Robert Duvall has played some legendary movie and TV roles: Arthur “Boo” Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Hagen in The Godfather, Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, and Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove. But the only character that has landed him a Best Actor Oscar is Mac Sledge in the 1983 film Tender Mercies, written by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Texas dramatist Horton Foote, who also earned an Oscar, for Best Original Screenplay. The film, shot largely in Waxahachie, follows Sledge, an alcoholic country singer past his prime who finds God and family in small-town Texas. “It contains one of [Duvall’s] most understated performances,” the movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in 2009. “It’s mostly done with his eyes.” Duvall also does it with his singing; he wrote two of the songs he performs, “Fool’s Waltz” and “I’ve Decided to Leave Here Forever.” See the movie on the big screen once again as part of Northeast Lakeview College’s Spring 2015 Film Series, “Small Texas Towns.” Tender Mercies is sandwiched between Places in the Heart (shown in March) and The Last Picture Show, based on the novel by the Texas literary icon Larry McMurtry, which will be screened on May 5.
Northeast Lakeview College, April 7, 6:30 p.m., alamo.edu
Much like Roy Rogers and John Wayne before him, Mickey Gilley helped to transform the cowboy into an icon of American culture. In 1971, Gilley, a country singer of modest repute but primarily known as one of rock and roll pianist Jerry Lee Lewis’s cousins, opened a nightclub bearing his name in Pasadena. Gilley’s would go on to become the world’s biggest honkytonk, according to Guinness World Records, and the stage for the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, which was filmed there and follows John Travolta as he makes mechanical bull riding the next big thing after disco—and sells a lot of boots and hats in the process. Now long gone, Gilley’s was a platform for drinking beer and rabble-rousing for Gilley but he also used it for perfecting his own songcraft, like his hit original, “Room Full of Roses,” and his version of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” Gilley will return to the Pasadena area for two rare gigs outside of Branson, Missouri—first in the Woodlands and then in Conroe. The show is as much about the music and oral storytelling as it is about redemption; in 2009, Gilley was temporarily paralyzed after a fall and only in the past couple of years has he been able to return to full strength.
Dosey Do Big Barn and Crighton Theatre, April 3 & 4, gilleys.com
Beer With Brunch
When an adult-beverage enthusiast makes the choice to start drinking high ABV beer at ten-thirty in the morning, the accompanying food is usually looked upon not for its culinary sophistication but instead for its ability to sop up alcohol and allow the drinker to move on to the next round. So while the food offerings at the Jester King Beer Breakfast, hosted by the Meddlesome Moth gastropub, are bound to be heavenly—pork belly, foie gras, house pastrami biscuits, beef jerky marmalade, and Paula’s ricotta blintzes, among other things—it’s the craft beer that is sure to have people frothing. Because Jester King Brewery, located in Austin, makes some of the most imaginative beers among Texas brewers, guests at this feast will try creations like Snörkel, farmhouse ale brewed with oyster mushrooms and sea salt; and Figlet, farmhouse ale fermented with smoked Texas figs, created in collaboration with Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue. Assuming you can stay coherent, strike up a conversation with Jeffrey Stuffings, the brewery’s co-founder, who will hold court over the affair.
The Meddlesome Moth, April 4, 10:30 a.m., mothinthe.net
Pas de Deux Palooza
Among the many positive results of Houston’s evolution into a thriving international community is the longevity of the Dance Salad Festival. The three-day showcase of performances by select dance companies from around the world is celebrating its twentieth year. During the last two days of the extravaganza, fans of flights of fancy requiring precision technique and unassuming yet extraordinary strength and flexibility can see fifteen works by troupes from six different countries, including Armitage Gone! Dance, from New York; and the Houston Ballet. Dance Magazine writes that a highlight will be an appearance by Courtney Richardson, the Detroit native who performs for Semperoper Ballett Dresden, in Germany. She recently received praise for her role in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde and will participate in two productions of Workwithinwork, choreographer William Forsythe’s improvisational pas de deux.
Wortham Center, April 3–4, 7:30 p.m., dancesalad.org
On Golden Pond
Naturalists left frustrated by the lack of photography to give justice to the praiseworthy pond and environs in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden should consider the exhibit “Walden Illuminated,” showcasing lush prints of the images in the 2004 book Walden: 150th Anniversary Illustrated Edition, with an introduction by the musician Don Henley. The photographer who took the shots, Scot Miller of Dallas, will sign copies of the book on Saturday, from five to eight p.m.
Sun to Moon Gallery, April 3 to May 9, suntomoon.com
Food, Family, and Footloose
Farm-to-table isn’t just about eating fresh organic food, it’s about community-building. Break bread with your brethren at the Spring Hoedown hosted by Johnson’s Backyard Garden, a champion of Austin locavorism, featuring a barn dance, a 5K run, and a buffet with both carnivore and vegetarian options, topped off with a dessert potluck.
River Road Farm, April 4, 9 a.m., jbgorganic.com