Austinites share an intense love of barbecue, live music, and UT football (even when the team sucks), but their love of beer—usually imbibed in tandem with said activities—borders on obsession. While some drinkers swear by their Lone Star or Miller Lite, the majority of folks in the capital city are starting to favor craft beer. According to Fortune, there are eighteen licensed craft breweries in Austin with another half dozen in the works. Some imbibers like the complexities of craft beer, others the high alcohol by volume. No matter the preference, beer connoisseurs will be able to find a variety of both at the Untapped Festival, a multi-city affair that occurred in Dallas and Houston last fall and will take place in Fort Worth in May. For Austin’s iteration, this Saturday, organizers have assembled 69 breweries offering 277 beers, which one can consume for up to seven hours (eight, if you’re VIP) while eight bands crank it up to eleven, including Black Joe Lewis, the Austin funk-rock act, and Phosphorescent, the folk-rock band that recorded the 2009 Willie Nelson covers album To Willie. Among the liquid offerings are selections from about twenty Central Texas breweries, including award-winning Austin standouts like Adelbert’s, serving Tripel B, a barrel-aged Belgian-style tripel; Jester King, offering Montmorency and Balaton, a barrel-aged sour beer refermented with cherries; and Pinthouse Pizza, providing Fully Adrift, an 11 percent ABV imperial IPA. As is common with most beer festivals, pours are on the small side (two-ounce samples), but there will be select full beers available for those who don’t want to spend all day in line.
Carson Creek Ranch, April 18, 3:30 p.m., untapped-festival.com
Roots rocker Steve Earle went back to the beginning for his new album, Terraplane, a collection of blues songs that he’ll bring to Gruene Hall, the oldest continuously running dance hall in Texas, on Friday, and then to Dallas’s Granada Theater on Sunday. He previewed the album at KGSR’s SXSW sessions at the W Hotel last month with acoustic performances of the songs “Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now” and “You’re the Best Lover That I Ever Had.” In between takes he clarified the definition of the blues for the crowd. “The blues is sort of a misnomer,” he said. “It’s actually a remedy for the blues. It’s about making yourself feel better when things aren’t going the way you think they ought to go.” Earle, a San Antonio native, grew up watching Texas blues giants Freddie King, Mance Lipscomb, and Lightnin’ Hopkins, and while this album is an homage to them, it is also a way for Earle to deal with his seventh divorce. “When you make a blues record and you’re from here, the bar is really high, because, folks, there is no New York shuffle, there is no Los Angeles shuffle,” Earle said. “There is only a Chicago shuffle and a Texas shuffle.” Before settling into his second song, Earle observed about the album, “It took me a long time to get up the nerve to do this.”
Gruene Hall, April 17 and Granada Theater, April 19; steveearle.com
The People’s Artist
Houston Bayou, the Houston artist Dixie Friend Gay’s 8 foot by 73 foot mosaic made of Byzantine glass, brims with lizards, turtles, fish, alligators, and dragonflies, along with a 3-D snake that appears to stick out from the wall and slither onto a pathway occupied by human passersby. “The mural is the singularly most distinctive art element as well as [the] most noticed in the entire art program for Bush Intercontinental Airport,” said Richard Vacar, director of the Houston Airport System, in 2005. Gay has a way of speaking to the masses, which has put her in high demand for public art commissions. These are the focus of the exhibit “Dixie Friend Gay: Evolution of Public Projects,” on view through next week. Become more aware of your environment by viewing proposal boards, preliminary drawings, and original paintings related to Gay’s Houston Bayou as well as her North Texas Sunrise, a mural located in the main lobby of Dallas Love Field, and Lakeness Dragon, an oversized sculpture at Austin’s Mueller Lake Park.
Beeville Art Museum, April 17-24, bamtexas.org
Miniature Curiosa is redefining theater of the absurd. Highly detailed tabletop landscapes set the stage for the madcap adventures of the little ornately drawn paper puppets that dramatists Zach Dorn and Murphi Cook introduce with sleights of hand and which they project onto a screen so no one in the audience has to squint to see the production. The duo recently relocated from Pittsburgh to San Antonio, where last month they opened the Toy Theater Parlor. Saturday marks the last performance of Dorn’s inaugural piece in the new space, “An Excruciatingly Ordinary Toy Theater Show,” in part funded by grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and the Jim Henson Foundation. Dorn turns these grants into funny money with oddball tales of a lonely puppeteer who hounds the child of two infamous celebrities, a ghost who torments a boy’s tender psyche, and an opera-singing landlord who refuses to relinquish a tenant’s security deposit.
Toy Theater Parlor, April 18, 8:30 p.m., miniaturecuriosa.com
The CounterCurrent Festival, Houston’s six-day international experimental-art showcase, is already half over, but the best has been saved for last. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, see Cry You One, a three-hour musical and theatrical processional about the effects that Hurricane Katrina had on Houston, and, on Sunday only, “Ten Tiny Dances,” in which a four foot by four foot stage forces performers to invent new ways to contort their bodies.
Various locations, April 17-19, countercurrentfestival.org
Home Field Advantage
The Academy of Country Music Awards has moved to JerryWorld this year to ensure that its fiftieth show is bigger and better than ever, in effect an inadvertent boost to the hometown crowd for Miranda Lambert, a Linden native, and Kacey Musgraves, a Golden native, who are both up for multiple top honors.
AT&T Center, April 19, 7 p.m., acmcountry.com