Many Texans have heard of Candy Barr, the exotic dancer born Juanita Dale Slusher whose trademarks were a cowboy hat, a pair of boots, and a pair of six-shooters. She was considered the unofficial state stripper of Texas. But she was so much more, which “Candy Barr’s Last Dance,” the theatrical comedy by Ronnie Claire Edwards, will show when it opens this weekend at Theatre Three. “She was an independent, strong-willed, sensual woman living in the world of the fifties and sixties patriarchy,” said Lydia Mackay, the Fort Worth actress who plays Barr. “She was a survivor, a friend to her fellow ecdysiasts, a working mother, a sensitive soul, a poet, a delicate beauty and, at her core, a real dancer who danced for herself, for the love of dance.” For all of her virtues, Barr had a dark side. She shot her second husband; she spent time in prison for marijuana possession; she dated a mobster; and she befriended Jack Ruby. This extraordinary life will be seen onstage through the reminiscences of three characters, fellow dancers who have gathered for her funeral, with an ending that Mackay guarantees is sexy.
Theatre Three, Aug. 8-31, theatre3dallas.com
Celebrate the Springs
Some people would argue that it is not until residents of Austin take a dip in Barton Springs that they can call themselves locals. The three-acre body of water fed by natural underground springs has been a baptismal site of sorts and communal grounds since the early 1900’s, when it was dammed to create the swimming pool that exists today; before that it was a lifeline for Native American tribes and Franciscan friars. At Saturday’s second annual Barton Springs Fest, people from all walks of life can enjoy water that remains a crisp 68 degrees year round. Eat cold watermelon. Listen to recited poetry. Embrace the Blessing of the Springs, led by a shamanic practitioner. Partake in yoga or snorkeling. Learn about ecological issues with workshops and speakers. And then cut loose during an evening of music. As the actor Robert Redford once said, “I learned how to swim at Barton Springs. And I learned a few other things there too.”
Barton Springs, Aug. 9, 8 a.m., sosalliance.org
The South is often perceived to include states east of Texas, making Southern rock inapplicable to aspiring musicians in the state. But Whiskey Myers, a five-piece band from Tyler, has taken advantage of that deficiency and emerged as upstarts of the genre. A raucous reception is expected when the group returns to Tyler on Friday from a legion of new fans caught up in its recent momentum. Since the February release of Whiskey Myers’ third album, Early Morning Shakes—produced by Dave Cobb, who also produced Jason Isbell’s critically acclaimed Southeastern—the band has earned a comparison to Led Zeppelin in the Wall Street Journal and will open for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Houston later this month.
Coach’s and Cowboy’s, Aug. 8, 7 p.m., whiskeymyers.com
“Air, Condition,” an exhibit by Abinadi Meza, the sound artist, focuses on pollution in Houston. But it is not the type of effluence that is hard on people’s lungs; it is a kind that plays tricks on their minds. Meza collected “clandestine radio transmissions” that are surreptitiously omnipresent in Houston airspace—police, fire, and medical emergency communications, plus pirate radio—and broadcast them on FM radio stations as he drove around Houston, interrupting regular programming within a five-mile radius. Meza’s experiment will be presented in two radical displays: an exhibit at 110 Milam Street that integrates video from his car ride, and another exhibit at the Blaffer Art Museum that uses glass to amplify his atmospheric sounds.
110 Milam Street and Blaffer Art Museum, Aug. 8-Oct. 29, blafferartmuseum.org
Cut the Tension
On Friday at Gemini Ink’s inaugural SouthWord Writing Festival, Debra Monroe, an Austin author, will read from her 2010 memoir, On the Outskirts of Normal, about raising a black daughter as a single, middle-aged white woman in a small Texas town. The next morning she will close the festival with her workshop, “Finding Structure in Tension: The Personal Essay/Memoir,” which draws from the book.
San Antonio Museum of Art and Gemini Ink, Aug. 8 and 9, 6:30 p.m. and 10 a.m., geminiink.org
Follow the Recipe
For household chefs who cannot believe how easy “America’s Test Kitchen,” the food show hosted by Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated, makes the proper preparation of universal dishes look, there is “America’s Test Kitchen Live,” an interactive, blooper-filled, behind-the-scenes show that reveals how simple cooking is actually a lot harder than it seems.
The Long Center, Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m., thelongcenter.org