In 2010 the chef Ned Elliott opened Foreign & Domestic, an open-kitchen neighborhood restaurant in Austin whose popovers were featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Drives. Around the same time Elliott began to delve into Twitter and Instagram. Social media opened up a new world of food for him, pulling back the veil on secret dishes and revealing new culinary stars. “How are there all of these different chefs that we don’t see in Food & Wine magazine or different publications—the old-guard way of finding out who’s doing what?” he wondered. Elliott has converted these virtual connections into real encounters at his annual Indie Chefs Week, a showcase of up-and-comers, this year with 9 participants from Texas, including Kerstin Bellah, pastry chef at St. Philip, in Austin, and Steve McHugh, owner of Cured, in San Antonio, and 21 from beyond the border, including Aaron Hoskins, executive chef of the Rogue Gentlemen, in Richmond, Virginia, and B.J. Smith, owner of Smokehouse 21, in Portland, Oregon. Thirty chefs will collaborate for dinner service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with more than a dozen courses each night. Unlike many food festivals, where chefs’ dishes can be compromised by the exorbitant volume they are required to make, this oversize dinner party caters to only 50 diners each night. “On Saturday, we smoke a whole pig,” Elliott said. “If you want to stay and hang out and party with us, go ahead.”
Foreign & Domestic, Jan. 8-10, indiechefsweek.com/atx-jan-2015
Jesus Christ Superstar
Many fans of Pink Floyd, while enraptured by listening to Dark Side of the Moon, have likely imagined lead singer David Gilmour as a savior of sorts. In Rachel Hecker’s “Jesus Paintings” exhibit, open through this weekend, this vision is made manifest on canvas, with Gilmour uncannily resembling the religious figure. The exhibit is part of the Old Jail Art Center’s Cell Series, taking place in the museum’s original jail cell galleries. Portrayals of the actors Tobey Maguire and Viggo Mortensen (as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings) along with models from Chanel and Joseph Abboud advertisements complete the six depictions of Jesus Christ. Each work yields the universal portrait: a 33-year-old man with facial scruff and long hair. “My source material is culled from fashion and Hollywood—languages of spiritual poverty,” Hecker, a Houston artist, wrote in her artist statement. “In this way, each image has to transmigrate from the profane to approach the hallowed through the process of painting, if at all plausible.”
The Old Jail Art Center, Jan. 2-4, theoldjailartcenter.org
Cheers for Beers
Beer and Brass, the annual affair combining music courtesy of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and beverages from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, elevates drinking songs from frathouse goofiness to cultural refinement. Gone for the most part are humdingers like “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” in favor of classical pieces including Strauss’s “Bachus Polka,” which invokes Dionysus, the god of wine and good times, as well as Verdi’s “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici,” or “Let’s drink from the joyful cups,” from the opera La Traviata. The chamber orchestra’s brass quintet, enhanced with a strings section, will also play a selection of Duke Ellington, a master of music and mixology. Saint Arnold will serve its full lineup of year-round beers plus its Winter Stout, its award-winning, least-produced seasonal beer, with hints of chocolate and coffee.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Jan. 8, 6 p.m., rocohouston.org
Field of Dreams
DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys, the holder of this season’s NFL rushing record; Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft; and Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals, the highest-paid defensive back in the NFL, have all played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a showcase of graduating high school football players nationwide. This year’s fifteenth annual game—broadcast on NBC and likely drawing more than 40,000 spectators—features more than 90 athletes. Six of those competitors are from Texas, four of which, according to 247sports.com, have committed to Texas A&M.
Alamodome, Jan. 3, 12 p.m., usarmyallamericanbowl.com
Shot Through the Heart
If you’ve ever owed your life to a timely CAT scan or X-ray, you’re apt to appreciate “Photography’s Influence on Science and Medicine,” an exhibit closing this weekend that looks at the often symbiotic relationship between these fields. The works date back to the nineteenth century, including Sir Arthur Eddington’s 1919 photograph of the total solar eclipse, which tested Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Houston Center for Photography, Jan. 2-4, hcponline.org
Start the new year off right with some old-time religion at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q’s Sunday Gospel Brunch presided over by the Bells of Joy, the Austin quartet that formed in 1947, set a sales record in 1951 with their million-selling single “Let’s Talk About Jesus,” and has two original members still performing in the band.
Stubb’s, Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m., stubbsaustin.com