History Lesson
Latino Americans, the new six-hour PBS television series featuring interviews with more than one hundred Latinos covering half a millennium of history, will debut September 17, but a forty-minute preview will be screened Wednesday at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.

Complementing the screening will be a panel discussion including John Valadez, one of the documentary’s producers, and a couple of university academics, led by Dr. Jesús Francisco de la Teja, the professor and history department chairman, who in 2007 was appointed the first ever Texas state historian. They will cover the rise of Latinos largely within the context of Texas history.

The topics will include Juan Seguín’s story of the Alamo, crossing the border at El Paso during the Mexican Revolution, the Longoria Affair, and Willie Velásquez’s Southwest Voter Registration Education Project. “The story of Latinos is an opportunity to grapple with the issues of past and present discrimination, to understand the past and present role of Latinos in our broader communities, and to appreciate the growing diversity of those experiences as we transition from being almost uniformly Mexican American to multiculturally Latino,” de la Teja wrote in an email.
The Wittliff Collections, September 11, 6 p.m.,


Profit Off Prophet
The Austin musicians Kelly Willis and Alejandro Escovedo owe some of their finest hours to the San Francisco musician Chuck Prophet, who will play the Continental Club this weekend in support of his new album, Temple Beautiful, an ode to his Bay Area hometown.

Willis reinvented herself from a country pixie to a pop vixen with her 2007 album Translated From Love,” which Prophet played guitar on, co-wrote six of the songs for and produced. And Escovedo moved into the top tier of rock acts with his 2008 album Real Animal, which Prophet wrote with Escovedo, his surfing buddy. “We split time between my little office space in San Francisco and his garage-cum-manspace in Wimberley,” Prophet wrote in an email. “We’d go shopping. Lay on the carpet. Listen to Mott the Hoople records. Eat snacks. We don’t really have a typical approach to songwriting.”

Neither Willis or Escovedo are on tour, so there is good chance Prophet could have a surprise guest or two.
The Continental Club, September 6 at 11:30 p.m. and September 7 at 10 p.m.,


Cowboy Junkies
The 25th annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration takes the bad with the good in its presentation of the Wild West. The good is abundantly supplied in the diverse lineup of cowboy musicians, poets and oral storytellers entertaining crowds with their verse and in the chuck wagon cooks, or “cookies,” serving up breakfast on Sunday in advance of the devotional service “Abraham Was a Cowboy Too.”

The bad—or necessary evil—is meanwhile represented in programs like “Outlaws and Lawmen,” a series on those who took justice into their own hands, including Sally Skull, the Texas horse trader who killed about thirty men who made the mistake of challenging her, including, it is thought, two of her five husbands. These and several other activities make for as accurate and comprehensive a portrayal of cowboy culture as can be found.
Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, September 5-8,


Sparkling Wine
A star at night will be big and bright, deep in the heart of the Houston area this Friday. And then, at approximately 10:47 p.m., that star—which goes by the name HIP 116629—will disappear briefly as a minor planet passes between it and the Earth.

Impress your significant other with this knowledge at Haak Vineyards and Winery’s “Wine and Stars.” The Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society will be there with powerful telescopes that can maximize this rare celestial occurrence. The view will pair nicely with a glass of 2011 Blanc du Bois Reserve, a riesling-style wine that is Haak’s first to be 100 percent sourced from the vineyard.
Haak Vineyards & Winery, September 6, 6:30 p.m.,


Any Requests?
Lyle Lovett, the 2011 Texas state musician and pioneer of the now popular Americana genre, has said that he likes to involve the crowd and incorporate its feedback into his show, which should be a lot easier in the tranquil environment created when he performs with his acoustic group instead of his customary large band.
Austin City Limits Live, September 10 and 12, 8 p.m.,


The Trans-Pecos Festival of Music and Love has some great music—the Texas singer-songwriters Hayes Carll and Will Johnson, among others—but the “love” part is there for a reason and is spread freely, from communal activities like camping to one-of-a-kind experiences like helping Magda Sayeg of Knitta, Please knit a large-scale optical illusion involving the Texas flag.
El Cosmico, September 12-15,