From the Underground
October 27, 2013, was such an imperfect day for Nick Flynn, the New York poet, author, and part-time University of Houston writing professor. Lou Reed died, and so did Flynn’s estranged father, Jonathan—the subject of his 2005 memoir and the subsequent 2012 film Being Flynn. The New Yorker published a poem by Flynn in its November 24 issue titled “The Day Lou Reed Died,” on the loss of both men, and on Saturday he will recite it at the Asia Society for the program “Frozen Time.” Flynn will read two other poems: One, “Put the Load on Me,” features projections of the Houston conceptual artist Mel Chin’s collage “The Funk & Wag From A to Z.” The other, “AK-47,” written before the death of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian designer of the weapon that bears his name, is done with Musiqa, the Houston composing team who integrate contemporary music with other art forms. Also the evening’s host, Musiqa will perform a variety of Asian-inspired collaborations. “AK-47” is PechaKucha, “a Japanese form for presenting an idea with images,” Flynn said in an email. “The poet chooses images and then creates a narrative with short bursts that describe or complicate each image.”
Asia Society Texas Center, January 11, 7:30 p.m., asiasociety.org/texas
In San Antonio proponents of peace and equality dream big. Dream Week, a twelve-day celebration inspired by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech, is an ambitious homage. The anchor of this citywide event is a march on the final day, a longtime annual event drawing around 100,000 to San Antonio’s East Side—and one of the largest such marches in the country. Leading up to that most stalwart of traditions are a number of programs centered on King, including an oratorical contest for students; the City Year MLK Day of Service; and a commemorative lecture series, with Julianne Malveaux, whom the race-relations expert Cornel West called “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.” Tying it all back to San Antonio is the 1005 Faces Mixer, highlighting the photographer Sarah Brooke Lyons’s 1,005 pictures of San Antonians.
Various locations, January 10-21, dreamweek.org
In Hot Water
The Unforeseen, a documentary produced by Robert Redford in 2007, called attention to the dangers facing Barton Springs, Austin’s beloved and fragile limestone aquifer, as residential development loomed in the surrounding areas. Five years later, Redford took that narrative one step farther with the film Watershed, which he also produced and which tells the story of the increasingly devastated yet monumentally precious Colorado River* as it struggles to continue disbursing water to 30 million people throughout the West. The 2012 documentary will have its regional premiere in Austin on Wednesday, with live music from Jimmie Dale Gilmore and an expert panel of international river-basin policy makers, who will discuss water shortage and drought issues that affect everyone on the planet.
Stateside at the Paramount, January 15, 6 p.m., austintheatre.org
The seminal midcentury designers Ray and Charles Eames weren’t kidding around in 1953, when they introduced the Eames House of Cards. The deck of picture cards may seem like child’s play but adults can obsess over the many ways to interlock them into an aesthetically pleasing form of architecture. This hybrid toy joins other vintage and modern examples like the antiquated Anchor Stone Blocks, from early-nineteenth-century Germany; one of the first Barbie Dream Houses; and the largest-ever K’NEX Ferris wheel—six feet tall, made of 8,800 pieces—at the Dallas Center for Architecture’s exhibition “Building Toys and Toy Buildings: Architecture Through a Child’s Eyes,” open through Friday to children of all ages.
Dallas Center for Architecture, January 10, 9 a.m., dallascfa.com
If there are Austinites who don’t know the reasons their city is the live music capital of the world, they need to check out “The United Sounds of Austin,” Alejandro Escovedo’s multimedia presentation covering sixty years of music, which will also feature special guests.
Austin City Limits Live, Janaury 11, 6:30 p.m., acl-live.com
Let It Rain
Black gold is back in Texas in a big way, making the Drillers Reunion, a celebration of the Spindletop gusher of 1901 (complete with a re-enactment employing a 65-foot-tall replica oil derrick that spews water upward of 100 feet), a day of new, not old, possibilities.
Lamar University, January 11, 10 a.m., spindletop.org
*Editors’ Note: A previous version of this article referred to Barton Springs feeding the Colorado River that is the focus of the documentary “Watershed.” While Barton Springs does, in fact, feed the Colorado River, it is the Colorado River that is located in Texas and not the one that runs through the seven Western states discussed in “Watershed.”