Jordan Spieth, the number-one golfer in the world, is hoping there’s no place like home when he tees off Wednesday at the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play. The Dallas native and University of Texas graduate was without his customary touch last weekend when he bombed (for him, at least) at the Valspar Championship in Florida. He shot a pedestrian 76 in the opening round, and even though he rebounded with a par finish, he still came in seven strokes behind the winner. “I hit the shots,” he told the media, “but [my caddie and I] made a couple decisions that make me look back and think, ‘Wow, we got some stuff to talk about before we get ready to go to a major.’ Bit of a bummer. But it’s okay. We got plenty of time.”
The first major of 2016 is the Masters in early April, and if Spieth’s going to stand a chance of defending the green jacket he won there last year, he’s going to have to find his game ASAP. The World Golf Championships could be the place where he evens out his shaky play. He has a stellar record in Austin, where he had an illustrious career as a Longhorn and prior to that won three consecutive high school state 5A championships. The style of golf, match play, should help too. Instead of basing one’s score on the total number of strokes, golfers compete directly against the scores of the players in their pairing. Essentially, that means golfers are playing not against themselves but against another player. That should stoke the competitive fire in Spieth, if not in the other golfers, including top-ranked players like Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy, last year’s winner.
Austin Country Club, March 23-27, worldgolfchampionships.com/dell-match-play.html
Pecan Lodge, one of Texas’ most celebrated barbecue joints, usually takes the cake when it comes to drawing long lines at Dallas-area eating establishments, but that might change with the addition to Preston Road of Carlo’s Bakery, the New Jersey shop made famous by the TLC reality show Cake Boss, featuring Buddy Valastro and his big Italian family of fondant-loving sugar daddies and mamas. The Dallas Morning News reported that when Carlo’s opened its location in Orlando, one of a couple of other locations outside of Jersey, there was an eleven-hour wait the first day.
This Saturday, the bakery will open its doors in Dallas with an 8:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting. It remains to be seen whether Carlo’s will embrace the kolache, many Texans’ morning pastry of choice, or whether they will stick with their signature offerings, like cannolis and “lobster tails” (a pastry shaped like a lobster tail and filled with custard and whipped cream). Select characters from the Cake Boss cast, including Valastro’s right-hand man, Mauro Castano, are expected to be there to peddle sweets from the retail area of the shop, and Carlo’s will also start taking orders for their extravagant cakes, which should go over well for those who like things to be “bigger in Texas.”
Carlo’s Bakery, March 19, 8:30 a.m., carlosbakery.com
Houston keeps batting its eyes and the suitors keep lining up. Last week the city played host to the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s conference “Leading with Landscape II: The Houston Transformation,” about converting urban concrete to park space. Now, starting next Thursday, Houston will draw Marfa Dialogues, a series of talks with big thinkers about the environment, social issues, and public policy, as part of Houston’s FotoFest Biennial, devoted to photography and photo-related art.
Ballroom Marfa, the contemporary cultural arts space located in West Texas, has hosted Marfa Dialogues in Marfa, New York, and St. Louis, and now will offer its programming at three Houston institutions: the Menil Collection, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Three days of multidisciplinary programming will relate to “the scale of climate disruption from the hyperlocal to the hyperobject,” which amounts to heady conversations about “aesthetic dimension,” “anti-anthropocentrism,” “inter-planetary migration,” “metabolic landscapes,” and “inundation and desiccation.” To get people hyped for the task ahead, there will be a keynote by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., the Hip Hop Caucus founder who has collaborated with P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, and Jay Z.
The Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 24-26, ballroommarfa.org
As the story goes, when the Texas folklorist Hondo Crouch bought the ghost town of Luckenbach he found an abundance of mud daubers in the structures. What is a mud dauber, you ask? Well, if you live in Texas, you might have noticed those clay-like mounds on the outside walls of your house. Those are mud daubers, or wasp nests. They are hard and can require a screwdriver to dislodge, which can unleash a bunch of baby spiders stored away inside as food.
In keeping with the quirky nature of Luckenbach, the music venue will host the Mud Dauber Rock-N Billy Chili Fest, an event that pays homage to Luckenbach’s early days with a people’s choice chili cook-off and live music. This year the marquee acts will include Dale Watson, the crooner king of “Ameripolitan” music, and Billy Joe Shaver, a man who so epitomizes outlaw country that when people say he once shot a man in the face, it’s no exaggeration.
Luckenbach, Texas, March 19, 12 p.m., luckenbachtexas.com
Irish Eyes Are Smiling
This year’s St. Patrick’s Day has passed, but on Saturday the Harp and Shamrock Society, now in its fiftieth year of promoting Irish heritage in South Texas, is partying again with the Harp and Shamrock Irish Festival. This gives people time to sober up, er, rest before more festivities involving Gaelic football, live music from San Antonio Pipes & Drums, and yet another wee pint of Guinness.
University of Incarnate the Word, March 19, 12 p.m., harpandshamrock.org
The State Fair of Texas is half a year away but for those who just can’t wait there’s the South Texas State Fair, the second biggest fair of its kind in the state (attendance tops more than half a million people), where attendees can see the rodeo, a washer tournament, sand sculptures, pig races, and an Elvis impersonator.
Ford Park Event Center, March 24-April 3, ymbl.org