 p.m., waynehancock.com.