How the West Was Won
Several years ago, the Ballroom Marfa art gallery commissioned Graham Reynolds, an Austin-based composer and the filmmaker Richard Linklater’s go-to man for movie scores, to create a piece reflecting on West Texas. A single work simply wouldn’t do for Reynolds, who is known for offbeat projects like “Graham Reynolds vs. the Red Piano,” in which he played a piano while simultaneously destroying it with a sledgehammer. So Reynolds, a habitué of West Texas, is working on three pieces, each one expected to take place in successive years.
“The Country and Western Big Band Suite,” to be performed Saturday, is the first installment of the work, “The Marfa Triptych.” It will feature a fourteen-piece country-style band with horns, strings, and pedal steel, with Ruby Jane Smith (a prodigy who has played with Willie Nelson) on fiddle, Redd Volkaert (formerly of Merle Haggard’s band) on guitar, and Reynolds on piano.
“I listened to a lot of instrumental country, but then also western film soundtracks and anything that reminded me of that fictional and real West, whether it be the Wild West of our imaginations or historically or the present day,” Reynolds said.
Crowley Theater, November 16, 8 p.m., ballroommarfa.org
Into the Groove
Perhaps because he died in his fifties and wasn’t able to capture the ears of a new generation as Willie Nelson did, Doug Sahm, the Tex-Mex roots-rock music champion from San Antonio, has not gotten the recognition he deserves. “If producer Jerry Wexler hadn’t sought out Doug in 1972, we wouldn’t be talking about Willie,” Joe Nick Patoski, author of Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, wrote in an email. “He reversed the out-migration of hippies and pickers from Texas who had to go to L.A., Nashville, New York and San Francisco to seek their fortunes.”
Patoski (a former Texas Monthly writer) has directed a four-minute sizzle reel (that’s a promotional video) for a proposed full-length documentary on Sahm. He will screen it Monday, the anniversary of Sahm’s death, as part of “All About the Groove,” a KUTX “Views and Brews” gathering. It will delve into Sahm’s influence on the early Austin music scene, with a panel including Marcia Ball, of Freda and the Firedogs, one of Austin’s first hip country bands.
Cactus Cafe, November 18, 6:30 p.m., cactuscafe.org
“One thing I am sure of, we will run out of tuna sooner than we will run out of oil,” a Japanese sushi chef says in the trailer for the documentary Sushi: The Global Catch, by Mark Hall, an Austin filmmaker. That is one of several words of caution in this account of the explosion in popularity over the last thirty years of what was once a Japanese delicacy. The increasing demand for sushi-grade fish is on course to exceed supply. What does that mean for the fish? And perhaps more important, what does that mean for high-end sushi restaurants, including Uchi, whose chef and owner, Tyson Cole, appears in the movie? A screening Saturday at 14 Pews will offer free Saint Arnold beer and a discussion with Hall.
14 Pews, November 16, 5 p.m., 14pews.org
Any Given Saturday
Many football fans called Baylor’s victory last week over the Oklahoma Sooners one of the school’s biggest wins ever. Sure, Baylor beat Oklahoma two years ago for the first time in twenty years, but that was with the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III. Defeating Oklahoma this time, handily, showed Baylor had made the transition from a team with a few star players to a full-fledged program. It also positioned Baylor, 8-0 and ranked number four, as a contender for one of the Bowl Championship Series games.
But the game after a big win has the potential for a letdown, and that’s what Texas Tech, a fellow Big 12 team reeling after a promising start, is hoping for when the teams collide Saturday on a neutral site, the AT&T Stadium, for what should be a high-scoring seesaw game.
AT&T Stadium, November 16, 6 p.m., stadium.dallascowboys.com
There are few words left to say about the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, so the music will do the talking at the President J.F.K. Memorial Concert, with the Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell joining the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for pieces including “The World Is Very Different Now,” by Conrad Tao, commissioned for the occasion.
Meyerson Symphony Center, November 21-24, dallassymphony.com
Governor Rick Perry has signed off on more executions than any other governor in United States history, more than 260, which is a trend that many people believe needs to be addressed, among them Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, who will put some of the blame on faulty forensics when he speaks on the topic at the Progressive Forum.
Wortham Center, November 18, 7:30 p.m., progressiveforum.houston.org