San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 11th, 2009
The Weekend: Music benefits the soul and charities

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Mike Ethan Messick and the Cheatham Street Warehouse host a day-long benefit for Toys For Toys on Sunday. 

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor
 
It used to be that there were always several holiday specials “on ice.” It was probably back in the Dorothy Hamill days, when her haircut permeated the culture, that we saw a lot of “on ice” productions. “Scrooge on Ice,” and “Holiday on Ice”  and “Snoopy’s Christmas on Ice” are a few that come to mind.
 
Now, we’re not taking anything away from ice skating. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of practice, but the “on ice” shows were, at best, rather lame. Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken” did a great parody with”Star Wars on Ice” and even Nickelodeon’s cartoon “Rugrats” had a slicing stab at it with “Reptar on Ice.” Because drama doesn’t work on ice.
 
It’s hard to take a play seriously when the characters keep gliding by each other as they interact. It’s as if some ineluctable force were dragging them away from each other begging them to not do it. These programs gave new meaning to the phrase, “it stinks on ice.”
 
There are plenty of lame Christmas specials that are snore-fests and are not on ice. But, quite frankly, we’re glad the skating specials are figuratively on ice. We’ll be glad to watch the skating, just don’t try to tell the story of Anna Karenina at the same time, please.
 
There are no snore-fests in San Marcos this weekend, and you’ll wish you had the time to do everything. Here are just a few suggestions for the weekend.
 
Friday, December 11
 
The evening’s music starts out with the whimsical and charming “Music For Kiddos” that Andy Hartsock plays at Wake the Dead (1432 RR 12) at 6 p.m. It might be for kids, but it always cheers up the adults, as well. Pepper’s Blues will be at Triple Crown, 206 North Edward Gary, so you’ve got a choice in after-work entertainment.
 
The Emily Ann Theatre Trail of Lights (1101 FM 2325) is open tonight from 6-9 p.m., and it’s a fun walk with lights and charm and cocoa and hot dogs and warm pit fires. The Trail of Lights is free, but a donation, however small, is appreciated. The trail is open on Saturday and Sunday, as well, from 6-10 p.m. 
 
While you are in Wimberley tonight, you could stop by the Chapel in the Hills (14601 RR 12) live nativity scene. The scene, a tableau from the nativity, features colorful costumed actors, quiet music and realistic scenery. You are free to drive through the luminaria lit outer loop driveway, or get out of your car for a more contemplative view. Cookies and hot chocolate will await you inside the church. The event is a lovely and thoughtful gift from Chapel in the Hills to the community.
 
At 6:30 tonight, the San Marcos Nature Center (430 Riverside Drive) is hosting a luminaria walk. The center will have holiday treats like cider and hot chocolate and cookies, holiday arts and crafts for kids and a fire to toast marshmallows. Walking through the wildscape lit with luminarias is a charming way to see the beauties of nature at the holiday season. The event goes until 8:30 p.m.
 
It’s a little known fact that the tune “Jingle Bells” was actually and old English gaming song called “Bingo Yells.” We suppose it’s a little known fact because it’s not true. We just made it up. Sounds kind of true though, doesn’t it? Regardless of whether there’s a song for playing bingo, there certainly is a place for it and that’s at the Wimberley VFW at Veterans Park on Jacobs Well Road at 7 p.m. What there should be a song about is the tasty concessions sold there by the fine women of the Ladies Auxiliary.
 
The clear, strong voice of Molly Hayes and the moody dreaminess of Cosmic Jaguar will be at Wake the Dead Coffee House tonight starting at 7 p.m. You couldn’t really ask for better musical accompaniment as you drink coffee and unwind.
 
At 8 p.m. at the Wimberley Playhouse (old Kyle Road), the Wimberley Players will present “Inspecting Carol,” a farcical comedy by Daniel Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Company. This fun seasonal play’s humor rings true as a small theatre company tries to get funding as things go strangely wrong with their production of “A Christmas Carol.”
 
A “house band” is the workhorse of any venue. It plays at the venue on a regular basis, yes, but also does so much more. It often fills in when another band cannot or does not show up. Sometimes, one of the house band guys will fill in a spot for the featured band when the featured bass player gets a flat tire in Chula Vista-River Spur and isn’t going to make it on time. Such house bands play their own gigs around the state, too. What this means is that they are seasoned, flexible and well-practiced. We can’t think of better adjectives to describe the Joel Hoffman Band, the “house band,” at Riley’s Tavern (8894 FM 1102). The band plays there tonight at 8 p.m. and is always fun to hear.
 
The Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) may not have a “house band” per se, but Dr. G and the Mudcats run a close second. They will be opening tonight for the smooth-voiced Paul Eason. There’s not a much better gig than Dr. G starting it up, and the poignant songs of Eason to keep it going. The music starts around 8:30 p.m. You should always get to the Cheatham Street a little early to get yourself comfortable with the spirits of musicians who have played there over the years hovering over the room. You’ll almost feel the magic when you walk in.
 
Amber Lucille and her band have a sort of southern bluesy glamour about them. Her resonant voice is ably backed by good musicians. She’s a pleasure to hear and you can see for yourself at the Gray Horse Saloon (1904 RR 12) tonight around 9:30 p.m.
 
Kallisti Gold, appearing at Triple Crown tonight, has so many diehard local fans because the band is capable of so much versatility. The band certainly knows its way around a reggae tune, but is equally adept at funk and soul. The root of this music may all be similar, but it sprouts some mighty interesting blossoms. Kallisti Gold can do a trick that the Beat Farmers did regularly to much applause, switch instruments with each other. It’s way harder than it seems at first glance. Kallisti Gold is aptly named.
 
Saturday, December 19
 
The Collective Studio and Art Gallery (411 River Road in Wimberley) hosts a holiday arts and crafts fair today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a great opportunity to purchase unique hand made gifts from outdoor furniture to jewelry. All of the offerings are hand made, and any of the artists will be on hand to answer questions. When you give a gift like this, you not only delight the recipient with a thoughtful one-of-a-kind piece, but you support local arts and local artists. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone. You are the catalyst for a thriving arts community.
 
At 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., you can see the Texas State performance of “A Monster Carol.” The play is a whole different and slightly twisted version of “A Christmas Carol,” done in a museum of wax figures of monsters that come to life. It’s fun and unusual holiday comedy fare for the whole family. It all takes place on the main stage of the Theatre Center at Texas State.
 
Tonight is the last night of the Chapel in the Hills live nativity scene, and we’ll bet those costumed folks get a might cold out there this year, tell you what. The scene features live animals and characters from the nativity. You can drive through or stop and have a cookie and some cocoa in the church. There are several decorated and lit Christmas trees and a beautiful indoor manger scene to enjoy along the way to the kitchen. This is one of those holiday events that are remembered by the whole family for many years to come. The scene will be displayed from 6-8 p.m.
 
There’s a Christmas theme to “Inspecting Carol,” at the Wimberley Playhouse tonight at 8 p.m., but it might be different than you first suspect. It’s a comedy with heart and more comedy. Tickets are $17 for general admission.
 
At Riley’s tonight, you can hear a band that answers the question, what would the Clash have been like if they’d been a country band? The answer is Two Hoots and a Holler, appearing tonight at 8:30 p.m. They’re a little bit country, they’re a little bit rowdy punk. The meld is actually very enjoyable.
 
San Antonio’s Two Tons Of Steel will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight, and the widely popular band probably needs no introduction to most music lovers. There’s a darn good reason for that, too, since the band manages to make Western Swing as cool as Townes Van Zandt and as hoppin’ as Benny Goodman. No one disputes that Bob Wills is still the King, but Two Tons of Steel may be princes of the form.
 
Paul Lansky, a Princeton professor who works with computers and recorded sounds and conversations, manages to make music out of overheard conversations and traffic noises. Demon Hlatus, playing at Wake the Dead tonight, manages to do a similar thing, creating soundscapes from a variety of tones and sounds. It’s like the jazz of many sounds, and it’s always an interesting listen. The tone poems start at 8:30 p.m.
 
Triple Crown hosts the third annual Christmas Show and Honky Tonk Food Drive tonight at 9:30 p.m. The food drive benefits the Hays County Food Bank, and a donation of non-perishable food items or cash will enter you into a drawing for prizes, including a tandem skydive, an electric guitar, a tattoo, meals from participating restaurants, music, clothing and more. The Beaumonts play a rollickin’ country flavored Southern rock that will shake the rafters of the joint, too. Should be a mighty fun time.
 
Sunday, December 13
 
If you have been rushing around, doing a lot of shopping, fretting, donating and trying to economize, you deserve a break with a nice cup of coffee and some music this morning. Wake the Dead can bill the bill featuring Day Jazz at noon and the Sarinda String Quartet at 1:30 p.m.
 
The Cheatham Street Warehouse hosts Mike Ethan Messick’s sixth annual Toys For Tots Holiday Acoustic Jam from noon until midnight. A voluntary cash donation or newly purchased toy gets you in the door anytime all throughout the day. Hosted by Messick, the singers and bands performing include Adam Carroll, Owen Temple, Mark Jungers, the Trishas, 11 Bones, Tres Womack, Aaron Navarro, Andy Bertelsen, Shane Walker, Jordan Minor, Andrea Marie, Austin Mayse, Chad Boyd, Michael Wren, Forest Wayne Allan, Big John Mills, James Pardo, and many more.
 
All the artists are donating their time and talents to the benefit. All the proceeds go to Toys For Tots. This is about the most painless way to donate that we can think of for Christmas this year. We are partial to local singer/songwriter Jordan Minor and The Trishas, but as you can see from the line-up, whenever you show up you are bound to be filled with good music. It’s the don’t-miss event of the weekend.
 
At 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. today, you can see Texas State’s production of “A Monster Carol” on the main stage of the Theatre Building. The play is a Tim Burton-like view of “A Christmas Carol” with wax monster figures who come to life in a museum. It’s a very funny mix of Halloween and Christmas that both kids and adults will love.
 
If your weary shoulders are tired of carrying the weight of your troubles, it might be a good day to get a chair massage from the magic fingers of Bob Steine at Wake the Dead today. He’ll bring folks back to life from 4-7 p.m.
 
This could be the perfect evening to see the more than 150 lighted displays at the Trail of Lights tonight at the EmilyAnn Theatre. It’s yet another lovely Christmas present to the community from local churches and the theatre. We can’t help but think that the theatre’s namesake is smiling somewhere at all the fine things that EmilyAnn keeps on doing.
 
If you feel like releasing your inner diva or Elvis tonight,  the mics are open tonight at both Riley’s and Triple Crown. If you’d just like to sing along, there’s karaoke at the Gray Horse.
 
The Philadelphia Eagles play the New York football Giants, so the action on the gridiron will be fast and furious tonight on NBC. You’ll have to DVR the seasonal Christmas classic “White Christmas” on AMC tonight at 7 p.m. The movie may be full of 1950’s morality and miscommunication, but the musical numbers with Bing and Rosemary and Danny and Vera are all showstoppers. Plus, we had to mention it because it was mom’s favorite Christmas movie, and you don’t mess with mom at Christmas.

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