Six Must-Attend Events: Mar. 22-26
The state's top events and offerings, from Houston artists Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen exploring issues of excess and false comforts and Gary Clark Jr.'s new Maverick Music Festival.
For many, a nice house in the suburbs represents the American dream, but for others, like Stephan Hillerbrand and Mary Magsamen, the Houston husband and wife artist duo, it has become a sort of American gothic. “It’s like that Talking Heads song … ‘How did I get here?’” said Hillerbrand, who co-creates art with his wife and their two children, Madeleine and Emmett, to explore issues of excess, false comforts and the family dynamic. Last year they released a video titled “Accumulation,” in which they piled their lawnmower, a gas can and bundles of Christmas lights, among countless other belongings, in the garage to create a mountain to scale so they could exit through a hole in the ceiling. Another video, called “Whole,” shows the family using power tools to cut passageways in the walls and doors of their home to create a tunnel system. Their latest exhibition, Stuffed, which is on display through Saturday, showcases Hillerbrand and Magsamen’s work from the last five years, including photography of their son submerged in a bathtub of toys and a 400-pound, eight-foot-diameter sculpture made from various household objects—a figure they call the “home piñata.” “We’re not necessarily trying to say this is good or bad, or be ironic or make fun,” Ms. Magsamen said. “It’s more like accepting it. Yeah, we’ve got kids, dogs, cars and a lot of plastic toys.”
Brand 10 Art Space, March 22-23, 1 p.m., brand10artspace.com
The Clark Bar
Gary Clark Jr. is one of the biggest rock stars in the world. But it would seem opening for the Rolling Stones, having guitar legends fawn over him and dating a model isn’t enough. Mr. Clark wants to be an impresario, too. He has organized the Maverick Music Festival, another outlet to display his guitar skills and soulful vocals but, more importantly, a chance for him to show his taste as a music fan. Clark probably could have his pick of host cities, yet he is staying true to his Texas roots and will debut Maverick in San Antonio. This is somewhat of a peculiar move for Clark, a native of Austin, where he recently picked up eight awards at the Austin Music Awards, including Musician of the Year. But Clark must hear something promising in the handful of upstart San Antonio bands he tapped to fill the lineup, including the all-girl rock band Girl in a Coma.
Maverick Plaza, March 23, 10 a.m., maverickmusicfestival.com
From the Garden
The power of herbs, whether as supplements or as culinary enhancers, is something Madalene Hill, the Texas gardening pioneer, tapped into a half-century ago, first as proprietor of Hilltop Herb Farm in Cleveland, Texas, and then as curator of the McAshan Herb Garden at the Round Top Festival Institute. Hill died in 2009, but the eighteenth annual Herbal Forum at Round Top carries her legacy on with instructional sessions from the finest herbalists, including this year, for the first time, the curator of the National Herb Garden, Christine Moore. “When this event started, it was difficult to find fresh herbs in local markets and thus the only way to get them was by growing them,” Henry Flowers, the event’s organizer, said in an email. “That is still the best way, in my opinion, but it is nice to see so many fresh herbs now available for purchase by those who don’t have the space, time or expertise to grow them.”
Round Top Festival Institute, March 22-23, festivalhill.org
A Beautiful Mind
The life story of Stephen Hawking, the internationally renowned British physicist and author of the bestselling A Brief History of Time, is not just a tale of overcoming physical challenges, in his case Motor Neuron disease, but also of transcending perhaps a certain amount of laziness. In advance of a new documentary on him that will include interviews with the actor Jim Carrey, the businessman Richard Branson and the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Hawking will speak at the Brilliant Lecture Series, where he will probably discuss his admission to being a childhood underachiever.
Jones Hall, March 26, 7 p.m., brilliantlectures.org
In 2007, the Last of the Breed album featuring the country music rebels Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and Merle Haggard seemed to be a farewell, but now it’s six years later and all three are still going strong, with Haggard, a California native, returning to Texas for the Outlaws and Legends concert.
Back Porch of Texas, March 22-23, outlawsandlegends.com
The first weekend of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is primetime for major upsets, though local hoops fans will have to live vicariously through others because there are no Texas teams in the tournament, a first since 1977.
Frank Erwin Center, March 22-24, ncaa.com