When Pizza Ninjas Invade
Austin’s robust pizza scene—Home Slice, House Pizzeria, and Via 313, among many others—will improbably expand next week when Roberta’s, a heralded pizza joint in Brooklyn, takes over the original East Austin location of the Bufalina pizzeria for a four-day residency. What makes Roberta’s so good that locals would want to support some hipster spot from New York instead of keeping their dollars local? Get a rope, right? Perhaps it’s worth considering that Anthony Falco, the pizza maestro at Roberta’s, is a graduate of Austin’s Westlake High School. Okay then, free pass. When pressed to qualify the gloriousness of his pizza, Falco said, “We use a special combination of American and Italian flour, and we make fresh mozzarella every day. The thing that makes our pizza super-awesome is the elite squad of pizza ninjas that we are flying down to ATX to execute a menu of Roberta’s greatest hits.” Sam Sifton, the New York Times food editor, explained it thusly in 2011: “Roberta’s pizzas are marvelous things, of no particular geographical provenance. They are just good ingredients married well, then cooked in hot, fragrant smoke and quickly served.” From Monday through Thursday, for twelve hours a day, Roberta’s will serve some of their Neapolitan favorites, including the Bee Sting, with sopressata and honey; the Cheesus Christ, a mozzarella, taleggio, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese explosion; and the Millennium Falco (pictured above), with red chile pepper flakes, garlic, basil, red onion, and pork sausage on a bed of breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and olive oil. There will also be a secret Texas-style pizza. A popular theory about the excellence of New York pizza is that it has a lot to do with the water there. So how does that factor in to the Austin equation? “It’s really not that important,” Falco said. “Making great pizza dough is hard, so people like to blame the water. Austin has beautiful water.”
Bufalina, January 25–28, 11:30 a.m., bufalinapizza.com
In and Out of Love
On January 19 Hayes Carll, the Austin-based Americana singer-songwriter, released a new song, “The Love That We Need,” on NPR.org, and it’s likely fans of his won’t recognize that it’s him. Carll, who just turned forty, has built a strong reputation for sardonic, jaunty toe-tappers but this one is a hushed confessional, with acoustic guitar, piano, and percussive accents providing the backdrop to lyrics like, “Ah, baby, it’s a hard way/It’s an eternity/We got the laugh that we wanted/Not the love that we need.” The song is presumably about Carll’s recent divorce, as the NPR text indicates. Ironically, it was written with Steve Earle’s ex-wife, Allison Moorer, who is now Carll’s girlfriend, as well as with fellow Texan Jack Ingram. It will appear on Carll’s first studio album in five years, Lovers and Leavers, out April 8. But on Friday, when Carll plays an acoustic show in San Antonio, chances are, he’ll include it along with other new songs from the album. He might also play “Chances Are,” the tune he wrote that’s nominated for a Grammy for best country song, which another fellow Texan, Lee Ann Womack, performed on her 2014 album The Way I’m Livin’.
Sam’s Burger Joint, January 22, 8 p.m., hayescarll.com
One Man’s Trash
Just as households clean out closets as the new year begins, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is cleaning out its own by hosting From the Vault, a benefit auction of more than two hundred art pieces that no longer fit within the museum’s parameter of post–World War II modern and contemporary works. This is a rare opportunity to furnish your place with champagne style on a beer budget. Estimated values for the items range from $150 to $5,000, and the proceeds will fund the museum’s future acquisitions. There is a preview on Saturday and then on Sunday evening, over cocktails and hors d’ouevres, attendees can vie for pieces including Porcupine, an artist’s proof of a woodcut on paper by Leonard Baskin, the American artist who created a bas-relief for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and to whom the writer Sylvia Plath dedicated her poem “Sculptor”; Antelope Mask, a wood guise crafted by the Guro Tribe on the Ivory Coast of Africa, who revered the antelope for the folkloric belief that the animal taught men how to farm; and Trois Oignons (or Three Onions), a color lithograph by Alexander Calder, the American artist best known as the originator of the mobile. Art, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, so while these may not be the most alluring items in the lot, they show the diversity of the offerings.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, January 23 at 10 a.m. and January 24 at 4:30 p.m., themodern.org
Meme culture gets the praise, er the blame, for the Amazing Acro-Cats, a troupe of adopted rescue kittens that humans have trained to perform in a traveling variety show. The talented clowder, based in Chicago, is in Houston now through the end of the month for a series of one-hour gigs at FrenetiCore. More than a dozen cats will walk tightropes, jump through hoops, and skateboard. There is also a performer named Alley who apparently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest jump by a cat. Sound kind of ridiculous? Well, the Acro-Cats are a bona fide sensation on par with the king of feline adoration, Grumpy Cat. The group has been featured on “CBS Sunday Morning” and the band within the Acro-Cats’ ranks, the Rock Cats, recently performed on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” with Oz on guitar, Dakota on drums, Nue on keyboards, Sookie on chimes, Tuna on cowbell, and a lone chicken named Cluck Norris on cymbal and tambourine.
Frenetic Theater, January 22–31, circuscats.com
Ambassador of Art
The Creative Arts Center of Dallas, a nonprofit arts school, was originally named the Medellín School of Sculpture, after the artist and teacher Octavio Medellín, its founder. On the occasion of the CAC’s fiftieth anniversary, the organization is paying homage to its namesake on Friday with an opening reception for the exhibition, “The Legacy of Octavio Medellín: A Survey of His Work and Influence,” which is a lovely complement to the new Medellín display at Dallas Love Field.
Latino Cultural Center, January 22, 6 p.m., dallasculture.org
Wine and Dine
To promote the Hill Country wine region, which has some of the best offerings in the U.S. outside of California and Oregon, the organization Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, a collective of wineries in the area, hosts themed events. This weekend’s affair, Ragin’ Cajun, is a perfect setup for Mardi Gras, with classic Louisiana dishes paired with wine at fifteen self-guided stops along a 45-mile stretch.
U.S. Highway 290, January 22, 2 p.m., wineroad290.com