Six Must-Attend Events: November 13-19
The state’s top offerings, from memorializing Selena in San Antonio to idolizing Leon Bridges in Houston.
Singing for Selena
The March 25, 2015, San Antonio Current cover story, “Anything for Selenas: Remembering an Icon 20 Years Later,” does a great job of connecting the dots between San Antonio and Selena Quintanilla, the Tejano star from Corpus Christi who successfully crossed over to pop before her tragic death. Between 1986 and 1997, Selena reigned supreme at the Tejano Music Awards, in San Antonio, reeling in some three dozen awards. In 1994 Selena opened one of two Selena Etc. stores, which carried her own clothing line, in San Antonio. After she was murdered by the president of her fan club, San Antonio native Yolanda Saldívar, on March 31, 1995, there were memorials held in such San Antonio locations as South Park Mall, Sunken Garden Theatre, and the San Fernando Cathedral, complete with a mariachi mass. Today San Antonio is home to multiple murals depicting Selena, such as those on South Flores and Houston Streets. And on Friday there will be a screening of the movie Selena at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, in San Antonio, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of her passing. The movie stars Jennifer Lopez, in her breakout role, as an adult Selena and a young girl from Harlingen named Rebecca Lee Meza as Selena as a child. (Another San Antonio connection: Meza was chosen during a casting call in the Alamo City.) The screening will inspire San Antonians to show their devotion with a sing-along, including numbers like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Como La Flor,” the latter from the 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo, whose cover image of the singer was captured by Al Rendon, a San Antonio photographer.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, November 13, 7:30 p.m., guadalupeculturalarts.org
Field of Dreams
The site of a former landfill in the Montopolis neighborhood of Southeast Austin needed a serious facelift. Now known as Circle Acres Nature Preserve, it has a solid foundation, with forest and wetlands sprouting from its 9.7 acres of earth. But to complete its transformation it was in need of some makeup—a wow factor of sorts. So Ecology Action of Texas, the steward of Circle Acres, formed the Field Constructs Design Competition to help with the final touches. The FCDC—overseen by Igor Siddiqui, a University of Texas School of Architecture associate professor; Catherine Gavin, a former editor of Texas Architect magazine; and Rachel Adams, a former independent curator who organized shows for the Contemporary Austin—called on emerging creatives from around the world to produce site-specific visual arts pieces that would, as the FCDC put it, “create a healthier environment through resource recovery operations, brownfield remediation, and zero-waste initiatives.” The riposte came in the form of four temporary installations, chosen from more than eighty entries, which will grace the grounds for nine days as part of the East Austin Studio Tour, an annual, free, self-guided visit of local artists’ workspaces. Among the winners are “Duck Blind in Plain Site,” described as “a brightly colored egg overgrown with grass,” made out of waste and vegetation, and “99 White Balloons,” a “buoyant chain of balloons wired with sensors floating above the landscape,” set to react with movement and light levels based on the proximity of humans and wildlife. For those unable to view the finished pieces in person, there will be an exhibit displaying models of the winners along with fourteen jury-selected finalists and twelve curators’ choice winners in the Mebane Gallery at the UT School of Architecture on Friday the thirteenth. It is sure to be a fascinating case study on how one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Circles Acres Nature Preserve, November 14–22, fieldconstructs.org
In this time-crunched world, it is splendid when you can accomplish two things at once, which Los Trompos, or Spinning Tops, enables participants to do. Part art exhibit, part workout machine, this display on the grounds of the Sarofim Picnic Lawn at Discovery Green wows the mind and races the heart. Kids and adults alike: go ahead and hop on one of the twenty trompos—woven tops of their own distinct shape, incorporating elements from traditional Latin American design, architecture, and folk art—and let a friend twirl you into oblivion. “The experience of being inside one of the gargantuan tops is like being inside a giant kaleidoscope,” said Judy Nyquist of the Public Art Committee at Discovery Green. “Invigorating, freeing, and weightless. Of course, if your partner is too vigorous, also dizzying.” The installation, the second to be chosen by the Public Art Committee at Discovery Green, was created by the Mexico City designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. They will give an artists’ talk at 5 p.m. on opening day, which will also include mariachi music and ballet folklorico. “Los Trompos was chosen for its emphasis on the colorful and playful, its accessibility to all ages, its durability, and the fact that its designers are Mexican—a nod to the great many of our visitors and vast audience of Latin origin,” Nyquist said.
Discovery Green, November 14–March 22, 2016, discoverygreen.com
The convergence of sausage, beer, and German culture isn’t hard to find in Central Texas, but it is hard to find a better display than Wurstfest, the ten-day, artery-clogging, polka-fueled free-for-all that has been stuffing faces since 1963. There are only three days left to crack into the casings of Knackwurst, drink steins of Helles or Dunkel, and hear the exuberant horns of the oompah bands. It just so happens that two of the fest’s coolest events are during these days. First, there’s Masskrugstemmen, or “Beer-Stein Holding,” a contest in which competitors battle each other by holding a mug filled with beer, weighing approximately five pounds, in their outstretched arm for the longest period of time. Then there is a production of Beauty and the Wurst, a Beauty and the Beast theatrical parody that invites the audience to throw popcorn at the performers.
Landa Park, November 13–15, wurstfest.com
Do You Doonanny?
Normally you’d have to pay good money to attend Camp Design Build Adventure and learn the tricks of the DIY trade from Austin master craftsman Jack Sanders. But the instruction is free during Saturday’s Mini-Doonanny, during which Sanders and his pal Butch Anthony, an Alabama folk artist and curator of the Museum of Wonder, will explain new works, followed by a night of campfire revelry.
Design Build Adventure, November 14, 6 p.m., designbuildadventure.com
No Place Like Home
Fort Worth soul sensation Leon Bridges’s life is imitating his art. On his hit single “Coming Home,” he sings “Baby, baby, baby / I’m coming home / To your tender sweet loving / You’re my one and only woman,” and for his two upcoming gigs—Houston on Friday and Dallas on Saturday—hometown crowds will represent that woman and show their love with two sold-out shows (though tickets are still available on Craigslist).
House of Blues, November 13, 7:30 p.m., leonbridges.com