McMurtry Rides Again
Despite auctioning off a chunk of his expansive personal book collection last year, the Texas writer Larry McMurtry, 77, has not turned his back on books altogether. He is, in fact, still writing, and in celebration of his first novel in five years, The Last Kind Words Saloon, the Dallas Museum of Art is hosting the author for a special edition of its Arts and Letters Live series. On Wednesday, there will be a talk with McMurtry and his Brokeback Mountain writing partner, Diana Ossana, along with a one-day exhibit featuring manuscripts of McMurtry’s classic works, including Lonesome Dove, which many people consider to be the state book of Texas. The event is sold out, but a simulcast will take place in another auditorium. McMurtry’s new book mines Wild West mythology through fictional versions of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Why he would retread such familiar territory when recently he has praised the increasing modernity of Texas should make for good discussion. But the moderator, Skip Hollandsworth, the award-winning journalist Texas Monthly staff writer who wrote the article that was the basis for Richard Linklater’s film Bernie, will probably already have his share of talking points. Hollandsworth grew up in Wichita Falls during the filming of the movie based on McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, sparking a lifelong obsession with the writer.
Dallas Museum of Art, May 7, 7 p.m., dma.org
The Black Angels, the Austin rock band, has made significant contributions to the local music scene in the last decade. In March members of the band opened RVRB Records, a storefront for the Reverberation Appreciation Society record label they started in 2010. Both endeavors support the Austin Psych Fest, which the Black Angels founded in 2008 in an effort to feature other bands that share their affinity for the weird, trippy and sometimes dark sounds they have been putting out since 2004. The festival is this weekend at Carson Creek Ranch, where the adventurous music fan can pitch a tent and let the night bleed into morning. Joining the Black Angels will be more than ninety local, national, and international bands, including Panda Bear and Avey Tare, two-thirds of the group Animal Collective, playing their new solo work; Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band, the new project of Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; and the Zombies, the veteran English rockers with the 1968 hit song “Time of the Season.”
Carson Creek Ranch, May 2-4, austinpsychfest.com
The Hermès Man
Accessories don’t come any more elegant than an Hermès scarf. These silk swatches bearing one-of-a-kind designs can run as much as $400. If you are budget-conscious, attending “Kermit Oliver: Paintings and Hermès Scarves,” an exhibit at Baylor University’s Martin Museum of Art, will allow a window into this exclusive world. Oliver, a Waco resident, is the only American ever to design scarves for the French label. What makes Oliver’s story even more remarkable is that he also works as a postman. Notably humble and reclusive, Oliver will make a rare appearance to discuss his work and elaborate on the unexpected turns in his life.
Baylor University, May 4-July 13, baylor.edu/martinmuseum
The fortieth annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour, set for this weekend and next, is at once a show of remarkable structures and an illustration of the perseverance of a people who have learned to rebuild with every weather disaster since the infamous hurricane of 1900. The eleven houses on this year’s self-guided tour—eight of which are new to the tour—are separated into categories of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, and twenty-first century, with the two new builds emulating the vintage style of their nine elders. Tour add-ons include a lecture by an architectural historian, food-and-beverage mixers, and a live New Orleans-style jazz concert in the 1880 Garten Verein pavilion.
Various locations, May 3, 4, 10, and 11, 10 a.m., galvestonhistory.org
Star Light, Star Bright
Had West Texas’s 2011 Rock House Fire spread a few miles more it may have vanquished the McDonald Observatory, and we would have been robbed of the exhibit that just opened in Austin, “The McDonald Observatory: 75 Years of Stargazing,” where visitors can see large-format graphics of the night sky and learn about the revolutionary “dark energy” research going on there.
Bullock Texas State History Museum, May 2-June 29, thestoryoftexas.com
Ten years have passed since the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, commissioned the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto, who died in 2005, to create an interactive site-specific piece, and on Thursday, museum patrons can finally enter “Soto: The Houston Penetrable,” a 2,600-square-foot sea of 24,000 PVC strands hanging 28 feet from the ceiling.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, May 8-September 1, mfah.org