San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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July 31st, 2009
The Weekend: watermelon, Wimberley Players, whatever

The Wimberley Players are performing “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off” this weekend at the Wimberley Playhouse.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

Texas ranks third in the nation in watermelon production. The warm summers produce an excellent sweet melon. Because next Monday is National Watermelon Day, this weekend is a good time to stock up on a few.

It hardly seems like summer at all without eating a watermelon or two, does it? The watermelon is an adipsous fruit, which is a fancy scientific way of saying it quenches your thirst. It also provides a bit of vitamins C and A. It’s also chock full of the cancer preventative lycopene.

Two thousand years ago, the pulp of a wild watermelon was bitter, so the melons were mostly garnered for their edible seeds. As Michael Pollan points out in “The Botany of Desire,” most plants, in order to survive, adapt themselves to human and animal needs. The sweeter the fruit, the more we want and eat it. So it has been with the delicious, sweet watermelon we have come to know and love.

Watermelons were first noted to be grown in Egypt 5,000 years ago. Watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of King Tut. Early settlers in the 1600s brought watermelon seeds with them to America. Some used the watermelon like a canteen because of its adipsous quality. That’s a might heavy canteen, though. It’s not surprising that the idea didn’t really catch on.

There are more than 1,200 varieties of watermelons grown all over the world in 96 countries. Australia is growing them like mad lately. In Japan, growers figured out how to grow the melon in a square container. The fruit then takes on the shape of the container, making a square melon. The Japanese claim they did it to make the melons easier to stack, but it’s hard to figure why they decided to do the same thing to women’s feet. Small feet are hardly worth the pain.

The largest watermelon on record was 262 pounds, as reported by the Guinness Book of world records. It doesn’t seem like growing a watermelon that can roll over and kill a person is exactly what the fruit (or vegetable – the argument rages) is all about.

There are tempting and delicious watermelons in the stores right now and at farmer’s markets, so it’s a good weekend to get one and stick it in the fridge so that it’s icy cold on Monday. While you’re waiting to cool your melon, here are a few delightful diversions to keep your mind occupied and your feet dancing.

Friday, July 31

The always-original Mark Jungers kicks off the music this weekend. He will play the early gig at the Triple Crown (206 N Edward Gary) tonight at 6 p.m. Nobody else has Jungers’ creative rootsy take on Americana, Blues and Bluegrass. You can almost smell the hay in the barn when he plays, and his lyrics are lived-in real life stuff.

Jungers will also take part in the attempt, in Luckenbach on Aug. 23, to create the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Guitar Pickin’ Session in history. Go to markjungers.com for more details, and hear his refreshing music as you read.

By the way, you, too, can be a part of this event at Luckenbach. Registration forms are available online or at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street). The World Record attempt is in support of our troops and their families. The world’s record is held by guitarists from … Germany! Their record is 1,750 pickers. So, Texas, get the lead out and take what is rightfully ours! For a $10 registration fee, you get a T-Shirt and bragging rights.  If Luckenbach can’t do this, ain’t nobody can.

It might be hot outside, but there’s nothing hotter than the fun and prizes at Bingo Night at the VFW in Wimberley (Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road). The cage starts turning at 6:30 p.m. and the concessions are sold and prepared by the loving hands of the fine women of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Tres Womack’s “Gather Round” was chosen as Song of the Year by the 2009 Texas Music Awards. You can hear that song and more from his award winning release “Freak Show” at Riley’s (8894 FM 1102) at 8 p.m. He’s got a Texas groove goin’.

If musical theater is more you cup of sweet tea, then you’ll want to catch the Wimberley Players’ production of “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off”. The emoting begins at 8 p.m. at the Wimberley Playhouse (140 Old Kyle Road). The musical, written by Leslie Bricuse and Anthony Newly in 1961, features the familiar songs, “What Kind of Fool Am I?” and “Once in a Lifetime.” The plot is an amusing and poignant tale of a man’s search for happiness and love, mostly with women. The leading role led to a part in 1978 for Sammy Davis Jr. and made “What Kind of Fool Am I?” a national hit.

The EmilyAnn Theatre’s (1101 FM 2325) outdoor stage features middle school and high school students in a production of Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale.” Don’t expect to be cooled off from the title, as none of the action is particularly arctic and, hey, it’s Shakespeare, so expect the action to be hot with tempers flaring, jealousies flaming and love a’burning. The angry accusations start at 8:15 p.m. and the players are always fun to watch at EmilyAnn.

Do not be fooled by the youthful looks of Bobby Duncan at the Cheatham Street Warehouse at 9:30 p.m. Yeah, he’s a young fella (22), but he sounds as though he’s had decades of heartache and experience. His well-named second album, “Faith, Hope and Everything Else,” was produced by the ultra-talented Walt Wilkins. Duncan’s voice is as polished as you ever want a country star to get, i.e., just enough, not too shiny and slick, not too shy and shaky. His songs melt in his mouth, not in your hand. He’s a treasure, and prepare to feel magic when you hear him.

LUG and Blood Engine, appearing at the Triple Crown tonight at 10 p.m. are sort of musical cousins, since they share a band member, Ryan Wortham, who will do double-duty tonight as vocalist for both bands. Be sure to buy Ryan a refreshing drink, as these bands are nothing if not pure blood sugar energy and lit-up hellfire when they play. This is another way of saying “wear your earplugs and prepare for take-off.” Heavy stuff.

Saturday, August 1

It’s Wimberley Market Day at Lions Field starting at 7 a.m., and that means it’s time to go out and find a treasure amidst their many vendors of antiques, collectibles, jewelry, crafts, art, furniture and candles. It would take a whole column just to list the delights you will find there. It is, after all, the second largest flea market in Texas. Make sure to wear a hat and some sunscreen, as you will be there longer than you think. There’s delicious barbecue for lunch and plenty of shade in which to enjoy it, so bring your appetite, too. Don’t forget to check out the delicious nuts and honey butter! Yum!

At 9 a.m., you can head to Kyle Market Days Hotter ‘n’ Hot Classic Car Show, and then peruse the fine vendors there. Hosea Hargrove will supply the music in the morning and Ribeye Red will take the afternoon shift. The music, all featuring local talent, takes place at the gazebo on the city square. The market is a great place to pick up farm fresh produce and wonderful hand-made items. Kyle Market Days now takes place on the square, which is bordered by Center, Main, and Miller Streets and Burleson Rd.

Tonight, Wake the Dead Coffee House has a triple bill starting with Music with Mary at 7 p.m. Then, at 8 p.m. Aimloss makes with the tunes, followed by Ian Lee at 9 p.m. Great music and great coffee always seem to go together, so this event is a no-brainer.

The Wimberley Players will delight audiences again tonight at 8 p.m. with their version of “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off.” Tickets are only $15 and are available online at wimberlyplayers.org.

The EmilyAnn Theatre will present middle school and high school students who have studied acting and Shakespeare all summer while the rest of us lolled on the couch eating bon bons (okay, we probably didn’t do that, but we weren’t memorizing Shakespeare, either). Their rendition of “A Winter’s Tale” starts at 8:15 p.m. at the charming outdoor theater.

Eddie “Steel” Foster was one of the founding members of the Randy Rogers Band. Foster wrote many of the band’s most requested tunes, like “Copano Bay” and “This Side of Heaven,” as well as the steel parts for Rogers, hence the name Eddie “Steel” Foster, which you probably knew without an explanation, huh? Foster just completed his second solo project, “Long Distance Traveler,” and will hold his CD release party at the Cheatham Street tonight. He’ll start playing the music at 9:30 p.m. Foster has a distinctive voice and style, which has the sweet and salty mix of a Jimmy Buffet who got religion and moved to Texas.

Triple Crown becomes a musical dojo tonight, first featuring the popular band, Spank, which amazes audiences with a funky blend of psychedelic prog-rock jams and tuneful karate chops. They call it jamtronica, which is as good a way as any to give it a word. Spank is joined by The Foot Clan, which is named for the group that menaced the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You gotta like that. The musical kung fu starts at 10 p.m.

Sunday, August 2

Now, here’s a good day to start off with a relaxing cup of coffee and a bit of music. At Wake the Dead Coffee House, you can get both starting at 11 a.m. with Day Jazz with Scotty and a mighty fine cup of Joe, as well.

The Claiborne Kyle Log House in Kyle will open today from 2-5 p.m. It’s always a good reminder to stand in a log house built in the 1850s and remember how consarned hot our forebears must have been back in the day. The Kyle log house is a wonder of loggy engineering, featuring the sweet smell of cedar logs, which must have been of some comfort to his Lucy Bugg Kyle as she raised their nine children. The Austin-San Antonio stagecoach passed in front of the home, so, as you get in your car for the trip back, think of the differences in our lives in just 150 years. The son of Claiborne Kyle, Fergus, is the fella who donated a good deal of the land for Kyle. You can see his tombstone in Kyle, as well.

The Wimberley Players matinee’ of “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off,” starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Wimberley Playhouse. There’s nothing like a bit of good musical theater to give buoyancy to your mood and a charge to your day.

The Geronimo VFW (6808 SH 123) in beautiful downtown Geronimo features its fun Sunday Afternoon Country Dance today at 3 p.m. The dance band is Country Tradition and the boots will be scootin’ until 6:30 p.m. The kitchen and the doors open at 2 p.m. Get there early and get a little snack first to fortify your dancing energy.

It’s Jake’s birthday, and Brown Sugar Jones will be regaling the Cheatham Street Warehouse with music and merriment today from 4-8 p.m.

Bob Steine will make with the relaxing chair massages at Wake the Dead from 4-7 p.m. You could use a good chair massage before starting work on Monday. Bob is there for you.

The mics, as always, are open at Riley’s and Triple Crown, so you could practice your public guitar pickin’ there tonight before you sign up for the Luckenbach event.

Of course, you could just get that watermelon out of the fridge, sit on the porch, eat some ice-cold watermelon and spit out the seeds. It ain’t summer ’til you done that. You can always buy another watermelon for National Watermelon Day tomorrow.

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