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Six Must-Attend Events: May 9-May 15

The state's top offerings, from seeing celebrity softball in Round Rock to hearing the harrowing tale of a Navy SEAL in Houston.

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Reckless Kelly will host its Celebrity Softball Jam for charity this Saturday in Round Rock.
Reckless Kelly


A Beef Boss’s Recipes
Nolan Ryan, who has gone from master of the mound to boss of the beef, will promote his seventh book and first cookbook, The Nolan Ryan Beef and Barbecue Cookbook, on Wednesday, in his hometown. Ryan, a Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, a former chief executive of the Texas Rangers, and a current executive adviser of the Houston Astros, has been a partner in Beefmaster Cattlemen since 1999. The ties to Beefmaster Cattlemen allow Ryan to promote Nolan Ryan Beef and have essentially brought him full circle. At age eight, before he threw his first Little League fastball, Ryan began buying dairy calves and bulking them up in a rented pasture in Alvin before selling them. People can whet their appetite at nolanryanbeef.com, where there are seventy recipes, including steaks, burgers, and ribs. While the website is a good substitute for buying the book, it does not come with Ryan’s signature, which book buyers are entitled to obtain on one piece of memorabilia.
Blue Willow Bookshop, May 14, 6 p.m., bluewillowbookshop.com


New Orleans Beckons
Austin, Dallas, and Houston were havens for New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Now that the Big Easy has its swagger back, New Orleans is rewarding the residents of those three cities with free samples of its famous cuisine while also trying to entice them to visit. The Follow Your Nola food truck, a tourism welcome wagon, has already passed through Austin and Houston and will stop in Dallas on Saturday, at the intersection of Knox Street and Henderson Avenue. The truck’s spinning wheel offers prizes with each whirl (a handful of which will appeal to people who know New Orleans through the HBO series Treme). Doling out special rewards will be Alvarez Huntley, “B.I.G. Al” of the Hot 8 Brass Band, who will play a trumpet solo; Donald Claude, the Blackfoot Hunters’ Mardi Gras Indian chief, who will also sing and dance; and Brian Landry, the chef of the John Besh restaurant Borgne, who will sling a special treat of oyster spaghetti.
Knox and Henderson, May 10, followyournola.com


Cumbia and Beyond
Organizers of the annual Pachanga Latino Music Festival are considering an expansion from Austin to other cities next year. That makes this Saturday’s event—the festival’s seventh, with widely varied acts from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America—the last time music fanatics will feel as if they are in on a well-kept secret. Perhaps the most popular form of Latin music is cumbia, a rhythmic, danceable style born in Colombia and Panama that the bands Chicha Libre (from Brooklyn) and Sonido San Francisco will play. Other offerings will include the Grammy-winning pop of La Santa Cecilia from Los Angeles; the electro-kitsch of DMK, the Depeche Mode cover band from Bogotá that comprises a father and his two children; and the funk of Brownout, from Austin, which will pay tribute to Ozzy Osbourne and perform as Brown Sabbath.
Fiesta Gardens, May 10, pachangafest.com


Put Me in, Coach
The Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam, now in its sixth year, has become a large enough charity event that spectators—even organizers—do not always know who may drop in for a last-minute at-bat. In the past, musicians like Hayes Carll, Dale Watson, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, and members of Los Lonely Boys have played alongside homegrown Major League Baseball players like Kevin Millar and Greg Swindell in this “athleticism-optional” softball game hosted by Reckless Kelly, the Austin country-rock band. This year, the Peterson Brothers Band, the upstart blues duo, and Shinyribs (a.k.a., Kevin Russell of the band the Gourds) will break out their gloves, among others, and then after the ninth inning, pick up their guitars for a concert in center field.
Dell Diamond, May 11, 12 p.m., rkcsj.org 


The Other Ice Cream
Austin is the only American stop on the Gelato World Tour, which, when it ends, will have visited eight cities on five continents. The sweet spot of the three-day salute to gelato, a cousin of ice cream, is the competition among sixteen of America’s best gelato masters, including four from Texas.
Republic Square, May 9-11, gelatoworldtour.com


Lone Survivor
Marcus Luttrell, the Navy SEAL from Houston who in July 2005 outlasted an ambush by the Taliban, has told his story in book and movie formats, both titled “Lone Survivor.” He will tell his story unfiltered and in person as part of the Brilliant Lecture Series on Wednesday.
Wortham Center, May 14, 7 p.m., brilliantlectures.org

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