Podcasting, or Internet radio, has eliminated barriers and allowed dynamic independent voices to flourish, free of corporate support. Many of the top dogs in the field will be at this weekend’s Podcast Movement, considered the world’s largest podcast conference, including Marc Maron, arguably the alpha dog of the medium. A stand-up comedian, Maron has parlayed his WTF With Marc Maron podcast—a heady, no-holds-barred interview session with a who’s who of fellow jokesters and other personalities such as funny man Robin Williams, foodie Anthony Bourdain, and filmmaker Judd Apatow—into a national sensation that rivals anything produced by a major broadcaster. In June President Barack Obama even appeared on the show, which Maron tapes in the garage of his Los Angeles home, otherwise known as the Cat Ranch. So, what the f— did they talk about, you ask? Among other things, racism, prompting the president to somewhat controversially drop the n-word. So what will Maron talk about at the Podcast Movement? According to the event’s website, more on POTUS plus the art of his craft. It will be an opportunity for education and perhaps worship for the more than one thousand attending podcasters, who will also get a chance to glean insight from Sarah Koenig, host of the addictive Serial podcast, in which one story unfolds over the course of a season, and Aisha Tyler of the Girl on Guypodcast, about a woman’s take on a few of man’s favorite things.
Omni Hotel, July 31–August 1, podcastmovement.com
Sausage and Beer Pig-Out
The Banger’s Three Year Anniversary Party will be a total sausage fest. No, not that kind. Instead, it will be of the variety where house-made links like the Louisiana Lightning, Smokey and the Boar, and South Texas Antelope and Venison Merguez are consumed in abundance. The Rainey Street meat market also specializes in craft beer, with more than 100 on tap, and on this celebratory day will offer the fruits of over 70 rare kegs from the cellar in addition to 22 cold ones that appeared on Beer Advocate’s Top 250 Beers list as of June, including two Texas offerings: Yellow Rose, an IPA by Lone Pint Brewery, in Magnolia, and Live Oak Hefeweizen by Live Oak Brewing Company, in Austin. The average ABV, or alcohol by volume, of the tap wall for the party will be an astonishing 9.48 percent. To raise the ante even higher, Banger’s is preparing four whole pigs four different ways. Rely on the live music played throughout the day, with at least three bands featuring a banjo, to help keep you awake when that sinking, comatose feeling inevitably sets in.
Banger’s, August 1, 11 a.m., bangersaustin.com
The world of gaming is roughly divided into three branches: classic arcade games, like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong; console games, such as Millipede for Atari, Super Mario Bros. for Nintendo, and Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega; and online games, played directly on a computer or via devices like Xboxes and PlayStations, including Halo and Minecraft. Gamers are usually pretty particular about which mode they prefer, but at the Let’s Play Gaming Expo, all video games are created equal. The inaugural event highlights more than 75 arcade cabinets, set to play quarter-free, along with games that can be played on a dozen different vintage consoles. Wedged in between are panel discussions, vendors, and gaming tournaments, including the Tetris World Championship Southern Regional Qualifier.
Plano Centre, August 1–2, 9 a.m., letsplaygamingexpo.com
Down on the Bayou
“Whispering Bayou,” the site-specific installation that opens Saturday at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, is keeping the rich tradition of oral storytelling alive in twenty-first-century form. The multimedia project is the work of three decorated creatives: part-time Houstonian Carroll Parrott Blue, a filmmaker, author, and interactive producer; Jean-Baptiste Barrière, the French composer and computer programmer; and George E. Lewis, the New York trombonist and computer music pioneer. Through a video triptych and a multichannel soundscape, the exhibit projects sights and sounds of life along parts of Buffalo Bayou. There are interviews with scads of residents, representing more than seventy languages. In a sentence or three, the interviewees express their thoughts on what Houston was and is, with an eye towards what it might be.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, August 1–November 1,whisperingbayou.net
Waking From the Coma
Nina Diaz, one-third of the San Antonio rock band Girl in a Coma, is part of the Mexican contingent that adores the British singer Morrissey. Just like her musical hero, who broke free from his band the Smiths, she too has broken free from hers—perhaps only for a spell—to perform a mini solo tour that has wound its way along the West Coast and will conclude in El Paso.
The Lowbrow Palace, August 1, 7 p.m., ninadiazmusic.com
Seeing is doing in Far West Texas, where there is arguably less to do than to see. Fortunately for those who visit Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio this weekend for “Drive Big Bend,” there will be a lot to see, from the otherworldly landscapes that reveal themselves on the scenic drives to the antique and performance automobiles on display at the car show.
Various locations, July 31–August 1, drivebigbend.com