In 2008, the New York label Norton Records issued the album Halloween, a collection of live songs recorded between 1979 and 1981 by the Texas psych-rocker Roky Erickson and the Explosives, then his band. The tracks were taken from performances in Texas and California, including the popular “Starry Eyes” at the Continental Club in Austin, where Erickson will return for a Halloween show next Thursday. There is no more fitting day to see Erickson play. How can you not be a little scared by songs like “Stand for the Fire Demon” and “Creature With the Atom Brain”—byproducts, no doubt, of the shock treatment that Erickson endured at mental hospitals and of the alien who, he said, later temporarily inhabited his body? Since touring for True Love Cast Out All Evil, his 2010 Grammy-nominated album produced by Will Sheff of Okkervil River, Erickson hasn’t played often, and this is the last show in Texas this year.
The Continental Club, October 31, 8 p.m., rokyerickson.net
The Tall Ship Elissa, a 99-foot-tall, three-masted sailing ship named for a character in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid,” has sailed the world since 1877 and has been subjected to all sorts of rough situations, including a mutiny. The ship is undoubtedly fertile ground for lost souls. Twenty true believers will have the opportunity to make contact with them at “Séance Aboard the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa,” hosted by Sandra Logan, a Houston medium and psychic. The séance will take place in the belly of the ship. “It should be appropriately scary at night with the water whipping on the sides of the boat, and it rocking back and forth, and it is dark, only lit by candlelight,” Logan said in an email.
Logan considers herself a results-oriented medium. Last year, she conducted a séance at the Michael B. Menard House, the former home of one of Galveston’s founders, and General Sam Houston appeared, she said. “He was sitting on a bed with his boots on,” Logan said. “I felt he was very tall, and he had military men sitting in chairs around the bed, and wars were being planned.”
Texas Seaport Museum, October 26, 7:30 p.m., galvestonhistory.org
In 1988, the Texas gardener John Fairey started making expeditions to Mexico, where he collected plants and seeds and brought them back to Peckerwood Garden, his 39-acre wonderland in Hempstead, comprising about three thousand plants. What many don’t know is that Fairey, a painter who studied with Barnett Newman and Robert Motherwell, was also amassing an impressive collection of Mexican folk art. To raise funds for Peckerwood, named for the Georgia plantation in the book and movie Auntie Mame, the garden’s foundation is hosting a Tequila Tasting and Folk Art Sale.
There will be pieces for auction from Houston collectors, as well as from Fairey, whose donations include a three-foot-tall clay sculpture of the Last Supper. “Christ is sitting at a table, and all of the disciples are up in the trees,” Fairey said. “And he’s dishing out watermelon to them.” But the real auction score will be a future tour of Fairey’s private collection.
Peckerwood Garden, October 26, 3 p.m., peckerwoodgarden.org
Heart of Darkness
The American writer Bret Easton Ellis is perhaps best known for his novel American Psycho, about a well-appointed, stone-cold killer. The Belgian painter Luc Tuymans is probably best known for “Gas Chamber,” his response to his visit to the site of the Nazi camp at Dachau. In their respective bodies of work, Ellis and Tuymans, two lightning rods in their field, like to explore life’s dark corners, a topic they will discuss together Tuesday at the Menil, where Tuyman has an exhibition, “Nice.”
The ticketed seats are sold out for this talk, focusing on the challenges for artists whose work deals with individuals and society at the beginning of the twenty-first century, but the Menil will broadcast the conversation on the campus’s north lawn.
The Menil Collection, October 29, 6 p.m., menil.org
Paños are handkerchiefs that Hispanic prisoners decorate with ink and colored pencils and send to family members on the outside or use as bargaining chips with fellow inmates, and Thursday is the last day to see one of the largest collections assembled, in the exhibition “Paño Art: Handkerchief Drawings From Texas Prisons.”
Texas Folklife, October 25-31, 11 a.m., texasfolklife.org
Papa Nez Dispenser
Be among the first to hear what Rolling Stone calls “the greatest music never heard,” when Michael Nesmith, who grew up in Dallas, returns for his solo show, “An Evening With Michael Nesmith,” and plays material that predates the Monkees.
Kessler Theater, October 30, 8 p.m., thekessler.org