The filmmaker Kirby Warnock hits on three major themes — radio, records and the blues — in his new hourlong film, When Dallas Rocked. He shows how the Dallas underground radio station KZEW the Zoo, founded in 1973, turned scores of young people on to the alternative sounds percolating outside the Top 40. He also informs viewers of the relatively unknown fact that from the fifties through the seventies, major labels including CBS, Elektra and Warner used Dallas as a distribution hub.
“Every act that had any kind of a record had to come and play Dallas because the record labels just said, ‘We’re paying for it; you’ve got to come play here,’.” Warnock said. Meanwhile, Dallas was where the bluesman Freddie King lived and held court at the clubs, and where, at the same time, the Vaughan brothers, Stevie Ray and Jimmie, cut their teeth before moving to Austin.
Warnock, editor of the influential Dallas music magazine Buddy during the seventies and eighties, screened When Dallas Rocked at the Texas Theater for the first time last month. It drew the theater’s first sold-out crowd for a single screening, paving the way for this weekend’s encore screenings. “Dallas was the musical center of the entire Southwest back then,” Warnock said, “It’s not some idle claim. I’ve got the stats, photographs and people who were there to talk about it.”
The Texas Theater, Oct. 12-13, 3 p.m., thetexastheatre.com
Who says adults are too old to make-believe? At the Texas Renaissance Festival, role-playing is practically required. For those who enjoy wearing eye patches and talking like swashbuckling pirates, who romanticize the airborne life of a pixie-dust-sprinkling fairy or who have burly beards and envy barbarians with battle-axes in one hand and giant turkey legs in the other, eight themed weekends recreate past eras, from the sixteenth century and well beyond.
The seven-week festival is considered the largest of its kind in the country, drawing about a half-million visitors to the 55-acre New Market Village deep in the woods between College Station and Houston. Dressing up is optional at Halloween parties, but at a Renaissance festival the sight of plain clothes could subject you to—ye gods!—walking the plank.
New Market Village, Oct. 12-Dec. 1, texrenfest.com
There is a Walmart 1.7 miles from the John T. Floore Country Store, a honky-tonk in Helotes, the small town where maverick singer-songwriters have jammed since 1942. (One of them, Willie Nelson, invokes Floore in his song “Shotgun Willie.”) So when the folkie Steve Earle, a native Texan, plays the Country Store on Thursday, there’s a good chance a Walmart customer or employee or two will be in the audience. Things may get uncomfortable then, if Earle sings “Burnin’ It Down” from his new album, The Low Highway — the “it” being Walmart, which Earle has maintained is a bad neighbor.
But speaking his mind is what has made Earle a respected musician, earning him three Grammys and fourteen nominations. Still, if the fireworks from that potential performance make you uneasy, Earle is playing two subsequent dates in Texas—Austin and Dallas—before taking a hiatus to finish his memoir.
John T. Floore Country Store, Oct. 17, 9 p.m., steveearle.com
All Hail Caesar
Any leafy green salad can put the sin in healthy eating, when the fiber-rich lettuce is all but drowned in a sea of artery-clogging dressing. The Caesar salad takes things a couple of steps further, with waistline-expanding croutons and high-blood-pressure-inducing anchovies. But that classic take on the Caesar is rare at the annual Caesar Salad Competition, celebrating its 29th year on Friday. Chefs prefer to reinvent the staple there, with interpretations as extreme as Caesar-salad-style cotton candy. So it seems you can have your cake and eat a salad too.
Hilton University of Houston, Oct. 11, 5 p.m., caesarsalad!competitionhouston.com
Arianna Huffington, the nationally syndicated columnist and publisher of the Huffington Post, will speak at a Thursday luncheon about agents of change, which, given her experience running for governor of California ten years ago, could lead to talk of Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott, two polarizing candidates for governor of Texas.
The University of Texas Alumni Center, Oct. 17, 12:30 p.m., texasobserver.org
The many observances related to the fiftieth-anniversary next month of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination will come and go, but for those who want a permanent reminder there is Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis’s lauded, new, conspiracy-free book, “Dallas 1963,” which the authors will discuss at the Sixth Floor Museum.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., jfk.org