Six Must-Attend Events: April 18-April 24
The state's top offerings, from a bevy of food and drink in Sugar Land to a John Wayne bonanza in Dallas.
Texans are fond of the actor John Wayne because he was the epitome of a cowboy—and because he starred in The Alamo. Wayne’s portrayal of Davy Crockett is not the only role Texans love; the character Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran who retreats to West Texas in The Searchers, is widely considered to be Wayne’s most memorable. That movie, in which Edwards retrieves his abducted niece during the Texas-Indian Wars, is a favorite of David Hale Smith, the Dallas literary agent and a co-chairman of the John Wayne Film Festival, slated for next week in Dallas. “With three little sisters and two daughters, I always think about what my heart could endure and where my mind would really go if I were in Ethan’s shoes,” Smith said in an email. Smith—along with Steve Stodghill, a prominent Dallas lawyer, and his wife, Anne—relocated the festival from the West Texas town of Snyder, where it had outgrown its location. The mission of the festival, originally founded by the actor Barry Tubb, is to raise money for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. In addition to screenings of eleven John Wayne films, there will be appearances by members of the Wayne family and the actress Ann-Margret, who appeared in and will talk about The Train Robbers.
Look Cinemas, April 24-27, johnwayne.org
Urban chicken farming is popular in Austin, which should not be surprising given that the city brought the organic way of life to the mainstream by opening the first Whole Foods Market. Many people like the freshness of the eggs from their own chickens compared to those found in a grocery store, and some believe hens make good pets. Austin allows residents to raise chickens in their backyards as long as they are enclosed in a clean place and do not disturb neighbors with excessive clucking. People interested in getting in on this farm-to-table trend should consider the self-guided Funky Chicken Coop Tour on Saturday. Participants can begin at Sunshine Community Gardens with the first of many talks, “Getting Started with Chickens.” From there they can visit the fourteen featured coops, including one that is owned by Community First Village, a program run by the Mobile Loaves and Fishes nonprofit organization for the homeless, and another—arguably suitable for human habitation—that was featured on Central Texas Gardener, the PBS television show.
Various locations, April 19, 8:30 a.m., austincooptour.org
The five-day Sugar Land Wine and Food Affair puts the alcohol before the cuisine in its title for a reason: events include many ways to imbibe. A bartender challenge featuring Hendrick’s Gin is set alongside seminars with Tequila Herradura and Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. And a Sip and Stroll at the Imperial Sugar factory (the producer of the prime ingredient for the original Dr Pepper) includes a beer garden with more than one hundred from which to choose. There is also the Grand Tasting, with wines and cocktails and, last but not least, dishes from top chefs in the United States and Mexico.
Various locations, April 23-27, sugarlandwineandfoodaffair.com
Those touched by fracking may struggle to appreciate that art can be made out of the turbulent process of creating fractures in rock formations to access oil and gas. Yet the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, a champion of the oppressed, has mounted an exhibition, “Frack-Aso: Portraits of Extraction in Eagle Ford and Beyond,” perhaps not as much to draw attention to the beauty of art but to the tragedy of the life that the art is imitating. This exploration of how fracking is disturbing the landscape and those populating it includes photographs, visual and literary arts, installations, and performances.
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, April 18-Aug. 31, esperanzacenter.org
People who contribute at least $35 to KLRU-TV’s “WhatsThatBuzz” Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign will receive a ticket to a live taping of book one of The Intergalactic Nemesis—a three-part, one-of-a-kind live-action graphic novel that has been performed on “Conan”—and will have the satisfaction of knowing they have helped pay for the production of an Intergalactic Nemesis web series.
KLRU, April 19, 2 p.m., theintergalacticnemesis.com
A Total Mess
From New Yorker magazine, which called it “brilliant,” to Rainn Wilson of The Office, who described it on Twitter as “sublime” and “y’all-ternative mayhem,” the album Most Messed Up chronicles twenty years in the rock-and-roll life of the Old 97’s, who will unfurl their tales onstage for a hometown release show on Saturday.
AT&T Performing Arts Center, April 19, 6:30 p.m., old97s.com