Let’s Stay Together
This year is off to a phenomenal start for Jay Duplass, the University of Texas graduate who, along with his brother, Mark, forms one of the most popular creative teams going in television and film. Last Sunday, Duplass was in Beverly Hills accepting a Golden Globe for Best TV Series (Musical or Comedy) as part of the cast of Transparent, the Amazon Studios show in which he plays a transgender parent. This Sunday, Duplass will be in Austin to present the first four episodes of his own show, Togetherness, a dark comedy on HBO that he produced starring his brother. The series follows a married couple, the wife’s sister, and their friend all living under the same roof and coping with the realities of adulthood. The Duplass brothers, both married with kids, conceived Togetherness with one of the show’s actors, Steve Zissis, who was at the other end of the spectrum. “Steve was like, you have everything,” Duplass said. “How can you be miserable? And we’re like, because there’s an eight-pound baby that’s bringing me to my knees all night long. Meanwhile, we’re thinking, ‘Oh my god, you can just walk out the door and do whatever you want?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, but there’s nowhere to go and there’s no one to do it with.’” Togetherness debuted last Sunday so this viewing is also an opportunity to get three episodes ahead. “In the beginning, there are a lot of questions raised, and if anything, the questions just get bigger and bigger,” Duplass said. “Because for us, the characters are not only a mystery to the audience and other characters but they’re a mystery to themselves.”
The Marchesa Hall & Theatre, Jan. 18, 5 p.m., austinfilm.org
Leading With His Chin
Mel Chin, the Houston conceptual artist whose “Rematch” retrospective opens at four locations this weekend, does not have a signature style; he can be political but also benign, erudite but whimsical. He mines the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and video games, sometimes surveying performance art and Earth art, the landscape and the art becoming one. The exhibition showcases sixty works from the past forty years spread between the Blaffer Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Asia Society Texas Center, and the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, including The Funk & Wag From A to Z, 524 collages culled from complete sets of Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedias from 1953 through 1956; Operation Paydirt/The Fundred Dollar Bill Project, in which kids draw their own versions of a $100 bill, conceived to bring attention to lead poisoning in America; and Degrees of Paradise, an installation that pairs a Kurdish rug created from a digital rendering of the sky and placed on the ceiling in one room with TV screens broadcasting footage of clouds on the ceiling in another room. “Chin strikes a unique balance between engagement and aesthetics,” said Miranda Lash, curator of “Rematch,” previously held in New Orleans and St. Louis. “His artworks are thought-provoking and brave—he is unafraid to delve into complex issues such as war, poverty, and pollution—and yet visually, these pieces are also elegant and beautiful to behold.”
Various locations, Jan. 17 to April 19, rematchhouston.com
The Other Cowboys
Because of the Dez Bryant catch that wasn’t, the only cowboys left to root for are the real ones, or at least those in boots and chaps at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The annual event, founded in 1896, is the oldest continually running competition of its kind. It not only made the Stockyards a destination but it helped inspire the establishment of the Amon Carter Museum, whose collection, amassed by Carter, the stock show’s first chairman, began with the Western art work of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. After more than a century, the show has ballooned into a 23-day gathering with enough fanfare to distract from the rodeo. But don’t miss the rough-and-tumble artistry of the cowboys—in 1904, Bill Pickett, a cowboy from near Taylor, debuted “bulldogging” here, a style of grabbing the bull by the horns and wrestling it to the ground—because, unlike the NFL, there aren’t any replays.
Will Rogers Memorial Center, Jan. 16 to Feb. 7, fwssr.com
Meditations on a Gas Station
In 2011, Lyle Williams, a curator at the McNay Art Museum, struck gold at New York’s IFPDA Print Fair when he acquired a print of Ghost Station, by the pop artist Edward Ruscha. “It was one of the quickest decisions I’ve ever made as a curator,” Williams said. Ghost Station is an inkless embossed version of Standard Station, Ruscha’s popular rendering of an Amarillo gas station, a print of which the McNay already owned. Together they form the basis for “Regarding Ruscha,” an exhibit in which a dozen local artists were solicited to create works on paper in reaction to Ruscha’s pieces, including You Can’t Sleep Here, Jacqueline McGilvray’s drawing of a gas station canopy as seen through the rear windshield of the car that she and her family once called home. “Instead of being a welcoming oasis during a long road trip,” Williams said, “McGilvray’s gas station symbolizes her family’s lack of rest and refuge.”
McNay Art Museum, Jan. 21 to May 17, mcnayart.org
There’s no hyperbole in the claim by the Puzzler—the series of 13-, 35-, and 50-mile mountain bike races in the Franklin Mountain State Park—that it’s the toughest race in Texas. Their “race bible” states the following warning: “Be aware that much of the course is very remote and a serious injury requiring evacuation will NOT occur in a timely manner.”
Bowen Ranch Round House, Jan. 18, 8 a.m., eppuzzler.com
Get high out West without getting dizzy at “Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country,” an exhibit by the Dallas photographer Paul Chaplo, who shot his images from a single-engine plane and published them in a coffee-table book of the same name.
Museum of the Big Bend, Jan. 16-18, museumofthebigbend.com