People often get into playing music for emotional reasons, for example to win a girl or to express teenage angst. But making it a profession, especially when nobody seems to pay for music anymore, requires more than just heart: it depends on business savvy, creative freedom, and opportunity. Black Fret, a new Austin patronage system in which members help finance grants for select musicians and are given exclusive access to them, hopes to create a minor league of sorts for aspiring careerists. On Saturday, Black Fret will host its inaugural Black Ball gala, where it will announce its first ten recipients of $10,000 grants between performances by sixteen of the twenty nominees, including Mother Falcon, an orchestral rock band; Elizabeth McQueen, a singer-songwriter formerly of Asleep at the Wheel; and Elias Haslanger, a saxophonist who has played with the Four Tops and the Temptations. “We believe popular music is art that deserves community support just as operas and symphonies have been supported for hundreds of years,” the Black Fret founder, Colin Kendrick, said. “It takes great resources to create music that will be heard outside a few clubs in a local market, even in today’s connected world.”
The Paramount Theatre, Nov. 8, 6 p.m., blackfret.org
Lone Star Artist
Texas has gone a long way to claim as its own Julian Schnabel, a filmmaker and painter born in Brooklyn. In April at Dallas Contemporary, Schnabel, who spent part of his childhood in Brownsville, and went to the University of Houston, opened “An Artist Has a Past (Puffy Clouds and Strong Cocktails),” his first American exhibition since 1987. This weekend, he will be celebrated at the Lone Star Film Festival. His 1996 film Basquiat, about the eighties New York street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, will be shown at 11 a.m. Friday, and at 2 p.m., his 2007 Golden Globe-winning film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, based on the stroke suffered by Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor in chief of the magazine French Elle. Finally, at 6 p.m., people can meet the artist behind these movies during the festival’s fifth annual ball benefiting the Lone Star Film Society. Schnabel will receive the Achievement in Film Directing Award, alongside fellow award winners Ray Benson, the western swing musician, and Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, the conceptual artist who sublet Schnabel’s New York apartment in the mid-seventies while installing his forty-foot iguana sculpture atop the Lone Star Cafe.
Various locations, Nov. 7-9, lonestarfilmfestival.com
The singers Mavis Staples, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and Patty Griffin, an Austin-based Grammy winner, would seem polar opposites. Staples grew up on the south side of Chicago, establishing her gospel and rhythm and blues prowess during the civil rights era with her family’s band, the Staple Singers, while Griffin was raised in Maine and honed her skills as a solo act on the coffee-house circuit. Both have an extraordinary gift for inspiring hope through verse. In 2009 they recorded the song “Waiting for My Child to Come Home” for the Grammy-winning gospel compilation album Oh Happy Day. And on Thursday they will reunite for a show benefiting the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and celebrating the healing power of music therapy.
Majestic Theatre, Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m., dcac.org
War’s silver lining is that eventually it yields peace. The Houston Chamber Choir, a professional ensemble of 26 altos, basses, tenors, and sopranos, will acknowledge this fact with two performances commemorating the one-hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I. The title piece, Richard Rodney Bennett’s “A Farewell to Arms,” will accompany Karl Jenkins’s “The Armed Man” and Francis Poulenc’s “Figure Humaine.” All three works are reactions, in some form, to actual wars, over which the composers elegantly triumph.
Christ Church Cathedral and Clear Lake United Methodist Church, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., houstonchamberchoir.org
Designs Within Reach
The Waller Creek corridor will loosely resemble the green space of the High Line in New York when completed. Such beauty is hard to imagine now, but the Creek Show will afford people a glimpse of the possibilities, with a night of live music and five sight-specific light installations creating illusions of grandeur.
Waller Creek, Nov. 13, 5 p.m., creekshow.com
This year the arts festival known as Luminaria expands to two nights, and while the focal point is visual creations by Latin American and local artists, the tripleheader of musical performances by Augie Meyers, Santiago Jiménez Jr., and the Texas Tornados with Flaco Jiménez might be the most alluring.
Various locations, Nov. 7-8, 6 p.m., luminariasa.org