Good vs. Evil
Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of Marvel Comics, made famous by writers and illustrators like Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, and Stan Lee. David Liss, the San Antonio novelist and comic-book writer, will mark the occasion by appearing at Barnes & Noble to discuss, among other things, the similarities between Marvel’s Spider-Man and Jane Austen. “Spider-Man was the first comic-book hero who was exactly like comic-book readers,” Liss said, likening average guy Peter Parker to Austen’s protagonists, cast in the ordinary image of her female readers. Joining Mr. Liss, who writes the Black Panther and Mystery Men series for Marvel, will be Joe McKinney, a San Antonio police officer and writer, whose 2011 novel Flesh Eaters won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award. Their discussion, titled “Creating Heroes and Villains,” will analyze the genre-bending evolution of Marvel characters, from the Fantastic Four through the new, black Captain America and the female Thor. “This factor played a huge role in Marvel moving comics from a medium consumed almost exclusively by children to one that, today, is marketing to more sophisticated adult readers,” Liss said. Barnes & Noble—The Shops at La Cantera, Aug. 2, 2 p.m., barnesandnoble.com
The Houston chef Chris Shepherd promotes his restaurant, Underbelly, with the tagline: “The story of Houston food.” This means seasonal produce, fresh fish and premium meats and charcuteries from the restaurant’s in-house butcher shop. It also means a wall displaying photographs of Houston-area restaurants he encourages his customers to patronize. Mr. Shepherd has expanded his culinary anthropology this summer with a six-part “Off the Wall” dinner series, for which he has collaborated with other local chefs to raise scholarship money for culinary students at the Art Institute of Houston. At the series finale on Sunday, Mr. Shepherd will go old-school Texas, teaming with Blood Bros. BBQ, Feges BBQ and Gatlin’s BBQ (part of Texas Monthly’s 50 Best BBQ Joints list) to produce a menu that is expected to include a whole hog, beef bellies, Chinese-style barbecue and a traditional brisket. Unlike previous dinners, seated and capped at 200 people, this one will serve 100, and diners will be encouraged to roam and hang out in the parking lot by the barbecue pits.
Underbelly, Aug. 3, 7 p.m., underbellyhouston.com
Wacko From Waco
Billy Joe Shaver never stopped being an outlaw. In 2007, at age 68, the Waco singer-songwriter shot a man in the upper lip outside a bar in Lorena. (He was later acquitted.) He is probably known more for the shooting than for the songwriting prowess on his 1973 debut album, “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” or in the songs he supplied for Waylon Jennings’s album “Honky Tonk Heroes,” also in 1973. But there’s a good chance that is about to change. On Tuesday, 11 days before his 75th birthday, Shaver will play a free performance at Waterloo Records to celebrate the release of “Long in the Tooth,” his first studio album in seven years—and the first since the shooting. It includes two songs, “Hard to Be an Outlaw” and “The Git Go,” that Willie Nelson recorded for his latest album, “Band of Brothers.”
Waterloo Records, Aug. 5, 5 p.m., billyjoeshaver.com
Paddle and Stroll, on Saturday and again in September and October, combines two of Matagorda Bay Nature Park’s most popular activities: kayaking and beachcombing. Starting at 9 a.m., a guide will lead adventurers on a short paddling trip up the Colorado River and then back down to the beach on the far shore of the Matagorda Peninsula, where a one-mile beachcombing trek awaits. There are plenty of seashells to admire, of course: sundials, angel wings, cockles, Scotch bonnets, jewel boxes and lightning whelks—the state shell. There are also sea beans: coconuts, hamburger beans, sea hearts, blister pods and crucifix beans. And then there are rarities, like fossilized shark teeth. Finders, keepers.
Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Aug. 2, 9 a.m., lcra.org
Keep on Truckin’
In 1970, Hondo Crouch, an eccentric Austin folklorist, purchased the ghost town of Luckenbach pretty much solely on the precept of “eat, drink, and be merry,” paving the way for Saturday’s inaugural Hill Country Food Truck Festival. Eat and drink from more than a dozen trucks and wineries, and be merry to a lineup of eight Americana musical acts.
Luckenbach, Aug. 2, 12 p.m., luckenbachtexas.com
At this year’s 11-day Plaza Classic Film Festival, billed as the largest of its kind, attendees can bask in nostalgia by seeing more than 80 movies long gone from the theaters, including “The Wizard of Oz” (celebrating its 75th anniversary), “Rear Window” (60th anniversary), and “Purple Rain” (30th anniversary).
Various locations, Aug. 7-17, plazaclassic.com